Yugoslav wars

The Yugoslav wars were a series of violent conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia that took place between 1991-2001. They comprised two sets of successive wars affecting all of the six former Yugoslav republics. Alternative terms in use include the "War in the Balkans", or "War in (former) Yugoslavia", "Wars of Yugoslav Succession" or rarely the "Third Balkan War" (a term coined by British journalist Misha Glenny, alluding to the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913).

The wars were characterised by bitter ethnic conflicts between the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, though the underlying cause of the conflict was political rather than ethnic – a clash over the governance of the Yugoslav republics. Almost all of the wars were both civil wars, pitting people within the same country against each other, and international wars, with military intervention from outside powers such as NATO.

The Yugoslav wars ended with much of the former Yugoslavia reduced to poverty, with massive economic disruption and persistent instability across the territories where the worst fighting occurred. The wars were the bloodiest conflicts on European soil since the end of World War II, resulting in an estimated 300,000 deaths and millions more driven from their homes. They were also the first conflicts since World War II to have been formally judged genocidal in character and many of the key individual participants were subsequently charged with war crimes.

Conflicts in the west

The wars in Slovenia and Croatia were initially fought in the name of forcibly keeping Yugoslavia united. They soon became overtly nationalist in character, with a clash between the Serbian and Croatian nationalist ideologies personified by President Slobodan Milošević in Serbia and President Franjo Tuđman in Croatia. The Serb-Croat conflict was greatly complicated in Bosnia by the presence of the large Muslim (Bosniak) population, which caused it to develop into a three-way conflict that was by far the bloodiest of the Yugoslav wars.

The Yugoslav wars in the west were ended by the military withdrawal in Slovenia and the defeat of Serbian rebels in Croatia, and the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995 for Bosnia following military intervention against the Serbian side by NATO.

Conflicts in the east and south

In Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia proper, the conflicts were typified by racial and political tension between Slav governments and Albanian national minorities which sought autonomy or independence.

The conflict in Kosovo broke out into a full-scale war in 1999, while the Macedonian and southern Serbian conflicts were characterised by armed clashes between state security forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas. The war in Kosovo ended with NATO intervention against Serbian forces, although further widespread unrest in Kosovo broke out in 2004. The conflicts in southern Serbia and in Republic of Macedonia ended with internationally-overseen peace agreements between the insurgents and the government, but the situation in both regions remains fragile.de:Balkankonflikt ja:ユーゴスラビア紛争 ko:유고슬라비아 전쟁 sl:Vojne v bivši Jugoslaviji


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