There was a long time conflict in the Balkan States located in Eastern Europe. In the aftermath of World War II, the Balkan states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia became part of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. All was going smooth in Yugoslavia until the death of its long time leader, Josip Broz Tito in 1980. Tito’s death led to a growing conflict between the Yugoslav Republics which ultimately led to the splitting apart of the union. The conflict was substantially intensified with the rise of Serbian-leader Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic opposed the entire Muslim race.
He convinced the Serbians that Muslims were mistreating the Serbs living in Bosnian territory and in order to keep their own race alive, they must fight war with Bosnia. Mass murders and killings of the Muslims in Bosnia, also known as Bosniaks, took place. Foreign intervention is what brought this genocide to an end. To fully understand the roots of this genocide, one must go back some years in history. Back all the way during World War I when Josip Broz first started to become important.
He joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) and quickly climbed the ranks within this party. In 1953 Tito was elected Yugoslav president and was re-elected up until 1963 when his term was made unlimited. Tito was a respectable leader and his national credo for the six united states were “Brotherhood and Unity”. Josip Broz Tito desired and expected his citizens to set aside ethnonational affiliation and instead embrace broader Yugoslav identity (Morus 1). Tito instituted a system of checks and balances which ensured both peace and cooperation between the Yugoslav people. Bosnian culture and life flourished in Tito’s prosperous and stable Yugoslavia (Morus 2). In 1980, Tito died of gangrene.
Tito’s death left a political vacuum in the Balkan States. In each of the different republics, nationalism grew and resultantly they each threatened to split their union apart.In Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic ascended to power. As said before, he opposed the entire Muslim race as he was blaming the “ethnic other” for the nation’s crises. Milosevic went around rallying and advocating “Serbian unity” as the solution to this mess.
Milosevic’s words intensified existing aggravation between Serbians and Bosniaks. 1992 marks the year of when the killing started. The Serbian Army was sent into Bosnia looking for war. At this time, Bosnia had no military.
This left civilians to fend for themselves. After just a quick few months, Serbia was in control of over 70% of Bosnian land. The Serbian Army began the systematic “ethnic cleansing” of the Bosnian Muslims, killing them by any means possible. This forever changed life in Bosnia. People were pulled from their villages and they were placed into concentration camps. In these camps, the people were starved, beaten brutally even sometimes to death, and they were killed in mass shootings.
Women were sent to “rape camps” where they were raped repeatedly and then after murdered. When Bosnia’s capital city, Sarajevo was invaded, Serbian snipers were ordered to shoot all civilians walking in the streets. This madness and devastation continued until foreign countries intervened.