On Tidbits of a Conflict

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As part of the old Austria-Hungary (which lost WW1), Yugoslavia (“Land of the Southern Slavs”) formed in 1918 as a union of multiple republics. After WW2, Communism came to Yugoslavia. During his 30+ year resign, Josip Tito held the republics together. In the years following his death in 1980, the union began to crumble.

In 1984, the world learned about Sarajevo, the host of the 1984 Winter Olympics. From 1992 to 1996, a bombing siege destroyed many of the Olympic facilities. It was during this time, we watched the news to hear unfamiliar names and places.

Most of us probably knew little about names like Milan Martić and Slobodan Milošević and places as Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, and more. Besides, we probably didn’t know enough to understand what happening.

The conflict in the mid-1990s is known by a variety of names – most depending on one’s perspective – The Croatian War of Independence, the Homeland War, the Greater-Serbian Aggression, the Patriotic War, the War in Croatia, the Conflict in Yugoslavia, and I’m confidence there are more.

A conflict involving Communism and democracy – centralization and decentralization – nationalism and ethnicity – Christians and Muslims – the battle for power and control.

A five-year battle involving over 20,000 killed from battle and genocide, 500,000 refugees, 200,000 displacements, 180,000 housing units destroyed, severely damaged infrastructure, and a crippled economy.

The tour took a side-trip into a small town that where we could see some physical effects remaining today – bombed buildings (some being restored, others not). Houses with numerous bullet holes while their neighbors were bullet free. A small park with military equipment.

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From what we’ve seen and heard from others Croatia is a beautiful country and a wonderful place to visit. Yet, our relatively recent memory reminds us of a time that wasn’t that long ago.

41 thoughts on “On Tidbits of a Conflict

  1. Enjoyed reading this Frank. On my European van journey, I made it to many of these countries part of that war in the early 90s. I was particularly drawn in by Bosnia, which still wore so many very visible effects of the war. The people were absolutely beautiful, eager to share their stories and their beautiful country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel,
      Wow … I haven’t been to Bosnia, so the fact it drew you in speaks for itself. War anywhere hurts – but seeing the buildings, military equipment, and the bullet holes in buildings brought back the memories of seeing the conflict on the news. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard Croatia is beautiful, too. As you mention, the roots of the conflict(s) there go back centuries. I’ve read a bit about it in covering the war crimes there.
    There was a Modern Love podcast about a girl’s first kiss/first love in Bosnia. They came from different backgrounds, which didn’t make a difference until the conflict started. I may have mentioned it before for Dale because it’s read by the actress in Cold War. https://www.npr.org/podcasts/469516571/modern-love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merril,
      I’ve only see a small bit of Croatia, but it’s beauty does shine. In terms of the conflict, I can’t imagine the stories around personal relationships in the midst of conflicts. Thanks for sharing the podcast, which I bookmarked!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,
      Conflict has been around a long time. I doubt if humanity has ever experienced a time without conflict. Religion the cause? Sometimes – but religion has also prevented conflicts … and we forget about those who promoted conflict that we not religious – and even went after the religious. For me, I point to economics, politics, and the desire of power and control.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In the ’90s I did follow the news and made some attempt to “follow along,” but I had a very difficult time.I think that atrocities of genocide were not lost on me, however. Your travels have brought the history of that region very close and I would imagine made a strong impact. The effects of the war on the buildings and artifices are a reminder that the conflicts weren’t all that long ago. I enjoyed the information shared, Frank.


  4. In 1999, I rode a train through many of those former Yugoslavian countries, stopping in Bosnia. Someone told us about a stone bridge held together entirely of well-fitting interlocking stones and nothing more–a real engineering marvel–that had been in place for centuries, but was now destroyed by the war. I saw the remains of it. It was so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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