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In the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War, the world was in ruins because of the mass destruction brought upon it. It was recorded that in the 1990’s, one of the deadliest genocide cases since World War II had occurred in Bosnia with a body count of about two hundred thousand people reported dead. Through all the research collected, the situation that happened between former Yugoslavia seems to be similar to what had happened in Germany with Hitler and the Nazi party. Many cities in Bosnia were targeted and attacked with the intention of “ethnic cleansing” because after Yugoslavia had disbanded into the six countries that we know today as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia, there was conflicts about independence and separation from each other’s control. The declaration of independence from all of the countries with the exception of Serbia had brought anger to Serbia itself because Serbia had wanted the countries to fall into Serbian nationalism. The research that was used for this lesson was to demonstrate the horrific mess that genocide is and how a big cause that can lead to genocide could be ethnic tensions between countries.
First and foremost, it is important to know exactly what happened in the Bosnian Genocide case because the information is vast and yet so many people have limited knowledge of it. Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the Southeast of Europe and is one of the nations that formerly made up the late Socialist Federal Republic of YugoslaviaWhen Yugoslavia disbanded, Slovenia and Croatia had declared independence, which led to Serbia declaring war on them for the sake of acting on the ethnic tensions that were already growing. Specifically, the republic had contained different ethnicities like Orthodox Christian Serbians, Muslim Bosnians, Catholic Croatians. It is clear to recognize that Serbia had wanted to take control of the other nations that made up Yugoslavia and when they started to break away, it had led to many wars. Moreover, when Bosnia was influenced by the idea of independence, the country had also decided to act on the idea of breaking away, but Serbia had already set out to “ethnically cleanse” Bosnia and claimed they did it with the intention of freeing Serbians who resided in Bosnia. This all had been led by the loss of President Josip Broz Tito, the suffering economic crisis all six nations were facing, and the rising power of Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman. Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman had led a campaign fueled by nationalistic views and propaganda that had further poured fuel into the fire between Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia, which had spread throughout their countries and had gained support by their residing civilians. He had initiated that the Serbian army invade Bosnia and attack many cities within Bosnia. Additionally, the Serbian army had focused most of their attention on Sarajevo, which is the capital city of Bosnia, and spawned a horrific event that is essential to the Bosnian genocide case. The “siege of Sarajevo” had been the most horrid case that was recorded in the Bosnian genocide because the troops had consistently attacked Sarajevo so much that civilians were afraid to even move a step or else, they would get shot down instantly (Dzihic, “Srebrenica Gernika Bosne”). The number of deaths that had been recorded went into the thousands, which went through the course of nearly four years.
Moreover, it was not until 1995 that the genocide case had gotten worse because that was when Serbian forces had branched out into different cities in Bosnia and continued to “ethnically cleanse” the country. Most of the population was affected heavily by this siege because just like the Nazis, there were concentration camps, specifically rape camps. Food was scarce because of the blockade executed by the Serb forces that surrounded the cities, which caused their supplies, transportation, and communication to be cut off and cause health problems. As well as, homes were destroyed because the Serbian forces would use grenades, mortars, and bombs to nuke the cities of Bosnia and Hercegovina. There were many fatal injuries due to how close in proximity the victims were to the target areas of the explosions. In addition, the only ways to escape the mass killings was be killed or migrate out to neighboring countries. For example, countries like Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and many more because there were records that had admitted to establishing refugee camps being held in those countries for the overwhelming civilians that were coming from the genocide. Consequently, the foreign policy that America had for Bosnia had changed due to the knowledge that the chaos that happened in Bosnia had spread everywhere, which led to the humiliation that America was getting because the administration was not willing to send support to Bosnia. However, it was good to find out that the UN, the United Nations, and NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, had provided as much support and aid as they could to the civilians of Bosnia. According to the Holocaust Museum Houston, the UN had declared that certain cities in Bosnia like Srebrenica and Gorazde would be safe areas to house the victims, but that still did not stop the massive killing of 8,000 men, ranging from youth to elderly, in those cities. Another devastating attack had been the “Lasva Valley Case”. This was where the Croatians, who were egged on by Franjo Tudjman, had committed inhumane acts against Bosnia as well. The Croatians had burned down Mosques, used Bosnians as shields during battles against Serbians, and destroying historical sites, as well as, public sites because of the furious hatred they had brewing towards both Bosnia and Serbia. Furthermore, NATO had sent air strikes as a counter-attack towards the Serb forces. In the end, it was not until the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement that the war, or more precisely known, genocide had ended completely. This was because the United States had decided to interfere before things had gotten worse. Additionally, many people were charged for crimes against humanity and genocide such as Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. Radovan Karadzic was the Serbian leader of the army while Ratko Mladic was the commander of the army, they were specifically charged for extermination, murder, and for their participation in the Srebrenica massacre and Siege of Sarajevo. Another person who was going to be tried was Slobodan Milosevic, but before they could, he was found dead in his cell. After all of what happened, the political governments for Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia were in highly unstable conditions because even though the nations had moved past the atrocities that were committed, their relationship is still filled with tension, but they do value privacy and cooperate with each other when needed. Overall, after seeing all this information, now comes the question of why it is important to know all of this and what can an individual possibly learn from all of this, in other words, what is the significance of this particular event.
Furthermore, the significance of this event overall was that the breakup of Yugoslavia had resulted in the vulnerable and unstable position that the six nations that made up Yugoslavia had experienced. The research done for this project was to establish the idea that ethnic tensions were still high despite it being post WWII and that with the introduction of genocide came more methods to commit crimes against humanity. The state of which all the nation of former Yugoslavia was in was horrible because it left their government in a fragile and vulnerable position. So, when Slobodan came into the picture, the situation became similar as to what Hitler did for the Germans. Hitler had made promises to Germany that was successful enough to be done like the mass genocide of the Jews, or in other words, the Holocaust. If it was not for Slobodan and his ideas of Nationalism, then the other nations of Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia, would not have been targeted with the idea of ethnic cleansing for the sake of helping the other Serbs who lived in those cities. One moral message that comes to mind should be that “without evil, there would be no good” or maybe another like “when desire becomes part of the situation, nothing good could come out of it”. These messages could directly correspond with the whole summarization of the genocide in Bosnia because Slobodan’s desire for control led to the whole disaster committed in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Moreover, the whole crisis did not help anyone at all, the Serb forces even killed their own people without thinking because they honestly thought they were Bosnians during those attacks. This explains that most of the authority figures in the Serbian government were blinded with their own selfish needs and lusted for blood no matter if it was their own blood. Specifically, the authority figures such as Slobodan, Ratko, and Radovan because they were too focused into their greed and obtaining their desire that they were willing to destroy everything they worked for when they got caught red-handed. However, majority of the Serbian population seemed to feel guilty because of the horrid massacre that was happening in Bosnia or possibly because they were caught for what they were doing, but their present relationship with Bosnia is stable enough, which signifies that the nations seem to be on better terms compared to before and that they have learned to gradually move on because there is still a strain winded up in both countries somewhere. Additionally, many other factors had played into the startup of the Bosnian genocide.
Therefore, this whole research paper was to conclude that all the information collected supports the ideas that ethnic tension between two nations can lead to something as atrocious as genocide and that genocide can turn into a horrific mess, especially because of desperation for the end of suffering that was caused by the unstable political state all the nations were experiencing after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Everything about this event was morally wrong because after the introduction of genocide during World War II, this had led to the idea of genocide being used as a military strategy and an order against those who oppose Serbian nationalism by Slobodan Milosevic. Moreover, the act of genocide had continued even after this event and the future genocide acts were recorded as being equally as worse as the Bosnian genocide. It would be helpful to remember this event in history because this was when many nations had realized that the Holocaust had been a heavy influencer of many of the atrocities and even World War II overall had been a war that had brought more consequences than benefits because the act of genocide should be recognized as a dangerous problem and horrible consequence of the war. Furthermore, there was never a chance that the genocide in Bosnia would have never happened because the economic crisis had pushed the great tensions between the nations of former Yugoslavia over the edge and the loss of President Tito had left a huge hole in the heart of the bind that held all of the nations together.
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