The Yugoslav Wars: The Very, Very Basics.
(For people who find these wars confusing but can’t be bothered to read the epic Wikipedia article on the topic. Imagine this being read super fast, like a disclaimer in a TV commercial.)
Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country made up of six autonomous republics (see map). In broke apart violently over the course of four different but connected wars in the 1990s. Keep in mind that at this point, the goal of a coherent Yugoslavia was primarily backed by ethnic Serbs (and to a lesser extent, Montenegrins).
1. Slovenian War - Slovenia v. Yugoslavia. Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia, Yugoslav National Army (JNA) tried to get them to change their minds. Lasted ten days (27 June 1991-7 July 1991). 
2. Croatian War of Independence - Croatia (ethnic Croatians) v. Ethnic Serbs and Yugoslavia. Croatia declared independence at the same time as Slovenia. Croatia had significant Serb minority that aided the JNA. War continued from 31 March 1991 – 12 November 1995, resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being displaced (ethnically cleansed) by the fighting, as well as about 20,000 deaths.
3. Bosnian War - Bosnia & Herzegovina (Bosniak Muslims) v. Bosnian Croats & Croatia v. Bosnian Serbs and Yugoslavia. Yes, this war had three opposing sides. Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) was the most ethnically diverse of the Yugoslav Republics, with Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs all well-represented. The Yugoslavs and Bosnian Serbs wanted to keep BiH as part of Yugoslavia, and the Bosnian Croats wanted to set up their own independent state. The war, which included the worst war crimes seen in Europe since World War II, lasted from 1 March 1992 to 14 December 1995. The Dayton Accords, which ended the war, gave ethnic Serbs their own autonomous region within BiH, the Republika Srpska.
4. The Kosovo War - Ethnic Albanians and NATO v. Yugoslavia. Lasted from 28 February 1998 to 21 June 1999. In 1996, ethnic Albanians separatists in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo began attacking government institutions. The JNA fought back. NATO, fearing a reprisal of the Croatian and Bosnian Wars, launched a campaign of air strikes against Belgrade. How you see this war depends on your point of view: the Albanians saw themselves as freedom fighters, the Serbs saw them as terrorist insurgents (propped up by the international community), and NATO saw itself as preventing another genocidal war. Kosovo did NOT gain its independence as a result of this war, but eventually did declare independence in 2008.

The Yugoslav Wars: The Very, Very Basics.

(For people who find these wars confusing but can’t be bothered to read the epic Wikipedia article on the topic. Imagine this being read super fast, like a disclaimer in a TV commercial.)

Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country made up of six autonomous republics (see map). In broke apart violently over the course of four different but connected wars in the 1990s. Keep in mind that at this point, the goal of a coherent Yugoslavia was primarily backed by ethnic Serbs (and to a lesser extent, Montenegrins).

1. Slovenian War - Slovenia v. Yugoslavia. Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia, Yugoslav National Army (JNA) tried to get them to change their minds. Lasted ten days (27 June 1991-7 July 1991). 

2. Croatian War of Independence - Croatia (ethnic Croatians) v. Ethnic Serbs and Yugoslavia. Croatia declared independence at the same time as Slovenia. Croatia had significant Serb minority that aided the JNA. War continued from 31 March 1991 – 12 November 1995, resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being displaced (ethnically cleansed) by the fighting, as well as about 20,000 deaths.

3. Bosnian War - Bosnia & Herzegovina (Bosniak Muslims) v. Bosnian Croats & Croatia v. Bosnian Serbs and Yugoslavia. Yes, this war had three opposing sides. Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) was the most ethnically diverse of the Yugoslav Republics, with Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs all well-represented. The Yugoslavs and Bosnian Serbs wanted to keep BiH as part of Yugoslavia, and the Bosnian Croats wanted to set up their own independent state. The war, which included the worst war crimes seen in Europe since World War II, lasted from 1 March 1992 to 14 December 1995. The Dayton Accords, which ended the war, gave ethnic Serbs their own autonomous region within BiH, the Republika Srpska.

4. The Kosovo War - Ethnic Albanians and NATO v. Yugoslavia. Lasted from 28 February 1998 to 21 June 1999. In 1996, ethnic Albanians separatists in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo began attacking government institutions. The JNA fought back. NATO, fearing a reprisal of the Croatian and Bosnian Wars, launched a campaign of air strikes against Belgrade. How you see this war depends on your point of view: the Albanians saw themselves as freedom fighters, the Serbs saw them as terrorist insurgents (propped up by the international community), and NATO saw itself as preventing another genocidal war. Kosovo did NOT gain its independence as a result of this war, but eventually did declare independence in 2008.

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