Bosnian War refers to an international conflict that involved armed combat that took place in Herzegovina and Bosnia. The war was fought between 6 th April 1992 and 14 th December 1995. Several factions were involved in the war but main belligerents were the Herzegovina and the Republic of Bosnia forces as well as the self-proclaimed Bosnia Croat and Bosnia Serb entities within Herzegovina and Bosnia, Herzeg-Bosnia and Republic Srpska led by Croatia and Serbia.
Yugoslavia breakup sparked the war. In 1991, Croatia and Slovenia secessions from Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia took place. On 29 th February 1992, independence referendum was passed by the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats.
However, the Bosnian Serbs political representatives rejected the referendum. They went ahead to boycott the referendum and eventually to establish a republic. Following the independence declaration of Herzegovinia and Bosnia that was recognized internationally, Bosnia Serbs with the support of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian government leader and the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA) tried to secure the Serbian territory.
This led to war in all parts of the country. Ethnic cleansing of the Croat and Muslim Bosniak population accompanied the war especially throughout the Srpska Republika and eastern Bosnia. Principally, the war was a territorial conflict between Serb forces that were organized in Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) on one side and Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) on the other side.
ARBiH was largely made of the Croat forces and the Bosniaks who formed the Croatian Defense Council (HVO). Securing some parts of Herzegovinia and Bosnia as Croatian was also among the objectives of the Croats. Graz and Karadordevo agreements were signed by political leadership to allow them to partition Bosnia. Indiscriminate shelling and bitter fighting characterized the war. Mass rape and ethnic cleansing that was mostly done by the Serb was also witnessed during the war. Events like Srebrenica massacre and Siege of the Sarajeve became iconic to this war years after.
The Serbs lost momentum later despite being superior at the beginning due to large amount of resources and weapons offered by JNA. By creating the Herzegovinia and Bosnia federation in 1994, the Croats and Bosniaks allied to fight the Republika Srpska after the Washington Agreement.
In 1995, NATO intervened after the Markale and Srebrenica massacres. The operation was called Deliberate Force and it targeted some positions of Republika Srpska army. This operation was vital in bringing the war to an end. On 14 th December 1995, a peace agreement was signed in Paris. The final accord was signed in Dayton Ohio on 21 st December 1995 ending the war.
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