Most people have probably never even heard of the Croatian War for Independence. The locals who live in Croatia call it the Homeland War. The war took place during the 1990s, and both sides suffered heavy casualties. Bombing destroyed many towns, cities, and buildings. Our family stayed in Dubrovnik, which was bombed on October 23, 1991. There were still remnants of this terrible disaster, and the war left lasting imprints on the nation of Croatia.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, two groups were in great turmoil in Eastern Europe. The nation of Yugoslavia was separated into two sides. One was the Serbs and the other the Croatians. Both sides had different opinions on a matter that was front and center during this time. The Berlin Wall had just fallen in 1989, and some communist citizens were starting to think communism wasn’t as great as their governments thought. This was the hot debate in Yugoslavia.
The Serbs wanted to remain communist, and the Croatians wanted to adopt some more Western ideas.
Tension was at an all-time high, when the two major soccer teams of the country met in Zagreb to play a match. The Serbs were represented by Belgrade’s Red Sta,r and the Croatians were represented by Zagreb’s Dinamo. During the game, fighting broke out between fans and police, after the police were too rough with some of the Dinamo supporters. Some people say this was the spark that ignited the flames of war. A few months later, Croatia declared it’s independence from Yugoslavia. But the Serbs would not allow themselves to lose so much land and declared war on Croatia on March 31, 1991.
The war lasted for 4 years and both sides suffered greatly. Croatian cities were bombed and 20,000 people died from both sides. Thousands of refugees were displaced and hundreds of homes were destroyed. But Croatia prevailed. They kept their independence and all of their land.
The Croatian war was a real tragedy for many families in Croatia. But as we saw in Dubrovnik and in Split, they are still prospering. New things are being built to replace the old ones. Their cities are growing and so are their people. Eastern Europe appears to have suffered much in our recent history, and I am sure we will learn much more. – Walden