The Yugoslav Wars 1991 to 1999

Map of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1972)
Map of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1972) BL shelfmark: Maps X.3344.

This collection relates to a series of interconnected armed conflicts in the Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro from 1991 to 1999, which led to the breakup of the Yugoslav multinational state and the formation of independent states.

About the collection

The collection contains published primary sources and research material about the Yugoslav crisis actively collected by the Library since 1991. It includes thousands of books and pamphlets and sources such as official documents, war records, diaries and testimonies, personal narratives, propaganda publications, recordings, transcripts of court cases and judgements, newspapers, statistics, data on war casualties, etc. For example, “The Bosnian book of the dead: human losses in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1991-1995” gives the names of 95,940 victims of war, and presents detailed data analysis of human losses (Sarajevo, 2012) ZF.9.a.11211.

Yugoslavia (“Land of the South Slavs”) was created in 1918 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Kraljevina Jugoslavija) was proclaimed in 1929 and lasted until the Second World War. The post-war Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija), a federation of six Yugoslav republics, lasted until 1991. The third Yugoslavia consisted only of two republics between 1992 and 2003, giving way to the federation of Serbia and Montenegro, which was dissolved in 2006.

The violent breakup of Yugoslavia was marked by ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as an ad hoc court to determine the individual responsibility for atrocities committed in the Yugoslav conflicts. The Tribunal tried those individuals most responsible for crimes against humanity and ruled the mass murder at Srebrenica as genocide. 

The Yugoslav wars were also characterised by international sanctions and efforts to mediate in Europe’s largest armed conflicts since the Second World War. The final phase of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s was the civil conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo which was brought to an end by the military intervention of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999.

What is available online?

External resources include:

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

Details of material in this collection can be found in our main online catalogue Explore the British Library by using the search terms Yugoslav War, 1991-1995 or Kosovo Civil War, 1998. The material can be ordered to the Reading Rooms via the catalogue.

Further information

The following guides are available for research into the Yugoslav wars 1991-1999 collection: