The war’s front line was only
about 400 km from us.

Not far from Slovakia.
A few years ago.

A journey by car from Slovakia takes between five and eight hours to places where the most terrifying atrocities to have happened in Europe since the Second World War occurred. Some of these territories lie on the coast of our “Slovak” sea. The country we are going to explore no longer exists. It is Yugoslavia between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s of the 20th century.

1991 End of Trabant production
1992 Miley Cyrus
was born
1993 The emergence of an independent
Slovak Republic
1994 Introducing Playstation 1
1995 Windows 95 release
War in CroatiaHRV
War in SloveniaSVN
War in Bosnia and HerzegovinaBIH

Why did the war break out?

Nationalism: a tool to manipulate people

The call for self-determination increased in the economically more advanced countries of Yugoslavia after the first democratic elections following the fall of socialism in 1991. The politicians intentionally stirred nationalist emotions and supported hatred between nationalities and people of different religions. The Serbs and the Croats started to talk about making their countries bigger by adding territories where their nationals lived.

Serbia is
the Serbs

Slobodan Miloševič,
the President of the Republic of Serbia, 1991 – 1997

Manipulation and deceit:
a killing machine.

Politicians in Yugoslavia used manipulation and deceit to ignite flames in the explosive and unstable cocktail of nationalities, religions, and historical grievances. Both sides of the conflicts worked with them. As a result, hatred overpowered ordinary citizens across Yugoslavia. People organized themselves in paramilitary units and often committed the most horrifying atrocities.

Hatred among
the nations

State television stations deepened hatred in people who preferred watching television to reading newspapers. As the situation worsened by the day, almost every family watched television or listened to the radio, as there was no wide-spread access to the Internet in those days.

One war,
three stories

in Slovenia

A short ten-day war, a war that was a harbinger of horrors in the neighbors.

About war in Slovenia

in Croatia

While Slovaks were vacationing in the north of the country, war was raging elsewhere.

About war in Croatia

War in Bosnia
and Hezegovina

A country where everyone fought against everyone.

About war in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The wars in former Yugoslavia were a total nonsense. They destroyed the country physically, socially and spiritually, and threw it back by several decades.

I have visited the Balkans many times. Today, people who live in the wanted and unwanted new states that succeeded the disintegrated Yugoslavia wish to lead good lives like people everywhere in the world. However, the war is constantly present in their lives. Many families lost their loved ones during the war. Those who survived suffer from physical and emotional wounds. Memorials in public places praise the local heroes and denigrate the foreign ones.

Some people harbour desire for revenge. Others long for reconciliation and forgiveness and want to have the others say sorry to them. And all have many questions as they think about the future.

Former Yugoslavia is like a textbook that shows us how a catastrophe becomes imminent through events, through the decisions and actions of politicians, through society’s lack of interest in their own country’s situation and over emphasizing one’s own interpretation of history, through feelings that our group has been marginalized, and thanks to an unfounded conviction that nothing bad can happen to us. If we make the effort and with hindsight look at what is happening in our homeland, what are we going to learn about our own country’s situation based on this Yugoslav textbook case?

Kamil Sládek

Chairman of the CEP

Eight links of the chain of evil


Viewing human identity through group stereotypes and biases.

Creating symbols

Identifying unwelcome groups of people with visual symbols, like the Jewish star.


Dehumanizing members of the groups. They are no longer viewed as human beings but as cockroaches or rats.


Reaching a breakthrough point – the state centrally organizes preparations to exterminate the groups.


Setting groups of people against each other through propaganda.

and identification

Marginalizing members of the unwelcome groups through firing them from work, expelling them from schools, and recording official notes in their documents.


“Cleaning” the state’s territory from the unwelcome groups by murdering them.


The state denying that victims were classified, identified, and murdered is an inseparable part of genocide