The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991-92 brought about the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, atrocities on massive scale, and a new term, "ethnic cleansing", for the tactics of nationalist civil war. The failure of Western action to prevent the spread of violence or to negotiate peace disheartened Europeans in their drive to greater unity and turned the euphoria about the "new world order" into cynicism about US leadership. On their own, and as a warning of similar conflicts yet to come, the Yugoslav wars present the first major challenge to US foreign policy after the Cold War. Why did the Yugoslav state break up? And why did the break-up lead to war? In this book, Susan Woodward analyzes the causes of the Yugoslav wars and argues that focusing on ancient ethnic hatreds and military aggression misunderstands nationalism in post-communist states.