The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat operations in Croatia by 1992. In Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the Homeland War (Domovinski rat) and also as the Greater-Serbian aggression (Velikosrpska agresija). In Serbian sources, War in Croatia (Rat u Hrvatskoj) is the most commonly used term.
Croatia wished to leave Yugoslavia and become a sovereign country, while many ethnic Serbs living in Croatia, supported by Serbia, opposed the secession and wanted Croatia to remain a part of Yugoslavia. The Serbs effectively sought a new Serb state with new boundaries in areas of Croatia with a Serb majority or significant minority, and attempted to conquer as much of Croatia as possible. The goal was primarily to remain in the same state with the rest of the Serbian nation, which was seen as an attempt to form a "Greater Serbia". In 2007, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) returned a guilty verdict against Milan Martic, one of the Serb leaders in Croatia, stating that he colluded with Slobodan Miloševic and others to create a "unified Serbian state". Between 2008 and 2012, the ICTY had also prosecuted Croatian generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak for alleged involvement in the crimes related to Operation Storm, but all three were ultimately acquitted.
At the beginning of the war, the JNA tried to forcefully keep Croatia within Yugoslavia by occupying the whole of Croatia. After they failed to do this, Serbian forces established the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) within Croatia. After the ceasefire of January 1992 and international recognition of the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign state, the front lines were entrenched, United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was deployed, and combat became largely intermittent in the following three years. During that time, the RSK encompassed 13,913 square kilometers (5,372 sq mi), more than a quarter of Croatia. In 1995, Croatia launched two major offensives known as Operation Flash and Operation Storm, which would effectively end the war in its favor. The remaining United Nations Transitional Authority for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) zone was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia by 1998.
The war ended with a total Croatian victory, as it achieved the goals it had declared at the beginning of the war: independence and preservation of its borders. However, much of Croatia was devastated, with estimates ranging from 21–25% of its economy destroyed and an estimated US$37 billion in damaged infrastructure, lost output, and refugee-related costs. A total of 20,000 people were killed in the war, and there were refugees displaced on both sides. While Croatia and Serbia progressively cooperated more with each other on all levels, some tension still remains because of verdicts by the ICTY and lawsuits filed against each other.