Pre-Bosnian War Overview - in the Most General of Terms
These are strictly my opinions, clouded with an American perspective.
In 1945, Marshall Tito combined several federations into the new country of Yugoslavia. After his death, the alliances became less stable and in 1992, the first countries broke away and formed their own nations.
The Croats (Catholics) in modern day Bosnia wanted to become part of Croatia and the Serbs (Eastern Orthodox) wanted to become part of Serbia. The Bosniaks (Muslims), who had lived in Bosnia since the 15th century, sided with the Croats. Serbs surrounded Sarajevo and the siege began. The war was particularly brutal because the Serbs intentionally killed civilians and committed genocide, attempting to erase the Muslim population from Bosnia through mass executions.
The War Tunnel.
Sarajevo was under siege for 3 years and 10 months. ('92-'95). The citizens had no electricity, water, or fuel. They burned shoes for heat and dismantled rugs for candle wicks. They couldn't walk outside freely for fear of being killed by snipers shooting and shelling from the hills surrounding Sarajevo.
When NATO took over the airport, the Bosnians knew the Serbs wouldn't bomb it, so they built a tunnel underneath. Workers building the tunnel were paid one pack of cigarettes a day. Without access to currency, cigarettes were in high demand for bartering. My guide, who lived near the tunnel, paid one cigarette for a hair cut.
The tunnel became a passageway for troops and a lifeline for supplies from the outside. Food, fuel, humanitarian aid, animals for milk and food, and people, all traipsed through the very short-in-stature-tunnel (I couldn't stand up in it). A special visa was required to enter the tunnel and it's estimated that 2-3 million people went in and out of the tunnel during the war.