Today's Croatia was comprised of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of the First World War, when Croatia joined the kingdom which, in 1929, became Yugoslavia. Croatia declared independence in 1991. Almost immediately, the country was afflicted with civil war as the Serbian minority (in control of much of the army) fought to create a Serbian state. The war continued until 1995. There were serious human rights violations during the conflicted inflicted by both Croatians and Serbs, including massacres and the widespread use of rape, as well as considerable destruction of villages and houses. The Roman Catholic church has a long history in Croatia, but in 1945 a bloody era of persecution began that lasted into the early 1950s. Many clergy were imprisoned, tortured, and even executed. In 1990 Roman Catholic clergy succeeded in establishing mandatory religious instruction in public schools. Ecumenical activities have recently resumed. There are no WCC member churches based in this country.