Kingdom of Yugoslavia

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Краљевина Срба, Хрвата и Словенаца
Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca
Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

Краљевина Југославија
Kraljevina Jugoslavija
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Image:Flaf of Serbia (1882-1918).png
Image:Flag of SFR Yugoslavia.svg
Image:Flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (state).svg Image:Grbshs.jpg
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: One nation, one king, one country
Anthem: Bože Pravde, Lijepa naša domovino and Naprej zastava slave medley
Capital Belgrade
44°49′N 20°28′E
Language(s) Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian
Government Value specified for "government_type" does not comply
 - 1918-1921 Peter I
 - 1921-1934 Alexander I
 - 1934-1945 Peter II
 - 1934-1941 Prince Paul
Historical era Interwar period
 - Union of State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and Kingdom of Serbia 1 December1918
 - 6th July dictatorship 6 July 1929
 - Axis invasion and division April 1941
 - Tito-Šubašić Agreement 16 June 1944
 - Kingdom restored early 1945
 - Republic declared 2 December1945
 - 1931 247,542 km2
95,577 sq mi
 - 1931 est. 13,934,038 
     Density 56.3 /km² 
145.8 /sq mi
Currency Krone (until 1920)
Dinar (after 1920)
</div> </div>

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a kingdom in the Balkans which existed from the end of World War I until World War II. It occupied an area made up of the present-day states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, and most of present-day Slovenia and Croatia. For its first eleven years of existence it was known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.


[edit] Formation

The kingdom was formed on 1 December 1918 under the name "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" (Serbo-Croatian: Краљевина Срба, Хрвата и Словенаца/Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, Slovenian Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev) or Kingdom of SHS (Краљевина СХС/Kraljevina SHS) for short.

On 1 December 1918 the new kingdom was proclaimed by Alexander Karađorđević, Prince-Regent for his father, Peter I of Serbia. The new Kingdom was made up of the formerly independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro (which had unified in the previous month), as well as a substantial amount of territory that was formerly part of Austria-Hungary, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. The lands previously in Austria-Hungary that formed the new state included Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina from the Hungarian part of the Empire, Carniola, part of Styria and most of Dalmatia from the Austrian part, and the crown province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Yugoslav kingdom bordered Italy and Austria to the northwest, Hungary and Romania to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece and Albania to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the west.

A plebiscite was also held in the Province of Carinthia, which opted to remain in Austria. The Dalmatian port city of Zadar (Zara in Italian) and a few of the Dalmatian islands were given to Italy. The city of Rijeka (Fiume) was declared to be the Free State of Fiume, but it was soon occupied, and in 1924 annexed, by Italy. Tensions over the border with Italy continued, with Italy claiming more of the Dalmatian coast, and Yugoslavia claiming Istria, part of the former Austrian Littoral which had been annexed to Italy, but which contained a considerable population of Croats and Slovenes.

The new government tried to integrate the new country politically as well as economically, a task made difficult because of the great diversity of languages, nationalities, and religions in the new state, the different history of the regions, and great differences in economic development among regions.

[edit] Early Politics

Immediately after the 1st of December proclamation, negotiations between the People's Council (of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs) and the Serbian government resulted in agreement over the new government which was to be headed by Nikola Pašić. However when this was submitted to the approval of the regent it was rejected so producing the new state's first government crisis. All the parties regarded this as a violation of parliamentary principles but the crisis was resolved when they agreed to replace Pašić by Stojan Protić who was a leading member of Pašić's Radical Party. The new government came into existence on the 20 December 1918. (source: Branislav Gligorijević Parlament i političke stranke u Jugoslaviji 1919 1929)

In this period before the election of the Constituent Assembly, a Provisional Representation served as a parliament which was formed by delegates from the various elected bodies that had existed before the creation of the state. A realignment of parties combining several members of the Serbian opposition with political parties from the former Austria-Hungary led to the creation of a new party, The Democratic Party, that dominated the Provisional Representation and the government.

Because the Democratic Party led by Ljubomir Davidović pushed a highly centralized agenda a number of Croatian delegates moved into opposition. However the radicals themselves were not happy that they had only three ministers to the Democratic Parties eleven and on 16 August 1919 Stojan Protić handed in his resignation. Ljubomir Davidović then formed a coalition with the Social Democrats. This government did have a majority but the quorum of the Provisional Representation was half plus one vote. The opposition then began to boycott the parliament and as the government could never guarantee that all their supporters to turn up it became impossible to hold a quorate meeting of the parliament. Davidović quickly resigned but as no one else could form a government he again became prime minister. As the opposition continued their boycott the government decided it had no alternative but to rule by decree. This was denounced by the opposition who began to style themselves as the Paliamentary Community. Davidović himself realized that the situation was untenable and requested from the King the immediate holding of elections for the Constituent Assembly. When the King refused he felt he had no alternative but to resign.

The Parliamentary Community now formed a government led by Stojan Protić committed to the restoration of parliamentary norms and mitigating the centralization of the previous government. Their opposition to the former governments program of radical land reform also united them. As several small groups and individuals switched sides, Protić now even had a small majority. However the Democratic Party and the Social Democrats now boycotted parliament and Protić was unable to muster a quorum. Hence the Parliamentary Community, now in government, was forced to rule by decree.

For the Parliamentary Community to thus violate the basic principle around which they had formed put them in an extremely difficult position. In April 1920 widespread worker unrest including a railway strike broke out and according to Gligorijević this put pressure on the two main parties to settle their differences. After successful negotiations Protić resigned to make way for a new government led by the neutral figure of Milenko Vesnić. The social democrats did not follow their former allies the Democratic Party into government because they were opposed to the anti communist measures that that new government was committed.

The controversies that had divided the parties earlier were still very much live issues. The Democrat Party continued to push their agenda of centralization and still insisted on the need for radical land reform. A disagreement over electoral law finally led the Democrat Party to vote against the government in Parliament and the government was defeated. Though this meeting had not been quorate, Vesnić used this as a pretext to resign. His action produced the result Vesnić had intended and the Radical Party agreed to accept the need for centralization while the Democratic Party agreed to drop their insistence on land reform and Vesnić again headed the new government. The Croatian Community and the Slovenian People's Party were however not at all happy with the Radicals acceptance of centralization. Nor for that matter was Stojan Protić and he withdraw from the government on this issue.

In September 1920 a peasants' revolt broke out in Croatia, the immediate cause of which was the branding of the peasants cattle. The Croatian Community blamed the centralizing policies of the government and of minister Svetozar Pribićević in particular.

[edit] From Constituent Assembly to Dictatorship

One of the few laws successfully passed by the Provisional Representation was the electoral law for the constituent assembly. During the negotiations that preceded the foundation of the new state it had been agreed that voting would be secret and based on universal suffrage. It had not really occurred to them that universal might include women until the beginnings of a movement for women's suffrage appeared with the creation of the new state. The social democrats and the Slovenian Peoples Party supported women's suffrage but the Radicals opposed it. The Democrat Party was open to the idea but not committed enough to make an issue of it so the proposal fell. Proportional Representation was accepted in principle but the system chosen (D'Hondt with very small constituencies) favored large parties and parties with strong regional support.

The election was held on the 28 November 1920. When the votes were counted the Democratic Party had won the most seats, more than the Radicals - but only just. For a party that had been so dominant in the Provisional Representation that amounted to a defeat. Further they had done rather badly in all former Austria-Hungarian areas. That undercut their belief that their centralization policy represented the will of the Yugoslavian people as a whole. The Radicals had done no better in that region but this presented them far less of a problem because they had campaigned openly as a Serbian party. The most dramatic gains had been made by the two anti-system parties. The Croatian Republican Peasant Party's leadership had been released from prison only as the election campaign began to get underway but according to Gligorijević this far from hindering them had helped them more than active campaigning. The Croatian community that had in a timid way tried to express the discontent that Croatian Republican Peasant Party had mobilized had been too tainted by their participation in government and was all but eliminated. The other gainers were the communists who had done especially well in Macedonia. The remainder of the seats were taken up by smaller parties that were at best skeptical of the centralizing platform of the Democratic Party.

The results left Nikola Pasić in a very strong position as the Democrats had no choice but to ally with the Radicals if they wanted to get their concept of a centralized Yugoslavia through, where as Pasić was always careful to keep open the option of a deal with the Croatian opposition. The Democrats together with the Radicals were not quite strong enough to get the constitution through on their own and they made an alliance with the JMO, the Yugoslav Muslim Organization. The Muslim party sought and got concessions over the preservation of Bosnia in its borders and how the land reform would effect Muslim landowners in Bosnia.

Because the Croatian Republican Peasant Party refused to swear allegiance to the King on the grounds that this presumed that Yugoslavia would be a monarchy (something, they contended only the Constituent could decide) they were unable to take their seats. Most of the opposition though initially taking their seats declared boycotts as time went so that there were few votes against. However the constitution needed 50% plus one vote to pass irrespective of how many voted against and it was touch and go whether it would get this. Only last minute concessions to Džemet - who were a group of Muslims from Macedonia and Kosovo - saved it.

On 28 June 1921, the Vidovdan (St. Vitus' Day) Constitution was passed, establishing a unitary monarchy. The pre-World War I traditional regions were abolished and 33 new administrative oblasts (provinces) ruled from the center were instituted.

Serb politicians regarded Serbia as the standard bearer of Yugoslav unity, as the state of Piedmont had been for Italy, or Prussia for the German Empire. Over the following years, Croat resistance against a Serbo-centric policy increased. Stjepan Radić, head of the Croatian Republican Peasant Party, was imprisoned due to political reasons. He was released in 1925, and returned to parliament.

In the spring of 1928, Stjepan Radić and Svetozar Pribičević waged a bitter parliamentary battle against the ratification of the Neptune Convention with Italy. In this they mobilised nationalist opposition in Serbia but provoked a violent reaction from the governing majority including death threats. On the 20 June 1928, a member of the government majority, the Montenegrin deputy Puniša Račić shot down five members of the Croatian Peasant Party (formerly the Croatian Republican Peasant Party) including their leader Stjepan Radić. Two died on the floor of the Assembly while the life of Stjepan Radić hung in the balance.

The opposition now completely withdrew from parliament declaring that they would not return to a parliament in which several of their representatives had been killed and insisting on new elections. On the 1 August, at a meeting in Zagreb, they renounced the 1 December Declaration of 1920. In this they were demanding that the negotiations for unification should begin from scratch. On October 8, Stjepan Radić died.

[edit] The 6th of January Dictatorship

Not long after that, on 6 January, 1929, using as a pretext the political crisis triggered by the shooting, King Alexander abolished the Constitution, prorogued the Parliament and introduced a personal dictatorship (the so-called January 6th Dictatorship, Šestojanuarska diktatura). He also changed the name of the country to Kingdom of Yugoslavia and changed the internal divisions from the 33 oblasts to nine new banovinas on 3 October.

In 1931 Alexander decreed a new Constitution which made executive power the gift of the King. Elections were to be by universal suffrage (though universal still didn't include women). The provision for a secret ballot was dropped and pressure on public employees to vote for the governing party was to be a feature of all elections held under Alexander's constitution. Further, half the upper house was directly appointed by the King and legislation could become law with the approval of one of the houses alone if it was also approved by the King.

Croat opposition to the new regime was strong and, in late 1932, the Croatian Peasant Party issued the Zagreb Manifesto which sought an end to Serb hegemony and dictatorship. Belgrade reacted by imprisoning many political opponents including the new Croatian Peasant Party leader Vladko Maček. Despite these measures, opposition to the dictatorship continued, with Croats calling for a solution to what was called the Croatian question. In late 1934, the king planned to release Maček from prison, introduce democratic reforms, and attempt find common ground between Serbs and Croats.

However, on 9 October 1934, the king was assassinated in Marseille, France by a Bulgarian Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization activist Velichko Kerin, also known by his revolutionary pseudonym Vlado Chernosemski, in a conspiracy with Yugoslav exiles and radical members of banned political parties in cooperation with the Croatian extreme right-wing Ustaše organisation.

Because Alexander's eldest son, Peter II, was a minor, a regency council of three, specified in Alexander's will, took over the role of king. The council was dominated by the king's cousin Prince Paul.

In the late 1930s, internal tensions continued to increase with Serbs and Croats seeking to establish ethnic federal subdivisions. Serbs wanted present-day Macedonia, Vojvodina, Montenegro united with Serb lands while Croatia wanted Dalmatia and some of Vojvodina. Both sides claimed territory in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina populated by Bosniak Muslims. The expansion of Nazi Germany in 1938 gave new momentum to efforts to solve these problems and in 1939 Prince Paul appointed Dragiša Cvetković as prime minister, with the goal of reaching an agreement with the Croatian opposition. Accordingly, on 26 August 1939, Vladko Maček became vice premier of Yugoslavia and an autonomous Banovina of Croatia was established with its own parliament (sabor).

These changes satisfied neither Serbs who were concerned with the status of the Serb minority in the new Banovina of Croatia and who wanted more of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Serbian territory. The Croatian nationalist Ustaše were also angered by any settlement short of full independence for a Greater Croatia including all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

[edit] Downfall of the Kingdom

Fearing an invasion of the World War II Axis Powers, Prince Paul signed the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941, pledging cooperation with the Axis. Because of his decision, massive demonstrations took place in Belgrade and, on 27 March, the regime was overthrown by a military coup d'état with British support. The 18-year-old King Peter II seized power with General Dušan Simović becoming prime minister and Yugoslavia de facto withdrew its support for the Axis without formally renouncing the Tripartite Pact. Although the new rulers opposed Germany, they also feared that if Hitler attacked Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom was not in any real position to help. Regardless of this, in April 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and quickly conquered it. The royal family, including Prince Paul, escaped abroad.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was soon divided by the Axis into several entities: Hungary and Bulgaria annexed some border areas, Croatia was made into the Independent State of Croatia, and a rump Serbian state was created under the administration of Milan Nedić, which still recognized Peter II as King.

Peter II, who had escaped into exile, was still recognized as King of the whole state by the allies. However, over the course of the war, effective power changed to the hands of Tito's Communist Partisans. On 16 June, 1944, the Tito-Šubašić Agreement was signed which merged the de facto and the de jure government of Yugoslavia.

In early 1945, after the Germans had been driven out, the Kingdom was formally restored, but the new Communist authorities soon proclaimed the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia on 2 December, 1945. The new Yugoslavia covered roughly the same territory as the Kingdom had, but it was no longer a kingdom.

[edit] Foreign policy

[edit] Pro-Allied government

The Kingdom nourished a close relationship with the Allies of World War I, especially with Yugoslavia's traditional supporters of France and Britain between 1920 and 1934.

[edit] The Little Entente

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia had formed the Little Entente with Czechoslovakia and Romania from 1920 to 1921 to prevent possibilities of Hungary's desires to restore what it lost after the First World War. The alliance soon fell apart as Yugoslavia didn't involve itself in Romania and Czechoslovakia's territorial expansion actions against Hungary.

[edit] Balkan alliances

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia formed a Balkan Bloc with Greece, Romania and Turkey in 1924 that was intent on keeping balance on the Balkan peninsula. The alliance was formalized and entrenched in 9 February 1934 when it became the Balkan Entente. With the assassination of King Alexander I in Marseilles and the shifting of Yugoslav foreign policy, the alliance crumbled.

[edit] Italian coalition

The Fascist Kingdom of Italy had territorial ambitions against the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and formed a coalition against it with states with similar state designs, heavily influenced by Italy and/or fascism: Albania, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria which lasted from 1924 to 1927. The 1927 cooperation with Britain and France made Italy withdraw.

[edit] Friendship agreement

In response to the growing Italian expansionism, the royal government of Yugoslavia signed an agreement of friendship and cooperation in 1927 with Britain and France.

[edit] Pro-Axis period

After the assassination of the King, the government switched to an extremely pro-Axis foreign policy with Fascist Italy from 1935 to 1941.

[edit] Demographics

Serbs, Croats and Slovenes were the constitutional nations up to 1929, when they were merged into a new nationality - Yugoslavs. The following data, grouped by mother tongue, is from the 1921 population census:

Serbs - 44.57%
Croats - 23.5%
Moslem Yugoslavs - 6.29%

[edit] Ethnic groups

Yugoslavs: 82,87%
Germans: 4,22%
Hungarians: 3,90%
Albanians: 3,67%
Romanians: 1,93%
Turks: 1,25%
Czechs: 0,96%
Rusyns: 0,21%
Russians: 0,17%
Poles: 0,12%
Others: 0,69%

[edit] Religious groups

[edit] List of Kings

  1. King Peter I (1 Dec 1918 - 16 Aug 1921) (Regent Prince Alexander ruled in the name of the King)
  2. King Alexander (16 Aug 1921 - 9 Oct 1934)
  3. King Peter II (9 Oct 1934 - 29 Nov 1945) *exile from 13/14 Apr 1941
    • Regency headed by Prince Paul (9 Oct 1934 - 27 Mar 1941)

[edit] List of Prime ministers

Prime ministers of Royal Government in Exile (in Cairo/London)

[edit] Subdivisions

Image:Banovine kj.jpg
Map showing banovinas in 1929

From 1918 to 1922, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes continued to be subdivided into the pre-World War I divisions of Austria-Hungary and the formerly independent Balkan states of Serbia and Montenegro.

[edit] Oblasts

The Vidovdan Constitution of 1921 established the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes as a unitary state and, in 1922, 33 new administrative oblasts (provinces) ruled from the center were instituted. These bore no relation to the earlier divisions.

[edit] Banovinas

From 1929, the Kingdom was subdivided into nine new provinces called banovinas. Their borders were intentionally drawn so that they would not correspond either to boundaries between ethnic groups, or to pre-World War I imperial borders. They were named after various geographic features, mostly rivers. The capital of the kingdom was Belgrade. Slight changes to their borders were made in 1931 with the new Yugoslav Constitution. The banovinas were as follow:

As an accommodation to Yugoslav Croats, the Banovina of Croatia (Banovina Hrvatska) was formed in 1939 from a merger of the Maritime and Sava Banovinas, with some additional territory from the Vrbas and Zeta Banovinas. Like Sava, its capital was Zagreb.

[edit] See also

[edit] External link

Yugoslavia (1929 - 1941; 1945 - 2003)

Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojvodina, and Boka Kotorska were part of Austria-Hungary
(until 1918)
See State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and Banat, Bačka and Baranja

Free State of Fiume
Annexed by Italy in 1924, became part of Yugoslavia in 1947

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Nazi Germany annexed parts of Slovenia
Fascist Italy annexed parts of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro

Democratic Federal Yugoslavia

Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

(since 1991)

Independent State of Croatia

(since 1991)
Also, Republic of Serbian Krajina (1991-1995)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
(since 1992)
Composed of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska since 1995

Hungary annexed Bačka, Baranja, Međimurje, and Prekmurje

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Serbia and Montenegro

(since 2006) Kosovo a de facto UN protectorate since 1999

Autonomous Banat

Kingdom of Serbia
(until 1918)

Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

Nedić's Serbia

Republic of Užice

Albania annexed most of Kosovo, western Macedonia and south-eastern parts of Montenegro

Kingdom of Montenegro
(until 1918)

Montenegro (occupied by Italy)

(since 2006)

Modern Republic of Macedonia was part of Kingdom of Serbia
(until 1918)

Bulgaria annexed most of modern Republic of Macedonia and south-eastern parts of Serbia

Republic of Macedonia
(since 1991)

bs:Kraljevina Jugoslavija

bg:Кралство Югославия cs:Království Srbů, Chorvatů a Slovinců de:Königreich Jugoslawien es:Reino de Yugoslavia fr:Royaume de Yougoslavie ko:유고슬라비아 왕국 hr:Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca it:Regno di Jugoslavia he:ממלכת הסרבים, הקרואטים והסלובנים no:Kongeriket Jugoslavia pl:Królestwo Serbów, Chorwatów i Słoweńców pt:Reino da Iugoslávia ru:Королевство Югославия sl:Jugoslavija med prvo in drugo svetovno vojno sr:Краљевина Југославија zh:南斯拉夫王國

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

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