Yugoslavia (1918–1992)

Yugoslavia, an existing state in Southeastern Europe from 1918–92; A federal state established after the First World War, existed initially until 1991/92 and comprised the republics of Serbia (with the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina until 1989/90), Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

According to bridgat, Yugoslavia bordered Austria and Hungary in the north, Romania and Bulgaria in the east, Greece and Albania in the south, and the Adriatic Sea and Italy in the west; The capital was Belgrade. From 1992–2003, the federal state as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia only comprised the republics of Serbia and Montenegro.

From the founding of the state to the Second World War

The later six republics of Yugoslavia belonged to Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Serbia until 1918. The unification of all southern Slavs in one state was due to the appeal to the common history in the Middle Ages, through Illyrism and the Greater Serbian program of I. Garašanin and the Serbian nationalism of V. Karadžić prepared in the 19th century and favored by the nationality policy in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the crises in the Ottoman Empire. While (triggered by the assassination in Sarajevo on Vidovdan 1914) First World War were the Croats and Slovenes mostly loyal to the Habsburg Empire, but the South Slavs demanded the creation of an independent state under Austrian patronage since 1917, spoke out in 1915 by the Croats A. Trumbić in “Yugoslav Committee” formed in London and the Serbian government of N. Pašić on July 20, 1917 in the »Declaration of Corfu« for a sovereign state of all southern Slavs. Following the declaration that made the political, religious and cultural equality of the three state nations the basis of the kingdom to be established, and in view of the military defeat of the Central Powers, the proclaimed on 5./6. 10. National Council of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs formed in Agram (Zagreb) in 1918. On October 8, 1918, the unification of all southern Slavs of the Habsburg monarchy; On October 29, 1918, the Croatian Landtag resolved at its last session to detach Croatia from Austria-Hungary, and the National Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina joined on October 30; the Montenegrin people’s assembly in Podgorica announced on November 19th and the people’s assembly of the Batschka, of the Banat and the Baranja in Novi Sad on November 24th the annexation to the Kingdom of Serbia. On the same day, the central committee of the Zagreb National Council sent a negotiating delegation to Belgrade with the task of uniting the transitional state formed from the southern Slavs of the Danube Monarchy with Serbia and Montenegro to form a common monarchy under the Karađorđević dynasty, for the Prince Regent (king since 1921) Alexander I. Karađorđević pushed the merger forward. On December 1, 1918, in the name of King Peter I, he proclaimedthe “Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” (“Kraljevina SHS”; hence also SHS state called), which was enlarged by the Paris suburb contracts of 1919/20 to include southern Styria around Marburg (Maribor), western Banat (Vojwodina) and former western Bulgarian and Macedonian areas. In contrast, in 1919 Rijeka (Fiume in Italian) and in 1920 through the Rapallo border treaty with Italy Trieste, Gorizia and the former Austrian coastal region (the north today to Slovenia, Istria to Croatia), the western Inner Carniola with Idrija and Postojna (German Adelsberg, Italian Postumia), the Dalmatian city of Zadar (Italian Zara) and the Adriatic islands of Cres (Italian Cherso), Lošinj (Italian Lussino), Palagruža (Italian Pelagosa) and Lastovo (Italian Lagosta) in Italy.

The new state (1929 in Kingdom of Yugoslavia renamed) had to contend with considerable political, religious, socio-economic as well as national problems and remained politically unstable. The different state traditions, the self-confidence of the Serbs who had grown in World War I, who registered their claim to leadership, the religious tensions between Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims, the feeling of superiority of the Croatians and Slovenes, who always belong to the western cultural area, the unbalanced social structure and the imbalance of economic development serious crises emerged, which were exacerbated by a tough course of assimilation towards the national minorities. The »Vidovdan« constitution, which was adopted on June 28, 1921, against the resistance of the Croats, established a centralized system of government with Serbian dominance. S. Radić, who refused to work in parliament until 1924, is not to be found, although acoalition government ledby Pašić and Radić was in officefrom July 1925 to April 1926. An attack in parliament on June 20, 1928, which besides Radić killed two other Croatian MPs, led to an open break with the departure of the Croatian parties. King Alexander I.repealed the 1921 constitution in 1928, dissolved all parties and the parliament and sought the emergence of a supranational “Yugoslavian” by abolishing the previous 33 districts (“oblasti”) with territorial reorganization in nine provinces (“banovine”) To promote patriotism. On January 6, 1929, he proclaimed the “royal dictatorship”; the new authoritarian constitution of March 9, 1931 and a restrictive electoral law ensured a majority for the government, which was supported by the military and police. After Alexander I was murdered by Croatian (Ustascha) and Macedonian nationalists (IMRO) in Marseille on October 9, 1934, Prince Regent Paul took over the reign of the minor King Peter II.; relatively free elections were held in May 1935. These contributed to strengthening the opposition, which came together in October 1937 under Vladimir Maček (* 1879, † 1964) and received over 40% of the vote in the December 1938 elections. The new government under Dragiš Cvetković (* 1893, † 1969), warned by the Italian invasion of Albania in April 1939, agreed on August 26, 1939 a settlement (“sporazum”) with the Croats, one largely with historic Croatia provided an identical province (including the Banat) with (for the first time) considerable internal autonomy.

In terms of foreign policy, Yugoslavia leaned on Great Britain, France and the Little Entente, without affecting the Italian policy of encirclement, such as the growing influence of Italy on the Adriatic (Adriatic question), its protectorate over Albania, which has in fact existed since 1927, and its treaties with Bulgaria (April 5, 1927) and Greece (September 23, 1927), could be prevented. The Macedonian underground movement IMRO prevented a rapprochement with Bulgaria. Only the friendship treaty with France (November 11, 1927, extended 1937) offered security, especially since Yugoslavia’s accession to the Balkans Pact (February 2, 1934) was not able to stop the economic expansion of Italy and Germany into southeastern Europe. The global economic crisis brought closer economic cooperation between Yugoslavia and Germany (trade treaty 1934) and the erosion of the French alliance system in south-eastern Europe, which led to the friendship treaty with Bulgaria (25 March 1937) and a non-aggression pact with Italy (25 March 1937).

Although Yugoslavia remained neutral at the beginning of the Second World War, in view of the Italian actions against Greece (October 1940) it was forced to enter into a friendship treaty with Hungary on December 10, 1940 and to join the three-power pact on March 25, 1941. On March 27, 1941, the government under Prime Minister Cvetković was overthrown by a group of Serbian officers under General Dušan Simović (* 1882, † 1962), who proclaimed Peter II reigning king. A. Hitler decided to dismantle Yugoslavia by expanding the planned operation against Greece. The German and Italian troops that penetrated on April 6, 1941 were able to force the insufficiently mobilized Yugoslav army to surrender on April 17 in Belgrade. As early as April 10, 1941, the »Independent State of Croatia« (USK) was proclaimed in Zagreb under German protection under the »Poglavnik« A. Pavelić (Ustasha State).

When Yugoslavia was divided, the northern and eastern parts of Slovenia (southern Styria, part of southern Carinthia and northern Carniola) fell to Austria (Greater German Empire); the southern part of Slovenia (including Ljubljana) and Dalmatia came to Italy, which subordinated the district of Kosovo and Western Macedonia to its protectorate of Albania and also established a protectorate over Montenegro. While Hungary received a narrow border strip in the north as well as the Baranja and the Batschka, Bulgaria occupied the main part of Macedonia and a corner in the southeast of Serbia. The rest of Serbia (roughly within the borders of the Paschaliks before 1912/13) and the Yugoslav part of the Banat were under German military administration until August 1941 and later a satrap government under General Milan Nedić (* 1877, † 1946). All occupation troops acted more or less brutally against the local population and tried to subordinate them to their nationalization policy.

Resistance against the occupying powers came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been incorporated into the Greater Croatian Ustaše state. For their goal of a »Serbs-free Croatia«, the Ustashi initiated brutal persecution of Serbs (Croatian extermination camps in Jasenovac, among others) and expulsions (»ethnic cleansing«); their national appropriation of the Bosniaks (partly against their will) repeatedly triggered acts of Serbian revenge. The Četnici militia organization under Colonel D. Mihailović fought successfully(as early as May 1941) as well as remnants of the defeated army underground against the occupiers. The Četnici strived for an ethnically “homogenized” Greater Serbia (which could also be produced through mass expulsions). After the German attack on the USSR (June 1941), the Communists under Tito (actually Josip Broz), who had been banned since 1921, tried to position themselves at the head of the resistance.

These various partisan resistance groups were able to bring large parts of Serbia and Montenegro under their control by September 1941. But brutal retaliatory measures by the German Wehrmacht and the conflict between the loyal to the king and the communist partisans, which had intensified since November 1941, weakened the resistance struggle. The fronts became confused by the overlapping with the long simmering ethnic conflicts into a struggle of all against all with atrocities that could not be justified militarily, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina; By the end of 1944 (according to more recent information) around 1 million people died in Yugoslavia (the total number of victims officially stated earlier as 1.7 million). From autumn 1943 the Četnici fought exclusively the communist Tito partisans; When they lost Allied support from 1943 (finally with the Tehran Conference), they were largely wiped out by the ever-expanding Tito movement in 1944. This had succeeded in gaining influence through skillfully aroused national hopes (promises of future recognition of Bosniaks and Macedonians as independent nations). With the from Tito on 26./27. 11. The formation of the Anti-Fascist People’s Liberation Council of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ), which took place in Bihać in 1942 and formed a provisional government in Jajce on November 29, 1943 under Tito’s leadership, set the course for a communist post-war Yugoslavia. Until the spring of 1945, the people’s liberation movement was largely able to fight for political power in the country on its own. This also resulted in brutal accounting with political opponents (including the Bleiburg massacre) and mass shootings of German prisoners of war (often including victims in camps, through torture, on expiatory marches).

Yugoslavia (1918–1992)