Yugoslavia (the “land of South Slavs”) was a Balkan multi-ethnic state which emerged from the ruins of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy (est. 1867) and was officially announced to exist on December 1st, 1918 under the original name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[i] The name was changed in June 1929 to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The country existed under such name till April 1941 when it was destroyed, occupied, and divided by the Axis Powers and their Balkan satellites. Legally, the state emerged from the 1917 Corfu Pact signed by the Government of Serbia on one hand and the South Slavic political representatives from Austria-Hungary (the Yugoslav Committee) on the other. Up to the end of WWII, there were recognized three branches of the same Yugoslav tree: the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes. That was for the first time in history that the South Slavs began to live together in their own national state.
Administrative division of Yugoslavia from 1929 to 1941
The Serbs and the Croats were all the time two biggest ethnonational groups in Yugoslavia, either before or after WWII. There were confessional differences between them too – the Serbs were the Christian Orthodox, while the Croats were the Roman Catholics. In the middle between them, in Bosnia-Herzegovina lived the Bosniak Muslims of the Serb or/and the Croat ethnic origin. Both the birth and all years of the state were difficult, as the Croats eyed with suspicion the Serb efforts to predominate in political life. However, for the unification, Serbia during WWI suffered mostly out of all Yugoslav lands and peoples as Serbia alone lost 270.000 men, or almost 40 percent of those mobilized, half of its industrial equipment followed by 1/3 of its plants.[ii]
The country’s ethnonational, confessional, and cultural diversity and differences were politically expressed in two contrasting and opposing designs upon the nature and political system of the new state. The Slovenes and the Croats joined the Yugoslav union with Serbia (enlarged at the very end of WWI with Vardar Macedonia, Kosovo-Metochia, Vojvodina, parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro) primarily for defensive reasons in order to protect their ethnographic lands against both the Austrian and Italian post-war irredentist and revisionist territorial pretensions especially by the Italian side. Nevertheless, the Slovenes and the Croats demanded the Federal Republican state, which would provide an extensive territorial, national, cultural and political autonomy for each component: Slovenia, Serbia, and Croatia. However, by contrast, the Serbs required the centralized monarchy with royal Serbia’s dynasty of the Karađorđević’s.[iii] Serbia, contrary to both Slovenia and Croatia, entered a new state as an independent and internationally recognized political subject. Finally, the centralized constitution (the Vidovdan Constitution, June 28th, 1921) was adopted by a narrow parliamentary majority.
A new Parliament was dominated by the Serb parties as the Serbs were the most numerous ethnic group in Yugoslavia but not having an absolute ethnic majority. The Croats formed with some representatives of other national groups a permanent parliamentary opposition protesting that they were being politically and nationally discriminated. However, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Slovenes and the Croats enjoyed an economic and financial privileged position and, therefore, exploiting the rest of the country. The strongest bank in the country was in the Croatian hands (Prva Hrvatska štedionica, est. 1846). The same situation was in the second (Socialist) Yugoslavia in which economy and finance were directed to work to Slovenia’s and Croatia’s favor.
The country in foreign affairs tried to maintain the “Versailles Order” in the region after WWI signing treaties of friendship and cooperation with Czechoslovakia (in 1920) and Romania (in 1921) and, therefore, creating a group of states known as the “Little Ententé”. However, at the same time, there were constant disputes about the borders with Italy and Bulgaria and to a certain extent with Greece too. Formal treaties of friendships were signed with Italy in 1924, Greece in 1929, Poland in 1926, France in 1927, and Bulgaria in 1937. Nevertheless, despite the treaty with Italy, the Yugoslav Government was always very suspicious of Benito Mussolini’s Balkan policy especially after the Italian occupation of Albania in April 1939. Belgrade knows very well that Mussolini was encouraging the Croatian ultranationalists (Ustashi) to act against Yugoslavia and trying to encircle Yugoslavia from the south by tightening Italy’s grip on Albania.
After the political assassination of the Croatian leader Stjepan Radić in the People’s Assembly (Parliament) in Belgrade by a Montenegrin MP Puniša Račić in 1928 (after Radić’s public provocations on the ethnic basis), the Croats announced their boycott of parliamentary life and set up their own Government in Zagreb. There was also an idea to proclaim the independent Republic of Croatia. However, the King Alexander I Karađorđević (born in Montenegro in 1888)[iv] responded to such secessionist tendencies by dissolving the Parliament, proclaiming himself a dictator, and banning all political parties (till 1935) on January 6th, 1929. In fact, he introduced a royal authoritarian regime.[v]
The modernization of the economy after the unification was hampered before 1929 by the exigencies of the post-war reconstruction, by the need to get into position the basic institutions and infrastructure and finally by the preoccupation of the Government with purely political issues but not by economic development. Yugoslavia, like many other European countries, was terribly affected by the Great Economic Depression (1929‒1933). Being largely agricultural, the Yugoslav economy had been reasonably prosperous in the 1920s, but in 1930‒1933 world’s agricultural prices collapsed and, therefore, causing, widespread hardship among farmers and workers.
The royal personal dictatorship strengthened the growth of different ethno-terrorist organizations of which the most significant and later the most notorious became the Croatian Revolutionary Organization (the HRO) – known as the Ustashi (Insurrection), under the leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina born Roman Catholic Ante Pavelić (1889−1959), known as the “Butcher of the Balkans”. The Ustashi were accusing the King of running the policy of a “Greater Serbia” followed by the oppression of the Croats but at the same time, the Croatian Revolutionary Organization struggled for the creation of an independent Greater Croatia in which there was no place for the Serbs. The organization became worldwide known after carried out the assassination of the Yugoslav King together with a French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou on October 9th, 1934 in Marseille as he arrived in France for a state visit. The murderer was a Bulgarian who was connected with the Croat Ustashi living and training in Hungary who, in fact, organized the crime. For some time the tensions with Hungary were high and even there seemed to be war.
The following years are remarked by extreme political tensions on the relations between Belgrade and Zagreb as the Croats required at any price the creation of an autonomous (in fact, semi-independent) province of (a Greater) Croatia within Yugoslavia. The ethnopolitical conflict between the Croats and the Serbs in the second half of the 1930s was not so much a product of some natural hatreds and tensions rising to the surface, but were rather a consequence of the growth of nationalist ideologies and doctrines in the power vacuum that had been created by the assassination of the King Alexander I Karađorđević in 1934.[vi] At the very eve of WWII in order to prevent Croatian separatism and siding with Germany and Italy in the case of the war against the Axis Powers, Belgrade finally agreed on the Croatian autonomy apparently under the pressure by London and Paris. Subsequently, a huge and ethnically mixed Banovina Hrvatska (the Banat of Croatia), incorporating a large part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was created on August 26th, 1939 by the signed agreement between the Yugoslav PM Dragiša Cvetković (of a Roma origin but not Serb) and the Croatian national and political leader Vladimir Vlatko Maček. Nevertheless, the greatest part of the Serbs, Serbian political parties, and the Serbian Orthodox Church did not support the agreement as they understood it as a “Serbian Münich” – the capitulation under the Croatian ultimatum and the Western (French and British) political pressure. Nevertheless, this asymmetric semi-Federal system enabled six Croats to join the common Yugoslav Government with the focal task to find a compromise with a Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
Banovina Croatia in 1939-1941
Being disappointed with the economic help Yugoslavia received from France, and being frustrated of Mussolini’s political intentions in the Balkans, the Regent Prince Paul (whole life being Anglophile), started to look towards Nazi Germany for trade and protection from the Italian territorial aspirations in Dalmatia and Albania (Italia irredenta). As a matter of success, a German-Yugoslav trade treaty was reached in 1936. As a consequence, the treaty led to a significant increase in trade, so that in 1938 Germany took 40 percent of the Yugoslav export. Undoubtedly, the Yugoslav treaty with Germany reduced the threat from fascist Italy which signed the Rome‒Berlin Axis agreement with Hitler in 1936. In 1937, therefore, Italy signed a treaty with Yugoslavia that was of enormous significance for the latter as two countries agreed to respect each other’s borders, to increase trade and to deal with the terrorists (i.e., with the Croatian Ustashi). As the international situation drastically deteriorated during 1939, Yugoslavia found herself uncomfortably aligned with the Axis Powers on one hand but on another, practical support by the Western democracies was totally missing.[vii]
[i] Snežana Trifunovska (ed.), Yugoslavia Through Documents: From Its Creation to Its Dissolution, Dordrecht−Boston−London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994, 157−160.
[ii] John B. Allcock, Explaining Yugoslavia, New York: Columbia University Press, 2000, 54−55. About Serbia in WWI, see in [Mira Radojević, Ljubodrag Dimić, Serbia in the Great War 1914−1918: A Short History, Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga−Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals, 2014].
[iii] Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern World History, Fourth Edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
[iv] The future King was born in Cetinje (Montenegro) on December 17th, 1888 as a son of Serbia’s Petar I Karađorđević (the King of Serbia from 1903) and the Princess of Montenegro, Zorka (the oldest daughter of Montenegro’s ruler Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš) [Бранислав Глигоријевић, Краљ Александар Карађорђевић, I, Уједињење српских земаља, Београд: БИГЗ, 1996, 24].
[v] On the authoritarian regime of Alexander I Karađorđević, see in [Bridžit Farli, “Aleksandar Karađorđević i kraljevska diktatura u Jugoslaviji”, Bernd J. Fišer (priredio), Balkanski diktatori: Diktatori i autoritarni vladari jugoistočne Evrope, Beograd: IPS−IP Prosveta, 2009, 65−104].
[vi] Similarly to this case, the ethnic conflicts in Yugoslavia in the 1990s were very much the consequence of the collapse of socialism which created the power vacuum [Andrew Heywood, Global Politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 188].
[vii] On this issue, see more in [Aliaksandr Piahanau (ed.), Great Power Policies Towards Central Europe, 1914−1945, Bristol, England: E-International Relations, 2019].
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In 1917, the Austro-Hungarian government erected a monument to Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife the Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo on the third year anniversary of the assassinations on June 28. It was called the Sühnedenkmal or Spomenik umorstva, The Atonement or Expiation Monument. The bronze statue was by Hungarian sculptor Eugen Bori.
Photo left: 1918 Austro-Hungarian postcard featuring the monument to Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo date stamped August 25, 1918 by Kartenzentrale Jacob A. Cappon, Sarajevo, the same publisher of the Gavrilo Princip postcard published after the war. Sarajevo, Sühnedenkmal. Spomenik umorstva. 28 VI. 1914. Atonement or Expiation ...
The so called "Croatian scenario", is something that has been periodically brought up after the start of the armed conflict in Donbass. (Among other instances, yours truly noted this in articles from this past December 17 and August 24, 2015.) Promoted at Johnson's Russia List, the December 28 Euromaidan Press article "What Ukraine Can Take from the 'Croatian Scenario' of Conflict Resolution", omits some key factors for being apprehensive about the probability for success of an Operation Storm like strike against the Donbass rebels.In 1995, the Serb Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, had essentially dropped the Krajina Serbs, with the hope that he could improve his relationship with the West. At ...
Author’s noteThe following article focussing on the jihadist terrorist insurgency in Macedonia was first published by antiwar.com in July 2001, barely two months before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.Known and documented, since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest had become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress had revealed how the US administration – under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake – had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment through ...
Most of former Ukraine is now (since 2014) occupied by nazis/fascists and rasists/extreme nationalists. In some cases they are disguised within other political parties but, make no mistake, their ideology does not change just because they change name or party organisation. As is well known, when the nazis made their coup in 2014 (directed and assisted by the CIA), the first "law" they forcefully passed through the rump and unconstitutional rest-parlament was the prohibition of the russian language (the majority language!) from all official institutions, schools, administration and so on.The second "law" they passed was the legalisation of the nazi ...
During and after the the Kosovo conflict in 1998-1999, the KLA abducted and kidnapped over 2,000 Kosovo civilians, Serbs, Roma, and Albanians that opposed the KLA, who were tortured and murdered. Ten years after the conflict, these 2,000 remain missing. Approximately 1,000 to 1,3000 Kosovo Serbs are missing and presumed dead. How did they die? UNMIK occupation forces have been reluctant to investigate these mass murders of Kosovo civilians. What happened to them? Evidence has emerged that the KLA ran a series of prison camps, in Kosovo and in Albania itself, where they tortured and murdered Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and ...
“To talk of the pure origins…of any ethnic populating the Balkan Peninsula is neither justified nor serious nor scientific”
(E. Ivanova, “’The Ethnic’ Conflict”, Iztok-Iztok, № 2, 1991, p. 64)
This text has set itself the tasks to present historical development and current economic, cultural and political position in the Balkan societies of one specific ethnolinguistic group of the Orthodox religion - the Vlachs, who speaks some form of Romanian language and is called by their neighbors by different names Koutsovlahs, Aromanians, Armanians, Grammostens, Karakachans, Cincars, Arnauts, Uruks, Macedo-Romanians, Chobans, etc. This pastoral ethnolinguistic group is a good example of successful peaceful ...
The superhighway to disaster is already being paved.From Donald Trump’s first days in office, news of the damage to America’s international stature has come hard and fast. As if guided by some malign design, the new president seemed to identify the key pillars that have supported U.S. global power for the past 70 years and set out to topple each of them in turn. By degrading NATO, alienating Asian allies, cancelling trade treaties, and slashing critical scientific research, the Trump White House is already in the process of demolishing the delicately balanced architecture that has sustained Washington’s world leadership since ...
Though intelligence documents from the 1973 coup period have been declassified since 1999, the CIA continues to censor them.The CIA continues to withhold information on its involvement in the Sept. 11, 1973 coup that led to the death of President Salvador Allende in Chile, followed by adeadly dictatorship, according to documents posted Friday by the National Security Archive.In the list of published documents, the section regarding Chile is censored. The President’s Daily Briefs, the intelligence reports given daily to the U.S. president, in particular former President Richard Nixon days before Allende’s death, were among those censored.According to Peter Kornbluh, director ...
The United States approaches the November 2020 election with growing apprehension, even dread.Among the possibilities:Protracted uncertainty about the presidential contest. Think Florida 2000 but with several states’ results unresolved for weeks or even months (“Experts held ‘war games’ on the Trump vs. Biden election. Their finding? Brace for a mess”);A disputed outcome, perhaps with Donald Trump and Joe Biden both claiming victory, compounded by a “blue shift,” where states are claimed by Trump on election night but flip over to Biden as additional absentee and mail-in ballots conveniently turn up days or weeks later;Violent civil conflict, spurred on in the ...
BALTOPS 16 is a military exercise now taking place between June 3 and June 18 in the Baltic Sea region which is in close proximity to Russia. The U.S. Naval Institute (www.usni.org) released an article titled ‘Analysis: Larger NATO Baltic Sea Exercise Sends Important Message to Russia’ stated what BALTOPS 16 will consist of:Over the next three weeks BALTOPS 16 will draw together some 6,000 personnel, 45 warships, and 60 aircraft from 17 nations, including the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, along with the littoral states of the Baltic States who are NATO members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, ...
Media narrative: Hateful protestors stormed the Macedonian parliament after an ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi was elected speaker for the first time.
Truth: Protestors stormed the parliament because Xhaferi was declared speaker in an illegal, unconstitutional manner as part of an ongoing coup d'état. It had nothing whatsoever to do with his ethnicity.
Even though Xhaferi was "elected" in an irregular manner, the US and EU have already stated they recognize his appointment. This now paves the way for ethnic Albanian parties and the smaller of two main Macedonian parties (Social Democrats) to proclaim a government without the constitutionally required go-ahead from the President of the Republic.
The latter has defied ...
In 1999, when he was the President of Finland, Marti Ahtisaari’s government wanted to honor and to commemorate the 3,000 Finnish Nazi Waffen SS volunteers that served in Heinrich Himmler’s SS. Why would any government, indeed, why would anyone, want to honor and commemorate SS troops? Why would anyone want to honor and commemorate Nazis and Nazism? This is the question that has remained unanswered in the US and Western media about Marti Ahtisaari. As a sock puppet for the US, NATO, and EU, Ahtisaari’s role in honoring and commemorating the Nazi Waffen SS has been suppressed. As a Chairman ...
Ukraine has a complex historical background and most people have little knowledge of this. The western part of Ukraine known as Galicia has an especially complex history. Going back for more than a thousand years, this region had been settled by Slavic tribes who formed the western extension of the Kievan Rus. To the west it had Polish, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Austrian neighbours. And to its misfortune, these neighbours took turns attacking and subjugating these early Ukrainians. It was largely Poland and Austria that took turns suppressing and occupying the region, economically and culturally. Because of this, although Galicia’s population ...
TRANSCRIPT:Harold Channer (HC): Good evening and welcome very, very much to the conversation. We’re pleased to welcome to the program, Sean Gervasi. He is a professor and academic who is concerned with economics and particularly with what is relevant to what we want to talk about tonight. He has just returned from a long stay in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and knows something of that situation. Sean Gervasi, welcome very, very much to the conversation, and back to New York. Before we go into some detail about what in the world is going on in terms of the Balkans, from your experience ...
Muslim populated states of the South-East Europe are the reservoirs of the ISIL Jihadist fighters in the Middle East: Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia. All of these states are the marionettes of the US. This road map was originally published with the article in one Albania's newspapers in Tirana in October 2015Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us ...
What is the bigger story? The West Against the Rest or The West Against Itself?
The Illiberal Quartet of Xi, Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan is in the line of fire of haughty homilies about Western “values.”
Illiberalism is arrogantly and provocatively depicted in the West repeatedly as a Tartar Invasion 2.0. But closer to home Illiberalism is responsible for the social, civil war in the U.S. as Trump’s America has long ago forgotten what the European Enlightenment was all about.
The Western view is a maelstrom of a Judaeo-Greco-Roman, pseudo-philosophy steeped in Hegel, Toynbee, Spengler and obscure biblical references decrying an Asian attack ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
The Ploesti old fields in southeastern Romania were a vital strategic bombing objective for the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Located 35 miles north of the capital Bucharest, Ploesti had formerly supplied one-third of Germany’s oil. The U.S. had targeted Ploesti to deprive the German military of petroleum. The U.S. first bombed Ploesti on June 12, 1942 during the HALPRO bombing raid. Then on August 1, 1943 during Operation Tidal Wave, a major bombardment was launched.The Soviet Red Army advance on Yugoslavia and the capital Belgrade in 1944 was launched from Romania. Russian troops had captured Ploesti ...
Gavrilo Princip or Franz Ferdinand? Heroes or Villains?
‘Croatian Scenario’ Shortcomings for Ending the Donbass Conflict
“Islamic State Déjà Vu”: US Sponsored Islamic Fighters in the Balkans
Europe in 2050: Projected Population Change
There are Real Nazis in Power in Kiev
Disappeared People in Kosovostan
The Balkan Vlachs (1)
The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
The CIA’s Involvement in Chile’s 9/11 Military Coup
Before the Bidens ‘Did’ Ukraine, There Was Iraq – and Serbia
Provoking the Russian Bear: NATO is “Cannon Fodder” for the American Empire
The Media Is Lying to You on Macedonia. US Is Backing an Illegal Coup D’état
Marti Ahtisaari and the Waffen SS
Ukraine’s Complex Historical Background and The Contemporary Era
The Yugoslavia Counter-Narrative in 1993: Sean Gervasi, a Neglected Expert, Spoke Out in the Early Years of the Catastrophe
A Road of ISIL Jihadists
The West Against the Rest or the West Against Itself?
Liberators over Vratnica
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