N_zastava

Embassy of the Republic of Serbia

N_grb

 

Brief history of Serbia until 1995

 

KingdomYU

With the end of World War I and the downfall of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire the conditions were met for proclaiming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in December of 1918. The Yugoslav ideal had long been cultivated by the intellectual circles of the three nations that gave the name to the country, but the international constellation of political forces and interests did not permit its implementation until then. However, after the war, idealist intellectuals gave way to politicians. However, the most influential Croatian politicians opposed the new state right from the start.

The Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS) headed by Stjepan Radic, and then by Vlatko Macek slowly grew to become a massive party endorsing Croatian national interests. According to its leaders the Yugoslav state did not provide a satisfactory solution to the Croatian “national question”. They chose to conduct their political battle by systematically obstructing state institutions and making political coalitions to undermine the state unity, thus extorting certain concessions. Each political or economic issue was used as a pretext for raising the so-called "unsettled Croatian question".

Trying to match this challenge and prevent any further weakening of the country, King Aleksandar I banned national political parties in 1929, assumed executive power and renamed the country as “Yugoslavia”. He hoped to curb separatist tendencies and mitigate nationalist passions. However the balance of power changed in international relations: in Italy and Germany Fascists and Nazis rose to power, and Stalin became the absolute ruler in the Soviet Union. None of these three states favored the policy pursued by Aleksandar I. In fact the first two wanted to revise the international treaties signed after World War I, and the Soviets were determined to regain their positions in Europe and pursue a more active international policy. Yugoslavia was an obstacle for these plans and King Aleksandar I was the pillar of the Yugoslav policy.

During an official visit to France in 1934, the King was assassinated in Marseilles by a member of VMRO - an extreme nationalist organization in Bulgaria that had plans to annex territories along the eastern and southern Yugoslav border - with the cooperation of the Ustashi - a Croatian fascist separatist organization. The international political scene in the late 30's was marked by growing intolerance between the principal figures, by the aggressive attitude of the totalitarian regimes and by the certainty that the order set up after World War I was loosing its. Supported and pressured by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Croatian leader Vlatko Macek and his party managed to extort the creation of the Croatian banovina (administrative province) in 1939. The agreement specified that Croatia were to remain part of Yugoslavia, but it was hurriedly building an independent political identity in international relations.

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Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, 4-7-24 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan
tel. +81 (3) 3447-3571, fax +81 (3) 3447-3573
email: embassy@serbianembassy.jp, web site: www.serbianembassy.jp