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Pogledaj Full Version : Croatian Problem in the Habsburg Empire in the Nineteenth Century



Željko Zidarić
5th-June-2012, 12:18 AM
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Charles Jelavich
Indiana University


The fundamental fact in the nationality issue in Croatia in the nineteenth century is that by 1914 the majority of the most influential political leaders of the Croats assumed that the indefinite survival of an independent united Croatia, based on the national principle alone, was a political and international impossibility. Once having accepted this premise, which was based on careful consideration of the conditions of their historical past and their position in Europe, the Croatian leaders were compelled to seek a solution to their political future which was in conflict with the major trend of the nineteenth century, namely, the political unification of ethnically homogeneous people into a sovereign state. Although there was a strong nationalist movement in Croatia, which aimed at the creation of an independent state, it could not deal with the realities of the Croatian position. Practical considerations thus left the Croatians with two alternatives: they could either remain within the framework of the Habsburg empire, in union with Vienna or Budapest or both; or they could join with the Serbs and Slovenes in a federal South Slav state. The story of nineteenth-century nationalism in Croatia centers on the vacillation between these two possibilities. The aim at all times was to find the combination which would best protect the Croatian national individuality, since Croatia alone did not have the necessary prerequisites for a completely independent national existence.

Although the purpose of this paper is to discuss the Croats as an integrating and disintegrating force within the empire, the emphasis will be on the latter. At the beginning of the nineteenth century those who were most concerned with the preservation of the monarchy were the nobility, the upper clergy, and those who were in Habsburg state service in either the army or the bureaucracy. However, from 1790 to 1918 the political leaders, the parties, and the international movements that were most influential and that introduced new ideas or alternatives were those that aimed at transforming or destroying the empire. Consequently, the Croatian problem will be examined from the point of view of these political concepts and parties. Questions such as those concerning the geopolitical viability of an independent Croatian national state, the role of religion, the economic development of Croatia, and her place in nineteenth-century international relations will also be analyzed.

The unique contribution of the Croats to the political doctrines of the nineteenth century was the concept, advocacy, and propagation of Yugoslavism.3 In contrast to the general trend of traditional nineteenth-century nationalism, which emphasized the liberation and unification of ethnic national groups, the advocates of Yugoslavism sought to bring into a single federation three peoples-Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes who had distinct and separate historical, political, and cultural traditions and who were further separated by religion and language. The sole common denominator of the three was their Slavic origin. The program of Yugoslavism was first envisaged as applicable within the confines of a radically reorganized Habsburg empire. After 1867 it was recognized that such a political organization would probably have to be created outside the political control of the monarchy. The emphasis given to the federal structure of a future Yugoslav state was in the Croatian historical tradition. Both the union with Budapest in 1102 and subsequently with Vienna in 1526 carried the concept of federalism. It should be emphasized that the idea of a South Slav federation was not so readily accepted by the Serbs and Slovenes, whose own national developments had taken other paths. Because of this, neither of these peoples became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of Yugoslavism, which remained essentially a Croatian movement.
Nevertheless, not all Croats accepted Yugoslavism. In fact, there is no conclusive proof that even a simple majority of the Croats supported its implications in 1914. As long as Zagreb remained the center of the movement and the nucleus around which the South Slavs would rally, the idea could be understood and accepted. When, however, it became evident that Serbia, not Croatia, was destined to become the Piedmont of the South Slavs, and when it became apparent that Croatian federalism clashed with traditional Serbian emphasis on centralism, many Croats were reluctant to accept this change in direction in their national life. For centuries they had been in political union with the more advanced civilization of the Danubian monarchy. To them the very word "Balkan" stood for backwardness, poverty, corruption, violence, and injustice. Acceptance of the leadership of Belgrade, or even close union with the other South Slavs, would thus be regarded as a step backwards for their people.

The chief alternative to Yugoslavism was the Croatianism or the Pravastvo of Ante Starcevic. This doctrine, closely resembling the national programs of other peoples, held that a unified, independent Croatian state should be established which would encompass all of the lands inhabited by Croats. It would also include Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Military Frontier, eastern Slavonia (Srem), and parts of Dalmatia-territories which the Croats claimed on the basis of historic rights and geographic necessity but whose ethnic character had been drastically changed over the centuries by the immigration of large numbers of Serbs.

By 1914 four different solutions were advanced in behalf of Croatia's future. Two of these-the pro-Magyar and the pro-Habsburg-called for the retention of Croatia's historic ties with one or the other of her northern neighbors. The other two--Croatianism and Yugoslavism-championed the total separation of Croatia from the dual monarchy and at least a shift away from central Europe towards southern Europe. These four competing ideas not only divided the Croats and made their domination by the Magyars and Austrians easier, but, more important, because of the lack of political unity among the Croats themselves, it caused the Serbian and Slovenian leaders to proceed with caution in any cooperation with the Croats.

In the nineteenth century national unification was achieved through war and diplomacy. Germany and Italy are the classic examples of this. The formula was also successful in the cases of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Rumania. In contrast to these methods, the Croats were virtually compelled to achieve their goals through negotiation and parliamentary tactics. In the one significant revolution in which they took part, that of 1848-1849, their leaders at the decisive moment remained loyal to the Habsburgs. The Croats never had an army of their own to fight for their cause; instead, they served in the Habsburg forces and at times even helped to suppress their unruly or dissident fellow countrymen. Moreover, in the diplomatic arena, until1918 not one major power was ready or willing to assist them in securing their national aspirations. Croatia's only hope for external assistance lay in Serbia; yet before 1914 this state herself was equally in need of great power aid to maintain her position. From 1878 to 1903 the Serbian government was forced into a position of close collaboration with Vienna. Throughout this entire period there were also serious misgivings within all branches of Serbian society-among the clergy, the bureaucracy, the military, the peasantry, and even the intellectuals-concerning the wisdom of a union with the Catholic Croats. Without arms of their own or foreign allies, the Croatians thus had little hope of achieving their national desires by the means which served other nationalities so well.

There was nothing unique about the origins of the Croatian national movement. The identity of the Croatian state had been preserved by the nobility, in association first with the Magyars and subsequently with Vienna. In 1790 the middle class as such was not a factor in Croatian politics. The leading role was reserved to the nobility and the clergy. In Croatia proper leadership lay in the hands of the lesser nobility who were Croatian in origin and language. Some of its members were distinguished from the serfs only by their titles, not by their manner of living. In Slavonia, on the other hand, where a strong Croatian feudal aristocracy had once prevailed, the predominant group was a small group of nobles, owning large estates, but here the nobility was primarily German or Magyar in origin. Latin, not Croatian, was the common language. In the other Croatian land, Dalmatia, which before 1815 belonged to Venice, the dominant groups were those associated with urban trade and maritime affairs rather than with the land. They spoke primarily Italian-the language of commerce of the area. Throughout the Croatian lands the upper clergy enjoyed the benefits of their superior status, and the Church shared with the nobility the privilege of land ownership. The economic interests of the Church thus coincided with those of the nobility. In politics they supported Habsburg rule. Except for sporadic revolts caused by local economic conditions, the peasants were politically inactive. They were in no better nor worse position than those of their class in other parts of the empire. Their goals were economic, not politica}.li Consequently, they could be discounted as an effective political force until just before the First World War, when they responded to the appeals of the Radic brothers and their Peasant Party.

The Croatian nobles and clergy demonstrated their political power during the reign of Joseph II when they resisted his measures aimed at centralization, secularization, and germanization. They defended their own personal, historic rights and privileges and, through these, the historic rights of the Croatian state and people. The ties of Croatia to Hungary after 1102 and to the Habsburg monarchy after 1526 were ambiguous because there was no common agreement among Zagreb, Budapest, and Vienna on their exact nature. The Croats always insisted, rightfully or wrongfully, that their union with their northern neighbors was through the person of the monarch and that Croatia was an equal partner in the empire. To prove this they cited their election of Ferdinand as their king in 1526 and their separate ratification of the Pragmatic Sanction in 1712, before the Magyars approved it. These views, however, were not shared in Vienna and Budapest. In 1779 Maria Theresa decreed that the supreme administrative authority of Croatia should be located in Budapest; Croatia could now be regarded as a "subject" rather than as an "allied" nation in its relation to Hungary. Nevertheless, for the decade between 1780 and 1790 Zagreb and Budapest continued to cooperate because of their common hostility to Joseph's reforms. Joseph's death, however, brought an end to the historic understanding which had existed between the Croats and the Magyars.

From 1790 to 1918 the single most persistent irritant in Groat-Magyar relations was the question of language. Whereas in the previous decade the Croats and Magyars had defended their traditional common language, Latin, against Joseph's attempts to impose German on all his subjects, now the Magyars set out to force Magyar on their subjects and allies. Briefly stated, in the nineteenth century the Magyar leaders hoped to create a nation-state in which Hungarian would become the language of all the inhabitants of the lands of the Crown of St. Stephen. Budapest was ready to guarantee the freedom of the individual in the spirit of nineteenth-century liberalism, but it was not prepared to extend these liberties to a national group as such. In the eyes of the Croats, according to Ferdo sisic, the political concept of the Magyars had become: "Just as there is one God and one King, thus there must be one state, one people, and one language from the Carpathians to the Adriatic." There thus developed a fundamental conflict between the Hungarian nation-state view and that of the subject peoples who in effect wanted the same thing for themselves and for the lands in which they were in the majority.

The defense of Croatia's interests was at first in the hands of her nobility. Although they resented the attempts of the Magyar leaders to introduce Hungarian into Croatia, they were more concerned with the threat which Joseph, and subsequently the French Revolution, posed to their particular economic and social privileges. They also recognized that politically and geographically the Croats could not stand alone and defy their northern neighbors. Thus personal interest and realpolitik caused them, through the sabor, to agree in 1791 to the introduction of Hungarian on a voluntary basis in Croatian elementary and secondary schools. A generation later, in 1827, the nobles, whose power to resist the Magyars was now confined to verbal protest, approved the introduction of the Magyar language as an obligatory subject in Croatian schools. At the same time that they thus gave way before Magyar pressure, they also gradually surrendered the political leadership which they had exercised for centuries in the Croatian lands to the rising younger generation of middle-class intellectuals, led by Ljudevit Gaj, the founder of the Illyrian movement.

In modern Croatian history the Illyrian movement has attracted the attention of more outstanding scholars than any other subject. This interest is understandable because the movement was not, as originally believed, only a linguistic* literary manifestation, but it also has economic, social, political, and international implications. In fact, in the end it was the political and international factors which dominated, because Illyrianism gave birth to a modern national consciousness among the Croats.

The lllyrian movement began as a linguistic reaction to the attempted magyarization of the Croats. It was apparent that the Croats could not withstand alone pressure from Budapest. Consequently, the leaders of the movement concluded that Croatia's interests could be defended and developed only through linguistic unity and cooperation with the other South Slavs. The idea of the development of a common language for all the South Slavs to pave the way for eventual political unity was not new with Gaj. In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries such writers as Vinko Pribojevic, Mavro Orbini, Juraj Krizanic, and Pavao Ritter-Vitezovic had advanced this view. Even Gaj's Czech and Slovak contemporaries Pavel safafik and Jan Kollar discussed the concept of a common language for all the Slavic peoples, not just the South Slavs. Gaj followed a well established tradition.0 His great contribution to Croatian national growth was his recognition that if the Croatian nation was to survive it would have to give up the kajkavian dialect, whose use was limited to Zagreb and its surroundings, in favor of the more popular and widely used stokavian, which was spoken in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Serbia, and much of Croatia-Slavonia.10 In seeking linguistic unity, those in the Illyrian movement sought not only to weaken the Habsburg empire but to defend better the interests of the Croats and the other South Slavs within it. In 1840 a political organization called the Illyrian Party was formed to secure the aims of Illyrianism against the Magyars. It became the National Party in 1843, when Vienna banned all references to Illyria at the instigation of the Magyars. Yet by 1840 even the majority of the nobles, led by Count Janko Draskovic, had joined the national cause.

Although the Illyrian movement was successful in forming a front against the advance of Magyar influence, it failed in its other goal of securing South Slav cultural unity. In fact, the movement produced the first sharp, open intellectual controversy between the Croats and Serbs. Gaj's great Serbian contemporary Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic rejected the entire Illyrian idea and its implications. As for the stokavian dialect, he declared that all those who spoke it were Serbs. He and his supporters regarded the Illyrian movement at best as nothing more than a Habsburg trick aimed at deceiving the Serbs. Contemporary Serbian opinion was better represented by the Naeertanije of Ilija Garasanin. Here the creation of a Greater Serbia was envisioned which would include Bosnia-Herzegovina and parts of Dalmatia, also claimed as national lands by the Croats. The Slovenes, with the exception of Stanko Vraz, also showed little interest in the movement.

Despite the failure of the movement to attract the sympathy of the other South Slavs, the adoption by the Croats of the stokavian dialect remained a great achievement of Illyrianism. Its effect on later Croatian national interests was enormous. If Gaj and the intellectual leaders of Croatia had tried to adopt kajkavian as their standard literary language, they would have made it much easier for the Serbs, who spoke the stokavian dialect, to enforce their claims to the disputed territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Military Frontier, and parts of Dalmatia, where stokavian was also the standard speech. Thus Illyrianism, which initially set out to forestall magyarization by molding the South Slavs into a united intellectual*cultural force, became instead a Croatian national movement, aimed, on the one hand, at the Magyars, and, on the other, at the claims of the Serbs to lands which the Croatians regarded as theirs. On the eve of the revolutions of 1848-1849 the Croatian national movement had achieved its identity.

For the first time since 1790 the Croats, during the revolutions of 1848-1849, were given the opportunity to choose between the two basic alternatives confronting them in the nationalist era, that is, whether to keep their ties with Budapest and/or Vienna or to divorce themselves completely from the Habsburg empire and seek a union with the other South Slavs. Their decision was a blend of the two to remain within the empire, but as a part of a united South Slav political organization.

By 1848 the Illyrian movement had succeeded in awakening the consciousness of national identity in the intellectuals, the nobles, and the upper clergy, They were prepared to exploit the conditions created by the revolution. When in March, 1848, King Ferdinand promised his subjects a constitution with a responsible parliamentary regime, the Croats seized the opportunity to attempt to alter their relationships with Budapest and Vienna. Their hopes were placed in the hands of one man, Josip Jelacic, a colonel in the imperial army who was appointed ban (governor) of Croatia. Jelacic symbolized all that was regarded at that time as positive and progressive in Croatia. He was thoroughly aware of the achievements of the Illyrian movement. He strongly favored close cooperation and even union with the Slovenes and Serbs of the empire, but he reflected accurately Croatia's historical traditions by insisting on the retention of the ties with the empire.

Jelacic's first important act was to instruct the local administrative units that they were to disregard all orders issued to them until the sabor was convened to regulate the new constitutional status of the state. Thus Jelacic unilaterally proclaimed Croatia's independence of Budapest, just as the Magyars had previously done in regard to their own connections with Vienna. Both the Croats and the Magyars, however, still regarded themselves as members of the Habsburg empire, joined in the person of the ruler. When it met, the sabor, true to Croatia's historical traditions, ratified Jelacic's action, but it did not exclude the possibility of continued association with Hungary on the basis of an equal partnership. The sabor was willing to concede that financial, military, and commercial affairs and foreign relations should be matters of common concern for the entire empire. It believed, however, that a responsible ministry and a joint parliament should be established which would be responsible primarily for these affairs. The Magyars, under the leadership of Louis Kossuth, rejected all of the Croatian conditions, demonstrating that they would not grant to the Croats the same terms they themselves had won from Vienna.

In addition to the Croat-Magyar constitutional crisis, another issue, that concerning Croatia's relations with the Serbs of the Vojvodina, was brought forth by the events of 1848. The revolutionary fever affected the Serbs of the empire as well as the Magyars and Croats. Like their fellow South Slavs, the Serbs were determined to gain greater autonomy from the Magyars. While the Magyars were willing to listen to the Croats, because of their historical ties, they greeted the Serbian demands differently. Moreover, the Magyars were willing to use whatever force was necessary to crush the Serbs, whom they regarded both as a subject people and as intruders on historic Hungarian lands. In their struggle against the Magyars, the Serbs now found a ready ally in the Croats. In the spirit of the Illyrian movement, the sabor gave support to the Serbs and thus again defied the Magyars. Croatian* Serbian cooperation was dramatically illustrated by the fact that Josip Rajacic, the patriarch and political leader of the Vojvodina Serbs, blessed Jelacic in Zagreb when he was installed as the ban. An Orthodox patriarch thus conferred his blessings on the Catholic secular leader of the Croats. On June 5 the Belgrade Srbske Novine [Serbian News], in reporting the event, described how Croat kissed Serb, how the clergy of both faiths embraced one another, how the liturgy was in Slavic not Latin.

Thus it is brother Serbs, how things are done here! The Serbian Patriarch is carried on the shoulders of the Croats in Roman Catholic Zagreb; the clergy of the eastern and western faith all sing and praise God in the same churches; the people of both faiths embrace and kiss one another as though they were of one faith; no, brothers, such a scene has not been seen since Christianity has been in the world, such a scene is only possible in the nineteenth century. However, by collaborating with the Serbs, the Croats closed the door to a peaceful rapprochement with Budapest. Since this was impossible, it became necessary for them to come to some kind of political arrangement with Vienna.

In both the sabor and at the Prague Congress, the Croatian representatives warmly endorsed Austro-Slavism-a program which was anti-German, anti-Magyar, and even anti-Russian, but pro-Austrian and pro-Habsburg. Although Austro-Slavism as a doctrine is most closely associated with the name of Frantisek Palacky, the idea also had its advocates in Croatia in men such as Imbro Tkalac. Even the plans of Ognjoslav Ostrozinski for a federalized Austria were within the general spirit of Austro-Slavism. Moreover, both his federalism and Croatian Austro-Slavism had their roots in Illyrianism. Both programs called for South Slav unity in order to guarantee Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian cultural and political autonomy within the empire. The Croatian leaders thus sought to strengthen both the position of their nation and of the empire. Tkalac endorsed Jelacic's declaration: "If there were no Austria, we would have to create one" a statement identical to that made earlier by Palacky.

Jelacic and the sabor therefore wished to cooperate with Vienna. Their subsequent actions showed how far they were willing to go in an attempt to find a basis for cooperation with the monarchy. When Felix von Schwarzenberg imposed the March constitution of 1849 upon the monarchy, thereby negating both the deliberations at Kromefiz and the policy of Austro-Slavism, Jelacic's council urged him to reject the new constitutional structure which would create a centralized empire. The ban would not accept this advice and only agreed to suggest to Vienna that Croatia be granted autonomy. When the emperor's representative in Zagreb cautioned him that if he did not cooperate the Croats would be placed in the same category of rebels as the Magyars, Jelacic abandoned Austro* Slavism and joined his troops to the Habsburg forces in their pursuit of the Hungarian revolutionary units.

A century after these events Jelacic was condemned by some historians for betraying the cause of his nation, and his statue was dismantled.zo The main square in Zagreb, named after him, is now the Square of the Republic. Yet he really had few other practical alternatives of action than that which he took. All of the principal Croatian national programs* Illyrianism, Austro-Slavism, and Ostrozinski's federalism called for cooperation with Vienna and the retention of Croatia within the empire. The sabor supported this policy throughout 1848-1849. The Magyars, who were infinitely stronger and better organized than the Croats, tried to achieve total independence and they were crushed. When the Magyars would not grant the Croats equality, the Croats were in no position to gain their goal through their own forces. This was the basic dilemma of the Croats in the nineteenth century. Jelacic only reflected the views of his contemporaries and the realities of the situation within the empire at mid-century.

The policy of cooperation with the empire and the emphasis on its preservation changed basically only in the decade of absolutism which followed. In the first half of the century Vienna in a sense had acted as a court of arbitration between Zagreb and Budapest. The Croats always believed that they could appeal their case against Magyar pressure to Viennaa step which they frequently took after 1790. At times the monarchy did indeed support the Croatian cause, although the decision was not always based on an identity of interests. Between 1835 and 1843, when the Illyrian movement gained real strength, the Habsburg government had remained acquiescent. However, the policies of Schwarzenberg and Alexander von Bach destroyed this delicate balance. Thenceforth the Habsburg government and the policies of Vienna became suspect in Croatian eyes. Illyrianism and Austro-Slavism, movements which had failed to achieve their goals, were likewise discredited. To replace them, two new political concepts came to prominence : StarceviC's Croatianism and Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer's Yugoslavism.
The revolutionary period did, however, produce some more positive results. The Croats had not gained the autonomy they desired; nor was the Triune Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia, together with the Military Frontier, reconstituted as one political unit. But the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia, together with the disputed city of Rijeka lFiume), were made independent of Budapest. In 1852 the Croatian Catholic Church was separated from Hungarian control; Zagreb now obtained its own archbishopric. Since religion and nationalism were in effect synonymous to the Croats, this development had great significance for the future struggle against both the Magyars and the Orthodox Serbs. Moreover, serfdom had been abolished in Croatia. The end of economic and social discrimination, which had been the peasant's sole interest prior to this time, meant that their attention could be directed to political issues. The entire nation could be identified with the national cause. On the other hand, the events of 1848-1849 revealed that cooperation among the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes found its best base in their common distrust and dislike of Budapest and Vienna rather than in any serious desire to effect South Slav unity.

The most significant development in Croatian history between 1849 and 1867 was the search for new policies to replace those which had been discredited. The most radical solution was put forward by two disillusioned former followers of Illyrianism, Ante Starcevic and Eugen Kvaternik, the founders of the Party of Rights. Whereas the former program had stressed historic rights and called for the maintenance of the empire, these two men now minimized historic rights, stressed ethnic rights, and advocated Croatia's total separation from the empire. Starcevic even proclaimed that Austria was the "historic" enemy of Croatia. Instead of the former emphasis on South Slav unity, Starcevic and his party showed a strong revulsion for everything that was Serbian or Slavic. Starcevic repeatedly used the term "Slavo-Serb" as a derogatory expression to designate anyone whom he regarded as an enemy or a traito1· to the Croatian cause, whether he was a Croat, or, as it frequently was, a Serb. Certainly, by using the term "Serb" in this context he did not win friends for himself or the Croats in Belgrade. Starcevic even wrote an article entitled "lme Serb" (The Name Serb) in which he denied the historical validity of the name, and he objected to its use. In his view, the Serbs as such did not exist, because "the most noble part of the Croatian people lives in Serbia." The Serbs were Croats who had gone astray by becoming Orthodox; his purpose was to bring them into the Catholic Croat fold. He also claimed that the Slovenes were a branch of the Croatian nation.

The importance of StarceviC's program is obvious. It was the strongest political expression of Croatian separatism. As opposed to previous programs, it called for the establishment of an independent Croatian state with ties with no other power-a concept which was in conflict with the tradition of the nation for over 700 years. When Pravastvo sought to absorb the Serbs and Slovenes by claiming that the Croats were the only historic people in the South Slav lands, it, in effect, was adopting in its own interest the arguments used by the Magyars to dominate the "lands of St. Stephen."

The Illyrian tradition, attacked by Starcevic and his followers, was continued, however, in the Yugoslavism of Bishop Strossmayer and his closest collaborator, Canon Franjo Racki. Whereas lllyrianism had aimed at securing South Slav unity within the empire, Yugoslavism, which was an extension of Illyrianism, sought a similar goal, but outside and at the expense of the monarchy. The earlier program directed Croatia's future toward Central Europe; Yugoslavism drew Croatia into the Balkans. lllyrianism stressed linguistic and cultural unity, essentially ignoring the issue of religion; Yugoslavism, through Strossmayer and Racki, sought to expand scholarly and intellectual endeavors and to minimize religious differences. In contrast to Pravastvo, which believed that the creation of an independent Croatia was a possibility, Yugoslavism visualized Croatia as a part of a federal state.

In the period between 1849 and 1867 other political parties with other ideas were also active. The chief issues were those arising from Bach's absolutism and Anton von Schmerling's centralism. The pro-Magyar Unionist Party, which was an extension of a party formed in 1840 to combat the Illyrians, advocated a united front between Croatia and Hungary, without any prior conditions, as the only possible course against Vienna. The National Party of the Illyrian era was ready to cooperate with Budapest, but only if the latter accepted both de jure and de facto Croatia's separate existence since 1848 and if it also acknowledged the unity of the Triune kingdom. The newly formed Independent National Party, an offshoot of the National Party, while not rejecting outright the ties with the Magyars, preferred to keep the door to Vienna open, believing that the union of Dalmatia to Croatia could only be achieved with Austria's concurrence. Although the Party of Rights in theory sought independence, even Kvaternik believed in 1860-1861 that Croatia would have to remain tied to the empire through the person of the king. Bach's absolutism had thus driven three of the four Croatian parties to consider some form of cooperation with Budapest against Vienna.

From 1860 to 1914 political activity in Croatia was in the hands of these four parties. During this time not more than two percent of the population could vote. The franchise was essentially restricted to those in the rural areas who paid the equivalent of 60 crowns in direct taxes, whereas those in the cities were required to pay 30 crowns. Thus, for example, as late as the election of 1908 there were only 48,562 eligible voters out of a population of about 2,500,000. Even the new electoral law of 1910 increased the number of voters only to 190,000, or 8 percent of the population. Moreover, in the two elections before 1914, after the new reform, less than 60 percent of the eligible voters actually participated. Thus, as is evident, roughly 95 percent of the population did not take a direct part in the affairs of the nation. The Croatian political movements strictly reflected the interests of the middle-class intellectuals and the professional groups. They and not the peasants or rural areas gave shape and form to the national aspirations from 1860 to 1918-a situation which was reversed after 1918.

In addition to the activities of the parties, attempts were made by individuals to tie the Croatian problem to international events. Kvaternik, who in the 'fifties had looked first to Russia and then to France for support, now endeavored to involve the Croatian issue with the Polish revolt of 1863. Tkalac sought to exploit the Austro-Italian conflict of 1866 for similar purposes. He also hoped that Serbia would become the South Slav Piedmont, an idea evidently shared by Strossmayer. These individual acts represented the first concerted efforts to bring the Croatian national problem to the attention of European diplomacy. Strossmayer and some members of the National Party, to which he belonged, became convinced that the Croatian issue could be settled only in the international arena and probably through a war.

It was in fact an international crisis, Prussia's defeat of Austria in 1866., that brought about the most important act for Croatian domestic history before 1914 the Ausgleich. Outmaneuvered by Vienna and Budapest, the Croatian sabor was compelled to sign its own Ausgleich (Nagodba) with Budapest in l868.2 s These two agreements represent the turning point in Croat-Magyar relations; they initiated a bitter half century of Magyar-Croat controversy which led eventually to the permanent estrangement of the two peoples whose previous historical development had been so closely connected. The conflicts came into the open at once. The Nagodba was not accepted by the National Party, which previously had controlled the majority in the sabor. Instead, a new election was held under the direction of the ban, Levin Rauch, who did not hesitate to manipulate the election to produce the desired result. The Unionist pro-Magyar party secured 52 of the 66 representatives in the sabor, which then proceeded to ratify the agreement. The 14 opposition members were well content to allow the Unionists to assume the burden of accepting the unpopular arrangement.

The Nagodba has been severely criticized as a major disaster in Croatian political life. Yet if the agreement is examined in its historical context, it was more favorable to the Croatians than is generally assumed. In the agreement the Magyars recognized the Croats as a political unit; they acknowledged that both the Military Frontier and Dalmatia should be joined to Croatia-Slavonia. Croatian was recognized as the official language of administration, and it could even be employed in the joint parliament in Budapest. The Croatian flag enjoyed equal status with that of Hungary. In 1848 Kossuth and his followers had not been willing to accept one of these points. There were, however, highly unfavorable provisions. The main criticism was directed against the control which the Nagodba gave Budapest over the ban and over Croatian finances. The Magyars also regained the port city of Fiume, in defiance of the demands even of the Unionists, who claimed that the city was an integral part of Croatia.

The Croatian opposition strongly condemned the Compromise and Unionist acceptance of it. Strossmayer, Racki, Starcevic, Kvaternik, and Mazuranic, each for his own reasons, attacked the provisions, but none could offer an attainable, workable alternative. Certainly Croatia, with no army of its own and without the support of a foreign power, could not force the achievement of a significantly better arrangement. The sole immediate success of the National Party was in its campaign against Ban Rauch, which culminated in the resignation of that controversial official. At this time international developments once again adversely affected Croatia. Count Karl Hohenwart's attempt to reach an agreement with the Czechs-an act which would have broken the principles of dualism and set the stage for the possible introduction of federalism in the empire-failed in the wake of the Franco* Prussian War. This setback strengthened the hands of the Magyars and depressed the hopes of the National Party.

With the obvious failure of peaceful, parliamentary tactics, Kvaternik now chose the alternative of seeking a solution based on force. In October, 1871, he launched an uprising in Rakovica with the aim of gaining the complete independence of Croatia. Within three days it was crushed; Kvaternik was among the dead. The movement was ill-timed, ill-conceived, and ill-prepared. It was, however, the only genuine revolt (buna) launched by the Croats in the nineteenth century in behalf of their national claims. When one compares the Croatian inactivity with the revolutionary measures of the Serbs, Greeks, and Bulgars, he recognizes the fundamental difference in the Croatian approach to the achievement of their national aspirations.

The immediate effect of Kvaternik's adventure was to arouse the suspicions of the Austrians and Magyars concerning the loyalty of the Croats. The Croats, who could hardly be accused of having pursued an active revolutionary attitude since 1790, became even more passive. Even the National Party, as though to separate itself from any suspicion of complicity in Kvaternik's revolt, became more submissive to Magyar pressure. It eventually accepted the Nagodba after some minor modifications were made concerning finances and the sabor. As a result, Bishop Stossmayer, the party's most distinguished member, left it in protest. In the future he shunned all direct association with any political party Magyar dominance over their part of the dual monarchy thus remained unimpaired. Henceforth Budapest became even more intransigent. The moderate spirit inherent in the Nagodba and in Joseph Eotvos' Nationalities Law was soon superseded by another attitude toward the Croatian national problem. In the next three decades the relations between the Croats and the Magyars became worse. In part, this growing estrangement between Zagreb and Budapest was related to the simultaneous rapprochement between Belgrade and Budapest and Vienna. This development was in turn reflected in the bitter Croatian-Serbian conflict within the Habsburg lands between 1878 and 1903.

Both Yugoslavism and Pravastvo had as their primary purpose the defense of the interests of Croatia. The first program, essentially of the intellectuals, was based on the assumption that the Croatian position was best defended within the framework of a federalized South Slav state in which the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes would all yield on some of the points which they had in conflict. In contrast, Pravastvo rejected any association on an equal basis with the Serbs and Slovenes. The existence of these peoples was not even recognized; no compromises were to be made. In fact, Starcevic saw Strossmayer's Yugoslavism as an Austrian scheme to destroy Croatian national consciousness. Thus when it appeared that the Croatian claims in the Military Frontier and in Bosnia-Herzegovina might be threatened by the expanding Serbian state, it is understandable that Pravastvo led in the formulation of countermeasures. In its activities against the Serbs, Pravastvo was able to secure a degree of unity in Croatian society-among the middle class, the clergy, and, most important, among the peasantry-hitherto unknown in the nineteenth century.


The Military Frontier had been created in the sixteenth century as a military buffer zone against the Ottoman Turks. During the period when it had served as a bastion against the invaders, the territory, which historically had belonged to Croatia, had become in some areas overwhelmingly Serbian in population. Once the military value of the area declined for the Habsburgs, its ethnic composition assumed major significance for the Croatian nationalists. An independent Croatian state was unthinkable without the control of this territory, which now had a Serb majority in certain parts. Consequently, it was in the Military Frontier that anti-Serbian and anti* Croatian feelings became the most bitter. At the same time this area produced some of the strongest advocates of Yugoslavism.

The control of Bosnia-Herzegovina was important for political-strategic reasons. The Triune Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia had the shape of a boomerang. Even a cursory glance at a physical map of the area reveals its military vulnerability. Without the inclusion of Bosnia-Herzegovina, independent Croatia would not have boundaries which could be defended. Bosnia-Herzegovina was also the hinterland of Dalmatia and of the nationally threatened Military Frontier. Geographic-military considerations, as well as historic-ethnic factors, made these lands vital to Croatia.
The Military Frontier was essentially the southern strip of Croatia-Slavonia, averaging 20-30 kilometers in width. It began on the Adriatic Sea south of Rijeka and extended beyond Belgrade in the east. The 1910 census showed that 62.5 percent of the population of Croatia-Slavonia was Croatian and 24.6 percent was Serbian. There were two and one half Croats for every Serb in these historically Croatian lands. The majority of the Serbs lived in or along the Military Frontier. Because of the national and strategic issue, the Croats were determined to gain control of the Military Frontier, which was under the administrative direction of Vienna. In 1881 the Croatian demands were met, and the area was joined to Croatia-Slavonia.

Matters did not run so smoothly, however, in regard to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here the Croats had to deal not only with the Habsburg government but also with the counter influence of the Serbian state. The first serious conflict between the Serbs and the Croats over Bosnia-Herzegovina occurred in 1867, on the eve of the Ausgleich. At that time the National Party entered into discussions with the Serbian government concerning the formulation of common policies aimed at preparing the ground for future close cooperation. However, as soon as the question of Bosnia-Herzegovina was introduced, it was evident that Zagreb and Belgrade regarded the matter from opposing points of view. The Serbs considered the lands as unquestionably theirs. The Croats later felt betrayed when Serbia entered into negotiations with the Magyars over other matters. When the revolution of 1875 began in Bosnia* Herzegovina, it naturally awoke great sympathy among the Croats. Liberation from Ottoman rule was the common desire of all the South Slavs. The greatest enthusiasm, however, was found among the Serbs of the Military Frontier. Many joined the insurgents or sent them aid. When after 1878 the monarchy took over the administration of the provinces, the Croatian sabor immediately appealed to Vienna to allow steps to be taken to prepare for the eventual incorporation of Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Croatian lands. Some members of the sabor even stated that there were no Serbs in Croatia, only Orthodox Croats.

At this time the historic claims of Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina were stronger than the ethnic. The 1910 census, which recorded religious affiliation rather than national origin, showed that 43.49 percent of the inhabitants of the provinces were Orthodox, 32.25 percent were Moslem, and only 19 percent were Catholic. The significance of these figures is magnified when it is remembered that the Serbs predominated in northwestern Bosnia, along much of the Military Frontier, whereas the Croats were in the majority in southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina. contiguous to south-central Dalmatia, but separated from Croatia proper by the northern, Serbian-dominated Bosnian lands. To the majority of the Croatian political leaders, control of Bosnia-Herzegovina remained essential on national grounds, no matter what its exact national composition. Its significance was obvious for an independent Croatia, but it had an equal importance for a future Yugoslav union. If these territories were not attached to Croatia, that state could not hope to hold the balance against Serbia in any future federal organization. Thus for both the followers of Pravastvo and of Yugoslavism the main danger to Croatian claims came, not from the Habsburg administration, but from the claims of the Serbian state.

The tension surrounding the problems of the Military Frontier and Bosnia-Herzegovina were made worse by the attitude of the clergy, both Orthodox and Catholic. The traditional role of the church had been that of the protector of national interests and national identity, and it could not be expected to surrender this role so easily. Thus in the 'sixties the lower clergy, the village priests, became a significant element in Croatian national politics. The Franciscan order in Bosnia, in particular, assumed an increasingly important role in the defense of Croatian claims to the area. Through his direct contact with the peasant, the priest instilled feelings of fervent patriotism and nationalism; the politicians then made use of this spirit. When in the 1870's Ban Ivan Mazuranic closed the Serbian Orthodox confessional schools in Croatia* Slavonia, the Orthodox priests led the protests against the move; the Catholic priests supported the act. In retaliation, the Serbs refused further political cooperation with the Croats. They formed their own political parties, and they demanded separate schools and religious institutions. In Dalmatia the Serbs joined with the Italians against the Croats. They also opposed the union of Dalmatia and Croatian act which they had previously supported. A bitter confessional struggle broke out in every area within the monarchy where Serb and Croat lived together.

The religious clash had an adverse effect upon the work of Bishop Strossmayer and Canon Racki. Their views were the exception in the Church hierarchy and the Sabor. Unlike the members of the Sabor, these two men opposed and condemned the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They wanted these lands to be the bridge, not the barrier, to South Slav cooperation. Their attitude remained in opposition to that of the lower clergy, whether Catholic or Orthodox, who continued to fight for the position of their own churches and nationalities.

The developments of the seventies coincided with the shift of Serbia's foreign policy between 1878 and 1903 from a pro* Russian to a pro-Austrian orientation. The Serbian government, especially under Milan, cooperated with Vienna and Budapest. As a result of this collaboration, the Serbian minority in Croatia-Slavonia was given preferential treatment at the expense of the Croats during the two decades from 1883 to 1903, when Count Karl Khuen-Hedervary served as ban. The divide and rule policy was never so effectively exploited as during this time. Using the favorable political climate, Khuen-Hedervary was able to introduce a determined program of magyarization. By the end of the 'eighties he had pushed through the sabor which he controlled, a law calling for the introduction of Magyar schools in Croatia. Later it was decided that Hungarian would be taught on a voluntary basis in Croatian Gymnasia. Inscriptions in Magyar were placed on government buildings in Zagreb. Hungarian was also made the language of railroad administration. Economic policies were pursued which implied Croatian subordination to Hungarian interests. The railroads served Hungarian rather than Croatian needs; already Magyar and Viennese banking interests predominated in Croatia. Fiume was developed as the port for Hungary, not Croatia. Economically the Croats were to be to Hungary what the Magyars did not want to be to Austria.

All these developments played into the hands of Starcevic and Pravastvo. Budapest and Vienna, Zagreb's traditional adversaries, had linked forces with Belgrade against the Croatian nation.. This proved to the Party of Rights the bankruptcy of Strossmayer's Yugoslavism. Exploiting the opportunity provided by the recent events, Starcevic carried his campaign against the dual monarchy and the Serbs to its highest peak. In addition, he dramatically reversed his policy in another direction. Hitherto he had not been a supporter or admirer of either tsarist Russia or Pan-Slavism. Now, recognizing the positive military role which Russia had played in securing the liberation from Ottoman control of Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria, as well as the non-Slavic states of Greece and Rumania, Starcevic came to the conclusion that tsarist Russia might well render the same service to Croatia.

He completely misinterpreted Russian foreign policy. Alexan*der III certainly had no interest in encouraging revolt against the dual monarchy, with which his country shared conservative monarchical traditions. Although the Three Emperors' League broke up in 1887, this discord in Austro-Russian relations did not mean that Russia would seek the destruction of the Habsburg empire.

After 1888 Starcevic's personal influence in Croatia rapidly decreased. Josip Frank and the Party of Pure Rights succeeded in attracting much of Starcevic's former following. However, the anti-Magyar and anti-Serbian course of political action which he had set in motion continued. In 1895, on the occasion of a visit to Zagreb by Francis Joseph, the university students burned the Magyar flag in Jelacic Square. In September, 1902, violent anti-Serbian outbreaks in Zagreb led to bloodshed and death. The rise in violence was abetted by the appearance of an article by the Serb Nikola Stojanovic entitled "Srbi i Hrvati" (Serbs and Croats) which contained the challenge to the Croats: "do istrage vase ili nase" (to the extermination of you or us). In the following spring further bloody riots occurred when inscriptions in Magyar were placed on the newly constructed Zagreb railroad station. However, in June, 1903, Khuen-Hedervary was appointed minister* president of Hungary. With his removal as ban, conditions in Croatia changed and Pravastvo lost its position of major influence.

Although Pravastvo had been built upon many false assumptions, such as the claim that the Serbs were only Orthodox Croats, it had served a purpose. It had not only contributed more than any other concept to arousing Croatian national consciousness, but it had also attracted the attention of the Serbs to the existence of this feeling. The Serbs could understand Pravastvo, because it was logical in the terms of their own historical development. It was, in fact, the counterpart of their own Greater Serbian nationalism. It also provided the Croats with an alternative, and a popular one, to cooperation either with the Habsburg monarchy or with the other South Slavs should both of these combinations prove impossible to achieve or maintain.

From 1790 through 1867 the aim of the majority of the political leaders of Croatia was to prove their loyalty to the Habsburg empire and to seek a solution to the Croatian national desires within the state. After the Ausgleich most of the Croats, notwithstanding the attraction of Prava8tvo, were still ready to remain with the monarchy, but only if they were given an equal position within it. In the period from 1867 to 1903 it became clear that this goal could not be attained. The Croat position had, in fact, deteriorated. The events of the year 1903 were decisive for the Croatian national movement. Khuen-Hedervary was now no longer the ban of Croatia; Benjamin Kallay, who as joint minister of finance in the dual monarchy had also been the chief administrative official in Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1882, died in 1903. He had played the same role in his districts as Khuen-Hedervary had in Croatia. Even more important were the events in Serbia. Here the anti-Habsburg Karadjordjevic dynasty succeeded the pro*Habsburg Obrenovices. The new ruler, King Peter, was . a known advocate of South Slav cooperation. With his accession to the throne, the Croats could hope to obtain political support and possibly even military aid for their national aims which they had been unable to gain from Belgrade under the preceding rulers or from any other foreign state.

The year 1903 also saw the rise to prominence of a new generation of national leaders. Most of them were students at this time, but they retained the direction of the national movement until the creation of Yugoslavia. Unlike the student generation that had supported the Illyrian movement, which was led by a Croat ( Gaj), the new group was chiefly influenced by Tomas G. Masaryk, who was not a South Slav but who understood their problems because of his own experiences in the Bohemian lands of the monarchy. In his classes he emphasized not the traditional concept of a historic state's rights but that of ethnic rights. He tried to stress the points which would bring the South Slavs together rather than to emphasize their controversies and conflicts.

The first concrete sign of a Croatian-Serbian rapprochement and eventual cooperation in the Habsburg lands appeared in Dalmatia. This province had remained in the background in the political controversies for most of the century. It was the most impoverished of the Croatian lands. Here the national conflict had involved resistance to Italianization rather than to Magyarization. For most of the Dalmatian leaders the political goal was unification with Croatia and Slavonia, that is, the reformation of the Triune kingdom. They had also gained considerable experience in the preceding period in dealing with economic and political issues.

It was thus two Dalmatians, Ante Trumbic and Frano Supilo, who launched the "new course" in Croatian politics. This program called for cooperation between the Croats and the Serbs of the empire to protect their mutual interests. The supporters of the "new course" were primarily intellectuals, who were backed by strong middle-class elements. According to Mirjana Gross, in her excellent study of the Serbo-Croat Coalition, the ultimate goal of the movement was the formation of an independent South Slav state. The decision to pursue the "new course" was strongly influenced by the tension which had developed between Vienna and Budapest over the dual relationship, and, even more important from the Croatian point of view, the danger which was foreseen in the German Drang nach Osten. In the past the Croats had been ready to cooperate with the Austrians when it could be done on the basis of equality. The creation of a united Germany closely allied to Vienna politically and economically created a condition which the Croats regarded as a menace to their own nationality.

The Serbo-Croat Coalition was formed in 1905 at Rijeka and Zadar. The Croatian parties (with the exception of the Frankovites and the Peasant Party) and the Serbian parties (with the exception of some elements of the Serbian Independent and the Serbian Radical parties) now endorsed a program of political cooperation within the dual monarchy. From 1905 to 1918 the Coalition remained the single most influential group among the South Slavs of the empire, even though it did not command the support of the majority before 1914. In this period the tactics of the party shifted. At times a policy of cooperation with the Habsburg authorities was adopted; at other times, one of opposition. Similarly, Vienna and Budapest varied their approach to the Coalition. As a result of these actions, the Coalition was frequently criticized and many South Slavs did not understand its methods or tactics.

The first major endeavor of the Coalition was the support it gave to the Kossuth faction in Budapest, which sought to limit the ties between Hungary and Austria to that of a personal union through the monarch. It was thought that a weakening of the Ausgleich would benefit Croatia. In return for Croatian support, the Magyar party was expected to endorse the plans for a revision of the 1868 Nagodba. However, when Francis Joseph threatened the Magyars with the introduction of universal suffrage to check the demands for a separate army, the Kossuth group modified its stand. Having reached a temporary reconciliation with Vienna, Budapest turned again to its former policy of seeking to extend its economic domination over Croatia through a renewal of the drive to enforce the use of the Magyar language in Croatian railroad administration. The first political action of the Coalition thus failed. Nevertheless, the Coalition did not break apart, even though the Serbian Radical Party withdrew from it and friction developed between individual Serbs and Croats. The Coalition won the next election to the Sabor and continued to grow in strength.

By 1908, at the time of the annexation crisis, the Habsburg administration decided to move against this dangerous political opponent. First Ban Rauch unsuccessfully tried to manipulate the elections so that they would go against the Coalition. After the annexation an even more determined effort was made to destroy the Coalition. The aim of the Zagreb (Agram) and Friedjung trials was to split the ranks of the Serbs and to turn the Croats against the Serbs by, among other things, exploiting their differences over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Friedjung trial also sought to discredit Supilo, the most important leader in the Coalition, by charging him with treasonous activities. Although innocent of the specific charges in the trial, Supilo resigned his position in the Coalition to protect the organization. A Serb, Svetozar Pribicevic, was chosen to replace him. Whereas Supilo had looked to Croatia as the natural leader in the unification of the South Slavs, Pribicevic apparently regarded Serbia as the center of future Jugoslav activity. The fact that a Serb, although one from Croatia, now led the most successful party in Croatia was a tribute to the progress achieved by the Serbo-Croat Coalition in changing Croatian and Serbian attitudes since the bloody days of 1902-1903. In addition, Pribicevic's leadership created the necessary bridge for closer cooperation with Belgrade.

After the difficult days of the Bosnian crisis, when the Coalition gained much political experience, the Coalition was able to use the subsequent developments, particularly the Balkan Wars, to its own advantage. By 1914 it had a firm hold on Croatian politics. It was also in a position to lead the country in any future crisis, although not without opposition from other parties.

The shift toward Serbia was deeply disturbing to some of the Croatian political leaders. To these men Serbia still represented the Balkans; the attraction of the superior civilization of Austria-Hungary remained strong. Thus the Frankovite Party of Pure Rights, for instance, maintained its old hatred of the Serbs and continued to stand for the creation of a Greater Croatia within the Habsburg monarchy. After the death of Josip Frank in 1911 the United Party of Rights also wanted to remain with Austria, but under a form of trialism. Even the growing Peasant Party of the Radic brothers preferred the Austrian tie. This group advocated a form of Austro-Slavism in which the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes of the monarchy would form a political unit. The Social Democrats of Croatia and Slovenia, for economic reasons, followed a similar program of cooperation within the monarchy. They, too, advocated some kind of "national-cultural union" among the South Slavs and a common literary language. On the eve of the war in 1914 it was evident that the Croatian political parties were not united on the subject of their political future. The Serbo-Croat Coalition was the strongest political party, but it was one of several.

At this time a new element entered Croatian politics with the appearance of an increase in acts of terror. These were in contrast to the legalistic, parliamentary methods which had hitherto been characteristic in Croatia. It was obvious that the political atmosphere was changing; many people were becoming impatient. In 1910 Bogdan zerajic tried to assassinate General Marijan Varesanin in Bosnia. In 1912 Luka Jukic tried to kill Ban Slavko Cuvaj. Two months later Ivan Planinscak also made an attempt on the ban's life. In 1913 a worker, Stjepan Dojcic, wounded Ban Ivan Skerlecz, who was the object of another attack in 1914. At no time in previous history was such concerted violence characteristic of Croatian political activity.

The assassination of the archduke at Sarajevo took the Croatian problem out of its Habsburg context and placed its solution in the realm ·of international politics. The fate of Croatian nationalism would now be decided on the battlefields of Europe. The event itself marked the end of a century of Croatian political evolution. In contrast to the situation prevailing in 1790, there was now a fully developed Croatian national consciousness. Croatian, not Latin or Magyar, was the language of the nation. The nobility and clergy had been replaced as the leaders of the nation by the political parties, organized on a far wider social base. The peasantry, who were without influence in 1790, were on the eve of becoming the most vital political element in the state. Croatian leaders had also sponsored the doctrines of Yugoslavism and had laid a base for possible future cooperation with the Serbs. Although it cannot be proved that the majority of Croats favored the creation of a Yugoslavia in 1914, the movement in Croatian politics was in that direction.

During the war two groups represented the interests of the Croats. Within the monarchy the Serbo-Croat Coalition, for obviously tactical reasons, continued its policy of cooperating with the Habsburg authorities. At the same time it remained in liaison with the Yugoslav Committee abroad, an organization which was working for the destruction of the dual monarchy. The president of the Yugoslav Committee was Ante Trumbic. Its membership was predominantly Croatian, although there were Serbs and Slovenes in it. The major role played by this group in subsequent events has been well described by many scholars, notably Bogdan Krizman, Milada Paulova, and Dragovan sepic. Three points in its program were of particular significance. First, it aimed at forcing Nikola Pasic and the Serbian leadership to reject Greater Serbianism in favor of the formation of a South Slav state on federal lines. Second, it fought for Croatian national interests in the international field, particularly as they related to Italy and the provisions of the treaty of London. Third, and perhaps most important, the members of the Yugoslav Committee recognized the need for publicizing in Europe and America their program of the destruction of the dual monarchy and the formation of a new South Slav state.

The formation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918 marked the victory of one trend in Croatian political life. In the nineteenth century-the age of nationalism-all Croatian political groups agreed on the necessity of protecting the Croatian national individuality from foreign domination or encroachment. However, they could not reach agreement on how this could best be attained or on the political structure which would best guarantee Croatian interests. Traditional nationalism, the pattern for most of Europe, was represented in Croatia by Prava8tvo. Although it did contribute to the formation of a strong Croatian national consciousness, it could not command the diplomatic or military force necessary to achieve its goal of an independent Croatia. Illyrianism and Austro-Slavism, both based on a policy of cooperation with other peoples on an equal basis, failed for much the same reasons. With the impossibility of the achievement of these programs, Yugoslavism became the most probable alternative should it become impossible to maintain the connections with Vienna and Budapest. Essentially a Croatian solution to the South Slav problem, Yugoslavism was able to attract the support of the Serbs and Slovenes of the monarchy. The military and political collapse of the Habsburg empire in 1918 and the Italian threat to Croatian territory not only gave the proponents of Yugoslavism the opportunity to realize their goals, but also demonstrated that this solution was in fact the only practical choice which the Croatians had in the circumstances of the time. Nevertheless, in December, 1918, it was believed that a union with the Slovenes and Serbs, based on the federal principle, would guarantee the Croats their fullest development in the political, cultural, and economic spheres. This is the goal which they believed the Magyars and the Austrians had denied them in the nineteenth century.


Indiana University
CHARLES JELAVICH

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