Pogledaj Full Version : A Country Study: Yugoslavia - Library of Congress

Željko Zidarić
13th-June-2012, 11:41 PM

Source: LOC (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/yutoc.html)

Figure 2. Military Frontier Province Between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, ca. 1600-1800


Source: Based on information from Great Britain, Admiralty, Naval Intelligence Division, Yugoslavia II: History, Peoples, and Administration, London; 1944, 20.

Figure 3. Expansion of Serbia, 1804-1914


Tombstones of heretical Bogomil sect, Bosnia
Courtesy Sam and Sarah Stulberg

Before Yugoslavia became a nation, the Slovenes, Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Macedonians, and Albanians had virtually independent histories. The Slovenes struggled to define and defend their cultural identity for a millennium, first under the Frankish Kingdom and then under the Austrian Empire. The Croats of Croatia and Slavonia enjoyed a brief independence before falling under Hungarian and Austrian domination; and the Croats in Dalmatia struggled under Byzantine, Hungarian, Venetian, French, and Austrian rule. The Serbs, who briefly rivaled the Byzantine Empire in medieval times, suffered 500 years of Turkish domination before winning independence in the nineteenth century. Their Montenegrin kinsmen lived for centuries under a dynasty of bishop-priests and savagely defended their mountain homeland against foreign aggressors. Bosnians turned to heresy to protect themselves from external political and religious pressure, converted in great numbers to Islam after the Turks invaded, and became a nuisance to Austria-Hungary in the late nineteenth century. A hodgepodge of ethnic groups peopled Macedonia over the centuries. As the power of the Ottoman Empire waned, the region was contested among the Serbs, Bulgars, Greeks, and Albanians, and also was a pawn among the major European powers. Finally, the disputed Kosovo region, with an Albanian majority and medieval Serbian tradition, remained an Ottoman backwater until after the Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century.

The Croats and Their Territories

Most historians believe that the Croats are a purely Slavic people who probably migrated to the Balkans from the present-day Ukraine. A newer theory, however, holds that the original Croats were nomadic Sarmatians who roamed Central Asia, migrated onto the steppes around 200 B.C., and rode into Europe near the end of the fourth century A.D., possibly together with the Huns. The Sarmatian Croats, the theory holds, conquered the Slavs of northern Bohemia and southern Poland and formed a small state called White Croatia near today's Kraków. The Croats then supposedly mingled with their more numerous Slavic subjects and adopted the Slavic language, while the subjects assumed the tribal name "Croat."

A tenth-century Byzantine source reports that in the seventh century Emperor Heraclius enlisted the Croats to expel the Avars from Byzantine lands. The Croats overran the Avars and Slavs in Dalmatia around 630 and then drove the Avars from today's Slovenia and other areas. In the eighth century, the Croats lived under loose Byzantine rule, and Christianity and Latin culture recovered in the coastal cities. The Franks subjugated most of the Croats in the eighth century and sent missionaries to baptize them in the Latin rite, but the Byzantine Empire continued to rule Dalmatia.

Croatia emerged as an independent nation in 924. Tomislav (910-c. 928), a tribal leader, established himself as the first king of Croatia, ruling a domain that stretched eastward to the Danube. Croatia and Venice struggled to dominate Dalmatia as the power of Byzantium faded, and for a time the Dalmatians paid the Croats tribute to assure safe passage for their galleys through the Adriatic. After the Great Schism of 1054 split the Roman and Byzantine churches, Normans (probably with papal support) besieged Byzantine cities in Dalmatia. In 1075 a papal legate crowned Dmitrije Zvonimir (1076-89) king of Croatia.

A faction of nobles contesting the succession after the death of Zvonimir offered the Croatian throne to King László I of Hungary. In 1091 Laszlo accepted, and in 1094 he founded the Zagreb bishopric, which later became the ecclestictical center of Croatia. Another Hungarian king, Kálmán, crushed opposition after the death of Laszlo and won the crown of Dalmatia and Croatia in 1102. The crowning of Kálmán forged a link between the Croatian and Hungarian crowns that lasted until the end of World War I. Croats have maintained for centuries that Croatia remained a sovereign state despite the voluntary union of the two crowns, but Hungarians claim that Hungary annexed Croatia outright in 1102. In either case, Hungarian culture permeated Croatia, the Croatian-Hungarian border shifted often, and at times Hungary treated Croatia as a vassal state. Croatia, however, had its own local governor, or ban; a privileged landowning nobility; and an assembly of nobles, the Sabor.

The joining of the Croatian and Hungarian crowns automatically made Hungary and Venice rivals for domination of Dalmatia. Hungary sought access to the sea, while Venice wished to secure its trade routes to the eastern Mediterranean and to use Dalmatian timber for shipbuilding. Between 1115 and 1420, the two powers waged twenty-one wars for control of the region and Dalmatian cities changed hands repeatedly. Serbia and Bosnia also competed for Dalmatia. Serbia seized the coast south of the Gulf of Kotor on the southern Adriatic coast around 1196 and held it for 150 years; Bosnia dominated central Dalmatia during the late fourteenth century. Dalmatian cities struggled to remain autonomous by playing one power against the others. Most successful in this strategy was Dubrovnik, whose riches and influence at times rivaled those of Venice. In the fourteenth century, Dubrovnik became the first Christian power to establish treaty relations with the Ottoman Empire, which was then advancing across the Balkans. Dubrovnik prospered by mediating between Europe and the new Ottoman provinces in Europe, and by exporting precious metals, raw materials, agricultural goods, and slaves. After centuries as the only free South Slav political entity, the city waned in power following a severe earthquake in 1667.

In 1409 Ladislas of Naples, a claimant to the throne of Hungary, sold Venice his rights to Dalmatia. By 1420 Venice controlled virtually all of Dalmatia except Dubrovnik. The Venetians made Dalmatia their poorest, most backward province: they reduced Dalmatian local autonomy, cut the forests, and stifled industry. Venice also restricted education, so that Zadar, the administrative center of Dalmatia, lacked even a printing press until 1796. Despite centuries of struggle for dominance of the region and exploitation by Venice, Dalmatia produced several first-rate artists and intellectuals, including the sculptor Radovan, Juraj Dalmatinac, an architect and sculptor, writer Ivan Gundulic, and scientist Rudjer Boskovic.

Ottoman armies overran all of eastern and southern Croatia south of the Sava River in the early sixteenth century, and slaughtered a weak Hungarian force at the Battle of Mohács (Hungary) in 1526. Buda was captured in 1541, then Turkish marauders advanced toward Austria. After Mohács, Hungarian and Croatian nobles elected the Habsburg Ferdinand I of Austria king of Hungary and Croatia. To tighten its grip on Croatia and solidify its defenses, Austria restricted the powers of the Sabor, established a military border across Croatia, and recruited Germans, Hungarians, Serbs, and other Slavs to serve as peasant border guards. This practice was the basis for the ethnic patchwork that survives today in Croatia, Slavonia, and Vojvodina. Austria assumed ownership and direct control of the border lands, and gave local independence and land to families who agreed to settle and guard those lands. Orthodox border families also won freedom of worship, which drew stiff opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.

Turkish inroads in Croatia and Austria also triggered price increases for agricultural goods, and opportunistic landowners began demanding payment in kind, rather than cash, from serfs. Rural discontent exploded in 1573 when Matija Gubec led an organized peasant rebellion that spread quickly before panic- stricken nobles were able to quell it.

Religious ferment in Europe affected Croatian culture in the sixteenth century. Many Croatian and Dalmatian nobles embraced the Protestant Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century, and in 1562 Stipan Konzul and Anton Dalmatin published the first Croatian Bible. The Counterreformation began in Croatia and Dalmatia in the early seventeenth century, and the most powerful Protestant noblemen soon reconverted. In 1609 the Sabor voted to allow only the Catholic faith in Croatia. The Counterreformation enhanced the cultural development of Croatia. Jesuits founded schools and published grammars, a dictionary, and religious books that helped shape the Croatian literary language. Franciscans preached the Counterreformation in Ottoman-held regions.

Western forces routed a Turkish army besieging Vienna in 1683 and then began driving the Turks from Europe. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz, the Turks ceded most of Hungary, Croatia, and Slavonia to Austria, and by 1718 they no longer threatened Dalmatia. During the Western advance, Austria expanded its military border, and thousands of Serbs fleeing Turkish oppression settled as border guards in Slavonia and southern Hungary (see fig. 2). As the Turkish threat waned, Croatian nobles demanded reincorporation of the military border into Croatia. Austria, which used the guards as an inexpensive standing military force, rejected these demands, and the guards themselves opposed abrogation of their special privileges.

From 1780 to 1790, Joseph II of Austria introduced reforms that exposed ethnic and linguistic rivalries. Among other things, Joseph brought the empire under strict central control and decreed that German replace Latin as the official language of the empire. This decree enraged the Hungarians, who rejected Germanization and fought to make their language, Magyar, the official language of Hungary. The Croats, fearing both Germanization and Magyarization, defended Latin. In 1790, when Joseph died, Hungary was on the verge of rebellion. Joseph's successor, Leopold II, abandoned centralization and Germanization when he signed laws ensuring Hungary's status as an independent kingdom under an Austrian king. The next Austrian emperor, Francis I, stifled Hungarian political development for almost four decades, during which Magyarization was not an issue.

Venice repulsed Ottoman attacks on Dalmatia for several centuries after the Battle of Mohács, and it helped to push the Turks from the coastal area after 1693. But by the late eighteenth century, trade routes had shifted, Venice had declined, and Dalmatian ships stood idle. Napoleon ended the Venetian Republic and defeated Austria; he then incorporated Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, and western Croatia as the French Illyrian Provinces. France stimulated agriculture and commerce in the provinces, fought piracy, enhanced the status of the Orthodox population, and stirred a Croatian national awakening. In 1814 the military border and Dalmatia returned to Austria when Napoleon was defeated; Hungary regained Croatia and Slavonia. In 1816 Austria transformed most of the Illyrian Provinces into the Kingdom of Illyria, an administrative unit designed to counterbalance radical Hungarian nationalism and coopt nascent movements for union of the South Slavs. Austria kept Dalmatia for itself and reduced the privileges of the Dalmatian nobles.

The Croatian-Hungarian language conflict reemerged in the 1830s, as Hungarian reformers grew more critical of Austrian domination. French-educated Croatian leaders, fearing Hungarian linguistic and political domination, began promoting the Croatian language and formation of a Slavic kingdom within the Austrian Empire. In 1832, for the first time in centuries, a Croatian noble addressed the Sabor in Croatian. With tacit Austrian approval, Ljudevit Gaj, a journalist and linguist, promoted a South Slavic literary language, devised a Latin-based script, and in 1836 founded an anti-Hungarian journal that called for Illyrian cultural and political unity. Hungary feared the Illyrian movement and banned even public utterance of the word "Illyria." In 1843 the Hungarian assembly voted to make Magyar the official language of Hungary and Slavonia, and eventually to make it the official language of Hungarian-Croatian relations. Croats called the law an infringement on their autonomy, saturated Vienna with petitions for separation from Hungary, and returned to Budapest all documents sent them in Hungarian.

Hungary rose against Austria during the revolution that swept Europe in 1848. The Croats, rightly fearing Hungarian chauvinism and expecting union of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia, sided with Austria. Ban Josip Jelacic led an army that attacked the Hungarian revolutionary forces. His units soon withdrew, but Russian troops invaded Hungary to crush the revolution. Despite their loyalty to Austria, the Croats received only the abolition of serfdom. Rather than uniting the Slavic regions as promised, the emperor suspended the constitution and introduced absolutist rule and Germanization.

Austria ended absolutist rule in 1860, and a military defeat in 1866 brought the empire to the brink of collapse. In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph entered the Dual Monarchy with Hungary, uniting the two states under a single crown. Conflicting interests kept Austria-Hungary from uniting the South Slavs: Croatia and Slavonia fell under Hungarian control, while Austria retained Dalmatia. In 1868 a Sabor dominated by pro-Hungarian deputies adopted the Nagodba, or compromise, which affirmed that Hungary and Croatia comprised distinct political units within the empire. Croatia obtained autonomy in internal matters, but finance and other Croatian-Hungarian or Austro-Hungarian concerns required approval from Budapest and Vienna. Hungarian leaders considered that the Nagodba provided ample home rule for Croatia, but Croatia opposed it strongly. A subsequent election law guaranteed pro-Hungarian landowners and officials a majority in the Sabor and increased Croatian hatred for Hungarian domination. Croatian members of the Hungarian assembly then resorted to obstructionism to enhance their meager influence.

After 1868 the Croatian leadership was divided between advocates of a South Slav union and nationalists favoring a Greater Croatia; a bitter rivalry developed between the Croats and Serbs. Bishop Josip Strossmayer dominated the Croatian South Slav movement and supported liturgical concessions to help reduce the religious differences dividing Croats and Serbs. In pursuit of a South Slav cultural union, he founded the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1867 and the University of Zagreb in 1874. Ante Starcevic opposed Strossmayer, pressed for a Greater Croatia, and founded an extreme nationalist party. In 1881 Austria-Hungary reincorporated the military border into Croatia, increasing the number of ethnic Serbs in Croatia to about 25 percent of its 2.6 million population. The change raised ethnic tensions. The Croats' ill will toward Hungary and ethnic Serbs deepened under Ban Karoly Khuen-Héderváry (1883-1903), who ignored the Nagodba and exploited the Croatian-Serbian rivalry to promote Magyarization. In 1903 Hungary rejected Croatian demands for financial independence, quelled demonstrations, and suppressed the Croatian press. After 1903 moderate Croats and ethnic Serbs found common ground, and by 1908 a Croatian-Serbian coalition won a Sabor majority and condemned Austria's annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina. A new ban, hoping to split the coalition, brought bogus treason charges against ethnic Serbian leaders in Croatia; the subsequent trials scandalized Europe and strengthened the tenuous Croatian-Serbian coalition.

The Slovenes

The Slovenes, a Slavic people, migrated southwestward across present-day Romania in about the sixth century A.D., and settled in the Julian Alps. They apparently enjoyed broad autonomy in the seventh century, after escaping Avar domination. The Franks overran the Slovenes in the late eighth century; during the rule of the Frankish king Charlemagne, German nobles began enserfing the Slovenes and German missionaries baptized them in the Latin rite. Emperor Otto I incorporated most of the Slovenian lands into the duchy of Carantania in 952; later rulers split the duchy into Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria (see fig. 2). In 1278 the Slovenian lands fell to the Austrian Habsburgs, who controlled them until 1918.

Turkish marauders plagued Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Slovenes abandoned lands vulnerable to attack and raised bulwarks around churches to protect themselves. The Turkish conquest of the Balkans and Hungary also disrupted the Slovenian economy; to compensate, the nobles stiffened feudal obligations and crushed peasant revolts between 1478 and 1573.

In the tumult of the sixteenth century, German nobles in the three Slovenian provinces clamored for greater autonomy, embraced the Protestant Reformation, and drew many Slovenes away from the Catholic Church. The Reformation sparked the Slovenes' first cultural awakening. In 1550 Primoz Trubar published the first Slovenian-language book, a catechism. He later produced a translation of the New Testament and printed other Slovenian religious books in the Latin and Cyrillic (see Glossary) scripts. Ljubljana had a printing press by 1575, but the authorities closed it when Jurij Dalmatin tried to publish a translation of the Bible. Slovenian publishing activity then shifted to Germany, where Dalmatin published his Bible with a glossary enabling Croats to read it. The Counterreformation accelerated in Austria in the early seventeenth century, and in 1628 the emperor forced Protestants to choose between Catholicism and exile. Jesuit counterreformers burned Slovenian Protestant literature and took other measures that retarded diversification of Slovenian culture but failed to stifle it completely. Some Jesuits preached and composed hymns in Slovenian, opened schools, taught from an expurgated edition of Dalmatin's Bible, and sent Slovenian students to Austrian universities. Nonetheless Slovenian remained a peasant idiom and the higher social classes spoke German or Italian.

The Slovenian economic links with Germany and Italy strengthened in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and living conditions improved. The Vienna-Trieste trade route crossed through the Slovenian cities of Maribor and Ljubljana. Agricultural products and raw materials were exported over this trade route, and exotic goods were imported from the East. Despite his campaign to Germanize the Austrian Empire, Emperor Joseph II (1780-90) encouraged translation of educational materials into Slovenian. He also distributed monastic lands, workshops, and fisheries to Slovenian entrepreneurs.

By the end of the eighteenth century, Slovenian prosperity had yielded a self-reliant middle class that sent its sons to study in Vienna and Paris. They returned steeped in the views of the Enlightenment and bent on rational examination of their own culture. Slovenian intellectuals began writing in Slovenian rather than German, and they introduced the idea of a Slovenian nation. Between 1788 and 1791, Anton Linhart wrote an antifeudal, anticlerical history of the Slovenes that depicted them for the first time as a single people. In 1797 Father Valentin Vodnik composed Slovenian poetry and founded the first Slovenian newspaper.

After several victories over Austria, Napoleon incorporated the Slovenian regions and other Austrian lands into the French Empire as the Illyrian Provinces, with the capital at Ljubljana. Despite unpopular new tax and conscription laws, Slovenian intellectuals welcomed the French, who issued proclamations in Slovenian as well as in German and French, built roads, reformed the government, appointed Slovenes to official posts, and opened Slovenian-language schools for both sexes. France strengthened the national self-awareness of the Slovenes and other South Slavs in the Illyrian Provinces by promoting the concept of Illyria as a common link among Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. This concept later evolved into the idea of uniting the South Slavs in an independent state.

Austria reasserted its dominance of the Slovenes in 1813 and rescinded the French reforms. Slovenian intellectuals, however, continued refining the Slovenian language and national identity, while Austria strove to confine their activities to the cultural sphere. The pro-Austrian philologist and linguist Jernej Kopitar pioneered comparative Slavic linguistics and created a Slovenian literary language from numerous local dialects, hoping to strengthen the monarchy and Catholicism. France Preseren, perhaps the greatest Slovenian poet, worked to transform the Slovenian peasant idiom into a language as refined as German. In the 1840s, Slovenian audiences heard the first official public speech delivered in Slovenian and the first Slovenian songs sung in a theater. In 1843 Janez Blajvajs founded a practical journal for peasants and craftsmen that carried the cultural movement beyond the upper class to the masses.

Revolution convulsed Europe in 1848, and demonstrators in cities throughout the Austrian Empire called for constitutional monarchy. Crowds in Ljubljana cheered the apparent downfall of the old order. Intellectual groups drafted the Slovenes' first political platforms. Some programs called for an autonomous "Unified Slovenia" within the empire; others supported unification of the South Slavs into an Illyrian state linked with Austria or Germany. The 1848 revolution swept away serfdom, but the political movement of the Slovenes made little headway before the Austrian government regained control and imposed absolutist rule. In the 1850s and early 1860s, the campaigns of Slovenian leaders were again restricted to the cultural sphere.

Military defeats in 1859 and 1866 exposed the internal weakness of the Austrian Empire, and in 1867 Austria attempted to revitalize itself by joining with Hungary to form the Dual Monarchy (see Glossary). In the late 1860s, Slovenian leaders, convinced of the empire's imminent collapse, resurrected the dream of a United Slovenia. They staged mass rallies, agitated for use of the Slovenian language in schools and local government, and sought support from the Croats and other South Slavs. When the threat to the survival of Austria-Hungary waned after 1871, the Slovenes withdrew their support for a South Slav union and adapted themselves to political life within the Dual Monarchy. The conservative coalition that ruled Austria from 1879 to 1893 made minor cultural concessions to the Slovenes, including use of Slovenian in schools and local administration in some areas. Slovenes controlled the local assembly of Carniola after 1883, and Ljubljana had a Slovenian mayor after 1888.

In 1907 Austria instituted universal male suffrage, which encouraged Slovenian politicians that the empire would eventually fulfill the Slovenes' national aspirations. In October 1908, Austria annexed Bosnia and Hercegovina. The annexation sharpened the national self-awareness of the South Slavs and generated rumors of impending war with Serbia. Troop mobilization began. However, the main Slovenian parties welcomed the annexation as a step toward a union of the empire's South Slavs. Tensions eased after six months, but Austria-Hungary, fearing Pan-Slavism (see Glossary), conducted witch hunts for disloyal Slavs. In 1909 Slovenian party leaders criticized Vienna for mistreating the Slavs, but the possibilities of a South Slav union within the empire declined. Demands rose for creation of an independent South Slav nation, and a socialist conference in Ljubljana even called for the cultural unification of all South Slavs. Such appeals began a heated debate on the implications of unification for Slovenian culture.

Bosnia and Hercegovina

In the seventh century, Croats and Serbs settled in the land that now makes up Bosnia and Hercegovina. Dominance of the regions shifted among the Croatian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Byzantine rulers for generations, before the Croatian and Hungarian crowns merged and Hungary dominated. Foreign interference in Bosnia and Hercegovina exacerbated local political and religious hostilities and ignited bloody civil wars.

The heretical Bogomil faith played an important early role in Bosnian politics. Ban Kulin (1180-1204) and other nobles struggled to broaden Bosnian autonomy, rejected the Catholic and Orthodox faiths, and embraced Bogomilism, a dualistic offshoot of Christianity. The Bogomils enraged the papacy, and the Catholic kings of Hungary persecuted them to exterminate the heresy and secure Hungarian rule over Bosnia. Kulin recanted his conversion under torture, but the Bogomil faith survived crusades, civil war, and Catholic propaganda.

In the fourteenth century, Bosnia became a formidable state under the rule of Ban Stefan Tvrtko I (1353-91). Tvrtko joined Bosnia with the principality of Hum, forerunner of Hercegovina, and attempted to unite the South Slavs under his rule. After the Serbian Nemanja dynasty expired in 1371, Tvrtko was crowned King of Bosnia and Raska in 1377, and he later conquered parts of Croatia and Dalmatia. Bosnian troops fought beside the Serbs at Kosovo Polje. After that defeat, Tvrtko turned his attention to forming alliances with Western states. Rival nobles and religious groups vied to gain control of Bosnia after the death of Tvrtko; one noble in Hum won the title of "Herzeg," (German for "duke") whence the name "Hercegovina."

The fifteenth century marked the beginning of Turkish rule in Bosnia. Most of Bosnia was taken in 1463, Hercegovina in 1483. Many Orthodox and Roman Catholics fled, while Bogomil nobles converted to Islam to retain their land and feudal privileges. They formed a unique Slavic Muslim aristocracy that exploited its Christian and Muslim serfs for centuries and eventually grew fanatical and conservative. Turkish governors supervised Bosnia and Hercegovina from their capitals at Travnik and Mostar, but few Turks actually settled in this territory. Economic life declined and the regions grew isolated from Europe and even Constantinople. As the sultan's military expenses grew, small farms were replaced by large estates, and peasant taxes were raised substantially. When the Turkish Empire weakened in the seventeenth century, Bosnia and Hercegovina became pawns in the struggle among Austria, Russia, and the Turks.

The nineteenth century in Bosnia and Hercegovina brought alternating Christian peasant revolts against the Slavic Muslim landholders, and Slavic Muslim rebellions against the sultan. In 1850 the Turkish government stripped the conservative Slavic Muslim nobles of power, shifted the capital of Bosnia to Sarajevo, and instituted centralized, highly corrupt rule. Austrian capital began to enter the regions, financing primitive industries, and fostering a new Christian middle class. But the mostly Christian serfs continued to suffer the corruption and high rates of the Turkish tax system. In 1875 a peasant uprising in Hercegovina sparked an all-out rebellion in the Balkan provinces, provoking a European war. The Treaty of Berlin, which followed the Turkish defeat of 1878, gave Austria-Hungary the right to occupy Bosnia and Hercegovina to restore local order.

The Treaty of Berlin brought a period of manipulation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The empire suppressed Muslim and Orthodox opposition to the occupation and introduced an orderly administration. But it retained the feudal system because Bosnia and Hercegovina technically remained Turkish states. Seeking to increase the Catholic population of Bosnia, Vienna sent Austrian, Hungarian, Croatian, and Polish administrators, and colonized northern Bosnia with Catholic Slavs and Germans. The administrator of the regions, Baron Benjamin Kállay (1882-1903) fostered economic growth, reduced lawlessness, improved sanitation, built roads and railways, and established schools. However, Kállay, a Hungarian, exploited strong nationalist differences among the Muslim Slavs, Catholic Croats, and Orthodox Serbs.

At the turn of the century, nationalist differences reached the point of explosion. Fearful that Turkey might demand the return of Bosnia and Hercegovina after a revolutionary government was established in Constantinople, Austria-Hungary precipitated a major European crisis by annexing the regions in October 1908. Serbia, which had coveted the regions, mobilized for war. The crisis subsided a year later when Russia and Serbia bowed to German pressure and all Europe recognized the Serbian annexation as a fait accompli. Domination by Austria had embittered the ethnic groups of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Muslim Slavs resented Turkish withdrawal from the Balkans; the Croats looked initially to Vienna for support, but were increasingly disappointed by its response; and the Bosnian Serbs, deeply dissatisfied with continued serfdom, looked to Serbia for aid.

The Serbs and Serbia, Vojvodina, and Montenegro

Like the Croats, the Serbs are believed to be a purely Slavic people who originated in the Ukraine. Some scholars now argue that the original Serbs and Croats were Central Asian Sarmatian nomads who entered Europe with the Huns in the fourth century A.D. The theory proposes that the Sarmatian Serbs settled in a land designated as White Serbia, in what is now Saxony and Western Poland. The Sarmatian Serbs, it is argued, intermarried with the indigenous Slavs of the region, adopted their language, and transferred their name to the Slavs. Byzantine sources report that some Serbs migrated southward in the seventh century A.D. and eventually settled in the lands that now make up southern Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Hercegovina. Rival chiefs, or zupani, vied to control the Serbs for five centuries after the migration. Zupan Vlastimir formed a Serbian principality under the Byzantines around 850, and the Serbs soon converted to Eastern-rite Christianity. The Serbs had two political centers in the eleventh century: Zeta, in the mountains of present-day Montenegro, and Raska, located in modern southwestern Serbia.

The zupan of Raska, Stefan I Nemanja (1159-96), threw off Byzantine domination and laid the foundation for medieval Serbia by conquering Zeta and part of southern Dalmatia. His son and successor, Stefan II Nemanja (1196-1228) transformed Serbia into a stable state, friendly with Rome but with religious loyalty to Constantinople. In 1218 Pope Honorius III recognized Serbian political independence and crowned Stefan II. The writings of Stefan II and his brother (later canonized as St. Sava) were the first works of Serbian literature.

Later kings in the Nemanja line overcame internal rivalries and pressure from Bulgaria and Constantinople. They also rejected papal invitations to link the Serbian Orthodox Church with Rome, and they ruled their country through a golden age. Serbia expanded its economy, and Dalmatian merchants marketed Serbian goods throughout Europe and the Levant. The Nemanje dynasty left to Serbia masterpieces of religious art combining Western, Byzantine, and local styles.

Serbia dominated the Balkans under Stefan Dusan (1331-55), who conquered lands extending from Belgrade to present-day southern Greece. He proclaimed himself emperor, elevated the archbishop of Pec to the level of patriarch, and wrote a new legal code combining Byzantine law with Serbian customs. Dusan had ambitions toward a weakened Byzantine Empire, but the Byzantine emperor suspected his intentions and summoned the Turks to restrain him. Dusan repelled assaults in 1345 and 1349, but was defeated in 1352. He then offered to lead an alliance against the Turks and recognize the pope, but those gambits also were rejected.

Rival nobles divided Serbia after the death of Dusan in 1355, and many switched loyalty to the sultan after the last Nemanja died in 1371. The most powerful Serbian prince, Lazar Hrebeljanovic, raised a multinational force to engage the Turks in the Battle of Kosovo Polje on St. Vitus Day in 1389. The Turks barely defeated Lazar, and both he and the sultan were killed. The defeat did not bring immediate Turkish occupation of Serbia, but during the centuries of Turkish domination that followed, the Serbs endowed the battle with myths of honor and heroism that helped them preserve their dignity and sense of nationhood. Serbs still recite epic poems and sing songs about the nobles who fell at Kosovo Polje; the anniversary of the battle is the Serbian national holiday, Vidovdan (St. Vitus's Day), June 28.

Civil war in the Turkish Empire saved Serbia in the early fifteenth century, but the Turks soon reunited their forces to conquer the last Serbian stronghold at Smederjevo in 1459 and subjugate the whole country. Serbs fled to Hungary, Montenegro, Croatia, Dalmatia, and Bosnia, and some formed outlaw bands. In response to the activities of the latter, the Turks disinterred and burned the remains of St. Sava. By the sixteenth century, southern Hungary had a sizable Serbian population that remained after the Turks conquered the region in 1526. Montenegro, which emerged as an independent principality after the death of Dusan, waged continual guerrilla war on the Turks, and never was conquered. But the Turkish threat did force Prince Ivan of Montenegro to move his capital high into the mountains. There, he founded a monastery and set up a printing press. In 1516 Montenegro became a theocratic state.

Social and economic life in Serbia changed radically under the absolute rule of the Turkish sultan. The Turks split Serbia among several provinces, conscripted Serbian boys into their elite forces, exterminated Serbian nobles, and deprived the Serbs of contact with the West as the Renaissance was beginning. The Turks used the Orthodox Church to intermediate between the state and the peasantry, but they expropriated most church lands. Poorly trained Serbian priests strove to maintain the decaying national identity. In 1459 the sultan subordinated the Serbian Church to the Greek patriarch, but the Serbs hated Greek dominance of their church, and in 1557 Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, a Serb who had been inducted into the Turkish army as a boy, persuaded the sultan to restore autonomy to the Serbian Church. Turkish maltreatment and exploitation grew in Serbia after the sixteenth century, and more Serbs fled to become mountain outlaws, or hajduci. Epic songs of the hajduci kept alive the Serbs' memory of the glorious independence of the past.

From 1684 to 1689, Christian forces attempted to push the Turks from the Balkans, inciting the Serbs to rebel against their Turkish overlords. The offensive and the rebellion ultimately failed, exposing the Serbs south of the Sava River to the revenge of the Turks. Fearing Turkish reprisals, the Serbian patriarch Arsenije III Carnojevic emigrated in 1690 to Austrian-ruled southern Hungary with as many as 36,000 families. The Austrian emperor promised these people religious freedom and the right to elect their own vojvoda, or military governor, and incorporated much of the region where they settled, later known as Vojvodina, into the military border. The refugees founded new monasteries that became cultural centers. In Montenegro, Danilo I Petrovic of Njegos (1696-1737) became bishop-prince and instituted the succession of the Petrovic-Njegos family. His efforts to unify Montenegro triggered a massacre of Muslims in 1702 and subsequent reprisals.

Austrian forces took Serbian regions south of the Sava from Turkey in 1718, but Jesuits following the army proselytized so heavily that the Serbs came to hate the Austrians as well as the Turks. In the eighteenth century, the Turkish economy and social fabric began deteriorating, and the Serbs who remained under the Ottoman Empire suffered attacks from bands of soldiers. Corrupt Greek priests who had replaced Serbian clergy at the sultan's direction also took advantage of the Serbs. The Serbs in southern Hungary fared much better. They farmed prosperously in the fertile Danubian plain. A Serbian middle class arose, and the monasteries trained scholars and writers who inspired national pride, even among illiterate Serbs.

The eighteenth century brought Russian involvement in European events, particularly in competition with Austria for the spoils of the Turkish collapse. The Orthodox Serbs looked to the tsar for support, and Russia forged ties with Montenegro and the Serbian Church in southern Hungary. In 1774 Russia won the diplomatic right to protect Christian subjects of the Turks; later it used this right as a pretext to intervene in Turkish affairs. When Russia and Austria fought another war with Turkey in 1787 and 1788, Serbs fought guerrilla battles against the Turks. Austria abandoned the campaign, and the Serbs, in 1791. To secure their frontier, the Turks granted their Serbian subjects a measure of autonomy and formed a Serbian militia. Montenegro expanded in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Bishop-Prince Petar I Njegos (1782-1830) convinced the sultan to declare that the Montenegrins had never been Turkish subjects, and Montenegro remained independent through the nineteenth century.

In 1804 renegade Turkish soldiers in Belgrade murdered Serbian leaders, triggering a popular uprising under Karadjordje ("Black George") Petrovic, founder of the Karadjordjevic dynasty. Russia supported the Serbs, and in 1806 the sultan granted them limited autonomy (see fig. 3). But internal discord weakened the government of Karadjordje, and the French invasion of Russia in 1812 prevented the tsar from protecting the Serbs. In 1813 the Turks attacked rebel areas. Karadjordje fled to Hungary, then Turkish, Bosnian, and Albanian troops plundered Serbian villages. The atrocities sparked a second Serbian uprising in 1815 that won autonomy under Turkish control for some regions. The corrupt rebel leader Milos Obrenovic (1817-39) had Karadjordje murdered and his head sent to the sultan to signal Serbian loyalty.

In 1830 Turkey recognized Serbia as a principality under Turkish control, with Milos Obrenovic as hereditary prince. The sultan also granted the Serbian Church autonomy and reaffirmed the Russian right to protect Serbia. Poor administration, corruption, and a bloody rivalry between the Karadjordjevic and Obrenovic clans marred Serbian political life from its beginning. After the sultan began allowing foreign governments to send diplomats to Serbia in the 1830s, foreign intervention further complicated the situation. Despite these obstacles and his autocratic manner, however, Milos Obrenovic stimulated trade, opened schools, and guided development of peasant lands. He abdicated in 1838 when Turkey imposed a constitution to limit his powers.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Serbian culture made significant strides. Dositej Obradovic, Vuk Karadzic, and other scholars accelerated a national renaissance. Through his translations and autobiography, Obradovic spread the Enlightenment to the Serbs. Collections of Serbian folk songs and poems edited by Karadzic awoke pride in national history and traditions. Karadzic also overcame clerical opposition to reform the Cyrillic alphabet and the Serbian literary language, and he translated the New Testament. His work widened the concept of Serbian nationhood to include language as well as religious and regional identifications.

The European revolution of 1848 brought more ferment in relations between the Serbs and their neighbors. As part of their revolutionary program, the Hungarians threatened to Magyarize the Serbs in Vojvodina. Some Serbs there declared their independence from Hungary and proclaimed an autonomous Vojvodina; others rallied behind the Austrian-Croatian invasion of Hungary. The Serbs nearly declared war, but Russians and Turkish diplomacy restrained them. The Serbs in Hungary gained nothing from helping Austria to crush the revolution. Vienna ruled Vojvodina harshly after 1850 and silenced Serbian irredentists there. When Austria joined Hungary to form the Dual Monarchy in 1867, Vienna returned Vojvodina and its Serbs to Hungary. Meanwhile, Peter II Njegos of Montenegro (1830-51), who was also a first-rate poet, reformed his administration, battled the Turks, and struggled to obtain a seaport from the Austrians. His successor Danilo II (1851-60) abolished the Montenegrin theocracy.

Prince Mihajlo Obrenovic (1860-68), son of Milos, was an effective ruler who further loosened the Turkish grip on Serbia. Western-educated and autocratic, Mihajlo liberalized the constitution and in 1867 secured the withdrawal of Turkish garrisons from Serbian cities. Industrial development began at this time, although 80 percent of Serbia's 1.25 million people remained illiterate peasants. Mihajlo sought to create a South Slav confederation, and he organized a regular army to prepare for liberation of Turkish-held Serbian territory. Scandal undermined Mihajlo's popularity, however, and he was eventually assassinated.

Political parties emerged in Serbia after 1868, and aspects of Western culture began to appear. A widespread uprising in the Ottoman Empire prompted an unsuccessful attack by Serbia and Montenegro in 1876, and a year later those countries allied with Russia, Romania, and Bulgarian rebels to defeat the Turks. The subsequent treaties of San Stefano and Berlin (1878) made Serbia an independent state and added to its territory, while Montenegro gained a seacoast. Alarmed at Russian gains, the growing stature of Serbia, and irredentism among Vojvodina's Serbs, Austria-Hungary pressed for and won the right to occupy Bosnia, Hercegovina, and the Novi Pazar in 1878. Serbia's Prince Milan Obrenovic (1868-89), a cousin of Mihajlo, became disillusioned with Russia and fearful of the newly created Bulgaria. He therefore signed a commercial agreement in 1880 that made Serbia a virtual client state of Austria-Hungary. Milan became the first king of modern Serbia in 1882, but his pro-Austro-Hungarian policies undermined his popularity, and he abdicated in 1889.

A regency ruled Serbia until 1893, when Milan's teenage son, Aleksandar (1889-1903), pronounced himself of age and nullified the constitution. Aleksandar was widely unpopular in Serbia because of scandals, arbitrary rule, and his position favoring Austria-Hungary. In 1903 military officers, including Dragutin "Apis" Dimitrijevic, brutally murdered Aleksandar and his wife. Europe condemned the killings, which were celebrated in Belgrade. Petar Karadjordjevic (1903-14), who knew of the conspiracy, returned from exile to take the throne, restored and liberalized the constitution, put Serbian finances in order, and improved trade and education. Petar turned Serbia away from Austria-Hungary and toward Russia, and in 1905 Serbia negotiated a tariff agreement with Bulgaria hoping to break the Austro-Hungarian monopoly of its exports. In response to a diplomatic disagreement, Vienna placed a punitive tariff on livestock, Serbia's most important export. Serbia, however, refused to bend, found new trade routes and began seeking an outlet to the sea. In 1908 Austria-Hungary formally annexed Bosnia and Hercegovina, frustrating Serbian designs on those regions and precipitating an international crisis. The Serbs mobilized, but under German pressure Russia persuaded Belgrade to cease its protests. Thereafter, Belgrade maintained strict official propriety in its relations with Vienna; but government and military factions prepared for a war to liberate the Serbs still living under the Turkish yoke in Kosovo, Macedonia, and other regions.


In its earliest history, Macedonia was ruled by the Bulgars and the Byzantines, who began a long tradition of rivalry over that territory. Slavs invaded and settled Byzantine Macedonia late in the sixth century, and in A.D. 679 the Bulgars, a Turkic steppe people, crossed into the Balkans and directly encountered the Byzantine Empire. The Bulgars commingled with the more numerous Slavs and eventually abandoned their Turkic mother tongue in favor of the Slavic language. The Byzantines and Bulgars ruled Macedonia alternately from the ninth to the fourteenth century, when Stefan Dusan of Serbia conquered it and made Skopje his capital. A local noble, Vukasin, called himself king of Macedonia after the death of Dusan, but the Turks annihilated Vukasin's forces in 1371 and assumed control of Macedonia.

The beginning of Turkish rule meant centuries of subjugation and cultural deprivation in Macedonia. The Turks destroyed the Macedonian aristocracy, enserfed the Christian peasants, and eventually amassed large estates and subjected the Slavic clergy to the Greek patriarch of Constantinople. The living conditions of the Macedonian Christians deteriorated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as Turkish power declined. Greek influence increased, the Slavic liturgy was banned, and schools and monasteries taught Greek language and culture. In 1777 the Ottoman Empire eliminated the autocephalous Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the archbishopric of Ohrid. Because of such actions, the Slavic Macedonians began to despise Greek ecclesiastical domination as much as Turkish political oppression.

In the nineteenth century, the Bulgars achieved renewed national self-awareness, which influenced events in Macedonia. The sultan granted the Bulgars ecclesiastical autonomy in 1870, creating an independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Nationalist Bulgarian clergymen and teachers soon founded schools in Macedonia. Bulgarian activities in Macedonia alarmed the Serbian and Greek governments and churches, and a bitter rivalry arose over Macedonia among church factions and advocates of a Greater Bulgaria, Greater Serbia, and Greater Greece. The 1878 RussoTurkish War drove the Turks from Bulgarian-populated lands, and the Treaty of San Stefano (1878) created a large autonomous Bulgaria that included Macedonia. The subsequent Treaty of Berlin (1878), however, restored Macedonia to Turkey, and left the embittered Bulgars with a much-diminished state.

The Bulgarian-Greek-Serbian rivalry for Macedonia escalated in the 1890s, and nationalistic secret societies proliferated. Macedonian refugees in Bulgaria founded the Supreme Committee for Liberation of Macedonia, which favored Bulgarian annexation and recruited its own military force to confront Turkish units and rival nationalist groups in Macedonia. In 1896 Macedonians founded the International Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), whose two main factions divided the region into military districts, collected taxes, drafted recruits, and used tactics of propaganda and terrorism.

A 1902 uprising in Macedonia provoked Turkish reprisals, and in 1903 IMRO launched a widespread rebellion that the Turks could not suppress for several months. After that event, the sultan agreed to a Russian and Austrian reform scheme that divided Macedonia into five zones and assigned British, French, Italian, Austrian, and Russian troops to police them. Pro-Bulgarian and pro-Greek groups continued to clash, while the Serbs intensified their efforts in northern Macedonia. In 1908 the Young Turks, a faction of Turkish officers who promised liberation and equality, deposed the sultan. The Europeans withdrew their troops when Serbs and Bulgars established friendly relations with the zealous Turks. But the nationalist Young Turks began imposing centralized rule and cultural restrictions, exacerbating Christian-Muslim friction. Serbia and Bulgaria ended their differences in 1912 by a treaty that defined their respective claims in Macedonia. A month later, Bulgaria and Greece signed a similar agreement.

Željko Zidarić
13th-June-2012, 11:43 PM


Figure 4. South Slav Territories at the Formation of the Yugoslav State, 1918

Source: Based on information from Gordon C. McDonald, et al., Yugoslavia: A Country Study, Washington: 1973, 44.

The Balkan Wars and World War I had dramatic consequences for the South Slavs. In the Balkan Wars, Serbia helped expel the Turks from Europe and regained lands lost in medieval times. By 1914 the alliances of Europe and the ethnic friction among the South Slavs had combined to make Bosnia the ignition point, and Serbia one of the main battlegrounds, of World War I. When Austria-Hungary collapsed after the war, fear of an expansionist Italy inspired Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian leaders to form the new federation known as Yugoslavia (see fig. 4).

The Balkan Wars and World War I

In 1912 Turkish chauvinism and atrocities combined with Albanian insurgency to galvanize Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the first Balkan War, October 1912 to May 1913, these nations joined Montenegro to oust Turkey from the Balkans. Besides capturing western Macedonia, Kosovo, and other Serbian-populated regions, Serbian forces moved through purely Albanian-populated lands to the Adriatic. Austria-Hungary convinced the major European powers to create an independent Albania to deny Serbia an Adriatic outlet, and it forced Serbia to remove its troops from Albanian territory. The Treaty of London (1913) awarded the Serbs almost all remaining Ottoman lands in Europe, but there was immediate conflict over the division of Macedonia. With AustroHungarian approval, Bulgaria attacked its erstwhile allies in June 1913, triggering the Second Balkan War. This time Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Romania, and Turkey defeated Bulgaria and eliminated the possibility of Bulgarian participation in a South Slav state. Its victories filled Serbia with confidence and doubled its size. But the wars also weakened the country and left it with hostile neighbors and bitter Macedonian and Albanian minorities.

Serbian victories and the Serbians' obvious contempt for Austria-Hungary brought hostility from Vienna and anti-Habsburg sentiment in all the empire's South Slavic regions, especially Bosnia and Hercegovina. Confident behind German military protection, the high command of Austria-Hungary lobbied for war to eliminate Serbia. Serbia's alliance with Slavic Russia also encouraged the growth of expansionist, nationalist secret societies in the Serbian army. The most significant of these societies was the Black Hand, a group of army officers who dominated the army and influenced the government from 1911-17.

In 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne and a longtime advocate of equality for the South Slavs in the empire, made an ill-prepared visit to Bosnia. On Vidovdan, Bosnian student Gavrilo Princip assassinated the archduke and the archduchess in Sarajevo. The Black Hand had armed and trained the assassin, but historians doubt that the rulers of Serbia had approved the plot. Nevertheless, on July 23 Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum, threatening war unless Serbia allowed Vienna to join the murder investigation and suppress secret societies. Even the German kaiser felt that Serbia met the Austrian demands, but war was declared, the existing alliance structure of Europe went into force, and World War I began. The Central Powers--Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey--faced the Triple Entente--France, Britain, and Russia. The Croats, Slovenes, and many Serbs in Austria-Hungary went to war against Serbia and Montenegro.

Despite overwhelming odds, Serbia twice cleared its soil of invading Austro-Hungarian armies early in the war, and late in 1914 the prime minister announced plans to unite the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in a South Slavic state. Italy joined the Triple Entente in 1915 and attacked Austria-Hungary, then Bulgaria joined the side of Austria-Hungary in the fall of that year. With French and Italian forces waiting in nearby Salonika (Thessalonika), German, Austro-Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces attacked Serbia in October 1915. The Serbian army, weakened by typhus, escaped through Montenegro and Albania in midwinter, suffering heavy losses. Italian units in Albania denied support, then French ships evacuated the remaining Serbian forces to Corfu.

Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria occupied Serbia and Montenegro after the retreat. After recovering, the Serbian army helped the French and British capture Bitola in September 1916. Entente armies remained inactive there until the Central Powers began to disintegrate. They then routed the Bulgarians in September 1918, swept Austro-Hungarian and German forces from Serbia, and entered Hungary. In November Austria-Hungary collapsed and the war ended. World War I destroyed one-fourth of Montenegro's population and several hundred thousand Croats and Slovenes. Serbia lost about 850,000 people, a quarter of its prewar population, and half its prewar resources.

Formation of the South Slav State

The idea of an independent South Slav state advanced during World War I, especially after Bolshevik Russia disclosed the secret 1915 Treaty of London, in which the Entente had promised to award Istria and much of Dalmatia and the Slovenian lands to Italy. Because they feared Italian domination, Ante Trumbic and other Dalmatian leaders formed the London-based Yugoslav Committee to promote creation of a South Slav state. In July 1917, Nikola Pasic of Serbia and Trumbic signed the Declaration of Corfu, which called for a union of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in one nation with a single democratic, constitutional, parliamentary system, under the Karadjordjevic Dynasty. The declaration promised equal recognition of the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, the three national names and flags, and the three predominant religions. However, it did not indicate whether the new state would be centralized or federal. Pasic advocated a centralized state; Trumbic pressed for a federation.

The authority of Austria-Hungary over its South Slav lands ended in October 1918, and a National Council of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs became the de facto government of the regions, under Antun Korosec. On October 29, the Sabor in Zagreb annulled the union of Croatia with Hungary and gave the National Council supreme authority. In November Pasic, Trumbic, and Antun Korosec signed an agreement in Geneva, providing for a joint provisional government but recognizing the jurisdiction of Serbia and the National Council in the areas under their respective control, until a constituent assembly could convene. But the war ended very rapidly, and Italy began seizing parts of Dalmatia. This prompted the National Council to seal a quick final agreement with Serbia, over the objections of the Croatian Peasant Party, without obtaining guarantees of regional autonomy. Leaders in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Vojvodina favored union; on November 24, the Montenegrins deposed the Njegos Dynasty and declared solidarity with Serbia. On December 1, Prince Regent Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and delegates from the National Council, Vojvodina, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Montenegro announced the founding of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, to be ruled by Aleksandar. The Paris Peace Conference recognized the kingdom in May 1919.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Ethnic hatred, religious rivalry, language barriers, and cultural conflicts plagued the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) from its inception. The question of centralization versus federalism bitterly divided the Serbs and Croats; democratic solutions were blocked and dictatorship was made inevitable because political leaders had little vision, no experience in parliamentary government, and no tradition of compromise. Hostile neighboring states resorted to regicide to disrupt the kingdom, and only when European war threatened in 1939 did the Serbs and Croats attempt a settlement. But that solution came too late to matter. The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes encompassed most of the Austrian Slovenian lands, Croatia, Slavonia, most of Dalmatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina, Kosovo, the Serbiancontrolled parts of Macedonia, and Bosnia and Hercegovina. Territorial disputes disrupted relations with Italy, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Albania. Italy posed the most serious threat to Yugoslavia. Although it received Zadar, Istria, Trieste, and several Adriatic islands in the postwar treaties and took Rijeka by force, Italy resented not receiving all the territory promised under the 1915 Treaty of London. Rome subsequently supported Croatian, Macedonian, and Albanian extremists, hoping to stir unrest and hasten the end of Yugoslavia. Revisionist Hungary and Bulgaria also backed antiYugoslav groups.

The creation of Yugoslavia fulfilled the dreams of many South Slavic intellectuals who disregarded fundamental differences among twelve million people of the new country. The Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes had conflicting political and cultural traditions, and the South Slav kingdom also faced sizable nonSlav minorities, including Germans, Albanians, Hungarians, Romanians, and Turks, with scatterings of Italians, Greeks, Czechoslovaks, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Russians, Poles, Bulgars, Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews, and Gypsies. The Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Islamic, Uniate, Jewish, and Protestant faiths all were well established and cut across ethnic and territorial lines. Besides the divisiveness of a large number of minority languages, linguistic differences also split the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Macedonian Slavs. Many people regarded the new government and its laws as alien, exploitative, and secondary to kinship loyalties and traditions.

Željko Zidarić
13th-June-2012, 11:45 PM
Political Life in the 1920s

The Serbian Radical Party, Croatian Peasant Party, and Democratic Party competed with and allied with a large number of other ethnic and sectarian parties, with no single party ever gaining a majority. The Serbian Radicals under Pasic, the strongest party in the country, drew backing from Serbia proper and advocated strong central control under Serbian leadership. The Croatian Peasant Party under Stjepan Radic dominated Croatia and campaigned for an independent Croatian state and agrarian socialism. The Democrats found support mostly from Serbs outside Serbia; after initially advocating centralism, they turned to an opposition agenda.

The Serbian-Croatian rivalry, which was a clash of uncompromising advocates of central rule versus regional autonomy, produced the main political conflict in Yugoslavia. In November 1920, voters chose delegates to a Constituent Assembly. The Radic party won nearly all Croatian seats but, adopting an obstructionist strategy that had been typical of Croatian politics under the Dual Monarchy, it boycotted the assembly. When other anticentralist groups left the assembly in 1921, the Serbian Radicals and Democrats won by default the opportunity to adopt a centralist constitution. This document provided some liberties but allowed little room for local initiative or popular democracy, and it gave non-Serbs inadequate legal expression of their discontent. Communists attempted to assassinate King Aleksandar the day after the constitution took effect, and murdered the interior minister a month later. The new Federal Assembly (Skupstina), then passed broad security laws to suppress the Communist Party, which had gained considerable support with worker groups and poor peasants in the south.

Radic campaigned at home and abroad for Croatian autonomy, even seeking support in the Soviet Union--a country Yugoslavia did not recognize. The Croatian Peasant Party boycott of the kup tina lasted until 1924, when a dissident coalition of Democrats, Slovenes, and Muslims forced the Serbian Radicals from power. King Aleksandar then appointed an anti-centralist prime minister. Charges of corruption and Radic's harsh criticism of the Serbian establishment undermined the new cabinet. The Radicals soon regained power, arrested Radic for sedition, and threatened to ban his party.

Political realities, including the threat posed by fascist Italy to Croatia, induced Radic in 1925 to strike a deal with Aleksandar to recognize the monarchy and to join a government coalition led by Pasic. This union lasted until a corruption scandal forced Pasic to resign in 1926. Thereafter, weak coalitions failed to maintain stability, the Croats returned to obstructionism, and floor debates in the Federal Assembly often became violent. In June 1928, a Montenegrin deputy shot Radic, who died two months later. Deputies from Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina soon left the assembly, demanding a federal state. Fearing anarchy, Aleksandar abrogated the constitution in January 1929, dissolved the Assembly, banned political parties, and declared a temporary royal dictatorship.

While the Serbian-Croatian conflict occupied center stage, an equally bitter conflict arose between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Serbs consider Kosovo to be hallowed ground, but their exclusive hold on the region slipped during the Ottoman tyranny in the late seventeenth century, and many Serbs fled Kosovo for Habsburg protection. After the mid-eighteenth century, Albanians became a majority in Kosovo and began oppressing the Serbs that remained. Between 1878 and 1912, Serbs left Kosovo in large numbers; in 1920 Belgrade began a drive to resettle Serbs in the region. Coercion, illegal expropriation of Albanian-owned land, and forced deportations marred this campaign. When Albanians attacked Serbian settlements and government institutions, the police seized Albanian property, imprisoned families, and destroyed homes. The government adopted a similar policy in Macedonia.

Economic Life and Foreign Policy in the 1920s

Yugoslavia inherited formidable economic problems after World War I. The new kingdom had to repair war damage, repay debts, eradicate feudalism by passing land reform, integrate differing customs areas, currencies, rail networks, and banking systems, and make up for shortages of capital and skilled labor.

The agricultural sector, which employed over 75 percent of the Yugoslav population, underwent a radical reform that failed to relieve nagging rural poverty. Before the war, German, Austrian, and Hungarian families owned sprawling estates in Slovenia, Croatia, and Vojvodina; Turkish feudalism remained in Kosovo and Macedonia; Muslim landlords in Bosnia owned large farms worked by Christian sharecroppers; some Dalmatians remained tenant farmers in a system devised in Roman times; and Serbia was a chaotic blend of independent small farms. The Yugoslav government erased remnants of feudalism, but the peasants received plots too small for efficient farming to support the rural population. Yields fell and poverty and ignorance dominated most of the peasantry. Industrialization and emigration did not ease overpopulation.

In the industrial sector, Yugoslavia concentrated on extracting raw materials, expanding light industry, and improving its infrastructure. Insufficient domestic capital forced Yugoslavia to seek foreign investment. The government sold mining rights to foreign firms and borrowed heavily to build roads and rail lines, power plants, and a merchant marine. Despite steady economic growth based on the food industry, mining, and textiles, Yugoslavia remained substantially undeveloped and fell far behind the rest of Europe. Divergent economic interests and the widening differences in development of Croatia and Slovenia with the lessdeveloped southern regions exacerbated Serbian-Croatian tensions. The development disparity especially embittered many Serbs, who believed that their sacrifices in the war had benefited former enemies more than themselves.

Yugoslavia's foreign policy in the 1920s sought to counter threats from Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria, and to secure regional peace through a series of Balkan alliances. The young kingdom was a charter member of the League of Nations. In 1921 and 1922 Yugoslavia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia signed mutual defense and political treaties aimed at blocking a Habsburg restoration and blocking the ambitions of revisionist Hungary. This alignment, later known as the Little Entente, won support from France, which hoped to block Soviet expansion and contain Germany. In 1927 Yugoslavia and France signed a treaty of friendship. Though it was the focus of Yugoslav foreign policy for the next decade, this treaty included no military provisions and failed to relieve the fear of fascist Italy.

The Royal Dictatorship

After assuming dictatorial power, Aleksandar canceled civil liberties, abolished local self-government, and decreed strict laws against sedition, terrorism, and propagation of communism. The king named a Serb, General Petar Zivkovic, as premier, officially changed the name of the country to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, unified the six regional legal systems, and restructured the ministries. The king attempted to ease separatist pressures by replacing traditional provinces with a new territorial unit, the banovina. The dictatorship at first gained wide support because it seemed to make government more efficient and less corrupt.

The popularity of the dictatorship was short-lived, however. Aleksandar's attempt to impose unity on the ethnic groups backfired, blocking the understanding of common national interests and unleashing more divisive forces. The royal dictatorship unified Croatian opposition to Serbian hegemony but fractured the once-unified Serbian parties. The police violently suppressed expressions of communism and ethnic dissidence. The state imprisoned Slovenian and Muslim politicians and tried Vlatko Macek, successor to Radic, for terrorist activity. Serbs also were also oppressed, and the leader of the Serbian Democrats left the country in protest. Ultranationalist Croats also fled, and Italy granted asylum to Ante Pavelic, leader of the terrorist Ustase (see Glossary).

In 1931 Aleksandar formally ended his personal rule by promulgating a constitution that provided for limited democracy. He legalized political parties but banned religious, ethnic, and regional groups and all organizations that threatened the integrity and order of the state. Hopelessly divided Serbian and Croatian opposition leaders could not even agree to issue a common statement on the new constitution. Only the candidates of ivkovi appeared on the ballot. Serbs protested the limitations on democratic liberties; the government imprisoned Macek, causing unrest in Croatia; and the ranks of the Ustase grew. Despite the discontent, Aleksandar retained some popularity even in nonSerbian regions.

In 1931 the world economic crisis hit Yugoslavia hard. Foreign trade slumped, and the trade deficit rose. Collapsing world grain prices, the end of German reparations payments, and exhaustion of credit sources brought unemployment. Mines closed, bankruptcies increased, and severe weather conditions brought rural starvation. The economic crisis also brought charges that the Serbs were exploiting Croatia and Slovenia. Finally, French refusal of a badly needed loan shook the confidence of the Yugoslav government in its French allies.

Fearing Italy but doubtful of France, Aleksandar made unsuccessful offers to Mussolini in the early 1930s and attempted to build a Balkan alliance. In 1934 Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey signed a limited mutual defense agreement, later known as the Balkan Pact. Bulgaria refused to abandon its claims to Macedonia and did not join the pact, but tensions eased between Belgrade and Sofia. Fearing a vengeful, stronger Germany, France sought rapprochement with Italy in 1934, pressuring Yugoslavia to do likewise. But Yugoslavia began to turn to Germany instead to offset the threat from Italy.

The Regency

In October 1934, a Bulgarian assassinated Aleksandar in Marseille. The assassin, an Ustase agent, had received assistance from Italy and Hungary. Yugoslavs genuinely grieved for their king. Even Aleksandar's opponents feared that his death would result in the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Croats and Slovenes especially feared subjection to Italy.

Prince Pavle, cousin of Aleksandar, nominated a three-man regency that ruled for Aleksandar's minor son, Petar II. Pavle hoped to liberalize the regime and reconcile the Serbs and Croats without altering the 1931 constitution. The government freed Macek and in 1935 held elections that revealed significant dissatisfaction. Pavle soon called on the Serb Milan Stojadinovi to form a cabinet. His new government granted amnesty to political prisoners and permitted political parties additional leeway, but it refused to restore democracy and failed to solve the Croatian problem. Croatian separatists clashed with the police; communist-inspired student activists fomented disorder; and Croatian militia organizations formed. Macek and other Croatian leaders welcomed rising domestic and international tensions as positive forces that would force a federalist solution, and they refused to compromise or even enumerate their demands to the government. Stojadinovic incurred the wrath of Serbian nationalists when he submitted an agreement with the Vatican on regulation of Catholic affairs; the Federal Assembly canceled the agreement, or Concordat, after Orthodox clergymen denounced it.

The assassination of Aleksandar deepened Yugoslavian mistrust of Italy, but confidence in France and Britain also dropped after those countries refused to back a League of Nations censure of Italy for harboring the assassins. Fearing isolation, Yugoslavia strengthened its ties with Germany, which became the main trading partner of Yugoslavia after the latter voted in the League in 1935 to impose economic sanctions on Italy for invading Ethiopia. Under Stojadinovic, however, movement began toward settlements with Bulgaria and Italy. In January 1937, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria signed an eternal-friendship pact violating the provisions of the Little Entente and weakening the Balkan Pact. In March Yugoslavia and Italy followed up a 1936 trade agreement with a treaty of friendship. In December Stojadinovic visited Mussolini and assured him that Yugoslavia would neither strengthen its relationship with Czechoslovakia and France nor recognize the Soviet Union. Still, Yugoslavia drew away from France only reluctantly, and public opinion remained firmly attached to the West.

Despite the support for democracy professed by the Stojadinovic government, many Yugoslavs feared he aspired to become a fascist dictator. His supporters adopted the fascist salute and uniformed themselves in green shirts. The dictatorial air of Stojadinovic, the Concordat, and accommodations with former enemies roused opponents in Serbia, with whom Macek struck up a quick friendship. Support for the prime minister dropped after the 1938 elections, and Pavle forced him to resign in February 1939. Dragisa Cvetkovic was then named premier.

Germany annexed Austria in 1937 and smashed the Little Entente by partitioning Czechoslovakia in 1938; by 1939 it had gained a stranglehold on the Yugoslavian economy. Pavle and Cvetkovic reaffirmed Yugoslavia's friendship with Germany and Italy, but tried in vain to loosen Germany's economic grip with appeals to Britain and France. Belgrade again professed friendship with Berlin and Rome after Italy occupied Albania in April 1939; but Yugoslav popular opinion grew more adamantly pro-Western, and in May the government revealed its true colors by secretly shipping its gold reserves to Britain and the United States. Both Berlin and Rome suspected Yugoslavia's motives.

The Sporazum, Tripartitate Pact, and Outbreak of World War II

Nationalist strife and portents of war induced Pavle to shore up national unity by reconciling the Serbs and Croats. On August 26, 1939, after months of negotiation, Cvetkovic and Macek sealed an agreement, the Sporazum, creating an autonomous Croatia. Under the Sporazum, Belgrade continued to control defense, internal security, foreign affairs, trade, and transport; but an elected Sabor and a crown-appointed ban would decide internal matters in Croatia. Ironically, the Sporazum fueled separatism. Macek and other Croats viewed autonomy as a first step toward full Croatian independence, so they began haggling over territory; Serbs attacked Cvetkovic, charging that the Sporazum brought them no return to democracy and no autonomy; Muslims demanded an autonomous Bosnia; and Slovenes and Montenegrins espoused federalism. Pavle appointed a new government with Cvetkovic as premier and Macek as vice premier, but it gained little support.

World War II began on September 1, 1939. The collapse of France in June 1940 crushed Yugoslavian hopes of French support. When Greece repelled Italian attacks in October 1940, Mussolini requested aid from Germany. Berlin in turn pressed the Balkan countries to sign the Tripartite Pact and align themselves with the Axis powers--Germany, Italy, and Japan. Romania signed in November 1940, and Bulgaria in March 1941. Now virtually surrounded by enemies, neutral Yugoslavia desperately sought allies. It recognized the Soviet Union in 1940 and signed a nonaggression agreement with Moscow in 1941. When Adolph Hitler redoubled pressure on Yugoslavia to sign his pact, Pavle and the cabinet stalled, hoping that Germany would attack the Soviet Union and ease the pressure on them. Time ran out for Yugoslavia on March 25. Convinced that the military situation of the country was hopeless, the government ignored pro-Western public opinion and signed a protocol of adherence to the Tripartite Pact. In return, Hitler guaranteed that Germany would not press Yugoslavia for military assistance, move its army into Yugoslav territory, or violate Yugoslav sovereignty.

On March 27, military officers overthrew the Cvetkovic-Macek cabinet, declared the sixteen-year-old Petar II king, and formed a new cabinet under General Dusan Simovic. Anti-German euphoria swept Belgrade; Yugoslav, British, French, and United States flags flew; and crowds shouted anti-Tripartite slogans. The demonstrations, however, unnerved the new government, which affirmed Yugoslav loyalty to the Tripartite Pact because of the country's perilous position. But the declaration did not convince Hitler. On April 6, 1941, the Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade, killing thousands. Axis forces then invaded, the Yugoslav army collapsed, the king and government fled, and on April 17 remaining resistance forces surrendered unconditionally.

Željko Zidarić
13th-June-2012, 11:50 PM

Source: LOC (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/yutoc.html)

Figure 5. Partition of Yugoslavia, 1941

Source: Based on information from Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1919-1945, Arlington, Virginia, 1976.

The Axis invasion caused panic in Yugoslavia, as foreign occupiers partitioned the country and terrorized its people. Bloody encounters involved both invading and domestic forces throughout the four years of war. The Communist-led Partisans (see Glossary) rose from near oblivion to dominate the country's resistance movement. They emerged from the war in firm control of the entire country.

Partition and Terror

Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria dismembered Yugoslavia. Germany occupied a rump Serbia and part of Vojvodina (see fig. 5). It created a puppet "Independent State of Croatia" (Nezavisna drzava Hrvatska, NDH) including Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina, and it annexed northern Slovenia. Italy won southern Slovenia and much of Dalmatia, joined Kosovo with its Albanian puppet state, and occupied Montenegro. Hungary occupied part of Vojvodina and Slovenian and Croatian border regions. Bulgaria took Macedonia and a part of southern Serbia.

Germany unleashed a reign of terror and Germanization in northern Slovenia. It resettled Slovenes in Serbia, moved German colonists onto Slovenian farms, and attempted to erase Slovenian cultural institutions. The Catholic hierarchy collaborated with the authorities in Italian-occupied southern Slovenia, which suffered less tyranny than the north.

Germany and Italy supported the NDH and began diverting natural resources to the Axis war machine. When Macek refused to collaborate, the Nazis made Ante Pavelic head of the NDH. His Ustase storm troopers began eliminating the two million Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies in the NDH, through forced religious conversion, deportation, and extreme violence. The NDH was backed enthusiastically by some Croatian Catholic clergy, including the Archbishop of Sarajevo; some Franciscan priests enlisted in the Ustase and participated in massacres. The Archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac, publicly welcomed and appeared with Paveli while privately protesting NDH atrocities. On the other hand, many Catholic priests condemned the violence and helped Orthodox Serbs to practice their religion in secret. Even the Germans were appalled by Ustase violence, and Berlin feared the bloodbath would ignite greater Serbian resistance. Italy reoccupied areas of Hercegovina to halt the slaughter there.

Jews and Serbs also were massacred in areas occupied by the Albanians and the Hungarians. Thousands of Serbs fled to Serbia, where the Germans had established a puppet regime under General Milan Nedic. Nedic considered himself a custodian rather than a collaborator and strove to maintain control of violence. In the south of Yugoslavia, many Macedonians welcomed Bulgarian forces, expecting that Sofia would grant them autonomy; but a harsh Bulgarianization campaign ended their enthusiasm.

Resistance in Yugoslavia developed mainly in dispersed units of the Yugoslav army and among Serbs fleeing genocide in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina. Various armed groups in Serbia organized under the name Cetnik (pl. Cetnici--see Glossary), from the Serbian word for "detachment." Some Cetnici supported Nedic, others the Communist-led Partisan guerrillas. The best known Cetnici were the followers of Colonel Draza Mihajlovic, a Serbian nationalist, monarchist, and staunch anticommunist. Certain that the Allies would soon invade the Balkans, Mihajlovic advised his Cetnici to avoid clashes with Axis forces and prepare for a general uprising to coincide with the Allied push. In October 1941, Britain recognized Mihajlovi as the leader of the Yugoslav resistance movement, and in 1942 the government-in-exile promoted him to commander of its armed forces.

The Resistance Movement

The communist-led Partisans eventually grew into Yugoslavia's largest, most active resistance group. The Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) had sunk into obscurity after the government banned it in 1921. Police repression, internal conflict, and the Stalinist purges of the 1930s depleted party membership, and by the late 1930s its leadership in Moscow directed only a few hundred members inside Yugoslavia. The Partisan leader, Josip Broz Tito, son of a Croatian-Slovenian peasant family, had joined the Red Guards during the 1917 Russian Revolution and become a party member after returning to Yugoslavia. Tito won membership in the Central Committee of the Yugoslavian Communist Party in 1934, then became secretary general after a 1937 purge. In the four years before the war, Tito directed a communist resurgence and built a strong organization of 12,000 full party members and 30,000 members of the youth organization. The party played some role in demonstrations in Belgrade against the Tripartite Pact, and it called for a general uprising after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. The Partisan slogan "Death to Fascism, Freedom to the People," combined with a pan-Yugoslav appeal, won recruits for Tito across the country--despite the fact that before the war the communists had worked for the breakup of Yugoslavia.

In July 1941, with some Cetnik support, the Partisans launched uprisings that won control of much of the Yugoslav countryside. The Partisan leaders established an administration and proclaimed the Uzice Republic in western Serbia. But in September the Axis struck back. Germany warned that it would execute 100 Serbs for every German soldier the resistance killed, and German troops killed several thousand civilians at Kragujevac in a single reprisal. Tito correctly reasoned that such actions would enrage the population and bring the Partisans more recruits, so he disregarded the German threat and continued his guerrilla warfare. He also arranged assassinations of local political figures and ordered attacks on the Cetnici to coincide with German action against them. Mihajlovic, however, feared that German reprisals would turn into a Serbian holocaust, so he ordered his forces not to engage the Germans. After fruitless negotiations with Tito, the Cetnik leader turned against the Partisans as his main enemy. Cetnik units attacked Partisans in November 1941 and began cooperating with the Germans and Italians to prevent a communist victory. The British liaison to Mihajlovi advised London to stop supplying the Cetnici after the Uzice attack, but Britain continued to supply Mihajlovic.

In late 1941, the Partisans lost control of Western Serbia, Montenegro, and other areas, and their central command withdrew into Bosnia. Despite the setbacks, Bosnian Serbs and other Yugoslavs flocked to the Partisans. The Serbian-based Cetnici expanded into Montenegro, where they gained local and Italian support. Soviet dictator Joseph V. Stalin, fearing that Partisan action might weaken Allied trust of the Soviet Union, and suspicious of revolutionary movements not under his control, reportedly instructed Tito to limit the Partisans to national liberation and antifascist activities. Moscow refused to supply arms to Tito, maintained relations with the government-in-exile, and even offered a military mission and supplies to the Cetnici.

At Bihac in November 1942, the Partisan leaders, anxious to gain political legitimacy, convened the first meeting of the Anti- Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifasisticko vece narodnog oslobodjenja Jugoslavije, AVNOJ), a committee of communist and noncommunist Partisan representatives from all over Yugoslavia. AVNOJ became the political umbrella organization for the people's liberation committees that the partisans established to administer territories under their control. AVNOJ proclaimed support for democracy, the rights of ethnic groups, the inviolability of private property, and freedom of individual economic initiative. Stalin reportedly barred Tito from declaring AVNOJ a provisional government. In 1943 Germany mounted offensives to improve its control of Yugoslavia in anticipation of an Allied invasion of the Balkans. The Partisans, fearing that an Allied invasion would benefit the Cetnici, attacked Mihajlovic's forces. In March the Partisans outmaneuvered the German army and defeated the Cetnici decisively in Hercegovina and Montenegro. In May, however, German, Italian, Bulgarian, and NDH forces surrounded the Partisans and launched a final crushing attack. In fierce combat in the Sutjeska Gorge, the Partisans escaped encirclement. This proved a turning point in their fortunes; when Italy surrendered in September 1943, the Partisans captured Italian arms, gained control of coastal territory, and began receiving supplies from the Allies in Italy.

Tito convened a second session of AVNOJ in November 1943. This session, which included representatives of various ethnic and political groups, built the basis for the postwar government of Yugoslavia. AVNOJ voted to reconstitute the country on a federal basis; elected a national committee to act as the temporary government; named Tito marshal of Yugoslavia and prime minister; and issued a declaration forbidding King Petar to return to the country until a popular referendum had been held on the status of the monarchy. Tito did not notify Stalin of the November meeting, which enraged the Soviet leader. The Western Allies, however, were not alarmed, because they believed that the Partisans were the only Yugoslav resistance group actively fighting the Germans. At Teheran in December 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin decided to support the Partisans. A month later, Britain stopped supplying the Cetnici and threw full support to the Partisans. The first Soviet mission arrived at Partisan headquarters shortly thereafter. The United States kept a military mission with Mihajlovic to encourage continued Cetnik aid for downed American fliers.

In May 1944, German airborne forces attacked Tito's headquarters in Drvar, nearly capturing him. Tito fled to Italy, then established new headquarters on the Adriatic island of Vis. After throwing full support to the Partisans, Britain worked to reconcile Tito and Petar. In June 1944, at Britain's urging, Petar named Ivan Subasic, former ban of Croatia, as prime minister of the government-in-exile. Subasic accepted the resolutions of the second AVNOJ conference, and Petar agreed to remain outside Yugoslavia. In September the king succumbed to British pressure and summoned all Yugoslavs to back the Partisans.

When the Red Army reached the Yugoslav-Romanian border in September 1944, Tito traveled secretly to Moscow, arranged for the Soviets to enter Yugoslavia, and secured Stalin's word that the Red Army would leave the country once it was secure, without interfering with domestic politics. Soviet troops crossed the border on October 1, and a joint Partisan-Soviet force liberated Belgrade on October 20. The majority of the Red Army then continued into Hungary, leaving the Partisans and the Western Allies to crush remaining Germans, Ustase, and Cetnici. When the Partisans advanced into Croatia in the bloodiest fighting of the war, Ustase leaders and collaborators fled to Austria with regular Croatian and Slovenian troops and some Cetnici. The Partisans finally occupied Trieste, Istria, and some Slovenian enclaves in Austria, but they withdrew from some of these areas after the Allies persuaded Tito to let the postwar peace conferences settle borders. The Partisans crushed a small Albanian nationalist revolt in Kosovo after Tito and Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha announced that they would return Kosovo to Yugoslavia.

World War II claimed 1.7 million Yugoslav lives, 11 percent of the prewar population--a mortality second only to that of Poland. About one million of those were killed by other Yugoslavs. The average age of the dead was twenty-two years. The country's major cities, production centers, and communications systems were in ruins, and starvation was widespread (see World War II and Recovery , ch. 3).


Željko Zidarić
13th-June-2012, 11:51 PM
Source: LOC (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/yutoc.html)

The communists under Tito emerged from the war as sole rulers of Yugoslavia, without major Soviet assistance. King Petar surrendered his powers to a three-member regency in late 1944, and under Allied pressure Tito and Subasic agreed to merge their governments. On March 7, 1945, a single provisional Yugoslav government took office with Tito as prime minister and war minister, Subasic in charge of foreign affairs, and Tito supporters occupying almost all cabinet posts. A communist-dominated Provisional Assembly convened in August, and the government held elections to choose a Constituent Assembly in November. New election laws barred alleged wartime collaborators from voting and all candidates had to be nominated by the communist-controlled People's Front, the descendant of the wartime People's Liberation Front that encompassed all non-collaborationist political parties and organizations. The police harassed noncommunist politicians and suppressed their newspapers during the election campaign. Subasic and other non-communist ministers resigned in protest, while the Serbian Radicals, the Croatian Peasant Party, and other parties boycotted the election. People's Front candidates won 90 percent of the vote.

The newly elected Constituent Assembly dissolved the monarchy and established the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia on November 29, 1945. Two months later, it adopted a Soviet-style constitution that provided for a federation of six republics under a strong central government. In an effort to prevent Serbian domination of the new state, the regime made separate republics of Montenegro and Macedonia and created within Serbia itself an ethnically mixed Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and a mostly Albanian Autonomous Region of Kosovo. At a later date, the regime further divided Serbian territory by recognizing three "nations," the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, in an attempt to overcome competing Serbian and Croatian claims to that republic. The constitution established a rubber-stamp Federal Assembly and a presidential council to administer the federal government. It also included restricted wording on the inviolability of the home, the right to work, freedom of speech, association, and religion, and other rights. Tito headed the party, government, and armed forces; his party functionaries oversaw the industries and supervised republican and local officials.

Tito's government repaired wartime damage, instituted land reform, and established a Soviet-style economic system. United Nations deliveries of supplies prevented starvation and contagion but did not solve the fundamental problem of rural poverty. In August 1945, the regime seized remaining large and medium-size land holdings along with property belonging to banks, churches, monasteries, absentee landlords, private companies, and the expelled German minority. It gave half the land to peasants and allocated the rest to state-owned enterprises. The authorities postponed forced collectivization but required peasants to sell any surplus to the state at below-market prices. Peasants received incentives to join newly founded state and cooperative farms. The Communists quickly implemented the Stalinist model for rapid industrial development; by 1948 they had nationalized virtually all the country's wealth except privately held land. State planners set wages and prices and compiled a grandiose five-year plan that emphasized exploitation of domestic raw materials, development of heavy industry, and economic growth in underdeveloped regions. The Yugoslavs relied on tax and price policies, reparations, Soviet credits, and export of foodstuffs, timber, mineral, and metal exports to generate capital. They redirected the bulk of their trade toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (see Application of Stalinist Economics , ch. 3).

Between 1945 and 1948, the government punished wartime collaborators. British forces in Austria captured Ustase members and Croatian and Slovenian collaborators along with innocent refugees. These were returned to Yugoslavia, where Partisans summarily executed thousands of innocent and guilty prisoners. The regime also imprisoned thousands of Cetnici and executed Mihajlovic and other Cetnik leaders as collaborators after a show trial in 1946.

The Communists often used collaboration charges to stifle political and religious opposition, as well as economic and social initiatives. The Roman Catholic Church bitterly opposed the new order. After the war, the authorities executed over 200 priests and nuns charged with participating in Ustase atrocities. Archbishop Stepinac protested government excesses and the secularization of education, institution of civil marriage, and confiscation of church lands. In September 1946, the regime sentenced him to imprisonment for sixteen years for complicity with the Pavelic government. He served five years before the regime released him. Yugoslav-Vatican relations deteriorated during the imprisonment of Stepinac, and the government severed them in 1952 when Pope Pius XII named Stepinac a cardinal. The authorities permitted the funeral and burial of Stepinac in Zagreb in 1960, after which Yugoslav-Vatican relations gradually improved until diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1970.

The Yugoslav-Soviet Rift

Fearing that Soviet control of Eastern Europe was slipping, Stalin ceased advocating "national roads to socialism" in 1947 and ordered creation of a Soviet-dominated socialist bloc. In September the Soviet, East European, Italian, and French communist parties founded the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau--see Glossary), a successor to the prewar Comintern (Communist International) that Stalin had hoped to manipulate for the benefit of the Soviet Union.

Establishment of Cominform headquarters in Belgrade strengthened the image that Yugoslavia was the staunchest Soviet ally in Eastern Europe. Stalin, however, saw Yugoslavia's independent Communists as a threat to his hold on Eastern Europe, and hidden resentment strained relations between the Yugoslav and Soviet leaders. Resentment had grown on the Yugoslav side during the war because of Stalin's objections to the Partisans' political initiatives, his refusal to provide the Partisans military aid early in the struggle, and his wartime agreements with Churchill and Roosevelt. After the war, Yugoslav leaders complained about Red Army looting and raping in Yugoslavia during 1944 and 1945, and about unfair trade arrangements. The Yugoslavs also resisted establishment of joint companies that would have allowed Moscow to dominate their economy.

In early 1948, the Soviets stalled negotiations on a Yugoslav-Soviet trade treaty, and they began claiming that the Red Army had liberated Yugoslavia and facilitated the Partisan victory. In March, Moscow withdrew Soviet military and civilian advisers from Yugoslavia, charging the Yugoslavs with perversion of Stalinist dogma. The Yugoslavs rejected the charges, criticized the Soviets for recruiting spies within the Yugoslav party, military, police, and enterprises, and defiantly asserted that a communist could love his native land no less than the USSR. This insubordination infuriated Stalin, and Yugoslav-Soviet exchanges grew more heated. Finally, at a special session in Bucharest that the Yugoslavs refused to attend, the Cominform shocked the world by expelling Yugoslavia and calling upon Yugoslav communists to overthrow Tito.

At first the Yugoslav party responded to the Cominform measures with conciliatory overtures. Portraits of Stalin, Marx, Engels, and Tito hung side by side at the Fifth Party Congress in July 1948, and the delegates chanted pledges of support for Stalin and the Soviet Union. In a lengthy address, Tito refuted Soviet charges against Yugoslavia, but he refrained from attacking Stalin. The vast majority of Yugoslavs supported Tito. The press publicized Soviet attacks widely; Moscow appealed for loyalty, but its appeals were nullified by renewed claims that the Red Army had liberated Yugoslavia from fascism. A few prominent Yugoslav communists did defect, and for five years after 1948 the regime imprisoned thousands of suspected pro-Soviet communists.

The Yugoslav regime strove to prove its allegiance to Stalin after 1948. It answered Moscow's criticisms by supporting Soviet foreign policy and implementing additional Stalinist economic measures. In 1949 the Yugoslav government began collectivizing agriculture; over the next two years, it used a carrot-and-stick approach to induce 2 million peasants to join about 6,900 collective farms. The campaign, however, caused a decrease in agricultural output, and the use of coercion eroded peasant support for the government. Peasant resistance and a 1950 drought that threatened the cities with starvation soon stalled the collectivization drive. The government announced the program's cancellation in 1951.

In 1949 Yugoslavia stood isolated. Relations with the West worsened because of the bitter dispute with Italy over Trieste, the regime's refusal to compensate foreigners for nationalized property, continued Yugoslav support for the communists in Greece, and other issues. The Soviet-bloc governments launched an economic blockade against Yugoslavia, excluding it from the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance ( CEMA--see Glossary). The Soviets propagandized harshly against "Judas" Tito in Serbo-Croatian broadcasts, attempted to subvert Yugoslav party organizations, and sought to incite unrest among the Hungarian, Albanian, and Russian minorities in Yugoslavia.

Troop movements and border incidents convinced Yugoslav leaders that a Soviet-bloc invasion was imminent, requiring fundamental changes in foreign policy. In July 1949, Tito closed the Yugoslav-Greek border and ceased supplying the pro-Cominform Greek communists, and in August Yugoslav votes in the United Nations began to stray from the Soviet line. Welcoming the Yugoslav-Soviet rift, the West commenced a flow of economic aid in 1949, saved the country from hunger in 1950, and covered much of Yugoslavia's trade deficit for the next decade. The United States began shipping weapons to Yugoslavia in 1951. A military security arrangement was concluded in 1953, but the Western powers were unable to bring Yugoslavia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Italy won control of Trieste in 1954.

Introduction of Socialist Self-Management

Faced with economic stagnation, a Soviet-bloc trade embargo, dwindling popularity, and a dysfunctional Soviet-style economic system, Yugoslav leaders returned to the core of their philosophy, the writings of Marx. Their aim was to reassess their ideology and lay the groundwork for a new economic mechanism called Socialist (or workers') self-management. Enterprises formed prototype workers' councils in 1949, and the Federal Assembly passed laws in 1950 and 1951 to implement the system fully. These laws replaced state ownership of the means of production with social ownership, entrusting management responsibilities to the workers of each enterprise. The laws empowered enterprise workers' councils to set broad production goals and supervise finances, but government-appointed directors retained veto power over council decisions. The government also reformed economic planning and freed some prices to fluctuate according to supply and demand, but foreign trade remained under central control (see Socialist Self-Management , ch. 3).

The replacement of a command economy with a self-management system required the Communist Party to loosen its hold on decision making. At its Sixth Congress, in November 1952, the party renamed itself the League of Communists of Yugoslavia ( LCY--see Glossary) to signal a break with its Stalinist past and a revision of its leading role in the country's political life. The Congress declared that the party would separate itself structurally from the state. Instead of directing government and economic activity, the party was to influence democratic decision making through education, propaganda, and the participation of individual communists in political institutions, workers' councils, and other organizations. Free intraparty debate would determine party policy, but once the party had made a final decision, the principle of democratic centralism would bind all members to support it. By rejecting multiparty pluralism, the party retained a monopoly on political organization. Three months after the Congress, the People's Front became the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia (SAWPY), an umbrella organization through which the party would maintain this monopoly. In addition, individual communists continued to occupy key government and enterprise-management posts.

In 1953 the Federal Assembly amended virtually the entire 1946 constitution to conform with the new laws on workers' self-management. On the federal level, the amendments created an administrative Federal Executive Council and reorganized the Federal Assembly. The amendments also reduced the already minimal autonomy of the individual republics, while local government retained power in economic and social matters.

In March 1953, the government began dissolving collective and state farms. Two-thirds of the peasants abandoned the collectives within nine months, and the socialist share of land ownership sank from 25 percent to 9 percent within three years. In an attempt to mitigate the problem of peasant landlessness, the government reduced the legal limit on individual holdings from 25 to 35 hectares of cultivable land to 10 hectares; this restriction would remain on the books for over three decades and would prevent the development of economically efficient family farms. The government also eliminated the system of compulsory deliveries, fixed taxes in advance, encouraged peasants to join purchasing and marketing cooperatives, and increased investment in the agricultural sector. As a result, Yugoslav agricultural output grew steadily through the 1950s, and its farms had record harvests in 1958 and 1959. Yugoslavia maintained its focus on industrial development through the 1950s, despite the government's new approach to economic planning and enterprise management. The industrial sector boomed after 1953; manufacturing exports more than doubled between 1954 and 1960; and the country showed the world's second highest economic growth rate between 1957 and 1960.

Living conditions, health care, education, and cultural life improved in the wake of the economic and political reforms. In the mid-1950s, the government redirected investment toward production of consumer goods, and foreign products became widely available. The regime also relaxed its religious restrictions, allowed for a degree of public criticism, curbed abuse of privileges by party officials, and reduced the powers of the secret police. Travel restrictions eased; Yugoslavs gained greater access to Western literature and ideas; artists abandoned "socialist realism" to experiment with abstraction and other styles; and film makers and writers, including Nobel Prize-winner Ivo Andric, produced first-rate works. But already in 1953 liberalization was an uneven, changeable phenomenon in Yugoslavia. A meeting of party leaders at the north Adriatic island of Brioni that year resolved to strengthen party discipline, amid growing concern that apathy had infected the rank and file since the Sixth Congress. Over the next several years, the party tightened democratic centralism; established basic party organizations in factories, universities, and other institutions; purged its rolls of inactive members; and took other measures to enhance discipline.

Milovan Djilas, one of Tito's closest confidants, disagreed with the Brioni decisions. In a number of articles in the foreign press, he criticized the party leadership for stifling democratic intraparty debate. He also exposed elitism in the private lives of leaders and suggested that the League of Communists dissolve itself as a rigid political party. This criticism exceeded Tito's tolerance, and his former comrades dismissed Djilas from his posts and imprisoned him. In 1957 Djilas published The New Class, in which he described the emergence of a new communist ruling elite that enjoyed all the privileges of the old bourgeoisie. The book won him international notoriety and prolonged his jail term. Publication of Conversations with Stalin in 1962 earned him more fame and a second prison term (see Djilas, Praxis, and Intellectual Repression , ch. 4).

Nonalignment and Yugoslav-Soviet Rapprochement

Yugoslav-Soviet relations showed signs of new life soon after Stalin died in March 1953. In an unprecedented gesture, Nikita Khrushchev, first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, visited Tito in Belgrade in 1955. Khrushchev expressed the regrets of the Soviet party for the rift, although he did not blame it on Stalin directly. Tito rejected this explanation, and after formal discussions the Yugoslav and Soviet leaders decided to resume only state relations. In the final communique of the meeting, known as the Belgrade Declaration, the Soviet Union acknowledged the right of individual socialist countries to follow their own path toward socialism.

The Yugoslav and Soviet parties restored relations in 1956, and at the Soviet Communist Party's Twentieth Congress, Khrushchev blasted Stalin for his "shameful role" in the Yugoslav-Soviet estrangement. After a visit to the Soviet Union in June that deepened the rapprochement, Tito entertained hopes that all of Eastern Europe would adopt some version of Yugoslavia's model for socialist development. Movement toward liberalization in the Soviet bloc, however, ground to a halt with the 1956 Hungarian revolution and the Soviet invasion that crushed it. Yugoslav-Hungarian relations cooled after the execution of Imre Nagy, the Hungarian revolutionary leader who had taken asylum in the Yugoslav embassy in Budapest. Yugoslav-Soviet relations were unstable in the years following the Hungarian invasion, but by 1961 they had entered a period of detente.

Nonalignment became the keystone of Yugoslavia's foreign policy in the 1950s. While isolated from the Great Powers, Yugoslavia strove to forge strong ties with Third World countries similarly interested in avoiding an alliance with East or West and the hard choice between communism and capitalism. Tito found common ground with Egypt's president Gamal Abdel Nasser and India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and they worked together to organize a movement of Third World nations whose collective statements on international issues would carry greater weight than their individual voices. In 1961 Belgrade hosted the first major conference of the world's nonaligned nations. Tito used the prestige gained from the meeting and from his denunciations of neocolonialism to enhance the leverage gained by positioning Yugoslavia between East and West.

Reforms of the 1960s

Initial steps toward market socialism (see Glossary) and freer foreign trade in 1961 produced unacceptable inflation and a foreign-trade deficit, and emergency anti-inflation measures plunged Yugoslavia into recession in 1962. The recession produced an urgent debate on fundamental economic reforms, especially decentralization of investment decision making. During the debate, naturally conflicting interregional economic interests rekindled ethnic rivalries, and emotional nationalist claims reemerged to complicate economic discussions. Party leaders were unable to solve the widening economic gap between the country's more prosperous northern republics and the underdeveloped southern regions. Resentment grew from suspicions that some republics were receiving an unfair share of investment funds.

The government adopted stopgap recentralization measures to end recession in 1962, but inflation and the foreign-trade deficit again rose sharply, renewing debate on economic reforms. Led by Eduard Kardelj and Vladimir Bakaric, party liberals (mostly from Slovenia, Croatia, and the Belgrade area) promoted decentralization measures and investment strategies that would benefit the wealthier republics. Conservatives (mostly from Serbia and Montenegro) supported maintaining or stiffening central controls and continuing investment in the less developed regions (see Overhaul in the 1960s , ch. 3).

In 1963 Yugoslavia established new constitutions at the national and republican level, expanding the concept of self-management beyond the economic sphere into social activity. This was achieved by creating local councils on education and culture, social welfare, public health, and political administration. The composition of the Federal Assembly was altered, simultaneous officeholding in the party and government was outlawed (except for Tito), and government tenure was limited and dispersed by the introduction of a regular rotation system (see The 1963 Constitution , ch. 4).

In the mid-1960s, the parliamentary institutions became more active, as assembly members criticized ministers and amended bills, and liberal reformers used the assembly to advance their ideas. Between 1964 and 1967, the assembly reduced the role of the state in economic management and created the legislative foundation of market socialism. Reform also included external trade measures: Yugoslavia devalued its currency, obtained foreign loans, and joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ( GATT--see Glossary).

The period immediately following this set of reforms brought stagnation, rising unemployment, unpopular price increases, illiquidity, increases in income disparity, and calls for new reforms. Leaders in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and elsewhere scrambled to stave off efforts to close unprofitable enterprises in their areas. Slovenes and Croats came to resent requirements for heavy investment in less developed republics at the expense of their own modernization. Yugoslav workers themselves eased unemployment by finding guest worker jobs in Western Europe (see Structure of the Economy , ch. 3). Foreign tourists and workers returning from abroad brought Yugoslavia much-needed foreign currency. A 1967 law allowed foreigners to invest up to 49 percent in partnerships with Yugoslav firms and repatriate their profits, and in 1970 Yugoslavia signed a long-sought commercial agreement with the European Economic Community ( EEC--see Glossary). The post-reform recession ended in 1969 as unemployment dropped and incomes and living standards rose, but inflation again gained momentum and many enterprises remained unprofitable (see The Economic Reform of 1965 , ch. 3).

Certain that the reforms would undermine party control and threaten Yugoslavia's survival, pro-centralist party leaders and mid-level bureaucrats attempted to obstruct their implementation. Again the centers of this movement were Serbia and Montenegro. The key opponent of reform was the hard-line Serbian vice president of Yugoslavia, Aleksandar Rankovic, who also directed party cadres and the secret police. In 1966 the army intelligence unit, composed mostly of Croats, examined complaints that secret police was mistreating Albanians in Kosovo. The investigation uncovered a wide range of unethical practices, including smuggling and surveillance of Tito himself. Tito purged the secret police, and Rankovic was forced to resign (see Internal Security , ch. 5). But he remained the champion of Serbian nationalist groups, particularly on the issue of Kosovo.

After the defeat of the conservatives and adoption of additional party reforms, the party central organization lost its predominant position. Republican and provincial party leaders blocked action taken in Belgrade and gained control of party appointments, thus shifting the focus of party loyalty away from the center. New election laws brought direct multicandidate elections, often won by candidates who lacked party approval.

Party discipline softened when the ascendant liberals continued to argue that the League of Communists should influence rather than direct self-management decision making. The press and universities grew into centers of debate on an expanding list of taboo issues. Beginning in 1968, a group of intellectuals in Zagreb and Belgrade, known collectively as the Praxis circle, circulated unorthodox interpretations of Marx, supported student demonstrations, and criticized the rigidity of party positions. Despite official efforts to suppress it, the Praxis circle flourished and spoke out until 1975.

In 1968 attention moved back to foreign policy. Student unrest subsided, and Yugoslav-Soviet relations again sagged after Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Tito, who had traveled to Prague before the invasion to lend support to Alexander Dubcek's program of "socialism with a human face," denounced the invasion, and Moscow and Belgrade exchanged bitter criticism. The Yugoslavs warned that they would resist a Soviet invasion of their country, and Tito established a civil defense organization capable of mobilizing the entire country in such an event (see National Defense , ch. 5).

The quiet that the invasion of Czechoslovakia brought to the Yugoslav domestic scene was broken in November 1968 when ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and western Macedonia staged violent demonstrations to demand equality and republican status for Kosovo. Demonstrations and violent incidents continued through 1969. Among broad government concessions to the ethnic Albanians, a 1968 constitutional amendment allowed local economic and social planning and financial control in Kosovo. Serbian and Montenegrin intellectuals condemned the upgrading of Kosovo's status, and accurately predicted that Albanian abuses would increase Serbian emigration from Kosovo. The creation of a separate Macedonian Orthodox Church and rising Muslim nationalism in Bosnia also irritated Serbian churchmen and intellectuals during this period.

After tough political bargaining, the Skupstina adopted constitutional amendments in 1971 that transformed Yugoslavia into a loose federation. The amendments limited federal government responsibilities to defense, foreign affairs, maintenance of a unified Yugoslav market, common monetary and foreign-trade policies, the self-management system, and ethnic and civil rights. The republics and provinces gained primary control over all other functions and a de facto veto power over federal decisions.

Unrest in Croatia and Its Consequences in the 1970s

Political, economic, and cultural tensions in the late 1960s sharply increased nationalist feeling in Croatia. In 1967 Croatian intellectuals, including Miroslav Krleza, the most respected literary figure in Croatia, signed a statement denying the validity of Serbo-Croatian as a historical language and promoting Croatian as a distinct language. The ensuing polemics escalated into a conflict over discrimination. Croatian historians recalled exploitation of Croatia by the Serb-dominated prewar government, and Croatian economists complained of disproportionate levies on Croatia for the federal budget and development fund. Party leaders in Zagreb won popularity by defending the economic interests of the republic, and nationalist leadership groups, including Matica Hrvatska, Croatia's oldest cultural society, began calling for constitutional changes to give the republic virtual independence. In November 1971, university students went on strike and demonstrators marched through the streets. Tito pressed Croatian party leaders to quiet the nationalists, but the unrest continued. Finally, police and soldiers arrested hundreds of student leaders. The authorities disbanded Matica Hrvatska and purged "nationalists" and liberals from all Croatian organizations and institutions.

The rise of nationalism halted the liberal movement in the national party. Tito called for stricter adherence to democratic centralism and proclaimed that the League of Communists would remain the binding political force of Yugoslavia, and that the league could not decentralize without endangering the country's integrity. He also called for the party to reassume its leading role and reestablish its control over the country's political and economic life. Through 1972 Tito overcame unprecedented local defiance to purge reformist party leaders in Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Vojvodina. He replaced them in most instances with antireform party veterans who had displayed less political talent than their predecessors but were considered more politically reliable. In 1974 the Party's Tenth Congress elected Tito party president for life and proclaimed that Yugoslavian "self-managed socialism" would remain under firm party control. The leadership muzzled the press, arrested dissidents, pressured universities to fire outspoken professors, and redoubled efforts to promote Tito's cult of personality.

The 1974 Constitution

In 1974 the government enacted a new Constitution, the world's longest, which created new representative bodies and a complex system of checks and balances, designed to enhance party power and limit the influence of professional enterprise managers. The new constitution replaced direct election of representatives to legislative bodies, substituting a complex system of indirect elections by delegates representing associated labor, sociopolitical organizations, and local citizens in general. The leadership heralded the new system as direct workers' democracy, but the mechanism actually allowed the central party leadership greater control of the Skupstina and republican and local assemblies. Despite recent nationalist unrest and conservative backlash, the Constitution retained the 1971 amendments that shifted power from the federal government to the republics.

In his last years, Tito virtually ignored worsening economic conditions and worked domestically to strengthen collective leadership and prevent a single individual or group from accumulating excessive power. In foreign affairs, Cuba threatened Yugoslav leadership of the nonaligned movement by pushing the movement toward a pro-Soviet position at the 1979 Conference of Nonaligned Nations in Havana. Tito condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that year. Despite the weakening of the Nonaligned Movement by the influence of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, in the 1970s Yugoslavia largely succeeded in maintaining friendly relations with all states, regardless of their political and economic systems. Tito died on May 4, 1980, and Yugoslavia's collective presidency assumed full control in a smooth transition. Most Yugoslavs genuinely mourned the loss of their longtime leader, who had been their country's strongest unifying force. The presence of forty-nine international leaders at his funeral showed the wide respect that Tito had gained around the world.

In 1980 Yugoslavia entered a new era after the death of the most unifying leader the South Slavic nation had ever had. The history of the country had featured division much more prominently than unification; over the centuries, the constituent parts of the modern Yugoslav state had alternated between independence, federation with other states, and domination by larger powers. Each of the republics of the modern federation underwent its own historical and cultural development, very often in conflict with the territorial or political goals of its Slavic and non-Slavic neighbors. Although the South Slavic state was a longtime dream of many, initial efforts to establish such a state were very problematic. After two disastrous world wars, the nation held together in a relatively calm period of development, but after Tito the threat of economic and political disharmony again appeared.

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There is a wealth of informative, well-written English-language sources on the history of Yugoslavia and its many peoples. The best short work is Fred Singleton's A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West, is a classic popular history and personal memoir of a tour through Yugoslavia on the eve of World War II. Robert Lee Wolff's The Balkans in Our Time describes the emergence of Yugoslavia and the other Balkan countries and their development to the postwar period. An excellent study of Yugoslavian foreign policy of the 1920s and 1930s is J.B. Hoptner's Yugoslavia in Crisis, 1934-1941. The works of Francis Dvornik on the migrations, conversion, and cultural development of the Slavs devote considerable attention to the Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, and Bulgars. Two excellent examinations of postwar Yugoslavia development are Dennison Rusinow's The Yugoslav Experiment, 1948-1974 and Conflict and Cohesion in Socialist Yugoslavia, by Steven L. Burg. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)