By Dr. George W. Cesarich


The happenings of two fatal months, November and December, 1918, which led to the formation of a new state, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia), have often been described by able writers and historians. 1 However, there are remarkable aspects of those events which are conspicuously absent from their stories but are essential for a full understanding of historical developments of that perplexing time. Only the inclusion of some missing pieces into this historical jigsaw puzzle of 1918 can give us a complete and true picture of those unfortunate days when by the combined methods of political deception and ruthless force, the Croatian nation was put, against her will, into a prison of nations presently called Yugoslavia. 2

For instance, the historians of that period hardly mention a very significant political meeting held on November 25, 1918, in the large hall of Streljana in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. It was a Congress of the Croatian Popular Peasant Party, and the principal speaker of the day was the Party President, Stjepan Radic. 3 The Congress was attended by 2832 Party delegates from all over Croatia. In his speech, Stjepan Radic reported to the delegates about the decision of the National Council 4 of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs of November 24, 1918, by which this body had declared itself for a union of Croatia with Serbia and Montenegro, asked for the creation of a common state of the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, and selected a committee of 28 persons to effect the union according to given instructions. 5 After Radic's speech, in which he assailed this decision of the National Council as arbitrary and unconstitutional, the Congress of the Croatian Peasant Party unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that the Party is decisively against the creation of a joint state of the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes. In the resolution, the assembled delegates energetically claimed the right of self-determination for Croatia, and also expressed the desire of the Croatian people to form a separate "Neutral and Peasant Republic of Croatia." Following this political meeting, great manifestations took place in Zagreb in favor of an independent Croatian Republic. 6 It is indisputable that Radic's Croatian Peasant Party represented, at that moment, the overwhelming majority of the Croatian people, and, consequently, its unanimously passed resolution in favor of a Republic of Croatia had the significance of a popular plebiscite by which the people unequivocally declared their opposition to a union with Serbia. 7 Indeed, in those turbulent and confusing days of 1918, it was the utmost the unarmed Croats could do in order to express their genuine political will. However, a group of skillful Serbian politicians and some highly idealistic pro-Yugoslav Croatian dreamers succeeded in circumventing the ardent desire of the Croatian people for freedom and independence.


These statements do not deny the fact that, since the beginning of the 19th C., the idea of an ideal cultural and political union of all South Slavic peoples, including the Bulgarians, attracted many supporters among the members of the Croatian intelligentsia who were eager to resist the Austrian and Hungarian attempts of denationalization. The so-called "Illyrian movement" (1830) and the activity of bishop of Dakovo, Josip Juraj Strossmayer (d. 1905), were to a great extent guided by identical considerations. On the other hand, there also existed in Croatia many opponents of the Yugoslav idea. As strongly as the founder of Croatian nationalism, Ante Starcevic (d. 1896), they mistrusted and opposed Yugoslavianism in any form. However, there still were between 1914 and 1918 - both in Croatia and in exile - some noted Croats who worked in favor of a union with Serbia in a sincere belief that the new state would better serve the Croatian national interest than the ramshackle Austrian-Hungarian Empire. As a matter of fact, many Croatians saw then in the prospective dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the first necessary step in the direction of national independence. Thus for most of them, the final aim was a Croatian state, not a union with Serbia. All the Croatians without exception resented their mistreatment in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly the persistent tendencies of denationalization (germanization and later magyarisation) ; they objected to the arbitrary partition of Croatian territories, and to the political and economic exploitation of Croatia by the governments of Vienna and Budapest. As a highly cultured nation with a long statehood tradition, they disliked the Austrian and later the Hungarian hegemony over Croatia. In addition to this, Austria and Hungary did not show the slightest tendency to understand the rightful political demands of the Croatian people who, during the 19th century, developed into a modern and self-confident nation. In that situation the Croats did what any freedom-loving nation would have done: they fought with dignity in their Sabor (Parliament) to maintain their traditional rights and to preserve their centuries-old statehood (state rights), yet used only parliamentary means to achieve their rightful political goals. 8

Undoubtedly, there was no disagreement among the Croats in their principal aim to find a way out of the oppressive and rickety Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was very unfortunate, however, that some members of the Croatian intelligentsia went even farther, developing fatal and unrealistic dreams about a large South Slavic state in which all incorporated nations, would find a corresponding place as equal and brotherly partners. Evidently, these Croats were well-intentioned, honest, patriotic and idealistic people, who, at that time, did not quite comprehend the prevailing mentality of the Serbian ruling circles and their insane and incurable cravings for selfish territorial aggrandizement. Most of those Croatian "Yugoslavs" who lived to see the realization of their dreams in the First Yugoslavia, became bitterly disappointed when they saw that their well-meant political efforts had led to something they neither intended nor desired, i. e., a state in which the Croatian nation has been continually oppressed and recklessly exploited. As a matter of fact, some of them later became conspicuous leaders in the fight for Croatian independence, as for instance Dr. Ante Trumbic himself. We may also mention here the outstanding name of Mr. Ivan Mestrovic, one of the greatest sculptors of our times, whose significant contribution in this symposium attests his present attitude in favor of a free and independent Croatia.


II.

These so-called Croatian "Yugoslavs" were at that time for the most part members of a political organization known as the Croatian-Serbian Coalition, 9 but some of them did not belong to any political party. Although the "Yugoslavs" always represented a minority in Croatia, Yugoslavianism was still from 1914 to 1918 a more or less reputable idea since its practical implications and consequences were not generally recognized. In those hectic war and post-war days, there was indeed confusion in Croatia, and in addition to this, the pro-Yugoslav propaganda was extremely strong and efficient. Moreover, the Croatian people were not, as a general rule, inimically disposed toward the Serbs as a nation despite the close cooperation of the leaders of the Serbian minority in Croatia with the exponents of Hungarian hegemony (Khuen-Hedervary, SkrIecz et.). In accordance with their policy of divide et impera, the Hungarians promoted the spreading of Serbian influence, thus stirring up the Serbs against the Croats. The Hungarian ruling group in Croatia supported and favored the Orthodox minority at the expense of the Catholic Croats, and prompted that minority to acquire a Serb national consciousness. 10 It is a fact, therefore, that the behavior of the Serbian minority in Croatia was seldom beyond reproach. Though their anti-Croat and fifth column activities were generally detested, the Croats unselfishly rewarded the Serb minority with many important posts, and even the very president of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) was a Serb. Some Croats idealized the Serbs, and, moreover, went to the Kingdom of Serbia to fight the Serbian wars for territorial aggrandizement. A few Croats even possessed an erroneous notion that the Croats and the Serbs were the same nation. Suffering of such unfortunate delusions, and not being well acquainted with the national character of the Serbs from Serbia, those Croatian "Yugoslavs" sincerely and unselfishly believed that a union with Serbia would be beneficial for Croatia as a protection against foreign threats to her free political development. This was the reason why such prominent Croatian politicians, writers and artists, like Trumbic, Lorkovic, Supilo, Mestrovic, Kljakovic etc., worked in favor of a union with Serbia. It must be emphasized here, however, that the majority of the Croatian people did not take any part in those pro-Yugoslav efforts, since they instinctively felt that those prominent men were steering the Croatian ship of state in a wrong direction. Even more, the Croatian masses expressed on many occasions their open dislike for the plans of the Croatian "Yugoslavs." The representatives of the Croatian Peasant Party and some of the leaders of the Croatian Rights Party, who were, indeed, the only genuine interpreters of public opinion, repeatedly warned those idealistic Croatian "Yugoslavs" against their false idealism and a union with Serbia. The Croatian leader Stjepan Radic protested in 1918 at a meeting of the National Council of the

Slovenes, Croats and Serbs against its methods and aims, and said: "Your entire work in the National Council is neither democratic nor constitutional, just, or wise... You are completely wrong if you think that you can arbitrarily disregard over thousand years and more of the Croatian history and Croatian statehood... All of you have met here today in order to commit a subversive act against the people, i.e., against Croatia and the Croats." 11

Despite such and similar warnings, the Croatian "Yugoslavs" continued their ill- conceived political efforts, persisting in playing the role of self-appointed leaders. However, there were some of them who early left the Yugoslav bandwagon and showed an independent attitude. A prominent member of this group, Frano Supilo, "had reliable information that the Serbian government while playing with the Yugoslav idea, really wanted to create a Greater Serbia at the expense of other Yugoslav peoples, particularly of Croats." 12 So he changed his policy, and, in 1916, declared himself in favor of a separate Croatian state, resigning at the same time from the Yugoslav Committee. He probably came to the conclusion which was later clearly formulated by a great Croatian scholar, Dr. Milan Sufflay, who wrote: "The Yugoslav idea has no dynamism. It does not mean anything in comparison with the powerful Croatian idea. In Croatia, the Yugoslav idea is only a thin layer under which the Croatian national volcano is boiling..." 13 The profound truth of this statement was distinctively demonstrated in 1941 when, not having a strong backing idea, the royal Yugoslavia disintegrated in a few days.


III.

As to the Yugoslav Committee, it was founded in 1914, and regularly constituted in 1915 in Paris. It was exclusively made up of exiled politicians, journalists, artists etc., from Croatia and Slovenia. Its principal aim was the establishment of a Yugoslav federation based upon a complete equality of its component parts. The members of the Committee were some pro-Yugoslav Croats, some Slovenes, and some members of the Serbian minority in Croatia. It has been generally recognized that the Croatian members of the Committee, never received a formal mandate from the Croatian people to represent it. Hence, they actually spoke only for themselves. However, both the Yugoslav Committee in exile and the previously mentioned National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs in Zagreb, though
having no genuine democratic background, were not opposed by the Croatian public opinion as long as they worked for a separation of Croatia from Austro-Hungary. Particularly, the Yugoslav Committee could count on the support of public opinion in Croatia in its great and rightful struggle against the secret Treaty of London, signed on April 19, 1915, by which the Great Powers promised some of the Croatian territories to Italy. This treaty which was so fatal for Croatia, was one of the main reasons for Dr. Trumbic and other exiled Croats to accept a defective Yugoslavia, without Bulgaria (which, at that time, was in the camp of Central Powers and more- over was pathologically hated by the Serbs). Such a Yugoslavia was, of course, unacceptable for the Croatian people. Nevertheless, it was forced upon them after the end of the First World War, for the most part because of the fifth-column activities of the Serbian minority in Croatia, under the leadership of Svetozar Pribicevic. Now, the Yugoslav Committee had to fight not only the perfidious Treaty of London but to engage also in another struggle. it was the struggle against the Pan-Serbian aims of the Serbian politicians who, like Nikola Pasic, wanted to create a Greater Serbia at any price. The members of the Yugoslav Committee succeeded in negotiating two agreements with the Serbian government, the Declaration of Corfu (July, 1917), and the Declaration of Geneva (November, 1918). 14 The Declaration of Corfu provided, among other things, that the State of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes "will be a free and independent kingdom" and "a constitutional, democratic, and parliamentary monarchy," but that "only a numerically qualified majority will be competent to adopt the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly." The last provision of the Declaration, like many other provisions, was never respected by the Serbian government, and the Constitution of the new state (the Vidovdan Constitution) was adopted in 1921 by a simple, not a qualified majority, without Croatian participation. The Declaration of Geneva stipulated that the provisional government in Zagreb, i.e., the National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, and the Serbian government in Belgrade, were to function separately as governments in their respective territories until the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. This second agreement between the representatives of the Yugoslav Committee and the Serbian government was shamelessly repudiated by the latter.

However well-intentioned the Croatian signer of the Declaration of Corfu, Dr. Trumbic, may have been, this was certainly not a document which was in agreement with the political will of the Croatian nation. At the utmost, it represented only a personal opinion of Dr. Trumbic and his friends, and nothing more. Moreover, it was completely unacceptable for the Croatian people, since it denied the existence of a separate Croatian nation, making the Croats a part of a non-existing "Yugoslav nation." It will be interesting to relate, at this point, an important statement made in
1923 by the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party who actually spoke in behalf of the entire Croatian nation. In a conversation with Mr. Wickham Steed, a great friend of Yugoslavia, in his home in London, Stjepan Radic is reported to have said: "States are not formed in the drawing rooms but in the hearts of the people. The Declaration of Corfu was not signed by the authorized representatives of the Croatian people. The right to self-determination is more important than this declaration which, I emphasize again, was not signed by the authorized representatives of the Croatian people. We are not a nation with three names (as the Declaration implied), or a tribe, we are rather the Croatian nation which has possessed for over a thousand years her continuous statehood, an old European culture and a Western civilization. The acceptance of the Declaration of Corfu means, in effect, the destruction of civilization and a return into barbarism, not with-standing the fact that from the view-point of the postwar international law the Declaration was a real crime because, in this case, the principle of self-determination for the Croatian people has been disregarded. And the right to self-determination is and should be the foundation of a new order in Europe, and the best guarantee of international peace."

15 This has always been the customary Croatian opinion about the alleged "cornerstone of the new state", as Mr. Steed called the Declaration of Corfu, and Stjepan Radic was only a faithful interpreter of the popular will when he made his historical statement.


IV.

While the Yugoslav Committee was still working in exile for its aim of an equitable union with Serbia, fighting the Greater Serbian plans as advocated by the Serbian government and its Prime Minister Nikola Pasic, the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) met in Zagreb, on October 29, 1918, and unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that all the relations between Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia on the one hand, and the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian Empire, on the other hand, are dissolved, and that Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia with Rijeka are declared as a completely independent state. This resolution was enthusiastically greeted by the Croatian people, and great manifestations took place in Zagreb in favor of Croatian independence. However, at the same time, the Sabor adopted in its resolution the idea that this new state of Croatia will form a union with Serbia and Montenegro, provided however that the will of the Croatian people would be respected and the Constitution of the united state passed only by a "pre-determined qualified majority, excluding any majorization," also that "both the form of government and the internal organization of the state be founded on full equality of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs." As a result of some cunning machinations of some Serbian members of the National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, the Sabor also transferred the supreme executive power in Croatia to the latter. 16 The session of the Sabor was then closed under the assumption that the next session will he called soon in order to ratify the subsequent decisions of the National Council. Therefore the Sabor was not dissolved but next meeting was never called, evidently because it may have hampered the deceptive tactics of the Croatian Serbs, particularly Svetozar Pribicevic, who did not trust even a Sabor in which his party possessed a majority.

It must be mentioned here, however, that the Croatian Sabor of 1918, even though legally elected, was not a genuine interpreter of Croatian public opinion. It was chosen in 1913 under a system of limited suffrage, and its original term had already expired. The elections of Dec. 16 and 17, 1913, were held in an atmosphere of unfair and oppressive maneuvering and it was evident that the administrative apparatus favored the Croatian-Serbian Coalition. So it was not unusual when, by the various gerrymandering tactics, the Coalition received 47 representatives in the Sabor, and the other Croatian parties only 38 representatives. 17 All the representatives of the Serbian minority in Croatia were elected on the Coalition ticket. Pribicevic, after his break with King Alexander, published a book (La dictature de Roi Alexandre, Paris 1933) in which he, among other things, admitted that the composition of the Sabor would have been different if the elections were held in 1918. How arbitrary were the acts of the majority in that Sabor may be best seen from the fact that, in 1914, it was busy to unseat Stjepan Radic who was unanimously elected in his electoral district. 18

The National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, after receiving from the Croatian Sabor the appearance of a seeming legality, ruled with dictatorial methods without recalling the legislative body. The entire power in the National Council was gradually taken over by one of its vicepresidents, the Croatian Serb Svetozar Pribicevic, since its president Dr. Korosec left for Geneva. Pribicevic and his henchmen instituted a regime of terror against patriotic Croats who were opposed to a union with Serbia. In Zagreb, Pribicevic's persecution led to the imprisonment and exile of many outstanding Croats. It was a tragic irony of fate that in those decisive days of Croatian history the executive power in Zagreb was in the hands of a ruthless Serb who was a sworn enemy of Croatian independence. Thus the first Yugoslavia was created in an atmosphere of persecution, without any genuine participation of the Croatian people in this important decision. Especially the decision of Nov. 24, 1918, for a union with Serbia - which was so ardently opposed by the Croatian deputies Radic and Hrvoj, and the Congress of the Croatian Peasant Party of Nov. 25, 1919, as mentioned in the beginning of this study, was never approved by the Croatian Parliament though Stjepan Radic explicitly asked for a meeting of that body. This demand was rejected by the National Council which, apparently, did not have the necessary confidence that the Sabor would approve Pribicevic's treacherous steps towards a quick and unconditional union with Serbia.

The National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, and particularly its Serbian members, felt the animosity of the Croatian people toward the union, and for this reason Pribicevic and his accomplices tried to speed it up. Even in the very eyes of a friend of Yugoslavia it appears that "the National Council (its Central Committee) hastily decided to send a delegation to Belgrade to proclaim a union." 19 They did not call a plenary session of the Council to discuss the conditions for a union, rather decided the issue in a Committee which was completely dominated by Pribicevic
who himself later regretted his fatal role. Even this Council in its instructions to the delegation had emphasized in Point 1 that the "final organization of the new state may be determined only by a general National Constituent Assembly" with a "two- third majority." The delegation left Zagreb on November 28, 1918, and already on December 1, the union with Serbia was officially proclaimed in Belgrade. 20 On December 3, the National Council declared that, because of the execution of the union, its power has ceased to exist on the whole territory of Croatia, and so the Council dissolved itself. Instead of a federal Yugoslavia based upon the principle of national equality, a state was born that "to all intents and purposes was an aggrandized Serbia." 21 On Dec. 5, 1918, a spontaneous demonstration took place in Zagreb against a union with the Serbs, and in favor of an independent Republic of Croatia. The demonstrations of the Croatian patriots were cruelly suppressed; 13 freedom-loving men were killed, and 17 wounded. They were the first Croatian martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting the Serbian tyranny. After that, Pasic and Pribicevic introduced a new regime of increased terror in Croatia to destroy by force the Croatian independence movement. Since the Croatian peasants were particularly opposed to the union, favoring the Republic of Croatia, many of them were savagely beaten or imprisoned. From all this is is quite evident that the First Yugoslavia was born in blood, persecution and violence, and as an unjust, oppresive, evil, and contemptible creation was in advance sentenced to death.

The Serbian persecutions were answered by the Croatian protests and appeals. On February 3, 1919, in front of a great mass of people, the Croatian leader Stjepan Radic declared in Zagreb: "In behalf of four fifths of the Croatian people we demand a Croatian Republic and a Croatian Constitutional Assembly. We are for a Constitutional Assembly because we see how our sacred and beloved country, Croatia, is being destroyed." 22 This meeting was attended by 6,782 delegates who came from all over Croatia to protest against the Serbian terror and the union with Serbia. The Administrative Committee of the Croatian Republican Peasant Party also passed unanimously a resolution on March 8, 1919, protesting against the Serbian tyranny in Croatia and the union with Serbia, emphasizing: "The Croatian citizens do not recognize the so-called Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes under the Karadordevic dynasty, because this kingdom was proclaimed without the consent of the Croatian Sabor... We do not recognize the State Council (Drzavno Vijece) of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in Belgrade. We deny any legal authority to the central government in Belgrade." 23 This protest was translated into French and handed to some foreign representatives in Zagreb. It is also remarkable that, in Croatia, 157,669 signatures were collected for an appeal sent to President Wilson in Paris, in which the Croatians asked for the establishment of a Republic of Croatia. However, this appeal, made in 1919, remained unanswered. Not only the Croatian Peasant Party as the largest political party in Croatia protested against the union with Serbia. The largest Croatian minority party of those days, the Croatian Rights Party under the presidency of Dr. Alexander Horvat, issued, on March 1, 1919, a proclamation protesting the existing situation and demanding the establishment of a free Croatian state to be formed on the principle of national self-determination and the old constitutional rights of Croatia. 24 And on December 8, 1920, after a sweeping victory of Radic in the general elections, the elected Croatian representatives unanimously swore to work intensely to liberate Croatia from the Serbian yoke, and to form a free republic which would include all the Croatian provinces. However, all these expressions of popular will were repeatedly suppressed by the organs of the Serbian government, and thus accomplished practically nothing. On the contrary, on June 28, 1921, as already mentioned, a Constitution was adopted in Belgrade with the main purpose to secure Serbian hegemony in all non-Serbian lands, particularly in Croatia. Not a single freely elected Croatian deputy voted for this unitarian and centralist Vidovdan-Constitution. The provision of a necessary qualified majority, as agreed in the Declaration of Corfu, and also contained in the instructions to the Croatian delegation, was shamelessly disregarded. This is how the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes came into existence, and how the Vidovdan Constitution of 1921 was imposed upon the subjugated peoples of that oppressor state.



V.


Certain definite conclusions emerge quite clearly from our evidence. They are:


1. The Croatian "Yugoslavs" members of the Yugoslav Committee, who took active part in the movement for a union with Serbia, were honest and well-intentioned persons but without any formal sanction for their activities. They were neither the elected representatives of the people, nor in any way whatsoever authorized to act in behalf of the Croatian nation.

2. The Croatian Sabor of 1918, even though legally elected, was not, because of its composition and its domination by the Croatian Serbs, the real interpreter of Croatia's political will. But even this imperfect Sabor (from the Croatian point of view) did never ratify the Yugoslav union as was done by the Serbian Parliament in Belgrade. In fact, it was never called to do so, though the Sabor resolution of Oct. 29, 1918, explicitly specified that "the next meeting will be called when needed." The Sabor was never dissolved but it was not summoned to give its sanction to the most important decision of that period, i.e., the union with Serbia arbitrarily proclaimed in Belgrade, on Dec. 1, 1918.

3. The National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was a de facto body, not a creation of the Croatian constitutional law. As such it was illegal, and, consequently, the transfer of the executive power from the Sabor to that Council was unconstitutional and illegal, too. If regarded as a revolutionary body, the National Council in no way materialized the popular sentiment, and its members never disputed this fact. They acted on the assumption that they knew better what was in the interest of the people than the people themselves did. Their general attitude
was the attitude of the "enlightened despots" of the 18th century. 25


4. The evidence in this article points out that Yugoslavia was created by the deceptive machinations of a small but vociferous minority, against the repeatedly expressed will of the Croatian people. The meetings and the congresses of the Croatian Peasant Party, and the political demonstrations against a union with Serbia in many Croatian cities, in 1918, decisively prove this point. The "Vidovdan Constitution" of 1921 was accepted without Croat participation, and only with a simple, unqualified majority, all this contrary to the Declarations of Corfu and Geneva, to the resolutions of the Croatian Sabor, and the instructions of the National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Therefore, this Constitution was in a very sharp contrast with the political will of the Croatian nation, as repeatedly expressed on many occasions. This was later proven by the whole political development in Yugoslavia from 1918 to 1941. We agree completely with one of the most distinguished Croatian scholars, Prof. Filip Lukas, who has arrived at the same conclusion, "Yugoslavia was not created on the principle of self-determination." 26 He adds that not only the Croats but also the Bulgarians, the Albanians, and even the Slovenes, were not asked if they wished to join the Serbs. All these peoples were forcibly incorporated into Yugoslavia, and the principle of self-determination was, in their case, intentionally disregarded and violated.

5. Never since the establishment of the First Yugoslavia has the Croatian nation been asked in a free election, or a free plebiscite, to approve the union with Serbia. It is clear, however, that a free decision of the Croatian nation would inevitably be in favor of political independence. Therefore, Yugoslavia can exist only if supported by a regime of terror and persecution. In all free elections, in the First Yugoslavia, the Croatian people gave its vote only to such parties which emphasized its right to freedom and independence. 27 And when, in 1941, a favorable occasion arose, the Croats declared their independence, and an avalanche of popular will swept away the despised oppressor state. This was, in fact, a Croatian national plebiscite against Yugoslavia. 28

6. As to the Second, Tito's Communist Yugoslavia, the story of her formation in 1945 is very similar to the events of 1918, except for a difference in the degree of violence used in both cases. The discussion of the creation of the Second Yugoslavia is rather beyond the scope of our study. However, there is no denying the fact that the methods used by the Serbian Communists in 1945 were much more ruthless and cruel than those applied by the Serbian Monarchists in 1918. All this because the regime of the Communist state is by itself more terroristic and oppressive than the previous royal regime, and its aims are certainly more Pan-Serbian than those of the First Yugoslavia. So it is no wonder that the Croatians have never been asked to approve the existence of the Second Yugoslavia in a free plebiscite, nor will they ever be asked to do so. Thus there can be no doubt about the accuracy of our final statement which is: the First and Second Yugoslavia were both created against the will of the Croatian people.

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1 For instance, Mr. P. D. Ostovic in his book "The truth about Yugoslavia" (New York: Roy Publishers, 1952) gives an intelligible account of those events. Yet it must be mentioned that he has been a life-long adherent of Yugoslav unity, and so is in some places biased in favor of Yugoslavia which is, on the whole, intensely despised by the Croatian nation which, on the basis of her experience, sees in it only a cleverly disguised Serbian hegemony. Accordingly, Mr. Ostovic has understated some of the popular manifestations in favor of Croatian independence which occured in 1918 and thereafter.


2 Systematic descriptions of the formation of Yugoslavia may be found in the following books: Dr. Mladen Lorkovic, Die Entstehung des Staates der Serben, Kroaten und Slowenen (Berlin: Juristische Dissertation, 1938), Dr. Ferdinand Schrems, Die Rechtstellung der Kroaten im frueheren Habsburger Reich und im heutigen jugoslawischen Staat (Hamburg: Dissertation, 1939), and Dr. Emil Robert Gaertner, Kroatien in Suedslawien (Berlin: Juenker and Duennhaupt Verlag, 1944). Pertinent documents of that period may be found in the book by Dr. Ferdo Sisic, Dokumenti o postanku Kralievine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca (1914-1919), (Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1920). However, the documents concerning the manifestations of Croatian opposition to Yugoslavia, had been omitted from this book by Mr. Sisic, who, as an ardent pro-Yugoslav, evidently believed in the method of historical blackout.

3 Even Mr. Ostovic, who unjustly accuses Radic that he, in 1918, "was stirring up trouble in Croatia" (op. cit., p. 9B.) must admit that "his (Radic's) Peasant Party, which he founded, brought him into closer contact with the people than any other Croatian parliamentarian, and he was therefore in a better position to interpret popular feeling" (op. cit., p. 97).

4 The National Council of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (Narodno Vijece SHS) was organized in Zagreb, on Oct. 5, 1918, by the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes of pro- Yugoslav orientation. It was a self-appointed and not an elected body. Its president was a Slovene, Dr. Korogec, but the Council was cleverly dominated by a Serb from Croatia, Svetozar Pribicevic, who wanted to effect a union of Croatia and Serbia at any price. It is certain that under such conditions the National Council in no way represented the political will of Croatia.

5 In the meeting of the National Council of Nov. 24, 1918, Stjepan Radic made his famous speech in which he protested against the proposals of some of the adherents of the union, and asked for a meeting of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) as the only legal parliamentary body in Croatia. Another deputy, Dragutin Hrvoj, who represented the Croatian Rights Party, emphasized the old claim of the Croatian people to live in its own independent state, and, on the whole, supported Radic's position. However, other speakers, belonging for the most part to the Croatian- Serbian Coalition, a party oriented toward Yugoslav unity, spoke in favor of a union with the Serbs.

6 Dr. Rudolf Horvat, "Ljetopis Hrvatske 1918-1942," in Nasa Domovina (Zagreb: GUS, 1942), Vol. L, p. 218.

7 In all the subsequent free elections in the Croatian provinces, Radic's Peasant Party received an absolute majority of all Croatian votes. The Croatian-Serbian Coalition disappeared as a political organization. Its Croatian members either vanished from the political scene, or became Serbian stooges and exponents of Serbian hegemony in Croatia. They were regarded as quislings and as such were greatly despised by the Croatian People. The sweeping victory of the Croatian Peasant Party in the first parliamentary elections in 1920 was particularly remarkable. A party ideologist, Rudolf Herceg, evaluates the significance of those elections as follows: "By this victory the Croatian people has declared that the decision of the National Council of Nov. 24, 1918, was made without its approval, and so did not correspond with the will of the Croatian nation." (Rudolf Herceg, Die Ideologie der kroatischen Bauernbewegung, Zagreb, 1923, p. 69.).

8 It is very strange, indeed, to find in some of the descriptions of that time the expression of sympathy for the oppressors and a scorn for the oppressed. This particularly applies to a pro-Serbian and pro- Tito symposium published under the title of "Yugoslavia" (ed. R. J. Kerner, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1949). Mr. Malbone W. Graham, writing about the Constitutional Development to 1914, speaks with a peculiar contempt about the fight of a small nation for her independence. He sneers at the Croatian parliamentarism with such ugly and unscholarly words as the "artifices of obstructionism", "parliamentary sabotage", "small-scale political blackmail", "destructive and negative objectives", etc. (P.117). In his two articles about the Constitutional development, especially in the second article which considers the development from 1914-1941, Mr. Graharn has clearly demonstrated not only a remarkable absence ot insight and an amazing lack of objectivity but also an incomprehensible preference for Yugoslav unitarianism which is, in its last consequences, only a cover-up for Pan-Serbian imperialism.

9 The Croatian-Serbian Coalition, formed in 1905, was a political organization composed of Croats and members of the Serbian minority in Croatia. Though many outstanding Croats belonged to it, it was dominated by the Serbs (Pribicevic, Popovic, Medakovic, Peles etc.). It alternated between a revolutionary pro-Yugoslav policy, by promoting the friendship toward the Kingdom of Serbia, and a detestable political opportunism, by collaborating with the representatives of the Hungarian hegemony in Croatia. It was, in turn, often patronized by them.

10 Ostovic, op. cit., p. 13

11 Franjo, Nevistic, "Jugoslavija nije nikad bila hrvatska drzava", Hrvatska, Kulurno- politicki zbornik (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 23.

12 Cit. by Dr. Julius Makanec, Die Entwicklung des kroatischen Nationalism (Zagreb, 1944), p. 65.

13 Ostovic, op. cit, p. 81.

14 The text of both documents is published in Mr. Ostovic's book (op. cit, p. 274- 285.); see also Sisic, op. cit.


15 This is quoted by Dr. Franjo Nevistic (op. cit., pp. 20-21). Mr. Nevistic, as a jurist, denies the validity of the Declaration of Corfu for three reasons: 1. it declared that the Croatians are a part of a non-existing nation with three names; 2. it did not take into account the Croatian statehood, which existed for over a thousand years, and
so violated the basic principle of the Croatian constitutional law; 3. it was not signed by the authorized representatives of the Croatian people.

16 In opinion of Dr. Nevistic, this decision of the Croatian Sabor had no juridical or political foundation; it was not based upon the will of the people or the constitutional rights of Croatia. The Croatian Sabor was a centuries-old representative body which, during its long history, defended the traditional rights of the Croatian people on many occasions. But this particular Sabor of 1918 did not function quite properly. Its decision to transfer power to the National Council was indeed a coup d'etat, and as such an unconstitutional act. The National Council SHS was not known in the constitutional law of Croatia. The Sabor had no right to transfer any of its powers to
a constitutionally non-existing body. Accordingly, the National Council, too, acted unconstitutionally in exercising this power. Thus the whole union with Serbia may be explained only as a revolutionary and not as a legal act, executed by a minority, which was never recognized by the Croatian people or its rightful representatives. (cf. Nevistic, op. cit., p. 22.)

17 This period has been described in the book by Vlaho Raic, Hrvatska i Srbija (Buenos Aires, 1953), p. 93. ff.

18 Ibid., p. 94.

19 Ostovic, op. cit., p. 97

20 The date of December 1, 1918, has been regarded by the Croatian nation as one of the darkest days in her history, since it was a day when a small minority, by the methods of political deception and terror, destroyed the traditional rights of Croatia.

21 Ostovic, op. cit., p. 98.

22 Horvat, op. cit, p. 218.

23 Horvat, op. cit, p. 227.

24 Gaernter, op. cit., p. 66.

25 This arrogant and obtrusive attitude of the pro-Yugoslav part of Croatian intelligentsia, led the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, Stjepan Radic, to the sound conclusion that the broad masses of the, people, particularly the peasants (80% of population in Croatia), should be the real basis of Croatian political strivings. He knew well that they have a good political sense, and are not easily deceived by sweet propaganda slogans of naive pro-Yugoslav dreamers, Serbian stooges, and corrupt and selfish politicians.

26 Filip Lukas, "Da li je Jugoslavija nastala na temeIju narodnog samoodredenja", Hrvatska Revija (Buenos Aires), Vol. 4, 1951, Vol. l., 1952.

27 No "Yugoslav" political party could ever gain deeper roots in Croatia. The so- called Croatian "Yugoslavs" were always regarded by the Croatian people either as unrealistic dreamers, or, especially after 1918, as traitors, quislings, and outcasts who, for one reason or another, willingly served the oppressors.

28 Who could have expected the Croats to fight for a state in which they had been imprisoned against their will? The "Yugoslav" army therefore disintegrated in 1941 as Tito's army will inevitably disintegrate if a new war comes. The Croats will never willingly defend their prison, Yugoslavia. In 1941, their principal aim was to get rid of the Serbian oppressors. They were not interested in the war between the big powers, rather in the realization of their own independence which was so persistently denied to them. During the Second World War, the Croats valiantly fought the Serbian Chetniks and Tito's Communists for two reasons: 1) to preserve their national state which the Serbian Communists and Chetniks intended to destroy; 2) to preserve their free form of life against all the manifestations of the inherent Communist and Chetnik barbarism. However, this does not mean that they approved all of the actions of the government which in 1941, under very difficult circumstances was established in Croatia.