The Century of Yugoslavia: How and Why the Serbs,
Croats and Slovenians Established a Common State Cover Image

Vek Jugoslavije: Kako i zašto su Srbi, Hrvati i Slovenci stvorili zajedničku državu
The Century of Yugoslavia: How and Why the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians Established a Common State

Author(s): Dejan Đokić
Subject(s): Political history, Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919), Interwar Period (1920 - 1939), Inter-Ethnic Relations, Politics and Identity
Published by: Srpsko narodno vijeće, Arhiv Srba u Hrvatskoj
Keywords: Kingdom of Serbs; Croats and Slovenes; Yugoslavia, unification; First World War; interwar Europe;

Summary/Abstract: Despite enormous challenges, sacrifices, and a catastrophic defeat, before the triumph of 1918, the Serbian leadership had generally pursued a pro-unification line through the war, as did exiled Croats, and other South Slavs, of the London-based Yugoslav Committee. The proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on 1 December 1918 in Belgrade had the support of practically all relevant political, intellectual and religious groups. Yet, unsurprisingly perhaps, the Yugoslav unification today is often perceived as a naïve, catastrophic mistake if not a result of Serb/Croat manipulation or the Powers' conspiracy. Was Yugoslavia not doomed to failure from the start, as its seemingly perpetual crises and the violent collapses in the 1940s and 1990s surely attest? Even if one is not susceptible to post-factum interpretations, it is nevertheless appropriate to ask why did the South Slavs form a union a century ago and why no alternative solutions were seriously explored. In this paper I argue that a unified Yugoslavia represented the most logical solution to the Serbian and South Slav Question(s) and that complex events of late 1918 need to be understood in their historical context. I suggest that rather than merely an idealistic project, Yugoslavia actually made sense to all the key South Slav political actors, whose decision-making was driven by ideological as well as pragmatic considerations. It also made sense to most of Serbia's allies, even if they were at times ambivalent vis-à-vis the creation of Yugoslavia or, in the case of Italy, opposed to it. Finally, the formation of Yugoslavia and subsequent developments cannot be understood outside the wider context of interwar Europe.

  • Issue Year: 2/2019
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 25-51
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: Serbian
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