France, the Serbs and the Croat Question (1918–1921) Cover Image
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Француска, Срби и хрватско питање (1918–1921)
France, the Serbs and the Croat Question (1918–1921)

Author(s): Gordana Krivokapić Jović
Subject(s): Civil Society, Governance, Political history, Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919), Interwar Period (1920 - 1939), Inter-Ethnic Relations, Sociology of Politics
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Keywords: Kingdom of SHS; France; Serbs; Croatian question;
Summary/Abstract: The Croat question in the newly created Yugoslav state reapeared on the basis of the old unrealised ideas and concepts of the strengthened Croat statehood which was to take as independent a position as possible in the Habsburg Monarchy. During the first wartime years members of the old political elite who grew up with such ideas, made connections with Radić’s Croat Peasants’ Party, which built up its profile, together with its leader, during the First World War. With its nature and events this war taught Radić that every turn was possible, that all ideas in most unlikely combinations were possible, that even the defeated ones could survive and realise some of their projects and plans. The new political grouping, basically exclusively nationalist and anti-Yugoslav, acquired a new revisionist, bolshevik or similar garb, thanks to its connections outside the country. The policy of the Croat-Serbian coalition was not continued after the war. France supported that policy ever since it countered by its project of “Greater Yugoslavia” all other plans for reorganization of the Habsburg Monarchy which were aimed at being an avant-garde of Germany in its penetration of the Southeast, as well as the project of “Greater Hungary” without the Monarchy, supported by Italy. The French project saw Belgrade and Serbia as the centre of Yugoslav unification, and it saw the aggressive attack on the Serbs in the Monarchy (abolition of their rights and existence) in the run-up to the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908/9 as the point at which the predominant part of the Yugoslav population of the Monarchy was turned from loyal subject into its adversaries. The last shows of loyalty toward the old Monarchy occurred during the war 1914–1918 and they had a Croat variety. The French stuck to their basic attitudes about Yugoslavism as a state and national idea which would enable a reasonable policy of harmony between the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes during the founding of that state and during its existence, albeit the reality was much bleaker than had been projected. Such Yugoslav state was in keeping with French interests. It should have been capable enough to fulfill the expectations both of its own and of its wartime ally, to prevent the descent of Germanism to the Adriatic coast and to prevent Italy from joining the Germanic world with a long frontier, in order to be the means of spreading democracy, French culture and French influence in general in that part of the Slavic world. With its appearance and contents, the Croat question was not attuned to this.

  • Page Range: 267-281
  • Page Count: 15
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Language: Serbian