Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The kingdom was formed in 1918 under the name Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Serbo-Croatian latin: Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca cyrillic: Краљевина Срба, Хрвата и Словенаца, Slovenian Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev, short name Kraljevina SHS, Краљевина СХС).
On December 1 1918 it was proclaimed by Alexander Karađorđević, Prince-Regent for his father King Petar (Peter), who was formerly King of Serbia. The new Kingdom was made up of the formerly independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as a substantial amount of territory that was formerly part of Austria-Hungary, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. The lands previously in Austria-Hungary that formed the new state included Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina from the Hungarian part of the Empire, Carniola, part of Styria and most of Dalmatia from the Austrian part, and the Crown province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A plebiscite was also held in the Province of Carinthia, which opted to remain in Austria. The Dalmatian port city of Zadar and a few of the Dalmatian islands were given to Italy. The city of Rijeka was declared a free city-state, but it was soon occupied, and in 1924 annexed, by Italy. Tensions over the border with Italy continued, with Italy claiming more of the Dalmatian coast, and Yugoslavia claiming Istria, part of the former Austrian coastal province which had been annexed to Italy, but which contained a considerable population of Croats and Slovenes.
The new government tried to integrate the new country politically as well as economically, a task made difficult because of the great diversity of languages, nationalities, and religions in the new state, the different history of the regions, and great differences in economic development among regions.
Politics in the New State
Immediately after the 1st of December proclamation, negotiations between the Peoples council (of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs) and the Serbian government resulted in agreement over the new government which was to be headed by Nikola Pašić. However when this was submitted to the approval of the regent it was rejected so producing the new state's first government crisis. All the parties regarded this as a violation of parliamentary principles but the crisis was resolved when they agreed to replace Pašić by Stojan Protić who was a leading member of Pašić's Radical Party. The new government came into existence on the 20th December 1918. (source: Branislav Gligorijević Parlament i političke stranke u Jugoslaviji 1919 1929)
In this period before the election of the Constituent Assembly a Provisional Representation served as a parliament which was formed by delegates from the various elected bodies that had existed before the creation of the state. A realignment of parties combining several members of the Serbian opposition with political parties from the former Austria Hungary led to the creation of a new party, The Democratic Party, that dominated the Provisional Representation and the government.
Because the Democratic Party led by Ljubomir Davidović pushed a highly centralized agenda a number of Croatian delegates moved into opposition. However the radicals themselves who were not happy that they had only three ministers to the Democratic Parties eleven and on the 16th of August 1919 Stojan Protić handed in his resignation. Ljubomir Davidović then formed a coalition with the Social Democrats. This government did have a majority but the quorum of the Provisional Representation was half plus one vote. The opposition then began to boycott the parliament and as the government could never guarantee that all their supporters to turn up it became impossible to hold a quorate meeting of the parliament. Davidović quickly resigned but as no one else could form a government he again became prime minister. As the opposition continued their boycott the government decided it had no alternative but to rule by decree. This was denounced by the opposition who began to style themselves as the Paliamentary Community. Davidović himself realized that the situation was untenable and requested from the King the immediate holding of elections for the Constituent Assembly. When the King refused he felt he had no alternative but to resign.
The Parliamentary Community now formed a government led by Stojan Protić committed to the restoration of parliamentary norms and migigating the centralization of the previous government. Their opposition to the former governments program of radical land reform also united them. As several small groups and individuals switched sides, Protić now even had a small majority. However the Democratic Party and the Social Democrats now boycotted parliament and Protić was unable to muster a quorum. Hence the Parliamentary Community, now in government, was forced to rule by decree.
For the Parliamentary Community to thus violate the basic principle around which they had formed put them in an extremely difficult position. In April 1920 widespread worker unrest including a railway strike broke out and according to Gligorijević this put pressure on the two main parties to settle their differences. After successful negotiations Protić resigned to make way for a new government led by the neutral figure of Milenko Vesnić. The social democrats did not follow their former allies the Democratic Party into government because they were opposed to the anti communist measures that that new government was committed.
The controversies that had divided the parties earlier were still very much live issues. The Democrat Party continued to push their agenda of centralization and still insisted on the need for radical land reform. A disagreement over electoral law finally led the Democrat Party to vote against the government in Parliament and the government was defeated. Tho this meeting had not been quorate, Vesnić used this as a pretext to resign. His action produced the result Vesnić had intended and the Radical Party agreed to accept the need for centralization while the Democratic Party agreed to drop their insistence on land reform and Vesnić again headed the new government. The Croatian Group and the Slovenian People's Party were however not at all happy with the Radicals acceptance of centralization. Nor for that matter was Stojan Protić and he withdraw from the government on this issue.
In 1921, the Constitution was passed, which established a unitary monarchy. Serb politicians regarded Serbia as the standardbearer of Yugoslav unity, as the state of Piedmont had been for Italy, and the nation of Prussia for the German Empire. Over the following years, Croat resistance against a Serbocentric policy increased. Stjepan Radić, head of the Croatian Peasant Party, was imprisoned due to political reasons. After he was released in 1925, and returned to parliament, but only until 1928, when he made a critical speech and was subsequently shot on the parliament floor together with two other deputies from his party by a Montenegrin deputy Puniša Račić.
Not long after that, in response to the political crisis triggered by the shooting, on January 6, 1929, King Alexander abolished the Constitution, prorogued the Parliament and introduced personal dictatorship (the so-called January 6th Dictatorship, Šestojanuarska diktatura). He also changed the name of the country to Kingdom of Yugoslavia and changed the internal divisions to use banovinas on October 3.
It was only in 1931 that the King passed a new Constitution and allowed de jure elections, so tensions grew. On October 9 1934, the king was assassinated in Marseille, France by Yugoslav exiles, radical members of the political parties that he banned five years earlier (primarily the VMRO).
Because Peter II, the eldest son of Alexander was a minor, a regency council of three, specified in Alexander's will, took over the role of King. The council was dominated by the King's cousin Prince Paul.
List of Kings
- King Petar I (1 Dec 1918 - 16 Aug 1921) (Regent Prince Aleksandar ruled in the name of the King)
- King Aleksandar (16 Aug 1921 - 9 Oct 1934)
- Regency headed by Prince Pavle (9 Oct 1934 - 27 Mar 1941)
- King Petar II (27 Mar 1941 - 29 Nov 1945) *exile from 13/14 Apr 1941
Internally, the Kingdom was divided into provinces from 1929 onwards, each of them called banovina. Their borders were intentionally drawn so that they wouldn't correspond either to boundaries between ethnic groups, or to the pre-WWI imperial borders. They were named after various rivers. The capital of the kingdom was Belgrade.
- Dravska banovina (Banovina of Drava), with its capital in Ljubljana
- Savska banovina (Banovina of Sava), with its capital in Zagreb
- Vrbaska banovina (Banovina of Vrbas), with its capital in Banja Luka
- Primorska banovina (Seaside Banovina), with its capital in Split
- Drinska banovina (Banovina of Drina), with its capital in Sarajevo
- Zetska banovina (Banovina of Zeta), with its capital in Cetinje
- Dunavska banovina (Banovina of Danube), with its capital in Novi Sad
- Moravska banovina (Banovina of Morava), with its capital in Niš
- Vardarska banovina (Banovina of Vardar), with its capital in Skopje
- The City of Belgrade, together with Zemun and Pančevo was also an administrative unit
In 1939 the Banovina Hrvatska (Banovina of Croatia) was formed from the Primorska and Savska banovinas, with some border alterations. Like Savska, its capital was Zagreb.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details