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Making Yugoslavs

Making Yugoslavs: Identity in King Aleksandar's Yugoslavia

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Making Yugoslavs
    Book Description:

    Christian Axboe Nielsen uses extensive archival research to explain the failure of King Aleksandar's dictatorship's program of forced nationalization in the interwar era.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6924-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Map of Yugoslavia between the Wars
    (pp. xii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    Why did the South Slavic peoples of Yugoslavia fail to assimilate into one Yugoslav identity? More than any other question, this deceptively simple query lies at the heart of the failure of the Yugoslav state. As even a casual visit to a decent library will confirm, the shelves buckle under the weight of the hundreds of volumes that have been written about the collapse of Yugoslavia by historians, anthropologists, and social scientists.¹ The explanations for the violent collapse of Yugoslavia are diverse, but all of these works at some level deal with the question of Yugoslav identity. While most of...

  7. Part One: The Collapse of Constitutional Monarchy in Yugoslavia

    • 1 National Ideology and the Formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
      (pp. 15-40)

      Despite Yugoslavia’s extraordinarily complex history, the “national question in Yugoslavia” can largely be reduced to a handful of essential issues: (1) What are the spatial and ethnic boundaries of the South Slavs? (2) Should the South Slavs, or some portion of them, inhabit a joint and possibly independent South Slavic (i.e., Yugoslav) state? (3) What should the internal structure of the Yugoslav state be? And (4) what identity or identities should be permissible in the context of such a Yugoslav state, and how should they relate to past identities?

      This study analyses a particular case of the implementation of a...

    • 2 “A Tribal and Parliamentary Dictatorship”: The 1920s in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
      (pp. 41-74)

      All of the major political debates of the 1920s were conducted within the flawed framework of the Vidovdan Constitution. In the end, 53 per cent of the Constitutional Assembly had supported the constitution, but this bare majority was opposed by several strong constituencies, led by the Croats. It is no surprise, then, that discord persisted in the years that followed. In less than a decade, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes experienced more than twenty political crises during which the government either risked falling or actually did so, and not a single government served out a full parliamentary mandate....

  8. Part Two: The Advent of the Alexandrine Dictatorship

    • 3 Cutting the Gordian Knot: The Dictatorship’s First Year
      (pp. 77-134)

      Orthodox Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday in January 1929. In the Yugoslav capital, it marked the official beginning of a four-day holiday. Yet the citizens of Belgrade, like those across Yugoslavia, found it difficult to relax. The Court’s grave declaration the previous afternoon of an insoluble political crisis had piqued the population’s curiosity, and people awaited the next development with great anticipation.

      On that day, 6 January 1929, the Royal Court released a manifesto containing a confident and stern message from King Aleksandar.

      To My Dear People [Narod]

      To all Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes

      The greatest national and state...

  9. Part Three: Making Yugoslavs out of “Tribalists”

    • 4 Nationalist Workers of Yugoslavia, Unite! Moulding Yugoslavs, January 1930–September 1931
      (pp. 137-166)

      By the end of January 1930, the first anniversary of the regime had passed and the waves of fealty delegations had come to a temporary end. For the Yugoslav government, a second year of opportunities and challenges beckoned. Thebanovinas, which had only begun operating in November 1929, were still evolving to fit their broad but vague mandates, and in some cases they lacked the facilities and personnel for proper administration. On the political front, the government seemed to have the situation well in hand. Both Vladko Maček and Svetozar Pribićević, the erstwhile leaders of the Peasant-Democratic Coalition, were out...

    • 5 Policing Yugoslavism: Surveillance, Denunciations, and Ideology in Daily Life
      (pp. 167-204)

      During King Aleksandar’s dictatorship, the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia faced ever-increasing surveillance in their daily lives.¹ Archival documents indicate how closely the state monitored political and ideological loyalty to the dictatorship and its ideology of Yugoslavism. The eyes and ears of the state were everywhere, roaming far beyond opposition politicians and other elites.² Soldiers, police, bureaucrats, and correspondents of the Central Press Bureau all kept track of theraspoloženje naroda(mood of the population), and many ordinary citizens took it upon themselves to denounce suspicious individuals. Those denunciations were often slanderous or opportunistic. Yet the state and its...

  10. Part Four: The Assassination of Aleksandar and the Strange Afterlife of His Dictatorship

    • 6 The Return of “Democracy”: September 1931–October 1934
      (pp. 207-238)

      On 3 September 1931, the Yugoslav government announced without warning that King Aleksandar had granted a constitution. Despite the long-standing rumours of just such a change, the actual announcement came as something of a surprise, given that the police had until the very last minute punished anyone foolhardy enough to call for changes to the regime. Yet now the king and his government proudly announced that the country had passed its probationary test of the past thirty-two months with flying colours. The king, “true to His traditional democratic feelings and His Royal word,” had always promised that the regime introduced...

  11. Epilogue and Conclusion: “Preserve My Yugoslavia,” October 1934–May 1935
    (pp. 239-252)

    Soon after news of King Aleksandar’s death in Marseille had reached Belgrade, officials in the Yugoslav capital opened his testament. The king had written this document after the assassination attempt on him in Zagreb in December 1933.¹ In it, he appointed three regents to govern the country until his firstborn son, Petar, still only eleven years old, reached legal age. The three men named were Aleksandar’s cousin Prince Pavle, Senator Radenko Stanković, and thebanof Sava Banovina, Ivo Perović. With the backing of General Petar Živković, Prince Pavle quickly emerged as the head of the triumvirate.² On 22 October,...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 253-352)
  13. Sources and Bibliography
    (pp. 353-366)
  14. Index
    (pp. 367-388)