Essay by ValsinatCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2003

download word file, 10 pages 4.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 152 times

Yugoslavia. As a nation, Yugoslavia was established in 1918, after World War I. Its core was SERBIA (which had already been independent), joined by Montenegro (another independent country) and former Austro-Hungarian areas inhabited by southern Slavic peoples. On the eve of World War II, Yugoslavia had a population of 15,500,500, 43 percent of whom were Serbs, 34 percent Croats, 7 percent Slovenes, and 7 percent Macedonians; the rest were Germans, Hungarians, Albanians, Jews, and Gypsies. By religion, 49 percent belonged to the Orthodox church, 37 percent were Catholics, 11 percent Moslems, 2 percent Protestants, and 0.5 percent Jews.1

According to the 1922 constitution, Yugoslavia was to be a unified state, headed by the Serbian Royal House of Karageorgevic; in practice, the largest single ethnic group, the Serbs, ruled the other peoples, creating a situation that became a source of constant tension. The major opposition to the Serbs came from the Croats, the second largest group in the country.

The ethnic differences were exacerbated by the economic gaps between the north of the country - Croatia and Slovenia, a relatively developed area - and the backward south; by the different religions, Orthodox versus Catholics, and by the conflicting national aspirations of the Serbs, on the one hand, and the Croatians and Macedonians, on the other. To these internal pressures were added pressures from beyond the country's borders: in the earlier years, from Italy and Hungary, which had irredentist claims on Yugoslav territory; and later, From Nazi Germany, as it developed its drive for the conquest of Europe. At the beginning of 1929, after the assassination of the Croatian leader Stjepan Radic, King Alexander seized power and created an authoritarian regime. In October 1934, Macedonian and Croatian nationalists assassinated Alexander in Marseilles, while on an official visit to France. Prince Pavel, who...