The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Jugoslavia

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Edition of 1920. See also Yugoslavia on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

JUGOSLAVIA, or YUGOSLAVIA, a term signifying the Southern Slav State (jugo comes from jug or yug, meaning south). The word derives from the geographical situation of the country, and includes the three branches of a single people known under the names of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenians, The area of the new state is about 75,000 square miles (nearly as large as England and Scotland together, or about two-thirds of the size of Italy). Its boundaries are formed by the Adriatic Sea and Isonzo River on the west, and the Hungarian Republic on the north. On the east it is bounded by Rumania and Bulgaria, and on the south by Greece and Albania. The provinces included in Jugoslavia are Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia, Carniola, Bachka, Banat and parts of Istria, southern Styria and southern Carinthia. The population within the border limits given above is estimated at 14,000,000 inhabitants, of whom 90 per cent are Slavs and 10 per cent belong to other nationalities, scattered on the borders: Rumanians, Albanians and Bulgarians.

The first attempt at Jugoslav unity, which the European War has consummated, dates from the 9th century. Ljudevit Posavski roused the Slavic people, fought the Franks and assembled under his authority the Croatians of Pannonia, the Slovenes and the Serbians of the Danube region (819-22.) During a very short time all the Jugoslav countries situated between the Sava and the Timok recognized a common sovereign. But this ephemeral realm was soon destroyed by the Frank and Byzantine powers. However, even discounting enemies from without, its existence would not have lasted long. Difficulty of relationship and communication in the Middle Ages prevented different parts of the same kingdom from becoming acquainted and known to each other. The least natural obstacle was an insurmountable barrier separating members of a single race.

It was thus that the Jugoslav provinces continued like fiefs hidden away in their geographical limits, ignorant of one another. Everything held them apart; the numerous rivers and mountains of the rough, hilly country; the ambition and independence of their grand feudal chiefs, for whom the natural isolation of their subjects was a necessity; rivalry between the two churches: the Catholicism of Rome and the Orthodoxy of Byzance, which split up and disputed over the Jugoslavs placed under their two-fold influence. But in spite of all these obstacles, a feeling for inter-communication was to be noted among the southern Slavs every time an idea of centralization agitated Europe. A Jugoslav prince arose who tried to realize the union of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Zvonimir, king of Croatia (1076-88), as also Dushan the Mighty (1331-55), emperor of Serbia, and Tvrtko (1351-91), king of Bosnia, who reunited for a little while the three crowns of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia.

From the 16th to 18th century most Jugoslav provinces fell under the Turkish rule, and the only link which kept the southern Slavs together was their language and common literature, known under the name of the Ragusan literature. The feeling of national unity was reflected in the writings of Ivan Gundulić (1588-1638), George Križanić (1617-86), Jovan Raić (1726-1801), Urban Jarnik (1784-1844), Dositheus Obradović (1739-1811) and many others. Thanks to the efforts of all these writers and thinkers, the idea of southern Slav unity was already widely disseminated among the people. Religious intolerance had lost much of its force. Liberal and democratic ideas prevailed for the moment, and the principle of nationality was proclaimed. Not long afterward the introduction of railroads facilitated communication between the different provinces, heretofore divided by impassable mountains. From this time onward the idea of Jugoslav unity showed itself not only in the works and thoughts of individual men of letters but in the great achievements of militant nationalism as well. Serbia emancipated herself politically (1804) and with Montenegro became the centre toward which the eyes of all the southern Slavs involuntarily turned. Side by side with great political events arose an intellectual movement of equal importance and likewise tending strongly toward emancipation and national unity. The celebrated scholar, Vuk Karadžić (1787-1864), completely reformed the Serbian literary language by his introduction of the vernacular into literature as the only fit and worthy vehicle of the written thoughts of the nation. His reform found an echo in Croatia where Ljudevit Gaj (1809-72) and his fellow-workers adopted the same tongue. Among the Slovene writers, Stranko Vraz (1810-51) and other contemporary authors endeavored to adopt the Serbo-Croat tongue as their literary language. Thus the three separate literatures, known before as the Serbian, the Croatian and the Slovenian, were unified and have since then formed one southern Slav literature. The mental and spiritual union between the different branches of the nation assumed a definite form and at the end of the 19th century attained its full development.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Jugoslav movement was more intensively felt throughout all the provinces. In Serbia the Austrophile parties with the dynasty of Obrenović were overturned in 1903. In Croatia the movement was marked by the fall of the reactionary Ban Khuen-Hedervary, who for 20 years had tyrannized over this sorely-tried country. Bosnia-Herzegovina was freed from the absolutism of its administrator, Benjamin Kalay, by his death. In 1905 Dalmatia rid herself of the obnoxious rule of the governor, Baron Handel; and in Montenegro a constitution was introduced. Soon after these events economic relations with Vienna and Budapest were discontinued. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina (1908), which action stirred up all the Jugoslav people. The approach of the storm was felt more and more. The Serbian national organizations openly demanded the evacuation of the annexed country by the Habsburgs. To justify its régime, Austria established a reign of prosecutions and false trials. She proposed to unite all the Jugoslav provinces, including Serbia and Montenegro, under the Habsburg sceptre. The southern Slavs became wrought up by such actions and avowed vengeance among themselves. In 1912 the Balkan Confederation was formed against both Austria and Turkey, and Turkish rule subsided with the ending of the Balkan wars. Whereupon Austria-Hungary wanted to fill the vacancy and to bridge over Austro-German rule into Asia Minor. To accomplish this purpose the government of Vienna induced the Bulgarians to break the Balkan League and to separate from the Slavic nations, which they accordingly did.

After the Sarajevo tragedy in 1914, the war between Austria and Serbia began. In the beginning of the war Serbia twice defeated the Austrian army, but in 1915, attacked by Bulgaria in the rear, and by the Austro-German forces to the north, she succumbed. The country was occupied by the enemy for three years. In 1918 Bulgaria was the first of the Central Powers to surrender to the Entente Powers. Whereupon the Austrian army was forced to evacuate not only Serbia and Montenegro but all the other Jugoslav provinces. National councils of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes elected a central executive committee to establish a sovereign Jugoslav state. This convention was held in Geneva during November 1918, bringing a resolution to set up a national government representing all the Jugoslav provrnces and preparing ground for the election of a constituent assembly. In Montenegro a National Assembly met in the city of Podgorica, dethroned its king, Nicholas, and decided to join the Jugoslav union. The Allied Powers, Great Britain, France and the United States, first encouraged the unification of Jugoslavia, and later on gave a more definite form to their recognition. On 7 Feb. 1919 the United States government, through its Secretary of State, issued a formal statement of the following content: “On 29 May 1918, the Government of the United States expressed its sympathy for the nationalistic aspirations of the Jugoslav races, and on 28 June declared that all branches of the Slav race should be completely freed from German and Austrian rule. After having achieved their freedom from foreign oppression, the Jugoslavs, formerly under Austro-Hungarian rule, on various occasions expressed the desire to unite with the kingdom of Serbia. The Serbian government, on its part, has publicly and officially accepted the union of the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian peoples. The Government of the United States, therefore, welcomes the union, while recognizing that the final settlement of territorial frontiers must he left to the Peace Conference for adjudication according to the desires of the peoples concerned.’

Bibliography. — Cvijić, ‘Unité Ethnique et National des Yougoslaves’ (Scientia, Vol. XXIII, pp. 455-463, Bologna 1918); Forbes, ‘The Southern Slavs’ (Oxford University, pp. 1-32, 19l5); Gauvain, ‘La Question Yougoslav’ (Revue de Paris, t. 2, pp. 411-448, 1918); Harris, 'Southern Slav Question' (Amer. Polit. Science Review, Vol. IX, pp. 227-251, 1915); Hinković, ‘Les Yougoslaves, leur passé, leur avenir’ (Revue Anthropologique, Vol. XXVI, pp. 205-230, Paris 1916); Holdich, ‘A Jugo-Slav Federation’ (Fortnightly Review, Vol. CII, pp. 185-195, 1918); Krek, ‘Les Slovènes’ (Paris 1917); Lanux, ‘La Yougoslavie’ (Paris 1916); Maritch, ‘Ce que sont les Yougoslaves’ (La Revue, Vol. CXXIV, pp. 109-124, 1918), Marjanović, ‘Jugoslavija’ (New York 1916); Niederle, ‘La Race Slave’ (Paris 1911); Primorac, ‘La Question Yougo-Slave’ (Paris 1918); Radonich, ‘Srbi u Ugarskoj’ (‘The Serbians in Hungary,’ Nish 1915); Seton-Watson, ‘German, Slav, and Magyar’ (London 1916); ib., ‘The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy’ (London 1911); Stanoyevich, ‘Jugoslavia, a New European State’ (Century, March 1918); ib., ‘The Ethnography of the Jugoslavs’ (Geographical Review, February 1919); Stoyanovich, ‘La Bosnie-Herzegovine’ (Genève 1917); Sišić, ‘Povjest Hrvatskog Naroda’ (‘The History of the Croatian People,’ Zagreb 1916); Taylor, ‘The Future of the Southern Slavs’ (London 1917); Vercesi, ‘L'Italie et la Yugoslavie au Congress de Rome’ (Revue Politique et Parlementaire, t. 95, pp. 25-32, 1918); Voinovitch, ‘La Dalmatie, l'Italie, et l'Unité Yougoslave’ (Genève 1917); Vosnjak, ‘Jugoslav Nationalism’ (London 1916); Zuiovich, ‘Les Serbes’ (Paris 1917).

Milivoy S. Stanoyevich.