"CROATS AND SERBS: TWO OLD AND DIFFERENT NATIONS"
Dr. O. Dominik Mandic
The constitution of present-day Yugoslavia generally recognizes that Yugoslavia is a multinational state in which there are several nations: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Macedonians, as well as national minorities: Albanians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Germans and Italians. A separate republic was created in 1945 for every nation in Yugoslavia and allowed by the constitutional law to secede from the common federative state of Yugoslavia on the condition that petition be sought by due process of law. The avowed purpose of this constitution was to correct one of the major prejudices of the intellectual elite of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who had formulated the theory that the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins and Macedonians are one nation and accordingly should form a common state. This theory based on a false assumption gained the general approval of public opinion during the First World War and by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the unified State of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was established. It was given the name of Yugoslavia only in 1929. Thus was born the first Yugoslavia, created on false political and historical assumptions. The nations that had been incorporated with this state summarily and against their expressed consent did not find in Yugoslavia the realization of their national aspirations. National life and cultural development became stifled. Consequences soon began to follow. Individual national groups showed continuous signs of dissatisfaction. The central authorities reacted by instating a police regime. These signs of internal strife finally culminated in the assassination of Stjepan Radic in the Belgrade parliament of 1928 and of king Alexander I in Marseilles in 1934. They broke out with renewed fury during the years 1941 to 1945 when the Serbs and the Croats indulged in fratricidal massacres. The Second Yugoslavia theoretically recognizes the different nations within the federation of Yugoslavia and has created federative republics for its several nations. Albeit, even today in Yugoslavia there is neither peace nor contentment. The cause lies in that even with the creation of the second Yugoslavia the individual nations were not asked whether they were for a common state; nor were they asked to participate in drafting the constitution and to establish their mutual relations as federated nations. Government institutions have been centralized under the authority of the Communist Party. The Serbs who constitute an overpowering numerical majority in all party institutions effectively rule in Yugoslavia, decisively influencing the machinery of government in the accomplishment of their own national goals. This naturally provokes justified dissatisfaction and resistance on the part of the other nations and will in time forcibly bring to pass a new outbreak of internal dissension and the second collapse of Yugoslavia. In the present Yugoslavia the Serbs severely oppress the Croats. No one now, indeed, maintains that the Slovenes and Macedonians are the same nation as the Serbs. But there are prominent thinkers and leading politicians, in Yugoslavia and abroad, who persist in the error that went into the making of the first Yugoslavia, namely that Serbs, Croats and Montenegrins constitute one nation with one common language. Many Serbian politicians today act on the captivating but illusionary premise that the passage of time will succeed in denationalizing the Croats and in converting them into Serbs. Accordingly they seek to abolish everywhere the Croatian name and cultural peculiarities. They form Serbian colonies in Croatia and accord the Serbs all privileges. They exploit Croatia with excessively heavy taxes. By manipulation of Croatia’s credit, foreign exchange and investment policies they are destroying the Croatian economy and hampering the development of Croatia’s national regions. The...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document