In point of international law, its existence may be said to date from Dec. I 1918, when the Prince-Regent Alexander of Serbia formally complied with the invitation of the Yugoslav National Council to assume the regency over the sister provinces also.
The Yugoslav movement was by no means a recent one, as is often assumed.
- In the late 'sixties the Yugoslav idea met with a serious set-back.
The Cuvaj regime had a magical effect in furthering the movement for Yugoslav unity.
This gave rise to sympathetic demonstrations in many Dalmatian and Bosnian towns, and to a series of interpellations and speeches by the Yugoslav and Czech deputies in the Parliament of Vienna.
The battle of Kumanovo in particular was greeted with indescribable enthusiasm throughout the Yugoslav provinces.
On all sides Serbia was now regarded as the southern Slav Piedmont: and the Dual Monarchy's consistently hostile policy toward Belgrade, and its only too successful efforts to set Serbia and Bulgaria by the ears, intensified the excitement and resentment among its Yugoslav subjects.
The Trialist solution (which would have united the Yugoslav provinces of Austria-Hungary in a third state enjoying equality with the two existing partners) rapidly lost popularity, even among the clerical parties, which had been attracted by the prospect of Catholic predominance in such a State.
The coalition maintained its majority, the Government only obtaining ten seats: but though this time the Diet was allowed to meet, no attempt was made to satisfy Yugoslav aspirations or to solve the real issues at stake between Hungary and Croatia.
- Immediately on the outbreak of the World War measures of extreme severity were taken by the civil and military authorities of Austria-Hungary throughout their Yugoslav provinces.
Press censorship was of course very rigid throughout the Dual Monarchy, but many Yugoslav newspapers were suppressed altogether.
In March 1915, 28 schoolboys of Banjaluka were sentenced to terms varying from two years to four months for founding a local Yugoslav society.
Yugoslav Propaganda Abroad.
- Meanwhile a certain number of Yugoslav leaders had managed to reach foreign soil before the outbreak of war, and during the winter of 1914 constituted themselves as the Yugoslav Committee.
Their first public pronouncement was an appeal to the British Parliament and nation (May 1915) for sympathy with the cause of Yugoslav unity and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.
The entry of Italy into the war was a serious set-back to the Yugoslav cause, for under the Treaty of London (April 27 1915) she was to obtain, in the event of an Entente victory, wide districts in Gorizia, Carniola, Istria and Dalmatia, peopled by not less than 700,000 Yugosla y s.
During the winter of 1915 delegates of the Yugoslav Committee, with the Tsar's special permission, began enrolling volunteers from among the prisoners on the Russian front; and by March 1916 a division of 23,000 men had been concentrated at Odessa, and a second was formed later.
In 1916 the Yugoslav Committee had also set itself to recruiting among its compatriots in America, but in this case its success was hampered by many cross currents of republican, clerical, Austrian and Montenegrin feeling: and those who did actually volunteer showed considerable lack of discipline and were not always treated with the necessary tact by the Serbian military authorities.
No sooner was political life thus resumed than all the Slovene, Croat and Serb deputies of Austria united to form a " Yugoslav parliamentary Club," which entered into close alliance with the Czech Club.
At the opening sitting (May 30) Czechs, Poles and Ruthenes defined their national attitude in formal resolutions, and the Slovene leader, Father Korosec, in the name of the Yugoslays, demanded " the union of all the Yugoslav territories of the Monarchy in an independent state organism, free from the rule of any foreign nation, and resting on a democratic basis, under the sceptre of the Habsburg-Lorraine Dynasty."
Meanwhile the opposition parties openly allied themselves with the Yugoslav Club in Austria, which agitated for complete national unity, but saved itself from prosecution by occasional references to the dynasty and absolute silence regarding Serbia.
It was left to the Yugoslav Committee abroad to claim independence as well as unity, to repudiate the Habsburgs (in a manifesto on the eve of the Budapest coronation) and to exalt the achievements of Serbia and the Karagjorgjevic dynasty.
- After some weeks of negotiation the so-called " Declaration of Corfu " was signed on July 20 1917, between Pasic as Serbian Premier (and in this case as the mouthpiece of all the Serbian parties) and Dr. Trumbic as president of the Yugoslav Committee.
The facts regarding the Yugoslav legions and the services rendered by Yugoslav deserters at Gorizia and in the Trentino were simply suppressed.
Unfortunately, while the new Czechoslovak army was recognized by Italy and took its place in the front line, Baron Sonnino, for political reasons, vetoed the formation of similar Yugoslav legions, though General Diaz had consented, and though the Yugoslays interned at Nocera and elsewhere were clamouring to be enrolled.
Meanwhile the Roman congress was deliberately imitated by an imposing congress at Prague (May 16), at which Czech, Polish, Italian, Rumanian, Slovak and Yugoslav delegates attended.
Lansing in the name of America (May 31) was a fresh encouragement: and Korosec, after constituting a Yugoslav National Council for the furtherance of unity, convoked a new Slav congress at Lyublyana (Ljubljana) on Aug.
A mainly Yugoslav revolutionary committee had almost gained control of the Cattaro naval base, which would have fallen into Entente hands if the ringleaders, who crossed the Adriatic for help, had not been detained by subordinate Italian subordinates until the Pola squadron had time to crush the mutiny.
During the late summer the authorities in Vienna and Budapest keenly debated rival plans for solving the southern Slav question - in every case, however, in accordance with Austrian or Hungarian rather than Yugoslav interests.
This last attempt to win support for the Magyar solution was everywhere met with a blank refusal, and in Bosnia especially the Orthodox, Catholic and Moslem leaders united in a manifesto assuring him of their adherence to the full programme of Yugoslav unity.
The Czech and Yugoslav spokesmen in the Reichsrat insisted upon separate representation at the peace negotiations, and the absolute right to decide their own future State allegiance (Oct.
During 1919 internal politics centred in a struggle between the Radicals, who still possessed the best party machine and stood for a narrowly Serbian as opposed to a Yugoslav programme, and the newly constituted Democratic party, which absorbed most of the Serbian Opposition parties, the old Serbo-Croat coalition of Zagreb, and the Slovene Liberals.
Barac, Croats and Slovenes Friends of the Entente (1919, contains important original documents); The Southern Slav Library (8 pamphlets published by the Yugoslav Committee 1915-8).
This only precipitated the collapse, and while Count Tisza voiced Hungarian public opinion in declaring the basis of the Dual system to be shattered, the Yugoslav National Council was transplanted from Ljubljana to Zagreb and strengthened by the inclusion of representatives of all parties (Oct.
On the 16th the Hungarian Government declared in favour of personal union, and next day Hussarek published an imperial proclamation, dividing Austria (not Austria-Hungary) into four federal units (German, Czech, Yugoslav and Ukrainian) and leaving the Poles to make their own decision.
Korosec in the name of the Czech and Yugoslav Clubs unreservedly rejected it and claimed that the future of both nations was an international problem which only the future Peace Conference could solve.
21 the news of President Wilson's answer to Count Burian's final peace note (refusing to negotiate save on the basis of a recognition of Czechoslovak and Yugoslav national claims) became generally known, the old regime vanished almost as if by magic. Extraordinary scenes took place in many towns, the troops tearing off their military badges with the Habsburg arms, and trampling them underfoot.
31 making over the whole Austro-Hungarian fleet to the Yugoslav State.
4 Stepanek and Giunio, as delegates of the Czech and Yugoslav revolutionary committees, reached Italy in a fishing-boat, to concert with the Allies a general rising along the coast, but were closely imprisoned in Rome and not allowed to communicate with Doctor Benes and Doctor Trumbic till nearly three weeks had been lost.
The Allies very properly insisted that the fleet must be surrendered into their hands, but before this could take place a deplorable incident occurred in Pola harbour, the " Viribus Unitis " being blown up by an Italian mine, with a Yugoslav admiral and crew on board.
During the summer America gave a lead to the Allies by accepting the Yugoslav programme, and after Austria's failure on the Piave there was a growing disposition on the part of the western Powers to fall into line with Mr. Lansing's very clear pronouncements.
But Pasic, free from the restraints of a coalition and from all parliamentary control, had reverted to his original pan-Serb standpoint, and steadily declined to reconstruct his Cabinet on a wider Yugoslav basis.