Croatia 1867-1890 Within SHS, 1918-1929

Croatia 1890-1918

While Count Khuen-Hedervary was Ban of Croatia (1883-1903), the country was relatively quiet; the reform era of the 1870es had ended.
While among the (Catholic) Croats, some advocated a Croat, others a Yugoslav identity (the latter including both Croats and Serbs), the Serb minority within Croatia-Slavonia felt being pressurized to assimilate into Croatia; a Serbian National Movement (within Croatia-Slavonia) emerged, that emphasized Serbian identity and regarded Belgrade the political center. The Serbs made up c. 26 % of the population of Croatia-Slavonia. While the Croat political parties opposed Ban Khuen-Hedervary, the Serbian National Movement supported him.
Khuen-Hedervary tried to engineer the composition of the Sabor by the electoral law (which excluded peasants) and alienated Croatian patriots, causing the more radical among them to set their hopes on the break-up of Austria-Hungary.
In 1887, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia-Slavonia was granted autonomy. In 1894 the Social Democratic Party, In 1904 the Croatian Popular Peasants Party was founded.
In 1903, rallies organized throughout Croatia demanded financial independence from Budapest. The Emperor's rejection to even listen to the Croatian demands marks a turning point in Croatian history; from 1903 Croat politicians saw their most promising option in opposing the Austro-Hungarian state. In the 1903 events a part of Croatia-Slavonia's Serb minority sympathized with the Croat case, and relations between the two ethnicities improved. In 1905, both Croat and Serb opposition politicians from Croatia-Slavonia formed a coalition which offered to support the Hungarian Diet in her rift with Vienna, if her demand for an end to Magyarization and support for her demand for the unification of Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia were met. They also demanded the expansion of the franchise, protection for the farmers and labour legislation; the coalition won the 1906 elections to the Sabor. In Dalmatia the Croatian parties refused to continue their cooperation with the Italian Party; the Viennese administration managed to break this non-cooperation policy of the Dalmatian Croats, while the Hungarian administration supported the opposition in the Sabor, with the result that the Croat-Serb Coalition Government fell in 1907, without having accomplished any of the reforms which it had campaigned for.

The annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in 1908 was resented throughout Crotaia-Slavonia, by Croats and Serbs alike. With elections to a new Sabor not bringing the results desired by the Hungarian-appointed ban, the Sabor was suspended and Ban Pavao Rauch ruled by decree. Serbian politicians from Croatia-Slavonia were accused of being traitors, forged documents providing the foundation for the accusations. This treatment only increased the anti-Habsburg feelings, by now deep-rooted in Croatia-Slavonia.
In 1911 newlu appointed Ban Cuvaj, when Sabor elections returned a majority not to his liking, disbanded the Sabor. The Hungarian Diet cancelled the Croatian constitution; Ban Cuvaj was authorized to rule by decree. Demonstrations and strikes resulted in the closure of schools. An attempt to assassinate Cuvaj failed. Tension declined somewhat, when Cuvaj was 'sent on vacation' by the Hungarian administration in 1912. In 1912-1913 the Balkan Wars were the center of attention.

During World War I, many natives of Croatia served in the Austro-Hungarian army. The economic blockade imposed upon the Central Powers by the Entente, and the lengthy, costly war resulted in hardship for the population. Late in the war, Martial Law was proclaimed to deal with the problem of marauding deserters.
Meanwhile Croatian exile politicians had formed the YUGOSLAV COMMITTEE (Paris, April 1915), which proposed a federal state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; a concept which ran contrary to the aims of leading Serbian politicians of the time, who aimed for a (larger) Serbian nation state with a seaport. In July 1917 representatives of exile Croat, Serbian and Slovene politicians signed the CORFU DECLARATION calling for the establishment of a federal Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS).

Croatia, History of, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1914 edition, from Discover Croatia, from , from, illustrated
Dalmatia, History of, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
Yugoslavia, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
DOCUMENTS Historical Maps of Croatia, from, bilingual
Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999
Ivo Goldstein, Croatia - a History, (1999) McGill-Queen's UP 2001 [G]
Article : Croatia and Slavonia, in : International Year Book 1898 pp.237-238 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 30th 2007

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