Croatia 1918-1929 NDH, 1941-1945

Croatia within Yugoslavia, 1929-1941

The assassination of Stipe Radic caused a series of demonstrations in Zagreb, on the occasion of which there were several casualties. King Alexander, on January 6th 1929, staged a royal coup d'etat, dissolved the Skupstina, cancelled the constitution replacing it by a new one, providing for a unitary Kingdom of Yugoslavia, with territorial units, like the French departements, named after geographical criteria and intended to be non-ethnic in nature; Croatia-Slavonia was largely identical with the SAVA BANOVINA; Dalmatia and the Herzegovina formed the PRIMORJE BANOVINA.. Dubrovnik (historic Ragusa) was in the Zeta Banovina which further contained Montenegro and Kosovo; parts of eastern Slavonia were included in the Danube Banovina. Political parties founded on ethnic or religious foundations were banned.
While these measures seemingly were intended to end internal ethnic strife, in reality they meant the implementation of centralization focussed on (Serbian) Belgrade. Leaders of the now banned Croatian parties faced arrest (for supporting terrorist activity); a number of them went abroad to rally international support for their cause.
On the eve of the Great Depression, an economic scheme which increased state control (over the banks; in price regulation) was implemented, In 1931 the Great Depression hit; several banks faltered.
Croatian patriots demonstrated in 1932 and again in 1935; the demonstrations organized by the HSS (Croatian Peasants Party), illegal since the 1929 coup. Incidents such as the assassination of a Croatian politician (1931), the attack of terrorists on a Yugoslav police station (1932) indicate the political tension. Police and the Justice System seemed to discriminate against the Croatians, as the assassins of Croat politicians went unpunished.
These events lead to the formation of the USTASHA movement, which declared Croatian independence their aim. The movement refused to recognize citizenship rights within a future Croatia to anyone but Croats, claimed all territories which historically have belonged to Croatia and emphasized pure Croatian descent, thus adopting the racist and expansionist ideology of contemporary fascist movements. Many members of the Ustasha lived in exile, in Italy, Austria and Germany.
In 1934, the Ustasha was involved in the assassination of King Alexander, while the latter visited France, in Marseilles. In the following years, political pressure within Yugoslavia declined somewhat, a number of new parties emerged, among them a resurrected Communist Party.
In 1939 an administrative reform was implemented, with (with modifications) reestablished administrative units based on ethnicity. Croatia included all of modern Croatia (except the Italian-held territories of Istria and Zara) and western Herzegovina. The banovina was granted a certain degree of autonomy (in the fields of internal affairs, education, industry, trade); moderate Croatians thus had finally achieved a long-term goal.

Croatia, History of, from Discover Croatia, from , from, illustrated
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
Tihomir Cipek, The Croats and Yugoslavism, pp.71-83 in : Dejan Djokic (ed.), Yugoslavism. Histories if a Failed Idea, University of Wisconsin Press 2003, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7103 D626y

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 6th 2003, last evised on May 20th 2006

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