Becoming a republic

  • Becoming a republic
  • Slovenia in the world
  • World in Slovenia
  • Then and now
  • Enter Si25
  • In the first Yugoslavia

    May Declaration, 1917. Source: National Museum of Contemporary History
    National Assembly of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Source: National Museum of Contemporary History
    Establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Source: National Museum of Contemporary History

    The State of Slovenians, Croats, and Serbs

    Until its very last dying breaths in 1918, the Hapsburg Monarchy remained the only form of government, to which Slovenians were accustomed; only very few Slovenians were able to imagine life without it. Even though many were dissatisfied with it, the majority firmly believed in it and its future. The famous May Declaration of 1917 demanded that Slovenian, Croatian, and Serbian territories be combined into one national and legal body, but under Hapsburg-Lothringian rule.

    In August 1918, the National Council for Slovenian Lands and Istria was founded with the mission of creating a state outside of Austria-Hungary. The National Council brought together all of the major political parties and represented Slovenians during uncertain seditious moments in 1918. The efforts of southern Slavs living in the Monarchy were clearly directed towards the establishment of a common representative body. On 5 and 6 October 1918 in Zagreb, the National Council of Slovenians, Croats, and Serbs was founded. On 29 October 1918, the Council declared supreme authority in the territory of southern Slavs of Austria-Hungary, thus becoming the supreme national authority of the new State of Slovenians, Croats, and Serbs. The National Government of Slovenians, Croats, and Serbs was formed in Ljubljana, on the Slovenian territory. Due to various, mainly international factors, the State of Slovenians, Croats, and Serbs joined the Kingdom of Serbia and the Kingdom of Montenegro in 1918 to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians. In this new state, there were sometimes diametrically conflicting views and understandings of various levels of political, social, and of course societal life.



    The 6 January Dictatorship in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Source: National Museum of Contemporary History
    Anton Korošec (SLS). Source: National Museum of Contemporary History

    The turbulent Kingdom of Yugoslavia 

    The central Yugoslav problem was the unsolved national issue that continued to escalate. The National Assembly of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians functioned under turbulent conditions, elections were held at extremely short intervals (in addition to 1920, they were also held in 1923, 1925, and 1927), and governments changed even more quickly. In the first ten years of the state's existence, there were 25 of them, which meant that, on average, there were two and a half governments per year. Given such an unsteady internal political situation, the Yugoslav King Alexander Karađorđević decided to make a severe and radical move in January of 1929, introducing personal dictatorship. In September of 1931, the first Yugoslavia once again became a constitutional monarchy with National Representation, but the essence of the regime did not change. Throughout the first half of the 19¬30's, the state remained in the tight reigns of King Alexander and shifts failed to occur even later, on the eve of World War II. 

    Slovenian politics was divided into two camps, the autonomist camp advocating a drastic transformation of the state (in practice, it was quite pragmatic and opportunistic), headed by the strongest Slovenian party, the Slovenian People's Party, and the unitary camp, headed by the liberals.

    Jure Gašparič, Institute of Contemporary History