Becoming a republic

  • Becoming a republic
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  • The border between Yugoslavia and Italy. Photo: Janko Šelhaus, source: National Museum of Contemporary History

    In the second Yugoslavia

    Slovenia becomes a republic

    The second Yugoslav state, which rose out of the ashes of World War II, represented a completely new political and social reality with regard to its message and essence, despite being territorially similar to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In a national sense, it satisfied many Slovenian wishes: the first and foremost being the wish to include major parts of Slovenian territory into the state that were left outside of the Rapallo border agreement following World War I – the border with Italy in the west. Furthermore, the first post-war constitution in principle provided Slovenia with a federal status and a position that would finally resolve the Slovenian national issue. At the same time, the second Yugoslavia built its own socialist self-governance system and led an ambitious non-aligned foreign policy, but at the same time it was a one-party, non-democratic country often governed by a select circle of high-ranking officials.


    The Constitution of 1974. Source: National Museum of Contemporary History

    A one-party state in the process of change

    Both the state as well as the Communist Party was not static and unchanging the entire time; quite to the contrary, they were in a constant process of change and transformation throughout their existence. As early as the late 1950's, the development perspectives of the monolith party split into two – the centralist branch, which advocated a strong Communist Party, a repressive system and planned economy, and the democratic branch (Slovenian and Croatian) with ideas of modernisation, decentralisation, and urgent economic transformation. The centralist block was more successful in establishing its principles, as it was their views that held sway in the 1963 Constitution. Tito favoured their position. However, not long afterwards, the political climate began to change. The ideas of the federalist block were gaining a degree of recognition. At first glance, the 1974 Constitution seemed to be tailor-made for the federalists because it introduced the desired (con) federative model, but also proved to be inconsistent and ineffective. With this Constitution, "the socialist model of the Yugoslav federation was exhausted". 

    Jure Gašparič, Institute of Contemporary History