from Ideology to Aggression

Publisher: Croatian Information Centre



The selections that follow represent excerpts of some of the basic works of the most influential Serbian intellectuals (politicians, academics, writers) who lived and worked in various time periods, but are tied together by a common thread, the creation of a Greater Serbia. The immediate goal of this work is to give the reader a more detailed introduction to the genesis of an extreme nationalist ideology which in its modern manifestation is found in the complex circumstances of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Trying to hide their true motives from the eyes of the world with a series of historic and demographic falsifications, today's proponents of Greater Serbian ambitions are only continuing the promotion of an idea that has been smouldering with various degrees of intensity for over a century. A true appraisal of the events that led to one of the most bloody wars in recent history must take this into account, for until now it has been an unjustly neglected dimension of this Balkan conflict.

The process of condensing written material that has documentary value is problematic in and of itself. In this case the purpose is certainly not to distort historical facts by taking them out of context, but rather to attempt to present a clear and compact overview to the wider public, in the hope that the more studious reader will eventually refer to the original versions of these historical documents.

Ilija Garasanin
Nacertanije (1844)

One of first outlines of Serbian territorial aspirations on the Balkans

The "Nacertanije" is the first written treatise to outline Serbian territorial aims on the Balkans, as well as their "historical right" to assume a leadership position in that part of Europe. It was written in 1844 by Ilija Garasanin, who was at the time serving as Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia in the government of King Alexander Karadordevic.

Ilija Garasanin (1812-1874) was very active in Serbian public life in the 19th century. He held many government posts, including Minister of Internal Affairs, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, under both King Alexander Karadordevic as well as King Milos Obrenovic. As one of the most prominent Serbian statesmen of the time, he was very influential in shaping Serbian politics and policies.

What follows are some of the key points of his political program to empower Serbia.

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Serbia must place herself in the ranks of the other European states, creating a plan for her future to compose, so to speak, a domestic policy to whose principles she should firmly adhere over a fixed period of time, and according to which she should govern herself and decide all her affairs.

Activity and agitation among the Slavs has already begun and will, indeed, never cease. Serbia must understand this movement as well as the role which she must play within it.

If Serbia ponders what she is now, the position in which she finds herself and the kind of people that surround her, she is confronted with the undeniable fact that she is small and cannot long remain so. Only through alliance with other surrounding peoples can she solve her future problems.

With these factors in mind, a plan may be constructed which does not limit Serbia to her present borders, but endeavors to absorb all the Serbian people around her.

If Serbia does not faithfully pursue this policy, and, worse still, rejects it, failing to arrange her problems by a well- ordered plan, she will be buffetted back and forth like a small vessel by the cross currents of every alien tempest until finally she will be dashed to bits on some unsuspected reef.

The Serbian state must strive to expand and become stronger; its roots and foundation are firmly embedded in the Serbian Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries and the glorious pageant of Serbian history. Historically speaking, the Serbian rulers, it may be remembered, began to assume the position held by the Greek Empire and almost succeeded in making an end of it, replacing the collapsed Eastern Roman Empire with a Serbian-Slavic one. Emperor Dusan the Mighty had even adopted the crest of the Greek Empire. The arrival of the Turks in the Balkans interrupted this change, and prevented it from taking place for a long time. But now, since the Turkish power is broken and destroyed, so to speak, this process must commence once more in the same spirit and again be undertaken in the knowledge of that right.

. Such an enterprise would be endowed with inestimable importance and great prestige among European cabinets, as well as in the eyes of its own people; for then we Serbs could appear before that world as the heirs of our illustrious forefathers, doing nothing that is new other than completing their work. Hence our present will not be without a link to the past and will comprise one dependent, integrated, and systematic whole. Thus, the Serbian Idea and its national mission and existence will stand under the sacred law of history. Our aspirations will not be reproached as something novel and untried, that they signify revolution and rebellion; but all must acknowledge that this is politically necessary, grounded in past ages, and originating in the state and national life of the Serbian people whose roots continually send forth branches to blossom anew.

If we consider the rebirth of the Serbian kingdom from those standpoints, then others will easily understand the South Slav idea and accept it with joy; for probably in no single European country is the memory of the historical past so vivid as among the Slavs of Turkey, for whom the recollection of the celebrated events of their history is especially cherished and fondly remembered. . .

The Serbs were the first, of all the Slavs of Turkey, to struggle for their freedom with their own resources and strength; therefore, they have the first and foremost right to further direct this endeavor. Even now in many places, and in certain European cabinets, it is anticipated and expected that a great future is imminent for the Serbs, and it is this fact which has attracted the attention of Europe. If Serbia is thought of as merely a principality, the nucleus of a future Serbian kingdom, then the world need not concern itself any more than it did with the Moldavian and Wallachian principalities where there is no independent principle and whom it considers Russian satellites.

A new Serbian state in the south could give Europe every guarantee that it would be orderly and strong, and able to maintain itself between Austria and Russia. The geographic position of the country, its topography, abundance of natural resources, the martial spirit of its inhabitants, their elevated and fiery national feeling, and linguistic and ethnic homogeneity of all contribute to a sense of permanency and a promising future.

In order to determine what we can accomplish, and how we are to proceed, the government must know the particular conditions and circumstances of the peoples residing in the surrounding provinces.

It is especially necessary to be informed on developments in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and northern Albania. At the same time the exact situation in Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia must be understood and, of course into this category fall Srem, Banat, and Backa as well.

When we take into a closer consideration the topography, geographic position and military tradition of these countries and their inhabitants, together with their mentality and ways of thinking, we well easily come to the conclusion that this is the part of Turkey upon which Serbia can exert the greatest influence. The determination and organization of this influence seems to us to be the main task of Serbian policy in Turkey.

Serbia must propose the possible points of this policy to both segments of the people residing there, Orthodox and Catholic, because of her prestige, years of experience and the diplomatic recognition accorded to her. One of the main points which should be set forth is the principle of complete freedom of religion established by law. The principle must include all Christians, and who knows if in time this cannot be extended to some Mohammedans as well? They must be satisfied and rendered complacent. Furthermore, the hereditary princely dignity must become the most important and fundamental law of the state. Without this principle which is the very embodiment of national unity, an enduring and permanent fusion between Serbia and Serbs in neighboring areas is unthinkable.

Not only must the fundamental constitutional laws of Serbia be extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the administrative system of the Principality of Serbia, but a number of young Bosnians should be accepted into the Serbian administration to train them as political, financial and legal specialists. Later these people would apply what they have learned in Serbia in their own countries, and put into practice the knowledge which they have gained. Here it must be observed that these young people should be specially supervised and educated in their work so that the redeeming idea of a general unification prevails and remains uppermost. This requisite cannot be sufficiently emphasized.

Special attention must be paid to the problem of diverting the peoples of the Roman Catholic faith from the Austrian influence, and evoking a sympathy for Serbia. Through the Franciscans there this goal can be best achieved. The Franciscans must be won over to the idea of the union of Bosnia and Serbia. To this end, several prayer books and hymnals should be printed in Belgrade, as well as prayer books for Orthodox Christians and anthologies of national songs which would be Latin on one side and Cyrillic on the other.

As a third step, it would be advisable to print a short and general history of Bosnia, in which the names of several men of the Mohammedan faith and their renowned deeds would be included. It is recommended that this history be written in the spirit of the Slavic people; the entire work should be permeated with the spirit of the Slavic people, and the national unity of the Serbs and Bosnians. Through the printing of these similar patriotic works, as well as other necessary actions which should be liberated from the influence of Austria and inclined more to Serbia. Croatia and Dalmatia in this way would procure books which would be impossible to print in Austria. The natural result would be the merger of these two lands in a closer relationship with Bosnia and Serbia.

At first glance it may be thought that Serbia must be on friendly terms with those areas (Srem, Backa, and Banat), since in origin, language, law, and custom they are one and the same with the Serbs of Serbia. If this is not the case then the blame falls in part, at least, upon Serbia herself, because she has not proceeded to win the friendship of these Serbs. But it is to be hoped that because of the hostile influence of Austria this weak relationship will be improved in the same degree as the Principality of Serbia shows that it is well-organized, strong, and just state. For the present, if nothing else, at least an effort should be made to become acquainted with the most important people in those provinces, and to establish one important newspaper which would act usefully in the interest of the Serbian cause under the Hungarian constitution.   

Vuk Karadzic
Serbs All and Everywhere (1849)
An article detailing the linguistic and ethnic 'predominance' of the Serbs in most South Slavic lands

Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic (1787-1864) was a linguist and writer who travelled throughout the Balkan lands studying the various languages and dialects and collecting folk songs. He wrote widely on linguistic subjects and problems, and published many grammar books and a dictionary. He is rightfully considered the founder of modern Serbian language reform and Serbian culture in general.

One of the main themes of his work is that all speakers of the Stokavian dialect are Serbian (even though most Croatians speak a form of this dialect as well). This line of thinking is seen quite frequently in Karadzic's work, and influenced Serbian attitudes toward other Balkan nations.

The article "Serbs All and Everywhere", first published in the book "Treasurebox for the History, Language and Customs of Serbians of All Three Faiths" in 1849, is a typical example of Karadzic's views on the language and ethnicity of Serbia's neighbors. He also tries to negate the existence of any significant number of Croats, distorting historic and linguistic facts to prove his arguments. At this time, the Croats, along with the Bulgarians, were seen as the biggest obstacle to Serbian dominance on the Balkans. In this way Karadzic, either consciously or unconsciously, fits into the scheme of Greater Serbian ideology quite well.

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It is known for certain that Serbs now live in present-day Serbia (between the Drina and Timok rivers, and between the Danube and the Sar mountains), in Metohija (from Kosovo over the Sar mountains, where Dusan's capital Prizren, the Serbian patriarchate of Pec, and the Decani monastery are located), in Bosnia,Herzegovina, Zeta, Montenegro, Banat, Backa, Srijem, the western Danube region from Osijek to Sentandrija, Slavonia, Croatia (Turkish and Austrian), Dalmatia, and in the entire Adriatic littoral from Trieste to Bojana.

I   said at the start that it is known for certain because it is still not known how many Serbs are in Albania and Macedonia. Along the Cetina river (in Montenegro) I was talking with two men from Dibra, who were telling me that in those places there are many Serbian villages, in which Serbian is spoken the way they speak it, that is, across between Serbian and Bulgarian, but always closer to Serbian than Bulgarian.

In the aforementioned places there are at least 5 million people who speak the same language, but by religion they can be split into three groups: it can be estimated roughly that about 3 million are Greek Orthodox, and of this 1 million in Serbia (with Metohija), 1 million in the Austrian provinces (Banat, Backa, Srijem, western Danube, Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia and Boka), and 1 million in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Zeta and Montenegro; of the remaining 2 million it can be said that about two-thirds are Muslim (in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Zeta etc) and one-third are Roman Catholic (in the Austrian provinces, and in Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Bar nahija).

Only the first 3 million call themselves Serbs, but the rest will not accept the name. Those of the Islam faith think that they are real Turks, and call themselves that, although only one in a hundred can even speak Turkish. Those of the Catholic faith use the name of the place in which they live: for example Slavonian, Bosnian (or Bosniak), Dalmatian, Dubrovnian, etc., or, as is common among writers they use ancient names such as Illyrian or Illyrianist.

However, in Backa they are called Bunjevacs, in Srijem, Slavonia and Croatia they are called Sokacs, and around Dubrovnik and in Boka they are called Latins. Bunjevacs possibly get their name from the Herzegovinian river Buna, from where these people, as it is told, migrated some time ago; the Sokacs may be called so out of a sense of irony (from the Italian word sciocco), but today they say: "I'm a Sokac", or "Sokica" as with Bunjevac, Bunjevka.

All of the wiser people among the Orthodox and Catholic Serbs recognize that they are one people and strive to totally uproot or at least lessen the hatred because of different religions as much as they can. Even so, those of the Catholic faith still have a hard time calling themselves Serbians, but they will adjust to this in their own time, because if they don't want to be Serbs, then they have no national name at all. To say that one is Slavonian, another Dalmatian, still another Dubrovnian is useless, because all these are place names and do not describe any nation. To say that they are Slavs is too general, as Russian, Poles, Czechs and all other Slavic peoples fall under that name.

To say that they are Croats, I would say that in truth only the Cakavian speakers could use this name. They are the descendants of Constantine Porfirogenitus' Croats whose language is a little different from Serbian, but still closer to Serbian than any other Slavic dialect. Today's Croatians in the Zagreb, Varazdin and Krizevci districts, whose land was called Croatia after the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 (and was until then called upper Slavonia), speak a language which is a crossover from Slovenian into Serbian. I don't know how the name Croatian can be used for our Catholic brothers who live in Banat, Backa, Srijem, Slavonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina or in Dubrovnik, who speak the same language as the Serbs.

According to the Byzantine emperor and historian Constantine Porfirogenitus (d. 959), Croatians settled in our area from somewhere in the Carpathians in the first half of the 7th century (when the Serbs settled in Macedonia and Illyria). Having come here they divided into two groups, one settling in today's Croatian boundaries, as well Turkish Croatia and Dalmatia, and the other group stayed in Pannonia between the Drava and Sava.

The borders of this first (Dalmatian) Croatia were as follows: along the sea to the Cetina river in the South, in Hercegovina at Imotski, in Bosnia at Livno, along the river Vrbas to Jajce, and its capital was in Biograd near Zadar and later in Bihac; for Pannonian Croatia it is known that their capital was in Sisak, but the borders of this district are harder to determine than that of the first.

In Dalmatia (except for the littoral and the islands), on the dry land that was once the heart of Croatia, there is today nobody who by language differs from the Serbs. However, on the islands and in the littoral, where the people hardly mixed with those from the slightly different from Serbian, and I believe that these coastal people and islanders are the remainders or descendants of the old Croats.

From all this it is apparent that all the South Slavs, except the Bulgarians, can be divided into 3 language groups: first are the Serbs, who say sto or sta (what) (and are thus called Stokavians) and at the end of the past-perfect verb forms say 'o' instead of (therefore called Cakavians) and on the end of the past-perfect verb forms say 'l' instead of 'o', but otherwise do not differ greatly from the Serbs; and the third are the Slovenians, or as we call them, Kranjci, who say kaj instead of sto (Kajkavians), who by language differ more from the Serbs and Croats than do the Serbs and Croats from each other, but they are still closer to them than to any other Slavic people.

Among today's Slovenes can be counted today's Croats from the districts of Zagreb, Varazdin and Krizevci, whose language is gradually becoming Serbian; but where did these people come from to where they are now? If what Porfirogenitus said is true, that the Pannonian Croats were between the Drava and Sava, and that their capital was in Sisak, it would follow that they would be Cakavians and not Kajkavians.

As for the numbers of these dialects among the South Slavs, I would say that the Stokavians are at least three times as numerous as the Kajkavians and Cakavians combined, and that there are certainly more Kajkavians than Cakavians.   

Nikola Stojanovic
To Extermination: Ours or Yours? (1902)

An article detailing views of Serbian cultural and political superiority over the Croats, which basically negated the existence of the Croatians as a separate nation

Nikola Stojanovic (1880-1964) was a politician and lawyer from Mostar. Before World War I he was very active in opposing the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and founded an opposition paper called "Narod" (Nation). During the war he was part of the Yugoslav Committee, which worked to unite the South Slavs. He was considered an expert on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was an adviser for that region during the Peace Conference of 1918-19.

The following article, first published in "Srbobran" (a Zagreb-based Serbian periodical) number 168-9 in 1902, shows that his commitment to the Yugoslav ideal only went as far as it would help to realize greater Serbian aims. It is apparent that Stojanovic was influenced by scholars like Karadzic, who tried to negate the validity of any claims the Croatians make to a separate nationhood, by saying that the Croatians can only be defined by Catholicism and as a "subservient" people. Stojanovic also displays a certain disdain and even hatred for the Croatians, a trait that later Greater Serbian ideologists and politicians would exhibit towards any other nation that hindered the realization of their goals.

Immediately after its publication, this article touched off an anti-Serbian riot in Zagreb, the Croatian capital.

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"Serbs and Croats are, according to some, two tribes of the same nation; to others two separate nations (nationalities); still to others one nation, one tribe.

A tribe originates in the time before the formation of a state, a nation emerges in a state at the initiative of one tribe. In our history, this role was filled by the tribe of Stevan Nemanja, but after this we have many examples showing that Serbian leaders didn't want or didn't comprehend the union of interests of all religions, without which there can be no talk of a political union. The Serbs were politically united during the defense of Kosovo and by the subsequent shared fate of slavery under the same authority.

Cultural unity, founded by Saint Sava, was at its best in this magnificent defense and in the later amalgamation of the Serbian aristocracy with democracy into one indivisible, wonderful whole-democracy with aristocratic pride. In this lies the importance of the Battle of Kosovo, in this sense the Serbian defeat in Kosovo meant one great victory.

During the time of their independence, or after their union with the Hungarians, the Croatians did not have a developed national consciousness nor a comprehension of the common interests of all Croats. The Congress of Split in 924, when the Croats changed their church liturgy from Slavic to Latin, and the fact that before the pact with Koloman there was 12 tribes (which is shown on the Croatian coat of arms) most clearly shows this. The Croatian nobles united with the Hungarian nobility in 1102, with whom they were united by religion-the one unifying element of those times.

Feudalism was imposed on the common people. The difference in religion between the nobles and the serfs, which was the key to Serbian resistance, could not play a role among the Croats, because they all had the same faith. Of course, the clergy helped make the people even less capable of political action. This is how it came to today's situation, where the mass of people do not participate in any political struggles, and the Croatian interests are represented by a few cliques who serve everybody's interests except those of the Croatians, and have succeeded in having them identified with the Croatian people.

The Croatians have neither a separate language, nor unified customs, nor a firmly unified lifestyle, nor, most importantly, a sense of mutual affiliation, and because of this cannot be a distinct or separate nation.

The Croatians are thus neither a tribe nor a separate nationality. They are now something between a tribe and a nationality, but without hope of ever becoming a separate nationality. . . Their wandering in the 19th century from Gaj's Illyrianism to Strossmeyer's Yugoslavism to Starcevic's Croatianism proves this quite well. Their leaders, who wanted to create a nationality to fit the needs of others, forgot that a nation as a product of history is not created over night, and that various myths cannot destroy the Serbian pride in their past, expressed in their epic poetry, and put in its place pride in the 'shining Croatian past'.

Their celebration of Zvonimir, who by choice became the pope's vassal, of those thousands of soldiers, who in the service of Austria fell on the battlefields of central and southern Europe, their elevation of Ban Josip Jelacic as a national hero, who was nothing more than a servant of the Viennese camarilla used against the Hungarians, are very typical of the Croatian people. That nation which sees its ideal in the service of others cannot seek anything more than to be that-servants. This is the morale that rules Croatia today.

It is a sad fate of a nation that is ever a servant and a toy in someone else's hands! Can there even be talk of national pride? And what can this group accomplish in a battle with a nation whose image of a hero is identical to the image of a Serbian and where along with democratic rule there is a great noble feeling and pride?

Croatians often assert that they have some sort of cultural advantage over the Serbians. Those who do not have a distinct view of the world (in religion, customs, education etc.), no national art nor literature, dare to speak of Croatian culture.

Croatians, therefore, are not and cannot be a separate nationality, but they are on the way to becoming part of the Serbian nationality. Taking on Serbian as their literary language was the most important step in this unification.

The process of blending is unstoppable, as these are masses speaking the same language, and by the same token we must reject without any declamation of unity a battle between the intelligentsia and the middle class; as the Serbs and Croats in today's form are two political parties.

The struggle which is going on between liberalism and conservatism is personified in the struggle between the Serbs and the Croats. The contrast between the historical state right which serves as the basis for all Croatian parties (which is not found in any liberal parties-at least not in Europe) and the natural ights expressed in Serbian national thought which is the basis of Serbian political programs (and shows no trace of clericalism or conservatism) is the best proof of this.

There are hardly any Croatian newspapers that do not have priests in the editorial staff or managing them; there are no important corporations where the clergy is not represented. Identifying Catholicism with Croatianism, they have truly succeeded in setting up a great obstacle for the penetration of Serbian thought. It is interesting that in Djivo's (Ivan Gundulic) classic city this did not come to pass.

The proud people of Dubrovnik decided on Serbianism, although the other Dalmantian cities, which were under the influence of the same Italian culture, decided on Croatianism. Dubrovnik was a free republic, but the remaining cities were under the domination of Venice. The liberated people decided to go with the liberated and progressive Serbian nation, the subjugated people chose subservient and regressive Croatia.

This is the best proof that only concepts of freedom separate us, that we are simply two political parties.

In the struggle between these parties there can be no talk of unity, as their principles come from a separate foundation, and because the Croatians are somebody else's avant-garde, whereas the Serbians represent the principle of the "the Balkans for the Balkan people".

On the basis of this principle the Serbs must unite with other Balkan nations, leaving internal Balkan questions for another time. Croatians, as the representatives of foreign expansionist desires, are totally excluded from  this, not because of their national characteristics, rather as a nation that allowed its fate to be managed by a few cliques who are obviously serving the interests of foreign governments.

This struggle must lead to an extermination "of ours or yours". One side must submit. That this will be the Croats is assured by their small size, geographic location, surroundings (as they are mixed in with Serbs everywhere) and the general process of evolution, where the Serbian ideal means progress.

With the education of the masses and their participation in politics, the clericist idea will finally subside. The fall of clericalism in our nation means the fall of Croatianism.

We hope that this will happen soon, for there is a sizeable number in the intelligentsia among the Croats who are spurring this process along, seeing that a unified Serbian nation means economic, political and cultural independence, and freedom from German encroachment.

Jovan Cvijic
Selected statements

Excerpts written mainly around the turn of the century, revealing his Greater Serbian inclinations
Jovan Cvijic (1865-1927) is considered the founder of modern geographic science in Serbia. He did extensive research and writing on Balkan geography. He had a great knowledge not only of the geography of Serbia and the surrounding regions but also of the history and current events of those areas.

He was also interested in Serbia's political advancement and because of this he often lost his scientific impartiality when writing about Serbia or the Balkans in a geographic context. Much of is work was and is used as a scientific justification for Greater Serbian politics.

There is no one work of Cvijic that can be set aside as some kind of geographic doctrine for the Greater Serbian idea, but his political inclinations regarding Serbia's expansion can be seen throughout his body of work. In this section, statements from various articles and publications by Cvijic in which he clearly shows his Greater Serbian inclinations in the context of an academic/scientific work are presented. All of these statements reflect the assertions of present Greater Serbian ideologists, and it can be seen that Cvijic's work, since he was a reputable geographer, is used as 'scientific proof' of their territorial claims.

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First, some of Cvijic's general thoughts on Serbia's need and fitness to dominate the surrounding areas. Here he displays a great deal of emotional involvement in the subject at hand: ". . . all Serbs were inspired by high national morale and a desire to avenge the old defeats and found a new, even larger state."  (Cvijic, "Balkansko Poluostrvo i juznoslovenke zemlje, osnove antropogeografije, I, Zagreb 1922.)

"The world must know and realize that Serbia can operate with a much larger entity that the territory it now holds. The greatest possible territorial transformations may take place with Serbia. And we must not flinch from this fear pouring into the world if it is useful to our national interests."  (Cvijic, "O nacionalnom radu", commemorative speech 1907, reprinted in Govori i Clanci, I, Beograd 1921 p. 51-76).

"The Serbian problem must be resolved by violent means. Both Serbian states must chiefly prepare themselves militarily and educationally, sustain their national energy in the military portions of the Serbian population, and use the first possible opportunity to debate Serbian questions with Austro-Hungary."  (Cvijic, Aneksija Bosne i Hercegovine i srpsko pitanje, 1908. reprinted in Govori i Clanci I, Beograd 1921, p. 202-233.)

Cvijic also claims provides reasons for the incorporation of surrounding Balkan territories into Serbia. The Dinaric region he speaks of is Bosnia and Dalmatia: "Outside of the Morava-Vardar depression (South Serbia and Macedonia) there are no territories in the western half of the Peninsula suitable for forming durable life. . .The economic and trading interests of certain Dinaric regions even now aim for the Morava-Vardar depression; these lands canot acquire life and importance unless they join with the Morava-Vardar state. . ."  (Cvijic, "Geografske osnove makedonskog pitanja", Questions balkaniques, Paris 1916. Reprinted in Govori i Clanci I, Beograd 1921, p. 27-51.)

He has this to say about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Note that he boldly assumes the Serbian nature of this region thus making it seem that Serbia has a right to claim territory that it never held:  ". . . it is widely known that Bosnia and Herzegovina are lands settled entirely by people who are purely  Serbian in race. . ." "As an unassailable minimum for the principle of nationality it must stand that one cannot relinquish that central dominion, the heartland of a nation to another country, a foreign state (Austro-Hungary); this is what Bosnia and Herzegovina are to the Serbian people." (Cvijic, Aneksija Bosne i Hercegovine i srpsko pitanje, 1908. Reprinted in Govori i Clanci I, Beograd 1921, p. 202-233).

He has the following to say on Serbia's need and 'right' to an Adriatic outlet: ". . .the aspirations of Serbia for the Albanian coastline are justified and conditioned not only by geographic but also by historic tradition." ". . .for economic independence, Serbia must acquire access to the Adriatic Sea and one part of the Albanian coastline: by occupation of the territory or by acquiring economic and transportation rights to this region. This, therefore, implies occupying an ethnographically foreign territory, but one that must be occupied due to particularly important economic interests and vital needs. Such occupation might be called an anti- ethnographic necessity and in such a form it is not against the principle of nationality. In this case it  is all the more justified because the Albanians of northern Albania came about through a merging of the Albanians and Serbs."

(Speaking of the Serbian army in the Balkan Wars): ". . .every soldier knew that this military march must secure one part of the Adriatic castline and an Adriatic port, on which economic independence of his country would depend. . . a single thought and a single will led all members of the Serbian people to spread their state territory to the shores of the sea and an Adriatic port."  (Cvijic, "Izlazak Srbije na Jadransko More", Glasnik Srpskog Geografskog Drustva, 1912. Reprinted in Govori i Clanci II, Beograd 1921, p. 9-25).

He also made ethnographic arguments for Serbian claims to coastal regions when, like Vuk Karadzic, he asserted that the people of Dubrovnik were Serbians: "It seems that the Slavs who settled these lands in the 6th and 7th centuries were settled at first on the steep cliffs above the town where the is located today, on cliffs that used to be wooded with an oak forest, known then as a 'dubrava'. This, then, is the origin of the Serbian name form the city of Dubrovnik, that replaced the earlier Greek-Romanese name (Ragusa).

Subsequently the development of the city was marked by this two-fold Slavic- Roman identity. The Latin and Slavic people merged here, a mixture that can always be noted though the population quickly and completely became Serbian."  (Cvijic, "Iz drustvenih nauka." Selected texts. Cvetko Kostic, editor. Beograd 1965.)

Vaso Cubrilovic
Expulsion of the Albanians (1937)

A memorandum presented to the Royal Yugoslav government which outlines methods for removing Albanians from southern Serbia - a blueprint for ethnic cleansing

Vaso Cubrilovic (b.1897) was a historian, teacher and politician. As a youth he was in the Young Bosnia political movement and was involved in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. After the war he was a high school teacher and professor in Belgrade. He was also a political adviser for the royalist government of Yugoslavia. After World War II, he became a member of the Communist Party and as such held various posts in the Federal Yugoslav government. He was also a member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Cubrilovic presented the following memorandum to the Stojadinovic government in 1937. While it deals with a specific topic, the expulsion of Albanians from southern Serbia, it also expresses Serbian paranoia at losing land or their perceived dominance in the Balkans. It shows the Machiavellian lengths some Greater Serbian ideologists will condone and employ to reach their goals, all of which is apparent in the present  conflict. It is also interesting to note that many of the measures Cubrilovic suggests were and still are being  used by the present Serbian regime in Kosovo.

* * *

The problem of the Albanians in our national and state life did not arise yesterday. It played a major role in our life in the Middle Ages, but its importance became decisive by the end of the 17th century, at the time when the masses of the Serbian people were displaced northwards from their former ancestral territories of Raska and were supplanted by the Albanian highlanders. Gradually the latter came down from their mountains to the fertile plains of Metohija and Kosovo. Penetrating to the north, they spread in the direction of Southern and Western Morava and, crossing the Sar Mountain descended toward Polog and thence, in the direction of the Vardar. In this way, by the 19th century, the Albanian triangle was formed, a wedge which based on its Debar-Rogozna axis in its ethnic hinterland, penetrated as far into our territories as Nis and separated our ancient territories of Raska from Macedonia and the Vardar Valley.

This Albanian wedge inhabited by the anarchist Albanian element hampered any strong cultural, educational and economic connection between our northern and southern territories in the 19th century. This was the main reason why Serbia was unstable, until 1873, when it managed to establish and maintain continuous links with Macedonia, through Vranje and the Black Mountain of Skopje, to exercise the cultural and political influence on the Vardar Valley that was anticipated because of the favorable geographical and transportation links and the historical traditions in those regions.

Although the Bulgarians began their state life later than the Serbs, at first they had greater success. This explains why there are permanent settlements of southern Slavs from Vidin in the north to Ohrid in the south. Serbia began to cut pieces off this Albanian wedge as early as the first uprising, by expelling the northernmost Albanian inhabitants from Jagodina.

From 1918 onwards it was the task of our present state to destroy the remainder of the Albanian triangle. It did not do this. There are several reasons for this, but we shall mention only the most important.

The fundamental mistake of the authorities in charge at that time is that, forgetting where they were, they wanted to solve all the major ethnic problems of the troubled and bleeding Balkans by Western methods. Turkey brought to the Balkans the customs of the Sheriat, according to which victory in war and the occupation of a country confers the right to the lives and property of the subject inhabitants.

Even the Balkan Christians learned from the Turks that not only state power and domination, but also home and property are won and lost by the sword. The concept of the relations of private ownership of land in the Balkans was to be softened to some extent through laws, ordinances and other international agreements issued under pressure from Europe, but this concept has been to some degree the main lever of the Turkish state and the Balkan states to this day.

We do not need to refer to the distant past. We shall mention only a few cases of recent times. The removal of Greeks from Asia Minor to Greece and of Turks form Greece to Asia Minor, the recent removal of Turks from Bulgaria and Romania to Turkey. While all the Balkan states, since 1912, have solved or are on the way to solving the problems of national minorities through mass removals, we have stuck to slow and sluggish methods of gradual colonization.

The results of this have been negative. That this is so is best shown by the statistics from the 18 districts which comprise the Albanian triangle. From these figures it emerges that the population is greater than the total increase in our population from natural growth plus new settlers (from 1921 to 1931 the Albanian population increased by 68,060 while the Serbs show an increase of 58,745-a difference of 9,315 in favor of the Albanians).

Taking into account the intractable character of the Albanians, the pronounced increase in their numbers and the ever increasing difficulties of colonization by the old methods, with the passage of time this disproportion will become even greater and eventually put in question even those few successes we have achieved in our colonization from 1918 onwards.

Without a doubt, the main cause for the lack of success of our colonization in those regions was that the best land remained in the hands of the Albanians. The only possible way for our mass colonization of those regions was to take the land from the Albanians. After the war, at the time of the rebellion and actions of the insurgents, this could have been achieved easily by expelling part of the Albanian population to Albania, by not legalizing their usurpations and by buying their pastures.

Here we must return again to the gross error of our post-war concept about the right to possession of the land, instead of taking advantage of the concept of the Albanians themselves about their ownership of the land they had usurped-scarcely any of them had title-deeds issued by the Turks, and those only for land purchased, to the detriment of our nation and state, we not only legalized all of these usurpations, but worse still, accustomed the Albanians to Western European ideas of private property.

Prior to that, they could never have had these ideas. In this way, we ourselves handed them a weapon to defend themselves, to keep the best land for themselves and make the nationalization of one of the regions most important to us impossible.

This concentration of Albanians around the Sar Mountain has great national, state and strategic importance for  our state. We have already mentioned the way it came into existence and the importance of this region for linking the regions around the Vardar Valley firmly with our ancient territories. The greatest force of the Serbian expansion ever since the beginnings of the first Serb state in the 9th century has always been based on the continuity of this expansion, as well as on the expansion of the ancient territories of Raska in all directions, hence including its expansion towards the south.

This continuity has been interrupted by the Albanians and, until the ancient uninterrupted connection of Serbia and Montenegro with Macedonia along the whole of its extent from the Drin River to Southern Morava is re- established, we will not be secure in our possession of this territory. From the ethnic standpoint the Macedonians will fully unite with us only when they enjoy true ethnic support from the Serbian motherland, which they have lacked to this day. This they will achieve only through the destruction of the Albanian block.

From the military-strategic standpoint, the Albanian block occupies one of the most important positions in our country-the starting point from which the Balkan rivers flow to the Adriatic, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea.  The holding of this strategic position to a large degree determines the fate of the Central Balkans, especially the fate of the main Balkan communication line from Morava to Vardar.

It is no accident that many battles of decisive importance for the destiny of the Balkans have been fought here (Nemanja against the Greeks, the Serbs against the Ottomans in 1389, Hunyadi against the Ottomans in 1446). In the 20th century, only that country which is inhabited by its own people can be sure of its security; therefore it is an imperative duty for all of us that we should not allow these positions of such strategic importance to be in the hands of a hostile alien element.

The more so since this element has the support of a national state of the same race. Today this state is powerless but even in this condition, it has become a base of Italian imperialism, which aims to use it to penetrate into the heart of our state. Our element, which will be willing and able to defend its own land and its state, is the most reliable means against this penetration.

Besides this block of 18 districts, the Albanians and other national minorities in the other parts of the southern regions are dispersed and therefore, not so dangerous to our national and state life. To nationalize the regions around the Sar Mountain means to bury any irredentism forever, to ensure our power in these territories forever.

The Albanians cannot be repulsed by means of gradual colonization alone: they are the only people who, during the last millennium, managed not only to resist the nucleus of our state, Raska and Zeta, but also to harm us, by pushing our borders northwards and eastwards. Whereas in the last millennium our ethnic borders were shifted to Subotica in the north and Kupa in the north-west, the Albanians drove us from the Skadar and its region, the former capital city of Bodin, from Metohija and Kosovo.

The only way and the only means to cope with them is the brute force of an organized state, in which we have always been superior to them. If since 1912 we have had no success in the struggle against them, we are to blame for this, as we have not used this power as we should have done. It is not possible to speak of any national assimilation of the Albanians in our favor. On the contrary, because they base themselves on Albania, their national awareness is awakened and if we do not settle accounts with them at the proper time, within 20-30 years we shall have to cope with a terrible irredentism, the signs of which are already apparent and which will inevitably put all of our southern territories in jeopardy.

As we have already stressed, the mass removal of the Albanians from their triangle is the only effective coursefor us. To bring about the relocation of a whole population, then the first prerequisite is the creation of a suitable psychosis. It can be created in many ways.

As is known, the Muslim masses, in general, are very readily influenced, especially by religion and are superstitious and fanatical. Therefore, first of all we must win over their clergy and men of influence, through money or threats, to support the relocation of the Albanians. Agitators to advocate this removal must be found, as quickly as possible, especially from Turkey, if it will provide them for us.

Another means would be coercion by the state apparatus. The law must be enforced to the letter so as to make staying intolerable for the Albanians: fines and imprisonments, the ruthless application of all police dispositions, such as the prohibition of smuggling, cutting forests, damaging agriculture, leaving dogs unchained, compulsory labor and any other measure that an experienced police force can contrive.
From the economic aspect: the refusal to recognize the old land deeds, the work with the land register should immediately include the ruthless collection of taxes and the payment of all private and public debts, the requisitioning of all state and communal pastures, the cancellation of concessions, the withdrawal of permits to exercise a profession, dismissal from the state, private, and communal offices etc., will hasten the process of their removal.

Health measures: the brutal application of all the dispositions even in homes, pulling down encircling walls and high hedges around

houses, rigorous application of veterinary measures which would result in impeding the sale of livestock on the market, etc. can also be applied in an effective and practical way. When it comes to religion the Albanians are very touchy, and thus they must be harassed on this score, too. This can be achieved through illtreatment of their clergy, the destruction of their cemeteries, the prohibition of polygamy, and especially the inflexible application of the law compelling girls to attend elementary schools, wherever they are.

Private initiative, too, can assist greatly in this direction. We should distribute weapons to our colonists as need be. The old forms of cetnik action should be organized and secretly assisted. In particular, a tide of Montenegrins should be launched from the mountain pastures, in order to create a large-scale conflict with the Albanians in Metohija.

This conflict should be prepared by means of our trusted people. It should be encouraged and this can be done easily once the Albanians revolt; the whole affair should be presented as a conflict between clans and, if need be, ascribed to economic reasons. Finally, local riots can be incited. These will be bloodily suppressed with the most effective means, but by the colonists from Montenegrin clans and the cetniks, rather than by means of the army. There remains one more means, which Serbia employed with great practical effect after 1878, that is, by secretly burning down Albanian villages and city quarters.

The method of the colonization of Toplica and Kosanica after 1878, when the Albanians were expelled from these regions, is full of lessons. The method for the colonization of these regions was laid down in the law of January 3, 1880. On February 3 of the same year, the People's Council approved the law on the amendment of agrarian relations according to the principle of the land to the peasants. Without hesitation, Serbia sought its first foreign loan in order to pay Turkey for the lands taken. It did not set up any ministry of agrarian reform or costly apparatus for the problem of colonization, but everything was done in a simple and practical manner.

The police organs distributed the land to all those who wanted to till it. People came from Montenegro, Sjenica, Vranje, Kosovo, Pec, etc. and thirty years later Toplica and Kosanica, once Albanian regions of ill-repute, gave Serbia the finest regiment in the wars of 1912-18, the Iron Second Regiment. In those wars, Toplica and Kosanica paid and repaid, with the blood of their sons, those tens of millions of dinars which Serbia had spent for their resettlement.

Hence, if we want the colonists to remain where they are, they must be assured of acquiring all the means of livelihood within a few years. We must ruthlessly prohibit any speculation with the houses and properties of displaced Albanians. The state must reserve for itself the unlimited right to dispose of the fixed and movable assets of the people transferred and must settle its own colonists there immediately after the departure of the Albanians. This must be done because it will rarely happen that a whole village departs at once. The first to be settled in these villages should be the Montenegrins, as arrogant, irascible and merciless people, who will drive the remaining Albanians away with their behavior, and then the colonists from other regions can be brought in.

Whenever our colonization policy has been criticized for its lack of success, its defenders have always excused themselves with the inadequate financial means the state has allocated for this work. We do not deny that it is so up to a point, although it must be admitted that more has been spent in our country on the maintenance of this apparatus and its irrational work than on the colonization itself. Nevertheless, if the state has not provided as much as it should, it must be understood that every state to ensure the holding of the insecure national regions, by colonizing these regions with its own national element, must be included among the primary interests.

All other commitments rank inferior to this task and this commitment. For these problems, the money can and must be found. We have already mentioned the instance of Serbia during the colonization of Toplica and Kosanica and the benefits it had from this. When the small Serbian principality did not hesitate, as a free  and independent kingdom, to seek its first loan for the colonization, can it be said that our present-day Yugoslavia is unable to do such a thing? It can and must do it, and it is not true that it lacks the means to do it.

For such an important national, military, strategic and economic task, it is the duty of the state to sacrifice a few hundred million dinars. At a time when it can spend one billion dinars for the construction of the international highway from Subotica to Caribrod, any possible benefit from which we will enjoy only in the distant future, it can and must find a few hundred million dinars, which will put us back in possession in the cradle of our state.

In view of all that has been said above, it is no accident that our examination of the question of colonization in the south, we proceed from the view that the only effective method for solving this problem is the mass resettlement of the Albanians. Just as in other countries, gradual colonization has had no success in our country. When the state wants to intervene in favor of its own element, in a struggle for land, it can only be successful if it acts brutally. Otherwise, the native, with his roots in his birthplace and acclimatized there, is always stronger than the colonist. In our case, this must be kept especially well in mind, because we have to deal with a rugged, resistant and prolific race, which the late Cvijic describes as the most expansive in the Balkans.

All Europe is in a state of turmoil. We do not know what each day and night may bring. Albanian nationalism is mounting in our territories too. To leave the situation as it is would mean, in case of any world conflict or social revolution, both of which are possible in the near future, to jeopardize all of our territories in the south. The purpose of this paper is to avert such a thing.

Stevan Moljevic
Homogeneous Serbia (1941)

A program which clearly states Serbia's territorial ambitions and "right" to dominate Yugoslavia

Stevan Moljevic (b.1888) was a lawyer in Banja Luka before the war. In 1941 he fled to Montenegro after the Independent State of Croatia was declared. During the war he was an adviser to General Draza Mihajlovic, leader of the Cetniks. He released this memorandum on June 30 of 1941 in Niksic (Montenegro), 2 months before he joined the Cetnik National Committee and its executive council. The ideas Moljevic expressed in this memorandum reflect the views of most cetnik programs of the time, as well as those of the present.

* * *

The experience of the Serbian nation in this war, provoked with the loss of their state and their freedom, has brought them to these unwavering convictions:

1. That the power of the country is not based on the size of its territory, not the number of inhabitants, nor even on the richness of the land, but rather on the independence of thought, the concept of love for the country, its freedom and independence, internal unity and spiritual ties of the nation when subject to foreign invasion, and the readiness of its people to sacrifice everything they have including their lives for their country and its freedom.

2. That this identity of national view, sense and love of the nation and its independence can only be reached if it is gathered in a homogeneous Serbia. Examples of this are Serbia and Montenegro in past wars and Greece in the present war.
In this regard, the Serbs today have a primary and basic duty:

- to create and organize a homogeneous Serbia which must consist of the entire ethnic territory on which the Serbs live, and to ensure the necessary strategic and transportation lines and hubs, as well as economic areas which would enable and secure free economic, political and cultural life and development for all times.

These strategic and transportation lines necessary for the security, life and existence of Serbia, even if some of these areas do not have Serbian majorities in the local population, must serve the interests of Serbia and the Serbian nation so that the horrible suffering that they have endured at the hands of their neighbors does not have a chance to repeat itself.

Moving and exchanging inhabitants, especially Serbians for Croatians and Serbians from Croatian areas, is the only way to establish a border and create better relations between them, and this prevents the possibility that the frightful crimes which happened in the last war and especially those in the present war in all areas where Croatians and Serbians are intermingled (and where Croats and Muslims planned the extermination of Serbs) are not repeated.

I Borders

A basic mistake of our state administration was that in 1918 the boundaries of Serbia were not firmly set up. This mistake must be corrected immediately, for tomorrow it will be too late. These borders must be struck now, and they must include the entire ethnic territory on which Serbs live with unhindered access to the sea for all Serbian districts that are in the vicinity of the coast.

1. In the east and south-east (Serbia and South Serbia), the Serbian borders are result of the wars of liberation, and it is only necessary to reinforce them by adding Vidin and Custendil.

2. In the south (Montenegro and Herzegovina) the Southwest Serbian province should take over the territory of the Zeta Banovina (Royal Province):
  a) All of eastern Herzegovina with a railroad tie from Konjic to Ploce, including a belt of land that would protect this line, so that in this area the entire Konjic district would be included; from the Mostar district the following municipalities: Mostar, Bijelo Polje, Blagaj, and Zitomislici; the entire Stolac district; from the Metkovic district Ploce and all the areas south of Ploce, as well as Dubrovnik, which would have a special status.
  b) The northern part of Albania in so much as Albania does not acquire autonomy.

3. In the west the Western Serbian province should include-like the Vrbas Banovina-northern Dalmatia, the Serbian part of Lika, Kordun and Banija and a part of Slavonia, so that the railroad from Plaski to Sibenik and the northern rail connection from Okucani over Sunja to Kostajnica belong to this region.

This province would include one part of the Bugojno district except for Gornji Vakuf, and from the Livno district Livno and Donje Polje, and also from the Sibenik district the municipalities of Sibenik and Skradin; from the Knin district: the city of Knin and the Serbian part of the Drnis municipality with its territory that covers the Knin-Sibenik railroad, and eventually the Serbian portion of Vrlika in the Sinj district; the entire districts of Benkovac, Biograd and Preko; so that the borders of the Western Serbian province go along the Velebit canal and include Zadar with all the islands around it; from the Gospic district: Gospic, Licki Osik and Medak; the eastern part of the Perusic district, which has a railroad; from the Otocac district: Dabar, Skare and Vrhovine; from the Ogulin district: Dreznica, Gomirje, Gorska Dubrava and Plaski; the Vojnic district except Barilovic; the entire Vrginmost district; the Glina district without Bucice and Stankovac; from the Petrinja district: Blinja, Gradusa, Jabukovac and Sunja; the Kostajnica district without Bobovac; from the Novska district: Jasenovac and Vanjska Novski, but these places should be abolished so that the railroad stays on the territory of these two municipalities; the entire Okucani district; the Pakrac district without Antunovac, Gaj and Poljana; Velic Selo  from the Pozega district; the districts of Daruvar, Grubisno Polje and Slatina; along with the above the Bosnian districts of Derventa and Gradacac. It is understood that all other districts inside of these borders will be included in this region.

For this Serbian province, which would have 46 districts and nearly 1.5 million inhabitants, on which the entire Sipad enterprise falls, as well as the iron mine at Ljubja, and over which the Adriatic railway Valjevo-Banja Luka-Sibenik runs, it will be necessary to secure the Zadar area and the surrounding islands to ensure its outlet to the sea. 4. The Northern Serbian province should get, in addition to the territory of the Danube Banovina, the Serbian districts of Vukovar, Sid and Ilok and from the Vinkovci district Vinkovci, Luze, Mirkovci and Novi Jankovci municipalities and also the entire city and district of Osijek.

This province should be secured with Baranja, including Pecuj and eastern Banat with Timisoara and Resice (Resita).

5. The Central Serbian province-the Drina Banovina-should have the following Bosnian districts returned to it: Brcko, Travnik and Fojnica.
Dalmatia, which would run along the Adriatic coast from Ploce to the area just under Sibenik, and would include the Bosnian-Herzegovinian districts of Prozor, Ljubiski, Duvno, and the western parts of the Knin and Sibenik districts in the north, must become part of Serbia but also has to be granted a special autonomous position. The Roman Catholic church in Dalmatia will be recognized and receive state aid, but the work of the church and the Catholic clergy among the people must be favorable to the state and be under its strict control.

II Relations with other Yugoslavian and Balkan States

In the future, Serbia must, with the conviction of its past and its mission on the Balkans, be the bearer of the Yugoslav idea and the first defender of Balkan solidarity and Gladstone's principle of "the Balkans for the Balkan people." As time goes on, smaller states must combine in larger communities, unions and bloks, and Serbia's friends will expect this of her. Serbia will gladly respond to these expectations, for this is at the heart of its historical mission on the Balkans.

The Serbians already started on this path when they created Yugoslavia, and they will continue on this path. However, the first step in this path was taken incorrectly in that the Serbs and Montenegrins immediately allowed themselves to be melted into Yugoslavia while the Croats, Slovenes and Muslims took a different course and take all they can from Yugoslavia without giving anything in return. This mistake must be corrected and it can only be done if the Serbs, with the resurrected Yugoslavia, must immediately and unhesitatingly create a homogeneous Serbia in the borders that were previously outlined. Only after this has been achieved will we approach all other questions relating to the Slovenes and Croats.

Yugoslavia would thus be arranged on a federal basis with three federal units: Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.  Only when this state of affairs is settled, when all Serbian regions are united in a homogeneous Serbia, can a limited rapprochement with Bulgaria be conceived. Until then strengthening closer relations through economic and cultural co-operation might be possible (first through the press, books, churches and social gatherings and  then through a customs union).

The Serbs, who almost 5 centuries earlier were the only people on the Balkans to seriously resist Ottoman encroachment from the east; the Serbs, who in their struggle against Ottoman imperialism were the first to rise up against the Turks; the Serbs, who were the first to resist German encroachment from the west; were thereby granted the right to leadership on the Balkans, and they will not, nor cannot, renounce this leadership neither for themselves nor because of the Balkans and its fate.

They must fulfil their historical mission, and they can only do this if they are united in a homogeneous Serbia in the framework of Yugoslavia which they will imbue with their spirit and give their indelible stamp. Serbia must have hegemony on the Balkans, therefore they must previously gain hegemony in Yugoslavia. Only this hegemony must be great in spirit, far-reaching in outlook, courageous in political thought, and decisive in political action, and up to the present the Serbs have shown these traits in every challenging moment in their history. And as the present moment is only the last period of the past, so the future should be an extension of this past.

III Social Order

The social order in Yugoslavia, founded on unlimited liberalism, was in the chaotic post-war period abused and  misused in favor of the stronger against the weak, and in favor of the individual against the community. This damaged the necessary balance in economic life, and led to a crumbling of national and social morals and public life.

In Serbia, work must be the basic goal and purpose of every man and he must be justly rewarded for the quality and quantity of his work; capital must be the means for the Serbian people to realize their historical mission in the field of national defense, the national economy, and the national culture, as well as to secure their national existence, but the state must be the primary bearer of capital and capitalism.

Private capital is also a national possession and must be protected and monitored by the state, so that it serves the good of the nation and the community.

The state must ensure that every citizen has the possibility to get work and compensation, and to insure everyone in the case of sickness, old age and disability. The freedom of individuality, personal initiative and personal property must be protected for every citizen by law; only these freedoms must not be misused in such a way that they will infringe on other citizens or the community.
Freedom of speech, religion and the press must also be ensured, but they must not be abused.

The church, as an organization, must be recognized and aided only if it is totally independent from outside influence and if its supreme leadership is in Serbia. Political parties in Serbia cannot be founded on a religious basis.

The press must serve the people and the state, and lift the public morale.

IV National Renaissance
To attain a reorganization of the state and its social order, a national renaissance of the Serbian people on all levels and in every field of national life is needed. For this renaissance it is important to gather up all the national vigor, and not divide the Serbian people into classes. They can only be divided into occupations , which must be honest and useful to the community, and all must work in one direction in total harmony, so that in their work they are fulfilled and rewarded.

A leading position should be taken by the intellectuals, the enlightened sons of the Serbian nation and its youth, so that they set an example with their zeal, self-sacrifice, order, work and discipline and so that they may shine in the execution of their duties.

Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences

Memorandum 1986

This memorandum is a critique of the Yugoslav system from a Serbian nationalist point of view, which assumes that Serbia was exploited by other Yugoslav republics and must correct the situation without hesitation

The Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU), released in 1986, is a well-organized list of complaints and criticisms against the Yugoslav system as it existed at the time. The main theme of the argument in the Memorandum is that Serbia was wrongfully taken advantage of and weakened under 1974 constitution of Yugoslavia, and that as a result, Serbians are the victims of genocide (in Kosovo) among other things. The Memorandum is written in such a way that it acts as a call to arms for the Serbian people, and justifies any actions taken that will insure the security of 'threatened' Serbia.

Dobrica Cosic (b.1921) was the president of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences at the time the Memorandum was written, and he had a leading influence on its content and direction. Cosic is a writer who has held numerous cultural and political posts since the end of World War II, among them representative in the Federal parliament, president of the Serbian literary community, and editor of several papers and literary journals. He is presently the president of the new Yugoslav Federation.
* * *
There is deep concern in Yugoslavia because of stagnating social development, economic difficulties, growing social tensions, and open inter-ethnic clashes. A serious crisis has engulfed not only the political and economic arenas, but Yugoslavia's entire system of law and order as well. Idleness and irresponsibility at work, corruption and nepotism, a lack of confidence in and disregard for the law, bureaucratic obstinacy, growing mistrust among individuals, and increasingly arrogant individual and group egoism have become daily phenomena.

The resulting blow to moral values and to the reputation of leading public institutions and a lack of faith in the competence of decision-makers have spread apathy and bitterness among the public and produced alienation from all the mainstays and symbols of law and order. An objective examination of Yugoslav reality suggests that the present crisis may end in social shocks with unforseeable consequences, including such a catastrophic eventuality as the fragmentation of the Yugoslav state. No one can close his eyes to what is happening and to what may happen. Certainly, our nation's oldest institute of scientific and cultural creativity cannot do so.

In these fateful times, the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences feels obliged to express its views on society's condition in the conviction that this will help us find a way out of our present troubles. The nature of this document, however, obliges us to limit ourselves to the key issues of Yugoslav reality. Regretfully, these issues include the undefined and difficult position of the Serbian nation, a position brought to the fore by recent events.

In order to understand the primacy of ethnicity in the present practice of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia it is necessary to consider the influence of the Comintern on the Communist Party of Yugoslavia between the two world wars. The Comintern's strategy during that period derived from the conclusion that following the failure of the proletarian revolution in Western Europe, the Communist parties of Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe had to depend on national movements, even though they were expressly anti-socialist and based on the idea of national rather than class unity.

Stalin engaged in crushing all opposition to such a strategy (as, for example, in the case of Sima Markovic, one of the founders of the Yugoslav Communist Party). In this spirit, the solution to the national question was formulated and developed theoretically by Sperans (Kardelj) in his book "Razvoj slovenskoga narodnoga vprsanja" (The Development of the Slovene National Question), which generally served as the ideological model for Yugoslav development in the direction of a confederation of sovereign republics and autonomous regions, which was finally achieved by the Constitution of 1974.

The two most developed republics, which achieved their national programs with this Constitution, are now the most ardent defenders of the existing system. Thanks to the political position of their leaders at the centers of political power, they have held (both before and after the decisive years of the 1960s) the initiative in all matters affecting the political and economic system. They modelled the social and economic structure of Yugoslavia to suit their own desires and needs. Nothing would seem more normal that they now defend the structure that they  stubbornly took so long to build, a structure that represents the attainment of most of their national programs.

No one needs convincing that separatism and nationalism are active on the social scene, but there is insufficient understanding of the fact that such trends have been made ideologically possible by the Constitution of 1974. The constant reinforcement of and the competition engendered by separatism and nationalism have driven the (ethnic) nations further from one another to a critical degree.

The manipulation of language and the confinement of scientific and cultural professionals within the ranks of the republics and regions are sorry signs of the growing power of particularism. All new ethnogeneses are unfortunate products of locally closed, regional ideologies and shackled logic, and they are also symptomatic of a retreat from a common past, a common present, and a common future. It is as if everyone wished to flee as fast and as far as possible from a collapsing house. Mental attitudes warn us that the political crisis has reached the critical point, threatening the complete destabilization of Yugoslavia. Kosovo is the clearest expression of this.

No form of political oppression and discrimination on the basis of nationality is properly acceptable in modern society. The Yugoslav solution to the nationalities question could be considered at its inception an exemplary model of a multinational federation in which the principle of the unity of the state and state policy was successfully joined with the principle of the political and cultural autonomy of nationalities and national minorities. During the past two decades the principle of unity has become progressively weaker and the principle of national autonomy is stressed, which has in practice changed into a sovereignty of the parts (republics, which are not ethnically homogenous as a rule).

The weaknesses that were present in the model from the beginning became more and more visible. All nations are not equal: the Serbian nation, for example, did not obtain the right to its own state. Unlike national minorities, portions of the Serbian people, who live in other republics in large numbers, do not have the right to use their own language and alphabet, to organize politically and culturally, and to develop the unique culture of their nation. The unstoppable persecution of Serbs in Kosovo in a drastic manner shows that those principles that protect the autonomy of a minority (Albanians) and not applied when it comes to a minority within a minority (Serbs, Montenegrins Turks and Gypsies in Kosovo). Considering the existing forms of national discrimination, present-day Yugoslavia cannot be considered a democratic state.

. . .Yugoslavia is seen less as a community of citizens, nations and nationalities all equal before the law, and more as a community of eight equal territories. But even this variety of equality does not apply to Serbia because of its special legal and political position which reflects the tendency to keep the Serbian nation under constant supervision.

The guiding principle behind this policy has been "a weak Serbia, a strong Yugoslavia" and this has evolved into an influential mind-set: if rapid economic growth were permitted the Serbs, who are the largest nation, it would pose a danger to the other nations of Yugoslavia. And so all possibilities are grasped to place increasing obstacles in the way of their economic development and political consolidation. One of the most serious of such obstacles is Serbia's present undefined constitutional position, so full of internal conflicts.

The Constitution of 1974, in fact, divided Serbia into three parts. The autonomous provinces within Serbia were made equal to the republics, save that they were not defined as such and that they do not have the same number of representatives in the various bodies of the federation. They make up for this shortcoming by being able to interfere in the internal relations of Serbia proper through the republic's common assembly (while their assemblies remain completely autonomous). The political and legal position of Serbia proper is quite vague-Serbia proper is neither a republic nor a province. Relationships in the republic of Serbia are quite confused.

The Executive Council, which is a body of the republic's assembly, is in fact the Executive Council for Serbia proper. This is not the only absurdity in the limitation of authority. The excessively broad and institutionally well established autonomy of the provinces has created two new fissures within the Serbian nation. The truth is that the proautonomy and separatist forces insisted on increasing autonomy, but this would have been difficult to achieve had they not received moral and political support from those republics in which separatist tendencies have never died out.

Relations between Serbia and the provinces cannot be reduced solely or even primarily to a formal legal interpretation of two constitutions. It is primarily a matter of the Serbian nation and their state. A nation that has regained statehood after a long and bloody struggle, that has achieved civil democracy, and that lost two and half million kinsmen in two world wars underwent the experience of having a bureaucratically constructed party commission determine that after four decades in the new Yugoslavia it alone was condemned to be without its own state. A more bitter historic defeat in peacetime cannot be imagined.

The expulsion of the Serbian nation from Kosovo bears spectacular witness to its historic defeat. In the spring of 1981 a very special, but nevertheless open and total war, prepared by administrative, political, and legal  changes made at various periods, was declared against the Serbian people.

Waged through the skilful application of various methods and tactics, with a division of functions, and with the active, not merely passive, and little concealed support of certain political centers within Yugoslavia (more pernicious than the support coming from outside), this open war, which has yet to be looked in the face and called by its proper name, has been continuing for almost five years. It has thus lasted longer than the entire Yugoslav war of liberation (from April 6, 1941 to May 9, 1945).

The Balli (anti-communist nationalist) uprising in Kosovo and Metohija that broke out just before the end of the war with the participation of fascist units was broken miltarily in 1944-45, but it appears not to have been broken politically. Its present form, disguised with a new content, is proceeding more successfully and is moving towards a victorious outcome. A final showdown with neo-fascism did not materialize; all of the measures so far taken have only removed the expression of this aggression from the streets and in fact, its racially motivated and unretracted goals, which are being sought after by all means and atall costs, have only been reinforced. Deliberately drastic sentences are even pronounced on young offenders in order to incite and inflame inter-ethnic hatreds.

The physical, political, legal and cultural genocide perpetrated against the Serbian population of Kosovo and Metohija is the greatest defeat suffered by Serbia in the wars of liberation she waged between Orasac in 1804 and the uprising of 1941. Responsibility for this defeat falls primarily on the still living Comintern heritage in the nationalities policy of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and on the acquiescence of Serbian communists in this policy and on the exorbitant ideological and political delusion, ignorance, immaturity, and chronic opportunism of an entire generation of post-war Serbian politicians, always on the defensive and always more concerned with the opinions others have of them and of their hesitant explanations of Serbia's position than with the true facts affecting the future of the nation that they lead.

Kosovo is not the only region in which the Serbian nation is being pressured by discrimination. The absolute (and not merely relative) fall in the number of Serbs in Croatia is sufficient proof of this assertion. According to the 1948 census there were 543,795 Serbs in Croatia (14.48% of the total). According to the 1981 census their number has been reduced to 531,502 or only 11.5% of the total number of inhabitants in Croatia.

Over 33 peacetime years the number of Serbs in Croatia has declined, even in relation to the immediate post-war period when the first census was taken and when the effects of the war on the number of Serbian inhabitants in Croatia was well known. Lika, Kordun, and Banija have remained the most underdeveloped regions of Croatia and this has greatly encouraged the emigration of Serbs to Serbia and migrations to other parts of Croatia where the Serbs, being newcomers, are a minority and socially inferior group, greatly exposed to assimilation.

In any case, the Serbs in Croatia are otherwise exposed to a sophisticated and quite effective policy of assimilation. One component of this policy is the prohibition of all Serbian associations and cultural institutions in Croatia, which had had a rich tradition dating from the Austro-Hungarian and pre-war Yugoslav periods, and the imposition of an official   language that bears the name of another nation (Croatia), thus giving concrete shape to national inequality.

A constitutional provision has made this language obligatory for the Serbs in Croatia, and nationalistically inclined Croatian linguists are distancing it systematically and by well-organized actions from the language used in the other republics of the Serbo-Croatian language area, and this is helping to weaken the ties binding the Serbs in Croatia to other Serbs. Such action is gladly undertaken at the cost of interrupting language continuity among the Croats themselves and of eliminating international terms that are invaluable for communicating with other cultures, particularly in the field of science and technology.

But the Serbian community in Croatia is not just cut off from their homeland culturally; that homeland cannot keep itself informed of their circumstances or of their economic or cultural situation anywhere near the extent to which it is possible for some nations in Yugoslavia to maintain contact with their compatriots in other countries. The integrity of the Serbian nation and its culture in Yugoslavia as a whole is an issue vital to its survival and progress.

With the exception of the Independent State of Croatia from 1941- 45, Serbs in Croatia have never been as persecuted in the past as they are now. The solution to their national position must be considered an urgent political question. In so much as a solution cannot be found, the results could be disastrous, not just in relation to Croatia, but to all of Yugoslavia.

The question of the Serbian people's position is given considerable weight by the fact that a large number of Serbians live outside of Serbia, especially Serbia proper, and that their number is larger than the total number of people of some other nations. According to the census of 1981, 24% of the Serbian people (1,958,000) live outside of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, which is considerably more than the number of Slovenians, Albanians, Macedonians and taken individually, almost the same as the Muslims.

Outside of Serbia proper there are 3,285,000 Serbs or 40.3% of their total population. In the general disintegration process which has taken over Yugoslavia, the Serbs are hit with the most intense disintegration. The present course which our society in Yugoslavia has taken is totally opposite from the one that has moved for decades and centuries until the formation of a unified state. This process is aimed at the total destruction of the national unity of the Serbian people.

Having borne for over half a century the stigma and handicap of being the jailer of the other Yugoslav nations, the Serbian nation was incapable of deriving support from its own history. Many aspects of this history itself were even brought into question. The democratic bourgeoisie tradition for which Serbia had struggled successfully in the 19th century has remained in the shadow cast by the Serbian socialist and labor movement until quite recently because of narrow-mindedness and lack of objectivity on the part of official historiography.

This so impoverished and restricted the true picture of the contribution made by Serbian bourgeoisie society to law, culture, and statesmanship that, deformed in this manner, it could not provide mental or moral support to anyone nor could it serve as a foothold for preserving or reviving historical self-confidence. The brave and honorable efforts at liberation exerted by the Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina and by all Yugoslav youth, which included Young Bosnia, experienced a similar fate and were pushed into the historical background by the contributions of a class ideology whose proponents and creators were Austrian Marxists, confirmed opponents of movements of national liberation.

Influenced by the ruling ideology, the cultural achievements of the Serbian people are undergoing alienation, being usurped by others or denigrated, or they are ignored and retrogress; the language is being displaced and the Cyrillic script is gradually being lost. In this connection, the realm of literature is serving as the main arena for caprice and anarchy. The cultural and spiritual integrity of no other Yugoslav nation is so roughly challenged as that of the Serbian nation. No other literary and artistic heritage is so disordered, ravaged, and confused as the Serbian heritage. The political criteria of the ruling ideology are imposed on Serbian culture as being more valuable and stronger than scientific or historical criteria.

After the dramatic interethnic conflicts of the world war, it had appeared that chauvinism has lost momentum was even on the road to oblivion. This appearance has proven deceptive. It was not long before nationalism began rising up once more, and every change in the constitution served to promote its growth. Nationalism has been promoted from above; its chief proponents have been politicians. The fundamental cause of this multi- dimensional crisis is to be found in the ideological defeat of socialism at the hands of nationalism, which has produced the centrifugal processes that have brought the Yugoslav community to the brink of ruin and which has destroyed the old system of values.

Its roots lie in the ideology of the Comintern and in the nationalities policy of the pre-war CPY. The revanchism  directed at the Serbian nation as an "exploiting" nation that was built into this policy has had far-reaching consequences for inter- ethnic relations, the social organization, the economic system, and the fate of moral and cultural values since the Second World War.

The Serbian nation has been encumbered with a feeling of historical guilt and has remained the only nation not to solve its national problem and not to receive its own state like the other nations. Therefore, the first and foremost action must be to remove this burden of historical guilt from the Serbian nation, to categorically deny the contention that it enjoyed a privileged economic position between the two world wars, and to refrain from denigrating Serbia's liberation-oriented history and contribution in creating Yugoslavia.

Complete national and cultural integrity of the Serbian people is their historic and democratic right, no matter in which republic or province they might find themselves living. The attainment of equality and an independent development have profound historical meaning for the Serbian people.

In less than fifty years, over two successive generations, the Serbian nation has been exposed to such severe trials-twice exposed to physical extermination, to forced assimilation, to religious conversion, to cultural genocide, to ideological indoctrination, and to the denigration and renunciation of their own traditions beneath an imposed guilt complex, and thereby disarmed intellectually and politically, that they could not but leave deep spiritual wounds that cannot be ignored as this century of the great technological takeoff draws to a close. In order to have a future in the international family of cultured and civilized nations, the Serbian nation must have an opportunity to find itself again and become a historical agent, must re-acquire an awareness of its historical and spiritual being, must look its economic and cultural interests square in the eyes, and must find a modern social and national program that will inspire this generation and generations to come.

The present depressing condition of the Serbian nation, with chauvinism and Serbophobia being ever more violently expressed in certain circles, favor of a revival of Serbian nationalism, an increasingly drastic expression of Serbian national sensitivity, and reactions that can be volatile and even dangerous. We must not overlook or underestimate these dangers for a moment under any circumstances. But a principled struggle against Serbian chauvinism cannot be based on the reigning ideological and political symmetry in historical guilt. The rejection of this symmetry, fatal to the spirit and morale, with its trite falsehoods and injustices, is a precondition for mobility and effectiveness on the part of democratic, Yugoslav, humanistic awareness in contemporary Serbian culture.

The fact that ordinary citizens and the working class are not represented in the appropriate councils in the Federal Assembly cannot simply be ascribed to favoritism for ethnic nationalisms; it is also the result of an attempt to place Serbia in a position of inequality and thereby weaken her political influence. But the greatest calamity is the fact that the Serbian nation does not posses a state like all of the other nations. True, the first article of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Serbia contains a provision to the effect that Serbia is a state, but the question immediately arises: What kind of a state is one that lacks authority within its own territory and lacks the means to protect the personal property of its citizens, to prevent genocide in Kosovo, and to prevent the emigration of Serbs from their ancient homeland?

This position underlines the political discrimination against Serbia, especially when one remembers that the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has imposed internal federalism on Serbia, creating a permanent source of conflicts between Serbia Proper and the provinces. The aggressive Albanian chauvinism in Kosovo cannot be contained until Serbia ceases to be the sole republic whose internal relations are ordered by others.

The Federal Constitution has formally established the equality of all the republics but this has been rendered worthless in practice by forcing the Republic of Serbia to renounce many of its rights and powers in favor of the autonomous provinces, the status of which is regulated by the Federal Constitution to a considerable extent. Serbia must openly state that this is an imposed arrangement.

This is especially true in regard to the position of the provinces, which in reality have been promoted to republics and which regard themselves far more as constituent elements of the Federation rather than as parts of the republic of Serbia. Besides failing to consider a state for the Serbian nation, the Yugoslav Constitution also created insurmountable difficulties to the establishment of such a state. In order to satisfy Serbia's legitimate interests, a revision of that constitution is unavoidable. The autonomous provinces must become true integral parts of the Republic of Serbia by granting them a degree of autonomy that would not destroy the integrity of the Republic and would make it possible to act in the common interests of the wider community.

The unhappy matter of Serbian statehood is not the only deficiency that must be corrected by constitutional amendments. The 1974 constitution turned Yugoslavia into a very unstable state community, prone to consider alternatives other than the Yugoslav alternative, as has been made clear in recent statements by public figures in Slovenia and the earlier positions taken by Macedonian politicians.

Such considerations and fragmentation lead to the notion that Yugoslavia is in danger of further corrosion. The Serbian nation cannot meekly await the future in such a state of uncertainty. Therefore, all of the nations within Yugoslavia must be given the opportunity to express their wants and intentions. Serbia would then be able to declare and define her own national interests. Discussions and agreements in this vein must precede an examination to the Constitution. Naturally, Serbia must not take a passive stand in all this, waiting to hear what others will say, as she has done so often in the past.

The position of equality that Serbia must strive for presupposes the same initiative in deciding on key political and economic issues as enjoyed by others. Four decades of Serbian passivity have been bad for Yugoslavia as a whole by failing to contribute ideas and critical appraisals based on her longer state tradition, enhanced feeling for national independence, and rich experience in struggling against home-grown usurpers of political freedom. Unless the Serbian nation within Serbia participate on an equal footing in the entire process of decision making and implementation, Yugoslavia cannot be strong--and Yugoslavia's very existence as ademocratic, socialist community will be called into question.

An entire period in the development of the Yugoslav community and of Serbia has clearly ended in a historically worn-out ideology, overall stagnation, and ever more obvious regression in the economic, political, moral, and cultural spheres. Such a situation imperatively requires a profound and well-though  out, rationally grounded, and decisively implemented reform of the entire governmental structure and social organization of the Yugoslav community of nations, and speedy and beneficial integration into the modern world through social democracy.

The human resources of the entire country must be involved to the utmost extent in social reform in order that we may become a productive, enlightened, and democratic society capable of existing on the fruits of our own labor and creativity and able to make our fair contribution to the human race.

The Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences is taking this occasion to express once again its willingness to promote this portentous undertaking and the historical aspirations of our generation with all the resources at its disposal.   


Every political practice is founded on ideological theories which are melded into the collective consciousness of a  society. The selections included in this book trace the development of one ideology that over the last century and a half has grown and transformed into not only political doctrine and cultural chauvinism but also dangerous extremism. This extremism has manifested itself many times in the past, and Princip's assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (which started the first World War) and the terrorist activities of Draza Mihajlovic's cetniks during World War II are only two notable examples. Political extremism which includes the ideological conviction of the right of one nation to impose its will onto that of another is a basic tenet of Greater Serbian ambitions.

"We Serbs will save Yugoslavia," said Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia influential of modern Greater Serbian ideologues, in the tense time when the political upheavals in the now defunct Yugoslavia were turning into war. This statement was actually an expression of the ethno-centrism which has become imbued in Serbian political thought. The apartheid in Kosovo, the persecution and frequent expulsion of Muslims, Hungarians and Croatians from Serbia, the attack on Slovenia, the merciless des- truction in Croatia, and the suffering and human loss of hundreds of thousands in Bosnia and Hercegovina are all the results of this Serbian 'salvation' of Yugoslavia.

In 'saving' Yugoslavia Serbian leaders wanted to insure that 'all Serbs live in one state.' Any threat to this absurd political tenet could expect to be answered with brutal force. Thus it follows that the Serbs, in the form of para-military units and the Yugoslav army, would react so violently to Slovenian, Croatian and Bosnian declarations of independence, for their ethno-centric ideology does not acknowledge the right of other nations to exist on a political nor even social or cultural level if they conflict with Greater Serbian aspirations. They veil their true intentions with the assertion that they are 'protecting the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia,' but the wanton destruction and the 'ethnic cleansing' practiced by Serbian militias (including the so-called 'Yugoslav' army) proves that they are waging a war of conquest and aggression inspired by an ideology of intolerance.   


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