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Private Yugoslavism and Serbian Public Opinion, 1890–1914

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This article addresses manifestations of Yugoslavism in the pre-1914 period that have been neglected by recent scholarship. Its focus on everyday life reveals that since the mid-1890s there were constant contacts between the major ethnic groups that would constitute Yugoslavia after 1918. These contacts were not initiated by the political elite or by official activities. They were instead the reactions of ordinary residents of Belgrade who “discovered” peoples speaking the same language and having similar problems, “as we do.” There were many visits from Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia to Belgrade in the period 1890–1914 organized by different associations or individuals. Some of them organized public gatherings in the center of Belgrade that allowed residents to show “their love” to “our compatriots” from the South Slav lands of Austria-Hungary. Some of these events turned into real public demonstrations even before 1903, under the Obrenović dynasty and government, which was not Yugoslav oriented. And under the succeeding Karađorđević dynasty, even its leading Radical politicians favored the Yugoslav idea for a future state, although withholding public support until after the Serbian victory in the First Balkan War in 1912.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University, Serbia,


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