Jugoslavia Today

Courtesy Reuters

VOLTAIRE has said that those who have great virtues usually have great faults. The virtues of the Jugoslavs were in evidence during the war. Their faults, those which one might expect to find in a people lacking political experience, are in evidence today when the long-drawn negotiations and disappointments of peace try the reasonableness of men as greatly as the hardships and dangers of war tried their bodies and souls.

This is a suitable moment to reckon up what have been the achievements and failures of the Jugoslav Government in the period since the collapse of the Hapsburg Monarchy gave its subject races a chance to experiment with the freedom of which they had long dreamed. The general elections which have just taken place in Jugoslavia--the first since the adoption of the national constitution--have served to throw into relief the important internal questions pressing for solution at the hands of the government; and in so doing they have shown very clearly how large a bearing the problem of internal organization has upon the country's foreign relations.


It is difficult to generalize about Jugoslavia,[i] inhabited as it is by three peoples, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, who though closely united in race and language differ in almost everything else. They are the descendents of three Slavic tribes that moved into the Danube Valley and the western regions of the Balkan peninsula in the seventh century. The Slovenes, inhabiting the northwestern part of the Jugoslav territory, early came under Germanic rule. The Kingdom of Croatia was attached to Hungary (though keeping its own entity) as early as 1102. The Serb kingdom, after varying fortunes culminating in the magnificence of Tsar Stephen Dushan, crowned in 1346 as "Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks" with territories stretching from the Danube to Thessaly and from the Adriatic well into

what is today Bulgaria, went down at last before the Turkish invasion; the fatal blow was received on the Field of the Blackbirds on the 15th of

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