Слике страница
PDF
ePub

state and their liberty and independence against the brutal maxim "might goes before right,” militating against it both, East and West. But the moment has come, says the declaration, when the Jugoslav people is no more isolated. The war imposed by German militarism upon Russia, France, and England (and in the last instance upon America), for the defence of their honor as well as for the liberty and independence of small nations, has developed into a struggle for the Liberty of the World and the Triumph of Right over Might. All nations which love liberty and independence have allied themselves for their common defence, to save civilization and liberty at the cost of every sacrifice, to establish a new international order based upon justice and upon the right of every nation to dispose of itself and so organize its independent life, and finally to establish a durable peace, consecrated to the progress and development of humanity, securing the world against a catastrophe similar to that which the conquering lust of German Imperialism has provoked.

As to the future Jugoslav state which has to be established after this war, the declaration of Corfu gives the following main principles :

1. The state of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenenes, who are also known by the name of Southern Slavs or Jugoslavs, will be a free and independent kingdom, with an indivisible territory and unity of power. This state will be a constitutional, democratic, and Parliamentary monarchy, with the Karageorgević-dynasty, which has always shared the ideals and feelings of the nation in placing above everything else the national liberty and will at its head.

2. The name of this state will be the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and the title of the sovereign will be King of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

3. This state will only have one coat of arms, one flag, and one crown.

4. The four different flags of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes will have equal rights, and may be hoisted freely on all occasions. The same will obtain for the four different coats of arms.

5. The three national denominations, the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, are equal before the law in all the territory of the kingdom, and each may freely use it on all occasions in public life and before all authorities.

THE JOURNAL OF RACE DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 9, No. 1, 1918

6. The two Cyrillic and Latin alphabets also have the same rights and every one may freely use them in all the territory of the kingdom. The royal and local self-governing authorities have the right and ought to employ the two alphabets according to the desire of the citizens.

7. All religions are recognized, and may be free and publicly practiced. The Orthodox Roman Catholic and Mussulman religions, which are most professed in our country, will be equal, and will enjoy the same rights in relation to the state. In view of these principles the legislature will be careful to preserve the religious peace in conformity with the spirit and tradition of our entire nation.

8. The Gregorian calendar will be adopted as soon as possible.

9. The territory of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes will comprise all the territory where our nation lives in compact masses and without discontinuity, and where it could not be mutilated without injuring the vital interests of the community. Our nation does not ask for anything which belongs to others, and only claims that which belongs to it. It desires to free itself and establish its unity. That is why it conscientiously and firmly rejects every partial solution of the problem of its freedom from the Austro-Hungarian domination.

10. The Adriatic Sea, in the interests of liberty and equal rights of all nations, is to be free and open to all and each.

11. All citizens throughout the territory of the kingdom are equal and enjoy the same rights in regard to the state and the law.

12. The election of deputies to the national representation will take place under universal suffrage, which is to be equal, direct, and secret. The same will apply to the elections in the communes and other administrative institutions. A vote will be taken in each commune.

13. The constitution to be established after the conclusion of peace by the Constituent Assembly elected by universal, direct, and secret suffrage will serve as a basis for the life of the state. It will be the origin and ultimate end of all the powers and all rights by which the whole national life will be regulated. The constitution will give the people the opportunity of exercising its particular energies in local autonomies, regulated by natural, social, and economic conditions. The constitution must be adopted in its entirety by a numerical majority of the Constituent Assembly, and all other laws passed by the Constituent Assembly will not come into force until they have been sanctioned by the king.

Thus the united nation of Serbs, Croatians, and Slovenes will form a state of twelve million inhabitants. This state will be a guarantee of their national independence and of their general national progress and civilization, and a powerful rampart against the pressure of the Germans, and an inseparable ally of all civilized peoples and states. Having proclaimed the principle of right and liberty and of international justice, it will form a worthy part of the new society of nations.

The declaration of Corfu has been hailed with enthusiasm throughout Jugoslavdom, but nowhere more than in those Jugoslav lands which are under Austro-Hungarian domination. Following the so called May-declaration by the Jugoslav deputies in the Austrian Parliament, in which they declared that the minimum of Jugoslav demands consists in the "unification of all the Croats, Serbs and Slovenes in a state organism, independent and democratic, and free of any foreign domination,” the various Jugoslav deputies emphasized in their speeches in Parliament and out of it, that the nation never shall renounce its rights and aims, and whatever may come, the Jugoslavs demand to be heard and to be given the right of self-determination. Austrian and Hungarian statesmen energetically repudiated these Jugoslav "insolences,” calling them traitorous, and Count Czernin declared that the self-determination, which he and his German colleagues so promptly asked for Ukraine, Finland, Lithuania and other parts of Russia, cannot be applicated to Austro-Hungarian nations and nationalities. But the Jugoslavs over there were grim and determined, and went their way forward. Today they openly proclaim the'r adherence to the declaration of Corfu. The results are grave disorders and collisions between police, army and civilians, and a rising revolutionary ferment throughout Jugoslav lands. In close collaboration with the Czechs who also demand their independent state, the Jugoslavs have brought the government to naught, and if the Allies could properly grasp the situation and exploit it in a right way, there would be instantly an open revolution in AustriaHungary. The tempest is near, very near. There are too many signs for it. Continuous news arrives which indicates that great events are in store. The dissolution of the Austrian parliament is one sign, the conference between the Kaiser and the Austrian emperor the other. The further cementing of the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary means a further extent of Prussian domination in the dual monarchy, and at the same time a further and more vigorous persecution of the non-German and nonMagyar nationalities. But whatever persecutions, whatever reign of terror, the oppressed nations stand prepared and ready for the last trial from which they hope to emerge as free peoples, strong enough to direct their own destinies.

As regards the territorial complex of Jugoslav aspiration there is little to explain. The declaration of Corfu points out that the territory of the new state has to include all the territory inhabited compactly and in territorial continuity by the Jugoslav nation. Geographically this includes the following provinces: (a) Serbia and Montenegro; (b) Bosnia-Hercegovina; (3) Dalmatia and the Dalmatian archipelago; (d) Croatia-Slavonia with Rijeka (Fiume), and the Megjumurje; (e) The country of the Drava in South Hungary, and the former Serbian Vojvodina, (Bačka and Banat); (f) Istria, the Istrian islands and Trieste; (g) Carniola and Gorica-Gradiška; (h) Southern Carinthia, Southern Styria, and the adjoining territory in SouthEastern Hungary.

In all these territories the Jugoslavs constitute a compact population of exceedingly pure race. The mixed population on the borders is due partly to natural contact with neighbouring races, and partly the artificial result of hostile policy, and cannot seriously affect the national character of the country.

All these lands form an ethnical unit, they are geographically contiguous, and economically interdependent.

Serbia and Montenegro with Bosnia and Hercegovina cannot attain their normal development without the possession of Dalmatia. Detached from its hinterland the Dalmatian coast would be valueless for commerce and navigation, and the safety of Dalmatia would be permanently jeopardized, were she deprived of her archipelago. One reason why Austria-Hungary occupied and annexed Bosnia-Hercegovina was, that she already possessed Dalmatia. Dalmatia and the Dalamatian archipelago must properly belong to the owner of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Moreover, in the Middle Ages Dalmatia formed an integrant part of the Jugoslav states—whether Serbian or Croatian-which arose during the course of history, and when she was incorporated with Austria, Dalmatia herself evinced the tendency towards union with other Jugoslav countries. As the utmost that could at that time be aspired to, she asked to be united with Croatia-Slavonia, and the Diet of Zadar (Zara), and the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb never ceased to demand such a union.

For centuries Croatia-Slavonia sturdily defended her autonomy against Germanism and Austrian centralisation, no less than against magyarisation. In a union of all Jugoslav countries Croatia would at once take her proper place, first of all for ethnical reasons, secondly, because her national and political renaissance was accomplished under the banner of a great Jugoslav movement, and because the Croatian Parliament always demanded Jugoslav unity, territorial integrity and political independence. And finally because her three great waterways, the Save, the Drava and the Danube, as well as the railway that traverses the country and connects Belgrade with Rijeka, render Croatia the natural intermediate link between eastern and western Jugoslavia.

Rijeka is the only natural and practicable seaport for Croatia, and at present also for Serbia. The right of Croatia to Rijeka (Fiume) as an incontestable part of her territory was never called into question before the falsification of paragraph 66 of the Croato-Hungarian agreement of 1868. As a result of this crime Hungary deprived Croatia of the administration of the town and seaport of Rijeka, just as she had in 1861 deprived her of the administration of the Megjumurje, a purely Croatian district between the Drava and the Mur. As a port Rijeka is value less without it hinterland, and this again cannot thrive without its natural seaport. A Jugoslav Rijeka is of vital necessity to Croatia-Slavonia, Serbia, and a large part of Istria and Carniola.

The possession of the Quarnero Islands and of Eastern Istria is inseparably bound up with Rijeka, just as Western Istria is bound with Trieste, the only seaport of the Slovene hinterland.

In the hands of the Jugoslavs, Trieste would prove, economically speaking, an important stronghold against Ger

« ПретходнаНастави »