The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had proven, in effect, ungovernable owing to the failure of its politicians to accept the necessity for compromise and concession implicit in parliamentary government in an environment characterised by a series of strongly held cultural identities. Despairing of the politicians, King Alexander saw the solution in an autocratic government, appealing to the people over the heads of the political process as the one source of power with sufficient legitimacy in the wider community to command the ordering of the state. What the 1920s had demonstrated was that Yugoslavia was viable as an economic unit but that it lacked any one group with sufficient legitimacy in the population as a whole to function as the focal point around which the state could be organised. The principal element giving it cohesion was the threat of external enemies who saw the South Slav state as the factor in the way of dominance of the Balkan peninsula. This combined with the economic crisis which afflicted the world economy at the end of the 1920s to drive the monarch to adopt more autocratic methods of government. Retrogressive though this solution was, it was in keeping with the general tendency in the region in this period towards stronger royalist influence, which resulted from disappointments with early experiments with democracy that had been made difficult by the international uncertainties both political and economic which threatened to worsen the already weak condition of the south-east European domestic economies.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- Dictatorship and Compromise
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number