Croat-Serb Coalition

Hrvatsko-srpska koalicija
Хрватско-српска коалиција
FoundersFrano Supilo and
Svetozar Pribićević
Founded1905
Dissolved1918
Merged intoYugoslav Democratic Party
HeadquartersZagreb, Croatia-Slavonia
IdeologySlavic nationalism
Conservative liberalism
Yugoslavism
Political positionCentre-right
Party flag

The Croat-Serb Coalition (Serbo-Croatian: Hrvatsko-srpska koalicija/Хрватско-српска коалиција) was a major political alliance in Austria-Hungary during early 20th century that governed the Croatian lands (crownlands of Croatia-Slavonia and Dalmatia). It represented the political idea of a cooperation of Croats and Serbs in Austria-Hungary for mutual benefit. Its main leaders were, at first Frano Supilo and Svetozar Pribićević, then Pribićević alone.

This coalition governed the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia from 1903 until the dissolution of the Austria-Hungary and the Yugoslav unification in 1918, when it was by large integrated into the liberal Yugoslav Democratic Party.[1][2]

Origins

The previous incarnation of Croat-Serb cooperation in the historical Croatian lands under Austro-Hungarian rule had happened sixty years earlier in the Illyrian movement, but that idea came to an abrupt end with the revolution of 1848.

The underlying reason for the formation of the Coalition in the early 1900s was the mass realization that the Hungarian and Austrian governments as well as the Italian irredentists all profit from the divisions between the Croats and the Serbs. This became particularly apparent following the popular demonstrations against the Croatian ban Khuen Hedervary in 1903, where the masses of Croat peasants were joined by Serb peasants, and achieved a greater effect. The Coalition itself originated in the Resolutions of Rijeka and Zadar of October 1905, wherein the groups of individual Croat and Serb parliamentary representatives formulated requests for the improvement of Croat and Serb national interests, respectively, focused on the integration of Dalmatia with Croatia-Slavonia and the elevation of the country's position within the monarchy.

Alliance activity

Frano Supilo Svetozar Pribićević

The parties which initially joined the Coalition included: Croatian Party of Rights, Croatian People's Progressive Party (the liberals), Serb People's Independent Party, Serb People's Radical Party and Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Slavonia. By this time, the Croatian Party of Rights had also included members of the Independent People's Party, who had previously split from the pro-Hungarian mainstream faction of the People's Party. The Social Democrats and Serb Radicals would later break away from the Coalition, while in 1910 Croatian Party of Rights and the Croatian People's Progressive Party merged into the Croat Independent Party (Hrvatska samostalna stranka). On December 11, 1905, the Coalition representatives published their political programme. In the 1906 Croatian parliamentary election they won a majority of seats in the Parliament (Sabor) of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia.

In 1908, the Coalition won the election again, but it also came under attack from the Vienna Imperial Court, which accused its leadership of grand treason. In 1909, 53 members of the Serb Independent Party were actually put on trial for collaboration with Serbia in a conspiracy to unite all South Slavs into a single state. In this politically motivated trial, known as the Agram Trial, with the main witness a police agent provocateur, the defendants were found guilty with flimsy evidence and given extended prison sentences. However, after the Coalition decided to form a political alliance with the Austro-Hungarian authorities, their members were all pardoned. This came at a cost of having to marginalize their leader Frano Supilo and having to temper their criticism of the government in the Kingdom of Hungary. Svetozar Pribićević became the new leader and closed a formal agreement with the government in 1913. The Coalition continued to win elections in 1910 and 1913. It dominated Croatian politics throughout World War I while continuing to support the state of Austria-Hungary. Nevertheless, the leaders of the Coalition participated in the Yugoslav Committee during World War I.

When the war ended and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was formed, the Coalition fielded 12 representatives in the National Council of the State.[3] Later the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, and the party dissolved and its former members mostly became advocates of the new government in Belgrade, within Yugoslav Democratic Party.

Electoral performances

Year % Seats won ± Croat[H SS] Serb[S SS] Ind. Government
1906 36.36%
32 / 88
Increase 32
18 / 88
Increase 18
8 / 88
Increase 8
6 / 88
Increase 6 Government
1908 49.64%
56 / 88
Increase 24
27 / 88
Increase 9
19 / 88
Increase 11
10 / 88
Increase 4 Government
1910 33.60%
35 / 88
Decrease 21
18 / 88
Decrease 9
15 / 88
Decrease 4
2 / 88
Decrease 8 Government
1911 28.56%
24 / 88
Decrease 11
12 / 88
Decrease 6
12 / 88
Decrease 3
0 / 88
Decrease 2 Government
1913 39.09%
48 / 88
Increase 24
29 / 88
Increase 17
17 / 88
Increase 5
2 / 88
Increase 2 Government

H SS In 1910 Frano Supilo' Party of Rights and Croatian People's Progressive Party merged into the Croat Independent Party.
S SS At the 1906 elections Serb Independent Party run along with Serb People's Radical Party, which left the coalition in 1907.

Legacy

The Peasant-Democratic Coalition (Croatian Peasant Party and Independent Democratic Party) led by Stjepan Radić and Svetozar Pribićević (later Vladko Maček alone) during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia is generally seen as a recreation of the Croat-Serb Coalition idea. Coallition exist from 1927 until Yugoslavia was invaded by Axis powers in 1941, during World War II.

References

  1. ^ Ćirković, Sima (2004). The Serbs. Blackwell Publishing.
  2. ^ Miller, Nicholas J. (1997). Between Nation and State: Serbian Politics in Croatia Before the First World War. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  3. ^ Štambuk-Škalić, Marina; Matijević, Zlatko, eds. (2008-11-14). "Narodno vijeće Slovenaca, Hrvata i Srba u Zagrebu 1918-1919. Izabrani dokumenti". Fontes (in Croatian). Croatian State Archives. Retrieved 2010-12-08.