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The fin-de siÈcle in Zadar – political and social conditions in Zadara and Dalmatia on the eve of the First World War
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Str. 731 - 775
On the eve of the First World War, Zadar was a city of about 14 000 people. Its tone was set by the numerous bureaucrats who called it home. The city was the seat of the Governorship – a branch of the central authorities, the District administration, the Dalmatian Parliament, the County Board, and numerous regional authorities such as the Regional School Council or the Regional Financial Directorate. The pro-Italian element which made up half of the regional administrative system set the tone for the bureaucracy. Owing to the curial voting system which favoured the wealthier strata of society, district government was in the hands of the Italian Party. Nevertheless, on the eve of the First World War the Party of Right took control of the Croatian towns in the immediate vicinity of Zadar, places such as Bibinje, Sukošan, and Preko. In addition to this, the idea of Slavo-Dalmatism experienced a definite defeat among the Croats of the Zadar region. The introduction of the Language decree at the beginning of 1912 which established Croatian as the language of internal administration incurred great resistance from the Italian side. The Balkan wars raised the self-consciousness of Croats and Serbs who thereafter reacted more vehemently to Italian provocations. From September 1913 on, violent clashes became an everyday occurrence throughout Dalmatia. The cooperation of Serbs and Croats in Zadar, alongside the politics of the “new course” was exceptionally poor since the Serb citizens cooperated with the Italian citizenry. Only during the Balkan Wars were closer ties forged between the Serbs and Croats of Zadar. The Croatian Party was at the head of the institutions of the autonomous Dalmatian administration. It was the leading party in the Dalmatian Parliament and would come to espouse the Yugoslav idea after the Balkan Wars.
Zadar; Party of Right; Italian Party; Croatian Party; Bureaucracy; Language Decree; Italo-Croatian Conflict
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