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Waidmannsdorf’s Report on the Dubrovnik District from the Year 1823

Stjepan Ćosić


In the broader context of the 1908 Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the author analyzes the attitudes of the leading Croatian political parties - the Croat-Serb Coalition (Hrvatsko-srpska koalicija), the Party of Rights (Stranka prava), and Serbian groups that supported the official Serbian policy - on that matter. In addition to describing Dubrovnik’s political milieu at the dawn of the twentieth century, the author highlights some profoundly opposing views concerned with the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina which had been proclaimed in the bulletins Crvena Hrvatska (CH), Prava Crvena Hrvatska (PCH), and Dubrovnik by the Croatian Party (Hrvatska stranka) (later to become a coalition), Dubrovnik’s Radical Right (Čisti pravaši), and the Serbian Party. While PCH openly welcomed the idea of annexation, CH, in spite of obvious reservations, truly approved of it. Contrary to the two former bulletins, Dubrovnik protested vehemently against Bosnia’s annexation. PCH viewed annexation as a step towards the resolution of the Croatian issue in an integral sense, whereas CH considered it a step toward the integration of the South Slavic peoples in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Dubrovnik’s views, however, differed greatly from the two other political journals because it saw the annexation as a threat to the existence of the Serb nation and the independent position of Serbia. Therefore, as far as this issue was concerned, PCH generally endorsed exclusive Croatism; Dubrovnik, Greater- Serbian policy; and CH, South Slav unity. These considerable discrepancies on the issue of Bosnian annexation result from the diametrically opposed ideological positions of Dubrovnik’s three political currents. The independent organization of the Croatian Party, led by Dr Pero Čingrija, who represented Dubrovnik’s upper middle class, saw the resolution of the Croat issue in Yugoslavism - that is, in the unification of the South Slavic nations of the Empire. Dubrovnik’s Party of Rights, led by Don Ante Liepopili and representing part of the catholic clergy, the tradesmen, and the artisans of Dubrovnik, approached the Croat issue exclusively within a Croatian framework and dynastic support. The Serbian current, led by the Serbian-Catholics under Dr. Antun Pugliesi, Belgrade’s representative in Dubrovnik, advocated the Greater-Serbian idea.

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