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Original scientific paper

Bogdan Krizman

Fulltext: croatian, pdf (3 MB) pages 33-96 downloads: 708* cite
APA 6th Edition
Krizman, B. (1975). Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941). Časopis za suvremenu povijest, 7 (1), 33-96. Retrieved from
MLA 8th Edition
Krizman, Bogdan. "Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941)." Časopis za suvremenu povijest, vol. 7, no. 1, 1975, pp. 33-96. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Krizman, Bogdan. "Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941)." Časopis za suvremenu povijest 7, no. 1 (1975): 33-96.
Krizman, B. (1975). 'Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941)', Časopis za suvremenu povijest, 7(1), pp. 33-96. Available at: (Accessed 22 September 2021)
Krizman B. Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941). Časopis za suvremenu povijest [Internet]. 1975 [cited 2021 September 22];7(1):33-96. Available from:
B. Krizman, "Italija u politici kralja Aleksandra i kneza Pavla (1918-1941)", Časopis za suvremenu povijest, vol.7, no. 1, pp. 33-96, 1975. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22 September 2021]

In the first section the author points out the situation of the Yugoslav state immediately after the end of World War I in 1918 — a situation more than unsatisfactory in both foreign and domestic affairs. As a result, the leaders implemented a policy of relaxing tensions and avoiding any eventual conflict — particularly with Italy. The Regent Alexander, who later was the King, advocated this policy of caution, malleability, and extreme moderation towards Italy. It was Alexander who discreetly pushed through the "agreement" with Italy and later, after conclusion of the Treaty of Rapallo (1920), he further attempted to win Italian favor with a policy of relaxation and thereby to create a basis for cooperation. He strove to continue this policy because changes had taken place in Italy in the autumn of 1922 and the Duce, Benito Mussolini had taken power.
Working from the assumption that cooperation with Italy was possible and that relaxation would convince her of this, which would in turn lead to friendship, Alexander sought a modus vivendi with the "new, young" Italy. This policy coincided with Alexander's own political inclinations, for he was unfavorable to neither fascism as an ideology and operation of the far right, nor to the Duce himself. This policy was instrumented through the foreign minister M. Ninčić, and later, for a longer period of time, by V. Marinković. Under Marinković a treaty of friendship and cooperation was signed in Rome in 1924. Somewhat later, in 1925, the Nettun Conventions were concluded; although in the face of heavy opposition, Marinković was not able to obtain ratification until 1928. The regime in Belgrade took all possible measures for reciprocal extension of the 1924 Italian-Yugoslav treaty, but Mussolini adamantly refused. Even this setback failed to deter Alexander in his search for a way to Mussolini, and he initiated two parallel efforts on the diplomatic front with the same strategic goal. One was headed by Marinković, who engaged in a dialogue with the Italian foreign minister D. Grandi, and the other by the King himself; the latter in such great secrecy that the foreign minister himself was kept in the dark. Neither Marinković's attempts with Grandi nor the King's with the Italian representative, G. M. Cappi, were able to persuade Mussolini to open a new chapter in Yugoslav-Italian relations. Negotiations foundered on the question of Albania, as Italy was adamant in demanding that Yugoslavia recognize the "predominance" of Italian interests in Albania - a move Alexander was unwilling to make. When this became evident in the course of negotiations, Mussolini instrumented a radical turnabout in policy, and, after an unsuccessful uprising (the so-called "Velebit Uprising") and the Oreb assassination attempt in Zagreb, he succeeded in removing King Alexander from the political scene with the help of the Ustaše organization in Marseille, October 9, 1934.
In the second section the author presents the policies of Prince Paul towards Italy and Mussolini. Prince Paul, as the regent and undoubted architect of Yugoslav domestic and foreign policy after 1934, benefitted from the example of his royal predecessor and was less eager to look to Mussolini for a joint platform of future cooperation. Where Alexander had been caught between France and Italy, Prince Paul's position was in essence quite different. On the one hand lay Adolf Hitler's Germany, which required increasing attention, and on the other was Great Britain, with whom lay most of the Prince's sympathies in any event. That was the basis for Prince Paul's development of the following concept in foreign policy: a continual increase in economic ties with Germany as a potential protector from neighboring Italy's excessive (and always dangerous) appetite, an easing of ties with France accompanied by a discreet reliance on Great Britain, a persistant refusal to recognize the Soviet Union, and a gradual improvement of relations with fascist Italy. This meant virtual inclusion of Yugoslavia in the neutralist camp! Conclusion of the "Belgrade Agreements" by Ciano and Stojadinović in 1937 was facilitated by the Prince's greater desire to see the Ustaše organization liquidated than to increase tension over the "predominance" of Italian interests in Albania. Later developments showed the Prince's calculations to have been productive in several instances. The Italian attack on Greece in 1940 introduced new elements into the general military situation and Yugoslavia's situation in particular. Hitler could not permit his Axis partner to be defeated, and he therefore resolved to "straighten out" Yugoslavia before embarking on "Operation Marita" against Greece and the British Expeditionary Force in the spring of 1941, as a prelude to the enormous dimensions of his "Operation Barbarossa" against the Soviet Union. Faced with demands that Yugoslavia unhesitatingly join the Tripartite Pact, the Prince finally gave in, thereby receiving from Berlin significant concessions which were actually in direct contradiction to the Tripartite Pact treaty. Yugoslavia's joining the Tripartite Pact, however, and her formal attachment to the Axis were so unpopular with the Yugoslav masses, that this anti-fascist mood of the masses served as a butress to the forces which engineered the coup d’état on March 27, 1941, bringing down the Regency and the government of Dragiša Cvetković and forcing Prince Paul into exile.

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