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Yugoslavija / Југославија ( Serbo-Croatian )
Jugoslavija ( Slovenian )
Југославија ( Macedonian )
Three Yugoslav flags 1918 to 2003.png Three Yugoslav Coats of Arms 1918 to 2003.png
Coat of arms
History of Yugoslavia.svg
The three different Yugoslavia
Languages) Serbo-Croatian , Slovenian , Macedonian , Albanian
Capital Belgrade
 • 1918–1941
 • 1954–1991
 • 1992–2003

247,542 km²
255,804 km²
102,350 km²
 • 1921
 • 1991
 • 2003

currency Yugoslav Dinar (YUD)
Internet TLD .yu
Phone code +38
Time zone UTC +1
National anthem Hej Sloveni
Successor states
SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia Croatia Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbia Montenegro Kosovo North Macedonia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina 
North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia 

Yugoslavia ( Serbo-Croatian Југославија / Jugoslavija, Slovenian Jugoslavija, Macedonian Југославија ; in German: South Slavia ) was a state in Central and Southeastern Europe that existed from 1918 to 2003 , the form and territory of which changed several times in the course of its history.

A distinction must be made between the Kingdom of Yugoslavia , which existed from 1918 to 1945 (“First Yugoslavia”) and the communist or real socialist dictatorship established from 1943/1945 to 1991/1992 under the leadership of the Union of Communists of Yugoslavia of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (“Second Yugoslavia "). During the wars of Yugoslavia , Serbia and Montenegro formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 2003 , followed from 2003 to 2006 by the territorially and legally identical state union of Serbia and Montenegro (“Rest of Yugoslavia”).

There are currently six internationally recognized successor states of Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina , Croatia , Montenegro , North Macedonia , Serbia and Slovenia . The international legal status of Kosovo , however, is disputed.

State names

The official names from the founding on October 29, 1918 until the dissolution of Yugoslavia on February 4, 2003 were:

  • Serbo-Croatian Држава Словенаца, Хрвата и Срба / Država Slovenaca, Hrvata i Srba (short: Država SHS ), Slovenian Država Slovencev, Hrvatov in Srbov , ( State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs ) - proclaimed in Zagreb on October 29, 1918
  • Kraljevstvo Srba Hrvata i Slovenaca ( Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes ) - proclaimed by King Petar Karađorđević on December 1, 1918
  • Kraljevina Srba Hrvata i Slovenaca (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) - first renaming due to the Vidovdan constitution of June 28, 1921
  • Kraljevina Jugoslavija ( Kingdom of Yugoslavia ) - after the coup from January 6, 1929 to April 17, 1941
  • Demokratska Federativna Jugoslavija (Democratic Federal Yugoslavia) - November 29, 1943 to the end of 1945
  • Federativna Narodna Republika Jugoslavija (Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia) - January 31, 1946 (new constitution) to 1963
  • Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija ( Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ) - 1963-1992
  • Savezna Republika Jugoslavija ( Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ) - April 27, 1992 to February 4, 2003 (often referred to as the rest of Yugoslavia; as the new state, the FRY consisted of the former socialist republics of Serbia and Montenegro)

Constitutional development

Royal Yugoslav currency ( dinar ) in 1929, printed exclusively in Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic

While there was legal continuity between the first (Kingdom 1918–1941) and the second Yugoslavian state (Federal People's Republic 1945–1963, Socialist Federal Republic 1963–1992), the “third” Yugoslavia founded in 1992 ( Federal Republic or confederation of states from Serbia and Montenegro), according to the prevailing legal opinion of the Badinter Commission and the UN Assembly, only one of the five successor states of the second Yugoslavia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia fell apart accordingly in the following sovereign republics, most of which then its state independence declared and recognized by and by international: Slovenia , Croatia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and Macedonia (1993, the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [ FYROM ] in the United Nations added).

On February 4, 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was replaced by the territorially and from an international legal point of view identical State Community of Serbia and Montenegro , as this is not a case of state succession. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, whose legal successor was Serbia, dissolved in 2006 with the departure of Montenegro, so that today all former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are independent states.


View of the Triglav , the highest mountain in Yugoslavia (today Slovenia) at 2864 m

Expansion and Limits

In the period from 1945 to 1992, Yugoslavia had an area of ​​255,804 km². It consisted of the six republics of Slovenia , Croatia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Serbia , Montenegro , Macedonia and the two autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo within Serbia.

Yugoslavia bordered Italy , Austria , Hungary , Romania , Bulgaria , Greece and Albania and had a long coast on the Adriatic Sea with numerous islands.


The northeast of the country was relatively flat, the rest of the country was more mountainous. The highest mountain was the Triglav (2864 m, in the Julian Alps near Jesenice ), followed by the Golem Korab (2753 m, in the Korab Mountains , on the border with Albania west of Gostivar ) and the Titov Vrv (2747 m, in the Šar Planina near Tetovo ).

There were three large lakes on the border with Albania: Lake Skadar , Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa . The Danube flowed through northeast Yugoslavia (including the cities of Novi Sad and Belgrade ) and formed part of the border with Romania, the breakthrough valley there is known as the Iron Gate (Serbo-Croatian: Đerdap). Important tributaries of the Danube in Yugoslavia were the Drava , the Sava and the Morava .

Population and big cities

Population development

Yugoslavia had around 23.1 million inhabitants in 1991.

In 1991 there were 19 major cities . The five largest cities were in alphabetical order:

The largest port cities were Rijeka , Split , Ploče , Bar and Koper .


Serbien und Montenegro Serbien und Montenegro Sozialistische Föderative Republik Jugoslawien Sozialistische Föderative Republik Jugoslawien Sozialistische Föderative Republik Jugoslawien Königreich Jugoslawien Zweiter Weltkrieg Königreich Jugoslawien Königreich Jugoslawien

Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1941)

The destruction of Austria-Hungary and the resulting newly created kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes were decided after the First World War in the Treaty of Trianon of June 4, 1920. The Treaty of Sèvres then only served as a final confirmation, whereby the territorial new acquisitions of Romania and Yugoslavia by Turkey were recognized, to which the USA ultimately also agreed (they had not previously agreed to the Trianon Treaty because of the disadvantage of Romania). The new Yugoslav state emerged from the previously independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro (including the Macedonian territories acquired by Serbia in the Balkan Wars in 1912/13) and parts of Austria-Hungary, mainly Croatia- Slavonia with Dalmatia , the former crown land of Carniola with southern areas of the Crown lands of Carinthia and Styria (today's Slovenia), as well as Bosnia , Herzegovina , parts of the Banat and Batschka .

The Serbian King Peter I (Karađorđević) became head of state . From the beginning, the political situation of the new state was shaped by the worsening conflict between the states striving for autonomy and the Greater Serbian nationalists. The state was characterized by centralism . The idea of ​​autonomy with regard to non-Serbian ethnic groups and other religions remained largely suppressed. The ethnic and denominational or religious tensions persisted and in some cases intensified. The failure of a political compromise ultimately led to the state crisis: King Alexander I suspended the constitution and established the first royal dictatorship in the Balkans . On October 3, 1929, he repealed the constitution and the state was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Kraljevina Jugoslavija) .

In April 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was occupied and dissolved by Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy : While Serbia remained under military occupation as a vassal state , Slovenia was divided between Germany, Italy and the Kingdom of Hungary , and Croatia (including Bosnia and Herzegovina) became a Greater Croatian , de facto fascist vassal state called Independent State of Croatia , while Montenegro as the Independent State of Montenegro and some other southern areas that were converted to the Kingdom of Albania became Italian-occupied vassal states.

In 1942, still under German occupation, the communists had recognized the active and passive right to vote for women.

Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (1945–1963)

The AVNOJ resolutions of November 29, 1943 laid the foundation for a new federation of South Slav peoples under the leadership of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPJ) during the Second World War . The end of the war of Josip Broz Tito's Communist Popular Front elections gained led on 29 November 1945 establishing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Federativna Narodna Republika Jugoslavija) , consisting of the six republics Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. On January 31, 1946, the country received a constitution based on the model of the Soviet Union . The women's suffrage was introduced 1946th

In 1948, Tito distanced himself more and more from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc . In 1950 there was a break between the parties, which lasted until the end of the Stalin era. Tito pursued his own Yugoslav communism, the so-called Titoism . Yugoslavia moved closer to the West in terms of foreign policy and soon cultivated closer economic ties with the capitalist states. Tito became a co-founder of the anti-imperialist movement of the non-aligned states , in which Yugoslavia played a leading role.

On April 7, 1963, the state was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija), or SFRY for short.

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1963–1992)

Flag of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Parliament in Belgrade, the Skupština

In 1974 the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo were declared autonomous provinces within Serbia in a new constitution ( Article 2 ). In fact, the provinces were informally upgraded to republics to which Serbia was only formally subordinate. However, unlike the republics, they were not granted the right to self-determination (including the right to secession ). The SFRY consisted of six republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia) and two autonomous provinces within Serbia (Kosovo, Vojvodina).

After Tito's death on May 4, 1980, the Presidium of the Republic took over the business of government. The eight members consisted of one representative each from the six constituent republics and the two autonomous provinces. However, there were more and more disagreements and the integrative personality of Tito was missing.

Disintegration of Yugoslavia from 1991

The politically disintegrated Yugoslavia (2008)

With the exception of Serbia, referendums on state sovereignty were held in all constituent republics of the SFR Yugoslavia following democratic elections . With very high voter turnouts in each case, but especially in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina boycotted by the Serbian residents entitled to vote, the following were voted for the respective state sovereignty:

Belgrade tried to suppress the aspirations for independence first militarily. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) first intervened in Slovenia in 1991 ( 10-day war ) and then in Croatia ( Croatian war ). When this failed, however, the fighting initially shifted to the areas in Croatia claimed by the Krajina Serbs . In the following, the war shifted more and more to Bosnia-Herzegovina ( Bosnian War ). In the end, however, the three states managed to achieve independence. The struggle for independence in Kosovo ( Kosovo War ) led to NATO interventions in the entire territory of the Republic of Serbia in 1999 , which ultimately resulted in the establishment of a UN administration in the province, given that the area was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Viktor Meier , Southeast Europe correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , wrote in 1996 that Yugoslavia was not an “artificial creation”, “but at the moment when this state structure became unrealistic and unsustainable, it was necessary to understand this ". The international recognition of Slovenia and Croatia at the end of 1991 was an overdue act.

"Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" and "Serbia-Montenegro" (1992-2006)

Former Serbia and Montenegro

The General Assembly of the United Nations decided on September 22, 1992 by majority vote (approval of 127 countries with 26 abstentions and six votes against) that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), consisting of Serbia and Montenegro, would not automatically become the sole legal successor of the SFRY as a member state of the UN but just like the other successor states of the SFRY, it had to apply for membership again. The FRY was therefore no longer allowed to take the seat of the SFRY in the UN General Assembly. Since the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia refused to accept this decision, it de facto lost its seat in the General Assembly; membership of Yugoslavia was suspended from 1992. It was not until 2000 that the FRY, after having reapplied as requested, was re-admitted to the UN and the former Yugoslav UN seat was transferred to it again.

With the adoption of a new constitution in 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia renamed itself “Serbia and Montenegro”. This marked the end of the term "Yugoslavia" as a state name. After a referendum on May 21, 2006, Montenegro also proclaimed its independence on June 3, 2006. On February 17, 2008, the province of Kosovo declared itself independent, although its status under international law is still controversial to this day.

See also




  • Antun Barac: History of the Yugoslav literatures from the beginnings to the present . Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1977, ISBN 3-447-01874-7 .
  • Udo Kultermann: Contemporary Architecture in Eastern Europe . DuMont, Cologne 1985, ISBN 3-7701-1554-6 .
  • Ljiljana Blagojević: Modernism in Serbia. The elusive margins of Belgrade architecture, 1919-1941 . Inst.za književnost i umetnost, Belgrade 2003, ISBN 0-262-02537-X .
  • Wolfgang Thaler, Maroje Mrduljas, Vladimir Kulic: Modernism in Between - Architecture in Socialist Yugoslavia , Jovis, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86859-147-7 .

Web links

Commons : Yugoslavia  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Yugoslavia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

(Yugoslav Constitution)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sven Felix Kellerhoff: Dictatorships: What Tito dared, Ulbricht and Honecker not. In: welt.de . June 7, 2013, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  2. See the official website about the UN member states .
  3. Michael Forster: Nation Building by the International Community. An international law analysis of the United Nations administrative missions in Kosovo and East Timor. 1st edition, Cuvillier, Göttingen 2005, p. 134 f.
  4. ^ Marie-Janine Calic : History of Yugoslavia in the 20th Century, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60645-8 , p. 167
  5. ^ Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A world history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , page 438
  6. Michael Thumann : The way to war , in: Die Zeit , No. 6/1996 of February 2, 1996; quoted from Viktor Meier: How Yugoslavia was gambled away , CH Beck, Munich 1995 (Beck'sche Reihe 1141).
  7. There was nothing between collaborators and resistance fighters , review by Martin Sander
  8. Review by Ljiljana Radonic, University of Vienna