The idea of Yugoslavia was in fact the best opportunity for Serbian nationalists to create the Greater Serbia, which was completed in 1918 according to the 1844 secret programme. Montenegro lost its independence in 1918 after being brutally annexed to Serbia. The independence of Montenegro was regained in 1945 within the Tito's Yugoslavia.
The whole property of the Austro-Hungarian state and booty was confiscated by the Serbian authorities. Immediately after 1918 all the leading positions in the army were seized by Serbian officers, who treated Croatia as a hostile territory in the common state (it was publicly declared in 1919!). On the other hand, it was presented to Europe as if the Croats had entered willingly the union with Serbia.
The Serbian legislature, juridical and military 19th century law was simply implemented into the new state without changes and without consultations with the Croats. It resulted in unbearable terror and persecutions of Croatian peasants and intellectuals. Croatian teachers were retired and persecuted.
Equally difficult was the economic terror of the Belgrade government. The Croats were not proportionally represented in the government and diplomatic corps. The old currencies - Serbian dinars and Croatian (Austrian) crowns, which in 1918 had the same value, were in 1919 changed for the new dinar in the following ratio: 1 dinar = 4 crowns!
On the other hand,
* taxes were lower in Serbia,
* the major part of foreign loans was spent in Serbia,
* high administrative posts were filled exclusively with the Serbs (civil servants in Croatia were appointed by the central administration in Belgrade).
One of the most outstanding and most popular personalities in the Croatian political history was Stjepan Radic (1871-1928), the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party, assassinated in the Yugoslav parliament in Belgrade (capital of present Serbia) in 1928 together with his colleagues. The assassination was organized at the Royal court in Belgrade. Radic strived to renew the Croatian sovereignity and the economic and cultural emancipation of Croatia. He wanted the state of the Southern Slavs to be reorganized on confederative basis, without Serbian hegemony.
The culmination of the Serbian police terror took place during the personal dictatorship of king Aleksandar Karadzordevic since 1929. One of the historical documents from that period, showing `methods' of the Serbian police and administration, is a bill on 13 dinars and 15 paras charged to a Croatian family in 1934 for five bullets fired at the father, who was sentenced to death. The families were persuaded even to pay the `expenses' of the execution within eight days, under the threat of confiscation of their property. Croatian archbishop Alojzije Stepinac reported about this event to the French diplomat Ernest Pezet in 1935.
Belgrade made use of the world economic crises in 1929 to destroy the Croatian banking system, which had been the strongest in Yugoslavia.
Out of 165 active army generals of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929 - 1941) only 2 were the Croats, and - 161 Serbs.
All this led to the formation of the Croatian separatist group called Ustasha, which gathered around Ante Pavelic (1889-1959). It had been supported by the fascist Italy.
It should be noted that, though NDH had its fascist ustasha order introduced from Italy and Germany, never in the history there was any fascist (or ustasha) party in Croatia. This is a clear indication of the negative attitude of great majority of the Croats towards Fascism. On the other hand, in 1941 the Serbian Fascist Party has been founded in Belgrade by Dimitrije Ljotic, the principal Fascist ideologist of Serbia, Nedic's second in command. The Serbian government under General Milan Nedic, a close collaborator of the Nazi officials, proclaimed Belgrade to be the first "Judenfrei" city in Europe. Belgrade was the only European capital that had concentration camps exclusively for Jews (Sajmiste and Banjica).
The last futile attempt of fundamental serbian government to create a Greater Serbia started in the region of Knin, a small Croatian town, which used to be the residence of Croatian kings (in the 11th century), inhabited mostly by the Serbs of the Valachian origin, was carefully planned immediately after Tito's death in 1980 and coordinated from Belgrade, disguised as pretended care for the `threatened' Serbs in Croatia. In the beginning it was a very consistent, simultaneous activity of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Yugoslav diplomacy, Belgrade propaganda machinery and armed extremists supported by the Yugoslav army.
A sufficient indication of the aims of the Serbian aggression is a systematic destruction of Croatian cultural monuments, churches, libraries, museums etc. Just as an illustration, we provide the following figures (Bosnia-Herzegovina not included):
* over 400 destroyed or severely damaged Croatian Catholic churches,
* 210 destroyed or damaged libraries (from school libraries to such famous libraries as those in Dubrovnik),
* 22 killed press agents, who were trying to reveal the truth about the aggression against Croatia.
Maybe it will be difficult for the reader to hear about a morbid song of Serbian extremists, revealing in full extent the character of the aggression against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It starts like this: "Milosevic, bring us salad, we shall have meat, we'll butcher the Croats". Equally morbid is their flag: it is black, with a skull and cross-bones. All this was shown on TV by CNN and BBC (unfortunately without the English translation) in November 1991, when Serbian troops entered Vukovar, completely destroyed after three months of uninterrupted shelling and bombing. Two hundred and sixty Croats have been transported by the Serbs from the Vukovar hospital (N.B.: in the presence of the international Red Cross representatives) to the nearby location of Ovcara, killed there and dumped in a massive grave, as reported by three survivors.
The Yugoslav army, which had been ranked as the third in Europe according to its military potential (after France and Great Britain; supplied with classical weapons better than the Bundeswehr of the united Germany), soon became the greatest and most aggressive formation. On the other hand, Croatian military resources of Territorial defense were confiscated in a secret operation just before the democratic changes in Croatia in 1990, so that Croatia was left practically without means to defend itself. Moreover, the international community imposed embargo on import of arms to Croatia (for the Serbs the embargo on import of arms had no importance).