Croatian Irredentism

Greater Croatia (Velika Hrvatska)

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The concept of a Greater Croatia has its origins in the Illyrian movement, which sought to create a pan-south slavic state within the borders of the Habsburg Empire. The movement was created as a response to the Magyarization of the Croatia, located within the borders of the Hungarian part of the Kingdom. Many people wanted to create a Croatian autonomous entity within the Habsburg Empire, including Dalmatia, then under Austrian control.

The Nationalist Party of Rights (1861) opposed the unification between Croatia and Serbia, preferring instead an Independent Croatia. As this Ideology gained popularity, the psyche of the Croatian would gradually change.

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A’ight, you know the drill. Territories claimed by Croatian Irredentists are marked in shades of Red.

Tensions first started to rise in the 1930, as a response, the Yugoslavian Government created in the Cvetkovic–Macek Agreement, an unified Banovina (Yugoslavian province) of Croatia, including Dalmatia, Slavonia and small parts of the territory of Bosnia (According to the late Ottoman-era boundaries).

This agreement didn’t avoid the tragedy, however. Meanwhile in Italy, since 1927, the Ustasha (Fascist party created in 1921) and the Italian fascist government were already discussing the future boundaries of a future fascist Croat state. Mussolini would get a few enclaves in the dalmatian coast, including most of the islands, while Croatia would annex the entire Bosnia, as well as the Northern part of serbia (Syrmia).

These agreements came into reality after the Invasion of Yugoslavia. The new Croatian state would face opposition from Cetniks and Communists from all ethnicites. After the fall of Fascist Italy, Ustasha got the Italian areas of Dalmatia back, as the Mussolini-ruled breakaway republican state in the north had as its only concern its survival.

These small gains would be insignificants compared to the outbreak of the war. The Ustasha party was extinguished from the face of the earth as Yugoslavia was now a communist state. The new croatian republic withing Yugoslavia did not have bosnia, but it got Istria, a peninsula once under italian control.

In the 1990’s the Yugoslav wars broke out as a response to the declarations of independence issued by Slovenia, Macedonia (FYROM), Croatian and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the two latter being attacked by Serbian forces under Miloshevic. Despite teaming up with the Bosniaks, Croatia still wanted to annex some parts of this Bosnian cake. A partition of Bosnia was secured under the Karadjordjevo Agreement (1991) and the Graz Agreement (1992) by both Slobodan Miloshevic and Franjo Tudman. That led to a Croat-Bosnian war (Ended in 1994 with the Washington Agreement).

After Tudman’s death, his succesor, Stjepan Mesic, revealed thousands of documents and tabes about Tudman’s plans to expand Croatia’s borders at the expanse of Bosnia. Tudman once told an official: Let’s make a deal with the Serbs. Neither history nor emotion in the Balkans will permit multinationalism. We have to give up on the illusion of the last eight years… Dayton isn’t working. Nobody- except diplomats and petty officials – believes in a sovereign Bosnia and the Dayton accords.

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Bulgarian Irredentism

Greater Bulgaria

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The idea of a Bulgarian state including most of Macedonia, Thrace and Moesia was suggested under the Treaty of san Stefano, signed after the end of the Russian-Ottoman war of 1878. A russophile Bulgarian state would act as an Anchor for Russian influence on the region.

Russian efforts to exert influence on the area didn’t go unnoticed, though. All the bulgarian achievements were reversed by the following Treaty of Berlin, on which Bulgaria lost a large amount of its territory and lost its sovereignty, being reduced to a mere ‘principality’ status.

After the First balkan war, Bulgaria, along with the Balkan league (Greece, Serbia and Montenegro) fought against the Ottoman empire. Bulgaria gained control over the eastern part of Macedonia, and Thrace. However, the Bulgarian government was not satisfied with these gains, because it also wanted to annex the remaining part of Macedonia under Serbian control and the city of Thessaloniki (Solun), recently liberated by Greece. Bulgaria, despte having the strongest army on the Balkans (350.000 of the 700.000 troops were Bulgarian, and also the cuntry was nicknamed “The Prussia of the Balkans”), couldn’t withstand an attack from all sides, especially after the declaration of war issued by the Ottomans. Bulgaria lost control over Macedonia and East Thrace.

A new attempt to expand its territory came in WW1. Bulgaria, on the side of the central powers, fought against Greece, Serbia and Romania. They planned to finally conquer the lost territoriy of Macedonia, Dobruja, along with a large chunk of Serbian territory. Bulgaria, fighting on the wrong side, lost the war and all the occupied territories, plus West Thrace (Bulgaria couldn’t access the Aegean sea and the Mediterranean without passing through Turkish-dominated Bosphorous) and Southern Dobruja.

Another opportunity to expand its territory came with WW2. Starting with the treaty of Craiova, where bulgaria recovered Southern Dobruja and culminated with the Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece, where Bulgarian soldiers once again Occupied Thrace, Macedonia and parts of Serbia. With the Invasion by the Soviet union in 1944, Bulgaria lost the war and all the occupied lands. The end of the war in 1945 and the Paris peace Conference marked the last effort by Bulgaria to conquer those lands. Southern Dobruja was kept, though.

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Territories usually claimed by the Bulgarian Irredentists over the course of the last century are marked in shades of red. Bulgarian gains in WW1 also included the eastern half of Serbia

Mah first post :D

Hello ladies and gentlemen. This is the first post of my blog. I’ll start with a serieas featuring Irredentist forces around europe. I decided to start with the most polemic region: the Balkans (From a neutral point of view).

Let’s start with Serbian Irredentism (Velika Srbija)

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The desire of an expanded Serbian nation that would incorporate all the regions populated by serbs and/or historically ruled by Serbs had originated itself right after its independence from the Turkish-ruled Ottoman empire and start gaining more inportance after the signing of a document called The Natchertanije.

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Iredentist maps aren’t usually exact, so the likely of having a certain territory under the yoke of an enlarged serbia is described in the shades of red. Lighter = Less likely

From its foundation until the First world war, Serbia kept expanding south into ottoman-dominated lands, and after the victory in the First World War and the and the unification between Serbia and the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Belgrade (Serbian capital) earned a large chunk of the balkans under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Until the Second world war, everything was doing just great.

In WW2, however, things started to change. After a failed attempt to get into the Axis and the Invasion of Yugoslavia, Serbia lost control of a large amount of said territory. A fascist-ruled Croatia swallowed up Western Vojvodina, Bosnia, Dalmatia and Slavonia; Italian-ruled Albania annexed Kosovo, West Macedonia (Vardar) and Montenegro (Crna Gora) and Bulgaria annexed East Macedonia. Slovenia was split between the three Axis countries. The country [Serbia], occupied by Germans, held Banat (The remaining part of Vojvodina) as an Autonomous province, under loose control. Had the Germans won the war, this small Autonomous region could be easily annexed by Hungary or Romania, and we would have a Serbian State not larger than how it was after it gained its principality in 1817.

WW2 was won by the Allies, and soon Yugoslavia would find herself with all the territory recovered, plus the addition of Istria, a region previously part of Italy. Josip Boz Tito, the first communist dictator, had a wish to expand the Territory into bulgaria, Thrace, Macedonia (Greece) and Even the austrian province of Carinthia, this dream was never fulfilled, but the history kept going on.

Although Yugoslavia recovered its previous territory, the wounds caused by nationalism never healed, and the possibility of a break up always loomed, especially after Tito’s death, in 1980. Where Belgrade started looking at yugoslavia not as an Union of States, but instead an enlarged Serbia (The Serbian state within yugoslavija annexed the autonomous provinces of Kosovo-Metohija and Vojvodina). The republics started to declare independence in the 90’s, but Serbia still wished to keep its enlarged territory, resorting to war.

Skipping the conflict part, where NATO intervened and Serbia pretty much lost, Belgrade ended up with only Vojvodina, Montenegro, and an UN-occupied Kosovo. In 2002, its name was changed to Serbia and Montenegro. Yugoslavia died, and along with it, a dream of uniting all these south slavic peoples into a single state. In 2008, Kosovo declared it’s independence (although not recognized by many countries, including Russia and Serbia itself), shrinking Serbian territory even further.

Today, the hope of an enlarged Serbia still lives on the hearts of almost all Serbs, a proud and patriotic people. But it’s seen by many (Both Serbs and foreigners) as a long-term goal, or an Impossible dream.