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Vladko Maček and Croatian History: An Introduction


Vladko Maček (1871–1964) became the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after the assassination of Stjepan Radić (1871–1928). In this capacity, he played a pivotal role in Croatian and Yugoslav politics during the critical years 1928–41, when the clouds of war were gathering over Europe, and during the first phase of World War Two. Today he is best remembered for having negotiated the Cvetković-Maček Sporazum (agreement) in August 1939; the Sporazum created a so-called banovina (province) of Croatia with considerable autonomy, and was intended to contribute to the calming of Serb–Croat frictions in royal Yugoslavia. The Banovina comprised 26.6 per cent of the territory of Yugoslavia and had some 4.4 million inhabitants, 28.6 per cent of the total population of the kingdom.1 However, it lasted only until April 1941, when an Axis invasion resulted in the occupation and partition of Yugoslavia.

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1 Mønnesland, Svein, Før Jugoslavia og etter, 5thedn (Oslo: Sypress Forlag, 2006), 179.

2 Maček, Vladko, In the struggle for freedom, trans. Elizabeth, and Stjepan, Gazi (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1957).

3 Boban, Ljubo, Maček i politika Hrvatske Seljačke Stranke 1928–1941, 2 vols. (Zagreb: Liber, 1974).

4 Jareb, Jere, Pola stoljeća hrvatske politike. Povodom Mačekove autobiografije (Zagreb: Institut za suvremenu povijest, 1995).

5 Perić, Ivo, Vladko Maček – Politički portret (Zagreb: Golden Marketing Tehnička knjiga, 2003).

6 Matković, Hrvoje, Povijest Hrvatske Seljačke Stranke (Zagreb: P.I.P. Pavičić, 1999).

7 Quoted in Ramet, Sabrina P., The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918–2005 (Bloomington, IN, and Washington, DC: Indiana University Press and The Wilson Center Press, 2006), 188.

8 Details in Sadkovich, James J., Italian Support for Croatian Separatism, 1927–1937 (New York: Garland, 1987).

9 Quoted in Šaćir Filandra, Bošnjačka politika u XX. stoljeću (Sarajevo: Sejtarija, 1998), 107.

10 Regarding the Spanish anarchists, see, for example, Robert Alexander, The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, 2 vols. (London: Janus Publishing, 1999). See also Ernest Hemingway, The Fifth Column, and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War (New York: Scribner, 1969). The first edition of The Fifth Column was published by Scribner in 1938, in an edition entitled The Fifth Column, and the First Forty-Nine Stories.

11 For details see Ferdo Čulinović, Jugoslavija izmedju dva rata (Zagreb: Historijski Institut Jugoslavenske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti u Zagrebu, 1961), II, 130–2.

12 As I argue in my Three Yugoslavias, chs. 1–3, 20.

1 Sabrina P. Ramet is Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway, and a Senior Associate of the Centre for the Study of Civil War at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). She is the author of eleven scholarly books including Whose Democracy? Nationalism, Religion, and the Doctrine of Collective Rights in Post-1989 Eastern Europe (1997) and The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918–2005 (2006).

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Contemporary European History
  • ISSN: 0960-7773
  • EISSN: 1469-2171
  • URL: /core/journals/contemporary-european-history
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