#011 – The Croatian Question in the Late Habsburg Empire and the Road to a Yugoslav State

with Fernando Zamola


ferandno zamola podcast nationalism croatian question the southeast passage

(Victoria Matteucci, “Zastave”, 2012)


A discussion on nationalism, loyalties in flux and state formation. The Croatian question was one of the most debated issues in the process of reorganization and devolution of state power in the Habsburg Monarchy in the late 19th and early 20th century. We approach it by analyzing the discussions, projects and ideologies of politicians based in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia, which were embedded in a larger “Southern Slavs question”  as well as in the political structures of the Kingdom of Hungary, to which these lands belonged, and into the fate of the Empire in general. Thus, the narrative offers an example of how to reframe nation building and state formation through a lens that downplays determinism and continuities. Instead, the eventual inclusion of Croatia and Slavonia into the newborn Yugoslav Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was the result of a rapidly changing international order and ruptures in the discourse of state legitimacy.

ferandno zamola podcast nationalism croatian question the southeast passage

Fernando Zamola is a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Chair of South-East European History at the Humboldt University in Berlin. His research interests include the history of Austria-Hungary, nationalism and international relations, and state creation as a problem of international history. He enjoys skiing, walking in the mountains, cooking and spending time with his family and friends. Fernando is the author of The Politics of Croatia-Slavonia 1903-1918. Nationalism, State Allegiance and the Changing International Order.

To cite this episode:Zamola, Fernando; Guidi, Andreas (2016): The Croatian Question in the late Habsburg Empire and the road to a Yugoslav state, The Southeast Passage #011, 01.12.2016, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/zamola-croatian-question-habsburg-empire-yugoslav-state


Further reading:

Banac, Ivo (1984): The national question in Yugoslavia. Origins, history, politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Banac, Ivo (1992): “Emperor Karl has become a Comitadji”: the Croatian Disturbances of Autumm 1918. In Slavonic and East European Review 70 (2), pp. 284–305.

Biondich, Mark (2000): Stjepan Radić, the Croat Peasant Party, and the politics of mass mobilization, 1904-1928. Toronto, Buffalo: University of Toronto Press.

Cornwall, Mark (Ed.) (2002): The last years of Austria-Hungary. A multi-national experiment in early twentieth-century Europe. Rev. and expanded. Exeter: Univ. of Exeter Press (Exeter studies in history).

Djokić, Dejan (2007): Elusive compromise : a history of interwar Yugoslavia. New York: Columbia University Press.

Judson, Pieter M. (2016): The Habsburg empire. A new history. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Mayall, James (1990): Nationalism and international society. Cambridge [England], New York: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge studies in international relations, 10).

Özkırımlı, Umut (2010): Theories of nationalism. A critical introduction. 2nd ed. Basingstoke, Hampshire [England], New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Promitzer, Christian (2003): The South Slavs in the Austrian Imagination. Serbs and Slovenes in the Changing View from German Nationalism to National Socialism. In Nancy M. Wingfield (Ed.): Creating the other. Ethnic conflict and nationalism in Habsburg Central Europe. New York: Berghahn Books (Austrian history, culture & society, v. 5), pp. 183–215.


Map of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia as a part of the Habsburg Empire, 1915


Two issues of“Novosti”, printed in Zagreb. Left: “Long live the Croatian King Franz Joseph the First” (18 August 1915). Right: “Long live the Karadjordjevic Dynasty (6 December 1918)