Milan Stojadinović

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Milan Stojadinović
Aj 10 03 01 stojadinovic s.jpg
16th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
In office
24 June 1935 – 5 February 1939
Monarch Peter II
Prince Paul (Regent)
Preceded by Bogoljub Jevtić
Succeeded by Dragiša Cvetković
Personal details
Born (1888-08-04)4 August 1888
Čačak, Kingdom of Serbia
Died 26 October 1961(1961-10-26) (aged 73)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Citizenship Yugoslav
Political party Serbian Radical Party
Religion Serbian Orthodox Christianity

Milan Stojadinović (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Стојадиновић; 4 August 1888 – 26 October 1961) was a Serbian and Yugoslav political figure and a noted economist. From 1935 until 1939 he served as Prime Minister of Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Early life[edit]

Milan Stojadinović was born on 4 August 1888 in the Serbian town of Čačak. His father, Mihailo, was a municipal judge who relocated to Belgrade in 1904. It was here that the young Stojadinović finished his secondary education and became a sympathizer of the Serbian Social Democratic Party (Serbian: Srpska socijaldemokratska partija, SSDP). He came to believe that the liberation of Serbian territory from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires was more important than bridging the gap between the upper and lower classes and followed in his father's footsteps by joining the People's Radical Party (Serbian: Narodna radikalna stranka, NRS) of Nikola Pašić.[1]

In the summer of 1906, Stojadinović was sent to Austria to learn German as a reward for successfully completing secondary school. While there, he fell under the influence of South Slavic youth movements and became a supporter of Yugoslav unity. He later returned to Serbia and began a degree at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law, specializing in economics and finance. He spent three years studying abroad, staying in Munich and Potsdam during the 1910–11 school year, Paris between 1911 and 1912, and London between 1912 and 1913.[1] Stojadinović's stay in Germany had a profound effect on his economic views and led him to write a doctoral dissertation on the country's budget. He was greatly influenced by the German historical school of economics, which argued that economic policies should be developed according to the specific economic and cultural conditions prevalent in a society rather than being based on a universal model.[2]

Economist[edit]

Stojadinović's competence as an economist became evident during the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and during World War I, when he began working in the Serbian Ministry of Finance. Following the Serbian Army's retreat through Albania during the winter of 1915, he withdrew with the Serbian government-in-exile to the Greek island of Corfu. He stayed there between 1916 and 1918 and distinguished himself as a financial expert by helping to stabilize the Serbian dinar.[2]

Stojadinović met his future wife Augusta—a woman of mixed Greek-German heritage—during his stay in Corfu. The two settled in Belgrade following the war. Stojadinović was appointed assistant manager of a local branch of the English Commercial Bank in 1919, but resigned as director-general of the State Accounts Board of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes because of disagreements with the government of Prime Minister Ljubomir Davidović and his Democratic Party. He lectured economics at the University of Belgrade from 1920 to 1921, but quickly gave up on academia.[2]

Political career[edit]

Stojadinović became the Minister of Finance in 1922, aged only 34. He began writing for the Belgrade daily Politika and the English-language weekly The Economist. Following the proclamation of a royal dictatorship by King Alexander I, he sided with a faction of the NRS which stood opposed to the monarch being given dictatorial powers.[2] Despite being suspected of being an anti-monarchist by Yugoslav authorities, he was once again appointed to the position of Finance Minister in the government of Bogoljub Jevtić, who became Prime Minister following Alexander's assassination in Marseille in October 1934. By this point, Stojadinović was the vice-president of the Belgrade Stock Exchange, chairman of a river navigation company, the director of a British-owned broadcasting station and a British-owned shipbuilding company.[3]

In 1935 he founded a new party, the Serbian Radical Party, which with some other parties formed coalition Jugoslovenska Radikalna Zajednica (Yugoslav Radical Union, JRZ) and won the elections. On June 24, 1935, he was elected Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He survived a failed assassination attempt by the Macedonian Damjan Arnautović in 1935.[4]

Stojadinović recognized the military threats from Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and surrounding countries as imminent. He viewed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia's future only as sustainable if a neutral status akin to that of Switzerland could be established. His foreign policies pushed consistently towards this goal. Examples are the non-aggression treaty with Italy and Yugoslavia's extension of its treaty of friendship with France. Also, the attempted Concordat with the Holy See, which however caused severe protests from the Serb Orthodox Church in 1937, and was thus never ratified.

In late 1938 he was re-elected, albeit with a smaller margin than expected, failed in pacifying the Croats, raised a military-like legion of his own followers ('Green Shirts'), and did not formulate any clear political programme, providing the regent Paul with a welcomed pretext upon which to replace Stojadinović on February 5, 1939, with Dragiša Cvetković.

Following his replacement, the Prince Regent went further by detaining Stojadinović without proper cause until he had managed, with the help of his strong personal ties to King George VI of the United Kingdom (who had been the Prince Regent's best man in 1923) to enlist the support of the United Kingdom to have Stojadinović sent into exile to British controlled Mauritius, where he was kept during World War II.

Emigration[edit]

In 1946 Stojadinović went to Rio de Janeiro, and then to Buenos Aires, where he was reunited with his wife and two daughters. Stojadinović spent the rest of his life as presidential advisor on economic and financial affairs to governments in Argentina and founded the financial newspaper El Economista. In 1954, Stojadinović met with Ante Pavelić, the former Poglavnik of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) who also lived in Buenos Aires, and agreed to cooperate with him on the creation of two independent and enlarged Croatian and Serbian states. He died in 1961.[5][6] Stojadinović's memoirs, titled Nor War, Nor Pact (Serbian: Ni rat, ni pakt), were posthumously published in Buenos Aires in 1963 and were re-printed in Rijeka in 1970.[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Djokić 2011, p. 157.
  2. ^ a b c d Djokić 2011, p. 158.
  3. ^ Djokić 2011, pp. 158–159.
  4. ^ Ćano nudi Skadar
  5. ^ Djokić 2011, pp. 166.
  6. ^ Goñi 2003, pp. 125–127.
  7. ^ Singleton 1985, p. 292.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bogoljub Jevtić
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
1935–1939
Succeeded by
Dragiša Cvetković