Montenegrin Federalist Party

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The Montenegrin Federalist Party (sometimes known plainly as the Montenegrin Party) (Montenegrin: Црногорска федералистичка странка, Crnogorska federalistička stranka) or Montenegrin Peasants' Federalist Movement (Montenegrin: Crnogorski seljački federalistički pokret/Црногорски сељачки федералистички покрет) was a Montenegrin political party in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) that stood for preservation of Montenegrin autonomy and a decentralized federalized Yugoslavia. It pursued the policy of the Greens who lost the Christmas Uprising, but on the political and social scene. Its long-term leader was Sekula Drljević.

In the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes[edit]

After the abolition of divisional historical entities in 1922, when Montenegro mostly became a part of the Zeta Area, Sekula Drljević and other prominent supporters of the last, dethroned and in exile, Montenegrin King Nikola I gathered and organized a political party to pursue their goals of a distinct Montenegrin autonomy for its preservation within the Yugoslav monarchy, centering around federalization of the state. It sought for a pacifist way to resolve the Montenegrin question, as contrary to the extremist and violent Greens who sought through a minor and failing guerrilla tactics to achieve their common goals by force.

The Montenegrin Federalist Party gradually voiced in support of the self-styled Montenegrin Army in Exile, aiding them, and its members filled with their ranks after the Greens officially dispersed in 1926. The Montenegrin Party ran on elections in 1923 and 1925, but it didn't receive much support, as the Serb parties enjoyed most the support from the electorate the Montenegrin Federalists were counting on. In 1927 the party gradually lost influence, and never came out independently. It initially survived on the list of the Croatian Peasant Party and Stjepan Radić. Afterwards, the Party joined the Croatian Peasant Party and the Independent Democratic Party in their influential Peasant-Democratic Coalition and became its minor member.

In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia[edit]

In 1929, a dictatorship was brought by King Alexander, changing the name of the country to Yugoslavia officially. But after his assassination in Marseilles in 1934, the new government wanted pacification, so they rehabilitated and released the imprisoned former Green rebel Novica Radović, who became the chief ideologue of the Montenegrin Federalist Party. The party pointed out that Montenegro unjustly lost its independence thanks to Serbia and the Allies, claimed that Montenegro was the leader amongst the Serbs and Yugoslavs rather than Serbia and called upon Montenegrin historical statehood. By 1938, the Party joined the Unified Opposition and closely associated with Vlatko Maček, a coalition of the entire Yugoslavian opposition bent on establishing a more democratic society. As time passed by the Montenegrin Federalist Party became more extreme and distanced from its original views, becoming a supporter of an independent Montenegro and a promoter of extreme Montenegrin nationalism.

Afterwards it became much more radical in its pursuits and associated mostly with the Croatian Party of Rights, and much rarer with the Serbian opposition. The Montenegrin Party remained in opposition to every other Yugoslav force after the Cvetković-Macek Agreement in 1939, and anticipated World War II as a way to gain power.

Fascism[edit]

With the April War and the fall of Yugoslavia to Axis forces, the Montenegrin Federalist Party offered to collaborate with the Italian Fascists of Benito Mussolini, demanding a Greater Montenegro from the river of Neretva in Herzegovina to Mata in Albania; it would also include Metohija and Sandžak. A much smaller in territorial size "Independent State of Montenegro" was proclaimed on Saint Peter's Congress in 12 July 1941, with the Ustaše and Albanians being much more favored by the Nazis. Nicholas' grandson and successor as heir to the throne Prince Michael of Montenegro was invited to be its King and head of state, but he vigorously refused claiming that he will never cooperate with Nazis, criminals and traitors of the Serbian people. The restored Montenegro lost Metohija and its eastern lands to a Greater Albania, but managed to gain the Serbian part of Sandžak. All other political parties were outlawed and a dictatorship of Sekula Drljević under Italian protection was proclaimed. The nominal ecclesiastical leader became the uncanonical Croatian Orthodox Church. It received a split on two wings, with a most extremist one opposing the current state borders of Montenegro, especially Albanian expansion and claimed the Bocca. That wing held links to an extent with the party's mortal enemies, the Partisans, to assist the rebellion against the Italians and the Ustashas in the Bay of Kotor, as well as when assistance was needed to fend off the royalists, who managed to get ever-more control over Montenegro, and to whom the Communist Partisans just opened civil war.

In 1941 the Partisans raised a rebellion and managed to liberate much of Montenegro, and the Montenegrin Federalist Army went to exile. It reorganized in Zagreb, the Independent State of Croatia's capital, a Montenegrin State Council aimed at eventually creating an independent and large national state of the Montenegrin people. Out of Chetniks it formed its own Montenegrin People's Army. It closely associated itself with the Ustashas and aided their regime greatly, with its prominent members became leading Nazi and genocide ideologues. Throughout the WWII the party would lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. With the impending Allied victory in 1945, the party dispersed retreating with other Axis collaborators in late 1945, after its own Montenegrin Army turned against itself.

See also[edit]