Slobodan Jovanović

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Slobodan Jovanović
Slobodan Jovanović.jpg
19th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
Personal details
Born (1869-12-03)December 3, 1869
Novi Sad, Austria-Hungary
Died December 12, 1958(1958-12-12) (aged 89)
London, United Kingdom
Occupation Jurist, Historian, Politician

Slobodan Jovanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Слободан Јовановић) (December 3, 1869, Novi Sad, Austria-Hungary – December 12, 1958, London, United Kingdom) was one of Serbia's most prolific jurists, historians, sociologists, journalists and literary critics. He distinguished himself with a characteristically clear and sharp writing style later called the "Belgrade style".

Liberal in his social and political views, he was perhaps Yugoslavia’s greatest authority on constitutional law; also a master of Serbian prose style, he was for nearly half a century a leader of the Serbian intelligentsia. He graduated law in Geneva in 1890. In 1905, he was a professor at the University of Belgrade's Law School until 1941. He was also a politician while in exile in London during World War II.


Slobodan Jovanović was born at Novi Sad, then part of Austria-Hungary, on the 3rd of December 1869 to Vladimir Jovanović and his wife Jelena. He was reportedly the first Serbian male to be named "Slobodan" ("sloboda" means "freedom" in Serbian), while his sister was named Pravda ("Justice"). He received an excellent education in Belgrade, Munich, Zurich, and Geneva, where he graduated with a law degree. From 1890 to 1892, he took post-graduate studies in constitutional law and political science in Paris before entering the Serbian foreign service. In 1893 he was appointed political attaché with the Serbian mission to Istanbul, where he remained for a couple years. It was at this time that he began to write and have his articles on literary criticism published in various publications throughout the land. He eventually left the diplomatic service in favour of academia and literary pursuits. In 1897 he was appointed professor at the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Law. For more than four decades, Jovanović taught at the law faculty gaining a reputation as an authority on constitutional law and Serbian language and literature. He was Rector of the University of Belgrade shortly before his retirement in 1939.

He had some influence on political life in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia due to his well established authority in the field of law and history, but he entered directly political life only in 1939 when the Serbian Cultural Club was established, and he was appointed as Club's president.

He was a pro-Western politician and when a pro-Western military coup took place in Belgrade on March 27, 1941, a pro-Western, essentially pro-British government was installed headed by General Dušan Simović. Jovanović was deputy Prime Minister in that government. The Third Reich attacked the Kingdoms of Yugoslavia and Greece on April 6, and soon defeated Yugoslav and Greek forces. Jovanovic moved in mid April together with King Peter II and other cabinet ministers to Jerusalem and he reached London in July. He became prime minister of the Yugoslav government in exile during World War II on January 11, 1942 and remained in that position till June 26, 1943. Tried in absence by Josip Broz Tito's communist regime together with general Draža Mihailović, he was sentenced to twenty years in jail which he never served, as well as the loss of political and civil rights for a period of ten years, and confiscation of all property and loss of citizenship.

He spent his later years in exile in London (1945–1958). A memorial plaque in honour of "Professor Slobodan Yovanovitch. Serbian historian, literary critic, legal scholar, Prime Minister of Yugoslavia" may be found in London at 39b Queens Gate Gardens, Kensington.

After unofficial rehabilitation in 1989, his collected works were published in 1991. In Serbia, he is universally regarded as one of the most influential political thinkers of the turn of the century. Leading Serbian quality daily Politika on the occasion of his 70th birthday concluded that "his name has been carved as the highest peak of our culture up to now".[1] In the same issue four most prominent Serbian intellectuals assessed very highly his accomplishments as a historian, jurist, sociologist and writer.

His analysis of the Karađorđević and Obrenović rulers ranks among the clearest and most astute. In Serbia, he initiated discussion about previously little known subjects (such as the question of cultural patterns). He also distinguished himself with literary criticism and essays on topics ranging from art to culture and politics.

Jovanović became a full member of the Serbian Royal Academy in 1908, and its President from 1928 till 1931. He was also a correspondent member of the Yugoslav Academy of Science in Zagreb from 1927.

He was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time. In his career, he was a lawyer, historian, writer, president of the Serbian Royal Academy (now Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts), professor and rector at Belgrade University, and finally, deputy prime minister and prime minister of the Royal Yugoslav government-in-exile.

His collected works were published in 17 volumes in 1939–1940. It contains the results of his unremitting labour as a writer, professor and politician for sixty years, and throws considerable light on Balkan history of the first half of the 20th century, as well as on the author himself. Although his works were not officially banned, any new issue of his books was not permitted in communist Yugoslavia until the late 1980s. Finally, a new edition of his collected works was published in Belgrade in 12 volumes in 1991. Since 2003 his portrait is shown on the 5000 dinar banknote, and his bust stands at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. Official rehabilitation occurred on October 26, 2007 by the court in Belgrade.[citation needed] Since December 10, 2011, plateau in front of Faculty of Law in Belgrade bears his name.[2]


  • О суверености, Београд 1897 / O suverenosti, Beograd 1897 [On Sovereignty, Belgrade, 1897].
  • О дводомном систему, Београд 1899 / O dvodomnom sistemu, Beograd 1899 [On Bicameral System, Belgrade, 1899].
  • Велика народна скупштина, Београд 1900 / Velika narodna skupština, Beograd 1900 [Great People's Assembly, Belgrade, 1900].
  • Српско-бугарски рат. Расправа из дипломатске историје, Београд 1901 / Srpsko-bugarski rat. Rasprava iz diplomatske istorije, Beograd 1901 [Serbo-Bulgarian War. A paper in diplomatic history], Belgrade 1901].
  • Светотар Марковић, Београд 1903 / Svetotar Marković, Beograd 1903 [Svetozar Markovic, Belgrade 1903].
  • Основи правне теорије о држави, Београд 1906 / Osnovi pravne teorije o državi, Beograd 1906 [An Introducation to the Legal Theory on State, Belgrade, 1906].
  • Основи јавног права Краљевине Србије, Београд 1907–1909 / Osnovi javnog prava Kraljevine Srbije, Beograd 1907–1909 [An Introduction to the Public Law of the Kingdom of Serbia, Belgrade, 1907–1909, in two volumes].
  • Макиавели, Београд 1907 / Makiaveli, Beograd 1907.
  • Полититчке и правне расправе, Београд 1908–1910 / Polititčke i pravne rasprave, Beograd 1908–1910 [Political and Legal Considerations, Belgrade, 1908–1910, in two volumes].
  • Уставобранитељи и њихова влада, Српска краљевска академија, Београд 1912 / Ustavobranitelji i njihova vlada, Srpska kraljevska akademija, Beograd 1912 [Constitutionalists and their Government (Belgrade: Serbian Royal Academy, 1912).
Slobodan Jovanović on a 5,000 Serbian dinar bill
  • Университетско питање, Београд 1914 / Universitetsko pitanje, Beograd 1914 [University Question, Belgrade, 1914].
  • Вођи француске револуције, Београд 1920 / Vođi francuske revolucije, Beograd 1920 [Leaders of the French Revolution, Belgrade, 1920].
  • О држави, Београд 1922 / O državi, Beograd 1922 [On State, Belgrade, 1922].
  • Друга влада Милоша и Михаила, Београд 1923 / Druga vlada Miloša i Mihaila, Beograd 1923 [The Second Rule of Milosh and Michael, Belgrade, 1923].
  • Уставно право Краљевине Срба, Хрвата и Словенаца, Београд 1924 / Ustavno pravo Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, Beograd 1924 [Constitutional Law of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Belgrade, 1924].
  • Влада Милана Обреновића, Геца Кон, Београд 1926–1927 / Vlada Milana Obrenovića, Geca Kon, Beograd 1926–1927 [The Rule of Milan Obrenovich (Belgrade: Geca Kon, 1926–1927), in two volumes].
  • Влада Александра Обреновића, Геца Кон, Београд 1929–1931. / Vlada Aleksandra Obrenovića, Geca Kon, Beograd 1929–1931. [The Rule of Alexander Obrenovich (Belgrade: Geca Kon, 1929–1931, in two volumes].
  • Из историје политичких доктрина, Београд 1935 / Iz istorije političkih doktrina, Beograd 1935 [From the History of Political Doctrines, Belgrade, 1935].
  • Гледстон, Југо-исток, Београд 1938 / Gledston, Jugo-istok, Beograd 1938 [Slobodan Jovanovic, Gladstone (Belgrade: Jugo-istok, 1938)].
  • Амерички федерализам, Београд 1939 / Američki federalizam, Beograd 1939 [American Federalism, Belgrade, 1939].
  • Примери политичке социологије, Енглеска, Француска, Немачка 1815–1914, Београд 1940 / Primeri političke sociologije, Engleska, Francuska, Nemačka 1815–1914, Beograd 1940 [Examples of Political Sociology: England, France and Germany, 1815–1914, Belgrade, 1940].
  • О тоталитаризму, Ослобођење, Париз 1952 / O totalitarizmu, Oslobođenje, Pariz 1952 [On Totalitarianism (Paris: Oslobodjenje, 1952].
  • Један прилог за проучавање српског националног карактера, Виндзор – Канада 1964 / Jedan prilog za proučavanje srpskog nacionalnog karaktera, Vindzor – Kanada 1964 [A Contribution to the Study of the Serbian National Character, Windsor /Canada/, 1964].
  • Записи о проблемима и људима, 1941–1944, Лондон 1976 / Zapisi o problemima i ljudima, 1941–1944, London 1976 [Notes on Problems and Individuals, 1941–1944, London, 1976)]

Papers in English[edit]

  • Slobodan Jovanovich, Tito and the Western World (reprinted from The Eastern Quarterly), London, 1952, pp. 6.
  • Slobodan Jovanovich, On the New Machiavellism (reprinted from The Eastern Quarterly), London, 1952, pp. 5.


  1. ^ "Sedamdeset godina zivota gospodina Slobodana Jovanovica" [Seventy years of the life of Mr. Slobodan Jovanovic], Politika, December 4, 1939, p. 9.
  2. ^ М. Четник (10 December 2011). "Slobodan Jovanović sahranjen u otadžbini". Politika. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 


1 Politika, December 4, 1939, p. 9.

External links[edit]