Nikola Uzunović

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Nikola Uzunović
Nikola uzunovic.jpg
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
In office
8 April 1926 – 17 April 1927
Monarch Alexander I
Preceded by Nikola Pašić
Succeeded by Velimir Vukićević
In office
27 January 1934 – 22 December 1934
Monarch Alexander I
Peter II
Preceded by Milan Srškić
Succeeded by Bogoljub Jevtić
Personal details
Born 3 May 1873
Niš, Ottoman Empire (now in Serbia)
Died 19 July 1954 (aged 81)
Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
Citizenship Yugoslav
Nationality Serb
Political party People's Radical Party (until 1932)
Yugoslav National Party (from 1932)
Religion Orthodox Christian

Nikola Uzunović (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Узуновић; 3 May 1873 – 19 July 1954) was a Serbian and Yugoslav politician who served as Prime Minister of Yugoslavia on two occasions.

Early life[edit]

Born in the city of Niš, he graduated from Faculty of Law at the Great School in Belgrade (now University of Belgrade).[1][better source needed] Later he would practice law as a judge, and became the president of the first instance court, the district chief, and secretary of the Cassation Court in Belgrade.[1][better source needed]

Political career[edit]

In 1904, aged 31 he was elected to the Niš municipality, and after eight months, a deputy in front of the Radical Party, a party he would remain in until 1934. During the First World War Uzunović was a reserve officer, and thereafter again politically involved. In the following years he was minister for agricultural issues and the minister of construction. After the War, he was re-elected deputy. In April 1926 faced with corruption scandals Prime Minister Nikola Pašić was forced resign. Uzunovićnew became the eighth Prime Minister of Yugoslavia on 8 April 1926, however faced with internal conflict within the party, a succession of short term governments, came and went under his watch. Tired, Uzunović also had twelve crises and multiple cabinet reshuffles, in response to a further sharp attack against his government, and the party responded on 17 April 1927 when Uzunovićnew position as Prime Minister ended. He was replaced by Velimir Vukićević, a member of Uzunovićnew's own party the National Radical Party.

6 January Dictatorship[edit]

On 6 January 1929, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia dissolved the Yugoslav Parliament and abolished the constitution, banning all political parties in the process. This became known as the 6th January Dictatorship, a policy Uzunović was in support of. In 1931, a new constitution was put into place, which provided for limited democracy. However, most of the political power remained in the hands of the King and the government, appointed by him. In May 1932, Uzunović helped found the Yugoslav Radical Peasants' Democracy (renamed in June 1933 as Yugoslav National Party) to support Alexander's government, under the leadership of Petar Živković, adopting a program stressing the unity of the Yugoslav nation, centralized government and secularism.

In 1932 Uzunović became chairman of the Yugoslav Radical Peasant Democracy. In January 1934, King Alexander, facing mounting pressure to solve the internal political crisis facing Yugoslavia, replaced Milan Srškić as prime minister. On 27 January Uzunović was once again the head of Government The designated prime minister Uzunović tasked to reduce the Croat - Serb tensions, address the effects of the economic crisis and to combine parliamentarism with an authoritarian conception of government.

Assassination of King Alexander[edit]

In October Alexander of Yugoslavia, despite some missgiving agreed to conference in Marseilles, a visit in which the king would reserve the Legion of Honour. It was reported that Uzunović had discouraged the monarch from traveling to Marseille, which would eventually prove fatal for Alexander. Arriving in Marseilles to start a state visit to France, to strengthen the two countries' alliance in the Little Entente.[2] King Alexander was received by Foreign Minister Barthou at Marseille in October 1934. On 9 October, while the two was being slowly driven in a car through the streets a gunman — the Macedonian Velicko Kerin, a Bulgarian revolutionary wielding a handgun.[2][3] stepped from the street and shot the King twice and the chauffeur with a Mauser C96 semiautomatic pistol. Alexander died in the car, slumped backwards in the seat, with his eyes open.[4] The assassination was planned in Rome by Ante Pavelić in August 1934. Pavelić was assisted by Georg Percevic (or Perčević), a former Austro-Hungarian military officer. France unsuccessfully requested the extraditions of Percevic and Pavelić.[5]

After the assassination, Uzunović strengthened the government, namely by inviting new ministers and former prime ministers Živković, Marinković and Srškić to the cabinet. However, on 22 December Bogoljub Jevtić was appointed prime minister, removing Uzunović for a second time. Regent Prince Paul, now acting on behalf on the infant Prince Peter (later Peter II of Yugoslavia) was, unlike Alexander inclined much more toward democracy. In its broadest outline, his domestic policy worked to eliminate the heritage of the Alexandrine dictatorship's centralism, censorship, and military control and to pacify the country by solving the Serb-Croat problem.[6] The following year questioned Uzunović the Regent advice and refused rapprochement with the opposition, leading to a revolt of some ministers and the collapse of the government. Regent Prince Paul declared that the Kingdom of Yugoslavia would join the Tripartite Pact on 25 March 1941, in order to avoid the same fate as Poland. During Uzunović political career, made many enemies, confirmed by some of the documents in the archive collections of the Historical Museum of Serbia.[citation needed]

Retirement and death[edit]

Nikola Uzunović with his honours and medals
Uzunović with his family

After leaving office in December 1934, he went into seclusion. During the Second World War, and Occupation of the Axis powers he refused to attach his name under the anticommunist petition of prominent Serbs. Nevertheless, after the war, most of his lands and property were appropriated by the state, including his Villa, which the government of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia donated to the United States, which owns it to this day.

Uzunović died on 19 July 1954 in Belgrade. However some sources suggest he died a year earlier in 1953. Serbian Actor Tanasije Uzunovic is his Grand Nephew.


On 20 February 1927 Uzunović was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta from the President of Poland Ignacy Mościcki.[7]


  1. ^ a b  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b Matthew Graves, 'Memory and Forgetting on the National Periphery: Marseille and the Regicide of 1934' , PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol 7, No. 1, January 2010 [1] Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "matthewgraves" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ 'The assassination was attributed to the Croatian Ustashi organization, mortal enemies of Serbian domination, but it was carried out by a Macedonian IMRO member named Tchernozemski, aka “Vlado the Chauffeur", Crown of Thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943, Madison Books, 1998; ISBN 1461730538, p. 224.
  4. ^ "ASSASSINATION OF KING ALEXANDER - Vivid pictures from the scene of the tragedy at Marseilles.". British Pathe. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  5. ^ The Principle of Complementarity in International Criminal Law: Origin, Development and Practice by Mohamed M. El Zeidy, BRILL, September 15, 2008, p. 41
  6. ^ Hoptner, p. 26
  7. ^ Politika, br. 6.762, od ponedeljka 21. februara 1927., strana 4.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Nikola Pašić
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Velimir Vukićević
Preceded by
Milan Srškić
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
Succeeded by
Bogoljub Jevtić