Encyclopedia - The Corfu Declaration

Serbian Prime Minister Pasic Announced on 20 July 1917 the Corfu Declaration comprised an agreement between exile politicians from Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia providing for the establishment of a new nation, Yugoslavia, in post-war Europe.

With the Allied nations pitted against Austria-Hungary, a key member of the Central Powers alliance, blessing was given by Britain and France to the proposition of the Yugoslav Committee to carve out a new country from the ruins of a beaten post-war Austria-Hungary, based upon the principle of national self-determination.

Chiefly responsible for devising the Corfu Declaration was the Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasic and the Croatian exile Ante Trumbic.  The agreement was a triumph for the latter who had worked to convince Pasic's Serbian government to sponsor the notion of a union of the Croats, Slovenes and Slavs, an idea regarded with great mistrust by Pasic who remained intent upon the simple expansion of Serbia via territorial gains from a beaten Austro-Hungarian empire.

With the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the consequent withdrawal of Serbia's primary diplomatic champion, Trumbic pressed the case for the creation of a Yugoslavia.  Under pressure, Pasic compromised with the agreement of the Corfu Declaration of July 1917, although he subsequently worked behind the scenes in an attempt to discredit the Yugoslav Committee, fearful that the Allied governments would regard the Committee as the rightful government in exile once the war was over.

Nevertheless, on 1 December 1918 a new 'Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes' was declared by Crown Prince Alexander (Serbian King Peter I's regent), a confirmed champion of the Yugoslav concept.  Trumbic was appointed Foreign Minister of the new government, with Pasic temporarily out of favour and power.

Click here to read the text of the Corfu Declaration.

A howitzer is any short cannon that delivers its shells in a high trajectory. The word is derived from an old German word for "catapult".

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