History of
WELCOME TO MONTENET - the window with a view of MONTENEGRO
index of montenet
Index of Montenegrin History
Quotes About Montenegrin History
Origins of Montenegrins
Vojislavljevics- the First Montenegrin Dynasty
Nemanjic's Rule
Balsics' Rule
Crnojevics' Rule
Old Montenegro
Prince Bishops' Rule
Prince Bishop (Vladika) Danilo - The Founder of Petrovic Dynasty
Scepan the Small
Petar I Petrovic Njegos
Petar II Petrovic Njegos
Prince Danilo Petrovic
King Nicholas I
Unification of Montenegro and Serbia (Podgorica's  Assembly)
Montenegro in Yugoslavia
Unification of Montenegro and Serbia (1918) - Podgorica's Assembly

Coat of Arms of King Nicholas IUnification of Montenegro and Serbia is the one of the most interesting and most important issues of contemporary Montenegrin history. The entire contemporary history evolved in the shadows of this problem. Despite the existence of various political parties, the main political division in Montenegro between the two wars, end to the extent nowadays, is whites (bjelasi) and greens (zelenasi) (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd, p.11). The manifestations associated with these two ideologies are, on one hand, manifestation of nationalism, localism, and chauvinism, (zelenasi), and on the other hand the phenomenon of national nihilism (bjelasi)(D.Vujovic, Ujedinjenje Crne Gore i Srbije, Istorijski institut NRCG, 1962, p. 8). It may be agued however, that this definition threat the greens or neo-greens somewhat harshly (See letters 1 and 2).

The Teritorial Formation of Yugoslavia, 1919During the WW1 the unification of Montenegro and Serbia was the primary task of supporters of Greater Serbia project, led by Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasic. Pasic's aim was to just annex Montenegro without much public discussion and eventual negotiations. For that reason the Serbian government, and Pasic personally, formed the 'movement for unification' and embarked on a campaign (1916 and 1917), that was to show necessity and inevitability of unification. This became the official Serbian strategic policy approved by the Serbian government and Regent Alexander (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd, p.13). 

Although 'movement for unification 'was under the Pasic's influence, following the Montenegrins' long lasted wish for the integration of South Slavs, it proposed that, "...Montenegro unifies with Serbia and other Yugoslav states". However, in order to insure his objective of Greater Serbia, Pasic was so meticulous, that he reformulated the proposal, dismissing any use of the word Yugoslavia or Yugoslavs (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd, p.13). 

The preparations for a formal unification (Podgorica's Assembly) were very short. The supporters of unification chose most of the delegates for Podgorica Assembly (Podgoricka Skupstina) on their own meetings, but where meeting were not held, the delegates were simply named and invited by the organizer of the Podgorica's Assembly (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd, p.14). 

Podgorica's Assembly took place in the Tobacco monopoly building on 11.11.1918. Some delegates demanded that, instead of rushing to unite, Montenegro was restored as sovereign country and than to negotiate the question of unity with the Serbian government. In order to prevent discussion "which would not lead to anything good and useful for the main thing which must be done urgently", the presidency of the Assembly assured that one detachment of army encircled the Assembly building and make pressure on hesitant delegates (J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i Razvoj Crnogorske nacije, 1948, Cetinje, p.436). 

Podgorica's Assembly, on its session of 13.11.1918, "unanimously" and "by acclamation" decided the following: 

  • that King Nicholas I and his dynasty be dethroned for ever from Montenegrin throne; 
  • that Montenegro unconditionally unite with Serbia in one state under dynasty of Karadjordjevic and so united "enter in mutual homeland our three-named people Serbs, Croats and Slovenes",
  • and that these Assembly's decisions to be told to: ex King Nicholas I and his sons, Serbian and allied governments, as well as all neutral states (translated from J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i Razvoj Crnogorske nacije, 1947, Cetinje, p.436). 
Dissatisfaction with Podgorica's Assembly spread quickly all over Montenegro, but it was particularly prominent in what was called 'Old Montenegro'. Even the people who were in favor of unification of what they called "Serb people into a single Serb state" were dismayed at the way the unification proceeded, at the way Montenegrins were treated, and above all with the ill behavior of Serbian troops that once had been warmly welcomed as the 'allied and brotherly forces'(ibid.). 

Being so dismayed and disillusioned with Serbian Government and Serbian forces, many thousands of Montenegrins, took up arms (on Christmas eve of 1919) and surrounded towns of Cetinje, Niksic, Rijeka Crnojevica, and Virpazar. They demanded that Serbian troops left Montenegro, and that those who instrumentalized Podgorica's Assembly be tried. They, however, wanted to avoid bloodshed and issued the statement to Serbian authorities: 

    "The assembly that took place in Podgorica on 11.11.1918, was scheduled in defiance of our Constitution, and above all, against the will of absolute majority of Montenegrins; therefore that led to uprising of Montenegrins against the decision of the Assembly whose executive branch is You...." (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd, p.14). 
Despite being more numerous, rebels were poorly armed and not well organized. Thus, since they were no match for Serbian artillery, they were destined for a frontal defeat within days. Many were killed but some continued the resistance hiding in Montenegrin forests. In the following years (1919 and 1920) Serbian military authorities, assisted by whites, stepped up the terror against their opponents. They made arrests, convicted with no proofs of wrong doing, burn down houses, impose the wearing of the cap with four S(C), confiscated property and killed suspected rebels. In many parts of Montenegro frontal battles where artillery was used took place. By the end of 1920, Serbian authorities managed to subdue the rebels, so they did not represent any political or military treat even though rebellion was not over. In these difficult times many Montenegrins had to leave the country (D.Vujovic, Crnogorski federalisti 1919-1929, CANU, 1981, Titograd). 

Mitrofan Ban, the last metropolitan of the Autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox ChurchIn 1920, Regent Alexander abolished the Montenegrin Autocephalous Orthodox Church by a decree. Also in an uncanonical and illegal manner property of Montenegrin Autocephalous Orthodox Church (~650) was transferred to the Serbian Orthodox Church and has not been reclaimed since.

Banovina Boundaries, 1929Thus, ironically, Montenegro became the only Allied country in World War I to be annexed to another country after the end of the war even though it finished the war on the winning side. Moreover, following unification, Montenegro lost its official name and was administratively declared a region of Yugoslavia called Zeta (Zetska Banovina). 

Of all the constituent parts of this newly unified state, Montenegro had suffered conspicuously the greatest proportionate loss of life during World War I.

Links for: 
Serbo Rastoder: "Skrivena strana istorije - Crnogorska buna i odmetnicki pokret" (prikaz)
Historical Documents I - State Department Files....Click here to see more
Historical Documents II - State Department Files....Click here to see more
Historical Documents III - Serb insistence on Montenegrin surrender....Click here to see more
Historical Documents IV - The Paris Peace Conference....Click here to see more

pogorica's assembly

[Index] [Profile] [People] [Geography] [History] [Culture] [Art] [Language] [Religion] [Miscellaneous
[Site-map] [News] [Politics] [Law] [Economy] [Travel] [Sports] [Letters] [Links] [ExYu] [EE&Russia]
 Comments and suggestions are welcome and selected will be published
Montenet 1997
 All rights reserved. Last updated  August 1997