the English resume of book "The Assembly of Podgorica 1918".
written by Jovan R. Bojovic,
English translation by Irena Kostic
Unification of Montenegro and
Serbia in 1918
In historical science
it is well known that after the Battle of Kosovo (1389) the Serbian kingdom
began to deteriorate due to a separation of certain smaller states which
were coming into their own and were, one by one, losing their independence
and falling under Turkish power. The last medieval Serbian state to fall
into Turkish hands (1499) was Zeta, which was then named Montenegro. In
the beginning, Montenegro possessed autonomy, especially within the sanjak
of Skadar. After the loss of its privileges, during the 17th and 18th centuries,
Montenegro fought for liberation from Turks. As a result of this struggle,
at the end of the 18th century, Montenegro became the first Balkan state
to be independent, consisting of four districts (district of Katun, of
Rijeka, of Crmnica, and of Ljes) with its capital in Cetinje which was
also the capital of the Montenegrin-Coastal archdiocese.
At the beginning of the
19th century Serbia began struggle for liberation from Turkish power during
which it has grown into an independent state. Thus, two small states were
created and were developing on their own during the 19th century and at
the beginning of the 20th century, up until the end of the First World
During the First World
War Serbia and Montenegro were allies with Russia, France and England (later
joined by USA and Italy), against Austro-Hungary (which had started the
First World War), Germany and Bulgaria. After the occupation of Serbia
and Montenegro by the end of 1916, the question of union of Montenegro
and Serbia became quite current. In that direction, a committee for the
union of Montenegro and Serbia was founded in France. This committee was
financially supported by the Serbian government.
The matter of union of
Montenegro and Serbia was settled in liberated Montenegro in October and
November, 1918. After the breach of the Front of Salonika and the victorious
advance of Serbian and allied armies for complete liberation of not only
Serbia and Montenegro but of the South Slavic territories held by Austro-Hungary
as well, in preparations for the Assembly of Podgorica, beside the previously
formed Montenegrin Committee for the Union of Montenegro and Serbia,
a temporary executive central committee for the union was formed as well.
After the liberation of Montenegro, a local government was established
in all communities without the participation of Serbian army. It was decided
that elections were to be held "under neither Serbian nor Montenegrin
electoral law" but that they were to be based on new regulations. Voting
for the representatives was planned to be free and public, as it has been
in Montenegro in the past.
At the beginning of October,
1918, members of the Temporary Executive Central Committee arrived in Montenegro.
It was then that first national gatherings were held in Pec and Djakovica
(today parts of Serbian province Kosovo and Metohija) and in all Montenegrin
cities (Andrijevica, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac, Pljevlja, Boan, Savnik,
Njegovudja, Zabljak, Pluzine, Goranski, Niksic, Danilovgrad, Podgorica,
Virpazar, Bar, Ulcinj, Cetinje and Rijeka Crnojevica). Representatives
were elected according the rules which have been established. After the
preparations, elections for the representatives took place in districts
from November 6-19, 1918.
During the pre-election
campaign, King Nikola's* followers, who were opposed to the union and were
financially supported by Italy, were rather active. In Cetinje, two lists
were drawn: those for the union and those against the union. The list for
It was decided that the
Assembly be held in Podgorica from November 11, 1918. On that day 165 elected
representatives from the administrative territories' districts gathered
the following being all of Montenegro's districts: Metohija, Andrijevica,
Berane, Pljevlja, Kolasin, Niksic, Podgorica, Bar and Cetinje.
During the first two sessions
on November 11 and 12, the representatives' names were confirmed and the
Presidency of the Assembly was elected by secret vote (one president, two
vice-presidents, and six secretaries).
During the session on
November 13, 1918, the Assembly had made the decision:
1. that King Nikola Petrovic
and his dynasty be dethroned,
2. that Montenegro and
Serbia be united in one state under the Karadjordjevic dynasty and so united
to become a common Yugoslav state,
3. that an Executive
National Committee consisting of five members be elected, to rule in Montenegro
until the union of Montenegro and Serbia is completed,
4. that King Nikola,
be informed of these decisions as well as the government of the Serbian
Kingdom, and the allied countries: France, England, the United States of
America, and Italy. After the October Revolution Russia was no longer in
the ally block.
At the following sessions
of the Assembly of Podgorica on November, 14, 15, and 16, 1918, an Executive
Committee of five members was elected and an overall program of its work
was decided on. The elected delegation of 18 members took on the task of
handing the decision of the Assembly over to the Serbian government. Among
other things, the Assembly decided that all movable property and real-estate
properties of king Nikola and the Petrovic dynasty be taken away and that
King Nikola and all members of the dynasty be forbidden to return to Montenegro.
The Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes was established on December 1, 1918.
Note of Serb Land of Montenegro
Like all his ancestors, King Nikola was a true Serb patriot. He has devoted
his entire life to unity of all Serbs. The reason why he opposed creation
of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under Karadjordjevic dynasty was the loosing of his own crown. However, he has never opposed Serb unity.
Even in exile he often asked himself why he, who has done so much for unity
of Serbdom, deserved such destiny.