Allegedly, the king Alexander Karadjordjevic, the unifier, was offered to choose between Yugoslavia (called the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) or greater Serbia which would have been smaller than Yugoslavia, but definitely greater than Serbia alone at the time and nowadays. The offer was made by Allied forces, mostly Britain. He chose Yugoslavia, as he probably didn't care about the country's name but its size. IMO, had the Greater Serbia been created instead, the 20th century history of Balkans would have been quite different.


This offer is often quoted by some Serbs, but I didn't find any references.

  • Are the "Serbs" who quote this the likes of Jovan Deretic ? – amphibient Jul 9 '18 at 18:56

In college, I completed a paper that described the fighting between the Ustasha (ultra-nationalists), the Chetniks, and Tito's Partisans (communists) during WWII. I studied, briefly, the 20 years leading up WWI to 1945. With that, the thing I can recall as being the only option following the dissolution of the Austrian Empire was the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (KSCS) which took place in 1918.

Leading up to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the area in question was generally dominated politically by the Orthodox Serbs followed by the Catholic Croats who were in constant competition. Nonetheless, leading up to WWI, this area, with only a small portion of northern Serbia, was encapsulated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Many historians blame the outbreak of war on the Slavic-nationalists in the Balkans. More specific, Gavrilo Princip and the Black Hand a Serbian-national group.

With that being said, I find it hard to understand why they would eliminate the Austro-Hungarian Empire and replace it with a Serbian Empire per se. From what limited information and the the map that was posted by Огњен Шобајић, the "greater Serbian" state model would seem to eliminate the possibility of a representative or even potentially quasi-federal body that the KSCS had established. Rather, it suggests a politically and religiously dominated Serbian State which would be in conflict with areas like Bosnia and Herzegovina who were minorities in both aspects. If they were to use the greater-Serbian model, it would seem to hinder, rather than, help the Balkans. It would be interesting, if this was a real possibility, as to what this area might look like if they used the "alternative" option.

Unfortunately, there is not a ton of scholarship on the issue which makes topics like this relatively convoluted and difficult to discuss with often time alluding to speculation. That said, I did have to look a bit of information on wikipedia-- do not think less of me!

If anyone has more suggestion or better insight, please feel free to correct me. It has been a while since I discussed the topic.

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    Many historians blame the outbreak of war on the Slavic-nationalists in the Balkans Not really. The general consensus is that the climate was so tense anything would trigger a major war, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand just happened to be that spark that triggered the fire. The relations between Autria-Hungary and Russia, as well as between France and Germany were awful and they were looking for any pretext to declare war on the other, while trying to blame them. – Bregalad Aug 5 '15 at 8:58
  • To a certain extent. From Tsar Nicholas' memoires in Robert Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra", he had no interest in war. Nonetheless, Kaiser Wilhelm wanted this "pretext" to go to war with France. Barbara Tuchman makes this argument clear in, "The Guns of August." Franz Josef, on the other hand, wanted any reason to put out the fire in the Balkans. As you said, the climate indeed was very tense. – oswana21 Aug 5 '15 at 12:09
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    I am not sure what your answer is. Is it "I doubt so" or "It's unlikely"? Btw, Gavrilo Princip described himself as a Yugoslav nationalist and Black Hand was not entirely Serbian national group as it consisted of some Croats and Muslims too. – Огњен Шобајић Aug 5 '15 at 18:59

There was so much political blackmail during the first half of XX century that no-one knows what was actually discussed and what was proposed behind the "scene". As much as I know, the Serbs had a really powerful lobby in the West back then (which included the chemist Mihajlo Pupin and others), so it can be argued whether they were "offered" anything or they "negotiated" to get what they wanted.

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    This doesn't really answer the question; it merely asserts that nobody can know the answer. Normally I'd request research/citations to back up an assertion, but it is difficult to back up the assertion that nobody can know. – Mark C. Wallace Oct 9 '15 at 23:36
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    I can give some example that illustrate my point, which unfortunately aren't directly related with topic. For example, in 1876 after the uprising in Bosnia and Bulgaria there is a conference in Constantinople that should have taken a decision how to resolve the "Eastern Question". During this conference many conflicting suggestions were proposed and discussed (as everyone was seeking his own interests), but eventually none of them was implemented under the pretext that the Ottomans had made meanwhile some reforms... – Newbie Oct 9 '15 at 23:54
  • ... The aftermath at the end was everyone accusing everyone else, thereby, the historians nowadays are not 100% sure what actually happened during the discussions. – Newbie Oct 9 '15 at 23:58

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