Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences Belgrade Abstract: The draft of Serbian foreign policy, written by Ilija Garasanin, still provokes controversial interpretations as to its ultimate political goals. Here is stressed the role of Nacertanije in its historical context and analyzed through various foreign influences, Polish, French and British. Those influences, together with Serbian political and historical traditions, decisively shaped the final text of Nacertanije. In appendix is the new translation of Nacertanije by the author. The secrecy which surrounded the creation of Nacertanije has given it a certain aura of mystique: it is believed that for full five decades only the leading political figures in Serbia and perhaps Montenegro were acquainted with it, and its contents were kept a secret even when its translation reached, through various channels, the archives of the ministries of Vienna and Budapest. For this reason, Nacertanije is often said to be of "subversive nature", characteristic of similar secret writings.
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Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences Belgrade Abstract: The draft of Serbian foreign policy, written by Ilija Garasanin, still provokes controversial interpretations as to its ultimate political goals. Here is stressed the role of Nacertanije in its historical context and analyzed through various foreign influences, Polish, French and British.
Those influences, together with Serbian political and historical traditions, decisively shaped the final text of Nacertanije. In appendix is the new translation of Nacertanije by the author. The secrecy which surrounded the creation of Nacertanije has given it a certain aura of mystique: it is believed that for full five decades only the leading political figures in Serbia and perhaps Montenegro were acquainted with it, and its contents were kept a secret even when its translation reached, through various channels, the archives of the ministries of Vienna and Budapest.
For this reason, Nacertanije is often said to be of "subversive nature", characteristic of similar secret writings.
However, the analysis of its genesis shows that a large circle of political figures knew about it, at least at the time of its creation 1. Apart from the direct impact it had on the national policy of Serbia untill the creation of the common Yugoslav state in , Nacertanije was a cause of constant controversy.
Although these debates on the main messages of this document were conducted in terms of historiography, they usually reflected the political and national stands of its interpreters. The origin of dispute among numerous scholars and political analysts - as to whether this is a programme of an exclusively Serbian or in a pejorative sense - Greater Serbian , or a broader, Yugoslav nature - is to be found here.
Also, separated from the temporal context in which it was created, Nacertanije has often been used in various historical periods as the key to an incontestable argument proving that the Serbian "Piedmont-type" policy was permanently "hegemonistic" as regards the South Slavic regions 2. Are the two concepts of Serbian policy, ascribed to Nacertanije, mutually compatible and to what extent? Do they rule each other out? Was the so-called Pan-Serbian dimension of Nacertanije the permanent inspiration for every consideration of the Serbian question and to what extent?
As a rule, these questions have been given opposing answers. Sava, and the heritage preserved in oral and ecclesiastic traditions of the medieval state of Nemanjic dynasty, considered to have reached its peak with the vast but short-lived empire of Stefan Dusan in the midth century when it was covering the area from the Drina river to the Peloponnesus, and from Sofia to Durrazo in Albania.
In addition to the medieval tradition there came the experience of the national and social revolution led by Karadjordje , and the gradual acquisition of the internationally recognized autonomous status within the Ottoman Empire under Prince Milos Obrenovic Along with the strengthening of the autonomy obtained in , there was also greater internal turmoil in Serbia expressed in the struggle for the adoption of a liberal Constitution that would limit the patriarchal despotism of Milos Obrenovic.
This movement was led by the notables - the so-called Defenders of the Constitution Ustavobranitelji , or simply Constitutionalists. One of the youngest but the most prominent among them was Ilija Garasanin, who advocated the establishing of modern state institutions by means of reforms carried out in an administrative manner, and the strengthening of the state through an independent orientation in its foreign policy.
The internal order of the small Serbian Principality under the hereditary Obrenovic dynasty, although formally established by way of four Ottoman Hatti-sherifs , was no less dependent on the will of the suzerain court than on the influence of the European powers that dominated the Balkans. The traditional and from to official protector of Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire, Russia was a power through whose crucial influence Serbia had acquired an autonomous, semi-independent status 4.
The fourth Hatti-sherif, the so-called Turkish Constitution, was drawn up at the Porte in through joint efforts of Russian and Austrian ambassadors. In his efforts to limit Russian influence, Prince Milos turned, for the support and advice, to Colonel Hodges, the British consul in Belgrade. They organized a branched network of secret diplomatic strongholds, financially and politically supported by French and British diplomacy 7.
With the consent of Paris and London, the Poles directed all their efforts towards a long-term obstruction of the plans of Russia and Austria - the two empires which, along with Prussia, partitioned Poland.
The regions where the interests of those powers overlapped were the Balkan provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Assuming that Russia and Austria intended to divide the Balkans between themselves in the near future, as they had done with Poland only now without Prussia which had no direct interests in the East , Czartoryski and his associates made a project of a vast Southern Slav state that should be created around Serbia, and lean on France and Great Britain in its foreign policy.
Lous Lenoir , who were sent to the Near East during the crisis With the help of Polish representatives, who sent Zwierkowski to Belgrade, the Constitutionalists organized a revolt in Serbia in , and expelled Prince Michael Obrenovic. After that, Alexander Karadjordjevic officially became the new Prince. Through the mediation of Polish representatives in Constantinople and Paris, Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic was recognized both by France and Great Britain as the lawful ruler of Serbia.
It was as early as that Czartoryski, in the capacity of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, learned from Arsenije Gagovic, an Orthodox Church dignitary from Herzegovina, about the plans of the Serbs to get rid of the Ottoman yoke and restore the state they had lost in fifteenth century. Czartoryski received similar memorandum in from the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Serbs in Austria, Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirovic, envisaging the creation of a "Slavic-Serbian Empire" with a Russian Prince as its ruler.
In the first phase of his political activities, all the way up to , Czartoryski kept advising the Balkan nations, on various occasions, to unite under the protectorate of the Russian Emperor.
After , his suggestions, especially to the Slavs, became quite opposite: that they should resolutely resist Russian influence Along with regular reports from his representatives - Czaykowski in Constantinople, and Zwierkowski in Belgrade - Czartoryski got additional information about the Serbs from Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz who, in , as a professor of Slavic literature at the College de France, gave a series of lectures on Serbia and Serbian folk poetry.
In his Paris office Czartoryski also received a group of Serbian students - the first generation of state scholarship holders sent to study in France in They informed him about the political situation in Serbia and extended to him greetings from the Constitutionalists Urquhart was well acquainted with the situation in Serbia.
He established close political relations with Czartoryski during his stay in London where Urquhart published the magazine Portfolio in The main ideas for a political course set out by Czartoryski in his Conseils some ten years later, seem to have been defined by Urquhart through his talks with Prince Milos Obrenovic.
By becoming free from this power which is slowly wearing out, both sides would simultaneously liven up Czartoryski attached special importance to French influence: its role was to support this "flag of European Slavism, leaning toward civilization and freedom, that would be quite opposite to the Asian Pan-Slavism of St.
Petersburg The breakaway from Russian influence had to be accompanied by a profession of loyalty to the Porte. Leanings towards Russia were envisaged only in the event of a conflict with Constantinople. A special stand was to be taken towards Austria.
In order that Serbia could be freed from the influence of the two powers, it had to seek the support from France and Great Britain. On the internal plane, he proposed a series of concrete measures, laying emphasis on the importance of administrative reforms and educational work, which he considered to be extremely important for the awakening of national self-consciousness The national movement of the Croats, which included a narrow stratum of intellectuals and aristocracy, was not clearly defined yet.
Out of the desire to create the preconditions for the national emancipation of the Croats from the Germans, Hungarians and Italians within the Habsburg Empire, there appeared the Illyrian movement Ilirski pokret , based on the supra-national model of an Illyrian nation, from which the Balkan Slavs were believed to originate. Considering the common language to be the main characteristic of the nation, the leaders of the movement - following the examples of earlier Dalmatian scholars and later on Napoleon who named Dalmatia, Istria, parts of Croatia, and Slovenia the "Illyrian Provinces" during the short-lived French rule - had taken the ancient name of the Illyrians as common for all the Southern Slavs.
From the numerous reports by his agents on the Illyrians and their leader Ljudevit Gaj, Czartoryski might have drawn the conclusion that their ultimate goal was to create a common South Slavic state under the leadership of Serbia In Belgrade in March , a Polish representative delivered a copy of the Conseils to Garasanin who was temporarily in charge of the Serbian government.
A Czech born in Moravia, Zach was the ardent advocate of Slavic solidarity. The establishment of a commercial union between Serbia and another Serbian state - tiny Montenegro, would made it possible for Serbia to get access to the sea. Then the Belgrade government would open its agencies in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Bulgaria, and finally, it would get connected with the Serbs in southern Hungary presently Vojvodina. In Belgrade, Zach often spoke to Garasanin about the position of the Slavs in Turkey and Austria and the conditions required for their national awakening and afterwards, for their political union around Serbia.
He thought that Serbia, preoccupied by its internal consolidation and pressure from the outside, was not sufficiently aware of the importance the spread of its political influence could have not only among the Serbs outside its borders, but also among the neighbouring Slavic nations with whom they intermingled. He addressed with the same request to a number of his Serbian associates, so that he would be able to compare several opinions Zach was in direct contact with the representatives of the Illyrian movement who, having been persecuted in Austria , found refuge in Belgrade.
After his talks with Stjepan Car and Pavao Cavlovic, he made an idealized idea of the nature and importance of their entire movement. The principles of the Illyrian movement were something Zach could easily understand as they were very similar to analogous movements of the Czechs, Slovaks and the Poles.
Speaking to the Illyrians about the fate of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Ottoman province where the Serbs were the most numerous ethnic group, Zach concluded that Bosnia should be annexed to Serbia. Aware of the fact that a common Illyrian name was unacceptable to the Serbs, and not only because it was artificial, he proposed that it be kept in use, in the future, only in Austria. Just like Czartoryski, Zach pointed to the importance of the Serbs within the Military Frontier Vojna Krajina , a region under the direct rule of Vienna, which - forming 17 regiments - represented military potential for the proposed Serbo-Croatian plans against Austria.
Garasanin discussed the Plan with other Constitutionalists and with his political advisors. However, the circle of political figures acquainted with the process of defining foreign strategy of Serbia was not limited only to the Polish representatives. Some of the advice and reports on Serbia were sent to the Porte, and the governments in Paris and London were informed about their contents through the French ambassador in Constantinople, Bourqueney.
Taking as its point of departure the only solid foundation - historical traditions, political thought in Serbia at first developed within the frameworks of historicism. The broad effect the Serbian Uprising had on various nations throughout the Balkans, and the new views on the geopolitical reality in Europe, resulted in modernly defined national goals. The main source of historical knowledge - apart from folk poetry, oral historical chronicles about medieval glory, the struggle against the Turks and the desire to renew the empire lost in the Battle of Kosovo - were the works of "monastic historicism", compilations of older history books made in the eighteenth century.
There was no accurate ethnographical, historical and geographical knowledge about the number of Serbs, their diffusion and their percentage compared to the nations they lived with.
The desire to reunite the Serbs into a renewed empire was a programme that sprang from the messages of history, the programme which all the Serbian leaders, from Karadjordje to Milos Obrenovic, took as their starting point, as a national aspiration that went without saying, regardless of the fact that it was unachievable in the existing circumstances. Along with the national goals that originated from the traditions of the centuries-long struggle against the Ottomans, among the political leadership of the Serbs, precisely because they intermingled with kindred Slavic peoples, there circulated, as potential solution, a specter of Yugoslav aspirations, which most often included the Bulgarians as well.
Karadjordje planned a joint uprising with Montenegro, Herzegovina, Bosnia and Old Serbia Sandjak of Novi Pazar, Kosovo, Metohija, northwestern Macedonia , regions from which most of the insurgents were recruited. However, the leader of the Serbian revolution also had ambitious plans for a radical geopolitical reconstruction of the Balkans.
He called on the leaders of these lands to instigate an uprising and "thus to free yourselves from the Turkish occupation and to unite with us, with Serbia, so that we can renew the Serbian kingdom that had been destroyed in Kosovo". Prince Milos also knew what the Yugoslav framework meant for the settlement of the Serbian question.
A confidential statement of one of his associates to a Polish representative revealed that Prince Milos was secretly planning to unite into a Southern Slavic empire: Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Herzegovina, Uskokija Krajina , Banat, the Slovenes, Illyria perhaps Croatia , Dalmatia, Montenegro and the Albanian mountains. Neither in Bulgaria, nor in Croatia, Slovenia or Dalmatia were there national movements analogous with the Serbian one in contents and intensity.
His views, resulting from co-operation with distinguished Slovak and Slovenian linguists P. Safaryk, B. Kopitar, F. Miklosich , were not published until a few years after Nacertanije was written. To this circle also belonged the son of one of the leaders of the Serbian Uprising, Ilija Garasanin.
Owing to his abilities, Garasanin was predestined to conceptualize various influences, both domestic and foreign, and put them all together into what would be known in history as Nacertanije.
His contemporaries, both foreign and domestic, respected Garasanin as a man of free spirit and strong character. He enjoyed both the trust of the older notables who grew out from the national revolution and the respect of the younger generation, educated at foreign universities. Garasanin left out of his text everything he thought to be unrealistic considering the existing geopolitical circumstances. Afterwards he submitted Nacertanije to Prince Alexander as a proposal for future national policy of the Serbian Principality.
Garasanin did not expect the downfall of Austria for another few generations: in this was to be on the verge of a utopia. The Croatian national movement was neither clearly defined nor definitely shaped yet: the cultural activities of the Illyrians included only a very narrow stratum of enlightened intellectuals. The loyalty of all the strata of Croatian society was to the Monarchy and the Habsburg dynasty, even to Hungary which Croatia was part of. They were very close to all religions in Bosnia and sought effective co-operation with the Orthodox Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia.
The Franciscans were against the Bishop ordained by Vienna and the Vatican. Fearing that clerical Vienna might use the Roman Catholic Church to spread proselytism among Orthodox Serbs, Garasanin left out chapters on the jurisdiction of Roman Catholic Church and its further organization in Serbia.
The Serbian Principality was already a secularized state: the status of the Orthodox Church was regarded only as an important part of national identity.
He helped his father in business. In , his father and brother were killed in revolts against knez Mihailo. The time of great uprisings against the Turks was on the wane then, and the role of opposition to the Turks was assumed by the recently created Balkan states. It was a matter of superimposing a European model on the chaotic orient and on but recently liberated and still-self-willed and defiant Balkan people. But the model was a suitable one in that it did unite and ensure some measure of order and stability. This will win you the honour of posterity when our people are raised up in spirit
Ilija Garasanin's "Nacertanije"