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History of Belgrade 1918 - 1941

The end of World War I and the creation of the new Yugoslav State represent a very important moment in the history of Belgrade. It became the capital of a far larger state, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, being at the same time the seat of the King, the National Assembly, the Government, the Council of State, the Army, the Supreme Court and of all other institutions of the state apparatus. Like the new state, Belgrade went through a number of major crises from limited civil parliamentarism to pseudo-parliamentarism or concealed dictatorship, lasting until the demonstrations of 27 March 1941 and the attack of the Axis Powers on Yugoslavia. This period was abounded in social and political contradictions, class and national struggles and inter-party debates about the system of government. Between two world wars the city of Belgrade was changing its outward appearance. The Turkish cobble pavement on the main city streets was replaced by asphalt; the electric grid was extended to new parts of the city; new bus services and tramlines were introduced. The inflow of domestic and foreign capital brought about rapid development of large and modern companies, industries, trades and banks. Multi-nationality and plurality of confessions of the new, enlarged state gave rise to a very intense development of literary and artistic life and its exceptional richness. The country’s overall politics was conducted from the capital. During this period, too, as in the past, Belgrade made its full contribution to historical developments of importance not only for the city itself. It has never served only as a scene for events, as an accidental arena, but as their prime mover and inspiration.

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