The capital


After WWI ended in 1918, Belgrade became the capital of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The beginnings of the new state were difficult and painful: political conflicts and misunderstandings, mutual distrust, religious differences, different traditions, religion and beliefs marked its development. The newly founded state did not immediately resolve the fundamental issues of its structure and backwardness. The oncoming years were marked by poverty, unemployment, inflation, slow economic development, unresolved national issue. The modernization of society was an unavoidable aspect of the era, whether voluntary or forced, planned or elementary, and it was positioned as a multi-dimensional process, full of great changes.

Despite the economic and political crisis, Belgrade encompassed the spirit of the “new times” during the twenties. Cultural, social and sports events abounded in the capital. France was the role model in all fields of creativity and social life. Artists from all of the Yugoslav territories started flocking to Belgrade. The town began to look like an international metropolis and in its own fashion, its architecture interpreted the contemporary ideas of academism, national style and modernism. Russian immigrants left their special mark on Belgrade life between the two wars, especially on its culture, science, architecture, opera, ballet, theater, fashion.

In the thirties, Belgrade managed to get closer to Europe in the civilization and cultural sense. However, the “golden ear of the thirties” was drawing to a close. Twilight was descending upon Europe, which soon covered Yugoslavia as well. When demonstrations broke out on March 27, 1941 against Yugoslavia’s signing the axis Tripartite Pact, it was clear to everyone that the consequence of this act would be war. Insubordination was clearly demonstrated once again, for which soon a heavy price was to be paid.

In the second conflict of worldwide proportions, Belgrade suffered more severe damages than those from World War I. On April 6th 1941 Belgrade was bombed, and the brutal repercussions and mass deaths by firing squads of the civilians and hostages started off immediately after the occupying army appeared in the city on April 12, 1941.


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