ESSAYS AND STUDIES
POLITICAL THOUGHT AND ACTIVITY OF DRAGOLJUB JOVANOVIĆ IN THE KINGDOM OF SCS/ YUGOSLAVIA
Dragoljub Jovanović is in many ways a unique person in the turbulent political history of the first and second Yugoslavia. There are few people in politics, such as Dragoljub Jovanović, who were ready to follow their beliefs, work hard on their achievement and make a sacrifice for that. In this paper, we strived to present his political activity in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia), and to present his ideological beliefs and the way in which he fought for them. D. Jovanovic fought against social inequality, cultural backwardness and primitivism, fascist ideas and nationalisms in a country that was designated by numerous crises, political and national conflicts, corruption, and dictatorship in one period, economic and other numerous problems. He was in constant opposition to all regimes, and he criticized the situation in the parliament, the work of political parties and their representatives, and the conduct of domestic and foreign policy. He advocated the reorganization of the country on a federalist basis and the rejection of centralism, which, according to him, would have been a solution to Serbo-Croatian relations and the Croatian issue. In foreign policy, he sought the establishment of diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia and an alliance with Bulgaria. After acquiring his doctorate at the Sorbonne, he returned to the country and became a professor at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade. However, politics was his passion much more than science and professorship. Shortly after returning from school, he founded the Group for Social and Cultural Action, where he tirelessly toured the country with his associates, met peasants, gave speeches and lectures, and published articles in numerous newspapers, some of which he himself initiated, in which he either criticized the government or drew attention to the problems in the country. By joining the Agrarian Party in 1927, he became directly involved in the political life of the country, continuing to fight in the same way. He openly criticized the dictatorship that King Alexander established in 1929. He was elected Member of Parliament in the 1935 elections, which did not diminish his readiness to defend his beliefs. He was repeatedly sued, convicted and imprisoned for his political activities. The starting point for everything he did was faith in democracy, socialism and the peasantry. He advocated a democratic republic, unification for the sake of creation, establishment of a balance between the village and the city, labor and capital, material and spiritual culture, but also the primacy of producers in social life. He believed that democracy could only be carried by socially conscious people. According to him, the realization of socialism was possible only through the development of democracy. However, in the country in which he lived, he believed that both were not possible without the actualization of the interests of the working people, the vast majority of whom were peasants. That is why D. Jovanović dedicated all his public work, political activism and intellectual abilities to the issues of the peasantry. Dragoljub Jovanović left behind thirty-five books and brochures and over four hundred articles and papers in dozens of magazines published in interwar Yugoslavia. Critics will certainly be able to find certain demagogic traits in his actions and attitudes, but that cannot weaken the impression of his democratic character and change the fact that he remained in principle true to his beliefs. Due to all the above-mentioned, the study of the personality and work of Dragoljub Jovanović represents an important source for understanding the political life of first Yugoslav state.