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The gradual erosion of allegiance to the Monarchy in Croatia-Slavonia at the beginning of 20th century was a long and protracted process that saw the abandonment of the concept of Croatian state right for the principle of ethno-national self-determination. But the main objective of all variants of Croatian nationalism remained the reform of the constitutional arrangements in Austria-Hungary until almost the very end of its existence. It was only with the realisation that the Monarchy would cease to exist that the decision to accept unification with Serbia became an acceptable option.
The subject of Fernando Veliz’ study is the fundamental alteration of state allegiance, political claims and their respective legitimating arguments by political elites in Croatia-Slavonia during the last fifteen years of the Habsburg Monarchy. The argument has been developed by following a chronological narrative that incorporates a comparative analysis of the main political parties and actors in the Croatian parliament in Zagreb between 1903 and 1918. The analytical approach moves beyond the main paradigmatic debates of the literature of nationalism studies by conducting a theoretically informed historical analysis that seeks to contextualise local events within the wider framework of the changing international order. From a historiographical point of view, the emphasis on the lack of inevitability of outcomes makes this study sit uncomfortably with the grand narratives that have emerged about the creation of the first Yugoslavia, be it those who see it as inevitable and those who see it as inherently bound to fail from the outset.