FRANCE AND THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT’S YUGOSLAV PROJECT
The French government and statesmen had never considered the creation of a unified South-Slav state as an objective of the Great War. Officially acquainted with the project through the Niš Declaration in December 1914, they remained silent on the issue, as it involved both the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy and, following the Treaty of London in May 1915, an open conflict with Italy. In neither case, then, did French diplomacy deem it useful to trigger such a shift in the balance of power in Europe just to grant the wishes of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Naturally, in the spring of 1918 the dismantlement of Austria-Hungary was envisaged, but with the view to weakening the adversary camp, while the destiny of the Yugoslav provinces remained undecided. Moreover, war imperatives required extreme caution in relation to Italian intransigency. The Italian veto weighed heavily on French politics, to the extent that even the actual realization of the Yugoslav project, proclamation of a unified state on 1 December 1918 in Belgrade, took place without a consent or implicit support on the part of the French government.