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1946: Borders

Tito visiting Montenegro in 1946
Tito visiting Montenegro in 1946

"On past form the Montenegrins could be counted on to be territorially acquisitive," writes Roberts about the post Second World War situation, "and the new leadership soon showed themselves just as ready as the country's traditional rulers to press the case for more land." In this extract she describes how Montenegro came to gain its borders, which since June 2006 have become the frontiers of an independent country.

As early as January 1944 Montenegro was asserting the right to add the Sandžak - hitherto treated by the Communists as a separate unit – to the embryonic Montenegrin federal unit, a move denounced and described as 'premature' by the Central Committee of the KPJ [Communist Party of Yugoslavia]. But by the following March its robust attitude to the acquisition of territory had been successful in ensuring the return to Montenegro of that part of the Sandžak – Pljevlja and Bijelo Polje – which it had originally acquired after the First Balkan War. In addition Montenegro had secured possession of the invaluable Gulf of Kotor, together with the adjacent Sutorina peninsula (the latter also claimed by Bosnia-Hercegovina), an area it had long coveted and one where Orthodox Serbs outnumbered Catholics by almost two to one. Favourable as they were, these adjustments by no means exhausted the territorial ambitions of the Montenegrin leadership, who continued to press for the Dalmatian city of Dubrovnik, as well as Hercegovina and Metohija (the western half of Kosovo). All these claims were turned down when the borders of the Republics were fixed by the 1946 constitution.

[pp: 396-397]

Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro. 2007. [C.Hurst & Co]

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