Pašić, Nikola

Pašić or Pashitch, Nikola both: nēˈkôlä päˈshĭch [key], 1845?–1926, Serbian statesman. After studying engineering, he became interested in politics and was elected (1878) to the Serbian parliament. In 1881 he founded the Radical party, which he led for the rest of his life. An opponent of the government of King Milan, he lived in exile from 1883 to 1889. After his return, he was (1891–92) premier of Serbia for the first of many times. Exiled (1899) by King Alexander, he returned to power after the accession (1903) of Peter I and virtually controlled Serbia in the years preceding World War I. Strongly pro-Russian and advocating the creation of a greater Serbia, he adopted a violently anti-Austrian policy after the annexation by Austria of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Austrian government accused him (1914), with cause, of having possessed knowledge of the plot against Archduke Francis Ferdinand, whose assassination precipitated World War I. Pašić led Serbia throughout the war and in 1917 negotiated the union of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (see Yugoslavia). He was an important figure at the Paris Peace Conference and was premier of Yugoslavia for most of the time from 1921 until his death. Favoring a greater Serbia in which Serbia would control the other sections through a centralized administration, he met bitter opposition from Stjepan Radić in Croatia. Pašić and his party grew increasingly conservative in the latter part of his career.

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