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Vjekoslav Hengl - urban policy and city government in Osijek, 1920-1934


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Lukić, Anamarija. (2016). Vjekoslav Hengl - urban policy and city government in Osijek, 1920-1934. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of History.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij moderne i suvremene hrvatske povijesti u europskom i svjetskom kontekstu) [mentor Banac, Ivo].

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This paper presents the research results of the urban policy in the city of Osijek in the period between two wars, and its leader, the Mayor Vjekoslav Hengl. As he was elected a Mayor in 1920, he designed a development program that would unite separated parts of the city and connect divided citizens into a whole, in the same time modernizing the communal infrastructure that should make the city more progressive and significant. His policy was approved by the citizen majority, but not by the state government, who neglected the parts of the country that came from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Introduction of this paper presents the city of Osijek between two wars, its material – architectural base and the way of its development in the past centuries, trying to explain the main failure of living and working in Osijek: the city was originally divided into separated, minor cities that grew and developed separately and have never been properly connected. The same chapter also presents the live base of the city – its citizens, their ethnic and confessional diversities, their cosmopolitan attitude, their economical power and the possibilities of the social and cultural life in the city. This chapter also explains the geographical and political position of the city of Osijek in the new state, The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, comparing it to some other Pannonian cities of the country that were similar in their population, economy and political significance. The Introduction also gives a note about earlier studies of the city of Osijek in the period between two wars, and explains the originality of this paper. The archive sources used for this paper are enumerated and presented as well as the newspapers that were used as the parallel sources. The Introduction ends setting the topic that is to be elaborated in the paper. The second chapter, Osijek city government 1920 – 1923, introduces a reader into the local government system. Then it explains the actual political circumstances, informs about dominant political parties, their goals and the ways they acted – the new political scene created as the new state was founded. The denial of the right to vote and other ways of a political hypocrisy manifested by the ruling circles close to the royal family are exposed as they manifested in Osijek, at the local (1920) as well as the parliamentary elections (1920). The other part of the first chapter tells about establishing the city government, firming Vjekoslav Hengl at the Mayor position, and about his plan to modernize municipal infrastructure of Osijek. It is also described and explained how that plan failed at the very beginning when confronting the state government and how it was still carried out after many efforts of the city government and especially the Mayor himself. The third chapter, Osijek city government 1923 – 1926, describes and explains the implementation of the development plan, removing the barriers of the city walls and traffic connecting by building and introducing electric tramway as well as the electrification of the whole city. There were many difficulties, as to provide financing, to protect the project from the mighty industrialists associated to the people in the highest office of state power, and to finish the project before the expiry of the mandate in 1926. The city government managed to do all of that, but at that point the state government decided to dissolve Osijek city government and to rule it by its own deputy. The fourth chapter, The governorship and the comeback of the Mayor (1926 – 1928), describes the period of the deputy, sent from Belgrade, who ruled the city of Osijek by himself only, non-transparently and by his own will, and explains how he managed to do so. It also tells about the struggle of the ex-Mayor, and the other structures of the city to end such an non-legal situation in order to protect the city finances. This chapter brings to the light how little the state government cared for the prosperity of its citizens and how the rule of law did not work, since the governorship was unlawful. The city government managed to re-establish only when some crucial changes in the state government happened. The fifth chapter, The city government in the period of The Six of January Dictatorship and Great Depression, describes and explains many changes which have adversely affected the economy of the city and inhibited its further development. The Six of January Dictatorship transformed the in-state administrative division and so reduced administrative importance of the city of Osijek. The city government tried to compensate it paying more attention to city industry, but then the Great Depression obstructed their plan. A new task increased, to feed unemployed workers and their families, so the city government sought to include as many as possible citizens into an ad hoc help organization. In this actual mandate, the city government finally found a way to continue the city-development plan by building an aqueduct just before the economic crisis occurred, but the state government did not let it happen. Instead of it, little by little, the state government replaced elected city councilors by new ones, more suitable to the new state regime. In such circumstances the Mayor Vjekoslav Hengl, after some serious illness, resigned. The sixth chapter, Conclusion, enumerates and valorizes all the achievements of the Osijek city government led by the Mayor Hengl, also considering the pressure of the Belgrade dominance. Hengl's leadership was the indicator how the central authorities suppressed the local self-government, but also showed the ways of dedicated local policy that ends with remarkable results.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Osijek, Kraljevina SHS/ Jugoslavija, Vjekoslav Hengl, gradsko zastupstvo, komunalna politika, elektrifikacija, električni tramvaj.
Subjects: History
Departments: Department of History
Supervisor: Banac, Ivo
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij moderne i suvremene hrvatske povijesti u europskom i svjetskom kontekstu
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 08:18
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 08:48

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