The period covered by this collection of British documents saw three phases of Yugoslavian history - from 1918 to 1941 as a monarchy, from 1941 to 1945 under German occupation and split into various ethnic states, and from 1945 until 1965 as a Communist republic. This publication consists of the various regular and occasional reports from the British representatives on the spot describing events as they happened, although it must be stressed that they were described as seen through British eyes. During the German occupation of Yugoslavia in the Second World War there were of course no British diplomats in Belgrade; consequently, the reviews emanate mostly from London, either in the shape of reports from diplomats accredited to the exiled Royal government or in the shape of consolidated intelligence and other reports produced by the Foreign Office Research Department (FORD) using information obtained from political, military, and secret sources; however, we are not including the Yugoslav sections of the Weekly Political Intelligence Summaries produced from October 1939 as these have already been published.
The beginning of this collection of periodic reports in 1918 is dictated by strict historical accuracy as it was on 1st December 1918 that the Prince Regent (of Serbia) issued an edict proclaiming the National and State union of the three races (of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) and appointed a Ministry representative of the three races. Thus all periodic and review despatches sent by the British minister in Belgrade after 1st December 1918 are included. However, the idea of Yugoslavia predates the actual declaration of union in 1918, and as an historical introduction we are reproducing the Foreign Office Peace Handbook of 1919 which describes the growth of the Yugoslav idea from its beginnings until December 1918. The year 1965 is an artificial time limit to this collection, dictated by the public accessibility of British Government official documents at the time of publication. It must be stressed that this publication comprises the political diaries of Yugoslavia as a whole rather than the diaries and records of the constituent parts. The only exception to this is for the period 1918-1920 in relation to Montenegro which was not fully recognised by the international community as a part of the new united state.