Uspjesi srpske vojske u balkanskim ratovima i postupci austrijskih predstavnika vlasti doveli su do jačanja protuaustrijskoga duha u Splitu. Zahvaljujući nekolicini tadašnjih projugoslavenski orijentiranih pisaca i političara nastala je više puta korištena fraza o Splitu kao „najjugoslavenskijem gradu.“ Nije, stoga, nikakvo iznenađenje što su stvaranjem prve jugoslavenske države očekivanja građana bila velika, napose što je gubitkom Zadra upravo Split postao političko i gospodarsko sjedište istoimene oblasti i Primorske banovine. Očekivalo se, naime, da će grad postati vodeća jugoslavenska pomorska luka te se snažnije infrastrukturno (u prvom redu željeznički) povezati s ostatkom zemlje.
Velika očekivanja nisu se ispunila. Uz nebrigu režima, sami razvoj grada dodatno su opterećivali lokalni sukobi i milijunski dugovi, nastali upravo vođenjem politike koja je očekivala veći razvoj grada. Budući da je zagovaranje komunalne, a ne stranačke politike u prvom planu s vremenom postalo sporedno, nastala je oštra politička suprotnost između predstavnika režimskih, projugoslavenskih predstavnika s jedne, opozicijske HSS s druge, a uvijek prisutnih i snažnih komunista s treće strane.Uz stranačke borbe, međuratno splitsko razdoblje obilježavaju veća izlaznost građana na pojedine izbore, napose u uzavreloj političkoj atmosferi, širenje utjecaja splitskoga (dnevnoga) tiska na politička zbivanja, sukobi unutar splitskog općinskog/gradskog vijeća te pojedine režimske ili opozicijske svečanosti koje bi svojim značajem skrenule pozornost čitave zemlje na Split, čiji su stanovnici vremenom sve više počeli prihvaćati HSS-ovu hrvatsku ideologiju. Prema tome, titula „najjugoslavenskijeg grada“, unatoč tvrdnjama pojedinih političara, ničim nije bila opravdana, a simboličke promjene naziva pojedinih društava iz „jugoslavenska“ u „hrvatska“, kao i prijelazi pojedinih političara s intagralno- jugoslavenskog na hrvatski program, tu tezu samo dodatno potvrđuju.
'The most Yugoslav town' was the title used by the proponents of 'integral' Yugoslavism to describe the city of Split. The title came into existence due to many events that occured before the World War I. Among them, the most prominent was the one with city's officials celebrating victories of the Serbian army in the Balkan Wars. As a consequence, Austrian regime dismissed Split Municipal Council. However, if we take a closer look at the situation in Dalmatia back then, we can clearly see that Split's enthusiasm for the Kingdom of Serbia was not different from the enthusiasm felty by other Dalmatian towns. Also, the city's 'anti-Austrian resistance“ occurred as a consequence of harsh politics of the Austria's representatives.
In the closing stages of the World War I, all main political parties and groups in Dalmatia were working together in the same anti-Austrian mode. Many pro-Yugoslav politicians later emphasized crucial role Split had in the key events that happened around the downfall of the Austrian-Hungarian state and the founding of the first state of Yugoslavia. However, if we take a closer look at the historical archives, we can clearly see that this was not the case.In the closing stages of the World War I, all main political parties and groups in Dalmatia were working together in the same anti-Austrian mode. Many pro-Yugoslav politicians later emphasized crucial role Split had in the key events that happened around the downfall of the Austrian-Hungarian state and the founding of the first state of Yugoslavia. However, if we take a closer look at the historical archives, we can clearly see that this was not the case.New political circumstances led to the end of former political cooperation of Dalmatian politicians. Consequently, during the 1920's, Split witnessed harsh political struggles and conflicts among different political parties which, according to their doctrine, could have been classified as being either pro-Croatian, pro-Yugoslav or pro-communist. Also, following the end of the World War I, all former parties, with the exception of the Communist Party, which was the successor party of the former Social Democratic Party, did not renew their activitities. Not all parties were based in Split; some were centred in Belgrade and Zagreb. Among the main parties during the 1920's, the most influental were the Democratic Party (DS, Demokratska stranka), the Independent Democratic Party (SDS, Samostalna demokratska stranka), People's Radical Party (NRS, Narodna radikalna stranka), aforementioned Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ, Komunistička partija Jugoslavije) and Croatian Peasant Party (HSS, Hrvatska seljačka stranka). All the aforementioned party, and some others, sometimes did cooperate in different constitutional, parliamentary, municipal and local elections. Moreover, cooperative relations sometimes even lasted after the elections.
From the first elections in 1920, regime parties were not satisfied. Croatian Peasant Party's highest score in the municipal county elections in 1928 symbolically represented victory for the Croatian ideology in the town. Although Ivo Tartaglia was not an extreme supporter of the Yugoslav ideology, he did in a way represent a pro-Yugoslav oriented policy in Split. However, the outcome of these elections clearly showed that the reputation of Split as 'the most Yugoslav town' was greatly exaggerated.Alongside political struggles, the 1920's were also characterised by conflicts between members of the Split Municipal Council, which grew in severity after county elections in 1926. The 1926 elections marked entrance of the aforementioned political parties, which replaced prewar pro-Serbian/anti-Austrian members elected in 1913. However, due to the regime's decision to end mandates of ten communist members, Split Municipal Council was incomplete. During this period, the influence of the press on politics grew, regardless of whether newspapers were formally 'independent' or they were associated witih certain political parties. Among Split's newspapers, Novo doba (The New Age), the main daily newspaper in the 1918 – 1941 period, was the most important.After the King Alexander's introduction of the personal dictatorship in 1929, Split, as a centre of the newly created Littoral Banovina (Primorska banovina), has officialy became one of the most important cities in the state. King's supporters claimed that this was a clear sign that the city itself will soon make a improvement. They insisted that due to the destructive work of the now forbidden political parties the city had not made any progress. One of the main goals for the regime's local representetives was to show that Split itself is a truly Yugoslav town. This was to be achieved by numerous planned propaganda acticivities, with some of them trying to relate current Yugoslav ideology to earlier Croatian Medieval and 19th-century history. However, numerous events clearly showed that the new King's policy advocating for integral Yugoslavism did not have any major success in Split. For example, less than 50% citizens used their right to vote in the 1931 parliamentary elections and Croatia-oriented politicians refused to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the victory of the National party at Split commmunity elections in 1882. The culmination of a prosecution of local communists and members of the HSS came after King's assassination.Among other things that occurred in this period, one of the most important was the introduction of the 1934 legislation that dictated the operation of the municipal government. Mayors and members of the council were not appointed by free elections, but by the decision made by the central authorities. At the same time, there were ongoing discussions on who was to be blamed for the fact that the city's debt was more than 50 million dinar. Local newspapers, with some changes, continued publishing, though they faced rigid censorship.
Yugoslavian parliamentary elections held in 1935 and 1938 clearly showed that the influence the regime had in Split was minor. In 1935 Croatian Peasanat Party won two thirds of the votes, and in 1938 it won 4/5 of all possible votes. It is important to put this in context: 1938 saw the highest percentage of voters. Also, many other regime's attempts which would characterise Split as 'the most Yugoslav town', such as erecting a statue to the late King Alexander I Karađorđević, failed. During the 1930s, Yugoslav supporters were gathered around Yugoslav National Party (Jugoslavenska nacionalna stranka, JNS) and Yugoslav Radical Union (Jugosalvenska radikalna zajednica, JRZ). However, Split's Yugoslav supporters were divided into several groups. Croatian Peasant Party, on the other hand, was supported by the main local newspapers. Also, Party's success was further emphasised by various celebrations, such as the 100th anniversary of the Croatian national anthem or yearly celebration of Maček's birthday. Croatian Peasant Party's success, beyond question, owed a lot to Littoral Banovina's ban Josip Jablanović, who, thinking that Party's movement would eventually collapse by itself, did not distrupt any of the Party's activities. Still, just like its political opponents, CPP was also faced with some internal conflicts and with an intense relationship with its ally, Indenpendent Democratic Party.
After Banovina of Croatia was created there were some notable changes. The City has lost title as a center of the Littoral Banovina, but on the other hand has became center of the Department of the Banal Government in Split, whose autonomy was often crashed by the Banal Government in Zagreb. After years of struggle under earlier regime, CCP was now persecuting its Yugoslav oriented political opponents, which became more passive. As a conclusion, Split as a Yugoslav town was not mentioned anymore. CCP's decisive role in this period was marked by total control of the city council. However, Party's reputation was seriously wounded by new internal conflicts and more active role played by the Croatian nationalist and now strong communist. Rise of the former was helped by the unfavorable situation inside the Split's police.
Alongside political struggle, the period between First and Second World War was also marked by several key economic, cultural and local questions that posed an obstacle to the developement of the town. Namely, there were seven questions: Solin and Vranjic's attempt to separate from the Split's community; relations between the town of Split and Association of Cement 'Split'; constructions of the Una railway and the new citiy harbour; establishment of the citiy's teather; residential crisis and relations between Croatian population and the Italian minority in the town. The construction of the Una railway was perheaps the most important. The regime delayed construction several times and that infromation clearly shows that chief politicians in the first Yugoslav state did not share enthusiasms about Split becoming the main harbour. All opposition politicians and parties used that infromation to attack regime parties and supporters. Sometimes it could be observed that harmony did not always exist among local politicians when dealing with this key questions.
The 1918 – 1941 period clearly shows that Split's reputation as a „most Yugoslav town“ was exaggerated. In other words: if such title had been justified, then all regime and Yugoslav parties in the 1920's and 1930's elections would surely have won more than maximum 30% of the votes. Also, support for CPP would not have been that strong, and all the propaganda attempts, such as the failure to erect the statute honouring King Alexander would not have happened.
To conclude, political history of the town of Split between First and Second World War was marked by harsh political fights, interparty conflicts and increase in political participation. It was also marked by the developement of the town of Split, which, despite its higher expectations, had a more important role in the Kingodom of SHS/Yugoslavia than it did in Austria-Hungary. Based on the result of the elections and mass gatherings, it can be concluded that citizens of Split mostly accepted CPP's Croatian ideology.