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Osijek after World War I

After dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Empire Osijek found itself at a disadvantage due to the new narrowed borders within the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and later Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Due to the unfavorable tax and customs policy, economic strength of Osijek weakens, as well as leading role in river transport on the Drava. Development of the city has since lagged, but still managed to retain position of the second largest industrial center of the Croatia. During this period, significant works realized were electrification of the city and the introduction of electric trams in 1926.

The collapse of Yugoslavia in 1941 and the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatian and World War II brought population of Osijek fear and uncertainty of life. City will go through tough time, enduring hardships, conflicts and sufferings for entire war period and internal fighting that defeated Nazi Ustasha rule. The city came out of the war badly damaged, especially the Lower Town after the Allies bombing of June 14th, 1944.

In the post-war period from 1945 to 1990 Osijek has to live in political, economic, cultural and social atmosphere newly established Yugoslav state guided by the ideology of the Communist Party has established. This means further stagnation, or rather lagging, behind other Croatian cities such as Split or Rijeka on the Adriatic coast. But, the industry was still going well and Osijek kept its high place, but slipped to third or fourth place by the late eighties.

Since the beginning of the Patriotic War the city entered a new political climate of the democratic system of the sovereign Republic of Croatia. Badly damaged during the aggression lead by Serb-dominated Yugoslav army from 1991 to 1995, lengthy process of rebuilding the city has begun. Osijek is now on the way of starting a new stage in its life and role. In this regard, in its future significant role plays building of international highway infrastructure, so-called "Corridor Vc" to the Adriatic, across Bosnia, and to the north of central Europe.

In the meantime, Osijek meets high rate of unemployment, which drove many young people in the city and its surroundings to seek employment in Germany, Ireland and other countries in the EU and the world. Most of them will likely return, but loss of its inhabitants is evident. This loss is somewhat offset by immigration from other parts of Slavonia and Bosnia and Herzegovinia, and J.J.Strossmayer university has significant role in attracting young people to come to Osijek and seek (scarce) employment oppurtunities here.