The Constitution of Ujedinjenje ili Smrt (Unification or Death) (1911)
Updated: Apr 8
Article 1. For the purpose of realising the national ideals - the Unification of Serbdom - an organization is hereby created, whose members may be any Serbian irrespective of sex, religion, place or birth, as well as anybody else who will sincerely serve this idea.
Article 2. The organisation gives priority to the revolutionary struggle rather than relies on cultural striving, therefore its institution is an absolutely secret one for wider circles.
Article 3. The organization bears the name: "Ujedinjenje ili Smrt". *
Article 4. In order to carry into effect its task the organization will do the following things:
(1) Following the character of its raison d'etre it will exercise its influence over all the official factors in Serbia - which is the Piedmont of Serbdom - as also over all the strata of the State and over the entire social life in it:
(2) It will carry out a revolutionary organisation in all the territories where Serbians are living:
(3) Beyond the frontiers, it will fight with all means against all enemies of this idea:
(4) It will maintain friendly relations with all the States, nations, organisations, and individual persons who sympathise with Serbia and the Serbian race:
(5) It will give every assistance to those nations and organisations who are fighting for their own national liberation and unification.
II. Official Departments of the Organisation
Article 5. The supreme authority is vested in the Supreme Central Directorate with its headquarters at Belgrade. Its duty will be to see that the resolutions are carried into effect.
Article 6. The number of members of the Supreme Central Directorate is unlimited - but in principle it should be kept as low as possible.
Article 7. The Supreme Central Directorate shall include, in addition to the members from the Kingdom of Serbia, one accredited delegate from each of the organisations of all the Serbian regions: (1) Bosnia and Herzegovina, (2) Montenegro, (3) Old Serbia and Macedonia, (4) Croatia, Slovenia and Symria (Srem), (5) Voyvodina, (6) Sea-coasts.
Article 8. It will be the task of the Supreme Central Directorate to carry out the principles of the organisation within the territory of the Kingdom of Serbia.
Article 9. The duty of each individual Provincial Directorate will be to carry out the principles of the organisation within the respective territories of each Serbian region outside the frontiers of the Kingdom of Serbia. The Provincial Directorate will be the supreme authority of the organisation within its own territory.
Article 10. The subdivisions of the organisation into District Directorates and other units of authority shall be established by the By-Laws of the organisation which shall be laid down, and if need be, from time to time amended and amplified by the Supreme Central Directorate.
Article 11. Each Directorate shall elect, from amongst its own members, its President, Secretary and Treasures.
Article 12. By virtue of the nature of his work, the Secretary may act as a Deputy President. In order that he may devote himself entirely to the work of the organisation, the Secretary s salary and expenses shall be provided by the Supreme Central Directorate.
Article 13. The positions of President and Treasurers shall be un- salaried.
Article 14. All official business questions of the organisation shall be decided in the sessions of the Supreme Central Directorate by a majority of votes.
Article 15. For the execution of such decisions of the organisation, the absolute executive power shall be vested in the President and the Secretary.
Article 16. In exceptional and less important cases the President and the Secretary shall make the decisions and secure their execution, but they shall report accordingly at the next following session of the Supreme Central Directorate.
Article 17. For the purpose of ensuring a more efficient discharge of business, the Supreme Central Directorate shall be divided into sections, according to the nature of the work.
Article 18. The Supreme Central Directorate shall maintain its relations with the Provincial Directorates through the accredited delegates of the said provincial organisations, it being understood that such delegates shall be at the same time members of the Supreme Central Directorate; in exceptional cases, however, these relations shall be maintained through special delegates.
Article 19. Provincial Directorates shall have freedom of action. Only in cases of the execution of broader revolutionary movements will they depend upon the approval of the Supreme Central Directorate.
Article 20. The Supreme Central Directorate shall regulate all the signs and watchwords, necessary for the maintenance of secrecy in the organisation.
Article 21. It shall be the Supreme Central Directorate s duty punctually and officially to keep all the members of the organisation well posted about all the more important questions relative to the organisation.
Article 22. The Supreme Central Directorate shall from time to time control and inspect the work of its own departments. Analogically, the other Directorates shall do likewise with their own departments.
III. The Members of the Organisation
Article 23. The following rule, as a principle, shall govern all the detailed transactions of the organisation: All communications and conversations to be conducted only through specially appointed and authorised persons.
Article 24. It shall be the duty of every member to recruit new members, but it shall be understood that every introducing member shall vouch with his own life for all those whom he introduces into the organisation.
Article 25. The members of the organisation as amongst themselves shall not be known to one another. Only the members of Directorates shall be known personally to one another.
Article 26. In the organisation the members shall be registered and known by their respective numbers. But the Supreme Central Directorate must know them also by their respective names.
Article 27. The members of the organisation must unconditionally obey all the commands given by their respective Directorates, as also all the Directorates must obey unconditionally the commands which they receive direct from their superior Directorate.
Article 28. Every member shall be obliged to impart officially to the organisation whatever comes to his knowledge, either in his private life or in the discharge of his official duties, in as far as it may be of interest to the organisation.
Article 29. The interest of the organisation shall stand above all other interests.
Article 30. On entering into the organisation, every member must know that by joining the organisation he loses his own personality; he must not expect any glory for himself, nor any personal benefit, material or moral. Consequently the member who should dare to try to exploit the organisation for his personal, or class, or party interests shall be punished by death.
Article 31. Whosoever has once entered into the organisation can never by any means leave it, nor shall anybody have the authority to accept the resignation of a member.
Article 32. Every member shall support the organisation by his weekly contributions. The organisations, however, shall have the authority to procure money, if need be, by coercion. The permission to resort to these means may be given only by Supreme Central Directorate within the country, or by the regional Directorates within their respective region.
Article 33. In administering capital punishment the sole responsibility of the Supreme Central Directorate shall be to see that such punishment is safely and unfailingly carried into effect without any regard for the ways and means to be employed in the execution.
IV. The Seal and the Oath of Allegiance
Article 34. The Organisation's official seal is thus composed: In the centre of the seal there is a powerful arm holding in its hand an unfurled flag on which - as a coat of arms - there is a skull with crossed bones; by the side of the flag, a knife, a bomb and a phial of poison. Around, in a circle, there is the following inscription, reading from left to right: "Unification or Death", and in the base: "The Supreme Central Directorate".
Article 35. On entering into the organisation the joining member must pronounce the following oath of allegiance:
"I (the Christian name and surname of the joining member), by entering into the organisation "Unification or Death", do hereby swear by the Sun which shineth upon me, by the Earth which feedeth me, by God, by the blood of my forefathers, by my honour and by my life, that from this moment onward and until my death, I shall faithfully serve the task of this organisation and that I shall at all times be prepared to bear for it any sacrifice. I further swear by God, by my honour and by my life, that I shall unconditionally carry into effect all its orders and commands. I further swear by my God, by my honour and by my life, that I shall keep within myself all the secrets of this organisation and carry them with me into my grave. May God and my comrades in this organisation be my judges if at any time I should wittingly fail or break this oath!"
V. Supplementary Orders
Article 36. The present Constitution shall come into force immediately.
Article 37. The present Constitution must not be altered.
Done at Belgrade this 9th day of May, 1911 A.D.
Major Ilija Radivojević Vice-Consul Bogdan Radenković
Colonel Čedomilj A. Popović
Lt.-Col. Velimir Vemić
Journalist Ljubomir S. Jovanović
Col. Dragutin T. Dimitrijević
Major Vojin P. Tankosić
Major Milan Vasić
Col. Milovan Gr. Milovanović *Tran. Note: popularly known as "Black Hand"