Croatia, World War One and The Relentless Terror Of Greater Serbia Pursuits

 

Postcard_for_the_assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_in_Sarajevo

One hundred years ago today, a calamitous event occurred that would lead Croatia into decades of dark existence under a Serb-led oppressive dictatorship and then Serb-led communist persecution and denial of Croatian national pride under communist Yugoslavia.

On June 28, 1914 a Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, who was an operative of the Greater-Serbia fanned “Black Hand” terrorist organisation, assassinated the heir to the throne of Austro-Hungarian Empire Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie as they visited the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This assassination was the point in history that whirled into reality World War One, which claimed the lives of over 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians around the globe.

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife 1914

So, with the two close-range bullets from Princip’s handgun a calamitous and lethal conflict was unleashed that, more than any other series of events, has shaped the world ever since It toppled empires, coaxed the U.S. from its isolation and sowed the seeds of the next even bloodier war, genocide and the Cold War partition of Europe and, as far as Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are concerned – it built the foundations of the stage for the 1990’s brutal war of Serb and Serb-led Yugoslav army aggression and genocide. Had it not been for WWI communism would most likely not have taken hold in Russia and then across Eastern and South Eastern Europe, where Croatia sits.

WW I destroyed four empires—the Austro-Hungarian (to which Croatia belonged), Ottoman, Russian and German—and a new world map was redrawn. It led to Nazi promises to restore Germany to greatness, planting the seeds for World War II. It led to the Russian Revolution but also the Allied forces propped Serb-led creation of the oppressive Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes despite the fact that the Croatian parliament never ratified such a union, leaving the platform for a later onslaught by the communist Yugoslavia forces that would in just over forty years on be quashed during 1990’s in the brutal war of Serb aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the immediate aftermath of WWI the Allied forces rushed in to declare that Germany, and especially its leaders, had been responsible for the war; the Austrians too, as accomplices, in lesser degree. The Treaty of Versailles made this official, as the victorious powers there spoke of a “war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.” This was the notorious guilt clause used to justify severe “reparation” payments stretching far into the future.

While the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was declared in Serbia, Belgrade, on 1 December 1918, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, saw to the legitimisation of Serbia’s land-grab form Croats and Slovenes.

In 1914, the Serbian government stated that, “the struggle for the liberation and unification of all our captive brethren Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes” (Nis Declaration December 7, 1914) would be one of its chief war aims. This marked an important first step on the Greater-Serbia road towards creating a Yugoslavia in which Serbs would lead and reign superior. The Corfu Declaration of July 20, 1917 outlined the basic structure of the future Yugoslav kingdom/state. Both the Serbian government, under the premiership of Nikola Pasic, and the so-called Yugoslav Committee – which operated from London and was founded in London – under their chairman, a Yugoslav nationalist in self-imposed exile of Croatian extraction Ante Trumbic, agreed to the creation of the parliamentary monarchy under the Serb Karadjordjevic dynasty.

There was a major problem with the Corfu Declaration – it was based on the lie that the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes were one people with one common goal. Which certainly was not true!

To help prop-up this Declaration came President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech on January 8, 1918. President Wilson’s speech, points ten and eleven in particular, speak of Serbia’s high international prestige and its good standing among the Allies. Well, Serbia’s Gavrilo Princip fired that fatal shot on 28 June 1914, giving the Allies an easy excuse to enter into war and to redraw the map of Europe and reward Serbia’s Karadjordjevic with the land King Alexander (married to King George VI’s cousin) had been asking for under the guise of “unification and fight against oppression of the Austro-Hungarian Empire”!

Croatia and Slovenia thus found themselves in a situation where others – the Allies – largely dictated what was to become of them! Vast amounts of Croatian and Slovenian lands were also promised to Italy; pressure to join the Serb-led Kingdom mounted; bypassing the Croatian Parliament, the Croatian National Council was formed and it, not the parliament or the people, was the body that agreed to join in the union with Serbs! By December 1, 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed, with Prince Regent Aleksandar Karadjordjevic named as its sovereign.

Many international leaders condemned the Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Some Serb officials said they cannot take part in this year’s World War I commemorations at Sarajevo’s city hall, for example, because it bears a plaque blaming “Serb criminals” for setting it afire in 1992. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said recently he wouldn’t attend the Sarajevo WWI commemoration because he cannot go where his people are being accused.

 

Serbs are instead erecting monuments to Gavrilo Princip in a Serb enclave in East Sarajevo and in his hometown of Obljaj, where his birthplace is being renovated.

The Serbian Orthodox church meanwhile has proclaimed the assassin Princip a national hero. “Gavrilo Princip was just defending his freedom and his people,” a leading cleric, Metropolitan Amfilohije, said recently. “In Serbia, there is still the old narrative from the former Yugoslavia, which says that the first world war happened because there was this great hero called Gavrilo Princip,”…

The hypocrisy of this never ceases to stun: Serbs fought brutally against the plight of Croatian people for freedom from Serb-led Yugoslavia in 1990’s!

Whatever the Serbian Orthodox church or Serbia’s political leaders of today may wish to tell the world regarding WWI an indisputable truth remains: Gavrilo Princip and his associates were encouraged and trained in the ultra-nationalistic atmosphere of Belgrade (Serbia) amid the heady expansionism of a Serb program that targeted Archduke Franz Ferdinand precisely because he had plans for reaching a compromise in the South Slav area. Greater-Serbia politics were not having any of that – it had its sights set on grabbing other nations’ lands for itself!

Robin_Harris_screenAnd as Robin Harris, former advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, wrote in his recent article “ Sarajevo: Where the century of terror began” –  “Most importantly, the whole Serbian state apparatus, within which — then and since — one must include prominent intellectuals and key elements in the Serbian Orthodox Church, was fully behind the broader strategy of ‘liberating’ the South Slavs to include them within what amounted to a Greater Serbia (by whatever name). In that regard, the Austrian authorities were fully justified in blaming Serbia.

Viewed from the angle of Belgrade — rather than perspectives more familiar in London, Paris, or even Berlin — the conflict that began in 1914 was a Third Balkan War. The First Balkan War (1912) against the Ottoman Empire saw Serbia gain control of Kosovo, while the Second (1913) against Bulgaria saw it gain much of Macedonia. These two wars left the Serbs as the most powerful Balkan state. They also fed the violent, aggressive aspects of a deep-rooted and enduring Greater Serbian ideology. Belgrade began to feel strong enough, with Russian support, to take on its larger Austrian neighbour. And, especially since the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, Serbian state policy regarded Vienna as the principal obstacle to its ambitions…”

Forward this “tape” of the Greater Serbia trend, pursuits and undercurrents that are designed to bastardise Sarajevo’s official commemoration today of 100 years since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, at which ceremony the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will set the mood of remembrance. Bosnian Serbs are boycotting the central Centenary ceremonies and have organised their own ceremony, which competes with the central Centenary commemoration, in which they raised yesterday a monument to Gavrilo Princip as hero! The message I see in this is that Serbs never have and never will want to live in unity and on par with Croats and Bosniaks – they simply keep on with their Greater Serbia agenda, in blind and brutal denial of the crimes employed to achieve it. It was like that at and ever since WWI – the “dream” they say Gavrilo Princip had for freedom whilst pulling the trigger that killed Archduke Ferdinand one hundred years ago today, was nothing but a well organised ploy that left nothing to chance – for there were several Serbian nationals armed with guns and bombs along the route Ferdinand was taking in Sarajevo on that fateful day – to create a yet another opportunity for Greater Serbia expansion. In the light of the bloodshed that flowed through 1990’s Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the bloodshed that culprit Serbs blame on everyone else but themselves, today’s Bosnian Serb monument in Sarajevo to Gavrilo Princip is and should be evidence enough for those who are inclined to agree with Serbs that Princip was a hero to reexamine their conscience and conclude: Serbia may have been on the side of WWI victors but its part was in no way altruistic (as it tries to promote) – it was all about securing a long-lasting Serb control over the territory that Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina once were. So, beware of calamitous treachery you who listen “unawares” and with inklings of credence to the echoes of Greater Serbia dream from within the Gavrilo Princip statue in the Serbian Republic, created through 1990’s genocide and terror with eerie similarity to Princip’s modus operandi. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. interesting photos… This excerpt caught my eye…. And as Robin Harris, former advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, wrote in his recent article “ Sarajevo: Where the century of terror began”: “Most importantly, the whole Serbian state apparatus, within which — then and since — one must include prominent intellectuals and key elements in the Serbian Orthodox Church, was fully behind the broader strategy of ‘liberating’ the South Slavs to include them within what amounted to a Greater Serbia (by whatever name). In that regard, the Austrian authorities were fully justified in blaming Serbia.

    Viewed from the angle of Belgrade — rather than perspectives more familiar in London, Paris, or even Berlin — the conflict that began in 1914 was a Third Balkan War. The First Balkan War (1912) against the Ottoman Empire saw Serbia gain control of Kosovo, while the Second (1913) against Bulgaria saw it gain much of Macedonia. These two wars left the Serbs as the most powerful Balkan state. They also fed the violent, aggressive aspects of a deep-rooted and enduring Greater Serbian ideology. Belgrade began to feel strong enough, with Russian support, to take on its larger Austrian neighbour. And, especially since the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, Serbian state policy regarded Vienna as the principal obstacle to its ambitions…

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  2. Was it better under Austria-Hungary?

    Thinking on various arguments- I have heard that had the United Kingdom timeously issued a strong ultimatum, Austria might have backed down, but cannot argue these things- and the damage which as you say comes from the war guilt clause, I consider all accusations of guilt will prolong conflict, and only confessions of guilt will do good. Germany finished paying reparations in 2010.

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    • Given the circumstances of “imperial rulers” of the days – not different to those in the British empire elsewhere in the world – Clare – a rough answer to your question is: Yes. Yes it was better under Austro-Hungarian empire than under the Serb-led Kingdom of Yugoslavia or communist Yugoslavia. This “better” of course is here measured by the instances of recognising and acknowledging Croatian identity and supporting to varying degrees the moves made by Croats to assert self-determination. For instance, in 1848, Hungary challenged Austria during the revolution that was sweeping across Europe. Croatians, who feared another wave of domination from Hungary and who had hoped for unification of all historically Croat lands (The Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia), sided with Austria and began to call for self-determination. Austria yielded to Croatian pressure and raised Josip Jelacic to the position of Ban (viceroy) of Croatia. Jelacic immediately convened the Croatian Sabor to consolidate his support. He suspended relations with Hungary and declared war, but his Austrian allies reasserted their authority over Croatia after defeating the Hungarians with Jelacic’s help. Austria ended absolute rule over Croatia in 1860, and in 1866 the Austro-Hungarian empire was near collapse. In order to save it, Emperor Franz Joseph united Austria and Hungary in a dual monarchy. In a Sabor dominated by pro-Hungarian officials, a compromise on Croatia was reached that acknowledged the country as a distinct political entity within the empire. Croatia increased its autonomy within the empire and in 1868 established a political/cultural base in Zagreb.

      I agree with you that only confessions of guilt will do good but it is more likely than not that it has become “easier” to point all of the guilt to where all of the guilt does not belong.

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      • Was it better? Well not sure about that, then why did many Croatian soldiers flee and joined the Serbian forces during WW1?
        My greatgrandfather was an AH officer in WW1, later he joined the Royal Yugoslav Army!
        Thanks to Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slovenia weren’t divided like Hungary was…. learn some History

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      • Perhaps you could let us know where we can find the reference to the Croats joining the Serbian army in WWI, Zvonimir – Royal Yugoslav Army was created after WWI and there was no AH army any more just as the Royal Yugoslav Army was disbanded in face of WWII and crumbling of the Yugoslav Kingdom and the men had to join other armies established…Why would Croatia be divided or Slovenia…perhaps Serbia didn’t need to attempt that since it got the kingdom.. I suggest you freshen up on your history for everything I write that relates to facts can easily be sourced whereas your writing is that of a nut

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    • Unimatrix says:

      The answer to your question is affirmative. I think it’s easy nowadays to find statistical data for the given periods or just see the photos of Croatian (especially continental) towns, their architecture etc., and you will see that they show a substantional economic flourish and they do not differ from other central European towns of the time. Furthermore, we (in Croatia) still use the lighthouses built at the time of Austrian Empire. It was not perfect as it never is, but at least there were no (mass) murders and oppressions as in the 2 Yugoslavias. The saddest fact is that even many Croats would ask the same question as you. It’s all due to our school system which is still using the same narrative while teaching history where Austrian period is shown as inimical and backwarded which is a complete nonsense. On the other hand, Yugoslav period is pictured as progressive and positive in many aspects. What’s more the policy of the western powers, especially British, still do their best to create another Yugoslavia, now under a less ominous name so-called “region”. I’m not exaggerating because I watch “Croatian” TV every day and the word “region” is used every 15-20 minutes irrespective of the content of the shows, news, report etc. We know very well what’s going on in Serba, but no news from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, EU in general. The present Croatian gvt. and the president himself, traditionally and by family ties, belong to that Yugoslav milieu and they are making every effort possible to push Croatia back into that unnatural and constrained frame, now called the region. To sum up, Austrian Empire had more good than bad sides, it was a more advanced culture while the union with the Serbs brought misery and retardation in every respect. Croatia was occupied by a peasant backwarded balkanoids.

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  3. The Serbian Orthodox church proves to me, once again, that they are as batshit insane as the Islamists. Oh if only they would just self-destruct and finally leave people to live normal lives, away from their hateful propaganda. Nothing new, nothing surprising – another day of delusion and denial in Serbia. It’s their national sport.

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    • Nothing new, nothing surprising and to put a stamp on this raging insanity, Kat, the Bosnian Serbs are on this Centenary are with the blessing and presence of Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic re-enacting the murder of Ferdinand and Princip’s trial in the eastern Drina river town of Visegrad, seared into the world’s memory for the waves of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serbs early in the 1992-95 war. Absolutely repugnant!

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  4. Excellent post.

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  5. Postman says:

    This is where the Serbs are today celebrating the Centenary of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by none other than one of their own ancestors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi%C5%A1egrad_massacres

    Enough said!

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  6. NikolaR says:

    Ina, you should know that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was just a tiny spark that started the flame of WWI.
    Germany and Austro-Hungary were already planning an invasion, they just needed a reason. And, Black Hand wasn’t a terrorist group…

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    • NikolaR – it’s a known fact that the A-H empire was ripping at the seams at the time and contemplating giving more autonomy etc to territories such as Croat, and it’s known that the “Aliied” countries were waiting for a reason to commence redrawing the map of Europe.

      As to Black Hand – in my book and in the book of most if members operating under the name of an organisation commit terrorist acts then it is a terrorist organisation

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  7. Amongst the many aspects of this which are disturbing, this is one of the most disturbing ‘Serbs are instead erecting monuments to Gavrilo Princip in a Serb enclave in East Sarajevo and in his hometown of Obljaj, where his birthplace is being renovated.”

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    • Yes I agree Gallivanta, very disturbing as was the re-enactment of the shooting in the place where Serbs committed massacres against Muslims in 1990’s. One cannot say it’s bad taste – it’s provocation and utter depravity

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  8. The Austrian Empire played a big roll in the 19 century in Europe .When l used to live in Vienna l visited Hungary ,amazing country.Great post.Regards.JMS

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    • Thanks, Jalal – Vienna is a place where I too could live – simply lovely 🙂

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      • Danis paviso says:

        The reality is that Serbs under Vozd Karadjordje Petrovic liberated the Balkans from Otman Turkey… DELETED due to lack of factual corroboration and insulting innuendo

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      • Sorry Danis, your allegations without factual proof of who thought what does not pass here on this site – furthermore it is absolutely not true tat Serbs liberated Balkans from Ottoman Turkey – they might have liberated Serbia but Balkans was/is much bigger and other countries did their strong dash in liberating their countries or keeping Ottoman at distance

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  9. Luigi Rosolin says:

    Thank: I like read your historical opinion that are challenging my ignorance, I had lived till 1986 close to the Croatian border in Italy and had not much understanding of the history. I know that former Yugoslavia so call communist and struggling but this and all your article are giving me the opportunity to understand more. As my ancestor where under the Austrian Empire(Veneto) and probably they come from Montenegro I love to know. I hope that peace will prevail instead of ideology of superiority that had only cause genocide. The Croatia standing against the Homosexual agenda and the Kinsey Institute is give me hope that such organization will be made accountable one day for the wrong doing against children’s and humanity.

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  10. Informed, and totally fascinating to read. Thank you for educating me!

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  11. No Mention is made of WW2 and the invasion by Germany and the part the various parties ie Croatia Serb etc etc played. I am also ignorant of the history of this part of the world but I have heard that there were incredible atrocities committed, do you have any comment on that

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    • Scoby, WW2 is a totally different “kettle of fish” and yes, both Croatia and Serbia – i.e. the governments of the time fell into the trap of collaboration with the Nazis but there were also resistances and there were all more good people than bad – incredible atrocities were committed by all sides though and the world so far has placed the importance onto one side while the other associated with the Allies, such as the Communists, in and post-WWII, need yet to account for their part

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      • Thank you for your reply, I have read that a great many Serbs were incarcerated in concentration camps and died at the hands of the Nazi’s and their Croatian collaborators. Again I am not pointing the finger I just want to know if it happened.

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      • I depend on history books just as probably you do, Scoby – I was born after the war. How reliable history books can be is not a mystery when it comes to certain events. You will find a wide ranging figures of estimates of people killed or incarcerated because facts are shaky and you will not yet find in them that for instance Tito’s communist Yugoslavia kept Jasenovac camp open 1945 – 1948 where communists murdered innocent Croats who wanted nothing to do with communism and then added those numbers to numbers that “Nazi collaborators” murdered… you will probably not even fins in them the numbers murdered by Nazi collaborators in Serbia… so let’s just say that I can only answer your question this way: grab a few “history” books or books on the matter and make up your own mind what you believe and which number you will believe, thank you…You cannot point a finger and even if you did you would need to identify yourself so that your identity is verifiable so that the world can see whether in fact a finger might be pointed at you too, or the people you stem from in WWII or other relevant history. I find your comments quite stupid and underhanded, you remind me of people who might believe that revenge killing of innocent people (sons or daughters of those that may have killed) is OK, and frankly I loathe such people and they are contemptible to me: no child can be held responsible for crimes of parents, no parents can be held responsible for crimes of their child

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  12. What a piece of … Tito sent criminals to the jail….my ancestors were Croats and mostly they were partisans and they were sold by an “independent” state of Croatia to Italy… Better italy than incognito country in which nobody knew its borders…

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    • Pity Tito didn’t send himself to jail. Sorry to heart about the selling of your ancestors to Italy… didn’t know Italy was into slavery trade but hey if you could provide details perhaps we could look into the truth of it, Zvonimir, for a better world hopefully

      Like

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