Skip to comments.Gavrilo Princip, who triggered a war, was also a Serbian hero
Posted on 07/31/2014 10:29:24 AM PDT by Ravnagora
(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...
Sarajevo, Bosnia, 28 June 1914: After some 400 years under Turkish Ottoman and almost 40 under Austro-Hungarian occupation, people of some dozen nationalities shared the same dream of freedom. Gavrilo Princip was among them when he fired two shots at Austria-Hungarys Crown Prince. For many of his countrymen he is a freedom fighter.
Belgrade, Serbia, 28 July 1914: Just one month later, the first artillery shells in First World War began to fall on the citys Danube and Sava river banks and neighbourhoods under the hot, burning summer sun. For Serbia this is the end of a month-long diplomatic prelude that started with Mr. Princips shots, followed by a written 48-hour ultimatum delivered to Serbia, a nation of 5 million, by Austro-Hungary, an empire of 52 million. There was nowhere to hide. The declaration of war was sent by a telegraph message. The term blitzkrieg had not yet been coined, but a punitive military campaign in the Balkans was imminent.
Youve probably never heard of Dusan Donovic. A sixteen-year-old Serbian Army volunteer shot in Belgrade by gunfire from an Austrian Danube flotilla vessel that day, he was the first victim of WWI. He died like 1,250,000 other Serbs a death toll amounting to 28 per cent of population, both soldiers and civilians. Maybe youve heard of George Lawrence Price? Born in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, aged twenty six, fatally shot by a German sniper at 10:58 a.m. on November 11, 1918. He died just 2 minutes before the armistice that ended the war, making him the last victim of WWI. He died like 61,000 fellow Canadians. Like 17 million people in Europe and around the world.
In between, we Serbs fought. For one year on our soil, on our frontiers, mostly alone. The first allied victory took place in Serbia, in the mountains of Cer. Then the second one in Kolubara, almost like the battle of Vimy Ridge. This success drew worldwide attention to Serbia and won the Serbs the sympathy of both neutral and Allied countries, as it marked their first victory over the Central Powers. The next year we had our share of defeats. Belgrade, the capital, was the last stand for more than 2,600 Serbian Army soldiers, aware of the fact that their names had already been erased from the list of the living by the Serbian Armys headquarters left behind as an ultimate sacrifice. Not to be forgotten. Ask any kid in Serbia today about this episode of war they know it!
Hero or terrorist, Princip completely changed the world around us.
What’s with Serbs and their thinking that murderers are heros?
Serbia was a state sponsor of terrorism at that time.
Sic semper tyrannis!
Buridan, it seems like you’re buying into the “propaganda” of the time. Serbia was never a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Princip was one of three men sent by Dragutin Dimitrijevic, the chief of the Intelligence Department in the Serbian Army and head of the Black Hand, to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, during his visit to Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.”
From a leading WW1 site. I’ve just read a couple of books by top historians and this is well-established fact, not propaganda.
The activities of the “Black Hand” in Serbia, of which Dragutin Dimitrijevic was a leader, were not officially sanctioned by Serbia. They would be considered “rogue elements”.
Be careful about taking “well accepted facts” by “top historians” as “truth”. There are many “well accepted facts” that are not “facts” at all, but rather manufactured lies and/or deceptions intended to present history a certain way to suit agendas.
Sam, virtually every single element in your text above is incorrect.
It was the Austrians who wanted war against Serbia and they set up their own Archduke (whom they most willingly sacrificed) to achieve their aims.
As for the rest, it’s boilerplate propaganda against the Serbs which historians with integrity have nullified.
And this past June, on the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke and his wife, in Sarajevo they dedicated a statue of Gavrilo Prinzip, with a reenactor firing a pistol into the air twice to commemorate the fatal shots that would ignite the Great War.
Did the Serbs not make out like bandits from WWI after Wilson gave them a nation about 8 times their size?
Well, I remember such a discussion we had in my senior high school World Cultures class back in 1985 where there is a logic which goes, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I know in the grand scheme of the Universe, there is good and evil so I’m just bringing this up for discussion. I’m of Serbian heritage myself, my last name points to where I’m of Kosovar Serb decent. Princip, myself, I can’t say if he was a hero or zero, I’ll let each person decide for themselves, but we cannot deny that he did change history. I think Princip should have been the “Man of the 20th Century” due to the influence of his actions. Even so, if it was not for Princip, some other man, people or event(s) most likely would have presented the casus belli for World War I at some point.
Sam, it may or may not be pointless to respond to your comments.
I do think it’s worthwhile, though, to clarify something here: It was the AUSTRIANS who wanted the Serbians to settle the lands known as the “Military Frontier” (Krajina) in what was then part of Austria-Hungary and is now in Croatia. The AUSTRIANS “invited” the Serbians to settle those lands to create a good barrier between the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian empire. It was not the Serbians who went to war against the Austrians in WWI, it was the Austrians who went to war against the Serbians.
As far as Serbian history in the Independent State of Croatia, particularly in that “Military Frontier” (Krajina) area, as the NDH (Croatia) was established when the Croats enthusiastically welcomed the Nazis as liberators on April 10, 1941, it would be enlightening to read both German and Italian testimonies regarding Croatian treatment of Serb civilians during WWII.
Much of that same treatment of the Serbs was repeated in the 1990s as Croatia resurrected its Nazi past, a past it remains proud of to this day.
It should be remembered too that Serbia agreed to
all of the Austrian demands, (I believe there were 11
in all) but one. That demand would have allowed Austria
to enter and arrest any Serbian they deemed to have threatened the Austrian empire. An unacceptable demand
for any nation.
Hey, that’s great. Serbs celebrate assassins and terrorists.
Ozzymandus, I’ll give you that Princip was indeed an assassin (not by “profession” but rather just in this one instance - in Sarajevo), but as far as Princip being a “terrorist” - it really all depends on your point of view.
Let me ask you this - and anyone can chime in here -
When Hitler was rising in the 1930’s, if an assassin had stopped him dead in his tracks, literally and figuratively, how do you think that “assassin would have been viewed by history?
(I don’t equate Archduke Franz Ferdinand with Hitler by any stretch, because I actually feel that the Archduke was the most reasonable and “sympathetic” of the Habsburg elite, but I’m making the analogy here for the sake of discussion.)
Here’s a good analysis from a British Source of the “Pricip Factor”:
I guess we will both have to believe what it is we believe. Personally I discount what typical history we are taught in school and University about those events as Allied propaganda.
Were the Serbs not more than happy to be dominated by a Communist regime. Communists, Nazis, what’s the difference?
My own view of WWI was that it was a powderkeg waiting to explode with many people eager to light the match. So could WWI have been avoided? Too many ethnic and social problems i.e. Russia, the Balkans. Too much tension for it not to explode. Too many powers eager to be the brightest star in the European galaxy.
You say you don’t equate Ferdinand with Hitler, but you do. What if some Indian nationalist had assassinated Queen Victoria? How would he be remembered? That seems like a more apt comparison.
It is not, I am sure, the general Serbian view that the Serbian blood that flowed over the next four years (and it did, horrifically) had a place on his hands, but it is mine. You are welcome to differ and I respect that.