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Peace Theories and the Balkan War by Norman Angell

Part 2 out of 6

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artillery, an arm which the Bulgarians lacked. On March 26, 1913, the
fortress surrendered to the allied armies.

The Conference of London, which took place during the spring of that year,
fixed the new Turco-Bulgarian boundary by drawing the famous Enos-Midia
line, running between these two places situated on the shores respectively
of the Aegean and the Black Sea. This delimitation would have given
Bulgaria possession of Adrianople. But meanwhile Greece and especially
Serbia, which latter country had been compelled to withdraw from the
Adriatic coast by Austria, and was further precluded from ever returning
there by the creation of the independent state of Albania, determined to
retain possession of all that part of Macedonia, including the whole
valley of the Vardar with its important railway, which they had conquered,
and thus secure their common frontier. In May 1913 a military convention
was concluded between them, and the Balkan League, the relations between
the members of which had been becoming more strained ever since January,
finally dissolved. Bulgaria, outraged by this callous disregard of the
agreements as to the partition of Macedonia signed a year previously by
itself and its ex-allies, did not wait for the result of the arbitration
which was actually proceeding in Russia, but in an access of indignation
rushed to arms.

This second Balkan war, begun by Bulgaria during the night of June 30,
1913, by a sudden attack on the Serbian army in Macedonia, resulted in its
undoing. In order to defeat the Serbs and Greeks the south-eastern and
northern frontiers were denuded of troops. But the totally unforeseen
happened. The Serbs were victorious, defeating the Bulgars in Macedonia,
the Turks, seeing Thrace empty of Bulgarian troops, re-occupied
Adrianople, and the Rumanian army, determined to see fair play before it
was too late, invaded Bulgaria from the north and marched on Sofia. By the
end of July the campaign was over and Bulgaria had to submit to fate.

By the terms of the Treaty of Bucarest, which was concluded on August 10,
1913, Bulgaria obtained a considerable part of Thrace and eastern
Macedonia, including a portion of the Aegean coast with the seaport of
Dedeagach, but it was forced to 'compensate' Rumania with a slice of its
richest province (the districts of Dobrich and Silistria in north-eastern
Bulgaria), and it lost central Macedonia, a great part of which it would
certainly have been awarded by Russia's arbitration. On September 22,
1913, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed by Bulgaria and Turkey; by
its terms Turkey retained possession of Adrianople and of a far larger
part of Thrace than its series of ignominious defeats in the autumn of
1912 entitled it to.

In the fatal quarrel between Bulgaria and Serbia which caused the
disruption of the Balkan League, led to the tragic second Balkan war of
July 1913, and naturally left behind the bitterest feelings, it is
difficult to apportion the blame. Both Serbia and Bulgaria were
undoubtedly at fault in the choice of the methods by which they sought to
adjust their difference, but the real guilt is to be found neither in
Sofia nor in Belgrade, but in Vicuna and Budapest. The Balkan League
barred the way of the Germanic Powers to the East; its disruption weakened
Bulgaria and again placed Serbia at the mercy of the Dual Monarchy. After
these trying and unremunerative experiences it is not astonishing that the
Bulgarian people and its ambitious ruler should have retired to the remote
interior of their shell.

* * * * *

_Explanation of Serbian orthography_

c = ts
[)c] = ch (as in _church_)
['c] = " " " but softer
[)s] = sh
[)z] = zh (as z in _azure_)
gj = g (as in _George_)
j = y




_The Serbs under Foreign Supremacy_, 650-1168

The manner of the arrival of the Slavs in the Balkan peninsula, of that of
the Bulgars, and of the formation of the Bulgarian nationality has already
been described (cf. p. 26). The installation of the Slavs in the lands
between the Danube, the Aegean, and the Adriatic was completed by about
A.D. 650. In the second half of the seventh century the Bulgars settled
themselves in the eastern half of the peninsula and became absorbed by the
Slavs there, and from that time the nationality of the Slavs in the
western half began to be more clearly defined. These latter, split up into
a number of tribes, gradually grouped themselves into three main divisions:
Serbs (or Serbians), Croats (or Croatians), and Slovenes. The Serbs, much
the most numerous of the three, occupied roughly the modern kingdom of
Serbia (including Old Serbia and northern Macedonia), Montenegro, and most
of Bosnia, Hercegovina, and Dalmatia; the Croats occupied the more western
parts of these last three territories and Croatia; the Slovenes occupied
the modern Carniola and southern Carinthia. Needless to say, none of these
geographical designations existed in those days except Dalmatia, on the
coast of which the Latin influence and nomenclature maintained itself. The
Slovenes, whose language is closely akin to but not identical with Serbian
(or Croatian), even to-day only number one and a half million, and do not
enter into this narrative, as they have never played any political role in
the Balkan peninsula.

The Serbs and the Croats were, as regards race and language, originally
one people, the two names having merely geographical signification. In
course of time, for various reasons connected with religion and politics,
the distinction was emphasized, and from a historical point of view the
Serbo-Croatian race has always been divided into two. It is only within
the last few years that a movement has taken place, the object of which is
to reunite Serbs and Croats into one nation and eventually into one state.
The movement originated in Serbia, the Serbs maintaining that they and the
Croats are one people because they speak the same language, and that
racial and linguistic unity outweighs religious divergence. A very large
number of Croats agree with the Serbs in this and support their views, but
a minority for long obstinately insisted that there was a racial as well
as a religious difference, and that fusion was impossible. The former
based their argument on facts, the latter theirs on prejudice, which is
notoriously difficult to overcome. Latterly the movement in favour of
fusion grew very much stronger among the Croats, and together with that in
Serbia resulted in the Pan-Serb agitation which, gave the pretext for the
opening of hostilities in July 1914.

The designation Southern Slav (or Jugo-Slav, _jug_, pronounced yug, =
_south_ in Serbian) covers Serbs and Croats, and also includes Slovenes;
it is only used with reference to the Bulgarians from the point of view of
philology (the group of South Slavonic languages including Bulgarian,
Serbo-Croatian and Slovene; the East Slavonic, Russian; and the West
Slavonic, Polish and Bohemian).

In the history of the Serbs and Croats, or of the Serbo-Croatian race,
several factors of a general nature have first to be considered, which
have influenced its whole development. Of these, the physical nature of
the country in which they settled, between the Danube and Save and the
Adriatic, is one of the most important. It is almost everywhere
mountainous, and though the mountains themselves never attain as much as
10,000 feet in height, yet they cover the whole country with an intricate
network and have always formed an obstacle to easy communication between
the various parts of it. The result of this has been twofold. In the first
place it has, generally speaking, been a protection against foreign
penetration and conquest, and in so far was beneficial. Bulgaria, further
east, is, on the whole, less mountainous, in spite of the Balkan range
which stretches the whole length of it; for this reason, and also on
account of its geographical position, any invaders coming from the north
or north-east, especially if aiming at Constantinople or Salonika, were
bound to sweep over it. The great immemorial highway from the north-west
to the Balkan peninsula crosses the Danube at Belgrade and follows the
valley of the Morava to Nish; thence it branches off eastwards, going
through Sofia and again crossing all Bulgaria to reach Constantinople,
while the route to Salonika follows the Morava southwards from Nish and
crosses the watershed into the valley of the Vardar, which flows into the
Aegean. But even this road, following the course of the rivers Morava and
Vardar, only went through the fringe of Serb territory, and left untouched
the vast mountain region between the Morava and the Adriatic, which is
really the home of the Serb race.

In the second place, while it has undoubtedly been a protection to the
Serb race, it has also been a source of weakness. It has prevented a
welding together of the people into one whole, has facilitated the rise of
numerous political units at various times, and generally favoured the
dissipation of the national strength, and militated against national
organization and cohesion. In the course of history this process has been
emphasized rather than diminished, and to-day the Serb race is split up
into six political divisions, while Bulgaria, except for those Bulgars
claimed as 'unredeemed' beyond the frontier, presents a united whole. It
is only within the last thirty years, with the gradual improvement of
communications (obstructed to an incredible extent by the Austro-Hungarian
government) and the spread of education, that the Serbs in the different
countries which they inhabit have become fully conscious of their
essential identity and racial unity.

No less important than the physical aspect of their country on the
development of the Serbs has been the fact that right through the middle
of it from south to north there had been drawn a line of division more
than two centuries before their arrival. Artificial boundaries are
proverbially ephemeral, but this one has lasted throughout the centuries,
and it has been baneful to the Serbs. This dividing line, drawn first by
the Emperor Diocletian, has been described on p. 14; at the division of
the Roman Empire into East and West it was again followed, and it formed
the boundary between the dioceses of Italy and Dacia; the line is roughly
the same as the present political boundary between Montenegro and
Hercegovina, between the kingdom of Serbia and Bosnia; it stretched from
the Adriatic to the river Save right across the Serb territory. The
Serbo-Croatian race unwittingly occupied a country that was cut in two by
the line that divides East from West, and separates Constantinople and the
Eastern Church from Rome and the Western. This curious accident has had
consequences fatal to the unity of the race, since it has played into the
hands of ambitious and unscrupulous neighbours. As to the extent of the
country occupied by the Serbs at the beginning of their history it is
difficult to be accurate.

The boundary between the Serbs in the west of the peninsula and the
Bulgars in the east has always been a matter of dispute. The present
political frontier between Serbia and Bulgaria, starting in the north from
the mouth of the river Timok on the southern bank of the Danube and going
southwards slightly east of Pirot, is ethnographically approximately
correct till it reaches the newly acquired and much-disputed territories
in Macedonia, and represents fairly accurately the line that has divided
the two nationalities ever since they were first differentiated in the
seventh century. In the confused state of Balkan politics in the Middle
Ages the political influence of Bulgaria often extended west of this line
and included Nish and the Morava valley, while at other times that of
Serbia extended east of it. The dialects spoken in these frontier
districts represent a transitional stage between the two languages; each
of the two peoples naturally considers them more akin to its own, and
resents the fact that any of them should be included in the territory of
the other. Further south, in Macedonia, conditions are similar. Before the
Turkish conquest Macedonia had been sometimes under Bulgarian rule, as in
the times of Simeon, Samuel, and John Asen II, sometimes under Serbian,
especially during the height of Serbian power in the fourteenth century,
while intermittently it had been a province of the Greek Empire, which
always claimed it as its own. On historical grounds, therefore, each of
the three nations can claim possession of Macedonia. From an ethnographic
point of view the Slav population of Macedonia (there were always and are
still many non-Slav elements) was originally the same as that in the other
parts of the peninsula, and probably more akin to the Serbs, who are pure
Slavs, than to the Slavs of Bulgaria, who coalesced with their Asiatic
conquerors. In course of time, however, Bulgarian influences, owing to the
several periods when the Bulgars ruled the country, began to make headway.
The Albanians also (an Indo-European or Aryan race, but not of the Greek,
Latin, or Slav families), who, as a result of all the invasions of the
Balkan peninsula, had been driven southwards into the inaccessible
mountainous country now known as Albania, began to spread northwards and
eastwards again during the Turkish dominion, pushing back the Serbs from
the territory where they had long been settled. During the Turkish
dominion neither Serb nor Bulgar had any influence in Macedonia, and the
Macedonian Slavs, who had first of all been pure Slavs, like the Serbs,
then been several times under Bulgar, and finally, under Serb influence,
were left to themselves, and the process of differentiation between Serb
and Bulgar in Macedonia, by which in time the Macedonian Slavs would have
become either Serbs or Bulgars, ceased. The further development of the
Macedonian question is treated elsewhere (cf. chap. 13).

The Serbs, who had no permanent or well-defined frontier in the east,
where their neighbours were the Bulgars, or in the south, where they were
the Greeks and Albanians, were protected on the north by the river Save
and on the west by the Adriatic. They were split up into a number of
tribes, each of which was headed by a chief called in Serbian _[)z]upan_
and in Greek _arch[=o]n_. Whenever any one of these managed, either by
skill or by good fortune, to extend his power over a few of the
neighbouring districts he was termed _veliki_ (=great) _[)z]upan_. From
the beginning of their history, which is roughly put at A.D. 650, until
A.D. 1196, the Serbs were under foreign domination. Their suzerains were
nominally always the Greek emperors, who had 'granted' them the land they
had taken, and whenever the emperor happened to be energetic and powerful,
as were Basil I (the Macedonian, 867-86), John Tzimisces (969-76), Basil
II (976-1025), and Manuel Comnenus (1143-80), the Greek supremacy was very
real. At those times again when Bulgaria was very powerful, under Simeon
(893-927), Samuel (977-1014), and John Asen II (1218-41), many of the more
easterly and southerly Serbs came under Bulgarian rule, though it is
instructive to notice that the Serbs themselves do not recognize the West
Bulgarian or Macedonian kingdom of Samuel to have been a Bulgarian state.
The Bulgars, however, at no time brought all the Serb lands under their

Intermittently, whenever the power of Byzantium or of Bulgaria waned, some
Serb princeling would try to form a political state on a more ambitious
scale, but the fabric always collapsed at his death, and the Serbs
reverted to their favourite occupation of quarrelling amongst themselves.
Such wore the attempts of [)C]aslav, who had been made captive by Simeon
of Bulgaria, escaped after his death, and ruled over a large part of
central Serbia till 960, and later of Bodin, whose father, Michael, was
even recognized as king by Pope Gregory VII; Bodin formed a state near the
coast, in the Zeta river district (now Montenegro), and ruled there from
1081 to 1101. But as a rule the whole of the country peopled by the Serbs
was split into a number of tiny principalities always at war with one
another. Generally speaking, this country gradually became divided into
two main geographical divisions: (1) the _Pomorje_, or country _by the
sea_, which included most of the modern Montenegro and the southern halves
of Hercegovina and Dalmatia, and (2) the _Zagorje_, or country _behind the
hills_, which included most of the modern Bosnia, the western half of the
modern kingdom of Serbia, and the northern portions of Montenegro and
Hercegovina, covering all the country between the _Pomorje_ and the Save;
to the north of the _Pomorje_ and _Zagorje_ lay Croatia. Besides their
neighbours in the east and south, those in the north and west played an
important part in Serbian history even in those early days.

Towards the end of the eighth century, after the decline of the power of
the Avars, Charlemagne extended his conquests eastwards (he made a great
impression on the minds of the Slavs, whose word for king, _kral_ or
_korol_, is derived directly from his name), and his son Louis conquered
the Serbs settled in the country between the rivers Save and Drave. This
is commemorated in the name of the mass of hill which lies between the
Danube and the Save, in eastern Slavonia, and is to this day known as
_Fru[)s]ka Gora_, or French Hill. The Serbs and Bulgars fought against the
Franks, and while the Bulgars held their own, the Serbs were beaten, and
those who did not like the rule of the new-comers had to migrate
southwards across the Save; at the same time the Serbs between the rivers
Morava and Timok (eastern Serbia) were subjected by the Bulgars. With the
arrival of the Magyars, in the ninth century, a wall was raised between
the Serbs and central and western Europe on land. Croatia and Slavonia
(between the Save and the Drave) were gradually drawn into the orbit of
the Hungarian state, and in 1102, on the death of its own ruler, Croatia
was absorbed by Hungary and has formed part of that country ever since.
Hungary, aiming at an outlet on the Adriatic, at the same time subjected
most of Dalmatia and parts of Bosnia. In the west Venice had been steadily
growing in power throughout the tenth century, and by the end of it had
secured control of all the islands off Dalmatia and of a considerable part
of the coast. All the cities on the mainland acknowledged the supremacy of
Venice and she was mistress of the Adriatic.

In the interior of the Serb territory, during the eleventh and twelfth
centuries, three political centres came into prominence and shaped
themselves into larger territorial units. These were: (1) Raska, which had
been Caslav's centre and is considered the birth-place of the Serbian
state (this district, with the town of Ras as its centre, included the
south-western part of the modern kingdom of Serbia and what was the
Turkish _sandjak_ or province of Novi-Pazar); (2) Zeta, on the coast (the
modern Montenegro); and (3) Bosnia, so called after the river Bosna, which
runs through it. Bosnia, which roughly corresponded to the modern province
of that name, became independent in the second half of the tenth century,
and was never after that incorporated in the Serbian state. At times it
fell under Hungarian influence; in the twelfth century, during the reign
of Manuel Comnenus, who was victorious over the Magyars, Bosnia, like all
other Serb territories, had to acknowledge the supremacy of

It has already been indicated that the Serbs and Croats occupied territory
which, while the Church was still one, was divided between two dioceses,
Italy and Dacia, and when the Church itself was divided, in the eleventh
century, was torn apart between the two beliefs. The dividing line between
the jurisdictions of Rome and Constantinople ran from north to south
through Bosnia, but naturally there has always been a certain vagueness
about the extent of their respective jurisdictions. In later years the
terms Croat and Roman Catholic on the one hand, and Serb and Orthodox on
the other, became interchangeable. Hercegovina and eastern Bosnia have
always been predominantly Orthodox, Dalmatia and western Bosnia
predominantly Roman Catholic. The loyalty of the Croatians to
Austria-Hungary has been largely owing to the influence of Roman

During the first centuries of Serbian history Christianity made slow
progress in the western half of the Balkan peninsula. The Dalmatian coast
was always under the influence of Rome, but the interior was long pagan.
It is doubtful whether the brothers Cyril and Methodius (cf. chap. 5)
actually passed through Serb territory, but in the tenth century their
teachings and writings were certainly current there. At the time of the
division of the Churches all the Serb lands except the Dalmatian coast,
Croatia, and western Bosnia, were faithful to Constantinople, and the
Greek hierarchy obtained complete control of the ecclesiastical
administration. The elaborate organisation and opulent character of the
Eastern Church was, however, especially in the hands of the Greeks, not
congenial to the Serbs, and during the eleventh and twelfth centuries the
Bogomil heresy (cf. chap, 6), a much more primitive and democratic form of
Christianity, already familiar in the East as the Manichaean heresy, took
hold of the Serbs' imagination and made as rapid and disquieting progress
in their country as it had already done in the neighbouring Bulgaria;
inasmuch as the Greek hierarchy considered this teaching to be
socialistic, subversive, and highly dangerous to the ecclesiastical
supremacy of Constantinople, all of which indeed it was, adherence to it
became amongst the Serbs a direct expression of patriotism.


_The Rise and Fall of the Serbian Empire and the Extinction of Serbian
Independence_, 1168-1496

From 1168 the power of the Serbs, or rather of the central Serb state of
Raska, and the extent of its territory gradually but steadily increased.
This was outwardly expressed in the firm establishment on the throne of
the national Nemanja dynasty, which can claim the credit of having by its
energy, skill, and good fortune fashioned the most imposing and formidable
state the Serb race has ever known. This dynasty ruled the country
uninterruptedly, but not without many quarrels, feuds, and rivalries
amongst its various members, from 1168 until 1371, when it became extinct.

There were several external factors which at this time favoured the rise
of the Serbian state. Byzantium and the Greek Empire, to which the Emperor
Manuel Comnenus had by 1168 restored some measure of its former greatness
and splendour, regaining temporary control, after a long war with Hungary,
even over Dalmatia, Croatia, and Bosnia, after this date began
definitively to decline, and after the troublous times of the fourth
crusade (1204), when for sixty years a Latin empire was established on the
Bosphorus, never again recovered as a Christian state the position in the
Balkan peninsula which it had so long enjoyed. Bulgaria, too, after the
meteoric glory of its second empire under the Asen dynasty (1186-1258),
quite went to pieces, the eastern and northern parts falling under Tartar,
the southern under Greek influence, while the western districts fell to
Serbia. In the north, on the other hand, Hungary was becoming a dangerous
and ambitious neighbour. During the thirteenth century, it is true, the
attention of the Magyars was diverted by the irruption into and
devastation of their country by their unwelcome kinsmen from Asia, the
Tartars, who wrought great havoc and even penetrated as far as the
Adriatic coast. Nevertheless Hungary was always a menace to Serbia;
Croatia, Slavonia, and the interior of Dalmatia, all purely Serb
territories, belonged to the Hungarian crown, and Bosnia was under the
supremacy of the Magyars, though nominally independent.

The objects of the Magyars were twofold--to attain the hegemony of the
Balkan peninsula by conquering all the still independent Serb territories,
and to bring the peninsula within the pale of Rome. They were not
successful in either of these objects, partly because their wars with the
Serbian rulers always failed to reach a decision, partly because their
plans conflicted with those of the powerful Venetian republic. The
relations between Venice and Serbia were always most cordial, as their
ambitions did not clash; those of Venice were not continental, while those
of Serbia were never maritime. The semi-independent Slavonic city-republic
of Ragusa (called Dubrovnik in Serbian) played a very important part
throughout this period. It was under Venetian supremacy, but was
self-governing and had a large fleet of its own. It was the great place of
exchange between Serbia and western Europe, and was really the
meeting-place of East and West. Its relations with Serbia were by no means
always peaceful; it was a Naboth's vineyard for the rulers and people of
the inland kingdom, and it was never incorporated within their dominions.
Ragusa and the other cities of the Dalmatian coast were the home during
the Middle Ages of a flourishing school of Serbian literature, which was
inspired by that of Italy. The influence of Italian civilization and of
the Italian Church was naturally strong in the Serb province, much of
which was under Venetian rule; the reason for this was that communication
by sea with Italy was easier and safer than that by land with Serbia. The
long, formidable ranges of limestone mountains which divide the Serbian
interior from the Adriatic in almost unbroken and parallel lines have
always been a barrier to the extension of Serb power to the coast, and an
obstacle to free commercial intercourse. Nevertheless Ragusa was a great
trade centre, and one of the factors which most contributed to the
economic strength of the Serbian Empire.

The first of the Nemanja dynasty was Stephen, whose title was still only
_Veliki ['Z]upan_; he extended Serb territory southwards at the expense of
the Greeks, especially after the death of Manuel Comnenus in 1180. He also
persecuted the Bogomils, who took refuge in large numbers in the adjacent
Serb state of Bosnia. Like many other Serbian rulers, he abdicated in
later life in favour of his younger son, Stephen, called Nemanjie (=
Nemanya's son), and himself became a monk (1196), travelling for this
purpose to Mount Athos, the great monastic centre and home of theological
learning of the Eastern Church. There he saw his youngest son, who some
years previously had also journeyed thither and entered a monastery,
taking the name of Sava.

It was the custom for every Serbian ruler to found a sort of memorial
church, for the welfare of his own soul, before his death, and to decorate
and endow it lavishly. Stephen and his son together superintended the
erection in this sense of the church and monastery of Hilandar on Mount
Athos, which became a famous centre of Serbian church life. Stephen died
shortly after the completion of the building in 1199, and was buried in
it, but in 1207 he was reinterred in the monastery of Studenica, in
Serbia, also founded by him.

The reign of Stephen Nernanji['c] (1196-1223) opened with a quarrel
between him and his elder brother, who not unnaturally felt he ought to
have succeeded his father; the Bulgarians profited by this and seized a
large part of eastern Serbia, including Belgrade, Nish, Prizren, and
Skoplje. This, together with the fall of Constantinople and the
establishment of the Latin Empire in 1204, alarmed the Serbs and brought
about a reconciliation between the brothers, and in 1207 Sava returned to
Serbia to organise the Church on national lines. In 1219 he journeyed to
Nicaea and extracted from the Emperor Theodore Lascaris, who had fallen on
evil days, the concession for the establishment of an autonomous national
Serbian Church, independent of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Sava
himself was at the head of the new institution. In 1220 he solemnly
crowned his brother King _(Kralj)_ of Serbia, the natural consequence of
his activities in the previous year. For this reason Stephen Nemanji['c]
is called 'The First-Crowned'. He was succeeded in 1223 by his son Stephen
Radoslav, and he in turn was deposed by his brother Stephen Vladislav in
1233. Both these were crowned by Sava, and Vladislav married the daughter
of Tsar John Asen II, under whom Bulgaria was then at the height of her
power. Sava journeyed to Palestine, and on his return paid a visit to the
Bulgarian court at Tirnovo, where he died in 1236. His body was brought to
Serbia and buried in the monastery of Mile[)s]evo, built by Vladislav.
This extremely able churchman and politician, who did a great deal for the
peaceful development of his country, was canonized and is regarded as the
patron saint of Serbia.

The reign of Vladislav's son and successor, Stephen Uro[)s] I (1242-76),
was characterized by economic development and the strengthening of the
internal administration. In external affairs he made no conquests, but
defeated a combination of the Bulgarians with Ragusa against him, and
after the war the Bulgarian ruler married his daughter. In his wars
against Hungary he was unsuccessful, and the Magyars remained in
possession of a large part of northern Serbia. In 1276 he was deposed by
his son, Stephen Dragutin, who in his turn, after an unsuccessful war
against the Greeks, again masters of Constantinople since 1261, was
deposed and succeeded by his brother, Stephen Uro[)s] II, named Milutin,
in 1282. This king ruled from 1282 till 1321, and during his reign the
country made very great material progress; its mineral wealth especially,
which included gold and silver mines, began to be exploited. He extended
the boundaries of his kingdom in the north, making the Danube and the Save
the frontier. The usual revolt against paternal authority was made by his
son Stephen, but was unsuccessful, and the rebel was banished to

It was the custom of the Serbian kings to give appanages to their sons,
and the inevitable consequence of this system was the series of provincial
rebellions which occurred in almost every reign. When the revolt
succeeded, the father (or brother) was granted in his turn a small
appanage. In this case it was the son who was exiled, but he was recalled
in 1319 and a reconciliation took place. Milutin died in 1321 and was
succeeded by his son, Stephen Uro[)s] III, who reigned till 1331. He is
known as Stephen De[)c]anski, after the memorial church which he built at
De[)c]ani in western Serbia. His reign was signalized by a great defeat of
the combined Bulgarians and Greeks at Kustendil in Macedonia in 1330. The
following year his son, Stephen Du[)s]an, rebelled against him and deposed
him. Stephen Du[)s]an, who reigned from 1331 till 1355, was Serbia's
greatest ruler, and under him the country reached its utmost limits.
Provincial and family revolts and petty local disputes with such places as
Ragusa became a thing of the past, and he undertook conquest on a grand
scale. Between 1331 and 1344 he subjected all Macedonia, Albania,
Thessaly, and Epirus. He was careful to keep on good terms with Ragusa and
with Hungary, then under Charles Robert. He married the sister of the
Bulgarian ruler, and during his reign Bulgaria was completely under
Serbian supremacy. The anarchy and civil war which had become perennial at
Constantinople, and the weakening of the Greek Empire in face of the
growing power of the Turks, no doubt to some extent explain the facility
and rapidity of his conquests; nevertheless his power was very formidable,
and his success inspired considerable alarm in western Europe. This was
increased when, in 1345, he proclaimed his country an empire. He first
called together a special Church council, at which the Serbian Church, an
archbishopric, whose centre was then at Pe['c] (in Montenegro, Ipek in
Turkish), was proclaimed a Patriarchate, with Archbishop Joannice as
Patriarch; then this prelate, together with the Bulgarian Patriarch,
Simeon, and Nicholas, Archbishop of Okhrida, crowned Stephen Tsar of the
Serbs, Bulgars, and Greeks. Upon this the Patriarch of Constantinople gave
himself the vain satisfaction of anathematizing the whole of Serbia, as a
punishment for this insubordination.

In 1353 the Pope, Innocent VI, persuaded King Louis of Hungary to
undertake a crusade against Serbia in the name of Catholicism, but Stephen
defeated him and re-established his frontier along the Save and Danube.
Later he conquered the southern half of Dalmatia, and extended his empire
as far north as the river Cetina. In 1354 Stephen Du[)s]an himself
approached the Pope, offering to acknowledge his spiritual supremacy, if
he would support him against the Hungarians and the Turks. The Pope sent
him an embassy, but eventually Stephen could not agree to the papal
conditions, and concluded an alliance, of greater practical utility, with
the Venetians. In 1355, however, he suddenly died, at the age of
forty-six, and thus the further development and aggrandisement of his
country was prematurely arrested.

Stephen Du[)s]an made a great impression on his contemporaries, both by
his imposing personal appearance and by his undoubted wisdom and ability.
He was especially a great legislator, and his remarkable code of laws,
compiled in 1349 and enlarged in 1354, is, outside his own country, his
greatest title to fame. During Stephen Du[)s]an's reign the political
centre of Serbia, which had for many years gradually tended to shift
southwards towards Macedonia, was at Skoplje (Ueskueb in Turkish), which he
made his capital. Stephen Du[)s]an's empire extended from the Adriatic in
the west to the river Maritsa in the east, from the Save and Danube in the
north to the Aegean; it included all the modern kingdoms of Serbia,
Montenegro, Albania, and most of Greece, Dalmatia as far north as the
river Cetina, as well as the fertile Morava valley, with Nish and
Belgrade--the whole eastern part of Serbia, which had for long been under
either Bulgar or Magyar control. It did not include the cities of Salonika
or Ragusa, nor any considerable part of the modern kingdom of Bulgaria,
nor Bosnia, Croatia, North Dalmatia, nor Slavonia (between the Save and
Drave), ethnologically all purely Serb lands. From the point of view of
nationality, therefore, its boundaries were far from ideal.

Stephen Du[)s]an was succeeded by his son, known as Tsar Uro[)s], but he
was as weak as his father had been strong. Almost as soon as he succeeded
to the throne, disorders, rebellions, and dissensions broke out and the
empire rapidly fell to pieces. With Serbia, as with Bulgaria, the empire
entirely hinged on the personality of one man, and when he was gone chaos
returned. Such an event for Serbia at this juncture was fatal, as a far
more formidable foe than the ruler's rebellious relations was advancing
against it. The Turkish conquests were proceeding apace; they had taken
Gallipoli in 1354 and Demotika and Adrianople in 1361. The Serbs, who had
already had an unsuccessful brush with the advance guard of the new
invaders near Demotika in 1351, met them again on the Maritsa river in
1371, and were completely defeated. Several of the upstart princes who had
been pulling Stephen Du[)s]an's empire to pieces perished, and Tsar
Uro[)s] only survived the battle of the Maritsa two months; he was
unmarried, and with him died the Nemanja dynasty and the Serbian Empire.

After this disaster the unity of the Serbian state was completely
destroyed, and it has never since been restored in the same measure.

That part of the country to the south of Skoplje fell completely under
Turkish control; it was here that the famous national hero, Marko
Kraljevi['c] (or King's son), renowned for his prowess, ruled as a vassal
prince and mercenary soldier of the Turks; his father was one of the rebel
princes who fell at the battle of the river Maritsa in 1371. North of
Skoplje, Serbia, with Kru[)s]evac as a new political centre, continued to
lead an independent but precarious existence, much reduced in size and
glory, under a native ruler, Prince Lazar; all the conquests of Stephen
Du[)s]an were lost, and the important coastal province of Zeta, which
later developed into Montenegro, had broken away and proclaimed its
autonomy directly after the death of Tsar Uro[)s].

In 1375 a formal reconciliation was effected with the Patriarch of
Constantinople; the ban placed on the Serbian Church in 1352 was removed
and the independence of the Serbian Patriarchate of Pe['c] (Ipek)
recognised. Meanwhile neither Greeks, Bulgars, nor Serbs were allowed any
peace by the Turks.

In 1389 was fought the great battle of Kosovo Polje, or the Field of
Blackbirds, a large plain in Old Serbia, at the southern end of which is
Skoplje. At this battle Serbian armies from all the Serb lands, including
Bosnia, joined together in defence of their country for the last time. The
issue of the battle was for some time in doubt, but was decided by the
treachery and flight at the critical moment of one of the Serb leaders,
Vuk Brankovi['c], son-in-law of Prince Lazar, with a large number of
troops. Another dramatic incident was the murder of Sultan Murad in his
tent by another Serbian leader, Milo[)s] Obili['c], who, accused of
treachery by his own countrymen, vowed he would prove his good faith, went
over to the Turks and, pretending to be a traitor, gained admission to the
Sultan's presence and proved his patriotism by killing him. The momentary
dismay was put an end to by the energetic conduct of Bayezid, son of
Murad, who rallied the Turkish troops and ultimately inflicted total
defeat on the Serbians. From the effects of this battle Serbia never
recovered; Prince Lazar was captured and executed; his wife, Princess
Milica, had to give her daughter to Bayezid in marriage, whose son thus
ultimately claimed possession of Serbia by right of inheritance. Princess
Milica and her son Stephen continued to live at Kru[)s]evac, but Serbia
was already a tributary of Turkey. In the north, Hungary profited by the
course of events and occupied Belgrade and all northern Serbia, but in
1396 the Turks defeated the Magyars severely at the battle of Nikopolis,
on the Danube, making the Serbs under Stephen fight on the Turkish side.
Stephen also had to help Sultan Bajazet against the Tartars, and fought at
the battle of Angora, in 1402, when Tamerlane captured Bayezid.

After Stephen returned to Serbia he made an alliance with Hungary, which
gave him back Belgrade and northern Serbia; it was at this time (1403)
that Belgrade first became the capital, the political centre having in the
course of fifty years moved from the Vardar to the Danube. The disorders
which followed the defeat of Bayezid gave some respite to the Serbs, but
Sultan Murad II (1421-51) again took up arms against him, and invaded
Serbia as far as Kru[)s]evac.

At the death of Stephen (Lazarevi['c]), in 1427, he was succeeded as
_Despot_ by his nephew, George Brankovi['c]; but the Sultan, claiming
Serbia as his own, immediately declared war on him. The Serbian ruler had
to abandon Belgrade to the Magyars, and Nish and Kru[)s]evac to the Turks.
He then built and fortified the town of Smederevo (or Semendria) lower
down on the Danube, in 1428, and made this his capital. He gave his
daughter in marriage to the Sultan, but in spite of this war soon broke
out again, and in 1441 the Turks were masters of nearly the whole of
Serbia. Later George Brankovi['c] made another alliance with Hungary, and
in 1444, with the help of John Hunyadi, defeated the Turks and liberated
the whole of Serbia as far as the Adriatic, though he remained a tributary
of the Sultan. The same year, however, the Magyars broke the treaty of
peace just concluded with the Turks, and marched against them under their
Polish king, Ladislas; this ended in the disastrous battle of Varna, on
the Black Sea, where the king lost his life. In 1451 Sultan Murad II died
and was succeeded by the Sultan Mohammed. In 1453 this sultan captured
Constantinople (Adrianople had until then been the Turkish capital); in
1456 his armies were besieging Belgrade, but were defeated by John
Hunyadi, who, unfortunately for the Serbs, died of the plague shortly
afterwards. George Brankovi['c] died the same year, and at his death
general disorder spread over the country. The Turks profited by this,
overran the whole of Serbia, and in 1459 captured Smederevo, the last
Serbian stronghold.

Meanwhile Bosnia had been for nearly a hundred years enjoying a false
security as an independent Serb kingdom. Its rulers had hitherto been
known by the title of _Ban_, and were all vassals of the King of Hungary;
but in 1377 Ban Tvrtko profited by the embarrassments of his suzerain in
Poland and proclaimed himself king, the neighbouring kingdom of Serbia
having, after 1371, ceased to exist, and was duly crowned in Saint Sava's
monastery of Mile[)s]evo. The internal history of the kingdom was even
more turbulent than had been that of Serbia. To the endemic troubles of
succession and alternating alliances and wars with foreign powers were
added those of confession. Bosnia was always a no man's land as regards
religion; it was where the Eastern and Western Churches met, and
consequently the rivalry between them there was always, as it is now,
intense and bitter. The Bogomil heresy, too, early took root in Bosnia and
became extremely popular; it was the obvious refuge for those who did not
care to become involved in the strife of the Churches. One of the kings of
Bosnia, Stephen Thomas, who reigned from 1444 till 1461, was himself a
Bogomil, and when at the insistence of the Pope and of the King of
Hungary, whose friendship he was anxious to retain, he renounced his
heresy, became ostensibly a Roman Catholic, and began to persecute the
Bogomils, he brought about a revolution. The rebels fled to the south of
Bosnia, to the lands of one Stephen, who sheltered them, proclaimed his
independence of Bosnia, and on the strength of the fact that Saint Sava's
monastery of Mile[)s]evo was in his territory, announced himself Herzog,
or Duke (in Serbian Herceg, though the real Serb equivalent is _Vojvoda_)
of Saint Sava, ever since when (1448) that territory has been called
Hercegovina. In spite of many promises, neither the Pope nor the King of
Hungary did anything to help Bosnia when the Turks began to invade the
country after their final subjection of Serbia in 1459. In 1463 they
invaded Bosnia and pursued, captured, and slew the last king; their
conquest of the country was complete and rapid. A great exodus of the Serb
population took place to the south, west, and north; but large numbers,
especially of the landowning class, embraced the faith of their conquerors
in order to retain possession of their property. In 1482 a similar fate
befell Hercegovina. Albania had already been conquered after stubborn
resistance in 1478. There remained only the mountainous coastal province
of Zeta, which had been an independent principality ever since 1371. Just
as inland Serbia had perished between the Turkish hammer and the Hungarian
anvil, so maritime Serbia was crushed between Turkey and Venice, only its
insignificance and inaccessibility giving it a longer lease of independent
life. Ivan Crnojevi['c], one of the last independent rulers of Zeta, who
had to fly to Italy in 1480, abandoning his capital, [)Z]abljak, to the
Turks, returned in 1481, when the death of Sultan Mohammed temporarily
raised the hopes of the mountaineers, and founded Cetinje and made it his
capital. His son George, who succeeded him and ruled from 1490 till 1496,
is famous as having set up the first Serbian printing-press there. Its
activities were naturally not encouraged by the Turkish conquest, but it
was of great importance to the national Serbian Church, for which books
were printed with it.

In 1496, Venice having wisely made peace with the Sultan some years
previously, this last independent scrap of Serb territory was finally
incorporated in the Turkish dominions. At the end of the fifteenth century
the Turks were masters of all the Serb lands except Croatia, Slavonia, and
parts of Dalmatia, which belonged to Hungary, and the Dalmatian coast and
islands, which were Venetian. The Turkish conquest of Serbia, which began
in 1371 at the battle of the Maritsa, and was rendered inevitable by the
battle of Kosovo Polje, in 1389, thus took a hundred and twenty-five years
to complete.


_The Turkish Dominion_, 1496-1796

The lot of the Serbs under Turkish rule was different from that of their
neighbours the Bulgars; and though it was certainly not enviable, it was
undoubtedly better. The Turks for various reasons never succeeded in
subduing Serbia and the various Serb lands as completely as they had
subdued, or rather annihilated, Bulgaria. The Serbs were spread over a far
larger extent of territory than were the Bulgars, they were further
removed from the Turkish centre, and the wooded and mountainous nature of
their country facilitated even more than in the case of Bulgaria the
formation of bands of brigands and rebels and militated against its
systematic policing by the Turks. The number of centres of national life,
Serbia proper, Bosnia, Hercogovina, and Montenegro, to take them in the
chronological order of their conquest by the Turks, had been notoriously a
source of weakness to the Serbian state, as is still the case to-day, but
at the same time made it more difficult for the Turks to stamp out the
national consciousness. What still further contributed to this difficulty
was the fact that many Serbs escaped the oppression of Turkish rule by
emigrating to the neighbouring provinces, where they found people of their
own race and language, even though of a different faith. The tide of
emigration flowed in two directions, westwards into Dalmatia and
northwards into Slavonia and Hungary. It had begun already after the final
subjection of Serbia proper and Bosnia by the Turks in 1459 and 1463, but
after the fall of Belgrade, which was the outpost of Hungary against the
Turks, in 1521, and the battle of Mohacs, in 1526, when the Turks
completely defeated the Magyars, it assumed great proportions. As the
Turks pushed their conquests further north, the Serbs migrated before them;
later on, as the Turks receded, large Serb colonies sprang up all over
southern Hungary, in the Banat (the country north of the Danube and east
of the Theiss), in Syrmia (or Srem, in Serbian, the extreme eastern part
of Slavonia, between the Save and the Danube), in Ba[)c]ka (the country
between the Theiss and Danube), and in Baranya (between the Danube and the
Drave). All this part of southern Hungary and Croatia was formed by the
Austrians into a military borderland against Turkey, and the Croats and
immigrant Serbs were organized as military colonists with special
privileges, on the analogy of the Cossacks in southern Russia and Poland.
In Dalmatia the Serbs played a similar role in the service of Venice,
which, like Austria-Hungary, was frequently at war with the Turks. During
the sixteenth century Ragusa enjoyed its greatest prosperity; it paid
tribute to the Sultan, was under his protection, and never rebelled. It
had a quasi monopoly of the trade of the entire Balkan peninsula. It was a
sanctuary both for Roman Catholic Croats and for Orthodox Serbs, and
sometimes acted as intermediary on behalf of its co-religionists with the
Turkish authorities, with whom it wielded great influence. Intellectually
also it was a sort of Serb oasis, and the only place during the Middle
Ages where Serbian literature was able to flourish.

Montenegro during the sixteenth century formed part of the Turkish
province of Scutari. Here, as well as in Serbia proper, northern Macedonia
(known after the removal northwards of the political centre, in the
fourteenth century, as Old Serbia), Bosnia, and Hercegovina, the Turkish
rule was firmest, but not harshest, during the first half of the sixteenth
century, when the power of the Ottoman Empire was at its height. Soon
after the fall of Smederevo, in 1459, the Patriarchate of Pe['c] (Ipek)
was abolished, the Serbian Church lost its independence, was merged in the
Greco-Bulgar Archbishopric of Okhrida (in southern Macedonia), and fell
completely under the control of the Greeks. In 1557, however, through the
influence of a Grand Vizier of Serb nationality, the Patriarchate of
Pe['c] was revived. The revival of this centre of national life was
momentous; through its agency the Serbian monasteries were restored,
ecclesiastical books printed, and priests educated, and more fortunate
than the Bulgarian national Church, which remained under Greek management,
it was able to focus the national enthusiasms and aspirations and keep
alive with hope the flame of nationality amongst those Serbs who had not

Already, in the second half of the sixteenth century, people began to
think that Turkey's days in Europe were numbered, and they were encouraged
in this illusion by the battle of Lepanto (1571). But the seventeenth
century saw a revival of Turkish power; Krete was added to their empire,
and in 1683 they very nearly captured Vienna. In the war which followed
their repulse, and in which the victorious Austrians penetrated as far
south as Skoplje, the Serbs took part against the Turks; but when later
the Austrians were obliged to retire, the Serbs, who had risen against the
Turks at the bidding of their Patriarch Arsen III, had to suffer terrible
reprisals at their hands, with the result that another wholesale
emigration, with the Patriarch at its head, took place into the
Austro-Hungarian military borderland. This time it was the very heart of
Serbia which was abandoned, namely, Old Serbia and northern Macedonia,
including Pe['c] and Prizren. The vacant Patriarchate was for a time
filled by a Greek, and the Albanians, many of whom were Mohammedans and
therefore Turcophil, spread northwards and eastwards into lands that had
been Serb since the seventh century. From the end of the seventeenth
century, however, the Turkish power began unmistakably to wane. The Treaty
of Carlowitz (1699) left the Turks still in possession of Syrmia (between
the Danube and Save) and the Banat (north of the Danube), but during the
reign of the Emperor Charles VI their retreat was accelerated. In 1717
Prince Eugen of Savoy captured Belgrade, then, as now, a bulwark of the
Balkan peninsula against invasion from the north, and by the Treaty of
Passarowitz (Po[)z]arevac, on the Danube), in 1718, Turkey not only
retreated definitively south of the Danube and the Save, but left a large
part of northern Serbia in Austrian hands. By the same treaty Venice
secured possession of the whole of Dalmatia, where it had already gained
territory by the Treaty of Curlowitz in 1699.

But the Serbs soon found out that alien populations fare little better
under Christian rule, when they are not of the same confession as their
rulers, than under Mohammedan. The Orthodox Serbs in Dalmatia suffered
thenceforward from relentless persecution at the hands of the Roman
Catholics. In Austria-Hungary too, and in that part of Serbia occupied by
the Austrians after 1718, the Serbs discovered that the Austrians, when
they had beaten the Turks largely by the help of Serbian levies, were very
different from the Austrians who had encouraged the Serbs to settle in
their country and form military colonies on their frontiers to protect
them from Turkish invasion. The privileges promised them when their help
had been necessary were disregarded as soon as their services could be
dispensed with. Austrian rule soon became more oppressive than Turkish,
and to the Serbs' other woes was now added religious persecution. The
result of all this was that a counter-emigration set in and the Serbs
actually began to return to their old homes in Turkey. Another war between
Austria-Hungary and Turkey broke out in 1737, in which the Austrians were
unsuccessful. Prince Eugen no longer led them, and though the Serbs were
again persuaded by their Patriarch, Arsen IV, to rise against the Turks,
they only did so half-heartedly. By the Treaty of Belgrade, in 1739,
Austria had to withdraw north of the Save and Danube, evacuating all
northern Serbia in favour of the Turks. From this time onwards the lot of
the Serbs, both in Austria-Hungary and in Turkey, went rapidly from bad to
worse. The Turks, as the power of their empire declined, and in return for
the numerous Serb revolts, had recourse to measures of severe repression;
amongst others was that of the final abolition of the Patriarchate of Pee
in 1766, whereupon the control of the Serbian Church in Turkey passed
entirely into the hands of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Austrian Government similarly, perceiving now for the first time the
elements of danger which the resuscitation of the Serbian nationality
would contain for the rule of the Hapsburgs, embarked on a systematic
persecution of the Orthodox Serbs in southern Hungary and Slavonia. During
the reign of Maria Theresa (1740-80), whose policy was to conciliate the
Magyars, the military frontier zone was abolished, a series of repressive
measures was passed against those Serbs who refused to become Roman
Catholics, and the Serbian nationality was refused official recognition.
The consequence of this persecution was a series of revolts which were all
quelled with due severity, and finally the emigration of a hundred
thousand Serbs to southern Russia, where they founded New Serbia in

During the reigns of Joseph II (1780-90) and Leopold II (1790-2) their
treatment at the hands of the Magyars somewhat improved. From the
beginning of the eighteenth century Montenegro began to assume greater
importance in the extremely gradual revival of the national spirit of the
Serbs. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it had formed part
of the Turkish dominions, though, thanks to the inaccessible nature of its
mountain fastnesses, Turkish authority was never very forcibly asserted.
It was ruled by a prince-bishop, and its religious independence thus
connoted a certain secular freedom of thought if not of action. In the
seventeenth century warlike encounters between the Turks and the
Montenegrins increased in frequency, and the latter tried to enlist the
help of Venice on their side but with indifferent success. The fighting in
Montenegro was often rather civil in character, being caused by the
ill-feeling which existed between the numerous Montenegrins who had become
Mohammedans and those who remained faithful to their national Church. In
the course of the eighteenth century the role which fell to Montenegro
became more important. In all the other Serb countries the families which
naturally took a leading part in affairs were either extinct or in exile,
as in Serbia, or had become Mohammedan, and therefore to all intents and
purposes Turkish, as in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Ragusa, since the great
earthquake in 1667, had greatly declined in power and was no longer of
international importance. In Montenegro, on the other hand, there had
survived both a greater independence of spirit (Montenegro was, after all,
the ancient Zeta, and had always been a centre of national life) and a
number of at any rate eugenic if not exactly aristocratic Serb families;
these families naturally looked on themselves and on their bishop as
destined to play an important part in the resistance to and the eventual
overthrow of the Turkish dominion. The prince-bishop had to be consecrated
by the Patriarch of Pe['c], and in 1700 Patriarch Arsen III consecrated
one Daniel, of the house (which has been ever since then and is now still
the reigning dynasty of Montenegro) of Petrovi['c]-Njego[)s], to this
office, after he had been elected to it by the council of notables at
Cetinje. Montenegro, isolated from the Serbs in the north, and precluded
from participating with them in the wars between Austria and Turkey by the
intervening block of Bosnia, which though Serb by nationality was solidly
Mohammedan and therefore pro-Turkish, carried on its feuds with the Turks
independently of the other Serbs. But when Peter the Great initiated his
anti-Turkish policy, and, in combination with the expansion of Russia to
the south and west, began to champion the cause of the Balkan Christians,
he developed intercourse with Montenegro and laid the foundation of that
friendship between the vast Russian Empire and the tiny Serb principality
on the Adriatic which has been a quaint and persistent feature of eastern
European politics ever since. This intimacy did not prevent the Turks
giving Montenegro many hard blows whenever they had the time or energy to
do so, and did not ensure any special protective clauses in favour of the
mountain state whenever the various treaties between Russia and Turkey
were concluded. Its effect was rather psychological and financial. From
the time when the _Vladika_ (= Bishop) Daniel first visited Peter the
Great, in 1714, the rulers of Montenegro often made pilgrimages to the
Russian capital, and were always sure of finding sympathy as well as
pecuniary if not armed support. Bishops in the Orthodox Church are
compulsorily celibate, and the succession in Montenegro always descended
from uncle to nephew. When Peter I Petrovi['c]-Njego[)s] succeeded, in
1782, the Patriarchate of Pe['c] was no more, so he had to get permission
from the Austrian Emperor Joseph II to be consecrated by the Metropolitan
of Karlovci (Carlowitz), who was then head of the Serbian national Church.

About the same time (1787) an alliance was made between Russia and
Austria-Hungary to make war together on Turkey and divide the spoils
between them. Although a great rising against Turkey was organised at the
same time (1788) in the district of [)S]umadija, in Serbia, by a number of
Serb patriots, of whom Kara-George was one and a certain Captain Ko[)c]a,
after whom the whole war is called Ko[)c]ina Krajina (=Ko[)c]a's country),
another, yet the Austrians were on the whole unsuccessful, and on the
death of Joseph II, in 1790, a peace was concluded between Austria and
Turkey at Svishtov, in Bulgaria, by which Turkey retained the whole of
Bosnia and Serbia, and the Save and Danube remained the frontier between
the two countries. Meanwhile the Serbs of Montenegro had joined in the
fray and had fared better, inflicting some unpleasant defeats on the Turks
under their bishop, Peter I. These culminated in two battles in 1796 (the
Montenegrins, not being mentioned in the treaty of peace, had continued
fighting), in which the Turks were driven back to Scutari. With this
triumph, which the Emperor Paul of Russia signalized by decorating the
Prince-Bishop Peter, the independence of the modern state of Montenegro,
the first Serb people to recover its liberty, was _de facto_ established.


_The Liberation of Serbia under Kara-George_ (1804-13) _and Milo[)s]
Obrenovi['c]_ (1815-30): 1796-1830

The liberation of Serbia from the Turkish dominion and its establishment
as an independent state were matters of much slower and more arduous
accomplishment than were the same processes in the other Balkan countries.
One reason for this was that Serbia by its peculiar geographical position
was cut off from outside help. It was easy for the western powers to help
Greece with their fleets, and for Russia to help Rumania and, later,
Bulgaria directly with its army, because communication between them was
easy. But Serbia on the one hand was separated from the sea, first by
Dalmatia, which was always in foreign possession, and then by Bosnia,
Hercegovina, and the _sandjak_ (or province) of Novi-Pazar, all of which
territories, though ethnically Serb, were strongholds of Turkish influence
owing to their large Mohammedan population. The energies of Montenegro,
also cut off from the sea by Dalmatia and Turkey, were absorbed in
self-defence, though it gave Serbia all the support which its size
permitted. Communication, on the other hand, between Russia and Serbia was
too difficult to permit of military help being rapidly and effectively
brought to bear upon the Turks from that quarter. Bessarabia, Wallachia,
and Moldavia were then still under Turkish control, and either they had to
be traversed or the Danube had to be navigated from its mouth upwards
through Turkish territory. The only country which could have helped Serbia
was Austria, but as it was against their best interests to do so, the
Austrians naturally did all they could not to advance, but to retard the
Serbian cause. As a result of all this Serbia, in her long struggle
against the Turks, had to rely principally on its own resources, though
Russian diplomacy several times saved the renascent country from disaster.

Another reason for the slowness of the emancipation and development of
modern Serbia has been the proneness of its people to internal dissension.
There was no national dynasty on whom the leadership of the country would
naturally devolve after the first successful revolution against Turkish
rule, there was not even any aristocracy left, and no foreign ruler was
ever asked for by the Serbs or was ever imposed on them by the other
nations as in the case of Greece, Rumania, and Bulgaria. On the other hand
the rising against Turkey was a rising of the whole people, and it was
almost inevitable that as soon as some measure of independence was gained
the unity the Serbs had shown when fighting against their oppressors
should dissolve and be replaced by bitter rivalries and disputes amongst
the various local leaders who had become prominent during the rebellion.

These rivalries early in the nineteenth century resolved themselves into a
blood-feud between two families, the Karagjorgjevi['c] and the
Obrenovi['c], a quarrel that filled Serbian history and militated against
the progress of the Serb people throughout the nineteenth century.

The same reasons which restricted the growth of the political independence
of Serbia have also impeded, or rather made impossible, its economic
development and material prosperity. Until recent years Austria-Hungary
and Turkey between them held Serbia territorially in such a position that
whenever Serbia either demurred at its neighbours' tariffs or wished to
retaliate by means of its own, the screw was immediately applied and
economic strangulation threatened. Rumania and Bulgaria economically could
never be of help to Serbia, because the products and the requirements of
all three are identical, and Rumania and Bulgaria cannot be expected to
facilitate the sale of their neighbours' live stock and cereals, when
their first business is to sell their own, while the cost of transit of
imports from western Europe through those countries is prohibitive.

After the unsuccessful rebellion of 1788, already mentioned, Serbia
remained in a state of pseudo-quiescence for some years. Meanwhile the
authority of the Sultan in Serbia was growing ever weaker and the real
power was wielded by local Turkish officials, who exploited the country,
looked on it as their own property, and enjoyed semi-independence. Their
exactions and cruelties were worse than had been those of the Turks in the
old days, and it was against them and their troops, not against those of
the Sultan, that the first battles in the Serbian war of independence were
fought. It was during the year 1803 that the Serbian leaders first made
definite plans for the rising which eventually took place in the following
year. The ringleader was George Petrovi['c], known as Black George, or
Kara-George, and amongst his confederates was Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c]. The
centre of the conspiracy was at Topola, in the district of [)S]umadija in
central Serbia (between the Morava and the Drina rivers), the native place
of Kara-George. The first two years of fighting between the Serbians and,
first, the provincial janissaries, and, later, the Sultan's forces, fully
rewarded the bravery and energy of the insurgents. By the beginning of
1807 they had virtually freed all northern Serbia by their own unaided
efforts and captured the towns of Po[)z]arevac, Smederevo, Belgrade, and
[)S]abac. The year 1804 is also notable as the date of the formal opening
of diplomatic relations directly between Serbia and Russia. At this time
the Emperor Alexander I was too preoccupied with Napoleon to be able to
threaten the Sultan (Austerlitz took place in November 1805), but he gave
the Serbs financial assistance and commended their cause to the especial
care of his ambassador at Constantinople.

In 1807 war again broke out between Russia and Turkey, but after the Peace
of Tilsit (June 1807) fighting ceased also between the Turks and the
Russians and the Serbs, not before the Russians had won several successes
against the Turks on the Lower Danube. It was during the two following
years of peace that dissensions first broke out amongst the Serbian
leaders; fighting the Turks was the sole condition of existence which
prevented them fighting each other. In 1809-10 Russia and the Serbs again
fought the Turks, at first without success, but later with better fortune.
In 1811 Kara-George was elected _Gospodar_, or sovereign, by a popular
assembly, but Serbia still remained a Turkish province. At the end of that
year the Russians completely defeated the Turks at Rustchuk in Bulgaria,
and, if all had gone well, Serbia might there and then have achieved
complete independence.

But Napoleon was already preparing his invasion and Russia had to conclude
peace with Turkey in a hurry, which necessarily implied that the Sultan
obtained unduly favourable terms. In the Treaty of Bucarest between the
two countries signed in May 1812, the Serbs were indeed mentioned, and
promised vague internal autonomy and a general amnesty, but all the
fortified towns they had captured were to be returned to the Turks, and
the few Russian troops who had been helping the Serbs in Serbia had to
withdraw. Negotiations between the Turks and the Serbs for the regulation
of their position were continued throughout 1812, but finally the Turks
refused all their claims and conditions and, seeing the European powers
preoccupied with their own affairs, invaded the country from Bosnia in the
west, and also from the east and south, in August 1813. The Serbs, left
entirely to their own resources, succumbed before the superior forces of
the Turks, and by the beginning of October the latter were again masters
of the whole country and in possession of Belgrade. Meanwhile Kara-George,
broken in health and unable to cope with the difficulties of the
situation, which demanded successful strategy both against the
overwhelming forces of the Turks in the field and against the intrigues of
his enemies at home, somewhat ignominiously fled across the river to
Semlin in Hungary, and was duly incarcerated by the Austrian authorities.

The news of Napoleon's defeat at Leipsic (October 1813) arrived just after
that of the re-occupation of Belgrade by the Turks, damped _feu-de-joie_
which they were firing at Constantinople, and made them rather more
conciliatory and lenient to the Serbian rebels. But this attitude did not
last long, and the Serbs soon had reason to make fresh efforts to regain
their short-lived liberty. The Congress of Vienna met in the autumn of
1814, and during its whole course Serbian emissaries gave the Russian
envoys no peace. But with the return of Napoleon to France in the spring
of 1815 and the break-up of the Congress, all that Russia could do was,
through its ambassador at Constantinople, to threaten invasion unless the
Turks left the Serbs alone. Nevertheless, conditions in Serbia became so
intolerable that another rebellion soon took shape, this time under
Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c]. This leader was no less patriotic than his rival,
Kara-George, but he was far more able and a consummate diplomat.
Kara-George had possessed indomitable courage, energy, and will-power, but
he could not temporize, and his arbitrary methods of enforcing discipline
and his ungovernable temper had made him many enemies. While the credit
for the first Serbian revolt (1804-13) undoubtedly belongs chiefly to him,
the second revolt owed its more lasting success to the skill of Milo[)s]
Obrenovi['c]. The fighting started at Takovo, the home of the Obrenovi['c]
family, in April 1815, and after many astonishing successes against the
Turks, including the capture of the towns of Rudnik, [)C]a[)c]ak,
Po[)z]arevac, and Kraljevo, was all over by July of the same year. The
Turks were ready with large armies in the west in Bosnia, and also south
of the Morava river, to continue the campaign and crush the rebellion, but
the news of the final defeat of Napoleon, and the knowledge that Russia
would soon have time again to devote attention to the Balkans, withheld
their appetites for revenge, and negotiations with the successful rebels
were initiated. During the whole of this period, from 1813 onwards,
Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c], as head of a district, was an official of the
Sultan in Serbia, and it was one of his principles never to break
irreparably with the Turks, who were still suzerains of the country. At
the same time, owing to his skill and initiative he was recognized as the
only real leader of the movement for independence. From the cessation of
the rebellion in 1815 onwards he himself personally conducted negotiations
in the name of his people with the various pashas who were deputed to deal
with him. While these negotiations went on and the armistice was in force,
he was confronted, or rather harassed from behind, by a series of revolts
against his growing authority on the part of his jealous compatriots.

In June 1817 Kara-George, who had been in Russia after being released by
the Austrians in 1814, returned surreptitiously to Serbia, encouraged by
the brighter aspect which affairs in his country seemed to be assuming.
But the return of his most dangerous rival was as unwelcome to Milo[)s] as
it was to the Turkish authorities at Belgrade, and, measures having been
concerted between them, Kara-George was murdered on July 26,1817, and the
first act in the blood-feud between the two families thus committed. In
November of the same year a _skup[)s]tina_, or national assembly, was held
at Belgrade, and Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c], whose position was already
thoroughly assured, was elected hereditary prince (_knez_) of the country.

Meanwhile events of considerable importance for the future of the Serb
race had been happening elsewhere. Dalmatia, the whole of which had been
in the possession of Venice since the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, passed
into the hands of Austria by the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, when the
Venetian republic was extinguished by Napoleon. The Bocche di Cuttaro, a
harbour both strategically and commercially of immense value, which had in
the old days belonged to the Serb principality of Zeta or Montenegro, and
is its only natural outlet on the Adriatic, likewise became Venetian in
1699 and Austrian in 1797, one year after the successful rebellion of the
Montenegrins against the Turks.

By the Treaty of Pressburg between France and Austria Dalmatia became
French in 1805. But the Montenegrins, supported by the Russians, resisted
the new owners and occupied the Bocche; at the Peace of Tilsit in 1807,
however, this important place was assigned to France by Russia, and
Montenegro had to submit to its loss. In 1806 the French occupied Ragusa,
and in 1808 abolished the independence of the ancient Serb city-republic.
In 1812 the Montenegrins, helped by the Russians and British, again
expelled the French and reoccupied Cattaro; but Austria was by now fully
alive to the meaning this harbour would have once it was in the possession
of Montenegro, and after the Congress of Vienna in 1815 took definitive
possession of it as well as of all the rest of Dalmatia, thus effecting
the complete exclusion of the Serb race for all political and commercial
purposes from the Adriatic, its most natural and obvious means of
communication with western Europe.

Though Milo[)s] had been elected prince by his own people, it was long
before he was recognized as such by the Porte. His efforts for the
regularization of his position entailed endless negotiations in
Constantinople; these were enlivened by frequent anti-Obrenovi['c] revolts
in Serbia, all of which Milo[)s] successfully quelled. The revolution in
Greece in 1821 threw the Serbian question from the international point of
view into the shade, but the Emperor Nicholas I, who succeeded his brother
Alexander I on the Russian throne in 1825, soon showed that he took a
lively and active interest in Balkan affairs. Pan-Slavism had scarcely
become fashionable in those days, and it was still rather as the protector
of its co-religionists under the Crescent that Russia intervened. In 1826
Russian and Turkish delegates met at Akerman in Bessarabia, and in
September of that year signed a convention by which the Russian
protectorate over the Serbs was recognized, the Serbs were granted
internal autonomy, the right to trade and erect churches, schools, and
printing-presses, and the Turks were forbidden to live in Serbia except in
eight garrison towns; the garrisons were to be Turkish, and tribute was
still to be paid to the Sultan as suzerain. These concessions, announced
by Prince Milo[)s] to his people at a special _skup[)s]tina_ held at
Kragujevac in 1827, evoked great enthusiasm, but the urgency of the Greek
question again delayed their fulfilment. After the battle of Navarino on
October 20, 1827, in which the British, French, and Russian fleets
defeated the Turkish, the Turks became obstinate and refused to carry out
the stipulations of the Convention of Akerman in favour of Serbia.
Thereupon Russia declared war on Turkey in April 1828, and the Russian
armies crossed the Danube and the Balkans and marched on Constantinople.

Peace was concluded at Adrianople in 1829, and Turkey agreed to carry out
immediately all the stipulations of the Treaty of Bucarest (1812) and the
Convention of Akerman (1826). The details took some time to settle, but in
November 1830 the _hatti-sherif_ of the Sultan, acknowledging Milo[)s] as
hereditary prince of Serbia, was publicly read in Belgrade. All the
concessions already promised were duly granted, and Serbia became
virtually independent, but still tributary to the Sultan. Its territory
included most of the northern part of the modern kingdom of Serbia,
between the rivers Drina, Save, Danube, and Timok, but not the districts
of Nish, Vranja, and Pirot. Turkey still retained Bosnia and Hercegovina,
Macedonia, the _sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar, which separated Serbia from
Montenegro, and Old Serbia (northern Macedonia).


_The Throes of Regeneration: Independent Serbia,_ 1830-1903

During his rule of Serbia, which lasted virtually from 1817 till 1839,
Prince Milo[)s] did a very great deal for the welfare of his country. He
emancipated the Serbian Church from the trammels of the Greek Patriarchate
of Constantinople in 1831, from which date onwards it was ruled by a
Metropolitan of Serb nationality, resident at Belgrade. He encouraged the
trade of the country, a great deal of which he held in his own hands; he
was in fact a sort of prototype of those modern Balkan business-kings of
whom King George of Greece and King Carol of Rumania were the most notable
examples. He raised an army and put it on a permanent footing, and
organized the construction of roads, schools, and churches. He was,
however, an autocratic ruler of the old school, and he had no inclination
to share the power for the attainment of which he had laboured so many
years and gone through so much. From his definite installation as
hereditary prince discontent at his arbitrary methods of government
amongst his ex-equals increased, and after several revolts he was forced
eventually to grant a constitution in 1835. This, however, remained a dead
letter, and things went on as before. Later in the same year he paid a
prolonged visit to his suzerain at Constantinople, and while he was there
the situation in Serbia became still more serious. After his return he
was, after several years of delay and of growing unpopularity, compelled
to agree to another constitution which was forced on him, paradoxically
enough, by the joint efforts of the Tsar and of the Sultan, who seemed to
take an unnatural pleasure in supporting the democratic Serbians against
their successful colleague in autocracy, who had done so much for his
turbulent subjects. Serbia even in those days was essentially and
uncompromisingly democratic, but even so Milo[)s] obstinately refused to
carry out the provisions of the constitution or in any way to submit to a
curtailment of his power, and in 1839 he left his ungrateful principality
and took refuge in Rumania, where he possessed an estate, abdicating in
favour of his elder son Milan. This Prince Milan, known as Obrenovi['c]
II, was seriously ill at the time of his accession, and died within a
month of it. He was succeeded by his younger brother Michael, known as
Obrenovi['c] III, who was then only sixteen years of age. This prince,
though young, had a good head on his shoulders, and eventually proved the
most gifted ruler modern Serbia has ever had. His first reign (1840-2),
however, did not open well. He inaugurated it by paying a state visit to
Constantinople, but the Sultan only recognized him as elective prince and
insisted on his having two advisers approved and appointed by the Porte.
Michael on his return showed his determination to have nothing to do with
them, but this led to a rebellion headed by one of them, Vu[)c]i['c], and,
though Michael's rule was not as arbitrary as his father's, he had to bow
to the popular will which supported Vu[)c]i['c] and cross the river to
Semlin. After a stormy interval, during which the Emperor Nicholas I tried
to intervene in favour of Michael, Alexander Karagjorgjevi['c], son of
Kara-George, was elected prince (1843). No sooner was this representative
of the rival dynasty installed, however, than rebellions in favour of
Michael occurred. These were thrown into the shade by the events of 1848,
In that memorable year of revolutions the Magyars rose against Austria and
the Serbs in southern Hungary rose against the Magyars. Prince Alexander
resolved to send military help to his oppressed countrymen north of the
Save and Danube, and, though the insurgents were unsuccessful, Prince
Alexander gained in popularity amongst the Serbs by the line of action he
had taken. During the Crimean War, on the other hand, Serbia remained
strictly neutral, to the annoyance of the Tsar; at the Congress of Paris
(1856) the exclusive protectorate of Russia was replaced by one of all the
powers, and Russian influence in the western Balkans was thereby weakened.
Prince Alexander's prudence, moreover, cost him his popularity, and in
1858 he in his turn had to bid farewell to his difficult countrymen.

In December of the same year the veteran Prince Milo['s] Obrenovi['c] I
was recalled to power as hereditary prince. His activities during his
second reign were directed against Turkish influence, which was still
strong, and he made efforts to have the Turkish populations removed from
the eight garrison towns, including Belgrade, where they still lived in
spite of the fact that their emigration had been stipulated for in 1830.
Unfortunately he did not live long enough to carry out his plans, for he
fell ill at Topchider, the summer palace near Belgrade, in the autumn of
1860, and died a few days afterwards. He was again succeeded by his son
Michael Obrenovi['c] III, who was already thirty-six years of age. This
able prince's second reign was brilliantly successful, and it was a
disaster for which his foolish countrymen had to pay dearly, when, by
their fault, it was prematurely cut short in 1868. His first act was with
the consent of a specially summoned _skup[)s]tina_ to abolish the law by
which he could only appoint and remove his counsellers with the approval
of the Porte. Next he set about the organization and establishment of a
regular army of 30,000 men. In 1862 an anti-Turkish rebellion broke out
amongst the Serbs in Hercegovina (still, with Bosnia, a Turkish province),
and the Porte, accusing Prince Michael of complicity, made warlike
preparations against him.

Events, however, were precipitated in such a way that, without waiting for
the opening of hostilities, the Turkish general in command of the fortress
of Belgrade turned his guns on the city; this provoked the intervention of
the powers at Constantinople, and the entire civilian Turkish population
had to quit the country (in accordance with the stipulations of 1830),
only Turkish garrisons remaining in the fortresses of [)S]abac, Belgrade,
Smederevo, and Kladovo, along the northern river frontier, still
theoretically the boundary of the Sultan's dominions. After this success
Prince Michael continued his military preparations in order to obtain
final possession of the fortresses when a suitable occasion should arise.
This occurred in 1866, when Austria was engaged in the struggle with
Prussia, and the policy of Great Britain became less Turcophil than it had
hitherto been. On April 6, 1867, the four fortresses, which had been in
Serbian possession from 1804 to 1813, but had since then been garrisoned
by the Turks, were delivered over to Serbia and the last Turkish soldier
left Serbian soil without a shot having been fired. Though Serbia after
this was still a vassal state, being tributary to the Sultan, these
further steps on the road to complete independence were a great triumph,
especially for Prince Michael personally. But this very triumph actuated
his political opponents amongst his own countrymen, amongst whom were
undoubtedly adherents of the rival dynasty, to revenge, and blind to the
interests of their people they foolishly and most brutally murdered this
extremely capable and conscientious prince in the deer park near Topchider
on June 10, 1868. The opponents of the Obrenovi['c] dynasty were, however,
baulked in their plans, and a cousin of the late prince was elected to the
vacant and difficult position. This ruler, known as Milan Obrenovi['c] IV,
who was only fourteen years of age at the time of his accession (1868),
was of a very different character from his predecessor. The first thing
that happened during his minority was the substitution of the constitution
of 1838 by another one which was meant to give the prince and the national
assembly much more power, but which, eventually, made the ministers

The prince came of age in 1872 when he was eighteen, and he soon showed
that the potential pleasures to be derived from his position were far more
attractive to him than the fulfilment of its obvious duties. He found much
to occupy him in Vienna and Paris and but little in Belgrade. At the same
time the Serb people had lost, largely by its own faults, much of the
respect and sympathy which it had acquired in Europe during Prince
Michael's reign. In 1875 a formidable anti-Turkish insurrection (the last
of many) broke out amongst the Serbs of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and all
the efforts of the Turks to quell it were unavailing. In June 1876 Prince
Milan was forced by the pressure of public opinion to declare war on
Turkey in support of the 'unredeemed' Serbs of Bosnia, and Serbia was
joined by Montenegro. The country was, however, not materially prepared
for war, the expected sympathetic risings in other parts of Turkey either
did not take place or failed, and the Turks turned their whole army on to
Serbia, with the result that in October the Serbs had to appeal to the
Tsar for help and an armistice was arranged, which lasted till February
1877. During the winter a conference was held in Constantinople to devise
means for alleviating the lot of the Christians in Turkey, and a peace was
arranged between Turkey and Serbia whereby the _status quo ante_ was
restored. But after the conference the heart of Turkey was again hardened
and the stipulations in favour of the Christians were not carried out.

In 1877 Russia declared war on Turkey (cf. chap. 10), and in the autumn of
the same year Serbia joined in. This time the armies of Prince Milan were
more successful, and conquered and occupied the whole of southern Serbia
including the towns and districts of Nish, Pirot, Vranja, and Leskovac,
Montenegro, which had not been included in the peace of the previous
winter, but had been fighting desperately and continuously against the
Turks ever since it had begun actively to help the Serb rebels of
Hercegovina in 1875, had a series of successes, as a result of which it
obtained possession of the important localities of Nik['s]i['c],
Podgorica, Budua, Antivari, and Dulcigno, the last three on the shore of
the Adriatic. By the Treaty of San Stefano the future interests of both
Serbia and Montenegro were jeopardised by the creation of a Great
Bulgaria, but that would not have mattered if in return they had been
given control of the purely Serb provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina,
which ethnically they can claim just as legitimately as Bulgaria claims
most of Macedonia. The Treaty of San Stefano was, however, soon replaced
by that of Berlin. By its terms both Serbia and Montenegro achieved
complete independence and the former ceased to be a tributary state of
Turkey. The Serbs were given the districts of southern Serbia which they
had occupied, and which are all ethnically Serb except Pirot, the
population of which is a sort of cross between Serb and Bulgar. The Serbs
also undertook to build a railway through their country to the Turkish and
Bulgarian frontiers. Montenegro was nearly doubled in size, receiving the
districts of Nik['s]i['c], Podgorica, and others; certain places in the
interior the Turks and Albanians absolutely refused to surrender, and to
compensate for these Montenegro was given a strip of coast with the
townlets of Antivari and Dulcigno. The memory of Gladstone, who specially
espoused Montenegro's cause in this matter, is held in the greatest
reverence in the brave little mountain country, but unfortunately the
ports themselves are economically absolutely useless. Budua, higher up the
Dalmatian coast, which would have been of some use, was handed over to
Austria, to which country, already possessed of Cattaro and all the rest
of Dalmatia, it was quite superfluous. Greatest tragedy of all for the
future of the Serb race, the administration of Bosnia and Hercegovina was
handed over 'temporarily' to Austria-Hungary, and Austrian garrisons were
quartered throughout those two provinces, which they were able to occupy
only after the most bitter armed opposition on the part of the
inhabitants, and also in the Turkish _sandjak_ or province of Novi-Pazar,
the ancient Raska and cradle of the Serb state; this strip of mountainous
territory under Turkish administrative and Austrian military control was
thus converted into a fortified wedge which effectually kept the two
independent Serb states of Serbia and Montenegro apart. After all these
events the Serbs had to set to work to put their enlarged house in order.
But the building of railways and schools and the organization of the
services cost a lot of money, and as public economy is not a Serbian
virtue the debt grew rapidly. In 1882 Serbia proclaimed itself a kingdom
and was duly recognized by the other nations. But King Milan did not learn
to manage the affairs of his country any better as time went on. He was
too weak to stand alone, and having freed himself from Turkey he threw
himself into the arms of Austria, with which country he concluded a secret
military convention. In 1885, when Bulgaria and 'Eastern Rumelia'
successfully coalesced and Bulgaria thereby received a considerable
increase of territory and power, the Serbs, prompted by jealousy, began to
grow restless, and King Milan, at the instigation of Austria, foolishly
declared war on Prince Alexander of Battenberg. This speedily ended in the
disastrous battle of Slivnitsa (cf. chap. II); Austria had to intervene to
save its victim, and Serbia got nothing for its trouble but a large
increase of debt and a considerable decrease of military reputation. In
addition to all this King Milan was unfortunate in his conjugal relations;
his wife, the beautiful Queen Natalie, was a Russian, and as he himself
had Austrian sympathies, they could scarcely be expected to agree on
politics. But the strife between them extended from the sphere of
international to that of personal sympathies and antipathies. King Milan
was promiscuous in affairs of the heart and Queen Natalie was jealous.
Scenes of domestic discord were frequent and violent, and the effect of
this atmosphere on the character of their only child Alexander, who was
born in 1876, was naturally bad.

The king, who had for some years been very popular with, his subjects with
all his failings, lost his hold on the country after the unfortunate war
of 1885, and the partisans of the rival dynasty began to be hopeful once
more. In 1888 King Milan gave Serbia a very much more liberal
constitution, by which the ministers were for the first time made really
responsible to the _skup[)s]tina_ or national assembly, replacing that of
1869, and the following year, worried by his political and domestic
failures, discredited and unpopular both at home and abroad, he resigned
in favour of his son Alexander, then aged thirteen. This boy, who had been
brought up in what may be called a permanent storm-centre, both domestic
and political, was placed under a regency, which included M. Risti['c],
with a radical ministry under M. Pa[)s]i['c], an extremely able and
patriotic statesman of pro-Russian sympathies, who ever since he first
became prominent in 1877 had been growing in power and influence. But
trouble did not cease with the abdication of King Milan. He and his wife
played Box and Cox at Belgrade for the next four years, quarrelling and
being reconciled, intriguing and fighting round the throne and person of
their son. At last both parents agreed to leave the country and give the
unfortunate youth a chance. King Milan settled in Vienna, Queen Natalie in
Biarritz. In 1893 King Alexander suddenly declared himself of age and
arrested all his ministers and regents one evening while they were dining
with him. The next year he abrogated the constitution of 1888, under which
party warfare in the Serbian parliament had been bitter and uninterrupted,
obstructing any real progress, and restored that of 1869. Ever since 1889
(the date of the accession of the German Emperor) Berlin had taken more
interest in Serbian affairs, and it has been alleged that it was William
II who, through the wife of the Rumanian minister at his court, who was
sister of Queen Natalie, influenced King Alexander in his abrupt and
ill-judged decisions. It was certainly German policy to weaken and
discredit Serbia and to further Austrian influence at Belgrade at the
expense of that of Russia. King Milan returned for a time to Belgrade in
1897, and the reaction, favourable to Austria, which had begun in 1894,
increased during his presence and under the ministry of Dr. Vladan
Gjorgjevi['c], which lasted from 1897 till 1900. This state of repression
caused unrest throughout the country. All its energies were absorbed in
fruitless political party strife, and no material or moral progress was
possible. King Alexander, distracted, solitary, and helpless in the midst
of this unending welter of political intrigue, committed an extremely
imprudent act in the summer of 1900. Having gone for much-needed
relaxation to see his mother at Biarritz, he fell violently in love with
her lady in waiting, Madame Draga Ma[)s]in, the divorced wife of a Serbian
officer. Her somewhat equivocal past was in King Alexander's eyes quite
eclipsed by her great beauty and her wit, which had not been impaired by
conjugal infelicity. Although she was thirty-two, and he only twenty-four,
he determined to marry her, and the desperate opposition of his parents,
his army, his ministers, and his people, based principally on the fact
that the woman was known to be incapable of child-birth, only precipitated
the accomplishment of his intention. This unfortunate and headstrong
action on the part of the young king, who, though deficient in tact and
intuition, had plenty of energy and was by no means stupid, might have
been forgiven him by his people if, as was at first thought possible, it
had restored internal peace and prosperity in the country and thereby
enabled it to prepare itself to take a part in the solution oL those
foreign questions which vitally affected Serb interests and were already
looming on the horizon. But it did not. In 1901 King Alexander granted
another constitution and for a time attempted to work with a coalition
ministry; but this failed, and a term of reaction with pro-Austrian
tendencies, which were favoured by the king and queen, set in. This
reaction, combined with the growing disorganization of the finances and
the general sense of the discredit and failure which the follies of its
rulers had during the last thirty years brought on the country; completely
undermined the position of the dynasty and made a catastrophe inevitable.
This occurred, as is well known, on June 10, 1903, when, as the result of
a military conspiracy, King Alexander, the last of the Obrenovi['c]
dynasty, his wife, and her male relatives were murdered. This crime was
purely political, and it is absurd to gloss it over or to explain it
merely as the result of the family feud between the two dynasties. That
came to an end in 1868, when the murder of Kara-George in 1817 by the
agency of Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c] was avenged by the lunatic assassination
of the brilliant Prince Michael Obrenovi['c] III. It is no exaggeration to
say that, from the point of view of the Serbian patriot, the only
salvation of his country in 1903 lay in getting rid of the Obrenovi['c]
dynasty, which had become pro-Austrian, had no longer the great gifts
possessed by its earlier members, and undoubtedly by its vagaries hindered
the progress of Serbia both in internal and external politics. The
assassination was unfortunately carried out with unnecessary cruelty, and
it is this fact that made such a bad impression and for so long militated
against Serbia in western Europe; but it must be remembered that
civilization in the Balkans, where political murder, far from being a
product of the five hundred years of Turkish dominion, has always been
endemic, is not on the same level in many respects as it is in the rest of
Europe. Life is one of the commodities which are still cheap in backward

Although King Alexander and his wife can in no sense be said to have
deserved the awful fate that befell them, it is equally true that had any
other course been adopted, such as deposition and exile, the wire-pulling
and intriguing from outside, which had already done the country so much
harm, would have become infinitely worse. Even so, it was long before
things in any sense settled down. As for the alleged complicity of the
rival dynasty in the crime, it is well established that that did not
exist. It was no secret to anybody interested in Serbian affairs that
something catastrophic was about to happen, and when the tragedy occurred
it was natural to appeal to the alternative native dynasty to step into
the breach. But the head of that dynasty was in no way responsible for the
plot, still less for the manner in which it was carried out, and it was
only after much natural hesitation and in the face of his strong
disinclination that Prince Peter Karagjorgjevi['c] was induced to accept
the by no means enviable, easy, or profitable task of guiding Serbia's
destiny. The Serbian throne in 1903 was a source neither of glory nor of
riches, and it was notoriously no sinecure.

After the tragedy, the democratic constitution of 1888 was first of all
restored, and then Prince Peter Karagjorgjevi['c], grandson of
Kara-George, the leader of the first Serbian insurrection of 1804-13, who
was at that time fifty-nine years of age, was unanimously elected king. He
had married in 1883 a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and sister
of the future Queen of Italy, but she had been dead already some years at
the time of his accession, leaving him with a family of two sons and a


_Serbia, Montenegro, and the Serbo-Croats in Austria-Hungary,_ 1903-8

It was inevitable that, after the sensation which such an event could not
fail to cause in twentieth-century Europe, it should take the country
where it occurred some time to live down the results. Other powers,
especially those of western Europe, looked coldly on Serbia and were in no
hurry to resume diplomatic intercourse, still less to offer diplomatic
support. The question of the punishment and exile of the conspirators was
almost impossible of solution, and only time was able to obliterate the
resentment caused by the whole affair. In Serbia itself a great change
took place. The new sovereign, though he laboured under the greatest
possible disadvantages, by his irreproachable behaviour, modesty, tact,
and strictly constitutional rule, was able to withdraw the court of
Belgrade from the trying limelight to which it had become used. The public
finances began to be reorganized, commerce began to improve in spite of
endless tariff wars with Austria-Hungary, and attention was again diverted
from home to foreign politics. With the gradual spread of education and
increase of communication, and the growth of national self-consciousness
amongst the Serbs and Croats of Austria-Hungary and the two independent
Serb states, a new movement for the closer intercourse amongst the various
branches of the Serb race for south Slav unity, as it was called,
gradually began to take shape. At the same time a more definitely
political agitation started in Serbia, largely inspired by the humiliating
position of economic bondage in which the country was held by
Austria-Hungary, and was roughly justified by the indisputable argument:
'Serbia must expand or die.' Expansion at the cost of Turkey seemed
hopeless, because even the acquisition of Macedonia would give Serbia a
large alien population and no maritime outlet. It was towards the Adriatic
that the gaze of the Serbs was directed, to the coast which was ethnically
Serbian and could legitimately be considered a heritage of the Serb race.

Macedonia was also taken into account, schools and armed bands began their
educative activity amongst those inhabitants of the unhappy province who
were Serb, or who lived in places where Serbs had lived, or who with
sufficient persuasion could be induced to call themselves Serb; but the
principal stream of propaganda was directed westwards into Bosnia and
Hercegovina. The antagonism between Christian and Mohammedan, Serb and
Turk, was never so bitter as between Christian and Christian, Serb and
German or Magyar, and the Serbs were clever enough to see that Bosnia and
Hercegovina, from every point of view, was to them worth ten Macedonias,
though it would he ten times more difficult to obtain. Bosnia and
Hercegovina, though containing three confessions, were ethnically
homogeneous, and it was realised that these two provinces were as
important to Serbia and Montenegro as the rest of Italy had been to

It must at this time be recalled in what an extraordinary way the Serb
race had fortuitously been broken up into a number of quite arbitrary
political divisions. Dalmatia (three per cent. of the population of which
is Italian and all the rest Serb or Croat, preponderatingly Serb and
Orthodox in the south and preponderating Croat or Roman Catholic in the
north) was a province of Austria and sent deputies to the Reichsrath at
Vienna; at the same time it was territorially isolated from Austria and
had no direct railway connexion with any country except a narrow-gauge
line into Bosnia. Croatia and Slavonia, preponderatingly Roman Catholic,
were lands of the Hungarian crown, and though they had a provincial
pseudo-autonomous diet at Agram, the capital of Croatia, they sent
deputies to the Hungarian parliament at Budapest. Thus what had in the
Middle Ages been known as the triune kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and
Dalmatia, with a total Serbo-Croat population of three millions, was
divided between Austria and Hungary.

Further, there were about 700,000 Serbs and Croats in the south of Hungary
proper, cast and north of the Danube, known as the Banat and Ba[)c]ka, a
district which during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was
the hearth and home of Serb literature and education, but which later
waned in importance in that respect as independent Serbia grew. These
Serbs were directly dependent on Budapest, the only autonomy they
possessed being ecclesiastical. Bosnia and Hercegovina, still nominally
Turkish provinces, with a Slav population of nearly two million (850,000
Orthodox Serbs, 650,000 Mohammedan Serbs, and the rest Roman Catholics),
were to all intents and purposes already imperial lands of
Austria-Hungary, with a purely military and police administration; the
shadow of Turkish sovereignty provided sufficient excuse to the _de facto_
owners of these provinces not to grant the inhabitants parliamentary
government or even genuine provincial autonomy. The Serbs in Serbia
numbered nearly three millions, those in Montenegro about a quarter of a
million; while in Turkey, in what was known as Old Serbia (the _sandjak_
of Novi-Pasar between Serbia and Montenegro and the vilayet of Korovo),
and in parts of northern and central Macedonia, there were scattered
another half million. These last, of course, had no voice at all in the
management of their own affairs. Those in Montenegro lived under the
patriarchal autocracy of Prince Nicholas, who had succeeded his uncle,
Prince Danilo, in 1860, at the age of nineteen. Though no other form of
government could have turned the barren rocks of Montenegro into fertile
pastures, many of the people grew restless with the restricted
possibilities of a career which the mountain principality offered them,
and in latter years migrated in large numbers to North and South America,
whither emigration from Dalmatia and Croatia too had already readied
serious proportions. The Serbs in Serbia were the only ones who could
claim to be free, but even this was a freedom entirely dependent on the
economic malevolence of Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Cut up in this way by
the hand of fate into such a number of helpless fragments, it was
inevitable that the Serb race, if it possessed any vitality, should
attempt, at any cost, to piece some if not all of them together and form
an ethnical whole which, economically and politically, should be master of
its own destinies. It was equally inevitable that the policy of
Austria-Hungary should be to anticipate or definitively render any such
attempt impossible, because obviously the formation of a large south Slav
state, by cutting off Austria from the Adriatic and eliminating from the
dual monarchy all the valuable territory between the Dalmatian coast and
the river Drave, would seriously jeopardize its position as a great power;
it must be remembered, also, that Austria-Hungary, far from decomposing,
as it was commonly assumed was happening, had been enormously increasing
in vitality ever since 1878.

The means adopted by the governments of Vienna and Budapest to nullify the
plans of Serbian expansion were generally to maintain the political
_emiettement_ of the Serb race, the isolation of one group from another,
the virtually enforced emigration of Slavs on a large scale and their
substitution by German colonists, and the encouragement of rivalry and
discord between Roman Catholic Croat and Orthodox Serb. No railways were
allowed to be built in Dalmatia, communication between Agram and any other
parts of the monarchy except Fiume or Budapest was rendered almost
impossible; Bosnia and Hercegovina were shut off into a watertight
compartment and endowed with a national flag composed of the inspiring
colours of brown and buff; it was made impossible for Serbs to visit
Montenegro or for Montenegrins to visit Serbia except via Fiume, entailing
the bestowal of several pounds on the Hungarian state steamers and
railways. As for the _sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar, it was turned into a
veritable Tibet, and a legend was spread abroad that if any foreigner
ventured there he would be surely murdered by Turkish brigands; meanwhile
it was full of Viennese ladies giving picnics and dances and tennis
parties to the wasp-waisted officers of the Austrian garrison. Bosnia and
Hercegovina, on the other hand, became the model touring provinces of
Austria-Hungary, and no one can deny that their great natural beauties
were made more enjoyable by the construction of railways, roads, and
hotels. At the same time this was not a work of pure philanthropy, and the
emigration statistics are a good indication of the joy with which the
Bosnian peasants paid for an annual influx of admiring tourists. In spite
of all these disadvantages, however, the Serbo-Croat provinces of
Austria-Hungary could not be deprived of all the benefits of living within
a large and prosperous customs union, while being made to pay for all the
expenses of the elaborate imperial administration and services; and the
spread of education, even under the Hapsburg regime, began to tell in
time. Simultaneously with the agitation which emanated from Serbia and was
directed towards the advancement, by means of schools and religious and
literary propaganda, of Serbian influence in Bosnia and Hercegovina, a
movement started in Dalmatia and Croatia for the closer union of those two
provinces. About 1906 the two movements found expression in the formation
of the Serbo-Croat or Croato-Serb coalition party, composed of those
elements in Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia which favoured closer union
between the various groups of the Serb race scattered throughout those
provinces, as well as in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Hercegovina, and
Turkey. Owing to the circumstances already described, it was impossible
for the representatives of the Serb race to voice their aspirations
unanimously in any one parliament, and the work of the coalition, except
in the provincial diet at Agram, consisted mostly of conducting press
campaigns and spreading propaganda throughout those provinces. The most
important thing about the coalition was that it buried religious
antagonism and put unity of race above difference of belief. In this way
it came into conflict with the ultramontane Croat party at Agram, which
wished to incorporate Bosnia, Hercegovina, and Dalmatia with Croatia and
create a third purely Roman Catholic Slav state in the empire, on a level
with Austria and Hungary; also to a lesser extent with the intransigent
Serbs of Belgrade, who affected to ignore Croatia and Roman Catholicism,
and only dreamed of bringing Bosnia, Hercegovina, and as much of Dalmatia
as they could under their own rule; and finally it had to overcome the
hostility of the Mohammedan Serbs of Bosnia, who disliked all Christians
equally, could only with the greatest difficulty be persuaded that they
were really Serbs and not Turks, and honestly cared for nothing but Islam
and Turkish coffee, thus considerably facilitating the germanization of
the two provinces. The coalition was wisely inclined to postpone the
programme of final political settlement, and aimed immediately at the
removal of the material and moral barriers placed between the Serbs of the
various provinces of Austria-Hungary, including Bosnia and Hercegovina. If
they had been sure of adequate guarantees they would probably have agreed
to the inclusion of _all_ Serbs and Croats within the monarchy, because
the constitution of all Serbs and Croats in an independent state (not
necessarily a kingdom) without it implied the then problematic
contingencies of a European war and the disruption of Austria-Hungary.
Considering the manifold handicaps under which Serbia and its cause
suffered, the considerable success which its propaganda met with in Bosnia
and Hercegovina and other parts of Austria-Hungary, from 1903 till 1908,
is a proof, not only of the energy and earnestness of its promoters and of
the vitality of the Serbian people, but also, if any were needed, of the
extreme unpopularity of the Hapsburg regime in the southern Slav provinces
of the dual monarchy. Serbia had no help from outside. Russia was
entangled in the Far East and then in the revolution, and though the new
dynasty was approved in St. Petersburg Russian sympathy with Serbia was at
that time only lukewarm. Relations with Austria-Hungary were of course
always strained; only one single line of railway connected the two
countries, and as Austria-Hungary was the only profitable market, for
geographical reasons, for Serbian products, Serbia could be brought to its
knees at any moment by the commercial closing of the frontier. It was a
symbol of the economic vassalage of Serbia and Montenegro that the postage
between both of these countries and any part of Austria-Hungary was ten
centimes, that for letters between Serbia and Montenegro, which had to
make the long detour through Austrian territory, was twenty-five. But
though this opened the Serbian markets to Austria, it also incidentally
opened Bosnia, when the censor could be circumvented to propaganda by
pamphlet and correspondence. Intercourse with western Europe was
restricted by distance, and, owing to dynastic reasons, diplomatic
relations were altogether suspended for several years between this country
and Serbia. The Balkan States Exhibition held in London during the summer
of 1907, to encourage trade between Great Britain and the Balkans, was
hardly a success. Italy and Serbia had nothing in common. With Montenegro
even, despite the fact that King Peter was Prince Nicholas's son-in-law,
relations were bad. It was felt in Serbia that Prince Nicholas's
autocratic rule acted as a brake on the legitimate development of the
national consciousness, and Montenegrin students who visited Belgrade
returned to their homes full of wild and unsuitable ideas. However, the
revolutionary tendencies, which some of them undoubtedly developed, had no
fatal results to the reigning dynasty, which continued as before to enjoy
the special favour as well as the financial support of the Russian court,
and which, looked on throughout Europe as a picturesque and harmless
institution, it would have been dangerous, as it was quite unnecessary, to

Serbia was thus left entirely to its own resources in the great
propagandist activity which filled the years 1903 to 1908. The financial
means at its disposal were exiguous in the extreme, especially when
compared with the enormous sums lavished annually by the Austrian and
German governments on their secret political services, so that the efforts
of its agents cannot be ascribed to cupidity. Also it must be admitted
that the kingdom of Serbia, with its capital Belgrade, thanks to the
internal chaos and dynastic scandals of the previous forty years,
resulting in superficial dilapidation, intellectual stagnation, and
general poverty, lacked the material as well as the moral glamour which a
successful Piedmont should possess. Nobody could deny, for instance, that,
with all its natural advantages, Belgrade was at first sight not nearly
such an attractive centre as Agram or Sarajevo, or that the qualities
which the Serbs of Serbia had displayed since their emancipation were
hardly such as to command the unstinted confidence and admiration of their
as yet unredeemed compatriots. Nevertheless the Serbian propaganda in
favour of what was really a Pan-Serb movement met with great success,
especially in Bosnia, Hercegovina, and Old Serbia (northern Macedonia).

Simultaneously the work of the Serbo-Croat coalition in Dalmatia, Croatia,
and Slavonia made considerable progress in spite of clerical opposition
and desperate conflicts with the government at Budapest. Both the one
movement and the other naturally evoked great alarm and emotion in the
Austrian and Hungarian capitals, as they were seen to be genuinely popular
and also potentially, if not actually, separatist in character. In October
1906 Baron Achrenthal succeeded Count Goluchowski as Minister for Foreign
Affairs at Vienna, and very soon initiated a more vigorous and
incidentally anti-Slav foreign policy than his predecessor. What was now
looked on as the Serbian danger had in the eyes of Vienna assumed such
proportions that the time for decisive action was considered to have
arrived. In January 1908 Baron Achrenthal announced his scheme for a
continuation of the Bosnian railway system through the _sandjak_ of
Novi-Pazar to link up with the Turkish railways in Macedonia. This plan
was particularly foolish in conception, because, the Bosnian railways
being narrow and the Turkish normal gauge, the line would have been
useless for international commerce, while the engineering difficulties
were such that the cost of construction would have been prohibitive. But
the possibilities which this move indicated, the palpable evidence it
contained of the notorious _Drang nach Osten_ of the Germanic powers
towards Salonika and Constantinople, were quite sufficient to fill the
ministries of Europe, and especially those of Russia, with extreme
uneasiness. The immediate result of this was that concerted action between
Russia and Austria-Hungary in the Balkans was thenceforward impossible,
and the Muerzsteg programme, after a short and precarious existence, came
to an untimely end (cf. chap. 12). Serbia and Montenegro, face to face
with this new danger which threatened permanently to separate their
territories, were beside themselves, and immediately parried with the
project, hardly more practicable in view of their international credit, of
a Danube-Adriatic railway. In July 1908 the nerves of Europe were still
further tried by the Young Turk revolution in Constantinople. The
imminence of this movement was known to Austro-German diplomacy, and
doubtless this knowledge, as well as the fear of the Pan-Serb movement,
prompted the Austrian foreign minister to take steps towards the
definitive regularization of his country's position in Bosnia and
Hercegovina--provinces whose suzerain was still the Sultan of Turkey. The
effect of the Young Turk coup in the Balkan States was as any one who
visited them at that time can testify, both pathetic and intensely
humorous. The permanent chaos of the Turkish empire, and the process of
watching for years its gradual but inevitable decomposition, had created
amongst the neighbouring states an atmosphere of excited anticipation,
which was really the breath of their nostrils; it had stimulated them
during the endless Macedonian insurrections to commit the most awful
outrages against each other's nationals and then lay the blame at the door
of the unfortunate Turk; and if the Turk should really regenerate himself,
not only would their occupation be gone, but the heavily-discounted
legacies would assuredly elude their grasp. At the same time, since the
whole policy of exhibiting and exploiting the horrors of Macedonia, and of
organizing guerilla bands and provoking intervention, was based on the
refusal of the Turks to grant reforms, as soon as the ultra-liberal
constitution of Midhat Pasha, which, had been withdrawn after a brief and
unsuccessful run in 1876, was restored by the Young Turks, there was
nothing left for the Balkan States to do but to applaud with as much
enthusiasm as they could simulate. The emotions experienced by the Balkan
peoples during that summer, beneath the smiles which they had to assume,
were exhausting even for southern temperaments. Bulgaria, with its
characteristic matter-of-factness, was the first to adjust itself to the
new and trying situation in which the only certainty was that something
decisive had got to be done with all possible celerity. On October 5,
1908, Prince Ferdinand sprang on an astonished continent the news that he
renounced the Turkish suzerainty (ever since 1878 the Bulgarian
principality had been a tributary and vassal state of the Ottoman Empire,
and therefore, with all its astonishingly rapid progress and material
prosperity, a subject for commiseration in the kingdoms of Serbia and
Greece) and proclaimed the independence of Bulgaria, with himself, as Tsar
of the Bulgars, at its head. Europe had not recovered from this shock,
still less Belgrade and Athens, when, two days later. Baron Aehrenthal
announced the formal annexation of Bosnia and Hercegovina by the Emperor
Francis Joseph. Whereas most people had virtually forgotten the Treaty of
Berlin and had come to look on Austria as just as permanently settled in
these two provinces as was Great Britain in Egypt and Cyprus, yet the
formal breach of the stipulations of that treaty on Austria's part, by
annexing the provinces without notice to or consultation with the other
parties concerned, gave the excuse for a somewhat ridiculous hue and cry
on the part of the other powers, and especially on that of Russia. The
effect of these blows from right and left on Serbia was literally
paralysing. When Belgrade recovered the use of its organs, it started to
scream for war and revenue, and initiated an international crisis from
which Europe did not recover till the following year. Meanwhile, almost
unobserved by the peoples of Serbia and Montenegro, Austria had, in order
to reconcile the Turks with the loss of their provinces, good-naturedly,
but from the Austrian point of view short-sightedly, withdrawn its
garrisons from the _sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar, thus evacuating the
long-coveted corridor which was the one thing above all else necessary to
Serbia and Montenegro for the realization of their plans.


_Serbia and Montenegro, and the two Balkan Wars,_ 1908-13 (cf. Chap, 13)

The winter of 1908-9 marked the lowest ebb of Serbia's fortunes. The
successive _coups_ and _faits accomplis_ carried out by Austria, Turkey,
and Bulgaria during 1908 seemed destined to destroy for good the Serbian
plans for expansion in any direction whatever, and if these could not be
realized then Serbia must die of suffocation. It was also well understood
that for all the martial ardour displayed in Belgrade the army was in no
condition to take the field any more than was the treasury to bear the
cost of a campaign; Russia had not yet recovered from the Japanese War
followed by the revolution, and indeed everything pointed to the certainty
that if Serbia indulged in hostilities against Austria-Hungary it would
perish ignominiously and alone. The worst of it was that neither Serbia
nor Montenegro had any legal claim to Bosnia and Hercegovina: they had
been deluding themselves with the hope that their ethnical identity with
the people of these provinces, supported by the effects of their
propaganda, would induce a compassionate and generous Europe at least to
insist on their being given a part of the coveted territory, and thus give
Serbia access to the coast, when the ambiguous position of these two
valuable provinces, still nominally Turkish but already virtually
Austrian, came to be finally regularized. As a matter of fact, ever since
Bismarck, Gorchakov, and Beaconsfield had put Austria-Hungary in their
possession in 1878, no one had seriously thought that the Dual Monarchy
would ever voluntarily retire from one inch of the territory which had
been conquered and occupied at such cost, and those who noticed it were
astonished at the evacuation by it of the _sandjak_ of Novi-Pazar. At the
same time Baron Achrenthal little foresaw what a hornet's nest he would
bring about his ears by the tactless method in which the annexation was
carried out. The first effect was to provoke a complete boycott of
Austro-Hungarian goods and trading vessels throughout the Ottoman Empire,
which was so harmful to the Austrian export trade that in January 1909
Count Achrenthal had to indemnify Turkey with the sum of L2,500,000 for
his technically stolen property. Further, the attitude of Russia and
Serbia throughout the whole winter remained so provocative and threatening
that, although war was generally considered improbable, the Austrian army
had to be kept on a war footing, which involved great expense and much
popular discontent. The grave external crisis was only solved at the end
of March 1909; Germany had had to deliver a veiled ultimatum at St.
Petersburg, the result of which was the rescue of Austria-Hungary from an
awkward situation by the much-advertised appearance of its faithful ally
in shining armour. Simultaneously Serbia had to eat humble pie and
declare, with complete absence of truth, that the annexation of Bosnia and
Hercegovina had not affected its interests.

Meanwhile the internal complications in the southern Slav provinces of
Austria-Hungary were growing formidable. Ever since the summer of 1908
arrests had been going on among the members of the Croato-Serb coalition,
who were accused of favouring the subversive Pan-Serb movement. The press
of Austria-Hungary magnified the importance of this agitation in order to
justify abroad the pressing need for the formal annexation of Bosnia and
Hercegovina. The fact was that, though immediate danger to the monarchy as
a result of the Pan-Serb agitation was known not to exist, yet in the
interests of Austrian foreign policy, the Serbs had to be compromised in
the eyes of Europe, the Croato-Serb coalition within the Dual Monarchy had
to be destroyed to gratify Budapest in particular, and the religious and
political discord between Croat and Serb, on which the foundation of the
power of Austria-Hungary, and especially that of Hungary, in the south
rested, and which was in a fair way of being eliminated through the
efforts of the coalition, had to be revived by some means or other. It is
not possible here to go into the details of the notorious Agram high
treason trial, which was the outcome of all this. It suffices to say that
it was a monstrous travesty of justice which lasted from March till
October 1909, and though it resulted in the ostensible destruction of the
coalition and the imprisonment of many of its members, it defeated its own
ends, as it merely fanned the flame of nationalistic feeling against
Vienna and Budapest, and Croatia has ever since had to be governed
virtually by martial law. This was followed in December 1909 by the even
more famous Friedjung trial. In March 1909 Count Achrenthal had begun in
Vienna a violent press campaign against Serbia, accusing the Serbian
Government and dynasty of complicity in the concoction of nefarious
designs and conspiracies against the integrity of Austria-Hungary. This
campaign was thought to be the means of foreshadowing and justifying the
immediate military occupation of Serbia. Unfortunately its instigator had
not been sufficiently particular as to the choice of his tools and his
methods of using them. Among the contributors of the highly tendencious
articles was the well-known historian Dr. Friedjung, who made extensive
use of documents supplied him by the Vienna Foreign Office. His
accusations immediately provoked an action for libel on the part of three
leaders of the Croato-Serb coalition who were implicated, in December
1909. The trial, which was highly sensational, resulted in the complete
vindication and rehabilitation both of those three Austrian subjects in
the eyes of the whole of Austria-Hungary and of the Belgrade Foreign
Office in those of Europe; the documents on which the charges were based
were proven to be partly forgeries, partly falsified, and partly stolen by
various disreputable secret political agents of the Austrian Foreign
Office, and one of the principal Serbian 'conspirators', a professor of
Belgrade University, proved that he was in Berlin at the time when he had
been accused of presiding over a revolutionary meeting at Belgrade. But it
also resulted in the latter discrediting of Count Achrenthal as a diplomat
and of the methods by which he conducted the business of the Austrian
Foreign Office, and involved his country in the expenditure of countless
millions which it could ill afford.

There never was any doubt that a subversive agitation had been going on,
and that it emanated in part from Serbia, but the Serbian Foreign Office,
under the able management of Dr. Milovanovi['c] and Dr. Spalajkovi['c]
(one of the principal witnesses at the Friedjung trial), was far too
clever to allow any of its members, or indeed any responsible person in
Serbia, to be concerned in it, and the brilliant way in which the clumsy
and foolish charges were refuted redounded greatly to the credit of the
Serbian Government. Count Achrenthal had overreached himself, and moreover
the wind had already been taken out of his sails by the public recantation
on Serbia's part of its pretensions to Bosnia, which, as already
mentioned, took place at the end of March 1909, and by the simultaneous
termination of the international crisis marked by Russia's acquiescence in
the _fait accompli_ of the annexation. At the same time the Serbian Crown
Prince George, King Peter's elder son, who had been the leader of the
chauvinist war-party in Serbia, and was somewhat theatrical in demeanour
and irresponsible in character, renounced his rights of succession in
favour of his younger brother Prince Alexander, a much steadier and more
talented young man. It is certain that when he realized how things were
going to develop Count Achrenthal tried to hush up the whole incident, but
it was too late, and Dr. Friedjung insisted on doing what he could to save
his reputation as a historian. In the end he was made the principal
scapegoat, though the press of Vienna voiced its opinion of the Austrian
Foreign Office in no measured tones, saying, amongst other things, that if
the conductors of its diplomacy must use forgeries, they might at any rate
secure good ones. Eventually a compromise was arranged, after the
defendant had clearly lost his case, owing to pressure being brought to
bear from outside, and the Serbian Government refrained from carrying out
its threat of having the whole question threshed out before the Hague

The cumulative effect of all these exciting and trying experiences was the
growth of a distinctly more sympathetic feeling towards Serbia in Europe
at large, and especially a rallying of all the elements throughout the
Serb and Croat provinces of Austria-Hungary, except the extreme clericals
of Agram, to the Serbian cause; briefly, the effect was the exact opposite
of that desired by Vienna and Budapest. Meanwhile events had been
happening elsewhere which revived the drooping interest and flagging hopes
of Serbia in the development of foreign affairs. The attainment of power
by the Young Turks and the introduction of parliamentary government had
brought no improvement to the internal condition of the Ottoman Empire,
and the Balkan peoples made no effort to conceal their satisfaction at the
failure of the revolution to bring about reform by magic. The
counter-revolution of April 1909 and the accession of the Sultan Mohammed
V made things no better. In Macedonia, and especially in Albania, they had
been going from bad to worse. The introduction of universal military
service and obligatory payment of taxes caused a revolution in Albania,
where such innovations were not at all appreciated. From 1909 till 1911
there was a state of perpetual warfare in Albania, with which the Young
Turks, in spite of cruel reprisals, were unable to cope, until, in the
summer of that year, Austria threatened to intervene unless order were
restored; some sort of settlement was patched up, and an amnesty was
granted to the rebels by the new Sultan. This unfortunate man, after being
rendered almost half-witted by having been for the greater part of his
life kept a prisoner by his brother the tyrant Abdul Hamid, was now the
captive of the Young Turks, and had been compelled by them to make as
triumphal a progress as fears for his personal safety would allow through
the provinces of European Turkey. But it was obvious to Balkan statesmen
that Turkey was only changed in name, and that, if its threatened
regeneration had slightly postponed their plans for its partition amongst
themselves, the ultimate consummation of these plans must be pursued with,
if possible, even greater energy and expedition than before. It was also
seen by the more perspicacious of them that the methods hitherto adopted
must in future be radically altered. A rejuvenated though unreformed
Turkey, bent on self-preservation, could not be despised, and it was
understood that if the revolutionary bands of the three Christian nations
(Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria) were to continue indefinitely to cut each
others' throats in Macedonia the tables might conceivably be turned on

From 1909 onwards a series of phenomena occurred in the Balkans which
ought to have given warning to the Turks, whose survival in Europe had
been due solely to the fact that the Balkan States had never been able to
unite. In the autumn of 1909 King Ferdinand of Bulgaria met Crown Prince
Alexander of Serbia and made an expedition in his company to Mount
Kopaonik in Serbia, renowned for the beauty of its flora. This must have
struck those who remembered the bitter feelings which had existed between
the two countries for years and had been intensified by the events of
1908. Bulgaria had looked on Serbia's failures with persistent contempt,
while Serbia had watched Bulgaria's successful progress with speechless
jealousy, and the memory of Slivnitsa was not yet obliterated. In the
summer of 1910 Prince Nicholas of Montenegro celebrated the fiftieth
anniversary of his reign and his golden wedding. The festivities were
attended by King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and the Crown Prince Boris, by the
Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia and his sister, grandchildren of Prince
Nicholas, by his two daughters the Queen of Italy and the Grand Duchess
Anastasia of Russia, and by their husbands, King Victor Emmanuel and the
Grand Duke Nicholas. The happiness of the venerable ruler, who was as
respected throughout Europe as he was feared throughout his principality,
was at the same time completed by his recognition as king by all the
governments and sovereigns of the continent. The hopes that he would
simultaneously introduce a more liberal form of government amongst his own
people were unfortunately disappointed.

The year 1911, it need scarcely be recalled, was extremely fateful for the
whole of Europe. The growing restlessness and irritability manifested by
the German Empire began to make all the other governments feel exceedingly
uneasy. The French expedition to Fez in April was followed by the
Anglo-Franco-German crisis of July; war was avoided, and France was

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