The Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Section I, Nos 1-19, Appendices 1 and 2, 1914
From World War I Document ArchiveSection I, Nos 1-19, Appendices 1 and 2, 1914
NB: Some diacritical marks appearing in the original of this cannot now be reproduced in electronic form and have been omitted. Editor - WWI-WWW
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Since the dynasty of the Kargeorgevic ascended the blood-stained throne of Servia, and surrounded itself with those who had conspired against the life of King Alexander, the Kingdom has continually, though by different paths and with varied intensity, pursued the aim of undermining by hostile propaganda and revolutionary plots, those territories of Austria-Hungary which are inhabited by the Southern Slavs, in order to tear them away from the Monarchy, whenever the general political condition might be favourable to the realization of the Great-Servian claims.
To what a pitch the hopes of the kingdom on the Save had been raised, and how near she thought herself to the attainment of their aspirations, appeared in the embittered animosity and the deep disappointment which were created in this crazy and deluded country by the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and which brought her to the verge of war.
Left in the lurch by Russia, the protecting Power, who did not at the moment consider herself sufficiently prepared, in the spring of 1909 the Servian Government found themselves compelled to give a solemn declaration before Europe, that they recognized the new political and international conditions which had been created by the annexation, and to acknowledge that the interests of Servia had not been affected thereby. They were also compelled to dissolve the gangs of armed men which had been raised against the Monarchy and to undertake for the future to maintain friendly relations with Austria-Hungary.
The expectations were not fulfilled that it would now be possible for the Monarchy to live in peace and good neighbourly relations with Servia, as she had lived during the rule of the Obrenovic, and, as was then the case, to show good will to, and further the interests of this State, which owes to Austria-Hungary the recognition of her independence at the Berlin Congress. The Servian Government who, by their promise, were under an obligation to maintain friendly and neighbourly relations with Austria-Hungary, permitted their press to foment hatred against the Monarchy in an unprecedented way; they permitted associations formed on Servian territory under the leadership of high officers, civil servants, teachers and judges, publicly to pursue their aims with the object of stirring up revolution in the territories of Austria-Hungary; they did not prevent prominent members of their military and civil administration from poisoning the public conscience in such a way that common assassination was regarded as the best weapon in the struggle against the Monarchy. From the atmosphere created by this malicious agitation there sprang up a whole series of murderous attacks on high functionaries of the Monarchy, which ended in the execrable crime against the exalted person of the heir to the throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had been carefully prepared in Servia. However, the sacrifice of his life for the Fatherland, by which our enemies in their mad folly expected that the downfall of the Monarchy would be accelerated, brought all the peoples of Austria-Hungary together in fiery unanimity around the dynasty. The whole world learned how unshakable were the foundations on which the Monarchy rests, and how firmly and loyally her sons cling to one another. All felt it; there was no room for any doubt that our honour, our self-respect and our deepest interest peremptorily demanded that we should deal with the criminal conspiracies of Servia and obtain guarantees for the security of Austria-Hungary.
The unhappy experience which the Imperial and Royal Government had had with this dishonest neighbour showed us the only way by which our interests could be secured.
It was necessary to present to Servia all such demands and to require from her such guarantees as would ensure the punishment of the accomplices in this shameful outrage and the suppression of the Great-Servian projects. Since the unparalleled patience of Austria-Hungary had been interpreted as weakness by Servia, the Belgrade Government must be made to understand that the Monarchy was determined if necessary to go to the utmost limit in order to maintain her prestige and the integrity of her territories; and that she could not tolerate any longer the intrigues of the Save Kingdom, which were meant to deceive the Powers, by an apparent agreement to the demands of Austria-Hungary, while at the same time she kept open the possibility of continuing her underhand attack against the Monarchy as she had done after the solemn promise of 1909. Against the usual Servian tactics of using the most reprehensible means to work for the separation of the Southern-Slav territories of Austria-Hungary, and then, when the Monarchy called her to account, of seeking protection and impunity from the Powers, there was only one way open to the Imperial and Royal Government of protecting their territory, and making an end of the injury done to their commercial life by the constant repetition of the intolerable attacks engendered by Servian aspirations, if they were to avoid endangering the peace of Europe. From the beginning, the Imperial and Royal Government met the apprehensions of the Powers with the assurance that the Monarchy would not go beyond what was necessary for the protection of her own interests, and did not propose any annexation of territory. Within these limits, which she had imposed upon herself, she must, however, insist that the controversy with Servia should be carried through as a question directly concerning Austria-Hungary and this State. The request made by Russia for an extension of the time given to Servia for answering our demands would have given the Belgrade Government an opportunity for new subterfuges and for further procrastination, and would have opened the door to the interference of single Powers in the interests of Servia. It was therefore necessary to refuse any prolongation of the time limit. Although before sending her crafty and evasive answer, Servia had ordered general mobilisation, and thereby publicly proclaimed her hostility, the Monarchy waited two days before proceeding to a declaration of war. The suggestion of the British Government that the settlement of the Servian controversy should be entrusted to a conference of the Powers did not reach Vienna until after the opening of hostilities, and was therefore outstripped by events. This proposal was, however, in itself, not well suited to securing the interests of the Monarchy. Nothing but the integral acceptance of the Austro-Hungarian demands on the part of the Belgrade Government would have given a guarantee for a tolerable relationship with Servia. The Entente Powers, however, were guided by the desire of substituting for the effective demands of Austria-Hungary, which were painful to Servia, a method of compromise, by which every security for a future correct attitude on the part of the Save Kingdom would have been lost, and Servia would have been encouraged to continue her endeavours to bring about a separation of the Southern territories of Austria-Hungary.
When the Imperial and Royal Government demanded from Servia that she should punish those accomplices in the crime of Serajevo who were in Servian territory, and fulfil the duties which are a necessary condition for friendly relationship between neighbouring States, their only object was to protect our dynasty from outrage and the territory of the Monarchy from criminal intrigues. They were representing the common interest of the civilised world that murder and outrage should not be used with impunity as a weapon in political controversy, and that Servia should not continue incessantly to menace the peace of Europe by her aspirations.
The Entente Powers were guilty of a serious wrong when, under the spell of their own political interests, they closed their ears to these postulates of public morality and humanity, and ranged themselves beside the Kingdom with its load of guilt. Had they listened to the assurances of the Monarchy which, by her conservative policy and her love of peace during the violent changes which had taken place in the Balkan Peninsula, had gained full right to their confidence, and had they maintained a waiting attitude towards the Servian conflict, the world-war would have been avoided. It is they who must be made answerable before history for the immeasurable suffering which has come upon the human race.
There can be no doubt that the small Servian State would never have ventured, with an animosity which was scarcely concealed, to work for the separation from the great neighbouring Monarchy of the territories which were inhabited by Southern Slavs, if she had not been sure of the secret approval and protection of Russia, and if she had not been able to depend on the powerful pan-Slavist tendency in the Empire of the Czar forcing the Russian Government, if necessary, to come to the aid of the Kingdom in her struggle for the realisation of the Great-Servian projects.
In the course of the two last centuries the Russian Empire has; extended over gigantic areas with the elementary force of a glacier, and has, again and again, subdued fresh races under the Muscovite rule, suppressing their culture, region and language. As the supreme and inflexible aim of this restless pressure towards universal dominion there stands before her the possession of the Dardanelles, which would secure to the Russian Empire predominance in the near East and in Asia Minor, and gain for Russian exports an opening independent of the will of other countries.
As the realization of these plans would injure important interests of Austria-Hungary and Germany, and as it was therefore bound to encounter the inevitable opposition of these Powers, it was the endeavour of Russian policy to weaken their power of resistance. The powerful central European union which barred the way to the universal dominion of Russia must be shattered, and Germany must be isolated. The first step was to hem in the Hapsburg Monarchy by the creation of the Balkan Union, and to undermine its authority by the pan-Slavist and Servian intrigues in its frontier territories. A necessary condition for carrying out this plan was the overthrow and expulsion of the Turks in order that the increased power of the Christian Balkan States should be available against the two central Powers.
When the Balkan Union broke up owing to the quarrel over the territory which had been torn from Turkey, and the Russian plans were threatened with failure, "the Protector of the Slavs" allowed Bulgaria to be overthrown, humiliated and deprived of the largest share of the territory which she had won. The Balkan Union which, after the overthrow of the Turks, could now be directed rather against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and could be used by Russia and France for changing the relations of the European Powers, was to be set on foot again by the prospect of the acquisition of fresh territories, planned at the cost of the Monarchy, through a successive pushing forward of frontier from east to west. In this criminal game of Russian diplomacy, which threatened the existence of the Monarchy and the peace of the world, Servia was a catspaw which Russia would not give up even in order to avoid general war.
The Imperial and Royal Government -- and the documents provided in this collection give ample evidence of this -- again and again almost up to the outbreak of war assured the Cabinet of St. Petersburgh that they would not violate any Russian interest, would not annex any Servian territory, and would not touch the sovereignty of Servia, and that they were ready to enter into negotiations with the Russian Government on Austro-Hungarian and Russian interests. Russia, however, had not expressed herself as satisfied with the solemn declarations of the Imperial and Royal Government; as early as the 24th July, in the communiqué of that date, she assumed a threatening tone, and on the 29th July, although Austria-Hungary had not mobilized a single man against Russia, she ordered the mobilization of the military districts of Odessa, Kieff, Moscow and Kasan; this was a threat to the Monarchy; on the 31st July she ordered general mobilisation, disregarding the repeated warnings of the Imperial and Royal Ambassador, and the declaration of the German Government, which had been made on the 26th, that preparatory military measures on the part of Russia would force Germany to counter measures which must consist in the mobilization of the arms, and that mobilisation meant war.
On the 24th July the Imperial and Royal Ambassador in conversation with the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, laid stress on the peaceful disposition of the Monarchy. Her only object was to make an end to the menace to our dynasty from Servian bombs, and to our territory from the revolutionary machinations of Servia.
The attainment of this end was a vital question to the Monarchy. She could not, therefore, allow herself to be terrorised by the possibility of a conflict with Russia, in the event of that country taking Servia under her protection; she must make an end of the intolerable situation, that a Russian charter should give the Servian Kingdom continued impunity in her hostility to Austria-Hungary.
On the 30th July the British Secretary of State again suggested that Austria-Hungary, in her conflict with Servia, should avail herself of the mediation of the Powers. Guided by their desire to do the utmost in their power to maintain general peace, the Imperial and Royal government declared themselves ready to accept this mediation. The honour and the interest of Austria-Hungary, however, required that this should not take place under the pressure of the threatening measures of Russia. It was, therefore, a paramount necessity for her to require that the hostile measures of mobilization in the Empire of the Czar should, first of all, be revoked. This demand the St. Petersburgh Cabinet answered by mobilising the whole of the Russian forces.
In alliance with the self-seeking policy of Great Britain, and the desire for revanche of the French Republic, the St. Petersburgh government disdained no means of securing predominance in Europe to the Triple Entente and paving the way for their boldest schemes. Russia's unscrupulous hands tried to weave the threads of her policy into a snare to be cast over the head of the Monarchy. When Austria-Hungary, following the dictates of self-preservation, determined to tear the web to pieces, Russia attempted to stay the hand of the Imperial and Royal Government and to humiliate the Monarchy.
Exposed to the greatest danger in their vital interests, Austria-Hungary and Germany saw themselves confronted with the choice of protecting their rights and their safety, or of giving way before the threats of Russia.
They took the road pointed out by honour and duty.
Ritter von Storck, Secretary of Legation, to Count Berchtold.
Belgrade, June 29, 1914.
Under the terrible shock of yesterday's catastrophe it is difficult for me to give any satisfactory judgment on the bloody drama of Serajevo with the necessary composure and judicial calm. I must ask you, therefore, to allow me for the moment to limit myself to putting on record certain facts.
Yesterday, the 15/28, the anniversary of the battle of the Amselfeld, was celebrated with greater ceremony than usual, and there were celebrations in honour of the Servian patriot, Milos Obilic, who, in 1389 with two companions treacherously stabbed the victorious Murad.
Among all Servians, Obilic is regarded as the national hero. In place of the Turks, however, we are now looked on as the hereditary enemy, thanks to the propaganda which has been nourished under the aegis of the Royal Government and the agitation which has for many years been carried on in the press.
A repetition of the drama on the field of Kossovo seems, therefore, to have hovered before the minds of the three young criminals of Serajevo, Princip, Cabrinovic and the third person still unknown, who also threw a bomb. They also shot down an innocent woman, and may therefore think that they have surpassed their model.
For many years hatred against the Monarchy has been sown in Servia. The crop has sprung up and the harvest is murder.
The news arrived at about 5 o'clock; the Servian Government at about 10 o'clock caused the Obilic festivities to be officially stopped. They continued, however, unofficially for a considerable time after it was dark. The accounts of eye-witnesses say that people fell into one another's arms in delight, and remarks were heard, such as: "It serves them right, we have been expecting this for a long time," or "This is revenge for the annexation."
Ritter Von Storck, Secretary of Legation, to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Belgrade, June 30, 1914.
To-day I sent an enquiry to Herr Gruic, General Secretary of the Foreign Office, to ask the obvious question what measures the Royal police had taken, or proposed to take, in order to follow up the clues to the crime which notoriously are partly to be found in Servia.
The answer was that the matter has not yet engaged the attention of the Servian police.
M. Jehlitschka, Consul-General, to Count Berchtold.
Uskub, July 1, 1914.
On the 15/28 June the Feast of St. Titus (Corpus Christi Day), which on this occasion coincided with the 525th anniversary of the battle of the Amselfeld (1389), was for the first time officially celebrated as the "Festival of the Liberation" of the Servian nation.
For four months a special committee had worked at making this celebration an especially solemn and magnificent demonstration of Servian nationality.
The propaganda connected with this at the same time extended to Croatia, Dalmatia and Bosnia, but especially to Hungary; those who took part in it received free passes on the Servian State railways; food and lodging at low prices, maintenance by public bodies, &c., were promised.
The agitation was carried on with energy, and was with a definite end in view.
The visitors to the celebration at Prestina were brought in special trains.
The various speeches ran riot in historical reminiscences, which were connected with the scene of the celebration, and dealt under different aspects with the well-known theme of the union of all Servia and the "liberation of our brethren in bondage" beyond the Danube and the Save, even as far as Bosnia and Dalmatia.
When, during the course of the evening, the news of the horrible crime of which Serajevo had been the scene was circulated, the feeling which animated the fanatical crowd was, to judge by the numerous expressions of applause reported to me by authorities in whom I have absolute confidence, one that I can only characterise as inhuman.
In view of this attitude of the population, which was also displayed at Uskub, all attempts of the Servian press to divest Servia of the moral responsibility for a deed which was received by a representative gathering with such unvarnished satisfaction, collapse miserably.
Count Szécsen to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Parts, July 4, 1914.
To-day I communicated to M. Poincaré the thanks of the Imperial and Royal Government for their sympathy.
In referring to the hostile demonstrations against Servia among us, he mentioned that after the murder of President Carnot, all Italians throughout France were exposed to the worst persecutions on the part of the people.
I drew his attention to the fact that that crime had no connection with any anti-French agitation in Italy, while in the present case it must be admitted that for years past there has been an agitation in Servia against the Monarchy fomented by every means, legitimate and illegitimate.
In conclusion, M. Poincaré expressed his conviction that the Servian Government would meet us with the greatest willingness in the judicial investigation and the prosecution of the accomplices. No State could divest itself of this duty.
Herr Hoflehner, Consular Agent, to Count Berchtold.
Nish, Judy 6, 1914.
The news of the terrible crime at Serajevo, which had been only too successful, created here a sensation in the fullest sense of the word. There was practically no sign of consternation or indignation; the predominant mood was one of satisfaction and even joy, and this was often quite open without any-reserve, and even found expression in a brutal way. This is especially the case with the so-called leading circles -- the intellectuals, such as professional politicians, those occupied in education, officials, officers and the students. Commercial circles adopted a rather more reserved attitude.
All explanations made by official Servian circles or individual higher personalities purporting to give expression to indignation at the crime and condemnation of it, must have the effect of the bitterest irony on anyone who has had an opportunity, during the last few days, of gaining an insight at first hand into the feelings of the educated Servian people.
On the day of the crime the undersigned had gone to a coffee garden at about 9 o'clock in the evening without any suspicion of what had happened, and here received from an acquaintance his first information as to the very definite rumour which was being circulated. It was painful in the highest degree to see and hear what a feeling of real delight seized the numerous visitors who were present, with what obvious satisfaction the deed was discussed, and what cries of joy, scorn and contempt burst out even one who has long been accustomed to the expression of political fanaticism which obtains here, must feel the greatest depression at what he observed.
Freiherr von Giesl to Count Berchtold.
Belgrade, July 21, 1914.
After the lamentable crime of June 28th, I have now been back at my post for some time, and I am able to give some judgment as to the tone which prevails here.
After the annexation crisis the relations between the Monarchy and Servia were poisoned on the Servian side by national chauvinism, animosity and an effective propaganda of Great-Servian aspirations carried on in that part of our territory where there is a Servian population; since the last two Balkan Wars, the success of Servia has increased this chauvinism to a paroxysm, the expression of which in some cases bears the mark of insanity.
I may be excused from bringing proof and evidence of this; they can be had easily everywhere among all parties, in political circles as well as among the lower classes. I put it forward as a well-known axiom that the policy of Servia is built up on the separation of the territories inhabited by Southern Slavs, and as a corollary to this on the abolition of the Monarchy as a Great Power; this is its only object.
No one who has taken the trouble to move and take part in political circles here for a week can be blind to this truth.
The hatred against the Monarchy has been further intensified as a result of the latest events which influence political opinion here; among them I count the crime of Serajevo, the death of Hartwig and the electoral campaign.
The crime at Serajevo has aroused among the Servians an expectation that in the immediate future the Hapsburg States will fall to pieces; it was this on which they had set their hopes even before; there has been dangled before their eyes the cession of those territories in the Monarchy which are inhabited by the Southern Slavs, a revolution in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the unreliability of the Slav regiments this is regarded as ascertained fact and had brought system and apparent justification into their nationalist madness. Austria-Hungary, hated as she is, now appears to the Servians as powerless, and as scarcely worthy of waging war with; contempt is mingled with hatred; she is ripe for destruction, and she is to fall without trouble into the lap of the Great-Servian Empire, which is to be realized in the immediate future.
Newspapers, not among the most extreme, discuss the powerlessness and decrepitude of the neighbouring Monarchy in daily articles, and insult its officials without reserve and without fear of reprimand. They do not even stop short of the exalted person of our ruler. Even the official organ refers to the internal condition of Austria-Hungary as the true cause of this wicked crime. There is no longer any fear of being called to account. For decades the people of Servia has been educated by the press, and the policy at any given time is dependent on the party press; the Great-Servian propaganda and its monstrous offspring the crime of June 28th, are a fruit of this education.
I pass over the suspicions and accusations with regard to the death of Hartwig, which are on the verge of insanity, and were characterized by "The Times" as "ravings"*; I do not mention the lying campaign in the press which, however, might strengthen Servians in the conviction that the Government and the representatives of Austria-Hungary are outlaws, and that appellations such as murderer, rogue, cursed Austrian, &c., are suitable stock epithets for us.
The death of Hartwig and the recognition of the gravity of this loss to the Servian political world, have let loose a fanatical cult of the deceased; in this people were influenced not only by gratitude for the past, but also by anxiety for the future, and outbid one another in servile submissiveness to Russia in order to secure her goodwill in time to come.
As a third factor the electoral campaign has united all parties on a platform of hostility against Austria-Hungary. None of the parties which aspire to office will incur the suspicion of being held capable of weak compliance towards the Monarchy. The campaign, therefore, is conducted under the catchword of hostility towards Austria-Hungary.
For both internal and external reasons the Monarchy is held to be powerless and incapable of any energetic action, and it is believed that the serious words which were spoken by leading men among us are only "bluff."
The leave of absence of the Imperial and Royal Minister of War and Chief of the Staff have strengthened the conviction that the weakness of Austria-Hungary is now obvious. I have allowed myself to trespass too long on the patience of Your Excellency, not because I thought that in what I have said I could tell you anything new, but because I considered this picture led up to the conclusion which forces itself upon me that a reckoning with Servia, a war for the position of the Monarchy as a Great Power, even for its existence as such, cannot be permanently avoided.
If we delay in clearing up our relations with Servia, we shall share the responsibility for the difficulties and the unfavourable situation in any future war which must, however, sooner or later be carried through.
For any observer on the spot, and for the representative of Austro-Hungarian interests in Servia, the question takes the form that we cannot any longer put up with any further injury to our prestige.
Should we therefore be determined to put forward far-reaching requirements joined to effective control -- for this alone could clear the Augean stable of Great-Servian intrigues -- then all possible consequences must be considered, and from the beginning there must be a strong and firm determination to carry through the matter to the end.
Half measures, the presentation of demands, followed by long discussions and ending only in an unsound compromise, would be the hardest blow which could he directed against Austria-Hungary's reputation in Servia and her position in Europe.
* " The latest suggestion made in one of them (the Servian newspapers) is that M. de Hartwig's sudden death in the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade the other day was due to poison. Ravings of that kind move the contempt as well as the disgust of cultivated people, whatever their political sympathies may be." -- The Times, July 16th, 1913.
Count Berchtold to Freiherr von Giesl in Belgrade.
Vienna, July 22, 1914. Austrian Note to Servia.
[See No. 4 of British Correspondence, page 3.]
Count Berchtold to the Imperial and Royal Ambassadors in Berlin, Rome, Paris, London, St. Petersburgh and Constantinople.
Vienna, July 22, 1914. (Translated from the French.)
The Imperial and Royal Government felt compelled to address the following note to the Royal Servian Government on Thursday, the 23rd instant, through the medium of the Imperial and Royal Minister at Belgrade (see instructions to the Imperial and Royal Envoy in Belgrade of July 22nd, 1914).
On the 31st March 1909, the Royal Servian Government addressed to Austria-Hungary the declaration of which the text is reproduced above.
On the very day after this declaration Servia embarked on a policy of instilling revolutionary ideas into the Serb subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and so preparing for the separation of the Austro-Hungarian territory on the Servian frontier.
Servia became the centre of a criminal agitation.
No time was lost in the formation of societies and groups, whose object, either avowed or secret, was the creation of disorders on Austro-Hungarian territory. These societies and groups count among their members generals and diplomatists, Government officials and judges -- in short, men at the top of official and unofficial society in the kingdom.
Servian journalism is almost entirely at the service of this propaganda, which is directed against Austria-Hungary, and not a day passes without the organs of the Servian press stirring up their readers to hatred or contempt for the neighbouring Monarchy, or to outrages directed more or less openly against its security and integrity.
A large number of agents are employed in carrying on by every means the agitation against Austria-Hungary and corrupting the youth in the frontier provinces.
Since the recent Balkan crisis there has been a recrudescence of the spirit of conspiracy inherent in Servian politicians, which has left such sanguinary imprints on the history of the kingdom; individuals belonging formerly to bands employed in Macedonia have come to place themselves at the disposal of the terrorist propaganda against Austria-Hungary.
In the presence of these doings, to which Austria-Hungary has been exposed for years, the Servian Government have not thought it incumbent on them to take the slightest step. The Servian Government have thus failed in the duty imposed on them by the solemn declaration of the 31st March, 1909, and acted in opposition to the will of Europe and the undertaking given to Austria-Hungary.
The patience of the Imperial and Royal Government in the face of the provocative attitude of Servia was inspired by the territorial disinterestedness of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the hope that the Servian Government would end in spite of everything by appreciating Austria-Hungary's friendship at its true value. By observing a benevolent attitude towards the political interests of Servia, the Imperial and Royal Government hoped that the kingdom would finally decide to follow an analogous line of conduct on its own side. In particular, Austria-Hungary expected a development of this kind in the political ideas of Servia, when, after the events of 1912, the Imperial and Royal Government, by its disinterested and ungrudging attitude, made such a considerable aggrandizement, of Servia possible.
The benevolence which Austria-Hungary showed towards the neighbouring State had no restraining effect on the proceedings of the kingdom, which continued to tolerate on its territory a propaganda of which the fatal consequences were demonstrated to the whole world on the 28th June last, when the Heir Presumptive to the Monarchy and his illustrious consort fell victims to a plot hatched at Belgrade.
In the presence of this state of things the Imperial and Royal Government have felt compelled to take new and urgent steps at Belgrade with a view to inducing the Servian Government to stop the incendiary movement that is threatening the security and integrity of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
The Imperial and Royal Government are convinced that in taking this step they will find themselves in full agreement with the sentiments of all civilised nations, who cannot permit regicide to become a weapon that can be employed with impunity in political, strife, and the peace of Europe to be continually disturbed by movements emanating from Belgrade.
In support of the above the Imperial and Royal Government hold at the disposal of the British Government a dossier elucidating the Servian intrigues and the connection between these intrigues and the murder of the 28th June.
An identical communication has been addressed to the Imperial and Royal representatives accredited to the other signatory Powers.
You are authorized to leave a copy of this despatch in the hands of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff at London.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna, July 23, 1914.
As among the Entente Powers, Great Britain might be most easily led to form an impartial judgment on the step which we are to-day taking at Belgrade, I request Your Excellency in the conversation which you will have on the 24th instant on the occasion when you hand in our circular note at the Foreign Office, to point out among other matters that it would have been within the power of Servia to render less acute the serious steps which she must expect from us, by spontaneously doing what is necessary in order to start an inquiry on Servian soil against the Servian accomplices in the crime of 28th June, and by bringing to light the threads, which, as has. been proved, lead from Belgrade to Servia.
Up to the present time, although a number of notorious indications point to Belgrade, the Servian Government have not taken any steps in this direction; on the contrary, they have attempted to wipe out the existing traces.
Thus, from a telegraphic despatch from our Legation at Belgrade, it is to be gathered that the Servian civil servant Ciganovic, who is compromised by the independent testimony of the affidavits of both criminals, on the day of the outrage was still in Belgrade, and three days afterwards, when his name was mentioned in the papers, had already left the town. As is well known also, the director of the Servian press declared that Ciganovic is completely unknown in Belgrade.
With regard to the short time-limit attached to our demand, this must be attributed to our long experience of the dilatory arts of Servia.
The requirements which we demand that Servia should fulfil, and which indeed contain nothing which is not a matter of course in the intercourse between States which are to live in peace and friendship, cannot be made the subject of negotiations and compromise; and, having regard to our economic interests, we cannot take the risk of a method of political action by which it would be open to Servia at pleasure to prolong the crisis which has arisen.
Count Mensdorff to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) London, July 24, 1914.
Have just handed the circular note to Sir Edward Grey, who read it carefully. At the fifth heading, he asked what it meant; to introduce officials of our Government in Servia would be equivalent to ' the end of Servian political independence. I answered that co-operation of, e.g., police officials, in no way affected the sovereignty of the State.
He regretted the time-limit, as in this way we should be deprived of the possibility of quieting the first outbreak of excitement and bringing pressure to bear upon Belgrade to give us a satisfactory answer. It was always possible to send an ultimatum if answer not satisfactory.
I developed our point of view at length. (Necessity of defense against continued revolutionary undertakings which threaten the; territory~of the Monarchy, protection of our most vital interests, complete failure of the conciliatory attitude which we had hitherto often shown to Servia, who had had more than three weeks to set on foot of her own accord investigations as to accomplices in outrage, &c.)
The Secretary of State repeated his objections to the short time limit, but recognized that what was said as to complicity in the crime of Serajevo, as well as many of our other requirements, was justified.
He would be quite ready to look on the affair as one which only concerned Austria-Hungary and Servia. He is, however, very " apprehensive" that several Great Powers might be involved in a war. Speaking of Russia, Germany and France, he observed that the terms of the Franco-Russian Alliance might be more or less to the same effect as those of the Triple Alliance.
I fully explained to him our point of view, and repeated with emphasis that in this case we must stand firm so as to gain for ourselves some sort of guarantees, as hitherto Servian promises have never been kept. I understood that in the first place he considered the question only as it influences the position of Europe. He must, however, in order to be fair to our point of view, put himself in our situation.
He would not go into any more detailed discussion on this subject, said he must have time to study the note more carefully. He was to see the German and the French Ambassadors, as he must first of all exchange ideas with the Powers who are allies of Austria-Hungary and Russia respectively, but have themselves no direct interest in Servia.
Count Szécsen to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Paris, July 24, 1914.
I have just read instructions of the 22nd instant to the Minister of Justice, who is entrusted with the representation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his absence, and left copy.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, who had received information as to the contents of our démarche at Belgrade through this morning's papers, seemed to be considerably impressed by my communication. Without entering on any more detailed discussion of the text, he readily agreed that recent events and the attitude of the Servian Government made energetic action on our side quite comprehensible.
Point 5 in the note handed in at Belgrade seemed to make a special impression on the Minister as he asked me to read it to him twice.
The Minister thanked me for my communication which, he said, would be carefully examined. I took the opportunity to impress on him that the question was one which must be brought to an issue directly between Servia and us, but that it was in the general interests of Europe that the trouble which for years past had been kept up by Servian intrigues against us should at last make way for a clear situation.
All friends of peace and order, and I placed France in the first rank of these, should therefore give serious advice to Servia completely to change her attitude, and to satisfy our just demands.
The Minister said that it was the duty of Servia to proceed energetically against any accomplices of the murderers of Serajevo, a duty which she could not escape. While laying special stress on the sympathy of France for Austria-Hungary, and on the good relations which existed between our two countries, he expressed the hope that the controversy would be brought to an end peacefully in a manner corresponding to our wishes.
The Minister avoided every attempt to palliate or to defend in any way the attitude of Servia.
Count Szécsen to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Paris, July 24, 1914.
Baron Schoen will, in accordance with instructions, make a communication here to-day that according to the view of the Berlin Cabinet, our controversy with Servia is a matter which concerns only Austria-Hungary and Servia.
In this connection, he would give them to understand that in case third States should wish to intervene, Germany, true to the obligations of her alliance, would be on our side.
Count Szécsen to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Paris, July 24, 1914.
Baron Schoen has just made the démarche as he was instructed.
M.. Bienvenu-Martin said to him he could not yet express himself definitely. He could, however, already say this, that the French Government are also of opinion that our controversy with Servia concerns Belgrade and Vienna alone, and that it was hoped here that the question would find a direct and peaceful solution.
The Servian Minister here had already been advised that his Government should give way in every point so far as it was possible, with the limitation, however, "so far as their sovereign rights were not affected."
Baron Schoen laid stress on the European necessity that the focus of constant disturbance at Belgrade must at last be done away with.
Count Száp´ry to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) St. Petersburgh, July 24, 1914.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs on receiving me, said that he knew what brought me to him, and he would at once explain to me that he could not take up any definite attitude towards my démarche. I began by reading out my instructions. The Minister interrupted me for the first time on the mention of the series of outrages, and, on my explanation, asked if then it had been proved that they all had originated at Belgrade. I laid stress on the fact that they all sprang from Servian instigation. In the further course of the reading he said that he knew what it was all about: we wanted to make war on Servia, and this was to serve as a pretext. I replied that our attitude during recent years was a sufficient proof that we neither sought nor required pretexts against Servia. The formal declaration which is required did not elicit any objection from the Minister; he only continued to maintain that Pasic had already expressed himself to this effect. This I corrected. "Il dira cela 25 fois si vous voulez" said he. I said to him that no one among us was attacking the integrity of Servia or the dynasty. M. Sazonof expressed himself most vigorously against the dissolution of the Narodna Odbrana, which Servia would never undertake. The participation of Imperial and Royal officials in the suppression of the revolutionary movements elicited further protest on the part of the Minister. Servia then will no longer be master in her own house. "You will always be wanting to intervene again, and what a life you will lead Europe." I answered that if Servia shows goodwill it will be a quieter life than hitherto.
The commentary added to the communication of the note was listened to by the Minister with fair composure; at the passage that our feelings were shared by those of all civilized nations, he observed that this was a mistake. With all the emphasis I could command, I pointed out how regrettable it would be if we could not come to an understanding with Russia on this question, in which everything which is most sacred to us was at stake and, whatever the Minister might say, everything which is sacred in Russia. The Minister attempted to minimise the Monarchical side of the question.
With regard to the dossier which was put at the disposal of the Governments, M. Sazonof wanted to know why we had given ourselves this trouble, as we had already delivered the ultimatum. This was the best proof that we did not really desire an impartial examination of the matter. I said to him that the results which had been attained by our own investigations were quite sufficient for our procedure in this matter, which had to do with Austria-Hungary and Servia, and that we were only ready to give the Powers further information if it interested them, as we had nothing to keep secret.
M. Sazonof said that now that the ultimatum had been issued he was not in the least curious. He represented the matter as if we only wanted to make war with Servia whatever happened. I answered that we were the most peace-loving Power in the world, but what we wanted was security for our territory from foreign revolutionary intrigues, and the protection of our dynasty from bombs.
In the course of the further discussion, M. Sazonof again made the observation that we certainly had created a serious situation.
In spite of his relative calm, the attitude of the Minister was throughout unaccommodating and hostile.
Communiqué of the Russian official Gazette.
St. Petersburgh, July 24, 1914.
The St. Petersburgh telegraphic agency announces: --
The official journal publishes the following communiqué: --
Recent events and the despatch of an ultimatum to Servia by Austria-Hungary are causing the Russian Government the greatest anxiety. The Government are closely following the course of the dispute between the two countries, to which Russia cannot remain indifferent.
Count Szápáry to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) St. Petersburgh, July 24, 1914.
After a Council of Ministers which lasted for five hours, M. Sazonof this evening received the German Ambassador, and had a long conversation with him.
The Minister took the point of view, which is probably to be considered as the outcome of the Council of Ministers, that the Austro-Hungarian-Servian conduct was not a matter confined to these States, but a European affair, as the settlement arrived at in the year1909 by the Servian declaration had been made under the auspices of the whole of Europe.
The Minister pointed out particularly that he had been disagreeably affected by the circumstance that Austria-Hungary had offered a dossier for investigation when an ultimatum had already been presented. Russia would require an international investigation off the dossier, which had been put at her disposal. My German colleague at once brought to M. Sazonof's notice that Austria-Hungary would not accept interference in her difference with Servia, and that Germany also on her side could not accept a suggestion which would be contrary to the dignity of her ally as a Great Power.
In the further course of the conversation, the Minister explained that that which Russia could not accept with indifference was the eventual intention of Austria-Hungary "de deévorer la Serbie." Count Pourtaleès answered that he did not accept any such intention on the part of Austria-Hungary, as this would be contrary to the most special interest of the Monarchy. The only object of Austria-Hungary was "d'infliger à la Serbie le châtiment justement meériteé." M. Sazonof on this expressed his doubts whether Austria-Hungary would allow herself to be contented with this, even if explanations on this point had been made.
The interview concluded with an appeal by M. Sazonof that Germany should work with Russia at the maintenance of peace. The German Ambassador assured the Russian Minister that Germany certainly had no wish to bring about a war, but that she naturally fully represented the interests of her ally.
Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff at London.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna July 24, 1914.
In answer to Your Excellency's telegram of yesterday:
I beg you to explain at once to Sir Edward Grey that our deémarche of yesterday at Belgrade is not to be considered as a formal ultimatum, but that it is merely a deémarche with a time-limit, which, as Your Excellency will be good enough to explain to Sir Edward Grey in strict confidence will -- if the time-limit expires without result -- for the time be followed only by the breaking off of diplomatic relations and by the beginning of the necessary military preparations, as we are absolutely resolved to carry through our just demands.
Your Excellency is empowered to add that if Servia, after the expiration of the time-limit, were only to give way under the pressure of our military preparations, we should indeed have to demand that she should make good the expenses which we had incurred; as is well known, we have already had twice (1908 and 1912) to mobilise because of Servia.
Count Berchtold to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburgh.
Vienna, July 24, 1914.
I received the Russian Chargeé d'Affaires on the morning of the 24th, and assured him that I attached special importance to bringing to his knowledge as soon as possible the steps we were taking in Belgrade, and explaining to him our point of view as regards them.
Prince Koudacheff, while thanking me for this courtesy, did not hide his anxiety as to our categorical procedure against Servia, and he observed that there had always been apprehension at St. Petersburgh: that our deémarche might take the form of a humiliation of Servia, which must have an echo in Russia.
I took the opportunity of re-assuring the Russian Chargeé d'Affaires as to this. Our aim was to clear up the untenable position of Servia as regards the Monarchy, and with this object to cause the Government of that State on the one hand publicly to disavow the tendencies directed against the present position of the Monarchy, and to suppress them by administrative measures, and on the other hand to, make it possible for us to satisfy ourselves that these measures were honestly carried out. I explained at greater length the danger, not only to the integrity of the Monarchy, but also to the balance of power and the peace of Europe, which would be involved in giving further scope to the Great-Servian propaganda, and how all the dynasties and, not least, the Russian, would apparently be threatened, if the idea took root that a movement which made use of murder as a national weapon could be continued with impunity.
In conclusion, I pointed out that we did not aim at any increase of territory but only at the maintenance of what we possess, a point of view which could not fail to be understood by the Russian government.
Prince Koudacheff remarked on this that he did not know the view of his own Government, and also did not know what position Servia would take towards individual demands.
At the conclusion of our interview the Chargeé d'Affaires expressly said that he would not fail to bring to the notice of his Government the explanation which I had given him of the step we had taken, especially to the effect that no humiliation of Servia was intended by us.
Count Berchtold to the Imperial and Royal Ambassadors at Berlin, Rome, Paris, London, St. Petersburgh and Constantinople.
Vienna, July 25, 1914.
Your Excellency will find herewith the dossier mentioned in the circular note to the Powers with reference to the Great-Servian propaganda, and its connection with the Serajevo murder.
Your Excellency is instructed to bring this dossier to the notice of the Government to which you are accredited.
The Servian agitation, which has as its object the separation from the Austrian Monarchy of the Southern Slav districts in order to unite them with the Servian State, dates from far back.
This propaganda on Servian soil, always the same in its ultimate object, although varying in its means and intensity, reached one of its culminating points at the time of the annexation crisis. Throwing off the protecting cloak of secrecy, it then revealed its purpose openly and undisguisedly, and attempted, under the patronage of the Servian Government, to attain its ends by every means in its power.
While the whole of the Servian press was calling for war against the Monarchy by malicious invectives in which facts were perverted, apart from other means of propaganda, associations were being formed to prepare for this war.
The Narodna Odbrana stood out as the most important of these associations. Having its orig n in an already existing revolutionary committee, it was constituted as a private society, although in fact it took the form of an organization of Servian military and civil officials wholly dependent on the Foreign Office at Belgrade. Amongst its founders one may mention: General Bozo Jankovic, ex-ministers Ljuba Jovanovio, Ljuba Davidovic, and Velislav Vulovic, Zivojin Dacic (Director of the Government printing establishment), and Majors (then Captains) Voja Tankosic and Milan Pribicevic. This association aimed at the creation and equipment of free companies for use in the impending war against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. (See Appendix 2.)
A convincing description of the activity at that time of the Narodna Odbrana will be found amongst others in the deposition of Trifko Krstanovic, a Bosnia-Herzegovinian subject, in the course of his evidence before the district court at Serajevo; he was then at Belgrade, and had been accepted by the Narodna Odbrana, with other subjects of the Monarchy as a komitadji. At the beginning of 1909, Krstanovic had arrived with about 140 fellow-members at a school established for the formation of new bands at Cuprija (in the district of Jagodina), managed by Captains Voja Tankosic and Dusan Putnik. The only instructors at this school were Servian officers. General Bozo Jankovic and Captain Milan Pribicevic inspected the three monthly courses of these bands at regular intervals.
The new komitadjis received their training in musketry, bomb throwing, mine laying, blowing up of railways, tunnels and bridges, and the destruction of telegraph wires. According to the instructions of their leaders, it was their duty to put into practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina the knowledge they had recently acquired.
By this action, carried on in the most open manner and encouraged by the Servian Government, the Narodna Odbrana was thus prepared for guerilla warfare against Austria-Hungary. In this way subjects of the Monarchy were led into treason against their country, and induced, as Servian emissaries, systematically to practice underhand attacks against the means of defense of their country.
This period of aggressive aspirations ended with the declaration made by the Servian Government on the 31st March, 1909, in which the Government of Belgrade announced that they were prepared to accept the new situation created in municipal and international law by the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and solemnly promised to maintain in future friendly relations with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
With this declaration, the agitation, which constituted a source of constant trouble to Austria-Hungary, seemed to have come to an end, and the road to an amicable rapprochement between Servia and the Monarchy to have been entered on. Deprived of the encouragement of the Servian Government, and combated by that Government in accordance with their engagements, the propaganda hostile to the Monarchy could only have continued a shadowy existence and would have been condemned to early destruction. On the other hand, the ties of language, race and culture existing between the Southern Slav districts of the Monarchy and Servia ought to have resulted in the realization of a task of common development inspired by mutual friendship and parallel interests.
These hopes, however, have not been realized.
Aspirations hostile to the Monarchy have continued, and under the eyes of the Servian Government, who have done nothing to suppress this movement, the anti-Austro-Hungarian propaganda has only increased in extent and volume. Hatred against the Monarchy has been fanned and kindled into an irreconcilable feeling. The Servian people alike by adapting their former course of action to the new situation and by supplementing it by fresh methods were summoned to the "inevitable death struggle " against Austria-Hungary. Secret ramifications have been systematically spread towards the Slav districts in the south of the Monarchy whose subjects have been incited to treason against their country.
Above all, the Servian press has since then worked incessantly in this spirit.
Up to the present time no fewer than eighty-one newspapers appearing in Servia have had to forfeit their right to delivery through the post on account of their contents falling within the scope of the penal law. There is hardly a clause in the penal code protecting the sacred person of the Monarch and the-members of the Imperial Family, or the integrity of the State, that has not been violated by Servian papers.
A few examples of these press views, selected from the great mass of material published by the press at various dates, are contained in Appendix I.
Without entering into a detailed account of these expressions of Servian public opinion, it is necessary to note that in spite of the formal recognition accorded by Servia, it has never ceased to consider the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, both before and after the event, as a robbery committed against Servia for which reparation is due. This idea not only constantly recurs with every modulation of its coarse language in the papers professing most advanced views, but also finds expression in hardly veiled terms in the "Samouprava," which is in such close touch with the Foreign Office of Belgrade. (See Appendix I (b).)
Nor can one omit to draw attention to the manner in which the attempt made on the 15th June, 1910, at Serajevo, by Bogdan Zerajic against the Feldzeugmeister von Varesanin, Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was turned to account by the press.
As is known, Zerajic had killed himself immediately after his deed, and before committing it had burnt all his papers. Under these circumstances, it was impossible to throw full light upon the nzotives of his crime. It could, however, be inferred from a document found on his person that he was a follower of the views of Krapotkin. Evidence collected leads likewise to the conclusion that the crime was of an anarchist type.
This, however, did not prevent the Servian press from celebrating the criminal as a national Servian hero and from glorifying his deed. Indeed, the "Politika" protested strongly against the idea that Zerajic was an anarchist, and declared him to be "a Servian hero whose name all Servians will repeat with respect and grief."
The "Politika" considers the 18th August* of the same year as a suitable opportunity on which to return to the crime of Zerajic, "whose name will be sacred to the people," and to celebrate the outrage in verse. (See Appendix I (a).)
* Birthday of His Imperial and Apostolic Majesty.
In this way this crime, which had nothing to do with the territorial aspirations against the Monarchy, was exploited for the furtherance of these ideas and by the glorifying of Zerajic, murder was hailed in the most explicit way as a glorious means towards the realisation of this aim and one worthy to be imitated in the struggle. This approbation of murder as a weapon fully admissible in the struggle against the Monarchy re-appears later in the press in discussing the attempt made by Jukic against the Royal Commissioner von Cuvaj. (See Appendix I (c).)
These newspapers, which were circulated not only in Servia but also, as we shall show later, illicitly smuggled into the Monarchy by well-organised secret methods, have awakened and kept alive this mood in the masses, a mood which has provided a fruitful field for the activities of the associations hostile to the Monarchy. The Narodna Odbrana became the centre of the agitation carried on by the associations. The same persons who were at its head at the time of the annexation still control it. Now as then, they still control it in the capacity of the most active and energetic organizers, the most violent opponents of the Monarchy; General Bozo Jankovic, Zivojin Dacic (Director of the Government printing establishment), and Majors Milan Pribicevic and Voja Tankosic. Organised on a broad and far-reaching scale and constituted on a strict hierarchical basis (see Appendix 2, "Organization"), the Narodna Odbrana counted soon some 400 committees which developed a very active agitation.
Moreover, the Narodna Odbrana became closely allied with the "shooting federation" (Schützenbund), (762 societies), the great Sokol* Association "Dusan" (2,500 members), the Olympian Club, the association of horsemen (Reiterverein), "Prince Michael," the society of sportsmen (Jägerbund), and the league of development (Kulturliga), as well as numerous other associations all of which, subordinate to it, were under the guidance and protection of the Narodna Odbrana, and worked on the same lines. Becoming more and more closely intermingled, these associations arrived at a complete amalgamation in such a way that to-day they are nothing but members of the single body of the Narodna Odbrana.
[* Sokol falcon. The name given to gymnastie associations throughout Slav countries which have adopted the falcon as their emblem.]
Thus the Narodna Odbrana has set up all over Servia a close network of agitation, and has attracted to its principles all those who were receptive of its ideas.
The official publications of the Narodna Odbrana demonstrate sufficiently clearly the spirit which animates it.
While in its statutes, it represents itself as an " educational society " (Kulturverein) concerning itself only with the spiritual and physical improvement of the Servian population and its material progress, the Narodna Odbrana discloses in its official publication (see Appendix 2) the true and single motive of its existence in that which it calls its "re-organised programme": to preach to the Servian people the sacred truth by " fanatical and indefatigable work " under the pretense that the Monarchy wishes to " take away Servian liberty and language and even to destroy her "; that it is an essential necessity to wage against Austria-Hungary, her " first and greatest enemy," " a war of extermination with rifle and cannon, and " by every means " to prepare the people for this war, which is " to liberate the conquered territories," in which " seven million brothers are suffering in bondage." All the efforts " at an educational programme " (Kulturbestrebungen) of the Narodna Odbrana are exclusively concerned with this idea simply as a means for the organization and education of the people for the longed-for death struggle against the Monarchy.
All the associations affiliated to the Narodna Odbrana work in the same spirit; the Sokol Association at Kragujevac will serve as an example (see Appendix 3).
As in the case of the Narodna Odbrana, officers, professors and civil servants are at its head. The speech in which its President, Major Kovacevic, opened the annual meeting of 1914, made absolutely no mention of physical training, which is supposed to be the real object of a Sokol association, and confined itself solely to " the preparations for war " against the " dangerous, heartless, grasping, odious and greedy enemy in the north " who " robs millions of Servian brothers of their liberty and rights, and holds them in bondage and chains."
In the administrative reports of this association the technical work is placed entirely in the background, and only serves as headlines for the avowal of the real " objects of the activities of the administration," namely, the preparation of national development and the strengthening of the "oppressed nation " with the object of enabling it to carry out its " incomplete programme and its unfinished task," and to accomplish that " great action " " which is to be carried out in the near future," " the liberation of those brothers who live across the Drina, who are suffering the martyrdom of the crucified."
Even the treasurer makes use of his financial reports to send forth the appeal that " falcons must be reared "capable " of bringing freedom to the brothers still in bondage."
As in the case of the " educational programme " of the Narodna Odbrana, the gymnastic activity of the Sokols is not the real object but merely a means at the service of the same propaganda carried on in the same spirit, and even with the very same words.
When the Narodna Odbrana appeals to the " people " for a death struggle against the Monarchy, it does not address itself only to the Servian people, but to all Southern Slav nationalities. In the eyes of the Narodna Odbrana, the Slav regions in the south of the Monarchy are regarded as " our subjected Servian territories." (See Appendix 4.) The Southern Slav subjects of the Monarchy are further also expected to take part in this " national work." This " healthy and necessary work " is, therefore, to be carried on beyond the Servian frontier. The Narodna Odbrana recruits its " heroes for this holy war " even on the soil of the Monarchy, and among them Obilic, the murderer of Murad, is to light them on their way as an example of sacrifice for one's country worthy of imitation.
But in order to incite " brothers outside Servia " to share in " the work of private effort," the Narodna Odbrana keeps in close touch with the " brothers beyond the frontier." It is not said in the publioations of the society, how this intimate association is carried out, no doubt because it appertains to that part of the " common work " which " for many reasons cannot, or ought not to be divulged."
How comprehensive this branch of its activity is, can be seen by the fact that not only the central committee of the Narodna Odbrana, but also certain of its local committees contain special sections for " foreign affairs."
This " foreign " activity of the Narodna Odbrana and its affiliated branches is extremely varied. What is relatively less dangerous inasmuch as it can be officially controlled, consists of lecture tours undertaken by distinguished members of the Narodna Odbrana in the south-eastern parts of the Monarchy where they speak before various societies on national or educational subjects. These tours give the speakers the desired opportunity, which is indeed the chief object of these journeys, of explaining the true aims of the associations in language more or less veiled, which is intelligible to those who are already initiated.
Amongst these emissaries, one of the best known is Zivojin Dacic (Director of the Government printing establishment), already several times alluded to; it was he who, on the 8th August, 1909, issued an " appeal " to the Servian people in which he called Austria-Hungary the enemy of Servia, and exhorted them to prepare for the war against the Monarchy. On numerous occasions, Dacic undertook tours of this nature in the south-eastern districts of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. During one of these lectures at Karlovoi in 1912, he flung his accustomed prudence to the winds and spoke openly of the " union of all Serbs against the common foe," by which he designated Austria-Hungary in unmistakable language.
More dangerous are the relations with associations in the Monarchy formed by Servian associations imbued with the spirit of the Narodna Odbrana under the cloak of community of interests and of culture; for the mutual visits of these associations, whether by delegates or in bodies, which escape all official control, are utilised by the Servians for all sorts of plots against the Monarchy.
Thus, for instance, at the well-known feast of the Prosvjeta Association at Serajevo, in September, 1912, an envoy of the Narodna Odbrana had the effrontery secretly to recruit Bosnian adherents to his society. (See Appendix 6.) The message which the representative of the Sokol Association at Kragujevac brought to the "brothers in Bosnia " at this feast was: " We have not forgotten you; the wings of the falcon of Sumadija are still powerful" -- a thought which in confidential intercourse would no doubt have found quite a different expression and one better corresponding to the tendencies of this society which we have already explained. (See Appendix 3.) As to the events that take place at meetings of the same kind in Servia the Imperial and Royal authorities cannot have any information founded on unimpeachable authority, as they only possess on this matter confidential information which it is difficult to check. In this connection, one may mention the visit of Agram students to Servia in April, 1912, who received from the Servians an official military reception accompanied even by a review of troops in their honour, and that in a manner so suggestive that the administrative report of the Sokol Association at Kragujevac could say " This event marks the beginning and germ of a great deed which will be accomplished in the near future, it is a germ which will ripen when the soul of the people bursts its bonds and until there is no barrier that has not been destroyed."
It is only recently that it has come to the knowledge of the Austro-Hungarian authorities that the Servian Sokol associations have succeeded in inducing similar societies into the Monarchy to establish a connection with them which is up to the present secreot, and the character of which is not yet quite clear, for the inquiries on this point are still in progress. Up to the present, however, the information obtained permits the conclusion that traces have been discovered of one of the ways by which the subversive aims of the Servian Sokols and their friends have poisoned the minds of certain groups of mistaken and misled persons in the Monarchy.
This propaganda which is aimed at wider circles, and is rather of a preparatory nature, assumes minor importance compared with that of the " foreign work " which is conducted by the Narodna Odbrana and its friends in the form of personal agitation among individuals. It is in this field that the most melancholy results are shown.
By means of confidential and secret emissaries, it carries the poison of rebellion to the circles of men of mature age as well as those of irresponsible youth.
It is thus, for example, that the late officers of the Honved V.B., D.K., V.M., and the lieutenant of Croatian-Slavonian Gendarmerie V.K., led astray by Milan Privicevic, left the service of the army of the Monarchy under most suspicious circumstances and turned to Servia; they have seen in the meanwhile most of their dreams unrealised and some of them, at any rate, are thinking of returning to the Fatherland they have betrayed.
The agitation introduced from Servia into the middle schools of Croatia and Bosnia as unhappily too well known to need illustration; what is less known is that people who have been expelled from Croatian and Bosnian schools owing to grave breaches of discipline, are received in Servia with open arms, and often even protected by the State and educated as enemies of the Monarchy. The Servian schools with their anti-Austrian staffs, and their large number of professors and teachers who are members of the Narodna Odbrana, are clearly establishments thoroughly adapted for training experts of this kind, A very notable case of this sort may be quoted here. In March, 1914, several pupils of the Training College of Pakrac (Croatia) were dismissed on account of a strike. They went to Servia, where some of them immediately obtained situations as schoolmasters, while others were admitted to a college for teachers. One of those who had been thus dismissed, and who was connected with anti-Austrian circles, declared publicly that he and his people would give a proof, during the sojourn of the hereditary Archduke in Bosnia, that this province was Servian territory. It is, as we may add, highly significant that during the stay of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia, the Royal Servian Prefect of the district of Krajna gave to the three training college students, who were thus gravely implicated, Servian passports in which he falsely described them as Servian subjects, although he must have known that they were Croatians. With these passports, the three agitators were able to enter the Monarchy without being noticed, where, however, they were eventually recognized and arrested.
All this is not, by a long way, enough to give a complete representation of the "foreign" activity of the Narodna Odbrana.
The Imperial and Royal Government had been informed for a long time past by confidential reports that the Narodna Odbrana had made military preparations for the war which it desired to make against the Monarchy, inasmuch as it kept emissaries in Austria-Hungary, who, as soon as hostilities broke out, would attempt in the usual guerilla manner to destroy means of transport and equipment and stir up revolt or panic. (See Appendix 7.)
The criminal proceedings taken in 1913 by the District Court at Serajevo against Jovo Jaglicic and his associates for espionage (Appendix 6), confirm this confidential information. As at the time of its foundation, the preparation for guerilla warfare still figures in the programme of the Narodna Odbrana, to which must now be further added a complete system of espionage.
It is for this reason that the programme of the Narodna Odbrana, described as " re-organised," is in reality an extended programme which includes the preparation for a " war of extermination " against the Monarchy, and even its realization, and finally the unfurling of the "ancient red flag of the Narodna Odbrana."
Acts of terrorism must finally result from this atmosphere of hatred against the Monarchy, which is publicly and secretly provoked, and from an agitation which considers itself free from all responsibility; in order to bring them about, all means are regarded as permissible in the struggle against Austria-Hungary, including even without any sense of shame common acts of murder.
On the 8th June, 1912, a man named Lukas Jukic shot Von Cuvaj, the Royal Commissioner at Agram, with the result that the Councillor (Banalrat) Von Hervoic, who was seated in the same carriage was mortally wounded. Jukic, in his flight, shot a policeman who was pursuing him, and wounded two others.
From the subsequent public investigation it appeared that Jukic was saturated with the ideas and plans propagated by the Narodna Odbrana, and that although Jukic had for some time past been devoting himself to criminal schemes, these schemes were only matured after he had made an excursion to Belgrade, together with the Agram students on the 18th of April, 1912. At the noisy celebrations in honour of the visitors, Jukic had entered into relations with several people belonging to the circle of the Narodna Odbrana, with whom he had had political discussions. A few days afterwards he returned to Belgrade, and there received from a Servian major a bomb, and from a comrade the Browning pistol with which he carried out his crime.
In the opinion of experts, the bomb found at Agram was made in an arsenal for military purposes.
Jukic's attempt had not been forgotten, when on the 18th of August, 1913, Stephen Dojcic, who had returned from America, made an attempt on the life of the Royal Commissioner, Baron Skerleez, at Agram -- an attempt which was the outcome of action organised by the Servians among the Southern Slavs living in America, and which was also the work of the " foreign " propaganda of the Narodna Odbrana and its confederates.
A pamphlet by the Servian, T. Dimitrijevic, printed in Chicago, and entitled " Natrag u staro ognjiste vase," with its unbridled attacks against His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, and its appeal to the Servians of the Monarchy with reference to their impending " deliverance," and urging them to migrate home to Servia, demonstrates the fact that the propaganda carried out unchecked in America from Servia, and that carried on from Servia in the territory of the Monarchy, worked on parallel lines.
And again, scarcely a year later, Agram was the scene of a new outrage, this time unsuccessful.
On the 20th of May, 1914, Jakob Schafer made an attempt at the Agram Theatre on the life of the Ban, Freiherr von Skerlecz, an attempt which was frustrated at the last moment by a police official. The subsequent investigation revealed the existence of a plot inspired by Rudolf Hercigonja. From the depositions of Hercigonja and his five accomplices, it is manifest that this crime also originated in Servia.
Having taken part in an unsuccessful attempt to liberate Jukic, Hercigonja fled to Servia (October, 1912), where, together with his accomplice Marojan Jaksic, he consorted with the komitadjis and members of the Narodna Odbrana. As frequently happens when immature minds are excited by occupying themselves too early with political questions, the result of this corrupting company was here also disastrous. Hercigonja returned home impressed by the dogma learnt in Belgrade that the Southern Slav territories of Austria-Hungary must be separated from it and re-united to the Servian kingdom. He had further been persuaded by the teachings of the friends with whom he associated there, that this object should be pursued by means of attempts on the lives of persons holding high office and leading politicians of the Monarchy as the only means of obtaining this end.
This is the spirit in which Hercigonja influenced his friends at Agram and converted some of them to his ideas. Foremost among his plans was the carrying out of an attempt on the life of the heir to the throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
A few months before proceedings had been taken against Luka Aljinovic for treasonable agitation. In the course of these proceedings three witnesses declared that Aljinovic had told him that in the year 1913 he had received at Belgrade 100 dinar from the Narodna Odbrana, and a similar sum from a secret association of students, for purposes of agitation, but especially to carry out an attempt on the life of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
It is clear how far the criminal agitation of the Narodna Odhrana and those who shared in its views, has of late been primarily directed against the person of the hereditary Archduke. From these facts,
the conclusion may be drawn that the Narodna Odbrana, as well as the associations hostile to the
Monarchy in Servia, which were grouped round it, recently decided that the hour had struck to translate theory into practice.
It is noteworthy, however, that the Narodna limits itself in this way to inciting, and where the incitement has fallen on fertile soil to providing means of material assistance for the realization of its plans, but that it has confided the only dangerous part of this propaganda of action to the youth of the Monarchy, which it has excited and corrupted, and which alone has to bear the burden of this miserable " heroism."
All the characteristics of this procedure are found in the history and origin of the profoundly regrettable outrage of the 28th of June (see Appendix 8).
Princip and Grabez are characteristic examples of young men .who have been poisoned from their school days by the doctrines of the Narodna Odbrana.
At Belgrade, where he frequented the society of students imbued with these ideas, Princip busied himself with criminal plans against the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, against whom the hatred of the Servian element hostile to the Monarchy was particularly acute on the occasion of his tour in the annexed territories.
He was joined by Cabrinovic, who moved in the same circles, and whose shifting and radically revolutionary views, as he himself admits, as well as the influence of his surroundings in Belgrade and the reading of the Servian papers, inspired him with the same sense of hostility to the Monarchy, and brought him into the propaganda of action.
Thanks to the state of mind in which he already was, Grabez succumbed very quickly to this milieu, which he now entered.
But however far this plot may have prospered, and however determined the conspirators may have been to carry out the attempt, it would never have been elected, if people had not been found, as in the case of Jukic, to provide the accomplices with means of committing their crime. For, as Princip and Cabrinovic have expressly admitted, they lacked the necessary arms, as well as the money to purchase them.
It is interesting to. see where the accomplices tried to procure their arms. Milan Pribicevic and Zivojin Dacic, the two principal men in the Narodna Odbrana, were the first accomplices thought of as a sure source of help in their need, doubtless because it had already become a tradition amongst those ready to commit crimes, that they could obtain instruments for murder from these representatives of the Narodna Odbrana. The accidental circumstance that these two men were not at Belgrade at the critical moment doubtless baulked this plan. However, Princip and Cabrinovic were not at a loss in finding other help, that of Milan Ciganovic, an ex-komitadji, and now a railway official at Belgrade, and at the same time an active member of the Narodna Odbrana, who, in 1909, first appeared as a pupil at the school (Bandenschule) at Cuprija (see Appendix 5). Princip and Cabrinonc were not deceived in their expectations, as they at once received the necessary help from Ciganovic.
The latter, and at his instigation, his friend Major Voja Tankosic, of the Royal Servian Army, also one of the leaders of the Narodna Odbrana, who has already been mentioned several times, and who, in 1908, was at the head of the school of armed bands at Cuprija (see Appendix 5), now appear as moving spirits and active furthered in the plot; the repulsive manner in which they approved as a matter of course, is significant of the moral qualities of the whole anti-Austrian movement. They had at first only one doubt, and that but a fleeting one, as to whether the three conspirators were really resolved to commit this act. This doubt, however, soon disappeared, thanks to their insidious counsels. Thenceforth they-were prepared to give every assistance. Tankosic produced four Browning pistols, ammunition and money for the journey; six hand-grenades from the Servian army supplies completed the equipment, of which the composition and origin recalls the case of Jukic. Anxious about the success of the attempt, Tankosic had the conspirators instructed in shooting, a task which Ciganovic carried out with a success which has since been fully proved. Tankosic and Ciganovic were further anxious to ensure secrecy for the plot by special means which had not been bargained for by the assassins. They therefore supplied cyanide of potassium, telling the two culprits to commit suicide after the crime, a precaution which was to be specially advantageous to themselves, as secrecy would thus relieve them of the slight danger which they were incurring in the enterprise. Sure death for the victims of their corruption, perfect security for themselves, this is the motto of the Narodna Odbrana, as was already known.
In order to render the execution of the crime possible, it was necessary that the bombs and arms should be secretly smuggled into Bosnia. There again Ciganovic gave all the assistance in his power; he wrote out for the conspirators the exact route to be followed, and assured them of the collusion of the Servian Customs officials for getting them into Bosnia. The way in which this journey, described by Princip as " mysterious," was organised and carried out can leave no doubt but that this route was a secret one, prepared in advance, and already often used for the mysterious designs of the Narodna Odbrana. With an assurance and a certainty which could only result from long habit, the frontier guards at Sabac and Loœnica lent their administrative organization for the purpose. The secret transport with its complicated system of ever-changing guides, who were summoned as if by magic, and who were always on the spot when wanted, was effected without a hitch. Without inquiring into the object of this strange journey of some immature students, the Servian authorities set this smooth machinery into motion at a word from the ex-komitadji and minor railway official, Ciganovic. However, they had no need to ask any questions, as from the instructions they had received, it was perfectly clear that a new " mission" of the Narodna Odbrana was being carried out. The sight of the arsenal of bombs and revolvers caused the exciseman Grbic merely to smile good-naturedly and approvingly sufficient proof of how accustomed they were on this "route " to find contraband of this nature.
The Royal Servian Government have taken a grave responsibility on their shoulders, in allowing all this to take place.
Though bound to cultivate neighbourly relations with Austria-Hungary, they have allowed their press to disseminate hatred against the Monarchy; they have allowed associations established on their own territory under the leadership of high officers, of public officials, of professors and of judges, to carry on openly a campaign against the Monarchy, with the ultimate object of inciting its citizens to revolution; they have not prevented men devoid of all moral scruples, who share in the direction of its military and civil administration from poisoning the public conscience, so that in this struggle low murder appears as the best weapon.
OPINIONS OF THE SERBIAN PRESS.
(a) The "Politika," on the 18th August, 1910, on the occasion of the eightieth birthday of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, published a large portrait of Bogdan Zerajic, who, two months earlier, had made a murderous attack on the Governor of Bosnia, Freiherr Von Varesanin. In the article dealing with this, the following observations were made: " Two months ago, on the 2nd of June (old style), on the opening day of the Diet of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a young Servian, the student Bogdan Zerajic, made an attempt in Serajevo to kill the Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, General Marian Varesanin. Zerajic fired five shots at this renegade, who had assured his career by pouring out the blood of his brothers in the famous insurrection in Rakovica, but, owing to a remarkable accident, did not succeed in killing him. Whereon the brave and composed Zerajic fired the sixth and last bullet through his own head, and immediately fell dead. In Vienna, they knew very well that it was not the reading of Russian and revolutionary writings which had induced Zerajic to make his attempt, but that he acted thus as the noble scion of a race which wished to protest against foreign rule in this bloody way. Therefore, they sought to hush up the whole matter as quickly as possible, and contrary to their custom to avoid an affair which would have still more compromised the Austrian Government in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Vienna, it was desired that every memory of Zera]ic should be extinguished, and that no importance should be attached to his attempt; but just this fear of the dead Zerajic, and the prohibition against mentioning his name throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, brought it about that his name is spoken among the people as something sacred to-day, on the 18th of August, perhaps more than ever.
"To-day, we too light a candle at his grave and cry 'Honour to "Zerajic!'"
To this is added a poem, the translation of which is as follows: --
"Bosnia lives and is not dead yet,
In vain have you buried her corpse;
Still the chained victim spits fire,
Nor is it yet time to sing the dirge.
With devil's hand have scratched a grave for her
But the living dead will not descend into the vault;
Emperor, dost thou hear?
In the flash of the revolver the leaden bullets hiss about
These are not slaves; this is glorious freedom
Which flashes from the bold hand of the oppressed!
Why does this horrible Golgotha shudder ?
Peter drew the sword in Christ's defense,
His hand fell, but out of the blood
A thousand brave hands will rise;
That shot was only the first herald
Of the glorious Easter after Golgotha's torments."
(b) On the 8th October, 1910. on the occasion of the anniversary of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the " Politika ": and the " Mali Journal," the last of which appeared with a black border, published articles in which they indulged in violent attacks against Austria-Hungary. Europe must convince herself that the Servian people still think always of the "revanche" The day of the "revanche" must come; for this the feverish exertions of Servia to organise her military power as well as the feeling of the Servian people and their hatred of the neighbouring kingdom were a guarantee.
On the same occasion the " Samouprava " wrote on the 9th October, 1910, " Abuse and excesses are no fit means to express true patriotism; quiet, steady and honest work alone leads to the goal."
(c) On the 18th April, 1911, the " Politika " said: " Except for a few cynics, no one in Servia would be glad to see Icing Peter proceeding to Vienna or Budapest. By the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the possibility of friendship between Servia and Austria-Hungary was once for all destroyed. Every Servian feels that."
(d) The " Beogradske Novine " wrote on the 18th April. 1911:-- " Even in Government circles the projected journey of King Peter to the Emperor Francis Joseph is disapproved. The storm of indignation which has seized the whole of the Servian race on account of the King's proposed journey is entirely comprehensible."
(e) The " Mali Journal " of the 19th April, 1911, says: "A visit of King Peter to the ruler of Austria-Hungarv would be an insult to all Serbs. By this visit, Servia would forfeit the right to play the part of Piedmont. The interests of Servia can never coincide with the interests of Austria."
(f) On the 23rd April, 1911, the " Politika," the " Mali Journal," the " Tribuna," the "Beogradske Novine," and the ' Vecernje Novosti," commented on the projected visit of King Peter to the Court of Vienna: " Between Servia and Austria, friendship can never exist. The projected visit of King Peter would, therefore, be for Servia a ' shameful capitulation,' ' a humiliation of Servia,' ' a solemn sanctioning of all the crimes and misdeeds that Austria-Hungary has committed against Servia and the Servian people."'
(g) On the 18th April, 1912, the " Trgovinski Glasnik " wrote in an article headed, " The decay of Austria ": --
"In Austria-Hungary decay prevails on all sides. What is now happening beyond the Danube and the Save is no longer a German, Magyar, Bohemian or Croatian crisis, it is a universal Austrian crisis, a crisis of the dynasty itself. We Servians can observe such a development of affairs in Austria with satisfaction."
(h) The " Balkan," in an article entitled " The Borders of Albania," in attacking Austria-Hungary, expressed itself to this effect: " If Europe is too weak to call a halt to Austria-Hungary, Montenegro and Servia will do it, saying to Austria, ' Halt ! no further ! ' A war between Austria-Hungary and Servia is inevitable. We have dismembered the Turkish Empire, we will dismember Austria too. We have finished one war, we are now facing a second."
(i) The " Vecernje Novosti," of the 22nd April, 1913, appeals to the Servian travelling public and to Servian traders to boycott the Donau Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft (The Danube Steam Navigation Company). " No one should travel or consign goods by ships of this Austrian Company. All who do this should be punished with fines by a committee. The monies would fiow to the funds of the komitadjis which are to be applied for the purpose of the coming war with Austria."
(k) The " Tribuna " of the 26th May, 1913, on the occasion of the seizure of Ada Kaleh by Austria, writes: " The criminal black and yellow Austria has again carried out a piratical trick. It is a thief who, when he cannot steal a whole sack of gold, contents himself with one dinar."
(l) On the 10th June, 1913, on the occasion of the recurrence of the anniversary of the murderous attack on the Royal Commissary in Agram by the student Luka Jukic, the Servian newspapers published memorial articles. An article in the "Pragda " stated that: " It must grieve us to the bottom of our hearts that everyone has not acted like our Jukic. We have no longer a Jukic, but we have the hatred, we have the anger, we have to-day ten million Jukics. We are convinced that soon Jukic, through his prison window, will hear the last cannon shot of freedom."
(m) The " Mali Journal " of the 7th October, 1913, gives a leading place to an article in which Austria-Hungary is denied the right of existence, and the Slavonic peoples are invited to support the offensive campaign contemplated by Servia.
(n) The "Piemont " writes on the commemoration day of the annexation: " Five years ago to-day an imperial decree extended the sovereignty of the Hapsburg sceptre over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Servian people will feel for decades yet the grief which was that day inflicted on them. Shamed and shattered, the Servian people groaned in despair. The people vow to take vengeance in attaining freedom by an heroic step. This day has aroused the energy which had already sunk to sleep, and soon the refreshed hero will strive for freedom. To-day when Servian graves adorn the ancient Servian territories, when the Servian cavalry has trod the battlefields of Macedonia and old Servia the Servian people having ended their task in the South turn to the other side, whence the groans and tears of the Servian brother are heard, and where the gallows has its home. The Servian soldiers who to-day in Dusan's kingdom fight those Albanians who were provoked against us by the state which took Bosnia and Herzegovina from us, vowed to march against the " second Turkey " even as with God's help they had marched against the Balkan Turkey. Then make this vow and hope that the day of revenge is drawing near. One Turkey vanished. The good Servian God will grant that the "second Turkey " will vanish too."
(o) The " Mali Journal " of the 4th November, 1913, writes: "Everv effort towards a rapprochement with Austria-Hungary is equivalent to a betrayal of the Servian people. Servia must understand the facts and always hold before her eyes that she has in Austria-Hungary her most dangerous enemy, and that it must be the sacred obligation of every Servian Government to fight this enemy.
(p) On the 14th January, 1914, the " Pragda " said: " Our new year's wishes are first of all for our still unfreed brothers sighing under a foreign yoke. Let the Servians endure; after Kossovo came Kumanovo, and our victorious career is not yet ended.
(q) The " Novosti " of the 18th January, 1914, published a picture of " The Blessing of the Water in Bosnia " with the following text:
Even in places which lie under the foreign yoke, the Servians preserve their customs against the day when in glorious joy the day of freedom dawns."
(r) The " Zastava " confesses in January, 1914: " Servia incites the Austro-Hungarian Servians to revolution."
(s) The " Mali Journal " of the 9th March, 1914, writes: " Servia can ever forget Franz Ferdinand's sabre-rattling in the Skutari affair."
(t) On the 4th April, 1914, the " Zastava " writes: " The Austrian statesmen who only conduct a policy of hatred, a bureaucratic policy, not a policy inspired by broad vision, are themselves preparing the ruin of their State."
(u) The " Pravda " of the 8th April, 1914, says: " Austria has now lost her right to exist."
(v) In their Easter numbers (April, 1914) all the Servian newspapers expressed the hope that soon their unfreed, oppressed brothers under the yoke would celebrate a joyous resurrection.
(w) In the " Tribune " of the 23rd April, 1914, it is stated that: " The pacifists have invented a new catchword, that of the ' patriotism of Europe.' This programme can only be realised, however, when Austria is partitioned."
(x) The " Mali Journal " of the 12th May, 1914, writes: " What are called crimes in private life are called, in Austria, politics. History knows, a monster, and that monster is called Austria."
Extract From the "Narodna Odbrana,: An Organ Published by the Central Committee of the Narodna Odrana Society. (Narodna Odbrana Izdanje Stredisnog Odbora Narodne Odbrane. Beograd, 1911. "Nova Stamparija" Davidovic, Decanska Ulica Br. 14, Ljub. Davidovica).
In a short introduction it is first of all remarked that this pamphlet " does not completely or exhaustively reproduce the whole work of the Narodna Odbrana because, for many reasons, it is neither permissible nor possible to do this."
The document is divided into three parts of which the first consists of fourteen chapters and is in the nature of a programme, while the second contains a report of the activities of the Society, and in the third examples are given for the organization of similar societies abroad.
In the first chapter, " Origin and activity of the first Narodna Odbrana," it is remarked that the Society was founded as a consequence of the popular movement arising in Servia on the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that it had the following objects: --
(1) Raising, inspiring and strengthening the sentiment of nationality.
(2) Registration and enlistment of volunteers.
(3) Formation of volunteer units and their preparation for armed action.
(4) collection of voluntary contributions, including money and other things necessary for the realization of its task.
(5) Organization, equipment and training of a special revolutionary band (Komitee), destined for special and independent military action.
(6) Development of activity for the defence of the Servian people in all other directions. In this connection, it is remarked that owingto the recognition of the annexation by the Great Powers an end had been made to all this work of the Society on which, while retaining its existing constitution, the Society had taken measures to reorganise its programme and to undertake new work, so that, on the recurrence of a similar occasion, " the old red War Flag of the Narodna Odbrana would again be unfurled."
At the beginning of the second chapter, " The new Narodna Odbrana of to-day," it is stated that "at the time of the annexation, experience had shown that Servia was not ready for the struggle which circumstances imposed upon her, and that this struggle, which Servia must take up, is much more serious and more difficult than it was thought to be; the annexation was only one of the blows which the enemies of Servia have aimed at this land, many blows have preceded it, and many will follow it. Work and preparation are necessary so that a new attack may not find Servia equally unprepared." The object assigned to the work to be done by people of every class is stated to be "the preparation of the people for war in all forms of national work, corresponding to the requirements of the present day," and the means suggested to effect this object are " strengthening of the national consciousness, bodily exercises, increase of material and bodily well-being, cultural improvement, &c..... so far as individuals and societies can and should assist the State in these spheres."
The third chapter, " The three principal tasks," begins with a hint that the annexation has taught that national consciousness in Servia is not so strong as it should be in a country which, as a small fraction of three millions, forms a hope of support for seven millions of the oppressed Servian people. The first task of the Society, therefore consists in strengthening the national consciousness. The second task is the cultivation of bodily exercises, the third the proper utilisation of these activities learned in the field of sport.
In the fourth chapter (Musketry) prominence is given to the value of good training in musketry, especially having regard to the circumstances of Servia, where the military training only lasts six months. These observations conclude with the sentence:
" A new blow, like that of the annexation, must be met by a new Servia, in which every Servian,' from child to greybeard, is a rifieman."
The fifth chapter, which treats of " The relations of the Narodna Odbrana to the Sokol societies," begins with a social and political excursus as to the conditions on which the powers of States depend. In this connection the fall of Turkey is referred to, and it is said:
"The old Turks of the South gradually disappear and only a part of our people suffer under their rule. But new Turks come from the North. more fearful and dangerous than the old; stronger in civilization and more advanced economically, our northern enemies come against us. They want to take our freedom and our language from us and to crush us. We can already feel the presages of the struggle which approaches in that quarter. The Servian people are faced by the question ' to be or not to be ? "'
"What is the object of the Lectures " is the title of the seventh chapter, the principal contents of which are covered by the following sentences:
"The Narodna Odbrana instituted lectures which were largely propaganda lectures. The programme of our new work was developed. Every lecture referred to the annexation, the work of the old Narodna Odbrana and the task of the new. The lectures will never cease to be propaganda lectures but they will develop special branches more and more and concern themselves with all questions .of our social and national life."
In the eighth chapter, " Women's Activities in the Narodna Odbrana," the ninth " Detail and Lesser Work," and the tenth, "Renaissance of the Society," the preparation and deepening of the Society's work and the necessity of a regeneration of the individual, the nation and the State are treated in reference to the tasks of the Narodna Odbrana.
The Introduction to the eleventh chapter (" New Obilice and Singjelice "*) runs as follows: --
" It is an error to assert that Kossovo is past and gone. We find ourselves in the midst of Kossovo. Our Kossovo of to-day is the gloom and ignorance in which our people live. The other causes of the new Kossovo live on the frontiers to the North and West: the Germans, Austrians and "Schwabas," with their onward pressure against 'our Servian and Slavonic South." In conjunction with the reference too the heroic deeds of Obilice and Singjelice, the necessity of sacrifice in the service of the nation is alluded to, and it is declared that " national work is interwoven with sacrifice, particularly in Turkey and in Austria, where such workers are persecuted by the authorities and dragged to prison and the gallows. For this struggle, also, against. gloom and ignorance there is need of such heroes. The Narodna Odbrana does not doubt that in the fight with gun and cannon against the " Schwabas " and the other enemies with whom we stand face to face, Our people will provide a succession of heroes. However, the Narodna. Odbrana is not content with this, for it regards the so-called peaceful present day conditions as war, and demands heroes too for this struggle of to-day which we are carrving on in Servia and beyond the frontier.'
The twelfth chapter treats of " Union with our brothers and friends," and its principal contents are concentrated in the following sentences:
" The maintenance of union with our brothers near and far across the frontier, and our other friends in the world, is one of the chief tasks of the Narodna Odbrana. In using the word 'people ' the Narodna Odbrana means our whole people, not only those in Seraria. It hopes that the work done by it in Servia will spur the brothers outside Servia to take a more energetic share in the work of private initiative, so that the new present day movement for the creation of a powerful Servian Narodna Odbrana will go forward in unison in all Servian territories."
The thirteenth chapter, which is headed " Two Important Tasks, proceeds as follows:
"As we take up the standpoint that the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has completely brought into the light of day the pressure against our countries from the North, the Narodna Odbrana proclaims to the people that Austria is our first and greatest enemy." This work (that is to say, to depict Austria to the Servian people as their greatest enemv) is regarded by the Society, according to the following expressions of opinion, as a healthy and necessary task, in fact, as its principal obligation. For the pamphlet goes on as follows:
" Just as once the Turks attacked us from the south, so Austria attacks us to-day from the north. If the Narodna Odbrana preaches the necessity of fighting Austria, she preaches a sacred truth of our national position.
* Milos Obilice (or Kobilic) crept -- according to Servian tradition -- into the Turkish Camp, after the battle on the Amselveld, and there murdered the Sultan Murad (Von Kallay "Geschichte Der Serben," Vol. I). Stephan Singjelic, Prince of Resara, played a part during the Servian Revolution, 1807-l8l0. In 1809, Singjelic defended the redoubt of Tschagar against the Turks, and is said to hare blown himself into the air, with some of his followers and many Turks, when outnumbered. (Von Kallay; "Die Geschichte des serbischen Aufstandes.")
The hatred against Austria brought about by this propaganda is, of course, not the aim but the natural consequence of this work, the object of which is independence and freedom. If on this account hatred of Austria germinates, it is Austria who sows it by her advance, which conduct "makes obligatory a war of extermination against Austria."
After some praise of the modern conception of nationalism the remark is made that in speaking of "freedom and unity," too much is mere talk The people must be told that " For the sake of bread and room, for the sake of the fundamental essentials of culture and trade, the freeing of the conquered Servian territories and their union with Servia is necessary to gentlemen, tradesmen and peasants alike." Perceiving this the people will tackle the national work with greater self-sacrifice. Our people must be told that the freedom of Bosnia is necessary for her, not only out of pity for the brothers suffering there, but also for the sake of trade and the connection with the sea.
The " two tasks " of the Narodna Odbrana are then again brought together in the following concluding sentence:
In addition to the task of explaining to the people the danger threatening it from Austria, the Narodna Odbrana has the important duty, while preserving intact the sacred national memories, of giving to the people this new, wholesome and, in its consequences, mighty conception of nationalism and of work in the cause of freedom and union."
The fourteenth and final chapter begins with an appeal to the Government and people of Servia to prepare themselves in all ways for the struggle " which the annexation has foreshadowed."
Hereon the activities of the Narodna Odbrana are again recapitulated in the following sentences:
"While the Narodna Odbrana works in conformity with the times according to the altered conditions, it also maintains all the connections made at the time of the annexation; today therefore it is the same as it was at the time of the annexation. To-day, too, it is Odbrana (defense); to-day, too, Narodna (of the people); to-day, too, it gathers under its standard the citizens of Servia as it gathered them at the time of the annexation. Then the cry was for war, now the cry is for work. Then meetings demonstrations, voluntary clubs (Komitees), weapons and bombs were asked for; to-day steady, fanatical, tireless work and again work is required to fulfil the tasks and duties to which we have drawn attention by way of present preparation for the fight with gun and cannon which will come."
The pamphlet and the annual report contain the following information as to the organization of the Narodna Odbrana: --
A Central Committee at Belgrade directs all proceedings of the Narodna Odbrana. All other committees of the Narodna Odbrana are subject to this. The Central Committee is divided into four sections: for cultural work, for bodily training, for financial policy and for foreign affairs.
District Committees, with their centre at the seat of the offices of the District Government, conduct the affairs of the Society in the corresponding districts. Every District Committee divides itself into sections for culture (the President being the Chairman of the local branch of the " Culture League "), for bodily training (the President being a local member of the Riflemen's, Sokol, Sportsmen's and Horsemen's clubs) and for financial affairs; some District Committees have also a section for Foreign Affairs.
Divisional Committees located at the seat of the local authorities conduct the affairs of the Society in the various divisions.
Local Committees conduct the Society's affairs in the various towns and villages.
Confidential men are located in those places in the interior of the country where the constitution of a Committee is not necessary.
Societies " which work in close connection with the organisation of the Narodna Odbrana " and are supported by the latter in every respect are the following:--
The Riflemen's Association with 762 societies, the Sokol Association " Dusan the Strong " with 2,500 members, the Olympic Club, the Horsemen's Society " Prince Michael," the Sportsmen's Association and the Culture League.
All these societies are organised on similar lines to those of the Narodna Odbrana and use their premises, including club houses, libraries, &c. Distinguished members of these societies are chairmen of sections in the Committees of the Narodna Odbrana.
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