Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #018-The End of the Obrenovid Regime


Dr. Gjorgjevic's efforts to secure the succession by finding Alexander a wife from some reigning dynasty were checkmated by the King's rash decision in the summer of 1900 to marry' his mistress Draga MaSin (nee Lunjevica). the widow of a Czech engineer, a woman much older than himself. This decision led to a final breach between Alexander and Milan, who ended his dissolute existence at Vienna early in 1901: it led the Gjorgievic cabinet to resign out of protest at so suicidal a step: it was keenly resented in the country and isolated the dynasty in Europe.

Emancipated from his father's influence in foreign policy, Alexander now flung himself into the arms of Russia and in return induccd the Tsar to stand sponsor at his marriage. Hut at home he was the object of universal aversion, and only made matters worse by dabbling in illegal political experiments. In April 1901 he promulgated a new constitution, based on an adaptation of the Novakovic project, establishing a second chamber and guaranteeing liberty of the press and of association. But in the winter of 1902 he reverted to open reaction, appointed General Cincar Markovid premier, and in April 1903 suddenly suspended his own Constitution, removed all the officials and senators appointed under it, dissolved both Chambers and then declared the Constitution to be once more valid.

In June new elections were conducted under such official terrorism that the whole opposition held aloof. The country was full of unrest, wild rumours circulated, and it was 1 widely believed that Queen Draga intended to secure the succession for her two brothers. Prompted by this untenable situation, a widespread military conspiracy was hatched, and on June 10, 1903, Alexander and Draga were assassinated in the palace of Belgrade, under peculiarly atrocious circumstances.

Draga's two brothers, the Premier and the Minister of War shared the same iate. The details of the plot had been worked out in a well known cafe in Vienna, and there is reason to believe that both the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Governments were aware of 1 what was on foot, but allowed matters to take their course.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #018-The End of the Obrenovid Regime," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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