Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #020-The Bosnian Crisis


The "Pig War" touched every Serbian peasant in his pocket, and was a heavy blow to such Austrophil sentiments as still lingered. Friction between Serbia and Austria- Hungary became more acute when in October 1908 Baron Aehren thal proclaimed the annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina without ' consulting the other signatories of the Treaty of Berlin, on which Austria-Hungary's mandate of occupation rested. During the prolonged international crisis that followed (Oct. 1908-March 1909), excitement in Serbia became intense, and the wilder spirits clamoured for war against the Dual Monarehy.

After a secret session of the Skupstina, the Foreign Minister, Dr. Milovanovic, undertook a mission to the courts of Europe and pressed Serbia's claim for the cession of a strip of territory linking up Serbia with Montenegro and with the Adriatic and securing the much needed independence for her commerce.

Popular sentiment had never abandoned the hope of union with the Serbs of Bosnia, but the Government retained sufficient sanity to frame its demands within the limits of the possible. Austria-Hungary, however, though while annexing Bosnia she had simultaneously evacuated the Sanjak (partly to prevent Italy from claiming compensation under Clause 7 of her alliance) resolutely refused any territorial concession to Serbia, declining also to enter an international Congress until the Powers stood committed to endorse the annexation.

Serbia received encouragement from Russia, one aspect of the crisis being the acute rivalry between the two Foreign Ministers, Aehrenthal and Izvolsky, who regarded himself as having been duped at their Buchlau meeting in September 1908.

In January 1909 Milovanovic declared in the Skupstina that the Bosnian question was one of European interest, that Austria-Hungary's Balkan mission was ended and that she must not drive Serbia to despair. The war fever grew, Austria-Hungary mobilised and a very dangerous situation had arisen when Russia, yielding to a German ultimatum, recognised the annexation and advised Serbia to submit. On March 31, 1909, on the collective advice of the Triple Entente and Italy, she addressed a Note to Vienna, recognising "the fait accompli created in Bosnia" as "in no way affecting her rights."

A few days earlier Crown Prince George, who had been the soul of the war party, abdicated his right of succcssion, owing to the report that he had mortally injured his valet in a fit of passion: his vounger brother Alexander thus became Heir Apparent.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #020-The Bosnian Crisis," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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