Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #022-The First War


The rapid and overwhelming success of the Allies radically transformed the situation. By the end of Nov. Turkish rule in Europe was restricted to the Chatalja lines, the Gallipoli Peninsula and the three fortresses of Adrianople, Janina and Scutari. The Serbs in particular, after the victories of Kuma novo and Monastir, were in actual occupation of all Macedonia west of the Vardar and had reached the Adriatic at Durazzo and Medua.

Kumanovo was much more than an ordinary victory. It restored to Serbia that self-confidence which had been so gravely shaken by the rebuffs and scandals of the previous 30 years; and throughout the Yugoslav provinces of Austria-Hungary it was hailed as an atonement for Serbia's downfall on the field of Kosovo and as a pledge of her new mission as the Southern Slav Piedmont.

Austria-Hungary at first adopted a waiting attitude, but as the Serbs approached the Adriatic she suddenly ordered a general mobilization, and suppressed all public expressions of feeling, while the official press of Vienna and Budapest adopted a menacing tone towards Serbia. Great prominence was given to the alleged insults offered to Prochaska, Austro-Hungarian Consul at Prizren, and for some weeks public opinion was allowed to believe that he had been shamefully mutilated by Serbian officers.

It only transpired long after that Prochaska had been entirely unmolested by the invaders, but had received definite instructions from Vienna to create an "incident" such as might provide a pretext for action. The Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff and War Minister, Generals Conrad and Auffcnbcrg, are known to have favoured a radical solution of the Southern Slav question by immediate war with Serbia; and similar views were held by the leading Ballplatz officials, Macchio, Kanya and Forgacs.

But both the emperor and Francis Ferdinand were averse to war, and Germany, finding Italy restive as to any change in the Balkan status quo, exercised a moderating influence over Vienna in connection with the fourth renewal of the Triple Alliance.

Meanwhile, the success of the Balkan Allies, and the general relief with which public opinion hailed the downfall of Turkish rule in Europe, led the Powers to accept the accomplished fact. The Turks, seeing themselves isolated in Europe, made overtures of peace as early as the nth to King Ferdinand, who was not willing to consider them until his troops had been checked before Chatalja.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #022-The First War," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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