|Anna M. Cienciala (firstname.lastname@example.org)||
History 557 Lecture Notes
Spring 2002 (Revised Fall 2003)
hist557 by anna m.cienciala is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at web.ku.edu.
LECTURE 10 A
AUSTRIA-HUNGARY, THE SOUTH-SLAV PROBLEM AND THE COMING OF WORLD WAR I.
The causes of World War I have been the subject of long and
lively controversies among historians. ManyWestern historians of the inter-war
period blamed the alliance systems, or the Anglo-German naval race, or/and colonial
rivalry. Many also contended that no one power was more to blame than any other,
and this view exerted much influence on British and American opinion.
German historians, in turn, rejected Art. 231 of the Versailles Treaty, which placed the responsibility for the war on Germany. For decades, they blamed all the other powers, especially Russia, thus exonerating Germany. However, in the 1960s, a German historian, Prof. Fritz Fischer, published a selection of documents (see English version edited by Immanuel Geiss, July 1914, London, New York, 1967). Fischer claimed that while the leaders of Imperial Germany did not actually want a World War, they were ready to risk one. (Frtiz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War, London, New York, 1967 ).
In fact, the documents show that German statesmen urged Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia, which would likely result in a war with Russia, but they believed it would be limited to Eastern Europe. However, when Germany attacked Belgium and France, she brought on the outbreak of a world war.
What is not in dispute is that the war stemmed from a confrontation
over Serbia between Austria-Hungary, backed by Germany on the one hand, and
Russia in defense of Serbia on the other. The Austro-Hungarian perception of Serbia as the magnet for the South Slavs of the A-H Empire and thus the greatest
threat to the Empire’s existence, led the Vienna statesmen down the path to
However, it is doubtful that they would have risked war with Russia over Serbia without the certainty that in such a war Austria-Hungary would be backed by Germany. The German leaders for their part were motivated by a combination of beliefs:
(1) that if A-H did not act forcefully against Serbia, it would no longer be a great power and thus a valuable ally of Germany;
(2) that Russia’s ally France would be quickly defeated if it entered the war;
(3) that Britain would stay out of an A-H, German - Russian war;
(4) that Germany was in a better military position to win a European war in 1914 than she would be in 1916 or 1917 when the Russian army would be stronger and the French army reorganized an rearmed.
We should note that the first part of the 20th century
was dominated by two German attempts at European hegemony, showing continuity
in the geopolitical thinking of some German political scientists (Neumann, Mitteleuropa),
and of Nazi German leaders in 1937-45 - though the latter emphasized the need
for "Lebensruam " (living space) for the German people.
Thus, rather than characterizing the two world wars "as a European Civil War," as some historians do today, it would be more appropriate to see them as two successive attempts by Germany to dominate Europe, both opposed by most other nations and spreading all over the world, and both wars including the United States.
I. The Background: (1) International Relations,1871-1908.
1. After the German defeat of France in 1870, Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898), who had led Prussia into the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, orchestrated the creation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles, France, on January 18 1871. At this time, the princes of various German states recognized KingWilhelm I of Prussia as German Emperor. Thus, the North German Confederation of 1866 was expanded into the German Empire.
Bismarck wanted stability in Europe in order to secure
the German Empire. However, German statesmen and soldiers were haunted by the
nightmare of a Franco-Russian alliance and thus a war on two fronts. Therefore
Bismarck negotiated a German-Austro-Hungarian-Russian alliance
known as the "Three Emperors’ League," signed on May 6 1873.
Bismarck also worked to isolate France in Europe, so he encouraged her expansion in Indochina (now Vietnam).
Above all, he worked hard to prevent an Austro-Hungarian - Russian confrontation in the Balkans which would draw Germany into a war over countries that he said "were not worth the bones of a Pomeranian grenadier."
Thus, when Austria-Hungary and Britain protested against the creation of a "Great Bulgaria" (Treaty of San Stefano, March 3, 1878), he persuaded French, British, Austro-Hungarian, Italian, Turkish and Russian statesmen to meet with him as "the honest broker" at the Congress of Berlin in June 13-July 13 1878,. They worked out the Treaty of Berlin which was very important for Serbia Montenegro, Romania and Bulgaria, and also put Bosnia-Hercegovina under Austrian administration, though preserving Ottoman sovereignty. (see Lecture Notes no. 9).
Britain had already obtained from Ottoman Turkey the right to occupy Cyprus (majority Greek population) in return for the promise to defend other Turkish possessions (Secret British-Ottoman treaty of June 4 1878), and this was recognized by the Treaty of Berlin.
However, Bismarck was uneasy. There was much Russian resentment
against Germany due to the setback over Bulgaria. This led to a secret
alliance treaty between Germany and Austro-Hungary signed in October 1879, renewable
every 5 years. It obligated each power to come to the other’s aid if
attacked by Russia, also if attacked by some other power supported by Russia.
Therefore, in 1879 the German General Staff drew up a war plan for a two front
war against Russia and France, in which Germany would first attack the most
menacing power, seen as Russia, and then France. (This was replaced in
1905, by the Schlieffen Plan, which projected the first German attack
on France and Belgium, while Austria-Hungary covered most of the Russian front).
Bismarck balanced the A-H-German alliance with the Alliance of the Three Emperors, Germany, Austro-Hungary and Russia, signed in 1881 and extended in 1884 for 10 years. However, In 1887, this alliance was replaced by a secret "Reinsurance Treaty" between Russia and Germany, in which Germany recognized Russian interests in Bulgaria and promised help in modifying the treaties on the Straits in Russia’s favor. (Bismarck also engineered the Berlin Conference on African Affairs, Nov. 15, 1885 - Feb. 25, 1886, at which the European powers proceeded to divide up Africa).
But Bismarck’s balancing act between Austria-Hungary and Russia
in the Balkans was bound to fail. He cut off German credits to Russia in 1887
in reprisal for a Russian decree forbidding foreigners (Germans) to hold land
in the western borderlands of the Russian Empire, and he tried to prevent further
Russian expansion into the Balkans by making public the secret (Oct. 1879) A-H-German
treaty of February 1888.
These measures made Russia look for credits and allies elsewhere. She found a financial backer in France, where some 4 million Frenchmen acquired Russian bonds over next 25 years. (The money went into expanding the railway network in the western provinces of the Russian Empire, so that Russian troops could be moved quickly westward in case of war with Germany).
In July 1891, a French naval squadron visited the Russian naval base at Kronstadt, just off St. Petersburg, and Tsar Alexander III solemnly listened to the French national anthem, the "Marseillaise" - which was also the anthem of socialist revolutionaries all over Europe! A secret, preliminary Franco-Russian military agreement was concluded in August, 1891, followed by a draft military convention in Aug. 1892. In October 1893, a Russian naval squadron visited Toulon. After some negotiation, a secret and binding Franco-Russian military convention was signed in January 1894; it was directed against the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
Other political-diplomatic developments.
The Russian Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918), who came to
the throne in 1894, realized that Russia could not keep up with the armaments
of Germany and Austria-Hungary, so he invited all states to the FIRST HAGUE
CONFERENCE, May 18-July 29, 1899, at which Russia proposed general
disarmament. (Compare with Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s "Zero Option" proposal
to President Ronald Reagan at their first summit meeting in 1985, when the Soviet
leadership feared the implementation of the U.S. "Star Wars" project).
Nothing came of the Tsar's proposal, but we should note the signing of two important international conventions: (1) On the peaceful settlement of international disputes at a Permanent International Justice Tribunal at the Hague, and (2) theDefinition of the Rules of War - including a prohibition of gas warfare and provisions for the treatment of prisoners of war. (This was developed further in the Hague Convention of 1907).
In 1904, France and Britain resolved their colonial conflicts, mainly in N.Africa, by establishing an agreement called the Entente (Understanding). It was not directed against Germany, but the latter’s actions made it so. Thus, in 1905 Germany created a crisis over Morocco, which the French had made their protectorate. Emperor Wilhelm II visited Tangier to demonstrate that Germany must be consulted in any changes in Africa. However, the Conference of Algeciras, Jan-April 1906, was a victory for France and Britain supported by Italy, so Germany did not get what she wanted.
We should note that Russia viewed Britain as a major enemy, especially in view of Anglo-Russian rivalry for dominant influence in Afghanistan. However, after Russia was defeated by Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), she resolved her disputes with Britain (over Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan and Persia), She joined Britain -who had signed an alliance with Russia's enemy, Japan, in 1902)- and France - who had signed a dual Entente with Britain in 1904 - in the Triple Entente, 1907. Russia now shifted her main interest from the Far East to the Balkans.
In 1906, Anglo-French naval talks began in view of the German naval buildup, which had begun under Admiral von Tirpitz in the 1890s, but now seemed to threaten British naval supremacy. So, in Feb. 1906, the first "Dreadnought" class battleship was built in Britain. It had 12 inch guns and thus caused a revolution in naval warfare. The Germans increased their naval construction and the Anglo-German naval race was on.
2. Austro-Hungarian Policy in the Balkans to 1908.
A-H Balkan policy was based on the assumption that the western
Balkans were the A-H sphere of influence while the eastern Balkans the Russian
sphere. This was generally the case, although Alexander of Battenberg’s
support of Bulgarian unification in 1885 showed that even a Russian-backed ruler
could go against Russian wishes.
When Alexander of Battenberg resigned as ruler of Bulgaria due to lack of Russian support, he was succeeded by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg (see Lecture Notes no. 9). Several years later, an Austro-Russian agreement concluded in April 1897, affirmed mutual support to maintain the status quo in the Balkans, and Russia turned her attention to checking Japanese expansion in the Far East. This led to the Russo-Japanese war, lost by Russia.
We should note that In 1885, Serbia attacked Bulgaria, claiming adjacent Bulgarian territory, but was defeated. Serbia was saved from a Bulgarian invasion by Austrian intervention, but henceforth A-H policy fostered Serb-Bulgar hostility. Milan II Obrenovich, who proclaimed himself King of Serbia with Austrian support in March 1882, followed a pro-Austrian policy, which was opposed by nationalists who looked to Russia. His son Alexander I, who also followed a pro-Austrian policy was assassinated together with his wife and about twenty courtiers by a group of pro-Russian Serb officers in June 1903.
The national assembly elected Peter I Karageorge, whose chief minister, Nikola Pasic (1845-1926, pron. Paaseech, Premier of Serbia then Yugoslavia, 1906-26), began to conduct a policy viewed by Vienna as anti-Austrian. In 1904, Serbia and Bulgaria concluded a Friendship Treaty and planned to establish a customs union. This infuriated A-H which put economic pressure on Serbia by launching a "Pig War"in 1905-07. (A-H established a customs barrier against Serbian pigs, allegedly for sanitation- health reasons). This suited the Magyars, who also raised pigs and exported ham. But Serbian pigs now went to Germany, so the pig war failed to break Serbia. Moreover, the Serbs began buying arms from France instead of the A-H owned Skoda works in Pilsen, Bohemia.
Serbian success in the Pig War strengthened the Radicals’ call for a "Great Serbia," which was to include Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia. In 1908 Serbia also protested the A-H plan to build a railway from Vienna to Salonica through the Sanjak of Novipazar (the first leg of the planned Berlin-Baghdad railway) because it would bypass Serbia. At the same time, the planned railway was seen by Russia as a symbol of German-A-H domination over the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire.
II. The Austro-Hungarian Annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina 1908 and the South Slav Question.
After the revolt in Bosnia-Hercegovina against Ottoman
rule in 1875-76, the Congress of Berlin (1878) had put the province under Austrian
administration though preserving nominal Ottoman sovereignty. Serbian
public opinion resented this greatly, for Serbia had hoped either to annex B-H
or at least to have A-H grant autonomy to the province. Instead, B-H was ruled
as a colony by Magyar governors who tried to create a B-H "nationality." Therefore, they favored Moslem landlords against Serbian peasants.
A liberal Austrian politician, Joseph M. Baernreither, who knew B-H well, tried to persuade the Austrian government to grant autonomy to the province. So did Henry Wickham-Steed, the London Times correspondent in Vienna, 1902-1913, who believed that B-H autonomy might interest Serbia in reaching some agreement with Vienna on resolving the S. Slav question in A-H. However, the A-H government would not listen.
[See Joseph M. Baernreither, Fragments of a Political Diary, edited and introduced by Joseph Redlich, London, 1930; also Henry Wickham-Steed, Through Thirty Years 1892-1922. A Personal Narrative, New York, 1925, and his book, The Habsburg Monarchy, London, 1913, and reprints], which was highly critical of Austria-Hungary.
In early July 1908, the "Young Turk" revolution in the
Ottoman Empire forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918, Sultan
1876-1909) to restore the liberal constitution of 1876, which had been allowed
to lapse. The Young Turks wanted to modernize the Empire and reorganize it on
national lines. Elections to the legislature in Istanbul were to take place
all over the Empire - including Bosnia-Hercegovina which was still under nominal
Ottoman sovereignty, so the Austrians decided to annex B-H, but wanted to do
so with Russian consent.
Therefore, A-H Foreign Minister Alois von Aehrenthal (1854-1912, For. Min. 1906-12) met with the Russian Foreign Minister Alexander P. Izovlsky (1856-1919, For. Min. 1906-10) in the castle of Buhlau, Bohemia on Sept.16, 1908. Although the accounts given their respective memoirs differ on details, it is clear that Russia agreed to the A-H annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina in return for Austro-Hungarian help in securing a new treaty opening the Straits to Russian warships. The agreement was to be confirmed at an international conference, and A-H was allegedly obligated to secure British agreement on the Straits.
However, A-H went on to annex Bosnia-Hercegovina on October 6, 1908 without obtaining a new treaty for the Straits and having this confirmed at an international conference (Aehrenthal said he wanted to give B-H as a birthday present for Emperor Francis Joseph). This infuriated the Russians. The Serbs were also furious and mobilized their army; Russia promised them its support in case of war with A-H -- while Germany promised to support A-H in case of war with Russia. War was avoided because Francis Joseph opposed it and Russia backed down, but A-H now became totally dependent on German military support in case of war with Russia.
It is worth noting that the Czechs also protested against A-H annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina. In July 1908, a Slavic Congress, organized by the Young Czech Party, led by Karel Kramar (1860-1937, pron. Kraamaazh), was held in Prague. The Congress decided that in case of a European war, the Slavs of Austria would rebel against the government. The Czechs now looked to Russia as their "Big Brother."
The Serbian reaction to the annexation of Bosnia-Hercegovina,
as well as Serb-Croat political cooperation within the Empire, led the Austrians
to arrest a large number of S. Slav politicians in August 1908. They were held
in prison and stood trial in Agram (Zagreb) in March 1909. It
was known as the "Friedjung Trial," because an Austrian historian,
Friedjung, had published an article in March 1909, accusing them, on the basis
of documents supplied by the A-H government, of belonging to a secret Serb Society
financed from Belgrade.
However, the alleged secret society was made up of Croatian students while their leader, Prof. Markovich, was actually in Berlin when the "documents" had him plotting in Belgrade. Furthermore, the Serbian Under Secretary of State, Spalaikovich, challenged the court to compare his handwriting with his alleged handwriting on the so-called documents. They also contained gross spelling and grammatical mistakes. The Czech philosopher-statesman, Thomas G. Masaryk, used these and other errors to demonstrate that the "documents" were fakes. Thus, the whole affair discredited both Friedjung (who had accepted the documents on faith) and the A-H monarchy.
Nevertheless, the Serbian government tried to improve relations
with Vienna. Foreign Minister Milanovich tried to see Austrian Foreign
Minister Alois Aehrenthal, but the latter refused. Furthermore, in May
1910, the liberal Austrian politician, J.M.Baernreither, was approached
on behalf of a Serb leader with the idea of uniting Bosnia-Hercegovina, Dalmatia
and Kingdom of Serbia under a Habsburg Prince. Such a union would have
created a South Slav State within the A-H monarchy as the third constituent
member of this monarchy.
The heir to the A-H throne, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand (1863-1914, nephew of Emperor Francis Joseph), showed a lively interest in the idea, but no one knows what he would have done as Emperor, though it is known that he hated the Magyar nobles for snubbing his morganatic wife, Sophia Chotek. [Morgantic wife meant she was not royalty and their children could not succeed to the throne].
In any case, after the Agram Trials of 1909, Serb and Croat political leaders in the A-H Empire, frustrated in their efforts to create a South Slav kingdom within the A-H Empire, thought more and more of setting up a federation with Serbia outside of the Empire.
Of course, these ideas were known in Vienna. Therefore, the A-H government viewed Serbia as the magnet attracting its S.Slavs -- and thus the chief threat to the further existence of the Empire.
Lecture Notes 10B. THE BALKAN WARS AND THE COMING OF WORLD WAR I.
1. The Balkan Wars.
Some historians still point to Balkan nationalism as the key factor leading to World War I. However, the Balkan Wars show that while this nationalism was a factor, it was the Great Powers in the region, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia, which played a decisive role. In 1912-13, they chose to limit the wars to the Balkans, but in 1914, Germany and A-H decided to risk extending a regional dispute into a world war.
The Balkan Wars were triggered by the Italian attack on
Ottoman Tripolitania (Libya), in 1911. The easy Italian victory - in
which planes were used for the first time in war - sparked the the First
Balkan War, which broke out in October 1912. The Serbs, Greeks
and Bulgarians defeated the Ottoman Turks, and the Serbs reached the Adriatic
after overrunning northern Albania. However, Russia warned the Bulgarians against
taking Istanbul (Constantinople), while Austria-Hungary stated she would not
allow Serbian access to the Adriatic and proposed the establishment of Albania.
The Czech philosopoher and political leader, T.G. Masaryk was an intermediary between the Serbian government and A-H Foreign Minister Anton Berchtold (1863-1942, For.Min.1912-15). A-H feared that a Serbian port in the Adriatic would mean a base for the Russian navy. The Serbs offered guarantees not to build a fortified port and not to place it at the disposal of another power (Russia). However, A-H was determined to keep Serbia away from the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, the great powers agreed to establish an independent Albania.
[NOTE: In 1912, the German government again told the A-H government that if the latter became involved in a war with Russia over Serbia, Germany would stand behind A-H].
Peace talks began in London in December 1912 but broke down over Turkish refusal to give up Adrianople (Edirne), the Aegean Islands and Crete. On Jan.22, 1913, the Turks agreed to give up Adrianople to Bulgaria, but the next day there was a coup in Istanbul in which the nationalists led by Enver Bey Pasha (1881-1922) overthrew the government and resumed the war.
However, under the threat of A-H intervention, the Serbs evacuated
Durazzo (Durres) while the Montenegrins gave up Scutari (Shkoder).
A conference of Ambassadors in St.Petersburg awarded Silistria to Romania
as compensation for Bulgarian gains (Adrianople).
The London Peace Conference resumed on May 20 and the Treaty of London was signed on May 30, 1913, ending the war. The Ottoman Empire gave up all territory west of the Enos- Mida line and gave up its claim to Crete, while the status of the Aegean Islands and Albania was to be decided later. The Serbs were allowed to keep Kosovo, which they had occupied during the war. [Kosovo had belonged to medieval Serbia and was the cradle of Serbian civilization, but by this time the majority of the population was Albanian].
The treaty did not satisfy the enemies of the Ottoman Empire.(For details and map, see Magocsi, Historical Atlas of East Central Europe, section 27, pp. 88-89 and map 27c).
The South Slavs of the A-H Empire were enthusiastic
over Serb victories. In Croatia, this led to the suspension of the Croatian
Assembly (Legislature) and the closing of the University at Agram (Zagreb).
The Czechs were also enthusiastic over Serbian victories. At the Sokol Congress in Prague 1912, people sang; "Hey Slavs! Thunder and Lightning! The Russians are with us and those that oppose them - the French will dispose of!".
The Second Balkan War . This was preceded by a
Serbian-Greek alliance against Bulgaria, which had refused to give the Serbs
more of Macedonia than was granted them in the Treaty of London. The
Greeks also wanted Macedonia, and the Serbs wanted a port on the Adriatic.
The war broke out when the Bulgarian Commander-in-Chief, general Stojan Danev (pron. Stoyan Daanyev) attacked Serbian and Greek positions without his government’s knowledge. The Serbs and Greeks were joined by the Romanians and defeated the Bulgarians. The Treaty of Bucharest, August 10, 1913 gave Northern Dobrudja (pron. Dohbroodzhya) to Romania ; the Greeks obtained most of Macedonia, except for Strumica which went to the Serbs. Bulgaria kept only a small part of the Aegean coast with the second rate port of Dedeagatch. The Sanjak of Novi Pazar was divided between Serbia and Montenegro, while the eastern Aegean Islands (Thasos, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios and Samos) went to Greece.
The Serbs again invaded Albania in late September, but retreated under the threat of A-H intervention. The Turkish-Bulgarian Treaty of Constantinople (Istanbul) of September 29, 1913, returned Adrianople (Edirne) to the Turks, and this remains their foothold in the Balkans.
Finally, in late 1913 the International Commission set up by
the Treaty of London to establish Albania, defined the boundaries of
this new state, leaving most of Albanian Kosovo in Serbia. (See Magocsi
Atlas, Map 27c, p. 89).
Prince Wilhelm zu Wied, a close relative of Queen Elizabeth of Romania, was offered the Albanian crown by the Ottoman ruler Essad Pasha on Feb. 21, 1914. He stayed only briefly in the country, leaving in early September 1914 after the outbreak of the war.
NOTE: Bulgaria thirsted for revenge against the Serbs and Greeks, so it became an ally of the Central Powers in World War I.
There was another crisis in the region concerning Germany and
the Ottoman Empire in November 1913. The German general Liman von Sanders
headed a military mission to Istanbul; he was to command the First Turkish Army
Corps there. Russia protested, supported by France, so von Sanders was given
a command elsewhere. It is worth noting that in Feb.1914. the Russian
Council of Ministers decided Russia could not take control of the Straits without
a war, and so accepted the compromise peace.
Meanwhile, in December 1913, the Greeks accepted the British proposal that they keep only a part of S. Albania they had occupied and be compensated in the Aegean Islands. But this created tensions between Greece and the Ottoman Empire.
2. 1914 and the Oubreak of World War I.
Serbian military activities in 1912-13 and the enthusiasm of the Southern Slavs of theA-H Empire over their victories, led the A-H government to decide that in the next confrontation with Serbia the latter must be crushed so that it could no longer act as a magnet to attract A-H Southern Slavs, thus threatening to disintegrate the Empire. This view had the complete support of Emperor Wilhelm II and the German General Staff.
On June 28, 1914, an eighteen year old Serbian revolutionary, Gavrilo Princip (pron. Gaavreeloh Preentseep, 1894-1918), assassinated the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo (pron. Saaraayevoh). Princip and his fellow conspirators believed Fr.Ferdinand was a "tyrant" who opposed the union of South Slavs and aimed to conquer Serbia. However, Fr.Ferdinand hated the Magyars so he may have had plans to establish a South Slav Crownland. Of course, this would not have satisfied Princip who wanted an independent, federal South Slav State. Princip, who was not quite 18 at the date of the assassination, was bound and determined to kill "the tyrant."
The Archduke visited the Bosnian capital
while attending imperial army maneuvers. He had been warned not to visit Sarajevo
that day, which was the Serbian national holiday (in memory of the Battle of
Kosovo, June 28, 1389), but it is fairly certain that an attempt on his life
would have been made on any other date. The first attack on the archduke’s car,
when a bomb was thrown, wounded some of the escort, so he and Sophie first attended
a formal reception in the Town Hall and then visited the wounded in the hospital.
After this, Francis Ferdinand and Sophie resumed their drive through the city but the driver made a mistake. He strayed off the changed route, and had to turn back. Before turning around, he backed the car right up to the spot where Princip was standing. Princip fired twice at the Archduke with a revolver, wounding him as well as Sophie, who tried to cover him with her body. Both died, and Princip was seized immediately. As was revealed at the trial of the young conspirators, they had arms smuggled in from Serbia and had received some rudimentary training in a Belgrade park.
It is known that the head of Serbian Military Intelligence, Col. Dragutin Dmitrijevich (pron. Draagooteen Deemeetreeyevich), pseudonym Apis - who also headed the secret Serb society, "The Black Hand" - tried to dissuade the young revolutionaries from carrying out the assassination. He sent an intermediary to see one of the conspirators, Danillo Ilic. Danillo had his own doubts, but he failed to shake Princip, who was determined to act. The Serbian Premier, Pasic, knew nothing of the plot but heard of arms smuggling into Bosnia and ordered an investigation. also an investigation of Apis, whose power and influence he oppoed. This was in mid-June 1914.
[pictures from Lavender Cassals, The Archduke and the Assassin.
Sarajevo, June 24, 1914,
New York, 1985].
Note on the aims and thoughts Princip and friends, members of secret society “Young Bosnia.”
All were sons of peasant families, except one who was a merchant’s
son. Unlike most Serb peasants, they finished High School and were to go on
to University. Older ones had visited Vienna and had read Serb translations
of Russian Social Democratic (Socialist) publications.
Some hoped for a social revolution. Most were deeply angred by the poverty and lack of education for most Bosnian Serbs. They hated Austrians and Austrian rule. They wanted a Great Serbia or a South Slav Federal State outside of Austria (Princip). They admired terrorists, especially Bogdan Zerajic, who shot at General Marijan Varsani, June 15, 1910, then shot himself. Zerajic was a hero model for Princip.
Princip believed that Archduke Franz Ferdinand opposed the union of South Slavs in an independent state, and so would never allow it when he became Emperor. Princip saw F.F. as a “Tyrant,” whose death would be no crime but an act of justice.
In fact, FF envisaged some sort of South Slav Crownland, but it is impossible to say what he would have done if he had lived to become Emperor. It is known, however, that both the Magyars and the German government opposed the creation of such a Crownland on the assumption such an arrangement would weaken the military strength of the A-H Empire.
The Fate of Princip and the other conspirators.
They were arrested, jailed and interrogated. The trial
took place in Sarajevo, Oct. 12-23, 1914.
Princip decided to tell the truth. His motive was to save the innocent and educate other young Bosnian Serbs to fight A-H Empire. He said his aim was the union of all South Slavs, but the first step was to free them from Austrian rule.
Nedeljko Cubrilovic, who was 14 or 15 years old,
tried to assassinate the Archduke the first time that the whole convoy drove
along the quay. His car passed where N.C. stood. He threw a bomb, but it slid
off the folded canvas roof of the Archduke’s car and fell under next car, where
it exploded and wounded about a dozen people. N. C. then put a cyanide capsule
in his mouth and jumped into the river. He wanted to show his friends that he
was brave. However, the water level was low and the cyanide was old - so he
At the trial, N.C. admitted to being an Anarchist. He said he would never have tried to kill Emperor Franz-Josef - his only objection to the old Emperor was that he was getting 60,000 Austrian crowns a day (!).
N. C. also said he did not know the Archduke was the father of a family, and that he had been deeply impressed when the wounded FF said to hiswounded wife Sophie: “Soferl, Soferl, don’t die, live for our children.” N.C. apologized to their children and asked their forgiveness – which he received through a priest in jail.
Sentences: Under Austrian law, people below age 20 were
not subject to execution. Therefore,
Princip got 20 years prison - but died of TB in Theresienstadt prison, April 18,1918, just short of 24 yrs. of age..
Nedeljko Cubrilovic and T.Grabez - same sentence.
Ilic and 3 others, who were 21 and over, including Vaso Cubrilovic, Nedeljko’s elder brother, were sentenced to be hanged, as were 2 peasants who helped them, but the latters’ sentences were commuted to prison.
Other conspirators were given many years in jail, but all prisoners were released when the war ended with collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
Nedeljko Cubrilovic became a well known Professor of History at Belgrade University. He was briefly Minister of Agriculture under Josip Broz Tito, after WW II, but turned against communism. He once showed an American professor visiting Belgrade a letter from his son, who lived in California, telling him that Communism would fail. N.C. died in 1992, at age of 92 or 93.
[This text is based on Yugoslav historian Vladimir Dedijer’s
book, The Road to Sarajevo, New York, 1966. This is the best account
of the topic from the Serbian point of view, esp. the young conspirators. It
is also very good on the coming of the war.
A good popular account is by: Lavender Cassels, The Archduke and the Assassin. Sarajevo, June 28th 1914, New York, 1985.
The information on N. Cubrilovic’s career comes from Prof. Charles Jelavich, Prof. Em. of History, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and is here acknowledged with thanks.
Prof. Cienciala also thanks Prof. Jelavich, in her name and on behalf of the students, for waiving his copyright fee in permitting Xanedu to reproduce for this course the collection of documents: The Habsburg Monarchy. Toward a Multinational Empire or National States, which he edited with his late wife, Barbara. It was published in the series: Source Problems in World Civilization, Rinehard & Co. Inc., New York, 1959].
The Coming of World War I.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie,
horrible though it was, need not have led to war,. The fact that it did was
due to the A-H government’s decision to use it as a pretext for an attack on
Serbia, even if this meant risking war with Russia. However, it is most unlikely
that the A-H government would have attacked Serbia and taken this risk if it
had not enjoyed the full support of the German government, a fact that is quite
clear from the German-A-H diplomatic correspondence. These are in the microfilmed
documents of the German Foreign Ministry, not published in the Yellow
Books in 1914, or later in the German and Austria documentary collections published
after the war. [They had yellow covers].
The microfilms of these formerly secret documents were found by allied troops at the end of World War II. They were hidden in caves in western Germany, along with most of the German Foreign Ministry archives, Prof. Fritz Fischer used them for his book: Germany's Aims in the First World War, and Prof.Immanuel Geiss published a selection in July 1914.
These documents show that the A-H Council of Ministers decided in early July to present Serbia with an ultimatum that she could not accept,and then attack her. The German Emperor immediately offered his support for this scheme and this allowed the A-H government to go ahead with its plan.
Furthermore, the head of the German General Staff, General Hans von Moltke, pressed the Austrians to hasten their attack. If the original A-H plan of launching an attack on Serbia on August 12 had been carried out, this might have allowed time to negotiate a peaceful settlement before that date, either by great power mediation, or by arbitration by the Court of International Justice at the Hague - and it should be noted that Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia were willing to accept such a negotiated solution.
However, the German government was opposed to such measures, though it pretended for appearances sake, to support them. At the same time, German pressure made the Austrians advance their time of attack to 48 hours after the delivery of their ultimatum to Serbia.
NOTE: The date for the delivery of the A-H ultimatum to Seriba was changed so it would reach the Serbian government after French President Raymond Poincare (1860-1934, President 1913-20) and Premier Rene Viviani (1863-1925, Premier and For. Min. 1914-15) had left St.Petersburg, where they had been on a state visit, and were on board a French warship at sea. Maritime radio communication was already in use at this time, but whether it was available on their ship or not the French leaders could not reach a decision on war or peace without holding a cabinet meeting in Paris. The A-H ultimatum was delivered to Serbia at 6p.m. on July 23, expiring in 48 hours. (The ultimatum was ready on July 20, but the A-H Minister in Belgrade was instructed to deliver it on July 23, at 6p.m. - See Text of A-H ultimatum at end of these lecture notes).
As it happened, the Serb reply was most conciliatory.
The only part it it rejected was the demand for the participation
of A-H officials in the Serb government inquiry into the assassination, but
it accepted mediation or arbitration. (See text of Serbian reply at the end
of these lecture notes. The Serbian notes says it is in reply to the A-H note
"of the 10th instant. This is because the Serbs' religion was Orthodox,
so like the Russians, their calendar was 13 days behind the western calendar).
Therefore, A-H extended the deadline for the Serb answer to July 28 so as to appear reasonable, though Vienna was determined to attack Serbia.
Even German Emperor Wilhelm II thought that war could be avoided, for he believed it would suffice for A-H to carry out an artillery bombardment of Belgrade, take it, and then fight Russia if need be. But he was persuaded otherwise by the Chief of the German General Staff, General Hans von Moltke, who objected that a decision to call off the German attack in the West would throw the German army into chaos. In fact, the German army’s mobilization was all but complete and the train railway timetables were prepared for an attack on Belgium if it should refuse transit to the bulk of the German army on its way to invade France. (Schlieffen Plan).
The western powers, especially the British, tried mightily
to persuade the A-H government to accept mediation or arbitration, but
the German government secretly advised them not to do so.
When the Serbian government still refused to accept the whole ultimatum, A-H declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. At this point, Russia mobilized, but only after Emperor Nicholas II had first given in to Wilhelm II and canceled total mobilization. However, he was persuaded by his generals to go ahead with it.
The Russian goverment feared that it could not stand by while Germany and A-H destroyed Serbia, Russia's only friend in the Balkans, which would then come completely under German and A-H control. They also feared that the Ottoman Empire would join Germany and A-H, and close the Straits, thus cutting off the fastest route for French and British aid to Russia. (In fact, this happened).
On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, and on August
3 on France.
When the Belgian government refused transit to the German army, Germany declared war on Belgium on August 4. This brought Britain into the war because of her 1839 guarantee of Belgian independence, given to prevent a hostile power’s attack from Belgium on the British Isles.
Thus, the British Cabinet which had opposed going to war over Serbia, had no choice when the Germans attacked Belgium On August 6 A-H declared war on Russia and on August 12, Britain and France declared war on Austria.
No power wanted a world war, but Germany was ready to risk one. The German assumption was that the A-H-Serbian war would be localized. Thus, Britain would stay out of the war; Russia would also stay out because she was not ready - but if she entered the war, then Germany and A-H would defeat her after Germany first defeated France.
However, the Schlieffen Plan , mandated a German passage through Belgium to France. This made it impossible for Britain to stand aside, and with Britain coming in, the European war would become a world war.
Thus, the great powers of Europe which had managed to localize the two Balkan Wars, failed to localize the A-H-Serbian war in 1914.
We should note that Britain, France, and Russia were willing to submit the A-H-Serbian quarrel to arbitration or mediation - as was Serbia herself - but secretly backed by Germany, A-H refused..
Since it is most unlikely that A-H would have attacked Serbia
without the backing of Germany - the latter bears the greatest share of responsibility
for the outbreak of World War I.
TEXTS OF THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ULTIMATUM TO SERBIA AND THE SERBIAN REPLY.
Documents from: July 1914. The Outbreak of the First World War: Selected Documents, edited by Immanuel Geiss, (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 1974)
Lecture Notes. 10 C.
World War I in Eastern Europe, 1914-18.
Unlike the stationary trench war in the West (N.France, Belgium, N. Italy), the war in E.Europe was a war of movement. There were several fronts at any one time:
a. German-Russian front, Poland, East Prussia.
On Aug.19-20, a Russian army defeated Germans at Gumbinnen,
East Prussia,and the Germans retreated to Vistula river. However, the German
High Command sent General Erich von Ludendorff and retired Marshal
Paul von Hindenburg to take over command in the East. They defeated Russian
armies led by Generals Aeksandr Samsonov and Pavel Rennenkampf (who
didn’t help each other), at the Battle of Tannenberg, East Prussia. Aug.
26-30, 1914. Samsonov shot himself.
But the Russians did much better against the Austro-Hungarian Army:
Sept.6-16 Battle of the Masurian Lakes (north of Warsaw)
The Germans pushed the Russians back.[See Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s historical
But then came thesecond Russian invasion of East Prussia.
Oct. 9-20 - Battles of Warsaw and Modlin [Rus. Ivangorod]
Germans advanced in Russian Poland, but were pushed back by Russians.
Note: The Jozef Pilsudski-led Polish Legion, organized on the Austro-Hungarian side, entered Russian Poland in early August 1914, hoping to spark a Polish uprising against Russians. However, the people were anti-German and the Russian presence was very strong, so there was no uprising. The Pilsudski legion went on to fight the Russians on the Austro-H-Russian front. [See Lec. Notes 11].
Nov. 16-25 Battles of Lodz and Lowicz
Dec.16 - Germans took Lodz.
b. Austro-Hungarian-Russian Front.
After initial defeats, the Russian armies advanced in East
Galicia and took the then mostly Polish-speaking chief city of Lwów (Ger.
Lemberg, Ukr. L’viv, Rus. Lvov, now in Ukraine), then pushed toward Bukovina
and the North Carpathian passes - the door to Hungary.
German armies helped the A-H against Russians.
Dec. 5-17, Battle of Limanowa - won by Austro-Hungarians, but they failed to break Russian positions at Krakow (Cracow). The Russians stood within 30 miles of the city through the winter of 1914-15. At that time, theRussians held most of E.Galicia (Austrian Poland)
NOTE Czech and Slovak soldiers and officers deserted in droves from A-H army to the Russians. They were sent to the rear and later formed into Czechoslovak units in Russian army. [See lec.notes.12].
c. Austro-Hung. - Serbian Front.
July 29 - A-H army bombarded Belgrade and
Aug.13, - crossed river Drina, invading Serbia.
Dec. 3 - A-H army took Belgrade - but was driven out by Serbs Dec. 15.
a. German-Russian Front.
Feb.2-22, Winter battle on Masurian Lakes,
and Feb.17, Germans took Memel (Lith Klaipeda), the German speaking port and region in Lithuania.
March 9-10 Battle of Augustow Forest (now N.E. Poland) - the Russians fought well and
March 18, retook Memel but the Germans held all of Russian Poland and some territory east of Bug river by Dec.1915.
b. Austro-Hungarian - Russian Front.
March 12, The Russians took Przemysl (in interwar Poland, now
in Ukraine) and advanced toward N. Hungary (Slovakia)
April 2-25, Austro-Hungs. with German help, drove Russians back from Carpathian mts.
May 2, Austro-German offensive against Russians in Galicia - and the Russians were pushed back, lost Lwów.
By end June 1915, theRussians were pushed out of Galicia and Bukovina; A-H and German armies took great numbers of Russian POWs.
c. The Balkans 1915.
Romania, which was allied with Germany and Austro-Hungary, secretly demanded Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina as her price for entering war on Entente side, also 500,000 western troops and 200,000 Russian. But these demands were not granted, so Rom. stayed out of the war for the time being.
Sept. 16 - Bulgaria, allied herself with Ger. and A-H,
in exchange for the promise of gaining Macedonia, and Dobrudja (if Romania came
Oct. 6. A-H and G. armies invaded Serbia.
Oct. 9. A-H and Gs. took Belgrade.
Oct. 11. Bulgarians invaded Serbia.
a. Eastern front
March 19-April 30, German-Russian battles, but the German front did not advance much in the year from Dec.1915 to Dec. 1916 [see map].
June 4 - Gen. Brusilov led another Russian offensive into
Galicia, and the Russians advanced along a 300 mile front from Kovel to
Chernovitz, Bukovina, & took 500,000 prisoners.
But 15 German divisions arrived from the Western front, and pushed the Russians back - they lost about 1,000,000 men and the Russian army was demoralized.
Jan.11, 1916 - The French occupied the Greek island of Corfu
as a refuge for Serbian govt.
Jan. 15 - The Serbian govt. and military landed in Corfu,where the Serbian government stayed for most of the war.
The Austrians fought Albanians in Albania.
June 25 - theSerbian army, transported by western allies from Corfu, landed in Saloniki, Macedonia, but was defeated by Bulgarians and Germans in August. A new British-French force landed November and the front stayed more less the same here untill war's end.
Aug. 27 - Romania, encouraged by the Brusilov offensive,
entered thewar - but too late, (they had waited to get the harvest in).
Rom. invaded Transylvania.
Sept. 27-29 - A-H and German armies defeated Rom. armies at the Battle of Sibiu,
Dec. 6 - A-H and G took Bucharest, and the Rom. govt. evacuated itself to Iasi.
March 8, 1917 - First Russian Revolution of 1917- [ called the "February Revolution" in Russian history books because the Russian orthodox calendar was 13 days behind the western calendar.] This was a spontaneous uprising in the capital Petrograd (St.Petersburg). It began with the mutiny of garrison troops who did not want to go to the front. Also there was a women’s strike for bread and Putilov factory workers' strike.
March 12 - Formation of a Provisional Government by Russian liberals, but also a Soviet (Council) of soldiers and workers. The Tsar abdicated in favor of his son, but monarchy was out. The Tsar and his family were sent to Siberia, and were finally interned in Ekaterinburg (Soviet name: Sverdlovsk).
March 1917 - The Provisional Govt. recognized Polish independence (but the frontiers were to be fixed after the war).
April - Vladimir I.Lenin, Bolshevik leader, arrived in Petrograd from Switzerland by way of Germany and Finland. The German govt. allowed him to travel through Germany because he wanted Russia out of the war. Therefore, Germany subsidized Bolshevik party in 1917.
July - Alexander Kerensky became head of the Provisional Govt. which now contained Socialist Revolutionaries (peasant party). Kerensky decided to launch a new Russian offensive in Galicia, hoping victories would inspire the army and that it would become his power base.
July 1 - Brusilov offensive began in Galicia , but it was defeated and driven out by Ger. and A-H armies by end July.
Sept. 3-5 Battle of Riga (Latvia) and Germans took Riga.
Oct.11-20 - Germans took most of Latvia and the offshore islands.
November 7, 1917 - The Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd = “Bolshevik Revolution “[called October Revolution because old Russian calendar was 13 days behind western calendar]. The Rus. population was tired of war; also, the Russian Socialist Revolutionaries and Social Democrats expected to share power with Bolsheviks, so gave them support. They soon found out the Bolsheviks would not share power - and they also attacked Soc. Revs. and Soc.Dems..
Nov. 28 - Bolsheviks offered an armistice to the Germans.
Dec. 15 - an armistice was declared on the eastern front -- and Germans began to transfer 500,000 troops to the western front in France.
Nov. 5, 1916 - The German and A-H Emperors declared there would be a Polish Kingdom after the war - but did not state what boundaries it would have because they disagreed on them.
The Germans created a Polish Council of State, Warsaw as an embryo Polish administration.
July 1917 - Pilsudski refused the to swear comradeship in arms with the German and A-H armies, and was interned in Germany together with his second-in-command, Kazimierz Sosnkowski. The officers of the Legions' lst Brigade also refused; some were interned, others incorporated in A-H units elsewhere.
Sept. 17 1917- The Germans set up a Regency Council,
Warsaw, in answer to Russ. Provisional Govt's Recog. of Polish indpendence.
The German aim was to get Polish manpower for German armies, but this did not happen. Pilsudski had organized the underground Polish Military Organization to train men for a future Polish army.
Czechs and Slovaks [T.G. Masaryk trips to Russia and organization of Czech troops, see Lec.Notes. 12].
Ukraine - Nov. 20, 1917 independence (from Russia) was proclaimed in Kiev.
Dec. 3. Beginning of German-AH-Bolshevik peace talks in Brest-Litovsk.
Dec. 6. Finland proclaimed independence from Russia.
Dec.23. Proclamation of Moldavian Republic (Bessarabia, later
Jan. 12 - proclamation of Latvian Independence
Feb. 1. Ger and A-H recognized an independent Ukraine - but soon put in a puppet govt. under Hetman [commander] Skoropadsky .
Feb. 9 - Ger, A-H Ukrainian peace treaty signed at Brest-Litovsk.
Feb. 10 - Leon Trotsky proclaimed “ No Peace - No War,” (The Bolshevik Central Cttee could not decide on a peace which would give up most of Russia’s western lands).
Feb. 18 - German armies resumed hostilities.
March 3 - The Peace of Brest-Litovsk - The Bolshevik govt. had to recognize the independence of the Baltic States, Ukraine, and Poland. Also, Russia had to pay very heavy reparations. This was a much more punitive peace treaty than the Versailles Treaty between allied powers and Germany, signed June 28, 1919.
April 3 - Germans landed in Finland, and helped Finnish “Whites” win the civil war with “Reds.”
June 4 -The Lithuanian National Assembly elected Duke William of Wurttemberg, King.
Oct. 8 - The Finnish National Assembly elected Prince
Frederick Charles of Hesse, King.
[Both of these elections were nullified by the defeat of Germany].
Austria-Hungary collapsed, end October - early November 1918
At this time - Independence of Poland and Czechoslovakia; enlargement of Romania. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was established in December 1918 --- all before the signing of the Versailles and other peace treaties in 1919..
Germany signed the armistice in West, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 (Armistice Day).
Pilsudski proclaimed Polish independence on Nov. 11, 1918 (Polish Independence Day).
Nov. 28, 1918 - The National Council of Bessarabia voted for union with Romania (never recognized by Soviet govts).
Dec. 1 - same votes in Transylvania and Banat.
The Romanians also occupied Bukovina.
Lecture Notes 10 D. The Treaty of Versailles
and Germany, June 28, 1919.
In evaluating the Versailles Peace Treaty with Germany, June
28, 1919, we should bear in mind the war losses of the
main combatants and the costs of the war.
*[Source for war loss figures down to and including the Ottoman
.Empire: William L. Langer, Encyclopedia of World History, revised and
extended edition, Harrap/Galley Press, England, 1987, p.976.
On pop. of Ott. Emp. 1914, Stanford J.Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, The History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol. 2., Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge England, 1997, p. 241;
** On Serbian war dead, Vladimir Dedijer et al., History of Yugoslavia, New York, McGraw Hill, 1974, p. 501. The author claims that over 600,000 Serbian civilians died from disease, starvation and hardship, ibid.
***on Serbian and Bulgarian losses, B.Jelavich, History of the Balkans, vol. 2, Twentieth Century p.121, Cambridge, England,1983 and reprints, pp.115, 121; source for pop. figures 1900, R.R. Palmer, Atlas of World History, New York, 1957, p.193.]
The total direct cost of the war was estimated at $180,500,000,000, and the total indirect cost at $151,612,500,000.*
*[see Langer, Encyclopedia of World History, p. 976. There is no information as to the date when this estimate was made, but on April 27,1922, the Reparations Commission declared Germany should pay a total of 132,000,000,000 gold marks or about $60,000,000 at contemporary rate of exchange, see ibid., p. 1122. Multiply all these figures by ten to get the approximate dollar amount in our time]
[picture from: Felix Gilbert, The End of the European Era,
1890 to the Present,
2nd ed. New York, 1979].
Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty, which the Germans called "the War Guilt Clause," did not mention war guilt. The article specified "the responsibility of Germany and her Allies for causing all the loss and damage which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her Allies." (Underlining by A.M.Cienciala).
This article was to provide legal justification for German payment of reparations to the allies. However, all German governments in 1918-1945 interpreted it to mean that Germany alone was responsible for starting the war. They rejected this and pointed at Russia. However,the documents published in: Immanuel Geiss, July 1914, show that the Serbian reply to the A-H ultimatum left the door open to negotiations, but the German govt. was ready to risk a European war in summer 1914 and encouraged Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia, which brought in Russia. In the west, the German attack on Belgium and France, brought in Britain and France. the Serbian reply to the A-H ultimatum left the door open to negotiations.
We should bear in mind that France, Belgium and Italy had to rebuild devastated territories, as well as pay pensions to invalids and war widows. England suffered a little damage from hand-dropped German bombs, but had to pay pensions. Finally, all three had borrowed heavily from the United States, though the loans were channeled through England. Public opinion in all these countries demanded that the Germans pay up.
The reparations sum of 132 billion gold marks was established
not at Versailles (the allies could not reach agreement), but in March 1921
(roughly equivalent to U.S.$60,000,000 at 1922 value). It was established
on the basis not of damage and pensions owed, but of what Germany was assumed
capable of paying.
This sum was scaled down in the Dawes Plan, April 1924, to 50 billion marks, with payments to begin in 1929-30. Meanwhile Germany was to get a loan of 800,000,000 marks, secured by German state property.
Germany’s debt was reduced again in the Young Plan, 1929. However, the Great Depression began with the Wall Street Stock Market Crash Oct.1929, which led to the closing of banks in Germany, Austria, and other European countries. There was mass unemployment in Germany and Austria. President Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964, President 1929-33) declared a moratorium on reparations and debt payments in 1931.
Two years later, when Adolf Hitler came to power he declared that Germany would not pay reparations. In the end, Germany paid very little.[Adolf Hitler,1889-1945, German Chancellor Jan.1933. The Nazis won the largest number of votes in the elections of March 5, 1933, and Hitler soon established absolute Nazi control]. Germany paid very little in reparations, and what it paid was mostly from western loans.
As Sally Marks, an American historian wrote, Germany's policy was to pay the least amount of reparations possible. She also wrote that the great German inflation of 1921-23 was not due to reparations. Inflation had set in at the end of the war, but the German policy of printing money [during the Ruhr crisis in 1923] led to galloping inflation. This allowed Germany to pay less in reparations, enriched the great industrialists who paid off debts in worthless notes, and ruined the German middle class by wiping out its savings. *
*[see: Sally Marks article:"The Myths of Reparations," Central European History, 1974]
But German public opinion and later Adolf Hitler, blamed all Germany's economic ills on the Treaty of Versailles, and esp. reparation
NOTE: Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania did not get any reparations because some of their territories [in Poland's case, Prussian Poland and Galicia] had belonged to the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Indeed, Poland was required to pay part of German and Austrian reparations, while Czechoslovakia and Romania were to pay part of Austrian and Hungarian reparations. (These payments were greatly reduced in the course of time). The largest part of Poland had, of course, belonged to the Russian Empire. The latter had been an ally but was succeeded by Soviet Russia, which repudiated Tsarist debts, and was therefore not eligible to receive reparations, nor was Poland.
Germany also resented the arms limitations imposed on her by Part V of the Versailles Treaty.
However, what the Germans resented most of all was the loss of Prussian Poland [Posen P.Poznan], which were preponderantly Polish-speaking, but also the port city of Danzig - which was predominantly German - and the loss of Polish Pomerania, which they called "The Polish Corridor," which was predominantly Polish. It had belonged to Poland until Prussia took it in the lst Partition 1772. Now it separated Germany from East Prussia.
Later, in October 1921, Germany lost the industrial part of Upper Silesia with its predominantly Polish speaking population,.[See Lec. Notes 11, section II]..
On the South Slav question, the most detailed study is
still R.W. Seton-Watson, The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy,
For glimpses of his activity before World War I, see the book by his historian sons, Hugh and Christopher Seton-Watson, The Making of a New Europe. R.W. Seton-Watson and the Last Years of Austria-Hungary, Seattle,Wash., 1981,vol. I.
For a survey of Austrian policy, see Alan Sked, The
Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire,1815-1918,London, 1989, New York,
and Salomon Wank, "Foreign Policy and the Nationality Problem in Austria-Hungary, 1867-1914," Austrian History Yearbook, 1967, v. III, pt. 3, pp. 37-56.
For a comparison of nationality problems in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the USSR, see: NATIONALISM AND EMPIRE. The Habsburg Monarchy and the Soviet Union, edited by Richard L. Rudolph and David F. Gold, Minneapolis, MN., 1991.
For an excellent study of the Serbian background to the assassination of Francis Ferdinand and his wife, see: Vladimir Dedijer, The Road to Sarajevo, London, 1967; for a good, popular account, see Lavender Cassels, The Archduke and the Assassin.Sarajevo, June 28, 1914, New York, 1984.
For a critical analysis of German policy leading to the war and German aims, see: Fritz Fischer, Germany's War Aims, in the First World War, Eng.ed., London, 1967; U.S,. ed. New York, 1967.
For a brief but succinct discussion of historical controversies on the coming of World War I, see the Introduction to: JULY 1914. The Outbreak of the First World War. Selected Documents, edited by Imanuel Geiss, New York, 1967, paperback, New York, 1974. The documents show the Powers' attitudes toward the crisis of 1914 and the possibility of war.
For more books, see the final part of the separate Bibliography on Eastern Europe, Part I.