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Serbia's Great War, 1914-1918 by Andrej Mitrović Review by: Jovo B. Šuščević The Slavonic and
Serbia's Great War, 1914-1918 by Andrej Mitrović Review by: Jovo B. Šuščević The Slavonic and

Serbia's Great War, 1914-1918 by Andrej Mitrović Review by: Jovo B. Šuščević

The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (July 2010), pp. 561-563

Published by: the Modern Humanities Research Association and University College London, School of

Slavonic and East European Studies

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REVIEWS

561

Mitrovic, Andrej. Serbia's Great War, 1914?1918. C. Hurst & Company, London,

2007. xvi + 386 pp. Notes. Bibliography.

Index. ?45.00;

?19.99.

Given the important role played by Serbia in the FirstWorld War, it is rather

surprising that prior to the publication of Andrej

1914-1918, not a single general history of Serbia's

Mitrovic's

Serbia's Great War,

in this great

experience

the centenary of

conflict had been published

thewar's commencement only five years away, the publication ofMitrovic's

respected work is both well timed and long overdue. Originally published

in Serbo-Croatian in 1984 under the tide Srbija u Prvom Svetskom Rata, this is

in the English

language. With

a 'newly-edited and shortened version' (p. vii) of one of the best studies

on Serbia in the First World War, written by contemporary Serb historians.

one of the most

respected

Basing his monograph

on an impressive array of primary and secondary

who

declaration

d e c l a r a t i o n

organized

and

demonstrations

materials

war

in a number of languages, Mitrovic's

assassination

(28 June)

against Serbia

(28 July).

It

the assassination;

looks at

chronological general history

first, 'July 1914', examines the period from

is divided into seven chapters. The

the Sarajevo

to the Austro-Hungarian

the men

of

committed

riots throughout the Habsburg

and

Empire; and diplomatic activity, particularly

anti-Serb

publications,

between

Austria-Hungary

and

Germany.

begins by providing a brief survey

of Serbia in 1914 (area, economy, ethnic structure, and

duces the central theme ofMitrovic's work: the importance of the ideology of

Chapter

2 ('The Yugoslav

Programme')

population)

and intro

Yugoslavism

in the thinking of the Serbs and other South Slavs. The

Pasic,

the Serbian Prime Minister,

ideas

and perceptions of Nikola

leader of the

Radical

Party, and one of themain

characters

in the story, are explored. The

chapter also looks

stages of the war; the battles of 1914 (Mount Cer and Kolubara

at domestic repression in Austria-Hungary in the initial

River); Austro

Hungarian

war crimes in Serbia in 1914; and support for Serbia amongst the

Empire.

?

It ends with a comparison ofAustria

the latter's were primarily defensive, but

all South

Slavs,

South Slavs of the Habsburg

Hungary's

and Serbia's war aims

also aimed at the creation of a state encompassing

which was finalized

The

the autumn.

a plan

by following chapter, 'Serbia Suffers', looks at the military and political

crisis of 1915.Militarily, Serbia was exhausted; ithad suffered huge military

economically drained. Furthermore, a devastating throughout the country. To make matters worse,

the Central Powers were attempting to convince Bulgaria

to join them, and to rebel. Politi

cally, the Serbian government was racked by infighting, and problems emerged

as the Yugoslav programme began to be elaborated, with King Nikola of

the impact of unification on his state.

Entente plans to cede South Slav lands to Bulgaria and Italy in exchange for

losses in 1914 and was typhus epidemic raged

Austria-Hungary

Montenegro

was

encouraging

theAlbanians

inKosovo

raising concerns about

their support also threatened

the Yugoslav

project. When

the combined armies

of

Serbia's

Austria-Hungary,

Bulgaria and Germany

defences collapsed.

attacked Serbia

inOctober

1915,

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562 SEER, 88,

3, JULY 2010

Chapter

4

(On

Foreign

Soil')

recounts the horrors of the great retreat

through

Albania

to Corfu, where

the Serbian

army recovered and reorga

struggles intensified nationalistic society;

nized,

and were centred on three power blocs: 1) theBlack Hand

2) Crown Prince Aleksandar,

splinter group of the Radicals; and 3)

ended with a rapprochement between Aleksandar and Pasic, followed by the

conflict

before being sent to the Salonika Front. Political

together

with a group of military officers and a

Pasic and theOld Radicals.

The

Salonika Process,

also marked by King Nikola's reaffirmation of Montenegrin

the face of an ever-swelling tide of popular

Serbia not only in Montenegro,

inwhich

the Black Hand

was destroyed.

Resistance')

This

period

period was

was

independence

independence

in

support for the idea of union with

Empire. return the story

but also in the Habsburg

Armed

The next two chapters (Occupation',

to occupied

Serbia and discuss the occupation

regimes in Serbia and Monte

negro which were exploitative, oppressive and violent. Particularly disturbing

222-26, 240-43, 253) one's definition,might

are the details of the 'Bulgarianisation programme' (pp.

in the Bulgarian occupation

zone which, depending on

be considered genocide.

occupation and the harsh measures

It also looks at armed resistance in Serbia during the

employed to quell it.

The final

chapter ('Towards a Yugoslav

State') once

again returns to the

(p. 279) between

movement

familiar theme of political issues: the 'serious differences'

the programmes produced

by the various parts of the Yugoslav

(Serbian government,

lished in April

Yugoslav

Committee

in Paris which had been estab

the

1915, and South Slav

intellectuals throughout Europe);

conflict between King Nikola and the Montenegrin Committee

forNational

Unification; proposals by South Slav delegates in theAustrian parliament; and

the crisis in the Serbian parliament. Particularly important was

the Serbian

government

(essentially Pasic)

and

the wrangling

the Yugoslav

between

Committee; whilst therewas agreement on the boundaries of the future state,

serious

questions

were

raised

as

to

its

internal

organization,

which

were,

apparendy, resolved during a five-week conference that produced the famous

Front,

the collapse of the Central Powers, enabled the creation of a

Corfu Declaration

coupled with

unified South Slav state, but in one of the ironies of history, Mitrovic

observes:

extent of the polarisation within the Yugoslav themovement was well

of Serbs, Croats

(27July 1917). The

breakthrough of the Salonika

astutely

'At the moment when

circumstances allowed unification, the full

movement

became

evident'

under way, and the Kingdom

1 December

in Belgrade

on

(p. 322). Nonetheless,

and Slovenes was proclaimed

1918.

Serbia's GreatWar

is primarily

a political history built around

the theme of

important role in this process. In line

the creation of Yugoslavia

and Serbia's

with the principles of Yugoslav

historiography at the time it was written and

the official slogan of Brotherhood

a

spirit

and Unity,

it emphasizes

the ideology of

Yugoslavism

as

unifying force amongst the South Slavs, and the guiding

actions. Diplomatic and economic aspects of thewar get

its impact on the common people, but

behind Serbia's

a fair amount of attention, as does

military topics receive littlemore

fully generate the translation and publication

interest in Serbia's

than a

passing role in the FirstWorld War

mention. This book will

hope

and stimulate

of other works on the subject. Particularly

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REVIEWS

563

useful would

research in the anglophone have

scholarly general

experience. They

be an edited collection of documents

world.

waited

in English

to facilitate

of a

English

speakers

almost a century for the appearance

history of Serbia's heroic and calamitous FirstWorld War have been well served by the translation and publication of

Mitrovic's

fine monograph.

Department of Modern History, Politics, Jovo B. SuScevic InternationalRelations and Security

Macquarie University

Turton, Katy. Forgotten Lives: The Role of L?nin,s Sisters in theRussian Revolution,

1864-1937. Palgrave Macmillan,

257 pp.

Illustrations. Notes.

Basingstoke

Appendices.

2007. ix +

Select bibliography. Index.

and New York,

?50.00.

At the height of the Cold War there was a fashion for explaining away

revolutionaries as social misfits incapable of forming warm bonds of love and

friendship with other human beings. It is hard to imagine

could have been

revolutionary families in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the

how such nonsense

leading

given credibility in the face of one

of the continent's

modest Ulyanovs of Simbirsk. Katy Turton has done an excellent job putting

the family in perspective against itsbest known member, Lenin. She skilfully

between

describes the close interrelationship

into the

the Ulyanov

siblings, all ofwhom chief focus is on the

were drawn

revolutionary orbit. Dr Turton's

sistersAnna

and Maria

whose

political

involvement was

lifelong. In many

ways these were, several occasions,

indeed, forgotten

lives. The

author's aim, as she tells us on

is to break down the 'solar system' theory of the Ulyanov

family, that is that it orbited

political careers of partially convincing its links to

around Vladimir,

and instead, to establish the

she is only

inevitably deeply affected by thatAnna and Maria were by Anna's efforts to get her

Anna

and Maria

in their own right. While

in that thewhole family was

she does

succeed

in showing

demonstrated memorably

Lenin, their own women,

illustrious brother tomake less of a fool of himself in his philosophical treatise

come-crude-polemic, Mate?alism and Empi?oc?ticism. Sadly for posterity shewas only half successful. The whole family was deeply devoted to the revolution,

but the sisters interestswere very much

focused on helping real people, often

they in

individuals, rather than in broad, abstract

the forefront of devising the party's political

they did have opinions about

scheming. At no timewere

line, though, as Turton

shows,

to

it. In particular, Maria,

who often appears

be a Stalinist toady in certain accounts, is shown definitively to have been a

Bukharinist who fell out of favour

the two sisters out

of the shadows.

a whole variety of questions

records a good deal of the sisters' political writings and memoirs but seldom

goes intomuch ofwhat was in them. This leaves the account as a valuable

with the right opposition is that it

study

credit that

in general.

notably

The

strongest aspect

of Turton's

brings in doing so, she stimulates

she

It is to the author's

she does not herself answer. Most

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