Friday, 27 June 2014

Reprisals against Serbs for Franz Ferdinand's Life

This street scene shows the disorder in Sarajevo following the killing of Austria's heir apparent.  Serb-owned businesses were attacked, blameless people assaulted, wrongs not quite righted.

But while Bosnian Serbs were being hounded in Sarajevo, other attempts were being made in high places to gain satisfaction. Austria-Hungary gave Serbia 48 hours to comply with a demand to, among other things, cease all inflammatory anti-Austrian rhetoric, to halt secret gun-running, to sack the most hawkish members of its military and to arrest those responsible for the assassination.

In reply, the Serbs (who had been lumbered with a very anti-Austrian government in the coup of 1903) dissembled in a way calculated to infuriate the Austrians. They waved a telegram of support from the Russia czar, and immediately mobilized their army.  Austria-Hungary's own mobilization followed soon after and they declared war on Serbia.

A secret treaty signed more than twenty years before provided that France and Russia would mobilize if any member of the Triple Alliance (i.e. Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) did so.

So France and Russia mobilized. Russia's mobilization set off full Austro-Hungarian and German mobilizations.  Soon all the Great Powers were at one another's throats. All except Italy, which was still trying to decide which side to go with.

The Deadly Playground, 1914 is out now.  Why not click on this link and get yourself a copy?

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