Difference between revisions of "Section II"
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Servian Government on the 25th of June transmitted to the Imperial and Royal Minister at Belgrade.
Servian Government on the 25th of June transmitted to the Imperial and Royal Minister at Belgrade.
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Latest revision as of 19:30, 27 May 2009
WWI Document Archive > Official Papers > The Austro-Hungarian Red Book > Section II
Section II, Appendices 3 - 11, Nos. 20-34, 1914-1915
NB: Some diacritical marks appearing in the original of this cannot now be reproduced in electronic form and have been omitted. Editor - WWI-WWW
Extract From The Report On The Activities of The Sorol Society Dusan The Strong in Kragujevac In The Years 1912-13. (Kragujevac Printing Office "Buducnost" Tih. Lekic 1914.)
At the head of this report is printed the speech with which the President, Major Kovacevic of the
Servian Army, greeted the annual meeting in January, 1914.
" It is known to you," the President began, " that Sokolism, which arose in the struggle against
Germanism, is a purely Slavonic institution, which has for its aim to unite and to inspire all the Slavonic
brothers, and to give physical and intellectual training for the struggle against the enemy of Slavism.
"We Servians, as a part of the great Slavonic community, have taken up the Sokol idea and have
agreed to the common work for our own and our brothers' welfare and happiness.
" We Servians, too, will live and work in the spirit of the Sokols, for we wish to revive the weary
and the feeble, to strengthen the weak and the troubled, to free the imprisoned and the enchained. We have done this now and in earlier wars. We have rescued part of our brothers from the insolence of the enemy in the South. We have struck off their fetters, we have rid them of their sufferings and given them freedom, so that they enjoy happiness, equality and brotherhood."
After giving a few words of praise to this " noble work " which " realized a part of the great Sokol
idea," Major Kovacevie proceeded:
" Oh, my brothers and sisters, our enemy in the North is more dangerous and pitiless, because he is
stronger in respect of his civilisation and his economic position.
" This enemy is insatiable in his lusts; he holds millions of our brothers in slavery and chains. He
took law and freedom from them and subjected them all to his service. The brothers murmur, call and beg for still quicker help.
" We must not leave them to the mercy of this fearful and greedy enemy. We must hurry to their
help the sooner because it is our duty to do so. Could we in any event be happy when so many brothers live in slavery, suffer and murmur?
" Brothers and sisters !
" The enemy is dangerous, greedy and troublesome. Let us ever be on our guard.
" Let us go to work with still greater willingness and self-sacrifiee. Let us be scrupulous according
to the sacred Sokol obligation, true and enduring.
" Let us prepare ourselves for the struggle and for the just Sokol idea.
" Let us unite and ally ourselves with innumerable Sokol hosts, and let us always remember that
truth which the Servian Sokols wrote upon their flag: That only a healthy, powerful, well-organised
people, conscious of its nationality, is fit to defend itself, to struggle, and to conquer."
The report of the Committee of Management follows the speech of the President. After a
description of the successes in the last wars, which interfered with the activities of the Society for two
years, it is stated that " the day arrived when we returned to our work, because our programme was not yet fulfilled, because our task was not yet ended. A great part of our people still endure the pains of the crucified Christ; we have still to visit our brothers beyond the Drina; we have still to seek out the town of Serajevo and the inheritance of St. Sava*; we must behold the home of Marina Novak, of Deli Radivoj and of the old Vujadin; we must cross the mountains of Romanija and see why Travnik is veiled in mist. That song must end at last: Ah ! Bosnia, thou orphan child before God, hast thou nowhere people of thy race . . .' "
*St. Sava (ob. 1236) is the patron saint of the Servians. Herzegovina is the name of Ducatus Santa Save. The "inheritance of St. Sava" is, therefore, equivalent in meaning to Herzegovina."
After a discussion of various undertakings of the Society, emphasis is laid on the fact that the
Society maintains relations with the brother societies beyond the Save and the Drina, and special
emphasis is laid on the dispatch of delegates to the Jubilee of the Prosvjeta held in Serajevo. On this the report remarks; " By sending representatives to the brothers in Bosnia the Committee intended to say to them -- we have not forgotten you, the wings of the falcon of Sumadija are still mighty." After a detailed description of a visit of the Agram students to Servia* and of the dedication of the fiag of " the Young People's Temperance Association," the report of the executive concludes with the following sentences: --
" These manifestations the coming of the brother Croats to Sumadija and the meeting of the 'temperate youth' from all Servian regions are correctly appreciated by our leaders, and one would not exaggerate if one said that these events indicate the beginning and the germ of a great deed to be done in the near future.
" They are the expression of a great and, till now, silent awakening of the national consciousness
and of the strength of an oppressed nation which is not allowed to arise and unite. In a little time this
germ will ripen, and when the soul of the people arises still mores there will be no barrier which it cannot break, and no obstacle which it cannot tear down upon its way. The work of strengthening this power, the assistance and acceleration of the progress of this national development, the preparation and the support of this idea, was always the aim of the actions of our leaders."
The treasurer's report enumerates first of all those who have supported the society. In addition to a
number of members of the Kragujevac District Committee, the following are mentioned and thanked:
The District Committee of the " Narodna Odbrana " at Rragujevac, particularly its " Ritter "
section, which often assisted the Sokol Society with substantial support; the Headmaster of the
Gymnasium at Rragujevac, who " always showed his fatherly care " to the Sokols; the Divisional
Commandant of Sumadija, who had substantially supported the society; the President of the District
Court at Kragujevac; the District Chairman and the Parish Chairman at Kragujevac.
After referring to the members of the society who have fallen in war, the treasurer closes his report
with the following words:
" After so brilliant a victory over a portion of our enemies, those who control our society hope that you all, from now onwards, will devote yourselves still more, more unitedly and more entirely, to the activities of Sokolism so that you may rear falcons in our falcon's eyrie who, at the given moment, will one day be ready to fly aloft, and in their mighty flight bring freedom, love and brotherhood to all our brothers who are not yet free."
The annual report is signed by Major M. J. Kovacevic, President, by the secretary of the Law
Courts, D. V. Brzakovic, as secretary, and by ten members of the executive, among whom are included two professors (Emil Lukic and Milan Jankovic), as well as a further officer (Major of Infantry, Michael Vasic).
* This visit of the Agram students (April, 1912) to Belgrade, Nish Semendria, &;c., was used in Servia as the pretext for a great demonstration of hostility to the.Monarchy. The excursionists were accorded military honours, and lunches and balls took place in the Military Academy and the Officers' Club. In Nish, indeed, a military parade was held in honour of the visitors.
It is clear from this annual report, and from a schedule also signed by Major M. J. Rovacevic and
Brzakovic, Secretary of the Law Courtsy and sent to the Rragujevac Sokol Society by the " Srpski Soko " in Tuzla for completion, that the Sokol Societies in Servia stand in close relation with various similar societies in the Monarchy to an extent not hitherto known.
The Servian Official Gazette in the Service of the Narodna Odbrana.
An appeal by the Narodna Odbrana appears as a supplement to the Servian Official Gazette, "Srpski Novine," of 28th June, 1914 (new style), and was supplied to all subscribers to the paper.
The following passages occur in this appeal: --
"Brothers and sisters ! Kossovo was only partly avenged, the day of St. Vitus (Vidovdan) was only partly expiated. Just as far as the territories reach where our people's speech is heard the Servian, Croatian, and Slovenian from Kikinda to Monastirs from Trieste to Carevo-Solo, just as far and wide does the meaning of St. Vitus' Day and of Kossovo extend. So many souls of our race weep on this territory; so many fetters of our brothers clank; so much work is yet. to be done; so much have we still to sacrifice. St. Vitus' Day could formerly mean a day of mourning for us, but to-day, when we have already gone so far in the new historv of the people; when behind us stand great and glorious national events, and before us still greater and more glorious events await us; to-day when we stand in the midst of the creation of a great national State; to-day St. Vitus Day must be for us a day of great joy and pride, because of that which has happened, and sprung from it, and still more because of that which will come. Men and women of Servia ! Millions of our brothers, Slovenes, Croats, and Servians beyond our frontiers, look to-day to us, the Children of the Kingdom, and joy and hope fill their breast as they now behold to-day's majestic manifestations for the national cause. God helps the brave ! Forward all ! That part of our sacred task which is as yet unrealized calls us. Belgrade, St. Vitus' Day, 1914."
Deposition of Trifko Krstanovic, Concerning The Narodna Odbrana.
The baker's assistant, Trifko Krstanovic, of Zavadonici, was arrested by a gendarmerie patrol on
the night of the 6th-7th July, 1914, because he had been heard to remark shortly after the murderous
attack on the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, that this attack was to be expected and because this remark brought him under suspicion of having had knowledge of the plot.
He was, on this account, brought up before the District Court at Serajevo. The examination of the
prisoner revealed that his remark did not justify the suspicion which had arisen against him, since it,
founded entirely on his earlier knowledge of the activities of the Narodna, was merely the expression of his conviction that, on account of the agitation developing in Servia against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and especially against the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a deed of that kind was to be expected. In the absence of any material facts in support of the charge, the proceedings against Krstanovic were accordingly withdrawn, and, having regard to his knowledge of the activities of the Narodna Odbrana, which had an important bearing on the inquiry, he was subpoenaed as a witness.
An extract from his depositions taken on the 19th July, 1914, which is relevant to the matters here
in question, is as follows: --
" In the autumn of the year 1908, I crossed the frontier to Servia on the Mokra Gora, near Visegrad, to seek work. I first came to Bagina Basta in the district of Uzice, and as I found no work there, I went to Belgrade, where I arrived just at the time when the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced. As I saw that the annexation had caused great popular commotion and excitement, and that I should not be able to find any work, I went to the Imperial and Royal Consulate and tried to get myself sent home. There I was told to come back in the afternoon, and that I should then be sent home. However, as I came out of the Consulate, a gendarme seized me on the street, and asked me where I came from; under the impression that I was a spy, he conducted me to a tower (Karaula). Here I was questioned, andwhen I said to them that I wanted to go home, a non-commissioned officer began to abuse me: Why should I now want to go out of Servia which now needed more people because a war with Austria would come? When I said to him that I had nothing to live on, he answered me that I would find full maintenance if I would register myself in the Komitee. In my need I agreed, and a gendarme took me to the inn ' Zelenom Vijencu ' (' The Green Wreath '), and introduced me there to Voja Tankosic, the leader of the Komitee and a captain in the regular army. Here, at the 'Green Wreath' I was provided with food and lodging, and, as I saw, other members of the Komitee lived here. Voja Tankosic told me that the business of the Komitee was to learn bomb-throwing, the destruction of bridges, tunnels, telegraphs and railways, because a war between Servia and Austria could easily arise. On this a man took me to a small building belonging to the Royal Demesne next to the Treasury, where the offices of the Komitee were situated, and in the office I met Milan Pribicevic, who enrolled me in the Komitee. At this enrolment, Milan Pribicevic asked me whether Voja Tankosic had told me the obligations which I had as a member of the Komitee. To this I answered ' Yes.' He said that those enrolled must be efficient, strong, and self-sacrificing. "There were then about 70 of us enrolled. In Belgrade we did nothing. After about six weeks our leader Tankosic informed us that the Great Powers had prohibited our Komitee, and that we must leave Belgrade and hide ourselves somewhere in an out-of-the-way place nob visited by foreigners. In this way they sent us to the town of Cuprija. Here we were drilled by the officers Voja Tankosic, Dusan Putnik, Zivko Gvosdie and Mitar Djinovic, who was involved in the Montenegrin bomb outrage, and was shot in Montenegro. In order that no one should become aware of our objects, or know anything of our numbers, we were forbidden to have intercourse with outsiders We practised the throwing of bombs, the construction of mines, and the destruction of telegraphs, railways, tunnels and bridges. Every fortnight we were visited by Milan Pribicevic, General Bozo Jankovic, the pharmacist Skarie, the deputy Zivko Rafajlovic, and a certain Glisia Milutin, a Treasury official, who watched our drill and paid for our board on each occasion. Our instructors told us that, when war was declared, we Komitees would go in advance, then the volunteers, and then the regular army. There were about 140 men at Cuprija. Besides board, we had lodging and clothes and 25 para a day for tobacco. The school lasted about three months, that is until March, 1909. Then the members of the committee told us that we were dismissed, that we could all go wherever we wished, for the annexations of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been recognized by the Great Powers, and that our komitee had become useless. On the dissolutionof the komitee, General Bozo Jankovic told me to enter the service of Bozo Milanovic at Sabac, where I should receive wages of 50 dinar a month. He did not tell me what the nature of the service would be. I accepted, because, as a member of the Komitee, I regarded myself as bound to obey General Jankosic, and also because I had nothing to live on, and had to earn my livelihood. In this way I came to Sabac in March, 1909, and reported myself to Bozo Milanovic, a tradesman of Sabac. General Jankovic had told me that Bozo Milanovic was chairman of the Narodna Odbrana in Sabac, and that I should assist him in connection with this Narodna Odbrana. When I had given Bozo Milanovic the General's letter and he had read it, he told me that I must serve him faithfully and carry out his orders. My chief duty would be to carry his letters wheresoever they were addressed. It would cost me my life if I failed to carry a letter to its destination, and if any one else got hold of it. On the next day, Bozo Milanovic gave me a closed letter which I was to take to Cedo Lukic, Superintendent of Excise at Serbisch-Raca. On the road to Raca, at the village of Bogatic, the District Captain stopped me, took the letter from me, opened it and read it. In the letter it said that Lukic should immediately buy three boats so that they should be ready if they were required. 100 dinar were enclosed in the letter. On this occasion the Captain told me that the Ministry had given strict orders that the Komitadji were to do nothing without orders, so that international diplomatic intervention should not be provoked. I returned to Sabac and told Bozo Milanovic what had happened to me. Bozo Milanovie applied to the District Prefect, who gave orders that the revolvers which the Captain at Bogatic had taken from me, should be returned. He also gave orders that the Captain should send the letter to Cedo Lukic to whom it was addressed. I carried letters of this sort from March, 1909, until October, 1910, and in that time I took 43 letters to Serbisch-Raea, 55 to Loznica, 5 to Zvornik, 2 to Ljubivija, and I don't know how many to Koviljaca. I noticed how often I was in each place because these places are a very long way from Sabac. I took the letters to the chiefs of the Customs houses in the various places, and from them I received letters in reply and took them to Bozo Milanovic. I recollect that on a few occasions I took letters to Sepacka Ada. My assistant in letter carrying was one Vaso Erie, a native of Srebrenica. Every week I took letters from Bozo Milanovic to Belgrade, and delivered them to Milan Pribieevic and Bozo Jankovic. I knew nothing of the contents of these letters; and no one told me anything about them. So far as I could see, the letters despateced by Bozo Milanovic were not in cipher, but the letters sent by the ehiefs of the Customs houses were written in special characters, a fact which I observed when Bozo Milanovic opened them. Once I brought one of these cipher letters to Bozo Milanovic, I think it was from Zvornik, and he sent me with the letter to Mika Atanasijevie, Professor at Sabac, to decipher. He did this, as he usually did; but perhaps he forgot to close the letter, so that I could read it. The letter stated, that it was reported from a reliable source, that money was to be stamped with the likeness of the heir to the throne, and this was an indication that the Emperor Francis Joseph was about to abdicate. After about eight months of my service with Bozo Milanovic, Bozo gave me his visiting-card with a death's head drawn upon it; on it was written that I was designated an initiate (povjerenik) of the Narodna Odbrana. On this occasion he told me, that the business was spying ...
"On one occasion, I learnt from the officer Dusan Opterkie, member of the Narodna Odbrana, that
the Narodna Odbrana had 23 branches in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Beyond this, I do not know what
organization, if any, the Narodna Odbrana has in Bosnia. From time to time, Milan Pribicevic gave me a revolver, or money for the purchase of a revolver, for me to give to the Customs officers on the frontier who served as lSomitadjis who had no revolver nor any money to buy a revolver themselves. It appeared to me that Milan Pribicevic gave them these things as an honour, just because they were Komitadjis. I had nothing else to do with arms.
"On one occasion, during my service with Bozo Milanovic, I was ordered to accompany a man to a
peasant in Lijasniea on the Drina, who would give us all necessary information and show us everything, so that we two could kill Ljubo Stanarieic, a Servian officer of Reserve, who had fled to Bijeljina. For the Committee of the Narodna Odbrana had learnt that Ljubo Stanaricic was dangerous to the Servian State, and had resolved that he should be put to death.
" That man and I received instructions from Bozo Milanovic to go to a certain place across the
Drina, and to kill Ljubo Stanaricic, who lives just on the bank of the Drina on the Bosnian side in the
district of Bijeljin. I and that man had descended into the Drina, but because the water was deep, and we saw that Ljubo was walking round his house with a gun on his shoulder, we returned to that peasant's house. As I saw that we could not kill him with the knife, I sent that man to Sabac to tell Bozo Milanovic that it was not possible to kill Stanaricic in the manner he desired, namely, with the knife. On this, I received orders from Bozo Milanovic that we should kill him in any case. We then determined to shoot him with a gun. According to Bozo's instructions, the man who was with me was to shoot and kill him, and I was to confirm whether these instructions were carried out. In the meantime, however, a mounted gendarme brought us instructions from the District Prefect of Sabac that we were to return, and to abandon the original project. And so we returned to Sabac.
" In October, 1910, I demanded an increase of pay from Bozo Milanovic, and, on his refusal, I left
his service. From Sabac I went to Belgrade, where I met General Jankovic, and he had me arrested for refusing obedience. They took me through various prisons for about two months, and all because I had refused to obey them, and they feared I would betray their secrets. Finally, the authorities decided to send me to Bosnia. In Sabac a prisoner told me that my life was at stake. The gendarmes accompanied me to Zvornik, where they handed me over to the Bosnian gendarmes. In this way I came to Bosnia in December, 1910.
"I know nothing of any ' Black Hand,' with the exception of what I have read of it in Servian
newspapers. I can't remember now what was written in the newspapers about the ' Black Hand.' Nor do I know anything of the ' Black List.' After the annexation there prevailed in Servia universal anger and hatred against the person of the Heir to the Austrian Throne, who was regarded as the sworn enemy of the Servians."
Beyond this, Krstanovic referred to his earlier statements, of which only the following are of
interest as supplementing the foregoing testimony.
The Komitee into which Milan Pribicevic introduced Krstanovic was set up by the Narodna
Odbrana. In the school at Cuprija there were 20 to 22 Austrian subjects. Milan Ciganovic was also one of the pupils.
In the school at Cuprija it was inculcated that the Komitee must be ready to proceed to Bosnia, on
the command of the Narodna Odbrana, and there act according to the orders of their commanders.
Extract From The Proceedings of the District Court of Serajevo in the Prosecution of Jovo Jaglicic and Others for Espionage.
In the year 1913, it was discovered that Jovo Jaglicic and several accomplices were carrying
on espionage in Bosnia in the interests of Servia. The criminal proceedings instituted in the matter
afforded inter alia opportunities for obtaining an insight into the methods of the Great-Servian
propaganda, and more especially of the rNarodna Odbrana.
Jovo Jaglicic made a statement that in the month of August or September, 1912, he for the
first time met Petar Klaric, known as Pesut, formerly a cattle inspector in Foca, who had fled to
Montenegro in 1912 and then became a Komitadji.
At their first meeting, Klaric asked Jaglicic whether he knew Rade Milosevic of Kalinovik,
and, on his answering, said that Milosevic was lying very ill in hospital: " It would be a pity if he
were to die, we have spoken of great matters, has he never said anything to you about them ? "
On receiving a negative answer Klaric went on: " I had something important to tell you, we are
Servians, and must do something important for Servia. Come to my office." There the following
conversation ensued between them: --
"Jovan, I will tell you something; I don't know you yet and whether you will betray me. I
tell you, nevertheless, and if you have the heart, betray me ! "
On Jaglicic asking him what it was all about, Klaric answered, " Brother, in Servia there is
a society called the ' Narodna Odbrana.' Many people must join this society; many have been
enrolled already in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in the whole Monarchy; among them are
people of intelligence and means, long-headed people, and if they can do it why should we not
do it too, so that we too may help a bit."
To the question, what was the object of this society, Klaric answered: --
" The Society has this object: for instance, you are in Kalinovik; you let me know what the
news is there, how many soldiers, how many guns, how much ammunition, different arms, who
comes, who leaves, and so on. We have a secret writing, ' cipher,' and use it for correspondence.
If you are loyal, you will get it too."
Jaglicic was frightened that Klaric was merely sounding him for the purpose of denouncing
him, and therefore asked him to tell him the names of some of the members, on which Klaric
reflected for some time and then told him a name, which gave him confidence.
Hereon Klaric said to him: " Shall I give you the ' cipher ' ?' Jaglicic agreed. Klaric, who
knew the cipher by heart, wrote it out on a slip and gave it to Jaglicic.
On another occasion Klarin gave an aecount of his stay at Banja-Koviljaca (near Loznica)
where he was instructed by the Servian captain Todorovic* in bomb-throwing, and when asked
by the accused why he learnt this he answered: " If anything such as I have spoken of to you
comes to pass, it is necessary that I should know how to handle bombs, and that I should teach
you and you should teach others, so that powder magazines and other important objects should
be blown up, for in that case we should receive bombs from Servia."
* Captain Kosta Todorovic was then in fact Boundary Commissioner and Director of the Servian Intelligence Service for the frontier line from Rada to Ljuboija.
Klaric then described the appearance of the bombs, and said that he had already enrolled
people who, in case of war, would cut telegraph and telephone wires.
At these meetings Jaglicic learnt from Klaric that it also appertained to the duties of
members of the Narodna Odbrana to induce Austro-Hungarian soldiers to desert, to enlist
volunteers (Komitadjis), to organise bands, to blow up objects and depots, and so on. Klaric also
informed him that even cipher correspondence between Bosnian and Servian members would not
be entrusted to the post, but despatched across the frontier by reliable messengers.
Klaric further told Jaglicic that on the occasion of the Prosvjeta celebration (in September,
1912) a Servian major had stayed in the Hotel " Europe " with the Servian deputation which was
sent to it,* that Klaric had taken members of the Narodna Odbrana to him, and that he had sworn
* The Servian major, Mika Jankovic, appeared as a delegate at the Prosvjeta celebration.
From a spy Jaglicic learnt that bombs would arrive in Serajevo, or had already arrived, that
these had the appearance of pieces of soap,* and that two or three would either be sent to this spy
or that he would fetch them.
* The bombs used in the Serajevo attack on the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as well as those found in the Save, near Breko, in the year 1913, which came from the Royal Servian Arsenal at Kragujevac, can in fact be compared with pieces of soap.
From Confidential Reports on the Narodna Odbrana.
The control of the Narodna Odbrana is in the hands of representatives of all parties, so as to win over both the progressives and those who are hostile to the conspirators. Its actual guiding spirit is Pribicevic, now Major. The position of secretary is always filled by an officer on leave.
The object of the Narodna Odbrana is to develop effective propaganda in military and
civilian circles in the Southern-Slav portions of Austria-Hungary, with the object of preparing
for a revolution, interference with any mobilisation that may take place, and the initiation of
panics, revolts, &c.
The organisation has many trusted representatives and emissaries in the Monarchy, who
carry on an unostentatious personal propaganda. Some are sent specially to enlist a few
men preferably railwayofficials in the neighbourhood of important bridges, junctions, &c.,
whose duty it is at the appropriate moment to carry out the directions they have received, or to
get them carried out.
Intercourse between the members of the Narodna Odbrana is, so far as possible,
effected by keeping in personal touch with each other.
Young people, workmen and railwaymen chiefy are enrolled as members.
Extract From The Records of The District Court of Bosnia and Herzgovina at Serajevo, Touching the Proceedings There Instituted Against Gavrilo Princip and Confederates on Account of the Crime of Assassination Perpetrated on the 28th June, 1914, on His Imperial and Royal Highness the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este and Her Highness the Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg.
I. The deed ard the perpetrators.
Gavrilo Princip, Nedeljko Cabrinovic, Trifko Grabez, Vaso Cubrilovic and Cetres Popovic
confess that in common with the fugitive Mehemed Mehmedbasic they contrived a plot for the
murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and, armed with bombs and in the case of some of them
with Browning pistols, laid wait for him on the 28th June, 1914, on his progress through Serajevo
for the purpose of carrying out the planned attack.
Nideljko [sic] Cabrinovic confesses that he was the first of the conspirators to hurl a bomb against the Archduke's carriage, which missed its mark and which on exploding injured only the
occupants of the carriage following the Archducal motor car.
Gavrilo Princip confesses that he fired two shots from a Browning pistol against the
Archducal motor car, by which the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Duchess Sophie of
Hohenberg received fatal wounds.
Both perpetrators confess that the act was done with intent to murder.
These confessions have been fully verified by means of the investigations which have taken
place, and it is established that the deceased Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the deceased Duchess
Sophie of Hohenberg died as a result of the revolver shots fired at them by Gavrilo Princip.
II. Origin of the plot.
The accused have made the following declarations, which are essentially consistent, before the examining magistrate: --
In April, 1914, Princip, during his stay at Belgrade, where he associated with a number of
Servian students in the cafes of the town, conceived the plan for the execution of an attempt on
the life of the late Archduke Franz Ferdinand. He communicated this intention to his
acquaintance Cabrinovic, who also was in Belgrade at the time. The latter had already conceived
a similar idea and was ready at once to participate in the attempt. The execution of an attempt on
the Archduke's life was a frequent topic of conversation in the circle in which Princip and
Cabrinovic moved, because the Archduke was considered to be a dangerous enemy of the Servian
Princip and Cabrinovic desired at first to procure the bombs and weapons necessary for the
execution of the deed from the Servian major Milan Pribicevic or from the Narodna Odbrana, as
they themselves did not possess the means for their purchase. As, however, Major Pribicevic and
the authoritative member of the said association, Zivojin Dacic, were absent from Belgrade at that
time, they decided to try obtain the weapons from their acquaintance Milan Ciganovic,
who had formerly been a Komitadji and was at that in the employment of the State railways.
Princip, through the instrumentality of an intimate friend of Ciganovic, now got into
communication with the latter. Thereupon, Ciganovic called on Princip and discussed the planned
attempt with him. He entirely approved it, and thereupon declared that he would like to consider
further whether he should provide the weapons for the attempt. Cabrinovic also talked with
Ciganovic on the subject of the weapons.
At Easter Princip took Trifko Grabez, who also was in Belgrade, into his confidence. The
latter is also shown by his own confession to have declared himself ready to take part in the
In the following weeks Princip had repeated conversations with Ciganovic about the
execution of the attempt.
Meanwhile Ciganovic had reached an understanding on the subject of the planned attack
with the Servian Major Voja Tankosic, who was a close friend of his and who then placed at his
disposal for this object thee Browning pistols.
Grabez confesses in conformity with the depositions of Princip and Cabrinovic that on the
24th May he, accompanied by Ciganovic visited Major Tankosic at the latter's request at his
rooms. He says that after he had been introduced Tankosic said to him: " Are you the man ? Are
you determined ? " Whereupon Grabez answered: " I am." Tankosic next asked: " Do you know
how to shoot with a revolver ? " and when Grabez answered in the negative Tankosic said to
Ciganovic: " I will give you a revolver, go and teach them how to shoot.
Hereupon Cicanovic conducted Princip and Grabez to the military rifle range at Topcider
and instructed them in a wood adjoining the range in shooting with a Browning pistol at a target.
Princip proved himself the better shot of the two. Ciganovic also familiarized Princip, Grabez and
Cabrinovic with the use of the bombs which were later given to them.
On the 27th May, 1914, Ciganovic handed over to Princip, Cabrinovic and Grabez, as
their confessions agree in stating, six bombs, four Browning revolvers and a sufficient quantity
of ammunition as well as a glass tube of cyanide of potassium with which to poison themselves
after the accomplishment of the deed in order that the secret might be kept. Moreover Ciganovic
gave them some money.
Princip had previously informed Danilo Ilic, at Easter, of his plan of assassination. He now
begged the latter on his return to Serajevo to enlist certain additional persons, in order to ensure
the success of the attempt. Hereupon Ilic according to his confession enlisted Jaso Cubrilovic,
Cetro Popovic and Mehemed Mehmedbasic in the plot.
III. Origin of the bombs.
Only one of the bombs was made use of in the execution of the attempt. The remaining five bombs came later into the possession of the police at Serajevo.
In the opinion of the judicial experts these bombs are Servian hand-grenades which were
factory-made and intended for military purposes. They are identical with the 21 bombs which
were found in, the Save at Brcko in the year 1913 and which were partly in their original packing,
which proved without a doubt that they came from the Servian arsenal of Kragujevac.
It is thus proved that the grenades which were used in the attempt against the Archduke
Franz Ferdinand also came from the stores of the Army Depot at Kragujevac.
Grabez quite spontaneously calls the grenades which were handed over to him and his
accomplices " Kragujevac bombs."
IV. Transport of the three assailants, and of the weapons from Servia to Bosnia.
With regard to this Princip makes the following statement: --
Ciganovic told Cabrinovic, Grabez and Princip that they were to make their way via Sabac
and Loznica to Tuzla and there to betake themselves to Misko Jovanovic who would take over
the weapons. Next they were to go to Sabac and report themselves to the frontier captain Major
Rade Popoviec, to whom he gave them a note, of which Princip took charge. On the 28th May
the three accomplices left Belgrade with the weapons. At Sabac Princip handed over the note
which he had received from Ciganovic to Major Popovic, who thereupon conducted all three to
the orderly room and drew them up a pass in which it was stated that one of them was an
exciseman and the other two his colleagues. The pass contained also the name of this alleged
exciseman, but he had forgotten the name. At the same time Major Popovic handed over a closed
letter for the frontier captain at Loznica, whose name was Pravanovic, Prdanovic or Predojevic.
Princip, Cabrinovic and Grabez passed the night at Sabac and went by train the next morning
to Loznica, with a half-price ticket, it may be remarked, on the strength of the pass which Major
Popovid had drawn up for them. They reached Loznica at noon and delivered to the frontier
captain at that place Major Popovic's letter, in which were the words: " See that you receive these
people and bring them on their way, you know where." The frontier captain said he would
summon his excisemen from the frontier and give the three into the charge of the most reliable
man. Thereupon he telephoned, and made an appointment with the three accomplices for 7
o'clock the next morning in his office.
Next morning the three conspirators agreed that Cabrinovic should take Grabez's pass and
make his way openly to Zvornik, but that Princip and Grabez should cross the frontier secretly.
This plan was discussed with the frontier captain and it was decided that an exciseman from
Ljesnica called Grbic was to take Princip and Grabez with him to his tower (karaula) and bring them over the frontier. Cabrinovic accordingly walked to Banja Koviljaca in the direction of
Zvornik. Princip and Grabez drove with the exciseman Grbic to Ljesnica, where they deposited
the bombs and the revolver in a room in a hotel. While they were doing so the exciseman Grbic
caught sight of these objects. Princip himself described this journey as mysterious.
Grabez's statement conformed in essentials with Princip's and was supplemented by an
addition to the effect that Grbic laughed when he saw the bombs and the revolver and merely
asked to what part of Bosnia they were going with those bombs. The excisemen certainly thought
that Grabez and Princip were travelling on a mission.
Grbic and a second exciseman brought Princip and Grabez in a boat to an island in the
Drina. There Grbic instructed them to wait for a peasant who would come to fetch them. They
passed the night on the island in a peasant's hut to which Grbic had directed them; next day came
a peasant who conducted them during the night first through a bog and then over the mountains
to the neighbourhood of Priboj where he handed them over to the local teacher Cubrilovic, who
seemed to have been already waiting for them, to see them further on their way.
He took them on to Misko Jovanovitch at Tuzla.
Cabrinovic's statement about the events of the journey up to the point at which he parted
with Princip and Grabez conformed in essentials with those of the latter, and only added by way
of supplement that Major Popovic told them that he did not reach Sabac from Belgrade till the
day before their arrival.
In Loznica, Cabrinovic, Princip and Grabez decided to separate, as it was too dangerous to
go about all three together. The frontier eaptain at Loznica, whom they informed of this,
applauded their plan and gave Cabrinovic a letter for M. Jaklojevic, the teacher at Mali-Zvornik.
Hereupon Cabrinovic handed over the bombs, Browning pistol and ammunition which he had
been carrying, to Princip and Grabez, and went to Mali-Zvornik with an exciseman who had been
told off to accompany him.
There he found the teacher Jaklojevic, to whom he handed the letter from the frontier
captain of Loznica. Hereupon the former notified the Servian frontier guard. When Cabrinovic,
with the teacher, reached this frontier post, a man was already waiting there for them, who
brought them in a boat over the Drina to Gross-Zvornik in Bosnia.
Cabrinovic then proceeded to Misko Jovanovic at Tuzla.
Just before this memoir was closed, minutes of evidence were published by the District Court at Serajevo from which it appears that a subject of the Monarchy some days before the 28th June last desired to make a report to the Imperial and Royal Consulate at Belgrade to the effect that he suspected that a plan existed for the execution of an attempt on the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand during.his presence in Bosnia. It seems that.the man was prevented from making this report by members of the Belgrade police force who arrested him on trivial grounds just. as he. was about to enter the Imperial and Royal Consulate. The conclusion to be tube drawn from the statements contained in the evidence in question would seem to be that the police officials concerned had knowledge of the planned attempts and only arrested this man in order to prevent him from laying the information.
As these statements have not yet been verified, no opinion can be expressed at the
present stage on their.reliability. In view of the investigations into the matter now pending, the
more minute details of the evidence cannot be published more exactly at present.
The Servian Press on the Assassination.
(a) The Belgrade newspaper " Balkan " writes on the 29th June with regard to the two
"Nedeljko Cabrinovic, a compositor by profession, was full of anarchical ideas, and well known as a restless spirit. Until twenty days ago, he lived in Belgrade, whither he came after the war and was employed in the State printing works. Before his departure he announced that he was going to Trieste, where he would get work in a new printing works. Gavrilo Princip also was living at Belgrade until a short time ago. During the war he offered his services as a volunteer, but was not accepted, and therefore he left Belgrade. He returned, however, at Christmas last year to Belgrade, attended the gymnasium for a time, and left Belgrade almost at the same time as Cabrinovic, though in a different direction. Princip was a silent nervous, hard-working student, and associated with some fellow students who came, like himself, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as latterly with Cabrinovic. He inclined towards socialistic ideas although he had originally belonged to the Young Men Progressive Party. Princip, like Cabrinovic, was brought up at Serajevo; the two have been bound by ties of the closest friendship since their childhood.
(b) The " Piémont," of the 1st July, points out that Princip's protest was a sequel.to the
public protest of the assassin Zerajic. The explanation of the former's, as of the latter's activities,
is to be found in the system of government in Bosnia. The circumstance that Princip executed the
deed of vengeance on the national festival of St. Vitus, the day which had been chosen for the
manoeuvres, made the desperate act of the young martyr more intelligible and more natural.
(The newspaper was confiscated by the police on account of this article; the confiscation was,
however, annulled the day after by the court of First Instance at Belgrade).
(c) The Young Radical "Odjek," of the 3rd July, says: -- "The Archduke Franz Ferdinand
was sent to Seratevo on the day of national enthusiasm in order to celebrate a brutal
manifestation of violence and domination. This brutal aet was bound to revoke brutal feelings
of resistance, hatred and revenge.."
(d) The organ of the Nationalist Party, "Srpska Zastava" of the 3rd July, says in an
article entitled "Suspicions and Threats " :-- " The assassination comes to be regarded more and
more as the outcome of the unsound state of affairs in the Monarchy. On the other hand, the
savage persecution of the Servian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina evokes the horror of the
whole civilized world."
(e) The Progressive newspapers " Pravda," of the 3rd July, writes: " The policy of Vienna is a cynical one. It exploits the death of the unfortunate couple for its abominable aims against the Servian people."
(f) The "Agence des Balkans," of.the 3rd July, says: "The crimes which have been.perpetrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina against the Servians. have been carried out under
the auspices and at the direct instigation of the Austro-Hungarian civil and military authorities."
(g) The " Pravda," of the 4th July, says: " All the murders and assassinations which have
been carried out up to the present time in Austria have arisen from one and the same source. The
oppressed peoples of the Monarchy were obliged to have recourse to this method of protest,
because no other way was open to them. In the chaos of a reign of terror, it is natural and quite
intelligible that the era of assassinations should have firmly established itself."
(h) The " Balkan," of the 5th July, remarks that Austria-Hungary " must be placed under
international control, because of its persecution of the innocent "; for Austria-Hungary has less
cohesion than Turkey."
(i) The "Mali Journal," of the 7th July, writes: -" A sprig of the Middle:Ages has been murdered at Serajevo within the last few days. He has been murdered by a lad whose grief for the enslavement of his immediate Fatherland (engeres Vaterland) amounted to a paroxysm, that grief which the robbers of the land of his fathers had brought upon him. What has been the contribution of official Austria-Hungary to this? It has answered with general massacres, plunderings and destruction of Servian life and property. Only the worthless distinguish themselves by such heroism. Cowards are always mighty heroes when they are sure that nothing will happen to them. Only compare Princip and Cabrinovic with these heroes, and you will at once see the great difference between them. Civilisation and justice are a huge lie in Austria-Hungary."
(j) The " Tribuna," of the 7th July, says: " We are of the opinion that the Serajevo murder
was arranged to facilitate the extermination of the Servians at one blow."
(k) The "Piémont," of the 8th July, reports from Bajina Baschka that the Austrian officials
in Bosnia are preparing a massacre of the Christians.
(l) The "Balkan," of the 8th, publishes a report from Bosnia, under the title " St.Bartholomew's Day at Serajevo," and pleads for a general boycott against all the Austrians living in Servia.
(m) The " Mali Journal," of the 8th, appeals to its readers to boycott the Danube Steamship
(n) Under the title " Nothing from Austria-Hungary ! " the " Tribuna," of the 8th, writes that
it would be best to order nothing from Austria-Hungary, to abstain from visiting the Austrian and
Hungarian Spas, and from calling in doctors from Austria-Hungary. It says that private initiative
can accomplish a great deal in the direction suggested. The State and the Government offices
must not mix themselves up in this movement. It is enough to appeal to the citizens.
(o) The " Stampa," of the 8th, asserts that the Serajevo police are exposing the arrested
assassins to the most inhuman and brutal torture in order to extort from them untrue confessions
on which it is intended to base complaints against the Servian people.
(p) The " Agence des Balkans," of the 9th, reports from Belgrade: " Absolutely
trustworthy private reports announce that a general massacre of Servians is on the point of
breaking out in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
(q) The " Balkan," of the 9th July, taking as its text Mr. Asquith's statement on the
announcement of the news of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, that he was full of anxiety
for the fate of humanity* publishes a historical survey of the events of the last 40 years, from which
it deduces that the Servian people during this period have been exposed to the cruel persecutions
of Austria-Hungary's Jesuitical policy. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, like all the sons of Loyola, who
only work in human blood, and who do homage to the principle, " The end justifies the means,"
was bound to be overtaken by fate and to fall a victim to Jesuitism, as the whole of
Austria-Hungary will also fall. But by the downfall of Austria-Hungary, peace and tranquility
would ensue to mankind. The sum of all these truths emerges in the conclusion that Asquith might
with a calm mind have accompanied the news of the murder with the words, " I am no longer
anxious for the fate of humanity."
* [" We are once more confronted with one of those incredible crimes which almost make us despair of the progress of mankind."
Mr. Asquith's Speech, Times, July 1, 1914.]
(r) The " Politika," of the 9th July, expresses itself in a leading article under the heading, "Shameless Lies," as follows: " The manner in which the inquiries into the Serajevo murder are
being carried on shows quite clearly what objects Austria is aiming at in those inquiries. When the
assassins, regardless of all the tortures to which they were exposed, refused to say what was
demanded of them, other individuals were unearthed who expressed themselves ready on certain
conditions to confess a certain degree of complicity in the murder, but at the same time to
implicate all those persons who were objectionable to Austria. This method has succeeded for the
moment because the hired individuals state whatever they are asked to state, and the Austrian
police take care that these lies are at once spread to all the points of the compass. Austria has no
sense of shame, and thinks that somebody will be found to believe lies of this sort."
(s) The " Stampa," of the 9th, says that not everything which has happened in Bosnia and
Herzegovina has yet been revealed and attained publicity. Strict secrecy is being maintained. But
the truth will sooner or later come to the surface; blood-thirsty Austria will drink, nay, is drinking,
Servian blood, till she can drink no more. It is reported that there are to-day about ten thousand
wounded and dead in Bosnia."
(t) The " Politika," of the 10th July, hurls extravagant abuse against the members of the
(u) The Commercial journal, " Trgovinski Glasnik," of the 10th July, talks about the
corruption and unscrupulousness of the Austro-Hungarian policy, which it calls Jesuitical, reckless
and dishonourable. It is a warning to the Servian people in Austria-Hungary that they are not
living in a civilised State which guarantees life and property, but that they must hold themselves
armed and ever ready to defend themselves against the robbery of the Officials and the
government. After the latest occurrences, the Servian people ought no longer to wait like a lamb,
which any day might be led to the slaughter, but like a lion ready for a bloody resistance."
(v) In the " Stampa," of the 10th July, we find: -- "Nothing lasts for ever, nor will Austria-Hungary remain for ever in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The time is not far off when the Servians
who broke the power of the Turks and punished the Bulgarians, will circle round the Ivan Planina
on the Trebevic."
(w) The " Pravda," of the 10th July, under the title " Boycott against Good-for-nothings,"
appeals for a boycott of Austrian firms in Belgrade, as well as of Austrian wares, and says that
it is the duty of the Narodna Odbrana to see that the boycott is strictly carried out.
(x) The " Zvono," of the 16th July, declares Princip to be the son of Countess Lonyay, to
whom the charge was given that he should avenge the death of Crown Prince Rudolf on his
murderer, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
(y) The " Mali Journal," of the 19th July, publishes a report which says: " Princip was
instigated to-make the attempt by an Austro-Hungarian agent. It is said in Vienna that it is only
in the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade that the real culprit is to be found."
(z) The leading Young Radical organ, " Odjek," of the 20th July, writes: " Austria-Hungary offers a hundred proofs that it will inherit the title of the 'sick man' of Europe. While in Servia not a single Austrian citizen has been molested, villages and towns have been plundered in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This fact is one more proof on how much higher a cultural and morallevel Servia stands than Austria-Hungary."
The Local Committee of the Narodna Odbrana at Nish, on the Subject of the Crime Against the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
A confidential communication has come to the ears of the Imperial and Royal Foreign Office
from a reliable correspondent, whose name will be published at the proper time, according to
which the Local Committee of the Narodna Odbrana at Nish, receently held a meeting at which the
presldent of this Committee, Jasa Nenadovic, director of the Nish prison, touched on the
subject of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, using the following words: " Servia
was absolutely bound this time to have recourse to a measure like the assassination of the
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, because the Archduke, on account of his:aggressive and eccentric character, was a prominent and deadly danger for Servia, and possibly for wider Slavonic circles
also Had he remained alive, he would have soon challenged Servia to war or attacked it, in which
case Servia, which was now so much weakened materially, and had not yet completed her army
re-organisation, would certainly have been lost. But now Servia had been rescued bv the Serajevo
murder, and one of the dangers which threatened Servia in the person of the victim had been
swept out;of the way. Servia would now have rest for several years, as the new heir to the throne
would consider well before walking in the steps of his predecessor.
Though he was aware, continued the speaker, that the murder of the Archduke Franz
Ferdinand would be a heavy blow and a great grief to Austria-Hungary, and that it would be
followed by the torture of those of our nation who were living in that country, yet he would not
have thought that his suppositions would have been so completely fulfilled, and that then
Croatians would have behaved as they had. Yet his friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina had assured
him that the Austro-Hungarian officials were cowards and would not dare to overstep the mark
in the measures they took; unfortunately however; these friends, and through them, we too had
been disappointed. If things went on much longer as they were going at present, revolvers and
bombs would at last have to play their real role. Whatever the God of Servia has in store, things
cannot go on as at present."
T he remarks of the speaker were received with complete approval by his hearers.
SUPPLEMENTS AFTER GOING TO PRESS.
1. To Appendix 8.
The teacher, Cubrilovic, who undertook the guidance of Princip and Grabez at Priboj, has
made a complete confession, from which the following important facts emerge:
In the year 1911, Cubrilovic, on the occasion of a Sokol expedition to Sabac, was initiated by Bozo Fovic, a member of the managing committee of the Narodna Odbrana, into the objects of that association, and was then appointed representative of the Narodna Odbrana in Zvornik (Bosnia). At his invitation, Misko Jovanovic was later nominated representative of the Narodna Odbrana for Tuzla.
A peasant acted as go-between in the communications with the Narodna Odbrana, in fact,
the same peasant who brought Princip and Crabez to Cubrilovic, with the information that he
was bringing two Servian students with weapons to him. When he learned this, he knew that it
was a "mission" from the Narodna Odbrana. Princip and Grabez told him that they had bombs
and revolvers with them, with a view to making an attempt on the life of the Archduke Franz
2. -- Pictures in the Belgrade War Office of a nature hostile to the Monarchy.
There are four allegorical pictures on-the wall outside the reception hall of the Royal
Servian War Office, of which three are representations of Servian victories, while the fourth
symbolises the reaIisation of the anti-Monarchical tendencies of Servia.
Over a landscape, partly mountains (Bosnia), partly plains, (South Hungary) rises the "Zora," the rosy dawn of Servian hopes. In the foreground stands a woman in armour, whose shield bears the names of all the " provinces still awaiting liberation ": Bosnia, Herzegovina, Vojvodina, Syrmia, Dalmatia, &c.
Count Berchtold, to the Under Secretary, Freiherr von Macchio at Vienna.
(Telegraphic.) Lambach, July 25, 1914.
Russian Chargé d'Affaires telegraphs to me that he has received urgent instructions from his Government to press for a prolongation of time-limit fixed for the ultimatum to Servia. I request Your Excellency to reply to him in my name that we cannot consent to a prolongation of time-limit. Your Excellency will add, that Servia, even after breaking off of diplomatic relations, can bring about friendly solution by unconditional acceptance of our demands, although we should be obliged in such an event to demand reimbursement by Servia of all costs and damage incurred by us through our military measures.
Count Berchtold to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburgh.
(Telegraphic.) Bad Ischl, July 25, 1915.
For Your Excellency's information and guidance: --
The Russian Chargé d'Affaires called this morning on the Under Secretary, in order to express in the name of his Government the wish that the time-limit fixed in our note to Servia might be prolonged.
This request was based on the grounds that the Powers had been taken by surprise by our move, and that the Russian Government would regard it merely as natural consideration for the other Cabinets, on the part of the Vienna Cabinet, if an opportunity were given to the former to examine the data on which our communication to the Powers was based and to study our prospective dossier. The Under Secretary replied to the Chargé d'Affaires that he would immediately bring his explanation to my knowledge; but that he could tell him at once that there was no prospect of a prolongation of the time-limit fixed being granted by us. As to the grounds which the Russian Government had advanced in support of the wish they had expressed, they appeared to rest upon a mistaken hypothesis. Our note to the Powers was in no way intended to invite them to make known their own views on the subject, but merely bore the character of a statement for information, the communication of which we regarded as a duty laid on us by international courtesy. For the rest we regarded our action as a matter concerning us and Servia alone, which action, notwithstanding the patience and longsuffering we had exhibited for years past, we had been forced by the development of circumstances to take, much against our own wish, for the defence of our most vital interests.
Fretherr von Giesl to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) - Belgrade, July 25, 1914.
Cabinet Council met yesterday evening and earlv this morning; form of answer to our note was settled after several drafts, and is to be delivered to me before the time-limit expires. I hear that Royal train is being made up; gold belonging to the National Bank and to the railway, as well as the Foreign Office records, are being taken into the interior of the country. Some of my colleagues are of the opinion that they must follow the Government; packing-up is proceeding at the Russian Legation in particular.
Garrison has left town in field order. Ammunition depots in the fortress were evacuated. Railway station thronged with soldiers. The ambulance trains have left Belgrade, proceeding towards the south. In pursuance of the instructions which have reached me while I write, we intend, in the event of a rupture, to leave Belgrade by the 6.30 train.
Freiherr von Giesl to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Semlin, July 25, 1914.
Orders for general mobilization were issued in Servia at 3 p.m.
Freiherr Von Giesl to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Semlin, July 25, 1914.
As a result of the Royal Servian Government's unsatisfactory answer to our demands of the 23rd inst., I have announced that diplomatic relations are broken off with Servia, and have left Belgrade with the staff of the Legation. The reply was delivered to me at two minutes to six p.m.
Note of the Royal Servian Government of 12/25 July, 1914.
[See pp. 507-514.]
Count Berchtold to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburgh.
Vienna, July 25, 1914.
We were, of course, aware, when we decided to take serious measures against Servia, of the possibility that the Servian dispute might develop into a collision with Russia. We could not, however, allow ourselves to be diverted by this eventuality from the positions we took up towards Servia, because fundamental considerations of national policy brought us face to face with the necessity of putting an end to the state of affairs in which a Russian charter made it possible for Servia to threaten the Monarchy continuously without. punishment and without the possibility of punishment.
Should events prove that Russia considered the moment for the great settlement with the central
European Powers to have already arrived, and was therefore determined on war from the beginning, the following instructions to your Excellency appear indeed superfluous.
It might, however, be conceivable that Russia, in the event of the refusal of our demands by Servia,
and in face of the resulting necessity for us of military measures, might think better of it, and might even be willing not to allow herself to be swept away by the bellicose elements. It is to meet this situation that the following explanations have been drawn up, which your Excellency will use with M. Sazonof and the President of the Council, at the right moment, in the manner which you think best, and when the opportunity, in your opinion, presents itself.
I assume, generally, that your Excellency in the existing circumstances, has established a close
understanding with your German colleague, who will certainly have been enjoined by his Government to leave the Russian Government no room for doubt that Austria-Hungary, in the event of a conflict with Russia, would not stand alone.
I am under no illusion that it will be easy to make M. Sazonof understand the step taken by us at
Belgrade, which had become inevitable.
There is, however, one factor which cannot fail to impress the Russian Foreign Minister, and that is
the emphasising of the circumstance that the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, in conformity with the
principle to which it has adhered for decades past, is actuated in the present crisis by no selfish motives in appealing to arms in order to reach a settlement of her differences with Servia.
The Monarchy possesses territory to repletion and has no desire for Servian possessions. If a
conflict with Servia is.forced upon us, it will be for us not a conflict for territorial gain, but merely a
means of self-defence and self-preservation.
The contents of the circular note, which in itself is sufficiently eloquent, are placed in their proper
light by the dossier relating to the Servian propaganda against the Monarchy, and the various points of
connection between this propaganda and the crime of June 28th.
Your Excellency will draw the Russian Minister's very particular attention to this dossier and
impress upon him that it is an unique event in history that a Great Power should have borne with the
seditious intrigues of an adjoining small State for so long a time and with such unparalleled patience as
Austria-Hungary has borne with those of Servia.
We had no wish to pursue a policy adverse to the ambitions of the Christian Balkan States, and we
have therefore notwithstanding that we well knew how little value was to be attached to Servian
promises suffered Servia to increase her territory after the annexation crisis of 1908 to nearly double its former extent.
Since that time the subversive movement which has been fostered in Servia against the Monarchy
has assumed such excessive proportions that the vital interests of Austria-Hungary, and even of our
Dynasty itself, appear to be threatened by the revolutionary activities of Servia.
We must assume that to conservative loyal Russia energetic measures on our part against this
menace to all public order will appear intelligible and indeed necessary.
When Your Excellency reaches this point in your conversation with M. Sazonof, the moment will
have arrived to add to your explanation of our motives and intentions the hint that we as your Excellency will have already been in a position to explain aim at no territorial gains, and also did not
wish to infringe the sovereignty of the Kingdom, but that, on the other hand, we will proceed to extreme measures for the enforcement of our demands.
That we had striven up till now, so far as in us lay, to preserve the peace which we considered to be
the most precious possession of nations, was shown by the course of events during the last 40 years, and by the historical fact that our gracious Emperor has won for himself the glorious title of "Protector of the Peace."
We should, therefore, most sincerely deplore the disturbance of the European peace, because we also were of the opinion that the strengthening of the Balkan States in a position of political and national independence would prove to the advantage of our relations with Russia, and would also remove all possibility of antagonism between us and Russia; also because we have always been ready, in the shaping of our own policy, to take into consideration the dominant political interests of Russia.
Any further toleration of Servian intrigues would undermine our existence as. a State and our position as a Great Power, thus also threatening the balance of power in Europe. We are, however, convinced that it is to Russia's own interests, as her peaceful leaders will clearly see, that the existing European balance of power which is of such importance for the peace of the world, should be maintained. Our action against Servia, whatever form it takes, is conservative from first to last, and its object is the necessary preservation of our position in Europe.
Count Berchtold to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburgh.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna, July 25, 1914.
As point 5 of our demands, namely, the participation of representatives of the Imperial and Royal Government in the suppression of the subversive movement in Servia has given rise to special objection on the part of M. Sazonof, your Excellency will explain in strict confidence with regard to this point that this clause was interpolated merely out of practical considerations, and was in no way intended to infringe on the sovereignty of Servia.
By "collaboration" in point 5, we are thinking of the establishment of a private "Bureau de Sûreté" at Belgrade, which would operate in the same way as the analogous Russian establishments in Paris and in co-operation with the Servian police and administration.
Count Szápáry to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) St. Petersburgh, July 26, 1914.
As the result of reports about measures taken for mobilisation.of Russian troops, Count Pourtalès has called the Russian Minister's attention in the most serious manner to the fact that nowadays measures of mobilization would be a highly dangerous form of diplomatic pressure. For, in that event, the purely military consideration of the question by the general staffs would find expression, and if that button were once touched in Germany, the situation would get out of control.
M. Sazonof assured the German Ambassador on his word of honour that the reports on the subject
were incorrect; that up to that time not a single horse and not a single reservist had been called up and
that all the measures that were being taken were merely measures of preparation in the military districts of Kieff, Odessa, and perhaps Kasan and Moscow.
Immediately afterwards the Imperial German Military Attaché received by courier late in the
evening an invitation from Suchomlinof, the Minister for War, who explained that Count Pourtalès had spoken with the Foreign Minister about the Russian military preparations, and as the Ambassador might have misunderstood certain military details, he was taking the opportunity of giving him more detailed information. In the following telegram from Count Pourtalès to Berlin which has been placed at my disposal, the pertinent communications from Major von Eggeling are collected:
"The Military Attaché reports with regard to a conversation with the Russian Minister of War: M. Sazonof had asked him to make the military position clear to me. The Minister for War gave me his word of honour that as yet no orders for mobilization of any kind had been issued. For the present merely preparatorv measures would be taken, not a horse would be taken, not a reservist called up. If Austria crossed the Servian frontier, the military districts of Kieff, Odessa, Moscow and Kasan, which face Austria, would be mobilized. In no circumstances will mobilization take place on the German front, Warsaw, Vilna and St. Petersburgh. Peace with Germany is earnestly desired. My question what was the object of the mobilization against Austria, was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a reference to the diplomatists. I gave the Minister for War to understand that his friendly intentions would be appreciated by us, but that we should also consider mobilization against Austria to be in itself extremely threatening. The Minister emphasized repeatedly and with great stress Russia's urgent need of and earnest wish for peace."
Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff at London.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna, July 26, 1914.
Herr von Tschirschky informed me to-day in pursuance of his instructions that, according to a telegram from Prince Lichnowsky which had been despatched in London on the 25th of July at 3 p.m., Sir E. Grey had transmitted to the latter the sketch of an answer from Servia, and had
remarked in the private letter accompanying it, that he hoped that the Berlin Cabinet in view of the
conciliatory tenour of this answer would support its acceptance in Vienna.
I consider it desirable that your Excellency should again approach the matter with the Secretary of State, and call his attention to the fact that almost simultaneously with the transmission by him of this letter to Prince Lichnowsky, namely at 3 p.m. yesterday, Servia had ahready ordered the general mobilization of her army, which proves that no inclination for a peaceful solution existed in Belgrade. It was not till six o'clock, after mobilisation had been proclaimed, that the answer, which had apparently been previously telegraphed to London and the contents of which were not reconcilable with our demands, was delivered to the Imperial and Royal Minister at Belgrade.
Count Berchtold to the Imperial and Royal Ambassadors at Berlin, Rome, London, Paris, and St. Petersburgh.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna, July 26, 1914.
We have broken off diplomatic relations with Servia after she had refused the demands we had addressed to her. I beg your Excellency now to proceed at once to the Foreign Minister or his deputy, and to express yourself to him approximately to the following effect:
The Royal Servian Government have refused to accept the demands which we were forced to address to them in order to secure permanently our most vital interests which were menaced by them, and have thereby made it clear that they do not intend to abandon their subversive aims, tending towards continuous disorder in some of our frontier provinces and their final disruption from the Monarchy.
Reluctantly, therefore, and very much against our wish, we find ourselves obliged to compel Servia by the sharpest measures to make a fundamental change in the attitude of enmity she has up to now pursued.
Count Szápáry to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) St. Petersburgh, July 27, 1914,
Just had a long conversation with M. Sazonof. Told the Minister I was under the impression that mistaken ideas were prevalent in Russia with regard to the character of our action. We were credited with wishing to push forward into Balkan territory, and to begin a march to Salonica or even to Constantinople. Others, again, went so far as to describe our action merely as the starting point of a preventive war against Russia. I said that all this was erroneous, and that parts of it were absolutely unreasonable. The goal of our action was self-preservation and self-defence against hostile propaganda by word, in writing, and in action, which threatened our integrity. It would occur to no-one in Austria-Hungary to threaten Russian interests, or indeed to pick a quarrel with Russia. And yet we were absolutely determined to reach the goal which we had set before us, and the path which we had chosen seemed to us the most suitable. As, however, the action under discussion was action in self-defence, I could not conceal from him that we could not allow ourselves to be diverted from it by any consequences, of whatever kind they might be.
M. Sazonof agreed with me. Our goal, as I had described it to him, was an entirely legitimate one, but he considered that the path which we were pursuing with a view to attaining it was not the surest. He said that the note which we had delivered was not happy in its form. He had since been studying it, and if I had time, he would like to look it through once more with me. I remarked that I was at his service, but was not authorized either to discuss the text of the note with him or to interpret it. Of course, however, his remarks were of interest. The Minister then took all the points of the note in order, and on this occasion found seven of the ten points admissible without very great difficulty; only the two points dealing with the collaboration of the Imperial and Royal officials in Servia and the point dealing with the removal of officers and civil servants to be designated by us, seemed to him to be unacceptable in their present form. With regard to the two first points, I was in a position to give an authentic interpretation in the sense of your Excellency's telegram of the 25th instant; with regard to the third, I expressed the opinion that it was a necessary demand. Moreover, matters had already been set in motion. The Servians had mobilised on the previous day and I did not know what had happened since then.
Count Berchtold to Count Szápáry at St. Petersburgh.
(Telegraphic.) Vienna, July 27, 1914.
I empower your Excellency to declare to M.. Sazonof that, so long as the war between Austria-Hungary and Servia remains localized, the Monarchy does not aim in any way at territorial acquisitions of any sort.
Count Szögyény to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) Berlin, June 27, 1914.
M. Sazonof explained to the German Ambassador that he could " guarantee " to him " that on the Russian side no mobilization had been begun; though it was true that certain necessary military precautions were being taken."
The German military attaché at St. Petersburgh reports that " the Russian Minister of War has given him his word of honour that not a man or a horse has been mobilized; however, naturally, certain military precautions have been taken "; precautions which, as the German military attaché adds, apparently spontaneously, to his report, " are to be sure pretty far-reaching."
Count Berchtold to the Imperial and Royal Ambassadors in Berlin, Rome, London, Paris and St. Petersburgh.
Vienna, July 27, 1914.
Annexed you will find the text, annotated with our remarks, of the note which the Royal Servian Government on the 25th of June transmitted to the Imperial and Royal Minister at Belgrade.
WWI Document Archive > Official Papers > The Austro-Hungarian Red Book > Section II