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Letter from 1913 that reveals that Vienna planned WWI presented

by - Published: at 11:14 pm
Modified: Jan 5, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Plans for the start of the World War I existed 13 months before Sarajevo assassination and 14 months before the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia, according to so far hidden letter, which was presented today in Andricgrad by the Director of the Archives of Serbia, Miroslav Perisic.

Photo: SRNA

Image: SRNA

This letter was sent by the Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina Oskar Potiorek to the Minister of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy Biliński on May 28 1913, and a copy was presented today in the Department of the History of Kamengrad.

Perisic said that the letter has significant importance for all those involved in the study of the World War I, because it reveals not only intentions of war circles in Vienna to start it, but also the attitudes of the ruling circles towards Serbs, Croats and Muslims and their relations, and especially the policy of Vienna against the Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia, as well as the supporters of the idea of unification of the South Slavs.

“Potiorek’s letter is a document that belongs to primary historical sources, because it was created at the moment the event occurred and it is one of the most important historical sources for the study of the questions of guilt and responsibility for the start of the World War I,” said Perisic.

He said that reasons for hiding the document are not hard to guess, because its content did not fit into the desired or constructed unscientific picture of prehistory and history of the beginning of the World War I.

“This extremely important document has not been available to historians nor it was used in scientific papers, although it was first published in 1928 in “Vecernja posta” in Sarajevo, and was stored in the so-called black cabinet which hides the most important and trusted mail,” said Perisic.

The copy of this valuable historical document for clarification of the cause of the start of the World War I has been stored in the Archives of Serbia while the original is still being sought.

A member of the Board of Andric Institute for marking the anniversary of the World War I Miroslav Jovanovic said that Sarajevo assassination was not the verdict, it was just the pretext for the outbreak of a great world’s bloodshed which killed nine million soldiers and five million civilians.

“Austro-Hungaria has put the reason for the start of the World War I on the shoulders of Serbia and Russia which was later supported by numerous famous historians such as Chris Clark and Sean McCain,” said Jovanovic.

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  1. This tends to confirm other material, included by Max Hastings in his book “Catastrophe – Europe goes to war 1914″ ( publisher William Collins) on the settled aggressive Austro-Hungarian intent towards Serbia in the years before 1914. Would it be possible to have an English translation?

    Edward Spalton

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