Serbian Nationalism

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Serbian Nationalism and the First World War
Nationalism is a patriotic feeling, common to a whole nation. Historians tend to blame the actions that lead to the Great War on the nationalism of the nations in Europe, which lead to international tensions. It made countries feel superior and also gave them the desire for political independence. In the Balkans, it was Serbian nationalism that was significant to the outbreak of the war. (“Nationalism”)
Traditionally the Balkans had been dominated by the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whom were each other’s rivals, and was inhabited by different ethnic groups known as Slavs. During the 19th century the influence of the Ottoman was in decline and the neighboring three Powers were all
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The quarrel afterwards with Bulgaria about dividing the won territories led to the Second Balkan War in 1913, won by Serbia. (Cannon; Wolfson & Laver)
Serbian nationalism
Serbian nationalism was ethnic nationalism. Their goal was the unity of Serbs and for Serbia to become the Piedmont of a new Southern-Slav state. The Serbs sought independence and freedom of foreign control and influence. Many factors powered the nationalistic feelings of the Serbs, including the Turkish control, pan-Slavism, the Bosnian Crisis and the Balkan Wars. (“World War I”)
Serbian nationalism originated from medieval times, when the Serbs fought the Ottoman and were defeated. The 400 years of Turkish control had resulted in the Serb identity with their Orthodox religion, distinguishing them from their overlords and Christians. (Etty; Wolfson & Laver)
Pan-Slavism; a movement for the unity and nationalism of the Slavic people in the mid 19th century, also increased Serbian nationalism and gave them confidence. They strived for a Greater Serbia and did not want to be politically dominated by the Hapsburg any longer. Serbia wanted to become the center of a pan-Slavic state and these ambitions and nationalistic aspirations made the region very volatile.
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Serbian nationalism was the most significant contributing factor in the Balkans to the outbreak of the First World War. Nationalist Serbs wanted the unity of Serbdom and to create a Greater Serbia that included the provinces Bosnia and Herzegovina. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered the First World War and was prompted by the nationalism of the Serbs against Hapsburg control. If this trigger did not take place it would have been another event. But it is not surprising that it occurred in the Balkans; a volatile region, as Bismarck had predicted decades before; “ If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thin in the Balkans”.
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