Serbia's Great War, 1914-1918
Purdue University Press, 2007 - 386 էջ
Mitrovic's volume fills the gap in Balkan history by presenting an in-depth look at Serbia and its role in WWI. Serbia did play a key role at the start of the conflict but British and American historians have paid little attention to the topic. As Mark Cornwall writes in his introduction, The Serbian experience is in fact of major significance for three notable reasons. First, in the interlocking development of the wartime continent, Serbia's plight is part of a European jigsaw that cannot be omitted if the whole is to be better understood. At the same time, it serves as a valuable case study of the war in microcosm. It contains all the ingredients of the conflict experienced elsewhere—appalling suffering, legendary sacrifice, war aims, political-military tensions, socio-economic and political upheaval—and some more peculiar to itself, such as mass migration, exile, guerrilla resistance, and the trauma of three years of foreign occupation. Secondly, the First World War was crucial as a stage in the construction of Serbian national mythology in the twentieth century. It enabled many Serbs to envisage themselves as a martyred people, their blood constantly spilled for the greater good. Out of the wartime Serbian 'Golgotha' (a favorite phrase from the Great War!), there finally emerged the dream of a South Slav or Yugoslav state with the Serbian kingdom at its core. It was a national trauma and sacrifice which nationalist Serbs might easily see as being repeated later in the century, in the wars of the 1940s and the 1990s. Thirdly, the Serbian story has a particular resonance for a British reader because of British participation in that trauma. At the time the British role in aiding or propagating or even betraying the Serbian cause was well publicized across Britain. Since then it has been a rather neglected subject, a sign of the amnesia, which can so easily creep into a reductionist official "national memory."
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