An Analytical Essay On The Ultimatum Austria

Hungary Issued To Serbia Essay, Research Paper 23 July, 1914: The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia English Translation The Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Berchtold, to the Minister at Belgrade, von Giesl:

Hungary Issued To Serbia Essay, Research Paper

23 July, 1914:

The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia

English Translation

The Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Berchtold, to the Minister at Belgrade, von Giesl:

Vienna, July 22, 1914

Your Excellency will present the following note to the Royal Government on the afternoon of Thursday, July 23: On the 31st of March, 1909, the Royal Serbian Minister at the Court of Vienna made, in the name of his Government, the following declaration to the Imperial and Royal Government:

Serbia recognizes that her rights were not affected by the state of affairs created in Bosnia, and states that she will accordingly accommodate herself to the decisions to be reached by the Powers in connection with Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin. Serbia, in accepting the advice of the Great Powers, binds herself to desist from the attitude of protest and opposition which she has assumed with regard to the annexation since October last, and she furthermore binds herself to alter the tendency of her present policy toward Austria-Hungary, and to live on the footing of friendly and neighborly relations with the latter in the future.

Now the history of the past few years, and particularly the painful events of the 28th of June, have proved the existence of a subversive movement in Serbia, whose object it is to separate certain portions of its territory from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. This movement, which came into being under the very eyes of the Serbian Government, subsequently found expression outside of the territory of the Kingdom in acts of terrorism, in a number of attempts at assassination, and in murders.

Far from fulfilling the formal obligations contained in its declaration of the 31st of March 1909, the Royal Serbian Government has done nothing to suppress this movement. It has tolerated the criminal activities of the various unions and associations directed against the Monarchy, the unchecked utterances of the press, the glorification of the authors of assassinations, the participation of officers and officials in subversive intrigues; it has tolerated an unhealthy propaganda in its public instruction; and it has tolerated, finally, every manifestation which could betray the people of Serbia into hatred of the Monarchy and contempt for its institutions.

This toleration of which the Royal Serbian Government was guilty, was still in evidence at that moment when the events of the twenty-eighth of June exhibited to the whole world the dreadful consequences of such tolerance.

It is clear from the statements and confessions of the criminal authors of the assassination of the twenty-eighth of June, that the murder at Sarajevo was conceived at Belgrade, that the murderers received the weapons and the bombs with which they were equipped from Serbian officers and officials who belonged to the Narodna Odbrana, and, finally, that the dispatch of the criminals and of their weapons to Bosnia was arranged and effected under the conduct of Serbian frontier authorities.

The results brought out by the inquiry no longer permit the Imperial and Royal Government to maintain the attitude of patient tolerance which it has observed for years toward those agitations which center at Belgrade and are spread thence into the territories of the Monarchy. Instead, these results impose upon the Imperial and Royal Government the obligation to put an end to those intrigues, which constitute a standing menace to the peace of the Monarchy.

In order to attain this end, the Imperial and Royal Government finds itself compelled to demand that the Serbian Government give official assurance that it will condemn the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary, that is to say, the whole body of the efforts whose ultimate object it is to separate from the Monarchy territories that belong to it; and that it will obligate itself to suppress with all the means at its command this criminal and terrorist propaganda. In order to give these assurances a character of solemnity, the Royal Serbian Government will publish on the first page of its official organ of July 26/13, the following declaration:

“The Royal Serbian Government condemns the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary, that is to say, the whole body of the efforts whose ultimate object it is to separate from the Austro- Hungarian Monarchy territories that belong to it, and it most sincerely regrets the dreadful consequences of these criminal transactions.

“The Royal Serbian Government regrets that Serbian officers and officials should have taken part in the above-mentioned propaganda and thus have endangered the friendly and neighborly relations, to the cultivation of which the Royal Government had most solemnly pledged itself by its declarations of March 31, 1909.

“The Royal Government, which disapproves and repels every idea and every attempt to interfere in the destinies of the population of whatever portion of Austria-Hungary, regards it as its duty most expressly to call attention of the officers, officials, and the whole population of the kingdom to the fact that for the future it will proceed with the utmost rigor against any persons who shall become guilty of any such activities, activities to prevent and to suppress which, the Government will bend every effort.”

This declaration shall be brought to the attention of the Royal army simultaneously by an order of the day from His Majesty the King, and by publication in the official organ of the army.

The Royal Serbian Government will furthermore pledge itself:

1. to suppress every publication which shall incite to hatred and contempt of the Monarchy, and the general tendency of which shall be directed against the territorial integrity of the latter;

2. to proceed at once to the dissolution of the Narodna Odbrana to confiscate all of its means of propaganda, and in the same manner to proceed against the other unions and associations in Serbia which occupy themselves with propaganda against Austria-Hungary; the Royal Government will take such measures as are necessary to make sure that the dissolved associations may not continue their activities under other names or in other forms;

3. to eliminate without delay from public instruction in Serbia, everything, whether connected with the teaching corps or with the methods of teaching, that serves or may serve to nourish the propaganda against Austria-Hungary;

4. to remove from the military and administrative service in general all officers and officials who have been guilty of carrying on the propaganda against Austria-Hungary, whose names the Imperial and Royal Government reserves the right to make known to the Royal Government when communicating the material evidence now in its possession;

5. to agree to the cooperation in Serbia of the organs of the Imperial and Royal Government in the suppression of the subversive movement directed against the integrity of the Monarchy;

6. to institute a judicial inquiry against every participant in the conspiracy of the twenty-eighth of June who may be found in Serbian territory; the organs of the Imperial and Royal Government delegated for this purpose will take part in the proceedings held for this purpose;

7. to undertake with all haste the arrest of Major Voislav Tankosic and of one Milan Ciganovitch, a Serbian official, who have been compromised by the results of the inquiry;

8. by efficient measures to prevent the participation of Serbian authorities in the smuggling of weapons and explosives across the frontier; to dismiss from the service and to punish severely those members of the Frontier Service at Schabats and Losnitza who assisted the authors of the crime of Sarajevo to cross the frontier;

9. to make explanations to the Imperial and Royal Government concerning the unjustifiable utterances of high Serbian functionaries in Serbia and abroad, who, without regard for their official position, have not hesitated to express themselves in a manner hostile toward Austria-Hungary since the assassination of the twenty-eighth of June;

10. to inform the Imperial and Royal Government without delay of the execution of the measures comprised in the foregoing points.

The Imperial and Royal Government awaits the reply of the Royal Government by Saturday, the twenty-fifth instant, at 6 p.m., at the latest.

A reminder of the results of the investigation about Sarajevo, to the extent they relate to the functionaries named in points 7 and 8 [above], is appended to this note.?


?The crime investigation undertaken at court in Sarajevo against Gavrilo Princip and his comrades on account of the assassination committed on the 28th of June this year, along with the guilt of accomplices, has up until now led to the following conclusions:

1. The plan of murdering Archduke Franz Ferdinand during his stay in Sarajevo was concocted in Belgrade by Gavrilo Princip, Nedeljko Cabrinovic, a certain Milan Ciganovic, and Trifko Grabesch with the assistance of Major Voija Takosic.

2. The six bombs and four Browning pistols along with ammunition — used as tools by the criminals — were procured and given to Princip, Cabrinovic and Grabesch in Belgrade by a certain Milan Ciganovic and Major Voija Takosic.

3. The bombs are hand grenades originating from the weapons depot of the Serbian army in Kragujevatz.

4. To guarantee the success of the assassination, Ciganovic instructed Princip, Cabrinovic and Grabesch in the use of the grenades and gave lessons on shooting Browning pistols to Princip and Grabesch in a forest next to the shooting range at Topschider.

5. To make possible Princip, Cabrinovic und Grabesch’s passage across the Bosnia-Herzegovina border and the smuggling of their weapons, an entire secretive transportation system was organized by Ciganovic. The entry of the criminals and their weapons into Bosnia and Herzegovina was carried out by the main border officials of Shabatz (Rade Popovic) and Losnitza as well as by the customs agent Budivoj Grbic of Losnitza, with the complicity of several others.?

On the occasion of handing over this note, would Your Excellency please also add orally that — in the event that no unconditionally positive answer of the Royal government might be received in the meantime — after the course of the 48-hour deadline referred to in this note, as measured from the day and hour of your announcing it, you are commissioned to leave the I. and R. Embassy of Belgrade together with your personnel.

An Analytical Essay on

the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia


Richard Bulger

History of Western Civilization II



On June 28th, 1914, while traveling in a motorcade through Sarajevo, a Serbian Nationalist assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The European continent was divided in to two confrontational alliances, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, who were on the brink of war. Europe, at that time, was described as a powder keg that was waiting to explode. The spark that ignited the first Great War occurred when Austria-Hungary issued an unacceptable, harsh ultimatum to Serbia in response to the Archduke?s assassination. This document was the excuse that the two great powers needed to declare war on each other and bring about a conflict that encompassed the entire world.


The ultimatum was delivered Thursday, July 23 at 6 P.M. and required a reply from Serbia, by 6 P.M. on the following Saturday. The opening of the document described the events that had taken place when the Archduke was assassinated and illustrated the ongoing tension between their two nations regarding the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovine. Austria-Hungary condoned the Serbian government of for tolerating propaganda and organizations that were designed to rally public support against the Austro-Hungarian government. Serbia was accused of violating an agreement between their two governments in 1909 to curb any movements against the Austria-Hungary Kingdom.

In order to prevent war Serbia was required to comply with all 10 demands that Austria-Hungary listed. The ultimatum contained the official results of the investigation conducted by Austria-Hungary officials. In order to prevent war, Serbia had to accommodate all of the demands, accept the result of the Austrian-Hungarian inquiry, and the Royal Government of Serbia was required to publish, on the front page of the Official Journal, a statement condemning the propaganda against Austria Hungary.

The fifth demand, one of the more severe directives, ordered Serbia to allow Austrian officials in their country to suppress the uprising against the Monarchy. The sixth request would have allowed Austrian agents to participate in the investigation of the assassination. Basically Serbia was ordered to allow Austria to invade and direct their government affairs without a declaration of war.

The ultimatum demanded the arrest of two individuals, Major Voislav Tankosic and Milan Ciganovitch, who were believed to have masterminded the assassination of Francis Ferdinand. The Serbian government was ordered to disband a group of nationalists, the Narodna Odbrana, and any similar societies. In addition, Serbia had to remove any military or government official, who had campaigned against Austria-Hungary, from their post. Finally, Serbia was directed to notify Austria-Hungary with the actions they were taking in accordance to the ultimatum immediately.

Austria attached the conclusion of their investigation into the murder of the Archduke, as an appendix to the ultimatum. Austria believed that the plot was formed in the Serbian capitol of Belgrade. The result of the investigation stated that training for the assassination occurred on Serbian soil and the weapons used were furnished from the armories of Serbian military forces. Austria-Hungary accused five individuals Gavrilo Princip (the assassin), Nedeljko Cabrinovic, Milan Ciganovic, Trifko Grabesch, and Major Voija Takosic of directly participation in the plot against Archduke Francis Ferdinand.

Historical Context

The tension arose between the two governments of Austria-Hungary and Serbia after the congress of Berlin in 1879. The German Kaiser Bismark negotiated a peace treaty, which entitled Austria-Hungary to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were primarily inhabited by Serbians. The archduke was chosen as a target for assassination because Serbians feared that he would heighten persecution of Serbs living within the boundaries of the Austrian-Hungarian empire if he claimed the throne.

The Serbian terrorist organization, the Black Hand, had trained a small group of teenage operatives to infiltrate Bosnia and carry out the assassination of the Archduke. It is unclear how officially active the Serbian government was in the plot. However, according to Larry MacDonald in his book ?The First Months of Fighting? the leader of the Black Hand was Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, the head of Serbian military intelligence.

The Austro-Hungarian government feared attack from Russia. In 1879 Austro-Hungary and Germany agreed to form a Dual Alliance. This became the Triple Alliance when in 1882 it was expanded to include Italy. The three countries agreed to support each other if attacked by either France or Russia.

In 1907 Russia formed a union with England and France in an alliance known as the Triple Entente. In 1914 Serbia was under the protection of the Russian government. Russia vowed to use military force to protect Serbia if Austria-Hungary decided to invade.

The Austro-Hungarian government waited for over 3 weeks after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand to issue their ultimatum. During this time the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and his Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg vowed that Austria-Hungary could rely on German support whatever for whatever action was necessary to deal with Serbia, in effect offering Austria-Hungary a blank check

After Austria received confirmation of German support they issued their ultimatum to Serbia. After Serbia rejected the ultimatum a domino effect occurred, on July 28th 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany declared war on Russia and France with in days of Austria?s declaration and World War I erupted.


Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with a lengthy list of demands, with only a 48 hour period in which to comply. After the Assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand I believe that Austria should have reacted to the threat that this situation presented. The demands to abolish all propaganda against the Austria-Hungarian Kingdom and take legal action against certain officials, that the preliminary investigation concluded were guilty of committing the murder, were all in my mind reasonable requests.

There is evidence that supports that the Serbian Government supported the movement by turning a blind eye and secretly provided training to the Black Hand Assassins. With officials like Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, the head of Serbian military intelligence, actively participating in terrorist activities it is rational to demand removal of certain government officials from their offices.

However given the Alliance System that had been established and the continuing bad blood that has been boiling in the Baltic Peninsula; I believe that forcing agents of the Triple Alliance to control all investigations and proceedings concerning the murders in Sarajevo was too harsh. Prince Alexander, from Serbia, responded by stating ?compliance is an absolute impossibility for any nation that has the slightest regard for its dignity?. I agree with this statement, the terms of the ultimatum were unacceptable for any independent nation to accept willingly.

Our textbook ?The Western Heritage, Seventh Edition? states that it is speculated that Germany was secretly preparing for war. I don?t believe any nation state realized the sheer amount of devastation and loss of human life as a result of these alliances. Perhaps this document was created on the belief that Triple Alliance was intimidating enough to prevent Russia from intervening in the affairs of Serbia. Once Austria-Hungary received the German ?Blank Check? pledge they issued their ultimatum to Serbia understanding that the Serbs would reject their demands.


On July 23rd 1914, following the murder of Archduke Ferdinand, the Austria-Hungarian Empire issued an ultimatum to Serbia. The terms and conditions of the ultimatum were so severe that the likelihood of Serbia yielding to their demands was improbable. In retrospect the assassination, the negative propaganda, and the continuing dispute over the Baltic Peninsula were extreme problems. However these were not issues that warranted the Globe to become involved in a war with heavy casualties. Had Austria-Hungary been more yielding while writing their ultimatum it is possible that the Alliances could have maintained their uneasy truce, if not indefinitely peace may have been possible, at least for a while.

A secret, patriotic society, the Narodna Odbrana or ‘Defense of the People’ was founded in Serbia in approximately 1908. Its intent was to strengthen a spirit of nationalism. As well, volunteer cells prepared to take ’special and independent military action’ were part of its organizational structure. Gavrilo Princip apparently held membership in this society.

The following was a description of the society’s program, which appeared in the Narodna Odbrana, published by the Central Committee of the Narodna Odbrana Society.