Aleksandra's Note: The work of Nejbosa Malic is essential reading if one is interested in an honest, thus rare, perspective on the Great War of 1914-1918.
As the anniversary of the Great War draws near, expect the mainstream media and academia in the West to blame the Serbs for it. A few already have, here and there, but I would not be surprised if it becomes a concerted effort in the coming days.
The first shot may have already been fired: a reader let me know this morning that a new book is out by Cambridge historian Christopher Clark, that does just that. I wasn't surprised in the least to see that Clark is an acclaimed historian of Prussia, and therefore minimizes Germany's role in starting the war, shifting it to the Serbs and Russians instead.
I've addressed before this persistent tendency to blame the suicide of the West on the Other - i.e. the Orthodox Russians and Serbs, who were just rude and inconsiderate enough not to roll over and die when invaded by their Teutonic "betters."
"Serbia must die" - Austrian cartoon from 1914
The old-fashioned approach would be to write letters to the editor and comment on each article, but that's way too much work for one person (who is also engaged on other fronts). But a number of people working together, now, that's a different matter. For your reference, should you choose to avail yourself of them, here are some of my articles on the subject:
Triumph of Tragedy: A general view of the Great War (2008)
The Endless Summer of 1914: my first response to the "blame the Serbs and Russians" crowd (2010).
Age of Absurdity: another response to the same argument (2012)
The Enduring Schism: examining the Western hostility towards the Orthodox (2012).
Echoes of 1878 (2012) doesn't deal with the Great War per se, but examines the behavior of Western powers in the four decades prior, and the Balkans Wars.
Then, as now, the Serbs were a "disruptive factor" to the Mitteleuropäische Ordnung dreamed of by the Western powers - the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns and Saxe-Coburg-Gothas (a.k.a. the Windsors) then, the Atlantic Empire and the Brussels Union now. Not because they were "lawless", or had dreams of conquest, but because they insisted on being free. It was the Serbs who started to complicate the Eastern Question for the West, by launching a successful uprising against the Turks in 1804. It was the Serbs who resisted enormous pressure from Vienna to embrace Catholicism and drown in the Hapsburg melting pot. The only people in the Balkans without German kings or princes. That just could not be tolerated. Then, or now.
Technology may have changed since, but that basic fact has not. Make of that what you will.
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org