At the same time of the turn of the nineteenth century that Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek of Austria-Hungary were attempting to convince Emperor Franz Josef that their marriage would not lead to the end of the Empire, another culturally inappropriate marriage was taking place between Alexander I of Serbia and Draga Lunjevica Mašin.  Draga, …

  • June 14, 2021
  • Comments Off on The First Murder of the Black Hand

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Historical fiction can be the a fantastic way to ingrain history events as long as it doesn’t deviate too far from the dry and dusty demands of factual “truthiness”, and in the vein The Second Seal by Dennis Wheatley is an excellent primer for the dabbler who wants to get started in the area World …

  • May 7, 2021
  • Reading , Review
  • Comments Off on A Fiction About a Fact

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Jelena of Serbia, described as “plain”, but also quiet and amiable by the nanny of the Romanov children whose friendship she shared, was not what the rest of Europe’s nobility pictured when told of someone demanding the release of the Tsar and his family.  And yet, Jelena was the only member of the Royal Family …

  • March 12, 2021
  • Comments Off on The Story of a Balkan Princess

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The crises in the Balkans jumped one to the next as the 1800s turned into the 1900s.  Royal assassinations turned into paradigm shifts, causing strikes against the status quo.   No longer wanting to be a dependent satellite of Austria-Hungary, Serbia turned toward Russia and began attempting to diversify their economics.  Sensing the threat to …

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The Pig War was not actually a war, and the weapons that started it were purchased, not shot.   Nevertheless, when the Austro-Hungarians decided to teach Serbia a lesson, it was triggered by Serbia’s decision to purchase weapons from outside the Habsburg sphere of influence.  The weapons were French, not coincidentally a treaty-partner to the …

  • March 3, 2021
  • History
  • Comments Off on The Weapons That Started the Pig War

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When Serbia, which had long been considered a satellite of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, began attempting to branch out their economic and trade relationships, Austria-Hungary reacted decisively in an attempt to quell any thoughts of an independent Slavic Balkans. The result, on 1 March 1906, was the Pig War of 1906-1908.  The Pig War was not …

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The last thousand years of Balkan history is a tale of three powers pulling on the limbs of an infant, as in the Biblical parable of Solomon’s wisdom.  The Balkan baby is yanked first toward Austria, then toward Russia, and all the while the Ottoman Empire is pulling steadily on its legs.  The arguments between …

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The provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be occupied and administered by Austria-Hungary…Austria-Hungary reserves the right to maintain garrisons and to have military and trading roads over the whole area of that portion [the Sandjak of Novi Pazar] of the ancient Vilayet of Bosnia. The diplomatic coda to the Pig War of 1906-1908 became, like …

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Very rarely is a shooting war in the Balkans about the subject which everyone claims was the Cassius Belli.  Sometimes it is about a political slight related the the topic, but usually it’s about money.  The same is true of economic wars.  The Great European Imperial Spheres of Influence criss-crossed the Balkans, and frequently collided …

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On 1 March 1906 Austria-Hungary decided they had enough of what they considered Serbia’s perfidy and decided to hit the Balkan country back where it would hurt – by denying Serbian products entry into the Austro-Hungarian market.  This decree hit one economic sector in particular, and it is that sector that gave this crisis its …

  • February 16, 2021
  • Bulgaria
  • Comments Off on The War That Wasn’t Quite a War

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