The First World War

The First World War was the greatest armed conflict in the history of mankind at that time and that is the reason that until the Second World War it was called The Great War. It lasted from 1914 till 1918, with the participation of the greatest world powers assembled in two opposing alliances, the Triple Entente (allies of Great Britain, Russia, France and later on the USA, with Serbia as part of the Allies) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy – which later on during the war sided with the Allies, and Turkey and Bulgaria. The war lasted for more than four years with 36 countries participating with around 1.5 billion people (3/4 of the total world population of the time). Around 70 million people were armed. Between 10 and 21 million died and even more were wounded. The was triggered by the Assassination at Sarajevo, but its causes were much deeper – the Central Powers imperialistic tendencies for a new world order.


In his novel The Serbian Trilogy (Srpska trilogija), an author, Stevan Jakovljević describes some key events of the WWI.


The First World War was fought at several fronts – the West, East, Balkan, Near East and Italian fronts. The 1914 attack of Austro-Hungary on Serbia took place over the Sava and the Drina rivers. Serbia was occupied in late 1915, after a joint attack of  Austro-Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria. The Serbian army retreated via Albania to the Adriatic coast.

The allies transported the Serbian army to Corfu (Greece) and Bizerte (Tunisia). When the exhausted Serbian army recuperated, it was moved to the Salonika Front, where battles were fought from 1916 to 1918. A famous battle of Kajmakčalan took place in September 1916. The Salonika Front was broken in autumn 1918. Serbia and Montenegro were liberated  in late 1918. Serbian army also liberated other regions where Serbs and South Slavs lived.


Until then, quite an insignificant state on the map, small Serbia amazed the whole world with its heroism, winning a great international reputation. No other country suffered so many casualties as Serbia – almost 50% of the mobilised soldiers was killed, and the 1,300,000 casualties made 28% of its total population.


Petar I Karađorđević, Aleksandar I Karađorđević, Nikola Pašić, Radomir Putnik, Živojin Mišić, Petar Bojović, Stepa Stepanović, Pavle Jurišić Šturm,  Gavrilo Princip