Commentary The War to End All Wars, 0614 RIBJ, 62 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 25

AuthorJerry Elmer, Esq., Conservation Law Foundation Staff Attorney, Edwards Wildman Palmer, LLP, Providence

Commentary The War to End All Wars

Vol. 62 No. 6 Pg. 25

Rhode Island Bar Journal

June, 2014

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0May, 2014

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0 Jerry Elmer, Esq., Conservation Law Foundation Staff Attorney, Edwards Wildman Palmer, LLP, Providence

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA02014 is the centenary of the beginning of World War I, and we are in for four years of hundredth-anniversary observances. In 2016, we'll hear about the Battle of Verdun, the longest battle of the war, as well as one of the longest in the history of warfare, from February through December 1916. On November 11, 2018, we'll mark the one hundredth anniversary of the armistice, ending the fighting at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0And this year, on June 28th, we will be reminded of the assassination in Sarajevo, Bosnia, of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie at the hands of a Serbian nationalist. The long-forgotten name of Gavrilo Princip, the Archduke's assassin, will resurface. And, it will be glibly repeated that this assassination caused the war.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0But that is not really true. The assassination was the occasion for the Austrian invasion of Serbia on July 28, 1914, but it was not the reason. There had long been tensions between Austria and Serbia. In 1912, during the First Balkan War, Serbia and Montenegro had driven out the Ottoman Turks, the colonial masters of Serbia since 1389. In 1913, in the Second Balkan War, Serbia was attacked by Bulgaria, but Serbia defeated Bulgaria and its allies and expanded its territory. In 1914, Austria viewed rising Serbian nationalism as a threat to its empire, and Serbia viewed Austria as a dangerous imperial power like the long-hated Ottoman Turks.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0The Austrian Army's Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Franz Conrad, had long wanted to invade upstart Serbia. In 1911, Conrad had been disciplined by the Austrian Kaiser, Franz Joseph, for his unbridled warmongering. In 1913, the year before the Sarajevo assassination, Conrad had formally proposed invading Serbia 25 separate times, but the Kaiser had rebuffed Conrad's invasion proposals every time. When the assassination occurred in 1914, Conrad finally got what he had been primping for all along, but the assassination was merely the excuse used by Conrad to accomplish what he had...

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