Institut des Etudes balkaniquesAcadémie Serbe des sciences et des arts Belgrade
The initial phase of the First World War in the Balkans 1914–1915 was a natural continuation of the conflicts opened during the Balkan Wars, but national fervour now encompassed all of the Balkans, from Rijeka and Ljubljana to Athens, Sofia and Bucharest, because the role of the Dual Monarchy had changed from that of an arbiter to that of a participant in the conflict. With the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the further survival of the Habsburg Monarchy was challenged by the Serbian government’s Yugoslav project, creating conditions for implementing the nationality principle in all of the Balkans. It seemed that, in support of the alliances that were being created in the Balkans and in Europe as a whole, the time had come for the final fulfilment of the national aspirations of the Balkan peoples. The outcome of this third Balkan war no longer depended solely on the balance of power inside the Balkans, but also on the overall course of the war. After the initial victories in 1914, Serbia suffered a defeat in 1915 and her armies were forced to retreat southward to Albania and Greece, but her Yugoslav project was the foundation of her future policies and the basis for materializing the concept of a common South-Slavic state.