University of California
The Austro-Hungarian Occupation Regime in Serbia and Its Break-Down in 1918
Abstract: This paper discusses the occupation of Serbia during the First World War by Austro-Hungarian forces. The first partial occupation was short-lived as the Serbian army repelled the aggressors after the Battle of Kolubara in late 1914, but the second one lasted from fall 1915 until the end of the Great War. The Austro-Hungarian occupation zone in Serbia covered the largest share of Serbia’s territory and it was organised in the shape of the Military Governorate on the pattern of Austro-Hungarian occupation of part of Poland. The invaders did not reach a clear decision as to what to do with Serbian territory in post-war period and that gave rise to considerable frictions between Austro-Hungarian and German interests in the Balkans, then between Austrian and Hungarian interests and, finally, between military and civilian authorities within Military Governorate. Throughout the occupation Serbia was exposed to ruthless economic exploitation and her population suffered much both from devastation and from large-scale repression (including deportations, internments and denationalisation) on the part of the occupation regime.
Keywords: Serbia, Austria-Hungary, occupation of Serbia 1915–1918, Military Governorate, Great War