Miloš Ković

University of Belgrade

Faculty of Philosophy

History Department

Austria-Hungary’s “Civilizing Mission” in the Balkans

A View from Belgrade (1903–1914)

Abstract: The conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary in the years preceding the First World War is looked at in the global context of the “age of empire”. The Balkans was to Austria-Hungary what Africa or Asia was to the other colonial powers of the period. The usual ideological justification for the Dual Monarchy’s imperialistic expansion was its “civilizing mission” in the “half-savage” Balkans. The paper shows that the leading Serbian intellectuals of the time gathered round the Srpski književni glasnik (Serbian Literary Herald) were well aware of the colonial rationale and “civilizing” ambitions of the Habsburg Balkan policy, and responded in their public work, including both scholarly and literary production, to the necessity of resistance to the neighbouring empire’s “cultural mission”.

Keywords: imperialism, colonialism, “civilizing mission”, nationalism, Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Srpski književni glasnik (Serbian Literary Herald)

UDC 94:327(497.11:439.5)"188/190"



Original scholarly work