Institute for Balkan Studies
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
The Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Serbia as a “Civilizing Mission” (1915–1918)
Abstract: This paper analyses the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Serbia during the First World War and the activity of the occupation administration of the Military Governorate in the context of its “civilizing mission”. It points to the aspects of the occupation that reveal the Austro-Hungarians’ self-perception as bringers of culture and civilization as conducive to creating an ideological basis for a war against Serbia. The paper also presents their outlook on the world in the age of empires and their idea of establishing what they saw as a more acceptable cultural basis of Serbian national identity shaped primarily by loyalty to the Austro-Hungarian Emperor and King and the ideals of order and discipline. The process is studied through analysing the occupation policies aimed at depoliticizing the public sphere by closing the pre-war institutions of culture and education and introducing educational patterns primarily based on the Austro-Hungarian experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Keywords: Serbia in the First World War, Austro-Hungarian occupation 1915–1918, Imperial and Royal Military Governorate, civilizing mission, cultural and educational policies in the First World War