3407 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
no uncommon thing in Servian history;
that King Peter himself owed his throne
to the murder of King Alexander by regicides whom he allowed to go unpunished.
Of some facts we can be certain, and as
to others, with such conflicting testimony
and views, we can only have opinions.
Archduke Ferdinand was undoubtedly assassinated by Princip, after an unsuccessful attempt upon his life had been made
by Cabrinovic. Princip and Cabrinovic
and also Milan Ciganovic were all Austro-Hungarian subjects. Some of the conspirators, and possibly all, were members
of the Narodna Odbrana. Very probably
the bombs came from a Servian arsenal,
and it is equally probable that minor Servian officials were engaged in the plot.
That the Servian Government was engaged
in it is, however, altogether improbable;
for the gain that could be expected from
the Archduke's death was small, the danger and odium great. The Servian Government promptly expressed horror of and
disapproval of the act.
The Austrian view of the assassination
was first given to the world in an ultimatum
addressed to Servia on the 23d of July.
This communication recited that in 1909
Servia had promised to modify her policy
as regarded Austria-Hungary and to live
in future "on good neighborly terms" with
her, but that far from observing the terms
of this formal undertaking, the Servian
Government "has permitted the criminal
machinations of various societies and
associations directed against the Monarchy, and has tolerated unrestrained
language on the part of the press, the glorification of the perpetrators of the outrages,
and the participation of officers and functionaries in subversive agitation. It has
permitted an unwholesome propaganda
in public instruction, in short, it has permitted all manifestations of a nature to
incite the Servian population to hatred
of the Monarchy and contempt of its institutions."
The ultimatum then proceeded to declare that the assassination of the Archduke had been planned in Belgrade, and
asserted that in order to put an end to "the
intrigues which form a perpetual menace
to the tranquility of the Monarchy",
Austria-Hungary demanded of Servia that
it publish in its Official Journal of the 26th
of July, and also in an official bulletin to
the army, regret for the "fatal consequences" of the "criminal" propaganda
against Austria-Hungary, that it express
regret for the participation of Servian officials in the conspiracy, and that it disapprove and repudiate, and in future prevent,
any agitation directed against the destinies
Servia was also required to do the following specific things: (1) Suppress any
publication that should express hatred or
contempt of Austria-Hungary. (2) To
dissolve the Narodna Odbrana and similar societies. (3) To eliminate from public instruction in Servia everything hostile
in tendency toward Austria-Hungary.
(4) To remove from their offices all persons guilty of subversive propaganda, the
names of such persons to be supplied by
Austria-Hungary. (5) "To accept the
collaboration in Servia of representatives
of the Austro-Hungarian Government for
the suppression of the subversive movement
directed against the territorial integrity of
the Monarchy." (6) To take judicial
proceedings against accessories to the
assassination plot, and to admit Austro-Hungarian delegates to take part in the
investigation. (7) To arrest immediately
Commander Tankosic and Milan Ciganovic. (8) To prevent illicit traffic in arms,
etc., across the border and to dismiss
and punish the frontier officials who facilitated the passage of the assassins out of
Servia into Bosnia. (9) To furnish explanations of the hostile utterances of
high Servian officials, both at home and
abroad, made since the assassination.
(10) To notify the Imperial and Royal
Government without delay of the execution
of the demands above made.
Servians answer to these formidable demands was to be given "at the latest by
6 o'clock on Saturday evening, the 25th
of July," that is, in forty-eight hours.
The few days that followed were among
the most fateful in the history of mankind.