History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918)


History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918)

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Though an Austro-Hungarian occupying force quickly subjugated initial armed resistance upon take-over in Bosnia and Herzegovina, tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly Herzegovina) and a mass emigration of predominantly Muslim dissidents occurred. However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony". With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and generally to provide for modernization.

During the Austro-Hungarian administration, the internal divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina were kept, but their institutions modernized. The districts of Donja Tuzla, Banja Luka, Bihać, Sarajevo, Mostar and Travnik formed the regional government and were maintained until 1922.

Although successful economically, Austro-Hungarian policy - which focused on advocating the ideal of a pluralist and multi-confessional Bosnian nation (largely favored by the Muslims and championed by the Joint Finance Minister and Vienna-based administrator of Bosnia Benjamin von Kállay (1882-1903)) - failed to curb the rising tides of nationalism. The concept of Croat and Serb nationhood had already spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Catholics and Orthodox communities from neighboring Croatia and Serbia in the mid 19th century, and was too well-entrenched to allow for the wide-spread acceptance of a parallel idea of Bosnian nationhood. By the latter half of the 1910s, nationalism was an integral factor of Bosnian politics, with national political parties corresponding to the three groups dominating elections.

The idea of a unified South Slavic state (typically expected to be spear-headed by independent Serbia) became a popular political ideology in the region at this time, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian government's decision to formally annex Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 (i.e. Bosnian Crisis) added to a sense of urgency among these nationalists. The political tensions caused by all this culminated on June 28, 1914, when Serb nationalist youth Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo; an event that proved to be the spark that set off World War I. Although some Bosnians died serving in the armies of the various warring states, Bosnia and Herzegovina itself managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.

Austro-Hungarian Governors of Bosnia
13 Jul 1878- 3 Oct 1908 Austro-Hungarian military occupation
13 Jul-18 Nov 1878 Josef, Freiherr Philippovich von Philippsberg
18 Nov 1878- 6 Apr 1881 Duke Wilhelm von Württemberg
6 Apr 1881- 9 Aug 1882 Hermann, Freiherr Dahlen von Orlaburg
9 Aug 1882- 8 Dec 1903 Johann, Freiherr von Appel
8 Dec 1903-25 Jun 1907 Eugen, Freiherr von Albori
3 Oct 1908- 1 Dec 1918 integral part of Austria-Hungary
30 Jun 1907- 7 Mar 1909 Anton von Winzor
7 Mar 1909-10 May 1911 Marian von Varesanin-Vares
10 May 1911-22 Dec 1914 Oskar Potiorek
22 Dec 1914- 3 Nov 1918 Stefan, Freiherr von Sarkotic-Lovcen


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