Tinderbox Europe – From Balkan Troubles to World War I PRELUDE TO WW1 – Part 2/3

Tinderbox Europe – From Balkan Troubles to World War I PRELUDE TO WW1 – Part 2/3

My Name is Indy Neidell and this channel, The Great War, follows World
War I week by week exactly 100 years later, but before we can do that properly, we thought
we’d give you a little background on Europe in 1914. Okay, the immediate cause of World War I was
the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which we’ll cover in a separate special
episode. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the cultural hatred and nationalistic
fever that led up to his assassination. This was something that was happening all over Europe, heck, it was happening all over the world, but especially in the Balkans. So let’s take a look at the empire
of Austria-Hungary and the Balkan nations. Now, this empire, even as it still grew, was slowly
being torn apart by the tensions of its multi-ethnic states, in particular the Slavic ones. Now, in
1908, Emperor Franz Josef had formally annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now this annexation inflamed anti-Austrian hatred throughout the
Balkans, but especially in Serbia who were denied the chance of an Adriatic port by Austrian
expansion into 375 miles of predominantly Slavic territory. This also gave Austria a base that she
could use for any military adventures against Serbia. Now, what you have to realize is that the Slavs
were split up between Austria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria and most of them
dreamed of a pan-Slavic nation. These nations, though, except for Austria, had been not only
part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but often violently oppressed parts of the
Ottoman Empire and only recently were they finally able to determine their own fates. So, seeing
Austria suddenly gobble up new territory with a sizable Slavic population… well… not good. If you look at Serbia in the first decade
of the 20th century – here’s what you find: First and foremost: a young and proud nation.
Serbia had only gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, and it was intensely
nationalistic. The rest of Europe looked at Serbia suspiciously, though, and its catchphrase
“where dwells a Serb, there is Serbia”…well, you can see how that didn’t sit well with
a lot of people, and let’s face it, the only way for Serbia to have united the southern
Slav peoples would have been to bring down Austria-Hungary for good, which would’ve
taken a war, which is kind of what happened. Fewer than five million people lived in Serbia,
though, so all intentions aside, that wasn’t going to happen by itself. However, in the
search for allies, Serbia alienated a lot of Europe by the brutal and often violent repression
of its own minority peoples, especially Muslims, in much the same way Serbs and other minorities
were repressed by Austria-Hungary, so they didn’t get a whole lot of sympathy, and
also: endless Balkan violence was nothing new to people. In fact, it was just one of
those things that most Europeans were resigned to reading about in the papers from time to
time another murder, another bombing, in that
far off corner of Europe where such things just seem to happen and regime change was
often by murder. Actually, stereotypes aside, the last did
happen – in 1903. King Alexander and Queen Draga were murdered in their private apartments
by a group of young army officers and their bodies were mutilated. Now, one of the men responsible, Dragutin Dimitrijevic, became a national hero when he was wounded by Royal Guards. He was
also known simply as Apis and had been a founding member and leader of the Black Hand – who organized
the hit on the king and queen. The Black Hand. You just sort of know from
the name that these guys aren’t going to be devoted to, you know, starting soup kitchens
or maintaining city parks. Anyhow, by the beginning of the first World
War there were thousands of members of the Black Hand, many of them Serbian army officers
and even government officials, and this secret organization did pretty much what you would
expect of a terrorist organization- plan political murders, train and equip guerillas,
and so forth, and they and Serbian nationalist goals in
general got a big boost in 1912 and 1913 from the two Balkan wars, which I’m going to
tell you about right now. Okay, not RIGHT now, because to talk about the Balkan Wars I first have to talk about the Moroccan crises. Now, there were two of these, one in 1905 and one
in 1911, and you can look them up for details, but what they very basically and very generally
involved was the Kaiser trying to drive a wedge between England and France and hopefully
even form an alliance between Germany and England. But they succeeded in doing the opposite- and made the alliance between France and Britain stronger than ever and drove a deeper wedge between them and Germany. Another result was that France took control
of Morocco. Now, at the time, Britain had Egypt, right? So what happens next is
very important. Italy saw Ottoman land
being seemingly handed out, and thought “I gotta get me some of that!”… So Italy went to war. Now, because of all the Moroccan foolishness, Italy figured – correctly – that England, France,
and Germany would do nothing to stop her, so she attacked the Ottoman Empire.
The war lasted less than a month and Italy successfully took Libya. And the dominoes start to fall… The Balkan states, seeing how easily the weakest
of the powers could beat the Ottoman Empire, got together and attacked in the First Balkan
War. Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria, with Russian influence, formed the Balkan
League and together succeeded in driving the Ottomans out of the Balkans entirely for
the first time in 500 years. It was a big loss for the Ottomans. However, one month
after the war Bulgaria, unsatisfied with the way the conquered territories were split
up, turned around and attacked Serbia and Greece. A side note here: Serbia occupied
Albania in the 2nd Balkan war and finally had a seaport of her own, but Austria issued
an ultimatum to remove all Serbian forces from Albania within eight days. Serbia complied. Now, as you may guess, this was all a complete
mess, and here are some important results: Serbia pretty much doubled her territory in
the Balkan Wars, even without Albania, and if you asked a Serb in early 1914 they’d
probably say that wars seemed to work out pretty well for them, but they’d pay a terrible
price in the end: between 1912 and 1918 one out of every six
Serbs – men, women, and children – would die violently. After the collapse of the Balkan League and
Russia’s clearly Pro-Serbian position in the second war, Russia was left with only
Serbia as an ally in the entire area, and Russia really wouldn’t have much choice
but to unconditionally support Serbia in 1914. Both Austria-Hungary and Germany were worried
by Serbia’s growth in both size and stature, and since a lot of German speaking people
saw Serbia as a Russian satellite, well, Austria was ready and willing to put its foot down
on Serbian growth and Slavic nationalism. At the same time, after losing a war to Japan
in 1905 and being unable to prevent the Bosnian annexation in 1908, the Tsar in Russia was willing and ready to put his foot down to prevent any further loss of face for Russia. And that’s where we were in June 1914. All
of these sides playing off one against the another and at the epicenter of it all, in the Balkans,
an organization that used terrorism and political murder to try and achieve its goals. And then Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo. If you missed our Prelude to War Special number 1 you can click here and watch it right now. You can also check out our other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter in the infobox below for more information about The Great War.

100 thoughts on “Tinderbox Europe – From Balkan Troubles to World War I PRELUDE TO WW1 – Part 2/3

  1. What's with Serbs that assassinate people becoming heroes, I'd rather see the military leaders become better recognized

  2. Why these "special" episodes does not have finnish subtitles? It would be great if you can make finnish subtitles for these videos also. Then i could watch this with my father and brother. They dont understand english enough to watch these. Im very happy and excited about this channel. Thank you!

  3. Is it possible to get the map you are using in your videos? Would be of great help for my studies this semester!
    Loving the show so far!

  4. The minority Serbs were opressed by the Ottomans leading to their independence. They then in turn opressed minorities in their newly formed nation.

    This is the blindness that Nationalism always leads to, for all nations throughout history.

  5. Just a side-note ..the territories Serbia gained after the Balkan wars were old serbian territory (from the middle age) before the turkish invaded and established the Ottoman empire in this part of Europe.

  6. This is truly amazing, I wish I knew about this from the start. People need to see this, history is not boring! Congratulations on this project, I will now binge watch your entire channel.

  7. I tried to hear the German version of this, and I just couldn't since understanding it was so difficult. Why does hearing French sound so much easier to English-speaking ears than German, when English is supposedly a Germanic language? I know that French has influenced English vocabulary far more than German. But still, you would think that I would find it easier to follow German than French.

  8. Serbia gained indipendance from ottoman empire in 1878 isnt true . Bulgaria gained independence 1878 not Serbia

  9. This is what pisses me off. YouTube will advertise and top trending a bunch of mindless shit, but amazing stuff like this never features.

  10. Just found this channel, wish I'd found it sooner! Catching up's gonna take a while…but I'm really liking it so far!

  11. Actually Bulgaria mobilized her armies in response to the mass killing of Bulgarians done by Greece and Serbia in the desputed areas. Driven mad by this, Bulgarians tried to do the same to Greek and Serbs in these areas but there was a problem: there were no Greek nor Serbs in there- only Bulgarians. And so the war began, seemingly started by Bulgaria but actually she was provoked by her greedy "allies".

  12. I just discovered the story of Austrian espionage Col. Alfred Redl. I found a "Cabinet Card" with a notation on back. Little is found on him, but his actions as Russia's top spy for the years leading to WW1 cost huge miscalculations, gave away Serbia attack plans, and much more. He was the arch-double agent. His impact I have not heard addressed.

  13. I think the most important thing was that Austria -Hungary got nothing at all. Two successive crises in the Balkans against an ancient Hapsburg enemy without any gains stings and gives a reputation as an impotent husk of a nation. It meant that an Austrian "diplomatic victory" would be worse than useless.

  14. By far the greatest channel on Youtube. Would love a similar project on World war 2 once this is done. I would love to support that as well on kickstarter.

  15. Have just jumped into all that this channel has to offer. I am loving it! Binge-watching commenced! Thank you for all your hard work. This is fantastic!

  16. He forgot one MINOR thing: to mention that Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece wanted to divide Macedonia between themselves after the end of the Ottoman Empire, which was the actual reason fro the First Balkan War in 1912. The reason for the Second Balkan War in 1913 was Bulgaria's dissatisfaction with how big portion of Macedonia it got. Get your facts right! Macedonia, the land of Alexander the Great has been under foreign occupation for centuries but you can't erase its people – the Macedonians.

  17. Congratulations on taking on such an enormous project in an era where many people only have an attention span long enough to take a selfie..Read 'Thunder at Twilight'..??

  18. I wish we would have had You Tube back in 1990 when I was a student at the University of Iowa taking a WWI class. This guy is freaking AWESOME!!!!!

  19. I'm surprised that many people didn't know about this, its standard stuff learned in schools in eastern Europe anyways great video 🙂

  20. Calling the Black Hand a terrorist organization is fairly imprecise since the viewer can easily take the term for granted and understand it in the context of modern-day terrorism.

  21. It's also interesting how some organisations are considered by you(westerners) as terrorists and others as liberation armies, first you considered KLA (kosovo liberation army) a terrorist, then you made them in to freedom fighters… Why is Black Hand a terrorist organisation? They fought for the freedom of Serbian people from Austria-Hungary that annexed Bosnia! Now you say a lot of bad stuff about Russian "annexation" of Crimea even thought people voted for it, and Ukrainians are a minority in that part of Ukraine… And Also first Russian capital was in Kiev the capital of today's Ukraine. Westerners, mostly Germans did horrible things to Slavs basically separating them and turning them against each other, that practice continues today. And Franz Ferdinand was send in to Sarajevo to lead a show of Austrian military might, some kind of exercises, on Serbian national holiday Vidovdan when Serbs where fighting the battle of Kosovo against Ottomans and both the Serbian ruler and the Ottoman were killed in that battle, that battle is of epic meaning to Serbs! That was a clear provocation, and Austria provoked Serbs a lot(Pig/Customs war, Threatening Serbia with ultimatum when Serbia took the north territories of today's Albania from Ottomans (that were previously Serbian territories), forming Albania just to disallow Serbia to have a sea access and weaken its position, annexation of Bosnia), it wanted to control Serbia and it wanted to occupy it and it failed! They wanted war and were constantly bullying Serbia and some Yugoslavian patriot killed their prince… natural motion of events…

  22. Albania didn't exist then! Italy and Austria-Hungary had been instrumental in the creation of an independent Albanian state just to stop Serbia. The Serbs even had a signed agreement by Albanian leaders to take a part of "their" North territory for "freeing" them from Ottomans. The north part of Albania was also in Serbia before the ottomans… But Austria-Hungary made an ultimatum and helped formed an Albanian state. Just to weaken Serbia and not to allow Serbia to have a sea port…

  23. And you say that A-H and Germany were worried by Serbian growth? What was Serbia when they took mostly Serbian populated Bosnia? What rightful reason did they have for that, other than to make their empire even bigger?
    And stop with this theory about black hand being the one crucial element for the war… War was about to happen because A-H was constantly pushing Serbia around. A-H only needed a valid casus beli. Germany and Austria overreached and that is the only truth. Yugoslavian king was killed in 1934. by a Bulgarian loyalist and Yugoslavia didn't go to war with anybody. What idiot will think that Serbia wanted a war against an Empire much larger than it, and in the end Serbia did lost 25% of its population in ww1. And was at a part of the war almost non existent! Serbian military and king left the country ffs! And Gavrilo Princip was a freedom fighter not a terrorist! He killed a commanders of the occupying military force! But you like to point things against the Slavs. When you like it some are terrorists some are freedom fighters, An example fighting for communists are terrorists, fighting against communists are freedom fighters! Al Qaeda were freedom fighters trained by cia to fight ussr until they turned on you! Russians in Ukraine are not freedom fighters? You are the biggest hypocrites there are!

  24. Great Scott this channel looks amazing. I know I'm super late but one question:
    The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina wasn't an aggressive land grab because those lands were already under Austrian rule, right? Wouldn't it be like the US making Puerto Rico an official state and then Cuba claiming we stole their chance at a pan-carribbean nation? Other than wanting the land and the sea access, did Serbia have a right to it?

  25. Indy and crew, this has been the greatest series on YouTube and the best exploration of the Great War ever done. My teenage son and I have had many enjoyable hours learning about WW1 together which has led to thought provoking discussions about how it led to WW2 and forever changed human history. I know this project had a predetermined end point but perhaps a second series on post war Europe leading up to WW2 would be a natural next step. Thank you so much for your work on this amazing project to bring the past back to life for a whole new generation.

  26. WWI is much more fascinating than WWII, just started a marathon from 1914 to spring 1916, I'm already lovin' this!

  27. Okay so y'all got one thing wrong. The second balkan war began because the other balkan states we're unsatisfied with how Bulgaria got all the land, and they didnt. Bulgaria started the war because they feeled threatened from the rest of the balkan countries. You guys said that Bulgaria was unsatisfied with how the land was distributed…

  28. 4:20 from what i know it was not all about making france and england rivals(they were and and england offered germany alliance but they didnt accept).It was more about german public (or the kaisers) opinion that no big questions of the time(like african imperialism) should be decided without germany.Correct me if im wrong.

  29. Having finished all of 1914 and returning to these prelude episodes, I am speechless at the epic scope of this channel. As for Mr Neidell, no time to argue, you throw me the idol, I throw you the whip. Seriously now, excellent narrator. Excellent. Cheers all around.

  30. I love this channel but am so sad I just found it since it will be wrapping up soon. But man, you all are amazing. Thank you so much for this. Please let us know if there more channels in the works.

  31. Hi Indy and crews, can you tells us about how the people of Austria-Hungary and Germany formed an legions like polish and Czech legion against Russia until they switched side for independence

  32. Serbia conquered north Albania in First, not Second Balkan war. Greeks and Montenegrins got parts of Albania too. But after First Balkan war some countries which didn't spill a drop of their blood, took on them self to throw out those who spilled blod for Albania, and give it to Italy and not to make it independent country. Looking at Great Britain and Italy especialy.

  33. The way they did this series makes you really understand how long the war really was. Looking back at history you can overlook how how long or short 4.25 year is. But if you followed this project from the beginning you have a real understanding.

  34. If you wonder how the Thracian battlefields of the First Balkan War look, we did a small expedition to visit them


  35. Such an excellent show!! Love all of the information you give. It never ceases to amaze me as to how the worlds history seems to repeat itself. What’s the old saying about not knowing one history?! 😳 Please keep it up!

  36. Russia had no choice but to support Serbia unconditionally in 1914 because it had no other allies in that troubled area??? That is a completely unsupported statement which seems meant to justify the old distorted Anglo-French narrative of the war. Russia was not forced to support a nation that sponsored terrorism. If it had not, life would have gone on as usual in Russia and for that matter most of Europe as Serbia got what was coming to her. At least this video admits Serbia's ties to terrorism. Gee, do you think if a Syrian supported terrorist assassinates an American head of state that Russia will be forced to support Syria 'unconditionally' in a war because that's the only ally Russia has in the area? The old Britain, France, and Russia were forced into the war by Germany justification wears a little thin 100 years on.

  37. Also : France has always had a special friendship with Serbia, wheather cultural or political, even famous writers like Victor Hugo wrote about this country, so when Serbia got attacked by a Germanic alliance, France would obviously be on the Serbian side. (a few people know that but France used to had an alliance as strong with Serbia as the Russian one.

  38. I totally opposite your quite out dated views of Austrian Hungarian Empire description. Instead and many new generation historians have found it was much more stable than often claimed. First, it had steady economic growth since 1860's, actually faster than that of Germany, Russia, France and Britain. Second, it was much more liberal and tolerant than common myth is suggesting. Third it gave surprisingly free autonomy to different ethnic nationalities. It wasn't any kind of tyranny ruled by Austrians and Hungarians. Compare Serbia and its poor system to Habsburg empire. According historians of modern era many of them are not seeing serious large scale ethnic tensions inside Habsburg Empire and its Slavic nationalities. Just like in Finland in 1913 – growing prosperity and modernization keep people quite loyal to their empire.

  39. Don't make no mistakes: Serbia was small but aggressive rogue states in early 1900's. It's short history was full of hated, violence and relatively poor economic development. Slavs living in Austria-Hungary had clearly much higher standard of living than Serbs in Serbia. No wonder why huge majority of Slavs didn't want to leave Empire because it was giving much better prospects for future. Nationalist Serbs in Serbia had nothing more left than fanaticism.

  40. Anti Austria-Hungary hatred among southern Slavs is wildly exaggerated claim by Indy. He once again is following typical Anglo French narrative. For instance in Bosnia after Sarajevo assassination was large scale anti Serbian atmosphere among Bosnian people and Croats. We should not underestimate the potential ability of people they comparing growing prosperity in Austria-Hungary and unstable poor ruling of Serbia. People like Bosniaks and Croats didn't want the nationalistic frenzy of Serbs. Life was better inside Austria-Hungary Empire.

  41. Please don't blame Czar, Kaiser Wilhelm and Franz Josef of this war. Czar was overrun by war party in Sankt Petersburg and Kaiser Wilhelm II wasn't either pro war in summer 1914. The situation was much more complex and in every nation there were both warmongers and peaceniks. Generally there wasn't any kind of common "militaristic atmosphere" before Sarajevo assassination. And even after that the frenzy for war was not nearly as common as sometimes claimed. The point here is: rulers were more isolated than often thought.

  42. Man is seems so forever ago when I saw this, I was in high when the centennial of the Great War stared and I graduated when it’s finally coming to an end.

  43. Serbia – ProudAustro-Hungary – Ottoman Empire- Weak    Bad neighbors makes for a bad neighborhood.  The assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the declaration of war against Serbia makes a lot more sense now.

  44. Go now! Learn the identity of the betrayer so we can end this madness, and restore the authority of the Black Hand.

  45. Interesting channel mate. thankyou. I like the big clear maps. Anyway I used to read a lot about the actual events, battles and tactics but now I find it much more riveting to research and look closer at the political posture and policies of the nations involved. I have read a bit about the British Foreign Policy particularly during the Cecil Rhodes era and his imperialist agenda and legacy he left through to the years leading up to to WW1. Just this decade or two from this perpective is both fascinating and shocking let alone what was happening in the Balkans during that time. We are led to believe that Archduke Ferdinand death was the spark that caused the war. It seems that this tragic event was already being planned and manipulated over a decade or more ago by some very smart powerful determined priveleged men. A very complex agenda involving alliances, treaties, ententes and massive financial enterprises from all angles. I am now looking at the Balkan crisis, which is how I found your channel. Keep up the great work. Its important and very relevant for todays issues. I'm kind of joing the dots. what a journey.

  46. One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans (1888). -Otto Von Bismarck

  47. It is obvious the Ottoman is the last line of defense towards the WW1. Once they are gone, the world war started.

  48. The channel is really great, but there is one ENORMOUS mistake in this particular episode. Bulgaria is independent since 1878, not Serbia. Serbia's autonomy from the Ottoman Imperia is fact 1829 (Treaty of Adrianople), I think. The first Serbian constitution is from 1835, so…yes. After all I'm Bulgarian.

    Except that…the channel is great!

  49. Still propaganda .
    Bulgaria wasn't satisfied with what had got, because Bulgarians territories populated with Bulgarains were given to others nations teritories like Serbia, Greece, Turkey, even Macedonia.
    All those regions are still populated by Bulgarians even today.
    That's why we weren't satisfied, and we still are not!
    In Greece Bulgarians were going to prison if they mentioned they are Bulgarians just 30 years ago, in Macedonia are totally brainwashed, don't even wanna talk about Serbia and Turkey.
    That's why!
    How come Mr Historian you done know that.

  50. While I LOVE this channel, if you really want another in-depth look at this war, indeed the 20th century, catch the podcast called “the History of the 20th Century .”

    A lot of the really crucial buildup to the war is covered there and it is not only really detailed, well-researched and well-delivered, but also it’s funny.

  51. 5:20 the Bulgarians failed to take Constantinople, since it's still in the Balkans the Turks still had a small foothold in the Balkans

  52. "Where dwells a Serb there is Serbia" – that is true for all ex-Yugoslavians and still valid today. Just look at Switzerland…

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