Modern Serbia (1804-1918)
Serbian resistance to Ottoman domination, latent for many decades surfaced at the beginning of 19th century with the First and Second Serbian Uprising in 1804 and 1815. The Turkish Empire was already faced with a deep internal crisis without any hope of recuperating. This had a particularly hard effect on the Christian nations living under its rule. The Serbs launched not only a national revolution but a social one as well and gradually Serbia started to catch up with the European states with the introduction of the bourgeois society values. Resulting from the uprisings and subsequent wars against the Ottoman Empire, the independent Principality of Serbia was formed and granted international recognition in 1878.
This period was marked by the alternation of two dynasties descending from Djordje Petrovic - Karadjordje, leader of the First Serbian Uprising and Milos Obrenovic, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising. Further development of Serbia was characterized by general progress in economy, culture and arts, primarily due to a wise state policy of sending young people to European capitals to get an education. They all brought back a new spirit and a new system of values. One of the external manifestations of the transformation that the former Turkish province was going through was the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882.
In the second half of 19th century Serbia was integrated into the constellation of European states and the first political parties were founded thus giving new momentum to political life. The coup d'etat in 1903, bringing Karadjordje's grandson to the throne with the title of King Petar I opened the way for parliamentary democracy in Serbia. Having received a European education, this liberal king translated "On Freedom" by John Stewart Mile and gave his country a democratic constitution. It initiated a period of parliamentary government and political freedom interrupted by the outbreak of the liberation wars. The Balkan wars 1912 - 1913, terminated the Turkish domination in the Balkans. Turkey was pushed back across the channel, and national Balkan states were created in the territories it withdrew from.
The assassination of Austrian Crown Prince Franc Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, served as a pretext for the Austrian attack on Serbia that marked the beginning of World War I. The Serbian Army bravely defended its country and won several major victories, but it was finally overpowered by the joint forces of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, and had to withdraw from the national territory marching across the Albanian mountain ranges to the Adriatic Sea. Having recuperated on Corfu the Serbian Army returned to combat on the Thessalonike front together with other Entante forces comprising France, England, Russia, Italy and the United States. In world War I Serbia had 1.264.000 casualties - 28% of its population (4.529.000) which also represented 58% of its male population - a loss it never fully recuperated from. This enormous sacrifice was the contribution Serbia gave to the Allied victory and the remodeling of Europe and of the World after World War I.