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Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections.
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Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 03 Oct 2011 06:24

We know that Gavrilo Princip fired the shots heard ‘round the world.

We know that he and his two compatriots were armed, trained, supplied, and financed, by Malobabic, a top agent employed by Dragutin Dimitrijevic (Apis) who used Milan Ciganovic as his go-between.

We know that Apis was suddenly appointed to his high position in June, 1913, after it became known that Ferdinand planned to visit Bosnia.

We know that Apis implicated the Russian Military Attache in Belgrade (Artamanov) in his written confession two days before his date with the firing squad. Take a look at the written confession submitted to the Serbian Officer’s Court at Salonika where he was imprisoned on charges of sedition:

I enlisted Rade Malobabic. . . .to organize for me an intelligence network in Austria-Hungary. . . .in agreement with Artamanov, the Russian Military Attaché, who met personally with Rade in my presence. After Rade had begun work, believing that Austria was preparing for war with us, I thought that with the removal of the heir to the throne, Ferdinand, the military party and current he headed would lose strength, thus removing or at least delaying the danger of war somewhat. For that purpose I hired Malobabic to organize Ferdinand’s murder upon his arrival in Sarajevo. I decided on this definitely only after Artamanov had assured me that Russia would not leave us undefended if Austria attacked us. On this occasion I did not mention my intention for the assassination, and my motive for asking his opinion about Russia’a attitude was the possibility that Austria might become aware of our activities, and use this as a pretext to attack us.
Malobabic carried out my instructions, organized and carried through the assassination. Its chief participants were all in my service and received small honoraria which I sent them through Malobabic.


Apis explained that I received money for this from Artamanov (the Russian Military Attache in Belgrade) since the [Serbian] General Staff did not then have credit to conduct this intensified work.” For his part, Artamanov asserted that his business with Apis was strictly official and denied any part in the Sarajevo plot: “I met with Mr. Dimitrijevitch exclusively in his office at the General Staff.” Artamanov was in Switzerland on leave from June 19 until July 15, 1914, during which time he was replaced by Alexander Verkhovskii, later War Minister in Russia’s Provisional Government. The head of the Petrograd Archeological Institute, Trydar-Burzynski, would later recall that The Sarajevo assassination was prepared with the support of the acting Russian Military Attaché in Belgrade, Captain Verkhovskii, a young man I had known for years and who told me sincerely the truth about the origins, preparation and execution of the plot.

Apis’ confession, kept secret until 1953, sealed his fate. In addition to wishing to remove Apis as a political competitor, the Salonika regime was anxious to show the then-likely victors—Germany and Austria—that it had dealt summarily with the Sarajevo plotters. Apis understood this also. He said:

I emphasized once to you that perhaps I erred in writing openly that I carried out the Sarajevo assassination. I would say now, on the basis of these hearings that this is the main reason why I will be killed.”

Interior Minister Stojan Protich confirmed in 1922 that Apis’ confession eliminated any possibility of a reprieve: As far as the late Dimitrijevitch (Apis) is concerned, the main thing is that he admitted to the court that it was he who had organized the Sarajevo assassination which gave Austria the excuse to declare war against us.

Thus we see that the threads of the murder conspiracy reached into Belgrade and St. Petersburg. But did they reach even further?




On Monday, June 29th, the day after the assassination, Russian ambassador to France, Alexander Isvolsky, disappeared from the face of the earth. He magically re-appeared three weeks later on July 20th as part of Czar Nicholas’ welcoming group to greet Poincare and Viviani who had arrived on board the France for a three-day visit to Russia. Let’s take a closer look at this auspicious occasion.

The visit was first announced in a telegram sent by Russian Ambassador Isvolsky to Russian Foreign Minister Sasonov on January 6, 1914. It stated—among other things—that the French President had decided to visit Russia “at the first opportunity.” The telegram is puzzling on a number of counts.
First, no reason for the visit is given then or later. Second, Poincaré had already visited Russia less than two years earlier. On that occasion he had stated that with the signing of the Naval Convention (the primary reason for the visit), the rapprochement with England, and resolution of the problem of building strategic railroads, all outstanding problems had been resolved and the Franco-Russian Alliance was now complete and secure.
Thus, apart from the fact that protocol demanded that it was now Russia’s turn to visit, the mysterious telegram with its too casual reference to a Presidential visit makes no apparent sense

On January 6, [1914] Isvolsky sends his telegram. Even though the phrase “at the first opportunity” suggests a certain degree of urgency, the telegram makes no mention of any reason or timing for the visit. There is no planning or preparation for the rest of January, neither February nor March, ditto April, May, and most of June. On June 28th the Archduke is murdered and one day later, Isvolsky secretly leaves for St. Petersburg and Poincaré with a full retinue follows Isvolsky on July 15, a mere two weeks after the assassination! The visit itself, first announced on January 6—it bears repeating—is concerned mainly with the aftermath of the Sarajevo crime! I have searched two Poincare biographies (Raymond Poincare by J.F.V. Keiger, and Raymond Poincare and the French Presidency by Gordon Wright) for any evidence of outstanding issues between France and Russia that might have required a face-to-face meeting. There were none. So if the only reason for the meeting was the Sarajevo assassination, how is it possible that it was announced on January 6th – almost six months before the event?

Poincare counseled Russia to be “firm” and to act with “dignity” knowing that Russian intervention in the Austro-Serb dispute could lead to a European war. The militant tenor and atmosphere of the three-day visit [July 20-23] is perfectly summed up by Palelogue’s diary entry describing Anastasia Romanov, the politically active wife of the Russian Commander-in-Chief:


Anastasia cried enthusiastically, “do you know we are passing through historic days, blessed days . . . at tomorrow’s review, bands will play nothing but Marche Lorraine and Sambre et Meuse . . . I have had a letter from my father [the King of Montenegro] today, in a code we agreed on; he tells me we shall have war before the month is out . . . what a hero my father! He is worthy of the Iliad. Stop a minute; look at this little box-it never leaves me. It has Lorraine soil in it. Lorraine soil, which I brought over the border when I was in France two years ago with my husband. And now look at this table of honor! It is entirely decorated with thistles. I would not have any other flowers put on it. Now then! They are from Lorraine! Melitza, go on telling the ambassador all today means to us while I go and receive the Czar.”
After dinner I was sitting next to the Grand Duchess Anastasia and the dithyrambics continued, mixed with prophecies: “war is going to break out . . . there will be nothing of Austria left . . . you will get Alsace-Lorraine back . . . our armies will meet in Berlin. Germany will be annihilated . . .”
Then, suddenly—“I must control myself, the Czar is looking at me
.”



Hold your horses, conspiracy theorists. There's more.

Apis’ confession confirms Russian complicity, but did Russia actually initiate the murder plot?
Consider the following from the minutes of the Special Conference of February 8, 1914, on which Czar Nicholas had penciled “I entirely approve of the resolutions of the Conference.”

The minutes relate that account must be taken of the possibility of the occurrence, perhaps even in the immediate future, of events which might radically alter the international situation of the Straits of Constantinople, and that it is therefore necessary to proceed without delay, in collaboration with the appropriate departments, to the preparation of a programme, elaborated in every direction, which should aim at the assurance of a solution in our favor of the historic question of the Straits.
The Conference discussed in minute detail the number and type of troops, ships, equipment, and tactics which would be employed in case of “the occurrence, perhaps even in the immediate future, of events. . .” that would permit a thrust towards the Straits.
What “events” were they anticipating?

This is of course speculation, but consider: By the summer of 1914, every taxi driver in London and Europe knew that further antagonism between Austria and Serbia could lead to a European war given Russian intervention. Any government that desired war could fairly easily orchestrate some damn foolish thing in the Balkans . . . “ (Bismarck)

The Sarajevo assassination was the most fateful in the history of the world and it deserves further investigation.

Be the detective.

Source: The Origins of the World War, S.B. Fay. Macmillan Co, Vol 2, Page 52-152
The Road to Sarajevo, Vladimir Didijer, Simon & Schuster, Page 398
Apis, the Congenial Conspirator, David MacKenzie, Columbia University Press,
Page 303
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby glenn239 on 03 Oct 2011 18:23

Apis' confession isn't good evidence; it was made under extreme duress, including allegations of torture and the threat of execution. In medieval terms, the threat of a death sentence in a kangaroo court would be called showing the instruments. The confession also contained a number of inaccurate statements, as if Apis himself were not particularily familar with the details of the Sarajevo assassination.

For that purpose I hired Malobabic to organize Ferdinand’s murder upon his arrival in Sarajevo.

Apis is spinning yarn. There is no evidence that Malobabic was involved in the actual plot, and this version of events is contradicted by the evidence from the Sarajevo trial, which indicates that Princip’s group initiated the plot and went to Belgrade to seek assistance. Aid not from Malobabic, but from Tankosic. There is no evidence Princip met or discussed anything with Molobabic or Apis in Belgrade. Albertini sought a connection between Apis and Princip, and he came up, IMO, blank.

Malobabic carried out my instructions, organized and carried through the assassination. Its chief participants were all in my service and received small honoraria which I sent them through Malobabic.”

None of this occurred; Malobabic carried out no instructions – this was done by Ciganovic and Tankosic. None of the assassins were in Apis’s service. None of them received any reward – certainly not by Malobabic (who was arrested in July 1914 and submitted to horrific conditions until his death), and certainly none of the assassins received anything from Serbia while sitting in Austrian jails.

I thought that with the removal of the heir to the throne, Ferdinand, the military party and current he headed would lose strength, thus removing or at least delaying the danger of war somewhat.

A chief of intelligence could not possibly have imagined that murdering the heir to the Austrian throne would 'remove' or 'delay' the severest crisis in Austro-Serbian history; Apis is either mentally unbalanced or lying.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Terry Duncan on 03 Oct 2011 18:48

Let us recap some of what Jon poster to debunk this rubbish the last two times you aired such claims;

Apis' confession is generally held to be unreliable at best. Dedijer certainly believed that he had exaggerated Malobabic's role whilst Joachim Remak in his book Sarajevo: Story Of A Political Murder wrote:

The plot's surviving participants have either kept silent or told stories widely at variance with one another, and a written confession left by Apis himself (which was suppressed by a succession of Belgrade governments until its release by Tito's in 1953) is plainly a mixture of truth and untruth.

David James Smith writes in One Morning In Sarajevo:

In return [for Malobabic giving evidence against him], Apis produced his own false admission of his role in the Sarajevo assassination, now naming Malobabic as the man he had appointed to arrange the entire plot...


Lets look at what Didijer says about the report Apis submitted too;

Without a doubt, Colonel Apis in this report exaggerated Malobabié’s role in the Sarajevo assassination. This can be explained by his mental condition at the time he wrote it. He was convinced that this new confession would produce a straight withdrawal of the Salonika charges. In the same report Apis spoke about his own role, contrary to
his habit of not boasting about his work. In the report he went to the other extreme.


So the source you cite, and at the bottom of the same page too, suggests Apis was at least not entirely honest - what a surprise for such a compulsive plotter and schemer - but lets carry on looking just over the page you cite on to page 399 to what else he says about Apis and the Salonika trial;

All the accused at the Salonika trial were asked what they knew about the Sarajevo plot, including Vulovic, Mehmedbasic, and Malobabic. It is interesting that their testimonies were not preserved in the archives of the Salonika trial. One of the reasons for this could be that they did not confirm Apis’s story. Before his death, Malobabic confessed to a priest in the Salonika prison: “They [meaning obviously Apis and Vulovic] ordered me to go to Sarajevo when that assassination was to take place, and when everything was over, they ordered me to come back and fulfill other missions, and then there was the outbreak of the war.” This last statement of Malobabic does not speak about the organization of the Archduke’s assassination, but only says that Malobabic was ordered to go to Sarajevo. Why he went remains a controversy—to stop the assassination or to approve it.


Far from covering things up, the Russian government acted in a very strange manner too;

The British and Russian governments advised Alexander to grant an amnesty. Particularly strong pressure was brought to bear by Tereshchenko, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Provisional Government.


So rather than remove all traces, the Russians and British were seeking an amnesty. Maybe you didnt read Didijer?

Hopefully Jon will have saved his replies to you, it certainly is not worth taking too much time as you refuse to accept anything anyone else posts unless it agrees with you 100%.

Apis' confession isn't good evidence; it was made under extreme duress, including allegations of torture and the threat of execution.


Glenn,

Maybe you would like to point out to Peter than almpst every single thing here was answered for him previously, and that there really should not be a need to discuss the same thing when it has already been proven false before.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 03 Oct 2011 19:37

How about this from the pen of a well-known professor of history at Belgrade, Stanoje Stanojevitch:

"Restless and adventuresome, he [Apis] was always planning conspiracies and assassinations. In 1903 he had been one of the chief organizers of the plot against King Alexander . . . In 1914 he took over and organized the [Sarajevo] plot against the Austrian Heir to the Throne . . . "

S.B. Fay wrote:

"Stanojevitch goes on to describe in detail how this Serbian General Staff officer helped organize the plot in Belgrade and provide the Bosnian youths with the bombs and Browning revolvers actually used at Sarajevo."

(The weapons were traced to a Serbian Government arsenal and Princip's Browning pistol is on display in a Vienna museum.)

David Mackenzie begins his book, Apis, the congenial conspirator, with a detailed description of the daily life of Apis, Malobabic, and Vulovic, after their arrest and confinement at Salonika. The commander of the Salonika prison considered Apis a Serbian hero and conferred upon Apis many privileges not available to other inmates. The three men were constantly in each others company and made no attempt to refute Apis' letter to the Officer's Court.

Did Apis "exaggerate" Malobabic's role in the assassination? Perhaps he did, but what's the point? AFAIK, Malobabic never charged Apis with exaggerating his role during their confinement at Salonika. MacKenzie describes Malobabic as dissolving in tears just before his execution and chastising Apis for having gotten him into this mess. Apis responded: "If it hadn't been for you, maybe none of us would be here." Apis then embraced him and counseled "only, be brave."

The implication that Apis was not involved [in the assassination] is absurd.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Terry Duncan on 03 Oct 2011 20:17

Did Apis "exaggerate" Malobabic's role in the assassination? Perhaps he did, but what's the point?


That the entire document is highly unreliable to say the least, then again you have been told that many times havent you.

The three men were constantly in each others company and made no attempt to refute Apis' letter to the Officer's Court.


Did they ever see it? After all, it did not concern the charges against them in Salonika - trying to overthrow the Serbian government as Apis had done in 1903, tried to do it 1914, and it seems tried to do yet again in 1915-16 - was submitted by Apis out of court as a plea for clemency, so why should we expect them refute it? For that matter, given your constant reliance on conspiricy theories, how do you know they didnt refute it and that the evidence is hidden?

In 1914 he took over and organized the [Sarajevo] plot against the Austrian Heir to the Throne . . . "


Given all he did was to instruct Takosic to assist Princip, this description is at best woefully inaccurate, at worst dishonest.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 03 Oct 2011 21:09

I think I've got it. The descriptions given by Stanoje Stanojevitch, Vladimir Dedijer, Fay, Seton-Watson, Lavender Cassals - to name just a few - are all wrong. Thanks for the good information - I expected no less from a moderator.

Omigosh! Even Martin Gilbert (The First World War, page 17) is wrong!

I don't have a single volume which does not reference Apis and his role in organizing the assassination. I even checked The Kaiser by Virginia Cowles. On page 312 she writes:

"In after years it came to light that the assassination of the Archduke was organized by Colonel Dmitrijevic, Chief of the Intelligence Department of the Serbian General Staff, and head of the terrorist organization The Black Hand.

Noteworthy is Cowles' further comment:

"Ironically enough, however, it was not the Archduke's harshness but his leniency which induced the Colonel to mark him down as a victim. Dimitrijevic knew that the Heir-Apparent wished to give the Slavs a large share in the Austro-Hungarian Government and feared that this liberal attitude would deal a mortal blow to the movement for a Greater-Serbia."

Please note that this motive accords with the motive given by Princip during his trial.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Terry Duncan on 03 Oct 2011 22:34

I think I've got it.


I dont think you have.

The descriptions given by Stanoje Stanojevitch, Vladimir Dedijer, Fay, Seton-Watson, Lavender Cassals - to name just a few - are all wrong.


Ok. Now please cite where each of these states that Apis 'took over and organized the [Sarajevo] plot against the Austrian Heir to the Throne' especially with regards to the taking over and organizing events. Lets look at Dedijer as I have it to hand;

p20
On the orders of Colonel Apis, the main go-between for Princip and Major Tankosic in Belgrade, Djuro Sarac, the president of the secret society Smrt ili zivot, was sent to Bosnia to stop the plot.


p393
According to eda Popovic, a member of the central committee of Ujedinjenje ill Smrt, the central committee was informed by Apis and Tankosic on June 1 that they had given arms to a group of young Bosnians to go to Sarajevo and try to assassinate the Archduke. All the other members of the central committee rejected this decision outright. Probably after this, and with knowledge of Paiic’s investigation of him, Apis sent a message through Tankosic to Sarajevo saying that the plot had to be stopped. Slobodan Jovanovic, who had more opportunity to consult the relevant Serbian documents than any other historian, confirmed in his memoirs the facts mentioned by Ceda Popovic.


p395
There is a possibility that the power struggle between Pasic and Apis led Apis to approve Tankosic’s delivery of the arms to the Sarajevo assassins. It seems that Apis did not expect that Princip and his accomplices would succeed in killing the Archduke, although he did think their efforts might provoke a greater strain in relations between Pasic and the Austro—Hungarian government and that such complications would further weaken Pasic’s position in relation to Apis.


So the most direct involvement Dejider supports is an attempt to halt the assassination attempt, or through Tankosic giving the guns to Princip and co as I noted.

Maybe you would like this opportunity to point out where exactly Dedijer says Apis took over and organized the assassination???

I would also like to remind you of your previous comments on The History Channel site when discussing the role played by Apis;

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08/22/10 12:01:24

True enough. But after telling Tankosic "Fine Silja, let them [the assassins] go," he changed his mind. In his book, Apis, the Congenial Conspirator, author David Mackenzie wrote:

Why the second thoughts? "At that moment," explained Apis, "I believed that such an attempt could not succeed and that perhaps they would not even undertake it." Dubious that such immature youths could kill the Archduke, Apis wished instead to employ Tankosic's seasoned guerillas. Entrusting that enterprise to Malobabic, Apis summoned him to Belgrade and sent him to see Major Vulovic. So Princip's group would not undercut his plan, Apis persuaded Sarac to recall Princip and his friends. Sarac instructed Danilo Ilic to return the Bosnian youths to Belgrade. Proceeding to Sarajevo, Ilic delivered Sarac's instructions, but Princip and Grabez refused categorically to abandon their plans.

At this point, Apis decided to support the trio and put Malobabic in charge.


So even you did not go so far as to claim Apis 'took over and organized' the assassination just over one year ago.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Jon Clarke on 03 Oct 2011 22:53

Just to go over a few points raised in Peters original post…

We know that he and his two compatriots were armed, trained, supplied, and financed, by Malobabic, a top agent employed by Dragutin Dimitrijevic (Apis) who used Milan Ciganovic as his go-between. 


Malobabic did not train, supply or finance Princip & co, this was the work of Ciganovic and Tankosic against whom the evidence, not least the testimony of the conspirators themselves, is overwhelming.

We know that Apis implicated the Russian Military Attache in Belgrade (Artamanov) in his written confession two days before his date with the firing squad. 


He implicated Artamanov in funding 'an intelligence network in Austria-Hungary' and nothing more than that. In fact your own quote shows that, if we are to believe Apis, he did not inform Artamanov of his intentions:

 On this occasion I did not mention my intention for the assassination, and my motive for asking his opinion about Russia's attitude was the possibility that Austria might become aware of our activities, and use this as a pretext to attack us.

We know that Apis was suddenly appointed to his high position in June, 1913, after it became known that Ferdinand planned to visit Bosnia.


Oh dear not this nonsense again! The visit of Franz Ferdinand was first discussed on 29 September 1913 at a meeting between Conrad and Potierek. Conrad's record of the meeting showed that:

We discussed the possibility of action against Serbia. Potiorek thought that we could count on the Moslems and the Croats. Then he raised questions of prime importance, which had been freely discussed since 1907. Finally he told me that the Heir Apparent, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, wanted the manoeuvres of the 15th and 16th Army Corps under Potierek's command to take place in North Bosnia in 1914. He wished to be present at these manoeuvres and said that the Duchess also desired to accompany him on this occasion.

Apis cannot therefore have been appointed to organize an assassination during a visit that hadn't then even been thought of at the time he was appointed!
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Jon Clarke on 03 Oct 2011 22:55

On January 6, [1914] Isvolsky sends his telegram. Even though the phrase “at the first opportunity” suggests a certain degree of urgency, the telegram makes no mention of any reason or timing for the visit. 


I note that you are only using Ivolsky's telegram but he was not the only channel of communication between Paris & St Petersburg. The French also followed the diplomatic norm of informing their ambassador about such matters. The French telegram did actually suggest dates as Sisley Huddleston makes clear in Poincare - A Biographical Portrait:

In January M. Doumergue, then Prime Minister, had telegraphed to the Ambassador at St. Petersburg to ask what date would be most suitable to the Emperor. It was suggested that the date should be between the 10th and the 20th of May, or, in default, some date after July 16th.

BTW what evidence do you have for your claim that no planning or preparations took place before the assassination? It is extremely unlikely that three days of activities during a State Visit including military reviews etc. can be arranged at a moment's notice.

On Monday, June 29th, the day after the assassination, Russian ambassador to France, Alexander Isvolsky, disappeared from the face of the earth.


You have made this claim many times over the years but despite several requests, you have never provided any evidence to show that this is what actually happened. So I'll ask again, what is your evidence for the claim that Isvolsky vanished from Paris on 29 June 1914?

Isvolsky was certainly absent from Paris at some point during July 1914 but the most likely explanation for this (as I have pointed out many times) is that he was on holiday. From memory, scores of people were absent from their posts during this time, including the Kaiser, Bethmann, Lichnowsky, Bertie, Jules Cambon, Sazonov, Jagow, Moltke, Conrad, Putnik, de Bunsen, the Italian ambassadors to Paris and Berlin to name but a few. Indeed it is a matter of record that all the Great Power ambassadors, with the exception of Schoen, were absent from Paris during this time.

This is of course speculation…


For once I think everyone will agree with you! :D
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Jon Clarke on 03 Oct 2011 22:55

Did Apis "exaggerate" Malobabic's role in the assassination? Perhaps he did, but what's the point? 


Apis' motive for naming Malobabic probably had more to do with the fact that the latter had broken down under interrogation and said that Apis was guilty of the fake charges he faced. This would explain his alleged words to Malobabic at the execution 'If it hadn't been for you, maybe none of us would be here' which presumably was his way of saying 'payback's a bitch isn't it?'
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Jon Clarke on 03 Oct 2011 23:09

I think I've got it. The descriptions given by Stanoje Stanojevitch, Vladimir Dedijer, Fay, Seton-Watson, Lavender Cassals - to name just a few - are all wrong.


As neither Fay, Seton-Watson or Stanojevitch were aware of the Apis 'confession' at the time they wrote about Sarajevo, I can't really see their relevance. OTOH both Dedijer and Cassels concluded that the confession could not be relied upon. Terry has already provided the relevant extract from Dedijer. In The Archduke & The Assassin Cassels writes:

A confession by Apis himself provides some support for this contention, but it is not conclusive. It occurs in a four-page document which he wrote during the war in 1917, when he was being tried by a Serbian Military Tribunal in Salonica for conspiring to murder the Crown Prince. The text of this was released by the Yugoslav Government until 1953 and, to quote one expert, "must be treated with reserve until more is known about the circumstances of its composition… More light is certainly needed before this version is acceptable".

Cassels' also comments that:

There is also no collateral for Popovic's account of what he alleged Apis told him, and the possibility cannot be ignored that he may have invented or distorted it. But of the two versions it is the more plausible, for it does suggest an explanation of why the three Bosnians who set out from Belgrade to eliminate Franz Ferdinand were not battle-hardened komitadjis, but three youths not yet out of their teens, untrained in the use of the pistols and bombs which they were carrying, very short of money, and quite unbriefed as to how to plan the assassination.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 03 Oct 2011 23:55

Jon quoted: "On this occasion I did not mention my intention for the assassination, and my motive for asking his opinion about Russia's attitude was the possibility that Austria might become aware of our activities, and use this as a pretext to attack us."

The operative phrase here is "On this occasion." Obviously, on subsequent occasions Apis must have mentioned "my intention for the assassination" because he states that he received money from Artamanov for the purpose.

The Apis confession was not released until 1953. But Tankosic's connection to Apis was well-known and the Austrian Note demanded his arrest. Some authors have expressed reservations about the confession but no one suggests that it should be ignored.

The whereabouts of ranking diplomats is always known, even when they are "on holiday." We know when they depart, where they go, when they return. In sharp contrast, there is an unaccounted three-week gap in Isvolsky's record. He ended up in St. Petersburg but no one knows how he got there, and his good friend, Paleologue, normally a prolific diarist, failed to note Isvolsky's arrival. Jon has promised to check his daughter's writings in hopes of discovering a clue as to his whereabouts.

We are agreed (I hope) that Franz Ferdinand was murdered. So tell me, did Apis, or did Apis not, supply the three assassins with pistols, bullets, bombs, money, shooting lessons - as alleged in virtually every book on the subject? If not, who supplied these weapons?

Apis was considered a hero by the Salonika prison Commandant. he received cigarettes, coffe, hot tea, books, and other amenities not available to other prisoners. Malobabic remained strong and supportive of Apis. He broke down only when he was within hours of his execution.

Apis did have second thoughts about sponsoring the three assassins. He had concerns about their youth and degree of resolve. But when he was informed that the trio intended to go forward with or without his help, Apis decided to support them.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 04 Oct 2011 00:17

Further evidence of Serbian Government complicity:

As to the question of what did Pasitch know and when did he know it, we have this revealing 1924 statement from M. Jovanovitch:

"At the outbreak of the World War, I was Minister of Education in M. Nikola Pasitch’s Cabinet. I have recently written down some of my recollections and some notes on the events of those days. For the present occasion I have chosen from them a few extracts, because the time is not yet come for everything to be disclosed. I do not remember whether it was at the end of May or the beginning of June, when one day M. Pasitch said to us (he conferred on these matters more particularly with Stojan Protich, who was then Minister of the Interior; but this much he said to the rest of us) that certain persons were making ready to go to Sarajevo to murder Franz Ferdinand who was to go there to be solemnly received on St. Vitus’ Day. As the told me afterwards, this plot was hatched by a group of secretly organized persons and by patriotic Bosno-Herzegovinian students in Belgrade. M. Pasitch and the rest of us said, and Stojan agreed, that he should issue instructions to the frontier authorities on the Drina to prevent the crossing over of the youths who had already set out from Belgrade for that purpose. But the frontier authorities themselves belonged to the organization and did not carry out Stojan’s instructions, but reported to him (as he afterwards told us) that the instructions had reached them too late, because the youths had already crossed over."

The statement aroused a storm of controversy as it was the first evidence that the Pasitch Cabinet had prior knowledge of the murder plot and made no effort to warn Austria. The pro-Serb historian Seton-Watson traveled to Serbia to demand an explanation from Jovanovitch, or failing that, to force the Serbian government to repudiate Jovanovitch’s statement. But Seton-Watson demanded in vain. He wrote:

It is now more than two months since I requested the Belgrade Government to clear up those statements which Mr. Ljuba Jovanovitch made some time ago concerning the Sarajevo murders. But I have never yet received any answer . . .”

Pasitch’s eventual denial was so unconvincing that it actually served to confirm Jovanovitch’s statement and to confirm that, indeed, the Pasitch Cabinet did have prior knowledge and chose to ignore it.
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby Terry Duncan on 04 Oct 2011 00:43

So tell me, did Apis, or did Apis not, supply the three assassins with pistols, bullets, bombs, money, shooting lessons - as alleged in virtually every book on the subject?


Then your few books, almost all written by the early 1930's it seems, are indeed all wrong. Apis told Tankosic to 'take care of things', he had no meeting with them nor any other involvement in making their plans. Now if you wish to make claims for anything more substantive I will expect to see actual details, not a simple quote to say Virginia Cowles says he did so, I wish to see what he is supposed to have done and who supports it.

As for the Jovanovic issue, a relatively recent work by your standards I admit deals with this. It is all covered on pages 90-95 of Albertini The Origins of the War of 1914 Vol II and has only been widely available for over sixty years now;

So in March and April 1925 in Novi Zivot and Politika he published a series of articles dealing with the part he had played for over thirty years in Serbian political life but evading the real issue, namely whether the Pasic Ministry had foreknowledge of the Sarajevo plot, and accusing Seton-Watson of having wrongly reported his statements. In an interview subsequently published in Politika of 1 April 192 Jovanovic stated: I made no revelations as people are being made to believe. I simply wrote what was known to everybody in Serbia in I9I4.


The response of Pasic;

At this point Pasic felt obliged to break silence and throw to the wolves the Ljuba Jovanovic who in 1917, as Minister of Home Affairs, had played a prominent part in the Salonika trial of Dimitrievic and his associates. On 25 April 1926 at a meeting of the Radical Club Pasic declared that he had asked his former colleague to withdraw the allegation about his having had foreknowledge of the outrage on the Archduke, ‘it being untrue that he had made any such statement to the Cabinet’. The assertion had not been withdrawn. Pasic therefore reiterated that he had never uttered the words attributed to him and that he had received corroboration of this from his colleagues of that time.
He had no idea—he continued—why L. Jovanovic had written what he did, but if that was the way he behaved, he had better leave the party because his conduct was unpardonable.


Albertini concluded;

‘Which of the two men was telling the truth? Seton-Watson thinks it was Pasic, though Pasic committed the mistake of showing amazing indifference to public opinion, particularly in foreign countries, made use of the incident not so much ‘to defend the honour of his country’ as to isolate a dangerous competitor for the party leadership, and failed to produce the proofs.—which Seton-Watson believed him to possess ,—that;

ln 1914 he was ignorant, and even disapproved, of an underground movement which some admire as having led directly to national unity.

Seton-Watson regards L. Jovanovi as

one of those politicians who like to exaggerate their own importance. He was making a bid for the support of the Bosnian youth by showing that the Belgrade Government had sympathised with the revolutionary movement,
though it is quite notorious that it did not do so. Further, as one of the two statesmen mainly responsible for the execulion of Dimitrievi after the Salonika trial, he may have been seeking to remove the unfavourable impression caused by this action.


It is amusing that you fail to share with people with final part of Seeton-Weston's own views on the matter, it that because it is not what you wish to present?
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Re: Who Really Murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand?

Postby peterhof on 04 Oct 2011 02:02

Murder plotters, political leaders intent upon war - all are notoriously loath to disclose their intentions and, in fact, do just the reverse. They leave no stone unturned and engage in every sort of subterfuge to hide, camouflage, disguise, conceal their intentions.

Historical investigation is no different from any other. The investigator must therefore use conjecture, inference speculation, surmise, and supposition to deduce the most likely conclusion. Evidence which is incontestable, irrefutable, or undeniable is unfortunately rare, if it exists at all.

It seems to me that the debate on this particular thread is proceeding exactly as it should - with the clash of opinion which eliminates the worst and leaves the best ones standing, meanwhile informing and educating the participants to the benefit of all.
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