Thursday, May 29, 2008

Accession to the throne of King Peter I

Coup d'Etat from 29 May (11 June N.S.) 1903, brought Karadjordje's grandson, King Peter I Karadjordjevic to the throne, and opened the way to parliamentary democracy in Serbia.Upon taking his oath in the presence of the members of the Parliament, Senators and members of the Government, King Peter I stated: „I want to be the true Constitutional King of Serbia. The Constitution and all of its guarantees are sacred to me, and I shall always respect and protect them to the best of my abilities”. On that occasion he appealed for political and dynastic reconciliation, saying: „I forgive everything, I leave everything to history”. Educated in Europe, this liberal king had translated into Serbian John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty. During his reign Serbia got a democratic constitution that initiated a period of political freedom, which was interrupted by the wars for liberation. The Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 ended the Ottoman domination in the region.

The period between 1903 and 1914 is generally considered to be the
golden age of Serbian parliamentarism and politics, economy and culture in general. Social stability of that period is indisputable, as well as major development of the country, in many areas (military, some branches of industry, etc). In addition, Serbia withstood the Pig War with Austro-Hungarian Empire (a customs blockade), that followed the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. That was an introduction into the fateful events of 1914.

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