A Modern History
A definitive account of the birth, rise and fall of a Balkan nation-state amidst Great Power rivalries.
This is the first in-depth, English-language history of modern Serbia in nearly half a century. It covers the period from the Serbian state’s revolutionary rebirth in the early nineteenth century, under the rebel leaders Karađorđe Petrović and Miloš Obrenović; its turbulent history of wars, uprisings and dynastic rivalries; the triumph of Yugoslav unification in 1918; and the catastrophe of occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941. It shows how the birth of the modern nation-state involved the creation of a new elite—dynasty, army and bureaucracy—whose rule over the peasantry generated a popular resistance that would ultimately take form in Nikola Pašić’s mighty People’s Radical Party. The resulting struggle between elitist Westernisers and pro-Russian populists became entwined with the struggle for pan-Serb and Yugoslav liberation and unification. These causes came together with the Sarajevo assassination of 1914, which triggered the First World War.
Existing histories of the Yugoslav kingdom that emerged from that war focus on the national conflict between Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims and others, but Marko Attila Hoare challenges this narrative. He shows how the new kingdom’s politics continued to be dominated by the ongoing internal Serbian power struggle, bringing renewed disaster to Yugoslavia and its peoples.
‘Years in the making, meticulously researched and with a compelling narrative that convincingly challenges the existing historiography, Marko Hoare’s brilliant new work will now take its place for decades to come as the standard English-language history of modern Serbia.’ — Thomas Emmert, Emeritus Professor of History, Gustavus Adolphus College
‘Serbia is a pivotal state in today’s Balkans, but its history is little understood in the West. In this admirably clear, pathbreaking history, Hoare warns against interpreting the past in terms of our present preoccupations, but shows instead how a modern state emerged with dilemmas which have continued to shape the region.’ — Martin Shaw, Emeritus Professor of International Relations, University of Sussex
‘An excellent overview of Serbia’s modern history; the author traces the political evolution and trends that culminated in the formation of Serbia and later Yugoslavia. This is a valuable addition to the region’s historiography, shedding light on the pivotal two centuries leading to the complex developments of the twentieth century.’ — Sonja Biserko, President, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
‘This is a work of impressive scholarship: accessible, erudite and multi-dimensional in scope. Hoare offers a detached and probing account of the developments that have made Serbia a fateful presence in the story of Europe over several centuries.’ — Thomas Gallagher, Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Bradford
‘Marko Hoare brings his usual erudition and meticulous attention to detail to his latest book—a history of Serbia from 1804 to 1941. His research is impressive; scholars interested in Serbian history should celebrate the publication of this work.’ — Sabrina P. Ramet, author of The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918–2005
Marko Attila Hoare is Professor of History at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. He studied at Cambridge and Yale and has been researching the history of the former Yugoslavia since the early 1990s. His books include The Bosnian Muslims in the Second World War, also published by Hurst.