A statement from the Serbian group Narodna Odbrana (1911)

In 1911 the Serbian nationalist group, Narodna Odbrana (‘People’s Defence’), issued this provocative statement attacking Austria-Hungary for the annexation of Bosnia:

The annexation [of Bosnia] was only one of the blows which the enemies of Serbia have aimed at this land. Many blows preceded it, and many will follow it. Work and preparation are necessary so that a new attack may not find Serbia equally unprepared.

The object assigned to the work to be done by the people of every class is the preparation for war in all forms of national work, corresponding to the requirements of the present day. This is to be effected through the strengthening of the national consciousness, bodily exercises, increase of material and bodily well-being, cultural improvements, etc. A new blow, like that of the annexation, must be met by a new Serbia, in which every Serbian, from the child to the old man, is an infantryman.

The Narodna Odbrana proclaims to the people that Austria is our first and greatest enemy. Just as once the Turks attacked us from the south, so Austria attacks us today from the north. If the Narodna Odbrana preaches the necessity of fighting Austria, she preaches a sacred truth.

Today the Narodna Odbrana gathers under its standard the citizens of Serbia, as it gathered them at the time of the annexation. Then the cry was for war, now the cry is for work. Then meetings, demonstrations, voluntary committees, weapons, and bombs were needed. Today, steady, fanatical, tireless work is required to fulfil the tasks and duties, to which we have drawn attention, for preparation for the fight with gun and cannon.