Position of Emigrant Volunteers in the Serbian Army According to Documents from the Ante Trumbić Archives (1914 – 1918)



In this paper the volunteer movement among Croatian emigrants for the Serbian Army in World War I as well as their status in the army have been analysed using the documents from the Archive of dr. Ante Trumbić kept at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb. Most of the volunteers came from North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. They joined the army on the Salonika front, where they were incorporated into already existing units, despite the effort of the Yugoslav Committee to create a special unit that would symbolize the political will of Southern Slavs in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy for unification with the Kingdom of Serbia. The Serbian government and the army had a dual policy on volunteers. Publicly, they proclaimed equality for all soldiers and volunteers and at the same time the officers that were sent abroad for agitation were instructed secretly to convert Croats to "good Serbs". The Yugoslav Committee was ignorant of the activities involving recruitment of the volunteers and their situation in the army, where they were often ill-treated. When the volunteers reacted to maltreatment, they were harshly confined. After the War, a great number of them returned to the countries they came from.


emigration; World War I; volunteer movement; Yugoslav Committee; Serbian Army

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096