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Professor Emeritus J.P. Maher Responds to charge that a "Rigid Serbia Can't Accept a Free Kosovo"
March 9, 2009 | John Peter Maher

Posted on 03/10/2008 4:51:08 AM PDT by Ravnagora

NOTE: On March 6, 2008 Brian Bowling of the Pittsburg Tribune-Review published a story about former U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Polt's "lecture" to Pennyslvania high school students about Serbia's "flaws". Polt is an Austrian native.

Bowling's story can be found at the following link:

Below is Professor J.P. Maher's response to Polt's "teaching".


To Brian Bowling of the Pittsburg Tribune-Review

Re: Diplomat Polt's undiplomatic, hypocritical and genocidal tirade on Serbia.

In Black History Month, Orwellian preachments emanated from the mouth of descendant of African slaves Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and of Ambassador Michael Polt, a born Austrian, near the anniversary of Anschluss, Hitler's annexation of his native land, Austria.

America's sending an Austrian-born ambassador to Serbia is like sending a Japanese American to China or Korea, or a Turk to Armenia. Mr. Polt knows well how to forget history.

Austrian-born film Director Billy Wilder once quipped that Austria is a country that has brilliantly succeeded in convincing the world that Mozart was an Austrian, but Hitler was a German.

Serbs fought both of Hitler's homelands, and Serbs faced genocide in both World Wars at their hands. Now it's happening again. What ever happened to "nie wieder / never again"?

Serbs suffer the outrage of seeing German and Austrian troops occupying their ancient lands in Serbia (with Kosovo), Bosnia and the new "Independent Croatia".

In Bosnia, undisciplined Austrian troops in 1995 wore T-shirts bearing racist, anti-Slav, anti-Serb insults. I saw armored vehicles with Germany's disgraced square cross in Kosovo in December of 2006...

Ambassador Polt in effect is pushing a third installment of "Serbien muss sterbien / Serbia must die". That's genocide's first pun, from World War I.

I lived my happiest days in Austria. My children are half Austrian; I married their beautiful mother in Vienna's Karlskirche (St Charles' church). And nearly fifty years ago I talked with Austrians who remembered the Serbian soldiers who came to beautiful Carinthia in 1918-20. They took no revenge on the people whose government had vowed Serbia's destruction and who perpetrated atrocities that served as a model for the Nazis. Most of Hitler's generals in World War II Serbia were Austrians.

Mr. Polt should visit (with a good body guard) the genocide museum at Kragujevac in Serbia and get down on his knees and beg forgiveness as once Willy Brandt did in Warsaw.

"America diplomacy" is the newest oxymoron on the world stage.

J. P. Maher Professor Emeritus

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: kosovo; polt; serbia

1 posted on 03/10/2008 4:51:10 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: Ravnagora
This is pretty blantantly pro-Serb. Pan-Slavism, and Serbian ambitions, were responsible for the ignition of the Balkan Pulverfass (powder keg) in 1914, with the trigger of the Serbian government backed assassination of Franz-Ferdinand.

I'd take the Serbs over the Albanians, anytime, and so I'm sympathetic with their position on Kosovo, but as an historian of modern Europe, I'm firmly of the view that the Serbians were wrong in 1914, and wrong in fighting the break-up of Jugoslavia. K&k Austria was not exactly our idea of a liberal representative republic, but neither was the Serbian kingdom nor the Jugoslavia cobbled together at Versailles to reward the Serbs. Between the two, my sympathies are decidedly with the Austrians.

2 posted on 03/10/2008 5:20:25 AM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: Ravnagora

What’s wrong with the Serbs? Having an islamo country on your border is a good thing.

3 posted on 03/10/2008 5:29:56 AM PDT by DogBarkTree (The correct word isn't "immigrant" when what they are doing is "invading".)
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To: CatoRenasci
There's no proof of the Serbian government's involvement. It was used as an excuse for a wanted war by Germany, which pushed Austria to war on Serbia.

The Archduke was disliked by Austrians and he wasn't as pro-war as those in charge. They gave him no protection in the streets despite having their army heavily in Bosnia and in particular in Sarajevo. As well they had control of the Bosnian Muslim soldiers.

Austria heavily supported the Muslims in Bosnia and Serbia when the Ottoman Empire receded.

Austria stepped in to forcefully annex Bosnia decades earlier, and a few years previous to WWI, they attempted to destroy Serbia's economy in the so-called "pig war". But it failed. The Austrians were extremely hateful of Serbs long before WWI.

Additionally the "Great Powers" were seriously squabbling over their colonies in Africa, were forming all these alliances and had been undergoing heavy military build up for decades. War had almost broken out between them in run up to WWI.

It was this heavy military buildup by these powers which was a reason behind all the pacts and alliances with other nations against the others they feared. Germany had especially become very strong and confident after winning the Franco-Prussian war.

Germany had been wanting to attack a rising Russia and helped maneuver Austria into the war.

4 posted on 03/10/2008 5:36:00 AM PDT by joan
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To: joan
You are absolutely right, in that there was intended to be a war, and the setup in Sarajevo was merely a convenient pretext to get it going.

Besides if an assassination is all it takes to start a major war, whatever happened to the world war in 1934 when King Alexander of Yugoslavia was assassinated by a Croatian?

5 posted on 03/10/2008 5:43:58 AM PDT by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: joan

Thanks for your response Joan.

The myth that Serbia “caused WWI” is nonsense, but, like other myths, continues to be perpetuated by the intellectual elite.

WWI was in the making since LONG before Gavrilo Princip was ever born and just needed the appropriate catalyst to light the fuse. The Sarajevo assassination provided the “pretense” for attacking Serbia. The Serbian government was exonerated but that didn’t matter. The Austrians gave the Serbian government an impossible ultimatum for Serbia to comply to - no nation on earth would have agreed to comply to the ultimatum of July 1914 that Austria-Hungary imposed on Serbia and Serbia was actually willing to comply to a far greater extent than she needed to. Austria was going to make war against Serbia no matter what. By presenting Serbia with an unreasonable ultimatum Austria was ensuring that self-fulfilling prophecy would indeed be fulfilled.

Like other Serbs of his generation, Gavrilo Princip had a passionate reaction to Austria-Hungary’s illegal annexation of Bosnia in 1908.

It just never ceases to amaze me how some countries and governments have the hubris to dictate how other countries conduct themselves with regards to their own survival and existence.

And it never ceases to amaze the extent to which the great powers throughout history have intended to crush little Serbia into submission.

Serbia must be perceived as a HUGE threat to something. I’d love to know just exactly what that something is.

Mark my words - if war should break out as a consequence of the blessing given to Kosovo’s “independence”, Serbia will be blamed for that, too.

6 posted on 03/10/2008 6:43:31 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: joan
I don't know the source of your (mis)information, but I have read extensively in the scholarly literature on the origins of WWI (including all three of the major treatises by Sidney Fay, Bernadotte Schmidt, and Luigi Alberntini), and did graduate work in modern European history with Joachim Remak, author of the definitive Sarajevo: The Story of a Political Murder (New York 1959), and of The Origins of World War I in the respected (pre political correctness) Berkshire Studies in European History series, which is probably the best short summary of the run-up to the war. See also Lawrence Lafore's The Long Fuse, An Interpetation of the Origins of World War I (Philadelphia 1965).
7 posted on 03/10/2008 9:52:24 AM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: CatoRenasci

Further, I don’t know how you can deny Serbian government involvement when the murder of Franz Ferdinand was planned by the head of Serbian military intelligence, Dragutin Dimitrijevic.

8 posted on 03/10/2008 9:56:45 AM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: joan


9 posted on 03/10/2008 10:47:53 AM PDT by Condor51 (If my nose was runnin' money honey, I'd blow it all on you.)
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To: Ravnagora

That’s exactly what I have always understood, and both my father and brother have graduate studies in history, before anyone comes along and says they read something somewhere (”proof by authority”).

10 posted on 03/10/2008 11:19:47 AM PDT by wildandcrazyrussian
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To: Ravnagora; montyspython; getoffmylawn

Gavrilo Princip was a Serbian terrorist who action sparked the war. Naturally, he was aided and abetted by Serbian Col. Apis, who of course, was tight with the Brits who pushed for war.

11 posted on 03/10/2008 5:16:27 PM PDT by Diocletian
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To: CatoRenasci

they deny it because they’re Serbs.

12 posted on 03/10/2008 5:16:54 PM PDT by Diocletian
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To: Diocletian

You’re even a moron now to think that a half-assed attempt at the Arch Duke’s assassination was the grand daddy cause of WWI, really myopic. Typical Croat, blame Serbs for whatever ails you, next you’ll blaming Serbs for you getting kicked out of Canada.

13 posted on 03/10/2008 8:16:50 PM PDT by montyspython (Love that chicken from Popeye's)
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To: montyspython
If you actually read my post you'll see that I chose the word "spark" rather than "cause".

Apology accepted :)

14 posted on 03/11/2008 12:50:23 AM PDT by Diocletian
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To: Diocletian
You can't argue with true believers. The Balkans has always been a problem -- I always liked Bismarck's comments that (1) the Balkans weren't worth the bones of a single Pommeranian grenadier, and (2) if there were another major European war, it would be caused by "some damned fool thing in the Balkans". He may also be the source of the term Balkan "powderkeg" (Pulverfass in German), but I suspect it's older. Central and Western Europeans have not had much nice to say about the Balkans (other than the coast for resorts) going back almost all the way to the height of the Roman Empire.
15 posted on 03/11/2008 7:25:26 AM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: CatoRenasci; Ravnagora
Better late than never: I am pro-Serb. You call that "blatant". 'Nuff said. Giovanni Garibaldi, grandson of THE Garibaldi, was a blatant pro-Serb too. See:,9171,789741,00.html -Italians fought shoulder to shoulder with Serbs against Austria in more than one war. Gavrilo Princip, Catholic Ivo Andric, Muhamad Mehmedbasic et al. were in the "Young Bosnia" conspiracy to get imperialist Austria-Hungary out of Serb lands and replace Turkey as the regional power. There was no Serb plot to destroy Austria-Hungary. The death was a suicide, not a murder. The Sarajevo assassination was a pretext for a war long planned by Gerneral Franz CONRAD (von Hoetzendorf), who had planned a war on three foronts. My kids' Austrian grandmother din't share the infatuation of the post WW I brats with Imperial Austria. The world didn't give a damn when Ferdinand was shot. Plumed "aristocrats" were favored targets all over Europe. It was Austria's ultimatum and declaration of war a month later that caused the stock markets to crash. See Helen Tuchman "Guns of August" & Proud Tower". Read also "Secrets of the Balkans" by Charles Vopicka, US Minister plenipotentiary 1913-1920 to Rumania, Bulgaria and Serbia. He was a blatant pro-Serb too. See his "Secrets of the Balkans". Chicago, Rand, McNally & Co. 1921 (not copy-righted).. The US ambassador to Bulgaria, Rumania and Serbia at the time wrote: FOREWORD. A blow struck in the Balkans, as of steel upon flint; a spark, a flame – and then, the holocaust of the world! But the blow came from without; the hand of tyranny was raised against a people whose freedom had been bought with their own blood. The World War began in the Balkans, yet its origin was in the hearts of the unscrupulous autocrats whose ruthless ambition knew neither justice nor limit; who counted the subjection of a free people merely as the first move in the game to win commercial and political supremacy, and in the end, to dominate the world. Serbia was only a pawn, to be swept aside as the first obstacle in the path of world conquest. Austria wanted war with Serbia, and ... the death of Archduke Ferdinand was welcomed as a casus belli.” (Charles Vopicka. 1920. Secrets of the Balkans. p. 31. p. 45. At the end of March, 1915, I received by special messenger, from a reliable source in Bohemia, information that on Saturday, the 20th of March, at 10:30 P.M., three salon cars had arrived in the depot at Benesov, in Bohemia, from the middle one of which the late Emperor Karl of Austro-Hungary was taken and carried to the palace at Konopiste. He had been wounded in the right foot on the battlefield at Pilica by a bomb or grenade thrown at him and Count Lobkovic by a German soldier. Emperor Karl was attended by a military physician until seven o’clock in the evening of March 22, when, following the receipt of a telegram, he was taken from Konopiste to the depot in Benesov and carried into a government train, which left immediately for an unknown destination. Guards were distributed from Konopiste to the depot, and a special detective service was organized, of twenty soldiers from the barracks in Benesov. It was rumored that Zita, wife of the emperor, was interned. She was not at that time in Konopiste, although the children and their teacher were there. After the death of Archduke Ferdinand, the late Emperor Karl came to Konopiste and took away all the correspondence he found in the palace. In this he secured proof that Sophie, the wife of Archduke Ferdinand, had plotted with the Kaiser against Serbia, and had discussed plans about the war with Russia. p. 46. It had been agreed that after the defeat of Serbia, it was to be made an Austrian province, and following the removal of King Peter, that the throne would be given to the eldest son of Ferdinand and Sophie. After the defeat of Russia, Ukrainia was to be made independent, with their second son as king. President Woodrow Wilson wrote “To the People of the United States: On Sunday, 28th of this present month, will occur the fourth anniversary of the day when the gallant people of Serbia, rather than submit to the studied and ignoble exactions of a prearranged foe, where called upon by the war declaration of Austria-Hungry to defend their territory and their homes against an enemy bent on their destruction. Nobly did they respond. So valiantly and courageously did they oppose the forces of a country ten times greater in population and resources that it was only after they had thrice driven the Austrians back and Germany and Bulgaria had come to the aid of Austria that they were compelled to retreat into Albania. While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken. Though overwhelmed by superior forces their love of freedom remains unabated. Brutal force has left unaffected their firm determination to sacrifice everything for liberty and independence. It is fitting that the people of the United States, dedicated to the self-evident truth that is the right of the people of all nations, small as well as great, to live their own lives and choose their own Government, and remembering that the principles for which Serbia has so nobly fought and suffered are those for which the United States is fighting, should on the occasion of this anniversary manifest in an appropriate manner their war sympathy with this oppressed people who have so heroically resisted the aims of the Germanic nations to master the world. At the same time, we should not forget the kindred people of the Great Slavic race the Poles, the Czechs and Jugo-Slavs, who, now dominated and oppressed by alien races yearn for independence and national unity. This can be done in a manner no more appropriate than in our churches. I, therefore, appeal to the people of the United States of all faiths and creeds to assemble in their several places of worship on Sunday July 28, for the purpose of giving statement to their sympathy with this subjugated people and their oppressed and dominated kindred in other lands, and to invoke the blessings of Almighty God upon them and upon the cause to which they are pledge Woodrow Wilson, President. The White House July 28, 1918. Assassinations in Austria-Hungarian sphere of influence: Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth (1890, in Switzerland: Luccheni, an Italian anarchist. Austro-Hungarian Archduke, Maximilian, brother of the Emperor (executed for his cruelties to Mexican POWs by Mexico’s Benito Juarez. (Wrigley). 1910. Bogdan Zerajic, a subject of Austria-Hungary; he had set out to kill Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef, but did not carry through, out of compassion for the old man. “the excitement spread to Croatia and there were four attempts on the life of the governor in Zagreb.” the Croatian Sabor (parliament) was dissolved twice [by Austro-Hungary], the opposition won the election, is suppressed; universities, press closed Zagreb students flocked to Belgrade; Luka Jukić made an attempt on the life of Ban Cuvaj. (Hubert Butler, page 252). Stjepan Dojčić, the attempted assassin of the Hungarian governor of Croatia [Cuvaj], in 1913, is profiled in the August 30, 2000 issue of Zajedničar, a weekly newspaper. It’s published by the Croatian Fraternal Union. Dojčić’s attempt is an interesting parallel to events. In Sarajevo a year later, when Princip assassinated the Archduke and his wife and started WW1. That event is covered in detail in the August, 2000, Smithsonian magazine. From: ashley tiwara Subject: [CROATIA-L] current Zajedničar weekly newspaper Sunday. 03 Sep 2000 00:18:19 -0500 President John F. Kennedy presented each state visitor to the White House with a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s1962 classic history of th4e outbreak of World War I, “The Guns of August.” This is what she wrote concerning the assassination of Austria’s Heir Apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo: “At the end of June, news that Serbian patriots had assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, in an obscure town in the annexed territory of Bosnia, provided a sensation of the kind to which Europe was accustomed. It passed without causing undue public alarm. Then suddenly, a month later, on July 24, with terrible impact, came the announcement that Austria had delivered an ultimatum to Serbia of such ‘brutality’ in the words of Vorwärts, the German Socialist paper, that ‘it can be interpreted only as a deliberate attempt to provoke war.’ Full scale crisis opened beneath Europe’s feet.” (Page 6). And, …” on July 23 Austria delivered an ultimatum to Serbia, on July 26 rejected the Serbian reply (although the Kaiser [Wilhelm], now nervous, admitted that it ‘dissipates every reason for war…) on July 28 declared war on Serbia, on July 29 bombarded the Belgrade.” “That Friday, eve of the August Bank Holiday weekend, the Stock Exchange closed down at 10 A. M. in a wave of financial panic that had started in New York when Austria had declared war on Serbia and which was closing exchanges all over Europe.” The Austro-Hungarian judge in the trial of the assassins was Dr. Leo Pfeffer. “…[A] Croat and a Catholic, [he was] an expert in the law of the Austro-Hungarian Empire… [He] tried to administer it with justice and charity. He treated the assassins as what they were, men of honour and principle, who had acted deliberately and did not wish to shift the responsibility for their acts on to the shoulders of others. Mr Pfeffer spoke to him [Grabezh]: ‘ I do not consider you a common criminal, you acted from political conviction, and history will judge whether you were right’.” -Hubert Butler. Escape from the Anthill. Austrian historians record that the old emperor Franz Josef, relieved to hear his trouble-making nephew had been assassinated “Providence has solved our problem.” Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm’s copy of Serbia’s reply to the Austrian ultimatum bears the marginal note: “dissipates every reason for war ‘.(Tuchman page 91]). Adolf Hitler was pleased at the assassination the Heir Apparent: writing in Mein Kampf: “When the news of the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand arrived in Munich (I happened to be sitting at: home and heard of it only vaguely), I was at first seized with worry that the bullets may have been shot from the pistols of German students, who, out of indignation at the Heir Apparent’s continuous work of Slavization, wanted to free the German people from this internal enemy. What the consequence of this would have been was easy to imagine: a new wave of persecutions which would now have been ‘justified’ and ‘explained’ in the eyes of the whole world. But when, soon afterward, I heard the names of the supposed assassins, and moreover read that they had been identified as Serbs, a light shudder began to run through me at this vengeance of inscrutable Destiny.”
16 posted on 03/10/2009 10:02:27 AM PDT by maher ( J.P. Maher Responds to charge that a "Rigid Serbia Can't Accept a Free Kosovo",)
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To: maher

I hereby declare this “The Great Wall Of Text” where freepers can pray about their future posts.

17 posted on 03/10/2009 10:07:11 AM PDT by word_warrior_bob (You can now see my amazing doggie and new puppy on my homepage!! Come say hello to Jake & Sonny)
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To: word_warrior_bob

That is the funniest thing I’ve seen all day, sir! Kudos.

18 posted on 03/10/2009 10:08:17 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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