Promotion of the edition “List of Military and Civilian Casualties of the Kingdom of Serbia in the First World War – Historical Materials from the Military Archives”

01. 12. 2019

Envoy of the President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, Nikola Selaković, Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin and Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović, attended the official promotion of the “Popis vojnih i civilnih gubitaka Kraljevine Srbije u ljudstvu u Prvom svetskom ratu – arhivska građa vojnog arhiva” (“List of Military and Civilian Casualties of the Kingdom of Serbia in the First World War – Historical Materials of the Military Archives”) at the Central Military Club in Belgrade today.

The envoy of the President of the Republic, Nikola Selaković, emphasized that today we are attending the unveiling of the largest monument to the Serbian soldier in history, to the greatest hero of the Great War, of the greatest conflict that humanity has remembered up to that time.

- It was through his initiative as the Minister of Defense, that the current President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, has supported this project, empowered the competent institutions with all that was needed to implement it, and now it has seen the light of day. And as if we have waited a whole century to perform many long forgotten or pushed aside national tasks – to list our victims in the Great War and once and for all silence those who wish to disprove the truth that the tiny Serbia has exalted and raised herself through her sacrifice and demonstrated to the whole world the meaning of Njegoš’s words that battle is not fought by excellent weapons, but that battle is fought by a heroic hearts – emphasized the envoy of President Selaković.

According to him, in the Great War the Serbian soldier won, not because he was better trained, not because he was better armed, but for the following two reasons; first, because he was the most enduring, and second, because he was adorned with incomparably stronger morale than all his opponents. And it is this morale that is the very value on which the strength of the Armed Forces is based in the crucial moments of the operation, and as the Voivoda (viz. Field Marshal) Živojin Mišić says in his memories – sometimes being physically stronger and better technically equipped makes no difference, rather to do the right thing at the right moment and in the right way. Today is that moment, today is the moment that we do many of the right things the right way. That is why we are promoting this capital edition today and we stand proud before our ancestors, apologizing to those whose names we have not yet entered here and pledging to add, to find and classify and publish these names in the time to come – said Selaković.  

Speaking about the importance of the project, Selaković pointed out that this was not a publishing venture of the year, or a decade, but a publishing venture of the century, as it succeeded in preserving from oblivion the names and surnames of 322.778 of our glorious ancestors, the celebrated in glory Serbian soldiers and their commanders, who would not command “charge” in battle, rather “follow me!” and through their own example they showed what they were prepared to sacrifice for the honor and freedom of their homeland.

At today’s promotion, envoy of the President Selaković also announced the initiative that President Vučić launched almost three months ago with one of the three historical institutes in Serbia to, following more than 20 years after the NATO aggression, be more responsible than we have been over the last 100 years and list every victim who fell during the NATO aggression.

- Such an initiative has been launched and is already ongoing. But it is not only the victims of the NATO aggression, there are also the wars of the 1990s, and we have an obligation here also to the sons of our people and the homeland not to allow those names to be forgotten. What everyone who is listed here and their shadows would be glad to see is Serbia rising from its knees, to see the Serbian Armed Forces, which no longer abolish their institutions more than a century old, but strengthen the existing ones, establish new ones and rebuild the old ones. They would be glad to see the Armed Forces which are better equipped than they have been in decades, that Serbia is today the only country in this region where more children have been born in the first six months of this year than in the same period last year; they would be glad to see that there are those who are fighting with all their might, just as those who gave their lives for Serbia did, are now fighting for Serbia and living for her – Selaković emphasized, adding that we have much more to do, but that it is important that we have started, and what is even more important, that we will not give up.

Rector of the University of Defense, Lieutenant General Docent Goran Radovanović, PhD recalled that with regards to the population size, Serbia had the highest percentage of casualties in the First World War, both among soldiers and the civilians.

- The project we are presenting today was implemented by the Military Archives between 2013 and 2018. The list of victims of the war, which is by no means completed, contains the names of all Serbian citizens killed in the Great War, regardless of their religious and ethnic origins – General Radovanović emphasized, adding that the Military Archives leave the possibility for the database to be supplemented in the future with new data from others archives from the country and abroad. He gave thanks to all who participated in the completion of this capital project, especially President Vučić and Minister Vulin, who supported and assisted in its implementation.

This capital edition was presented by academician Professor Mira Radojević, PhD, Professor Aleksandar Životić, PhD and Colonel Miljan Milkić, PhD who spoke about the challenges they encountered while working on this project, as well as the importance of that extraordinary research effort that the project entailed. The project, as it could be heard, contains personal data, time and place of death, the military unit to which the person belonged and the source of the data, which makes the data verifiable, and thus, for the first time in domestic historiography, we have a precise list of casualties, in which the existence and death of each victim is documented.

In the final part of the ceremony, Envoy of the President, Nikola Selaković, Minister Aleksandar Vulin and General Milan Mojsilović visited the multimedia exhibition setting of this project in the Atrium of the Central Military Club.


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