Parliament hosts exhibition on outbreak of WW1

The "July 1914 - in the Documents of the Archive of Serbia" exhibition opened in the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade on Monday.

Source: Tanjug

This came on the 100th anniversary since the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia, starting the First World War.

On July 28, 1914, a telegram containing the declaration of war, signed by Count Leopold Berchtold, the then Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, arrived in Niš, where the government and parliament of the Kingdom of Serbia were situated at the time.

"A century ago today, a war was declared on Serbia in which it lost almost one quarter of its population," Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojković said opening the exhibition.

Serbia cannot and will not forget its heroic past and the victims among its population - which are central to the collective memory of its citizens - but today Serbia is looking to the future and aspires to become a full-fledged member of the European family, she noted.

"Today, a hundred years on, I want to stress that the 21st century must be marked by cooperation, rather than conflicts. It is a time when Serbia, committed to peace and development, is finding its place," Gojković concluded.

Archive of Serbia Director Miroslav Perišić noted the significance of the exhibited documents, a testimony to the dramatic moments when humanity faced a world war.

"Before us today are documents without which the pre-history of World War I, or the history of its beginning, cannot be written," he said.

Perišić said that the exhibition is one in a series of projects the Archive of Serbia will organize to commemorate the great anniversary, adding that they will consist of a series of exhibitions, to be held in Serbia, as well as abroad.

At the exhibition July 1914 - In the Documents of the Archive of Serbia, visitors will be able to see the message from Serbia's ambassador to Vienna about the Sarajevo assassination, the telegram from Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pašić in which he extended condolences to Count Berchtold following the assassination, as well as reports by Serbian diplomatic officials on reactions to the assassination.

Exhibits also include the minutes from the extraordinary session of the Serbian parliament in Nis in July 1914, the original ultimatum sent to Serbia by Austria-Hungary on July 23, 1914, the subsequent response of the Serbian government of July 25, 1914, and the original telegram with Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by many guests, including US Ambassador Michael Kirby and Dejan Ristić, state secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Information.

The exhibition will be open to visitors until September 7.

The marking of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I began late Sunday with a ceremony at Belgrade's Kalemegdan Fortress, organised by a committee set up to cherish the tradition of Serbia's liberation wars.

The ceremony was attended by many Serbian officials, including Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin, who is also the president of the committee, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Kori Udovički, Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović, as well as many citizens.


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