Seton-Watson about the Serbian Political Elite Cover Image

Ситон Вотсон о српској политичкој елити
Seton-Watson about the Serbian Political Elite

Author(s): Aleksandar P. Rastović
Subject(s): Political history, Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919), Politics of History/Memory
Published by: Српска академија наука и уметности

Summary/Abstract: During his career, professor Robert Seton-Watson devoted considerable attention to studying the past of South-Slavic peoples. Although he supported the preservation of Austria-Hungary at the beginning, and its reorganisation on the trialistic basis, the outbreak of the Great War caused him to change his views. Embracing the principle of nationality, he became the proponent of the creation of the great community of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, which would be organised on the federalistic principle. He expressed his most clear views in this regard in the Memorandum of 1 October 1914. As regards the Serbs, he esteemed them as a people, but constantly criticised their political elite. His sharpest objections were addressed to Nikola Pašić, whom he considered a symbol of centralistic-unitaristic conception of the organisation of the joint state of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. Inclined to the widespread stereotype of Serbia and the Balkans as a wild corner of Europe, Watson saw Pašić as guilty of propagating the Greater Serbian policy and fostering the old and obsolete Orthodox-Byzantine tradition. He also lambasted Pašić’s associates (Stojan Protić, Mateja Bošković). In his public appearances, works, newspaper articles, he did not spare the Karađorđević dynasty and king Aleksandar either, although he was not even closely critical of him as he was of Pašić. On the other hand, he esteemed Jovan Jovanović Pižon, Slobodan Jovanović, Ljuba Mihailović, Mihajlo Ristić.