Serbia Day, June 25, 1916. Anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo
This World War I poster, published in Paris in 1916, depicts a scene in late 1915 from the Serbian theater of the war, in which the remnants of the Serbian army and accompanying civilian refugees were forced across the borders into Montenegro and Albania. Invading forces from Austria-Hungary and Germany had pushed into Serbia, where they occupied the capital city of Belgrade. One of the major engagements of the campaign took place at Kosovo, the scene of a battle in 1389 between a medieval Serbian army and an invading Ottoman force. The first Battle of Kosovo led to Serbia’s loss of independence and became an important symbol of Serb nationalism in the 19th century. This poster shows the aged King Peter, who went with the Serbian army on its retreat in 1915, being transported across the Drina River as the refugees headed into the mountains. Thousands of Serbs died of cold and lack of food during the winter of 1915–16, and Serbia Day was organized in Paris for the benefit of the Serbian Relief Fund. Serbia Day was celebrated in June, to coincide with the approximate date of the first Battle of Kosovo. During World War I, Serbia was an ally of Britain, France, and Russia. Serbia was a bitter enemy of Austria-Hungary, which blamed Serb conspirators for the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and was determined to punish the Serbs for the assassination.
Title in Original Language
La Journée Serbe, 25 juin 1916. Anniversaire de la bataille de Kossovo
Type of Item
1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 114 x 81 centimeters
- John Keegan, The First World War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999).
Last updated: February 10, 2014