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Why did Serbia object to the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria 1908?

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November 07, 2008 1:25AM

In 1878 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had previously been part of the Ottoman Empire, became an Austrian protectorate - not an integral part of Austria-Hungary. The area was inhabited by Muslims, (Othordox) Serbs and (Roman Catholic) Croats. It was a potentially explosive mixture - and was claimed by Serbia. Matters were further complicated by meaningless residual Ottoman rights. Austria saw Serbia as an irritant: it was strongly Pan-Slav and enjoyed support from Russia; worst of all, it became aggressive, expansionist and pretentious. However, from about 1893-1903 the King of Serbia to a large extent did as the Austrians told him. He and his consort were savagely murdered in 1903 by a small clique of army officers and the Black Hand gang. (The couple's hideously mutliated corpses were found in the palace grounds). From 1903 Serbia became increasingly assertive and there was no longer any question of the country doing Austria's bidding. In 1908, at the time of the Young Turk revolution in Constantinople, the Austrian government exploited the chaos in Turkey to annex B-H outright and make it a province. This indicated that Austria wanted to keep the area and not simply 'protect' it from Russia. It also mean that Austria was trying to prevent Serbia expanding and reaching the sea.