Živojin Mišić

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Vojvoda
Živojin Mišić
Vojvoda Zivojin Misic.jpg
Živojin Mišić
Born 20 July [O.S. 7 July] 1855
Mionica, Principality of Serbia, Ottoman Empire
Died 20 January 1921 (age 66)
Belgrade, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Allegiance Serbia Principality of Serbia
 Kingdom of Serbia
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Years of service 1874 – 1904
1909 – 1913
1914 – 1921
Rank SrpskiCinovi18.PNG Duke (Field Marshal)
Commands held Deputy Chief of the Serbian General Staff
Serbian 1st Army
Chief of the Serbian General Staff
Battles/wars Serbo-Turkish wars
Serbo-Bulgarian War
First Balkan War
Second Balkan War
World War I
Awards Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords rib.png Order of the Star of Karageorge with Swords
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Legion of Honour
GRE Order Redeemer 1Class.png Order of the Redeemer
Cavaliere di Gran Croce OCI Kingdom BAR.svg Order of the Crown of Italy
(full list in the article)
Spouse(s) Louise Mišić (née Krikner)

Živojin Mišić GCMG, KCB (Serbian: Живојин Мишић) (19 July 1855 Struganik – 20 January 1921, in Belgrade) was a Serbian vojvoda and arguably the most successful Serbian commander who participated in all of Serbia's wars from 1876 to 1918. He directly commanded the First Serbian army in the Battle of Kolubara and in breach of the Thessaloniki Front was the Chief of the Supreme Command.

Early years[edit]

Mišić's grandfather was born in Struganik near Mionica. His parents Radovan and Anđelija (born Damjanović - Koštunjić) had thirteen children, of which only two were girls - Teodora and Živana.

Živojin was the youngest child, and when he was born, only eight of his brothers and sisters were still alive. When he turned 6 years, he became a shepherd. He finished primary school in Kragujevac. In his memories, he mentions troubles he had with the city kids that teased him because of his peasant origin. In 1868, he started his gymnasium education in Kragujevac, where he finished the 1st, 2nd, and 6th grade. He finished the third and fourth grade in Belgrade. In the first five gymnasium grades he was not a particularly good student, but he finished the 6th grade with much greater success. Because of that, he was admitted to the Military Academy in 1874, ranked 19th. On every holiday he visited his village, and often he worked in the field with his brothers. Later, on November 25, 1884, he married a German woman, Louise Krikner (1865-1966), at Ascension Church in Belgrade, and they had six children, three sons and three daughters.

He participated with distinction in the Serbo-Turkish wars of 1876 and 1878 with the rank of lieutenant JG of the infantry and in the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885 a as full lieutenant - a company commander in the 5th infantry regiment of Drinska division.

Sometime after the assassination of King Aleksandar Obrenović (see May Overthrow), he was forced to retire, supposedly through the influence of the "Black Hand" as he was considered too close to the Obrenović dynasty, but was reactivated on the personal insistence of the Chief of Staff of the High command of the Serbian Army, General Radomir Putnik who made him his aide.

Military career[edit]

General Mišić and British general George Milne.

In the Balkan wars Mišić was the assistant chief of staff of the Supreme Command of vojvode Radomir Putnik, his right-hand man. After the Battle of Kumanovo of the First Balkan War, he was promoted to General. During the critical moments of the Bulgarian surprise offensive at the Battle of Bregalnica of the Second Balkan War, when most of the staff suggested that the Serbian army should withdraw to the second line of defence, Mišić (still the Aide of the Chief of Staff) strongly disagreed and persuaded Putnik to order the army to repel the attack on the first line, thus contributing greatly to the Serbian victory in the battle.

During the July Crisis of 1914 Mišić effectively deputised for the ailing Putnik (then recuperating at a spa in Hungary). Defending against the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, Mišić (who had emerged from retirement to do so) was placed in command of the Serbian First Army; in December 1914, he won a decisive victory at the Battle of Kolubara that resulted in the humiliating expulsion of Austro-Hungarian forces from Serbia. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in recognition of his efforts in winning such a sweeping Serbian victory.

Although Mišić participated in the great retreat of the Serbian Army through the winter mountains of Albania during the winter of 1915-16, harried by the second combined German and Austro-Hungarian invasion force (ultimately joined by Bulgaria), he remained in favour of halting and making a final stand against Serbia's combined enemies. He was over-ridden however by both King Peter and the other Army commanders at a meeting in Peć, and was followed by the withdrawal of the Serbian army through Montenegro and Albania.

Having suffered badly from exposure during the epic retreat, Mišić recovered. At the Thessaloniki front in 1916, Mišić commanded the First Army, which stopped and forced the withdrawal of the Bulgarian army at the Battle of Gornicevo. Towards the end of the war in June 1918 Mišić was appointed Chief of the Supreme Command and commanded the Serbian army during the breakthrough of the Salonika front in September 1918. He was a lecturer at the Military Academy in Belgrade, and the end of his military career was greeted by the Chief of General Staff of Army of The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. [1]

His son, Major Aleksandar Mišić, was instrumental in the Chetnik forces during the Nazi Operation Mihailovic; he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords III on 7 January 1942, following his torture and execution resulting from surrendering as part of a military ruse to save Colonel Dragoljub Mihailović.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Mišić died in a Belgrade hospital of lung cancer in 1921.

Decorations[edit]

Serbian military decorations
Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Knight Grand Cross
Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Grand Officer
Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Commander
Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, Officer
Order of the Karađorđe's Star, Officer
Order of the White Eagle, Grand Officer
Order of the White Eagle, Officer
Order of the Cross of Takovo, Grand Officer
Order of the Cross of Takovo, Commander
Order of the Cross of Takovo with swords, Cavalier;
Serbian Service Medals
Medal of the Serbian Red Cross
Commemorative Iron Cross, 1885-1886
Commemorative Medal of the first Balkan War, 1912
Commemorative Medal of the second Balkan War, 1913
International and Foreign Awards
Order of St Michael and St George, Collar of the Knight Grand Cross (United Kingdom)
Order of Franz Joseph, Knight's Cross (Austria-Hungary)
Legion of Honour, Grand-Croix (France)
Legion of Honour, Grand Officer (France)
Legion of Honour, Commandeur (France)
Legion of Honour, Officer (France)
Legion of Honour, Chevalier (France)
War Cross 1914–1918, Bronze palm (France)
Order of the Redeemer, Grand Cross (Greece)
Order of the Crown of Italy, Knight Grand Cross (Italy)
War Merit Cross (Italy)
Order of Prince Danilo I, Knight Commander (Montenegro)
Order of the Medjidie, II class (Ottoman Empire)
Order of the Medjidie, III class (Ottoman Empire)
Order of the Crown, Grand Officer (Romania)
Order of Saint Stanislaus, Grand Officer (Russian Empire)
Order of St. George, IV class (Russian Empire)
Order of the Bath, Knight Commander (United Kingdom)
Military Merit Cross (Austria-Hungary)
The Balkan war medal of the British Red Cross (United Kingdom)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (USA)
Medal for Highly Meritorius Service of the American Red Cross (USA)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Petar Bojović
Chief of the General Staff
1918
Succeeded by
Army transformed
Preceded by
Position established
Chief of the General Staff of Army of The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
1918–1921
Succeeded by
Petar Bojović