Vaso Čubrilović

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Vaso Čubrilović
Vaso Čubrilović.jpg
Born (1897-01-14)14 January 1897
Bosanska Gradiška,
Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died 11 June 1990(1990-06-11) (aged 93)
Belgrade, SR Serbia,
Ethnicity Bosnian Serb
Political party Communist Party of Yugoslavia (1919–45)
Agrarian Party (after 1945)

Vasilije "Vaso" Čubrilović (14 January 1897 – 11 June 1990) was a Bosnian Serb politician and scholar.[1] In 1914, he was a student in Sarajevo, when Danilo Ilić recruited him and his friend, Cvjetko Popović, to help assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. His brother, Veljko Čubrilović, was also involved in the plot. Like Princip, he was a member of Young Bosnia, an underground organisation with the aspiration of the creation of a southern Slav state free from both Ottoman and Habsburg influence.

He lived until the year 1990, dying at the age of 93 as the last surviving participant in the conspiracy to assassinate the Archduke.

Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand[edit]

On Sunday, 28 June 1914, the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated in Sarajevo. The fatal shots were fired by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, who wanted Bosnian unification with Serbia and independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Princip and Nedeljko Čabrinović were captured and interrogated by the police. They eventually gave the names of their fellow conspirators. Muhamed Mehmedbašić managed to escape to Serbia. Vaso and Veljko Čubrilović, Danilo Ilić, Cvjetko Popović and Miško Jovanović were arrested and charged with treason and murder.

Eight of the men charged with treason and the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand were found guilty. Under Austro-Hungarian law, capital punishment could not be imposed on someone who was under the age of twenty when they had committed the crime. Čabrinović, Princip and Trifko Grabež therefore received the maximum penalty of twenty years in prison. Vaso Čubrilović got sixteen years and Cvjetko Popović thirteen years. Miško Jovanović, Danilo Ilić, who was a member of the Black Hand, and Veljko Čubrilović, who helped the assassins kill the royal couple, were executed on 3 February 1915.

He wrote a letter to his sisters from a Zenica prison explaining how it came about that he was involved in one of the most notorious assassinations in history and of the fall out - "When I was arrested and detained at Dubica, I admitted giving it [my bomb] to Ivo [Kranjcević] - Ilić had already betrayed Đukić and Popović. As you can see, we all betrayed each other. [-] In my opinion the assassination turned out well, considering who they gave the job to. In any event, it wasn't our intention to cause a world war, and we truly believed just a couple of Serbian officers sent us the weapons."[2]

Later life[edit]

Vaso Čubrilović was released when the Allies defeated the Central Powers in November 1918. He became a teacher in Sarajevo and subsequently a professor at the University of Belgrade. In 1929, he obtained the Ph.D. at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade with the thesis “The Bosnian Uprising 1875-1878”. He advocated the expulsion of Kosovar Albanians from Kosovo in a 1937 memorandum.[3]

In the closing stages of World War II he wrote another memorandum entitled "The Problem of Minorities in the New Yugoslavia," concluding that "Democratic Federal Yugoslavia can be sure of peace and development only if it is ethnically pure and has settled once and for all the question of minorities, which are a cause of quarrels between it and the neighbouring states."[4] After the war he served as Minister of Forests and also as Minister of Agriculture in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He received an honorary Ph.D from the University of Banja Luka in 1989.[5]


  1. ^ Robert Elsie (1 December 2010). Historical Dictionary of Kosovo. Scarecrow Press. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7231-8. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  2. ^ A War in Words, p.10, Simon & Schuster, 2003
  3. ^ The Expulsion of the Albanians
  4. ^ Paulin Kola. The Search for Greater Albania. London: C. Hurst & Co. 2003. p. 104.
  5. ^
Political offices
New title Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Petar Stambolić
Preceded by
Sulejman Filipović
Minister of Forestry
Succeeded by
Mijalko Todorović