Vladimir Gaćinović

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Vladimir Gaćinović
Vladimir Gaćinović (1890–1917).jpg
Born Владимир Гаћиновић
(1890-05-25)25 May 1890
Kačanj, Bileća, Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Died 11 August 1917(1917-08-11) (aged 27)
Fribourg, Switzerland
Known for Creator of Young Bosnia; proponent of "tyrannicide"

Vladimir Gaćinović (Serbian Cyrillic: Владимир Гаћиновић; nicknamed Vlado; 25 May 1890 – 11 August 1917) was a Bosnian Serb essayist and revolutionary in Austria-Hungary.[1] He was one of the leaders and organizers of the secret cells of the revolutionary movement, Young Bosnia.[2]

Early life[edit]

Vladimir Gaćinović was born in 1890 in Kačanj, Bileća municipality, which was then administered by the Austro-Hungarian Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina (another source has his birth place as Rudina village, also in Bileća).[3] Gaćinović was the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest,[4] who was also a hajduk. He completed elementary school in Bileća in 1901 and finished six grades of high school in Mostar between 1901 and 1907. The high school had been home to two secret societies since 1905, one of which, "Matica", was led by Dimitrije Mitrinović.[5] When he was seventeen years old, Gaćinović was a member of the literary society which served as a front for "Matica", and published a critically noted essay about the raconteur Petar Kočić.[6]

Young Bosnia and Kosovo tyrannicide[edit]

"Gaćinović's friends and followers were mostly like him — quiet, young, undernourished, intense, swinging furiously between moods of sentimentality and ruthless revolutionary aggression."[3]

Misha Glenny

Austria-Hungary's complete annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 angered young revolutionaries active in that region. They rejected the conciliatory ideas of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and his cultural struggle within the Austrian monarchy; instead, they embraced the notion of "Kosovo tyrannicide", à la Miloš Obilić, as a method of political struggle.[7] Gaćinović was the actual ideologue[8] of the revolutionary movement Young Bosnia, and was thus responsible for introducing the cult of tyrannicide.[9] Bogdan Žerajić was the first to pursue this method in practice. When Franz Joseph I of Austria visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on 3 June 1910, Žerajić had intended to attempt his assassination during his passage through Mostar, but eventually gave up his plan for unknown reasons.[7] Žerajić attempted to assassinate Austro-Hungarian governor Marijan Varešanin in Sarajevo a week later, but killed himself when the plot failed.[10]

Gaćinović, who was personal friends with European socialists such as Victor Serge and Julius Martov,[11] met Leon Trotsky by chance in Paris. His revolutionary zeal impressed Trotsky.[12] From autumn 1910 to the summer of 1912, Gaćinović was a student at Vienna University.[13] In his late teens, after visiting the Kingdom of Serbia, Gaćinović organized underground cells, kruzoks, amongst Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zagreb, and western Slavonia. In 1911, he became the only Young Bosnia leader to join Unification or Death, Dragutin Dimitrijević's secret society.[3] In the same year, the term Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia) was popularized in an article by Gaćinović, and modeled by him after Young Italy and Young Russia.[3] In 1912, Gaćinović publicized a letter by one of his associates, with whom he fully agreed. Titled "Cry of a Desperate One" (Serbian: Крик очајника), it attacked the younger generations, in particular students at foreign universities, for lack of idealism and opportunism, petty individualism, and conformity.[14]

During the First Balkan War, Gaćinović fought as a volunteer in the Montenegrin army.[15] Upon his return to Bosnia, he instigated a plot to kill Oskar Potiorek, the Austrian Governor, in January 1914, but did not follow through with his own plan.[16] Nevertheless, Gaćinović publicly condemned in his letters the subsequent assassination of Franz Ferdinand. According to some sources, this was merely an attempt to avoid prosecution for his involvement; however, other authors have it that Gaćinović was sincerely opposed to the assassination.[17]

During World War I, Gaćinović spent time as a volunteer in the French Navy, after which he traveled to the United States to seek aid and volunteers for Serbia. He was poisoned with arsenic in August 1917 in Fribourg, Switzerland, by either the Austrians, the French, the Serbian police, or by one of Serbia's rival political factions.[18]


  1. ^ Fabijancic, Tony (25 February 2010). Bosnia: In the Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip. University of Alberta. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-88864-753-5. 
  2. ^ Braničevo. Kulturno-prosvetna zajednica Požorevac. 1968. p. 75. 
  3. ^ a b c d Glenny, Misha (5 September 2012). The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-2012: New and Updated. House of Anansi. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-77089-274-3. 
  4. ^ Hoare, Marko Attila (2007). The history of Bosnia: from the Middle Ages to the present day. Saqi. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-86356-953-1. 
  5. ^ Istorijski glasnik. Naučna knjiga. 1967. p. 96. Рођен 1890. у билећком селу Качњу, као син свештеника који је био и хајдук, основну школу Гаћиновић је свршио... 
  6. ^ Митриновић, Димитрије (1991). Sabrana djela: O književnosti i umjetnosti. Свјетлост. p. 23. 
  7. ^ a b Мастиловић, Драга (2009). Херцеговина у Краљевини Срба, Хрвата и Словенаца: 1918-1929. Филип Вишњић. p. 35. ISBN 978-86-7363-604-7. 
  8. ^ Belgrade (Serbia). Vojni muzej Jugoslovenske narodne armije (1968). Fourteen centuries of struggle for freedom. The Military Museum. p. li. 
  9. ^ Лесковац, Младен; Форишковић, Александар; Попов, Чедомир (2004). Српски биографски речник. Будућност. p. 634. 
  10. ^ Srpski književni glasnik. 1935. p. 451. 
  11. ^ Horvat, Srećko (15 April 2014). "First world war: was Gavrilo Princip a terrorist or a freedom fighter?". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Avdić, Selvedin (30 June 2014). "Selvedin Avdić: A Great War Library". Guernica. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Dedijer, Vladimir (1966). Sarajevo hiljadu devetstso četraneste. Prosveta. p. 834. 
  14. ^ Историјски гласник: орган Друштва историчара СР Србије. Društvo. 1967. p. 109. 
  15. ^ Историјски гласник: орган Друштва историчара СР Србије. Društvo. 1967. p. 100. 
  16. ^ Preston, Richard (27 June 2014). "First World War centenary: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, as it happened". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  17. ^ Dedijer, Vladimir (1966). Sarajevo hiljadu devetstso četraneste. Prosveta. p. 522. 
  18. ^ Dedijer, Vladimir (1966). The Road to Sarajevo. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 184–283. OCLC 400010. 

Further reading[edit]