The Serbian-Austrian conflict led to deliberately staged hostility and open hatred. The escalation of violence from summer 1914 was reinforced by the fact that a radicalised Austro-Hungarian army took over all authority in deployment and operations, and in many cases stopped differentiating between the military and civilians.
‘It's now or never!’ was the reaction to the news from Sarajevo that the successor to the Austrian-Hungarian throne and his wife had been assassinated. By July 1914 it was clear that a conflagration could not be avoided. The will to war and alliance-driven dynamics enjoyed greater favour than moderation and the willingness to compromise.
After losing their influence over the German countries and a majority of their possessions in Italy, the Habsburgs started to turn their attention towards the Balkans. In Viennese court and government circles, matters of prestige were of high importance. The ‘reputation of the Monarchy’ was primarily concerned with putting Serbia in its place. Almost obsessed with this goal, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was willing to ignore the international consequences of their actions and thereby ultimately threaten the peace of all of Europe.
With the focus of commemorating the First World War on the Western front, not only the fighting of the Russian Tsar's army in the East was overshadowed, also the armed conflict in Southeast Europe. The same has long held true for writing the war’s history, which is increasingly starting to turn towards the war in the Balkans.