Serbian Retreat across Albania in 1915 by Alexandra Tomic


“No one knows what’s hard suffering, until they’ve crossed Albania walking.” (Serbian saying)

WWI Postcard Albanian Golgotha painting Green

There are arguably two events that are considered crucial in Serbian history. One is the Kosovo battle of 1389 where the medieval Serbian state suffered an epic defeat against the Turks, which marked the beginning of the Ottoman domination across the lands populated by Serbs. The other event, much more recent, is the retreat of the Serbian Army and civilians across Albania in the winter of 1915/1916. “The Great Retreat”, “the Albanian Golgotha”, or simply “1915” are some of the terms used to describe this rather unique event in history which remains mostly unknown outside Serbia. What happened? In late November 1915, an entire country, government, army, parliamentary deputies, journalists, theatre actors, writers, and thousands of civilians who were ordinary people retreated and then left the country before the invading enemy. The fear of reprisals was such that thousands of young boys were also sent out of the country with the intention of creating a new Serbian Army that would go back to the country and liberate it from the enemy. Tragically, the Serbian retreat resulted in thousands of casualties and the liberation of the country would only come three years later… Background – 1914 In July 1914 Serbia had to face the warshe did not want. After the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the complex system of alliances in Europe pitted not only Serbia against AustroHungarian Empire and Germany but the Entente Powers Britain, France and Russia against the Central Powers, Austria-Hungary and Germany.


Still, at the end of July 1914 there were only 4.5 million Serbs facing the Austro-Hungarian Empire of over 50 million people. Serbia managed to mobilize an estimated 532,000 citizens, including 10,000 officers. By the autumn of 1915, with volunteers from other Yugoslav regions, that is, regions inhabited by south Slavs, including from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there were 707,000 mobilized men although it is believed that only less than half of that number were combat ready. Despite all the expectations that the Austro-Hungarian Empire would overwhelm Serbia, the Serbian military consisted of experienced officers and soldiers who were greatly motivated. The Serbian soldiers were on home ground and once the war became inevitable, they were ready to defend their 2 homesteads. Against everyone’e expectations, except perhaps those of the Serbian General Staff, the Austro-Hungarian Army offensives of the summer and autumn of 1914 ended in defeat. Despite some early gains, the Austro-Hungarian Army led by Field Marshall Oskar Potiorek did not prove equal to the task. In fact, the Serbian Chief of Staff Field Marshall Radomir Putnik led his army to the first Allied victory in the war on 17 August 1914, the Battle of Mt Cer.


The next offensive looked more promising for the Austro-Hungarian Empire and started on 6 November 1914. However, this offensive too ended in an embarrassing rout of the Austro-Hungarian Army on the Kolubara river. Casualties were heavy on both sides: Potiorek’s losses were 28,000 dead, 120,000 wounded and 76,000 prisoners, while Serbs had 22,000 dead, 92,000 wounded and 19,000 taken prisoner. The advance of the Austro-Hungarian army in their offensives in 1914 had brought atrocities and diseases in its wake. The Austro-Hungarian troops perpetrated large scale and systematic killings and torture of civilian population. As Colonel Hunter of the British Medical Mission noted, “the campaign was stated to be not a war but an execution”. The atrocities perpetrated by invading enemy soldiers in 1914 described by Henry Barby, French journalist attached to the Serbian General Staff throughout the conflict, John Reed, American journalist who travelled to Serbia in 1915 and Rodolphe Archibald Reiss a German-Swiss forensic expert, among others, would have a decisive role in late 1915 when thousands of civilians would decide to follow the retreating Serbian army in fear of more atrocities. Serbia’s victories in 1914 were not decisive but made the Allies look more favourably to the Balkan front. These successes brought Serbia to the attention of Europe if not the world. “Gallant little Serbia” was lauded by Allied countries very much like “plucky little Belgium” was earlier in the war. Serbia’s victories became a double-edge sword: they made the Allies more willing to support Serbia and Serbian war aims. They also made it imperative for the Germans to take the lead in the subsequent offensive. The German General Staff prepared for war with Serbia in 1915 by using the the lessons of the defeats of Austro-Hungarian troops and intelligence reports. Serbian government tried to prepare against a renewed attack from the Central powers. Meanwhile, German agents in Serbia sent thorough reports on the diseases, morale and equipment of Serbian troops. The Serbian economy was devastated, with shortage of weapons and rising debts to the Entente, complicating the already difficult issue of potential territorial concessions to Bulgaria and Italy.


The Typhus – 1915 In the first six months of the war Serbia was ravaged by war, and then disease followed. It was in December 1914 that illnesses began to spread after the Serbian army took up to 40,000 prisoners-of- 3 war. The illnesses spreading were relapsing fever and typhus exanthematicus, better known as spotted typhus. The epidemics spread in the most dramatic fashion mostly due to sanitary conditions in hospitals, lack of disinfecting and delousing facilities and lack of knowledge that infected lice were spreading the disease. Between January and March 1915 there were almost 500,000 cases of typhus and by the time the foreign medical missions arrived, the typhus mortality rate had risen to 40% in some hospitals. The lack of nursing staff prompted the Serbian government to request Red Cross help and the call was answered by the Scottish Women Hospitals with three missions, the Red Cross, Stobart Field Hospital, Lady Paget’s mission, and many others. The estimate is that around 3,000 doctors and other medicalstaff worked in Serbia from 1914, many of whom were women. This group included the first women doctors in Britain: Dr Elsie Inglis, Dr Alice Hutchinson, Dr Isabel Emslie, Dr Mary Philips, Dr Katherine Stuart MacPhail and numerous other nurses, orderlies and volunteers, some with minimal medical background. The extraordinary presence of so many women volunteers on or very close to the front was unprecedented. This phenomenon is partly explained by the pre-war evolving suffragette movement which had had to take a back seat to the Great War with many activists going to the Balkan front, demonstrating that they were able to stand up to the greatest challenge of their time alongside men. The epidemic was beaten largely due to the actions of the foreign medical missions, more specifically the British medical mission which made the Serbian military implement temporary stoppage of all railway passenger traffic, interdiction of army leave, disinfection, quarantine measures, improved sanitation and sewage management, immunisations against typhoid and against anticipated wave of cholera. In medical history the Serbian typhoid epidemic had the most sudden occurrence and the most rapid decline, having lasted six months with a peak of two months. It was an amazing victory over a “mysterious” enemy, typhus, and Serbia seemed to enjoy a brief respite from the war in the summer of 1915, while the enemy was reconsidering the operations in Serbia from a strategic point of view. The Triple Offensive – 1915 In 1915, as the war was not going their way, the Allies were keen to attract Bulgaria to the Entente camp through negotiating territorial gains and losses from the Balkan wars.


However, Bulgariaa deal with the Central Powers and shrewdly made their accession conditional on the Germans having the command in the 1915 attack on Serbia. The secret agreement between the Central Powers and Bulgaria was signed on 6 September 1915 with Turkey joining it a few days later. 4 Serbia was attacked on 6 October 1915 by 800,000 troops of the Central Powers, led by Field Marshall August von Mackensen., with at their disposal 373,000 guns, 1,700 cannon and 10 air squadrons as well as a fleet of river boats on the Sava and the Danube. The Serbian Army was significantly weaker in manpower, with many unexperienced recruits and lesser equipment, armed with 232,000 guns and 685 cannon. 1915 would not be the repeat of 1914: the forces pitched against the Serbian army were led by competent commanders of the Central Powers: – General Koevess, General Gallwitz, General Bojadjeff and General Todorov. The Serbian Army had excellent commanders but the offensives of 1914 and the typhus epidemic of 1915 had taken their toll. The total strength of the Serbian Army was 288,5 battalions, 40 squadrons and 678 cannon. The Serbian Army’s commander-in-chief was Prince Regent Alexander with Field Marshall Radomir Putnik as chief of staff. The Montenegrin Army with a total strength of less than 50,000 troops was the only Ally of the Serbian Army that could provide effective support. The total strength of the Serbian Army at this point is disputed by historians with figures varying between 200,000 and 420,000. The attack began with heavy bombardment of Belgrade on 6 and 7 October with 50,000 shells fired at Belgrade in the first two days, with 30,000 falling on Belgrade on the first day. Combined Central Powers armies entered Belgrade on 9 October following desperate fighting of the Defence of Belgrade troops. The strong resistance impressed Field Marshall Mackensen to such an extent that he subsequently ordered the erection of a monument in Kosutnjak with the inscription in German and Serbian: “Serbian heroes rest here”. There was strong resistance on all the fronts and the invading troops advanced more slowly than planned incurring heavy losses. Still, the advance was relentless. On 20 October the town of Kumanovo in Macedonia fell and on 22 October so did Skoplje. With the Serbian temporary capital of Niš threatened, the government has to evacuate together with the foreign diplomats to the new temporary capital of Kraljevo on 20 October. This turns out to be just a short stop where more refugees create chaos. Foreign envoys retreating with the Serbian government have to destroy their legations’ archives and throw seals and stamps into the Morava River before leaving for Mitrovica to the plain of Kosovo. As the Serbian Army retreats, the civilians join in the retreat with the mass of refugees moving south. The atrocities of the 1914 invasions by Austro-Hungarian troops were the main cause for the panic of the large numbers of civilians, including women and children, withdrawing in the direction of Kosovo. Although Defence Minister Colonel Bojović issued the instructions to the General Staff on 29 September not to order the evacuation of civilians unless it was necessary for military reasons, the army was not able to stop 5 large-scale evacuations. Field Marshal Mackensen was focused on the encirclement of the Serbian troops. With this in mind, the movements of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian troops paralleled this concept. Mackensen thought that at some point the Serbs would defend a town of special logistical relevance – Kragujevac with its arsenal, or symbolic significance -Raška as the old Serbian capital, which would allow his troops to carry out the encirclement. However, this did not happen as the Serbian troops kept retreating – and the enemy kept following. Serbian troops arrived in Kosovo in mid-November 1915. There was somber symbolism in thousands ofsoldiers and civilians finding themselves in Kosovo at that point, the place ofsupreme significance for the Serbs. On 28 June 1389, the medieval Serbian kingdom was defeated in a myth-laden battle at the field of Kosovo by the greatly superior Ottoman enemy. Kosovo was regained in the Second Balkan War in 1913 as part of the gains of the ‘Old Serbia’ region. Less than two years since Kosovo returned to Serbia, it seemed that Serbia was losing herself as well as Kosovo. Many foreign medical missions, field hospitals and dispensaries had to choose whether to stay and hope that the occupying authorities would allow them to continue to operate, or evacuate and leave the area. The Retreat On 18 November 1915 Serbs were isolated on the Kosovo plain, where they had arrived through a series of tactical retreats increasingly pushed by enemy forces in preparation for the inevitable. The only question was what that inevitable would be. There were three possibilities: capitulation and separate peace, final honourable but desperate battle to annihilation, or further retreat. Nevertheless, only two options, retreat and counter-attack were seriously considered, while the third one, capitulation, was not an option on the table, neither for the army or for the government. The general situation of the Serbian Army at this point was dire with the manpower per unit reduced to about one quarter of the normal strength, and even less in some cases. The constant retreating, the loss of territory and lack of food – all this had a major demoralising effect on the troops. Moreover, the final realisation that the Allies would not be coming to help was the ultimate disillusionment. There was little ammunition, while the uniforms and footwear of most soldiers were in tatters. The High Command made the decision on the retreat through Montenegro and Albania on 23 November 6 with the actual order reflecting the decision issued two days later.


The order of the High Command to the commanders of all armies on 25 November 1915 gave the instructions for the retreat through Montenegro and northern Albania to the Adriatic Sea and gave the commanders of different units specific itineraries. In view of the unusual nature of the order, that the army would be retreating beyond the country’s borders, the High Command issued a special explanatory directive on the same day expanding on the objective – reaching the Adriatic coast: “There, our army will reorganise, get food supplies, weapons and ammunition, clothing and everything else the Allies are sending to us. We will again become a factor to be reckoned with. The state has not lost its being, the state still exists, although on foreign soil, as long as we have our ruler, our government and our army, regardless of its strength. The readiness of our Allies to help us to the end and their limitless strength will break our common enemy in the end. Our Fatherland will again be free and greater. Convince all that this retreat is a state necessity, salvation for the state and that in these dark days our salvation is in resolution, patience and ultimate sacrifice of all of us, with the faith in the final triumph of our Allies which is why we have to persevere to the end.” By this time, Field Marshall Putnik was severely ill with asthma and had to be carried by his soldiers in a sedan chair made from a car. The fighting and retreating of some units would end up lasting 67 days. The army was not alone in leaving, in fact the evacuation was to be complete: the government, the deputies, government officials, the archives, the treasury, and the casket of the first Serbian monarch, Stefan the First-Crowned Nemanjic, was saluted by soldiers along the route. Serbia’s gold reserves were sent to Greece escaping before the Second Bulgarian Army. As the situation became more critical, between mid-November and end of November 1915, there were refugees everywhere, with seemingly everyone trying to leave. Men, women, children, diplomats, all social classes, members of political parties, foreign journalists, actors, singers, university professors, AustroHungarian prisoners, and even criminals as jails and asylums were opened. Many thousands of Austro-Hungarian prisoners also retreated with their enemies after their repatriations were refused by Vienna. The High Command’s order, despite the explanatory directive that followed, caused much confusion among the common soldiers. Some ninety percent of the Serbian Army were old-fashioned peasants whose main motivation and fighting spirit came from fighting for their homestead, for the land they lived off for generations, who were used to fully understanding what they were fighting for – whose 7 patriotism, rather than an abstract concept, was a pragmatic attribute, linked to their farmhouses and their lands, their very livelihood. They found it difficult to understand the existence of the state outside state borders. An army without a country was an absurd notion that they could not comprehend. There were many who decided to turn back but a greater number remained with their units. The decision of the High Command went against everything that ordinary soldiers knew about the world. One overheard conversation between two officers went like this:: “Hey, we’ll end up like Napoleon in Russia”, and the other retorting: “Worse, he was taking his army home, God knows where we’re going”. Heavy weapons, artillery pieces and cannon that could not be taken or buried had to be destroyed and thrown into the river. These emotional scenes were described in a number of memoirs of the retreat: artillery crews were kissing and hugging their cannon before destroying them and pushing them into the river, some having hauled them down the length of Serbia, after using them in celebrated victories of 1914. Following the retreat of the Serbian Army and their de facto escape from the enemy encirclement, German messages from the front to their Command stated that “Serbian Army no longer existed”. There are numerous sources documenting the retreat, many eyewitnesses wrote memoirs, veterans’ stories ofsurvival recorded, photographs and official registers have been preserved. Yet, the suffering of the Serbian troops and refugees is not easy to describe adequately. The retreat of the Serbian Army began with approximately 220,000 troops crossing the border into Albania and Montenegro. Exact numbers of civilians are unknown but the estimates are that there were approximately 200,000 refugees.


The roads were becoming impassable with so many people as the bad weather turned roads to mud with carts and any vehicles getting stuck. The military units had difficulty remaining together. Eyewitnesses describe scenes of Biblical proportions with masses of people moving towards the mountains, as the weather got colder and skies darker. Food was quickly becoming scarce, the prices going up as desperate refugees started exchanging whatever they had taken with them for food. Many soldiers exchanged their weapons for a piece of bread. The desperation was stronger than the knowledge that the territory that they were moving towards was not friendly. Essad Pasha Toptani, an Albanian leader who was a Serb ally, provided protection where this was possible. Where he was in control, his gendarmes gave support to retreating Serbian troops, but in more isolated place and as the columns moved to Catholic territories in the north, where Essad Pasha’s authority did not hold sway, attacks by Albanian irregulars became commonplace. The 8 previous two Serbian Army invasions into Albania, one in 1913 and the second in May 1915, made many of the locals ready to take their revenge. Montenegro as Serbia’s war ally, and still only partly occupied by Austro-Hungary in December 1915, was a more friendly territory for the retreating troops and civilians. Nevertheless, the isolated houses where families felt threatened by the approaching mass of refugees did not necessarily offer succour to thousands of people passing through their lands. Although the High Command order had given a list of mustering stations, most of them were empty. The time was too short after the decision was made and even if the eventuality of the retreat through Montenegro and Albania had been more seriously considered two months previously, the practical preparations were simply not made. The weather was cold, communications’ network poor, terrain inhospitable, and the local population predominantly hostile. Moreover, many units not only fought Albanian irregulars when advancing but also Bulgarians while retreating. As the weather turned from cold to icy cold, shelters were difficult to find and hamlets across the mountains did not offer much refuge. Walking was hard, with intermittent snow, ice, or mud if there was a thaw. Falling asleep in the snow meant certain death. The exceptions were groups that travelled with ox-carts and equipment that would allow them overnighting around fires. Most of the women with the medical missions whose journey was organised and supported by the Army survived the retreat despite many of them having to sleep outdoors at night. The foreign missions in Serbia were numerous in 1915 – Russian, English, French, Danish, Dutch, Scottish, Greek, and American, and they all had to start retreating with the Army and the civilians, and were supported by the Serbian Army. Subsequently some of them stayed to look after their patients or the medical equipment. 200 foreign medical missions’ staff stayed, and were made prisoners of war by the invading troops, then eventually repatriated. The foreign missions that retreated were mostly evacuated through St Giovanni-di-Medua on the Albanian coast and then taken to Bari from where they rejoined their countries. One of the Scottish Women Hospitals staff, William Smith, a painter from Aberdeen, who was working as a clerk and then as a transport orderly with Scottish Women Hospitals, managed 9 to leave and described the departure: “The road was a moving mass of transport of all kinds – motorwagons, bullock wagons, horse-wagons, men, women and children, all intent on escape… This procession had been passing continuously for days, stretching from one end of Serbia to the other, and one realised that this was something more than an army in retreat; it was passing of a whole nation into exile, a people leaving a lost country”. Major Louis-L. Thomson, doctor with the French medical mission describes scenes from hell he witnessed during the retreat where men desperate with hunger tore flesh from dead horses lying by the roadside. The hunger was “stronger than disgust”. Many died from having eaten raw horse meat. Throughout the journey across Montenegro and Albania tens of thousands of people died, soldiers and civilians. According to the official statistics from 1919, 77,455 soldiers died while 77,278 soldiers went missing. The worst fate befell approximately 43,000 young boys that would have become conscripts in March 1916, who had been taken by the Army to join the retreat so that the enemy would not take them, kill or imprison them. The plan was to make a new Serbian army with these young men, born in 1896, 1897 and 1898. Within a month of them leaving, there are indications that approximately 36,000 young men died during the retreat. The official statistics state that only 7,192 young men landed in Bizerte on 26 May 1916, after passing through Tirana and having to additionally march down the Albanian coast to Durazzo and Valona.


There is an estimate of 220,000 civilian refugees who had set off for the Adriatic coast from Kosovo and only about 60,000 survived. Arrival in Corfu Despite German and Austro-Hungarian messages and propaganda that Serbian Army no longer existed, the number of troops of the Serbian Army on 31 December 1915 position along the Albanian coast between the Skadar Lake and Durazzo was 139,750 men. There were several more thousands that arrived over the following days and weeks, and were also joined by Montenegro troops that had avoided capture and wanted to join the Serbian Army. The plan of the Serbian Government, even before their arrival on the Albanian coast, was to reorganise and reform the Army with the help and support from the Allies. The original plan was to use the Albanian coast as the area for the recuperation. Because of the advance of the Austro-Hungarian troops in Montenegro and the 10 capitulation of the Kingdom of Montenegro in mid-January 1916, Albania itself was threatened, not least by the proximity of the Austro-Hungarian Navy at Cattaro/Kotor. Although the Allies had sent food supplies, these were delayed due to logistical and diplomatic difficulties involving the Italian Navy. The Serbian Army was positioned in two groups, one in the north around Skadar, and the second in the area around Tirana, Elbassan in the centre of Albania where they had the last skirmishes with the Bulgarians. The transports of food started arriving in ports of Durazzo and Valona, 100-200km of the positions where the Serbian refugees had arrived with the French and British recommendations that the Serbian Army should march to those ports because of the Austro-Hungarian threat, while the Italians perceived arrival of so many Serbs as a threat and forbade them from continuing south. The stand off between different sides went on for some weeks resulted in further loss of life, possibly of as many as 10,000 exhausted Serbian soldiers. The Serbian troops were eventually allowed to continue south to be evacuated. Apart from the soldiers, there were thousands of civilians waiting to be evacuated, without food or shelter. Every morning, after waiting to be evacuated throughout the night, several dead bodies of desperate refugees could be found in the Meduan port. Finally, two food ships evacuated “hundreds of soldiers, women, children, the treasure, the archives and the baggage of the officials” just before the Austro-Hungarians arrived. Although the evacuation preparations started already on 29 December 1915, the decision on the destination of evacuation was not made until 8 January 1916. The French and the British decided to ship the Serbs to Corfu without seeking permission from the Greek government or the Green King Constantine. The French troops landed in Corfu on 11 January. The evacuation transports that were established between Durazzo and Corfu and between Valona and Corfu lasted for several weeks. 12,000 people were evacuated from Medua, 95,000 from Durazzo, 51,564 from Valona. Among them were 3,500 government officials and 5,000 civilian refugees. The last troops to board ships were the cavalry units and the last group of Serbian Army to leave Valona and the Albanian soil did so on 5 April 1916. 140,000 soldiers were evacuated to Corfu, 10,000 to Bizerte in Tunisia, 1,200 to France and 4,500 to Salonika. In total there were 1,159 voyages. The first landings and sheltering of people is completely improvised, also not helped by the rainy weather. The mandate of the British and French military missions is to reform the Serbian Army after ensuring their complete recovery. The Serbian troops are very weak and even those who are well are unable to do much. Many soldiers are sick with typhoid and have to be quarantined on the small 11 island of Vido across from Corfu towards the Albanian coast. Around 5,400 people died in Vido. The Serbs named the island of Vido ‘the island of death’. The dead could not be buried as there was no space so most were given burial at sea. The sea around Vido and Corfu became known in Serbian history as the ‘Blue Tomb’. A total of 11,000 soldiers died with 7,000 of them buried at sea. Field hospitals were urgently organised in Vido and in Corfu, with medical services given by the French, English and Greek medical missions. The sick were also shipped to hospitals in France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Britain, and some to Russia. Although Serbia had lost approximately 400,000 men from the start of the war, there was still an army of 150,000 that was ready to recover and reform. There were also 20,000 civilian refugees in Corfu, and as the people recovered, Corfu developed to become a temporary Serbian political centre also thanks to the fact that its political leadership was practically intact. King Peter, Regent Alexander, most of the Serbian Parliament deputies, most of the political leaders, and army commanders were in Corfu. Social and political life flourished. Newspaper and magazines in Serbian were published, parliamentary sessions organised, plays and concerts were held for the Serbs on Corfu. The French and the British work together to make sure the soldiers recover fully. The Serbian troops receive new pale blue uniforms and the French are in charge of training them to back to being active soldiers again. French rifles are delivered to them in Corfu while heavy weapons are sent directly to Salonika.


The French envoy can reassuringly message Paris that the Serbian soldiers are much better as “the women of Corfu are noticing”. After about four months of recovery, the Serbs are ready to join l’Armée d’Orient. Regent Alexander and the High Command see the risk of Serbs meshing with the French and the British to the point of no return and not having a separate army. Regent Alexander requests an independent Serbian Army and Mondésir seconds the request which Joffre eventually accepts. The Aftermath of the Retreat The Serbian troops in Corfu, restored and reformed, began their transfer to Salonika on 12 April. The last transport was on 30 May. The arrival in Salonika of the total of 125,000 troops embodied the resurrection of the Serbian army. In speaking to his troops on the occasion of Easter 1916 in Corfu Regent Alexander makes the Christian connection between the Golgotha of Albania and the Resurrection at Corfu a lasting one: “Christ has risen: my Army is thus standing on its feet again and after so much suffering the Army is resurrected in all its strength, ready for the new feats and new triumphs”. The images of suffering and resurrection in fact perfectly parallel the experience of the Serbian Army in 1915 and 1916 drawing on role of the Serbian-Orthodox faith entwining with Serbian patriotism. 12 The reformed Serbian Army in their new uniforms joined the British, French, and Russian troops in Salonika in preparation for the great breakthrough of the Salonika front. They would also be joined by the Greek troops with Greece entering war on the side of the Entente in June 1917. The impatience of the Serbian troops to continue north was palpable and was a prelude to the first victory of the Serbian Army on its soil at the battle of Kajmakčalan on 20 September 1916. The front stabilised after the German and Bulgarian troops checked the advance of the Allies north of Bitola, when the trench warfare set in and continued for nearly another two years, leading Georges Clemenceau to unjustly name l’Armee d’Orient “les jardiniers de Salonique”. The Salonika front was eventually broken on 15 September 1918, proving decisive for the victory of the Entente over the Central Powers after the withdrawal of Russia from the war. Belgrade was liberated on 1 November 1918. The Ottoman Empire capitulated on 30 October 1918. Austro-Hungarian Empire capitulated on 31 October 1918. Germany agreed to the formal cessation of hostilities on 11 November. The Versailles Treaty was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the Sarajevo assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Selected sources: 1. Adams, John Clinton. Flight in Winter. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1942. 2. Barby, Henry. Avec l’armée serbe: De l’ultimatum a l’ invasion de la Serbie. Paris: Albin Michel. 1915. 3. Barby, Henry. L’ Epopée Serbe: L’agonie d’ un peuple. Paris: Librairie Militaire BergerLevrault. 1916. 4. Bataković, Dušan T. “Serbian Government and Essad Pasha Toptani”. 1992. Kosovo Chronicles. (accessed March 21, 2015) 5. Bérard, Victor. Heroic Serbia. London: Women’s Printing Society. 1916. 6. Boppe, Auguste. A la suite du gouvernment serbe. De Nich à Corfou: 20 octobre 1915-19 janvier 1916. Paris: Bossard. 1917. 7. Fortier Jones, Paul. With Serbia into Exile: An American’s Adventures with the Army That Cannot Die. New York: Grosset and Dunlap Publishers. 1916. 8. Hastings, Max. Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914. London: William Collins. 2013. 13 9. Hunter, William, C.B. Colonel. “The Serbian Epidemics of Typhus and Relapsing Fever in 1915: Their Origin, Course, and Preventive Measures employed for their Arrest”. Section of Epidemiology and State Medicine. London. 1919. 10. Jordan, David. The Balkans, Italy and Africa 1914-1918. London: Amber Books. 2012. 11. Judah, Tim. The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. 1997. 12. Krippner, Monica. The quality of mercy: women at war, Serbia 1915-1918. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. 1980. 13. Le Moal, Frederique. La Serbie: Du martyre à la victoire 1914-1918. Soteca 14-18. 2008. 14. Mitrović, Andrej. Serbia’s Great War, 1914-1918. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press. 2007. 15. Palmer, Alan. The Gardeners of Salonika, The Macedonian Campaign 1915-1918. London: faber and faber. First published in 1965. Faber finds. 2009. 16. Pavlowitch, Stevan K. Serbia: The History behind the Name. London: Hurst & Company. 2002. 17. Powell, Anne. Women in the War Zone. Hospital Service in the First World War. London: The History Press. 2013. 18. Reed, John. The War in Eastern Europe. Published by Forgotten Books 2012. Originally published in 1919. 19. Reiss, Rodolphe Archibald. Infringements of the Rules and Laws of war committed by the Austro-Bulgaro-Germans; Letters of a Criminologist on the Serbian Macedonian Front. Published by Forgotten Books 2012. Originally published in 1919. 20. Thomson, Louis-L. La Retraite de Serbie (octobre-decembre 1915). Preface de M. E. Denis. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie. 1916.