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Stjepan Sarkotić

stjepan sarkotić
World War I

  • Serbian Campaign

Stjepan Freiherr Sarkotić von Lovćen also Stefan Sarkotić, Stjepan Sarkotić, or Stephan Sarkotić; 4 October 1858 – 16 October 1939 was an Austro-Hungarian Army general of Croatian ethnicity who served as Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina during World War I


  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Military career
  • 3 Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 4 Emigration
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
    • 61 Books
    • 62 Papers
  • 7 External links

Early life and educationedit

Stjepan Sarkotić was born in Sinac near Otočac on 4 October 1858 as one of four siblings His father was Lieutenant Matija Sarkotić of the Otočac Border Regiment Nr2 After he attended gymnasium in Senj, he entered in Military School in Sankt Pölten, and later he attended Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt

Military careeredit

In 1884 he got his first military post in the Königgrätz Regiment, and later he was transferred to 16th Infantry Regiment in Trebinje, Herzegovina In 1886, he was stationed in Mostar in the 1 Mountain Brigade Until 1887 he was involved in military actions that occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Krivošije in Montenegro By 1889 he was promoted to the rank of captain and assigned to the General Staff Corps in Vienna He was hereafter assigned to obtain intelligence on foreign nations To this end he travelled abroad to Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, Russian city Kazan, where he learned to speak Russian After his return, he worked in Intelligence Service of General Staff, and after that he worked with troops in the field

As soon as he became major, he was assigned to be commander of staff of the 7th Infantry Division in Osijek, where he remained for four years After that, he was assigned to Regiment in Prague as lieutenant colonel Between 1900 and 1903 he was chief of Staff at the port city of Pula during which time he became colonel in 1901 After his service in Pula, he was assigned to be commander of the staff of XII Corps in Sibiu in Transilvania In 1907 he became commander of the 5th Infantry Brigade in Linz, and in the same year he was promoted to major general In 1908 he became commander of the 88th Lands Rifle Regiment, and in 1910 he was assigned to be a commander of 44th Home Guard Division On 2 November 1911 he was promoted to feldmarschalleutnant Emperor Franz Joseph appointed him to the nobility in 19081

On 10 April 1912 Sarkotić became general of the VI Royal Hungarian Honvéd District, succeeding his countryman Svetozar Boroević in this post Sarkotić was also commander of the Home Guard of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia with headquarters in Zagreb

Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovinaedit

With the start of World War I, Sarkotić was one of the chief commanders of Austrian forces on the Serbian campaign He handled his duties well despite overall setbacks on the part of the Austrians In 1914 he was made Knight 2nd Class of the Order of the Iron Crown He was also soon made the commanding general in Bosnia and Herzegovina, succeeding Oskar Potiorek As governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina he understood the need for reforms in the region by both Austria and Hungary due to what he saw as the danger of a Yugoslav state

In 1916 Sarkotić commanded the Western wing of the campaign into Montenegro from the naval base in Kotor His troops attacked the Montenegrin forces at Mount Lovćen Within two days his forces took Lovćen and three days after that the Montenegrin capital, Cetinje, was also under their control For the success of this operation, Sarkotić was awarded the Order of Leopold First Class with War Decoration and Swords and the Bronze Military Merit Medal with Swords He was also made a Hungarian baron, accepting the style of von Lovćen, and was afterwards officially styled Stefan Baron Sarkotić von Lovćen at the Austrian court1 Although his title of baron was Hungarian, Sarkotić was often referred to as Freiherr Sarkotić von Lovćen in German

In 1917 he was promoted to Generaloberst Colonel General He continued at his position in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1918 With the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy, he retired in December 1918 However, Sarkotić was incarcerated by officials from the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes along with other political opponents of the state Sarkotić was strongly anti-Serbian and anti-Yugoslav During his tenure as governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina he suggested the unification of Croatia-Slavonia with Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina However, Austria-Hungary's political elite never took the threat of a South Slav state very seriously István Tisza, Prime Minister of Hungary suggested a plebiscite be held, but the actions were too little too late On Sarkotić's recommendation Tisza met with Ivo Pilar and Josip Vancaš, anti-Yugoslav members of the Croat People's Union in the Diet of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during his visit to Sarajevo in September 19182


After his release he returned to Vienna Here he was involved with Croatian emigrant and resistant groups He frequently wrote against the ruling Serb Karađorđević dynasty in the Austrian Reichspost He also formed and was head of a group known as the Croatian Committee as opposed to the Yugoslav Committee which he led until January 1929, when Ante Pavelić replaced him Sarkotić's exile from his homeland lasted the rest of his life He died in Vienna in 1939 and was buried in a vault at the Zentralfriedhof


  1. ^ a b Tucker 2005, pp 1053
  2. ^ Matijević 2009, pp 95



  • Tucker, Spencer C 2005 World War One, Volume 1 ABC-CLIO ISBN 978-1-85109-420-2 


  • Matijević, Zlatko 2009 "Ivo Pilar and the Art of the Possible: Croatia Between Central Europe and the Balkans" Review of Croatian History 5 

External linksedit

  • Stephan Baron Sarkotić von Lovčen

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