A founder member and leader of the Serbian Black Hand secret society, Dragutin Dimitrijevic , also known as 'Apis' assigned to him as a youth on account of his energy: 'bee' , organised the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which took place in Sarajevo on 28 June An ardent nationalist - the English translation of the Black Hand society was 'Union or Death' Ujedinjenje ili Smrt - Dimitrijevic dedicated his life to the Greater Serbia cause, even while he served within the Serbian military as chief of the intelligence department. Having first studied at Serbia's military academy Dimitrijevic was deemed sufficiently promising that he was promptly assigned to the General Staff. Aside from the murder of Ferdinand, Dimitrijevic played a part in the assassination of Serbian King Alexander on 10 June two years after another failed attempt , which ended the Obrenovic dynasty and brought Peter Karadjordjevic to the throne as King Peter I. Dimitrijevic himself was shot three times during the assassination although the shots were never recovered from his body.
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He was noted to be academically bright in his junior school and at the age of sixteen was sent to the Belgrade military academy. Aleksandar had ascended the throne of Serbia in when his father, King Milan, had abdicated.
Due to the lack or resect shown to his father and slight to the royal house in marrying beneath him, opposition to the king grew. The Prime Minister, Dr. In order to address these issues Aleksandar presented the parliament with a new liberal constitution.
The new constitution allowed for issues to be discussed with all opinion heard and acted to reduce political criticism of the king. Lieutenant Nikodije was personally unpopular and moreover this was seen by many as a further slight on the royal house. Tension rose in the army and in early a plot arose to assassinate the king and queen.
The killing was particularly brutal. King Aleksandar and Queen Draga were shot and their bodies mutilated and disemboweled and thrown from a second floor window of the palace onto piles of garden manure lying below. He travelled widely across Europe studying various different military tactics and training regimes.
The intransigence of Emperor Franz Josef in this matter raised tensions across the Balkans. Apis was increasingly worried by the action of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his conciliatory attitude towards the Serbs. If he succeeded the elderly emperor and his moderate political reforms were accepted then support for a greater Serbia might dissipate.
Apis needed to remove the archduke and precipitate an aggressive act on the part of the Austrians to allow him in turn to retaliate. A series of incursions into Austrian territory were orchestrated by Apis alongside several political murders but Austria still refused to react.
In the summer of , however, the archduke announced his intention to visit Sarajevo to view military manoeuvres and Apis sensed an opportunity. They were to assassinate the archduke. The Austrian authorities instantly rounded up several members of the Ujedinjenje ili smrt.
On 23 July , the Austro-Hungarian government sent an ultimatum to the Serbian government with a list of ten demands and a deadline of 5 p. The Ujedinjenje ili smrt had been officially banned in They were found not guilty due to the lack of proof of their involvement in the assassination plot.
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Dimitrijević-Apis, Dragutin T. 1876-1917
Dragutin Dimitrijevic was born in Serbia in At eighteen Dimitrijevic went to the Belgrade Military Academy. A brilliant student, Dimitrijevic, graduated from the academy with such a good record he was immediately recruited into the General Staff of the Serbian Army. An ardent nationalist, he decided to become a specialist in terrorism. In Captain Dimitrijevic and a group of junior officers planned the assassination of the the autocratic and unpopular king of Serbia. The group stormed the royal palace and killed both King Alexander and his wife Queen Draga. During the attack Dimitrijevic was badly wounded and although he eventually recovered, the three bullets from the encounter were never removed from his body.
He was a leading member of the military group that organized the overthrow of the Serbian government , which included the assassination of Alexander I of Serbia . On 11 June , the group stormed the royal palace and killed both King Alexander and his wife Queen Draga. He visited Germany and Russia where he studied the latest military ideas. Although Serbia was already an independent country, many Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina , Croatia and Vojvodina were still under Austro-Hungarian rule. He therefore gave instructions for the arrest of the three young would-be-assassins when they attempted to leave the country.