Nicolas Moll

Trans-European Research and Cooperation

“Will Marseille Become Another Sarajevo?” The Memory of Sarajevo 1914 and its Impact on the European Crisis after the Assassination of King Alexander in 1934
In: Südost-Forschungen, Band 75, 2016 (= Festschrift für Wolfgang Höpken – Erfahrungs- und Handlungsräume. Gesellschaftlicher Wandel in Südosteuropa seit dem 19. Jahrhundert zwischen dem Lokalen und dem Globalen), 136-152
Abstract: In situations of political crisis, what role do historical analogies and memories of earlier crisis situations play? To address this question, the example of the Marseille Assassination in 1934 and its aftermath can provide a striking and revealing case study. When King Alexander of Yugoslavia was assassinated on 9th October 1934 in Marseille, this dramatic event immediately provoked comparison, throughout Europe, with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914; it raised the question of whether Marseille would become “another Sarajevo” and lead to a new war. At the same time, there were also strong attempts to refute parallelism between Sarajevo and Marseille, highlighting the differences between both events and their contexts. By whom, for which purposes and in which ways was the memory of Sarajevo 1914 used after the assassination of King Alexander and during the subsequent international crisis? And to what extent did the references to Sarajevo 1914 contribute to the escalation or de-escalation of the post-assassination crisis, which was eventually resolved at the League of the Nations in December 1934? The paper is based on an analysis of archival sources and press articles from different European countries and sees itself as a contribution to European comparative and transnational research on the remembrance of the First World War and the impact and use of traumatic memories during political crisis situations.