Narodna Odbrana
Narodna Odbrana was a Serbian nationalist
Serbian nationalism
Serbian nationalism refers to the ethnic nationalism of Serbs. Originally arising in the context of the general rise of nationalism in the Balkans under Ottoman rule, under the influence of Serbian linguist Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and Ilija Garašanin....

 group that was created around 1908 as a reaction to the Austria-Hungarian
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

. At the time, it was concerned with the protection of ethnic Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 in Austria-Hungary. To achieve their goals, the Narodna Odbrana spread propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 as well as organizing paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....



Until the beginning of the 20th century, Serbian people had never been unified under one single state. There had also been conflicts between them and other people such as the Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

ns and Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. With the Austria-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (where there was a heavy concentration of Serbs), the Serbs expressed a need for protection of the nation with a defensive organization, which was the Narodna Odbrana.

A 1911 pamphlet named Narodna Odbrana Izdanje Stredisnog Odbora Narodne Odbrane (Народна обрана издање стредисног одбора народне одбране) focused on six main points:
  1. Raising, inspiring, and strengthening the sentiment of nationality.
  2. Registration and enlistment of volunteers.
  3. Formation of volunteer units and their preparation for armed action.
  4. Collection of voluntary contributions, including money and other things necessary for the realization of its task.
  5. Organization, equipment, and training of special revolutionary band (Komitee), destined for special and independent military action.
  6. Development of activity for the defense of the Serbian people in all other directions.

The pamphlet makes it clear that hatred of Austria-Hungary was not the aim of the group, but instead, it was a natural consequence of the desire for independence and unity within a single nation.

The Central Committee of the Narodna Odbrana was located at Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...


Balkan Wars

Immediately after annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 of Vardar Macedonia
Vardar Macedonia
Vardar Macedonia is an area in the north of the Macedonia . The borders of the area are those of the Republic of Macedonia. It covers an area of...

 to the Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia
The Kingdom of Serbia was created when Prince Milan Obrenović, ruler of the Principality of Serbia, was crowned King in 1882. The Principality of Serbia was ruled by the Karađorđevic dynasty from 1817 onwards . The Principality, suzerain to the Porte, had expelled all Ottoman troops by 1867, de...

, the Macedonian Slavs were faced with the policy of forced serbianisation
Serbianisation or Serbification or Serbisation is the spread of Serbian culture, people, or politics, either by integration or assimilation.-Serbianisation:...

. The population of Macedonia was forced to declare as Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

. Those who refused were beaten and tortured. According to the Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, members of the Narodna Odbrana have committed serious war crimes against the civilian population. In Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 there was a central committee of "National Defense". A population of Skopje called their headquarters "Black House", after the "Black Hand
Black Hand
Unification or Death , unofficially known as the Black Hand , was a secret military society formed by members of the Serbian army in the Kingdom of Serbia, which was founded on September 6, 1901. It was intent on uniting all of the territories containing significant Serb populations annexed by...

", secret organization that stood behind them. In the "black house" disloyal individuals were taken and beaten.

External links

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