1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mišić, Živojin

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MIŠIĆ, ŽIVOJIN (1855-1921), Serbian statesman, was the son of well-to-do peasant parents in a village under Mt. Suvo Bor, in the heart of the famous Shumaja (Shumadia) district, which had always been the backbone of Serbian resistance alike to the Turk and to the Austrian. Born in 1855, he passed through the old Artillery school in Belgrade and served in the Serbo-Turkish War of 1877 and the short Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. He then devoted himself to an intense study of military history and strategy. During the Bosnian annexation crisis he became assistant chief-of-staff to Gen. Putnik, and in this capacity made his name in the first Balkan War, being promoted general. In the second Balkan War in 1913 he was mainly responsible, under Putnik's orders, for the decisive operations on the Bregalnitsa, which ended in the overthrow of Bulgaria. When the World War broke out he was once more Voivode Putnik's trusted right-hand man; and when the Austrians, after their initial failure on the Drina and Sava, invaded Serbia with stronger forces in Nov. 1914, Mišić was appointed to the command of the I. Army, which had to bear the brunt of the attack, and strongly urged a counter-offensive. Mišić's simple and unaffected heroism inspired his soldiers with confidence: his army order of Dec. 3 is worthy to rank beside Lord Kitchener's appeal to the new armies of Britain, and certainly holds a record of soldierly directness. “Trust in God and forward, heroes,” was all its length. Mišić's spirit spread from his own immediate command to the whole Serbian army and found expression in the decisive victory of Rudnik early in December. The Austrians under Potiorek were driven headlong out of Serbia, with a loss of 40,000 prisoners and an enormous booty, and 10 months were to pass before an enemy was seen again on Serbian soil. Thus strangely enough was fulfilled an authentic peasant prophecy which foretold that a peasant soldier from the Shumaja would rout a northern invader within sight of his native village.

Mišić, who had been created voivode after Rudnik, distinguished himself still further during the terrible retreat of the Serbian army in the winter of 1915, before the joint German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian advance. Unhappily, politics entered into the military rearrangements which followed the concentration of the wrecked Serbian army at Corfu: but Mišić stood beyond the reach even of party intrigue. After a long interval spent at a western health resort in recovering from the strain of the campaign, he resumed command of the I. Army on the Salonika front in Aug. 1917, and in June 1918 was made chief-of-staff. In this position he played a preëminent part in elaborating the plan to which the piercing of the Bulgarian front and, indirectly, the collapse of Austria-Hungary was due. As a convinced believer in Serbia's national destiny and the idea of Yugoslav unity, he did all in his power to promote the efforts of the exiled Yugoslav committee to organize Yugoslav legions on every front. His death on Jan. 20 1921, after a long and painful illness, was received with national mourning.