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|Marián Varešanin von Vareš was born in Gunja, a small town in the Croatian Military Frontier, on 1 February 1847. Varešanin completed his military training and took part in the Seven Weeks' War, fighting on the Northern Front. In 1875, he accompanied Kaiser Franz Josef on his first tour of Dalmatia and was attached to Prince Nikola Petrovic of Montenegro. This placed him in good standing with the Serbians as well as the Montenegrins, and he found favour with Serbs in the monarchy. He took part in the Bosnian occupation in 1878, and later joined the personal entourage of the Crown Prince Rudolf as a tutor. After numerous tours of duty in the north and east of the Empire, Varešanin returned to Sarajevo in 1903 as deputy commander of the XV. Army Corps.
The military governor of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Following the occupation of the two lands in 1878, there was some confusion in the Imperial Court about which milistry should be responsible for a territory that part of neither Austria nor Hungary. Perhaps arbitrarily, the civil governorship was assigned to the k.u.k. Finance Minister. But there was also a military governor, as the two provinces were de jure part of the Ottoman Empire and under Austrian military occupation.
Varešanin was Commander of the XV. Corps situated at Sarajevo from 7 March, when he replaced GdK Anton Edler von Winzor He kept this responsibility until September 1909, when he handed it to FML Moritz von Auffenberg. Varešanin then became military governor during latter phase of the Bosnian Crisis in Sept. 1909, and was still governor during the Kaiser's visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1910. More infamously, he was the object of an assassination attempt whose bungling certainly encouraged Serb terrorists to attempt future better planned and organised assassinations.
The Austria "Red Book" outlines the assassination attempt against the governor through a revolutionary newspaper article from Serbia: "The "Politika," on the 18th August, 1910, on the occasion of the eightieth birthday of His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, published a large portrait of Bogdan Zerajic, who, two months earlier, had made a murderous attack on the Governor of Bosnia, Freiherr von Varešanin. In the article dealing with this, the following observations were made:
"Two months ago, on the 2nd of June (old style), on the opening day of the Diet of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a young Servian, the student Bogdan Zerajic, made an attempt in Serajevo to kill the Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, General Marian Varešanin. Zerajic fired five shots at this renegade, who had assured his career by pouring out the blood of his brothers in the famous insurrection in Rakovica, but, owing to a remarkable accident, did not succeed in killing him. Whereon the brave and composed Zerajic fired the sixth and last bullet through his own head, and immediately fell dead.
"In Vienna, they knew very well that it was not the reading of Russian and revolutionary writings which had induced Zerajic to make his attempt, but that he acted thus as the noble scion of a race which wished to protest against foreign rule in this bloody way. Therefore, they sought to hush up the whole matter as quickly as possible, and contrary to their custom to avoid an affair which would have still more compromised the Austrian Government in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Vienna, it was desired that every memory of Zerajic should be extinguished, and that no importance should be attached to his attempt; but just this fear of the dead Zerajic, and the prohibition against mentioning his name throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, brought it about that his name is spoken among the people as something sacred to-day, on the 18th of August, perhaps more than ever."
At any rate, Varešanin was allowed to leave the governorship on 10 May 1911, and he was replaced by FML Oskar Potiorek. Two months later, Varešanin retired from he military.
GdI Marian Varešanin von Vareš died on 22 April 1917 in Vienna.
GWS, 1/01 [rev. 11/01]
|The village of Vares in Bosnia, from whence General Varesanin was named.|
|The Kaiser visits Mostar, capital of Herzegowina|
|His Majesty Kaiser Franz Josef pays a visit to the ancient city of Mostar, the capital of Herzegowina, on General Varesanin's watch in 1910. The long-overdue Imperial visit to Bosnia-Herzegowina was a great success, in spite of the many terrorist threats that the secret police were investigating.|