Thursday, October 9, 2014

BULLETIN: Alexander of Yugoslavia assassinated

October 9, 1934

King Alexander of Yugoslavia, the 46 year old "dictatorial ruler," and France's Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, were shot to death today in Marseilles, only five minutes after the King arrived.

The alleged assassin is named Petrus Kalemen, 35, a native of Zagreb, and is said to be a Croatian, although this has not been confirmed.

The bullets "mowed down a policeman, "gravely wounded a French General riding in the official automobile with the king and foreign minster."  Twelve others were wounded before the alleged assassin was "himself killed, reports the Associated Press.

The new king is Alexander's 11-year-old son, Crown Prince Peter.  A regency will "rest the shape of the policies that may alter the makeup of continental Europe."

Sixteen years ago, Alexander, who led his armies "through three victorious wars" was hailed by his people as "the Liberator."

But in the intervening years "factionalism blocked" the king from his self-appointed task of unifying his heterogeneous nation hemmed in by unfriendly neighbors."

In January 1929, Alexander "discarded Parliamentary government," and declared himself as a dictator.  Many in his country looked upon him, no longer the liberator, but the Tyrant.  The people of Yugoslavia, include Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and Dalmatians, Bosnians and Herzegovinians, with deeply divided religious beliefs: Moslem, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

In 1920, during a visit to Sarajevo the King nearly lost his life when a bomb was "placed in his path by an assassin seeking to avenge" Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Alexander's successor, Peter, is a student at the Sandroyd school in Surrey, which he entered only two weeks ago.    He was playing in a football game with his classmates at the very moment of his father's assassination.

The news of the tragedy was received in London shortly before 5 p.m., and the Yugoslav Legation immediately telephoned the school, reports the New York Times.  After the boys had returned for the "traditional afternoon tea," the school's headmaster took Peter aside to break the news of his father's death to him.

Crown Prince Peter arrived in England in September with his English tutor, C.C. Parrot.  This was his first trip outside of Yugoslavia. He speaks English and three other languages.

A special police guard has been placed by the school.  He may leave for France tomorrow with his grandmother, Dowager Queen Marie of Romania, who is in London.  She will leave "early tomorrow" to join her daughter, Queen Marie, in France.

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