09.10.

1934: King Alexander of Yugoslavia Assassinated in Marseille

1934: King Alexander of Yugoslavia Assassinated in Marseille
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 9 October 1934
  • The assassination was carried out by radical Macedonian (VMRO) and Croatian (Ustaše) nationalists. The king died almost instantly. According to the papers, his last words were: “Preserve Yugoslavia.”

On this day, an assassination attempt was made on Yugoslav king Alexander Karađorđević.

He had arrived in Marseilles the same day aboard the destroyer Dubrovnik. He was met by French foreign minister Louis Barthou. They got into the car and were driven through the streets, which were filled with cheering crowds.

At one moment, the assassin Veličko Georgijev Kerin came forth from the crowd and shot the king, the French foreign minister, and their driver. Kerin was a member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (Macedonian: Vnatrešna makedonska revolucionarna organizacija – VMRO), and was working under the pseudonym Vlado Chernozemski.

He was the driver of VMRO leader Ivan Mihailov, and an experienced marksman. He was immediately cut down by a French officer, and then beaten to death by the angry crowd. It was established much later that French minister Barthou wasn’t killed by Kerin, but by one of the gendarmes, who was trying to shoot Kerin.

The assassination was also organized by the Croatian nationalist terrorist movement called the Ustaše. There was actually a total of four assassins, and all the other three were Ustaše members. However, all three found themselves unable to go through with the assassination.

The king died almost instantly. According to the papers, his last words were: “Preserve Yugoslavia.”

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