Jovan Atanackovic

(1848-1921)

He was born on March 26, 1848 in Negotin. His father Jakov was a merchant and his mother's name was Milena. He died on August 9, 1921 in Belgrade. He was married to Jelena, daughter of Milovan Pejcinovic, Mayor of the Royal Palace. His sons Milan and Borisav were also officers and he had five daughters: Vasilija, Kosara, Kaja, Milena and Ruzica.

 

He finished the elementary school in Negotin. He finished the first two grades of his high school education in Zajecar, and afterwards he continued it in Belgrade. He entered the army service as a cadet of the 7th Artillery School on October 9, 1865. He was ranked third in his class when he finished his education in 1870, and then he was made the 1st artillery lieutenant.

Promotions: corporal, on April 4, 1866; junior sergeant, on March 6, 1868; sergeant, on June 2, 1869; 2nd lieutenant, on January 1, 1870; 1st lieutenant, on January 1, 1873; 2nd class captain, on August 2, 1876; 1st class captain, on June 16, 1877; major, on June 20, 1881; lieutenant colonel, on August 10, 1885; colonel, November 1, 1892; general, December 6, 1897.

Duties: After he finished the Artillery School he was first made sergeant of the 1st field battery of the Standing Army, on January 7, 1871; he was then made registrar in the Artillery Inspection. From April 1872 he was a commander of the people's battery of Cuprija, and from April 8, 1874 he was made sergeant in the 1st Artillery Regiment of the Standing Army. He was made commander of the 1st Mountain Battery on April 15, 1875. He was made commander of the 2nd Heavy Battery of Timok on April 17, 1876, with which he participated in the First Serbian-Turkish War in 1876/77. He became chief of staff of the Krajina Army on June 10, 1877. After three months, on September 9, he was appointed chief of staff of Drina Corps and he remained on that function during operations in the Second Serbian-Turkish War. He became chief of staff of Drina Division on October 5, 1878, and after a year, on October 23, 1879, he was transferred to the service within the General Staff Division of the Main General Staff and he was made orderly officer of Prince Milan Obrenovic. He was on that duty until October 1, 1881.

However, on April 1, 1880 he was appointed acting chief of staff of the Artillery Brigade and he remained on that duty until October 30, 1882, when he became chief of staff of the Active Army Command. After that he returned briefly to the troops. On February 15, 1883 he was appointed commander of the 11th Battalion of the Standing Army, and on October 12 of the same year, he was named acting commander of the Sumadija Standing Infantry Regiment. He was appointed chief of Operative Division of the Staff of the Supreme Command on November 2, 1885. While he was on that duty he participated in wars in 1885. He was named chief of staff of the Danube Division Area on March 1, 1886. Afterwards, he returned to the Sumadija Standing Infantry Regiment on April 30, 1888, but this time as a commander. However, he remained at that position only for a short period of time.

On August 25, he was appointed chief of the Internal Section of the Operative Division of the Main General Staff. He was then named chief of History and Archive Division of the Main General Staff, on March 27, 1889, and he remained on that duty until February 10, 1893, when he became commander of the Timok Division Area. On September 2, 1894 he was appointed chief of General Military Division of the Ministry of Defense. While he was on that duty, in the period 1894-1896, he was the editor of the Official Military Gazzette. He was named assistant and acting chief of the Main General Staff March 18, 1897. After that, on February 1, 1899 he was appointed commander of the Belgrade Fortress and he remained on that duty until May 25 of the same year. At the same time, he was appointed president of the Artillery Committee.

From October 11, 1897 he was minister of civil engineering in the Cabinet of Dr Vladan Djordjevic. He remained on that position until January 22, 1899, when he retired. He returned to that position on May 25, and he remained there until he was appointed minister of defense in December of the same year. With the reconstruction of the Cabinet of Dr Vladan Djordjevic, after the death of Dragomir Vuckovic on December 10, 1899, he was named minister of defense and he remained on that position until July 12, 1900. On July 12, 1900 he was retired for the first time, but on November 20, 1902 he was reactivated and appointed infantry inspector of the Ministry of Defense. Seven days after this appointment, he also became member of the Higher Military Council.

After the overhtrow which was carried out on May 29, 1903, in the Cabinet of Jovan Avakumovic, from May 29, 1903 until July 12, 1903, he was reappointed minister of defense. He was at the same duty in the Cabinet of Jovan Avakumovic from July 12 until August 2, 1903, when he resigned. After he left the duty of minister of defense, on August 8, he was appointed Chancellor of Royal Decorations and he remained on that duty until March 31, 1906, when he was retired for the second time, this time upon his own request. During the war in 1912, as reserve general, he was mobilized and made a delegate of the Serbian Government with King Nikola and the Montenegrin Supreme Command. He remained on the position of delegate until his return to Serbia in December 1913, when he was appointed Chancellor of Royal Decorations for the second time. He was on that duty until April 1, 1917.

After he was released from this duty, he went to Switzerland, where he established Bureau for prisoners of war. He was head of this Bureau until the end of 1918, when he gave the documents of the Bureau to the Red Cross Association, when he finally retired. Beside the mentioned wartime and peacetime appointments, he performed other duties as well. During the 80s and 90s in several occasions he was a member of the Examination Commission for officers. In 1899, beside numerous other duties, he was also president of Disability Tribunal.

Decorations: national - Order of the White Eagle of the 4th and 5th degree, Order of the Takovo Cross with Swords of the 5th degree, Order of the Takovo Cross of the 2nd degree, Silver Medal of Courage, Memorial for wars in 1876-78, 1885-86 and 1912-18. International: French - Legion of Honour of the 5th degree, Austrian - Order of Franz Joseph of the 3rd degree.

 

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