The First War
War came to Sarajevo three times in the last century. Only during the first was there no fighting in and around the city.
The front lines never reached Sarajevo, but the First World War touched every resident of the city. Most males of military age fought for one side or the other. Many enlisted or were drafted into the monarchy's armed forces and fought with the courage and distinction that characterized the empire's forces in the war's first few years. Others, particularly Serbs, volunteered for the Serbian army or joined various paramilitary groups fighting alongside Serbian regulars. The price of participation was heavy. Many Sarajevans never returned, and many others were injured and bore debilitating injuries for the rest of their lives. Those who never left the city endured deprivations in everyday life, and Serbs who stayed were exposed to harsh repression by the Habsburg regime. The monarchy's security officials feared that the assassination was just the tip of the iceberg in the willingness of some Serbs to undertake violence against the monarchy. For the duration of the war, the authorities employed drastic measures in a campaign to destroy the ability of Serbs to organize resistance. Their apprehensions were strengthened by the discovery, ex post fact, of widespread illegal societies among students in every major town of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Sarajevo: A Biography. 2005. Robert Donia [C. Hurst & Co]