After he attended gymnasium in Senj, he entered in Military School in Sankt Pölten, and later he attended Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt.
Sarkotic attended the War Academy in 1882-1884 and thereafter was at-tached to the General Staff. He served in Esseg, Pola, Hermannstadt, and Linz; Sarkotic was promoted major in 1896, colonel five years later, and major general in 1907. The following year Emperor Francis Joseph raised Sarkotic into the Hungarian nobility. While stationed in Tyrol from 1908 to 1912, he developed close ties to Archduke Eugene, and on April 10, 1912, succeeded General Svetozar Boroevic as commander of the VI Landwehr district in Agram.
At the outset of the Great War, Sarkotic commanded the so-called Domobranzen-Division (Croatian Forty-second Landwehr) against Serbia, actually crossing the Drina, but as early as September 1914 dysentery forced him to take a leave of absence. After the Serbian army drove General Oskar Potiorek out of the country and behind the Save and Drina, Archduke Eugene was given command of the Fifth Army, and he requested that his old friend Sarkotic be appointed his chief of staff. Francis Joseph nominated him, however, to become commanding general in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia on December 22, 1914. In this difficult post Sarkotic was responsible both to the supreme commander of the army and to the Finance Ministry; he adopted an iron-handed rule to restore order after Potiorek's disasters. In January 1916, Sarkotic participated in the conquest of Montenegro, storming the commanding heights at Lovcen. In mid-July 1916, in the wake of the Austro-Hungarian setback at Luck, the emperor's military chancellery contacted Sarkotic to ascertain whether he would accept the post of chief of the General Staff in place of General Conrad von Hotzendorf, but the ruler of Bosnia declined owing to his poor health.
With regard to the future structure of the Dual Monarchy, Sarkotif favored a union of Croatia and Dalmatia with Bosnia-Herzegovina, but unlike Baron Max Hussarek rejected trialism in favor of the direct administration of this new unit by Hungary. At a special crown council in Vienna on December 4, 1917, Sarkotic adamantly rejected the proposed division of the common army into separate Austrian and Hungarian contingents and instead called for a "small unitary army . . . prepared and ready to suppress revolutionary subversions and coups." Earlier that same year, Emperor Charles had raised Sarkotic into the Hungarian baronage with the title von Lovcen. In November 1918, the Croat was tem-porarily arrested at Wagram, but after his release by zealous nationalists settled down to a quiet retirement in Vienna. One of the Dual Monarchy's ablest commanders, Sarkotic combined a love of his native Croatia with loyalty and service to the House of Habsburg. He died in Vienna on October 16, 1939.