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  • The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, June 28 1914.

    Beatriz Camino

    The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, June 28 1914.

    The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo, Bosnia, set in motion a chain of events leading to the outbreak of World War I, which reshaped the geopolitical landscape of the 20th century.


    The early 20th century was a time of growing tensions and rivalries among European powers. The Austro-Hungarian Empire sought to maintain its influence in the Balkans. However, this region was a hotbed of ethnic and nationalistic aspirations, particularly among the South Slavic population. One of the main catalysts for unrest was the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in 1908, which angered Serbia, a neighbouring independent kingdom with aspirations of unifying all South Slavs under its rule. Serbia, supported by Russia, began to foster anti-Austrian sentiments and promote the idea of Pan-Slavism, fuelling tensions in the region.

    The spark that ignited World War I occurred when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph I, and his wife Sophie were assassinated during their visit to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Upon learning of Ferdinand’s visit, the Young Bosnians, a secret revolutionary society of peasant students, began plotting to assassinate him. The plan was orchestrated by Gavrilo Princip, Trifko Grabez, and Nedeljko Cabrinovic with the support of a secret society known as the Black Hand. The exact extent of Serbian government participation in the plot remains a topic of debate to this day.

    The Assassination

    On June 23, Archduke Ferdinand and Sophie embarked on their trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina despite receiving multiple warnings of potential danger. After arriving in a spa town near Sarajevo, they participated in military exercises and Sophie engaged in charitable visits to schools and orphanages, receiving warmth and politeness. On the morning of June 28, they boarded a train to Sarajevo and then embarked on a motorcade ride to the city hall in an open-topped car.

    As the motorcade passed along the Appel Quay, a main avenue in Sarajevo, seven Young Bosnians, including Princip, were strategically positioned. Cabrinovic, one of the assailants, mistakenly threw a bomb at the archduke's car, which bounced off and exploded, causing injuries to two officers and several bystanders but leaving Ferdinand and Sophie unharmed. Cabrinovic then attempted to take his own life but was apprehended.

    Despite the assassination attempt, Ferdinand continued to the planned event at the city hall. He later insisted on visiting the wounded officers in the hospital, and the motorcade sped down the Appel Quay to deter further attacks. However, the first three cars, by mistake, turned onto a side street where Princip was standing. Seizing the opportunity, Princip fired two shots, fatally hitting Ferdinand in the neck and Sophie in the abdomen. Both passed away shortly thereafter.

    After being detained, Princip admitted to killing Ferdinand but claimed he did not intend to harm Sophie. He received a 20-year sentence, as he was three weeks too young for the death penalty. However, he contracted tuberculosis and died in jail at the age of 23 in April 1918.

    Consequences of the Assassination

    The assassination set in motion a chain of events that ultimately caused the outbreak of World War I. Austria-Hungary held Serbia responsible for the attack and issued a stringent ultimatum, leading to the declaration of war. This triggered the complex system of alliances among European powers, with Russia supporting Serbia and Germany siding with Austria-Hungary. The conflict quickly escalated, drawing in other nations and culminating in a global war that would last for four years and result in unprecedented levels of destruction, casualties, and trench warfare. The Central Powers, led by Germany and Austria-Hungary, faced off against the Allied Powers, which included Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and later the United States.

    The war witnessed the collapse of major empires such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, German Empire, Russian Empire, and Ottoman Empire, leading to the redrawing of borders and the birth of new nations in Europe and the Middle East. It also had significant social, political, and economic consequences, including the rise of new ideologies, such as communism and fascism, and the reshaping of international relations.


    AUSTRIA. Franz Joseph. 1848-1916. AR Thaler. Vienna mint. Dated 1858.  Habsburg Franz Joseph I 4 florin/10 franken 1892HUNGARY - Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Joseph I, 1915 KB Korona, Gem BU Color!

    AUSTRIA - Empire, Franz Joseph I, 1900, 5 Corona, AU Great Color1880 Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich Franz Leisek Zoom inZoom inZoom outZoom outGo homeGo home zoom view World Coins - 1880  Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich World Coins - 1880  Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich World Coins - 1880  Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich World Coins - 1880  Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich  1880 Austria - Franz Joseph Silver Bravery Medal by Friedrich "Franz" Leisek Obverse: FRANZ JOS    Austria Franz Joseph General Agricultural and Forestry Exhibition in Vienna AE Medal 1890


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