On June 28, 1914, 99 years ago today, Francis Ferdinand, Archduke and heir-apparent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was riding through the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia with his wife Sophie when a 19-year-old Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, stepped up to his car and shot him in the throat. Princip also fatally wounded Sophie. Ferdinand died minutes later, begging his wife to survive for the sake of their children. He died in the room where champagne was chilling for the reception he was on his way to when he was assassinated.
The above image, from a contemporary newspaper, depicts the killing. (Click to enlarge).
This incident, one of the most famous political assassinations in history, lit the fuse that burned down through the summer of 1914 and led, in the last few days of July and the first days of August, to the outbreak of World War I. The story of exactly how the murder of an Austrian noble led to the bloodiest conflict on planet Earth (up until that time) is much too long to get into in this blog post, but suffice it to say, it’s one of the most interesting stories in modern history. I’ve been reading about it for years and I still don’t understand all the ins and outs.
Nevertheless, let us remember the incident and observe the date, on which the death of one man ultimately led to the deaths of millions of men and women across the world.
You can read more about the Francis Ferdinand assassination here.