Saturday, June 29

The bullet that started World War I

Oops, I'm a day late but yesterday was the 99th anniversary of the assassination Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, both of whom were fatally shot on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo.

Six Bosnian Serb assassins worked together to kill the Archduke. The first two failed to throw their bombs or shoot. The third threw his bomb, but it bounced off the Archduke's automobile and damaged the car behind - wounding 20 people.

Shaken, the Archduke and his wife went on to their destination at the town hall where he gave a speech. However, after leaving town hall to go visit the wounded a fourth assassin successfully shot both the Archduke and his wife, fatally wounding both.

Why? The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack.

Why was the assassination so important? The attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later on
July 28, 1914. Nearly 10 million people died as a result.

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