Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

100 years ago: On June 28, 1914, octogenarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, was assassinated in a motorcade on a trip to Sarajevo in the Balkan region of Bosnia. He and his wife, the Duchess Sophie, died quickly of gunshots fired by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb who was one of six accomplices determined to separate Austria-Hungary’s southern Slavic provinces into a Yugoslav nation. This movement became known as Mlada Bosna (“Young Bosnia”). The murder set off a cascade of events leading to World War I, when Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, then declared war. Russia mobilized to defend its power in the region, and then Germany declared war on Russia. Scholars maintain that the Great War, halted in 1918, was merely resumed in the late 1930s by Adolf Hitler. From 1992 to 1996, Sarajevo endured the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare (1,425 days) in the bloody Bosnian War for independence. More than 11,500 people were killed.