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The First World War: Death In Sarajevo. The Assassin Gavrilo Princip.

Updated on February 21, 2016
The Duke and Duchess
The Duke and Duchess | Source

Assassination at Sarajevo.

It is the morning of Sunday 28th June 1914 we are in Sarajevo, Bosnia. We see a procession of open cars. On a state visit, one of the cars carries the heir to the Austrian Throne, Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Today is their wedding anniversary. Among the crowds of onlookers were four men, these men were Serbians, they belonged to Union or Death, this was a secret society and was better know as Black Hand.

Four men are waiting.

Having arrived at the railway station the Duke's party set off for the town hall. On the way a bomb was thrown at the Duke's car, it landed on the folded roof and bounced under the car behind. The bomb exploded although there were twenty people wounded, nobody was killed. The Duke's car did not stop and he reached the town hall safely. Following the visit the party had to return to the railway station, we can but presume what was in their minds as they set off.

At first all went well but at various points four men were waiting. For some reason the Duke's driver made a small mistake, he needed to reverse the car. At that moment one of the men ran from the crowd reached the car and shot the Duke from point blank range, his wife Sophie was also shot. The Duke cried out to his wife as he fell. Sophie died first, the Duke immediately after. He had been shot through the neck.

Three men were hanged.

What then of the assassin. He was a young man, his name was Gavrilo Princip. He was immediately tackled by the Police and roughly taken to the local Police station. It is reported that under torture, he gave the names of the other three men. They were arrested and all four were tried for murder. Their trial lasted for four weeks, at the end three of the men were sentenced to hang. One man escaped the noose, This was the assassin Gavrilo Princip.

Why did he escape the hangman, because he was under age by two weeks, he was too young to hang under the law. His sentence however was not for life but for twenty years in an Austrian prison. He lived for only four years. He died in April of 1918. One arm had been amputated and he had been suffering from ulcers.

The war begins.

Following the assassination the Austrians looked for links to the Serbian government but none were found. In the Austrian capital of Vienna however, some politicians and military men urged war on Serbia. After consulting with Germany, Austria-Hungary was told that Germany would stand by their side. The wheels of war began to turn and on 28th July 1914. Austria invaded Serbia. The First World War had begun.


© 2012 Graham Lee


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    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Pro-Hubber. Thank you for your visit and welcome comment.


    • Pro-Hubber profile image

      Pro-Hubber 3 years ago from Florida

      Very nice hub. :)

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi always exploring. I agree entirely with your comments on killing, greed and gain. It is all so pointless. Winston Churchill once said 'Jaw Jaw not War War' Thank you for reading.


    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi aethelthryth. Thank you for your comment, I am so pleased that this hub gave you the answer to the name of the assassin.


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I must say that this was very interesting, but i feel sick about wars, Why are men so filled with greed that they will kill others for gain. Was this the start of the great war? Will we never learn? Thank you for sharing...

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      Timely article, as I was just reading a (not really very) historical novel and wondering, so what was the name of that guy who did the assassinating?

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Sis. Thank you so much for your valued comments. Yes this one act lead to the deaths of millions.

      Thanks for the vote.


    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellent, excellent read -- and I agree with your comment that it was all part of the bigger plan. Voted up! Best/Sis

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi UH. Thank you for your welcome comments. It's incredible that this one act started the war. Of course though it was not in Isolation. All part of the bigger plan I think.


    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Very nice article, Old Albion. Over the years, I've read a lot about the Great War-- especially its causes and the intense controversy regarding who was to blame for starting the war. Nobody gets off as innocent, and Germany had to take the blame for starting the war, but then, as the most powerful loser, it's not surprising the Allies were more interested in punishing her than establishing the truth. I believe the responsibility for starting the war belongs to Austria-Hungary.