ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie

Updated on October 13, 2011

The assassination of ARCHDUKE Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie

On 28thJune 1914 the heir to the Hapsburg throne the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophie were murdered in Sarajevo the capital of the Austrian province of Bosnia- Herzegovina. The couple had gone to Sarajevo as a wedding anniversary treat for the Duchess. She had married into a family which disapproved of her because of her low ranking birth and was rarely seen publicly in Vienna. In Sarajevo she would be publicly seen and accompany her husband to functions he attended in his title as Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces.

Vladimer Dedijer a leading historian of the period has noted that Duchess Sophie had forebodings about the visit. She had been warmed by one of the leaders of the Bosnian Assembly that the visit should be cancelled owing to slav feelings within the province. The authorities decided that to cancel the visit would be harmful it would be an admission of Austrian nervousness. Despite the warnings the police protection afforded the couple was minimal and rather haphazard giving the assassin the opportunity to strike.


On the morning of the 28th June the royal train steamed into Sarajevo railway station to be greeted by the military governor of Bosnia. The welcome saw the first fault with security in that three of the four Royal family security detectives were left behind at the station having been replaced by local police officers.

The Archduke and Duchess travelled in an open topped spots car accompanied by the military governor. As the car entered the port area of Appel Quay the Archduke asked for the car to be driven slowly so that he could have a good look around; receiving some cheers from the thin crowds. As they approached the Central police station a young man Cabrinovic reached out of the now thickening crowds and threw a hand grenade directly at the car. Although the grenade hit its target it bounced off the folded roof of the sports car and rolled under the car which was following, subsequently exploding, wounding the occupants and several members of the watching crowd. The Archduke’s driver immediately increased his speed in order to get the archduke and duchess to the comparative safety of the Town Hall. The Archduke told him to stop whilst he checked on casualties despite the fact that the duchesses neck had been grazed and that it made the car a sitting target for further attacks.

The Archduke was understandably very angry when he arrived at the Town Hall and set off to visit one of the security officers who had been injured by the grenade. The itinerary of the visit included a visit to a new museum which was originally to be undertaken by the Archduke only. Such was the Duchesses concern for her husband that she insisted that she accompany him on his visit to the museum.

The Royal Security was slightly increased, in that the next visit was started with a high speed drive to the museum. However there were soon more mistakes and problems. The first car in the procession turned right at the corner of Appel Quay and Franz Josef Street and the second car followed. The military governor shouted to the driver of the third car that he was making a mistake and as a result the chauffeur braked sharply and stopped the car. At that point a young Bosnian Gavrilo Princip pulled out a revolver. This action was spotted by a policeman who tried to grab his arm but was himself knocked down. Princip was able to get within four of five paces of the Royal car and was able to fire into the car. His first shot mortally wounded the Archduke in the jugular and the second bullet entered the Duchesses abdomen and caused her to collapse to the floor of the car with her head resting on her husbands knees. It is recorded that the Archduke pleaded with his wife not to die “Soferl, Soferl, don’t die. Live for my children” and then himself became unconscious. The driver sensing the emergency but knowing the medical need for care sped towards the Governors residence but the road was bumpy and this may have contributed to their death being pronounced shortly after their arrival. The bells of Sarajevo tolled out the death of the Archduke and Duchess but perhaps no one at that time would have thought that this would be a preliminary to the First World War.

Investigations after their death showed that the assassinations at Sarajevo had been organised by the Black Hand, a Serbian secret society headed by Apis a shadowy figure who was also chief of the Serbian Military Intelligence. It appears that the Serbian government had been warned that there could be an attempt at the Archduke’s life but had made a poor attempt at alerting the government in Vienna of the plans. Although the involvement of the Serbian government was not proved the assignment of guilt was not done quickly or accurately enough to satisfy the Austrians. As Serbian territory was the base from which the assassinations were carried out , many Austrians felt that there was a case for strong measures against Serbia.

It is difficult to assess the reasons for the assassination. It is known that extreme Serbian nationalists regarded Franz Ferdinand with fear as he advocated that concessions be made to the South Slav majority of Austria Hungary. It was thought that the Black Hand felt that these concessions might lessen Serbia’s position as a rallying point for South Slav opposition and as the nucleus of a future South Slav state. Therefore the Black Hand felt that the Archduke had to be eliminated to protect their position. It is also argued that the Black Hand may have intended the killings to provoke war between Austria and Serbia hoping that Russia would ally with Serbia and by this force concessions from the Austrian state. At the time of the murders the Serbian press and public did not conceal their pleasure at the death of two of the members of the hated Austrian ruling family.

This assassination of the Archduke and Duchess in Sarajevo was the catalyst that ignited simmering causes throughout Europe and started a four year long World War in which many were killed and wounded and whole generations of young men wiped out.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      James A Watkins-thank you for your visit- much appreciated as is your kind comment

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this terrific telling of the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife. You made it exciting and I enjoyed reading your prose very much.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      the key word is "ostensibly" I am still researching how the government "sold" this to the people but your comments as ever are a boon- thanks

    • profile image

      ThePeeDeeWildcat 

      8 years ago from Just Across The State Line

      Ostensibly, the ordinary man in Britain went to war against the Germans in 1914 because of the German invasion of Belgium. The Germans refused to honor Belgian sovereignty in order to take an easier invasion route into France. Britain, along with Prussia, et al., were signatories to an 1839 treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality and sovereignty.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Thanks Jambo87 and ThePeeDeeWildcat- yes a very important event yet something I am working on at the moment is the fact that the ordinary man didn't actually know why the UK went to war! The more I learn and read the more I wish to know- will be researching more!

    • profile image

      ThePeeDeeWildcat 

      8 years ago from Just Across The State Line

      I believe that Churchill stated words to the effect that there were few moments in history that contained as much drama as the month between Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination and the beginning of the Great War. George Will, the American columnist, stated the obvious. Will called it the most consequential assassination of the 20th century. I have long found it to be fascinating to read about that time in 1914. Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek were very devoted to one another. Their children would suffer for many years afterward. They were to spend several years in Nazi concentration camps. Although the royal couple's daughter would live nearly ninety years, their sons perished in middle age.

    • profile image

      jambo87 

      8 years ago

      Enlightened examination of one of the most infamous events in history. Thanks for the info!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)