The tragedy of Sarajevo


FGM Brigadier
Castelar, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrived in Sarajevo, then part of the Habsburg dominion, on June 28, 1914. He was joined in the city by seven Serbian terrorists there to kill him, in hopes of removing a prominent moderate from the line of succession and heightening the tensions between Vienna and its South Slavic subjects. The first assassin was standing near a policeman and didn't use his weapon. The second assassin tossed a grenade that injured several people. The motorcade then continued past the other assassins, none of whom acted as they lacked clear shots in the commotion. The assassins believed their plot had failed. Franz Ferdinand ordered his car to turn around so he could visit people injured by the grenade but his driver misunderstood, and continued on the original route where, while attempting to turn around, his car stalled. By chance, Gavrilo Princip had by this time moved over to Franz Joseph Street and he was able to take the fatal shot.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914)

Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg (1868-1914)

Gavrilo Princip (1894-1918)
He died on 28 April 1918 at Terezín prison 3 years and 10 months after the assassination

Princip used a Browning FN Model 1910 semi-automatic pistol to kill Ferdinand and his wife. The serial number of the gun, manufactured in Belgium, was 19074.

The killings sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of WW1 I by early august. On june 28, 1919, five years to the day after Franz Ferdinand’s death, Germany and the allied powers signed the Treaty of Versailles, officially marking the end of WW1.

Here, the historian DAN SNOW entertainingly explains, Princip wasn't acting alone. He was part of a team of assassins laid out throughout the city, most of whom had failed before Princip took his fatal shot at the heir to Austro-Hungarian throne.