28.06.

1914: Bloodshed in Sarajevo Triggers World War I

1914: Bloodshed in Sarajevo Triggers World War I
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 28 June 1914
  • The Archduke's last words were addressed to his wife: "Sophie, Sophie! Do not die! Stay alive for our children!" and when asked how he felt, he replied: "It's nothing!" But Sophie died before they were brought to the governor's residence, and the Archduke ten minutes later.

On this day one of the most fateful assassinations throughout world history occurred.

Specifically, the Sarajevo assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand provided the pretext for World War I.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph and bore the title “Thronfolger” (heir-presumptive), because the old emperor had no male heirs after the suicide of his son Rudolph.

On this day Franz Ferdinand and his wife came to visit Sarajevo. The assassins had a broad-based plan with as many as six killers armed and deployed along the route that Archduke’s vehicle was supposed to take.

Despite such organization, the assassination occurred almost by accident, when it already seemed that all attempts had failed.

Namely, the whole thing happened like this: Franz Ferdinand and his wife were greeted at the Sarajevo railway station. Six automobiles were waiting and the Archduke entered the third, a large open limousine of Austrian brand Graf & Stift with 32 hp.

During the ride to the town hall, one of the six assassins, Nedeljko Čabrinović, threw a bomb on that car, but it bounced off the folded roof and fell back onto the street. It exploded under the following car, so the Archduke sustained no injury, but 20 other people were wounded.

The procession of cars sped away and continued towards the City Hall. Despite the fact that the Archduke was shaken by the assassination attempt, protocol was continued and solemn speeches were held.

After the ceremony, the Archduke and his wife decided to visit the hospital where the wounded from the assassination had been placed.

They sat in the same open car again. However, the driver of the car was not informed about the change of route, so while driving through Sarajevo he made ​​a wrong turn. He put the car in reverse to back up.

At that moment, they were spotted by one of the six assassins, Gavrilo Princip, who had already given up on the assassination and was in a nearby store. While the car was trying to reverse, Gavrilo Princip fired his pistol, a Belgian FN (Fabrique Nationale) model 1910 .32 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol).

He fired two shots, the first of which hit the Archduke and the second his wife. The Archduke’s last words were addressed to his wife: “Sophie, Sophie! Do not die! Stay alive for our children!” and when asked how he felt, he replied: “It’s nothing!”

But Sophie died before they were brought to the governor’s residence, as did the Archduke ten minutes later.

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