Saturday, June 28, 2014

100 Years Ago: Gavrilo Princip Assassinates Austrian Archduke

One hundred years ago today, a previously unknown teenage Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie as their motorcade drove through the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.  At the time, Bosnia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The shooting would soon lead to the onset of World War I, after Austria Hungary accused neighboring Serbia of being involved.

Princip, his actions, his victim, and his legacy have been remembered today:

ABC News in Australia has an article about Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

B92 reports on a monument to Princip in Sarajevo.

The Telegraph reports on today's events in Sarajevo.

The Guardian tells about how the people of Sarajevo are "split" in their views of Princip.

Fox News similarly tells about how Bosnians are divided over Princip's legacy.

Daijiworld has a historical report on Princip, the assassination, and its aftermath.

The American Conservative opines that the conditions that led to World War I are with us today.

Gavrilo Princip was arrested soon after he shot the Archduke and his wife.  He died before the end of the war he helped cause.  But in terms of what his actions led to, he would have to be the most consequential person in the twentieth century.  World War I was called "the war to end all wars", but in reality, it became the war that led to other wars.  In Germany, which had fought alongside Austria Hungary, conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles and economic turmoil helped to bring about the rise of the Nazi party and its leader, Adolf Hitler, leading to World War II.  Another ally of Austria Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, was literally torn apart, its former provinces rearranged into the modern countries of the Middle East.  Thus, the wars involving Israel and its enemies, and the wars in Iraq, for example, have roots in World War I.  The Russian Empire, allied to Serbia, withdrew from the war and underwent internal conflicts that transformed it into the Soviet Union.  This would eventually lead to the Cold War and its hot proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam.  The actions of Gavrillo Princip thus have consequences that have been and are still with us 100 years later.  We can only imagine and speculate what today's world would be like if Princip had either chickened out or failed 100 years ago.
My historically-minded friend Smokie of Somewhere In Texas also has a post about the assassination of the Archduke and his wife.

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