World War I and Archduke Franz Ferdinand Part 2

About the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, his assassins and assassination in European history which sparked World War I.


WHEN: 1914

Also in the crowd were 7 potential assassins, including the 3 students. Though they had been drilled in shooting and throwing bombs, no one had warned them about the hazards of shooting through crowds at a moving target. One of them was standing too near a policeman to risk shooting. Another was pinned in by the crowd. A 3rd took pity on Sophie. A 4th lost his nerve. The 5th, Cabrinovic, managed to knock the detonator from a bomb against a water hydrant and throw it at one of the cars. Here stories of what happened differ. One account says that it fell under the wheels of the 3rd car because Cabrinovic's throw was poor; another says that the bomb landed on the hood of the archduke's car and the archduke knocked it off, whereupon it rolled under the wheels of the 3rd car. Whichever is true, the bomb exploded and wounded an army officer. Cabrinovic swallowed his cyanide, but it did not work, so he jumped into the river and was caught. Princip heard the bomb explode. Thinking the plot had succeeded, he went to a cafe and celebrated by spending his last coin on a cup of coffee. By now, the procession had reached the Town Hall. Furious, the archduke said Sarajevo should be punished and that he would not proceed with the planned ceremonies and parade through town. He would instead go to the hospital to see the injured officer. Everyone climbed back into the cars. Count Harnack, an aide, jumped on the footboard of the archduke's car to guard him. "Don't make a fool of yourself," shouted Francis Ferdinand. The drivers of the cars didn't know about the change in plans. The 1st car, carrying the chief of police, drove along the Appel-Quai and turned off into a narrow street. The soldier driving the archduke's car followed. But it was not the way to the hospital. Told of this, the driver started backing out onto the quay, where, by sheer coincidence, Princip was drinking his coffee. Princip looked up to see the archduke, immediately pulled out his revolver, walked over to the car, and shot the archduke in the neck. He then pointed the gun at General Potiorek. As Sophie rose in her seat, someone tried to grab Princip's arm and this spoiled his aim. The bullet intended for the general hit Sophie. She died almost at once. "Sophie, don't die. Live for the children," cried Francis Ferdinand. Fifteen minutes later, he, too, was dead. Princip swallowed his cyanide, but it only made him sick. Francis Joseph buried his nephew and Sophie very casually and marked Sophie's grave with 2 white gloves, the symbol of her position as lady-in-waiting.

It should have ended with a series of apologies. It didn't. Germany and Russia got involved in the argument between Serbia and Austria over the affair. Then France got into it, and Britain. W.W. I had started. Just 4 1/2 years later, 20 million people were dead. Of the 25 conspirators brought to trail in Sarajevo, 9 were acquitted and 16 were found guilty, among them the 3 students (including Princip), who were sentenced to 20 years in prison. All 3 were dead within 4 years. Apis was later sentenced to death.

Today, on that very spot in Sarajevo where Princip stood to carry out the assassination his footprints are marked in the pavement, and on that street the Gavrilo Princip Museum has been built to honor him.

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