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JUNE 1914 28th June
A shot rang at Sarajevo killing the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife. The shot that rang out at Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 plunged Europe into one of the most devastating wars in its history, but the assignation so very nearly didn't happen...
|Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Image from the Mary Evans Picture Gallery|
On the morning of 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his party proceeded by train from Ilidža Spa to Sarajevo.Governor Oskar Potiorek met the party at Sarajevo station. Six automobiles were waiting. By mistake, three local police officers got into the first car with the chief officer of special security; the special security officers who were supposed to accompany their chief got left behind. The second car carried the Mayor and the Chief of Police of Sarajevo. The third car in the motorcade was a Gräf & Stift 28/32 PS open sports car with its top folded down. Franz Ferdinand, Sophie, Governor Potiorek, and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach rode in this third car.The motorcade's first stop on the preannounced program was for a brief inspection of a military barracks. According to the program, at 10:00 a.m., the motorcade was to leave the barracks for the town hall by way of the Appel Quay.
Security arrangements within Sarajevo were limited. The local military commander, General Michael von Appel, proposed that troops line the intended route but was told that this would offend the loyal citizenry. Protection for the visiting party was accordingly left to the Sarajevo police, of whom only 60 were on duty on the day of the visit.
|A map annotated with the events of 28th June 1914 from an official report|
The motorcade passed the first assassin, Mehmedbašić. Danilo Ilić had placed him in front of the garden of the Mostar Cafe and armed him with a bomb. Mehmedbašić failed to act. Ilić placed Vaso Čubrilović next to Mehmedbašić, arming him with a pistol and a bomb. He too failed to act. Further along the route, Ilić placed Nedeljko Čabrinović on the opposite side of the street near the Miljacka River arming him with a bomb.
At 10:10 am, Franz Ferdinand's car approached and Čabrinović threw his bomb. The bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street.The bomb's timed detonator caused it to explode under the next car, putting that car out of action, leaving a 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m), 6.5-inch-deep (170 mm) crater, and wounding 16–20 people.
Čabrinović swallowed his cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka river. Čabrinović's suicide attempt failed, as the cyanide only induced vomiting, and the Miljacka was only 13 cm deep due to the hot, dry summer. Police dragged Čabrinović out of the river, and he was severely beaten by the crowd before being taken into custody.
The procession sped away towards the Town Hall leaving the disabled car behind. Cvjetko Popović, Gavrilo Princip, and Trifun Grabež failed to act as the motorcade passed them at high speed.
Arriving at the Town Hall for a scheduled reception, Franz Ferdinand showed understandable signs of stress, interrupting a prepared speech of welcome by Mayor Curčić to protest: "Mr. Mayor, I came here on a visit and I get bombs thrown at me. It is outrageous. Duchess Sophie then whispered into Franz Ferdinand's ear, and after a pause, Franz Ferdinand said to the mayor: "Now you may speak."He then became calm and the mayor gave his speech. Franz Ferdinand had to wait as his own speech, still wet with blood from being in the damaged car, was brought to him. To the prepared text he added a few remarks about the day's events thanking the people of Sarajevo for their ovations "as I see in them an expression of their joy at the failure of the attempt at assassination."
Officials and members of the Archduke's party discussed what to do next. Baron Rumerskirch proposed that the couple remain at the Town Hall until troops could be brought into the city to line the streets. Governor-General Oskar Potiorek vetoed this suggestion on the grounds that soldiers coming straight from manoeuvres would not have the dress uniforms appropriate for such duties. Franz Ferdinand and Sophie gave up their planned program in favour of visiting the wounded from the bombing, at the hospital. Count Harrach took up a protective position on the left-hand running board of Franz Ferdinand’s car. This is confirmed by photographs of the scene outside the Town Hall. At 10:45 a.m., Franz Ferdinand and Sophie got back into the motorcade, once again in the third car. In order to avoid the city centre, General Oskar Potiorek decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital. However, the driver, Leopold Lojka,took a right turn into Franz Josef Street. The reason for this is that Potiorek's aide Eric(h) von Merrizzi was in the hospital, and was therefore unable to give Lojka the information about the change in plans and the driving route.The Sarajevo Chief of Police Edmund Gerde (who had earlier repeatedly protested the lack of security precautions for the visit) was asked to tell the drivers of the new route but in the confusion and tensions of the moment neglected to do so.
After learning that the first assassination attempt had been unsuccessful, Princip thought about a position to assassinate the Archduke on his return journey, and decided to move to a position in front of a nearby food shop (Schiller's delicatessen), near the Latin Bridge. At this point the Archdukes' motorcade turned off the Appel Quay, mistakenly following the original route which would have taken them to the National Museum. Governor Potiorek, who was sharing the second vehicle with the Imperial couple, called out to the driver to reverse and take the Quay to the hospital. Driver Lojka stopped the car close to where Princip was standing, prior to backing up. The latter stepped forward and fired two shots from a distance of about one and a half metres (5 feet) using a Belgian-made 9×17mm (.380 ACP) Fabrique Nationale model 1910 semi-automatic pistol. Pistol serial numbers 19074, 19075, 19120 and 19126 were supplied to the assassins; Princip used #19074. According to Albertini, "the first bullet wounded the Archduke in the jugular vein, the second inflicted an abdominal wound on the Duchess." Princip was immediately arrested. At his sentencing, Princip stated that his intention had been to kill Governor Potiorek, rather than Sophie.
|Princip being arrested. Image from The Times Newspaper|
Both victims remained seated upright, but died while being driven to the Governor's residence for medical treatment. As reported by Count Harrach, Franz Ferdinand's last words were "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!" followed by six or seven utterances of "It is nothing." in response to Harrach's inquiry as to Franz Ferdinand's injury. These utterances were followed by a long death rattle. Sophie was dead on arrival at the Governor's residence. Franz Ferdinand died 10 minutes later.
|The bodies were laid in state before being interred at the Castle of Artstetten in Austria - image from the Times newspaper|
The assassination led directly to the First World War when Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum against Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war, marking the outbreak of the war. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slavprovinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia.
The Times newspaper today published a replica news paper from this day 100 years ago
Sourced from The Times Newspaper supplement 28th June 2014, and the following websites: