The Assassination Of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
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Published: Tue, 02 May 2017
There always is and always will be a cause and an effect. That is how it is in fairytales, movies, the past, the present, and the future. There is always one thing that causes another. The assassination of the next emperor of Austria-Hungary is the cause and what is the effect? The effect is war, specifically World War One. The assassination was just one cause of many that led to the war, but a very important one. The Black Hand is who started it all and the assassination is what started it all. A member of a secret society named the Black Hand killed the Archduke which was one of the causes of War World One and that is all there is to it.
Franz Josef was the emperor of Austria-Hungary at the time and he was married to a woman named Elizabeth of Bavaria. Franz Josef had two brothers and four children but only one was a boy. Franz Josef went through many deaths making the line of succession get a little out of order. First, his brother Maximilian was shot by revolutionaries in Mexico. Then, in 1889 Franz Josef’s only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, had committed suicide which left Franz Josef’s younger brother, Carl Ludwig, next in line but he died of illness in 1896. Finally, leaving him with no other option, Franz Josef’s nephew, Franz Ferdinand became Archduke, next in line for emperor ( John Simkin, Franz Josef).
When Franz Ferdinand realized what being Archduke meant, he took on the responsibilities also. In addition to taking on responsibilities, he met a girl named Sophie Chotek at a dance in Prague in the year 1888. Franz Ferdinand did, however, consider the fact that she was not ranked as high as she should be if she was going to become his future wife. They kept their relationship a secret for over two years until someone let it slip. The emperor found out and insisted that Franz Ferdinand find himself another woman. To even consider letting him marry Sophie would mean that she would have had to be a descendant from the House of Hapsburg or from other ruling dynasties in Europe. Franz Ferdinand insisted though. He told Franz Josef that he would not marry anyone else. Finally, Franz Josef was convinced that the disagreement was only making people think that the monarchy was unstable. Franz Ferdinand got what he wanted but Franz Josef had put limits on what she could and could not do, including the consequence that Sophie would not be able to ride in the same car as the Archduke. Franz Josef still did not approve of engaged couple but he thought it was best for his people. He did not attend their wedding along with his family either (Simkin, Sophie von Chotkova).
The Archduke ended up becoming Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian army. He was popular with the armed forces and General Oskar Potiorek invited him to Sarajevo, Bosnia to inspect his troop’s maneuvers. Potiorek, knowing the restrictions made in their marriage, made it clear that Sophie could come and even sit in the same car as the Archduke since the rules did not apply in provincial cities like Sarajevo ( Micheal Shackelford, Sarajevo, June 28, 1914). The Archduke and Sophie knew that this trip was going to be risky because many people in Bosnia disliked Austro-Hungarian rule and favored a union with Serbia. The trip would line up with Franz Ferdinand’s and Sophie’s fourteenth wedding anniversary and Sophie was pregnant with their fourth child ( Micheal Duffy, First World War). Ferdinand thought it would be a nice anniversary gift to be able to let his wife sit by his side during the ceremony.
When they arrived in Sarajevo, they rode in an open top car so they and the citizens of Bosnia could see each other and connect more with one another. Franz Ferdinand was not too crazy about secret service either, so the security was not too tight that day (Shackelford, Sarajevo, June 28, 1914). Sophie and the Archduke were not too worried, but they did not know what was coming next.
As they rode down the streets of Sarajevo smiling and waving, they did not realize what was happening behind the scenes. Little did they know, seven members of the Black Hand, a Serbian sercret society consisting of nationalist people and in which all members had Tuberculosis, were planning on assassinating the Archduke. They wanted him dead because they thought he was a threat to the union of Bosnia and Serbia. The seven members lined the streets. They were supplied with two grenades, a revolver, and a small vial of cyanide. They were instructed to commit suicide after they attempted or succeeded at killing the Archduke. As the car drove past the first member of the Black Hand he failed to throw the grenade. Sources say that he either chickened out or he missed the car in which the Archduke and his wife were in. As the car drove past the second member of the Black Hand he also failed to throw the grenade. Finally, the car reached the third member of the Black Hand. His name was Nedjelko Cabrinovic . He hit the grenade against a lamppost to light it and at the same time the crowd went quiet. The Archduke heard it and reflected the grenade which then injured a few members of his party. Cabrinovic took the vial of cyanide and jumped into the Miljacka River but, unfortunately for him, did not die. He was later captured. The vial of cyanide either was old or did not contain any cyanide, and the river at the time was very shallow (Jennifer Brainard, Gavrilo Princip). The driver accelerated making the other four members of the Black Hand give up on assassinating the Archduke.
When they finally arrived at the City Hall the mayor was giving a welcome speech when Franz Ferdinand interrupted by saying,”What is the good of your speeches? I come to Sarajevo on a visit, and I get bombs thrown at me. It is outrageous!” (Duffy, First World War). When they were finished at City Hall the Archduke and his wife decided to go see the injured members of their party at the hospital but the driver was unaware of their plans (Duffy, First World War). While the driver was taking the wrong turn the Archduke told him to turn around and go to the hospital. The driver pulled into a café parking lot which just happened to be where Gavrilo Princip, the sixth member of the Black Hand, was eating. When they pulled into the parking lot Princip was walking out of the café and took his revolver in his hand and shot the Archduke and his wife in just two shots. He attempted to pull the gun on himself but was caught and arrested (Brainard, Gavrilo Princip).
The Black Hand members were all caught. Many of them could not be sentenced to death because they were too young, including Gavrilo Princip. Eight men were charged with treason and the murder of the Archduke, three members were sentenced to death, three members were sentenced to twenty years, and two others were sentenced to only sixteen and thirteen years. Gavrilo Princip, the last living member, died in April of 1918 (Simkin, assassination of Sarajevo).
After the assassination still in the year of 1914 Austria-Hungary presented an ultimatum to Serbia which compromised a list of demands made upon the Serbian government. At its core it was really only blaming Serbia for the events in which happened in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Serbia replied saying that they do not take any responsibility as a country for what has happened because the country did not do anything but only a few people did without the governments permission. They did agree, however, to hand over any individual who has taken part in the assassination (Duffy, Primary Documents). Austria was looking for an apology however they did not get one so they declared war on Serbia on July 28, of 1914 (Duffy, Who Declared War and When). That was only the start of what is to be known as World War One.
The Black Hand is who caused it and the assassination is what caused it. The members of the Black Hand may not have lived long enough to see the effects of what they had done but they died knowing they achieved what they had set out to do. They started World War One. They turned the world against one another, and they can never take it back.
Word Count: 1,537
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