Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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On June 28th, 1914 in the city of Sarajevo two bullets were fired. World War One, World War Two and the Cold War all trace their origins to the gunshots that interrupted that summer day. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Not only was Franz murdered, but so was his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. They were assassinated by a young man named Bosnian Serb which set off a chain of events that leaded to the start of World War One. To many people it was known as the Great War and seemed to have come out of the blue. Franz’s assassination was the start to it all.

Franz Ferdinand was the eldest son of Carl Ludwig and the brother of Emperor Franz Josef. Franz was born in Austria in1863. He was educated by private tutors and decided to join the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1883. His military career included service with an infantry regiment in Prague and Hungary. While in the army Franz received several promotions: captain (1885), major (1888), colonel (1890) and general (1896). In 1889, Crown Prince Rudolf, the son of Franz Josef, shot himself at his hunting lodge. The death of Prince Rudolf passed the crown to Franz Ferdinand's father, Carl Ludwig.

When he died in 1896, Franz Ferdinand became the new heir to the throne. After the death of Franz, Austria/Hungary needed to enforce its authority in the face of such an insolent crime. Austria/Hungary immediately blamed Serbian government for the attack. After hearing that Serbia had asked Russia for help Austria/Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28. However, with the threat of Russia and its army, and Austria having an army unprepared for a large-scale war, it required Germany's help to back up its words with force.

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Emperor Franz Josef wrote a personal letter to Kaiser Wilhelm asking for support and on July 6, Germany informed that they would give their full support to Austria. On August 1, after hearing news of Russia's general mobilization, Germany declared war on Russia. The German army then launched its attack on Russia's ally, France, through Belgium, violating Belgian neutrality and bringing Great Britain into the war as well. Over the next four years, the Great War/World War One grew to involve Italy, Japan, the Middle East and the United States, and many other countries.

Around 20 million soldiers died and 21 million more were wounded and stuck with the damages for the rest of their lives. At last in 1919 peace was found but only stayed in peace for about two decades before giving way to another devastating world war. Who is to blame for the Great War? It comes down to who started it and who backed who which is firstly Austria/Hungary. After the assassination in Serbia they automatically blamed the city which caused a lot of tension and the declaring of war on one another. The fact that Austria/Hungary asked Germany for help encouraged Serbia to react with getting help with Russia and it went on and on.

To summarise this blame answer its Germany and Austria/Hungary. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia because a Serbian nationalist killed the heir to the throne. Germany's unconditional backing of Austria-Hungary encouraged them to be aggressive, which further lead to the Great War. To conclude this topic on what started and who was to blame for World War One I come to say that blame can cause a lot of damage and trouble eg. Austria blaming Serbia, and that the assassination of Franz grew way out of hand and could have been easily solved with no need of involvement with other contries. .

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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. (2017, May 06). Retrieved from

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