Centenary Anniversary: Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated

Date of Anniversary: 28 June 2014
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The heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the House of Habsburg, is assassinated in Sarajevo.

He had been assassinated by Bosnian-Serb nationalists, seeking to break away from the Empire.

In mainstream histories of the First World War, the Archduke's assassination was central to the outbreak of the conflict.

The wider context:

Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.

The territory had a multi-ethnic makeup, and was particularly Slavic, which spurred nationalistic tensions.

Sarajevo, where the assassination took place, was not a part of the Kingdom of Serbia, but a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time.

The Assassination

The Archduke and his wife Sophie were inspecting Austro-Hungarian troops in Sarajevo when they were assassinated by a member of a Bosnian-Serb nationalist group.

A group of assassins had travelled to Sarajevo with the aim of assassinating the Archduke. 

The tensions between the divergent ethnicities and nationalities within the Empire motivated the group, as they sought Austria-Hungary's south Slavic provinces' independence.

Theories concerning official Serbian involvement in the assassination, as well as other Serbian organisations, such as the secret intelligence group 'The Black Hand' have been argued.

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News

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