- NAME: Franz Ferdinand
- OCCUPATION: Duke
- BIRTH DATE: December 18, 1863
- DEATH DATE: June 28, 1914
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Graz, Austria
- PLACE OF DEATH: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- AKA: Franz Ferdinand
- Originally: Francis Ferdinand
- Full Name: Archduke Francis Ferdinand
- AKA: Archduke Franz Ferdinand
- AKA: Francis Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este
- AKA: Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este
Best Known For
Franz Ferdinand's assassination on June 28, 1914, at the hand of a Serbian terrorist group the "Black Hand," led to the beginning of World War I.
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In the summer of 1914, Franz Ferdinand and wife Sophie accepted an invitation to visit the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo. He had been informed of terrorist activity conducted by the nationalist organization the "Black Hand," but ignored the warnings. On the morning of June 28, 1914,
the royal couple arrived by train and a six-car motorcade drove them to city hall for an official reception. The archduke and his wife were in the second car with the top rolled back in order to give the crowds a good view.
At 10:10 a.m., as the motorcade passed the central police station, a Black Hand agent, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, hurled a hand grenade at the archduke's car. The driver accelerated when he saw the flying object, and the bomb exploded underneath the wheel of the next car, injuring two of its occupants along with a dozen spectators. Franz Ferdinand is reputed to have shouted in anger to local officials, "So, you welcome your guests with bombs?!" He also reportedly stated, "What is the good of your speeches? I come to Sarajevo on a visit, and I get bombs thrown at me. It is outrageous."
On the route back to the palace, the archduke's driver took a wrong turn into a side street, where 19-year-old nationalist Gavrilo Princip was waiting. As the car backed up, Princip approached and fired his gun, striking Sophie in the abdomen and the archduke in the neck. Both died before reaching the hospital.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand gave the hardliners in Austria-Hungary the opportunity to take action against Serbia and put an end to their fight for independence. In July 1914, the situation escalated. After demanding impossible reparations and failing to receive them, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia. As was expected, the complex web of alliances was activated as Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary, Germany declared war on Russia, and France and Britain declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. World War I had begun.
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