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The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie von Hohenberg was the cover story of La Domenica del Corriere for the week July 5 through 12, 1914. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, said he aimed, turned away, and fired, and was not targeting the Countess. The illustrator may have positioned her standing to make sense of the two wounds: the Archduke was shot through the throat, his wife through the groin. Illustration by Alberto Beltrame.
The cover story includes a picture of the deceased with their three children. A second photograph shows the new heir to the throne, Karl, holding his son, captioned "I due futuri Imperatori d'Austria" - the two future Emperors of Austria. Karl became emperor when Franz Joseph died in 1916. His son never did, as the Empire had dissolved by the time his father died.
Text:
La Domenica del Corriere
5 -12, 1914. 
L'assassinio a Serajevo dell'arciduca Francesco Ferdinando erede del trono d'Austria, e di sua moglie.
(Disegno di A. Beltrame)
The assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife.
(Drawing by A. Beltrame)

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie von Hohenberg was the cover story of La Domenica del Corriere for the week July 5 through 12, 1914. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, said he aimed, turned away, and fired, and was not targeting the Countess. The illustrator may have positioned her standing to make sense of the two wounds: the Archduke was shot through the throat, his wife through the groin. Illustration by Alberto Beltrame.
The cover story includes a picture of the deceased with their three children. A second photograph shows the new heir to the throne, Karl, holding his son, captioned "I due futuri Imperatori d'Austria" - the two future Emperors of Austria. Karl became emperor when Franz Joseph died in 1916. His son never did, as the Empire had dissolved by the time his father died.

Image text

La Domenica del Corriere

5 -12, 1914.



L'assassinio a Serajevo dell'arciduca Francesco Ferdinando erede del trono d'Austria, e di sua moglie.



(Disegno di A. Beltrame)



The assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife.



(Drawing by A. Beltrame)

Other views: Front, Interior

June 28, 1914

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

June 28, 1914

Using a pistol that would be traced to neighboring Serbia, Gavrilo Princip, a young Austro-Hungarian Bosnian and Slavic nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie von Hohenberg, shooting both of them at close range, him through the throat and her through the groin, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on Sunday, June 28, 1914. The Archduke, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife both died within an hour.

The royal couple were completing a three-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Archduke to observe military maneuvers involving 20,000 troops in his role of Inspector General of the Army. They were scheduled to spend a busy day in Sarajevo that included a troop inspection at the army barracks, a reception at town hall, the opening of a new museum, lunch at the palace of the governor, General Oskar Potiorek, and a visit to a carpet factory before an afternoon departure from the train station.

Belgrade and the Conspiracy

The visit had been reported in the press as early as March, and a plot against the Archduke began shortly after. Princip longed for a Bosnia-Herzegovina free of Austria-Hungary and a "union of south Slavs". In Serbia, the Chief of Intelligence of the Serbian General Staff, Dragutan Dimitrijević (nicknamed "Apis"), was active in Union or Death, a secret society also known as the Black Hand, that sought a greater Serbia that included Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Archduke himself had indicated he would grant Slavs greater autonomy within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a move that could sooth some of the anti-Austrian sentiment within the province and undermine Slav anger against the Hapsburg monarchy.

Princip travelled to Belgrade, the Serbian capital, in March, 1914, and stayed until his departure for Sarajevo at the end of May. There he met Nedeljko Čabrinović and Trifko Grabez with whom he would travel to Sarajevo. In Belgrade, they received training, four Belgian-made Browning revolvers, six bombs, and cyanide tablets. Others helped them cross the border from Serbia, and housed or otherwise helped the travellers on their way to Sarajevo. In Sarajevo were four additional conspirators.

The Bomb

In Sarajevo, citizens turned out to welcome the heir and his wife. On the way to City Hall, the entourage of six cars drove along the Miljacka River on Appel Quay. The only security was provided by the police, a force of about 120. Among the crowd were the seven conspirators, two of whom would strike at the Archduke. The first with the opportunity to do so was Mehmed Mehmedbašić, who never threw the bomb he carried. The second was Nedjo Čabrinović who did. To activate the bomb, Čabrinović had to unscrew a cap, and strike the priming device beginning a twelve-second delay until the explosion. The priming of the bomb was loud enough to be heard by the occupants in the car. Čabrinović was hasty, and threw the bomb immediately, rather than delaying his throw for a few seconds. The Archduke and his driver both saw something coming at them. The driver accelerated to pass beneath it; the Archduke raised an arm, and may have deflected it. The device bounced from the rear of the Archduke's auto into the street before exploding, injuring two in the following car and seven bystanders.

Outside City Hall the Lord Mayor welcomed the Archduke with a speech prepared before the attack. The Archduke furiously interrupted before calming and giving his own speech. During the welcoming reception inside, officials discussed the likelihood of further attacks, the need for additional security, and changes to the Archduke's plans. Although General Potiorek thought there could be a further attempt, he said he was responsible for the Archduke's safety, but did not call out any troops to provide protection.

The Pistol

Rather than departing the city and Bosnia immediately, the Archduke insisted on visiting the injured at the hospital where they had been taken. Countess Sophie insisted on staying with her husband. The change in plans required a change in the route, and would send the entourage back along the river, on Appel Quay, the way they had come to town hall.

As the cars set out for the hospital, the royal couple were in the second car. The Lord Mayor, the police chief, and a driver were travelling in the first car, Franz Ferdinand and the Countess were in the second. Count Harrach, the owner of the car, feared there would be a further attempt on the heir, and stood on the left running board, on the river side. Although the police chief knew of the change in plans, his driver apparently did not, and followed the route originally planned, turned right off of Appel Quay. The second driver followed. Potiorek shouted the change in plans to the driver who stopped to reverse direction. In doing so, he had put the Archduke and his wife directly before Princip, who drew his pistol, stepped forward, averted his face, and fired two shots. The Archduke was 50 years old. Princip was not yet 20.

Both Princip and Čabrinović swallowed their cyanide tablets, which sickened, but did not kill them.

1914-06-28

1914-06-28

Events contemporaneous with The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Start Date End Date View
1914-06-28 1914-06-28 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand