ARCHDUKE FERDINAND ASSASSINATED
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Assassination Story
Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Choteck von Chotkova arrived in Sarajevo at around 9.30 am on the morning of 28th June 1914. They had been invited to Sarajevo to inspect Austro-Hungarian troops stationed in the Bosnian capital.
They were met at the railway station by the governor of Sarajevo Oskar Potiorek. Six cars had been made available to ferry the couple and their entourage to inspect the troops just outside the capital.
The inspection completed, the motorcade proceeded to an official reception at the City Hall. There was a police presence on the streets but no special security measures had been put in place. Franz Ferdinand, his wife and the Governor of Sarajevo travelled in the second of the six car motorcade. The car was open topped.
The route that the motorcade would take had been publicised and cheering crowds lined the streets. There was no hostility between the Empire and Bosnia and the people were happy to see their future Emperor and his wife.
However, seven young men from Serbia, members of the Serbian nationalist group The Black Hand, were also present in Sarajevo. Armed with pistols and grenades, their sole intent was to assassinate Franz Ferdinand and send a clear message of discontent from Serbia to Austria-Hungary. There are seven total men in the Black Hand and there names are...
The motorcade passed the first assassin, Mohammed Mehmedbasic without incident, the assassin deciding not to use his weapons because a policeman was standing close to him. The second man, Nedjelko Cabrinovic decided to act and threw a grenade at the car carrying Franz Ferdinand. The grenade bounced off and rolled under the third car where it exploded injuring twenty people. The other five assassins did not use their weapons either because of the numbers of civilians in the vicinity or because they did not have a clear view. The expected return route was unclear and most of the assassins, believing their mission had failed, left the area.
The return route was scheduled to turn into Franz Joseph Street and proceed to a local museum. However, Franz Ferdinand was keen to go to the local hospital to visit those that had been injured by the grenade that had been thrown by Cabrinovic so the turn into Franz Joseph Street was removed and the motorcade was to return by the same route along the Appel Quay.
Unfortunately, the details of the altered route had not been given to the drivers of the cars and the driver of the first car turned into Franz Joseph Street. The mayor, who was travelling in the first car, told the driver of his error and he stopped to turn around. The second car carrying Franz Ferdinand, his wife Sophie and the Governor had followed the first into Franz Joseph Street and had been forced to stop so quickly that the engine had stalled. As the driver restarted the car and prepared to back up, one of the assassins, Gavrilo Princip, who had been inside a nearby shop, stepped up to the car, pulled out his pistol and fired into the car. His first shot missed the Archduke but hit Sophie in the stomach. He fired again, this time hitting Franz Ferdinand in the neck.
The couple were rushed to the Governor's residence for treatment but they both died within an hour of the shooting. Princip and Cabrinovic were caught by police on the day of the event. The other five men were caught later. All were tried and found guilty. However, the assassination had been the trigger for a chain of events that would lead within a month to the first global conflict.