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The Start of
World War One
Originally known as The Great
War, before we knew enough
to number them, the first of
the World Wars involved all 6
of our populated continents.
After the war, new countries
were created, new maps
drawn, and an estimated 15
million people (no one really
knows how many) lost their
lives. Only 20 years later in
1939, what wasn’t settled in
The Great War would finally
be settled in WWII when
many of the same players met
again for round two…
Map of the World with the participants in World War I. The
Allies are depicted in green, the Central Powers in orange,
and neutral countries in grey. How many can you identify?3
Some Causes of WWI
Militarism: the competition
between two or more
countries for military
supremacy. If Britain
had a great navy,
Germany wanted a great
navy, too. Germany and
France competed for
larger armies. The more
one nation built up its
army and navy, the more
other nations felt they
had to do the same.
For Twenty years, the nations of Europe had been
making alliances. It was thought that the alliances would
promote peace. Each country would be protected by
others in case of war, making it foolish for one country
to wage war on another.
The danger of these alliances was that a disagreement
between just two countries could draw all the other
nations into a conflict. This is just what happened when
a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia led to
World War I.
In the summer of 1914 there were two alliances: The
Triple Alliance composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary,
and Italy, and the Triple Entente composed of Britain,
France, and Russia. Entente is a French word meaning
Another cause was that European nations ruled smaller
countries, called colonies, and competed with each other
to amass more colonies. Gathering colonies became known
as Imperialism. Both France and Britain had many colonies
in Africa and Asia. Now Germany and Italy decided they
wanted a colonial empire as well.
In addition to political conflicts, the causes of the war
included strong feelings of pride in your country, or
Nationalism, or patriotism. Nationalism led European
nations to compete for the largest army and navy, or
the greatest industrial development. It also gave
groups of “subject” peoples the idea of forming
independent nations of their own.
•Triple Entente (Later
known as the Allies)
Russian Empire
British Empire
New Zealand
South Africa
United Kingdom
Triple Alliance/Central
German Empire
Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
Can you think of any advantages
or disadvantages of each of the
alliances on the following map?
The Spark that Started the War
Franz Josef
of AustriaHungary
Archduke (Prince)
Franz Ferdinand
Duchess Sophie Chotek
von Chotkova
Although only third in line
to the throne of the
Austrian-Hungarian Empire,
Franz Ferdinand became
the heir-apparent following
the suicide (murder?) of
Emperor Franz Josef's own
son, Crown Prince Rudolf
and his mistress, Baroness
Marie Vetsera in 1889, and
then the death of Franz
Ferdinand’s own father
Archduke Charles Louis in
1896, Franz Josef's
Baroness Marie Vetsera
Crown Prince
“In 1895 Archduke Franz Ferdinand met Countess Sophie Chotek at
a ball in Prague. To be an eligible marriage partner for a member of
the Imperial House of Hapsburg, one had to be a member of one of
the reigning or formerly reigning dynasties of Europe. The Choteks
were not one of these families.”
- Wikipedia
“Deeply in love, Franz Ferdinand refused to consider marrying anyone else.
Pope Leo XIII (founded Washington D.C.’s American University), Tsar
Nicholas II of Russia (Anastasia’s father) , and the German Emperor
Wilhelm II (nice guy) all made representations on Franz Ferdinand's
behalf to the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, arguing that the
disagreement between Franz Joseph and Franz Ferdinand was undermining
the stability of the monarchy.
Wilhelm II
Franz Joseph
Pope Leo XIII
Tsar Nicholas II
Finally, in 1899, the Emperor Franz Joseph agreed to permit Franz
Ferdinand to marry Sophie, on condition that their descendants would
not have succession rights to the throne. Sophie would not share her
husband's rank, title, precedence, or privileges; as such, she would not
normally appear in public beside him. She would not be allowed to ride in
the royal carriage, or sit in the royal box.”
- Wikipedia
The wedding took place on 1 July
1900, in Bohemia. Franz Joseph did
attend the affair, nor did any
archduke including Franz
Ferdinand's brothers
Wedding Day
The only members of the
imperial family who were
present were Franz
Ferdinand's stepmother,
Maria Theresia, and her
two daughters. Upon the
marriage, Sophie was
given the title Princess
of Hohenberg with the
title “Her Serene
In 1909, she was given
the more senior title
Duchess of Hohenberg
with the title “Her
Highness”. This raised
her status
considerably, but she
still yielded
precedence at court to
all the archduchesses.
Whenever a function
required the couple to
gather with the other
members of royalty,
Sophie was forced to
stand far down the line
of importance,
separated from her
Franz Ferdinand and King Ludwig III of Bavaria in Munich, May
1914, one month before the assassination
Bosnia and Herzegovina had been occupied by Austria-Hungary
in 1878 and then annexed by them in 1908. Many Bosnians,
particularly Bosnian Serbs, resented the occupation and
preferred unification with Serbia and/or other south Slavic
lands. The country of Serbia assumed they would be annexed
next. This fear and resentment would result in an assassination.
= Austria
= Austria
= Hungary
= Territorial gain 1878/1908
= Occupied 1878-1908
= Territorial gain 1919
= Territorial losses 1919
The Archduke and the Duchess
Arrive in Sarajevo, Bosnia
June 28th, 1914
When Franz Ferdinand chose to visit
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, members
of a secret Serbian nationalist
organization called The Black Hand saw
their opportunity to strike at the
Austro-Hungarian imperialists.
The day of the visit, June 28th,
1914, was also the royal couple's
fourteenth wedding anniversary. The
royal Hapsburg family had not
considered Sophie to be of an
appropriate rank to marry the heir to
the throne, so Sophie led a withdrawn
life in Vienna. Franz Ferdinand took the
visit as a rare opportunity to appear in
public ceremonially with his beloved wife.
…this visit would sadly lead, instead, to
her death at her husband's side.
The Archduke and the Duchess Arrive in Sarajevo
Sunday, June 28th, was a bright and sunny morning in Sarajevo,
Bosnia as the royal train pulled into the station. On hand to greet
the royal couple was General Oskar Potiorek, military governor of
Bosnia. Confusion occurred almost immediately. The first car in the
procession was intended for security detectives, but somehow all
but one of the several cars was left behind at the station and only
three local police officers were present. Security arrangements
were bungled from the beginning… curiously.
At 10:15 the parade passed the first member of The Black Hand
Mehmedbašić, who attempted to shoot from an upstairs window,
but couldn't get a clear shot and decided to hold fire so as not
to jeopardize the mission by alerting the authorities.
The second member, Nedeljko
Čabrinović threw a bomb (or a stick
of dynamite, according to some
reports) at Ferdinand's car, but
missed. The explosion destroyed the
following car, severely wounding the
passengers, a
policeman, and
members of
the crowd.
Čabrinović swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the River
Miljacka. The procession sped away towards the Town Hall, and
the crowd turned into chaos. Police dragged Čabrinović out of
the river, and he was severely beaten by the crowd before being
taken into custody. His cyanide pill was either old or of too weak
a dosage and did not work. The river was also only 4 inches
deep and failed to drown him.
Some of the other assassins left
upon hearing the explosion, under
the assumption that the Archduke
had been killed.
The Black Hand
The Archduke arrived at the town hall in an
outraged mood. His wife's celebration had
been spoiled. He immediately decided to visit
one of the officers hurt by the grenade who
had been taken to a military hospital. The
visit to a local museum would then proceed as
arranged. Duchess Sophie had not originally
intended to visit the museum, but now she
insisted on remaining with her husband. This
decision will cost her her life…
"What is the good of your speeches? I come
to Sarajevo on a visit, and I get bombs thrown
at me. It is outrageous!” - Archduke Franz Ferdinand
interrupting the Mayor's welcome speech at Sarajevo's Town
Hall, June 28th 1914.
The archduke can
be seen here walking
urgently right past
the Mayor after
interrupting his
If you were the
Archduke or Duchess,
would you have gone out
in public again that day?
Setting out again, the imperial
procession drove along Appel
Quay at high speed. At this
point another curious error
occurred : evidently the
chauffeurs had not been
informed of the unscheduled
visit to the hospital, so the
first car turned
right at the corner of
Appel Quay and Franz
Josef Street, and the
second car followed.
Potiorek shouted angrily to
the driver of the third car
that he was making a
mistake. The chauffeur
braked sharply, and the car
The remaining conspirators didn't get an opportunity to
attack because of the heavy crowds, and it was
beginning to look like the assassination would fail.
However, after the reception at Town Hall, the
Archduke decided to go to the hospital and visit the
victims of Čabrinović's bomb.
Meanwhile, Gavrilo Princip had gone to a nearby shop
supposedly for a sandwich, either having given up or
wrongly assuming that the Archduke had died in the
explosion. Princip spotted Ferdinand's car as it
drove past near the Lateiner Bridge, having taken a
wrong turn. After realizing the mistake, the driver
put his foot on the brake, and began to back up. Just
by chance, the assassin was 10 feet from his target!
After dashing up to the car, Princip fired 3 times:
the first round went through the side of the car and
hit Sophie in the abdomen, the second hit Ferdinand
in the neck, and the last missed.
Duchess Sophie sank to
the floor and died
instantly, her face
between her husband’s
knees. The Archduke
murmured, 'Sofie,
Sofie, don't die. Live for
our children.' Then he
passed into
unconsciousness. He
died minutes after the
woman he loved. None
could have realized the
four years of bloodshed
and the death of millions
that their assassinations
would bring.
Automobile in which the Archduke Francis Ferdinand was riding at the
time of his assassination on June 28, 1914. The car is part of the
permanent collection at the (just try to say this) Heeresgeschichtliches ,
the Museum of Military History, in Vienna, Austria. The bullet which
killed the Archduke's wife Sophie left a hole in the side of the car which
can be seen above the rear wheel as a small silver circle in the black paint.
This picture was at one time believed to show Princip's arrest.
It was later confirmed that it actually depicted the arrest of a
German passerby who saved Princip from being lynched.
Princip tried to kill himself first by ingesting the cyanide, and
then with his gun, but he vomited the poison (which Čabrinović
had also done, leading the police to believe the group had been
deceived and sold a much weaker poison), and the gun was
wrestled from his hand by a mob of onlookers before he had a
chance to fire another shot.
Gavrilo Princip
was born in
Bosnia and was
about 19 years
old when he
assassinated the
Archduke of
Austria. He was
dying from
tuberculosis as
were other
members of the 7-man assassination team, which was why the
men were willing to commit suicide after the attempt. Having
been only months too young at the time of the assassination to
face the death penalty, Princip received the maximum sentence
of twenty years in prison, where he was held in harsh conditions
worsened by the war. He died of tuberculosis on April 28, 1918,
7 months before the war he helped start, ended.
was buried
in a crypt
the chapel
of his
instead of
burial place of the
Hapsburgs, Capuchin
Crypt, in
Vienna. Neither
Franz Josef nor the
German Kaiser
attended the funeral.
AustriaHungary with
an excuse to
take action
During July,
1914, the situation
escalated, pulling in the
major European powers via
the complex alliance
relationships each had
struck up with one
another. The result was
world war.
The gun used by Princip was a Browning M 1910 .32 caliber
semi-automatic pistol. It was recently found and
recovered in the home of the Italian Copei family, and is
now in display at the Museum of Military History, Vienna,
Austria. The second bullet fired by Princip, killing
Ferdinand, is stored as a museum exhibit in the
Konopiště Castle near the town of Benešov, Czech
The pistol used to
assassinate the
Archduke Franz
Ferdinand, sparking the
First World War, went
on display for the first
time in the UK in
September, 2008.
28th June 1914 - The Assassination of
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The incident that provoked World War I was the
assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Duchess Sophie
Chotek. The underlying causes of the war, were of
course, more complex and of longer standing. Yet on June
28th, 1914, the day of the double murder, a crisis began
which led inevitably to war.
Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, in fact named
after the archduke, wrote a song about the shooting of
their namesake titled "All For You, Sophia". The lyrics
include the following lines: "Bang, bang Gavrilo
Princip/Bang, bang shoot me Gavrilo/Bang, bang, the
first six are for you/Bang, bang, the seventh is for me".