Franz Ferdinand 1863-1914

Franz Ferdinand changed the course of the human race. His assassination sparked a war that took over 17 million human lives, another 20 million injured, and 7 million of those lives were civilians.

Franz Ferdinand was born in Graz, Austria. , the oldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria (younger brother of Franz Joseph and Maximilian) and of his second wife, Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. In 1875, when he was only eleven years old, his cousin Duke Francis V of Modena died, naming Franz Ferdinand his heir on condition that he add the name Este to his own. This made Ferdinand one of the wealthiest men in Austria. In 1889 Franz Ferdinand's life changed dramatically, his cousin committed suicide which left Karl Ludwig First in line to the throne. (Franz Ferdinand's father) Karl Ludwig died in 1896, Henceforth, Franz Ferdinand was groomed to succeed for the throne.

On June 28, 1914 at about 10:45 am, Ferdinand and his wife were killed in Sarajevo. The assassin was Gavrilo Princip. Princip was a member of Young Bosnia, a group of assassins organized and armed by the Black Hand. Earlier in the day, the couple had been attacked by Nedeljko Cabrinovic, who had thrown a grenade at their car. However, the bomb detonated behind them, hurting the occupants in the following car.

The assassination set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.

This assassination wasn't the only thing that caused The Great War or WWI but it was the 'spark' to a war that was cost to 37 million casualties.


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