Friday, June 27, 2014

First two victims

Exactly a century ago, on 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was visiting Sarajevo—the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina—with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg.


They were a nice couple, who might have gone on to worldly glory at the head of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  


Instead, they were cut down by the bullets of an assassin.


They might be thought of as the first two victims of the ensuing First World War. Their killer, Gavrilo Princip, was a fervent Serbian nationalist who belonged to a movement named Young Bosnia, which hoped to separate Bosnia from the Austro-Hungarian empire and unite it with the Serbian kingdom.


In the years that followed, millions would die in the senseless butchery of the so-called “Great War”. And much water would flow under the lovely Latin Bridge of Sarajevo where the act of an enraged 18-year-old student had plunged the planet into a time of mindlessness from which the nations of the Old World are still striving to emerge.


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