The Incident That Brought About World War I

By | April 11, 2019

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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie. Source: (

One of the weirdest events in history is the way World War I actually started. A group of terrorists known as the Black Hand planned the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Their plan did not go as expected. If it had not ultimately caused so many deaths then and throughout the war, it would have made for a great comedy. The initial assassination attempt was foiled through an unusual set of circumstances.

This group included 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip who, through a chance occurrence, was able to pull off the assassination anyway. This was the match that started the fiery chain of events that eventually led to Adolf Hitler and the slaughter of six million Jews. 

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand and His Wife. Source: (

A Little Background

Because both Emperor Franz Josef’s sons had died (one at birth and the other from suicide), his nephew, Franz Ferdinand was next in line to inherit the throne. The two of them did not see eye to eye on the best way to rule the country. Franz Ferdinand had hopes of being more like the United States allowing the people of more than one nationality to influence governmental decisions.

When Ferdinand met his future wife, Sophie, it brought up more issues between them. Emperor Josef was not happy because she was not a direct descendant of royal blood, so he placed certain restrictions on what she could or could not do as the archduke’s wife. One of those restrictions was not being allowed in public with him except under certain circumstances.