The Sarajevo Murder

Wedding picture of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of...

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Franz Ferdinand, eldest son of Carl Ludwig, the brother of emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, was born in 1863. Educated by private tutors, he joined the Austro-Hungarian army in 1883. While in the army Franz Ferdinand received several promotions: captain (1885), major (1888), colonel (1890) and general (1896).

In 1889, crown prince Rudolf, the son of Franz Josef, shot himself at his hunting lodge. The succession now passed to Franz Ferdinand’s father, Carl Ludwig. When he died in 1896, Franz Ferdinand became the new heir to the throne.
Franz Ferdinand married Sophie von Hohenberg in 1889 and over the next few years the couple had three children: Sophie (1901), Maximilian (1902) and Ernst (1904).

In 1913 Franz Ferdinand was appointed Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian army. In the summer of 1914 General Oskar Potiorek, governor of the Austrian provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina, invited the Inspector to watch his troops on maneuvers, Although he knew it would be dangerous, Franz Ferdinand agreed to make the visit.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina there was a group called “The Black Hand” who wanted to leave the Austro-Hungarian Empire and favoured an union with Serbia.

When it was announced that Franz Ferdinand was going to visit Bosnia in June 1914, the “Black Hand” began to make plans to assassinate the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
June 28, 1914 at 10.10 when the 6 car procession passed the central police station, Nedjelko Cabrinovic hurled a handgrenade at the archduke’s car. The driver accelerated and the grenade exploded under the wheel of the next car. Two of the occupants were seriously wounded. Franz Ferdinand’s driver, Franz Urban, drove on extremely fast and other members of the “Black Hand” were unable to fire their guns or hurl their bombs at the archduke’s car.

After attending the official reception at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand asked about the members of his party that had been wounded by the bomb and he insisted to be taken to the hospital to see them.
In order to avoid the city centre, general Oskar Potiorek decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo hospital. The driver, Franz Urban, was not told about this decision and he took the wrong route.
Potiorek shouted: “This is the wrong way, we’re supposed to take the Appel Quay”.

The driver put his foot on the break and began to back up. In doing so, he moved slowly past the waitingGavrilo Prinzip. The assassin stepped forward, drew his gun, and at a distance of about five feet, fired several times on and into the car. Franz Ferdinand was hit in the neck and Sophie von Hohenberg in the abdomen. Franz Urban drove the couple to Konak, the governor’s residence, but although both were still alive when they arrived, they died from their wounds soon afterwards.


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