No political assassination in contemporary history has left such a deep mark as the Sarajevo assassination.
Though significant, most historians agree that the bullets that Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914 fired at the assassination of Franc Ferdinand and his wife Sofia were not the causes of the outbreak of the First World War, but before the sparks that triggered a series of events that led to it, the ultimate outcome of the event that occurred exactly 100 years ago in Sarajevo was devastating.
On June 28th 1914, Ferdinand and his wife were touring Sarajevo, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, now the capital of Bosnia. They were targeted by a small band of Serbian nationalists, who had been inflamed by Austria’s takeover of Bosnia-Herzegovina. No strangers to political violence, a faction of this group plotted to assassinate the archduke in the streets of the city. At 10.10am they launched their first attempt. Cabrinovic, a Serbian youth, threw a small bomb towards the open-topped car carrying Ferdinand and his wife – however the bomb bounced harmlessly off the rear of the car, then detonated beneath the vehicle following, destroying it and wounding more than a dozen people. Cabrinovic fled, swallowing a suicide pill then jumping into a nearby river; he could not even get that right, vomiting up the pill and landing in water that was barely ankle-deep. He was soon captured, while his collaborators watched as the royal car sped away. They slunk away into Sarajevo’s backstreets, thinking their opportunity had passed and the plan had failed.
A tragic event
The archduke’s car rushed to the councilor in order to avoid other possible dangers. After short reception, the Imperial couple went to the hospital to visit the wounded who had been bombed. While driving back to Appel’s heel, the driver made a fatal mistake and turned sharply into the street of Franjo Jozef (today’s Green Berets Street). Realizing that he entered the narrow street, full of crowds, the driver tried to correct the mistake, turn the car back, but the assassin was already at the corner of these two streets.
The Juvenile Gavrilo Princip was awaiting its chance and fired two nearby bullets, killing the aspirant and his wife, and encouraging a sequence of events that led to the beginning of the First World War that irrevocably changed the face of the world.
All the conspirators were arrested and convicted, most of them deceased by dungeons throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their remains, after the end of the Great War, were exhumed and burial in the cemetery of St. Marko on Koševo. The Chapel of Vidovdan heroes was erected in honor of them in the cemetery.
Today, a museum dedicated to the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been erected in the building in front of the assassins killed and his wife.