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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

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Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia
Franz Ferdinand in the 1890’s-1910’s ?
Born(1863-12-18)18 December 1863
Graz, Austrian Empire
Died28 June 1914(1914-06-28) (aged 50)
Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary
SpouseSophie, Duchess of Hohenberg
IssuePrincess Sophie of Hohenberg
Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg
Prince Ernst of Hohenberg
FatherArchduke Karl Ludwig of Austria
MotherMaria Annunciata of the Two Sicilies

Franz Ferdinand Karl Ludwig Josef of Austria, or Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este (Franz Ferdinand Karl Ludwig Josef; German: Erzherzog von Österreich-Este) (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914), was an archduke (like a prince) of Austria and from 1896 to his death was the heir apparent of Austria-Hungary. Before he would have become the emperor, he was killed in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. That made Austria decide on war against Serbia, which started World War I.[1][2]

Assassination[change | change source]

On 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo in Bosnia for a trip. He traveled to the Town Hall at 10pm with his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in the third car of a motorcade in a roofless limousine. Franz Ferdinand had jokingly mentioned that he would not be surprised if there was a few bombs waiting for him on his trip. On his way to the Town Hall, a man from the Black Hand tried to assassinate him, Trifun Grabež was standing in wait for Franz Ferdinand and tried to shoot him but froze and so let the car pass. He then went home and hid his gun and bomb but was later arrested.[3]

On the same route to the Town Hall, a man, also from the Black Hand, threw a bomb at the car and injured lots of Franz Ferdinand's staff, but Nedeljko Čabrinović failed to kill Franz Ferdinand and so tried to swallow cyanide. He jumped into the Miljacka River but failed to die and so he got arrested.[2]

The Archduke was shocked but headed to the Town Hall anyway and did his speech. The paper was covered in the blood of an assistant, who had been injured in the bomb. After his speech he decided to go to the hospital to visit the 20 people injured in the bomb.[2] As the driver took a turn to head to the hospital, Princip jumped out and shot Sophie in the abdomen.She collapsed and died instantly then shot the Archduke in his neck and in his leg. Franz Ferdinand died on the way to the hospital after his last last words: “Sophie! Sophie! Don’t die! For our children![3]

Princip was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was imprisoned at the Terezín Fortress and died in 1918. Čabrinović was also sentenced to 20 years in prison and died in 1916. Grabež was sentenced to 20 years and died in 1916. Their sentences were the maximum that their young age would allow.

Preceded by
Francis V
Archduke of Austria-Este
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles
Preceded by
Francis V
Duke of Modena
Succeeded by
Archduke Charles

References[change | change source]

  1. Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (1987). Royal Sunset: The European Dynasties and the Great War. Doubleday. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-385-19849-3.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Johnson, Lonnie (1989). Introducing Austria: A Short History. Studies in Austrian Literature, Culture, and Thought. Ariadne Press. pp. 52–54. ISBN 0-929497-03-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Remak, Joachim (1959). Sarajevo: The Story of a Political Murder. Criterion. pp. 137–142. ASIN B001L4NB5U.