Vintage Saturday: Assassination

Gavrilo Princip being arrested in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
Gavrilo Princip being arrested in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
Gavrilo Princip's FN 1910 used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Gavrilo Princip’s FN 1910, used to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand (on display at the Military History Museum in Vienna)

Precisely 100 years ago today, Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip (through a rather intricate series of coincidences) managed to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. From this localized (and botched, in many ways) event quickly grew one of the most ghastly wars in human history.

Princip was arrested on the spot, and eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison (not execution because he was under the age of 20), where he died of tuberculosis while incarcerated. No photographs exist of the assassination itself, and his pistol was initially reported as simply being a Browning. This led to news sources and artists making their own assumptions about its details. The Model 1900 was the most common Browning pistol in use at the time and many sources specified it as the specific model, creating the common believe that persists today that Princip used a 1900. In actual fact, it was a Model 1910, of which the conspirators acquired four. The one pictured above is one of the four, but it is not known which one was actually used by Princip.

Interestingly, part of the conspirators’ attempt to deflect blame from the Serbian government was to argue that the pistols were French army pistols (not commercial guns whose purchase could be tracked). This was apparently based on the fact that the slide markings were stamped in French. Not surprisingly, the argument fell flat.


  1. The Heeresgeschictliches Museum in Vienna also has the car–with a few 7.65mm bullet holes–and the blood-soaked dress uniform of the archduke, slain along with his wife.

    It is a spectacular museum. I’d love to get over there to see the centennial.

    The “Kaisergruft” contains the bodies of the Hapsburgs, including Maximilian von Hapsburg, shot by firing squad in Querétaro, México in 1867 and shipped back to Austria.

    In 1898 the kaiserin Elisabeth–Sissy–was stabbed with a file by an Italian anarchist. Apparently she initially thought he’d just hit her and knocked her down, breaking a corset stay. It proved to be the ultimately fatal stab wound.

    Thanks for the timely reminder, Ian! WWI was set in motion today a hundred years ago…

    • You are correct regarding Italian assassins in years before this tragic event; they actually murdered or attempted to murder several members of Austrian Imperial family. And yet – the ‘old world’ was not ready for war yet. This is one of reasons leading me to believe into wider connections.

      Connections and antagonisms in objectives of traditional and new empires (as PDB reminds further down) certainly played powerful roles.

  2. The Great war can be traced back to German unification, an age of empires. The threat in 1914 was the German Navy to the British empire, the finally got a Navy to challenge. People mean nothing, in battles of wealth. The Wealth came from empire, it prevented Socialism apart from in Russia as all the peasent trouble makers died.

    • Mind you, ze Germans had started to promote the “fine and upstanding notion, of Prussian Socialism by then” as oppose, money… An arguement which was to pop up in a new, related form a few decades later and had been around since at least Napoleon.

      And to be fair, we are more “free” as a consequence.


      Probably for the best, the Germans seem to be more ordered generally wasn’t likely to work here as healty resentment keeps everyone divided and wholesome.

  3. Very likely Ferdinand and Sophie would have been patched up and released from a modern hospital E.R. after arriving in a modern ambulance with paramedics.
    There would have been another excuse to start the War to end all Wars though…

    • So true, Tom. Although the assassination was the spark, it was only one of many potential events to begin the ultimate chain reaction that resulted in that bloodbath. The powder keg was loaded and it was just a matter of time before something caused it to explode. One thing has always struck me about the warring powers: The Czar of Russia, The Kaiser of Germany, and the King of England at the time were all first cousins. An old history professor of mine once hypothesized that the war could just as easily have resulted from a drunken bet between the cousins as to whose army could whip the others’. Cool teacher. He let me write my final seminar paper on the Dreyse needle gun.

      • How true! There are a number of historians from Europe and England (and I tend to agree with their research) that World War 1 began around October 1912. WW1 history tends to focus on the Anglosphere interpretation of events which in general excludes the conflicts already underway in Eastern European nations. What is forgotten is that hundreds of thousands of troops were already campaigning in Eastern Europe years before the “Western” commencement of hostilities. Furthermore, some of the largest battles ever fought were taking place in China. It is estimated that the Chinese campaigns resulted in over six million casualties. With the 100 aniversary of the so called outbreak of WW1 upon us, it might be time to have another look at the broader picture of what really happened 100 years ago and hopefully a better understanding of events may result in due course.

        • Worthy reminder! The budding and ongoing conflict between Chino-Russian and Japanese interests plus 2 Balkan wars were clearly prelude to larger conflict. This indeed questions the concept of WWI as seen thru conventional but less than accurate point of view.

    • Sophie died already on the way to the Town Hall, so it’s doubtful even modern paramedics could have saved her. Since no modern autopsies were performed on either victim, we cannot be sure, but she probably died due to massive internal bleeding. She seemed okay at first but then succumbed shortly after, which also supports rapid internal bleeding. Such damage requires a skilled surgeon to repair, but doing so in a moving ambulance would be very difficult even if there was a surgeon available.

      The Archduke was a different matter and it’s quite possible and even likely that modern medicine could have saved him, since he died of a slower external bleeding.

      • Not necessarily true. You can pack blood expander into them while treating pneumo- or hemothorax. Three big killers in a chest wound with internal bleeding are exsanguination (simply running out of blood), and loss of ability to breathe because the lung is collapsed by air (pneumothorax) or blood (hemothorax). Treat those, and you might just get Sophie and Franz to an operating room where a surgeon can really save them.

        But some of this is stuff we’ve learnt to do in the last dozen years. We lost guys in Afghanistan in 2001-02 that we wouldn’t lose today, sad to say. One of the great tragedies of history is the massive suffering and death in old wars, a lot of it caused by disease and lack of awareness of the potential of first aid.

        • While it’s possible that the Archduke’s life might have been saved by modern medical treatment, I think it highly unlikely that the Duchess could have been saved. The fatal bullet entered her lower right abdomen a couple of inches above her hip, and severed two major blood vessels (the abdominal aorta and the iliac vein) before lodging in her pelvis. She lost consciousness within seconds, after crying, upon seeing her husband mortally wounded, “For heaven’s sake, what’s happened to you?!” and died within minutes from massive internal bleeding, as Euroweasel said.

          As a matter of fact, autopsies, though not of course modern ones, were performed on the bodies of both Franz Ferdinand and Sophie by a team of army doctors, and the proceedings were recorded in considerable detail; no complete translation appears to exist in English, but the German text appears in books by both Gerd Holler and Wladimir Aichelburg (an Austrian academic who has written extensively on the life and death of Franz Ferdinand), and a summary is given in the 2013 book _The Assassination of the Archduke_ by Greg King and Sue Woolmans. The Hofburg severely restricted what could be done in the way of an autopsy on the Archduke’s corpse, so that the examining doctors could do little more than probe the fatal wound in his neck with their fingers; they were unable even to remove the bullet because it could have damaged still-intact blood vessels that were required for embalming to be done. No such restriction existed with the body of the Duchess, so her abdomen was opened, revealing that such a large quantity of blood had been lost within the abdominal cavity that her intestines (which, surprisingly, were undamaged) had been displaced upward, the mesenteries (the membrane protecting the abdominal organs) were permeated with partially clotted blood, and subcutaneous bleeding was clearly visible as prominent, pale-greenish-purplish bruise-like marks on her abdomen and thighs.

          The bullet itself was recovered from where it had lodged in her pelvic bones and preserved as evidence; it, along with the dress and corset Sophie was wearing when she was killed, is now displayed at the archducal couple’s home in Konopischt, not far from Prague in the Czech Republic. Franz Ferdinand’s own bloodstained uniform is displayed, along with the car they rode to their deaths in, at the Army Museum in Vienna. (The Duchess’ restored dress is intact except for the bullet hole, and unstained by blood because a piece of horsehair upholstery was carried by the bullet into the wound, mostly blocking it; the people attempting to aid her didn’t even know she had been shot until she was undressed and her bloodstained underclothing – which is also preserved at Konopischt – discovered.)

  4. Unlike the handsome, intense, smoldering heart-throb portrayed by Hollywood, the real Gavrilo Princip was a scrawny, under-fed student who was driven by his hard-scrabble background as a member of the serf class and all the injustices visited upon that class as well as his sincere beliefs in a free Yugoslavia to commit what was then an almost unthinkable act. A close examination and understanding of Princip and how he came to be provides a very human story as to the whys and wherefores, and makes one realize that, as with most incidents in the annals of human history, things are much more dynamic and complex than meets the eye, and certainly far more so than what most historians and their editors would have one believe in their neat summaries.

    I listened to a very good in-depth article on Gavrilo Princip and the assassination that has had far-reaching repercussions for all of us, even to this day ( if one traces the root causes of modern geopolitical history and follows the threads carefully ) on NPR this morning. What was most interesting was that NPR took the time to send a journalist to Sarajevo, where he actually went to the exact location where the shootings took place, then tracked down and interviewed the descendants of people who were actually witnesses, or near-witnesses, to the event. He also followed up with an article on how the people of today’s Serbia actually view Gavrilo Princip and his actions, and spoke at length to Serbian historians as well as ordinary people. The results may surprise many readers, including the excuses provided as to why the Yugoslavian Army of the time did not provide better protection for the Archduke’s entourage. The programme can be pulled up on-line at for the date Saturday, June 28th, 2014 if anyone would like to give it a try.

    In the end, Gavrilo Princip was in many ways regarded as either a misled, nationalistic fanatic, the equivalent of what we would classify as a terrorist today, or as a national hero — all depending on one’s point of view. Sound familiar? Somehow, this theme seems to ring true throughout history to this very day in every conflict, as we all know. Regardless, the horrific consequences precipitated by Princip’s actions, the prior actions of others which inadvertantly set up the very situation that gave rise to his actions, and the reactions to the assassination all the way down the line should be a stern lesson to all of us of the cause-and-effect equation which affects everyone.

    • Princip was in many respects similar to Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901. Czolgosz was motivated to kill due to a generalized hatred of those he saw as powerful, rather than (as some traditionally claim) insanity.

      As for Princip’s act being “unthinkable”,after Booth shot Lincoln on 14 April 1865, assassination was the favored tactic of practically every anarchist group and individual with a grudge or an ax to grind for a half-century before Sarajevo. As James McKinley (no relation AFAIK)points out in his book Assassination in America (Harper & Row,1975), in the 49 years between Ford’s Theater and Sarajevo, one head of state or important minister was killed every 18 months.

      Assassinations of heads of state were practically a scheduled event in the Balkans, Western Europe, and South America from 1870 to 1877. Alexander II, Czar of Russia, was killed by a bomb on 13 March 1881. The anarchist group “Will of the People” carried out the plot, in a foreshadowing of the anarchist bombings that would rock France a decade later, including the murder of French President Marie-Francois Sadi Carnot on 24 June 1894. (See The Dynamite Club by John Merriman.)

      Even Oswald, probably the most famous assassin of all time except perhaps for Booth, was motivated by politics. A frustrated would-be Communist, he was so strange that when he defected to the USSR, they “threw him back”, complete with his newlywed Russian wife Marina, on the grounds of “never mess with someone weirder than you are”. His murder of JFK was apparently “revenge” for Kennedy’s “humiliation” of two of Oswald’s heroes, Khrushchev and Castro, in the Missile Crisis a year earlier. Plus a way of proving to the Soviet authorities that they were wrong about how much he was worth.

      The outlier in the rogues’ gallery of assassins was Charles Guiteau, who shot President James Garfield on 2 July 1881. Guiteau, raised in the Oneida community, was a con artist, failed businessman, and frustrated office seeker who was convinced he was “owed” a foreign consulship. He was found “sane enough to hang”, and accordingly was on 30 June 1882. Today, he would more likely have been found “guilty but mentally ill”, and spent the rest of his life in a sanitarium. BTW, Guiteau’s own explanation for murdering Garfield, a Republican, was that Guiteau, a self-described “Stalwart” Republican who had campaigned for Garfield, had concluded that Chester A. Arthur would be a better Chief Executive. In return for this “service”, he anticipated finally getting that consulship, preferably to Chile’. (I’ve always wondered- why Chile’, particularly?)

      It’s also interesting- and eerie- to note that John Hinkley’s attempt to murder President Ronald Reagan, on 30 March 1981, came just three months short of being exactly 100 years after Guiteau shot Garfield. And the circumstances were very similar, as well, including the would-be assassin’s delusional state. I think most people would agree that if one wants to “impress” a starlet (Jodie Foster, in this case), trying to murder the President of the United States is not exactly what immediately comes to mind.



      • Quite so, my friend, and I largely agree with you. However, please bear in mind that, while the assassination technique was generally the tacitly agreed-upon mode for altering a given state of affairs in that time period, I was referring specifically to the mindset of whole populations / countries / communities, in whose eyes an act like this was still an “almost ( but not entirely ) unthinkable act” — the same general perception persists to this day, which is why assassinations are still so shocking in the public view ( although not the ones on FW, since we have a much deeper understanding of such issues simply because we delve so much more into this sort of historical antecedent ).

  5. Why was Indiana Jones present at the scene of this historic event?

    Might make an excellent prequel…..

  6. Wikipedia tells consistently in all related articles that Princip’s M1910 was in .380 ACP and cites Belfield, Richard (2005). The Assassination Business: A History of State-Sponsored Murder. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1343-7. and Belfield, Richard (2011). A Brief History of Hitmen and Assassinations. Constable & Robinson, Ltd. p. 241. as sources. Since both are from the same author and most other sources say his pistol was in .32 ACP, I suppose Belfield is in error, but does anyone have definitive information aon the matter?

  7. Actually, the HGM in Vienna actually has a Stift & Graf tourer, as well as the blood-soaked uniform tunic worn by Franz Ferdinand on that fateful day. But the holes are not .32, as the FN 1910 (actually a 1912 modification) s/n 19074 Princip used, was in .380 ACP. One more thing is lacking from the display – a bulletproof vest Franz Ferdinand was wearing on that day. This was a Zeglen-patent garment, made from multiple layers of silk, actual weaving patterns set perpendicularly in each layer, to a thickness that should be capable of stopping, or at least severely decelerate the .380 ACP bullet. But the bullet in question hit a jugular vein half an inch above the edge of the vest, the edge which was lowered for comfort by almost an inch on personal order from the Archduke, who loathed the damned thing anyway. Princip was the most abysmal shot of them all, a butt of many jokes from his co-conspirators laughing at his abilities, or rather lack thereof. He fired two shots almost touching the side of the car, yet first went too low, pierced the side of the car and richoeted into Sophie’s abdomen, killing her as well, and the other was released probably already when a policeman tried to hit his hand up, before clutching at him. And thus he missed the torso, when the shot would have lodged in the vest, right into much more vulnerable area, leading to the Archduke’s death. Sometimes by helping, one can inflict more damage than the original threat …

    • Coincidentally you answered my almost simultaneous question about the caliber, thank you! Yet again it appears that Wikipedia is more reliable than many people give it credit for and used a good source for its article.

    • Thanks for the corrections and keener detail. I guess I was “taken in” by the .32 vs. .380 “explanation.”

      Portuguese republican Corbonária masons-conspiracists bumped off Carlos I and the Duke of Braganza in 1908 with a .351 Winchester Model 1907 rifle (which fired all the fatal shots) and a 7.65mm Browning, which failed to penetrate the sternum of the crown-prince in similar fashion to anarchist “propagandist by the deed” Leon Czolgosz’s first shot, with a .32 revolver wrapped in a bandage. Possibly, he was infatuated with Emma Goldman, whose speeches he’d attended.

      Other infamous U.S. assassins:
      Self-declared marxist-leninist Lee Harvey Oswald, an ex-Marine used a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, if it is the case that the “case is closed.” Certainly the shot was entirely plausible, and not “impossible” as often stated in the conspiracist literature.
      Charles Guiteau, the mentally ill disgruntled office seeker shot Garfield at the B&O railway station with a .44 “Bull Dog” revolver.
      “Sic Semper Tyrannis” John Wilkes Booth, the pro-secessionist Virginia zealot supposedly used a .44 derringer.
      Would be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., a mentally ill man obsessed with actress Jodie Foster who watched the film, Taxi Driver (“You talkin’ to me?”) over and over, armed with a .22 revolver.

      A far-reaching assassination was that of Spanish Prime Minister Cánovas del Castillo, in 1897 in Guipúzcoa Spain by the Italian anarchist Michele Angiolillo. It led to a change in the Spanish government at a critical juncture in the ongoing war in Cuba, and may have resuscitated the nationalist rebels, known as “insurrectos” or mambíses at their lowest ebb. No idea what sort of handgun was used to shoot the PM.

      • Oh, the Portuguese regicides were cut with sabers and swords, but the fatal wounds were apparently 6.35mm bullets fired up close after their arrests.

      • The most famous political assassination in Finnish history was the assassination of Russian general-governor of Finland Nikolay Bobrikov by a Finland-Swedish (i.e. his first language was Swedish) nationalist Eugen Schauman in Helsinki on June 16, 1904. Schauman used an FN M1900 and fired three shots. First was deflected by Bobrikov’s brass uniform button and the second by one of his medals (he was in full uniform). The third one hit his belt buckle which disintegrated and penetrated his abdomen along with the bullet fragments. He was taken to the Finnish Surgical hospital (he expressly did not want to go to the Russian military hospital…) where a lengthy operation was performed. It did not manage to replace the damage sufficiently and he died later that night.

        Schauman committed suicide successfully immediately after shooting Bobrikov by firing his pistol twice at his heart. He had planned the assassination well by practicing shooting at a moving target. He also consulted his physician friend for the best shot placement on the human torso for maximum effect.

      • David,

        ISTR that the M1910 was a standard service pistol in Serbian service. The majority of 1910s were made in .380 (9mm Browning short); the 1900 remained available in .32 (7.65 Browning SR). The 1900 is often mistakenly credited with this assassination, but it was a 1910.

        The 1900 was used in one politically important assassination: Eugen Schaumann shot Russia’s viceroy in Finland, Bobrikov. Not to blow my own horn, but I wrote that one up, here: He increased the lethality of the 1900 by using poison bullets.

        Schaumann used to be considered a hero in Finland. Just like many of the heroes of Irish independence were Anglo-Irish Protestants, many of the heroes of Finnish independence were from Finland’s Swedish-speaking minority. The Finns have backed off from the celebration of Schaumann’s deed, given their sensitive position vis-a-vis Russia.

        • Thanks. In 1792 Captain Jacob Johan Anckarström murdered Gustaf III King of Sweden while he was swanning about at a masquerade ball, shooting him in the left back with two balls, five shot and six nails. The king died of infection/sepsis. The assassin was put in irons for three days [presumably analogous to ‘pressing’–thankfully I do not know], flogged, and then had his right hand chopped off, followed by beheading. Obviously the most (in)famous assassination in Swedish history was that of Olof Palme in 1986.

        • Actually, there is no evidence Schauman used poisoned bullets and that claim seems to completely apocryphal. He did consult a medical doctor for the best bullet placement on the human torso and trained shooting a fair amount including shooting at a moving target.

        • “ISTR that the M1910 was a standard service pistol in Serbian service. The majority of 1910s were made in .380 (9mm Browning short)”

          FN 1910 was never a standard service pistol in Serbian service. Actually, it was FN 1910/22, predominantly in .380 AUTO but also in .32 ACP that became the standard service piece, but after the WW1 and in then-Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Serbia was only part of).

          Government-issue sidearm in Serbian army of the time was Brevet-Nagant M1891 revolver in 7.5mm.

  8. Very appropriate mention for this fateful day! It is nearly impossible to track all possible association of “terrorist” (actually simple assassin) Princip, but I am certainly inclined to believe there was more around the corner than official story says. After all, it is known that kingdoms and empires of the day were ready to go at each other and were looking for suitable excuse.

    On technical side, from today’s prospective, the assassin’s weapon’s calibre would be completely unsuitable for the job. Of course it was not one single shot which would accomplish the dastardly deeds.

    • The CIA used Walther PPK chambered for .32 ACP until the 1970s and the MI6 allegedly still uses them, so even a caliber slightly weaker than .380 ACP seems to have been acceptable for the professionals. (No, I don’t think either intelligence agency actually sent its regular agents to assassinate people very often, but it still shows that they were not overly concerned about the .32 ACP being weak.)

      If one wants to assassinate someone with a hand gun, regardless of the caliber one has to have a good shot placement either by skill or pure dumb luck. Princip had the latter, especially considering the Archduke was wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

      • AFAIK, SIS, CID, etc. dropped the PPK after the 20 March 1974 attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne and her husband, Capt. Mark Phillips. Inspector James Benton’s PPK jammed during the incident, and that was enough to finish the PPK and PP where they were concerned.

        Surprisingly, the most common replacement was the S&W Chief’s Special five-shot “snub” revolver in .38 Special. Not a pistol one would normally think of when the phrase “British Intelligence” comes up, but SOE had a good bit of experience with S&W revolvers during WW2 (the “Victory” model), and had confidence in the brand, so to speak.



        • If reliability is the key feature, a revolver certainly makes a lot of sense. Still, I wonder if it was ever determined what the reason for the jamming of Benton’s PPK was.

          • According to press reports of the time, the bodyguard was using catridges of Yugoslav manufacture (public money is always spent on the cheapest bidder, not just in the UK) that had been in his pistol for a rather long time.

          • If that is true, it sounds like they blamed the gun for poor procedure and training. The PPK holds seven cartridges of .32 ACP, so replacing the ammo with fresh one let’s say four times a year would not be very expensive. And of course one would expect that a bodyguard would also have a training ammo budgeted so that he could occasionally get to the range to maintain his skills, so the “old” ammo would not even go to waste…

      • I agree that in hand of professional the .32cal suffice; the Canadian scientist Gerry Bull was shot by plain .22Magnum. I also read Leszek’s information that the gun was in fact in .380, so plenty of firepower was there. I just wanted to put in into todays prospective in my original remark.

      • This time of year, my clothing is attenuated compared to the snowy months, and so my EDC is a PPK in .32. I just happened to have a few old wartime PPKs, and I can hit with it. True, I can hit harder in the cooler months. 🙂

        Would a .380 or single-stack 9mm be just as compact? Hell, a Glock 26 is nearly as compact. But I’d rather carry something with character, as long as it can do the job.

        Of course, I can’t imagine assassinating anybody. At least, now that I’m retired. If it had come up on duty, we had ways and means.

  9. The most amazing thing about that time was how eager people were to participate in what they thought was a great adventure, and believed that the war would be over by the end of the year. When technology trumps diplomacy, and the armies end up in a stalemate, you lose most of a whole generation in four years.

    • “the armies end up in a stalemate, you lose most of a whole generation in four years.”
      And don’t forget about dead civils due to lack of food and soap and also victims of Russian Revolution and other.

    • Very good point those ‘adventure-minded’ but mindless masses! It amazes me too. The other thing to consider is loyalties; it was rather loyalties to decaying symbols more than anything. Falsehood thru and thru.

      Somehow, we are trying now – worldwide, with various degree of success to alter this way of (un)thinking. I still remain deeply skeptical though.

      • Tribalism and territorialism seem to be hardwired into our DNA. Throw in some cool looking uniforms, nifty weapons, and a good dose of theatrical propaganda, and you can convince people to do just about anything, including genocide and/or suicide.

        • That’s it Doc, you put your finger on it!
          Actually the words you used I use too…. must be thinking along same lines. One of my favored spots I go to (gorgeous setting filled with waterfall among hills) has WWI memorial in public access portion of it. I never miss to go to the memorial with statue to give my respectful thought to poor fallen soldiers. What ‘tunes me in’ however is the heading starting with: ” For morality… etc.) This always gets me: WHAT morality? Who is it that can claim “morality” on their side in the might&power grabbing or maintaining while fending others off in haphazard military adventure?

          At the same time, as I usually do, I need to mention: I am not entirely against the war, should it become unavoidable and a matter of dire necessity. Who knows of such case… not that many count into this category.

          • Between what you and Doc have said, I think this covers much of the whys and wherefores of the human reason to war, as terrible as that would be. It hasn’t said very much about our supposedly collective evolution or advancement as a species, has it? All that unnecessary and untold suffering, agony and desperation — and, ultimately, for what?

  10. For those interested, there is a great podcast series by Dan Carlin called Hardcore History. He has currently 3 parts to a WWI series that covers, in great detail, what started the war and the first few months. I highly encourage it as a very in depth look at the war. It is an extremely complex issue, one that I don’t think will/could ever be fully understood. However, had better more capable leaders been in power at the time it may have reshaped the war into a localized conflict and prevented a lot of the damage. War was inevitable but the scale and size of the conflict was open for debate.

  11. Based on what has been posted so far, I can see that FW’s readers and contributors are able to visualize and understand a much. much broader perspective as to the cause-and-effect equations endemic to human history than most other people do, many reputable historians included ( or is their final product stymied by the bugbear of editorial concerns and the ultimate motive of fame, publicity and sales? ). At any rate, ladies and gentlemen, your many diverse, analytical and inclusive comments inevitably lead to one conclusion — that you all seek the hard truth amidst the rubble of accepted, long-held propaganda and, worse yet, half-truths with a spin, in spite of the many odds that have been stacked over time. All of you are to be commended for standing up for what you see as the facts, and not simply accepting someone else’s statements as representative of the truth unless you have analyzed it closely.

    Keep the discussion factual, keep the discussion going, keep the discussion open, and never forget to keep the discussion respectful. These are the original reasons why I gravitated towards FW in the first place — and I hope this will never change.

    • Hmmm…, there is gravity felt in your remarks Earl.
      The reason why we, readers and debaters at FW have presumably deeper insight stems perhaps from the fact that we know purpose of weapons in historical contents as much as in technical part. We also (I guess most of us) have some real life experience which makes us bit more judgemental in our reflections. It’s all about exchange and verification of what we individually know and offer to each other.

      Finally, the etiquette, as you correctly mention, is indivisible part of it. All of us say what we feel is right and stand by it. We are fortunate that our Editor is man of foresight and considerable benevolence to let us do what we wish. This is really rare place and rare occasion. Let’s be thankful for it!

  12. Good reading on subject “bonds & bullets”:

    The US public debt rose during WWI from 1.5 billions to 27 billions – nearly 20 times! Co-incidentally, the Sarajevo ‘accident’ was preceded by no less ‘accidental'(day before Christmas Eve 1913) FED start-up mere 6 months before…. “nothing ever happens by accident and if does, it was well planned ahead”.

  13. It was reported that the Israeli air marshalls were using ,22shorts with hi cap mags. Low power loads that would not pierce airplane skins, deadly accurate shooting with precisely placed shots.

    • During the “revenge operation” by Mossad after the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist murder of the Israeli Olympic Team by Black September militants after the Bavarian state police attempted a swat-style hostage rescue, the hit squads in Europe had the same Beretta .22 M70/71 target pistols loaded with .22 ammo that was lower in decibel levels like some of the cartridges made by Eley. The rational was that an un-suppressed “target pistol” if inadvertently seen would be less conspicuous than a handgun provided with a silencer/suppressor. The modus operandi was to empty the magazines of multiple pistols into the intended victim, presumably a member of Black September. As you may recall, the operation led to a group following a Black September courier into Scandinavia. When he stopped and talked for a long time to a Norwegian waiter, the group assumed he must be the contact and that night riddled the hapless waiter in front of his house while his aghast pregnant wife saw his fate. The Norwegian police arrested members of the group, and it emerged that the hapless waiter was merely a talkative Moroccan who’d been overjoyed to speak his native Arabic with a customer. So those Beretta .22s were apparently the same in use by the Israeli El-Al air marshals during the terrorist heyday of the 1970s. I don’t think that in either case .22 shorts were used, but I could be mistaken, certainly.

  14. The man who was behind the assasination of the Archduke, was serbian (intelligence) colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic “Apis”, a very dangerous man, founder of a serbian secret nationalist organisation “Black Hand” that promoted territorial aspirations of Kingdom of Serbia on other neighboring countries (like Bosnia and Herzegovina that KuK empire annexed).

    Also he was famous for orchestrating the removal of serbian Obrenovich dynasty (that was pro-german) and installed the new Karadordevich dynasty (pro-french/russian, they were famous for being a pig dealers before), an event where the first ones were brutally killed, in 1903.

    Ironically, he ended his career in 1917. when serbian authorities arrested him on a pretext of conspiracy of murdering a serbian and also a greek monarch (they were stationed in greece since the serbian army and rulers lost the war to austro-hungary and fleed there),
    but the death of archduke was important part of the trial, since he wrote a letter in prison in which he described and admitted the organising the assassination of archduke, all in defence of serbian interests in Bosnia and woved to be pardoned on that pretext.
    But instead of a pardon, by giving them the confessions like that, he signed his own death penalty.

    Theories behind the trial are that this man was too dangerous for the ruling dynasty, as they feared that like he brought them on throne, they could be removed also the same way,
    and that the serbian government was willing to make a peace with austro-hungarians, and killing a man who was behind archduke assassination (like they requested in 1914.for all involved to be trialed and punished) was a sign of a goodwill for the (future?) peace.

    Anyway, shows that all the plotting and assassinations in the end turn up on your head eventually, kinda reminds on a famous Stalin “blood dwarf” Jezhov.

    btw. I heard that on the famous photo, its not Gavrilo Princip, but someone else, some fellow they arrested mistakenly.

    • I congratulate you to your research! This is where value is instead of parroting worn clichés. It takes some effort and courage which you apparently posses. Some just do not have it for fear of making themselves look like “fools”.

      The last and remaining part of puzzle is to examine connection of noted individual with masonry. They are known as instigators of large majority of revolutions, upheavals and social unrests – in other words “real history makers”.

    • Hi, Storm :

      Thanks for sharing the in-depth and obviously well-researched information. An interesting departure from the more commonly-accepted “wisdom” on this particular subject, and a most valuable aid to critical thinking.

    • The story of the assassination of King Alexander Obrenovic and his wife Queen Draga is a fascinating one in and of itself. While Alexander’s pro-German sympathies were a big factor, his marriage to Draga Masin, a woman twelve years older than himself at the time of their wedding, and formerly a lady-in-waiting to his mother Queen Natalija, was EXTREMELY unpopular with the Serbian public at large, not to mention the royal family and court. Draga was painted as a wicked seductress who was nefariously influencing her younger, and besotted, husband to arbitrary and unpopular actions and was even plotting to have one of her brothers named as heir-presumptive to the Serbian throne. Dimitrijevic led the party of army officers that stormed the royal palace, found the couple hiding in a closet in their underwear and brutally shot and stabbed them to death before tossing their bodies out the window and onto a manure pile.

  15. Wealth seeks power and power seeks wealth. Neither side is willing to get their hands dirty, so they seek their ends through facilitators motivated by a manufactured ideology or simple greed, who will give them what they want. For those who gain power and influence in this fashion, the fear becomes that “he who gives it can also take it away.” For the facilitators, the danger is in knowing too many secrets. Eventually they become like Lenin’s “useful idiots,” a disposable tool to achieve a specific end. The masses are kept complacent through bread and circuses (or I-Phones and reality TV), and think, “That was all ancient history, it can’t happen in the (insert century here).” And people wonder why I am a curmudgeon.

    • A hard-headed look at the less-than-stellar ways of the world and Mankind in particular that I generally agree with. I don’t think you’re being a curmudgeon, just a realist. Very much in keeping with “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The “opiate of the masses” used to be supposedly confined to organized religion, but in reality there have always been many other “opiates” all along throughout history aimed at the same goal — to keep the general populace pre-occupied and complacent, whether it be pleasurable or simply time and energy-consuming. The only difference today is that technology has advanced the means to an end. On the other hand, that same technology has also given rise to a means of almost-instantaneous communication that could potentially backfire on those who seek this level of control. Like any other tool, the I-Phone can be a two-edged sword. The constant “arms race” goes on, with those seeking domination attempting to find ways to use technology to subvert others to their way of thinking, and those wanting greater autonomy in their own lives trying to use the same technology for opposite ends.

  16. I found this info few days ago (coincidence?) randomly browsing one old yugoslavian popular history magazine, from 1980.
    The pretext of said topic was returning of official yugoslavian documents and archives that germans seized in 1941. when occupying Serbia/Yugoslavia that were relevant to the archduke assassination case.
    These documents have been very useful to the germans and national socialists, since they prove direct involment of Kingdom of Serbia in the assassination and “starting the ww1”, a fact that Hitler was promoting long before before the 2nd war.

    Ironically, one of the Karadordjevic rulers, Aleksandar, was later assassinated (along with french minister) in Marseille in 1934. by joint effort of croatian and macedonian nationalist organizations that were set up to combat serbian ruling hegemony (the king rejected the constitution in 1929.among other thigs). It did not lead to war immediately, but the immediate effect of it was, that the totalitarian ruling was loosened a bit, but that is another story.

    Anyway, in every story there is more than it meets the eye, and on this internet often instead of a clarification, we see repeatings of same old BS and false “facts”, mostly due to the human subjectiveness, stupidity and laziness in research.

  17. Final comment from me tonight… the Serbs have erected a monument to Princip in Sarajevo.

    The article bungles or at least elides a few things, ut the current situation in Bosnia is a bit difficult to explain. It’s “divided” into Serb and Bosnian “republics” that have no more border than that between Länder in Germany or counties in England. And a lot of the “ethnic cleansing” victims have moved back into the towns from which they were driven ~20 years ago.

    I’m not sure what to make of a monument to Princip. How would a monument to Booth in Richmond be received? And Booth was a loser, as far as assassins starting sanguinary wars is concerned.

  18. Bosnia & Herzegovina is divided into serbian (49%) part and muslim/croat “federation” (51%) in which muslims are numerically far superior.

    It’s a frankestein state,
    and in the end of 1995. there was a chance to drive the serbs out, but US stopped the action out of the real fear that it would prolong the war and even maybe start the (civil)war in Serbia (where refugees and army of defeated serbian bosnian state would move) and more important, keeping serbs in, was a balance bcos there are too few croats in it (about 15%) to balance the muslims and their exceptional birthrate,
    and in 20-30 years you would have a muslim state in the Europe heartland (like is now happening with “Federation of BiH”).

    As for frontline, serb main “mythical” enemies were muslims (irrational hatred dating from the ottomans time), and croats “publicly proclaimed” fought the serbs, but their main enemy were muslims also, since they turned on this numerically weakest group.

    Generally, main war goal for serbs was to conquer the whole land and drive both croats and muslims out (with ethnic cleansing, about 80% of all war crimes were their idea), but when unabled to achieve so,
    I suppose next goal was to maybe somehow divide the Bosnia and Herzegovina between Croatia and Serbia,
    in which muslims would be under the croatian side (like they were in ww2 when there were only about 700 000 of them – now there are 2 million!).
    The problem with that concept was newly born bosniak muslim national identity along with extreme religiuos sentiment, which saw itself strong enough to form it’s own state, and not to go into some federations or confederations with any other, and be in second place.
    The result after all tragic events is a schizo situation that you have today.
    I put the blame on international community at the time, as if they intervened (nato) like in the Gulf, whole war would last a month,
    but reality bites; no oil in Bosnia!

    This is a very condensed story, just to give you the basics.

    Keep a record of this part of the world, I’m sure you’ll gonna hear about it in 20-30-50 years.

    • Very good analysis, Storm — thank you for sharing. It almost reminds me of the similar and equally complicated tragedy in Biafra back in the late 1960’s / early 1970’s, and where tensions still simmer at multiple levels under the surface to this day.

    • You have visibly very good insight into situation in Western Balkans, Storm.

      Your hypothesis of dividing Bosnia between ‘new-old’ states of Croatia and Serbia would make sense and who knows what future holds in that direction. Right now one thing is certain – the BiH is and artificial state and unproductive protectorate under UN auspices. Basically one huge boulder on EU payroll. As for those who had any gain out of this I have my doubts – most Serb refugees I met was from that ‘state’.

  19. A couple of corrections:

    Princip’s pistol was a Browning model 1910(i don’t know what the gun is in the museum picture)

    The picture of the police arresting “Princip” isn’t Princip. It is a man named Ferdinand Behr being arrested in the aftermath of the shooting(no one had a cell phone to take a pic of Princip on the shooting scene:) An enterprising photographer took the Behr picture and marketed it to newspapers around the world as a picture of the assassin.(papparazzi, eh? even in 1914 Sarajevo)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.