A newspaper article about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, written from a contemporary perspective.
People in the Austro-Hungarian town of Sarajevo were shocked to see archduke Franz Ferdinand gunned down by a gang of Bosnian terrorists.
On June 28th, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was travelling through Sarajevo. He had been inspecting Austrian troops nearby, and was heading to open a new state museum in the town. For the Archduke it was a particularly special occasion, as it was one of few events in which his wife, Sophie, was allowed to ride beside him. In what was in retrospect a great failure of judgment, Ferdinand demanded that the motorcar be open-topped, and that there be as little security as possible, so as not to appear too militaristic. These goodwill gestures made the Archduke an easy target for his killers, a group of state hired terrorists known colloquially as the Black Hand Gang. Seven members were lined along the streets of Sarajevo armed with pistols and bombs. Only two, however, actually took action: Nedeljko Čabrinović, and Gavrilo Princip. Both are in their late teens, and both have been reported to be dying of tuberculosis. At 10:10am, Čabrinović tried to kill the archduke with a small bomb, but it bounced out of the automobile and destroyed the car behind, injuring 20 civilians. One local pedestrian told our reporters:
“It was a young man of maybe twenty. He bashed a little black object against a lamp post, and hurled it at the car. The car sped up a little, and the thing bounced off the hood at the back. It exploded behind, and the young man took a swig of something, and then jumped into the river. He was obviously trying to kill himself but the river was too shallow, and he got dragged out by the crowd, throwing up everywhere.”
After the failed bombing, the other assassins (yet to be identified) failed to act as the remains of the motorcade passed by. The Archduke went on with the day’s duties, but insisted on visiting his wounded colleagues in hospital. Ferdinand’s driver was not informed about the change in plan, and so took a wrong turning, ending up outside Schiller’s delicatessen on Franz Joseph Street, where Princip had been buying a sandwich. The young assassin fired two bullets into the car, fatally wounding both Franz and Sophie. It is a great shame that such a terrible crime could have been so easily prevented. After shooting the couple, Princip attempted suicide, but his gun was wrestled off him, and the cyanide once again failed.
Police are now attempting to trace the remaining assassins, as the empire contemplates what it will do now that such an important member has been lost. Already, political tensions are starting to rise, and the outbreak of war may come soon.