Bosnia and WWI (a brief vignette)

From DelancyPlace.com

An excerpt from

Title: A World Undone

 Author: G.J. Meyer
Publisher: Delta
Date: Copyright 2006 by G.J. Meyer
Pages: 3-5

   

...the marriage of the hapless Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose famous assassination on a trip to Bosnia with his wife Sophie led directly to World War I. Franz married for love, against the preference of his uncle the Emperor, and his wife had to live in humiliation as a consequence: ....

 

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Franz Ferdinand, aged 51, was heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was married to Sophie Chotek von Chotvoka and had three children. Franz Ferdinand was, however, very unpopular because he had made it clear that once he became Emperor he would make changeshttp://www.historyonthenet.com/WW1/assassination.htm


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"Franz Ferdinand was the eldest nephew of the Hapsburg emperor Franz Joseph and therefore - the emperor's only son having committed suicide - heir to the imperial crown. He had come to Bosnia in his capacity as inspector general of the Austro-Hungarian armies, to observe the summer military exercises, and he had brought his wife, Sophie, with him. The two would be observing their fourteenth wedding anniversary later in the week, and Franz Ferdinand was using this visit to put Sophie at the center of things, to give her a little of the recognition she was usually denied.

"Back in the Hapsburg capital of Vienna, Sophie was, for the wife of a prospective emperor, improbably close to being a non-person. At the turn of the century the emperor had forbidden Franz Ferdinand to marry her. She was not of royal lineage, was in fact a mere countess, the daughter of a noble but impoverished Czech family. As a young woman, she had been reduced by financial need to accepting employment as lady-in-waiting to an Austrian archduchess who entertained hopes of marrying her own daughter to Franz Ferdinand. All these things made Sophie, according to the rigid protocols of the Hapsburg court, unworthy to be an emperor's consort or a progenitor of future rulers.

"The accidental discovery that she and Franz Ferdinand were conducting a secret if chaste romance - that he had been regularly visiting the archduchess's palace not to court her daughter but to see a lowly and thirtyish member of the household staff - sparked outrage, and Sophie had to leave her post. But Franz Ferdinand continued to pursue her. In his youth he had had a long struggle with tuberculosis, and perhaps his survival had left him determined to live his private on his own terms. Uninterested in any of the young women who possessed the credentials to become his bride, he had remained single into his late thirties. The last two years of his bachelorhood turned into a battle of wills with his uncle the emperor over the subject of Sophie Chotek.

"Franz Joseph finally tired of the deadlock and gave his consent. What he consented to, however, was a morganatic marriage, one that would exclude Sophie's descendants from the succession. And so on June 28, 1900, fourteen years to the day before his visit to Sarajevo, Franz Ferdinand appeared as ordered in the Hapsburg monarchy's Secret Council Chamber. In the presence of the emperor, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, the Primate of Hungary, all the government's principal ministers, and all the other Hapsburg archdukes, he solemnly renounced the Austro-Hungarian throne on behalf of any children that he and Sophie might have and any descendants of those children. (Sophie was thirty-two, which in those days made her an all but hopeless spinster.)

"When the wedding took place three days later, only Franz Ferdinand's mother and sister, out of the whole huge Hapsburg family, attended. Even Franz Ferdinand's brothers, the eldest of whom was a notorious libertine, self-righteously stayed away. The marriage turned out to be a happy one all the same, in short order producing a daughter and two sons whom the usually stiff Franz Ferdinand loved so unreservedly that he would play with them on the floor in the presence of astonished visitors. But at court Sophie was relentlessly snubbed. She was not permitted to ride with her husband in royal processions or to sit near him at state dinners. She could not even join him in his box at the opera. When he, as heir, led the procession at court balls, she was kept far back behind the lowest ranking of the truly royal ladies.

"But here in Bosnia, a turbulent border province, the rules of Vienna could be set aside. Here in Sarajevo, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie could appear together in public as royal husband and wife."


Addenda 

From http://www.historyonthenet.com/WW1/assassination.htm


 

 

The map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 shows that Bosnia/ Herzegovnia was controlled by Austria. Austria had annexed Bosnia in 1908, a move that was not popular with the Bosnian people.

A Serbian terrorist group, called The Black Hand, had decided that the Archdukeshould be assassinated and the planned visit provided the ideal opportunity. Seven young men who had been trained in bomb throwing and marksmanship were stationed along the route that Franz Ferdinand's car would follow from the City Hall to the inspection.

 

The first two terrorists were unable to throw their grenades because the streets were too crowded and the car was travelling quite fast. The third terrorist, a young man called Cabrinovic, threw a grenade which exploded under the car following that of the Archduke. Although the Archduke and his wife were unhurt, some of his attendants were injured and had to be taken to hospital.

 

After lunch at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand insisted on visiting the injured attendants in hospital. However, on the way to the hospital the driver took a wrong turn. Realising his mistake he stopped the car and began to reverse. Another terrorist, named Gavrilo Princip, stepped forward and fired two shots. The first hit the pregnant Sophia in the stomach, she died almost instantly. The second shot hit the Archduke in the neck. He died a short while later.


Addenda 

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria


On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilić. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack.

At the top of these Serbian military conspirators was Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrijević, his right hand man Major Vojislav Tankosić, and Masterspy Rade Malobabić. Major Tankosić armed (with bombs and pistols) and trained the assassins, and the assassins were given access to the same clandestine tunnel of safe-houses and agents that Rade Malobabić used for the infiltration of weapons and operatives into Austria-Hungary.

The assassins, the key members of the clandestine tunnel, and the key Serbian military conspirators who were still alive were arrested, tried, convicted and punished. Those who were arrested in Bosnia were tried in Sarajevo in October 1914. The other conspirators were arrested and tried before a Serbian kangaroo court on the French-controlled Salonika Front in 1916-1917 on unrelated false charges; Serbia executed three of the top military conspirators. Much of what is known about the assassinations comes from these two trials and related records.

Assignment of responsibility for the bombing and murders of 28 June is highly controversial because the attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later.

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Comments: 2
  • #1

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