The assassination of Franz Ferdinand

2019-06-28 Fri

Franz Ferdinand; an Archduke of Austria-Este and the ‘to be successor’ of the throne of Austria-Hungary was assassinated along with his wife in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914.

Born on 18 December 1863, Franz Ferdinand was the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria. The Duke named the eleven-year-old Franz as his heir provided he added the name Este to his own. He began a military career at the age of twelve where he achieved a number of distinguished promotions, including that of Captain, Major, and Colonel.

In May 1896, Franz succeeded to the throne of Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary had annexed the Balkans in 1908 and the South Slav provinces were broken to be combined into a new country, Yugoslavia. This infuriated the Serbian nationals and became the political reason for the assassination.

On that fateful day, Franz Ferdinand had traveled to Sarajevo in order to inspect his troops there. They traveled in an open top car through the streets of Sarajevo. It was at this point that a Serbian nationalist from the Black Hand Gang, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, threw a bomb into the car. The bomb hit the back of the vehicle and missed the Archduke, hitting and wounding bystanders.

The Archduke and his wife were taken to safety, however, he decided that they should go visit these wounded people in the hospital. On the way to visit these people, his driver took a wrong turn where another member of the Black Hand Gang, Gavrilo Princip took his opportunity at fired at the Archduke and his wife, killing them both. This assassination set off a chain of events which descended into the Great War which lasted till 1919.

Austria, in the year 1999 issued a 10 schilling Silver Proof Coin in the commemoration of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The coin depicts Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie facing 3/4 right on the obverse. The reverse, on the other hand, features the Royal couple getting into a car.

Image Courtesy: https://www.cdncoin.com