Random: A little history today. Interesting story on NPR about the beginning of WWI. If you are like me, I learned about WWII but not much about I.
The Latin Bridge in Sarajevo ends at the street corner where Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, on June 28, 1914.
Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images
The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.
The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.
Today, a museum marks the spot where the fateful assassination that sparked World War I occurred.
Today, in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you don’t have to hunt around for the spot where it all took place. A big purple banner announces it in white capital letters: “The street corner that started the 20th century.”
People take photos as streetcars rumble by. And according to Dr. James Lyon, an expert in Balkan history, the street would have looked almost identical a hundred years ago — it just would have had a few more trees.
A Route Lined With Flags, Fans … And Assassins
The events of the archduke’s assassination make for an unlikely story at every turn. It starts with the almost total lack of security — at the time, Sarajevo had a police force of 200.
“Approximately half or slightly less than half of the police force had turned out that day to provide security for the visit of the crown prince of the entire empire,” Lyon says. “And the army was not turned out at all.”
“The official reason was that the army had been out on maneuvers for the previous two days,” he explains. “Their uniforms were muddy and dirty, and they were not presentable.”
Also, the people in charge of the archduke’s visit decided that it was a good idea to publish the motorcade route in advance. So the path was crowded with people. Bunting, flags and brightly colored carpets hung out the windows — and the would-be assassins knew exactly where to stand.
There were seven of them along the parade route, carrying bombs and guns. Most chickened out altogether.
Read More: http://www.npr.org/2014/06/27/325516359/a-century-ago-in-sarajevo-a-plot-a-farce-and-a-fateful-shot