World War 1
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Central Powers

How did Franz Ferdinand die?



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He was assassinated in 1914 with his wife Sophie; she was shot in the abdomen and he was shot in the neck while they were sat in their car during a visit to Sarajevo.

Confusion caused by changes in route plans led to their car stopping. The Archduke wished to visit a hospital tending to those injured in a failed attempt upon his life earlier that day, a thrown grenade which bounced off the folded canopy of his car and exploded beneath the car behind, injuring several bystanders. Their entourage was temporarily blocked-in on a street where the nineteen year-old Young Bosnia member and Yugoslav nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, was sat at a cafe. Seizing a moment of opportunity during the confusion, he approached their car and opened fire with a Model 1910 Browning semi-automatic pistol.

He claimed at trial that his motivations were the unification of Yugoslavia and freedom from the tyranny of Austria, and even to this day, is still considered by some to be a hero for Yugoslavia.

The Black Hand, a serbian military secret society, claimed responsibility for both assassination attempts. They had placed assassins along several points of the Archduke's presumed route that day.

The successful assassination motivated the subsequent Austrian-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, leading to a series of events that triggered the start of the First World War.