Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914) was the heir presumptive to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

His assassination in Sarajevo is considered the most immediate cause of World War I.

Franz Ferdinand was the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Following the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889 and the death of Karl Ludwig in 1896, Franz Ferdinand became the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

His courtship of Sophie Chotek, a lady-in-waiting, caused conflict within the imperial household, and their morganatic marriage in 1900 was only allowed after he renounced his descendants' rights to the throne.

Franz Ferdinand held significant influence over the military, and in 1913 he was appointed inspector general of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces.

On 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo by the 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia.

Franz Ferdinand's assassination led to the July Crisis and precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia, which in turn triggered a series of events that eventually led to Austria-Hungary's allies and Serbia's allies declaring war on each other, starting World War I.

On Sunday, 28 June 1914, at about 10:45 am, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The perpetrator was 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia and one of a group of assassins organized and armed by the Black Hand.

Earlier in the day, the couple had been attacked by Nedeljko Čabrinović, who had thrown a grenade at their car.

However, the bomb detonated behind them, injuring the occupants in the following car. On arriving at the Governor's residence, Franz angrily shouted, "So this is how you welcome your guests – with bombs!"

After a short rest at the Governor's residence, the royal couple insisted on seeing all those who had been injured by the bomb at the local hospital.

However, no one told the drivers that the itinerary had been changed.

When the error was discovered, the drivers had to turn around.

As the cars backed down the street and onto a side street, the line of cars stalled.

At this same time, Princip was sitting at a cafe across the street. He instantly seized his opportunity and walked across the street and shot the royal couple.

He first shot Sophie in the abdomen and then shot Franz Ferdinand in the neck. Franz leaned over his crying wife.

He was still alive when witnesses arrived to render aid.

His dying words to Sophie were,

"Don't die darling, live for our children."

Princip's weapon was the pocket-sized FN Model 1910 pistol chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge provided him by Serbian Army Colonel and Black Hand member Dragutin Dimitrijević.

The archduke's aides attempted to undo his coat but realized they needed scissors to cut it open: the outer lapel had been sewn to the inner front of the jacket for a smoother fit to improve the Archduke's appearance to the public.

Whether or not as a result of this obstacle, the Archduke's wound could not be attended to in time to save him, and he died within minutes.

Sophie also died en route to the hospital.

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