Two Shots

When this post goes live, it will have been exactly one hundred years since Gavrilo Princip fired two shots into a 1911 model Gräf & Stift touring car, killing Archduke and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie.

Gavrilo Princip

Gavrilo Princip during his post-assassination imprisonment – Wikimedia Commons

Princip, who was not quite a month shy of his twenty-first birthday at the time of the assassination, was born in a small town in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. His family was Serbian-Orthodox, and in spite of his father’s objections, Gavrilo enrolled in primary school at the age of nine. Within a few years, Princip transferred to the gymnasium in Sarajevo where he imbibed an intense Serbian nationalism. Enamoured with a previous Serbian nationalist-assassin, Princip joined Mlada Bosna, a Serbian nationalist group, in 1911. After he was expelled for school the following year for protesting imperial policies, Princip floated in and out of Sarajevo.

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie enter their car after the City Hall speech

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie enter their car after the City Hall speech – Wikimedia Commons

On June 28th, 1914, the Archduke and his wife arrived in Sarajevo by train. Their morning itinerary called for a review of a military barracks and a speech at the city hall. On the way to the city hall, one of the six assassins enlisted for the attempt threw his bomb towards the Archduke’s car. The bomb deflected off of the Archduke’s car and exploded, wounding over a dozen bystanders. Shaken, Ferdinand gave his speech, then departed to visit the wounded at the local hospital.

At 10:45 AM, the royal couple reentered their car. After traveling several blocks, the driver took a wrong turn, stopping the car directly where Princip was stationed. The twenty-year-old stepped forward and fired two shots.

Gavrilo Princip captured, moments after shooting Franz and Sophie Ferdinand

Princip is captured, seconds after firing into the Archduke’s car – Wikimedia Commons

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