ROAD TO WAR -
|The “Touch Paper” is Lit…For War!
|It is quite unimaginable how a young schoolboy’s deliberate
act of murder in a distant country, could bring the nations of the
earth to an ultimate confrontation and invoke the “First World
It would usher in a deathblow for mankind, as this murderous act
would now bring all the nations together in the most horrific, bloodiest
conflict that had ever been witnessed on earth.
An unbelievable turmoil would soon erupt and befall the human race,
decimating their hopes, dreams, and futures.
The long lazy days of peace…those happy joyful days, were
soon to become just a long distant memory…as 1914 loomed before
all the nations, expectations of war grew ever closer.
The continent of Europe was made up of three vast and hugely powerful
empires, to the east lay the vast Empire of all Russia, ruled by
the Czar Nicholas the II.
To the west and north lay the Empire of the Kaiser of Germany, Kaiser
Wilhelm II, south wards along the River Danube ran the vast lands
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by the Archduke of Austria,
Although Britain stood alone geographically, her alliances stood
firmly with France, Belgium and Russia. Germany had allied itself
to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while Russia had alliances with
Serbia. So it was that Britain became the Fourth Power in Europe.
Therefore the map of Europe can be clearly seen as to what would
ultimately develop, should there be some confrontation between these
nations of supreme powers, with their own personal alliances with
each other, the world would have to wait and see with trepidation
as to what would develop. Soon they would all come together in an
eruption of horrific consequences that would shake the world to
its very roots.
The map of Europe had been drawn years previously, this is the way
it would remain for a few years to come, but its balance of power
was to be shaken to the very core of what was about to encompass
Britain…”Great Britain”… ruled the seas
with her mighty fleet of warships, battleships and cruisers. Britain’s
domination over many countries led it to rule over one sixth of
the earth, her vast abundance of power originated from every corner
of the globe, hence…”The British Empire”.
Power was to become the dominant force around the globe as nations
grew in strength and vied determinedly for it.
Old alliances and peace treaties formed these great powers into
one of frightening proportions, each had deep friendships with one
another, these in later years would rise to the surface, they would
support and depend on each other, to uphold their previously agreed
terms and friendships, they would unite together, each one with
supreme power, defiance, and determination.
Un-be known to millions, the events that followed in a country far
away did little to mar their peace and contentment of life, it would
carry on as usual, everyone enjoying the pleasures while it was
Many had never heard of this city, did not even know where Sarajevo
was, let alone understood the serious situation that had developed
there during the State visit of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his
wife the invitation by General Oskar Potiorek was for the Archduke
and his wife was to watch the Austrian Army troops in training who
were based there.
the Archduke knew full well it was dangerous for him to be present
at this time, as his uncle the Emperor Franz Joseph had previously
had an assassination attempt made on his life by the “Black
Hand Gang” in 1911. For
young schoolboy Gavrilo Princip was desperate to exact revenge
on this ruler, Princip was a Serb patriot and member of the notorious
“Black Hand Gang” who devoutly wanted action taken
and this intruder killed, for his oppression against the Serbs.
and Archduchess Princess Sophie, on Sunday 28th, June, 1914 in
|He and his murderous gang of seven had
waited a long time for this opportunity, this would be their one
and only chance and they all agreed the time had come to attempt
to kill there enemy.
|The morning was bright and sunny as the
procession of six cars full of dignitaries and officials started
on its journey, thousands thronged the streets to get a view of
the Archduke and his wife in the second car, crowds were waving
and cheering as the cars passed slowly along its route through the
Plans were made and positions taken as the seven spaced themselves
out along the Appel Quay, in readiness for each one’s own
assassination attempt. They stood and waited for the car to pass.
Princip hoped that his fellow conspirator’s would try at every
point, but it didn’t work as planned, the first conspirator
lost his nerve and froze, the second one threw a grenade at the
car, the chauffer spotted it coming and accelerated away at speed,
it missed the Archdukes car but exploded hitting the car behind
seriously wounding the occupants, who were immediately taken to
the local hospital.
This conspirator quickly swallowed a cyanide capsule and jumped
into the river hoping to drown, he was dragged out and arrested,
the cyanide poison failed. The others along the route including
Princip ran away, their opportunity lost as the Archduke’s
car was going too fast and the crowds hemmed them in. An immediate
panic set in for those protecting the Archduke, they had to get
him and his wife away from the city center and from any more attempts
on his life.
Franz Ferdinand decided to visit the hospital in Sarajevo where
the injured were taken, still shaken severely by the attempt and
fearing for his wife’s safety they carried on the journey
to the hospital. This change of direction was coupled by a sudden
twist of fate that would be fatal.
General Potiorek who was traveling with the Archduke suggested that
they should drive directly to the hospital, but he failed to inform
the chauffer who unknowingly took the car on another route and turned
into Gebet street. With all the opportunities lost and his fellow
conspirators gone, Princip had all but given up and decided to get
a sandwich in the café in Gebet street, as he came out he
couldn’t believe what he saw for he spotted the car with the
Archduke coming to a halt just by the café. Princip’s
chance came suddenly as the chauffer realizing he had made a wrong
turn tried to reverse the car in a panic but stalled it. This was
to become a fatal move for in the seconds that followed Princip
stepped forward, and being no more than five feet away directly
faced the Archduke, pulled out his pistol and fired several shots
in succession into the car. Princess Sophie died instantly, the
Archduke had been shot in the neck, bleeding badly he tried desperately
to revive his wife, realizing she was dead, the horrific shock had
within minutes killed him too.
Princip was arrested and the pistol wrestled from him before he
could shoot himself, in vain he tried to take a cyanide pill but
failed. Taken into custody and later tried, he was too young to
receive the death sentence due to his being one month and three
days short of his twentieth birthday. Instead he was imprisoned
for twenty years, and died on April 28th 1918, of tuberculosis.
This unprovoked and murderous attack, insignificant as it was to
the majority of mankind, would inevitably unleash the might of the
“Four Great Empires of Europe”, their old alliances
and loyalties would soon be bonded together solidly in a union of
strength. Their combined power would be one of unimaginable mightiness
that would soon embroil the world in complete slaughter of young
men scattered across the globe.
The world would soon find itself on the brink of total war…”The
First World War” that brought all the nations of the earth
into a conflict of unparalleled proportions.
||Little did Gavrilo Princip the young schoolboy of
nearly 20 years old realize by any extreme of his imagination, what
the consequences for the world would be by killing the Archduke
and his wife. Only
that by his action he had lit the “touch paper” that
would ignite the world in a World War that would bring World Powers,
Nations, Empires, Countries, Kings and Queens, Emperors and peoples
to their knees, in the most horrific conflict that had ever plagued
mankind up until that time in man’s history on this earth.
1914 was the year that would eventually envelope the world in the
most savage, bloodthirsty, brutal and destructive war that the world
had ever witnessed until that time!