On 28 June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated. It was an event that would shake Europe and spark the First World War.

They had been visiting the city of Sarajevo, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Whilst travelling through the streets in their motorcade the Archduke and Duchess had two attempts made on their lives; the first when a grenade was thrown at their vehicle, exploding behind them and injuring those in the car behind; the second when Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Young Bosnia group, fired at them with a FN Model 1910 pistol. This final attempt was successful.

The picture below shows the Archduke and his wife emerging from the Sarajevo Town Hall and heading towards their car. Shortly after this photo was taken they had both been shot.


The weeks that followed the assassination saw the relationship between Austria-Hungary and Serbia turn from incredibly tense to openly hostile, with the eventual declaration of war coming on 28 July 1914. The rest of Europe quickly chose sides and sent their men marching to fight in a war that would last over four years.

Osprey have a wide range of books on the First World War, all of which can be found in our store page for the period.