A right turn on Latin Bridge: Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination

World War I, the Great War, was definitely one of the deadliest events in history, and it could all be tied to one man’s assassination.

In 1914, the 28th of June to be precise, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were shot by a 19 year-old assassin, Gavrilo Princip, who was a member of Young Bosnia.

If World War I is the Great War, then Franz Ferdinand’s assassination must be the Great Assassination. However, Franz Ferdinand’s assassination wasn’t really planned on strategically, everything just happened to fall into place.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo to oversee military training in Bosnia. He arrived in Sarajevo with his wife by train earlier on the 28th.

They were to take an automobile into the city. The motorcade moved through the crowded city and the first two assassins, Mehmedbašić and Vaso Čubrilović could not execute their mission.

Further along the way was Nedeljko Čabrinović who was brave enough to throw his bomb at the car Archduke and his wife were travelling in. The bomb bounced off the car and fell on the street. It exploded under the next car, damaging it and wounding about 20 people.

After the execution, Čabrinović swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka River. However, his suicide attempt failed, as the old cyanide only caused vomiting, and the Miljacka was only 13 cm deep due to the hot dry summer. Čabrinović was eventually caught.

Realising the danger, the cars sped away towards the Town Hall leaving the disabled car behind. The other three assassins couldn’t act as the motorcade passed them at high speed.

At the Town Hall, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie decided that they want to visit the people who were wounded from the bombing.

General Oskar Potiorek advised that they travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital to avoid the crowded city. However, for some reason, Potiorek failed to communicate this to the drivers. As a result, the Archduke’s driver, Leopold Lojka, took a right turn at the Latin Bridge just as the two drivers ahead of him did.

Princip on the other hand had moved to a new position in front of a nearby food shop (Schiller’s delicatessen) near the Latin Bridge. As the driver turned right on Latin Bridge, Governor Potiorek, who was sharing the third vehicle with the royal couple, called out to the driver to stop as he was going the wrong way.

That moment right there was the turning point towards the Great War.  

The driver stopped the car close to where Princip was standing. Princip stepped next to the car and shot Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

One could argue that the Archduke’s assassination was meant to happen the way it happened. A right turn on Latin Bridge is what it took to start the world’s greatest war.

About Mduduzi Mbiza 110 Articles
Mduduzi Mbiza is a creator. Author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’.