Skip to comments.Archduke Franz Ferdinand: The man whose assassination is blamed for triggering World War I
Posted on 06/28/2014 4:16:11 AM PDT by Perdogg
Archduke Franz Ferdinand is best known as the man whose assassination is widely believed to have led to the outbreak of World War I.
But behind that figure lies a story of forbidden love, an obsession with hunting, and a near-miss that could have killed the archduke months before he was shot dead with his wife Sophie in Sarajevo 100 years ago.
(Excerpt) Read more at abc.net.au ...
bump for the history lesson
I read an analysis of hundreds of assassinations. In not one case did the assassin achieve his political goals. In this case, had the duke come to power, he most likely would have granted the political objectives the assassin’s wanted. He had written and said that the current policy was outdated and a bit of autonomy was called for.
It wasn’t his assassination that caused the war. Austria was looking for a reason to attack. It would have found one eventually. The German Kaiser had imprudently given Austria a blanket guarantee of support, not realizing what it would mean. Then, the Kaiser’s number two urged Austria to strike while the Kaiser was on holiday on his yacht and (in those days) out of the command loop.
I still think we need to kick the Kaiser in the can.
Wow this guy shot 8 koala bears
What a jerk!
In my opinion, World War One is still the most destructive war in history. WW II caused more damage, but WW One was the one that destroyed Christianity in Europe (which led to the inevitable brutality that happens when man loses his fear of God), that set up new borders that we're still fussing about today, that introduced new weapons that were so devastating that Armies still prepare for them (for example, a huge bulk of my time training when I was in Army boot camp and the National Guard was against Gas attack).
In World War One, Jews in Poland and Russia welcomed the Germans because they liberated them from Russian Pogroms, the Japanese were our allies and got great kudos for their excellent treatment of Prisoners Of War (many German POW's voluntarily stayed in Japan after the war to build new lives).
America's involvement in WW One was devastating to our psyche. While we only had 100,000 or so men killed in action, the bulk of it was in a 3 month period. We thought we were "making the world safe for democracy"- instead, we were just a pawn of the western European powers as they cynically got payback. This led to a strong anti-military feeling in America that lingered until Hitler invaded Russia (which caused Democrats and American Leftists to become gung ho pro-war, and the Jap Sneak Attack on Pearl Harbor (which pi$$ed off the rest of the nation).
Even then, while The Greatest Generation was quite patriotic, you never see letters or stories about "love of country" or "fighting for a cause" like you did during the American Revolution or the Civil War. This was because of the cynicism many WW I vets had about what they went through. This bled to their children, and their thoughts were more about getting the job done and going home, not letting down their buddies, etc. Ironically, all the bad things the Germans were accused of in WW I, they actually DID in WW II (American troops in WW II didn't believe the news about Germans slaughtering Jews and others, they thought it was just propaganda).
It’s important to note that Germans were ‘advisors’ to their Turk allies in the mass murder of Armenians and others. Training for the future.
“One hundred years ago today set things in motion that we’re still struggling with.”
I watched easily a dozen historical programs on WW1 recently. I was astonished at how popular the idea of going to war was with the various citizens. Amazing. Everybody had some sort of romantic notion of how noble war was. One documentary said that of every 9 men who went to war for the allies 5 became casualties. Yet, the treaty of Versailles set up circumstances that almost guaranteed a future war. (Although, I understand why the allies dictated terms their constituents wanted.)
It’s certainly been argued that WWI was inevitable, as the European powers were spoiling for a fight and everyone had an itchy trigger finger. That tends to be the view I agree with; if Archduke Franz Ferdinand hadn’t been assassinated, another incident (most likely in the Balkans) would have served as a sufficient excuse to launch an all-out European war.
And yep....we’re still dealing with the hangover from WWI. Truly a war that changed the world.
However, Germans were hamhanded in their propaganda while the British were brilliant at Psyops. Also, the Zimmerman telegram (which promised Mexico that they could get the SW US back if they came into the war on the side of the Germans) and Unrestricted Submarine warfare brought America into the War on the side of the Entente'.
The world would have been better off had Kaiser Wilhelm at the very least fought the UK and France to a stalemate, which could have happened had the slavish Anglophile Woodrow Wilson kept the US out of the war. Of course, there was that certain telegram about Mexico...
While I agree that all sides were itching for war, I disagree that they wanted one of the “all out” variety. The real tragedy of WWI was that no one understood what the industrialization of warfare meant.
The Austrians thought they could re-fight the Balkans Wars of 1912-1913, with their armies participating in the fight this time. The Germans thought they could re-fight the Franco-Prussian War. The French thought the same, but they thought they could win it this time. The Russians thought they could do better than they had in the Russo-Japanese War. The British hoped it would be no worse than the First Boer War. All of these conflicts lasted under one year each.
WWI was the last of the old style “Stratego” style wars where monarchs fought like they were playing a board game. There had not been a devastating continental war in Europe since Napoleon, and when it happened again the killing was with assembly line efficiency.
WWII was insane, but WWI was just plain stupid.
Winston Churchill was considered a crackpot by the Brits because he retained the Old English Victorian Values, while the rest of Britain was pacifistic and appeasing during the 1920's and 1930's. Thankfully (and probably because he was half-American) he was there to lead their country in the face of the National Socialists.
Actually, that's exactly backwards.
Franz Ferdinand was a proponent of modifying the Dual Monarchy to a Triple Monarchy, giving the national status under the Habsburgs already held by the Germans and Magyars to the South Slavs. This would presumably have eliminated the South Slav discontents, as it had for the Hungarians. Promptly squashing the ambitions of the conspirators to build a Greater Serbia incorporating all South Slavs.
They didn't care about making life better for the South Slavs, particularly under the Habsburgs. They wanted to break up the Habsburg Empire so the South Slavs could be added to Serbia.
IOW, they specifically wanted FF dead because he was a competitor for the allegiance of South Slavs, not just because he was a Habsburg.
I should correct one thing I wrote. I believe that the participants THOUGHT they were going to be fighting war as a game of Stratego, but wound up fighting something completely different.
And then there’s the German pioneering use of poison gas.
Yes, American support for WWI is overstated today. Midwestern Progressives led the opposition to American involvement. Wilson actually campaigned on keeping America OUT of the European war.
If Oswald was, as reported, a rabid Marxist whose goal was to push the United States leftward, it may have been decades in the making, but by making LBJ POTUS, he certainly gave things a big shove in that direction. If the gunman/men were somebody other than Oswald, we have no way of knowing if their political goals were realized as we have yet to positively ID the trigger puller. If, as I personally suspect, LBJ was the puppet master, his goal was most definitely realized.
Thanks for your post. I did not know this until I started reading Citizen Soldiers, by Stephen Ambrose. Just about all of the recounts he relays and the things he describes all point to getting the job done, rather than a love of country. I found that interesting and a little disappointing. It sort of puts the rebellion of the '60s in perspective and makes it more understandable, I guess.
Ahh, the couterfactual thought experiment where all bad things that we know happened are removed from the board, but no thought is given to the bad things that might have happened instead.
I agree that without German defeat in WWI there would have been no Hitler. But a world-dominating German Empire might have been as bad in many ways.
All of the tendencies carried to extremes by Nazism were already active in Wilhelmine Germany. And one thing that is certain is that German victory in the War would have done nothing to tamp down Aryan delusions of racial superiority.
We probably would also not have had a USSR. As the Germans would probably have conquered the rest of Russia after taking a break for a few years to consolidate.
But then you've got a German Empire in control, direct or indirect, of essentially all of Europe plus Russia. Given Willie's peculiar personality, it seems likely he would have struck for total world power by the 40s, anyway. Or possibly his successor.
What is obvious is that with German victory in WWI the world would be a very different place. It's not obvious that it would be a better one.
I think a bigger problem for the European powers was the unconcious self-glorification created by their colonial conquests.
Tiny European armies repeatedly defeated much larger native armies, even when similarly armed. The Maxim gun and other high tech weaponry just made it worse.
So the Brits, and the French, and the Germans looked at their ability to crush native armies when outnumbered 20:1 in India, North Africa and East Africa and thought it was due entirely to their own national prowess. Then extrapolated that inappropriately to similar results when facing other Euro armies.
The American Civil War and the Boer War should have given them reason to think otherwise, but neither the American nor the Boers were “real armies” in the Euro POV, so they didn’t count.
So their conflicting delusions banged into each other and blew up the world. All sides had their plans to win the war, and apparently never gave much thought to the fact that the enemy gets a vote, you can’t just march out and implement your plan.
Any such discussion is meaningless without a timeline. Late 1914 was very different from early 1917.
Same as national support for war in WWII. September 1939 very different from January 1942.
A good reason why leaders should be of good character and judicious judgment. The issues faced in the years after an election may not have even been discussed before the election.
I don’t disagree with your assertion, but the Europeans had experienced all the wars I listed AFTER both the Civil War and the Boer Wars, and none led to catastrophe. Okay, the second Boer War I did not list, but it was the guerrilla war aspects that were particularly nasty, not the conventional fighting of army against army.
I can’t see how one avoids the conclusion that Europe was still looking at war as it had in 1864, without realizing that the nature of war had changed by 1914. Everyone understood what total war meant in 1945, because they had been through two before and had seen atomic bombs in action. No one could imagine WWI in 1914.
I think we’ll both agree there was massive failure of imagination in the decision making when going forward to war in 1914. The Germans in particular were expecting to fight and win a quick, decisive conflict as they had in 1870. I can’t believe that any of the European leadership, as inbred and decadent as it was, would have jumped for mobilization if they had any clue it was going to mean millions of dead four years later.
I generally agree.
However, the problem, as in the Japanese decision to attack Pearl, is often that elites believe they have no choice. It’s fight now or die. Whether that belief in lack of alternatives is accurate or not is much less important than whether it is believed.
In 1914 the Germans saw that they had turned every other major Power against them. That this was primarily due to Willie’s blundering about was by then irrelevant.
France hated Germany because of 1870, and there was no way to reconcile them. Russia had become an enemy because Germany unnecessarily opposed Russian ambitions in the Balkans and Black Sea. Britain, even less needfully, because Germany insisted on challenging Britain’s naval and colonial predominance.
Germany had by 1914 achieved essentially all it could within the existing framework. They could keep pace with UK and France, but would inevitably lose ground relative to a Russia starting from a very low base but rapidly catching up, and with enormous advantage of resources and manpower. Extend the Russian economic and military gains of the previous decade for another decade or two, and the German position for a two front war starts looking pretty bad.
So the General Staff, the only institution that really mattered in the German Empire, saw war in 1914 or shortly thereafter as their only chance to defend or expand their position.
They were probably right.