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Gavrilo Princip

Gavrilo Princip

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Gavrilo Princip was the Bosnian Serb
Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina are people of Serb ethnicity inhabiting the Balkan regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or, since the establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state in the 1990s, the Serbs who have its citizenship. The Serbs are one of the three constitutive nations of this...

 who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Franz Ferdinand was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1889 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia...

 and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg
Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg
Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg ; 1 March 1868 – 28 June 1914) was a Czech aristocrat, the morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Their assassination sparked World War I.- Early life :...

, in Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 on 28 June 1914. Princip and his accomplices were arrested and implicated a number of members of the Serbian military
Military of Serbia
The Serbian Armed Forces are the armed services of Serbia. They consist of the Serbian Army and the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence...

, leading Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 to issue a démarche
Demarche
A démarche has come to refer either to# a line of action; move; countermove; maneuver, esp. in diplomatic relations, or# formal diplomatic representation of the official position, views, or wishes on a given subject from one government to another government or intergovernmental...

 to Serbia known as the July Ultimatum
July Ultimatum
The July Crisis was a diplomatic crisis among the major powers of Europe in the summer of 1914 that led to the First World War...

. This set off a chain of events that led to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Princip was a Yugoslav nationalist
Yugoslavism
Yugoslavism refers to nationalism or patriotism centred upon the Yugoslav peoples within the Yugoslav populated territories of Southeastern Europe...

 associated with the movement Mlada Bosna
Young Bosnia
Young Bosnia was a revolutionary movement active before World War I, the members were predominantly school students who were ethnic Serbs, but included Bosniaks...

 (Young Bosnia) that was composed of a majority of Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 and some Bosniaks
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

 and Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

.

Early life


Gavrilo Princip was born in the village of a poor area of Bosnia near Bosansko Grahovo
Bosansko Grahovo
Bosansko Grahovo is a town and municipality in western Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located near the border with Croatia, near the towns of Drvar, Livno and Glamoč...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Austria-Hungarian Empire
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, the son of a postman. His parents, Petar and Marija (née Mićić), had nine children, five sons and four daughters, six of whom died in infancy. His impoverished parents could not provide for him and sent him to live with an older brother in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

.

Most historians agree that Princip was a member of the group known as "Union or Death", a smaller, breakaway group of Young Bosnia
Young Bosnia
Young Bosnia was a revolutionary movement active before World War I, the members were predominantly school students who were ethnic Serbs, but included Bosniaks...

. The Young government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 movement was a group made up of Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks, committed to the independence of the South Slavic peoples from Austria-Hungary.
In February 1912, Princip took part in protest demonstrations against the Sarajevo authorities for which he was expelled from school. Following his expulsion, he moved to Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

. In Belgrade, he sought to gain admission to the First Belgrade Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 but failed the entrance exam.

On 6 October 1908, Bosnia-Herzegovina had been declared a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by Emperor Franz Joseph
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

. This created a stir among Slavic people of southern Europe and the Russian Tsar who opposed this annexation.

In 1912, Serbia was abuzz with mobilization for the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

. Princip planned to join the komite, irregular Serbian guerrilla forces committee of the secret society Unification or Death (Ujedinjenje ili Smrt), known as Black Hand
Black Hand
Unification or Death , unofficially known as the Black Hand , was a secret military society formed by members of the Serbian army in the Kingdom of Serbia, which was founded on September 6, 1901. It was intent on uniting all of the territories containing significant Serb populations annexed by...

. Princip, however, was rejected by the komite in Belgrade because of his small physical stature. He then went to Prokuplje
Prokuplje
Prokuplje is a town and municipality located in Serbia at 43.24° North, 21.59° East. According to 2011 census, the town has a total population of 27,163 inhabitants, while population of municipality is 43,631. It is the administrative center of the Toplica District of Serbia. It is one of the...

 in Southern Serbia where he sought a personal interview with Tankosić. Tankosić, however, rejected Princip as being "too small and too weak". Vladimir Dedijer
Vladimir Dedijer
Vladimir Dedijer was a Yugoslav partisan fighter, politician and historian.During World War II he was an editor of the Yugoslav Communist Party newspaper Borba, and member of the agitprop section to the General Staff.After the war he was a member of Yugoslav delegation on 1946 Paris peace...

 argued that this rejection was "one of the primary personal motives which pushed him to do something exceptionally brave in order to prove to others that he was their equal".

Assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand




On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip participated in the assassination in Sarajevo of the Austrian Archduke. General Oskar Potiorek
Oskar Potiorek
Oskar Potiorek was an Austrian general who served as the Austro-Hungarian governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1911 and 1914...

, Governor of the Austrian provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 had invited Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Franz Ferdinand was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1889 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia...

 and Countess Sophie
Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg
Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg ; 1 March 1868 – 28 June 1914) was a Czech aristocrat, the morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Their assassination sparked World War I.- Early life :...

 to the opening of a hospital. The Archduke knew that the visit would be dangerous, knowing his uncle, Emperor Franz Josef, had been the subject of an assassination attempt by the Black Hand in 1911.

Just before 10 a.m. on Sunday, the royal couple arrived in Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 by train. In the front car was Fehim Čurčić, the Mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of Sarajevo and Dr. Gerde, the city's Commissioner of Police. Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were in the second car with Oskar Potiorek
Oskar Potiorek
Oskar Potiorek was an Austrian general who served as the Austro-Hungarian governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1911 and 1914...

 and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach. The car's top was rolled back in order to allow the crowds a good view of its occupants.

The six conspirators lined the route. They were spaced out along the Appel Quay, each one with instructions to try to kill Franz Ferdinand when the royal car reached his position. The first conspirator on the route to see the royal car was Bosniak Muhamed Mehmedbašić
Muhamed Mehmedbašic
Muhamed Mehmedbašić was a Bosniak/Muslim revolutionary and participant in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.-Background:...

. Standing by the Austro-Hungarian Bank, Mehmedbašić lost his nerve and allowed the car to pass without taking action. Mehmedbašić later said that a policeman was standing behind him and feared he would be arrested before he had a chance to throw his bomb.

At 10:15 a.m., when the six car procession passed the central police station, nineteen-year-old student Nedeljko Čabrinović
Nedeljko Cabrinovic
Nedeljko Čabrinović was a member of the nationalist Young Bosnia movement, and one of a group of seven who intended to assassinate Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria during his announced visit to Sarajevo.Born in Sarajevo, Čabrinović spent many of his post-school years as a handyman, before...

 hurled a hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

 at the Archduke's car. The driver accelerated when he saw the object flying towards him, but the bomb had a 10 second delay and exploded under the wheel of the third car. Two of the occupants, Eric von Merizzi and Count Ludwig Joseph von Boos-Waldeck
Count Ludwig Joseph von Boos-Waldeck
Count Ludwig Joseph von Boos-Waldeck was a German noble who promoted the settling of Texas by Germans....

were seriously wounded. About a dozen spectators were also hit by bomb shrapnel.

After Čabrinović's bomb missed the Archduke's car, five other conspirators, including Princip, lost an opportunity to attack because of the heavy crowds and the high speed of the Archduke's car. To avoid capture, Čabrinović swallowed cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 and jumped into the River Miljacka
Miljacka
The Miljacka is a river in Bosnia and Herzegovina that passes through Sarajevo and East Sarajevo. It is famous for being "Sarajevo's River", and it has come to be identified immediately with the city itself....

 to make sure he died. The cyanide pill was expired and made him sick, but failed to kill him and the River Miljacka was only 10 centimetres (4 in) deep. A few seconds later he was hauled out and detained by police.

Franz Ferdinand later decided to go to the hospital and visit the victims of Čabrinović's failed bombing attempt. In order to avoid the city centre, General Oskar Potiorek decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital. However, Potiorek forgot to inform the driver, Leopold Loyka
Leopold Loyka
Leopold Lojka was the chauffeur of the car carrying Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the point of Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo in 1914....

, about this decision. On the way to the hospital, Loyka took a right turn into Franz Josef Street.

Princip was standing near Moritz Schiller's cafe, having apparently given up, when he spotted Franz Ferdinand's car as it drove past, having taken the wrong turn. After realizing the mistake, the driver put his foot on the brake, and began to back up. In doing so the engine of the car stalled and the gears locked, giving Princip his opportunity. Princip stepped forward, drew his FN Model 1910
FN Model 1910
The FN Model 1910 was a blowback-operated, semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning and manufactured by Fabrique Nationale of Belgium.-Development:...

 pistol, pistol-whipped a nearby pedestrian, and at a distance of about 1.5 m (five feet), fired twice into the car. Franz Ferdinand was hit in the neck and Sophie (who instinctively covered Franz's body with her own after the first shot) in the abdomen
Abdomen
In vertebrates such as mammals the abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax and pelvis. The region enclosed by the abdomen is termed the abdominal cavity...

, and they both died before 11 a.m.

Capture and imprisonment



Princip attempted suicide, first with the use of his pistol after the assassination, then by ingesting cyanide, but he vomited the past-date poison (as did Čabrinović, leading the police to believe the group had been deceived and bought a much weaker poison). The pistol was wrestled from his hand before he had a chance to fire another shot.

Princip was too young to receive the death penalty, being twenty-seven days short of his twentieth birthday at the time of the assassination. Instead, he received the maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. He was held in harsh conditions which were worsened by the war. He contracted tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, and had one of his arms amputated in prison when the disease infected an arm bone. He died on 28 April 1918 at Terezín
Terezín
Terezín is the name of a former military fortress and adjacent walled garrison town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.-Early history:...

 3 years and 10 months after he assassinated the Archduke and Duchess. At the time of his death, Princip weighed around 40 kilograms (88.2 lb), weakened by malnutrition, blood loss from his amputated arm, and disease.
The house where Gavrilo Princip lived in Sarajevo was destroyed during World War I. After the war, it became a museum in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

. Yugoslavia was conquered by Germany in 1941 and Sarajevo became part of fascist Croatia. The Croatian Ustaše
Ustaše
The Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement was a Croatian fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Nazism, and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the River Drina and to the border...

 destroyed the house again. After the establishment of communist Yugoslavia in 1944, the house of Gavrilo Princip became a museum again and there was another museum dedicated to him within the city of Sarajevo. During the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, the house of Gavrilo Princip was destroyed a third time by the government; no attempts to rebuild it have yet been announced. The Gavrilo Princip museum has been turned into a museum dedicated to Archduke Ferdinand and the Habsburg monarchy. Prior to the 1990s the site on the pavement on which Princip stood to fire the fatal shots was marked by embossed footprints. These were removed as a consequence of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and the perception of Princip as having been a Serb nationalist. Later, a simple wooden memorial was placed near the site of the assassination with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in Bosnian, Serbian and English. There is a plaque in front of the museum at the spot where Gavrilo Princip stood when he fired the shots.

Princip's pistol was confiscated by the authorities, and eventually given, along with the Archduke's bloody undershirt, to Anton Puntigam, a Jesuit priest who was a close friend of the Archduke and had given the Archduke and his wife the last rites. Pistol and shirt remained in the possession of the Austrian Jesuits until they were offered on long-term loan to the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum is a military history museum located in Vienna, Austria. It claims to be the oldest and largest purpose-built military history museum in the world...

in Vienna in 2004. The pistol is now part of the permanent exhibition there.

External links