Prelude to a disaster

Posted by Tory Historian Sunday, June 28, 2009 ,

Tory Historian cannot let this day pass without mentioning the one event of modern history that can be described as catastrophic in every way: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by the Bosnian Serb nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, backed by six co-conspirators.

That shot fired in Sarajevo has been rather dramatically described as the one that ushered in the “real” twentieth century. Certainly its outcome – the two groupings of allies going to war not only plunged Europe and, through the various empires and America’s eventual participation, the world into a horrific war but created the darkest and most savage decades of European history for many centuries.

By 1918 Germany had lost her empire and was a defeated and humiliated country; Russia was in ruins and the Ottoman Empire in pieces. Europe went on living out the consequences for the rest of the century, the Middle East is still doing it.

By an interesting coincidence, June 28 is also the day in 1919 when the next step in the twentieth century tragedy was taken – the Versailles Treaty was signed, leaving Germany with a feeling of bitterness and France with continued dissatisfaction.


  1. Not a sheep Says:
  2. Damn I forgot to post about that top and tailing date coincidence. Oh well there is always next year...

  3. I would add that the First World War was the second of three wars in which conflicts between France and Germany took Europe, and latterly the world, to the brink of destruction. The Treaty of Versailles which caused so much trouble was signed in the Hall of Mirrors to increase the humiliation of the country which had announced its birth in that very place in January 1871. France and Germany are leading Europe once again towards tensions and possible war - ironically through their cooperation this time, in the discredited European project.

  4. The Franco-Prussian war brought nothing to the brink of destruction except the Third Empire, which it actually destroyed. No great loss. There had been other wars between Germans and French goin a fair way back.

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