The July Crisis

Why did the diplomatic deceits and deceptions that took place across Europe in the summer of 1914 lead to the First World War? Annika Mombauer seeks answers to one of history’s most complex and controversial questions.

Franz Ferdinand (in fur-lined coat) on a hunting weekend with Wilhelm II (left) in 1914. AKG ImagesIn June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie travelled to Bosnia, a province of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire. They had dismissed warnings that their lives might be in danger and, after three days in Bosnia, Sophie felt that any fears had been unfounded: ‘Wherever we have been everyone, down to the last Serb, has greeted us with such friendliness, politeness and true warmth that we are very happy with our visit’, she remarked. The following day, Sunday June 28th, 1914, the couple were assassinated in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, by Bosnian nationalists.

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