The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and Franz Ferdinand’s wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, occurred on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo when they were mortally wounded by Gavrilo Princip.

Franz Ferdinand’s fateful car / Image: Volodymyr Osypov
Archduke and his wife board their car, a few minutes before the assassination / Image: Wikipedia

The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary’s South Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassination led directly to World War I when Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then declared war on Serbia, triggering actions leading to war between most European states.

The Gräf & Stift luxury limousine, a Double Phaeton, was bought by Count Franz von Harrach on 15 December 1910. Harrach’s car was fitted with a four-cylinder engine delivering 32 PS. In 1914 in Sarajevo, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife rode together with Harrach in this car, when Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke.

The 1911 Gräf & Stift 28/32 PS Double Phaeton in which the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was riding at the time of his assassination / Image:

Featured Image: An illustration of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip, the incident which sparked WWI (appeared in July 5-12, 1914 edition of the Italian newspaper La Domenica del Corriere)



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