Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Gavrilo Princip carries a .22 caliber Browning pistol as he and his gang members plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The young men have planned to kill the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne with a bomb. Princip, a crack shot, is not the principal assassin. He will only step in if things go wrong. 

In Sarajevo, Franz Ferdinand is about to tour the city in an open vehicle. For the first time in her married life, Sophie (also known as the Duchess of Hohenberg) is accompanying her husband on a state visit.

Although an aristocrat, she is from a lower-class family than her husband and is never given the same honors as the Archduke. The day before, local newspapers had published their travel route. 

One of the would-be assassins hurls a grenade at the Archduke's car, which misses its target and explodes under the wheel of the next car. Although the royals are uninjured, others are killed. 

Later, standing outside a deli where he went after the failed assassination attempt, Gavrilo Princip is surprised to see Franz Ferdinand's car directly in front of him. (The Archduke's driver had made a wrong turn.) 

Firing shots into the car, Princip fatally injures both of his victims: the Archduke and his wife.

Because of Sophie's lower-rank, she is not allowed to be entombed in the imperial crypt.  Instead, she and her husband are buried side-by-side at Artstetten Castle (in Austria).  The property is still privately owned by members of the Hohenberg family.

The couple leave three surviving children:  Sophie (1901-1990), Maximilian (1902-1962) and Ernst (1904-1954).

Initially cared-for by their father’s friend, Prince Jaroslav von Thun und Hohenstein, the children move to Artstetten Castle (the burial place of their parents) around 1918.  

Sophie grows-up to be a beautiful young woman who, in the world of fiction, is a pined-for love interest of Indiana Jones.  (See The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones in which Indy muses that “there is no one like her.”  In one escapade, a locket - containing Sophie’s picture - saves the life of the young explorer.)

In 1938, after Hitler annexes Austria in the “Anschluss,” the two sons (by then adults) are sent to Dachau concentration camp.  Unlike many other prisoners held in that infamous place, they survive.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 19, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Oct 05, 2017

Media Credits

Clip from the BBC series, Days That Shook the World.  Copyright, Lion Television and BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the 770-minute production (which includes many events which "shook the world").


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"Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 19, 2014. Dec 11, 2019.
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