Devastating Political Assassinations That Changed History

Ferdinand Schmutzer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Archduke Franz Ferdinand

There is no way that 18 year old Serbian student Gavrilo Princip could have possibly known what his actions in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 would lead to, but the events of that fateful day would lead to the deaths of millions. Princip wanted to free Bosnia from Austrian rule and achieve the unification of the South Slavs.

To do this, he shot Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria, and his wife Sophie riding in an open carriage at Sarajevo. Being the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, the murder of Ferdinand would cause them to declare war on Serbia. This event would be the spark that would ignite World War I and lead to the death or injury of more than 37 million soldiers.

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