The Arch-Duke Franz-Ferdinand and his wife Sophia were shot by a Bosnian Serb Radical, Gavrilo Princip in what was arguably the most inept political murder ever. Having failed miserably to kill his intended victims with a bomb one assassin was arrested, Another, Princip, was returning home when the car carrying the Royal couple took a wrong turning and stopped close by. He swiftly pulled out a pistol and shot dead both Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.
The rest is, literally, history. In the following six weeks the crisis escalated, armies mobilised for a war which would "be over by Christmas" but which dragged on for four bloody years.
Eight years ago I visited Vienna and went into the military museum. There I stood next to the car, still with the bullet holes, in which the Royal pair met their deaths. I shivered. That car WAS the twentieth century. The slaughter ground of Flanders, millions dead in Africa, Europe, Asia, revolutions, Bolshevism, Fascism, Nazism, the holocaust, end of Empire, nuclear weapons, cold war, all came about as a result of what happened to that car exactly one hundred years ago today.
No more Brothers' wars.
Top of page, the Royal pair, bottom Gavrilo Princip.