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The Great War

News Reports From the Front
100 Years Ago This Month

July 1914

Editor’s note: While preparing this month’s One Hundred Years Ago column we noticed the following article at could not help but wonder how many readers of that edition passed the article over without second thought, not knowing that the events described in the article would lead to start of World War One, a war that would claim the lives of six young men of Emmitsburg, and many more in surrounding communities.

In a world where news is broadcast 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and analyzed to death, it’s hard to image what it was like to receive news of this importance on just weekly basis. To help you better appreciate the unfolding of events it is our intention over the next four year to re-print all the articles dealing with the war in the order they were originally published, so you experience for yourself what the readers of the Emmitsburg Chronicle experienced as the world descended into the cataclysm that was the First World War.

July 3

Austria’s heir and wife slain

Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to Austro-Hungarian throne, and the Duchess of Hohenberg, his morganatic wife, were shot dead by a student in the main street of the Bosnian capital a short time after they had escaped death from a bomb hurled at the royal automobile. They were slain while passing through the city on their annual visit through the annexed province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Archduke was struck full in the face, and the Duchess was shot through the abdomen and throat. They died a few minutes after reaching the palace, to which they were hurried with all speed.

The Archduke, whose full name was Francis Ferdinand Charles Louis Joseph Maria, was 50 years old. The Duchess, before their marriage in 1900, after 10 years of opposition on the part of the emperor, was Countess Sophie Chotek de Chotkowa et Wogin. She was 5 years younger than her husband.

To marry her, Francis Ferdinand had to take an oath she never would be proclaimed as empress and renounced the right of accession to any children which might be born to them. On their marriage, the Emperor Francis Joseph made her Duchess of Hohenberg.

Those responsible for the assassination took care that it should prove effective, as there were two assaults, the first armed with a bomb and the second with a revolver. The bomb was thrown at the royal automobile as it was proceeding to the town hall, where a reception was to be held. The Archduke saw the deadly missile hurling through the air and warded it off with his arm. It fell outside the car and exploded, slightly wounding two aide-de-camps in a second car and half a dozen spectators.

It was on the return of the procession that the tragedy was added to the long list of those that have darkened the pages of the recent history of the Hapsburgs.

As the royal automobile reached a prominent point in the route to the palace, an eighth grade student, Gavrilo Princip, sprang out of the crowd and poured a fusillade of bullets from an automatic pistol at the Archduke and Duchess.

Princip and a fellow conspirator, a compositor from Trebinje named Gabrinovics, barely escaped lynching by the infuriated spectators. They were finally seized by the police, who afforded them protection. Both are natives of the annexed province of Herzegovina.

The first attempt against the Archduke occurred just outside the girls’ high school. His car had restarted after a brief pause for the inspection of the building when Gabrinovics hurled the bomb. This was so successfully warded off by the Archduke that it fell directly beneath the following car, the occupants of which, Count Von Boos Waldeck and Colonel Merizzi, were struck by slivers of iron.

Archduke Francis Ferdinand stopped his car, and after making inquires as to their injuries and lending what aid he could, continued his journey to the town hall. There the Burgomaster began the customary address, but the Archduke sharply interrupted and snapped out, "Herr Burgomaster, we have come here to pay you a visit and bombs have been thrown at us. This is altogether an amazing indignity." After a pause the Archduke said, "Now you may speak."

On leaving the hall the Archduke and his wife announced their intention of visiting the wounded members of their suite at the hospital on their way back to the palace. They were actually bound on their mission of mercy when, at the corner of Rudolf Strasse and Franz Joseph Strasse, Princip opened fire.

The Archduke apparently saw the glint of the heavy revolver and faced the youth, partly shielding the Duchess. Before he could do more, the student fired, the first bullet hitting the Archduke in the face. Francis Ferdinand managed to remain upright a moment longer, and then, as the second shot hit him, he fell back against the cushions of the automobile. So close now that he could almost touch the Duchess, the youth continued shooting, the bullets taking effect in the abdomen. Each bullet he had fired hit a vital spot.

On the ground lay Count Boos Waldeck, Colonel Merizzi and four others of the Archduke’s attendance. Inside the auto lay the dying Archduke and his Duchess, unconscious. The Serbian youth turned and stood with his empty revolver in his hand.

Those nearest him in the throng who had not started to flee stood paralyzed for a moment and then, with shouts for vengeance and of execration, flung themselves upon the young student.

He was hurled to the ground, and men and women were fighting to get at him when the police and the military charged. The assassin, his clothes nearly stripped off, bruised and cut by sturdy Bosnian peasant hands, was barely able to stand when he was dragged to his feet. All the way to the police station the peasants tried to reach him and were repeatedly hurled back by the police.

The Archduke and Duchess were taken to the palace, but it was seen that they were mortally wounded. They had scarcely been laid on beds when they died.

The Mayerling tragedy, in which the emperor’s only son, Crown Prince Rudolph, was slain as a sequel to a tragic love affair, made Francis Ferdinand heir to the thrown. He was then 26 years old. He is now 50 years old.

July 17

Outbreak after assassination

A critical state of disorder exists in Sarajevo where Archduke Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated Sunday.

The population is incensed against the Serbian at whose door the blame for the death of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife has been laid and are plundering the Serbian stores and making other demonstrations.

Fearing more serious outbreaks, the government has proclaimed martial law and imposed censorship on all telegrams. Thus the actual happenings there following yesterday’s tragedy are not fully known.

True cause of war crisis

Slavic problem is real cause

Austria has practically created the very grave or crisis that president threatens to involve all of Europe in her tremendous struggle. This is the opinion of many diplomats who maintain that underneath the recent assassination of the Australia air, what sec country attributes to Serbia and makes the cause for war, there is more vital than fundamental problems which is the real cause of the crisis.

Austria has had racial troubles for centuries and a Hapsburgs have long maintained a barrier to the invasion of Europe by the Slavic races. A recent years this problem has become more difficult to solve. Austria has had increasing troubles with this falls both within and without our borders. Serbia if the stronghold of the Slavic race at present, although many are scattered over southern Europe, and many authorities what international relations believe that Austria deliberately planned the war with Serbia with the objections of the effacing the nation which has developed so rapidly and has taken such a successful prominent part in the recent Baltic wars.

The actions of Austria and the various other European nations and the diplomatic negotiations since the beginning of the recent crisis would seem to give credence to this belief. Austria had gotten the backing of Germany before she declared war on Serbia and the two nations seemed to have a very complete understanding. In the light of his father problem is to Germany's advantage two happens Serbia erased from the map. Germany does not want the Slavs and has watched her grow in power with an unfriendly eyes. Austria has served as a buffer to Germany against this race and it seems as if the latter were determined upon having the war proceed. If this was not the case, Germany would have at least gone through the formalities of an attempt of arbitration and would have responded to England's advances to settle the trouble without bloodshed. Furthermore Germany declare that she wished to see the war localized or in other words, wish to have other nations will go on why Austria completely crushed Serbia.

Upon the actions of the other nations in general and upon Russians especially, it would seem, depend Serbia's existence, because there is little doubt that Austria could overpower her by numbers. If Russia takes herbicide, France will join Russia, it is conceded, and in that case unless Germany came to Austria's A., the latter's power, and the Strait of the house of Habsburgs, would be completely shattered.

Hence, over the next few days Europe will watch, with breathless intensity, the slightest movement made by Russia, France or Germany. Upon these three countries wrest the fate of Serbia.

July 31

No more US ships for sale

In accordance with a policy of absolute neutrality, should the Austo-Serbian crisis develop into war any attempt by any of the interested parties to purchase American warships would be probably turned down by the United States. It was pointed out by officials in Washington that the recent sale of the battleship Mississippi and Idaho to Greece should not serve as a precedent for future sales of ships to any European government. These battleships were misfits in the American Navy and on that account alone Congress consented to their sale.

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