'What the effects of the tragedy will be, is at present impossible to say,' wrote The Christian Science Monitor in its June 29, 1914, report on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which precipitated World War I.
This article originally ran in The Christian Science Monitor on June 29, 1914. Please note that the article uses several outdated spellings, including the term "Servian" to describe Serbs, as was the English norm at the time.
Special Cable to the Monitor from the European Bureau
VIENNA – The capital of Bosnia was yesterday the scene of another of those terrible incidents in the history of the house of Hapsburg. The heir to the throne of Austria and his wife were fatally shot in the streets of Serajevo by a Servian student, Princip. The first shot struck the archduke, and the second the archduchess, who was endeavoring to cover him.
The maneuvers of the Bosnian army had brought the archduke to Sarajevo. On Sunday morning he left the barracks at 10 o’clock to drive to the town hall. On his way a bomb was thrown at him by a printer named Gabrinovitch.
He appears to have warded it off with his arm with the result that it fell into the roadway where an explosion inflicted a few scratches on the attendants in the following carriage.
Having satisfied himself that practically no one was injured the archduke drove to the town hall. He was received by the burgomaster and town council, but before the former could commence his speech the archduke interfered with the remark that he had come to visit the capital of Bosnia and had been greeted by a bomb thrown at him in the street. After this he directed the burgomaster to proceed.
On completion of the ceremony he and the archduchess reentered their carriages and drove to the girls' high school. After stopping the motor here he proceeded and had just reached the junction of Franz Josef Strasse and Rudolf Strasse when Princip fired his fatal shots. The motor was hurried to Konak to obtain medical help, but it was then too late.
What the effects of the tragedy will be, is at present impossible to say. The new heir to the throne, Archduke Karl Franz Josef, is a young man who served in the seventh dragoon regiment. Very little is known of his opinions and it is improbable that he has developed any very strong views.
The late archduke, on the contrary, was a soldier whose influence in the army was immense and who was also a convinced supporter of the Jesuits. He was indeed one of the firmest adherents of the church of Rome in Europe. Politically he was known to have conceived plans for the formation of an enormous Slav division of the empire which would have converted the dual monarchy into a triple one. This and his notorious antipathy to Pan-Servianism had earned him to be regarded in Belgrade with considerable disfavor.
The crime of Serajevo may have been an anarchist one, but it is equally likely to have been purely political. The harsh policy adopted toward the Servian kingdom and the determination to build up Albania at its expense has indeed been regarded largely as inspired by him.
He was again no particular friend of the Italian alliance and to him were attributed those difficulties between the two kingdoms which clouded the last years of Count Aehrenthal's ministry. For this reason the pistol shot of Princip will be regarded perhaps differently on the Vatican and on the Quirinal. In both there will be the same detestation of the crime, but while the pope will have lost a powerful friend, the King will have lost a lukewarm ally.
It is in Rome, perhaps, even more than in Vienna, that the loss of the archduke will be felt. He was essentially a pope's man and his organization of Christian Socialists in Austria was his reply to the effort to form anti-Romanist organizations in the country. In Germany the Kaiser loses principally a strong ally whilst, at the same time, the one man who would have been most formidable in holding together the German elements of the dual monarchy disappears.
Already it is said the days of the Austrian empire are numbered and that the German provinces will gravitate inevitably toward Berlin. This has often been said before, but it remains to be seen whether this time there is any more truth in these rumors of disintegration than in the past.