Posted: Oct. 15, 2013

The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King Drawing on unpublished letters and rare primary sources, King and Woolmans tell the true story behind the tragic romance and brutal assassination that sparked World War I

In the summer of 1914, three great empires dominated Europe: Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Four years later all had vanished in the chaos of World War I. One event precipitated the conflict, and at its heart was a tragic love story. When Austrian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand married for love against the wishes of the emperor, he and his wife Sophie were humiliated and shunned, yet they remained devoted to each other and to their children. The two bullets fired in Sarajevo not only ended their love story, but also led to war and a century of conflict.

Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege, The Assassination of the Archduke combines royal history, touching romance, and political murder in a moving portrait of the end of an era. One hundred years after the event, it offers the startling truth behind the Sarajevo assassinations, including Serbian complicity and examines rumors of conspiracy and official negligence. Events in Sarajevo also doomed the couple’s children to lives of loss, exile, and the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, their plight echoing the horrors unleashed by their parents’ deaths. Challenging a century of myth, The Assassination of the Archduke resonates as a very human story of love destroyed by murder, revolution, and war.


This book or story of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Theirs is truly a love story. He the Duke and she not being of as same standing family wise were made to be out cast by his uncle Franz Josef. He made Ferdinand sign away part of his title and wealth. He did this saying that his wife was common. This coming from a man who had never been faithful to any of his wife’s. Once they had children they became different parents than any other royalty. They spent time with their children ate meals with them read with went on trips with them. These were things that royalty did not do they had someone else raise their children. Also as a couple they spent as much time together as they could. Even though she could not go to some of the functions and stand next to her husband. When they did go to other counties she was treated as an equal to her husband. Now came the time when he was order to go Bosnia to inspect the troops. This was something he did not want to do but was order to do. He also to make an appearance in Sarajevo. Here is another part of the story I never read about before. There was no security, that is the troops that he just came from were left out of town even though they wanted to provide security. Second the route he was traveling was posted months in advanced, third the day it was planned for June 28. St Vitus Day, is a Serb holiday from the battle of 1389 of Kosovo, when the Turkish army had reduced Serbia to the vassals of the Ottoman Empire. This was not the time to have them come to town. The city official in charge ordered no soldier in town his was Potiorek. In this book it is thought that he worked with the Black Hand and with a man named Dimitrijevic, he was a colonel in the Serbian Intelligence. He also led the coup in 1903 to assassinate King Alexander & Queen Draga.He also was part of two other plots in 1911 and 1914. Again nothing was done. When the car came through town first a bomb was thrown at them. The arch duke deflected it away and then he and his wife went to the hospital to check on the injured people. They went back out only to have the driver take a wrong turn. That is when they were both shot and killed. Now because she was not of stature the Prince had both bodies brought home in ordinary train cars, but the people in different towns found out and lined the way. The palace did move even though the people were now for the couple. Now the story goes through WWI and what happened to the children. It then picks up in the 1930’s in Germany, Hitler is in power and he puts the two oldest sons who are men now in prison. They end up in Dachau from 1938 to almost 1940. One gets out the other one is transferred to a work camp in Berlin for other few months before he is released. The makes it through the war a few deaths when one of the sons dies in the 50’s many of the survivors walk behind his casket in honor of him. A fascinating book about a story that you only get one side. This is for everyone who likes history or a good love story. Changes my way of thinking about World War 1, too many people were involved can’t be because of one man. Great book.

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