Anniversary Of Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination
by InSerbia Team –
[Anniversary Of Franz Ferdinand’s Assassination]
Bosnia-Herzegovina has marked 100 years since the assassination that triggered World War I, plunging Europe into the bloodiest conflict it had ever seen and redrawing the world map.
Gavrilo Princip – Image: History Archive Sarajevo
With the people of the Balkans still deeply divided over the legacy of that fateful day, separate commemorations were to be held to mark the occasion.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, were shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb.
With Bosnia’s Muslims, Serbs, and Croats still deeply divided over the legacy of that day, separate commemorations are being held to mark the occasion.
The anniversary will be marked in central Sarajevo with a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic that will be attended by Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
Leaders of Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs — who consider Princip a heroic freedom fighter for Slavs — are boycotting the concert.
On June 27, a 2-meter bronze statue honoring Princip was unveiled in east Sarajevo, where the majority of residents are Serbs.
Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia’s Serbian Republika Srpska entity, said Bosnia’s peoples “are still divided,” and they “think and work differently” about the Sarajevo assassination.
Dodik also said, “We are proud of our history, our fight for freedom and of everything out ancestors have done for us to defend our [national] identity.
Meanwhile, Clemens Hellsberg, the president of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, said with its performance in Sarajevo later on June 28, the orchestra will be delivering a message of peace.
Sarajevo Mayor Ivo Komsic said those who refused to take part in the ceremonies “demonstrated not their attitude toward the past but toward the future of this region.”
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will be attending ceremonies in the eastern city of Visegrad.
Wildly differing interpretations of 20th-century history endure in a region where the scars of the wars that marked the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, unleashing centuries of resentment and divisions, are still fresh.
While the Muslim majority in today’s Sarajevo see Princip as a terrorist who unleashed calamity, the Serbs regard him as a hero seeking to liberate the Slavs from the Austro-Hungarian occupier.
Many of the former foes marked the centenary on the sidelines of an EU summit on Thursday with a low-key ceremony at Belgium’s Ypres, where German forces used mustard gas for the first time in 1915.
What became known as the Great War lasted more than 52 months and left some 10 million dead and 20 million injured and maimed on its battlefields, while millions more civilians perished under occupation, through disease, hunger or deportation.
Four of the world’s most powerful empires — Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman — collapsed as the world map was redrawn and Europe’s ruin cleared the way for the rise of a new superpower, the United States.
And World War I fanned the emergence of many of the ideologies that fashioned the 20th century and its conflicts, including anti-colonialism, Communism, Fascism and Nazism.