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Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Born in Graz, Austria in 1863, Franz Ferdinand was the archduke of Austria-Este and the Prince of Hungary and Bohemia.
Franz Ferdinand was the son of Carl Ludwig and the nephew of Emperor Franz Josef. With the death of the emperor’s son, Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889, and Carl Ludwig in 1896, Franz Ferdinand was declared Crown Prince and heir-apparent to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

Education and Military Career
Franz Ferdinand was educated by erudite tutors in Austria. He soon joined the Austro-Hungarian Army and started to serve the infantry. Franz Ferdinand bagged a quick succession of promotions and became lieutenant, captain, colonel, and major-general. Franz Ferdinand led the Hungarian Ninth Hussar Regiment for a brief time. By 1913, Franz Ferdinand became the inspector-general of the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces.

Franz Ferdinand met Sophie von Chotkova at a ball in 1888. This caused much dissent in the royal family as Sophie was not deemed eligible to be his wife. In 1899, Emperor Franz Josef consented to a morganatic marriage, that is, a marriage between two people of unequal rank. The wedding was not attended by Emperor Franz Josef any of the archdukes, or Franz Ferdinand’s brothers. Only his step-mother and sisters attended. The marriage led to stressed relations in the royal family. Franz Ferdinand had three children: Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg, and Prince Ernst von Hohenberg.

In 1914, Franz Ferdinand was invited by General Oskar Potiorek, Governor of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to inspect some military exercises. Duchess Sophie accompanied him on his visit. The visit was unsafe, as the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were unhappy with the royals of Austria. The Black Hand group, led by Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic, the chief of the Intelligence Department of Serbia, had already attempted to assassinate the Austrian governor of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Dimitrijevic planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. He sent three members of his group Nedjelko Cabrinovic, Gavrilo Princip, and Trifko Grabez, to Sarajevo to attempt the task.

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie were attacked when a grenade was thrown at their car. The grenade was deflected by the Archduke himself. He then visited the hospital to meet those injured by the grenade. On their way back, Gavrilo Princip approached their car and shot the couple.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the immediate cause of the diplomatic crisis leading up to World War I. Austria-Hungary served Serbia a harsh ultimatum in July 1914. Although Serbia agreed to most of the terms, a failure to comply with all the terms led Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia, sparking World War I.

  Major Battles of World War I  
Battle of Tannenberg – 1914Battles of Gaza - 1917
Battle of Heligoland Bight - 1914Second Battle of Aisne - 1917
First Battle of Marne – 1914Second Battle of Arras - 1917
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1914Battle of Messines – 1917
First Battle of Aisne – 1914Battle of Passchendaele - 1917
Archduke Franz FerdinandBattle of Caporetto - 1917
First Battle of Arras – 1914Battle of Cambrai - 1917
First Battle of Ypres – 1914German Spring Offensive - 1918
Gallipoli Campaign – 1915Hundred Days Offensive - 1918
Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes – 1915Battle of Mons - 1914
Battles of Isonzo – 1915Second Battle of Somme - 1918
Loos-Artois Offensive - 1915Second Battle of Marne - 1918
Battle of Verdun - 1916Battle of St Mihiel - 1918
Battle of Messines - 1917 
Archduke Franz FerdinandBattle of Vittori Veneto - 1918

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