Gavrilo Princip and the First World War

A man with the name Gavrilo Princip is known for starting which historical event?

And the answer: World War I.      

Gavrilo Princip was a Bosnian Serb, who sought an end to Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1914, at the age of 19, he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, along with the Archduke's wife. This led to the outbreak of World War I, which lasted until 1918.

Born in the small village of Oblijaj (located in modern day Bosnia) in 1894, Princip grew up under strife. The lands of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been under the control of Austria-Hungary for 6 years, while there was an ongoing struggle for territory in the south of Europe— the very land that the Austro-Hungarian Empire sought to unite. Tensions were high in the region, but war was still years away.

At age 13, Princip went to study in the city of Sarajevo. Here, unlike in his home village, politics was treated with extensive discussion, and Princip soon got involved in political action. After getting expelled from his university, Princip relocated to Belgrade, where he found a home for his beliefs in likeminded individuals. In 1912, Princip joined the revolutionary organization Mlada Bosna. This action marked the beginning of a turn of events which would change the world forever.

On June 28, 1914, Princip and his conspirators carried grenades and revolvers to the motorcade of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbian Nationalists such as Princip himself were resentful for the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and decided that a coup would be the only way to inspire an uprising. After the shot was fired, World War I set in motion. Austria-Hungry immediately placed the blame of the assassination on Serbia, and declared war just a month later. Germany stood with Austria-Hungry, while Russia supported Serbia. As more allies joined the fight on both sides, the first World War had begun.

Learn more about Gavrilo Princip and the start of World War I here.


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