Ferdinand and Sophia arrived on separate trains at a spa resort just west of Sarajevo on June 25 and stayed in this hotel. On the morning of June 28 the couple and the official party left the hotel and took a short train ride to Sarajevo. They then changed to open-top touring cars for a well publicized procession through the town. The royal couple was in the second car.
Following a failed assassination attempt by a miss-thrown bomb, the Archduke called off the scheduled route through town to the National Museum. They then proceeded to the Town Hall (pictured) for a reception.
Following the reception, the caravan drove back down the same road. Coming from the right side of the photo, the driver of the first car made a wrong turn on to the side street (with the row of parked cars) and the second car followed. Abruptly, an order was shouted to stop and turn around, which halted the procession. The Serbian terrorist, Gavilo Princip, happened to be standing right there on or near the Latin Bridge (I took the photo from the bridge.) He raised his pistol and shot Ferdinand and Sophia at this corner at about 10:30 AM. Today the brown colored building is a museum, in 1914 it was the Moritz Shiller Delicatessen.
The couple was rushed to the Governor’s house, which was only a few blocks away and by 11:00 AM they had both died. The couple was devoted to one another and their three children. June 28, was their wedding anniversary.
(Unfortunately, the gate was locked and the house closed to the public.)
To the left is the infamous corner, Town Hall is the square, orange building in the distant center, and the Latin Bridge.
What caused the Great War is the subject of scores of books and there are pages of details that would fall between each of my photos. Through my photographs and text, I have only told the basic story. However, it is clear that the assassination of the Archduke was the spark that ignited the inferno.
As I stood gazing at the corner this morning, I could not imagine how a local event in a relatively remote corner of Europe could have caused my grandfather to go to war from Denver, Colorado. It seems a gigantic step – or is it?