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Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, setting off World War I.  Created by Sal Khan.
Video transcript
We're now ready to talk about one of the most famous events in all of world history that really was the trigger for World War 1 or the Great War as it was called back then. So this is a little bit of backdrop. In 1908, the austro-hungarian empire formally annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had already been occupying it since the late 1800s, since the Ottomans were being pushed out, but in1908 it formally annexes it. As a little bit more backdrop: as the Ottomans were being pushed out of the Balkans, it helped to bring about more hope of unifying the Yugoslavic people; the "Southern Slavic" people. When people talk about Yugoslav, They are literally talking about the Southern Slavs. That literally means 'Southern'. So you had these nationalistic hopes. But now in 1908 it was already being occupied; a significant state that would be part of a potential future Yugoslav, was now formally annexed by the Austro-Hungarians. Now you also had an independent Kingdom of Serbia -right here- and you can imagine that this was the home base of the nationalistic movement: if only they could add the other Southern Slavic States to this, it could one day turn into a Greater Yugoslavia. So in that context we get to 1914. So let me draw a line here. We are getting to 1914, June 28, which is one of the most famous dates in all of history. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are visiting Sarajevo, which is now in annexed Bosnia. And when they're there, there is a scheme to assassinate them from a group called 'the young Bosnians' who have ties to 'the black hand', which is a kind of nationalistic group that has ties to - these things are all very shady - but it has has ties to elements in the Kingdom of Serbia. They attempt to assassinate archduke Franz Ferdinand. It is actually a fascinating story, because the initial assassination attempt is completely botched. There is one case of a guy who tried to be an assassin; when it gets botched, he tries to bite on a cyanide capsule and then jump into a river, but the cyanide capsule had gone bad the river was only 10 inches deep, so they were able to get their hands on him. One of the conspirators, Gavrilo Princip, once the whole thing was botched he gives up on the whole assassination attempt and he is literally having a sandwich at a cafe in sarajevo thinking about how botched their whole attempt was, and while that was happening, a mistake on the part of those planning archduke Franz Ferdinand's route as he was traveling within Sarajevo has them driving right near Gavrilo Princip. So he sees suddenly that they've taken the wrong route and they are driving right by him again. Remember: these people already knew that there was an assassination attempt on him earlier in the day so they should have been more careful. Gavrilo Princip gets up, puts his sandwich down, and starts walking over to where he sees archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie's car going. The drivers once they realized that they had made a mistake, that they had taken a less safe route, they try to back up which makes things even worse because then the car starts stalling. Gavrilo Princip just walks up to the car and is able to shoot archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie. Just to give you a sense of how important this is: archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is the heir, he is the nephew of Franz Joseph, who was the ruler of Austria-Hungary, and so he is the heir to the empire. And he gets assassinated by Gavrilo Princip. so... Franz Ferdinand Assassinated by Gavrilo Princip. And we have right over here a picture of right after Gavrilo Princip... - I believe this is him over here - right after he was arrested. Just to get a little sense of how this was tied to this whole Yugoslavian nationalistic movement, this is what he said once he was arrested: "I am a Yugoslav nationalist..." "...aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, ..." "...and I do not care what form of state..." "...but it must be free of Austria." So this act, this assassination, motivated by a nationalistic movement, motivated by a desire to maybe merge Bosnia-Herzegovina with Serbia maybe eventually Croatia with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, this assassination as we will see in the next video is the trigger for all of World War 1. And the reason why it triggers it is because... -- well there's many things you can cite; you could argue that many of the empires in Europe are already militarizing, already had a desire for conflict. But then you also had all of these alliances that essentially allowed the dominoes to fall in all of Europe and because they had these empires essentially much of the world to be at war with each other