Saturday, June 28, 2014

It Now Begins - 28th June 1914

It was only hundred years ago, well within many family collective memories when Gavrilo Princip shot the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife in Sarajevo.

Today is the start of commemoration for one of the greatest events in the annals of history. Do you disagree? Can you think of any other more pivotal shot in the history of man? This is arguably more important than “The Shot Heard Around the World” or the shot that killed Presidents Lincoln or Kennedy.

We have seen this week reports from around the world covering, debating or reporting from the street in Sarajevo.  These reports come from the BBC, NPR and the WSJ.

While the deaths of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were not preordained, their Europe was a powder keg. The arms race both at sea and on land made Europe more heavily armed than at any point in recent history. This was due to the industrialization of both great and small powers in Europe. Arms manufactures were more than willing to sell to all before the start of the war. What was needed was a spark and it happened on 28 June 1914.

If you disagree ask what caused the boundaries for the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia or Africa? What caused the nationalist movements in North Africa and the Middle East today (or in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s)? What of a Communist Russia or the dark writers of the 1920s and 30s? They are related to The Great War, which started today back a hundred years.

What can you do? You have well over a four years to follow along. Look up a good book on the subject of your choice. There are battles, woman issues, technology and human-interest pieces. Need a choice, start with Max Hastings, Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914. Check out your local museum and historical society, I am certain their will on going exhibits for The Great War. While not local, I hope to visit the Museum of Military History, Vienna as it has an extensive set of exhibits for The Great War. The picture in this blog post is from one of their exhibits. When it reopens next month the Imperial War Museum is a must.

Lastly, follow this blog; I will be covering the period for at least another year. I will also be offer reviews on books, movies YouTube videos, blogs and podcasts. Check in often and let me know what interests you.

1 comment:

  1. The upcoming issue of "After the Battle" magazine will cover the assassination. It usually does a great job with then and now comparison photographs.