Causes of World War 1: Balkan Nationalism – The Sarajevo Incident

Balkan Nationalism – The Sarajevo Incident: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914

The Sarajevo Incident refers to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand was an heir to the Hapsburg throne.

The assassin was Gavrilo Princip, a rebel teenager who was a Bosnian Serb student.

Gavrilo Princip was a member of the Young Bosnia society.

The weapons were provided by the Black Hand which was a Pan-Slav nationalist secret society that was against Austria-Hungary’s occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The effects of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand led to the July Crisis which ultimately led to the First World War after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF5EDQ02_1E



Austria-Hungary wanted to punish Serbia since the Black Hand was led by some leaders of the Serbian military.

The Black hand was seen as a secret military organization of Serbia by the Austrians.

The Serbian state did not sponsor this assassination but due to the Black Hand’s links with the Serbian military Austria used this as an excuse to attack Serbia in 1914.

Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum and declaration of war on Serbia resulted in Serbian and Russian mobilization which also led Germany to declare war on Russia and France.

Therefore the Sarajevo Incident was an immediate cause of the First World War as well as a turning point in World History.
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