Magazine article Newsweek

'I Know This Will End Badly'

Magazine article Newsweek

'I Know This Will End Badly'

Article excerpt

WORLD WAR I

It began with an assassin's bullet, but by the time World War I was over, it had cost more than 9 million lives-116,516 of them American. "Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans," Bismarck had predicted, would start a war. The murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, ignited a Europe that had been seething with arms races and burgeoning nationalism. The ensuing four years were unimaginably bloody. President Wilson tried to remain neutral, but by 1917 the German U-boats were attacking American ships. Proclaiming that "the world must be made safe for democracy," Wilson won a declaration of war and American troops were destined for Europe. The armistice came on Nov. 11, 1918.

SARAJEVO, JUNE 28, 1914: Archduke Ferdinand's murder marked the beginning of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as the beginning of the war. Otto von Hapsburg reflects on his great-uncle's murder-and the carnage that followed.

I actually remember my great- uncle the Archduke Ferdinand, even though I was only 2 when the Serb nationalist Princip assassinated him. The assassination didn't change things for me as a child or for our family, not in our daily life, because after all when you're part of a family that has been in politics for 600 years, assassinations are just a professional hazard, part of the job. But of course they meant that my father became emperor in the middle of the war, in 1916. My father had already decided before he became emperor that they had to try everything to stop the war, because as a leader who went out with the soldiers on the front lines, he knew how horrible war was. …

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