Our story begins, not in Germany but in a city in Bosnia and the charming town of Sarajevo. Bosnia, Serbia and many small countries in Europe were ruled by a mighty Empire. The Empire was called the Austro-Hungarian Empire and had an Emperor called Franz Joseph. Having lost his only son years before he chose his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be the heir to the throne. In 1914 Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, toured their kingdom. They stopped in Sarajevo on an official visit. There they would meet their deaths at the hands of a nineteen year old boy. His name was Gavrilo Princip and he was passionate about the independence of his country. So passionate, in fact, and so hateful of the royal family he had joined a terrorist organisation called The Black Hand. Gavrilo Princip and his friends stood in the crowds lining the road that day in 1914. What happened next would change the shape of history...
As Franz and Sophie toured the city Princip and his 2 friends were ready to bomb the car. The bomb went off but missed the couple. Princip ran down another street. His friends jumped in the canal to drown themselves. It was too shallow. Then they took cyanide tablets to kill themselves. The cyanide was old and only made them froth at the mouth. Prinicip escaped along a narrow street and turned a corner. The royal car, looking for a back way to avoid further assassination attempts, entered the same street. Gavrilo Princip could not believe it! Here in front of him were the royal couple in an open car! He pull the gun from his pocket...he shot them both at point blank range.
Franz Joseph and his wife Sophie, heirs to the throne of the Austria/Hungarian Empire.
Austria/Hungarian Empire, made up of many small states. Sarajevo in Bosnia can be seen in the lower part of the map.
Gavrilo Princip, member of the Black Hand, a terrorist organisation demanding independence from the Empire. Princip assassinated Franz Joseph and Sophie in June 1914. As a result the major powers of Europe declared war on one another.
Once you have glued the pictures into your book, go to GC and read about the situation. There are a few questions you can answer. Write the answers into your book under the pictures.
Kaiser Wilhelm II
He's been militarizing Germany for years, but he's not the only leader. They're all arming up and getting ready for a conflict. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was arguably the spark that lit this bonfire...
Europe had some huge countries and formidable alliances. The two biggest alliances were called the Triple Entente (Britain France & Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy). Because of that one day in Sarajevo Europe erupted into retaliation. This is how it played out. Look closely at this cartoon from the period. Can you see which country is which and who belongs to which alliance? Check out the videos to help you annotate your image. Who is allied to who?
Here's a rapid fire crash course on the story
Here's a short video to show how NZ got involved.
War erupted and soon centred on the Triple Entente fighting the Triple Alliance. The Russians had to bail out of the war in 1917 (they had a crisis back home and shot the entire royal family, but that's another story). So Britain and France ended up having most of WWI fought in France (and Belgium). This was called the Western Front, because it was in Europe. On the Eastern front there was also battles - one very famous one that NZ was involved in. NZ was involved in both the Western and Eastern Fronts. But for the sake of this story who do you think was the biggest and most powerful enemy of the Britain and France?