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Francis Ferdinand, Archduke

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1863–1914), Austrian heir presumptive to the throne of the habsburg empire . His assassination on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo sparked the julycrisis that preceded the outbreak of world war i . Though reactionary in many of his attitudes, Francis Ferdinand had become sympathetic to reforming the overarching imperial structure of Austria-Hungary. This would have involved its conversion into a triple (rather than dual) monarchy through the creation of a new Slav kingdom. This approach made him unpopular both with the Magyars and with their own major rivals, the Slavic nationalists, who were bent on nothing less than full liberation from Habsburg control. Under those circumstances, Francis Ferdinand's decision to visit serbia's main city on the very anniversary of the nation's heroic, if unavailing, stand against the Turks at kosovo in 1389 was a highly risky venture. He and his wife were fatally shot by a Bosnian Serb student, Gavrilo Princip. Their murder triggered an international crisis that culminated in general hostilities five weeks later. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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