This website contains much material based in and around the events of World War One - but if you are unsure how it began and who did what, well, where to begin? That's the purpose of this section of the site.
Admittedly the origins of the war remain somewhat controversial even after all these years, but the facts are there. The articles contained here outline the run-up to the war, who was who, and explain why the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was by no means the sole cause of the conflict, how it was spoiling anyhow.
Having read these primers you will hopefully be in a better position to explore the remainder of the site which despite its size is, of course, still very much in development.Although only third in line to the throne, Franz Ferdinand became the heir-apparent following the death of the Emperor's son, Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889, and his own father Archduke Charles Louis in 1896, Franz Josef's brother. Considered a prideful and mistrusting man, and not overly cultured, and with a short temper, Franz Ferdinand lacked the necessary charisma to guarantee popularity.
Following his marriage to Sophie Chotek von Chotkova in 1900, Ferdinand became more reclusive. A happy husband and a devoted father (they had three children), Ferdinand's private persona in this regard was at odds with public perception. The Emperor, Franz Josef, was against the marriage, arguing that Franz Ferdinand was marrying beneath his station. The marriage eventually only took place after Ferdinand agreed to renounce all rights of succession for his children. Franz Josef did not attend the wedding.
The primary source of Franz Ferdinand's unpopularity however related to the policies he intended to apply once he assumed the throne. He proposed to replace Austro-Hungarian dualism with 'Trialism,' a triple monarchy in which the empire's Slavs would have an equal voice in government with the Germans and Magyars.
Ferdinand was also considering the idea of a federalism made up of 16 states; the aim being to avoid disintegration of the fading Austro-Hungarian empire. However these ideas were not popular among the ruling elite.
Ferdinand's body lying in stateAs Inspector General of the army Franz Ferdinand accepted an invitation from General Oskar Potiorek to visit the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo, to inspect army manoeuvres. Bosnia - and Herzegovina - were provinces that had been under Austro-Hungarian administration since 1878, by international agreement. Austria annexed the provinces outright in 1908, a controversial move which upset governments in the west; however, Greater-Serbia proponents were outraged. They wanted the…