The Impact Of Franz Ferdinand 's Assassination On World War I

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In 1914 Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian Black Hand, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, instigating an immediate cause of World War I. As the third largest European power by area, the Empire was a powerful presence leading up to World War I, with a population of over fifty million people and an army of 400,000 soldiers. The conflicts among European powers and the disorder in the Balkans in the 19th and 20th centuries led to a situation in which Franz Ferdinand’s assassination proved to be the tipping point in the fragile relationship between Austria-Hungary and the South Slav nationalities that threatened the Empire both internally and externally. His death caused a costly war in terms of both lives and the economy in the South Slav region and further undermined the stability of Serbia. Princip assassinated the heir to the throne in an attempt to spark a revolution that would result in Slavic independence from Austria-Hungary. However, before his death, Franz Ferdinand supported economic development for Slavs within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and favored more equal measures toward the South Slav nationalities. Thus, Franz Ferdinand had served as a roadblock to the extreme militant wing within Austria-Hungary. With the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Serbian extremists damaged the opportunity for more moderate Slavic peoples within Austria-Hungary to achieve greater autonomy under Austro-Hungarian rule since Ferdinand
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