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Topics in Chronicling America - The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Two shots in Sarajevo ignited the fires of war and drew Europe into World War I. Just hours after narrowly escaping an assassin’s bomb, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, were killed by Gavrilo Princip. A month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and Europe rapidly descended into chaos. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

Picture of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • June 28, 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are killed by an assassin’s bullets just hours after they escaped another assassination attempt. Gavrilo Princip is immediately arrested for the shooting and Nedjelko Cabrinovic is caught fleeing after the bomb attempt.
  • June 29, 1914. Martial law is declared in Sarajevo in the wake of the assassination. On the same day, Sir Thomas Barclay of England predicts, “the danger of war in central Europe is greatly lessened by the assassination.”
  • July 23, 1914. Austria Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia.
  • July 28, 1914. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. The declaration of war sets off a series of cascading declarations that lead to World War I.
  • October 26, 1914. Princip and Cabrinovic are found guilty of high treason along with twenty-two accomplices.
  • October 28, 1914. Princip and Cabrinovic are both sentenced to twenty years of hard labor, while four other conspirators are sentenced to death. Princip and Cabrinovic were both too young to receive the death penalty.
  • January 25, 1916. Nedjelko Cabrinovic dies in prison.
  • April 30, 1918. Gavrilo Princip dies of tuberculosis in prison.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Francis Ferdinand, Duchess of Hohenberg, Emperor Franz Josef, Hapsburg, Austro-Hungarian, Austria-Hungary, Servia, Sarajevo, Bosnia, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, and Gavrilo Princip.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • The names of the assassins are spelled differently in different publications, because of different transliterations from the Cyrillic alphabet. For instance, Cabrinovitch and Gabrinovic are alternate spellings of Cabrinovic, just as Zerajevo, Serajevo, and Sarayevo are for Sarajevo, and Gavrio Prinzip is an alternate form for Gavrilo Princip.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  May 22, 2017
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