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Gavrilo Princip

Image from Photos of the Great War (http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/~kansite/ww_one/photos/greatwar.htm).
Gavrilo Princip (July 25, 1894 (or 1895) - April 28, 1918) was a the Bosnian Serb[?] nationalist whose assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Countess Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, prompted the Austrian action against Serbia that led to World War I.

Born in Obljaj, Bosnia, Princip was a member of the pro-Serbian group "Young Bosnia" (Mlada Bosna), which advocated Bosnia's unification with Serbia. The group was equipped with pistols and bombs supplied by the Black Hand, a secret society with links to Serbian military, government and royal circles. Austrian demands for power to investigate the conspiracy within Serbia led to the outbreak of war on July 28, 1914. Having been too young at the time of the assassination to face the death penalty, Princip received the maximum sentence of twenty years in prison, where he was held in harsh conditions worsened by the war, and he died of tuberculosis of the bone on April 28, 1918.

Gavrilo and his six cohorts were inexperienced with weapons, and it was only due to a freakish set of coincidences that they were successful. The first member of the group attempted a shooting from an upstairs window, but the range on his gun was insufficient. The second member threw a bomb (or a stick of dynamite, according to some reports) at the car, but missed. The explosion destroyed the following car, killing it's driver and wounding the passengers. The assassain tried to escape, but was beaten to death by the crowd. The next four never got a chance due to the heavy crowds, and it was beginning to look like the assasaination would fail. However, Franz Ferdinand decided to go to hospital and visit the victims of the explosion. Princip had gone to a nearby shop for a sandwich, apparantly giving up, when Ferdinand's car drove past. Princip shot Sophie in the head, killing her instantly, and Ferdinand in the chest, but after that his gun locked and he was arrested. The wound sustained by Ferdinand normally wouldn't be fatal, but because he had his suit sewn shut (he was a very vain man, and couldn't stand the sight of a crease) he bled to death in the time it took to cut the suit open.

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