- uploaded: Dec 9, 2011
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On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead (while traveling in an open-topped car) in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb assassins coordinated by Danilo Ili?. The political objective of the assassination was to break Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces off so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack.
At the top of these Serbian military conspirators was Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrijevi?, his right hand man Major Vojislav Tankosi?, and Masterspy Rade Malobabi?. Major Tankosi? armed (with bombs and pistols) and trained the assassins, and the assassins were given access to the same underground railroad that Rade Malobabi? used for the infiltration of weapons and operatives into Austria-Hungary.
The assassins, the key members of the underground railroad, and the key Serbian military conspirators who were still alive were arrested, tried, convicted and punished. Those who were arrested in Bosnia were tried in Sarajevo in October 1914. The other conspirators were arrested and tried before a Serbian kangaroo court in French Occupied Salonika in 1916-1917 on unrelated false charges; Serbia executed the top three military conspirators. Much of what is known about the assassinations comes from these two trials and related records.
Assignment of responsibility for the bombing and murders of June 28 is highly controversial because the attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later. An evidenciary approach must be taken to weed through the various claims and counter-claims concerning responsibility.