Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dear Gavrilo

Franz Ferdinand, Archduke and heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian Nationalist, on 28 June 1914, in the city of Sarajevo.  This murder by the young member of the Black Hand, was the spark that ignited the chain reaction of war in an allegiance entangled Europe.  Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.  In an act to defend their slavic brothers, Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary.  Germany promised to defend her partially Germanic ally and declared war on Russia.  Germany then invaded France via Belgium, bypassing French defenses.  England threw in her weight with the French.  Look Folks, we've got a world war.

Silly Gavrilo got hungry during all the terrorism in Sarajevo that day and went to a sandwich shop to get a bite.  It just so happened that his Black Hand buddies were effective in their use of thrown explosives and diverted the Archduke's car from the planned parade route.  His driver cut down a side street that took him right to, you guested it, the sandwich shop.  This was entirely coincidental.   Princip was in the wrong place at the right time, and fired his pistol into the car, killing both the Archduke and his wife.

"Good job kid," said the fellow Serbian nationalist.
"Uhh, yeah, I totes knew he'd be coming this way. Legit."
"Lit AF."

If the Archduke had not been killed that day in Sarajevo, it wouldn't really have mattered.  Gavrilo's stomach simply happened to be the spark that set off the Great War.  But had if it had not been him, perhaps it would have been a German anarchist in London, or a Russian ship off of East Prussia, or an Italian papist.  Who knows.

What makes the assassination significant was it's position as trigger in the Rube Goldberg machine of early 20th century Europe.  The ball at the top of the ramp was the European power's entangling alliances, their untapped industrialism in term of war output, and modern weapons.  Also, it had been nearly a century since a large scale war had taken place on the European continent.  The peoples were ready to march off to victory.

And so, Gavrilo and Franzy were the paper airplane to be tossed into the ball.  Had the encounter in Sarajevo not been the trigger, another encounter or event would have been.

You get credit kid, but it could've been anybody.


Next week, we talk about Dinoflagellates.


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Shema Humata: Tass Sheshco

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