[War (usually) is STUPID! Even if you’re the big, rich, powerful country, the unintended consequences can strip you of your wealth – or even destroy your country. Here’s a brief account of Austria’s downfall as it caused World War I. -Bob ]

By Samantha James – Re-Blogged From The Historical Diaries

The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the start of World War One

The most common knowledge of what caused World War One is the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria- Hungary and his pregnant wife Sophie. The Archduke was heir presumptive to the Austrian throne. The couple ended up being shot to death June 28, 1914 while visiting Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. This definitely angered the Austrian government but it is debated about how much. The country took three weeks to react to the death of their heir and had plenty of other motives to want to bring about a war. This reason is territory in what is known as The Balkans. It was literally un-owned due to the fall of The Ottoman Empire. Austria was looking to bring about a preventive war against Serbia for the land. It had originally been lost during The Balkan War.

The only thing holding Austria back was the lack of support from Germany. Austria feared going to war with Serbia because they had the weight of Russia behind them due to a treaty between the two countries. Once Archduke Ferdinand was murdered things changed drastically because Austria succeeded in getting Germany’s promise to back them up should Russia decided to honor their treaty with Serbia.


Austria no longer afraid issued an outrageous ultimatum over the assassination of the next king that they knew Serbia would not heed. It was simply an excuse to declare war on the country. It is shocking how well Serbia did handle the ultimatum issued to them. There were only a couple minor things they did not agree too so Austria Promptly declared war on Serbia. Once Austria made the declaration of war is when things escalate rather rapidly. I don’t think Austria really believed Russia would get involved and I doubt they anticipated the domino affect their little grab for some territory would really have on the world. Now this is where it gets kind of complicated:

  1. Austria declared war on Serbia!

  2. To the shock of the world, Russia chooses to honor their treaty! They go to war with Serbia

  3. With Russia’s entrance into Austria’s petty war Germany join the war because of their own treaty

  4. Here comes the French! France decided to join the war because they have a treaty with Russia. So far we have on Austria’s side: Germany … On Serbia’s: Russia and France.

  5. So now we have some pretty big power houses getting involved but it’s going to get better. France had a treaty with Britain! They promptly declare war on Germany.

  6. With Britain comes Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa because they all colonies of Britain.

  7. Japan on behalf of Britain enters into the war to honor their treaty and alliance.

  8. Austria not too keen on Japan’s involvement declares war on them.

  9. Many will say The United States really did their best to stay out of it. They however were unable because of Germany. It became increasingly difficult to ignore German submarines interference with U.S commerce shipping, Germany only intruded because they were shipping supplies to the Allies. So to say we Americans attempted to remain neutral is highly inaccurate. We were involved from the beginning. It just didn’t come official until later on.

So Austria did not get their swift and easy war to claim territory in The Balkans. It definitely proved to be much more than expected due to existing treaties all over the place. Some of these treaties could be dated back almost a century prior to World War One. It had quite the significant impact on our world’s history and the lives of everyone during this time period. So let me know what you think! Was Russia and Germany wrong to get involved in the dispute ? Leave your comments below and let us know you thoughts.


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