And things were never the same again

On this date in 1914, a nihilist outfit calling themselves The Black Hand got six patsies worked up into a anti-imperialist fervor and sicced them on a convenient target.

As is normally the case when you’re dealing with amateurs, The Black Hand went for flashy — with that name who’d have guessed? — and gave each schmuck a bomb. Cyanide was also distributed, just in case.

Such high drama.


Anyhoo, about 10:15 in the morning of that fateful day, the target drove slowly and happily right past the first Noble Conspirator.

He … um … got caught up in the moment — probably writing some really terrible poetry commemorating the moment — forgot what he was doing, and kinda, sorta neglected to throw his bomb.

Never fear, this is why you have back-up … except Noble Conspirator #2 was practicing his sneer or something — and also forgot to throw his bomb.

#3 actually had his head in the game, and when the target came by, he hauled off and pitched his Kaboomite candy-gram.

Unfortunately, the timer was just a skoshy mis-set — and he missed anyway. The bomb hit the back of the target’s car, bounced off the cobblestones and rolled a bit before being driven over by the next car in the procession where it went off, putting the car out of commission and about 20 people in the hospital.

Being a thoroughly-trained Minion, #3 downed the cyanide pill, and — just in case — hurled himself into the river.

Pity the river was only four inches deep.

Even worse, #3 discovered one of the drawbacks about being used by overly-dramatic nihilists: the cyanide was either out-of-date, or there wasn’t enough of it — which afforded the irritated crowd the time and ability to drag his little anarchist arse out of the river and beat him like a drum before the police could rescue him.

The car containing the intended victim — understandably — took off like a striped-arse ape for safety, leaving the rest of the Noble Assassins scuffing their toes in the dust.

Unfortunately, the intended victim and his wife had a stiff dose of the noblesse oblige that infected a lot of folks of that social class at the time, and the victim over-rode his security types, demanding to go visit the hospital where the victims of the bomb meant for him were being treated.

Things went Charlie Foxtrot, security was doing one thing, no they were doing something else, Mr. Target wanted this done — and no one updated the driver.

Because Murphy hates people — personally — the driver was forced to stop and turn Mr. Target’s car around. In front of the cafe where one of the Noble Assassins — Gavrilo Princep — was getting comfort food to assuage his disappointment.

Recognizing the target, Princep lunged and fired two .32 ACP bullets from a Fabrique National M1910 into the open touring sedan, fatally injuring Archduke Franz Ferdinand Karl Ludwig Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne; and his wife, Her Highness Sophie, the Duchess of Hohenberg.

In a matter of weeks, citing the assassination as casus belli the Great War, the War To End All Wars, WW1 kicked off — and 9.9 million young men died, 21.2 million were WIA, and another 7.7 million MIA.

Eight million wound up in POW camps before everything was said and done.

The map of the world forever changed — as did the course of humanity as a whole — on this day, 93 years ago.


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31 thoughts on “And things were never the same again”

  1. Don’t forget that the aftermath of WWI set things up for WWII as well. In addition, the political instability caused by WWI gave the Bolsheviks needed support in Russia, setting the world up for the Cold War and the spread of communism across the globe. Finally, the national boundaries redrawn after WWI and WWII (in the Middle East especially) has encouraged tribal conflict throughout Southwest Asia and Africa.

    And people say the .32ACP is a weak round.

  2. Fascinating. The only thing they tell us in school is that a Serb assassinated the archduke. There’s none of the detail that might actually make it interesting. (The story also puts me in mind of the assassination of Rasputin, which I knew to be a boondoggle.)

  3. Now, part of the next few weeks leading up to WW1 was Kaiser Wilhelm wanting Germany to have a military “day in the sun” with everybody jumping in allied with whomever they chose. Now, years earlier, Wilhelm had volunteered to smoke the cigar that was to be shot from his mouth by Annie Oakley. From what I understand, Ms. Oakley had been drinking the night before and the morning of the shot, she had a hangover. If she’d missed by six inches in the right direction, Wilhelm would’ve been dead or severely brain damaged and would’ve been in no condition to start a world war. And then, on October 31, 1914, a younger Adolph Hitler was an enlisted infantryman in the German army and his unit was in the area around Ypes (sp?). As I understood it, they were retreating and under heavy fire. Hitler could’ve been killed that day, but he wasn’t. If he’d been killed, he’d not have been around to start WW2 so Germany would avenge it’s defeat in WW1.

    Ya’ll notice that the Fabrique Nationale .32ACP used to assassinate the archeduke was designed by John Moses Browning? As a fan of Mr. Browning, I may not always agree with how his creations were used, but I can say his stuff got around.

    mustanger98 on THR

  4. We are also coming up on the 91st anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916). 150,000 British troops went “over the top”-by the end of the day, more than 20,000 were dead, with more than 40,000 wounded.

  5. Little did my kin on both sides of my family tree know what horrors would be in store for them on the other side of the Ocean. The First World War took a terrible toll on both sides of the family. They both have boys buried in France. One of the boys never even made it to war as he died in camp from the great influenza pandemic. A few of the boys made it back but some of them were crippled and maimed. Two of great grandfathers cousins were really bad not from visible wounds but from their lungs being scarred from gas. I guess they could hardly walk a few steps without coughing. Great Grandfather had some problems from gas but not as bad as the cousins.

    The sad thing is that WWI was a war that the US was maneuvered into fighting by bankers and politicians. We had no earthly reason to be involved in a European land dispute. It sadly shows how utterly gullible the US populace was at the time too that they could be led to the slaughter with tales of the evil hun raping Belgian nurses and tossing babies into the air and catching them on their bayonets. Every American death in that war, however noble, valiant and heroic they were, are on the head of that globalist scumbag Woodrow Wilson.

  6. Don’t forget the machinations of several diplomats (most notably German and Austro-Hungarian) that virtually ensured the war.

    And the idiocies in every War College (shall we talk about The School of the Attack? People will be abusing the French for centuries on that one) or the ignorance of modern weapons? Or even the refusal to learn basic lessons (such as the French refusal to get rid of their brightly colored uniforms: “Monsieur! Le pantalon rouge EST France!”

    I’ll disagree with Anonymous there about us having absolutely no business in WWI. We owed the French and England is our mother country. There were tremendous benefits to the United States for fighting in that war, as there are in every war. There is always a tremendous cost, to be sure, but there is truly a silver lining around every dark cloud.

    As Raving Prophet points out, WWI, was just the first phase of the three phase global war that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union.
    Now we’re in another global war with stakes every bit as high. If only we could get half our population to figure that out and get on board, instead of helping the people we’re fighting.


  7. I’d agree with bellalinda. You learn the broad outline in school, but not the details that make it interesting. I never knew the whole story.

  8. Kristine, Bellalinda

    In order to get the “TRUE” story of history from any schhol that is not specialized, you will have to actually ask the right questions. You would be surprised how many “Historians” don’t know the facts of what they are teaching. I personally have found History in particular military histroy to be very interesting and I go out of my way to learn as much as I can.

  9. I seem to recall that the particular “Fabrique National M1910” was in the news in the last year or so.
    It was “found” or “certified” or sold-at-auction or some such, anyone remember?

  10. My great Uncle is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetary. His sister was my grandmother, Nana, and the only complaint I ever heard Nana voice was that when her mother was too sick to take up the government’s offer to take her over to visit her son’s grave, they wouldn’t let her send her daughter in her stead.

    I never heard Nana say we shouldn’t have been there.

  11. We should never forget what these men and women did for us, so that we can live free the way we do now.

  12. It wasn’t until I studied a bit of world history in college that I was able to grasp the full impact of the assassination. Where it not for the fact that he was the Hapsburg heir we might have escaped the ultimately useless war that followed. Never before had so many fought and died for so little. Another factor that we often overlook was the relatively recent invention of the telegraph; it enabled instant communication, limiting the time to cool off or recheck facts. Most people care about WWII and ignore WWI, but I find the first war of much more interest…

    Sorry. History’s a fascinating subject for me and I better stop before I get really carried away. Thank you for the reminder of today’s importance.

  13. Ya’ll remember Sgt. Alvin C. York of the U.S. Army’s 101st “All American” Division… and Major Whittlesby’s “Lost Battalion”? Their engagements on the battlefield were linked… while the Lost Battalion was fighting behind German lines, then-Corporal York’s unit was circling around behind two rows of German trenches where, while his squad was occupied, York was single-handedly silencing German machineguns and taking 132 prisoners while only killing 25 or so. Alvin York’s actions that day enabled his unit to move on forward and relieve the Lost Battalion three days march further across the Ardenne (sp?). I got this information from reading Alvin York’s diary online from University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

    Ann, I can get carried away with this too.


  14. Mark,

    I think you’re exactly right. I’ve always read a lot and have always been a bit of a history buff. It constantly amazes me that high school history courses leave so much fascinating stuff out.

  15. I’m not sure Murphy can be blamed for this incident. It sounds more like the work of his decidedly more pessimistic cousin O’Toole.
    “The perversity of the universe tennds towards a maximum.”

  16. My paternal grandfather was a wagoneer in the A.E.F., US Second Division; I believe in Co E.

    And that’s about all I know, since grandma threw all his memorabilia out after he died.

    When I sent the NRC a form 180 along with everything we knew, they sent a very nice letter thanking us for the added info. Grandpa was one of those affected by the 1974 fire.

    Does anyone know any other place to get information on grandpa’s service?

    Thanks, WebFoot Logger

  17. For webfoot logger

    Word of warning. You want to request ‘compound service records’ and even then you may not receive the entire file.
    My sad story is sending around $300 to NARA for complete files and getting maybe a dozen pages, none of them of any use whatsoever, AND without my gggg-grandfather’s pension record which I know exists.
    And, the tweety-bird who did the search saw fit to write, in big red letters, “Complete File Copied!!!!!”
    Now, I thought the red letters were uncalled-for, but the !!!!! was downright sophomoric. But then, my request had probably dragged him/her away from his/her vastly more important Blackberry.
    I have found, in years of reasearch, that Texas has the most courteous and efficient people when it comes to Confederate records, at least. Conversely, the county clerk’s office in Ellis County, Texas is the most unhelpful, almost obstructive place I’ve been.
    If none of these addys get you where you want to go, contact the Dog and I’ll see what else I can come up with.

  18. I have a good bit of my Grandpa’s service records from WW2… two Silver Stars, no Purple Hearts from those two actions… a letter of appreciation to all U.S. servicemen who operated out of Antwerp driving heavy trucks to Bastogne while under V-weapon attack during the Battle of the Bulge. Of Grandpa’s father’s stuff, somewhere in all this is one letter dated 1917… he’d been drafted, but not accepted for service. That’s about all I know from Daddy’s side of the family. I don’t know if there were any WW1 vets on Mom’s side. I did wind up knowing a good bit about her father’s service in the Pacific 1943-44, but nothing prior to that. Now, Mom’s mother’s grandfather served in the Confederate States Army, but I don’t know his name, d.o.b., birthplace, etc to trace his unit and his life. I’ve often wondered though, if any other relatives were Confederate and what units they served with and where they were from.

    mustanger98 on THR

  19. For mustanger98 on THR
    Go to:
    All soldiers and sailors are not listed here, but it’s a good start. Be aware that spelling wasn’t standardized until the 1920s in all the states. Many clerks were forced to use Phoenetic spelling, since the people whose named they were taking couldn’t read and certainly couldn’t spell.
    There are many people who will insist that so-and-so couldn’t be a grandfather because “that’s not the way the name is spelled.”
    That’s not the way the name is spelled NOW. It probably had half a dozen or more spellings ranging from whatever the parish clerk thought was correct, and Anglicized version of a German or French, etc., name, whether or not the census taker was at the end of his daily route and feeling lazy, etc.
    There are many pitfalls for those who indulge in spelling snobbery.
    Good luck with your search.

  20. Well, I just typed in a search for Confederate soldiers with my last name from Alabama. I got 544 results on that search. Now, what I have to do is find out who my great, great, great grandfather (who’s last name is also mine) was.

    Thanks again.


  21. Not many people know that Prinzip spent the evening before the attack in the park trying to get his beloved to give him an earthly reward. How might the world be better had she given him something to look forward to…

  22. I’ve had the good fortune to have walked the streets of Sarajevo, and stood on the corner where (drunk) Princip shot Ferdinand. I also learned that vanity had a hand in the death of Ferdinand.

    Ferdinand was a bit of a peacock, and disliked the way button front uniforms would pucker and interrupt the lines of his gorgeous uniforms. So, he would rise early to have his tailor literally sew him into uniforms that had no opening where the at the front and hence could not be unbuttoned. Ferdinand was also a bit self-conscious of his belly, so he wore a sort of men’s corset beneath the uniform. That probably explains the sour look on his face in most photos of him.

    Once he was shot, his security folks rushed him to safety and summoned his personal physician. Because of the corset, there was little apparent bleeding, and Ferdinand was insistent that his uniform not be cut off of him. So, his personal tailor was summoned from across town, to unstitch the uniform so Ferdinand could be treated.

    By the time the tailor was finished and the corset was removed, Ferdinand had been bleeding internally for over an hour without treatment. I’m told that his physician insisted in his reports that Ferdinands wounds would not have killed him if he had been treated immediately. I don’t suppose there is any way to know if we can ever know if Ferdinand really could have survived the shooting, but it’s an interesting tidbit from where it happened.


  23. WWI : a war that should not have happened and for which EVERYONE in europe should get blame.

    The wierd thing when you get into reading about the thing was that several junctures, had diplomats and politicians (Germans, Russians, French, English) actually put both feet on the brake and had one those of so european “conferences” where diplomats carved up the world, rather than on the accelerator (mobilize), the war could probably been avoided. (Oh, there might have a War, or Wars, but more on the 1870 plan, than on the WWI plan)

    It’s truly sad, WWI because one realizes that WWI “broke” europe, and it lead to any number of pathlogies (communism, fascism, socialism) getting a better grip on peoples minds, and discredited tradition.

    Germany (which prior to that mess was a rising star of europe in technological innovation, culture, industrialization and wealth) was forced to accept “responsibility” for the whole mess, which eventually spun off into Hilter.

    Russia, which had _finally_ liberalized a little and was developing a serious middle class and getting it’s economy out of the middle ages, spun off into murderous and stupid Communism/Socialism from which it still hasn’t recovered.

    Austro-Hungary, shambolic though it was, provided a free trade area across central europe, and somehow managed to keep various sorts of protestants, catholics, (bosnian) muslims, speaking about a zillion languages, more or less organized and from wasting their time and blood fighting one another.

    England jumped into a fight, which aside from killing off an entire generation of bright young men (who would have been better off keeping the empire running and evolving) wasted vast financial resources (that had hitherto been profitably engaged in developing the entire world), and made even the colonies like Australia, Canada, and South Africa,think twice.

    And France, on whose land this was mostly fought, also lost an entire generation of young men and bankrupted itself. (Leading to their “less than stellar” performance in WWII, and to many of the pathologies that linger in Frence political life today.)

    The US managed to stay out until close to the end… but regrettably established a precedent, and (despite good intentions) ending up forcing a surrender on Germany that was unfair. I think the end would have a been a more negoiated and less disasterous had the US not intervened.

    WWI was a disaster for everyone, and we ALL (as in: the whole world) are still dealing with idiotic consequences.

  24. For mustang98
    Good Hunting!
    You might be aware that when you’re searching the Confederate records, many used just the first name initial or the first and middle name initials. Often an ‘I’ was put in place of a ‘J’ etc. I have a problem in that while my grandfather’s name wasn’t the same as his father’s, they both have the same initials. It has led to a great deal of confusion, since they were both from the same area of Texas, but in different units.
    If you know where your grandfather lived in Alabama, you can narrow your search to that area. The county seat was usually the location of recruitment. Over the years since the war, some county seats have relocated, but that’s not so much of a problem.
    My uncle escaped from the Yankee prison at Fort Delaware with a soldier from Alabama. His story is pretty graphic, but fascinating.
    I have a grandfather who was a regimental color-bearer in the Civil War, and who actually lived to tell the tale. The life expectancy of a color-bearer on either side in that war was 3 days.
    He not only survived but became a hell fire and brimstone Baptist preacher, thought he was a Confederate to the end of his days.
    You know that if you can locate the grave of a Confederate or Union soldier, and it isn’t properly marked, the government will provide a tombstone for it? Yep, complete with ceremony.

  25. If you look at a map of the Western front, you see that for about 3 years all of the major battles were fought across a fairly small area. Remains of soldiers are still found often (around 500,000 missing just on the English side). French farmers still plow up explosive and gas shells every year, and the landscape was permanently altered by the artillery bombardments. New industrial development often will uncover old dugouts and command centers.

  26. Friggin’ Serbs. Serbian secret police trained ’em and sent ’em in there. Then the friggin’ Russians turned it into a bigger war by backin’ the Serbs against the Austrians. Germans had to back the Austrians or be seen as bad allies. Kaiser tried to head it off with a letter to the Tsar, but Cousin Nickie was a dolt.

  27. LawMom,
    Thanks for the support. The initials… I noticed a lot of names that only used first and maybe middle in different units like you just described. But since I’m new at this, I don’t yet know how many were related.

    Knowing where my great-great grandfather, or perhaps his father, lived… that’s the trick. I know my great-great grandfather was a judge in one town right up the road (in the next county) from where my great-grandfather lived which is where my Grandpa and most of the rest of the family live now. I’m thinking those county seats have changed as you mentioned. I’ll have to see what my cousins know. I know Grandpa’s brother kept up with a certain amount of this stuff. On the other hand, any time it came up, Grandpa would say “we were here when the Indians got off the boat.”

    On Mom’s side of the family, the great-great grandfather I’ve heard a little about… he was very religious and was also Confederate to the end. My understanding from Grandmama’s re-telling is that he always wore his Confederate uniform with decorations every Sunday. I’d heard he signed up when quite young and was a drummer. IIRC, that would’ve put him right there beside the color bearers. Grandmama’s memories of him are from her childhood in the 1920’s.

    Regarding the Confederate or Union tombstone supplied by the gov’t, I had wondered how that worked.

  28. That last anonymous post at 8:50pm was mine; sorry about not signing it.

    Thanks again, LawMom.


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