Year
1914

European powers maintain focus despite killings in Sarajevo

In an editorial published on the final day of June 1914, two days after the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife by a Serbian nationalist during an official appearance in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the London Times urges a continued focus on domestic affairs.

Although what happened in Sarajevo obviously filled “the first place in the public mind,” acknowledged the Times, and the outcome of the investigation into the killing would no doubt “occupy the attention of all students of European politics,” it was imperative that Britons keep their priorities straight, because “our own affairs must be addressed.” At the time, the United Kingdom was threatened by the possible outbreak of civil war over the future status of Ireland; this presumably was the principal “affair” to which the Times was referring.

In Britain, as in many of the European capitals, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was at first viewed in a less alarmist light than might be assumed given the enormity of the war that the event would later precipitate. The archduke had not been widely liked, within his own country or without, and as the British ambassador to Italy reported to his government in London: “It is obvious that people have generally regarded the elimination of the Archduke as almost providential.” In Paris on June 30, at the first cabinet meeting since the events in Sarajevo, President Raymond Poincare’s biographer reported later that the killings were “hardly mentioned.” The attention of the French public, meanwhile, was riveted on the scandalous case of Madame Caillaux, a politician’s wife who had murdered the editor of a right-wing newspaper after he threatened to publish damaging material about her husband.

Even in Vienna, the archduke’s own capital city, Franz Ferdinand’s death seemed to arouse little strong feeling from the public. As the Austrian government and military leadership hurried to obtain assurances of German support if the Austrian pressure on Serbia over the assassinations led to war with Serbia and its powerful ally, Russia, the reaction among the Austrian population was mild, almost indifferent. As historian Z.A.B. Zeman later wrote, “the event almost failed to make any impression whatsoever. On Sunday and Monday [June 28 and 29], the crowds in Vienna listened to music and drank wine?as if nothing had happened.”

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

19 firefighters die in Arizona blaze

On this day in 2013, 19 firefighters perish while battling a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona. All were members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, an elite group of wildland firefighters that was part of the Prescott (Arizona) Fire Department. It was the deadliest ...read more

Spanish retreat from Aztec capital

Faced with an Aztec revolt against their rule, forces under the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes fight their way out of Tenochtitlan at heavy cost. Known to the Spanish as La Noche Triste, or “the Night of Sadness,” many soldiers drowned in Lake Texcoco when the vessel carrying ...read more

Night of the Long Knives

In Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future. The leadership of the Nazi Storm Troopers (SA), whose four million members had ...read more

Gone with the Wind published

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for a blockbuster 1939 movie, is published on this day in 1936. In 1926, Mitchell was forced to quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal to recover from a series of physical ...read more

Operation Cartwheel is launched

On this day in 1943, General Douglas MacArthur launches Operation Cartwheel, a multi-pronged assault on Rabaul and several islands in the Solomon Sea in the South Pacific. The joint effort takes nine months to complete but succeeds in recapturing more Japanese-controlled ...read more

Thieu becomes president

The South Vietnamese Armed Forces Council resolves rival claims to the presidency in favor of Nguyen Van Thieu, Chief of State. Former Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, who had announced on May 11 that he would run for president, was forced to accept second place on the presidential ticket. ...read more

Cooper-Church Amendment passes in Senate

The Senate votes 58 to 37 in favor of adopting the Cooper-Church amendment to limit presidential power in Cambodia. The amendment barred funds to retain U.S. troops in Cambodia after July 1 or to supply military advisers, mercenaries, or to conduct “any combat activity in the air ...read more

Sandy Koufax pitches first no-hitter

On June 30, 1962, Sandy Koufax strikes out 13 batters and walks five to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets 5-0 with his first career no-hitter. Koufax went on to throw three more no-hitters, including a perfect game on September 9, 1965, in which he ...read more

Fire breaks out at New Jersey pier

On this day in 1900, four German boats burn at the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey, killing more than 300 people. The fire was so large that it could be seen by nearly every person in the New York City area. William Northmaid was working as the afternoon watchman on Pier 3 in ...read more