Friday, March 07, 2008
It began as such a small thing, like a policeman beating a nag. In the beginning no one thought that two murders in Sarajevo would have any effect at all upon the world. The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, all of it precipitated by a piece of newsprint, a short announcement, a small note clipped from the paper: the Archduke of Austria would visit the city to direct army maneuvers in the mountains. Small things. Then, in Belgrade, at a small table in a small cafe, the small newsclipping was passed from hand to hand among terrorists of the Narodna Odbraba. A grenade was thrown. One grenade.
"I come to visit Sarajevo and they throw bombs at me!" the Archduke complained to the Mayor. Then, the Archduke's chauffer took a wrong turn, as simple as that. He backed the automobile to the precise spot where the road had diverged, where a Serbian student named Gavrile Princip waited with a pistol, an angel of death. The first bullet killed the Archduke's pregnant wife, Sophia, and her unborn child. A second bullet, to the heart, killed him. "Sophia!" he called out. "Don't die!"
But she was dead already. As was he. A dead German policeman killed four years afterward in such a small place as Okres Krupina went unnoticed. The Great War begun by a small means was finally over.
(From Pepek the Assassin)