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Why Would Terrorists Murder the Austro-Hungarian Heir Apparent to Strike at the Ottoman Empire

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: June 26, 2014 
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I'm a bit confused as to why the terrorists would strike a blow against Ottoman rule by murdering the Austro-Hungarian heir apparent?

Do explain, please!



? ? ?

Dear Chris,

The grievances of the Serbian irredentist movement known as the Black Hand no longer involved the Ottoman Empire by 1914. In 1909 Austria-Hungary, which since the 1874 Treaty of Berlin had been administering Bosnia and Herzegovina for its nominal Ottoman masters, annexed the region outright. Regardless of which empire controlled the region, the Black Hand's ultimate goal was to have it come under Serbian rule. Toward that end, the occasion of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo in June 1914 offered a tempting target for the sort of gesture that terrorist organizations sometimes like to make—in this case with consequences far beyond what the Black Hand had intended.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


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