The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Assassins

The main players remain the same, but the supporting actors made things interesting.

Major Voja Tankosic, was a top ranking member of a secret faction within the Serbian army called the Black Hand. He was the one who supplied the weapons used in the assassination. The question is, did Gavrilo Princip, an untrained college student, really develop the assassination plan, or did Major Tankosic engage him to carry out his own plan.

Of course there is political intrigue as to the Major’s motive for getting involved. One consideration is that he wanted the event to be blamed on Nicola Pasic, the Prime Minister of Serbia, a man he considered a weak leader.

The plot thickens when it was discovered that one of the students by the name of Ciganovic, who joined Princip also arranged the meeting between Major Voja Tankosic and Princip. He was known to be a police informer so he could have kept the Prime Minister, Nicola Pasic informed of Princip’s progress.

If this scenario is correct, then the Prime Minister was caught between a rock and a hard place. If he stopped Princips and that information got out, he would be considered a traitor. However, informing the Austrian government of the assassination plot could create an international incident which he was not prepared to deal with. His third option is one used by politicians throughout history and is still used today, deny knowledge of the plot and hope that Princip fails to carry out the assassination.

There is another theory to consider, Pasic may have sent a cable to his minister in Vienna requesting him to warn the Austrian Government. The cable would say that the Serbian Government uncovered information of a possible attempt on the Archduke’s life and perhaps they should reschedule his trip.

Substantiation of such a cable is based upon the request from the Serbian Minister for an interview with the Austrian Foreign Minister, who he hated, so instead he sought a meeting with the Austrian Finance Minister.  

During their meeting, the Serbian Minister decided not to deliver the exact cable information he received, instead he watered it down to convey the possibility of a disenchanted Serb might try to attack the Archduke.

Since the Finance Minister was not in charge of security for the Archduke, that responsibility was given to General Potiorek. But there were ill feelings between the Finance Minister and the General. It seems that the General did not include the Finance Minister in on the initial planning of Ferdinand’s trip, and therefore he decided not to pass the information on so If anything did happen, the general would be blamed.  

Petty bickering was not limited to the Austrian officials. There were riffs between the Serbian Prime Minister and the leader of the Black Hand. Both men tried to prevent the plan from going forward. Apis – leader of the Black Hand sent one of his trusted cohorts to Bosnia to meet with the man in charge of Princip’s group. The Currier was to inform him that the plan had been called off and he was to tell Princip to stand down – which Princip ignored.

It is interesting that there is evidence that the Serbian Prime Minister, Pasic, received an anonymous letter a few days before the assassination. The letter stated that the Austrian government may have Ferdinand killed during the military maneuvers so his death can be blamed on Serbia. This would offer an excuse for Austria to attack Serbia.

Why was Franz Ferdinand killed?

Because the Serbian nationalist wanted to kill the Archduke to make a statement, but his assassination may have been designed by his uncle to prevent Ferdinand from succeeding him.

Who killed the Archduke?

Princip, a Serbian college student was the actual trigger-man, but there were several supporting actors whose own agendas contributed to the end result. 

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