June 28, 1914

Breaking News: Austrian Heir and His Wife Murdered in Bosnian Capital
Blackand white photograph with colors inverted so it looks like a photo negative. The image shows a long-distance view of a bridge over a river. The river edge is lined with low houses. There is one person leaning against the railing of the bridge.


At around 11 a.m. today, two shots rang out from a street corner in the center of this city, mortally wounding the archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Sophie the Duchess of Hohenberg, his wife. A suspect, a 19-year old Bosnian-Serb named Gavrilo Princip, was apprehended. Princip is said to be affiliated with the Serbian nationalist society Black Hand, which reportedly has ties to the Serbian government that is dedicated to uniting Bosnia with Serbia.

An earlier assassination attempt had been made on the archduke, around 10:15 a.m., when another suspect, a Bosnian-Serb named Nedeljko Cabrinovic, hurled a bomb at the imperial motorcade as it was headed to a reception at Sarajevo City Hall.


Apparently, there were six conspirators in addition to Princip, who were all armed with bombs and pistols with each possessing a capsule of cyanide.

Security for the motorcade appeared to be limited; no soldiers were used, although approximately 70,000 are billeted just outside of the city. The policemen numbered only 120 for a procession route of four miles. Before the event, one police official stated that “security measures on June 28 will be in the hands of Providence.”

The archduke, as Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces, was visiting Bosnia to oversee military maneuvers.

Line map of the roads and bridges in the area of the assassination. Arrows show Franz Ferdinand's planned route before the bomb attack, planned route after bomb attack, and actual route. Numbers show the location of the various conspirators.

The official schedule for Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 28, 1914

9:50 a.m. - Arrive by train from Ilidže, Bosnia and proceed from the station by car to the Town Hall
10:10-10:30 a.m. - Visit the Town Hall
10:40-11:40 a.m. - Open and tour the new State Museum
Noon-2 p.m. - Lunch, then return to the station

The Black Hand

A secret society called Ujedinjenje ili Smrt, ('Union or Death') was founded in Belgrade as an outgrowth of an older Serb nationalist group: Narodna Odbrana. The Black Hand took over the older group's work of anti-Austrian propaganda within Serbia, which included sabotage, espionage and political murders abroad — especially in provinces Austria-Hungary wished to annex. The group included many radicals, government officials, professionals and army officers. When it was learned that the heir-apparent to the Austrian throne, Franz Ferdinand, was scheduled to visit Sarajevo in June of 1914, the Black Hand decided to assassinate him because of his perceived threat to Serbian independence. Three young Bosnians were recruited, trained and equipped: Gavrilo Princip, Nedjelko Cabrinovic and Trifko Grabez, who later added additional conspirators.

Continue exploring this event in the Museum's online exhibition, Home Before the Leaves Fall

The seal of The Black Hand Movement
The seal of The Black Hand Movement