100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Three Men Executed For The Assassination Of Archduke Ferdinand Of Austria

The Black Hand was a secret military society formed in September 1901 by members of the Serbian Army. It was formed with the aim of uniting all of the territories that had a majority of South Slavic populations not already ruled by Serbia.

In June 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was visiting the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. A group of six assassins from a nationalist group supplied by the Black Hand gathered on the street where the Archduke’s motorcade would pass. One threw a grenade at the Archduke’s car, but missed. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them. About an hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital with those wounded in the assassination attempt, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where Gavrilo Princip stood. With a pistol, Princip shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austri and his wife Duchess Sophie by Gravilo Princip in Sarajevo - June 28, 1914

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Duchess Sophie by Gravilo Princip in Sarajevo – June 28, 1914


Eight student nationalists were arrested and put on trial in the conspiracy to assassinate Ferdinand. All were found guilty in December 1914. Five of the eight were too young to receive the death penalty including Princip (just shy of his 20th birthday) and were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. But three men – Veljko Cubrilovic, a school teacher, Danilo Ilic, a newspaper editor and Misko Jovanovic, a businessman were sentenced to death by hanging.

The trial of the eight conspirators - December 1914

The trial of the eight conspirators – December 1914

On February 3, 1915 Cubrilovic, Ilic and Jovanovic were hung in Sarajevo. But their bloody act had already sparked an even bloodier conflict that rages around the world.

The hanging of the three conspirators in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife - February 3, 1915

The hanging of the three conspirators in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife – February 3, 1915

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