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The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand No other political murder in modern history has had such momentous consequences as the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand He was the heir to the Habsburg empire and the first to fall victim to political homicide Unlike some constitutional monarchies in Western Europe the Habsburgs had failed to modernize their multinational state They used force to defend their institutions and they were faced with a mass of revolutionary movements in Italy and Hungary Although the Sarajevo assassins were Bosnians and thus Austro-Hungarian citizens and although they had plotted against the Habsburg dignitaries for years three leading members of the conspiracy Princip Cabrinovic and Grebez came to Sarajevo from Belgrade They were armed with pistols and bombs which they had obtained through some Bosnian youth from Major Voljislav Tankosic one of the leaders of the Black Hand Despite the common goal of national liberation shared by the Young Bosnians and the Black Hand alike they differed in their approach to internal problems in the South Slav society The civilian authorities at the border informed the Serbian government that some members of the Black Hand were smuggling arms into Austro-Hungarian territory An investigation was at once opened They questioned Colonel Apis the leader of the Black Hand but he denied that his men were involved in these operations There is a theory that there was a power struggle between Apis and Pasic the Prime Minister who thought Apis was threatening the whole political system of Serbia The struggle led Apis to approve the delivery of the arms to the Sarajevo assassins It seems that Apis did not expect that Princip and his accomplices would succeed in killing the archduke Colonel also thought that their efforts would provoke a greater strain in relations between Pasic and the Vienna government These complications would further weaken Pasics position in relation to Apis The conflict of interests between the European powers
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