Somewhere in the 20th century — it is difficult to determine precisely when, but many point to the 1990s anti-Serb craze — historical revisionism on WWI that would have been laughed out of the room in the 1920s and 1930s became widespread in the western mainstream media.
Nobody should be surprised to learn this is an ailment that therefore also affects RT. The Russian-funded outlet is staffed by westerners and modeled after western news channels – and is as such frequently only marginally less wrong on numerous issues than its western counterparts. (All the more so when it comes to the little-understood Balkans.)
Covering the unveiling of a monument to Gavrilo Princip, the famous assassin of Franz Ferdinand, RT insisted Princip “triggered WWI” and had “murdered” Ferdinand. Let’s take a look at these claims.
Triggerman for World War?
Princip triggering the war implies he pressed some kind of a button that caused the war to happen. However, on July 28th when the war broke out he was already in jail and had been for a month. What could he have possibly done from there?
The fact is that in the wake of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand nobody thought that a world war was inevitable. A crisis between the powers, of which there had been many in the previous twenty years, was anticipated, but very few thought the crisis could only end in war.
Pinning the responsibility for the war on Gavrilo Princip — as if his action put Europe on rails that could only end in war — therefore serves to whitewash the responsibility of governments that actually made the war happen.*
It would be far more accurate to say Austria “triggered” a war when it declared war on Serbia — a full month after the assassination — and followed it up with an abortive invasion.
Next, it is accurate to say Germany “triggered” a war between powers when it declared war on Russia and France.
However, the British Empire, the United States, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, Romania and Bulgaria and other countries joined the war on their own and have only their own governments to blame for the slaughter they got themselves into and made into a World War – certainly not a 20-year old student-assassin from the Balkans.
Firstly, Princip did not have any intention or expectation of causing a war. Next, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was neither sufficient, nor necessary cause for WWI – thus the idea this event set the match that lit Europe on fire is ludicrous.
The war was set by the madness and imbecility lurking in European capitals — particularly those of great powers — and particularly in Austria and Germany (as well as in Britain which could have easily stayed out) – and the assassination in Sarajevo was merely the excuse they had been all seemingly waiting for to plunge the continent into collective suicide.
When speaking of political assassinations it is not customary to use the word “murder”. The reasons for this are clear. “Assassination” is a neutral, technical term. “Murder” is not. Using “assassination” and “murder” interchangeably immediately implies the assassination was an unjustified crime, rather a justified act of political resistance.
For example, on May 27th, 1942 Czechoslovak commandos assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of occupied Bohemia. It would be scandalous to refer to this slaying as “murder”. Clearly Reinhard Heydrich had no business lording it over the Czechs – and they in turn had every right to fight back against him with effective means.
Austrian power had come to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 by the force of arms – against the wishes of its populace, and mainted itself by more force and coercion. It was culturally and historically foreign to this South Slav province and acted there as a colonial government never fully emancipating its new subjects.
Attempts on the lives of Austrian high-ranking officials are comparable to any such attempts in other colonies captured by European powers – such as attempts against British officials in India, or against the French in Indochina.
Franz Ferdinand was a general inspector of the Austrian-Hungarian army, that is, a high-ranking official of the state. He was in Sarajevo in an official capacity and on an official visit. He was traveling in a motorcade loaded with representatives of the Austrian rule in Bosnia. Was his assassination “murder” or a justified act of political rebellion against an oppressive colonial government?
We don’t necessarily have to answer this here, but we can agree that this is certainly not a matter for RT news reports to resolve or even address. RT, if it strives for objective journalism, should stick to the neutral term “assassination” – which neither valorizes nor condemns Princip.
PS, given enough interest I might pen a look into the background of Princip and Ferdinand, and into Austrian rule in Bosnia in general. If you’d like that give me a shout in the comments, or else like this piece on FB.
* When Serbia accepted 9 points of the 10 point Austrian ultimatum of July 23rd and asked for further clarification on the 10th point even Berlin thought an Austrian-Serbian war was now unnecessary. What is more, Serbia had done so even though Vienna had intentionally loaded the ultimatum with so many humiliating demands that according to Austrians the Serbs could never accept it. – Austria went to war because it wanted a war with Serbia, not because the assassination of Franz Ferdinand demanded it.
Originally published on 2015-07-01
Author: Marko Marjanovic
Source: Russia Insider
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
The Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914) and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo moments before their assassination. The Archduke’s assassination was the immediate cause of WWI. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
The WarmongersThe war, which began in August 1914 – to contemporaries the Great War, to posterity the First World War – marked the end of one period of history and the beginning of another. Starting as a European war, it turned in 1917, with the entrance of the US into a world war. The spark that triggered it off was the assassination of the Austrian heir-presumptive, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1864−1914), by a Bosnian nationalist of Serb origin – Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Young Bosnia (Mlada Bosna) movement, in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914 on his official visit to ...
Preface At the beginning of the 20th century the Great European Powers,[i] divided into two totally antagonistic political-military alliances, were preparing themselves for the final settling of accounts among each other concerning the new division of political-economic spheres of influence and the redistributing the colonies around the world. Their different interests overlapped upon the territory of South-East Europe, much more look down at the other parts of the globe, for the reason of the exploitation of the regional natural wealth and to take advantage of the military-strategic importance of South-East Europe as the strategic hinterland of East Mediterranean and the most ...
Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous…something like this comes along. This is the europeanvalues.net list of “useful idiots”.
The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.
They’ve highlighted some names in yellow, to denote they’re “particularly noteworthy”. Names receiving the yellow highlight – the Russian agent equivalent of twitter’s blue tick – include Harrison ...
PrefaceA geopolitical issue of South-East Europe became of very importance for the scholars, policymakers, and researchers with the question of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire as one of the most crucial features of the beginning of the 20th century in European history. A graduate collapsing of the one-time great empire was accelerated and followed by competition and struggling by both, the European Great Powers and the Balkan national states, upon the territorial inheritance of it. While the European Great Powers have the aim to obtain the new spheres of political-economic influence in South-East Europe, followed by the task to ...
Autism as the political driving forceAs a matter of very historical fact, Kosovo-Metochia’s ethnic Albanians never accepted the state of Yugoslavia as their own state, nor did they ever recognize the country of Serbia as their homeland. Nevertheless, two important points have to be noticed in regard to this phenomenon. As it is quite known, it is the common feature of the highlanders in general. The Yugoslav and Albanian Dinaric highlanders, in fact, never historically accepted fully any kind of state as their own, for which they would feel any sincere responsibility. It concerns, for instance, the Montenegrins regarding the ...
The Balkan Peninsula together with the region of South-East Europe historically has been one of the most important focal points of the Russian foreign policy, cultural influences and attempts to spread an ideology of the Orthodox solidarity and the Slavic reciprocity. These ideas are common to almost all trends of the Russian public life in the past and today.
After Russia lost the Great Crimean War of 1853–1856 she intensified its cultural influence in the region of the South-East Europe for the purposes of beating the Habsburg (the Roman-Catholic) rivalry and to spread an idea of the Pan-Slavism in this part ...
Part IFrance’s Balkan policy of the status quo The fundamental interest of France in the region of South-East Europe was of the economic nature but not fundamentally of the political one. The region was perceived by the French politicians as primarily significant in the following three points:As a well-suited area for the investment of the French financial capital.As the region which was the most appropriate overland traffic bond with the Ottoman Empire.As a foothold for the French economic domination over the East Mediterranean.[i]In this respect, the French economic penetration into the region, followed by an investment of the French financial ...
This Remembrance Day will doubtless see strenuous efforts by some to justify the fruitless bloodbath that was the First World War. Revisionist commentators have long attempted to rehabilitate the conflict as necessary and just, but the arguments do not stand up. It does no service to the memory of the dead to allow any illusions in the justice or necessity of war, particularly so when the precedents will be used to argue for the next ‘necessary’ conflict. From the causes of the war, to its prosecution and its results, here are the counter-arguments to ten common pro-war ploys.1. The war ...
When at the 1878 Berlin Congress Serbia and Montenegro had to become recognized as sovereign states, the Muslim Albanian representatives tried to initiate the same for their own national state or wider autonomy within the Ottoman Empire which they considered as their own national state.They founded the (First) Prizren League in Metochia (the western portion of contemporary Kosovo). However, this Islamic initiative failed with Bismarck’s explicit rejection to speak about Albanian nationality as nonexistent at all in Europe at that time as they have been considered as the Turks. At the same time, the Albanian national movement Rilindja was initiated, ...
Gavrilo Princip was first buried in secret in an unmarked grave at the Theresienstadt or Terezin prison following his death on April 28, 1918. His remains were exhumed and transferred to Sarajevo on July 7, 1920. This was Gavrilo Princip’s grave until 1939 when a Chapel was built to replace the grave.
The other conspirators were also interred in this grave. Bogdan Zerajic’s remains were also reburied here.
The assassination occurred on the Orthodox holiday, Vidovdan or St. Vitus’ Day, Sunday, on June 28, 1914. For this reason the conspirators were called the “Vidovdan Heroes” and the Chapel memorial was named “The ...
The U.N. Organization was established in 1945 for the very security reason – to preserve the peace in the world. We believe that the governmental bodies and administrative structures of the U.N. have to be composed by the proved democratically oriented politicians and magistrates but above all this requirement has to be applied to the post and function of the U.N. Secretary-General. Nevertheless, in the history of the U.N. there is at least one (extremely) problematic appointment to the post of the U.N. Secretary-General: Kurt Waldheim from Austria.
On the official website of the U.N. about its fourth Secretary-General one can ...
The Great War in 1914 and the Balkans
South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (I)
The “European Values” Think-Tank and Their List of “Useful Idiots”
The Geopolitics of South-East Europe and the Importance of the Regional Geostrategic Position
How Kosovo’s Albanians Destroyed ex-Yugoslavia
The Pan-Slavism and Tsarist Russia’s Balkan policy
South-East Europe in the International Relations at the Turn of the 20th Century (II)
Ten Lies Told About World War I
Behind the Project of a Greater Albania
Gavrilo Princip’s Grave: The Interwar Years, 1920-1939
A Biography of Kurt Waldheim (Austria)