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Thursday 28 June 2012

Remembering Franz Ferdinand & Sophie

Remembering Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, murdered in Sarajevo on 28th June 1914. Had Franz Ferdinand lived and become Emperor, the whole course of history might have been very different. I like this man very much and believe that, like many others, his true character has been misrepresented by those who present him as nothing but an angry man whose death precipitated a war.

Franz Ferdinand was a forward thinking and clever man, who understood the need to make reforms in Austria-Hungary (for example, he had planned to postpone his coronation until universal suffrage was granted) and who would have created greater autonomy for the different ethnic groups within the Empire. He was also a devoted father and husband whose children remembered his kindness and whose wife meant everything to him. He was devout in his religious practices and faith, and greatly respected and loved by the people of Sophie's native Bohemia. I think it is rather beautiful, too, that he grew roses and often travelled incognito to find new strains and varieties, and opened his gardens to the public so that they could share the beauty he had created and cultivated.

Only days before his death, he met with Kaiser Wilhelm and spoke of creating friendlier ties with Russia....Clearly, those who wanted war, could not allow him to become Emperor and there are always convenient hot-heads who are willing to carry out any act of terrorism if they are convinced they are acting for a great cause. Princip seems to me to be nothing more than convenient 'patsy', acting for a far more sinister group than the Black Hand.

I wonder if the whole truth about the murder of Franz Ferdinand will ever come out....

In any case, I think he deserves to be remembered for his life, his dreams and his devotion, as well as for his death.

(Franz Ferdinand is a central character in the novel: Shattered Crowns: The Scapegoats )


Anonymous said...

I agree. I completely, completely agree. They shouldn't be forgotten.

Unknown said...

I have read the book and it was extremely refreshing to have the events leading up to World War I related in such a coherent and definitive manner. All too often we are bombarded with dates and events that are only vaguely related. This book makes the major players into real people who are living real events. It is this method of relating the causes of The War that makes us realize that The Archduke was a man of honour who was trying to do something worthwhile.