Shots that Changed the World…

Hello everyone,

today is a date that I think is worth remembering. A hundred years ago, on 28.6.1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, countess Sophie Chotek, were shot by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, sparking one of the worst conflicts in human history, First World War.


World War Two is undeniably the largest conflict ever fought and it was no doubt a terrible war, but there is something deeply fascinating and disturbing about the terrible battlefields of Flandres and France, with their muddy bleak terrain, raked by mechinegun fire and artillery explosions. First World War also gave birth to or saw the spread of many modern technologies and weapons (such as fighter aircraft, bombers or tanks), a lasting legacy we can feel even today.

For us, World of Tanks players, the development of a tank is definitely the most important aspect of the Great War – it is hard to imagine the dread of the German soldiers, seeing the lumbering monsters for the first time in their lives.


The truth of course was far less dreadful – first tanks were slow, extremely difficult to operate and of limited use. But as the war went on, these machines became refined and deadly, resulting in the legendary FT-17, the great-grandfather of all the modern tanks, first tank to use the “classic” setup with a turret.

An interesting set of WW1 photos can be found here, courtesy of Piroman.

56 thoughts on “Shots that Changed the World…

  1. war was not started because of that.austro-hungarian empire wanted war along with germany , so they waited
    for even slightest reason-
    that Franz Ferdinand was killed in bosnia because they should’ve already leave it , it was some 20-30
    year old term for austro-hung. empire to have bosnia , then leave it .

    • Ye, Franz Josef 1. hated Ferdinand, that is why he knew, if he sent him to Bosnia that something would happen, and that is why he sent him there where the assasination happened and Josef 1. got the war he wanted.

    • Every european power had their sht on making WWI so blaming the German/Austo-Hung. Empire and making conspiracy theories is totally nonsense. I. Franz Josef made the first mistake but others assisted by making others…

    • Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austro-hungarian throne and Franz Josef would be stupid to leave such a murder be left unpunished(even tho he wanted him to be killed secretly that is why he sent him down to Bosnia)

    • And Troy fell due to a woman. You would be amazed on how wars have been started over the years over small things. But then again. The Germans where on edge as is. The discussion that followed to react to the assassination was the excuse they needed to attack anyway. Many believe the Germans would have attacked at some point later regardless with the army build up they had pre war and the borderline insane German General at the time. Tho the consequences might not have been as big then.

    • Or, maybe, just maybe, big powers wanted a new relocation of power in Europe and colonies world wide

    • There are countless books and historians attempting to explain why and how WWI started.

      As a matter of fact, even though it’d be dubious to say everyone wanted war, everyone at least was preparing for it. And Germany feared that, by 1916-1920, France and Russia would have caught up with its military might (Russia’s industrial production was booming, and France was debating some much needed military reforms).

      Me personnally, I consider the Austrians and the Germans to be at fault. The Germans because of Wilhelm II and Moltke. The first was constantly making empty threats to his neighbours, and definitely obsessed with military prestige. The second was – though pessimistic about it – bent on waging war, no matter the cost. It’s what he’d been preparing for most of his life and when the crucial time came, he refused to step back. Even Wilhelm, in the last moments, realized Germany was getting into something nasty – he told the Austrians to accept spare Serbia, and tried to negociate with France – but Moltke wouldn’t hear a thing.

      As for the Austrians, their military commanders seized the opportunity to get rid of Serbia (which was, by today’s standards, a terrorist state) and increase their prestige, completely oblivious that invading Russia’s ally could start an european war (and that their army was in absolutely no shape to fight). They didn’t want an European war – unlike Wilhelm in his most paranoid moments – but their reckless behavior certainly caused it.
      As a matter of fact, after the shooting, none cared much about it in the Dual Monarchy. Franz Ferdinand wasn’t much loved, and it was but one of an anarchist/nationalist assassination that plagued central and eastern Europe at the time. It took one months for the jingoists (Hotzendorf, Berchtold and Kobatin, to name a few), to convince the Emperor to act militarily.

      • First to break some common misconception
        Bosnia was colony of Austria and wanted their freedom, Gavrilo Princip was Serb but he was part od Young Bosna organization that wanted their freedom and independents, fact that he was Serb was used to attack Serbia without declaration of war even thou Serbian authorities didn’t have any connection to Young Bosna organization.
        Now the real reason war started because of money, France and UK held Africa and Asia, Germans need resources and colonies for further development so they wanted a war and waited for excuse to attack.
        Last part is totally wrong don’t know where did You read that.
        Serbia was independent country at 12th century and after 500 years of Ottoman empire rule gain its independents at 1835 so if You call Serbia terrorist for that then Greek,Romania, Bulgaria is also terrorist country because they fought against Ottoman empire and wanted their freedom.
        Also Austro-hungarinas had bigger and better equipped army but they were losing bad against
        Serbian army, and then Germans sent their army to help out and eventually Serbian army retread to Greece and after 3 years that army liberated Serbia.

        • - Bosnia wasn’t a colony but a recently annexed country, and actually, its inhabitants were treated better than say, Alsacians were in Germany (at least until the first days of the war, when the Austrian army started randomly shooting and deporting civilians). As a matter of fact, Franz Ferdinand was well-received and the crowd cheered repeatedly before his assassination, as he was considered as “friendly” to slavic people and somewhat pro-Russian, in an Empire ruled by Germans wannabes.

          - Austria indeed sent a former declaration of war 24 hours before the invasion. The Australian army was complete rubbish, and its commanders even more incompetent than the Russians. Its equipement was also vastly outdated (many field guns still used canonballs and not shells, for example. The formidable Skoda guns were too rare). On the other hand, the Serbians had more recent equipment and were better trained, thanks to the two Balkan wars.

          - Germany didn’t need resources from the third world to grow. Its GDP was the second in the world (behind the US) and still growing strong. Holding colonies was in many cases – France, Portugal and Germany – a stupid idea, as it costed more than the benefits it brought.

          - As for Serbia, it was indeed what we’d call nowaday a terrorist state. The Black Hand – which was a terrorist organization by all standards – had infiltrated every level of society – army, governement, civil administration – and regularly funded, trained or supported terrorists, and even overthrew and murdered the reigning king of Serbia. IIRC, Apis’ brother (or brother in law) was even in the governement.
          Now, if you’re Serb, no doubt that you see the Black Hand and Gavrilo’s fight as just and honorable (just like Al-Qaeda fighters think their combat is just). Nonetheless, it was a terrorist organization that had about as much political weight in Serbia as Moltke and his clique had in Germany. Even if the Serbian governement wasn’t directly behind the assassination (something that we will never know), it was not too far-fetched to assume so.
          And in 1914, the fact that war started on the account of a Serbian nationalist was a problem. No one in France and the UK was willing to die for little troublesome and agressive Serbia, especially as the memory of Serbian murders in Albania was still vivid.

          No, I know this is a touchy topic among balkan people, and I’ll probably get called out for being pro-Albanian or pro-this or that. I’m not. In 1914 Serbia, fuelled by its victories during the balkan wars, was an arrogant state that posed a constant threat on European peace, and that’s about it. Note that it doesn’t excuse the Austrian army’s murderous behavior in Serbia.

          • - First of all, you are overlooking the date of the visit, 28th of June, or Vidovdan in Serbia. It is the date of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. probably the most important historical date for any Serb in a year. The visit was seen as an insult by the Serb population in Bosnia.
            - You say Serbia was agressive at the time. What makes you think that? Serbia fought in the Balkans wars (along side other Balkan states) in 1912-1913 against the Ottomans, and at a great cost. To remind you this was just a couple of years before WWI. Before that Austria enforced a customs war on Serbia (Pig War) because it wanted Serbia under her econimic control. So Serbia was in no state to wage another war, let alone a war against one of the superpowers of Europe. To say Serbia wanted war is ludacris.
            - You mention Serbian pre WWI crimes in Albania? Can you give me any citations for this? Because as far as i know Serbia encouraged uprisings in Albania against the Ottomans.

            • -Why would a visit of an Austrian heir be an insult to the Serbs? It’s not like the Austrians fought in that battle. But then again, Serbs celebrate that battle as a moment of triumph for their nation, so I’m not gonna pretend I’m an expert here.
              -Serbia was aggresive at the time because it wanted to make Načertanije come to life(if you are not from the former Yugoslavia, you might not know about this, so let me clarify. Načertanije is a “plan” drawn up in 1844(Serbia was an autonomus province at this time) by the Serb minister Ilija Garašanin. It proposed expansion west, east, and south(Greater Serbia)).

              • - Concerning the date, yes, the date simbolizes Serbian national spirit and has great patriotic meaning to them. And in Bosnia they were under Austrian rule. So if a opressor ( I dont agree the Austrians were that much loved in Bosnia, hence the movements against them) sends his representative to parade the streets on your most important national holiday, it comes as no suprise that they reacted. There is even some speculation that this had been planned by Franz Jozef in advance as a way to provoke the Serbs.
                - I am familiar with the work of Ilija Garašanin, and you are right about the nature of Načertanije. But Serbia must had been aware that, at that speficic piont in history, war with Austria was impossible to win. And war was the last thing they wanted, I am certain. The nature of their reponse to Austrian ultimatum gives me reason to think so.
                - You still haven’t given me citations about Serbian pre WWI crimes in Albania.

                • -I didn’t give ypu citations of Serbian crimes because I don’t know anything about that.
                  -The reason why they assasinated Ferdinand was because they thought that making Austria in a position where they have no heir would cause a collapse of the nation, so Serbia could expand west. The date of the visit wasn’t related to this.

                • Gotta love it when people use Garašanin’s Načertanije as ‘proof’ of Serbia’s desire to create Greater Serbia. As someone who wrote a dissertation on this exact subject for my Master’s degree at King’s College London I can assure you that while the Načertanije initially started off as a pan-Serbian programme it quickly developed into a pan-Yugoslav plan to unite ALL south slavs (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and even Bulgarians at one point) so your mentioning of the Načertanije kind of defeats your own argument that the Serbs were warmongering nationalists in 1914 with a desire to make a Greater Serbia. This is backed up by the fact that Serbia rejected the terms of the Treaty of London 1915 ( which proposed the creation of a Greater Serbia BY THE ALLIES in order to unify all south Slavs in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) after the war ended.
                  Furthermore, as Andriy correctly points out, the last thing Serbia wanted was a war with Austria-Hungary after the debilitating Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Yes, they had a desire to free their Slavic brethren west of the river Drina, but this was definitely not on their mind in 1914. Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasic was devastated when he heard about the murders in Sarajevo because he knew it meant disaster for Serbia…
                  Lastly, all this talk of ‘murders in Albania’ without citing quotes is just sloppy and lazy. Why not mention Serbian murders in Japan or Serbian murders on Mars? Because there is no evidence for it of course, same as these so-called ‘murders in Albania’.

    • Well, most races start with shot fired ;) so why war wouldn’t… That’s what it was irl, only signal since everyone was eager to go yolo.

  2. Sad, but I assume:

    - Without the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, NO World War I
    - Without World War I, NO successful Hitler in Germany
    - Without World War I, NO successful October Revolution in Russia
    - Without a successful October Revolution in Russia, NO Lenin and Stalin
    - Without the butchers Hitler and Stalin, NO World War II, NO USSR and NO Cold War

    The world would look much better nowadays without the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Interesting, how a SINGLE event can have such grave consequences.

    • But then again, you can never predict what will happen. He knows, if that didn’t happen, maybe some other, worse thing might happen…

      • The German wanted a war before the assassination, and since the Arms race vs the British that was mainly a naval race. And the triple alliance to counter the Russian influence on Europe and the power conflicts of the late 19th century. The Germans wanted to set things right “in their mind anyway” and restore “order”. The assassination was the ideal time to act. Most likely the Germans would have found some excuse later or talked their allied at the time to work out a different attack plan later to sort out their new image of Europe. So they would not go at it alone.

        Or maybe not. We will never know.

    • And you really believe in that, don’t you?

      Or can we say:
      Without aggressive German militarists, no WWI and then repeat all you said.
      Without A-H annexation of Bosnia, no WWI and then repeat all you said.
      Without Frantz Ferdinand decision to go to provoke the ppl in Bosnia on that day, no WWI and then repeat all you said.

      Or makes more sense to say that war was on the door, and everything would happen the same way few days before or after. Young European power Germany wanted more influence in Europe and more colonies and resources world wide, already divided between GB and France.

    • That’s doubtful. As I said earlier, everyone was preparing for war (even though most nations feared it, too). The war almost begun in 1905 (Tanger crisis) and in 1912 (Balkan war) already. Had the Austrians spared Serbia, another casus belli would have appeared at some point.

      Saddly, it’s a case of States being unable to deal with their problems rationally, and of leaders somehow convinced that war is gonna happen at some point, even though they don’t really know why. A fascinating case of public policies gone wrong.
      Germans were convinced that the world was plotting against them, even though they – already at the time – were an economic powerhouse selling their products to all western nations. I’d say that Wilhelm is much to blame, for all his bravado and threats toward France, Belgium, the UK and Russia, but I fear his paranoid mindset (“they refuse to give us the place we deserve!”) plagued not only his mind but also his whole nation.

      • And you might say that, awful as the 2 worldwars were, they culminated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If they had not happened the world would have reached a point of a nuclear arms race with too few understanding that nuclear war kills everyone.

        As someone above said, if the Archduke had not been assassinated, the world might now be even worse. We cannot know.

    • Mostly the October Revolution in Russia would just be delayed several years or a decade or so. Russia was becoming more and more unstable.

      Hitler ofc would likely never have risen to power. A small plus that might have horrible consequences later in the 1940s/50s.

      World War I would have gone off within 5-10 years of 1914… The thing was a powder keg. And because of the time delay and increased technological developments… I would expect it to be worse then the original WW1.

      • I doubt the Hitler part because after the Great War he was just an “infiltrator” to the newly started DAP (which became NSDAP), later he truly joined them and the party was (at the beginning) a weird socialist movement. Although that aforementioned party’s creation was a cause of Wilhelm II fleeing to the netherlands i think they would have been “assembled” without the war either.

        But i agree on the others.

  3. Today it’s the dawn of freedom. The day of falling shackles. The day when long awaited war between our opressors begun.
    Thank You too, president Wilson.

    • Lol, go look at Zagreb, Sarayevo, Belgrade, the most beautyful buildings are Austro-Hungarian, aside from second Yugoslavia, Austro-Hungarian rule was quite beneficial to the balkan nations, but alas they couldn’t appreciate what they had as their minds were poisoned by nationalism and yugoslavism.

      • You are absolutely right, sir! A few buildings are a direct proof that the Austrian and Hungarian government was awesome. There is no need to look at attempts to germanize and hungarize(?) the Croatian people(read: erase Croats as a seperate nation). Also, Belgrade was never under the authority of Austro-Hungary, so how did they build stuff there???

    • Gavrilo Princip was a hero. Not only Serbian, but also the entire world. He shot the tyrant, not in Vienna or Berlin, but in his enslaved country.
      That deserves a monument.

      • Why does it matter where he shot him? Also, I wouldn’t say he is a hero for Croats and Bosniaks. I understand that a lot of nations got their freedom from Austria after WW1, but that’s not the case with Croats and Bosniaks. My nation just switched Austrian opression with Serbian opression. So saying that is is a hero for the *whole* world is not true.

        • It matters, but it’s to long discussion for this forum.
          Anyone who is willing to die for freedom is a hero for the whole world in my eyes. And it saddens me that Croats and Bosniaks don’t feel the same way now. Even though he was a Serb, he and Mlada Bosna were not fighting for Serbia. But for liberation of all south slavs.

          “I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be free from Austria”

          His heart was in the right place, at least you should respect him for that.

          • I do respect him, but there is a difference beetween respect and celebration(or in some cases, worship). What saddens me is that the Serbian leadership(note that I say leadership, I don’t want to offend the entire nation) didn’t understand the concept of Yugoslavia, they saw the new country as Greater Serbia and acted accordingly. That’s why the concept of Yugoslavia was doomed to fail, because of a small group of people who couldn’t understand the meaning of equality, but rather forced Serbian domination.

            • Yugoslavia was the best idea Balkan had in its miserable history, it saddens me deeply that it failed.
              But were discussing Princip here. And i’d rather worship him and build him a monument than destroy it. Like his house in Sarajevo was destroyed by Austrians in WW I. Rebuilt as a museum just to be destroyed again by Ustase in 1941. The memorial plaque was removed and sent to Adolf Hitler as a sign of submission. Rebuilt again as a museum, and destroyed by Bosniaks in 1992.

              I am for rebuilding and preserving memory. And that is how you respect him and all others like him that we in our stupidity forgot. Because that is the only way to stop repeating same mistakes, finally move forward and truly be free.

        • This is such a sad comment…

 shows in what kind of time we live in.. when people willing to die for freedom are just a part of history.

            • Murdering a pregnant woman is such an heroic act. True fucking hero. He was a terrorist and that trash doesn’t deserve any praising nor monuments.

              • Princip was a brainwashed fool, from what was he liberating bosnia from? good administration? more progress in 8-9 years than in 500+ years of turkish occupation? The archduke whom he killed in cold blood planned do federalize AU and give it’s peoples more liberty and self-rule.

          • Man, i don’t know what to answer to you…
            I can only quote Obi-Wan
            “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
            For you he’s a hero.
            For me he’s the guy who has started the war who killed around 1,700,000 people in my country, and later bringing all the shit to start WWII.

            So yeah for me that’s not a hero…

  4. First thing first PRINCIP was an Austro-Hungarian citizen, and its ridiculous to say that war started because he killed Ferdinand.
    That war was prepared for years and big powers just wanted to create a reason to fight.

    One who got most of that war was obviously England…….

  5. Bang, bang, Gavrilo Princip
    Bang, bang, shoot me Gavrilo
    Bang, bang, the first six are for you

    Bang, bang, the seventh is for me
    Bang, bang, Gavrilo Princip
    Bang, bang, Europe’s going to weep

    All for you, all for you all for you, Sophia

    ….Wait, wrong Franz Ferdinand.

  6. Great reminder of the event, but war started on July 28.

    BTW for those people that think the Russian Revolution was one of the outcomes of the Great War, think again. Lenin was in galicia at that time (later the germans, who hated the russians even before the war, financed the October Revolution secretly) , the russian industry was booming BUT the agriculture was in a bad shape (thus many people starved in major cities) AND the Tzar’s family was not so beloved by the army and the nation as well by that point (1905 revolution).

    “The truth of course was far less dreadful – first tanks were slow, extremely difficult to operate and of limited use.”
    Because they were experiments yo… They were the “open beta stages”.

    • agriculture production went way down once Russian Revolution went off and on top of that the transportation system took a nose dive as well.

  7. Holy shit the stuff people write here claiming as the main reasons for ww1 are mostly redicolous… You cant just say that something is tje reason for that war. Ww1 was a culmination of previous events troughout he entire european history. Mostly nineteenth century european concert politics and the Bismarck system of alliances that was misunderstood by the middle class and industrialists and above all by Wilhelm 2. I could go a lot deeper into this but as I said, it is a culmination of previous events inspired by the idea that Bismarck didn’t allow Germany as much prestige as Germans felt they deserved, mixed with rigidity in military planning in that time that resulted in Russian troop deployment and the German borders and German troops on Belgian and French borders, without a formal declaration of war.
    Damn it, went way more into detail than I wanted on this. Because I wil never win this argument anyway… Oh and please dont mind the typo’s, I’m typing on my phone…

    • “Holy shit the stuff people write here claiming as the main reasons for ww1 are mostly redicolous…”
      This is because for almost 100 years this topic was overlooked or misinterpreted.
      But at least we try to change it and learn from it. At least i hope.