Sunday, June 22, 2014

The war that made the modern world

In six days, some of the world’s citizens will note the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the greatest event of the last century.

On June 28, 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. A month later, Austria-Hungary and Germany were at war with Russia, France and Britain.

One hundred years. It is an unusual thing, marking the century anniversary of anything; especially so in knowing that every international event had a link back to that summer day in a city that later would host a winter Olympics and still later would be the focus of a tearing apart of a country – Yugoslavia – deemed an absolute necessity by the makers of the Versailles Treaty.

(Right now I am reading Prit Buttar's Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front 1914, and Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.)

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