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The Causes Of World War I

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The Causes of World War I

It was June, 1914. At tables in a humble cafÐ"© in Bosnia in the heart of the Balkans in Central Europe, sat thirty-five men. Most of them were young students. There were also teachers, tradesmen, peasants, and workers. All were from Bosnia, which the great Austro-Hungarian Empire had taken from Serbia a few years earlier.

These men were terrorists, members of the secret Serbian society called the Black Hand. There meeting that night was in protest against the coming visit of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia. They made their decision almost immediately. Death to the tyrant!

Later, eight members of the society were selected to carry out the sentence. They were to wait five hundred yards apart along the Archduke had to travel. Among so many, one would surely succeed in killing him.

Among those chosen to kill the Archduke was a nineteen year-old student, Gavrilo Princip. Princip was a homeless terminally ill Bosnian freedom fighter.

At dawn on June 28 the eight assassins were armed and waiting along the route. When the Archduke appeared, one of them threw a grenade at his car. The Archduke was not injured, but as the car turned over the a bridge, Princip stepped forward and fired two shots. One pierced the Archduke's neck so that blood spurted from his mouth. The other struck the Archduke's wife, Sophie, killing her instantly.

Police officers seized Princip. They knocked him down, beat him with the ends of their swords, all but killed him. The boy died in prison, but his shots echoed around the world to set off the explosion of World War I.

Austria-Hungary was to blame for what happened next. The German Kaiser, Whilhelm II, gave Austria-Hungary a "blank check" to punish Serbia.

On July 23, 1914 Austria-Hungary issued Serbia a 10 Point Ultimatum in which Serbia was to give up her rights as and independent state. The ultimatum further called for a reply within forty-eight hours.

On July 25, just two minutes of the time limit the Serbs sent their answer. They accepted all demands except one.

On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. At this point the Russians began to mobilize their armies; Russia saw itself as the "Big Brother of "All Slavic People" in the

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