1914-2014: Commemorating an Event in Sarajevo

July 2nd, 2014

This past weekend, news outlets noted an important anniversary: the centenary of the assassination in Sarajevo of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, an event generally identified as precipitating what we now know as World War I.

While there are many depictions of this critical event on June 28, 1914, we call attention here to what transpired in Sarajevo just a few minutes prior.

This image, showing the departure from Sarajevo’s town hall of the archduke, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, is one of hundreds of picture postcards in the Andrew Laurie Stangel Collection (call number CA 17439) in the Department of Special Collections. As Dr. Stangel describes the card, “Shortly before this scene was photographed, a bomb was thrown at the open touring car in which archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were riding as their motorcade entered Sarajevo and proceeded along the north bank (Appel Quay) of the Miljacka River towards the Town Hall. The bomb exploded without injury to the archduke and his wife; it wounded instead a senior officer in the car behind them.”

More than 200 of the postcards from the Stangel Collection have been expertly digitized by the UW Digital Collections Center — and are available as “The Fine Art of Propaganda, Hand-Delivered: GREETINGS FROM THE FATHERLAND!: German Picture Postcards and History, 1914-1945.” A search there for the keyword “Sarajevo” will yield more images relevant to the events leading up to the guns of August 1914.

We call your attention as well as to the forthcoming exhibit “1914: Then Came Armageddon” in the Department of Special Collections, along with the larger World War I collection within the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. One of the books to be displayed reproduces work of the photographic section of the French army, source of the image below; the whole work is also available through the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.