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CHAPTER I

 

THE CAUSES OF THE GREAT WORLD WAR

 

O N SUNDAY, June 28th, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir apparent of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and his wife the Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot and killed while driving through the streets of Serajevo, in Bosnia. An enquiry into the circumstances connected with the murders was instituted by the Austrian Government, and the conclusion arrived at was that the weapons of the assassins had been obtained from a Serbian arsenal, the crime planned on Serbian soil, and that the criminals had entered Bosnia with the direct connivance and assistance of Serbian officials. As the outcome of this investigation, the Austrian Government, on July 23rd, addressed to the Serbian Government a note, making certain demands which, it intimated, must be answered satisfactorily by Serbia within forty-eight hours. Of this note Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, said, "I had never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character."

Despite the extreme severity of the demands, practically all of them were acceded to by Serbia. There had undoubtedly been for some time very active agitation carried on in Bosnia by Serbians, and this the accused Government promised to suppress. It further agreed to punish all persons who were proved to have been implicated in the murder of the Archduke and his consort. In response to the demand that Austrian officials should co-operate with those of Serbia in crushing the agitation against Austria, and in investigating the circumstances of the murders, Serbia declared itself willing to permit such joint action, so far as was consistent with the principles and practice of international law, but declined

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