|The Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg (Source)|
By Karl Tröstl (Europeanna 1914-1918) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
One could view this as the starting point to one of the bloodiest centuries in the history of humanity.
Though many of us may have learned in school that this was the event which started World War One, that is not really accurate. It did, however, provide a pretext for much of what followed.
Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia.
Russia decides to support their fellow Slavs in Serbia.
Austria-Hungary looks to the German Empire for support.
France is allied by treaty with Russia.
The United Kingdom, though not formally allied with France, have close military ties with the French and have declared themselves to be a guarantor of Belgian neutrality.
It is a complicated web of treaties, promises and misconceptions.
Once things have been set in motion the generals tell their political leaders, nothing may stop it. To stop mobilization is to invite disaster.
The summer of 1914 proves to be hot and very tense. While there is much diplomatic back and forth, nothing looks promising. Certain so-called "statesmen" fail badly, perhaps intentionally.
Germany feels "squeezed" by the countries around her. Her Kaiser, Wilhelm II, is something of a spoiled brat. He wants a Navy just like Britain's. He is a grandson of the great Queen Victoria.
As was the British King George V and Alexandra, the wife of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
The stage has been set. Europe is a powder keg.
The fuse has been lit.