‘We find it hard to believe that Germany will blame Serbia for this’
In our continuing series of archival reports on the build up to the first World War, the Sarajevo correspondent of Turin daily La Stampa records increasing Serb-Croat-Bosnian tensions in the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie leave Sarajevo City Hall on June 28th, 1914, the day of their assassination. Four days later the Turin correspondent of Italian daily La Stampa referred to fears in Serbia that Germany could attack their country in response to the murders. Photograph: JU Sarajevo Museum)/handout via Reuters
AFTER THE SARAJEVO TRAGEDY
Anti-Serb demonstrations have now spread [from Sarajevo] to Mostar. As a Croat man was going into a shop in Mostar owned by a Serb, he heard the shop owner insult the memory of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. On hearing this, the Croat attacked the man with a knife and he was later arrested. Further protests and demonstrations are expected in Dubaj, Sainovac and Brodar…
Sarajevo paper Kcue Fiele Presse…has also published new details of the Sarajevo tragedy reporting, “The first bullet, as is known, hit the Duchess Sophie. The Archduke immediately leaned forward to embrace her but at that moment he too was hit…
“The Duchess lost consciousness immediately whilst the Archduke, although still conscious, could only mutter and groan. Even then, he still managed to say to the Duchess, ‘Don’t you die, you stay alive for our children’…The Archduke died on his way to hospital…The Duchess lived on a little longer but never regained consciousness…”
The Croat newspaper, Hrvatskidevnik, expresses its indignation for the assassination and says that the killing, long prepared in both Belgrade and Sarajevo, was the work of an organised band. The Muslim paper, Vocac, also expresses its profound pain and says that the killing is a matter of shame for the entire population of Sarajevo.
The [Bosnian] paper, Boniskc Post, writes, “Far be it from us to hold the Serbian people responsible for this crime. However, within the Serbian people there exist elements who have the killings of the Archduke and Duchess on their consciences because that is the logical consequence of their political line for years now…”
The Correspondenz Bureau in Sarajevo reports that “…the anti-Serb demonstrations from the day before yesterday are due to the indescribable indignation of the great majority of the Catholic and Muslim population. It is significant that no Serb has been killed whilst one Catholic and one Muslim were killed by the Serbs…The anger of the crowds was directed principally against those of a pan-Serbian tendency”.
Meanwhile, reports in the Neue Frale Presse in Prague claim that before the Archduke Franz Ferdinand departed, he had received many letters… advising him not to travel to Bosnia… Newspaper reports also speak of huge violent demonstrations in Zagreb during which the Caffe Nazionale was destroyed, demonstrations which went on long after midnight…
Official sources in Belgrade, however, report that “Serbia, like all civilized peoples, is full of indignation for the assassination of the Archduke and Duchess…We [Serbs] find it hard to believe the possibility that Germany will blame Serbia for this and consequently attack it because of the unforgiveable killing carried out by a hot-headed young man and notwithstanding all Serbia’s recent efforts to improve relations with the neighbouring [Austrian] monarchy.”
July 2nd, 1914