On 28 June 2014, #KU_WWI Twitter Project staff and 8 members from the Lawrence community met at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City to LIVE Tweetenact the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand exactly 100 years after his death.
University of Kansas faculty, students, and members of the local community learned about the historical event and wrote many of the tweets for the reenactment during Spring 2014. These contributions were formed into a Master Script that was uploaded into an automated system that began tweeting out using the hashtag #KU_WWI at 9:30 am on June 28th, exactly 100 years to the minute (not counting the time difference) that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophie, left Hotel Bosna to begin their fateful visit to Sarajevo.
The 8 LIVE tweeters had advanced copies of this script, and were tasked with researching, adding, embellishing, explaining, retweeting and responding to the automated script in the voice of the character or characters they represented.
The end result was, as one #KU_WWI staff member likes to describe it, a “historically-inspired, humanities-driven improvisational social media jazz piece” that gave voice, agency and narrative to the persons involved in this event often perceived as the starting point for a war that would result in the death of 17 million people.
#KU_WWI Project staff would like to thank the National World War I Museum for hosting us on June 28th. And we would especially like to express our gratitude to the smart, witty, creative, history-loving and community-driven LIVE tweeters who took time out of their busy lives to research these events and share their unique perspectives. Thank you, tweeps!
While the assassination occurred on June 28th, it wasn’t until one month later, on July 28th, 1914, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and the First World War officially began. In remembrance of this momentous day in history, #KU_WWI staff have waited until exactly 100 years later, 28 July 2014, to release the Storify of the LIVE Tweetenactment of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The month long delay in releasing the LIVE Tweetenactment has somewhat disrupted the project’s historical timeline – the follow-up mini tweetenactments of what occurred in Sarajevo after the assassination, the reaction of leaders from around the world, and the experience of the couple’s children will be somewhat out of time and place when we release them in August. But we still felt the wait was symbolically worthwhile. As the WWI centennial commemoration progresses over the month of August and we learn more about how this conflict shaped the 20th century, we hope these #KU_WWI Storifies are small reminders of the human side of these events, and make us think back to what occurred just one month earlier in Sarajevo.
May these events always be remembered, and the people never forgotten.
Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.
Click here to read about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project in the Washington Post.