Did you see the article about KU WWI centennial commemoration activities in the Lawrence Journal World on Wednesday? Great write-up!
When it comes to using social media to explore historical topics, one is never quite sure how it’s going to turn out. The crowd sourcing aspect of Twitter is by nature unpredictable — and once it’s out on the internet, it’s out there for good.
It was just a few months ago that #KU_WWI staff sat down to talk about these issues. Our anxieties ranged from, “What if the technology doesn’t work?” to “What if we incite an international incident by inadvertently offending an eastern european country?” But our biggest concerns were, “Would anyone take notice?” and “Would they find it informative and useful?”
Rather than guess, we thought we’d just go ahead and ask.
Over the past few months we’ve been collecting your feedback into what we like to call, #Sentiments: The Good, The Bad & The Retweeted — thoughts and opinions from the twitterverse. And in this blog post, we thought we’d share a summary.
Almost from the beginning, the project had a faithful following who helped spread the word.
Your promotion caught the eye of local media and resulted in our first press coverage.
By the end of the project, we were featured on Kansas Public Radio’s KPR Presents, Channel6 News, and had been the subject of 18 online and print articles including in the Associated Press and The Washington Post.
The project reached a global audience who tweeted about #KU_WWI in multiple languages — Spanish, French, Bosnian, Serbian, Chinese, Russian and Czech.
As the LIVE Tweetenactment unfolded, quite a few of you stayed with us and watched as history happened as if LIVE on twitter.
That said, not everyone enjoyed the LIVE Tweetenactment. Negative feedback ranged from dubious to overtly offended by the project concept.
And a few good samaritans helped with grammar tips.
Some of your comments after the LIVE Tweetenactment were particularly poignant and insightful.
And by and large, your response to the #KU_WWI Twitter Project was overwhelmingly positive.
Preliminary reports indicate that the #KU_WWI Twitter Project had 456 contributors, generated 4,600 tweets, reached 623,900 unique twitter accounts, and created 3.4 million impressions throughout the entire twitterverse.
Thank you to everyone who made this project such a success!
The #KU_WWI Twitter Project is a collaboration among the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, European Studies Program, the departments of Germanic Languages & Literatures, History and Slavic Languages & Literatures, University Honors Program, Global Awareness Program, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Libraries, KU Memorial Unions and Spencer Museum of Art. This project is also sponsored by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.
The University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is designated a Title VI National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the U.S. Department of Education.
This project is part of the University of Kansas centennial commemoration of World War I, coordinated by the European Studies Program. Learn more about participating units and upcoming programs at KUWWI.com.
Since 1923, The Fateful Adventures of The Good Soldier Švejk during the World War, or more commonly known as The Good Soldier Švejk, has been delighting audiences around the world with its dark comedy and biting anti-war themes.
Considered the grandfather of satirical anti-war novels like Catch-22, The Good Soldier Švejk is a hilarious yet scathing commentary on the ludicrous absurdity of 20th century Austro-Hungarian bureaucracy. The novel has been translated into over 58 languages and many acknowledge it as one of the greatest masterpieces of satirical writing ever written.
For the purposes of the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, we present an abbreviated first chapter of The Good Soldier Švejk in which Švejk (@GSoldierSvejk) learns about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) from his cleaning lady, Mrs. Müller (@CharwomanMuller). What is striking about their discussion is its seeming irrelevance to their everyday lives — they are interested in the event, but only in so much as people are when it comes to royalty and scandal.
The literary tweetenactment tries to be as true to the English translation of the novel as possible, with abbreviation and some artistic license for the 140-character tweet limitation.
The @GoodSoldierSvejk Tweetenactment is meant to represent the greater body of WWI literature, music, and art that would come out of the early part of the 20th century. It is our opinion that history is best understood by exposure to the humanities, and it is our hope that you will be inspired to seek your own copy of The Good Soldier Švejk as a means of better understanding the First World War.
Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.
Did you know that the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas now hosts one of the largest collection of WWI art in the United States? Click here to read an article about the collection.
If Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) and Duchess Sophie (@Duchess_Sophie) were the first casualties of World War I, then their three children were its first orphans. As a follow-up to the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, #FirstWorldWarOrphans features a collection of tweets from the perspectives of the Archduke’s daughter, Sophie Von Hohenberg (@Little_Zofie), and her tutor, Otto Lev Stanovsky (@Fr_Stanovsky), as they live through the aftermath of the assassination. The tweetenactment humanizes Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie as people and parents – through the eyes of their children we see their humanity rather than just their place in history.
#FirstWorldWarOrphans begins a couple of days before the June 28th assassination. It begins with the innocent perspective of a 12-year-old girl, the Archduke’s oldest child, Sophie Von Hohenberg, or as her family affectionately called her, Little Zophie.
Little Zophie’s tweets give us insight into the Archduke’s family life as well as highlight his passion for travel and hunting. By the time of his death, he had successfully hunted 274,889 animals and was widely considered one of the best shots in the empire.
Accurately illustrating the Archduke’s personality has been a challenge for #KU_WWI staff and tweetenactors. Publically he was known for being introverted and aloof, but more commonly he was described as brusque, arrogant, and even hot-tempered. He was also an avid art collector, had a sincere passion for architectural preservation, and traveled widely – even as far as America (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 121-125). For the #KU_WWI Twitter Project we focused on the Archduke as a husband and father — while his public persona may remain controversial, there is little doubt as to his sincere adoration and devotion to his wife and children in his private life.
As stated in the #WhySarajevo and #All4USophie Tweetenactments Archduke Ferdinand’s marriage to Duchess Sophie was deemed morganatic, which meant that their children were barred from imperial succession. One of the benefits of this status was that they could raise their children however they saw fit, without the pressures and protocols of court. By all accounts, the couple were informal, loving and engaged – somewhat out of the norm for upper class Edwardian families in which nannies and private schools parented more than parents.
The tone of the tweetenactment changes abruptly when Zophie’s tutor, Otto Lev Stanovsky, receives a phone call informing him of the deaths of Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo.
What follows over the next few days is an account of the children trying to fully understand the death of their parents and the horrible treatment they continued to receive from the imperial court.
Usually when an heir to a European monarchy dies, all the imperial houses of Europe go into official mourning and gather to attend the state funeral. For Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie, however, foreign representatives were not only not invited, but also actively turned back from the border (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 224).
Otto Lev Stanovsky’s tweets specifically calls out Prince Alfred de Montenuovo, Lord Chamberlain, for the bizarre and bureaucratically petty funeral proceedings. Responsible for court protocol, Montenuovo had made a point of humiliating the morganatic couple in life and refused to let up after their death.
Originally, Montenouvo only made plans for the funeral and burial of Archduke Ferdinand, refusing to acknowledge Duchess Sophie even in death. But in his will, the Archduke had laid out his wishes to be interred with his wife at their family home in Artstetten, rather than in Vienna where they would have been surely separated by protocol.
The official, imperial funeral in Vienna continued to be problematic, however. When the bodies of the Archduke and his wife arrived in Vienna on July 2, 1914, the imperial family was ordered not to greet the train as was the usual custom. Even though the bodies could have been switched to more imperially appropriate, matching coffins, the bodies were kept in the original coffins provided in Sarajevo. Archduke Ferdinand’s was large and ornate, while Duchess Sophie’s was simple and modest. While finally being allowed to lay in state beside her husband only after multiple family members directly appealed to the emperor, Duchess Sophie’s coffin was kept 18 inches lower than the Archduke’s – a visual reminder of her unequal status. For imperial funerals, it was not uncommon for viewings to last several days. In the case of the Archduke and Duchess Sophie, viewing was kept to just 4 hours and tens of thousands of mourners were turned away (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 227-228).
The couple’s three children were not allowed to attend the funeral in Vienna – as products of a morganatic marriage it was deemed inappropriate for them to mourn next to the imperial family (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 230-231). It was only after all the official mourners had left, that the children were allowed into the chapel to pay their respects during which their daughter privately eulogized:
After the funeral, the couple were taken by carriage to a train. This procession was kept private, no bells tolled, and no military escort was provided.
Even though the Archduke was the Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian army, Montenouvo denied military honors for the funeral proceedings because they were deemed unworthy of Duchess Sophie. A hundred aristocrats defied imperial protocol by spontaneously following behind the hearses to the train station – a public rebuke of the court’s treatment of the heir and his wife (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 232).
The coffins were unceremoniously loaded onto the train to Artstetten – no mourning carriage was provided, they were placed in a freight car. Upon arrival to their home, the couple finally began to receive the mourning they deserved as family and staff gathered to greet the royal couple and grieve together in a private ceremony.
Specifically to keep other aristocrats in Vienna from attending these private ceremonies, Montenouvo ordered a longer than normal requiem at mass that Sunday, keeping them in church rather than allowing them to go to Arstetten. A few openly rebelled against this order, defied the court, and went to the funerals in Artstetten anyway. One of these was Franz Ferdinand’s exiled brother, who had also been striped of his titles and land for entering into a morganatic marriage (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 237).
The couple were finally laid to rest in matching white tombs with the inscription, Joined in marriage, they were joined by the same fate.
#KU_WWI Project staff would like to extend a big thank you to KU Slavic Department alumna Courtney Shipley for bringing these characters to life.
Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.
Click here to read about Duchess Sophie and the #KU_WWI Twitter Project in a She The People Washington Post blog by Diana Reese.
As a follow-up to the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, #TheWorldReacts features a collection of tweets from leaders around the world as they learned of what happened in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914.
Summer 1914 would eventually lead these political leaders to war, a war that would shape the 20th Century. Therefore it may come as a surprise that for many of these leaders, the events seemed relatively insignificant at the time. Few had any foresight as to how what happened in Sarajevo would result in a global war, and most had what they thought were more pressing, local issues in mind.
When he learned of the assassination in Sarajevo, British Prime Minister (@PM_Asquith) dismissed it as one of many. His main preoccupation was with the Irish independence movement (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 70 – 72). The character’s response also indicates a general disengagement between Great Britain and continental Europe.
In June 1914, politicians in France were dealing with their own assassination scandal. A mistress of the French finance minister had recently murdered the editor of the French paper Le Figaro for launching a smear campaign against her lover. French President Raymond Poincaré (@Prez_Poincare) was at the Longchamp horse races when he received a telegram about the assassination and his reaction was dismissive – he stayed at the races and continued to place bets (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 62 – 68 and Margaret MacMillan’s The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, pg. 544).
Kaiser Wilhelm II (@Wilhelm_II) was attending the Kiel Regatta Gala when he heard the news of Archduke Ferdinand’s death. A close, personal friend of the Archduke, Kaiser Wilhelm II was one of the few heads of state who saw the assassination as a war-provoking event (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 78 – 80 and Margaret MacMillan’s The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, pg. 544).
Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I (@Franz_Joseph_I) was in the town Ischl when he heard the news and to some seemed almost relieved. Upon receiving the telegram from his adjutant the emperor was quoted as saying that, “A higher power has restored the old order that I unfortunately was unable to uphold.” Future statements would be more publically acceptable and grief-stricken, but his initial reaction was telling and further exemplified in the imperial court’s continued humiliation of the Archduke and Duchess Sophie in their funeral proceedings (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 212-213) — stay turned for our post about #FirstWorldWarOrphans later this week.
The first half of #TheWorldReacts represents the concept that while the assassination in Sarajevo is often described as the spark that ignited World War I, a more nuanced view of history shows how the event created a path to war – one of many paths they could have been taken that summer – a path these leaders had a month to turn back from.
The second half of #TheWorldReacts presents the two very different perspectives of political leaders in Serbia represented by the #KU_WWI characters King Peter I (@PeterI_Serbia) and the Serbian Chief of Intelligence Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević (@BlackHandApis).
King Peter I personifies the old-world monarchist view while the other represents more of a radical, nationalist agenda that would reappear again and again throughout the 20th century in the Balkans and also throughout Europe.
One hundred years later, the role of Serbia in the assassination plot continues to be controversial. While the Belgrade-based Black Hand terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assassination after the fact, it has never been clear how much support they provided the Young Bosnia conspirators. Was Serbia the culprit, the victim, or the victor? As in many historical events, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle of all three. The misinformation and confusion between the two characters represents how the assassination plot’s threads may have extended to Belgrade, but it was unlikely the conspiracy was “well organized” as would later be suggested by Austria-Hungary.
In #TheWorldReacts, the two Serbian characters argue about the assassination’s legacy. Should the assassins be celebrated as heroes and martyrs or should they be regarded as disenfranchised youths or terrorists? The dialogue between the two characters represents the divisive way in which Gavrilo Princip and his actions are remembered even to this day. As fate would have it, both character’s predictions for the future eventually came to pass.
A legacy of World War I was the 1918 formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 and eventually the communist country of Yugoslavia after World War II. “One nation, one king, one country” was the motto of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which the character tweets in both a cyrillic and latin script, indicating his hopes for unity in Southeast Europe.
In 1930, a plaque commemorating Gavrilo Princip was erected at the corner of Appel Quay and Franz Josef Strasse in Sarajevo. It read in Serbian, “Na ovom istorijskom mjestu Gavrilo Princip Navijesti slobodu na Vidov-Dan 15. [28.] Juna 1914.” Translation: “At this historical place, Gavrilo Princip proclaimed freedom on Vidovdan 15. Juna 1914” [St. Vitus Day, June 28th 1914 – Gregorian Calendar]. This plaque was stolen by Nazi troops in 1941 and given as a present to Adolf Hitler. A second plaque was erected in 1945 and Gavrilo Princip was declared a “national hero” of Yugoslavia. In 1953, another plaque was erected, this time with footprints encased in cement indicating the exact spot where Gavrilo Princip stood when he assassinated the Archduke. This plaque and memorial were destroyed by bombs during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992. Gavrilo Princip’s cement footprints were never replaced, but the Bosnian government did choose to erect a more neutral plaque that stands to this day. In Bosnian and English it reads: “From this place on 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia.”
If you would like to read an eye-witness account of WWI centennial commemoration activities in Bosnia, check out National World War I Museum Archivist Jonathan Casey’s blog: https://theworldwar.org/eyewitness.
Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.
Check out these other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments: #SafetyFirst, #Conspiracy,#WhySarajevo, #All4USophie, #BlankCheck, #IheartBosnia, LIVE Tweetenactment, LIVE Tweetenactment Deconstructed, #Sarajevo, #KU_WWI Characters Revealed.
In the bigger picture of World War I history, what happened in Sarajevo following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie is often lost. Focus tends to gravitate towards the diplomatic quagmire that would follow in July 1914 eventually leading to a declaration of war that would consume the globe for the next four years (look for #TheWorldReacts blog post next week).
Still, the events in Sarajevo immediately following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand may be the key to understanding the Balkans in the 20th century. Occurring later in the evening after the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment on 28 June 2014, the #Sarajevo Tweetenactment explores what happened from the perspectives of Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek (@GovPotiorek1914), Sarajevo city officials Mayor Fehim Effendi Čurčić (@SarajevoMayor) and Police Commissioner Dr. Edmund Gerde (@CommishGerde), and fictional character Dmitrije Stefanovic (@KingofCevapi).
The #Sarajevo Tweetenactment begins with Police Commissioner Gerde describing the anti-Serb violence that had erupted in Sarajevo after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His tweets include actual archival photographs of the destruction.
Word of the assassination spread quickly and violent demonstrations broke out across the Austro-Hungarian empire. Some newspapers would later describe these demonstrations as ethnically based “pogroms.”
The attack on Hotel Evropa, now known as Hotel Europe, occurred as Police Commissioner Gerde describes. The tweetenactment includes this anecdote because the luxurious hotel represented the crème-de-la-crème of Serb-owned businesses in Sarajevo, yet its cultural and economic importance was not enough to keep it safe from anti-Serb violence that day.
As a witness to and innocent bystander in these events, fictional pastry chef Dmitrije Stefanovic references the Schutzkorps in one of his tweets:
The Schutzkorps was a volunteer militia established by Austro-Hungarian authorities from 1908-1918. Primarily composed of Bosnjaks, the militia’s purpose was to track down pro-Serb opposition within the newly annexed province of Bosnia. The Schutzkorps became synonymous with ethnically based persecution of Serbs in Austria-Hungary, and was said to have been very active during the violence that occurred in Sarajevo after the assassination.
Governor Potiorek ordered hundreds of troops into the streets of Sarajevo, although not necessarily to stop the violence.
Some have argued that Governor Potiorek actively encouraged the violence. But as the demonstrations became even more aggressive on June 29-30, it was Governor Potiorek who declared a state of emergency in Bosnia and finally took back control of Sarajevo.
By some accounts, hundreds of Serb business owners were imprisoned, many of them died in prison or were executed by the Schutzkorps (graphic photograph), and about 5,000 Serb families were expelled from Bosnia.
#KU_WWI character Dmitrije Stefanovic’s last three tweets represent the betrayal and alienation many Serbs felt as they lost their livelihoods and homes in this violence.
What is somewhat unique about the #Sarajevo Tweetenactment is that it explores the victimization of Serbs in these events rather than portraying them as WWI aggressors. This is a departure from other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments like #Conspiracy, #IheartBosnia, or the LIVE Tweetenactment in which pro-Serb nationalists conspire and then execute their plan to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In doing so, the project presents a more complicated portrait of the nations and nationalities who took part in this war where an individual could be a hero, terrorist, victim, culprit, and victor, all at the same time.
The “fictionality” of the #KU_WWI character Dmitrije Stefanovic also allows us an opportunity to speculate – how do you think these events changed Dima?
For much of the #KU_WWI Tweetenactments, @KingofCevapi has been a politically ambivalent local business owner who seems more interested in creating playlists and talking about his Turkish friend Sulejman.
Was the loss and betrayal experienced by Dima during this violence enough for him to change from a simple shopkeeper into a radicalized nationalist? Did Gavrilo Princip undergo a similar transformation?
Whatever you decide, there is little doubt that the events in Sarajevo on June 28th-30th, both the assassination and the rioting afterwards, contributed to and perpetuated the history of ethnically based violence that would come to dominate the Balkans in the 20th century – just one more legacy of the First World War.
Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.
Check out these other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments: #SafetyFirst, #Conspiracy, #WhySarajevo, #All4USophie, #BlankCheck, #IheartBosnia, LIVE Tweetenactment, LIVE Tweetenactment Deconstructed, #KU_WWI Characters Revealed.
The #KU_WWI Twitter Project never intended on being a strictly historical representation or chronological timeline of the events that occurred in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Rather, it proposed a more creative approach – a human-focused interdisciplinary perspective that included history but also had geographical, literary, music and other social science and humanities elements both past and present. In other words, it was intended to be a social media performance piece that might inspire followers to learn more about World War I history.
But that doesn’t mean the project was entirely devoid of historical fact. In this blog post, we’ll deconstruct the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment and point out any interesting bits you might have missed on the day of the event.
The #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment began at 9:30 am, 100 years to the minute (not accounting for the time difference) that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie departed Hotel Bosna in Ilidze for their official visit to Sarajevo. The morning begins with reference to the previous mini tweetenactment #IheartBosnia that ends with an exchange in which the Archduke tries to cancel the next day’s visit and the Governor insists. This discussion between the Archduke and Governor Potiorek actually took place the night before the assassination when both were attending a celebratory dinner at Hotel Bosna.
The morning of the assassination, the conspirators did in fact meet in a back room of Vlasjić’s Pastry Shop. There they received their weapons, and then identified strategic positions along the Miljacka River using a map of the parade route that had been published in local newspapers. For weapons, Gavrilo Princip chose to take a gun, Nedeljko Čabrinović took a bomb, and Trifko Grabež chose both – as indicated in the Tweetenactment.
At Vlasjić’s Pastry Shop conspiracy organizer Danilo Ilić distributed cyanide capsules – rather than be apprehended, the assassins intended on taking their own lives. As audience members learned to great dramatic effect, the cyanide capsules were old and did not kill the assassins who swallowed them.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie were in the 3rd car in the motorcade. They rode in a Viennese Graf & Stift Bois de Boulogne open touring car that sported a yellow and black Hapsburg flag. A man named Leopold Loyka drove the car.
As the motorcade moved along the parade route, most of the assassins failed to act. There is still some controversy as to why – some may have had second thoughts, some might have froze – a few claimed during their trial that they were being watched too closely by police stationed in the crowd. Whatever the reason, in the end, only Nedeljko Čabrinović and Gavrilo Princip went through with the assassination plan.
The first assassination attempt on June 28th occurred when Nedeljko Čabrinović pulled out the bomb he’d received at Vlasjić’s Pastry Shop, struck its detonator cap against a lamppost, then hurled it at the Archduke.
Seeing the bomb, driver Leopold Loyka quickly accelerated and Archduke Franz Ferdinand raised his arm in an effort to protect Duchess Sophie. The bomb bounced off the back of their car and exploded under the car behind them. The passengers in the Archduke’s car were relatively unhurt – Duchess Sophie did receive some minor injuries.
The passengers of the 4th car as well as 20 spectators were injured by the explosion and taken to a local garrison hospital.
After tossing the bomb, Nedeljko Čabrinović swallowed his cyanide capsule and shouted, “I am a Serbian hero” before leaping into the Miljacka River – which, because it was Bosnia in June, was only a few inches deep. He was quickly apprehended by police and taken away.
The motorcade sped down the Appel Quay to city hall. Many of those waiting for the Archduke to arrive at city hall, including the mayor, thought the loud noise they had just heard was from a car backfiring or a cannon salute – many had no idea about the assassination attempt. Entirely unaware, the mayor launched into his prepared speech:
It is true that the mayor’s speech was interrupted by Archduke Ferdinand who exclaimed:
And the awkward moment in which the flustered mayor continued to read his prepared speech to which Archduke Ferdinand replied by reading from the pages of his own prepared remarks visibly splattered with the blood of his aide is also a matter of historical fact.
After the visit at city hall, it was agreed that instead of continuing with the official itinerary, the Archduke should visit those wounded by the earlier assassination attempt. Ironically, the person in charge of telling the driver of Archduke Ferdinand’s car about the change in destination was one of those injured in the bombing, and was therefore at the hospital unable to perform his duties.
Gavrilo Princip, the only assassin still committed to seeing the plot through, had wandered down Appel Quay to the corner of Franz Josef Strasse and was loitering in front of Schiller’s Delicatessen. During his trial he confessed he was just wasting time after a long and disappointing day. He was sure that the motorcade would change the planned route, and was stunned when it continued along its original path and passed right in front of him.
There is some controversy as to whether Archduke Ferdinand’s car stopped in front of Gavrilo Princip or actually backed up to him (did the car have a reverse gear?) – regardless, the assassin found himself less than 5 ft from his marks. It is said that upon seeing Duchess Sophie, Gavrilo Princip hesitated for several seconds before discharging his weapon. At his trial, he insisted that her death was an accident and while his accounts deferred, at one point said he was so excited he could not recall how many times he fired the gun or even where he aimed.
For the assassination, lyrics from the band Franz Ferdinand’s song, “All For You, Sofia” were used to illustrate the shooting. The juxtaposition highlights Gavrilo Princip’s youth – he was only 19-years-old at the time of the assassination and had he been alive today, might very well have liked this popular indie rock band. Using the modern day band’s lyrics in this context also educates fans that might not have fully understood the song’s historical context.
The shots fired by Gavrilo Princip struck both Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie. Duchess Sophie, turning to her husband and seeing blood on his face, cried out her final words:
Seeing his beloved wife slump down in her seat, Archduke Franz Ferdinand whispered his final words to her:
The Storify for the LIVE Tweetenactment concludes with the deaths of Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie. For an epilogue, the Tweetenactment features eleven graphic representations of the assassination in what we call #AssassinationReimagined. This was followed by eleven newspaper headlines in different languages. Both illustrate how the world learned about the fateful events in Sarajevo that would eventually lead to global conflict.
In the epilogue, the number eleven was specifically chosen for its symbolic significance in WWI history. Last rites were said over the bodies of Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie at 11pm. The license plate of the car they were riding in when they died was “AIII 118” which some claim eerily prophesizes 11/11/18, the date of the WWI armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month in 1918.
While this concluded the LIVE portion of the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, the tweets didn’t stop there. Over the next few days we will release the Storifies for what happened in Sarajevo following the assassination, how the world found out and reacted, what happened to Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie’s children, and the literary interpretation of these events.
Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, (New York: Harper Collins, 2012).
Greg King and Sue Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013).
John Keegan, The First World War, ( New York: Vintage Books, 1998).
Max Hastings, Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War, ( New York: Knopf, 2013).
Sean McMeekin, July 1914: Countdown to War, (New York: Basic Books, 2013).
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.