The Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria, with his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, was paying a visit of state to Bosnia, then a subject province of Austria, peopled by Slavs. After viewing the maneuvers of two army corps at their field quarters, he expressed a desire to inspect the troops in the capital at Sarajevo. He arrived in the capital early on the morning of Sunday, June 28, 1914, to find only the local governor and his staff waiting to receive him. The sheets were thronged, for the day was a Serbian fete. While the party was motoring leisurely toward the place of inspection, a black package fell upon the opened hood of the archduke's car. He tossed it into the street, where it exploded, wounding two officials in a motor car and six spectators in the street. The bomb-thrower, a young printer by the name of Cabrinovitch, a native of Herzegovina, was seized, and confessed at his trial that he had received the bomb from the Serbian arsenal at Kragujevatz.
Arrived at the Town Hall, the Archduke protested against the lack of precautions taken to insure his safety, but when the civic officials sought to dissuade him from continuing his tour of the city, he refused and insisted upon driving to the hospital where one of the wounded aides-de-camp was receiving treatment. As his car was proceeding through a narrow street, the Appel Quay, a bomb was thrown which failed to explode. The assassin, a Bosnian student called Prinzip, and like Cabrinovitch a Protestant Serb, then approached the car and fired three shots from a Browning pistol. The Archduke was mortally wounded in the neck, and the Duchess was terribly wounded in the abdomen, she having offered her body as a shield to save her husband. Both died within an hour. The Austrian governor of Sarajevo at once laid the blame at Serbia's door. The true authorship of the dastardly crime, however, is yet to be revealed.
The assassination was denounced generally throughout Europe, but no international complications were expected to result from it. President Poincare of France was spending a holiday in Russia; Emperor William of Germany was cruising his yacht in Norwegian waters; the trial of Madame Gaillaux engaged the attention of Paris, while England was engrossed with her Irish crisis in Ulster. The world waited calmly for the Austrian government to act in the matter.