Drawing on rare primary sources and new interviews with Hapsburg descendants, King and Woolmans explode the myths and tell the true story behind the assassination that sparked World War I.
When summer 1914 opened, Europe was dominated by three great empires: Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. By the end of World War I, all three monarchies had disappeared from the face of the earth. One event precipitated the conflict, and at its heart was a tragic love story. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was heir to an empire with millions of subjects, many of whom resented the central government. When he chose to marry for love against the wishes of the Emperor and the Court, he and his wife were marked for destruction by reactionaries who feared their modernizing influence. King and Woolmans prove that they were deliberately sent to Sarajevo, a city seething with revolutionary violence, in the hope they would be killed.
Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege and an Imperial Court consumed with hatred, The Assassination of the Archduke paints a portrait of a couple who were deeply in love, devoted to their children, and determined to bring Austria-Hungary into the modern world. Instead, they were murdered in cold blood, their empire destroyed and their children doomed to go from magnificent castles to the horrors of concentration camps under the Nazis. Using a documentary technique similar to books about another famous assassination in Dallas fifty years later, this book lays bare the lethal circumstances surrounding that fateful Sunday morning in 1914 and the hidden forces at work.