Guardian clarifies: Assassination of Franz Ferdinand was in fact a big deal

The Guardian

Archduke Ferdinand and his wife boarding a car just prior to his assassination in Sarajevo in 1914. (AP Photo)

Archduke Ferdinand and his wife boarding a car just prior to his assassination in Sarajevo in 1914. (AP Photo)

A century later, The Guardian has published a look back at how the newspaper’s coverage downplayed the June 28, 1914, assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

Richard Norton-Taylor writes:

“It is not to be supposed,” wrote a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian analysing the significance of the assassination 100 years ago on Saturday, “that the death of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand will have any immediate or salient effect on the politics of Europe.”

Thirty-seven days later, Britain declared war on Germany and Europe was plunged into a worldwide conflict in which more than 16 million people died in four years.

The story notes that “it is hardly surprising that the Guardian did not predict the unimaginable horror to come.” And to its credit, “the Guardian did devote the bulk of its main news page, illustrated by a small map and family tree of the Austrian royal house, to the shooting.”


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  • sargeh

    History shows that at the time the Guardian’s view was the prevalent one. It is inane to hoot at it 100 years later. Back then people didn’t expect that it would be used as a pretext to go to ward.