Nanien Chester   Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
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I don't know what else to put here, so I'm just going to put a report I did on the beginnings of World War I.

The event that began World War I is almost universally accepted to the assassination of Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip. To understand the significance of this event, we need to first understand the relation between Serbia and Austria-Hungary at the time, as well as the significance of the day that Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on.

Austria-Hungary (which would become several other countries after the first world war such as Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia) and Serbia were rivals for centuries by the time that the assassination happened. Both countries, especially the underdog, Serbia, were full of ultranationalists that wanted to destroy the other. One such Serbian ultranationalist was Gavrilo Princip. He and his companions planned to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the day of the celebration of the Battle of Kosovo in the city of Sarajevo.

The Battle of Kosovo is important as it is one the the biggest military losses in all of Serb history, and the area lost during the battle is where the city of Sarajevo stands. As such, the Serbians, even those that don't go as far as being ultranationalist, are not fond of the idea that the Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne would arrive at the celebration of one of the most, if not the most humiliating losses in Serbian history in the city of Sarajevo, which the Serbs believe rightfully belongs to them.

On the day of the celebration, with the Archduke heading around town in his motorcade, the assassins prepared to strike. However, after one assassin flubbed it all by missing a grenade throw that doesn't even end up touching Ferdinand, failing to kill himself by taking a defective cyanide pill, and getting captured, the remaining assassins disbanded.

Out of frustration, Gavrilo Princip went to get something to eat. Meanwhile, the Archduke decided that he should go to meet the people injured by the attack. So he got back into his car with his wife and had the driver set out for the hospital. However, the driver takes a wrong turn, and after failing to back up, as well as the car briefly locking up thanks to early 20th century cars being very finicky, they’re forced to wait in a street. And, from a nearby cafe, out walked Gavrilo Princip, who saw the Archduke and his wife, took out his gun, and shot them both. The driver attempted to make it to the hospital, but was too late. Both the Archduke and his wife were dead.

The Austro-Hungarian government understandably took this as an act of war, and after issuing an ultimatum to the Serbian government so unfair it was practically designed to be refused, war was declared.

So what gives? Why is it that these series of events which you'd think would have led to the Serbian-Austro-Hungarian war instead led to Worldwide Conflict? The answer lies in who these countries were allied with. The Serbians were allies with the Russians, and the Austro-Hungarians were allies with Germany. When Serbia and Austro-Hungary went to war, Germany and Russia were forced to declare war themselves.

From there, all hell broke loose. France got involved, the Germans managed to get the Ottoman Empire involved, and the German invasion of Belgium as a necessity of their war strategy led to public opinion in Britain being swayed enough that they got involved as well. From here, the fate of the next century, possibly millennium, possibly even for all history to come, would be decided.

One man can change the world as we know it, and one event can shape history for centuries to come.
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