If Archduke Ferdinand Had Lived

What if Archduke Ferdinand had never been shot and killed? The world might never have entered the First World War, and as a result history would have unfolded quite differently. If GavriloPrincip had missed his mark, had not been given the opportunity to commit his crime, or had simply not picked up the gun, Archduke Ferdinand would have survived and the world would have potentially become a much different place.

The First World War led to the deaths of millions. It lasted four years, and involved nearly every major nation in existence at the time. New methods of violent military strategy were innovated on a constant basis during the war, and soldiers were either down in the trenches or gunned down going over the hill. When Archduke Ferdinand died, a chain of events was set in place that doomed nearly countless numbers of soldiers to die in the defense of their allies. If not for the chain of allegiances between nations, his death might have only put two countries at war with one another.

Following the war, many felt that Germany was harshly punished by the Treaty of Versailles. It is believed by some that this punishment was part of Hitler’s motivation to begin World War II. Without the death of Archduke Ferdinand, not only would millions of lives have been spared by WWI, but WWII and the Holocaust might not have claimed millions more. Oddly enough, Germany might have been better off, as they would have saved manpower and been able to increase their economy, the Discovery News reports.

There is one area which this economic growth would likely not have affected, and that is the military. Weaponry and strategy evolved great during the First and Second World Wars, and if Archduke Ferdinand had not been killed then there would have been less time dedicated to this cause. A decreased military budget would have affected the rest of the world as well, having an impact on medicine, vehicular transport, and computers. The Information Age might never have begun.

The survival of Archduke Ferdinand might have had some positive impacts on the world, but also many negative ones. With no advancements in medicine and technology, there would have been less privilege all around. There might also have been far fewer social advancements, as the growth of equality stemmed largely from the contributions of women and minorities to the war effort. While it seems like an odd thing to say, it is possible that Archduke Ferdinand needed to die so that the rest of the world could flourish.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE