GavriloPrincip Honored by Bosnian Serbs

Serbs in Bosnia honor GavriloPrincip, the young man who killed Archduke Ferdinand and started the First World War.

The First World War began when GavriloPrincip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, setting off a chain of alliances that resulted in most of the world’s major powers declaring war on one another. In Bosnia, Serbs have decided to honor the young assassin with a statue. The statue was erected in Sarajevo, which just so happens to be where GavriloPrincip pulled the trigger on the assassination plot that started a war.

It has been almost exactly one hundred years since Ferdinand was killed, and the statue of the assassin marks this anniversary. There was an entire ceremony dedicated to its unveiling, which included an actor costumed as the assassin being honored. The costumed man paid tribute to the event by standing in front of the statue of GavriloPrincip as he raised a gun and fired off two shots. He did not use a real gun, though the plastic model he used mimicked the one which was actually employed in the killing of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28 of 1914.

A large crowd gathered for the statue’s unveiling, many of them harboring resentments against the current European Union. They believe that the Serbs have long been oppressed, and that a man such as GavriloPrincip represents the fight for freedom. That is certainly what he was fighting for when he killed Ferdinand, as he was hoping to end the occupation of Bosnia by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Mail Online reports.

Many still hold that the civil war in Bosnia in the mid-1990s should have liberated the Serbs. While they may not actively be fighting for freedom, the majority of Serbs today would rather see Bosnia split into two countries. They honor GavriloPrincip as a freedom fighter who would have supported their cause if he were alive today. The goals of the Serbs leading up to and during WWI were mostly geared towards liberation, with no expectations of a greater conflict.

GavriloPrincip may not have known that his assassination would result in a worldwide military conflict, but there is certainly some controversy today surrounding the decision to honor a man who inadvertently caused a war which killed millions of young soldiers. The politics surrounding the First World War were certainly complex, as is the desire of Serbs living in Bosnia to have their section of the country liberated and joined with the nation of Serbia. The unveiling of the statue of GavriloPrincip signals not only the continuation of their goal, but also the beginning of the centenary of one of history’s deadliest conflicts.

Ian Harvey

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