You know I love it when history collides.
But, on this date in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, which today, is in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Back then, it was part of the Austrian Empire.
The Bosnians, Serbs, and Yugoslavs weren’t all that cracked UP about being a part of the empire, and one of them decided to strike back. He murdered the Archduke and his wife Sophie on June 28, 1914.
It was the beginning of the “Great War”, for those of you who watch Downton Abbey, and for the rest of you Philistines who don’t, well, frankly, I should make you look it UP, but assuming you stayed awake in Bobby Shaffer’s history class back at Germantown High and Valley View, it’s called World War I.
Five years later, to the day, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, which, in case you hadn’t figured out, is where Versailles is. Yes, there’s one in Ohio too, but, really, no comparison.
The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 (there were several, apparently it’s a great place to wrap UP a war, and I’m guessin’ the hookers, booze, and floor shows are great), ended the war between Germany and the Allied Forces.
It did in the Austrian Hungarian Empire as well.
The United States, Great Britain, and France were the leaders. Since much of the war was fought in France, France was the most UPset, and wanted to make the Gerrys pay. And pay they did.
Clemenceau, the leader of France, wanted to ‘set the clock back’ to 1870, when France defeated the Germans. From 1870 until 1914, the Germans had become a truly industrialized nation, and France was loosing its place as the Leader of Europe. The French had been ignoring the fact the Great Britain was light years ahead of them. The English and the Americans wanted to continue trade with the Germans and keep the European economy from crumbling. Sound familiar?
Many Germans were tried as war criminals; The Kaiser being one – pictured UP there. The German army was limited to 100,000 men. The “draft” was abolished. Guilt for the war was laid solely at the feet of the German nation. Reparations had to be paid, they could no longer import or export weapons, their Navy could have 15,000 sailors, six cruisers, and 12 destroyers. They weren’t allowed to blockade anyone. Submarines, as in ships, not the yummy ones from Don’s Pizza Palace, were a total no-no.
Germany lost millions of acres of land and millions of ‘citizens’. Kings fell, empires dissolved, and new nations were formed.
The two major royal dynasties in Europe were shoved from the throne. The German Hohenzollerns were exiled,
and the Austrian Hapsburgs were salted away by the treaty.
It was the end of Europe as it had been know for decades, and in some cases, centuries.
And it all happened on the same day, just five years apart!
Really, ya gotta’ love it!