Just over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which at that time was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
One man, Gavrilo Princip, all of 19 years old and a member of the Black Hand, made one move that changed the world for ever.
Earlier that morning the Imperial couple survived a near miss when a grenade was thrown at them. Unharmed, they headed to the Governor’s house where Franz bellowed, “So this is how you welcome your guests – with bombs?”
After a rest, they demanded to be taken to the hospital to visit those in their party who had been injured by the grenade.
With the original route blocked, the royal caravan had to back UP, and when it did, one vehicle stalled. As luck would have it, Princip, who’d been sitting in a café, jumped at the opportunity, walked across the street, and shot the Austrians at point blank range.
He shot Sophie first and then Franz Ferdinand. Franz leaned over his dying wife who would not make it to the hospital alive.
The Archduke died within in minutes of their arrival.
Their assassination was the match that lit the fuse that started World War I. Sure, sure, the arms race, nationalism, imperialism, militarism and the conflicting alliance system were all contributors, but Princip lit the fuse.
Within four years, 17,000,000 were dead and more than 20,000,000 had been injured.
All because of one man.
Be careful of the power of the multiple of one.