Saturday, June 28, 2014

RIP Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek

In Christopher Clark's masterful book about the lead up to World War I, Bismarck is a hero, Kaiser Wilhelm II (who dismissed Bismarck as Chancellor in 1890) a blustering fool who could reliably be talked down from the brink by wise counselors, Lord Gray too much under the sway of the French, the Russians too weak for their own good, and the French goaded everybody on with calamitous consequences for the 20th Century.

The Serbs were war mongering regicides; in-bred dogs.  Princip and his companions were young kids, manipulated like muslim suicide bombers today.

The Ottoman Empire was breaking apart and everyone was in an imperialist mood.

Emperor Franz Joseph was a kindly old man and Austria-Hungary ruled pretty competently over a diverse empire.  Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a promising heir, happily married.  It all could have turned out so much better!  If only ...

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