Franz Ferdinand and World War One.

June 28, 2014 by The Co-operative Food

If you ask most people about Franz Ferdinand these days and they’ll tell you something about a Glasgow based indie rock band. Good though they are, no matter how successful Alex Kapranos and his fellow rockers may be it is unlikely their impact on the world will match that of their namesake Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Scholars still debate the causes and blame for World War One, but none are in doubt that the events that left 16 million people dead between 1914 and 1918 were precipitated by the assignation of the Austro-Hungarian heir.

Ferdinand and his wife were shot in Sarajevo one hundred years ago today, and within weeks a complex series of events ensued that brought the Hapsburg Empire into war with Serbia, supported by Germany who also invaded France through Belgium. As the premier maritime nation, Britain’s interests were triggered by its support of the small nation it faced across the English Channel, and Russia brought balance to tiny Serbia with its support.

We can still debate the fault and the potential for entente but we can do nothing about the horrendous loss of life. Of the 16 million killed during the fighting over 7 million were civilians. The armistice was followed by the second major tragedy of the century as Spanish Flu spread across the world by soldiers returning home, wiping out far more lives even than the fighting.

Over the next four years there will be commemorations of the 100 year anniversary of many the notable events that built up the tragedy and eventual end of World War One.

Today is also Armed Forces Day, honouring our service people with events across the country, but centred on Stirling in Scotland.

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