August 1914: The Year Diplomacy Failed
On the morning of June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was assassinated with his wife, Sophie Chotek, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, triggering World War I, a catastrophe that took more than 15 million lives and destroyed three empires. Learn how diplomacy failed that summer in this PowerPoint presentation with park historian Mike Vouri.
Western Europe had enjoyed a universal peace—with the exception of a few limited conflicts involving Prussia, France, Russia and Great Britain-- since the defeat of Napoleonic France and the resulting Concert of Europe in 1815, a forum for resolving conflict. That all came to an end with a war that involved 32 nations from Europe to Africa, to Arabia and the east and west coasts of South America. It was a war that could have been avoided but for empty chairs (diplomats on summer vacation), vacillating and empty-headed monarchs and railroad timetables.