100 Years Later, Bosnia Marks Shooting that Started WWI

Debate continues over legacy of assassin Gavrilo Princip
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2014 3:06 PM CDT
Tourists look at exhibits in Sarajevo museum, including portraits of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sofia von Hochenberg, in Sarejevo, Saturday, June 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
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(Newser) – It's been one hundred years since Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo, launching World War One. Today, the city and region are remembering the moment with a range of events and emotions, the BBC reports. In Sarajevo's Bosnian national library, the Vienna Philharmonic is performing music reminiscent of the era; Austrian president Heinz Fischer will be on hand. But Serbian leaders won't be: They're boycotting the events, saying the ceremonies point the finger at Serbs.

Gavrilo Princip, who shot the archduke and his wife, was a member of a Bosnian Serb militant group; after the attack, Austria declared war on Serbia. Opinion of his legacy remains divided, NPR notes. "Was Gavrilo Princip a terrorist, or was he a national hero? There have been tug-of-war interpretations, and they have changed over time," says a Balkan history expert. Serbs yesterday celebrated Princip with a new statue in eastern Sarajevo; they consider him a hero for ending Austro-Hungarian occupation of the Balkans, the BBC notes. Visegrad, in eastern Bosnia, is today hosting a reenactment of the shooting.

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