100 Years Later, Bosnia Marks Shooting that Started WWI

Debate continues over legacy of assassin Gavrilo Princip
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2014 3:06 PM CDT
100 Years Later, Bosnia Marks Shooting that Started WWI
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)

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. (More Bosnia stories.)

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