The official story is that the plot to kill Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was intended to benefit Serbia. But an alternative theory is that the plotters, unwittingly in most cases, were being manipulated by members of the Austro-Hungarian elite. The evidence is limited and sometimes confusing.
In 1914 there were people within the ruling elite of Austia-Hungary who -
Franz Ferdinand was not popular with certain members of the elite in Austria-Hungary because of his sympathy for the Slavs.
In 1895, Franz Ferdinand had met Countess Sophie Chotek. (Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )
The two leading groups in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were the Austrians and the Hungarians; the Slavs were seen as second-class citizens.
However, in 1899, the Emperor gave Franz Ferdinand permission to marry Sophie, on condition that the children of the marriage would never ascend the throne.
Sophie would not share her husband's rank, title, precedence, or privileges. She would not normally appear in public beside him. She would not be allowed to ride in the royal carriage, or sit in the royal box.
The wedding took place in 1900. Emperor Franz Joseph did not attend, nor did any archduke including Franz Ferdinand's brothers. The only members of the imperial family who were present were Franz Ferdinand's stepmother, Maria Theresia, and her two daughters.
Sophie was treated poorly at court.
Franz Ferdinand was not popular with the ruling elite in Austria-Hungary, because he wanted to give more power to the Slavs within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Austo-Hungarian empire contained many races, including Austrians, Hungarians and Slavs.
Ferdinand was considering the idea of a federal state.
In 1914, General Oskar Potiorek invited Franz Ferdinand to come to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, part of the Austrian Empire, to inspect army manoeuvres.
It was in Sarajevo, on 28 June 1914, that Franz Ferdinand was shot dead.
The assassin was Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of 6 assassins organised by Danilo Ilic. Princip was one of those who wanted Bosnia to break away from Austria-Hungary and join up with Serbia.
The exact course of events is dificult to describe; this is partly because of the inconsistent stories of the witnesses and partly because the main inquiry was carried out by powerful Austria which may have slanted the evidence.
On the morning of June 28, six conspirators, with six bombs and four revolvers, were in Sarajevo waiting for Franz Ferdinand's motorcade. (Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - Wikipedia, the free ...)
In the third car were Franz Ferdinand, his wife Sophie, Bosnia's Governor Oscar Potiorek and Franz Ferdinan's bodyguard Count Franz von Harrach.
At 10:15 the motorcade passed the first assassin. The assassin failed to act.
The second assassin also failed to act.
The third assassin was Nedeljko Cabrinovic. As Franz Ferdinand's car approached, Cabrinovic threw his bomb. The bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street. Its timed detonator caused it to explode under the next car, putting that car out of action and wounding a total of 20 people.
The tree remaining assassins, Cvjetko Popovic, Gavrilo Princip and Trifun Grabez failed to act as the motorcade sped away to the Town Hall.
At the Town Hall, officials and members of the Archduke's party discussed security.
A suggestion that troops be brought in to line the streets was reportedly rejected because they did not have their parade uniforms with them. Security was left to the small Sarajevo police force.
Franz Ferdinand decided to go to the hospital and visit the wounded victims of Cabrinovic's bomb.
The driver, Franz Urban, had not been told of the change in plan and had continued on a route that would take the Archduke and his party directly out of the city.
Princip moved forward and fired twice.
Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were hit and died soon after.
Princip died in an Austrian jail of tuberculosis in April 1918, aged 23.
The assassin Mehmedbašic was arrested in Montenegro, but was allowed to "escape" to Serbia, but in 1916 Serbia imprisoned him 'on false charges'.
Princip and the other assassins were said to be members of the Black Hand organisation.
Borijove Jevtic, one of the leaders of Black hand, gave his account of the assassination.
According to this account, there were twenty-two conspirators spaced five hundred yards apart along the route the Archduke would take. After the Town Hall reception, General Potiorek persuaded the Archduke to leave the city. They took the shortest route which the road had a sharp turn in it for which the car would have to slow down. This is where Gavrilo Princip made his move.
Austria's chief of staff, General Franz Baron Conrad von Hoetzendorf, wanted war against Serbia.
Redl gave to the Russians the Austrian plan for the invasion of Serbia.
Redl was eventually caught by agents that he had himself trained. Redl's apartment in Prague was searched. Uncovered were sexually explicit photographs of Redl and other Austrian officers.