NYT Op-Ed: If Franz Ferdinand Had Lived


franz ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Assassinated 28 June 1914, age 50.



Outstanding op-ed in the New York Times posing what may have happened had Franz Ferdinand not been assassinated. While appearing in photographs as a thick-headed reactionary, he was a man of very liberal views for the era. It is a tragedy beyond measure that he was assassinated at a critical turning point in the history of the West.

Instead of working out their differences at the diplomatic table, something the Archduke was in favor of, in fact he was opposed to war of any sort, the nations of Europe tore into each other. World War One descended into a hell of savagery and left the victors and the vanquished in political shell-shock and economic ruin.


From the New York Times of 27 June 2014

If Franz Ferdinand Had Lived


“There were many reasons Franz Ferdinand was the perfect target for the Serbian-sponsored terrorists of 1914. They knew that his plans for reform within the empire were a profound threat to them. And in symbolic terms, he was ideal.

But what they could not have known was that Franz Ferdinand was probably the most senior antiwar figure in Central Europe, a man acutely aware of Hapsburg weakness, scathing about the delusions of his generals…”

The above is an outtake from the middle of the piece. For the entire article, go here:




The author of the piece is historian Simon Winder. His most recent book is “Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe.”

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/