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One gun started a war

A Browning pistol, namely a FN Model 1910 serial number 19074 was the direct factor and reason for a long, long war making millions of childrens fatherless, the World War 1.


The pistol was fired against Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is shot to death along with his wife by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Bosnia, June 28 in 1914.

The archduke traveled to Sarajevo in June 1914 to inspect the imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Ottoman territories in the turbulent Balkan region that were annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1908 to the indignation of Serbian nationalists, who believed they should become part of the newly independent and ambitious Serbian nation.

When Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were touring Sarajevo in an open car, with surprisingly little security, the Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at their car; it rolled off the back of the vehicle and wounded an officer and some bystanders. Later that day, on the way to visit the injured officer, the archduke's procession took a wrong turn at the junction of Appel quay and Franzjosefstrasse, where one of Cabrinovic's cohorts, 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, happened to be loitering.

Seeing his opportunity, Princip fired into the car, shooting Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range. Princip then turned the gun on himself, but was prevented from shooting it by a bystander who threw himself upon the young assassin. A mob of angry onlookers attacked Princip, who fought back and was subsequently wrestled away by the police. Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie lay fatally wounded in their limousine as it rushed to seek help; they both died within the hour.

FN Model 1910 pistol had been developed by John M. Browning for Belgian company Fabrique Nationale, Herstal. Model 1910 had been developed around two cartridges, also designed by Browning - the 7.65mm Browning, also known as .32ACP, which had been developed around 1900 for FN / Browning model 1900 pistol, and the 9mm Browning Short (9x17mm), also known as .380ACP, which, in turn, had been developed about 1908 for Colt / Browning model 1908 pistol.

Both models 1910 and a later version 1922 were manufactured in large quantities until 1983 or so, when these guns were replaced by FN model 140DA / Browning BDA380 pistols. Between two World Wars these pistols became very popular across Europe as a police, military and self-defence guns.

The murder weapon can now be seen in Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna Austria. Here, a room commemorating the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo of the heir apparent to the Austrian throne, Francis Ferdinand, the visistor can also see two rooms where the visitors will gain an insight into the events of World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna - http://www.hgm.or.at

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