On June 28, 1914 the fatal bullet exploded from the gun held by Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip and found its mark, the Austria-Hungarian heir Archduke Ferdinand. (A second shot also took the life of his wife, Duchess Sophie.) Thus put into motion a complicated global conflict the likes of which the world had never seen.
Princip and his cohorts were under the direction of Serbia’s Chief of Military Intelligence and their objective was the unification of Austria-Hungary’s South Slav provinces with Yugoslavia. In fact, The Archduke and Duchess survived bombing attempts and threats earlier that day.
The Austrians subsequently issued an ultimatum to Serbia on July 23 and Serbia’s lack of reply led Austria to position her military for war. Countries began aligning their loyalties, first in the Balkan regions then spreading to all of Europe. Two distinct coalitions were formed by late 1914: France, Russia, Britain (the Triple Entente) and Germany, Austria-Hungry (the Triple Alliance). The Entente would later be known as the Allied Powers and the Triple Alliance as Central Powers.
Archduke and Duchess Ferdinand just moments before their assassinations.
Several major powers would enter the conflict including Japan (Allied), Romania (Allied), Ottoman Empire (Central), Italy (Allied), and Bulgaria (Central). Germany attempted to incite Mexico to make war against the U.S. and after the German sinking of seven U.S. merchant ships the United States Joined the Allies April 6, 1917.
The landscape became scarred with a network of trenches dug to hold men and supplies. The echoes of cannons and gunfire blasted throughout Europe. The Great War involved a total of 32 countries and 70 million military personnel (60 million European). In all, 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians lost their lives.
An armistice ended the war on November 11, 1918. We pause to recognize the significance of the 100th anniversary of this event.
We also would like to take the time to honor our veterans; the brave men and women who fought and some giving their lives so freedom could ring true.
Scientists have discovered an audio strip recording of the final shots of this war and have created a restored version. I encourage you to click the video below to listen to this historical moment when the firing stopped and silence filled the air.
Eric Wilmot has held the position of Director Marketing & Technology since January of 2016. Eric grew up in the Cleveland area and attended Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, where he graduated with a AA in Film & Video Production. After working on films, television and music videos Eric was Director Event Technology for PSAV Presentation Services before joining Iron Horse in 2011 as Logistics Analyst. He has also held positions as Logistics Account Manager and Manager Support Services prior to his recent appointment. Eric and Justine have three daughters- 10, 7 and 20 months- and one son age 5.