That's the title of a new series of articles in the Telegraph as Britain prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. The first in the series is 'Europe goes to war', and contains several articles about the men who went to fight and the civilians they left behind. Here's an excerpt dealing with Gavrilo Princip, who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and effectively started the war.
The Princip family were at the bottom of the pecking order. They survived like medieval serfs, obliged to give almost all their meagre farming earnings to overlords. They lived in a hovel with a beaten earth floor and rock walls roofed by shingles cut from local timber. Six of Princip’s eight siblings died as infants.
To seek a better life, he left Obljaj in 1907, enrolling in a secondary school in Sarajevo, capital of the Austro-Hungarian colonial province. There he shone, outdoing classmates from richer backgrounds. But it was in Bosnia’s schools that the green shoots of nationalism were showing and he soon fell in with youngsters demanding freedom from colonial rule.
A key mistake is made by historians who say that Princip supported Serbian nationalism, the theory that the Balkans should be ruled by an enlarged Serbian state. This is not true. All the evidence shows that Princip supported Slav nationalism: the idea that foreigners should be driven out so local people could rule, no matter if they were Serbian, Croatian or from other ethnicities.
After leaving school in Sarajevo, Princip travelled to Serbia where he hatched the assassination plot. There he received help from Serbian nationalists, but Princip’s motives were never exclusively Serbian.
Arrested moments after the shooting in Sarajevo, he was under the 20-year age limit required by Habsburg law for the death sentence. Instead, he was sentenced to 20 years in jail, to be denied food once a day each month. He died in 1918, shortly before the end of the war. Aged 23, his body had become racked by skeletal tuberculosis that ate away his bones so badly that his right arm had had to be amputated.
There's more at the link.
I consider myself well informed about the First World War, but the series of articles so far published contained several facts of which I hadn't previously been aware. It looks as if it might make very interesting reading for history buffs. I'll be watching for further instalments in the series. Recommended.