Archduke Franz Ferdinand: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a Hungarian Prince, a Bohemian Prince and an Austrian Archduke. He was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary from 1896 until his death.

  • He was born in Graz, Austria in 1863 and became heir to the throne at age 11.
  • He joined the army as a young boy, became lieutenant at 14, and major-general at the age of 31.
  • He enjoyed traveling and hunting, and he hunted kangaroos in Australia. He also visited China, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand and several countries in the South Pacific.
  • The Archduke married Countess Sophie Chotek in July, 1900. She had no claim to the throne, and was not allowed to sit near him at public events or in their Royal car.
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand had ambitious plans for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He wanted to create 16 separate states, and make sure the ethnic Slavs had a voice in the government.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was almost killed in Autumn, 1913 when a gun went off accidentally, missing him by a few feet. Had he been killed then, World War 1 may never have happened.
  • He and his wife were killed by a secret Serbian military society, the Black Hand, on June 28th, 1914. The car they were travelling in at the time is in the Vienna Military History Museum.
  • Earlier in the day, a bomb had been thrown at the car, but landed in the street, injuring several people. The car had its top down so spectators could better see the Archduke.
  • The bullet fired by the assassin is in a museum in a castle in the Czech Republic. It is sometimes described as the bullet that started World War 1.
  • His death was one of the events that caused the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. The assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war against Serbia.

Who was Lord Kitchener? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Lord Kitchener.

  • Lord Kitchener was a senior British army officer, who played an important part during World War I. His face is familiar from propaganda posters urging young men to join the army.
  • Kitchener was born in Ireland in 1850.

  • He fought in the Franco-Prussian war.
  • He joined the Royal Engineers at age 20, and served in Cyprus and Egypt. He learned to speak Arabic.
  • In 1874 Kitchener made important maps of Palestine and the Holy land. He became a major in the Egyptian army, although he was worried that the sun would turn his moustache white.
  • In 1898, Kitchener and his soldiers successfully defeated the Dervishes for control of Khartoum, in the Sudan. Kitchener became known as K of K, and became more popular.

Lord Kitchener

  • Lord Kitchener became commander in chief of the Indian army in 1902. He became consul-general in Egypt in 1911, was later made an earl, and travelled to Australia and New Zealand.
  • He was appointed Secretary of State for War in 1914.
  • He appeared on several patriotically themed recruitment posters, which helped to recruit solders and volunteers to fight.
  • The most famous recruitment poster shows Kitchener with a pointing finger, with the caption ‘Your Country Wants You’. The poster has been copied and parodied many times since then, but some historians think that it wasn’t used very much at the time.

Your Country Needs You

  • Kitchener predicted that the war would last a long time, and realized the importance of having many volunteers.
  • Lord Kitchener died in June, 1916 when his ship was hit by a German mine in the Atlantic Ocean. Various conspiracy theories surrounded his death, including one saying he was killed by a South African spy.
  • He has been featured on Britain’s two pound coin and has a road in the West Midlands named after him. There is a stone memorial to Kitchener on the Orkney Islands.

World War 1: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about World War 1

  • World War 1 began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. Differences in foreign policies were to blame, although the immediate cause was the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand. (Follow this link to learn more about how World War 1 started)

  • The two main sides were the Allies, which included France, Great Britain and Russia; and Germany and Austria-Hungary. In total, 30 countries were involved in the conflict. Italy, once part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, fought on the side of the Allies.
  • King George V (Great Britain), Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany) and Tsar Nicholas II (Russia) were cousins, and grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
  • Soldiers fought largely in trenches during the war, and thousands suffered from stress, known as shell-shock.  The British and French trenches were often squalid, whereas the German trenches were almost luxurious in comparison, with bunks and decent cooking facilities. (Click here to learn more about life in the trenches)
  • By the end of WW1, over 9 million soldiers had been killed, and another 21 million wounded. Over a million soldiers were killed in the infamous Battle of the Somme alone, including about 30,000 in just one day.
  • Around 11 percent of the population of France was killed or wounded during the war. About 116,000 Americans were killed, even though the US was only in the war for about 7 months.

World War 1

  • During World War 1, dogs were used to carry messages in capsules attached to their body. Dogs also carried and placed telegraph wires in important areas.
  • Pigeons were also used during the war. About 500,000 pigeons were regularly dropped into enemy lines by parachute, and then sent back with messages.
  • On Christmas Eve, 1914, both sides declared an unofficial truce and sang Christmas carols to each other. Football matches were played in no-man’s land (the area between the German and British) trenches, and German and British soldiers exchanged food and souvenirs. The ceasefire was known as the Christmas Truce. The following Christmas, sentries on both sides had orders to shoot any soldier who did this.
  • Cannons and artillery were often extremely loud. In 1917, the explosives used to destroy a bridge in France could be be heard over 130 miles away in London.
  • Many new weapons were invented or first used during World War 1. Big Bertha was one of the most famous; it was a 48 ton gun capable of firing a shell over 9 miles. It took 200 men several hours to assemble the gun.
  • Tanks were so called because of early attempts to disguise them as water tanks. They were also known as male and female tanks; male tanks had cannons and female tanks had machine guns.

What next? Discover more facts about World War 1, or check out these World War 1 resources and factfiles.