The beginning of the war





Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. He wanted to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to get sympathy from the Slavic people, who were not very friendly towards their rulers. When Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie rode through the streets of Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 a man jumped on their car and fired two shots at the royal couple. The archduke and his wife died at once. The murderer, a Serb named Gavrilo Princip, was said to be a member of a Serbian terrorist organization.

The assassination in Sarajevo was a welcome excuse for Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia, a long-time enemy. After it got support from Germany it made a list of demands. Serbia accepted most of them but that was not enough. On July 28, 1914, a month after the archduke had been murdered, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

Within a few weeks most of Europe's powers got involved in the war.The United Kingdom made an attempt to stop the war, but without success. Russia supported its ally Serbia and got help from France as well. The Russian tsar began to send troops to its borders with Austria- Hungary and Germany. Germany regarded this as a provocation and declared war on both Russia and France. When German troops entered the neutral state Belgium Great Britain got involved in the war too.






World War I- Online Exercises



  • accept = agree to
  • ally = friendly country
  • assassination = the killing of an important political figure
  • attack = to start using guns and other weapons in a fight with an enemy
  • attempt = try
  • border = line between two countries
  • declare war = to say officially that you are at war with another country
  • demands = things that you want from someone else; you think you have the right to get them
  • excuse = reason that you have for doing something
  • fire = shoot
  • get involved in = take part
  • heir = the person who has the right to become king or queen after their father dies
  • provocation = an action that makes you angry
  • regard = consider, think
  • royal couple = member of the emperor's family and his wife
  • support = help
  • troops = soldiers