Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gräf & Stift

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Princess Sophie of Austria-Hungary were assassinated by a nineteen year old Serb nationalist, giving governments an excuse to ignite the outbreak of the First World War. 

We humans love war, and our governments seize upon any reason to go for it, with enthusiastic support by their populaces. A tragedy of war is the topsy-turvy-ness of it that those who suffer and die mostly are innocent late teenage males. A rule should be that only government officials go to the front, them and their offspring. 

Once I believed that only mothers and grandmothers should be top government executives, thinking females more likely to value the lives of a nation’s children, but I don’t believe that anymore: the ladies are as confrontational as we are, or more so.

That day, on an official visit that reportedly also celebrated their fourteenth wedding anniversary, FF and Sophie were riding in a 1910 Gräf & Stift phaeton, apparently a seven-passenger touring car, owned by the Count who was one of their hosts for the visit.

The royal couple had a daughter and two sons, orphaned at ages 13, 12 and 10 when their parents were assassinated. 

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