07/28/14 07:44 AM By Timothy Noah and Johnny Simon
"One hundred years ago today, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in retaliation for the assassination one month earlier of his heir apparent, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by a Serbian pan-Slavic nationalist. What might otherwise have remained a regional conflict between the dying Hapsburg Empire and one of its former holdings instead became, through a tangle of alliances and a global power imbalance, two world wars that began in 1914 and ended in 1945, with a 21-year intermission for the Jazz Age and the Great Depression."
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Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand, center right, and his wife Sophie, center left, walk to their car in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This photo was taken minutes before the assassination of the Archduke and his wife, an event which set off a chain reaction of events and would eventually lead to World War I.