This film is part of Free

The Austrian Tragedy

A muted newsreel tribute to Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand - victim of an assassin's bullet in an event that would soon take Europe to war.

Non-Fiction 1914 2 mins Silent


The most earth-shattering news event of June 1914 seemed only a tremor at first, and took place far from any newsreel camera. Few foresaw that the assassination in Sarajevo of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand would spark a war that would engulf all of Europe, but it was undoubtedly a story. But how to tell it? Gaumont Graphic's response was typical: to dig out some relevant archive footage.

In 1914, most British people would have had little if any knowledge of who Franz Ferdinand was, so these images were offered by way of a catch-up. The footage is presented without comment, and shows two separate events: the archduke at a military review, possibly in 1913 or early 1914, and the 1911 wedding of the archduke's nephew, the future Charles I of Austria, to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma (with the archduke himself briefly visible among the guests). The newsreels regularly traded footage, so it's likely that these pictures weren't actually shot by one of Gaumont's cameramen - some of the same shots appeared in other European newsreels around the same time.