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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Today’s link: WWI started 100 years ago this weekend

A century ago today, a Serbvian national shot Austria-Hungary's Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, and the first domino fell in what would eventually become World War I. Although this being the first such conflict, they didn't know to call it that. They generally called it the Great War.

When the United States entered in 1917, some called it the War To End All Wars. Not too much foresight in that, either. The assassination was the banner headline the next morning in The Spokesman-Review (click here to see that day's paper).

Reading that day's account, you might notice several things. First, the wire accounts Anglicized the Arch Duke's name to Francis Ferdinand. Second, the opening sentence refers to Sophie as "his morganatic wife" and later in the story she's sometimes called "the princess." But her actual name never shows up, even though a portion of the story is devoted to a series of tragedies that befell various members of the royal family and ends with an explanation of how the Arch Duke told his dad the Emperor they were getting married.

Morganatic, by the way, means she couldn't ever be called empress, and their kids could never take the throne, because she didn't come from as high of nobility as Franz Ferdinand. As it turned out, royalty in most of Europe was on the way out starting on June 28, 1914, but nobody knew it yet.

The story of the assassination shares the front page with the latest account of the miners' riots in Butte and a large picture of former President Theodore Roosevelt's son's wedding. The Spokesman-Review of that era was always a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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