Last night in my “20th Century: Triumph and Tragedy” class, we were talking about World War I and the capping of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by the hapless Gavrilo Princip (who used a FN Model 1910 chambered in .32 ACP: yes, another John Moses Browning design).
One thing that I really wasn’t totally conscious of was that Princip was not acting alone; I think I read somewhere previously that someone had thrown a grenade at the archduke’s car, but missed, and filed that away deep in my subconscious.
Anyway, that someone was Nedeljko Čabrinović, who threw the grenade, missed the archduke’s car, hit the third car in the procession, and then…
To avoid capture, Čabrinović swallowed cyanide and jumped into the River Miljacka to make sure he died.
The blackly comic aspect of this is: the cyanide that Čabrinović, Princip, and the rest of the conspirators were carrying had expired, and all the pills did was make them vomit.
The river Čabrinović jumped into? It was 4 inches deep.
And, of course, the only reason Princip was able to shoot Ferdinand in the first place was that the Archduke’s driver turned down the wrong street, directly in front of Princip, and then stalled the car while trying to turn around. If Ferdinand had been in a Mercedes, would World War I have been averted? Or would it have been some other “damn thing in the Balkans“?