A Dominican Priest and the Archduke

Some Gallant Lies

archdukeThere are almost five full months before the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand the seemingly fairly minor event (this is where one usually adds the disclaimer “but not for his family” but, as we’ll see in about 5 months, not so much the case with the Archduke) that unexpectedly triggered World War I.

“Unexpectedly,” and “triggered,” and a few hundred other like words will be written between now and August 1st.  The 100 year narrative – the Archduke is assassinated, threats, recriminations, ultimatums fly through Europe, alliances are enforced, honored, Europe is at war in 33 days – is so entrenched that Franz Ferdinand is now the name of a pretty good Scottish indie band.  

Entrenched, certainly, the question, of course, is . . . why? For hundreds of years there had been assassinations, skirmishes, wars in the Balkans. Napoleon, Bismarck and hosts of others had warned that the Balkan’s were the…

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