I am trying to argue that "the Blank Cheque" ushered Austria to be aggressive against Serbia, thus leading to WW1. Were there any assassinations, mainly by Serbians, of equally or a bit less important officials of the Austrian Empire?

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    @MarkC.Wallace I thought that's because the emperor made it a family members only private funeral. Not a good indication of a heir presumptive's importance.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:20
  • I would suggest focusing your question to 1903-1914 only. Prior to Serbia's 1903 change of regimes, it would not have been so readily assumed that a Serbian assassin acted on orders of the Serbian government.
    – C Monsour
    May 6, 2019 at 17:17
  • @Mark C. Wallace what assassin's funeral you are referring to? Gavrilo Princip died in prison from typhus. And that was during the war. I doubt there was any official funeral.
    – Anixx
    May 19, 2019 at 7:33
  • @Anixx MarkC.Wallace is probably referring to the state funeral of Princip and the other conspirators in 1920 in Sarajevo. See Wikipedia.
    – user37688
    Jul 11, 2019 at 5:49
  • I think you need an assassination from 1912 or later to be comparable. Serbia grew tremendously during the Balkan Wars. Prior to 1912 Serbia was not viewed by Austra as a serious existential threat.
    – C Monsour
    Jul 22, 2019 at 2:21

5 Answers 5


Is an Empress Of Austria considered a "high-ranking official"?


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    Italian Anarchist not Serbian or related to Balkan politics
    – pugsville
    Oct 25, 2015 at 23:21
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    Could have something to do with Austria-Hungary's animosity to Italy, and to the Allies generally.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 26, 2015 at 19:12

Count Andrzej Potocki, the governor of Galicia, was assassinated on April 12, 1908 in Lemberg (Lviv) by a Ruthenian (i.e. Ukrainian) student.

There were also several unsuccessful assassination attempts:

  • on general Marijan Varešanin, the governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 15, 1910 in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb,
  • on count István Tisza, the speaker of the House of Representatives, on June 7, 1912 in Budapest by a Hungarian (he would be assassinated by Hungarian soldiers on October 31, 1918),
  • on Slavko Cuvaj, the ban of Croatia, on June 8, 1912 in Zagreb by Croatians,
  • on baron Iván Skerlecz, the next ban of Croatia, on August 18, 1913 in Zagreb by a Croatian,
  • on István Miklósy, the Greek Catholic archbishop of Hajdúdorog, on February 23, 1914 in Debrecen by Romanians.

In 1853 the emperor Franz Joseph himself had to suffer an assassination attempt. And he was certainly high-profile enough to be at the center of attention for all would-be assassins for his whole life. Only by chance he avoided that fate later, as he was also the prime target for the Black Hand that eventually settled for the archduke:

In 1911, Dimitrijević organised an attempt to assassinate the octogenarian Austrian Emperor Franz Josef. When this failed, Dimitrijević turned his attention to the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

But for the background given in the question, it might be of interest that not only Serbian/Bosnian operations clashed with Austria-Hungary's plans, but also:

Austria-Hungary, struggling for an exit from the Adriatic and seeking ways for expansion in the south at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, was totally opposed to any other nation's expansion in the area. At the same time, the Habsburg empire had its own internal problems with the significant Slav populations that campaigned against the German–Hungarian control of the multinational state. Serbia, whose aspirations in the direction of the Austrian-held Bosnia were no secret, was considered an enemy and the main tool of Russian machinations that were behind the agitation of Austria's Slav subjects. But the Habsburgs failed to achieve German backup for a firm reaction. Initially, Emperor Wilhelm II told the Archduke Franz Ferdinand that Germany was ready to support Austria in all circumstances – even at the risk of a world war, but the Austro-Hungarians hesitated. Finally, in the German Imperial War Council of 8 December 1912 the consensus was that Germany would not be ready for war until at least mid-1914 and notes about that passed to the Habsburgs. Consequently, no actions could be taken when the Serbs acceded to the Austrian ultimatum of 18 October and withdrew from Albania.

Even the Serbian king Alexander I of Serbia was assassinated in part or even mainly because he was "too friendly to Austria-Hungary" in 1903.

Bogdan Žerajić who also wanted to have a shot at the emperor then went

on 15 June 1910, Žerajić attempted to assassinate Varešanin on the day of opening of the Austro-Hungarian Diet of Bosnia because he believed it was illegal and illegitimate.9 He shot at Varešanin five times, and missed. With his last, sixth, bullet Žerajić killed himself. Before he died, he said that he expected that Serbdom would avenge his death. His action brought Young Bosnia to the public attention.

Even in January 1914 Oskar Potiorek (Feldzeugmeister of the kuk Army and governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time) was targeted by Muhamed Mehmedbašić, who was also involved in the later shooting of Franz-Ferdinand.


There is an conspiracy theory, where Rudolf, the crown Prince of Austria was murdered. Official documents reports that he died in an act of suicide.

More details about Rudolf here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf,_Crown_Prince_of_Austria#Affairs_and_suicide


First of all, i wouldn't say Archduke Franz Ferdinand was at all important - let's not forget, even though he was the heir presumtive, he was in a mortganatic marriage, so in any case the titles would have passed to his brother and his heirs. The Austrian response had nothing to do with Franz Ferdinand - they would have probably reacted the same if the Black Hand had murdered a.. simple Austrian soldier(speculation, but mostly founded). The Austrians wanted land, to prove they were still a force to be reckoned with, and tensions in Europe were really high.

And secondly, more to the point - no, there weren't any high profile Austrian victims of Serbian extremism(at least not to my knowledge).

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    "i wouldn't say Archduke Franz Ferdinand was at all important" => Really? He would have been the next Emperor wouldn't he?
    – user69715
    Oct 26, 2015 at 16:59
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    Yes. He was the heir to the throne. This answer is very off base.
    – Oldcat
    Oct 26, 2015 at 18:15
  • He was, but he was in a mortganatic marriage... Oct 27, 2015 at 17:29
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    Sources would improve this.
    – MCW
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:29
  • Stating that a foot soldiers death would have exactly the same impact as an archduke requires at least a detailed argument (sources, etc would also help). “Austria wanted war” is not really an argument about a region that had practically constant war between the freshly created nations.
    – Greg
    May 4, 2019 at 8:08

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