Oskar Potiorek - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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World War 1 Picture - General Oskar Potiorek

Oskar Potiorek Information

Oskar Potiorek

World War 1 Picture - General Oskar Potiorek

Picture - General Oskar Potiorek

Oskar Potiorek (20 November 1853, Bad Bleiberg, Carinthia (now Austria) - 17 December 1933) was an Austrian general who served as the Austro-Hungarian governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1911 and 1914. Potiorek was a co-passenger in the car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Countess Sophie Chotek when they were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, in an event which is seen as the start of World War I.

General Potiorek had invited Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie to watch his troops on maneuvers. The royal couple arrived in Sarajevo by train and went to Philipovic army camp where Franz Ferdinand performed a brief review of the troops. Potiorek was waiting to take the royal party to the City Hall for the official reception. Potiorek was in the second car with Lieutenant Colonel and the royal couple. At 10:10, when the six car motorcade passed the central police station, Nedeljko Cabrinovic hurled a hand grenade at the archduke's car. The driver accelerated when he saw the object flying towards the car and the grenade exploded under the wheel of the next car.

After attending the official reception at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand asked about visiting the members of his party that had been wounded by the bomb. A member of the archduke's staff, Baron Morsey, suggested this might be dangerous, but Potiorek, who was responsible for the safety of the royal party, replied, "Do you think Sarajevo is full of assassins?"

World War 1 Picture - Assassination chart

Picture - Assassination chart

In order to avoid the city centre, Potiorek decided that the royal car should travel straight along the Appel Quay (now the E761 road) to the Sarajevo Hospital. However, Potiorek forgot to tell the driver, Leopold Loyka, about this decision. On the way to the hospital, Loyka took a right turn into Franz Joseph Street at the Latin Bridge 4351′27.61″N 1825′43.89″E / 43.8576694N 18.4288583E / 43.8576694; 18.4288583, where one of the conspirators, Gavrilo Princip, was standing on the corner at the time. When the driver began to back up the car, the assassin stepped forward, drew his gun, and at a distance of about five feet, fired several times into the car. Franz Ferdinand was hit in the neck and Sophie in the abdomen. Others in the car were not injured.

No evidence has been found to support suggestions that the Archduke's low-security visit to Sarajevo was arranged by elements within Austro-Hungarian official circles with the intention of exposing him to the risk of assassination so as to remove a potentially troublesome royal personage from the scene.

Princip later claimed that the bullet that killed Sophie was meant for Potiorek. It is speculated that this "survivor's guilt" led Potiorek to take charge of the Austro-Hungarian army and lead the first mission to "punish" Serbia. He was reportedly very zealous in his actions (multiple times he claimed "I was spared at Sarajevo so that I may die avenging it!") but was apparently an inept commander. After the textbook military disasters at the Battle of Cer and the Battle of Kolubara, he was removed from command, a choice that reportedly made him suicidal.

Further reading

Schindler, John R. (2002). "Disaster on the Drina: The Austro-Hungarian Army in Serbia, 1914". War in History 9 (2): 159-195. doi:10.1191/0968344502wh250oa.
Francesco Lamendola, "La Seconda e la Terza Campagna Austro-Serba" (September-December 1914) (in Italian)

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Source: WikiPedia

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