Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Strange and Tragic News of June 28, 1914

June 28, 1914. One hundred years ago on this day, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Habsburg imperial heir and political reformer, was assassinated by Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo.

This was news even for Americans. And, as the New York Herald says, "consternation was created throughout the Courts of Europe" by an attack on one of their own; there was sorrow and disturbance everywhere that a member of one of Europe's ancient ruling families had been murdered in what was apparently a terrorist plot.

It seemed like a dark moment in the early years of the twentieth century, a disturbing thing that had inserted itself into what many hoped would be the century of the triumph of Science, Reason, and Progress.

No one yet knew that this was the spark that would rapidly set fire to Europe and begin a war like nothing the world had ever seen. No one could have imagined how the science, reason, and progress of the twentieth century would bring forth not only spectacular benefits for humanity but also unprecedented horrors on a monstrous scale.

The Centennial of the First World War has begun.

And a hundred years from now? What will the blogger of the future (or whatever it is they'll be doing by then) look back on in the year 2114? They will know decisions that will have been made and consequences we cannot imagine. Perhaps they will look back upon miracles for which we can only hope. Hope and pray.... When we recall the past, and even more when we look to the present, let us remember to pray.