1914. To give you some context, this was the year that Max von Laue won the Nobel Prize for Physics “for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals,” the world’s first red and green traffic lights were installed in Cleveland, the House of Lords finished recasting the Amendment Bill, and George Washington Carver began his long, futile quest to play a phonograph record with a peanut.
On June 29, Chionya Gusyeva attempted to take Rasputin’s life in Siberia, possibly inspired by the story he read on Huffington Post of Gavrilo Princep taking the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo the day before.
The messy mixed love & hate dodecahedrons that had been developing for decades in awkward alliances came to a head when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was blown up by Princep in an event that later came to be known as “The Outrage,” which really should’ve been the title of Franz Ferdinand’s first album.
Princep, a Bosnian Serb, was a member of the Black Hand, which was in stark contrast to the philosophies of the Uruk Hai, whose white hand symbol graced their banners in the Third Age. Also killed in the assassination was the archduke’s wife, Sophie, who had accompanied him on the trip out of fear for his safety. Nice work. I blame her. Maybe if she knew jujitsu this never would’ve happened.
In any case, on the quiet corner pictured above, almost one-hundred years ago, the incident explosively released all the imperial tension that had developed over the course of complicated treaties, and ignited World War I.
So, the lesson is, look both ways before crossing the street and never join any organization with a hand on its logo.