Nedeljko Cabrinovic

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Nedeljko Čabrinović (1895-1916) was a member of the Black Hand society, and one of seven assassains who made a successful attempt on the life of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria.

Born in Sarajevo, Čabrinović spent many of his post-school years as a handyman, before moving to Belgrade and working in a print shop, becoming familiar with anarchist literature. In 1912 he joined the Black Hand, and two years later Dragutin Dimitrijevic, leader of the Black Hand, ordered Čabrinović, Gavrilo Princip and five other conspiritors to assassinate Ferdinand, giving them each a gun and two bombs, along with a vial of cyanide (though it has been suggested that the cyanide was either old and ineffective, or that the Black Hand's supplier had deceived them and sold them a different, much weaker poison), telling them to swallow it if they were in danger of being caught.

The assassination attempt

Note that many different versions of the assassination exist owing mainly to contradictary reports by witnesses of the time. This version attempts to reconcile as many facts as possible, but is not guaranteed to be totally accurate.

The assassination took place on June 28, 1914. The first assassin had attempted to shoot Ferdinand, but had found himself unable to get a clear shot. Čabrinović hid in an alleyway, and as soon as Ferdinand drove past, he threw his bomb at Ferdinand's car. The bomb missed however, and destroyed the following car, wounding its passengers and several crowd members. Čabrinović then swallowed his cyanide and jumped into a nearby river, but it was much too shallow and he was aprehended by the authorities.

Ironically, this failed attempt on Ferdinand's life proved to be a key part in the assassination as Ferdinand insisted on visiting the bomb victims at the local hospital. An error by his driver took them past Princip, who wasted no time in shooting Ferdinand and his wife.

Čabrinović confessed to his crimes, but believed himself a Serbian hero and true nationalist. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He died in 1916 of tuberculosis which he had been struggling with for some time.

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