Visit to Habsburg homes in Central Europe makes us wonder: What if?

The entrance to the Kaiservilla in Austria, where Emperor Franz Joseph I signed the decree that would launch World War I. Standing in line to buy the tour ticket to Konopiste, the Bohemian castle where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria spent his last days before departing for Sarajevo, I let my mind wander: What if the Habsburg heir apparent had not taken that fateful trip to the Balkans, and been assassinated by a Serb terrorist on June 28, 1914, to spark World War I? Would Hitler and Stalin have happened? Would America’s own global “empire” ever have been born? Would I – or any tourist – be here now? This final year of the World War I centenary is as good a time as any to travel back into that history.

Original published: 2018-02-09 14:23:10 Read the full Vienna News here


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