Once there was a bridge named after him

Mark Mazower

  • The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher
    Chatto, 326 pp, £18.99, May 2014, ISBN 978 0 7011 8793 4

When war came to Sarajevo in 1992 almost the only thing about the city known to the aid workers and journalists who made their way there was that it was the place where a Bosnian Serb assassin called Gavrilo Princip had started the First World War. Most had only the haziest notion of who had ruled Bosnia before the 20th century, or what had happened there after the war ended. But Princip was a familiar name. Few Sarajevans had much to say about their most famous son, generally dismissing him as a Serb nationalist. The city had once celebrated his act (a bridge was named after him in 1918, and a museum commemorated his deed) but the bridge was renamed in 1992 and the museum shut down. During the war in the former Yugoslavia the monument that commemorated Princip and his fellow conspirators was turned into an unofficial public latrine.

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