Gun behind First World War to be unveiled at Imperial War Museum

September 25th, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept 25 (ANI): A gun that brought about the First World War will be unveiled at the Imperial War Museum.

The gun, on display for the first time in the UK, was used in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28 1914. The assassination was the spark that started First World War.

The gun was part of the evidence gathered by police after they were used by a small group of Serbian nationalists who wanted to attract attention to their cause.

The consequences of the bullets fired from the small black pistol by a teenager not only took the lives of Franz Ferdinand and his wife but also led to the death of millions of people across Europe.

The exhibition, marking the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, ends with the ominous words of the French Marshal Foch after the Treaty of Versailles: “This is not peace, it is an armistice for 20 years.”

“If there is a moral in our story, it is that a relatively minor event within weeks brought about the first truly total war, the first war in history genuinely to overwhelm the world,” the Guardian quoted curator Terry Charman, as saying.

The exhibition - which includes a letter on the brink of war from the prime minister, Herbert Asquith - focuses on the lives of 90 individuals, including Winston Churchill and Lloyd George.

It features the mess-tin and spoon of future American president Harry Truman and poignant personal possessions of ordinary people.

The gun and bomb are a rare loan from the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna. Police collected them after Gavrilo Princip, an 18-year-old Bosnian Serb, killed the archduke.

Charman said that one reason for mounting the exhibition now is that of the 5 million people who enlisted in the British forces in the war, just three remain alive: Bill Stone, Harry Patch, and Henry Allingham.

“Despite the enormous loss of life, and the promise never to forget the fallen, it is now completely overshadowed by the second world war. We need to remind people,” he said. (ANI)

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