Month of Madness


I am very much enjoying Radio 4’s series, Month of Madness, which recalls the events a hundred years ago leading to the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914.

Yesterday’s programme concentrated on the assassination of Grand Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie Chotek, in Sarajevo.  This reminded me of a trip to Vienna some years ago, when, quite by chance, I visited the military museum and saw the car in which the Grand Duke had been travelling on that fateful day in June 1914.  I say “by chance” because none of my guidebooks actually mentioned it, and I couldn’t understand this, as surely there must be very many more people like me who are interested in this period of history.  For me, it was certainly one of the highlights of my trip.

As it happens, the aforementioned military museum is holding an exhibition on the First World War, which opens on 29 June, so presumably the car will be a prominent exhibit. The only slight caveat is that the museum is not exactly central and getting there involves a walk across some slightly scrubby parkland, unless, of course, you have a car of your own.  But it will be well worth it when you get there.

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