Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Wiesner, 13 July 1914

On 13 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Department of Foreign Affairs was given an update by its agent in Sarajevo (von Wiesner) on the investigation of the assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Chotek at Sarajevo. The investigation seemed to point towards Serbian involvement. Whether it was officially sanctioned by Serbia or not remained to be discovered.

Sarajevo in 1905

Sarajevo in 1905

Councillor von Wiesner to the Imperial and Royal Department of Foreign Affairs. Sarajevo, 13 July 1914.


It is the firm belief of all persons in authority here, that Sema is busily spreading propaganda for Greater Servia —not to speak of the press —through societies and other organisations, and that everything is done with the knowledge and sanction of the Servian government.

Civil and military authorities have given me the material upon which they base their belief; it may be classified as follows:

The material of the time before the assassination contains no proofs that the Servian government promoted propaganda. There is not much, but sufficient material to prove that the movement originates in Servia and is tolerated by the government.

Judicial inquiry on assassination.

There is nothing to prove or even to suppose that the Servian government is accessory to the inducement for the crime, its preparation or the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that this is altogether out of question.

From evidence of accused persons, it can be ascertained almost indubitably that the crime was resolved upon in Belgrade and that preparations were made with the coercion of Servian state-officials Ciganovic and Major Tankosic, who jointly provided bombs, Brownings, ammunition and prussic acid. Guilt of Pribicevic not ascertained; reports about him based on regrettable misunderstandings on part of examining police organs.

There can be no doubt that bombs came from army stores in Kragujevac, but there is no proof that they were obtained for the crime, as they might have been in the hands of the Komitadschis since the war [e.i. the Balkan War].

Evidence of accused persons leaves scarcely a doubt that Princip, Gabrinivic, Grabez, with bombs and weapons upon them, were secretly smuggled across the frontier to Bosnia by Servian organs, under the direction of Ciganovic. These organised transports were directed, by the frontier-captains Schabatz and Loznica and were contrived by frontier guards. Though it is not ascertained that they knew the purpose of the journey, still they must have accepted secrecy of mission.

Other information gives insight into organisation of propaganda carried on by “Narodna odbrana”. This is valuable material, which will be useful, but has not yet been sifted; will be delivered without loss of time.

If the demands put forth at the time I left, are still valid, the following might be added to what is demanded of Servia:

A. Suppression of government organs’ coercion in smuggling persons and goods across frontier.

B. Dismissal of Servian frontier-captains Schabatz and Loznica and the implicated frontier-guards.

C. Prosecution of Ciganovic and Tankosic.

I leave for Vienna this evening, arrive on Tuesday evening and go direct to the Foreign Office.

Verbal explanation necessary.


Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits


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