Saturday, March 27, 2021

First Paragraph

"In 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated at Sarajevo, and little of the Europe he had known survived him. His wife, his titles - even his country - vanished in the red madness of the time. The assassins had unhinged the world, which is the only reason we remember their victim. The blunt truth is that he had been brutal and mulish - a Klotz. Yet every funeral has its pathetic personal details, and among the petty but vexing problems raised by the archduke's unexpected demise was the issue of what his executors were to do with his hunting lodge near Werfen, Austria. For four hundred years the lodge (really an immense villa), had been one of the homes of the archbishops of Salzburg, who had commuted between there, their Renaissance cathedral, their theological seminary east of Munich, and their two archepiscopal palaces on the Salzach River. In the new, enlightened Europe, however, the ecclesiastical hierarchy had yielded to royalty. The dull click of rosary beads had been replaced by the clean, sharp crack of sportsmen's rifles. Franz Ferdinand, whatever his other weaknesses, had been a superb shot. In the teeming forests surrounding his lodge he had broken all slaughtering records. His trophies filled the halls."

- From The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968 by William Manchester

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