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The Spark of Conflagration

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Karl Goetz

(Serajewo, Der Funke des Weltbrandes)
1914 Cast Bronze, 58.0mm, Wt. 54.60g, Frankenhuis 1412

Obverse: The murderers of the Austrian Throne Inheritor Ferdinand are paid off by the Russian Ambassador. The inscription reads, “ The Russian

Reverse: A Serbian nationalist, concealing a bomb, sneaks across the Austrian border.

This is Goetz’s first medal that concerned the most significant event starting the First World War: The assassination of Archduke
Ferdinand in Serajevo on June 28, 1914. The boundary post marked “Serajewo” indicates the turning point in the history of nations.


My image of this medal is currently used with a Dr.K.A. Rodgers article in the June issue of The Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine The Reverse can be found on the cover.

I will be contributing Goetz, Gies, Eberbach, and some French and Belgium images to a suite of many articles covering the events of WWI in this magazine through 2018

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That's right, today's the centenary -- this is a remarkable piece of work, artistically and as propaganda.


I have long been of the opinion that the most pivotal person of the 20th century was Gavrilo Princip. It's questionable whether the European tensions of the time would have erupted into full-scale continental war without the assassination of the Archduke. Probably there would have been innumerable skirmishes and proxy wars, but I strongly doubt if there would have been total war.


And without the First World War, almost everything that follows becomes questionable: the Russian revolution, the Great Depression, the rise of the Third Reich, the Second World War, the partitioning of Europe and the Cold War, the Space Race... pretty much everything. It's a lovely thought experiment.

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Wow, goetzdude... I wonder how soon after the assassination he made that.


Re: Princip - I wonder how he would have felt if a visitor from the future took him aside and said "if you shoot him, you're going to unleash a series of events that will include millions upon millions of dead, two uses of a weapon inconceivably destructive, and men walking on the moon. Do you still want to do this?"


I would bet he'd hold off but of course war would have been tripped some other way.

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I agree there would have been a war, but I don't think there would have been the continent-wide conflict. I think there would have been a series of incidents, probably not for a few years after 1914, none of which would have had the same effect that the assassination did -- conflicts more easily managed and limited.

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