Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Era of Assassination


Could the event that triggered the ‘war to end all wars’ have been prevented?

The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and directly led to the outbreak of the First World War is known as the ‘shot heard around the world’. Far less widely known is the fact that the Archduke owned, but on that fateful day did not wear, a bulletproof vest manufactured by Polish priest-turned-inventor Casimir Zeglen.

Using a reconstructed bulletproof vest and a Royal Armouries Browning Model 1910 pistol identical to that used by the Archduke’s assassin, Lisa Traynor highlights the risks associated with power and status in the early 20th century. Assessing the design and composition of Zeglen’s armours, she charts the technological development of pistols used during this period’s assassination plots. Testing her findings on a replica of the Archduke’s bulletproof vest, Traynor poses the haunting question: had Franz Ferdinand been wearing body armour on the day of his assassination, would it have saved his life?

Featured in the BBC TV series Sword, Musket and Machine Gun: Britain’s Armed History, this fascinating book breaks new ground in our understanding of the outbreak of the First World War.

Talking Points is a new short-form book series from the Royal Armouries, Britain’s national museum of arms and armour. Focusing on issues that have sparked debate or controversy, Talking Points enables authors to publish original research free from artificial length restrictions to ensure the maximum public impact of their work.


Please note when buying the Digital download version of this book it will be in E-pubs format only.

Publication date: 1 November 2018
ISBN: 978 0 94809 288 6
Dimensions: 240x168 mm
No. of pages: 80
Binding style: Paperback with flaps
Details of illustrations: 40 illustrations

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review Write a review

Not completely happy with your order?

You can return or exchange unwanted items up to 35 days after purchase.

The only items that we cannot accept are earrings for pierced ears and perishable items, such as food or drink.

If there is an issue with the product please contact the Royal Armouries online shop customer service team via email at

Return postage and fees

If the item is unwanted or you cancel an order that has already been dispatched the return postage costs will be incurred by the customer.

If the item is faulty or you have been sent the wrong item then the postage cost will be incurred by the Royal Armouries. To ensure that you are refunded the correct amount please get a receipt from the post office and send us a copy via email, by either scanning the receipt or taking a photograph.

We recommend that you do get proof of postage for all items that you post to us as we are unable to take responsibility for returns that go missing in the post.

For all further information please see our FAQs page 

FAQs – Royal Armouries

You May Also Like...

Recently Viewed