On 28 June 1914, Sarajevo took center stage in history. The Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. This broke the persistent, underlying tensions around the Balkan Powder Keg , triggering the outbreak of an unprecedented conflict.
Exalted by nationalist rhetoric, and convinced that it was necessary to sacrifice themselves for the homeland, thousands of young Germans signed up as volunteers. Their baptism of fire was at Langemarck. Thus began a long-lasting myth, exploited by National Socialism.
Christmas Day 1914 saw a miracle: in Flanders, thousands of enemy soldiers put down their weapons and exchanged greetings. It was the last flash of humanity before the horrors of the Great War put aside any fraternity.