By Carl Savich
Gavrilo Princip. Who was he? A terrorist? A hero? A murderer? A freedom fighter? A nationalist? An anarchist? A democrat? A revolutionary? A martyr? It all depends on who you ask and when you asked the question. There has never been unanimous agreement or a consensus. Moreover, the image or perception of Gavrilo Princip has evolved and changed over time. How one regarded or assessed Gavrilo Princip was a function of self-interest and whether or not he advanced a particular agenda. Is it possible to have a transcendent and objective evaluation of who he was and what his role in history was? Will that historical assessment always depend on one’s own self-interested motives and agendas?
Gavrilo Princip has been described as “the antichrist”. Gavrilo Princip was also labeled as “a Bosnian student”, “a Bosnian youth”, a “Bosnian Serb”, a “Bosnian”, a “Serbian nationalist”, a “19-year-old Serb nationalist”, a “Serbian teenager”, a “revolutionary”, a “national hero”, a “romantic teenage nationalist”, “an idealist”, “the liberator of the Slav people”, a “criminal terrorist”, a “national icon”, a “Jew”, a “Freemason”, an “anarchist”, a “socialist”, an agent of the Serbian government, an agent of the Black Hand, an agent of Serbian Intelligence, an agent of British Intelligence, an agent of the Freemasons, and agent of the Jews.
What did Gavrilo Princip himself think and say? In a series of conversations with Martin Pappenheim in 1916, he revealed his motives and explained his actions.