I suggested to Peter Villiers of the Gavrilo Princip site that the site was romanticising Princip rather when it called this Balkan nationalist a figure “for our times”. The rather good illustrations by Fiona Balfour in his book were also romantic. He replied (I quote with permission):
“Yes, it is a romantic picture of the young assassin, because he was a romantic in his life, interests, psyche and death; and I believe that the artist’s interpretation was a reasonable one.
“I consider him of relevance to the modern world as he was a suicide bomber who thought he could change geopolitics with a single murder; a belief that is still held by many young men, unfortunately.
“In his naivety, idealism, and inability to consider the consequences of his actions, GP was and is a figure for our times.
“The villain of the piece is undoubtedly Colonel Apis [my link], who was old enough to have known better, and whose actions on various occasions add to the simplistic but understandable view of many of the Balkans as the natural home for deranged fanatics, some of whom hold official positions. (Consider his actions in 1903!)
“As for the Archduke Franz Ferdinand: I sought to present a balanced picture. I rather like the eternal heir apparent.”
Strange to realise that Princip was aware of the war his action had set off. He was too young, under Austro-Hungarian law (19 when he committed the crime), to be hanged. He therefore received the maximum penalty of twenty years in jail. He died of tuberculosis at Terezín on April 18 1918.