Center for Global & International Studies
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

#KU_WWI Twitter Project

The #KU_WWI Twitter Project is a Twitter-based e-reenactment or "tweetenactment" of the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the historical incident often cited as the initial geopolitical event that resulted in the First World War. In Spring 2014, KU students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community came together to learn more about the origins of World War I through a series of lecturesevents, and new resources in preparation for an online reenactment Summer 2014.

Using a #KU_WWI Tweeter Guide, project participants developed characters, hashtags, and 140-character tweets that formed a Master Script, which tweeted-out live on June 28, 2014, exactly 100 years after the event. On the day of the tweetenactment, participants representing the main characters tweeted LIVE from the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City as part of the museum's centennial commemoration events.

Twitter users were able to follow the action through the hashtag #KU_WWI, which provided dozens of historical perspectives -- ranging from world leaders to members of The Black Hand terrorist group. For those not on Twitter, a Twitter feed was available on the KU CREES and European Studies websites. Tweets were collected into a series of Storifies, which are available on this website (below).

The #KU_WWI Twitter Project included a creative storytelling component utilizing the strengths of KU and the local community. The tweetenactment incorporated historical, geographical, literary and art references both past and present, making the project a humanities driven exploration of the events leading up to World War I. Additionally, select tweets were translated by KU students and local community members with foreign language skills — showcasing the diversity of the languages and cultures involved in World War I, and the languages and cultures taught at KU. By inviting students to participate, the #KU_WWI Twitter Project created an experiential learning opportunity to use social media as a tool for engaging different academic skills; and integrated students and academic units from all over the KU campus for the study of a single, historical event.

#KU_WWI Tweetenactments

While the LIVE #KU_WWI tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand occurred on June 28, 2014 (9:30am to 12pm CST), historical characters had already started tweeting as officials discussed security measures for Ferdinand’s upcoming visit and assassins began plotting to kill the Archduke. Thanks to KU foreign language classes and members of the local community with foreign language skills, many of these tweetenactments have been translated into multiple languages. 

In the first of several promotional mini tweetenactments leading up to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, #SafetyFirst features an exchange between Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek and Sarajevo Police Commissioner Dr. Edmond Gerde as they discussed the Archduke’s upcoming visit. English | Bosnian | German 

In #Conspiracy, assassin Gavrilo Princip and his friend Nedeljko Čabrinović discuss the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand with fellow co-conspirator Trifko Grabež and leader of the Black Hand terrorist group and Serbian Chief of Intelligence Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević. 
English | Bosnian

#WhySarajevo features a dialog between Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I about the Archduke’s visit to Bosnia in late June 1914. English | German

In #All4USophie, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie Chotek discuss their life, love, and plans for celebrating their upcoming fourteenth wedding anniversary in Sarajevo. English | German

​Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Austro-Hungarian army advocates for war against Serbia which Archduke Franz Ferdinand strongly opposes. In the end, who was responsible for this decision?

The #IheartBosnia tweetenactment features an ensemble of characters and their activities in the months and days leading up to June 28th,1914. English | German

LIVE Tweetenactment 
The main event of the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, the LIVE Tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand took place at the National World War I Museum on June 28th, 2014.

LIVE Tweetenactment Deconstructed
Separating the fact from the fiction, #KU_WWI staff identify the truths behind the June 28th LIVE Tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The #Sarajevo Tweetenactment explores the anti-Serb violence that occurred in Sarajevo after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Tweets from leaders around the world as they learned of what happened in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914.

​A collection of tweets from the perspectives of the Archduke’s daughter, Sophie Von Hohenberg, and her tutor, Otto Lev Stanovsky, as they live through the aftermath of the assassination.

​An abbreviated first chapter of The Good Soldier Švejk in which Švejk learns about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand from his cleaning lady, Mrs. Müller. 

#KU_WWI Characters Revealed
Read how #KU_WWI staff and volunteers from the local community brought history to life on Twitter.

#KU_WWI Sentiments: the Good, the Bad & the Retweeted
A collection of thoughts and opinions about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project from the twitterverse.


#KU_WWI Project in the News

Press Releases

"Twitter Project to commemorate WWI centennial." KU News Service. 8 Apr. 2014.

"Twitter project will mark 100th anniversary of assassination that sparked World War I." KU News Service. 28 Apr. 2014.

For media inquiries please contact KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies Outreach Coordinator
Adrienne Landry (

Articles, Interviews & Mentions

Barry, Daniel. "America's National World War I Museum to mark Archduke's assassination." Centenary News. 24 June 2014. 

Calishain, Tara. "Twitter, DuckDuckGo, WWI and More: Morning Buzz." Research Buzz. 12 June 2014. 

Campbell, Matt. "Taps and Tweets at Liberty Memorial Commemorate World War I. Kansas City Star. 22 June 2014. 

Doornbos, Caitlin. "KU and National World War I Museum host twitter reenactment of Franz Ferdinand's assassination." Lawrence Journal World. 28 June 2014. 

Drake, Harrison and Arena Chitanavong. "STORIFY: National WWI Museum, University department commemorate Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination with #KU_WWI." University Daily Kansan. 29 June 2014. 

Henderson, Kristi. "KU students, alumni, faculty bring WWI history to life. Learning Without Boundaries KU College Blog.
11 June 2014. 

Hughes, Elliot. "KU students to tweet Ferdinand's assassination." Printed in the following: 

McIntyre, Kaye. "On the Brink of World War I." Kansas Public Radio Presents. 24 June 2014. 

Reese, Diana. "Assassination leading to World War I plays out again in tweets #KU_WWI." The Washington Post. 28 June 2014. 

Thomas, Judy L. "Museum relives the assassinations that sparked World War I." Kansas City Star. 28 June 2014. 

Unglesbee, Ben. "KU World War I Project will retell Archduke Ferdinand's assassination in tweets." Lawrence Journal World.
28 Apr. 2014. 

"KU group to host twitter reenactment." 6News Lawrence. 27 June 2014. 

"Twitter users recreate Ferdinand's assassination." Hays Post. 29 June 2014. 

"Twitter users reenact assassination that started World War I." 29 June 2014. 

"WWI Centennial Events Today." The Examiner. 28 June 2014. 

***All media links last accessed: 14 July 2014.

Project Sponsors

The project is a collaboration among the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, European Studies Program, the departments of Germanic Languages & Literatures, History and Slavic Languages & Literatures, University Honors Program, Global Awareness Program, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Libraries, KU Memorial Unions and Spencer Museum of Art. This project is also sponsored by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.

The University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is designated a Title VI National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the U.S. Department of Education.

This project is part of the University of Kansas centennial commemoration of World War I, coordinated by the European Studies Program. Learn more about participating units and upcoming programs at

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