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Count Leopold Berchtold was the Imperial Foreign Minister for Austria-Hungary at the beginning of World War I. After Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, Berchtold advocated the use of punitive military force against Serbia for its role in the attack. He was thus very influential in Austria-Hungary's decision to declare war on Serbia on July 28.This declaration of war was the catalyst for World War I.
For this reason, many historians argue Berchtold was partially responsible for the outbreak of World War I. Had Berchtold sought a more peaceful resolution to the crisis surrounding Ferdinand's death, the events may not have spiraled out of control as they did. However, one should remember that Berchtold most likely did not think declaring war on Serbia would result in a pan-European conflict on the scale of the Great War.
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