On this day in history, June 28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip. While the assassination was an important cause of war in and of itself, it was mostly only a spark that lit a fuse decades in the making, for the causes of the Great War go far beyond the assassination. Since the dawn of large nation-states in Europe in the Early Modern Period, European powers operated on a system of balance of power; creating alliances and going to war in order to prevent one power from growing too strong. However, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 disrupted this balance and left it unresolved. Germany was left the undisputed superpower of Continental Europe, and Great Britain, France, and Russia were drawn into a game of forging and forgoing alliances in order to best weaken their enemies and secure their positions; it was widely accepted at this time that a European war to resolve the tension was inevitable, but no one imagined how devastating it would be. Because of this, the Great Powers were wrapped up in extensive alliance networks that drew them into the comparatively insignificant affairs of smaller nations. Exacerbating this setting was the incompetence of many nation-state leaders and the breakdown of reasoned discourse. Also, the technology and tactics of the day lent themselves to war and mobilization plans that were inflexible to a fault; all hopes of a quick victory required full mobilization and a first strike without time for negotiation.