‘World War 3’ Talk Spreads After Andrey Karlov’s Assassination

putin obama

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands for the cameras before the start of a bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters September 28, 2015 in New York City. (Getty)

Smart people are talking about Franz Ferdinand and comparing his assassination, which started World War I, to the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov. They’re wondering if there’s any scenario where this assassination might eventually lead to World War 3. If you’re noticing that the term “World War 3” is trending, it’s not because world war is imminent, but it’s because of these comparisons.

You’re likely seeing tweets like these:

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated on June 28, 1914 in Sarjevo. He was killed by Gavrilo Princip, a group of six assassins who were working on his assassination.

Ferdinand’s assassination was the trigger to the war, which resulted in Austria-Hungary delivering an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. International alliances on both sides were invoked and within mere weeks, the major world powers were at war. The war led to two major opposing alliances: The Allies vs the Central Powers. The Principal Allied Powers were the British Empire, French Republic, Italy, and Japan, with other Allied Powers including Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Hejaz, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serb-Croat-Slovene state, and others. The Central Powers, meanwhile, consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.

The war lasted until 1918. The Russian Empire formally left the alliance in 1917, signing a treaty of Brest Litovsk which created a separate peace with the Central Powers. Once Russia withdrew, the final great powers in alliance were the French Republic, the British Empire, the United States, Italy and Japan.

Some believe that if it weren’t for World War I, Germany and France would be world superpowers like the United States is today. Dan Carlin of Hard Core History did an in-depth podcast series on World War I, including Ferdinand’s assassination. The series is called Blueprint for Armageddon. You can listen to three hours of the series here.

People have voiced concerns about World War III because, if Russia were to declare war on Turkey, it might cause different countries to fall in line with their allies, similarly to what happened in World War I. Although Turkey is friendly with the U.S. and is a member of the United Nations and NATO, relations between Turkey and the United States have gotten less stable over recent years, starting with the United States’ action in the Iraq War in 2003. Americans’ support of the Kurds in the Syrian Civil War has increased tensions. In March 2016, President Barack Obama refused to have a formal meeting with Erdogan when he visited the U.S. But in September, he did meet with Erdogan for the first time since the failed coup attempt, which some said might have signaled a ‘minor uptick” in U.S.-Turkey relations.

Theoretically, if Russia declared war on Turkey, NATO members might retaliate since Turkey is a member of NATO. However, since Trump seems friendlier with Russia than most administrations, others find it hard to believe that he would declare war on Russia.

So far, Russia has said that it considers the assassination of its ambassador an act of terrorism. There has been no declaration of war, and some experts believe this is nothing compared to what happened in World War I. Michael Koplow, a policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, shared a series of tweets on why he believes this won’t escalate into World War III.

Essentially, he said that Turkey has too many incentives to ally with Russia and use this as an opportunity to strengthen its ties with Russia, not weaken them. Previously strained ties with Russia did not help Turkey, so the country, he said, his more likely to want to put out a statement against extremists and fighting terrorism jointly.

Here are some more tweets being shared online about World War III:

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  1. What a load of shite. It’s completely different, WW1 was a pack of lined up cards and treaties, they’ll treat this as an Islamist sympathetic killing in response to Russian support of Assad. There is absolutely no comparison and to suggest otherwise is just sensationalism and fear mongering to the tinfoil hat brigade.

  2. World War 3 is actually ENDING not STARTING. After Turkey (Ottoman Empire in WW 1) is left alone and Russia and America get cut off from Hormuz Oil by Arab Embargo number 2 (2017) … then America will HAVE to go Alternative Free Energy. This is ALL ABOUT OIL. Right now, the American Armada is escorting Oil Tankers, which has never before been done. This shows how desperate the Oil situation is. If you look up OPEC (Russia included) they have decided to lower or stagnate OIL production.

    America and NATO are growing and need OIL. If it stalls at ALL there will be the END of World War 3. You have to DEFINE the beginning and the end to define a WORLD WAR.

    The fact we are all talking about World War means we will prevent it. So, no worries. World War ONE was written AFTER all the carnage.

  3. Obama needs not to put salt in the wound, he up to no good with Russia so far. he wants to complicated US and Russia relations before he leaves the office.

  4. This is NONSENSE!! An ambassador assassinated is not equal to a PRINCE assassinated. It would be have been true if a senior political head had been taken down.. but with all due sadness and respect for Mr Ambassador, he was of much less practical importance.. for those who forgot, Turkey actually took out a russian fighter jet last year and still there was no war..

  5. Muslim =bad it is REALLY RUBBISH . Animals good =ok
    Animals =Humans. but not ok. WW3 Should never come.
    All gonna die so no one gonna start .So no WORRIES!!!! .

  6. who ever did this article is a dumb ass and knows nothing about politics nor history. Russia and Turkey have better relations than Turkey and USA. Not only that this assassinations made relations between Turkey and Russia even stronger while made Russia hate USA even more due to assassination was done by Pro-USA Islamic extremist agent that USA feeds their master. Also Trump does love Turkey and Erdogan since unlike Russia he actually has business in Turkey.