Well, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote in his memoirs that he was told by a distinguished German Freemason that Freemasonry had engineered the war to destroy the powers of Central Europe and create a power vacuum.
So what role did Ferdinand play in this?
From a book I had forgotten about, Scarlet and the Beast:
What was Ferdinand's terrible crime? The Scottish Rite New Age magazine, September 1952, these many years later, revealed that information in an editorial from which we quote:
[The First World] War was precipitated by a "secret treaty" between the Vatican and Serbia, which would have annexed Serbia to the Vatican State and imposed canon law on that non-Catholic country. When the treaty became known, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, "Roman Catholic heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, known to be a secret party to the policy embodied in the treaty," was assassinated by Gavrilo Princep.Archduke Ferdinand had committed - to the Masons - the unpardonable sin of turning a non-Catholic country into a Catholic domain.
Not sure I believe that.
However, the same chapter contains the following:
The plotting began sometime in 1910 in Swiss, French, Hungarian, Serbian and Italian Grand Orient Lodges. A traveling peddler, Karl Kothner of the Grand Lodge of Berlin, heard parts of the conspiracy in Lodges he frequented throughout Europe. Greatly disturbed, he returned to Berlin and delivered the information to Count Dohna Schlodien, his Grand Master. Kothner recorded in his diary the words he uttered to the Count on October 28, 1911 at 11:15 A.M.:
Being, at first, frank and credulous I made some discoveries during the year in the lodges of other towns abroad, which disturbed me greatly. I came by chance upon proofs that Freemasonry was preparing something terrible against Germany. I overheard certain imprudent remarks which gave me a glimpse of a plan to assassinate the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, of starting a world war to cause the fall of thrones and altars.
The following year Ferdinand was condemned to death by the Freemasons (nice chaps!).
So what was this aforementioned "secret treaty" (if it existed)? And when was it agreed?