37 Days & The July Crisis
In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”
The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.
By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.
As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  
The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  
The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.


Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  
The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  
The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 
The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.
Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.
On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.
As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff
Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss
Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914
Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914
Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914
Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)
Primary Source Documents (source)
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)
The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)
37 Days & The July Crisis
In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”
The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.
By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.
As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  
The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  
The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.


Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  
The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  
The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 
The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.
Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.
On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.
As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff
Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss
Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914
Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914
Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914
Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)
Primary Source Documents (source)
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)
The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)
37 Days & The July Crisis
In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”
The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.
By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.
As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  
The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  
The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.


Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  
The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  
The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 
The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.
Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.
On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.
As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff
Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss
Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914
Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914
Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914
Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)
Primary Source Documents (source)
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)
The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)
37 Days & The July Crisis
In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”
The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.
By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.
As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  
The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  
The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.


Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  
The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  
The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 
The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.
Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.
On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.
As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff
Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss
Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914
Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914
Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914
Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)
Primary Source Documents (source)
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)
The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)
37 Days & The July Crisis
In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”
The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.
By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.
As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  
The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  
The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.


Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  
The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  
The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 
The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.
Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.
On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.
As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff
Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss
Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914
Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914
Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914
Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)
Primary Source Documents (source)
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)
The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)

37 Days & The July Crisis

In the 37 days following the Austrian Archduke’s assassination leading up to the beginning of the war saw Europe’s statesmen: ambassadors, ministers, foreign secretaries and chancellors communicate, cajole, manoeuvre and threaten one another.  So much so that in the last week of July and first week of August 1914, war was almost averted a handful of times.  Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, succinctly summed up the July Crisis in his speech to the House of Commons on August 3rd, 1914.  When he said: “events move so rapidly that it is exceedingly difficult to state with technical accuracy the actual state of affairs, but it is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved.”

The political meanderings began on the 6th of July, when Germany offered Austria a ‘blank cheque’ of support for any punitive action Austria sought to take against Serbia.  The German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg messaged that Germany would “faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.”  Arguably it was Berlin that held the reins of the situation.  When the Kaiser & Bethmann-Hollweg pause to reconsider their political manoeuvring of Austria the head of the German army Von Moltke took it upon himself to send a telegram to Austria on 26th July, calling on them to hurry their decision to declare war on Serbia.  In late July, French President Raymond Poincaré made a well timed visit to Russia, meeting with Tsar Nicholas (see image #4). Both men sought to reassure themselves of the others support.

By mid July ultimatums were flying across Europe, Austria-Hungary’s 10-point ultimatum to Serbia was constructed as to be unacceptable, as was Germany’s to Belgium.  Britain’s later ultimatum to Germany on the 4th August, proved to be the last straw for a British government who had been torn and unable to agree upon intervention in what was fast becoming a large-scale European conflict.

As Austria manouvered slowly toward war the Tsar and Kaiser continued their back and forth across the telegraph lines.  Both men sought assurances from the other that they would not mobilise.  When Austria-Hungary finally mobilised against Serbia on the 23rd July, Russia began to mobilise in response.  However, when the Kaiser sent a message assuring that Austria’s aims were limited the Tsar consulted with his staff about halting the mobilisation only to be told that it could not be stopped (see image #3).  With Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on the 28th July, a chain of reactions  perpetuated by Europe’s intricate alliance system rapidly escalated and enlarged the conflict.  In response to Austrian aggression Serbia’s ally Russia mobilised threatening to intervene, seizing their opportunity Germany declared war on Russia on the 1st August.  

The alliance systems within Europe saw two main blocks form the Central Powers, a predominantly defensive pact including: Germany, Austro-Hungary and Italy and the Entente Powers including France, Russia and Great Britain (see map below).  The relationships between the Entente Powers was less set in stone with Britain and France having supposedly unwritten understandings that Britain would support France if invaded.  As it happened in August 1914, Italy decided to remain neutral and Britain with the invasion of Belgium had a suitable reason to enter the war with its Entente partners.  

The side effect of the alliance system meant that when Germany declared war on Russia it was already mobilising to attack her ally France - in Germany’s grand strategy, the Schlieffen Plan, it was to take six weeks to defeat France before turning their attention east to Russia. As a result war was assured between the great powers the moment Germany declared war on Russia.

Europe in August 1914 (source)

The last days of political wrangling and first days of war brought some almost comic ironies.  For instance when Germany declared war on Russia, Austro-Hungary had not yet severed diplomatic ties nor declared war on Russia.  

The first week of August saw the situation deteriorate rapidly, the 1st saw German units scout into Luxembourg and with general mobilisation gaining pace.  The British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made a finalattempt to avoid all out war by sending the German ambassador a promise of Britain and France remaining neutral if any conflict was limited to eastern Europe. This message came just minutes after the Kaiser had mobilised his troops and less than an hour later the first troops entered Luxembourg before being hastily withdrawn when the message was received.  When this reassurance of neutrality was subsequently denied as a miscommunication, as the offer had probably been made without consulting the French, it would have effectively left France’s ally isolated facing the entire German army alone.  

The Kaiser’s opinion of the British Foreign Secretary was at its lowest point noting in the margin of a diplomatic dispatch that “the rubbish talked by this man Grey shows that he has absolutely no idea what he ought to do.”   The Kaiser again ordered his troops into Luxembourg.  This invasion caused a similar chain reaction in the west to the one seen earlier in the east.  In response to Germany’s aggression both Belgium and France began to mobilise.  Late on the 3rd August, Germany began her invasion of Belgium leading Britain to issue a last desperate ultimatum demanding Germany respect Belgian neutrality. 

The motivations of the great nations of Europe are complex and varied, with roots stretching back decades.  For Germany it was an opportune chance to assert martial dominance over Europe, for France it was a defensive necessity but also an opportunity to take revenge for the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War.  Russia had been cajoled into war by her fear of losing face and the pressure of eastern Europe’s slavic peoples to whom the Tsar saw himself as the protector.  Austria-Hungary’s motivation was not Archduke Franz-Ferdinand’s assassination but rather to halt the expansion of ‘pan-slavism’ and a determination to expand and ensure their influence across the Serbia and the Balkans.  
For Britain it was the invasion of neutral Belgium that galvanized support for intervention in the unfolding European war. While there are a dozen contributing factor including tacit support of France, the wish to maintain a European landscape not dominated by any one power and a wish to maintain respect for international law with arcuate maintained Britain’s place as a dominant trade power and also perhaps a latent desire to assert Britain’s own power over its main rival Germany, who if victorious in the absence of British support would have resulted in a Europe dominated by a German superpower.

Regardless of the reasoning, until the first week in August Britain had been divided on war. The cabinet and the people themselves were fractious in their support for British involvement in a ‘European war’. It was Britain’s guarantee of Belgian neutrality which brought Britain into the unfolding conflict. The blatant defiling of international law could not be allowed to occur.  The struggle of ‘brave little Belgium’ facing brutal atrocities captured the imaginations of the public catalysing widespread support for a military intervention to protect Belgian independence. The ‘Rape of Belgium' proved to be a crucial tipping point.

On the 3rd August, Germany declared war on France and on the 4th following Germany’s failure to respond to the British ultimatum declared war on Germany.  It was not until 6th August, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and France.  In a further development Italy, Germany & Austria’s ally declared itself neutral when Austria-Hungary refused to grant Italy territories in exchange for their support,  This left Austria and Germany isolated.  By the 5th August almost all of mainland Europe had been dragged into war.  However, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States had remained neutral with many of them watching from the sidelines for entirety of the war.

As August wore on and the opening engagements of the war on the Western Front were fought the political loose ends were tied up with allies on both sides declaring war on their allies enemies.  On August 11th,France declared war on Austria-Hungary, followed by Britain the next day.  On the 22nd August Austria-Hungary declared war on Belgium and on the 23rd Japan, Britain’s ally, declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on the 25th.

Sources:

Image One Source - Kaiser Wilhelm II and his General Staff

Image Two Source - Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef and his Foreign Minister Agenor Maria Goluchowski, by Karl Peyfuss

Image Three Source - Tsar Nicholas II greeting his officers c.1914

Image Four Source - French President Raymond Poincaré visiting with Tsar Nicholas in late July 1914

Image Five Source - Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey making his speech for war to the House of Commons, August 3rd, 1914

Sir Edward Grey’s speech on the eve of war: 3 August 1914 (source)

Primary Source Documents (source)

1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)

The First World War: A Miscellany, N. Ferguson (2014)

The Guns of August, B. W. Tuchman, (1962)

The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War,  M. MacMillan (2013)

Kaiser Wilhelm’s Balcony Speeches 

On the 31st  July, 1914, the Kaiser appeared on a balcony of the Berliner Schloss to address a boisterous crowd below. This was the first of several speeches Kaiser Wilhelm would make to his people from the balcony into the first week of August 1914.

“A fateful hour has fallen for Germany. Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands. I hope that if my efforts at the last hour do not succeed in bringing our opponents to see eye to eye with us and in maintaining the peace, we shall, with God’s help, so wield the sword that we shall restore it to its sheath again with honor.

"War would demand of us an enormous sacrifice in property and life, but we should show our enemies what it means to provoke Germany. And now I command you to God. Go to church and kneel before God, and pray for His help for our gallant army."

Several days later on the 1st August, the Kaiser again addressed an eager crowd that had gathered beneath his balcony upon hearing the news of the declaration of war on Russia.

"I thank all of you for the love and loyalty that you have shown me these past days. These were serious days, like seldom before. Should it now come to a battle, then there will be no more political parties. I, too, was attacked by the one or the other party. That was in peace.
I forgive you now from the depths of my heart. I no longer recognize any parties or any confessions; today we are all German brothers and only German brothers. If our neighbors want it no other way, if our neighbors do not grant us peace, then I hope to God that our good German sword will see us through to victory in these difficult battles.”

In 1914, the German Reichstag had an overwhelming socialist majority which broadly opposed Wilhelm and his general staff’s autocratic ambitions.  The declaration of war had an almost integrating effect bringing many socialists to in principle support the war.

Kaiser Wilhelm inspecting the 1st Foot Guards at the Neues Palais, Potsdam in 1892 (source)

It was not just in Berlin that Wilhelm spoke, on the 18th August, he spoke to men of the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß (1st Foot Guards), the most senior regiment of the German Army, at Potsdam.  Wilhelm like all Kings of Prussia before him was Regimentschef or Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.  In the rousing and militaristic speech the Kaiser evokes the memories of past Guardsmen and the battles they fought before symbolically drawing his own sword and calling for three cheers:

"Former generations as well as those who stand here today have often seen the soldiers of the First Guard Regiment and My Guards at this place. We were brought together then by an oath of allegiance which we swore before God. Today all have gathered to pray for the triumph of our weapons, for now that oath must be proved to the last drop of blood. The sword, which I have left in its scabbard for decades, shall decide.

I expect My First Guard Regiment on Foot and My Guards to add a new page of fame to their glorious history. The celebration today finds us confident in God in the Highest and remembering the glorious days of Leuthen, Chlum, and St. Privat. Our ancient fame is an appeal to the German people and their sword. And the entire German nation to the last man has grasped the sword. And so I draw the sword which with the help of God I have kept in its scabbard for decades. 

[At this point the Kaiser drew his sword from its scabbard and held it high above his head.]

The sword is drawn, and I cannot sheathe it again without victory and honor.  All of you shall and will see to it that only in honor is it returned to the scabbard. You are my guaranty that I can dictate peace to my enemies. Up and at the enemy! Down with the enemies of Brandenburg! Three cheers for our army!”

The 1st Guards were part of Germany’s Guards Corps which formed part of the 2nd Army which invaded Belgium taking part in the siege of Namur and the battles of Charleroi and St. Quentin in the first months of the war.  

Sources:

Image Source

'The Kaiser Speaks from the Balcony of the Royal Palace (August 1, 1914)', www.germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org (source)

'Speeches That Ushered In War: Fateful Words of European Rulers and Statesmen Calling Nations to a Decision by Arms', New York Times, August 1st, 1915

Wilhelm II’s War Speeches (source)

The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source
The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War
The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 
On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 
Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.
In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.
In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 
Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 
Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source
Berlin Image Two Source
Berlin Image Three Source
Berlin Image Four Source
Munich Image Source
Trafalgar Square Image Source
Buckingham Palace Image Source
Russia Image Source
France Image Source

The Crowds Gather: The Reaction to War

The photographs above depict the crowds which gathered in the major cities of Europe as war was declared across the continent.  With the ink on declarations of war still drying jubilant crowds took to the streets fired by patriotic fervour to celebrate the beginning of what they believed would be a short, sharp war. 

On 1st August 1914, German army officers took to the streets to read out the Kaiser’s mobilisation order, crowds quickly gathered to listen - many of them no doubt members of Germany’s Reserve, Landwehr and Landsturm.  With the declaration of war crowds began to gather across Berlin, one focal point was at the residence of the German heir to the throne Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Duchess Cecilie in Unter den Linden.  In the photograph above the crowds can be seen cheering the couple as they wave from a balcony.  Another photograph from Unter den Linden shows jubilant crowds carrying portraits of the Kaiser and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph.  The fourth photograph shows Kaiser Wilhelm himself addressing crowds from a balcony of the Berliner Schloss.  He did this several times during the first days of the war telling the citizens gathered below that:

"A fateful hour has fallen for Germany.  Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands."

The most famous photograph to be taken of crowds gathered in Munich and shows a buoyant crowd at the Odeon Platz - the photograph which was later used in Nazi propaganda during the Second World War purportedly features a young Adolf Hitler among the crowd. 

Similarly, large crowds of thousands of people also took to the streets of the capitals and cities of the allied nations.  In Britain the attitude towards possible involvement had initially been mixed with many preferring the country to remain neutral.  When news of the invasion of Belgium reached the British people the enthusiasm for war grew.  While there was significant anti-war demonstrations held in the days preceding the declaration of war they were vastly outnumbered by the crowds who took to the streets to celebrate.  In the next photograph crowds of boater hat waving men congregated in Trafalgar Square.

In the seventh photograph we see a thick crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales who, like the Kaiser in Berlin, greeted the crowds from a balcony following the Declaration of War on 4th August.

In St Petersburg many people gathered expectantly outside the Winter Palace in the days leading up to the declaration of war, the photograph above shows the crowd gathered on 28th July when the Tsar ordered a partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.  In France Parisians gathered with tricolours flying to wave off reservists leaving for their muster depots from the Gare de Paris-Est train station. 

Interestingly what is a clear common thread between all of photographs from across europe is the constant presence of the boater hat.  At the time it was the fashion across Europe for boaters to replace the ubiquitous bowler hat in the summer months. 

Image Sources:

Berlin Image One Source

Berlin Image Two Source

Berlin Image Three Source

Berlin Image Four Source

Munich Image Source

Trafalgar Square Image Source

Buckingham Palace Image Source

Russia Image Source

France Image Source

German Infantry: 1914
On the 29th July 1914, Imperial Germany began its mobilisation of almost two million.  With eight independent field armies mustering and boarding trains with one heading east to the Russo-German border and the remaining seven heading west. Three days later these armies launched the invasions of Belgium and France.  
The Imperial German Army itself was made up of the armies of the four major states that composed the greater German Reich with elements from; Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg.  These formed the eight field armies, for example the Bavarian Army formed the 6th Army while the Royal Saxon Army formed the 3rd Army.In August 1914, the Imperial German Army (or Deutsches Heer) were arguably the best equipped force in the field.  Not only did they have superiority in the number of artillery pieces but also in machine guns available - fielding over 5,000 at the beginning of the war.
They also had some of the best uniform and field equipment of any army in the field at the outset of war. The average infantryman was armed with the Gewehr 1888 Commission Rifle or the excellent Mauser M1898 bolt action rifle, they wore the 1907/1910 pattern field grey service uniforms which had been adopted in 1910.  Previously the various corps and provincial armies had worn a variety of colours, principally dark blues, greens and black.  
Unlike the British webbing system the German Army used leather Model 1887/1909 Field Equipment which consisted of several 1909 pattern or two 1895 pattern ammunition pouches on either side of the soldier’s waist, a Model 1887 Haversack, water bottle, Bayonet and frog, and a 1895 pattern backpack.In addition to this they wore the distinctive felt or leather M1895 Pickelhaube helmet covered by a protective cover.  Unlike their British counterparts who wore puttees bound about their ankles the German infantry wore shin-high leather jackboots.  When in the field none of the uniform’s metal buttons or accoutrements were polished and were instead allowed to oxidise giving them a dull appearance.  
Sources:

Image One Source - Artist’s impression of a German Infantryman
Image Two Source - German Infantry on the march IWM Q56791
Military Uniforms in Colour, P. Kannik, (1968)

More on the Imperial German Army here German Infantry: 1914
On the 29th July 1914, Imperial Germany began its mobilisation of almost two million.  With eight independent field armies mustering and boarding trains with one heading east to the Russo-German border and the remaining seven heading west. Three days later these armies launched the invasions of Belgium and France.  
The Imperial German Army itself was made up of the armies of the four major states that composed the greater German Reich with elements from; Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg.  These formed the eight field armies, for example the Bavarian Army formed the 6th Army while the Royal Saxon Army formed the 3rd Army.In August 1914, the Imperial German Army (or Deutsches Heer) were arguably the best equipped force in the field.  Not only did they have superiority in the number of artillery pieces but also in machine guns available - fielding over 5,000 at the beginning of the war.
They also had some of the best uniform and field equipment of any army in the field at the outset of war. The average infantryman was armed with the Gewehr 1888 Commission Rifle or the excellent Mauser M1898 bolt action rifle, they wore the 1907/1910 pattern field grey service uniforms which had been adopted in 1910.  Previously the various corps and provincial armies had worn a variety of colours, principally dark blues, greens and black.  
Unlike the British webbing system the German Army used leather Model 1887/1909 Field Equipment which consisted of several 1909 pattern or two 1895 pattern ammunition pouches on either side of the soldier’s waist, a Model 1887 Haversack, water bottle, Bayonet and frog, and a 1895 pattern backpack.In addition to this they wore the distinctive felt or leather M1895 Pickelhaube helmet covered by a protective cover.  Unlike their British counterparts who wore puttees bound about their ankles the German infantry wore shin-high leather jackboots.  When in the field none of the uniform’s metal buttons or accoutrements were polished and were instead allowed to oxidise giving them a dull appearance.  
Sources:

Image One Source - Artist’s impression of a German Infantryman
Image Two Source - German Infantry on the march IWM Q56791
Military Uniforms in Colour, P. Kannik, (1968)

More on the Imperial German Army here German Infantry: 1914
On the 29th July 1914, Imperial Germany began its mobilisation of almost two million.  With eight independent field armies mustering and boarding trains with one heading east to the Russo-German border and the remaining seven heading west. Three days later these armies launched the invasions of Belgium and France.  
The Imperial German Army itself was made up of the armies of the four major states that composed the greater German Reich with elements from; Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg.  These formed the eight field armies, for example the Bavarian Army formed the 6th Army while the Royal Saxon Army formed the 3rd Army.In August 1914, the Imperial German Army (or Deutsches Heer) were arguably the best equipped force in the field.  Not only did they have superiority in the number of artillery pieces but also in machine guns available - fielding over 5,000 at the beginning of the war.
They also had some of the best uniform and field equipment of any army in the field at the outset of war. The average infantryman was armed with the Gewehr 1888 Commission Rifle or the excellent Mauser M1898 bolt action rifle, they wore the 1907/1910 pattern field grey service uniforms which had been adopted in 1910.  Previously the various corps and provincial armies had worn a variety of colours, principally dark blues, greens and black.  
Unlike the British webbing system the German Army used leather Model 1887/1909 Field Equipment which consisted of several 1909 pattern or two 1895 pattern ammunition pouches on either side of the soldier’s waist, a Model 1887 Haversack, water bottle, Bayonet and frog, and a 1895 pattern backpack.In addition to this they wore the distinctive felt or leather M1895 Pickelhaube helmet covered by a protective cover.  Unlike their British counterparts who wore puttees bound about their ankles the German infantry wore shin-high leather jackboots.  When in the field none of the uniform’s metal buttons or accoutrements were polished and were instead allowed to oxidise giving them a dull appearance.  
Sources:

Image One Source - Artist’s impression of a German Infantryman
Image Two Source - German Infantry on the march IWM Q56791
Military Uniforms in Colour, P. Kannik, (1968)

More on the Imperial German Army here

German Infantry: 1914

On the 29th July 1914, Imperial Germany began its mobilisation of almost two million.  With eight independent field armies mustering and boarding trains with one heading east to the Russo-German border and the remaining seven heading west. Three days later these armies launched the invasions of Belgium and France.  

The Imperial German Army itself was made up of the armies of the four major states that composed the greater German Reich with elements from; Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg.  These formed the eight field armies, for example the Bavarian Army formed the 6th Army while the Royal Saxon Army formed the 3rd Army.
In August 1914, the Imperial German Army (or Deutsches Heer) were arguably the best equipped force in the field.  Not only did they have superiority in the number of artillery pieces but also in machine guns available - fielding over 5,000 at the beginning of the war.

They also had some of the best uniform and field equipment of any army in the field at the outset of war. The average infantryman was armed with the Gewehr 1888 Commission Rifle or the excellent Mauser M1898 bolt action rifle, they wore the 1907/1910 pattern field grey service uniforms which had been adopted in 1910.  Previously the various corps and provincial armies had worn a variety of colours, principally dark blues, greens and black.  

Unlike the British webbing system the German Army used leather Model 1887/1909 Field Equipment which consisted of several 1909 pattern or two 1895 pattern ammunition pouches on either side of the soldier’s waist, a Model 1887 Haversack, water bottle, Bayonet and frog, and a 1895 pattern backpack.

In addition to this they wore the distinctive felt or leather M1895 Pickelhaube helmet covered by a protective cover.  Unlike their British counterparts who wore puttees bound about their ankles the German infantry wore shin-high leather jackboots.  When in the field none of the uniform’s metal buttons or accoutrements were polished and were instead allowed to oxidise giving them a dull appearance.  

Sources:

Image One Source - Artist’s impression of a German Infantryman

Image Two Source - German Infantry on the march IWM Q56791

Military Uniforms in Colour, P. Kannik, (1968)

More on the Imperial German Army here

“With heavy heart I have been compelled to mobilise my army against a neighbour at whose side it has fought on many a battlefield. With genuine sorrow do I witness the end of a friendship, which Germany loyally cherished. We draw the sword with a clean conscience and clean hands.”
Kaiser Wilhelm II on the realisation that in attacking France, Britain would be drawn into the conflict.
“If ever there is another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans.”

This profoundly prophetic quote is attributed to Prince Otto Von Bismarck (in 1890), the first Chancellor of Germany. While Bismarck was correct he could not have know it would be a war perpetuated by a German government, albeit an expansionist one that had forced him to resign.

100 years ago today, the ‘damned silly thing in the Balkans’ materialised as the German-supported Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia.

The Grand Fleet Mobilises
The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  
Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  
When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).
When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 
The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)
Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)
Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source) 
Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)
Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)
Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell
The Grand Fleet Mobilises
The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  
Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  
When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).
When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 
The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)
Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)
Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source) 
Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)
Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)
Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell
The Grand Fleet Mobilises
The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  
Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  
When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).
When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 
The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)
Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)
Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source) 
Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)
Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)
Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell
The Grand Fleet Mobilises
The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  
Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  
When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).
When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 
The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)
Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)
Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source) 
Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)
Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)
Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell
The Grand Fleet Mobilises
The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  
Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  
When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).
When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 
The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)
Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)
Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source) 
Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)
Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)
Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell

The Grand Fleet Mobilises

The First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill astutely predicted the oncoming storm during the summer of 1914.   On the 28th June the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo beginning Europe’s downward spiral into total war.   As ultimatums flew between Europe’s great powers and alliances were quietly call upon Churchill foresaw the threat.  

Since becoming the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, he had worked tirelessly to increase the navy’s budget and bring the Royal Navy to a finely honed state of preparedness for a war in Europe.  Forming the Naval War Staff, creating the Royal Naval Division - a division of infantry made up of sailors of the Navy Reserve intended for service on land and in overseeing the reshaping of Britain’s naval strategy if war in Europe came - shifting the Royal Navy’s emphasis to that of a great blockade of German held ports.  

When war began to look likely in July 1914, Churchill ordered the mobilisation of the entire Royal Navy, under the auspices of a test mobilisation.  During this gathering of the fleet a Royal Fleet Review was held at Spithead where the gathered might of the Royal Navy, featuring over 100 assorted vessels including 56 Battleships, was inspected by King George V (see above).

When the mobilisation exercise ended in late July 1914, Churchill held the First and Second Fleets of the Home Fleet at Portland in the South of England, rather than redeploy them back to their usual stations.  On the 28th July, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and in turn Russia began to mobilise its armed forces - in anticipation of further escalation of the situation Churchill ordered the First and Second Fleets to steam north to the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland where they formed the Grand Fleet and readied for war at the Naval base at Scapa Flow.   Three days later Germany declared war on Russia and within a week Britain joined the war, on the 4th August 1914, at 11pm Churchill sent a short message to all Royal Navy ships and stations: “Commence hostilities against Germany.” 

The Grand Fleet would go on to successfully transport the British Expeditionary Force to France, successfully engage the German Imperial High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland and play a pivotal role in the eventual collapse of Imperial Germany through the crippling four year long naval blockade of German ports maintained by the Royal Navy.

The photograph above is from a postcard commemorating the King’s review at Spithead (Image One Source)

Spectators survey the fleet below, taken at an undated review - between 1897 - 1914, possibly the July 1914 Fleet Review.  (Image Two Source)

Map showing the positions of the Grand Fleet during the test mobilisation review (Image Three Source

Another picture postcard commemorating the review (Image Four Source)

Photograph showing the Grand Fleet at sea, probably c.1914, (Image Five Source)

Winston Churchill: Soldier, (2005), D.S Russell

(via historicalfirearms)

July 28th 1914: Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia
The front page of The Washington Times above reports that following the unsatisfactory Serbian response to Austria’s July Ultimatum the Austro-Hungarian Empire have declared war on Serbia.  

The Ultimatum had been drafted to be unacceptable and while Serbia had agreed to all but one of the ten demands Austria took the opportunity to declare war on the small Balkan state on its southern border.   With Germany and Austro-Hungary declining to take part in suggested mediation talks. The declaration of war  would suck Russia, Serbia’s ally, into the conflict forcing them to mobilise their forces.  
The resulting mobilisations snowballed Europe into a total war the likes of which it had never seen.  Following Germany’s declaration of war on Russia war between the rest of Europe’s major powers was inevitable.

Image One Source
Image Two Source
July 28th 1914: Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia
The front page of The Washington Times above reports that following the unsatisfactory Serbian response to Austria’s July Ultimatum the Austro-Hungarian Empire have declared war on Serbia.  

The Ultimatum had been drafted to be unacceptable and while Serbia had agreed to all but one of the ten demands Austria took the opportunity to declare war on the small Balkan state on its southern border.   With Germany and Austro-Hungary declining to take part in suggested mediation talks. The declaration of war  would suck Russia, Serbia’s ally, into the conflict forcing them to mobilise their forces.  
The resulting mobilisations snowballed Europe into a total war the likes of which it had never seen.  Following Germany’s declaration of war on Russia war between the rest of Europe’s major powers was inevitable.

Image One Source
Image Two Source

July 28th 1914: Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia

The front page of The Washington Times above reports that following the unsatisfactory Serbian response to Austria’s July Ultimatum the Austro-Hungarian Empire have declared war on Serbia.  

The Ultimatum had been drafted to be unacceptable and while Serbia had agreed to all but one of the ten demands Austria took the opportunity to declare war on the small Balkan state on its southern border.   With Germany and Austro-Hungary declining to take part in suggested mediation talks. The declaration of war would suck Russia, Serbia’s ally, into the conflict forcing them to mobilise their forces.  

The resulting mobilisations snowballed Europe into a total war the likes of which it had never seen.  Following Germany’s declaration of war on Russia war between the rest of Europe’s major powers was inevitable.

Image One Source

Image Two Source

Battle of Killiecrankie
On the 27th July 1689, a British Government force of 5,000 men met a Jacobite army of approximately 3,000 at on the outskirts of Killiecrankie, a small village 30 miles north of Perth.  
The rebel Jacobite force was led by John Graham, the Viscount Dundee, a career officer with continental experience and who had fought for the government during the Scottish Covenanter Wars.  He was a staunch supporter of the Stuart monarchy having served both Charles II and James II, who in 1688 had made him a viscount and given him control of the forces in Scotland.  As such when the Glorious Revolution deposed James II Graham and the Highland chieftain Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel rose in support of the King.
The Glorious Revolution saw the increasingly Catholic James ousted by a cadre of English noblemen who in his place invited William, the dutch Prince of Orange to take the throne.  James was deposed by William in February 1689.
In March 1689, the deposed James arrived in Ireland quickly taking control and beginning to raise an army.  At the same time his supporters in the northern Scottish Highlands were rallied by Graham, known to his supporters as Bonnie Dundee.  However, he was only able to raise a small force supplemented by some Irish troops sent by James.
By July, General Hugh Mackay was marching to capture Blair Castle, Graham moved to intercept Mackay’s column blocking his path 4 miles south of the castle at Killiecrankie.  Graham deployed his Highland warriors on Orchill Ridge which dominated Killiecrankie pass.  When Mackay’s forces arrived they found they could not attack Graham’s men nor force the pass.  Instead the government forces deployed in line across a lower lying ridge of ground, for several hours the two forces face one another with the Highlanders shouting insults down the ridge.
At about 8pm Graham grew impatient, perhaps fearing Mackay’s forces would slip by in the night, decided to sacrifice his superior defensive position and attack.  Graham’s men began their much feared Highland charge across several hundred years of open ground.  Firing their muskets and pistols as they charged they soon entered the musket range of the government forces who unleashed a crashing volley into the Highland line however, it was not enough to stop the charge.  With no time to reload, with the Highlanders closing the distance quickly, and little time to fit their plug bayonets, Graham’s men fell on the government troops and fighting descended into brutal hand to hand combat - which the Highlanders, some armed with the old-style two handed Claymore and others with the newer basket hilted broadsword, excelled at.   The Scottish swords did devastating damage severing limbs and smashing bone, within minutes the left of the government line was breaking.  Mackay desperately sent forward his cavalry but they were forced back by Graham’s own troop of cavalry.  The right of Mackay’s line held with withering fire holding off the Highlanders.  
It was at this point that Graham, moving to lead his men forward in another charge, was shot from his horse hit in the stomach by a musket ball.  His aides were unable to reach him and he was left behind as the Highland attack faltered and began to fall back the shattered government force which had lost roughly 2,000 men retreated with some describing it as a rout and other a raged fighting retreat.  By the end of the battle the Highlanders had suffered 1,200 casualties a loss which could not be sustained by the Jacobite cause.
A year later James II himself was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland by King William returning Ireland to government control.  James would never again return to his kingdoms.  His son Charles - the Old Pretender and his grandson Charles - the Young Pretender (Bonnie Prince Charlie), would both return to Scotland to raise rebellions in 1715 and 1745, neither were successful. 
Today is the 325th anniversary of the battle, while the Jacobite force defeated the British army it was a pyrrhic victory with the death of John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland lost its momentum with loyalist forces fighting several more disastrous battles before the rebellion petered out in 1692 when the remaining Jacobite chieftains swore allegiance to King William.

Image One Source
Image Two Source
British Battles, K. & D. Guest, (1997)
Bonnie Dundee, A. Murray Scott, (2000)
Battle of Killiecrankie
On the 27th July 1689, a British Government force of 5,000 men met a Jacobite army of approximately 3,000 at on the outskirts of Killiecrankie, a small village 30 miles north of Perth.  
The rebel Jacobite force was led by John Graham, the Viscount Dundee, a career officer with continental experience and who had fought for the government during the Scottish Covenanter Wars.  He was a staunch supporter of the Stuart monarchy having served both Charles II and James II, who in 1688 had made him a viscount and given him control of the forces in Scotland.  As such when the Glorious Revolution deposed James II Graham and the Highland chieftain Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel rose in support of the King.
The Glorious Revolution saw the increasingly Catholic James ousted by a cadre of English noblemen who in his place invited William, the dutch Prince of Orange to take the throne.  James was deposed by William in February 1689.
In March 1689, the deposed James arrived in Ireland quickly taking control and beginning to raise an army.  At the same time his supporters in the northern Scottish Highlands were rallied by Graham, known to his supporters as Bonnie Dundee.  However, he was only able to raise a small force supplemented by some Irish troops sent by James.
By July, General Hugh Mackay was marching to capture Blair Castle, Graham moved to intercept Mackay’s column blocking his path 4 miles south of the castle at Killiecrankie.  Graham deployed his Highland warriors on Orchill Ridge which dominated Killiecrankie pass.  When Mackay’s forces arrived they found they could not attack Graham’s men nor force the pass.  Instead the government forces deployed in line across a lower lying ridge of ground, for several hours the two forces face one another with the Highlanders shouting insults down the ridge.
At about 8pm Graham grew impatient, perhaps fearing Mackay’s forces would slip by in the night, decided to sacrifice his superior defensive position and attack.  Graham’s men began their much feared Highland charge across several hundred years of open ground.  Firing their muskets and pistols as they charged they soon entered the musket range of the government forces who unleashed a crashing volley into the Highland line however, it was not enough to stop the charge.  With no time to reload, with the Highlanders closing the distance quickly, and little time to fit their plug bayonets, Graham’s men fell on the government troops and fighting descended into brutal hand to hand combat - which the Highlanders, some armed with the old-style two handed Claymore and others with the newer basket hilted broadsword, excelled at.   The Scottish swords did devastating damage severing limbs and smashing bone, within minutes the left of the government line was breaking.  Mackay desperately sent forward his cavalry but they were forced back by Graham’s own troop of cavalry.  The right of Mackay’s line held with withering fire holding off the Highlanders.  
It was at this point that Graham, moving to lead his men forward in another charge, was shot from his horse hit in the stomach by a musket ball.  His aides were unable to reach him and he was left behind as the Highland attack faltered and began to fall back the shattered government force which had lost roughly 2,000 men retreated with some describing it as a rout and other a raged fighting retreat.  By the end of the battle the Highlanders had suffered 1,200 casualties a loss which could not be sustained by the Jacobite cause.
A year later James II himself was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland by King William returning Ireland to government control.  James would never again return to his kingdoms.  His son Charles - the Old Pretender and his grandson Charles - the Young Pretender (Bonnie Prince Charlie), would both return to Scotland to raise rebellions in 1715 and 1745, neither were successful. 
Today is the 325th anniversary of the battle, while the Jacobite force defeated the British army it was a pyrrhic victory with the death of John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland lost its momentum with loyalist forces fighting several more disastrous battles before the rebellion petered out in 1692 when the remaining Jacobite chieftains swore allegiance to King William.

Image One Source
Image Two Source
British Battles, K. & D. Guest, (1997)
Bonnie Dundee, A. Murray Scott, (2000)

Battle of Killiecrankie

On the 27th July 1689, a British Government force of 5,000 men met a Jacobite army of approximately 3,000 at on the outskirts of Killiecrankie, a small village 30 miles north of Perth.  

The rebel Jacobite force was led by John Graham, the Viscount Dundee, a career officer with continental experience and who had fought for the government during the Scottish Covenanter Wars.  He was a staunch supporter of the Stuart monarchy having served both Charles II and James II, who in 1688 had made him a viscount and given him control of the forces in Scotland.  As such when the Glorious Revolution deposed James II Graham and the Highland chieftain Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel rose in support of the King.

The Glorious Revolution saw the increasingly Catholic James ousted by a cadre of English noblemen who in his place invited William, the dutch Prince of Orange to take the throne.  James was deposed by William in February 1689.

In March 1689, the deposed James arrived in Ireland quickly taking control and beginning to raise an army.  At the same time his supporters in the northern Scottish Highlands were rallied by Graham, known to his supporters as Bonnie Dundee.  However, he was only able to raise a small force supplemented by some Irish troops sent by James.

By July, General Hugh Mackay was marching to capture Blair Castle, Graham moved to intercept Mackay’s column blocking his path 4 miles south of the castle at Killiecrankie.  Graham deployed his Highland warriors on Orchill Ridge which dominated Killiecrankie pass.  When Mackay’s forces arrived they found they could not attack Graham’s men nor force the pass.  Instead the government forces deployed in line across a lower lying ridge of ground, for several hours the two forces face one another with the Highlanders shouting insults down the ridge.

At about 8pm Graham grew impatient, perhaps fearing Mackay’s forces would slip by in the night, decided to sacrifice his superior defensive position and attack.  Graham’s men began their much feared Highland charge across several hundred years of open ground.  Firing their muskets and pistols as they charged they soon entered the musket range of the government forces who unleashed a crashing volley into the Highland line however, it was not enough to stop the charge.  With no time to reload, with the Highlanders closing the distance quickly, and little time to fit their plug bayonets, Graham’s men fell on the government troops and fighting descended into brutal hand to hand combat - which the Highlanders, some armed with the old-style two handed Claymore and others with the newer basket hilted broadsword, excelled at.  
The Scottish swords did devastating damage severing limbs and smashing bone, within minutes the left of the government line was breaking.  Mackay desperately sent forward his cavalry but they were forced back by Graham’s own troop of cavalry.  The right of Mackay’s line held with withering fire holding off the Highlanders.  

It was at this point that Graham, moving to lead his men forward in another charge, was shot from his horse hit in the stomach by a musket ball.  His aides were unable to reach him and he was left behind as the Highland attack faltered and began to fall back the shattered government force which had lost roughly 2,000 men retreated with some describing it as a rout and other a raged fighting retreat.  By the end of the battle the Highlanders had suffered 1,200 casualties a loss which could not be sustained by the Jacobite cause.

A year later James II himself was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland by King William returning Ireland to government control.  James would never again return to his kingdoms.  His son Charles - the Old Pretender and his grandson Charles - the Young Pretender (Bonnie Prince Charlie), would both return to Scotland to raise rebellions in 1715 and 1745, neither were successful. 

Today is the 325th anniversary of the battle, while the Jacobite force defeated the British army it was a pyrrhic victory with the death of John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland lost its momentum with loyalist forces fighting several more disastrous battles before the rebellion petered out in 1692 when the remaining Jacobite chieftains swore allegiance to King William.

Image One Source

Image Two Source

British Battles, K. & D. Guest, (1997)

Bonnie Dundee, A. Murray Scott, (2000)

Fog of War

While the condition has been encountered by commanders for hundreds of years the term itself originates from Carl von Clausewitz famous ‘On War’.

Von Clausewitz described ‘Nebel des Krieges' (fog of war) as:

War is an area of uncertainty; three quarters of the things on which all action in War is based are lying in a fog of uncertainty to a greater or lesser extent. The first thing (needed) here is a fine, piercing mind, to feel out the truth with the measure of its judgment.

In broad terms Fog of War describes a lack of situation awareness with uncertainty created by lack of adequate communication between a commander’s units or accurate intelligence on an enemy.  These factors create an uncertainty of your operational strength and the location of units and the comparative strength, location and intent of your enemy.  

First World War: The Story of a Global Conflict

In commemoration of the upcoming centennial of the outbreak of World War One The Guardian newspaper, historians from around the world and the British Academy have created an immersive interactive documentary looking at the First World War available in half a dozen languages.  The documentary involves audio and text contributions from ten historians from ten countries.  
The interactive documentary gives a brief overview of some of the conflict’s most important aspects as well as covering some of its lesser known facets such as the various ancillary fronts in the far east, Africa and southern Europe.  While the overview may be brief with each topic being addressed by a number of audio clips or several hundred words of text it is excellently presented and wholly immersive.  

The inclusion of historians from various fields and from around the world gives a broader spread of the historical discourse surrounding the history of the Great War and this in itself is to be commended.  The presentation of the documentary is unique with various interactive screens progressing the viewer through the conflict looking at mobilisation through to the wider aftermath of the war.  Each screen offers audio clips of both historians but also contemporary readings, songs and instrumental music.  Other sections offer contemporary footage as well as other primary sources such as scans of The Guardian’s original coverage of the war as well as rarer seen photographs.  

The documentary is roughly 30 minutes in length if you listen to its main stream of audio, but longer if you follow the links offered.  It is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic or Hindi.

Update

Over the next couple of weeks there are going to be a lot of posts on the various political and military aspects of the beginning of World War One. This will be part of the #WWI100 project so it’ll include key quotes, analysis of treaties and declarations of war.

Posts examining the uniforms and equipment of the major powers. Examinations of early major battles and the mobilisation.

There will be a slight emphasis towards the British aspect of the beginnings of the war but I’m going to try and give an overview of as many countries actions as I can. I’ve been working these posts up over the last month or so. Looking forward to sharing them and hope you guys will enjoy them.

Recoil Operated vs. Gas Operated

The above diagram comes from a June 1942, Popular Science article introducing the US Army’s new M1 Carbine.  The diagram illustrates the difference in operating systems used by the new carbine and the Thompson M1A1 submachine gun.  

While both systems show use the expanding propellant gases or the fired cartridge they use it in different ways. The M1 Carbine siphons of gas into is gas cylinder driving the piston and operating rod backwards. While in the Thompson the bolt is blown back by the pressure of the gas.  

In actuality the diagram is incorrectly labelled, the Thompson’s action is described as ‘Recoil Operated' which would imply that the weapon's barrel and bolt move rearwards when firing.  In fact the Thompson uses a simpler blowback action where the unlocked breech allows the pressure from the fired bullet to push the bolt back against a recoil spring.  However, in a true recoil system the breech is locked during firing and it is the recoil of the weapon’s bolt and barrel back unlocking the breech before returning forward.

Popular Science, June 1942 (source)

Vacancies Exist

The image above is a recruitment poster, which looks to date to just before the First World War.  It calls on volunteers for all of the army’s branches.  The British Army was one of the few in Europe which did not rely upon conscription, instead the army was made up entirely of volunteers many coming from the upper lower and lower middle classes. 

The poster itself played on the prestige and smart appearance of units like the hussar cavalry regiments and highlanders and even the Army Service Corps is show in smart uniform.  However, by 1902 the entire British Army had adopted 1902 Pattern Service Dress which exchanged the famous scarlet coast for a khaki one. By late 1914 walls and poster boards across Britain would be inundated with recruitment posters of all sizes, colours and styles.

Image Source

The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia

On the 23rd July, the Austrian Minister in Belgrade, Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, presented a carefully formulated ultimatum to the Serbian government.  The July Ultimatum had been drafted with direction from Germany and was calculated to be humiliating and unacceptable. Winston Churchill described the ultimatum as “…being the most insolent document of its kind ever devised.”

The Ultimatum:

  1. To suppress any publication which incites to hatred and contempt of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the general tendency of which is directed against its territorial integrity;
  2. To dissolve immediately the society styled “Narodna Odbrana,” to confiscate all its means of propaganda, and to proceed in the same manner against other societies and their branches in Serbia which engage in propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.  The Royal Government shall take the necessary measures to prevent the societies dissolved from continuing their activity under another name and form;
  3. To eliminate without delay from public instruction in Serbia, both as regards the teaching body and also as regards the methods of instruction, everything that serves, or might serve, to foment the propaganda against Austria-Hungary;
  4. To remove from the military service, and from the administration in general, all officers and functionaries guilty of propaganda against the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy whose names and deeds the Austro-Hungarian Government reserve to themselves the right of communicating to the Royal Government;
  5. To accept the collaboration in Serbia of representatives of the Austro-Hungarian Government for the suppression of the subversive movement directed against the territorial integrity of the Monarchy;
  6. To take judicial proceedings against accessories to the plot of the 28th of June who are on Serbian territory; delegates of the Austro-Hungarian Government will take part in the investigation relating thereto;
  7. To proceed without delay to the arrest of Major Voija Tankositch and of the individual named Milan Ciganovitch, a Serbian State employee, who have been compromised by the results of the magisterial inquiry at Serajevo;
  8. To prevent by effective measures the cooperation of the Serbian authorities in the illicit traffic in arms and explosives across the frontier, to dismiss and punish severely the officials of the frontier service at Shabatz Loznica guilty of having assisted the perpetrators of the Serajevo crime by facilitating their passage across the frontier;
  9. To furnish the Imperial and Royal Government with explanations regarding the unjustifiable utterances of high Serbian officials, both in Serbia and abroad, who, notwithstanding their official position, have not hesitated since the crime of the 28th of June to express themselves in interviews in terms of hostility to the Austro-Hungarian Government; and, finally,
  10. To notify the Imperial and Royal Government without delay of the execution of the measures comprised under the preceding heads.

The Austro-Hungarian Government expect the reply of the Royal Serbian Government at the latest by 5 o’clock on Saturday evening the 25th of July.  

The Serbian government reacted by requesting assistance from their slavic allies Russia, who publicly supported Serbia.  However, the response was disappointing with the Tsar and his government recommending that they agree to the terms of the ultimatum.  The primary reason for this was that Russia was not ready for war in 1914. As a result the Serbian government was forced to accept Austria’s demands all accept point six, which required Serbia allow “delegates of the Austro-Hungarian Government” to take part in the investigation which while on the surface sounds acceptable it was in fact tantamount to allowing Serbia to become an Austrian police state.  The British Foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey told the German Ambassador to London that “any nation that accepted conditions like that would really cease to count as an independent nation.”  Serbia replied to this point saying “this cannot be accepted, as this is a violation of the constitution and of criminal procedure.  Yet in some cases the result of the investigation might be communicated to the Austro-Hungarian officials.”  

The New York Times front page with a column on the ultimatum (source)

The Serbian failure to fully comply with the Austrian demands gave the Austro-Hungarian Empire the opportunity to declare war at 11am on 28th July.  Count Leopold von Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister sent a telegram directly to the Serbian Prime Minister in response to country’s unsatisfactory reply: 

The Royal Serbian Government not having answered in a satisfactory manner the note of July 23, 1914, presented by the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade, the Imperial and Royal Government are themselves compelled to see to the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and, with this object, to have recourse to force of arms. Austria-Hungary consequently considers herself henceforward in state of war with Serbia.

However, having declared war only limited offensive action could immediately be taken as the Austro-Hungarian Army was still mobilising and would not be able to begin offensive operations for several weeks.

In response to Austria’s declaration of war Russia to begin to mobilise along the Austro-Hungarian border on the 29th July, in response Germany began to mobilise her army in support of her ally, full Russian mobilisation began on the 1st August with Germany declaring war on Russia catalysing the beginning of the First World War.  In response to this France and Belgium begin full mobilisation of their armed forces, Europe braces itself as the war’s impetus grew.

Primary Sources:

The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia

The Serbian Response to the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum

The Austro-Hungarian Declaration of War on Serbia