-The Twentieth Century


May 1910: King Edward VII dies.  George V becomes King of Great Britain.


28 June 1914: Archduke Franze Ferdinand and his wife assassinated in Sarajevo by Gravilo Princep.

23 July 1914:  Austria-Hungary  delivers a ten-part ultimatum to Serbia.  Serbia demands a response within 49 hours.  The demands will destroy Serbia as an independent state.

25 July 1914:  Serbia starts to mobilise.  It agrees to nine of the demands made by the ultimatum.

Emperor Franz Joseph finds this unacceptable. The Austro-Hungarian Empire begins to mobilise. This causes Tsar Nicholas to partially mobilise his own army to protect his Serbian allies.  The Germans threaten to mobilise their own army if the Russians aren’t stopped.

28 July 1914: Austro-Hungry declares war on Serbia.

The British order their Home Fleet back to base.

29 July 1914:  In Germany the navy begins to mobilise, Tsar Nicholas signs a partial mobilisation order that will come into effect on the 4th August.

30 July 1914: The Dutch declare their neutrality.

31 July 1914:  The Germans demand that the Russians stop their preparations for war and that the French explain its political stance in terms of war between Germany and Russia.

1 August 1914: Belgium declares itself to be neutral.  This position is guaranteed by Britain and France.

Germany begins to mobilise against Russia.

2 August 1914:  Neutral Luxembourg is invaded by Germany.  The Germans demand to be allowed to move their troops through Belgium.

In Turkey a secret alliance is made with the Germans against the Russians.

3 August 1914:  Belgium refuses German passage across their territories. King Albert of Belgium orders the blowing up of the bridge across the Meuse at Liege and all the railway tunnels and bridges at the Luxembourg frontier.

Italy declares its neutrality as does Romania.  In Britain a general mobilisation order is signed and Germany declares war against France.

4 August 1914: Germany declares war on Belgium.

2300 hours:  Britain declares war on Germany when the Germans refuse the British ultimatum to leave Belgium.

5 August 1914:  Austro-Hungary declares war on Russia.

6 August 1914: Serbia declares war on Germany.  General Ludendorff leads troops through Liege’s defensive ring of forts but is isolated until the 10th.

7 August 1914: The British Expeditionary Force begins to arrive in France. Sir John French is its commander.

8 August 1914:  General Kitchener calls for 100,000 volunteers to come forward.

10 August 1914: France declares war on Austria-Hungary. Liege’s forts begin to fall to the Germans.

12 August 1914:  Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary.

18 August 1914: King Albert orders the Belgian Army to retreat to Antwerp. The government of Belgium leaves Brussels.

19 August 1914:  The German Army crosses the Gette but the Belgian Army had withdrawn during the night. German soldiers shoot 150 civilians at Aerschot.  Von Hausen and von Kluck complain about the ‘perfidy’ of the Belgians and their ‘terrorist’ actions.  Von Hausen is surprised by “How we are hated.”  The Germans never expected the Belgian Army to stand and fight.  It was important that Belgium was subdued quickly in order to enter France according the the Schlieffen Plan which was initially drawn up in 1897 which looked at the premise that Germany would have to go to war with France and Russia.  Germany saw the french as weak and the Schlieffen Plan was designed to quell the French as quickly as possible before taking on the Russians.

20 August 1914: German forces occupy Brussels.  Italy declares war on Turkey.

21 August 1914: Tsar Nicholas II takes personal command of his armed forces.  Sir John French reported to Kitchener that he did not think there would be any serious fighting for the B.E.F. before the 24th.

22 August 1914:  B.E.F. reaches Mons.  Cavalry scouting for the main column saw a group of horsemen – German Uhlans on the road to Soignies.


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