This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the First World War. Following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in June, Austria-Hungry declared war with Serbia on July 28th, 1914. Because of alliances and treaties the world was soon thrown into a war that would become one of the costliest in history. The first war of the Modern Era was marked with advancements in weaponry, battle tactics, medicine, science, and news reporting. It also launched the beginnings of movements in art and literature. The war lasted for four years, ending in an Allied Victory with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, although calling it an ending or a victory is up for interpretation in current Historiography.
Today, August 4th, marks the anniversary of Britain’s entrance into the war, becoming the 7th country to enter the war. Britain was an original member of the Triple Entente, which included France and the Russian Empire. When Germany declared war on France on August 3rd, Britain was bound by the Entente to defend France. Russia had entered two days earlier.
The immediate trigger for war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on June 28th, 1914 by an Yugoslav nationalist. This triggered a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, a list of demands which included a full investigation into the assassination to be lead by Austrian authorities. When Serbia refused to adhere to all the demands, Austria-Hungry prepared for invasion.
Within weeks a country to country skirmish became a Global War: On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots on Serbia. August 1st Germany declared war on Russia, Russia Began to mobilize. August 3rd Germany declared war on France. August 4th Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving on toward France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany (which they warned would happen if Germany were to invade Belgium). Check out the Countries of World War 1 page on Wikipedia for a table giving the dates of which countries entered the war and when.
- Check out @bbcww1 on Twitter for real life stories of World War 1 and how Britain is marking this 100th anniversary.
- Check out this interactive timeline of the First World War, from the National WWI Museum.
- As always the History Channel provides us with great videos and information.
- PBS has a list of WWI Lesson Plans ready just for you!
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