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World War I




Causes of World War I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Polarization of Europe 18871914 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


German re-alignment to Austro-Hungary and Russian re-alignment to France 1887-1892 . .


French Foreign Policy Towards Germany - Driven by Revanchism . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


British alignment towards France and Russia 1898-1907 - The Triple Entente . . . . . . . .


The First Moroccan Crisis 1905-06: Strengthening the Entente . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Bosnian Crisis 1908 - Relations between Russia & Serbia and Austria-Hungary Worsen


The Second Moroccan Crisis 1911 - The Entente holds again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Italo-Turkish War- Ottomans Abandoned, 1911-12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Balkan Wars 1912-13 - Serbian and Russian Power Grows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.1.10 Franco-Russian Alliance changes The Balkan Inception Scenario 1911-1913 . . . . . . .

1.1.11 Anglo-German Dtente 1912-14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.1.12 The July Crisis - The chain of events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.1.13 Domestic political factors

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1.1.14 Technical and military factors



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.1.15 Historiography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.1.16 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.1.17 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.1.18 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.1.19 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


World War I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Etymology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Prelude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Progress of the war . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



War crimes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Soldiers experiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Support and opposition to the war . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.2.10 Legacy and memory

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



1.2.11 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.2.12 Footnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.2.13 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.2.14 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


1.2.15 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Causes In Depth



Balkan Wars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



First Balkan War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Second Balkan War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Reactions among the Great Powers during the wars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Aftermath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



All Balkan War Conicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Trivia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


2.1.10 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


2.1.11 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Preliminaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Assassination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Trials and punishment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Controversy about responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


2.2.10 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


2.2.11 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


July Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Assassination and investigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Austria-Hungary receives German support and settles on coercive diplomacy with Serbia . .



Serbia drifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Austro-Hungarian attitude to war . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



German attitude to war . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Preparations for the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Poincare sails to Russia France supports Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101


Content of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102


Serbian response to the ultimatum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102



2.3.10 Proposals for mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103



2.3.11 Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

2.3.12 Russian mobilization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
2.3.13 German mobilization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
2.3.14 German declarations of war . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
2.3.15 See also . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.3.16 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
2.3.17 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
2.3.18 External links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119


Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126


Content license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

Chapter 1

1.1 Causes of World War I

of the balance of power in Europe,[1][2] convoluted and

fragmented governance, the arms races of the previous
decades, and military planning.[3]







For the article on the war itself, see World War I.

The origins of World War I remain controversial and A short-term analysis focuses on why the conicting sets
of powers went to war when they did. The immediate causes lay in decisions made by statesmen and genThe Triple Entente
The Triple Alliance
erals during the July Crisis of 1914, triggered by the
The Balkans
Italy Austrgi ary
assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, on 28 June
2 18
1914. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was an ethnic Serb
and Yugoslav nationalist from the group Young Bosnia,
7 190
which was supported by the Black Hand, a nationalist or14
ganization in Serbia.[4] The crisis escalated as the conThe Ottoman
ict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia came to involve
Russia, Germany, France, and ultimately Belgium and
Great Britain. Other factors that came into play during
the diplomatic crisis that preceded the war included misperceptions of intent (e.g., the German belief that Britain
European diplomatic alignments shortly before the war.
would remain neutral), fatalism that war was inevitable,
and the speed of the crisis, which was exacerbated by
delays and misunderstandings in diplomatic communications.
The crisis followed a series of diplomatic clashes among
the Great Powers (Italy, France, Germany, Britain,
Austria-Hungary and Russia) over European and colonial
issues in the decades before 1914 that had left tensions
high. In turn these public clashes can be traced to changes
in the balance of power in Europe since 1867.[5]

Map of the world with the participants in World War I in 1917.

Allies are in green, the Central Powers in orange and neutral
countries in grey.

Consensus on the origins of the war remains elusive since

historians disagree on key factors, and place diering emphasis on a variety of actors. This is compounded by
changing historical arguments over time, particularly the
delayed availability of classied historical archives, and
diering geographic zeitgeist then prevailing. The deepest distinction among historians is between those who focus on the actions of Germany and Austria-Hungary as
key and those who focus on a wider group of actors. Secondary fault lines exist between those who believe that
Germany deliberately planned a European war, those who
believe that the war was ultimately unplanned but still
caused principally by Germany and Austria-Hungary taking risks, and those who believe that either all or some
of the other powers, namely Russia, France, Serbia and
Great Britain, played a more signicant role in causing

debated questions. The war began in the Balkans in late

July 1914 and ended in November 1918, leaving 17 million dead and 20 million wounded.
A long-term analysis of its origins seeks to explain why
two rival sets of powers Germany and Austro-Hungary
on the one hand, and Russia, France, Serbia and Great
Britain on the other had come into conict by 1914.
It examines political, territorial and economic conicts,
militarism, a complex web of alliances and alignments,
imperialism, the growth of nationalism, and the power
vacuum created by the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Other important long-term or structural factors were unresolved territorial disputes, the perceived breakdown


the war than has been traditionally suggested.


Polarization of Europe 18871914

To understand the long term origins of the war in 1914

it is essential to understand how the powers formed into
two competing sets sharing common aims and enemies.
These two sets became, by August 1914, Germany and
Austro-Hungary on the one hand and Russia, France, Serbia and Great Britain on the other.


German re-alignment to AustroHungary and Russian re-alignment

to France 1887-1892

sparked political instability, culminating in a revolution

and the formation of the French Third Republic.
Bismarck was wary of French desire for revenge; he
achieved peace by isolating France and balancing the ambitions of Austria-Hungary and Russia in the Balkans.
During his later years he tried to placate the French by
encouraging their overseas expansion. However, antiGerman sentiment remained. A Franco-German colonial
entente that was made in 1884 in protest of an AngloPortuguese agreement in West Africa proved short-lived
after a pro-imperialist government under Jules Ferry in
France fell in 1885.
France eventually recovered from its defeat, paid its war
indemnity, and rebuilt its military strength again. But it
was smaller than Germany in terms of population, and
thus felt insecure next to its more powerful neighbor.

In 1887 German and Russian alignment was secured by

means of a secret Reinsurance Treaty arranged by Otto
von Bismarck. However, in 1890 the treaty was allowed 1.1.4 British alignment towards France
and Russia 1898-1907 - The Triple
to lapse in favour of the Dual Alliance (1879) between
Germany and Austro-Hungary. In response Russia secured the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, which was to
last until 1917.
Britain abandoned the policy of holding aloof from the
continental powers, so called "Splendid Isolation", in the
1900s after being isolated during the Boer War. Britain
1.1.3 French Foreign Policy Towards Ger- concluded agreements, limited to colonial aairs, with
her two major colonial rivals, the Entente Cordiale with
many - Driven by Revanchism
France in 1904 and the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907.
Some historians see Britains alignment as principally a
reaction to an assertive German foreign policy and the
build up of its navy from 1898 which led to the AngloGerman naval arms race.[6]

French Emperor Napoleon III (left) as prisoner of Bismarck

(right) in the Franco-Prussian War

Some of the distant origins of World War I can be seen in

the results and consequences of the Franco-Prussian War
in 187071 and the concurrent Unication of Germany,
over four decades before. Germany had won decisively
and established a powerful Empire, while France went
into chaos and military decline for years. A legacy of animosity grew between France and Germany following the
German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine. The annexation
caused widespread resentment in France, giving rise to
the desire for revenge, known as revanchism. French sentiments wanted to avenge military and territorial losses
and the displacement of France as the pre-eminent continental military power. French defeat in the war had

Others, most notably Niall Ferguson, argue that Britain

chose France and Russia over Germany because Germany was too weak an ally to provide an eective
counter-balance to the other powers and could not provide Britain with the imperial security achieved by the
entente agreements.[7] In the words of British diplomat
Arthur Nicolson it was far more disadvantageous to us
to have an unfriendly France and Russia than an unfriendly Germany.[8] Ferguson argues that the British
Government rejected German alliance overtures not because Germany began to pose a threat to Britain, but,
on the contrary because they realized she did not pose
a threat..[9] The impact of the Triple Entente was therefore twofold, to improve British relations with France and
her ally Russia and to demote the importance to Britain
of good relations with Germany. It was not that antagonism toward Germany caused its isolation, but rather that
the new system itself channeled and intensied hostility
towards the German Empire.[10]
The so called Triple Entente between Britain, France and
Russia is often compared to the Triple Alliance between
Germany, AustriaHungary and Italy, but historians caution against the comparison. The Entente, in contrast to
the the Triple Alliance or the Franco-Russian Alliance,


was not an alliance of mutual defence and Britain therefore felt free to make her own foreign policy decisions
in 1914. As British Foreign Oce Ocial Eyre Crowe
minuted: The fundamental fact of course is that the Entente is not an alliance. For purposes of ultimate emergencies it may be found to have no substance at all. For
the Entente is nothing more than a frame of mind, a view
of general policy which is shared by the governments of
two countries, but which may be, or become, so vague as
to lose all content.[11]

1.1.7 The Second Moroccan Crisis 1911 The Entente holds again

A series of diplomatic incidents between 1905 and 1914

heightened tensions between the Great Powers and reinforced the existing alignments, beginning with the First
Moroccan Crisis.

Rather than scaring Britain into turning toward Germany,

increased fear and hostility drew Britain closer to France.
British backing of France during the crisis reinforced the
Entente between the two countries (and with Russia as
well), increasing Anglo-German estrangement, deepening the divisions which would culminate in World War


The First Moroccan Crisis 1905-06:

Strengthening the Entente
Signicantly for the events of August 1914, the crisis

The First Moroccan Crisis (also known as the Tangier

Crisis) was an international crisis between March 1905
and May 1906 over the status of Morocco. The crisis worsened German relations with both France and the
United Kingdom, and helped ensure the success of the
new Anglo-French Entente Cordiale. In the words of historian Christopher Clark The Anglo-French Entente was
strengthened rather than weakened by the German challenge to France in Morocco.[12]


The Agadir Crisis (also called the Second Moroccan

Crisis or the Panthersprung) was the international tension sparked by the deployment of a substantial force of
French troops in the interior of Morocco in April 1911.
Germany reacted by sending the gunboat SMS Panther to
the Moroccan port of Agadir, on 1 July 1911.

led British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey and France

to make a secret naval agreement where the Royal Navy
promised to protect the northern coast of France from
German attack, while France concentrated her eet in
the western Mediterranean and agreed to protect British
interests there. France was thus able to guard her communications with her North African colonies, and Britain
to concentrate more force in home waters to oppose the
German High Seas Fleet. The Cabinet was not informed
of this agreement until August 1914.

The Bosnian Crisis 1908 - Relations between Russia & Serbia and
Austria-Hungary Worsen

In 1908 Austria-Hungary announced its annexation of 1.1.8 The Italo-Turkish War- Ottomans
Abandoned, 1911-12
Bosnia and Herzegovina, dual provinces in the Balkan region of Europe formerly under the control of the Ottoman
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War (Turkish: TraThough Bosnia and Herzegovina were still nominally blusgarp Sava, Tripolitanian War"; also known in Italy
under the control of the Ottoman Sultan in 1908, as Guerra di Libia, Libyan War) was fought between
Austria-Hungary had administered the provinces since the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from
the Congress of Berlin in 1878, when the great powers September 29, 1911, to October 18, 1912. As a reof Europe awarded the Dual Monarchy the right to oc- sult of this conict, Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolicupy the two provinces, with the legal title to remain with tania Vilayet (province), of which the most notable subTurkey.
provinces (sanjaks) were Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripoli
The announcement in October 1908 of Austria- itself. These territories together formed what became
Hungarys annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina upset known as Italian Libya. The main signicance for the
the fragile balance of power in the Balkans, enraging First World War was that this war made it clear that no
Serbia and pan-Slavic nationalists throughout Europe. Great Power appeared to wish to support the Ottoman
Though weakened Russia was forced to submit, to Empire any longer and this paved the way for the Balkan
its humiliation, its foreign oce still viewed Austria- Wars. Christopher Clark stated: Italy launched a war of
Hungarys actions as overly aggressive and threatening. conquest on an African province of the Ottoman Empire,
Russias response was to encourage pro-Russian, anti- triggering a chain of opportunistic assaults on Ottoman
Austrian sentiment in Serbia and other Balkan provinces, territories across the Balkans. The system of geographprovoking Austrian fears of Slavic expansionism in the ical balances that had enabled local conicts to be conregion.
tained was swept away. [13]



The Balkan Wars 1912-13 - Serbian In September 1913, it was learned that Serbia was moving into Albania and Russia was doing nothing to restrain
and Russian Power Grows

The Balkan Wars were two conicts that took place in

the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and
1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire
in the rst war; one of the four, Bulgaria, was defeated
in the second war. The Ottoman Empire lost nearly all
of its holdings in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not
a combatant, was weakened as a much enlarged Serbia
pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples.

it, while the Serbian government would not guarantee to

respect Albanias territorial integrity and suggested there
would be some frontier modications. In October 1913,
the council of ministers decided to send Serbia a warning followed by an ultimatum: that Germany and Italy be
notied of some action and asked for support, and that
spies be sent to report if there was an actual withdrawal.
Serbia responded to the warning with deance and the
Ultimatum was dispatched on October 17 and received
the following day. It demanded that Serbia evacuate Albanian territory within eight days. Serbia complied, and
the Kaiser made a congratulatory visit to Vienna to try to
x some of the damage done earlier in the year.[79]

The Balkan Wars in 19121913 increased international tension between the Russian Empire and AustriaHungary. It also led to a strengthening of Serbia and
The conicts demonstrated that a localized war in the
a weakening of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, who
Balkans could alter the balance of power without provokmight otherwise have kept Serbia under control, thus dising general war and reinforced the attitude in the Austrian
rupting the balance of power in Europe in favor of Russia.
government. This attitude had been developing since
Russia initially agreed to avoid territorial changes, but the Bosnian annexation crisis that ultimatums were the
later in 1912 supported Serbias demand for an Albanian only eective means of inuencing Serbia and that Rusport. An international conference was held in London sia would not back its refusal with force. They also dealt
in 19121913 where it was agreed to create an indepen- catastrophic damage to the Habsburg economy.[citation
dent Albania, however both Serbia and Montenegro re- needed]
fused to comply. After an Austrian, and then an international naval demonstration in early 1912 and Russias
withdrawal of support Serbia backed down. Montenegro 1.1.10 Franco-Russian Alliance changes
was not as compliant and on May 2, the Austrian council
The Balkan Inception Scenario
of ministers met and decided to give Montenegro a last
chance to comply and, if it would not, then to resort to
military action. However, seeing the Austrian military The original Franco-Russian alliance was formed to propreparations, the Montenegrins requested the ultimatum tect both France and Russia from a German attack. In
be delayed and complied.[76]
the event of such an attack both states would mobilise in
The Serbian government, having failed to get Albania,
now demanded that the other spoils of the First Balkan
War be reapportioned and Russia failed to pressure Serbia to back down. Serbia and Greece allied against Bulgaria, which responded with a preemptive strike against
their forces beginning the Second Balkan War.[77] The
Bulgarian army crumbled quickly when Turkey and Romania joined the war.

tandem, placing Germany under the threat of two-front

war. However, there were limits placed on the alliance so
that it was essentially defensive in character.
Throughout the 1890s and the 1900s the French and the
Russian made clear the limits of the alliance did not extend to provocations caused by the others adventurous
foreign policy. For example, Russia warned France that
the alliance may not operate if the French provoked the
Germans in North Africa. Equally, the French insisted to
the Russians, that they should not use the alliance to provoke Austro-Hungary or Germany in the Balkans and that
France did not recognise in the Balkans a vital strategic
interest for France or for Russia.

The Balkan Wars strained the German/Austro-Hungarian

alliance. The attitude of the German government to Austrian requests of support against Serbia was initially both
divided and inconsistent. After the German Imperial War
Council of 8 December 1912, it was clear that Germany
was not ready to support Austria-Hungary in a war against In the last 18 to 24 months before the outbreak of the war
Serbia and her likely allies.
this changed. At the end of 1911 and particularly durIn addition, German diplomacy before, during, and af- ing the Balkans wars themselves in 1912-13, the French
ter the Second Balkan War was pro-Greek and pro- view changed. France now accepted the importance of
Romanian and in opposition to Austria-Hungarys in- the Balkans to Russia. Moreover, France clearly stated if,
creasingly pro-Bulgarian views. The result was tremen- that as a result of a conict in the Balkans that war breaks
dous damage to Austro-German relations. Austrian for- out between Austria and Serbia, that France would stand
eign minister Leopold von Berchtold remarked to Ger- by Russia. Thus the Franco-Russian alliance changed in
man ambassador Heinrich von Tschirschky in July 1913 character, and by a consequence of that Serbia became a
that Austria-Hungary might as well belong 'to the other security salient, for Russia and France. As they bought
grouping' for all the good Berlin had been.[78]
in to the future scenario of a war of Balkan inception,


regardless of who started such a war, the alliance would
respond nonetheless, it would view this conict as a casus
foederis; as a trigger for the alliance. Christopher Clark
described this change as a very important development
in the pre war system which made the events of 1914


Anglo-German Dtente 1912-14

Historians caution that, taken together, the preceding crisis should not be seen as an argument that a European war
was inevitable in 1914.
Signicantly, the Anglo-German Naval Race was over
by 1912. In April 1913, Britain and Germany signed
an agreement over the African territories of the Portuguese empire which was expected to collapse imminently. Moreover, the Russians were threatening British
interests in Persia and India to the extent that in 1914,
there were signs that the British were cooling in their relations with Russia and that an understanding with Germany might be useful. The British were deeply annoyed
by St Petersburgs failure to observe the terms of the
agreement struck in 1907 and began to feel and arrangement of some kind with Germany might serve as a useful
corrective. [15]
British Diplomat Arthur Nicolson wrote in May 1914,
Since I have been at the Foreign Oce I have not seen
such calm waters.


The July Crisis - The chain of events

June 28, 1914: Serbian irredentists assassinate

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian
June 30: Austrian Foreign Minister Count Leopold
Berchtold and Emperor Franz Josef agree that the
policy of patience with Serbia was at an end and a
rm line must be taken.
July 5: Austrian Diplomat, Alexander, Count of
Hoyos visits Berlin to ascertain German attitudes
July 6: Germany provides unconditional support to
Austria-Hungary - the so-called blank cheque
July 20-23: French President Raymond Poincare on
state visit to the Tsar at St Petersburg - urges intransigent opposition to any Austrian measure against
July 23: Austria-Hungary, following their own secret enquiry, sends an ultimatum to Serbia, containing their demands, and gave only forty-eight hours
to comply.
July 24: Sir Edward Grey, speaking for the British
government, asks that Germany, France, Italy and

Great Britain, who had no direct interests in Serbia, should act together for the sake of peace
July 24: Serbia seeks support from Russia and Russia advises Serbia not to accept the ultimatum.[17]
Germany ocially declares support for Austrias position.
July 24 Russian Council of Ministers agrees secret
partial mobilisation of the Russian Army and Navy
July 25: Tsar approves Council of Ministers decision and Russia and partial mobilization begins of
1.1 million men.
July 25: Serbia responds to Austro-Hungarian
dmarche with less than full acceptance and asks
that the Hague Tribunal arbitrate.; Austria-Hungary
breaks diplomatic relations with Serbia. Serbia mobilizes its army;
July 26: Serbia reservists accidentally violate
Austro-Hungarian border at Temes-Kubin.[18]
July 26: A meeting is organised to take place between ambassadors from Great Britain, Germany,
Italy and France to discuss the crisis. Germany declines the invitation.
July 28: Austria-Hungary, having failed to accept
Serbias response of the 25th, declares war on Serbia. Austro-Hungarian mobilisation against Serbia
July 29: Sir Edward Grey appeals to Germany to
intervene to maintain peace.
July 29: The British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Edward Goschen, is informed by the German Chancellor that Germany is contemplating war with France,
and furthermore, wishes to send its army through
Belgium. He tries to secure Britains neutrality in
such an action.
July 29: Russian general mobilisation is ordered
July 30: Russian general mobilization is cancelled
by the Tsar then reordered.
July 31: Austrian general mobilization is ordered.
July 31: Germany enters a period preparatory to
July 31: Germany sends an ultimatum to Russia, demanding that they halt military preparations within
twelve hours.
July 31: Both France and Germany are asked by
Britain to declare their support for the ongoing neutrality of Belgium. France agrees to this. Germany
does not respond.

July 31: Germany asks France, whether it would stay Austria edges towards War with Serbia
neutral in case of a war Germany vs. Russia
The assassination of the heir apparent to the Austrian
August 1: French general mobilization is ordered, throne, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, sent deep shockdeployment Plan XVII chosen.
waves through Austrian elites, and the murder has been
described as a 9/11 eect, a terrorist event charged with
August 1: German general mobilization is ordered, historic meaning, transforming the political chemistry in
deployment plan 'Aufmarsch II West' chosen.
Vienna. [21]
August 1: Germany declares war against Russia.
August 1: The Tsar responds to the kings telegram,
stating, I would gladly have accepted your proposals had not the German ambassador this afternoon
presented a note to my Government declaring war.
August 2: Germany and the Ottoman Empire sign a
secret treaty[19] entrenching the OttomanGerman
August 3: Germany, after France declines (See
Note) its demand to remain neutral,[20] declares war
on France. Germany states to Belgium that she
would treat her as an enemy if she did not allow
free passage of German troops across her lands.
August 4: Germany implements oensive operation
inspired by Schlieen Plan.

Although they were not personally close, the Emperor

Franz Joseph was profoundly shocked and upset. It
quickly emerged that three leading members of the assassination squad had spent long periods of time in Belgrade, had only recently crossed the border from Serbia,
and where carrying weapons and bombs of Serbian manufacture. They were secretly sponsored by the Black Hand,
whose objectives included the liberation of all Bosnian
slavs from Austrian rule, and masterminded by the Head
of Serbian Military intelligence, Apis.
Two days after the assassination, Foreign Minister Berchtold and the Emperor agreed that the policy of patience
with Serbia was at an end. Austria feared that if she displayed weakness, their neighbours to the South and East
would be emboldened, whereas war with Serbia would
put to and end the problems the duel monarchy had experienced with Serbia. Chief of Sta Conrad stated of
Serbia: If you have a poisonous adder at your heel, you
stamp on its head, you dont wait for the bite. [22]

There was also a feeling that the moral eects of military

August 4 (midnight): Having failed to receive notice action would breath new life into the exhausted structures
from Germany assuring the neutrality of Belgium, of the Habsburg monarchy, restoring it to the vigour and
Britain declares war on Germany.
virility of an imagined past, and that Serbia must be dealt
with before it became too powerful to defeat militarily.[23]
August 6: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. The principal voices for peace of in previous years included Franz Ferdinand himself. His removal not only
August 23: Japan, honouring the Anglo-Japanese provided the cassus belli but removed one of the most
Alliance, declares war on Germany.
prominent doves from policymaking.
August 25: Japan declares war on Austria-Hungary. Since taking on Serbia involved the risk of war with Russia, Vienna sought the views of Berlin. The Germans provided their unconditional support for war with Serbia the
The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by so-called Blank Cheque. Buoyed up by German support
the Austrians began drawing up an ultimatum, giving the
Serbian Irredentists, 28 June 1914
Serbs 48 hourse to responds to ten demands. The AustriOn 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, ans hoped that the ultimatum would be rejected order to
heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his provide the pretext for war with a neighbour they considwife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in ered to be impossibly turbulent.
Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins (ve Serbs and one Bosniak) coordinated by Danilo
Ili, a Bosnian Serb and a member of the Black Hand
secret society.

Samuel R. Williamson has emphasized the role of

Austria-Hungary in starting the war. Convinced Serbian
nationalism and Russian Balkan ambitions were disintegrating the Empire, Austria-Hungary hoped for a limited
The assassination is signicant because it is perceived by war against Serbia and that strong German support would
to keep out of the war and weaken its Balkan
Austro-Hungary as an existential challenge to her and in force Russia
her view provides a cassus belli with Serbia. Moreover,
the Archduke, who had been a decisive voice for peace in At this stage in the crisis the possibility of determined
the previous years is now removed from the discussions. Russian support for Serbia, and its attendant risks, was
The assassination triggers the July Crisis which turns from never properly weighed up. The Austrian remained xa global conict into a European and then World War.
ated or Serbia but did not decide on their precise objec-


tives other than war.


Nevertheless, having decided upon war with German support, Austria was slow to act publicly, and did not deliver
the ultimatum until July 23, some three weeks after the
assassinations on 28 June. Thus Austria lost the reex
sympathies attendant to the Sarajevo murders and gave
the further impression to the Entente powers that Austria was merely using the assassinations as a 'pretext' for

The Blank Cheque- Germany supports AustroHungary

Fermet - France backs Russia
French President Raymond Poincare arrived in St Petersburg for a state visit on 20 July and departed on 23 July.
Due to the breaking of the Austrian codes, Russia and
France were aware of the impending Austrian ultimatum
and their meetings were centrally concerned with the crisis unfolding in central Europe.
The French and the Russians agreed their alliance extended to supporting Serbia against Austria, conrming
the already established policy behind the Balkan inception scenario. As Christopher Clark notes Poincare had
come to preach the gospel of rmness and his words had
fallen on ready ears. Firmness in this context meant an
intransigent opposition to any Austrian measure against
Serbia. At no point do the sources suggest that Poincare
or his Russian interlocutors gave any thought whatsoever
to what measures Austria-Hungary might legitimately be
entitled to take in the aftermath of the assassinations.

On July 6 Germany provided its unconditional support

to its ally Austria-Hungary in its quarrel with Serbia the so-called blank cheque. In response to a request
for support, Vienna was told the Kaisers position was
that, if Austro-Hungary recognised the necessity of tak- [31]
ing military measures against Serbia he would deplore our
not taking advantage of the present moment which is so
favourable to uswe might in this case, as in all others, Russia Mobilises - The Crisis Escalates
rely upon German support[27]
On 24-25 July the Russian Council of Ministers met, and
The thinking was as Austro-Hungary was Germanys only in response to the crisis and despite the fact that she had
ally, if its prestige was not restored then its position in no alliance with Serbia, agreed to a secret partial mobilithe Balkans might be irreparably damaged, encouraging sation of over one million men of the Russian Army and
further irredentism by Serbia and Romania. [28] A quick the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. It is worth stressing, since
war against Serbia would not only eliminate her, but also this is a cause of some confusion in general narratives of
probably lead to further diplomatic gains vis a vis Bulgaria the war, that this was done prior to the Serbian rejection
and Romania. A Serbian defeat would also be a defeat for of the ultimatum, the Austrian declaration of war on 28
Russia and reduce her inuence in the Balkans.
July or any military measures taken by Germany. As a
The benets were clear but there were risks, namely that diplomatic move this had limited value since the Russians
Russia would intervene and this would lead to a conti- did not make this mobilisation public until 28 July.
nental war. However, this was thought even more un- The arguments used to support this move in the Council
likely since the Russians had not yet nished their French- of Ministers were:
funded rearmament programme scheduled for completion in 1917. Moreover as an absolute monarchy, they did
The crisis was being used as a pretext by the Gernot believe that Russia would support regicides and more
mans to increase their power
broadly the mood across Europe was so anti-Serbian that
even Russia would not intervene. Personal factors also
Acceptance of the ultimatum would mean that Serweighed heavily and the German Kaiser was close to the
bia would become a protectorate of Austria
murdered Franz Ferdinand and was aected by his death,
Russia had backed down in the past - for example in
to the extent that German counsels of restraint vis a vis
the Liman von Sanders aair and the Bosnian Crisis
Serbia in 1913 changed to an aggressive stance.
- and this had encouraged the Germans rather than
On the other hand, the military thought that if Russia
appeased them
did intervene then St Petersburg clearly desired war and
Russian arms had recovered suciently since the
now would be a better time to ght, when Germany had a
disasters of 1904-06
guaranteed ally in Austro-Hungary, Russia was not ready
and Europe was sympathetic to them. On balance, at this
point in the crisis, the Germans anticipated that their sup- In addition Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazanov beport would mean the war would be a localised aair be- lieved that war was inevitable and refused to acknowltween Austro-Hungary and Serbia. This would be par- edge that Austro-Hungary had a right to counter meausticularly true if Austria moved quickly, while the other res in the face of Serbian irredentism,. On the contrary,
European powers were still disgusted over the assassina- Sazanov had aligned himself with the irredentism, and
tions and therefore likely to be sympathetic to any action expected the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Crucially, the French had provided their clear support
Austro-Hungary took.[30]

for their Russian allies for a robust response in their recent state visit just days before. Also in the background
was Russian anxiety of the future of the Turkish straits
where Russian control of the Balkans would place St
Petersburg in a far better position to prevent unwanted
intrusions on the Bosphorus [32]
The policy was intended to be a mobilisation against
Austro-Hungary only. However, due to Russian incompetence, the Russians realised by 29 July that partial mobilisation was not militarily possible, and as it would interfere with general mobilisation, only full mobilisation
could prevent the entire operation being botched. The
Russians therefore moved to full mobilisation on 30 July.
Christopher Clark stated It would be dicult to overstate the historical importance of the meetings of 24 and
25 July [33] and In taking these steps, [Russian Foreign
Minister] Sazanov and his colleagues escalated the crisis
and greatly increased the likelihood of a general European war. For one thing, Russian pre-mobilzation altered
the political chemistry in Serbia, making it unthinkable
that the Belgrade government, which had originally given
serious consideration to accepting the ultimatum, would
back down in the face of Austrian pressure. It heightened the domestic pressure on the Russian administrationit sounded alarm bells in Austro-Hungary. Most
importantly of all, these measures drastically raised the
pressure on Germany, which had so far abstained from
miitary preparations and was still counting on the localisation of the Austro-Serbian conict. [34]

crisis. This was the rst of the general mobilisations. It
came at the moment when the German government had
not yet even declared the State of Impending War [37]
Why did Russia do this?
In response to the Austrian declaration of war on 28
The previously ordered partial mobilisation was incompatible with a future general mobilisation
Sazanovs conviction that Austrian intransigence was
Germanys policy, and therefore given that Germany
was driving Austria, there was no longer any point in
mobilising against Austria only
France reiterated her support for Russia, and there
was signicant cause to think that Britain would also
support Russia [38]
German Mobilisation and war with Russia and

On 28 July, Germany learned through its spy network that

Russia had implemented partial mobilisation and its Period Preparatory to War. The Germans assumed that
Russia had, after all, decided upon war and that her mobilisation put Germany in danger. This was doubly so
because German war plans, the so-called Schileen Plan,
relied upon Germany to mobilise speedily enough to rst
defeat France before turning to defeat the slower-moving
Serbia Rejects the Ultimatum, Austria Declares War Russians.
on Serbia
German eorts at mediation - which suggested that AusOn 23 July, Austria-Hungary, following their own en- tria should Halt in Belgrade and use the occupation
quiry into the assassinations, sends an ultimatum to Ser- of the Serbian capital to ensure its terms were met bia, containing their demands, giving forty-eight hours to were rendered futile by the speed of Russian preparations,
which threatened force the Germans to take counter
measures before mediation could begin to take eect [39]
Serbia initially considered accepting all the terms of the
ultimatum before news from Russia of pre mobilisation Thus, in response to Russian mobilisation, Germany ordered the state of Imminent Danger of war (SIDW) on 31
measures stiened their resolve. [35]
July, and when the Russian government refused to rescind
The Serbs drafted their reply to the ultimatum in such a its mobilisation order, Germany mobilised and declared
way as to give the impression of making signicant con- war on Russia on 1 August. Given the Franco-Russian
cessions but, as Christopher Clark states In reality, then, alliance, countermeasures by France were, correctly, asthis was a highly perfumed rejection on most points.[36] sumed to be inevitable and Germany therefore declared
In response to the rejection of the ultimatum, Austria war on France on 3 August 1914.
broke o diplomatic relations on 25 July and declared war
Note: French Prime Minister Ren Viviani merely replied
on 28 July.
to the German ultimatum that, France will act in accordance with her interests.[20] Had the French agreed to
remain neutral, the German Ambassador was authorized
Russia General mobilisation is ordered
to ask the French to temporarily surrender the Fortresses
Russia ordered full mobilisation of its army on 29 July, of Toul and Verdun as a guarantee of neutrality.
The Tsar briey countermanded this order, but it was re- By November 1912, Russia, which had been humiliconrmed on 30 July.
ated because of its inability to support Serbia during
Christopher Clark states: The Russian general mobilisa- the Bosnian crisis of 1908 or the First Balkan War, antion was one of the most momentous decisions of the July nounced a major reconstruction of its military.


On November 29, German Foreign Secretary Gottlieb
von Jagow told the Reichstag (the German parliament),
that If Austria is forced, for whatever reason, to ght
for its position as a Great Power, then we must stand by
her.[40] As a result, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward
Grey responded by warning Prince Karl Lichnowsky, the
German Ambassador in London, that if Germany oered
Austria a blank cheque for war in the Balkans, then the
consequences of such a policy would be incalculable. To
reinforce this point, R. B. Haldane, the Lord Chancellor,
met with Prince Lichnowsky to oer an explicit warning
that if Germany were to attack France, Britain would intervene in Frances favour.[40]
With the recently announced Russian military reconstruction and certain British communications, the possibility of war was a leading topic at the German Imperial
War Council of 8 December 1912 in Berlin, an informal meeting of some of Germanys top military leadership called on short notice by Kaiser Wilhelm II.[40] Attending the conference were the Kaiser, Admiral Alfred
von Tirpitz the Naval State Secretary, Admiral Georg
Alexander von Mller, the Chief of the German Imperial Naval Cabinet (Marinekabinett), General Helmuth
von Moltke the Armys Chief of Sta, Admiral August
von Heeringen the Chief of the Naval General Sta and
General Moriz von Lyncker, the Chief of the German Imperial Military Cabinet.[40] The presence of the leaders of
both the German Army and Navy at this War Council attests to its importance. However, Chancellor Theobald
von Bethmann-Hollweg and General Josias von Heeringen, the Prussian Minister of War, were not invited.[41]

Historians more sympathetic to the government of Wilhelm II often reject the importance of this War Council as
only showing the thinking and recommendations of those
present, with no decisions taken. They often cite the passage from Admiral Mller's diary, which states: That
was the end of the conference. The result amounted to
nothing.[42] Certainly the only decision taken was to do
Historians more sympathetic to the Entente, such as Rhl,
sometimes rather ambitiously interpret these words of
Admiral Mller (an advocate of launching a war soon)
as saying that nothing was decided for 191213, but
that war was decided on for the summer of 1914.[42] Rhl
is on safer ground when he argues that even if this War
Council did not reach a binding decisionwhich it clearly
did notit did nonetheless oer a clear view of their
intentions,[42] or at least their thoughts, which were that
if there was going to be a war, the German Army wanted
it before the new Russian armaments program began to
bear fruit.[42] Entente sympathetic historians such as Rhl
see this conference, in which The result amounted to
nothing,[42] as setting a clear deadline for a war to begin, namely the summer of 1914.[42]

With the November 1912 announcement of the Russian

Great Military Programme, the leadership of the German
Army began clamoring even more strongly for a preventive war against Russia.[40][43] Moltke declared that Germany could not win the arms race with France, Britain
and Russia, which she herself had begun in 1911, because the nancial structure of the German state, which
gave the Reich government little power to tax, meant GerWilhelm II called British balance of power principles id- many would bankrupt herself in an arms race.[40] As such,
iocy, but agreed that Haldanes statement was a desir- Moltke from late 1912 onwards was the leading advocate
able clarication of British policy.[40] His opinion was for a general war, and the sooner the better.[40]
that Austria should attack Serbia that December, and if Throughout May and June 1914, Moltke engaged in an
Russia supports the Serbs, which she evidently does ... almost ultimative demand for a German preventive
then war would be unavoidable for us, too, [40] and that war against Russia in 1914.[42] The German Foreign
would be better than going to war after Russia completed Secretary, Gottlieb von Jagow, reported on a discussion
the massive modernization and expansion of their army with Moltke at the end of May 1914:
that they had just begun. Moltke agreed. In his professional military opinion a war is unavoidable and the
Moltke described to me his opinion of our
sooner the better.[40] Moltke wanted to launch an immilitary situation. The prospects of the future
mediate attack.
oppressed him heavily. In two or three years
Both Wilhelm II and the Army leadership agreed that if
Russia would have completed her armaments.
a war were necessary it were best launched soon. TirThe military superiority of our enemies would
pitz, however, asked for a postponement of the great
then be so great that he did not know how he
ght for one and a half years[40] because the Navy was
could overcome them. Today we would still be
not ready for a general war that included Britain as an opa match for them. In his opinion there was no
ponent. He insisted that the completion of the construcalternative to making preventive war in order to
tion of the U-boat base at Heligoland and the widening of
defeat the enemy while we still had a chance of
the Kiel Canal were the Navys prerequisites for war.[40]
victory. The Chief of the General Sta thereAs the British historian John Rhl has commented, the
fore proposed that I should conduct a policy
date for completion of the widening of the Kiel Canal
with the aim of provoking a war in the near
was the summer of 1914.[42] Though Moltke objected to
the postponement of the war as unacceptable, Wilhelm
sided with Tirpitz.[40] Moltke agreed to a postponement The new French President Raymond Poincar, who took
only reluctantly.[42]
oce in 1913, was favourable to improving relations

with Germany.[44] In January 1914 Poincar became the
rst French President to dine at the German Embassy
in Paris.[44] Poincar was more interested in the idea of
French expansion in the Middle East than a war of revenge to regain Alsace-Lorraine. Had the Reich been
interested in improved relations with France before August 1914, the opportunity would have been available,
but the leadership of the Reich lacked such interests, and
preferred a policy of war to destroy France. Because
of Frances smaller economy and population, by 1913
French leaders had largely accepted that France by itself
could never defeat Germany.[45]
In May 1914, Serbian politics were polarized between
two factions, one headed by the Prime Minister Nikola
Pai, and the other by the radical nationalist chief of Military Intelligence, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevi, known
by his codename Apis.[46] In that month, due to Colonel
Dimitrigjevics intrigues, King Peter dismissed Pai's
government.[46] The Russian Minister in Belgrade intervened to have Pai's government restored.[46] Pai,
though he often talked tough in public, knew that Serbia
was near-bankrupt and, having suered heavy casualties
in the Balkan Wars and in the suppression of a December
1913 Albanian revolt in Kosovo, needed peace.[46] Since
Russia also favoured peace in the Balkans, from the Russian viewpoint it was desirable to keep Pai in power.[46]
It was in the midst of this political crisis that politically
powerful members of the Serbian military armed and
trained three Bosnian students as assassins and sent them
into Austria-Hungary.[47]

French domestic politics
The situation in France was quite dierent from that in
Germany; in France, war appeared to be a gamble. Forty
years after the loss of Alsace-Lorraine a vast number of
French were still angered by it, as well as by the humiliation of being compelled to pay a large reparation to Germany. The diplomatic alienation of France orchestrated
by Germany prior to World War I caused further resentment in France. Nevertheless, the leaders of France recognized Germanys military advantage, as Germany had
nearly twice the population and a better equipped army.
At the same time, the episodes of the Tangier Crisis in
1905 and the Agadir Crisis in 1911 had given France an
indication that war with Germany could come if Germany
continued to oppose French colonial expansionism.
France was politically polarized; the left-wing socialists
led by Jean Jaurs pushed for peace against nationalists
on the right like Paul Droulde who called for revenge
against Germany. France in 1914 had never been so prosperous and inuential in Europe since 1870, nor its military so strong and condent in its leaders, emboldened
by its success in North Africa and the overall pacication
of its vast colonial empire. The Entente Cordiale of 1904
with Britain held rm, and was supported by mutual interests abroad and strong economic ties. Russia had ed the
triple crown alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary
because of disagreements with Austria-Hungary over policy in the Balkans. Russia also hoped that large French investments in its industry and infrastructures coupled with
an important military partnership would prove themselves
protable and durable.

The foreign ministry was lled with expert diplomats, but

there was great turnover at the top. In the 18 months before the war there were six foreign ministers. The leader1.1.13 Domestic political factors
ship was prepared to ght Germany and attempt to gain
back the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine lost in 1871.
German domestic politics
It is important to note however, that France could never
have permitted itself to initiate a war with Germany, as
Left-wing parties, especially the Social Democratic Party its military pact with Britain was only purely defensive.
of Germany (SPD) made large gains in the 1912 German The assumption that Germany would not violate neutral
election. German government at the time was still domi- Belgium was a serious blunder in French planning.
nated by the Prussian Junkers who feared the rise of these
left-wing parties. Fritz Fischer famously argued that they
deliberately sought an external war to distract the popula[48]
tion and whip up patriotic support for the government.
Indeed, one German military leader said that a war was See also: New Imperialism
desirable in order to escape from diculties at home and
abroad and a Prussian conservative leader even argued Marxists typically attributed the start of the war to
that a war would strengthen patriarchal order.[49] Rus- imperialism. Imperialism, argued Lenin, is the
sia was in the midst of a large-scale military build-up and monopoly stage of capitalism. He thought the monopoly
reform that they intended to complete in 19161917.
capitalists went to war to control markets and raw
Other authors argue that German conservatives were am- materials.
bivalent about a war, worrying that losing a war would
have disastrous consequences, and even a successful
war might alienate the population if it were lengthy or

Britain especially with its vast worldwide British Empire

was a main example, although it entered the war later than
the other key players on the issue of Belgium. Britain
also had an informal empire based on trade in neutral



countries. It grew rich in part from its success in trade

in foreign resources, markets, territories, and people, and
Germany was jealous because its much smaller empire
was much poorer. John Darwin argues the British Empire was distinguished by the adaptability of its builders.
Darwin says, The hallmark of British imperialism was
its extraordinary versatility in method, outlook and object. The British tried to avoid military action in favour
of reliance on networks of local elites and businessmen
who voluntarily collaborated and in turn gained authority (and military protection) from British recognition.[53]
France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy all hoped to
emulate the British model, and the United States became
a latecomer in 1898. In all countries the quest for national prestige strengthened imperial motives. Their frustrated ambitions, and British policies of strategic exclusion created tensions. Commercial interests contributed
substantially to rivalries during the Scramble for Africa
after 1880. Africa became the scene of sharpest conict
between certain French, German and British imperial interests.
Rivalries for not just colonies, but colonial trade and trade
routes developed between the emerging economic powers and the incumbent great powers. Although still argued dierently according to historical perspectives on
the path to war, this rivalry was illustrated in the BerlinBaghdad Railway, which would have given German industry access[54] to Mesopotamias suspected rich oil
elds, and [known] extensive asphalt deposits,[55] as well
as German trade a southern port in the Persian Gulf. A
history of this railroad describes the German interests
in countering the British Empire at a global level, and
Turkeys interest in countering their Russian rivals at a regional level.[56] As stated by a contemporary 'man on the
ground' at the time, Jastrow wrote, It was felt in England
that if, as Napoleon is said to have remarked, Antwerp in
the hands of a great continental power was a pistol leveled
at the English coast, Baghdad and the Persian Gulf in the
hands of Germany (or any other strong power) would be
a 42-centimetre gun pointed at India. [57] On the other
side, Public opinion in Germany was feasting on visions
of Cairo, Baghdad, and Tehran, and the possibility of
evading the British blockade through outlets to the Indian
Ocean.[58] Britains initial strategic exclusion of others
from northern access to a Persian Gulf port in the creation of Kuwait by treaty as a protected, subsidized client
state showed political recognition of the importance of
the issue.[59] On June 15, 1914, Britain and Germany
signed an agreement on the issue of the Baghdad Railway,
which Britain had earlier signed with Turkey, to open access to its use, to add British representation on the Board
of the Railway, and restrict access by rail to the Persian
The Railway issue did not play a role in the failed July
1914 negotiations.[63]
Germanys leader Otto von Bismarck disliked the idea
of an overseas empire, but pursued a colonial policy in

Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1902

response to domestic political demands. Bismarck supported French colonization in Africa because it diverted
government attention and resources away from continental Europe and revanchism. After 1890 Bismarcks successor, Leo von Caprivi, was the last German Chancellor who was successful in calming Anglo-German tensions. After Caprivi left oce in 1894, Germanys bellicose New Course in foreign aairs was controlled by
Kaiser Wilhelm. Bombastic and impetuous, the Kaiser
made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous
Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his
power inside the German government in 1908. Langer
et al. (1968) emphasize the negative international consequences of Wilhelms erratic personality:
He believed in force, and the 'survival of the
ttest' in domestic as well as foreign politics...
William was not lacking in intelligence, but he
did lack stability, disguising his deep insecurities by swagger and tough talk. He frequently
fell into depressions and hysterics... Williams
personal instability was reected in vacillations
of policy. His actions, at home as well as
abroad, lacked guidance, and therefore often
bewildered or infuriated public opinion. He
was not so much concerned with gaining specic objectives, as had been the case with Bismarck, as with asserting his will. This trait in


the ruler of the leading Continental power was
one of the main causes of the uneasiness prevailing in Europe at the turn-of-the-century.[64]

The status of Morocco had been guaranteed by international agreement, and when France attempted to greatly
expand its inuence there without the assent of all the
other signatories Germany opposed it prompting the Moroccan Crises, the Tangier Crisis of 1905 and the Agadir
Crisis of 1911. The intent of German policy was to drive
a wedge between the British and French, but in both cases
produced the opposite eect and Germany was isolated
diplomatically, most notably lacking the support of Italy
despite Italian membership in the Triple Alliance. The The Chain of Friendship, an American cartoon from 1914 erFrench protectorate over Morocco was established o- roneously depicting the supposed web of alliances, captioned, If
Austria attacks Serbia, Russia will fall upon Austria, Germany
cially in 1912.
upon Russia, and France and England upon Germany. This di-

In 1914, however, the African scene was peaceful. The mension developed into the concept of Chain ganging.
continent was almost fully divided up by the imperial
powers (with only Liberia and Ethiopia still independent).
undefended, and the separate entente between
There were no major disputes there pitting any two Eu[65]
Britain and Russia (1907) that formed the Triple Enropean powers against each other.
Social Darwinism
By the late 19th century a new school of thought, later
known as Social Darwinism became popular among intellectuals and political leaders. It emphasized that competition was natural in a biological sense. In nature there
was the 'survival of the ttest organism' and so too in political geography the ttest nation would win out. Nationalism made it a competition between peoples, nations or
races rather than kings and elites.[66] Social Darwinism
carried a sense of inevitability to conict and downplayed
the use of diplomacy or international agreements to end
warfare. It tended to glorify warfare, taking the initiative
and the warrior male role.[67] Social Darwinism played
an important role across Europe, but J. Leslie has argued
that it played a critical and immediate role in the strategic thinking of some important, hawkish members of the
Austro-Hungarian government.[68]

This complex set of treaties binding various players in

Europe together before the war sometimes is thought to
have been misunderstood by contemporary political leaders. The traditionalist theory of Entangling Alliances
has been shown to be mistaken. The Triple Entente between Russia, France and the United Kingdom did not in
fact force any of those powers to mobilize because it was
not a military treaty.
Moreover, as Clive Ponting noted: Russia had no treaty
of alliance with Serbia and was under no obligation to
support it diplomatically, let alone go to its defence.[69]
Mobilization by a relatively minor player would not have
had a cascading eect that could rapidly run out of control, involving every country. The crisis between AustriaHungary and Serbia could have been localised.
Arms race

Web of alliances
A loose web of alliances around the European nations existed (many of them requiring participants to agree to collective defense if attacked):
Treaty of London, 1839, about the neutrality of
German-Austrian treaty (1879) or Dual Alliance
Italy joining Germany and Austria in 1882
Franco-Russian Alliance (1894)
The "Entente Cordiale" between Britain and France
(1904), which left the northern coast of France

By the 1870s or 1880s all the major powers were preparing for a large-scale war, although none expected one.
Britain focused on building up its Royal Navy, already
stronger than the next two navies combined. Germany,
France, Austria, Italy and Russia, and some smaller countries, set up conscription systems whereby young men
would serve from 1 to three years in the army, then spend
the next 20 years or so in the reserves with annual summer training. Men from higher social statuses became
ocers. Each country devised a mobilisation system
whereby the reserves could be called up quickly and sent
to key points by rail. Every year the plans were updated and expanded in terms of complexity. Each country stockpiled arms and supplies for an army that ran into
the millions. Germany in 1874 had a regular professional



army of 420,000 with an additional 1.3 million reserves.

By 1897 the regular army was 545,000 strong and the reserves 3.4 million. The French in 1897 had 3.4 million reservists, Austria 2.6 million, and Russia 4.0 million. The
various national war plans had been perfected by 1914, albeit with Russia and Austria trailing in eectiveness. Recent wars (since 1865) had typically been shorta matter
of months. All the war plans called for a decisive opening and assumed victory would come after a short war;
no one planned for or was ready for the food and munitions needs of a long stalemate as actually happened in
As David Stevenson has put it, A self-reinforcing cycle
of heightened military preparedness ... was an essential
element in the conjuncture that led to disaster ... The
armaments race ... was a necessary precondition for the
outbreak of hostilities. David Herrmann goes further, arguing that the fear that windows of opportunity for victorious wars were closing, the arms race did precipitate the First World War. If Archduke Franz Ferdinand
had been assassinated in 1904 or even in 1911, Herrmann
speculates, there might have been no war. It was "... the
armaments race ... and the speculation about imminent or
preventive wars that made his death in 1914 the trigger
for war.[72]
One of the aims of the First Hague Conference of 1899,
held at the suggestion of Emperor Nicholas II, was to discuss disarmament. The Second Hague Conference was
held in 1907. All the signatories except for Germany
supported disarmament. Germany also did not want to
agree to binding arbitration and mediation. The Kaiser
was concerned that the United States would propose disarmament measures, which he opposed. All parties tried
to revise international law to their own advantage.[73]
AngloGerman naval race
Main article: Anglo
German naval arms race
Historians have debated the role of the German naval
build-up as the principal cause of deteriorating AngloGerman relations. In any case Germany never came close
to catching up with Britain.
Supported by Wilhelm II's enthusiasm for an expanded
German navy, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz championed four Fleet Acts from 1898 to 1912, and, from 1902
to 1910, the Royal Navy embarked on its own massive expansion to keep ahead of the Germans. This competition
came to focus on the revolutionary new ships based on
the Dreadnought, which was launched in 1906, and which
gave Britain a battleship that far outclassed any other in
The overwhelming British response proved to Germany
that its eorts were unlikely to equal the Royal Navy. In
1900, the British had a 3.7:1 tonnage advantage over Germany; in 1910 the ratio was 2.3:1 and in 1914, 2.1:1.
Ferguson argues that, So decisive was the British victory in the naval arms race that it is hard to regard it as in

1909 cartoon in Puck shows (clockwise) US, Germany, Britain,

France and Japan engaged in naval race in a no limit game.

any meaningful sense a cause of the First World War.[76]

This ignores the fact that the Kaiserliche Marine had narrowed the gap by nearly half, and that the Royal Navy had
long intended to be stronger than any two potential opponents; the United States Navy was in a period of growth,
making the German gains very ominous.
In Britain in 1913, there was intense internal debate about
new ships due to the growing inuence of John Fishers
ideas and increasing nancial constraints. In early-mid1914 Germany adopted a policy of building submarines
instead of new dreadnoughts and destroyers, eectively
abandoning the race, but kept this new policy secret to
delay other powers following suit.[77]
Though the Germans abandoned the naval race, as such,
before the war broke out, it had been one of the chief factors in Britains decision to join the Triple Entente and
therefore important in the formation of the alliance system as a whole.
Russian interests in Balkans and Ottoman Empire
The main Russian goals included strengthening its role as
the protector of Eastern Christians in the Balkans (such
as the Serbians).[78] Although Russia enjoyed a booming
economy, growing population, and large armed forces, its
strategic position was threatened by an expanding Turkish military trained by German experts using the latest
technology. The start of the war renewed attention of
old goals: expelling the Turks from Constantinople, ex-



tending Russian dominion into eastern Anatolia and Persian Azerbaijan, and annexing Galicia. These conquests
would assure Russian predominance in the Black Sea and
access to the Mediterranean.[79]


Technical and military factors

Over by Christmas

and military disorganization and so diplomatic overtures conducted after the mobilizations had begun were
ignored.[82] However, in practice these timetables were
not always decisive. The Tsar ordered general mobilization canceled on July 29 despite his chief of stas objections that this was impossible.[83] A similar cancellation was made in Germany by the Kaiser on August
1 over the same objections,[84] although in theory Germany should have been the country most rmly bound
by its mobilization schedule. Barbara Tuchman oers
another explanation in the Guns of Augustthat the nations involved were concerned about falling behind their
adversaries in mobilization. According to Tuchman, war
pressed against every frontier. Suddenly dismayed, governments struggled and twisted to fend it o. It was no
use. Agents at frontiers were reporting every cavalry patrol as a deployment to beat the mobilization gun. General stas, goaded by their relentless timetables, were
pounding the table for the signal to move lest their opponents gain an hours head start. Appalled on the brink,
the chiefs of state ultimately responsible for their countrys fate attempted to back away, but the pull of military
schedules dragged them forward.[85]

When the war began both sides believed, and publicly

stated, that the war would end soon. The Kaiser told
his troops that they would be "... home before the leaves
have fallen from the trees, and one German ocer said
he expected to be in Paris by Sedantag, about six weeks
away. Germany only stockpiled enough potassium nitrate for gunpowder for six months;[80] without the justdeveloped Haber process, Germany might have collapsed
by 1916.[81] Russian ocers similarly expected to be in
Berlin in six weeks, and those who suggested that the
war would last for six months were considered pessimists.
Von Moltke and his French counterpart Joseph Jore
were among the few who expected a long war, but neither formally adjusted his nations military plans accordingly. The new British Secretary of State for War Lord
Kitchener was the only leading ocial on either side to Schlieen Plan
both expect a long war (three years or longer, he told
an amazed colleague) and acted accordingly, immediately
building an army of millions of soldiers who would ght
for years.[80]

Some authors such as Niall Ferguson argue that the belief in a swift war has been greatly exaggerated since
the war.[50] He argues that the military planners, especially in Germany, were aware of the potential for a long
war, as shown by the WillyNicky telegraphic correspondence between the emperors of Russia and Germany. He
also argues that most informed people considered a swift
war unlikely. However, it was in the belligerent governments interests to convince their populaces, through
skillful propaganda, that the war would be brief. Such a
message encouraged men to join the oensive, made the
war seem less serious, and promoted general high spirits. Map of Aufmarsch I West (Schlieen Plan) oensive operation





and French Plan XVII oensive operation

Primacy of the oensive and war by timetable

See also: Cult of the oensive
Military theorists of the time generally held that seizing
the oensive was extremely important. This theory encouraged all belligerents to strike rst to gain the advantage. This attitude shortened the window for diplomacy.
Most planners wanted to begin mobilization as quickly as
possible to avoid being caught on the defensive.

Germany, in contrast to Austria-Hungary, had by 1905

no real territorial goals within Europe but Germanys
military-strategic situation was poor as Austria-Hungary
was a weak ally and France and Russia grew closer. Neither Germany nor Austria-Hungary were able to increase
spending upon their armed forces, due to deadlock in
their countries legislatures. This meant that Germanys
strategic situation worsened as both France and Russia
continually increased their military spending throughout
this period. Accordingly, the improvement of the FrancoRussian forces is not considered to be part of an 'arms

Some historians assert that mobilization schedules were

so rigid that once it was begun, they could not be
cancelled without massive disruption of the country The German General Sta under Count & General


Alfred von Schlieen devised three deployment plans
and operational-guides for war. Two addressed the case
of a war with a Franco-Russian alliance and reconciled
a defensive strategy with counter-oensive operations.
Aufmarsch II West favoured a counter-oensive against
the French oensive before moving to deal with the Russian and Aufmarsch I Ost favoured defeating the Russian
oensive before moving to deal with the French. The
greater density of railway-infrastructure in the west meant
that Schlieen favoured Aufmarsch II West as it would allow a greater force to be deployed there and thus a greater
victory to be won over the French attackers.[86]
The third plan, Aufmarsch I West or 'The Schlieen Plan',
detailed an oensive operation. This plan catered for an
isolated Franco-German war in which Italy and AustriaHungary would side with Germany but Russia would
remain neutral. This deployment plan was made with
an oensive operation through the southern Netherlands
and northern Belgium in mind, with Italian and AustroHungarian forces being expected to defend Germany during this operation. Ideally the French Army would stand
fast against the German army and have a large part of its
force enveloped and forced to surrender. If the French
retreated then the German army could pursue and breach
Frances 'second defensive area', reducing its defensive

Franco-Belgian territory.[80] Most of the deployments
and operations available to him, including Aufmarsch II
Ost which was of his own devising, were defensive and
could decisively alter the strategic balance in German
power through the destruction of Franco-Russian forces.
Moltkes choice was particularly dangerous given that the
main French deployment plan, Plan XVII, was designed
to counter the Schlieen Plan. Plan XVII deployed the
bulk of the French Army on the Franco-Belgian border,
for an oensive operation through southern Belgium into
Germany. If successful, this would have trapped the German army in northern Belgium. The adoption of Plan
XVII in 1913 was combined with a diplomatic initiative
to ensure that the Russians would launch an invasion of
East Prussia to coincide with it. The rst battles of the
war were fought in Germany, southern Belgium and East
British Foreign policy
Main article: History of the United Kingdom during
World War I
In explaining why Britain went to war with Germany, Paul
Kennedy, in The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism,
18601914, wrote that it was critical for war that Germany become economically more powerful than Britain
but he played down the disputes over economic trade imperialism, the Baghdad Railway, confrontations in Eastern Europe, high-charged political rhetoric and domestic pressure-groups. Germany reliance time and again on
sheer power, while Britain increasingly appealed to moral
sensibilities, played a role, especially in seeing the invasion of Belgium as a necessary military tactic or a profound moral crime. The German invasion of Belgium was
not important because the British decision had already
been made and the British were more concerned with the
fate of France.[90] Kennedy wrote that by far the main
reason was Londons fear that a repeat of 1870when
Prussia and the German states smashed Francewould
mean Germany would gain control the English Channel
and north-west France. British policy makers insisted that
would be a catastrophe for British security.[91]

Aufmarsch I West became increasingly impractical as it

became clear that an isolated Franco-German war was
impossible. With Russia and Britain expected to participate, Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops could not be
used to defend Germany as per the plan. East Prussia and
the north-German coastline would be undefended as the
German army would be deployed west of the Rhine; Aufmarsch I West was retired shortly after Schlieen did in
1905. Schlieens successor, Helmuth von Moltke the
Younger, did not think that a defensive strategy suited
German strategic needs. He decided that the oensive
operation of Aufmarsch I West could be applied to the
plan Aufmarsch II West, even though no Italian or AustroHungarian help would be forthcoming and at least a fth
of the German army would have to be deployed elsewhere
to defend against British raids and a Russian oensive
against East Prussia. Holmes is of the opinion that this
force was too weak to breach the French 'second fortied area', meaning that if the French Army chose to retreat rather than stand its ground then the entire opera- 1.1.15 Historiography
tion would fail to appreciably improve Germanys strategic situation (as per Schlieens goals for such an op- Main article: Historiography of the Causes of World War
eration, albeit following on from the Aufmarsch I West I
During the period immediately following the end of hosThe signicance of German war planning is that de- tilities, Anglo-American historians argued that Germany
spite having alternatives, Moltke chose to launch an of- was solely responsible for the start of the war. However,
fensive that he should have known could not achieve its academic work in the English-speaking world in the later
nominal objectives.[89] Tuchman has noted that Moltke 1920s and 1930s blamed participants more equally.
was one of the few senior military gures to consider a Since the 1960s, the tendency has been to reassert the
long war and despite the failure of the oensive, Ger- guilt of Germany, although some historians continue to
man forces did manage to occupy economically important argue for collective responsibility.



[10] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How

Europe Went to War in 1914 p.159 (Penguin, 2013)
[11] Quoted in Coleraine K. A. Hamilton, Great Britain and
France, 19111914 p.324 in Hinsley, Francis Harry
(ed.), British Foreign Policy under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge University Press, 1977) ISBN 0-521-21347-9,
ISBN 978-0-521-21347-9
[12] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How
Europe Went to War in 1914 p.157 (Penguin, 2013)
[13] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How
Europe Went to War in 1914 p.242 (Penguin, 2013)
Louis P. Bnzet's map of Europe As It Should Be (1918), depicting imagined nations based on ethnic and linguistic criteria.
Bnzets book The World War and What was Behind It (1918)
blamed on German aggression combined with perceived threats
to the traditional social order from radicals and ethnic nationalists.

[14] Quoted Christopher Clark in Europe: Then and Now,

Centre for Stratgic and International Studies lecture, published on 17 April 2014 26-27mins
[15] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How
Europe Went to War in 1914 p.324 (Penguin, 2013)
[16] H E Legge, How War Came About Between Great Britain
and Germany

Discussion over which country started the war, and who

bears the blame continues to this day.[92]
[17] Clive Ponting, Thirteen Days, Random House, 2002
Hardback, page 124'


See also

American entry into World War I

Causes of World War II
European Civil War
History of the Balkans
International relations (18141919)



[1] Van Evera, Stephen. The Cult of the Oensive and the
Origins of the First World War. (Summer 1984), p. 62.
[2] Fischer, Fritz. War of Illusions: German Policies from
1911 to 1914. trans. (1975), p. 69.
[3] Sagan, Scott D. 1914 Revisited: Allies, Oense, and Instability (1986)
[4] Henig (2002). The origins of the First World War. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26205-4.
[5] Lieven, D. C. B. (1983). Russia and the origins of the First
World War. New York: St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-31269608-6.
[6] The First World War by Hew Strachan, Simon & Schuster

[18] Albertini, Luigi. Origins of the War of 1914, Oxford University Press, London, 1953, Vol II pp 461462, 465
[19] The Treaty of Alliance Between Germany and Turkey August 2, 1914
[20] Taylor, A. J. P. (1954). The Struggle For Mastery in Europe 18481918. Oxford University Press. p. 524. ISBN
[21] Month of Madness by Christopher Clark, BBC Radio
Broadcast, 25 June 2014.
[22] Month of Madness by Christopher Clark, BBC Radio
Broadcast, 25 June 2014.
[23] Sked, Alan (1989). The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg
Empire 18151918. Burnt Mill: Longman Group. p. 254.
[24] Williamson, Samuel R. (1991). Austria-Hungary and the
Origins of the First World War. St. Martins Press. ISBN
[25] Month of Madness by Christopher Clark, BBC Radio
Broadcast, 25 June 2014.
[26] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How
Europe Went to War in 1914 pp.402-403 (Penguin,
[27] Clive Ponting, Thirteen Days, Random House, 2002
Hardback, page 72'

[7] The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson,Penguin.

[28] Clive Ponting, Thirteen Days, Random House, 2002

Hardback, page 70'

[8] Quoted in Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How

Europe Went to War in 1914 p.324 (Penguin, 2013)

[29] Clive Ponting, Thirteen Days, Random House, 2002

Hardback, page 73'

[9] The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson,Penguin, 1999 edition,

paperback, p53.

[30] Clive Ponting, Thirteen Days, Random House, 2002

Hardback, page 74'


[31] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp449-450

[32] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp486
[33] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp475
[34] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp480
[35] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp463
[36] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp466
[37] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,p509
[38] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,p510-11
[39] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,p525
[40] Fromkin, David. Europes last summer: who started the
Great War in 1914?. New York : Knopf : 2004. pp. 88
92. ISBN 978-0-375-41156-4.
[41] The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany by John C. G. Rhl; Translated by Terence F. Cole, Cambridge University Press; 288 pages. p.
[42] Rhl, John C G. 1914: Delusion or Design. Elek. pp.
2932. ISBN 0-236-15466-4.
[43] Fromkin, David. Europes last summer: who started the
Great War in 1914?. New York : Knopf : 2004. pp.
26062. ISBN 978-0-375-41156-4.
[44] Fromkin, David. Europes last summer: who started the
Great War in 1914?. New York : Knopf : 2004. pp. 80
82. ISBN 978-0-375-41156-4.
[45] Howard, Michael Europe on the Eve of the First World
War pages 2134 from The Outbreak of World War
I edited by Holger Herwig, Boston: Houghton Miin,
1997 page 26
[46] Fromkin, David. Europes last summer: who started the
Great War in 1914?. New York : Knopf : 2004. pp.
12425. ISBN 978-0-375-41156-4.
[47] Dedijer, Vladimir. The Road to Sarajevo, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1966, p 398

Fischer, Fritz Germanys Aims in the First World

War, W. W. Norton; 1967 ISBN 0-393-05347-4

[49] I.Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II p259;

M.Neiberg, The World War 1 Reader p309


[56] Sean McMeekin, 'The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germanys bid for world power. 2010,
ISBN 978-0-674-05739-5
[57] Jastrow, 1917. page 97 in 'The War and the Baghdad
Railway'". Retrieved 2013-10-28.
[58] AF Pollard, 1919. 'A Short History of the Great War'
accessible at (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-28.
[59] Kuwait. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2013-1028.
[60] Greg Cashman; Leonard C. Robinson (2007). An Introduction to the Causes of War: Patterns of Interstate Conict
from World War I to Iraq. Rowman & Littleeld. p. 71.
[61] FO 373/5/2, p.33.
[62] Bilgin. p 127-8.
[63] Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers (2013) p 338
[64] William L. Langer, et al. Western Civilization (1968), p.
[65] C. L. Mowat, ed., The New Cambridge Modern History,
Vol. 12: The Shifting Balance of World Forces, 1898-1945
(1968) pp 151-52
[66] Weikart, Richard (2004). From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany. ISBN
[67] Hamilton, Richard F.; Herwig, Holger H. (2003). The
Origins of World War I. Cambridge University Press. p.
[68] Leslie, JD (1993).
The Antecedents of AustriaHungarys War Aims. In E Springer and L Kammerhofer. Archiv und Forschung das Haus-, Hof- und StaatsArchiv in Seiner Bedeutung fr die Geschichte sterreichs
und Europas. R. Oldenburg, Munich. pp. 307394.
[69] Clive Ponting, The Thirteen Days, p122, Hardback,
Chatto &Windus, 2002
[70] F. H. Hinsley, ed. The New Cambridge Modern History,
Vol. 11: Material Progress and World-Wide Problems,
187098 (1962) pp 20442, esp 214-17
[71] Mulligan, The Trial Continues (2014) pp 643-49
[72] Ferguson 1999, p. 82.

[50] Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War Basic Books, 1999 ISBN

[73] Mulligan, The Trial Continues (2014) pp 646-47

[51] Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers (2013) pp 1326,

19097, 301-13498-506

[74] Angus Ross, HMS Dreadnought (1906)A Naval Revolution Misinterpreted or Mishandled?" The Northern
Mariner (April 2010) 20#2 pp: 175-198

[52] William Mulligan (2010). The Origins of the First World

War. Cambridge UP. p. 7.
[53] John Darwin, Unnished Empire: The Global Expansion
of Britain, (2012) p 388.
[54] See: Turkish Petroleum Company
[55] Jastrow, p.150, p.160

[75] Robert J. Blyth et al. eds. The Dreadnought and the Edwardian Age (2011)
[76] Ferguson 1999, pp. 8385.
[77] Lambert, Nicholas A. British Naval Policy, 19131914:
Financial Limitation and Strategic Revolution The Journal of Modern History, 67, no.3 (1995), pages 623626.



[78] Barbara Jelavich. Russias Balkan Entanglements, 1806

1914 (2004) p 10
[79] Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World
War (Harvard University Press, 2011).
[80] Tuchman, Barbara (1962). The Guns of August. New
York: Random House. pp. 158159.
[81] Kolbert, Elizabeth (2013-10-21). Head Count. The
New Yorker. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
[82] Taylor, A. J. P. War by Timetable: How the First World
War Began (London, 1969)
[83] Trachtenberg, Marc The Meaning of Mobilization in
1914 International Security Vol. 15, No. 3 (19901991),
[84] Stevenson, David War by Timetable? The Railway Race
before 1914 Past and Present, 162 (1999), 192. Also see
Williamson Samuel R. Jr. and Ernest R. May An Identity of Opinion: Historians and July 1914 The Journal of
Modern History 79, (June 2007), 361362, or Trachtenberg, Marc The Meaning of Mobilization in 1914 International Security Vol. 15, No. 3 (19901991), 140141.
[85] Tuchman, Barbara (1989) [1962]. The Guns of August.
New York: Macmillan. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-02-6203111.
[86] Zuber 2010, pp. 9597, 116133.
[87] Zuber 2010, pp. 116131.
[88] Holmes 2014, pp. 194, 211.
[89] Holmes 2014, p. 213.
[90] Kennedy, Paul The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism,
18601914, Allen & Unwin, 1980 ISBN 0-04-940060-6,
pp. 457462.
[91] Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 18601914 (1980) pp. 464470
[92] World War One: 10 interpretations of who started
WW1. BBC News. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13
February 2014.


Further reading

Albertini, Luigi. The Origins of the War of 1914,

trans. Isabella M. Massey, 3 vols., London, Oxford
University Press, 1952 OCLC 168712
Barnes, Harry Elmer. In Quest of Truth And Justice:
De-bunking The War Guilt Myth, New York: Arno
Press, 1972, 1928 ISBN 0-405-00414-1 OCLC

Evans, R. J. W. and Hartmut Pogge von Strandman, eds. The Coming of the First World War
(1990), essays by scholars from both sides ISBN 019-822899-6
Evera, Stephen Van, The Cult of the Oensive and
the Origins of the First World War, in International
Security 9 #1 (1984)
Fay, Sidney, The Origins of the World War, New
York: Macmillan, 1929, 1928 OCLC 47080822.
Ferguson, Niall The Pity of War Basic Books, 1999
ISBN 0-465-05712-8
Fischer, Fritz, Germanys Aims In the First World
War, W. W. Norton; 1967 ISBN 0-393-05347-4
Fischer, Fritz, War of Illusions:German policies
from 1911 to 1914 Norton, 1975 ISBN 0-39305480-2
Fromkin, David, Europes Last Summer: Who
Started The Great War in 1914?, Knopf 2004 ISBN
Gilpin, Robert, War and Change in World Politics Cambridge University Press, 1981 ISBN 0-52124018-2
Hamilton, Richard and Herwig, Holger, Decisions
for War, 19141917 Cambridge University Press,
2004 ISBN 0-521-83679-4
Henig, Ruth, The Origins of the First World War
(2002) ISBN 0-415-26205-4
Herrmann, David G., The Arming of Europe and the
Making of the First World War (1997). Princeton
Studies in International History and Politics, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691015958
Hillgruber, Andreas Germany and the Two World
Wars, Harvard University Press, 1981 ISBN 0-67435321-8
Hobson, Rolf, Imperialism at Sea: Naval Strategic
Thought, the Ideology of Sea Power, and the Tirpitz
Plan (2002) ISBN 0-391-04105-3
Joll, James, The Origins of the First World War
(1984) ISBN 0-582-49016-2
Keiger, John F. V., France and the Origins of the
First World War, St. Martins Press, 1983 ISBN 0312-30292-4

Carter, Miranda Three Emperors: Three Cousins,

Three Empires and the Road to the First World War.
London, Penguin, 2009. ISBN 978-0-670-91556-9

Kennedy, Paul, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 18601914, Allen & Unwin, 1980 ISBN

Clark, Christopher. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe

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Kennedy, Paul M. (ed.), The War Plans of the Great

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Knutsen, Torbjrn L., The Rise and Fall of World

Orders Manchester University Press, 1999 ISBN 07190-4057-4

Steiner, Zara, Britain and the Origins of the First

World War Macmillan Press, 1977 ISBN 0-31209818-9

Kuliabin A. Semin S.Russia a counterbalancing

agent to the Asia. Zavtra Rossii, #28, 17 July 1997

Stevenson, David, Cataclysm: The First World War

As Political Tragedy (2004) major reinterpretation
ISBN 0-465-08184-3

Lee, Dwight E. ed. The Outbreak of the First

World War: Who Was Responsible? (1958) OCLC
66082903, readings from, multiple points of view
Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism Progress Publishers, Moscow, (1978) OCLC
Leslie, John, The Antecedents of Austria-Hungarys
War Aims, (Wiener Beitrge zur Geschichte der
Neuzeit) Elisabeth Springer and Leopold Kammerhofer (eds.), 20 (1993): 307394.
Lieven, D. C. B Russia and the Origins of the First
World War, St. Martins Press, 1983 ISBN 0-31269608-6
Lowe, C. J. and Michael L. Dockrill, Mirage of
Power: 190214 v. 1: British Foreign Policy (1972);
Mirage of Power: 191422 v. 2: British Foreign Policy (1972); Mirage of Power: The Documents v. 3:
British Foreign Policy (1972); vol 12 are text, vol 3
= primary sources
Lynn-Jones, Sean M., and Stephen Van Evera (eds.),
Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World
War (2nd ed., Princeton UP, 1991) ISBN 0-69102349-2
MacMillan, Margaret, The War That Ended Peace:
The Road to 1914 (Random House, 2013) ISBN 1400-06855-X OCLC 833381194
McMeekin, Sean, The Russian Origins of the First
World War (Harvard University Press, 2011) ISBN
0-674-06210-8 OCLC 709670289

Stevenson, David, The First World War and International Politics (Oxford University Press, 1998)ISBN
0-198-20281-4 OCLC 16833256
Strachan, Hew. The First World War: Volume I: To
Arms (2004): the major scholarly synthesis. Thorough coverage of 1914; Also: The First World War
(2004) ISBN 0-670-03295-6 OCLC 53075929: a
385pp version of his multivolume history
Taylor, A. J. P., War by Time-Table: How The First
World War Began, Macdonald & Co., 1969 ISBN
Tuchman, Barbara, The Guns of August, New
York. The Macmillan Company, 1962. Heavily reprinted since 1962. ISBN 0-553-13959-2
OCLC 16673067Describes the opening diplomatic
and military manoeuvres.
Tucker, Spencer, ed., European Powers in the First
World War: An Encyclopedia (1999) ISBN 0-81533351-X OCLC 40417794
Turner, L. C. F. Origins of the First World War, New
York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1970. ISBN 0-39309947-4
Wehler, Hans-Ulrich The German Empire, 1871
1918, Berg Publishers, 1985 ISBN 0-907582-22-2
Williamson, Samuel R. Austria-Hungary and the
Origins of the First World War, St. Martins Press,
1991 ISBN 0-312-05239-1

Mayer, Arno The Persistence of the Old Regime: Eu- Historiography

rope to the Great War Croom Helm, 1981 ISBN 0 Cohen, Warren I. American Revisionists: The
Lessons of Intervention in World War One (1967)
Neiberg, Michael S. Dance of the Furies: Europe
OCLC 466464
and the Outbreak of World War I (Belknap Press
D'Agostino, Anthony. The Revisionist Tradition
of Harvard University Press, 2011) ISBN 0-674in European Diplomatic History, Journal of the
04954-3 OCLC 676725362; role of public opinion
Historical Society, (Spring 2004) 4#2 pp: 255287
Ponting, Clive, Thirteen Days. (Chatto & Windus,
2002) ISBN 0-701-17293-2 OCLC 49872036
Gillette, Aaron. Why Did They Fight the Great
Remak, Joachim, The Origins of World War I,
War? A Multi-Level Class Analysis of the Causes of
18711914, 1967 ISBN 0-03-082839-2
the First World War, History Teacher, (2006) 40#1
pp 4558 in JSTOR
Snyder, Jack, CivilMilitary Relations and the
Hewitson, Mark. Germany and the causes of the
Cult of the Oensive, 1914 and 1984, International
First World War (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014)
Security 9 No. 1 (1984)



Iriye, Akira. The Historiographic Impact of the

Great War. Diplomatic History (Sept. 2014) 38#4

Strachan, Hew. The origins of the First World

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Jones, Heather. As the Centenary Approaches:

The Regeneration of First World War Historiography, Historical Journal (2013) 56#4 pp: pp 857
878 doi:10.1017/S0018246X13000216

Waite, Robert G. The dangerous and menacing war

psychology of hatred and myth. American Historians and the Outbreak of the First World War 1914.
An Overview. Berliner Gesellschaft fr Faschismus
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Keiger, J. F. V. The Fischer Controversy, the War

Origins Debate and France: A Non-History. Journal of Contemporary History (2013) 48#2 pp 363
375. DOI: 10.1177/0022009412472715

Williamson, Jr., Samuel R. and Ernest R. May. An

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Kramer, Alan. Recent Historiography of the First

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Marczewski, Jerzy. German Historiography and
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French Ministry of Foreign Aairs, The French Yellow Book: Diplomatic Documents (1914)
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Mombauer, Annika. The First World War: Inevitable, Avoidable, Improbable Or Desirable? Re- 1.1.19 External links
cent Interpretations On War Guilt and the Wars
Overview of Causes and Primary Sources
Origins, German History, (2007) 25#1 pp 7895,
Russia Getting Too Strong for Germany by
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Mulligan, William. The Trial Continues: New
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Seipp, Adam R. Beyond the 'Seminal Catastrophe':
Re-imagining the First World War, Journal of Contemporary History, October 2006, Vol. 41 Issue 4,
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The Origins of World War One: An article by Dr.

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What caused World War I: Timeline of events and
origins of WWI
Kuliabin A. Semine S. Some of aspects of state
national economy evolution in the system of the
international economic order.- USSR ACADEMY
OCEAN STUDIES Vladivostok, 1991
The Evidence in the Case: A Discussion of the
Moral Responsibility for the War of 1914, as Disclosed by the Diplomatic Records of England, Germany, Russia by James M. Beck
Concept Map of the Causes of WWI
'World War One and 100 Years of CounterRevolution' by Mark Kosman (on the domestic
causes of war)

1.2 World War I

Smith, Leonard V. The 'Culture De Guerre' and

French Historiography of the Great War of 1914 World War One " and Great War redirect here. For
1918, History Compass, (November 2007) 5#6 pp other uses, see World War One (disambiguation) and
Great War (disambiguation).
19671979 online



WW1 " and WWI " redirect here. For the album by sians to terms with the Central Powers via the Treaty
White Whale, see WWI (album).
of Brest Litovsk, which constituted a massive German
victory. After a stunning Spring 1918 German oenWorld War I (WWI or WW1), also known as the First sive along the Western Front, the Allies rallied and drove
World War or the Great War, was a global war centred back the Germans in a series of successful oensives. On
in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed
November 1918. More than 9 million combatants and 7 to an armistice, and Germany, which had its own troumillion civilians died as a result of the war, a casualty rate ble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11
November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.
exacerbated by the belligerents technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of By the end of the war, the German Empire, Russian Emthe deadliest conicts in history, paving the way for ma- pire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire
jor political changes, including revolutions in many of the had ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with
nations involved.[5]
several independent nations restored or created, and Ger[6] manys colonies were parceled out among the winners.
The war drew in all the worlds economic great powers,
assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four
the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom/British Em- (Britain, France, the United States and Italy) imposed
pire, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central their terms in a series of treaties. The League of NaPowers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy tions was formed with the aim of preventing any repetihad also been a member of the Triple Alliance along- tion of such a conict. This, however, failed with ecoside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the nomic depression, renewed European nationalism, weakCentral Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the oen- ened member states, and the German feeling of humiliasive against the terms of the alliance.[7] These alliances tion contributing to the rise of Nazism. These conditions
were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered eventually contributed to World War II.
the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central
Powers. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the
largest wars in history.[8][9] The trigger for the war was
the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav
nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914
. This set o a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary
delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia,[10][11]
and entangled international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major
powers were at war and the conict soon spread around
the world.

1.2.1 Etymology
From the time of its start until the approach of World War
II, the First World War was called simply the World War
or the Great War and thereafter the First World War or
World War I.[14][15]

In Canada, Macleans Magazine in October 1914 said,

Some wars name themselves. This is the Great War.[16]
During the Interwar period (19181939), the war was
most often called the World War and the Great War in
On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Ser- English-speaking countries.
bia and subsequently invaded.[12][13] As Russia mobilised The term First World War was rst used in Septemin support of Serbia, Germany invaded neutral Belgium ber 1914 by the German biologist and philosopher Ernst
and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Haeckel, who claimed that there is no doubt that the
United Kingdom to declare war on Germany. After the course and character of the feared 'European War' ...
German march on Paris was halted, what became known will become the rst world war in the full sense of the
as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with word.[17] citing a wire service report in The Indianapolis
a trench line that would change little until 1917. Mean- Star, 20 September 1914. After the onset of the Second
while, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was suc- World War in 1939, the terms World War I or the First
cessful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in World War became standard, with British and Canadian
its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In Novem- historians favouring the First World War, and Americans
ber 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Pow- World War I.
ers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the
Sinai. Italy joined the Allies in 1915 and Bulgaria joined
the Central Powers in the same year, while Romania
joined the Allies in 1916, and the United States joined
1.2.2 Background
the Allies in 1917.
The Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and
a subsequent revolution in November brought the Rus- Main article: Causes of World War I



500 KM


North Sea







Mediterranean Sea

Morocco (Fr)

Black Sea

Military alliances
in 1914






Da Sarajevo






Central Powers




Triple Entente
Slavic allies of Russia


Algeria (Fr)

Tunisia (Fr)

minority groups in

Military alliances leading to World War I; Triple Entente in

green; Triple Alliance in brown

mid-1890s on, the government of Wilhelm II used this

base to devote signicant economic resources for building up the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy),
established by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, in rivalry with
the British Royal Navy for world naval supremacy.[19] As
a result, each nation strove to out-build the other in capital
ships. With the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906,
the British Empire expanded on its signicant advantage
over its German rival.[19] The arms race between Britain
and Germany eventually extended to the rest of Europe,
with all the major powers devoting their industrial base
to producing the equipment and weapons necessary for a
pan-European conict.[20] Between 1908 and 1913, the
military spending of the European powers increased by

Political and military alliances

During the 19th century, the major European powers
went to great lengths to maintain a balance of power
throughout Europe, resulting in the existence of a complex network of political and military alliances throughout the continent by 1900. These began in 1815, with
the Holy Alliance between Prussia, Russia, and Austria.
Then, in October 1873, German Chancellor Otto von
Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors (German: Dreikaiserbund) between the monarchs of
Austria-Hungary, Russia and Germany. This agreement
failed because Austria-Hungary and Russia could not
agree over Balkan policy, leaving Germany and AustriaHungary in an alliance formed in 1879, called the Dual
Alliance. This was seen as a method of countering RusSarajevo citizens reading a poster with the proclamation of the
sian inuence in the Balkans as the Ottoman Empire con- Austrian annexation in 1908.
tinued to weaken.[7] This alliance expanded, in 1882, to
include Italy in what became the Triple Alliance.[18]
Bismarck had especially worked to hold Russia at Germanys side in an eort to avoid a two-front war with
France and Russia. When Wilhelm II ascended to the
throne as German Emperor (Kaiser), Bismarck was compelled to retire and his system of alliances was gradually de-emphasised. For example, the Kaiser refused,
in 1890, to renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. Two years later, the Franco-Russian Alliance was
signed to counteract the force of the Triple Alliance. In
1904, Britain signed a series of agreements with France,
the Entente Cordiale, and in 1907, Britain and Russia signed the Anglo-Russian Convention. While these
agreements did not formally ally Britain with France or
Russia, they made British entry into any future conict
involving France or Russia a possibility, and the system
of interlocking bilateral agreements became known as the
Triple Entente.[7]

Conicts in the Balkans

Austria-Hungary precipitated the Bosnian crisis of 1908

1909 by ocially annexing the former Ottoman territory
of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it had occupied since
1878. This angered the Kingdom of Serbia and its patron,
the Pan-Slavic and Orthodox Russian Empire. Russian
political manoeuvring in the region destabilised peace accords, which were already fracturing in the Balkans which
came to be known as the "powder keg of Europe".[22] In
1912 and 1913, the First Balkan War was fought between
the Balkan League and the fracturing Ottoman Empire.
The resulting Treaty of London further shrank the Ottoman Empire, creating an independent Albanian State
while enlarging the territorial holdings of Bulgaria, SerArms race
bia, Montenegro, and Greece. When Bulgaria attacked
Serbia and Greece on 16 June 1913, it lost most of MaceGerman industrial and economic power had grown donia to Serbia and Greece and Southern Dobruja to Rogreatly after unication and the foundation of the Empire mania in the 33-day Second Balkan War, further destain 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War. From the bilising the region.[23]


This picture is usually associated with the arrest of Gavrilo Princip, although some[24][25] believe it depicts Ferdinand Behr, a bystander.



Sarajevo assassination
Main article: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
On 28 June 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand
visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. A group of six
assassins (Cvjetko Popovi, Gavrilo Princip, Muhamed
Mehmedbai, Nedeljko abrinovi, Trifko Grabe,
Vaso ubrilovi) from the nationalist group Mlada Bosna,
supplied by the Black Hand, had gathered on the street
where the Archdukes motorcade would pass, with the intention of assassinating the Archduke. abrinovi threw
a grenade at the car, but missed. Some nearby were
injured by the blast, but Franz Ferdinands convoy carried on. The other assassins failed to act as the cars
drove past them. About an hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital with those wounded in the assassination attempt, the
convoy took a wrong turn into a street where, by coincidence, Princip stood. With a pistol, Princip shot and
killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The reaction among the people in Austria was mild, almost indierent. As historian Zbynk Zeman later wrote, the
event almost failed to make any impression whatsoever.
On Sunday and Monday (28 and 29 June), the crowds in
Vienna listened to music and drank wine, as if nothing
had happened.[26][27]

Escalation of violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Main articles:

Anti-Serb riots in Sarajevo and

However, in Sarajevo itself, Austrian authorities encouraged violence against the Serb residents, which resulted in
anti-Serb riots in Sarajevo, in which Croats and Bosnian
Muslims killed two ethnic Serbs and damaged numer-


Crowds on the streets in the aftermath of the anti-Serb riots in

Sarajevo, 29 June 1914.

ous Serb-owned buildings.[28][29] The events have been

described as having the characteristics of a pogrom.
Writer Ivo Andri referred to the violence as the Sarajevo frenzy of hate.[30] Violent actions against ethnic
Serbs were organized not only in Sarajevo, but also in
many other large Austro-Hungarian cities in modernday Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[31] AustroHungarian authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina imprisoned and extradited approximately 5,500 prominent
Serbs, 700 to 2,200 of whom died in prison. A further 460 Serbs were sentenced to death and a predominantly Bosnian Muslim special militia known as the
Schutzkorps was established and carried out the persecution of Serbs.[32][33][34][35]
July Crisis
Main article: July Crisis
The assassination led to a month of diplomatic manoeuvring between Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia,
France, and Britain called the July Crisis. Believing correctly that Serbian ocials (especially the ocers of the
Black Hand) were involved in the plot to murder the
Archduke, and wanting to nally end Serbian interference
in Bosnia,[36] Austria-Hungary delivered to Serbia on 23
July the July Ultimatum, a series of ten demands that were
made intentionally unacceptable, in an eort to provoke
a war with Serbia.[37] The next day, after the Council of
Ministers of Russia was held under the chairmanship of
the Tsar at Krasnoe Selo, Russia ordered general mobilization for Odessa, Kiev, Kazan and Moscow military
districts and eets of the Baltic and the Black Sea. They
also asked for other regions to accelerate preparations for
general mobilization. Serbia decreed general mobilization on the 25th and that night, declared that they accepted all the terms of the ultimatum, except the article
six, which demanded that Austrian delegates be allowed
in Serbia for the purpose of participation in the investigation into the assassination. Following this, Austria broke



o diplomatic relations with Serbia, and the next day or- ing most of its troops against Russia, while Germany
dered a partial mobilization. Finally, on 28 July 1914, dealt with France. This confusion forced the AustroAustria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.
Hungarian Army to divide its forces between the Russian
On 29 July, Russia, in support of its Serb protg, uni- and Serbian fronts.
laterally declared outside of the conciliation procedure
provided by the Franco-Russian military agreements
partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary. German
Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg was then allowed until the
31st for an appropriate response. On the 30th, Russia
ordered general mobilization against Germany. In response, the following day, Germany declared a state of
danger of war. This also led to the general mobilization in Austria-Hungary on 4 August. Kaiser Wilhelm
II asked his cousin, Tsar Nicolas II, to suspend the Russian general mobilization. When he refused, Germany
issued an ultimatum demanding the arrest of its mobilizaSerbian Army Blriot XI Oluj, 1915.
tion and commitment not to support Serbia. Another was
sent to France, asking her not to support Russia if it were
to come to the defence of Serbia. On 1 August, after the Serbian campaign Main article: Serbian Campaign
Russian response, Germany mobilized and declared war (World War I)
on Russia.
The German government issued demands to France that Austria invaded and fought the Serbian army at the Battle
it remain neutral as they had to decide which deployment of Cer and Battle of Kolubara beginning on 12 August.
plan to implement, it being dicult if not impossible to Over the next two weeks, Austrian attacks were thrown
change the deployment whilst it was underway. The mod- back with heavy losses, which marked the rst major Alied German Schlieen Plan, Aufmarsch II West, would lied victories of the war and dashed Austro-Hungarian
deploy 80% of the army in the west, and Aufmarsch I Ost hopes of a swift victory. As a result, Austria had to
the Serbian front, weakening its
and Aufmarsch II Ost would deploy 60% in the west and keep sizable forces on[43]
Serbias defeat of the Austro40% in the east as this was the maximum that the East
counts among the major upPrussian railway infrastructure could carry. The French
did not respond but sent a mixed message by ordering
their troops to withdraw 10 km (6 mi) from the border
to avoid any incidents, but at the same time ordered the German forces in Belgium and France Main article:
mobilisation of her reserves. Germany responded by mo- Western Front (World War I)
bilising its own reserves and implementing Aufmarsch II At the outbreak of World War I, 80% of the German
West. Germany attacked Luxembourg on 2 August and
on 3 August declared war on France. On 4 August, after
Belgium refused to permit German troops to cross its borders into France, Germany declared war on Belgium as
well.[38][39][40] Britain declared war on Germany at 19:00
UTC on 4 August 1914 (eective from 11 pm), following an unsatisfactory reply to the British ultimatum that
Belgium must be kept neutral.[41]


Progress of the war

Opening hostilities
Confusion among the Central Powers The strategy
of the Central Powers suered from miscommunication.
Germany had promised to support Austria-Hungarys invasion of Serbia, but interpretations of what this meant
diered. Previously tested deployment plans had been
replaced early in 1914, but those had never been tested
in exercises. Austro-Hungarian leaders believed Germany would cover its northern ank against Russia.[42]
Germany, however, envisioned Austria-Hungary direct-

British hospital at the Western Front.

army was deployed as seven eld armies in the west according to the plan Aufmarsch II West. However, they
were then assigned to execute the retired deployment plan



Aufmarsch I West, also known as the Schlieen Plan.

This would march German armies through northern Belgium and into France, in an attempt to encircle the French
army and then breach the 'second defensive area' of the
fortresses of Verdun and Paris and the Marne river.[10]
Aufmarsch I West was one of four deployment plans available to the German General Sta in 1914. Each plan
favoured certain operations, but not specify exactly how
those operations were to be carried out, but the commanding ocers were expected to carry those out at their
own initiative and with minimal oversight. Aufmarsch
I West, designed for a one-front war with France, had
been retired once it became clear that it was irrelevant
to the wars Germany could expect to face; both Russia
and Britain were expected to help France and there was
no possibility of Italian nor Austro-Hungarian troops being available for operations against France. But despite
its unsuitability, and the availability of more sensible and
decisive options, it retained a certain allure due to its offensive nature and the pessimism of pre-war thinking,
which expected oensive operations to be short-lived,
costly in casualties and unlikely to be decisive. Accordingly, the Aufmarsch II West deployment was changed for
the oensive of 1914, despite its unrealistic goals and
the insucient forces Germany had available for decisive success.[45] Moltke took Schleens plan and modied the deployment of forces on the western front by
reducing the right wing, the one to advance through Belgium, from 85% on 70%. In the end, the Schlieen plan
was so radically modied by Moltke, that it could be more
properly called the Moltke Plan.
The plan called for the right ank of the German advance
to bypass the French armies concentrated on the FrancoGerman border, defeat the French forces closer to Luxembourg and Belgium and move south to Paris. Initially
the Germans were successful, particularly in the Battle
of the Frontiers (1424 August). By 12 September, the
French, with assistance from the British Expeditionary
Force (BEF), halted the German advance east of Paris
at the First Battle of the Marne (512 September), and
pushed the German forces back some 50 km (31 mi).
The French oensive into southern Alsace, launched on
20 August with the Battle of Mulhouse, had limited success.
In the east, Russia invaded with two armies. In response,
Germany rapidly moved the 8th Field Army from its previous role as reserve for the invasion of France, to East
Prussia by rail across the German Empire. This army,
led by general Paul von Hindenburg defeated Russia in a
series of battles collectively known as the First Battle of
Tannenberg (17 August 2 September). While the Russian invasion failed, it caused the diversion of German
troops to the east, allowing the tactical Allied victory at
the First Battle of the Marne. This meant that Germany
failed to achieve its objective of avoiding a long twofront war. However, the German army had fought its way
into a good defensive position inside France and eec-

German soldiers in a railway goods wagon on the way to the front

in 1914. Early in the war, all sides expected the conict to be a
short one.

tively halved Frances supply of coal. It had also killed or

permanently crippled 230,000 more French and British
troops than it itself had lost. Despite this, communications problems and questionable command decisions cost
Germany the chance of a more decisive outcome.[46]

Military recruitment in Melbourne, Australia, 1914.

Asia and the Pacic Main article: Asian and Pacic

theatre of World War I
New Zealand occupied German Samoa (later Western Samoa) on 30 August 1914. On 11 September,
the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force
landed on the island of Neu Pommern (later New Britain),
which formed part of German New Guinea. On 28 October, the German cruiser SMS Emden sank the Russian
cruiser Zhemchug in the Battle of Penang. Japan seized
Germanys Micronesian colonies and, after the Siege of
Tsingtao, the German coaling port of Qingdao on the
Chinese Shandong peninsula. As Vienna refused to withdraw the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth from Tsingtao, Japan declared war not only on Germany, but also on Austria-Hungary; the ship participated
in the defense of Tsingtao where it was sunk in November 1914.[47] Within a few months, the Allied forces



had seized all the German territories in the Pacic; only

isolated commerce raiders and a few holdouts in New
Guinea remained.[48][49]
African campaigns
World War I

Main article: African theatre of

Some of the rst clashes of the war involved British,

French, and German colonial forces in Africa. On 6
7 August, French and British troops invaded the German protectorate of Togoland and Kamerun. On 10 August, German forces in South-West Africa attacked South
Africa; sporadic and erce ghting continued for the rest
of the war. The German colonial forces in German East
Africa, led by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, fought a
guerrilla warfare campaign during World War I and only
surrendered two weeks after the armistice took eect in

Royal Irish Ries in a communications trench, rst day on the

Somme, 1916.

most of the war. Barbed wire was a signicant hindrance to massed infantry advances, while artillery, vastly
more lethal than in the 1870s, coupled with machine
guns, made crossing open ground extremely dicult.[54]
Indian support for the Allies Further information: Commanders on both sides failed to develop tactics for
Third Anglo-Afghan War and HinduGerman Conspir- breaching entrenched positions without heavy casualties.
In time, however, technology began to produce new offensive weapons, such as gas warfare and the tank.[55]
Contrary to British fears of a revolt in India, the outbreak
of the war saw an unprecedented outpouring of loyalty
and goodwill towards Britain.[51][52] Indian political leaders from the Indian National Congress and other groups
were eager to support the British war eort, since they
believed that strong support for the war eort would further the cause of Indian Home Rule. The Indian Army
in fact outnumbered the British Army at the beginning of
the war; about 1.3 million Indian soldiers and labourers
served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while the
central government and the princely states sent large supplies of food, money, and ammunition. In all, 140,000
men served on the Western Front and nearly 700,000
in the Middle East. Casualties of Indian soldiers totalled 47,746 killed and 65,126 wounded during World
War I.[53] The suering engendered by the war, as well
as the failure of the British government to grant selfgovernment to India after the end of hostilities, bred disillusionment and fuelled the campaign for full independence that would be led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and others.

Just after the First Battle of the Marne (512 September

1914), Entente and German forces repeatedly attempted
manoeuvring to the north to outank each other: this series of manoeuvres became known as the "Race to the
Sea". When these outanking eorts failed, Britain and
France soon found themselves facing an uninterrupted
line of entrenched German forces from Lorraine to Belgiums coast.[10] Britain and France sought to take the
oensive, while Germany defended the occupied territories. Consequently, German trenches were much better constructed than those of their enemy; Anglo-French
trenches were only intended to be temporary before
their forces broke through the German defences.[56]

Both sides tried to break the stalemate using scientic and

technological advances. On 22 April 1915, at the Second
Battle of Ypres, the Germans (violating the Hague Convention) used chlorine gas for the rst time on the Western Front. Several types of gas soon became widely
used by both sides, and though it never proved a decisive, battle-winning weapon, poison gas became one
of the most-feared and best-remembered horrors of the
war.[57][58] Tanks were developed by Britain and France,
and were rst used in combat by the British during the
Western Front
Battle of FlersCourcelette (part of the Battle of the
Somme) on 15 September 1916, with only partial sucMain article: Western Front (World War I)
cess. However, their eectiveness would grow as the war
progressed; the Allies built tanks in large numbers, whilst
the Germans employed only a few of their own design,
Trench warfare begins Military tactics before World supplemented by captured Allied tanks.
War I had failed to keep pace with advances in technology and had become obsolete. These advances had allowed the creation of strong defensive systems, which Continuation of trench warfare Neither side proved
out-of-date military tactics could not break through for able to deliver a decisive blow for the next two years.


The Battle of the Somme was an Anglo-French oensive
that ran from July to November 1916. The opening of this
oensive (1 July 1916) saw the British Army endure the
bloodiest day in its history, suering 57,470 casualties,
including 19,240 dead, on the rst day alone. The entire
Somme oensive cost the British Army some 420,000 casualties. The French suered another estimated 200,000
casualties and the Germans an estimated 500,000.[62]
Protracted action at Verdun throughout 1916,[63] combined with the bloodletting at the Somme, brought the
exhausted French army to the brink of collapse. Futile attempts at frontal assault came at a high price for both the
British and the French and led to the widespread French
Army Mutinies, after the failure of the costly Nivelle Offensive of AprilMay 1917.[64] The concurrent British
Battle of Arras was more limited in scope, and more successful, although ultimately of little strategic value.[65][66]
A smaller part of the Arras oensive, the capture of Vimy
Ridge by the Canadian Corps, became highly signicant
to that country: the idea that Canadas national identity
was born out of the battle is an opinion widely held in
military and general histories of Canada.[67][68]

French 87th regiment near Verdun, 1916.

The last large-scale oensive of this period was a British

attack (with French support) at Passchendaele (July
November 1917). This oensive opened with great
promise for the Allies, before bogging down in the October mud. Casualties, though disputed, were roughly
equal, at some 200,000400,000 per side.
These years of trench warfare in the West saw no major
exchanges of territory and, as a result, are often thought
of as static and unchanging. However, throughout this
period, British, French, and German tactics constantly
evolved to meet new battleeld challenges.
Naval war

Canadian troops advancing with a British Mark II tank at the

Battle of Vimy Ridge, 1917.

Throughout 191517, the British Empire and France suffered more casualties than Germany, because of both the
strategic and tactical stances chosen by the sides. Strategically, while the Germans only mounted one major offensive, the Allies made several attempts to break through
the German lines.
In February 1916 the Germans attacked the French
defensive positions at Verdun. Lasting until December 1916, the battle saw initial German gains, before
French counter-attacks returned matters to near their
starting point. Casualties were greater for the French,
but the Germans bled heavily as well, with anywhere
from 700,000[59] to 975,000[60] casualties suered between the two combatants. Verdun became a symbol of
French determination and self-sacrice.[61]

Battleships of the Hochseeotte, 1917.

Main article: Naval warfare of World War I

At the start of the war, the German Empire had cruisers
scattered across the globe, some of which were subsequently used to attack Allied merchant shipping. The
British Royal Navy systematically hunted them down,
though not without some embarrassment from its inabil-



ity to protect Allied shipping. For example, the German detached light cruiser SMS Emden, part of the EastAsia squadron stationed at Qingdao, seized or destroyed
15 merchantmen, as well as sinking a Russian cruiser
and a French destroyer. However, most of the German
East-Asia squadronconsisting of the armoured cruisers
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau , light cruisers Nrnberg and
Leipzig and two transport shipsdid not have orders to
raid shipping and was instead underway to Germany when
it met British warships. The German otilla and Dresden
sank two armoured cruisers at the Battle of Coronel, but
was almost destroyed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands
in December 1914, with only Dresden and a few auxiliaries escaping, but at the Battle of Ms a Tierra these
too were destroyed or interned.[69]

German U-boats attempted to cut the supply lines between North America and Britain.[74] The nature of
submarine warfare meant that attacks often came without warning, giving the crews of the merchant ships little hope of survival.[74][75] The United States launched a
protest, and Germany changed its rules of engagement.
After the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania
in 1915, Germany promised not to target passenger liners, while Britain armed its merchant ships, placing them
beyond the protection of the "cruiser rules", which demanded warning and placing crews in a place of safety
(a standard that lifeboats did not meet).[76] Finally, in
early 1917, Germany adopted a policy of unrestricted
submarine warfare, realising that the Americans would
eventually enter the war.[74][77] Germany sought to stranSoon after the outbreak of hostilities, Britain began a gle Allied sea lanes before the United States could transonly ve
naval blockade of Germany. The strategy proved eec- port a large army overseas, but could maintain [74]
tive, cutting o vital military and civilian supplies, although this blockade violated accepted international law The U-boat threat lessened in 1917, when merchant ships
codied by several international agreements of the past began travelling in convoys, escorted by destroyers. This
two centuries.[70] Britain mined international waters to tactic made it dicult for U-boats to nd targets, which
prevent any ships from entering entire sections of ocean, signicantly lessened losses; after the hydrophone and
causing danger to even neutral ships.[71] Since there was depth charges were introduced, accompanying destroyers
limited response to this tactic, Germany expected a sim- could attack a submerged submarine with some hope of
ilar response to its unrestricted submarine warfare.[72]
success. Convoys slowed the ow of supplies, since ships
The 1916 Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht, had to wait as convoys were assembled. The solution
or Battle of the Skagerrak") developed into the largest to the delays was an extensive program of building new
naval battle of the war, the only full-scale clash of battle- freighters. Troopships were too fast for the submarines
ships during the war, and one of the largest in history. It and did not travel the North Atlantic in convoys. The
U-boats had sunk more than 5,000 Allied ships, at a cost
took place on 31 May 1 June 1916, in the North Sea
World War I also saw the rst
o Jutland. The Kaiserliche Marines High Seas Fleet, of 199 submarines.
use of aircraft carriers in combat, with HMS Furious
commanded by Vice Admiral Reinhard Scheer, squared
o against the Royal Navys Grand Fleet, led by Ad- launching Sopwith Camels in a successful raid against
the Zeppelin hangars at Tondern in July 1918, as well as
miral Sir John Jellicoe. The engagement was a stand
o, as the Germans, outmanoeuvred by the larger British blimps for antisubmarine patrol.
eet, managed to escape and inicted more damage to the
British eet than they received. Strategically, however, Southern theatres
the British asserted their control of the sea, and the bulk
of the German surface eet remained conned to port for War in the Balkans Main articles: Balkans Campaign
the duration of the war.[73]
(World War I), Bulgaria during World War I, Serbian
Campaign (World War I) and Macedonian Front
Faced with Russia, Austria-Hungary could spare only
one-third of its army to attack Serbia. After suering
heavy losses, the Austrians briey occupied the Serbian
capital, Belgrade. A Serbian counter-attack in the Battle
of Kolubara succeeded in driving them from the country by the end of 1914. For the rst ten months of
1915, Austria-Hungary used most of its military reserves
to ght Italy. German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats,
however, scored a coup by persuading Bulgaria to join
the attack on Serbia on 6 September 1915 in Pless.[82]
The Austro-Hungarian provinces of Slovenia, Croatia and
Bosnia provided troops for Austria-Hungary, invading
Serbia as well as ghting Russia and Italy. Montenegro
allied itself with Serbia.[83]
U-155 exhibited near Tower Bridge in London, after the 1918

Serbia was conquered in a little more than a month, as the

Central Powers, now including Bulgaria, sent in 600,000


The surviving Serbian soldiers were evacuated by ship to
Greece.[84] After conquest, Serbia was divided between
Austro-Hungary and Bulgaria.[85]

Bulgarian soldiers in a trench, preparing to re against an incoming airplane.

In late 1915, a Franco-British force landed at Salonica

in Greece, to oer assistance and to pressure its government to declare war against the Central Powers. However, the pro-German King Constantine I dismissed the
pro-Allied government of Eleftherios Venizelos before
the Allied expeditionary force arrived.[86] The friction between the King of Greece and the Allies continued to accumulate with the National Schism, which eectively divided Greece between regions still loyal to the king and
the new provisional government of Venizelos in Salonica.
After intense negotiations and an armed confrontation in
Athens between Allied and royalist forces (an incident
known as Noemvriana), the King of Greece resigned and
his second son Alexander took his place; Greece then ofcially joined the war on the side of the Allies.
In the beginning, the Macedonian Front was mostly static.
French and Serbian forces retook limited areas of Macedonia by recapturing Bitola on 19 November 1916 following the costly Monastir Oensive, which brought stabilization of the front.[87]

Austro-Hungarian troops executing captured Serbians, 1917.

Serbia lost about 850,000 people during the war, a quarter of
its pre-war population.[81]

Serbian and French troops nally made a breakthrough in

September 1918, after most of the German and AustroHungarian troops had been withdrawn. The Bulgarians
suered their only defeat of the war at the Battle of
Dobro Pole. Bulgaria capitulated two weeks later, on
29 September 1918.[88] The German high command responded by despatching troops to hold the line, but these
forces were far too weak to reestablish a front.[89]
The disappearance of the Macedonian Front meant that
the road to Budapest and Vienna was now opened to Allied forces. Hindenburg and Ludendor concluded that
the strategic and operational balance had now shifted
decidedly against the Central Powers and, a day after
the Bulgarian collapse, insisted on an immediate peace

Ottoman Empire Main article: Middle Eastern theatre of World War I

The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the
war with the secret OttomanGerman Alliance signed
in August 1914.[91] The Ottomans threatened Russias
Caucasian territories and Britains communications with
India via the Suez Canal.
As the conict progressed, the Ottoman Empire took advantage of the European powers preoccupation with the
war and conducted large-scale ethnic cleansing of the introops. The Serbian army, ghting on two fronts and fac- digenous Greek, Assyrian and Armenian Christian popugenocide, Assyrian Genocide
ing certain defeat, retreated into northern Albania. The lations, known as the Greek
Serbs suered defeat in the Battle of Kosovo. Montenegro covered the Serbian retreat towards the Adriatic The British and French opened overseas fronts with the
coast in the Battle of Mojkovac in 67 January 1916, Gallipoli (1915) and Mesopotamian campaigns (1914).
but ultimately the Austrians also conquered Montenegro. In Gallipoli, the Ottoman Empire successfully repelled
Refugee transport from Serbia in Leibnitz, Styria, 1914.



British artillery battery on Mount Scopus in the Battle of

Jerusalem, 1917.

Mustafa Kemal Atatrk at the trenches of Gallipoli during the

Gallipoli Campaign.

Russian forest trench at the 19141915 Battle of Sarikamish.

man and Ottoman force was defeated at the Battle of Romani by the ANZAC Mounted Division and the 52nd
(Lowland) Infantry Division. Following this victory, a
Egyptian Expeditionary Force advanced across the Sinai
Peninsula, pushing Ottoman forces back in the Battle of
Magdhaba in December and the Battle of Rafa on the border between the Egyptian Sinai and Ottoman Palestine in
January 1917.[96]

Ottoman 3rd Army troopers with winter gear.

the British, French, and Australian and New Zealand

Army Corps (ANZACs). In Mesopotamia, by contrast,
after the disastrous Siege of Kut (191516), British Imperial forces reorganised and captured Baghdad in March
1917. The British were aided in Mesopotamia by local
Arab and Assyrian tribesmen, while the Ottomans employed local Kurdish and Turcoman tribes.[95]
Further to the west, the Suez Canal was defended from
Ottoman attacks in 1915 and 1916; in August, a Ger-

Russian armies generally saw success in the Caucasus.

Enver Pasha, supreme commander of the Ottoman armed
forces, was ambitious and dreamed of re-conquering central Asia and areas that had been lost to Russia previously.
He was, however, a poor commander.[97] He launched an
oensive against the Russians in the Caucasus in December 1914 with 100,000 troops; insisting on a frontal attack
against mountainous Russian positions in winter. He lost
86% of his force at the Battle of Sarikamish.[98]
In December 1914 the Ottoman Empire, with German
support, invaded Persia (modern Iran) in an eort to cut
o British and Russian access to petroleum reservoirs
around Baku near the Caspian Sea.[99] Persia, ostensibly neutral, had long been under the spheres of British
and Russian inuence. The Ottomans and Germans were
aided by Kurdish and Azeri forces, together with a large
number of major Iranian tribes, such as the Qashqai,
Tangistanis, Luristanis, and Khamseh, while the Russians
and British had the support of Assyrian and Armenian
forces. The Persian Campaign was to last until 1918 and


Total Allied casualties on the Ottoman fronts amounted
650,000 men. Total Ottoman casualties were 725,000
(325,000 dead and 400,000 wounded).[103]

Xmas card from British Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force with

list of engagements, Basra, 1917

end in failure for the Ottomans and their allies, however

the Russian withdrawal from the war in 1917 led to Armenian and Assyrian forces, who had hitherto inicted
a series of defeats upon the forces of the Ottomans and Austro-Hungarian troops, Tyrol.
their allies, being cut o from supply lines, outnumbered,
outgunned and isolated, forcing them to ght and ee towards British lines in northern Mesopotamia.[100]
General Yudenich, the Russian commander from 1915
to 1916, drove the Turks out of most of the southern
Caucasus with a string of victories.[98] In 1917, Russian
Grand Duke Nicholas assumed command of the Caucasus front. Nicholas planned a railway from Russian Georgia to the conquered territories, so that fresh supplies
could be brought up for a new oensive in 1917. However, in March 1917 (February in the pre-revolutionary
Russian calendar), the Czar abdicated in the course of
the February Revolution and the Russian Caucasus Army
began to fall apart.
Instigated by the Arab bureau of the British Foreign Ofce, the Arab Revolt started June 1916 at the Battle of
Mecca, led by Sherif Hussein of Mecca, and ended with
the Ottoman surrender of Damascus. Fakhri Pasha, the
Ottoman commander of Medina, resisted for more than
two and half years during the Siege of Medina before

Depiction of the Battle of Doberd, fought in August 1916 between the Italian and the Austro-Hungarian armies.

Along the border of Italian Libya and British Egypt, the

Senussi tribe, incited and armed by the Turks, waged
a small-scale guerrilla war against Allied troops. The
British were forced to dispatch 12,000 troops to oppose
them in the Senussi Campaign. Their rebellion was nally
crushed in mid-1916.[102]

Italy had been allied with the German and AustroHungarian Empires since 1882 as part of the Triple Alliance. However, the nation had its own designs on Austrian territory in Trentino, the Austrian Littoral, Fiume
(Rijeka) and Dalmatia. Rome had a secret 1902 pact
with France, eectively nullifying its alliance.[104] At the

Italian participation Main articles: Italian Campaign

(World War I) and Albania during World War I
Further information: Battles of the Isonzo

start of hostilities, Italy refused to commit troops, arguing
that the Triple Alliance was defensive and that AustriaHungary was an aggressor. The Austro-Hungarian government began negotiations to secure Italian neutrality,
oering the French colony of Tunisia in return. The Allies made a counter-oer in which Italy would receive
the Southern Tyrol, Austrian Littoral and territory on
the Dalmatian coast after the defeat of Austria-Hungary.
This was formalised by the Treaty of London. Further
encouraged by the Allied invasion of Turkey in April
1915, Italy joined the Triple Entente and declared war on
Austria-Hungary on 23 May. Fifteen months later, Italy
declared war on Germany.[105]

By mid-November 1918, the Italian military occupied
the entire former Austrian Littoral and had seized control of the portion of Dalmatia that had been guaranteed
to Italy by the London Pact.[108] By the end of hostilities in November 1918,[109] Admiral Enrico Millo declared himself Italys Governor of Dalmatia.[109] AustriaHungary surrendered in early November 1918.[110][111]
Romanian participation Main article: Romania during World War I
Romania had been allied with the Central Powers since

The Italians had numerical superiority but this advantage

was lost, not only because of the dicult terrain in which
ghting took place, but also because of the strategies
and tactics employed.[106] Field Marshal Luigi Cadorna,
a staunch proponent of the frontal assault, had dreams of
breaking into the Slovenian plateau, taking Ljubljana and
threatening Vienna.
On the Trentino front, the Austro-Hungarians took advantage of the mountainous terrain, which favoured
the defender. After an initial strategic retreat, the
front remained largely unchanged, while Austrian
Kaiserschtzen and Standschtzen engaged Italian Alpini
in bitter hand-to-hand combat throughout the summer.
The Austro-Hungarians counterattacked in the Altopiano
of Asiago, towards Verona and Padua, in the spring of
1916 (Strafexpedition), but made little progress.[107]
Beginning in 1915, the Italians under Cadorna mounted
eleven oensives on the Isonzo front along the Isonzo
(Soa) River, northeast of Trieste. All eleven oensives
were repelled by the Austro-Hungarians, who held the
higher ground. In the summer of 1916, after the Battle of
Doberd, the Italians captured the town of Gorizia. After this minor victory, the front remained static for over
a year, despite several Italian oensives, centred on the
Banjice and Karst Plateau east of Gorizia.
The Central Powers launched a crushing oensive on
26 October 1917, spearheaded by the Germans. They
achieved a victory at Caporetto (Kobarid). The Italian
Army was routed and retreated more than 100 kilometres (62 mi) to reorganise, stabilising the front at the
Piave River. Since the Italian Army had suered heavy
losses in the Battle of Caporetto, the Italian Government
called to arms the so-called '99 Boys (Ragazzi del '99):
that is, all males born on 1899 and after, and so were 18
years old or older. In 1918, the Austro-Hungarians failed
to break through in a series of battles on the Piave and
were nally decisively defeated in the Battle of Vittorio
Veneto in October of that year. On 1 November, the Italian Navy destroyed much of the Austro-Hungarian eet
stationed in Pula, preventing it from being handed over
to the new State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. On 3
November, the Italians occupied Trieste from the sea. On
the same day, the Armistice of Villa Giusti was signed.

Marshal Jore inspecting Romanian troops, 1916.

1882. When the war began, however, it declared its neutrality, arguing that because Austria-Hungary had itself
declared war on Serbia, Romania was under no obligation
to join the war. When the Entente Powers promised Romania large territories of eastern Hungary (Transylvania
and Banat), which had a large Romanian population, in
exchange for Romanias declaring war on the Central
Powers, the Romanian government renounced its neutrality and, on 27 August 1916, the Romanian Army
launched an attack against Austria-Hungary, with limited Russian support. The Romanian oensive was
initially successful, pushing back the Austro-Hungarian
troops in Transylvania, but a counterattack by the forces
of the Central Powers drove back the Russo-Romanian
forces.[112] As a result of the Battle of Bucharest, the Central Powers occupied Bucharest on 6 December 1916.
Fighting in Moldova continued in 1917, resulting in a
costly stalemate for the Central Powers.[113][114] Russian
withdrawal from the war in late 1917 as a result of the
October Revolution meant that Romania was forced to
sign an armistice with the Central Powers on 9 December 1917.
In January 1918, Romanian forces established control
over Bessarabia as the Russian Army abandoned the
province. Although a treaty was signed by the Romanian
and the Bolshevik Russian governments following talks
from 59 March 1918 on the withdrawal of Romanian
forces from Bessarabia within two months, on 27 March
1918 Romania attached Bessarabia to its territory, formally based on a resolution passed by the local assembly
of that territory on its unication with Romania.[115]
Romania ocially made peace with the Central Powers
by signing the Treaty of Bucharest on 7 May 1918. Un-



Romanian troops during the Battle of Mreti, 1917.

der that treaty, Romania was obliged to end the war with
the Central Powers and make small territorial concessions to Austria-Hungary, ceding control of some passes
in the Carpathian Mountains, and to grant oil concessions
to Germany. In exchange, the Central Powers recognised the sovereignty of Romania over Bessarabia. The
treaty was renounced in October 1918 by the Alexandru
Marghiloman government, and Romania nominally reentered the war on 10 November 1918. The next day,
the Treaty of Bucharest was nullied by the terms of the
Armistice of Compigne.[116][117] Total Romanian deaths
from 1914 to 1918, military and civilian, within contemporary borders, were estimated at 748,000.[118]
Russian troops in a trench, awaiting a German attack, 1917.

ship was instrumental in the events that unfolded. By the

spring of 1915, the Russians had retreated to Galicia, and,
in May, the Central Powers achieved a remarkable breakthrough on Polands southern frontiers.[122] On 5 August,
they captured Warsaw and forced the Russians to withdraw from Poland.
Russian Revolution
The Russian Siege of Przemyl was the longest siege of the war

Eastern Front
Main article: Eastern Front (World War I)

Main article: Russian Revolution

Despite the success of the June 1916 Brusilov Oensive

in eastern Galicia,[123] dissatisfaction with the Russian
governments conduct of the war grew. The oensives
success was undermined by the reluctance of other generals to commit their forces to support the victory. Allied
and Russian forces were revived only temporarily by Romanias entry into the war on 27 August. German forces
came to the aid of embattled Austro-Hungarian units in
Transylvania while a German-Bulgarian force attacked
from the south, and Bucharest fell to the Central Powers on 6 December. Meanwhile, unrest grew in Russia,
as the Tsar remained at the front. Empress Alexandras
increasingly incompetent rule drew protests and resulted
in the murder of her favourite, Rasputin, at the end of

Initial actions While the Western Front had reached

stalemate, the war continued in East Europe.[119] Initial
Russian plans called for simultaneous invasions of Austrian Galicia and East Prussia. Although Russias initial
advance into Galicia was largely successful, it was driven
back from East Prussia by Hindenburg and Ludendor
at the Battle of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes in
August and September 1914.[120][121] Russias less de- In March 1917, demonstrations in Petrograd culminated
veloped industrial base and ineective military leader- in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the appointment



of a weak Provisional Government, which shared power

with the Petrograd Soviet socialists. This arrangement led
to confusion and chaos both at the front and at home. The
army became increasingly ineective.[122]

Czechoslovak Legion, Vladivostok, 1918.

1917, in December 1917 in France (including volunteers

from America) and in April 1918 in Italy. Czechoslovak
Legion troops defeated the Austro-Hungarian army at the
Ukrainian village Zborov in July 1917. After this success, the number of Czechoslovak legionaries increased,
as well as Czechoslovak military power. In the Battle of
Bakhmach, the Legion defeated the Germans and forced
them to make a truce.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 1918.

1. Count Ottokar von Czernin
2. Richard von Khlmann
3. Vasil Radoslavov

In Russia, they were heavily involved in the Russian Civil

War ghting the Bolsheviks, at times controlling most
of the Trans-Siberian railway and conquering all major
cities in Siberia. The presence of the Czechoslovak Legion near the Yekaterinburg appears to have been one of
the motivating forces for the Bolshevik execution of the
Tsar and his family in July 1918. Legionaries came less
than a week afterwards and captured the city. Because
Russias European ports were not safe, the corps was to
be evacuated by a long detour via the port of Vladivostok. The last transport was the American ship Heron in
September 1920.

Following the Tsars abdication, Vladimir Lenin was allowed passage by train back into Russia from Switzerland,
and nanced by Germany. Discontent and the weaknesses of the Provisional Government led to a rise in the
popularity of the Bolshevik Party, led by Lenin, which
demanded an immediate end to the war. The Revolution
of November was followed in December by an armistice
and negotiations with Germany. At rst, the Bolsheviks
refused the German terms, but when German troops began marching across the Ukraine unopposed, the new
government acceded to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3
March 1918. The treaty ceded vast territories, including Finland, the Baltic provinces, parts of Poland and Central Powers peace overtures
Ukraine to the Central Powers.[124] Despite this enormous apparent German success, the manpower required
for German occupation of former Russian territory may
have contributed to the failure of the Spring Oensive
and secured relatively little food or other materiel for the
Central Powers war eort.
With the adoption of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the
Entente no longer existed. The Allied powers led a
small-scale invasion of Russia, partly to stop Germany
from exploiting Russian resources, and to a lesser extent, to support the Whites (as opposed to the Reds)
in the Russian Civil War.[125] Allied troops landed in
Arkhangelsk and in Vladivostok as part of the North Russia Intervention.
Czechoslovak Legion

Main article: Czechoslovak

"They shall not pass", a phrase typically associated with the defense of Verdun.

In December 1916, after ten brutal months of the Battle

of Verdun and a successful oensive against Romania,
The Czechoslovak Legion fought with the Entente; the Germans attempted to negotiate a peace with the Altheir goal was to win support for the independence of lies. Soon after, the US president, Woodrow Wilson, atCzechoslovakia. The Legion in Russia was established in tempted to intervene as a peacemaker, asking in a note


for both sides to state their demands. Lloyd Georges
War Cabinet considered the German oer to be a ploy
to create divisions amongst the Allies. After initial outrage and much deliberation, they took Wilsons note as a
separate eort, signalling that the United States was on
the verge of entering the war against Germany following the submarine outrages. While the Allies debated
a response to Wilsons oer, the Germans chose to rebu it in favour of a direct exchange of views. Learning of the German response, the Allied governments were
free to make clear demands in their response of 14 January. They sought restoration of damages, the evacuation of occupied territories, reparations for France, Russia and Romania, and a recognition of the principle of nationalities. This included the liberation of Italians, Slavs,
Romanians, Czecho-Slovaks, and the creation of a free
and united Poland. On the question of security, the Allies sought guarantees that would prevent or limit future
wars, complete with sanctions, as a condition of any peace
settlement.[126] The negotiations failed and the Entente
powers rejected the German oer, because Germany did
not state any specic proposals. To Wilson, the Entente
powers stated that they would not start peace negotiations
until the Central powers evacuated all occupied Allied
territories and provided indemnities for all damage which
had been done.[127]

ping losses would be so high that they would be forced
to sue for peace after 5 to 6 months, before American
intervention could make an impact. In reality, tonnage
sunk rose above 500,000 tons per month from February
to July. It peaked at 860,000 tons in April. After July,
the newly re-introduced convoy system became extremely
eective in reducing the U-boat threat. Britain was safe
from starvation, while German industrial output fell and
the United States troops joined the war in large numbers
far earlier than Germany had anticipated.


Haut-Rhin, France, 1917.

German lm crew recording the action.

Developments in 1917 Events of 1917 proved decisive in ending the war, although their eects were not
fully felt until 1918.
The British naval blockade began to have a serious impact on Germany. In response, in February 1917, the
German General Sta convinced Chancellor Theobald
von Bethmann-Hollweg to declare unrestricted submarine warfare, with the goal of starving Britain out of the
war. German planners estimated that unrestricted submarine warfare would cost Britain a monthly shipping
loss of 600,000 tons. The General Sta acknowledged
that the policy would almost certainly bring the United
States into the conict, but calculated that British ship-

On 3 May 1917, during the Nivelle Oensive, the French

2nd Colonial Division, veterans of the Battle of Verdun,
refused orders, arriving drunk and without their weapons.
Their ocers lacked the means to punish an entire division, and harsh measures were not immediately implemented. The French Army Mutinies eventually spread to
a further 54 French divisions and saw 20,000 men desert.
However, appeals to patriotism and duty, as well as mass
arrests and trials, encouraged the soldiers to return to defend their trenches, although the French soldiers refused
to participate in further oensive action.[128] Robert Nivelle was removed from command by 15 May, replaced
by General Philippe Ptain, who suspended bloody largescale attacks.
The victory of Austria-Hungary and Germany at the Battle of Caporetto led the Allies to convene the Rapallo
Conference at which they formed the Supreme War
Council to coordinate planning. Previously, British and
French armies had operated under separate commands.
In December, the Central Powers signed an armistice

with Russia. This released large numbers of German
troops for use in the west. With German reinforcements
and new American troops pouring in, the outcome was
to be decided on the Western Front. The Central Powers
knew that they could not win a protracted war, but they
held high hopes for success based on a nal quick oensive. Furthermore, the leaders of the Central Powers and
the Allies became increasingly fearful of social unrest and
revolution in Europe. Thus, both sides urgently sought a
decisive victory.[129]

begun in August 1916 at the Battle of Romani.[132][133]
At the end of October, the Sinai and Palestine Campaign resumed, when General Edmund Allenby's XXth
Corps, XXI Corps and Desert Mounted Corps won the
Battle of Beersheba.[134] Two Ottoman armies were defeated a few weeks later at the Battle of Mughar Ridge
and, early in December, Jerusalem was captured following another Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Jerusalem
(1917).[135][136][137] About this time, Friedrich Freiherr
Kress von Kressenstein was relieved of his duties as the
Eighth Armys commander, replaced by Djevad Pasha,
and a few months later the commander of the Ottoman
Army in Palestine, Erich von Falkenhayn, was replaced
by Otto Liman von Sanders.[138][139]

In 1917, Emperor Charles I of Austria secretly attempted

separate peace negotiations with Clemenceau, through
his wifes brother Sixtus in Belgium as an intermediary, without the knowledge of Germany. Italy opposed
the proposals. When the negotiations failed, his at- Early in 1918, the front line was extended into the Jordan
tempt was revealed to Germany resulting in a diplomatic Valley, was occupied, following the First Transjordan and
the Second Transjordan attack by British Empire forces
in March and April 1918.[140] During March, most of
the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces British infantry and
Ottoman Empire conict, 19171918 Main article: Yeomanry cavalry were sent to ght on the Western Front
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
as a consequence of the Spring Oensive. They were reIn March and April 1917, at the First and Second Bat- placed by Indian Army units. During several months of
reorganisation and training during the summer, a number
of attacks were carried out on sections of the Ottoman
front line. These pushed the front line north to more advantageous positions in preparation for an attack and to
acclimatise the newly arrived Indian Army infantry. It
was not until the middle of September that the integrated
force was ready for large-scale operations.

British troops on the march in Mesopotamia, 1917.

Ottoman troops in Mesopotamia.

The reorganised Egyptian Expeditionary Force, with an

additional mounted division, broke Ottoman forces at
the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918. In two days
the British and Indian infantry, supported by a creeping
barrage, broke the Ottoman front line and captured the
headquarters of the Eighth Army (Ottoman Empire) at
Tulkarm, the continuous trench lines at Tabsor, Arara
and the Seventh Army (Ottoman Empire) headquarters
at Nablus. The Desert Mounted Corps rode through the
break in the front line created by the infantry and, during virtually continuous operations by Australian Light
Horse, British mounted Yeomanry, Indian Lancers and
New Zealand Mounted Rie brigades in the Jezreel Valley, they captured Nazareth, Afulah and Beisan, Jenin,
along with Haifa on the Mediterranean coast and Daraa
east of the Jordan River on the Hejaz railway. Samakh
and Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, were captured on
the way northwards to Damascus. Meanwhile, Chaytors
Force of Australian light horse, New Zealand mounted ries, Indian, British West Indies and Jewish infantry captured the crossings of the Jordan River, Es Salt, Amman
and at Ziza most of the Fourth Army (Ottoman Empire).
The Armistice of Mudros, signed at the end of October,
ended hostilities with the Ottoman Empire when ghting
was continuing north of Aleppo.

tles of Gaza, German and Ottoman forces stopped the Entry of the United States
advance of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, which had entry into World War I

Main article: American



At the outbreak of the war, the United States pursued participate in World War I, as part of the Jones Act. Germany had miscalculated, believing it would be many more
months before American soldiers would arrive and that
their arrival could be stopped by U-boats.[146]

President Wilson before Congress, announcing the break in ocial relations with Germany on 3 February 1917.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa

Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to
Queenstown, Ireland, and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of US Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted American units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not waste scarce shipping on bringing over
supplies. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commander, refused to break up
American units to be used as reinforcements for British
Empire and French units. As an exception, he did allow
African-American combat regiments to be used in French
divisions. The Harlem Hellghters fought as part of the
French 16th Division, and earned a unit Croix de Guerre
for their actions at Chteau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and
Sechault.[147] AEF doctrine called for the use of frontal
assaults, which had long since been discarded by British
Empire and French commanders because of the large loss
of life.[148]

a policy of non-intervention, avoiding conict while trying to broker a peace. When the German U-boat SM
U-20 sank the British liner RMS Lusitania on 7 May
1915 with 128 Americans among the dead, President
Woodrow Wilson insisted that America is too proud to
ght but demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships.
Germany complied. Wilson unsuccessfully tried to mediGerman Spring Oensive of 1918
Main article:
ate a settlement. However, he also repeatedly warned that
Spring Oensive
the United States would not tolerate unrestricted submaLudendor drew up plans (codenamed Operation
rine warfare, in violation of international law. The former
president Theodore Roosevelt denounced German acts as
piracy.[141] Wilson was narrowly reelected in 1916 as
his supporters emphasized he kept us out of war.
In January 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, realizing it would mean American entry.
The German Foreign Minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, invited Mexico to join the war as Germanys ally
against the United States. In return, the Germans would
nance Mexicos war and help it recover the territories of
Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.[142] The United Kingdom intercepted the message and presented it to the US
embassy in the UK. From there it made its way to President Wilson who released the Zimmermann note to the
public, and Americans saw it as casus belli. Wilson called
on antiwar elements to end all wars, by winning this one
and eliminating militarism from the globe. He argued
that the war was so important that the US had to have a
voice in the peace conference.[143] After the sinking of
seven US merchant ships by submarines and the publication of the Zimmermann telegram, Wilson called for war
on Germany,[144] which the US Congress declared on 6
April 1917.

British 55th Division soldiers, blinded by tear gas during the

Battle of Estaires, 10 April 1918.

Michael) for the 1918 oensive on the Western Front.

The Spring Oensive sought to divide the British and
French forces with a series of feints and advances. The
German leadership hoped to end the war before signicant US forces arrived. The operation commenced on 21
March 1918, with an attack on British forces near SaintQuentin. German forces achieved an unprecedented ad[149]
The United States was never formally a member of the vance of 60 kilometres (37 mi).
Allies but became a self-styled Associated Power. The British and French trenches were penetrated using novel
United States had a small army, but, after the passage of inltration tactics, also named Hutier tactics, after Genthe Selective Service Act, it drafted 2.8 million men,[145] eral Oskar von Hutier, by specially trained units called
and, by summer 1918, was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers stormtroopers. Previously, attacks had been characto France every day. In 1917, the US Congress gave US terised by long artillery bombardments and massed ascitizenship to Puerto Ricans when they were drafted to saults. However, in the Spring Oensive of 1918, Lu-


to their starting lines,[153] having achieved little, and the
German Army never regained the initiative. German casualties between March and April 1918 were 270,000,
including many highly trained storm troopers.
Meanwhile, Germany was falling apart at home. Antiwar marches became frequent and morale in the army fell.
Industrial output was 53% of 1913 levels.

French soldiers under General Gouraud, with machine guns

amongst the ruins of a cathedral near the Marne, 1918.

dendor used artillery only briey and inltrated small

groups of infantry at weak points. They attacked command and logistics areas and bypassed points of serious resistance. More heavily armed infantry then destroyed these isolated positions. This German success relied greatly on the element of surprise.[150]
The front moved to within 120 kilometres (75 mi) of
Paris. Three heavy Krupp railway guns red 183 shells on
the capital, causing many Parisians to ee. The initial offensive was so successful that Kaiser Wilhelm II declared
24 March a national holiday. Many Germans thought victory was near. After heavy ghting, however, the oensive was halted. Lacking tanks or motorised artillery, the
Germans were unable to consolidate their gains. This situation was not helped by the now stretched supply lines as
a result of their rapid advance over devastated ground.[151]

New states under war zone In the late spring of 1918,

three new states were formed in the South Caucasus:
the First Republic of Armenia, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Georgia, which declared their independence from the Russian
Empire. Two other minor entities were established, the
Centrocaspian Dictatorship and South West Caucasian
Republic (the former was liquidated by Azerbaijan in the
autumn of 1918 and the latter by a joint Armenian-British
task force in early 1919). With the withdrawal of the
Russian armies from the Caucasus front in the winter of
191718, the three major republics braced for an imminent Ottoman advance, which commenced in the early
months of 1918. Solidarity was briey maintained when
the Transcaucasian Federative Republic was created in
the spring of 1918, but this collapsed in May, when the
Georgians asked and received protection from Germany
and the Azerbaijanis concluded a treaty with the Ottoman
Empire that was more akin to a military alliance. Armenia was left to fend for itself and struggled for ve months
against the threat of a full-edged occupation by the Ottoman Turks.[154]
Allied victory: summer 1918 onwards

General Foch pressed to use the arriving American troops

as individual replacements, whereas Pershing sought to
eld American units as an independent force. These units
were assigned to the depleted French and British Empire commands on 28 March. A Supreme War Council
of Allied forces was created at the Doullens Conference
on 5 November 1917. General Foch was appointed as
supreme commander of the Allied forces. Haig, Petain,
and Pershing retained tactical control of their respective
armies; Foch assumed a coordinating rather than a directing role, and the British, French, and US commands
operated largely independently.[152]
Following Operation Michael, Germany launched
Operation Georgette against the northern English Channel ports. The Allies halted the drive after limited
territorial gains by Germany. The German Army to the
south then conducted Operations Blcher and Yorck,
pushing broadly towards Paris. Operation Marne was
launched on 15 July, in an attempt to encircle Reims
and beginning the Second Battle of the Marne. The
resulting counterattack, which started the Hundred Days
Oensive, marked the rst successful Allied oensive
of the war.

Allies increased their front-line rie strength while German

strength fell in half in 1918[155]

Hundred Days Oensive Main articles: Hundred

Days Oensive and Weimar Republic
The Allied counteroensive, known as the Hundred
Days Oensive, began on 8 August 1918, with the Battle
By 20 July, the Germans had retreated across the Marne of Amiens. The battle involved over 400 tanks and


man accounts, Each day was spent in bloody ghting
against an ever and again on-storming enemy, and nights
passed without sleep in retirements to new lines.[158]
Faced with these advances, on 2 September the German
Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL) issued orders to withdraw
to the Hindenburg Line in the south. This ceded without a
ght the salient seized the previous April.[161] According
to Ludendor We had to admit the necessity ... to withdraw the entire front from the Scarpe to the Vesle.[162]

Aerial view of ruins of Vaux-devant-Damloup, France, 1918.

120,000 British, Dominion, and French troops, and by

the end of its rst day a gap 15 mi (24 km) long had been
created in the German lines. The defenders displayed a
marked collapse in morale, causing Ludendor to refer to
this day as the Black Day of the German army.[156][157]
After an advance as far as 14 miles (23 km), German
resistance stiened, and the battle was concluded on 12

September saw the Allied advance to the Hindenburg

Line in the north and centre. The Germans continued
to ght strong rear-guard actions and launched numerous counterattacks on lost positions, but only a few succeeded, and then only temporarily. Contested towns, villages, heights, and trenches in the screening positions and
outposts of the Hindenburg Line continued to fall to the
Allies, with the BEF alone taking 30,441 prisoners in the
last week of September. On 24 September an assault by
both the British and French came within 2 miles (3.2 km)
of St. Quentin.[160] The Germans had now retreated to
positions at or behind the Hindenburg Line.

Rather than continuing the Amiens battle past the point

of initial success, as had been done so many times in the
past, the Allies shifted their attention elsewhere. Allied
leaders had now realised that to continue an attack after
resistance had hardened was a waste of lives, and it was
better to turn a line than to try to roll over it. They began
to undertake attacks in quick order to take advantage of
successful advances on the anks, then broke them o
when each attack lost its initial impetus.[158]

Canadian Scottish, advancing during the Battle of the Canal du

Nord, 1918.

British and Dominion forces launched the next phase of

the campaign with the Battle of Albert on 21 August.[159]
The assault was widened by French[160] and then further
British forces in the following days. During the last week
of August the pressure along a 70-mile (113 km) front
against the enemy was heavy and unrelenting. From Ger-

An American major, piloting an observation balloon near the

front, 1918.

In nearly four weeks of ghting beginning 8 August, over

100,000 German prisoners were taken, 75,000 by the
BEF and the rest by the French. As of The Black Day
of the German Army, the German High Command re-

alised that the war was lost and made attempts to reach
a satisfactory end. The day after that battle, Ludendor
said: We cannot win the war any more, but we must not
lose it either. On 11 August he oered his resignation to
the Kaiser, who refused it, replying, I see that we must
strike a balance. We have nearly reached the limit of our
powers of resistance. The war must be ended. On 13
August, at Spa, Hindenburg, Ludendor, the Chancellor, and Foreign Minister Hintz agreed that the war could
not be ended militarily and, on the following day, the
German Crown Council decided that victory in the eld
was now most improbable. Austria and Hungary warned
that they could only continue the war until December,
and Ludendor recommended immediate peace negotiations. Prince Rupprecht warned Prince Max of Baden:
Our military situation has deteriorated so rapidly that
I no longer believe we can hold out over the winter; it is
even possible that a catastrophe will come earlier. On 10
September Hindenburg urged peace moves to Emperor
Charles of Austria, and Germany appealed to the Netherlands for mediation. On 14 September Austria sent a note
to all belligerents and neutrals suggesting a meeting for
peace talks on neutral soil, and on 15 September Germany made a peace oer to Belgium. Both peace oers
were rejected, and on 24 September OHL informed the
leaders in Berlin that armistice talks were inevitable.[160]

News of Germanys impending military defeat spread
throughout the German armed forces. The threat of
mutiny was rife. Admiral Reinhard Scheer and Ludendor decided to launch a last attempt to restore the valour of the German Navy. Knowing the government of
Prince Maximilian of Baden would veto any such action, Ludendor decided not to inform him. Nonetheless,
word of the impending assault reached sailors at Kiel.
Many, refusing to be part of a naval oensive, which they
believed to be suicidal, rebelled and were arrested. Ludendor took the blame; the Kaiser dismissed him on 26
October. The collapse of the Balkans meant that Germany was about to lose its main supplies of oil and food.
Its reserves had been used up, even as US troops kept
arriving at the rate of 10,000 per day.[167] The Americans supplied more than 80% of Allied oil during the war,
meaning no such loss of supplies could aect the Allied
With the military faltering and with widespread loss of
condence in the Kaiser, Germany moved towards surrender. Prince Maximilian of Baden took charge of a
new government as Chancellor of Germany to negotiate
with the Allies. Negotiations with President Wilson began immediately, in the hope that he would oer better
terms than the British and French. Wilson demanded a
constitutional monarchy and parliamentary control over
the German military.[169] There was no resistance when
the Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann on 9 November declared Germany to be a republic. The Kaiser, kings
and other hereditary rulers all were removed from power
and Wilhelm ed to exile in the Netherlands. Imperial
Germany was dead; a new Germany had been born: the
Weimar Republic.[170]

The nal assault on the Hindenburg Line began with

the Meuse-Argonne Oensive, launched by French and
American troops on 26 September. The following week,
cooperating French and American units broke through in
Champagne at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, forcing
the Germans o the commanding heights, and closing
towards the Belgian frontier.[163] On 8 October the line
was pierced again by British and Dominion troops at the
Battle of Cambrai.[164] The German army had to shorten
Main article:
its front and use the Dutch frontier as an anchor to ght Armistices and capitulations
rear-guard actions as it fell back towards Germany.
The collapse of the Central Powers came swiftly.
When Bulgaria signed a separate armistice on 29 Septem- Bulgaria was the rst to sign an armistice, on 29
ber, Ludendor, having been under great stress for September 1918 at Saloniki.[172] On 30 October, the
months, suered something similar to a breakdown. It Ottoman Empire capitulated, signing the Armistice of
was evident that Germany could no longer mount a suc- Mudros.[172]
cessful defence.[165][166]
On 24 October, the Italians began a push that rapidly
recovered territory lost after the Battle of Caporetto.
This culminated in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which
marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective ghting force. The oensive also triggered the
disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During
the last week of October, declarations of independence
were made in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb. On 29 October, the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice.
But the Italians continued advancing, reaching Trento,
Udine, and Trieste. On 3 November, Austria-Hungary
sent a ag of truce to ask for an armistice. The terms, arranged by telegraph with the Allied Authorities in Paris,
were communicated to the Austrian commander and acMen of US 64th Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, celebrate the cepted. The Armistice with Austria was signed in the
news of the Armistice, 11 November 1918.
Villa Giusti, near Padua, on 3 November. Austria and


was signed in a railroad carriage at Compigne. At 11
am on 11 November 1918"the eleventh hour of the
eleventh day of the eleventh montha ceasere came
into eect. During the six hours between the signing of
the armistice and its taking eect, opposing armies on the
Western Front began to withdraw from their positions,
but ghting continued along many areas of the front, as
commanders wanted to capture territory before the war
The occupation of the Rhineland took place following the
Armistice. The occupying armies consisted of American,
Belgian, British and French forces.

In November 1918, the Allies had ample supplies of men

and materiel to invade Germany. Yet at the time of the
armistice, no Allied force had crossed the German frontier; the Western Front was still some 450 mi (720 km)
from Berlin; and the Kaisers armies had retreated from
the battleeld in good order. These factors enabled Hindenburg and other senior German leaders to spread the
story that their armies had not really been defeated. This
resulted in the stab-in-the-back legend,[173][174] which attributed Germanys defeat not to its inability to continue
ghting (even though up to a million soldiers were sufFerdinand Foch, second from right, pictured outside the carriage fering from the 1918 u pandemic and unt to ght), but
in Compigne after agreeing to the armistice that ended the war to the publics failure to respond to its patriotic calling
there. The carriage was later chosen by Nazi Germany as the and the supposed intentional sabotage of the war eort,
symbolic setting of Ptains June 1940 armistice.[171]
particularly by Jews, Socialists, and Bolsheviks.
The Allies had much more potential wealth they could
Hungary signed separate armistices following the over- spend on the war. One estimate (using 1913 US dollars) is
that the Allies spent $58 billion on the war and the Central
throw of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Powers only $25 billion. Among the Allies, the UK spent
$21 billion and the US $17 billion; among the Central
Powers Germany spent $20 billion.[175]

1.2.5 Aftermath
Main article: Aftermath of World War I
In the aftermath of the war, four empires disappeared:

The French military cemetery at the Douaumont ossuary, which

contains the remains of more than 130,000 unknown soldiers.
The New York Times of 11 November 1918.

the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian.

On 11 November, at 5:00 am, an armistice with Germany Numerous nations regained their former independence,



and new ones created. Four dynasties, together with their

ancillary aristocracies, all fell as a result of the war: the
Romanovs, the Hohenzollerns, the Habsburgs, and the
Ottomans. Belgium and Serbia were badly damaged, as
was France, with 1.4 million soldiers dead,[176] not counting other casualties. Germany and Russia were similarly

Formal end of the war

A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for
another seven months, until the signing of the Treaty of
Versailles with Germany on 28 June 1919. The United
States Senate did not ratify the treaty despite public support for it,[178][179] and did not formally end its involvement in the war until the KnoxPorter Resolution was
signed on 2 July 1921 by President Warren G. Harding.[180] For the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the state of war ceased under the provisions of the
Termination of the Present War (Denition) Act 1918 with
respect to:
Germany on 10 January 1920.[181]
Austria on 16 July 1920.[182]
Bulgaria on 9 August 1920.[183]
Hungary on 26 July 1921.[184]
Turkey on 6 August 1924.[185]
After the Treaty of Versailles, treaties with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were signed.
However, the negotiation of the latter treaty with the Ottoman Empire was followed by strife (the Turkish War
of Independence), and a nal peace treaty between the
Allied Powers and the country that would shortly become
the Republic of Turkey was not signed until 24 July 1923,
at Lausanne.
Some war memorials date the end of the war as being
when the Versailles Treaty was signed in 1919, which was
when many of the troops serving abroad nally returned
to their home countries; by contrast, most commemorations of the wars end concentrate on the armistice of
11 November 1918. Legally, the formal peace treaties
were not complete until the last, the Treaty of Lausanne,
was signed. Under its terms, the Allied forces divested
Constantinople on 23 August 1923.

Peace treaties and national boundaries

After the war, the Paris Peace Conference imposed a series of peace treaties on the Central Powers ocially ending the war. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles dealt with Germany, and building on Wilsons 14th point, brought into
being the League of Nations on 28 June 1919.[186][187]

The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28 June


The Central Powers had to acknowledge responsibility for

all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them
by their aggression. In the Treaty of Versailles, this
statement was Article 231. This article became known as
War Guilt clause as the majority of Germans felt humiliated and resentful.[188] Overall the Germans felt they had
been unjustly dealt by what they called the "diktat of Versailles. Schulze says, the Treaty placed Germany, under legal sanctions, deprived of military power, economically ruined, and politically humiliated.[189] Belgian historian Laurence Van Ypersele emphasizes the central role
played by memory of the war and the Versailles Treaty in
German politics in the 1920s and 1930s:
Active denial of war guilt in Germany and German resentment at both reparations and continued Allied occupation of the Rhineland made
widespread revision of the meaning and memory of the war problematic. The legend of the
"stab in the back" and the wish to revise the
Versailles diktat, and the belief in an international threat aimed at the elimination of the
German nation persisted at the heart of German politics. Even a man of peace such as
Stresemann publicly rejected German guilt. As
for the Nazis, they waved the banners of domestic treason and international conspiracy in
an attempt to galvanize the German nation into
a spirit of revenge. Like a Fascist Italy, Nazi
Germany sought to redirect the memory of the
war to the benet of its own policies.[190]


Meanwhile, new nations liberated from German rule
viewed the treaty as recognition of wrongs committed against small nations by much larger aggressive
neighbors.[191] The Peace Conference required all the defeated powers to pay reparations for all the damage done
to civilians. However, owing to economic diculties and
Germany being the only defeated power with an intact
economy, the burden fell largely on Germany.

500 km



Former Russian Empire






Soviet Union



Ottoman Empire




Free cities






Areas subject
to referendum



Contested areas







Defeated former empires:











New Countries
New Borders
Key Countries






Austria-Hungary was partitioned into several successor

states, including Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and
Yugoslavia, largely but not entirely along ethnic lines.
Transylvania was shifted from Hungary to Greater Romania. The details were contained in the Treaty of SaintGermain and the Treaty of Trianon. As a result of the
Treaty of Trianon, 3.3 million Hungarians came under
foreign rule. Although the Hungarians made up 54%
of the population of the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary,
only 32% of its territory was left to Hungary. Between
1920 and 1924, 354,000 Hungarians ed former Hungarian territories attached to Romania, Czechoslovakia,
and Yugoslavia.[192]








(French Mandate)


(British Mandate)

Map of territorial changes in Europe after World War I (as of


of Gallipoli became known as those nations Baptism of

Fire. It was the rst major war in which the newly established countries fought, and it was one of the rst times
that Australian troops fought as Australians, not just subThe Russian Empire, which had withdrawn from the jects of the British Crown. Anzac Day, commemorating
war in 1917 after the October Revolution, lost much the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, celebrates
of its western frontier as the newly independent nations this dening moment.
of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland were After the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where the Canadian dicarved from it. Romania took control of Bessarabia in visions fought together for the rst time as a single corps,
April 1918.[193]
Canadians began to refer to theirs as a nation forged
The Ottoman Empire disintegrated, and much of its nonAnatolian territory was awarded to various Allied powers
as protectorates. The Turkish core in Anatolia was reorganised as the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire
was to be partitioned by the Treaty of Svres of 1920.
This treaty was never ratied by the Sultan and was rejected by the Turkish National Movement, leading to the
victorious Turkish War of Independence and the much
less stringent 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

from re.[199] Having succeeded on the same battleground where the mother countries had previously faltered, they were for the rst time respected internationally for their own accomplishments. Canada entered
the war as a Dominion of the British Empire and remained so, although it emerged with a greater measure
of independence.[200][201] When Britain declared war in
1914, the dominions were automatically at war; at the
conclusion, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South
Africa were individual signatories of the Treaty of Versailles.[202]

National identities

The establishment of the modern state of Israel and the

roots of the continuing IsraeliPalestinian conict are
partially found in the unstable power dynamics of the
Middle East that resulted from World War I.[203] Before
the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire had maintained a
modest level of peace and stability throughout the Middle
East.[204] With the fall of the Ottoman government, power
vacuums developed and conicting claims to land and nationhood began to emerge.[205] The political boundaries
drawn by the victors of World War I were quickly imposed, sometimes after only cursory consultation with
the local population. These continue to be problematic
in the 21st-century struggles for national identity.[206][207]
While the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end
of World War I was pivotal in contributing to the modern
political situation of the Middle East, including the ArabIsraeli conict,[208][209][210] the end of Ottoman rule also
spawned lesser known disputes over water and other natural resources.[211]

Further information: SykesPicot Agreement

Poland reemerged as an independent country, after more
than a century. The Kingdom of Serbia and its dynasty, as a minor Entente nation and the country with
the most casualties per capita,[194][195][196] became the
backbone of a new multinational state, the Kingdom of
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia.
Czechoslovakia, combining the Kingdom of Bohemia
with parts of the Kingdom of Hungary, became a new
nation. Russia became the Soviet Union and lost Finland,
Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, which became independent countries. The Ottoman Empire was soon replaced
by Turkey and several other countries in the Middle East.
In the British Empire, the war unleashed new forms of
nationalism. In Australia and New Zealand the Battle

Health eects

Transporting Ottoman wounded at Sirkeci.

In Australia, the eects of the war on the economy
were no less severe. The Australian prime minister,
Billy Hughes, wrote to the British prime minister, Lloyd
George, You have assured us that you cannot get better
terms. I much regret it, and hope even now that some
way may be found of securing agreement for demanding
reparation commensurate with the tremendous sacrices
made by the British Empire and her Allies. Australia
received 5,571,720 war reparations, but the direct cost
of the war to Australia had been 376,993,052, and, by
the mid-1930s, repatriation pensions, war gratuities, interest and sinking fund charges were 831,280,947.[218]
Of about 416,000 Australians who served, about 60,000
were killed and another 152,000 were wounded.[219]
Diseases ourished in the chaotic wartime conditions. In
1914 alone, louse-borne epidemic typhus killed 200,000
in Serbia.[220] From 1918 to 1922, Russia had about 25
million infections and 3 million deaths from epidemic
typhus.[221] In 1923, 13 million Russians contracted
malaria, a sharp increase from the pre-war years.[222] In
addition, a major inuenza epidemic spread around the
world. Overall, the 1918 u pandemic killed at least 50
million people.[223][224]
Lobbying by Chaim Weizmann and fear that American Jews would encourage the United States to support Germany culminated in the British governments
Balfour Declaration of 1917, endorsing creation of a
Jewish homeland in Palestine.[225] A total of more than
1,172,000 Jewish soldiers served in the Allied and Central Power forces in World War I, including 275,000 in
Austria-Hungary and 450,000 in Czarist Russia.[226]

The social disruption and widespread violence of the

Emergency military hospital during the Spanish u pandemic, Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing Russian
which killed about 675,000 people in the United States alone. Civil War sparked more than 2,000 pogroms in the former Russian Empire, mostly in Ukraine.[227] An estiCamp Funston, Kansas, 1918.
mated 60,000200,000 civilian Jews were killed in the
The war had profound consequences in the health of atrocities.
soldiers. Of the 60 million European military person- In the aftermath of World War I, Greece fought against
nel who were mobilized from 1914 to 1918, 8 million Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war which
were killed, 7 million were permanently disabled, and 15 eventually resulted in a massive population exchange
million were seriously injured. Germany lost 15.1% of between the two countries under the Treaty of Lauits active male population, Austria-Hungary lost 17.1%, sanne.[229] According to various sources,[230] several hunand France lost 10.5%.[212] In Germany, civilian deaths dred thousand Greeks died during this period, which was
were 474,000 higher than in peacetime, due in large part tied in with the Greek Genocide.[231]
to food shortages and malnutrition that weakened resistance to disease.[213] By the end of the war, starvation
caused by famine had killed approximately 100,000 peo- 1.2.6 Technology
ple in Lebanon.[214] Between 5 and 10 million people
died in the Russian famine of 1921.[215] By 1922, there See also: Technology during World War I and Weapons
were between 4.5 million and 7 million homeless chil- of World War I
dren in Russia as a result of nearly a decade of devastation
from World War I, the Russian Civil War, and the subsequent famine of 19201922.[216] Numerous anti-Soviet
Russians ed the country after the Revolution; by the Ground warfare
1930s, the northern Chinese city of Harbin had 100,000
Russians.[217] Thousands more emigrated to France, Eng- World War I began as a clash of 20th-century technology
land, and the United States.
and 19th-century tactics, with the inevitably large ensu-


improvements, still in use today.
The widespread use of chemical warfare was a distinguishing feature of the conict. Gases used included
chlorine, mustard gas and phosgene. Few war casualties were caused by gas,[239] as eective countermeasures to gas attacks were quickly created, such as gas
masks. The use of chemical warfare and small-scale
strategic bombing were both outlawed by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and both proved to be of
limited eectiveness,[240] though they captured the public

A Russian armoured car, 1919

ing casualties. By the end of 1917, however, the major

armies, now numbering millions of men, had modernised
and were making use of telephone, wireless communication,[232] armoured cars, tanks,[233] and aircraft. Infantry
formations were reorganised, so that 100-man companies were no longer the main unit of manoeuvre; instead,
squads of 10 or so men, under the command of a junior
NCO, were favoured.

The most powerful land-based weapons were railway

guns, manufactured by the Krupp works, weighing hundreds of tons apiece. These were nicknamed Big Berthas,
even though the namesake was not a railway gun. Germany developed the Paris Gun, able to bombard Paris
from over 100 kilometres (62 mi), though shells were relatively light at 94 kilograms (210 lb).

Artillery also underwent a revolution. In 1914, cannons

were positioned in the front line and red directly at their
targets. By 1917, indirect re with guns (as well as mortars and even machine guns) was commonplace, using
new techniques for spotting and ranging, notably aircraft
and the often overlooked eld telephone.[234] Counterbattery missions became commonplace, also, and sound
detection was used to locate enemy batteries.
Germany was far ahead of the Allies in utilising heavy
indirect re. The German Army employed 150 mm (6
in) and 210 mm (8 in) howitzers in 1914, when typical
French and British guns were only 75 mm (3 in) and 105
mm (4 in). The British had a 6 inch (152 mm) howitzer, but it was so heavy it had to be hauled to the eld
in pieces and assembled. The Germans also elded Austrian 305 mm (12 in) and 420 mm (17 in) guns and, even
at the beginning of the war, had inventories of various calibers of Minenwerfer, which were ideally suited for trench
Much of the combat involved trench warfare, in which
hundreds often died for each yard gained. Many of
the deadliest battles in history occurred during World
War I. Such battles include Ypres, the Marne, Cambrai,
the Somme, Verdun, and Gallipoli. The Germans employed the Haber process of nitrogen xation to provide
their forces with a constant supply of gunpowder despite
the British naval blockade.[236] Artillery was responsible
for the largest number of casualties[237] and consumed
vast quantities of explosives. The large number of head
wounds caused by exploding shells and fragmentation
forced the combatant nations to develop the modern steel
helmet, led by the French, who introduced the Adrian
helmet in 1915. It was quickly followed by the Brodie
helmet, worn by British Imperial and US troops, and in
1916 by the distinctive German Stahlhelm, a design, with

British Vickers machine gun, 1917.

Trenches, machine guns, air reconnaissance, barbed wire,

and modern artillery with fragmentation shells helped
bring the battle lines of World War I to a stalemate. The
British and the French sought a solution with the creation of the tank and mechanised warfare. The British
rst tanks were used during the Battle of the Somme
on 15 September 1916. Mechanical reliability was an
issue, but the experiment proved its worth. Within a
year, the British were elding tanks by the hundreds, and
they showed their potential during the Battle of Cambrai
in November 1917, by breaking the Hindenburg Line,
while combined arms teams captured 8,000 enemy soldiers and 100 guns. Meanwhile, the French introduced
the rst tanks with a rotating turret, the Renault FT,
which became a decisive tool of the victory. The conict
also saw the introduction of light automatic weapons and
submachine guns, such as the Lewis Gun, the Browning
automatic rie, and the Bergmann MP18.
Another new weapon, the amethrower, was rst used
by the German army and later adopted by other forces.
Although not of high tactical value, the amethrower was
a powerful, demoralising weapon that caused terror on the

Trench railways evolved to supply the enormous quantities of food, water, and ammunition required to support large numbers of soldiers in areas where conventional transportation systems had been destroyed. Internal combustion engines and improved traction systems for
automobiles and trucks/lorries eventually rendered trench
railways obsolete.

Furious launching Sopwith Camels in a raid to destroy
the Zeppelin hangars at Tondern in 1918.[244]

Manned observation balloons, oating high above the

trenches, were used as stationary reconnaissance platforms, reporting enemy movements and directing artillery. Balloons commonly had a crew of two, equipped
with parachutes,[245] so that if there was an enemy air
attack the crew could parachute to safety. At the time,
parachutes were too heavy to be used by pilots of aircraft
(with their marginal power output), and smaller versions
were not developed until the end of the war; they were
Germany deployed U-boats (submarines) after the war
also opposed by the British leadership, who feared they
began. Alternating between restricted and unrestricted
might promote cowardice.[246]
submarine warfare in the Atlantic, the Kaiserliche Marine employed them to deprive the British Isles of vi- Recognised for their value as observation platforms, baltal supplies. The deaths of British merchant sailors and loons were important targets for enemy aircraft. To dethe seeming invulnerability of U-boats led to the devel- fend them against air attack, they were heavily protected
opment of depth charges (1916), hydrophones (passive by antiaircraft guns and patrolled by friendly aircraft; to
sonar, 1917), blimps, hunter-killer submarines (HMS R- attack them, unusual weapons such as air-to-air rockets
1, 1917), forward-throwing anti-submarine weapons, and were even tried. Thus, the reconnaissance value of blimps
dipping hydrophones (the latter two both abandoned in and balloons contributed to the development of air-to-air
1918).[80] To extend their operations, the Germans pro- combat between all types of aircraft, and to the trench
posed supply submarines (1916). Most of these would be stalemate, because it was impossible to move large numforgotten in the interwar period until World War II re- bers of troops undetected. The Germans conducted air
raids on England during 1915 and 1916 with airships,
vived the need.
hoping to damage British morale and cause aircraft to
be diverted from the front lines, and indeed the resulting
panic led to the diversion of several squadrons of ghters
from France.[243][246]
Main article: Aviation in World War I

1.2.7 War crimes

Baralong incidents
Main article: Baralong incidents

RAF Sopwith Camel. In April 1917, the average life expectancy

of a British pilot on the Western Front was 93 ying hours.[242]

Fixed-wing aircraft were rst used militarily by the Italians in Libya on 23 October 1911 during the Italo-Turkish
War for reconnaissance, soon followed by the dropping of
grenades and aerial photography the next year. By 1914,
their military utility was obvious. They were initially
used for reconnaissance and ground attack. To shoot
down enemy planes, anti-aircraft guns and ghter aircraft
were developed. Strategic bombers were created, principally by the Germans and British, though the former used
Zeppelins as well.[243] Towards the end of the conict,
aircraft carriers were used for the rst time, with HMS

On 19 August 1915, the German submarine U-27 was

sunk by the British Q-ship HMS Baralong. All German
survivors were summarily executed by Baralong's crew
on the orders of Lieutenant Godfrey Herbert, the captain of the ship. The shooting was reported to the media by American citizens who were on board the Nicosia,
a British freighter loaded with war supplies, which was
stopped by U-27 just minutes before the incident.[247]
On 24 September, Baralong destroyed U-41, which was
in the process of sinking the cargo ship Urbino. According to Karl Goetz, the submarines commander, Baralong
continued to y the US ag after ring on U-41 and then
rammed the lifeboat carrying the German survivors
sinking it.[248]
HMHS Llandovery Castle
The Canadian hospital ship HMHS Llandovery Castle
was torpedoed by the German submarine SM U-86 on
27 June 1918 in violation of international law. Only 24



of the 258 medical personnel, patients, and crew survived. Survivors reported that the U-boat surfaced and
ran down the lifeboats, machine-gunning survivors in the
water. The U-boat captain, Helmut Patzig, was charged
with war crimes in Germany following the war, but escaped prosecution by going to the Free City of Danzig,
beyond the jurisdiction of German courts.[249]

nonetheless continued to use them. British Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig wrote in his diary, My ocers
and I were aware that such weapons would cause harm
to women and children living in nearby towns, as strong
winds were common in the battlefront. However, because
the weapon was to be directed against the enemy, none of
us were overly concerned at all.[254][255][256][257]

Chemical weapons in warfare

Genocide and ethnic cleansing

Main article: Chemical weapons in World War I

The rst successful use of poison gas as a weapon of war-

Austro-Hungarian soldiers executing men and women in Serbia,


French soldiers making a gas and ame attack on German

trenches in Flanders

fare occurred during the Second Battle of Ypres (22 April

25 May 1915).[250] Gas was soon used by all major belligerents throughout the war. It is estimated that the use
of chemical weapons employed by both sides throughout
the war had inicted 1.3 million casualties. For example, the British had over 180,000 chemical weapons casualties during the war, and up to one-third of American
casualties were caused by them. The Russian Army reportedly suered roughly 500,000 chemical weapon casualties in World War I.[251] The use of chemical weapons
in warfare was in direct violation of the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907
Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which prohibited
their use.[252][253]
The eect of poison gas was not limited to combatants.
Civilians were at risk from the gases as winds blew the
poison gases through their towns, and rarely received
warnings or alerts of potential danger. In addition to absent warning systems, civilians often did not have access
to eective gas masks. An estimated 100,000260,000
civilian casualties were caused by chemical weapons during the conict and tens of thousands more (along with
military personnel) died from scarring of the lungs, skin
damage, and cerebral damage in the years after the conict ended. Many commanders on both sides knew
such weapons would cause major harm to civilians but

Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken

from Ambassador Morgenthaus Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918.[259]

Main article: Ottoman casualties of World War I

See also: Armenian Genocide, Assyrian Genocide,
Greek genocide and Genocide denial
The ethnic cleansing of the Ottoman Empires Armenian
population, including mass deportations and executions,
during the nal years of the Ottoman Empire is considered genocide.[260] The Ottomans saw the entire Armenian population as an enemy[261] that had chosen to
side with Russia at the beginning of the war.[262] In
early 1915, a number of Armenians joined the Russian forces, and the Ottoman government used this as a
pretext to issue the Tehcir Law (Law on Deportation),
which authorized the deportation of Armenians from the
Empires eastern provinces to Syria between 1915 and



1917. While an exact number of deaths is unknown, ments Commission

the International Association of Genocide Scholars esti- The British soldiers of the war were initially volunmates over 1 million.[260][263] The government of Turkey
has consistently rejected charges of genocide, arguing
that those who died were victims of inter-ethnic ghting,
famine, or disease during World War I.[264] Other ethnic
groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire
during this period, including Assyrians and Greeks, and
some scholars consider those events to be part of the same
policy of extermination.[265][266][267]
Russian Empire Main article: Anti-Jewish pogroms The First Contingent of the Bermuda Volunteer Rie Corps to the
1 Lincolns, training in Bermuda for the Western Front, winter
in the Russian Empire
19141915. The two BVRC contingents suered 75% casualties.
See also: Russian occupation of Eastern Galicia, 1914
1915, Volhynia and Volga Germans
teers but increasingly were conscripted into service. Surviving veterans, returning home, often found that they
Many pogroms accompanied the Russian Revolution of could only discuss their experiences amongst themselves.
1917 and the ensuing Russian Civil War. 60,000 Grouping together, they formed veterans associations
200,000 civilian Jews were killed in the atrocities or Legions.
throughout the former Russian Empire (mostly within the
Pale of Settlement in present-day Ukraine).[268]
Prisoners of war
Rape of Belgium
Main article: Rape of Belgium
The German invaders treated any resistancesuch as
sabotaging rail linesas illegal and immoral, and shot
the oenders and burned buildings in retaliation. In addition, they tended to suspect that most civilians were
potential franc-tireurs (guerrillas) and, accordingly, took
and sometimes killed hostages from among the civilian population. The German army executed over 6,500
French and Belgian civilians between August and November 1914, usually in near-random large-scale shootings
of civilians ordered by junior German ocers. The German Army destroyed 15,00020,000 buildingsmost famously the university library at Louvainand generated
a wave of refugees of over a million people. Over half
the German regiments in Belgium were involved in major incidents.[269] Thousands of workers were shipped to
Germany to work in factories. British propaganda dramatizing the Rape of Belgium attracted much attention
in the United States, while Berlin said it was both lawful
and necessary because of the threat of franc-tireurs like
those in France in 1870.[270] The British and French magnied the reports and disseminated them at home and in
the United States, where they played a major role in dissolving support for Germany.[271][272]


Soldiers experiences

Main articles: List of last surviving World War I veterans by country, World War I casualties, Commonwealth
War Graves Commission and American Battle Monu-

Main article: World War I prisoners of war in Germany

About eight million men surrendered and were held in
POW camps during the war. All nations pledged to follow the Hague Conventions on fair treatment of prisoners
of war, and the survival rate for POWs was generally
much higher than that of their peers at the front.[273]
Individual surrenders were uncommon; large units usually surrendered en masse. At the siege of Maubeuge
about 40,000 French soldiers surrendered, at the battle
of Galicia Russians took about 100,000 to 120,000 Austrian captives, at the Brusilov Oensive about 325,000
to 417,000 Germans and Austrians surrendered to Russians, at the Battle of Tannenberg 92,000 Russians surrendered. When the besieged garrison of Kaunas surrendered in 1915, some 20,000 Russians became prisoners, at the battle near Przasnysz (FebruaryMarch 1915)
14,000 Germans surrendered to Russians, at the First
Battle of the Marne about 12,000 Germans surrendered
to the Allies. 2531% of Russian losses (as a proportion of those captured, wounded, or killed) were to prisoner status; for Austria-Hungary 32%, for Italy 26%, for
France 12%, for Germany 9%; for Britain 7%. Prisoners from the Allied armies totalled about 1.4 million
(not including Russia, which lost 2.53.5 million men
as prisoners). From the Central Powers about 3.3 million men became prisoners; most of them surrendered to
Russians.[274] Germany held 2.5 million prisoners; Russia
held 2.22.9 million; while Britain and France held about
720,000. Most were captured just before the Armistice.
The United States held 48,000. The most dangerous moment was the act of surrender, when helpless soldiers
were sometimes gunned down.[275][276] Once prisoners
reached a camp, conditions were, in general, satisfactory


(and much better than in World War II), thanks in part
to the eorts of the International Red Cross and inspections by neutral nations. However, conditions were terrible in Russia: starvation was common for prisoners and
civilians alike; about 1520% of the prisoners in Russia died and in Central Powers imprisonment8% of
Russians.[277] In Germany, food was scarce, but only 5%

Military attachs and war correspondents
Main article: Military attachs and war correspondents
in the First World War
Military and civilian observers from every major power
closely followed the course of the war. Many were able
to report on events from a perspective somewhat akin to
modern "embedded" positions within the opposing land
and naval forces.

1.2.9 Support and opposition to the war


Emaciated Indian Army soldier who survived the Siege of Kut.

The Ottoman Empire often treated POWs poorly.[281]

Some 11,800 British Empire soldiers, most of them
Indians, became prisoners after the Siege of Kut in
Mesopotamia in April 1916; 4,250 died in captivity.[282]
Although many were in a poor condition when captured,
Ottoman ocers forced them to march 1,100 kilometres
(684 mi) to Anatolia. A survivor said: We were driven
along like beasts; to drop out was to die.[283] The survivors were then forced to build a railway through the
Poster urging women to join the British war eort, published by
Taurus Mountains.
the Young Womens Christian Association

In Russia, when the prisoners from the Czech Legion of

the Austro-Hungarian army were released in 1917, they In the Balkans, Yugoslav nationalists such as the leader,
re-armed themselves and briey became a military and Ante Trumbi, strongly supported the war, desiring
diplomatic force during the Russian Civil War.
the freedom of Yugoslavs from Austria-Hungary and
While the Allied prisoners of the Central Powers were other foreign powers and the creation of an independent
quickly sent home at the end of active hostilities, the same Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Committee was formed in
treatment was not granted to Central Power prisoners of Paris on 30 April 1915 but shortly moved its oce to
the Allies and Russia, many of whom served as forced London; Trumbi led the Committee.[286] In April 1918,
labor, e.g., in France until 1920. They were released only the Rome Congress of Oppressed Nationalities met, inafter many approaches by the Red Cross to the Allied cluding Czechoslovak, Italian, Polish, Transylvanian, and
Supreme Council.[284] German prisoners were still being Yugoslav representatives who urged the Allies to supheld in Russia as late as 1924.[285]
port national self-determination for the peoples residing



within Austria-Hungary.[287]
In the Middle East, Arab nationalism soared in Ottoman
territories in response to the rise of Turkish nationalism
during the war, with Arab nationalist leaders advocating
the creation of a pan-Arab state. In 1916, the Arab Revolt began in Ottoman-controlled territories of the Middle East in an eort to achieve independence.[288]
A number of socialist parties initially supported the war
when it began in August 1914.[287] But European socialists split on national lines, with the concept of class
conict held by radical socialists such as Marxists and
syndicalists being overborne by their patriotic support for Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street) after the 1916 Easter Riswar.[289] Once the war began, Austrian, British, French, ing in Dublin.
German, and Russian socialists followed the rising nationalist current by supporting their countries intervention in the war.[290]
Benedict XV, elected to the papacy less than three months
Italian nationalism was stirred by the outbreak of the into World War I, made the war and its consequences the
early ponticate. In stark contrast to
war and was initially strongly supported by a variety main focus of his
ve days after his election he spoke
of political factions. One of the most prominent and
to do what he could to bring peace.
popular Italian nationalist supporters of the war was
beatissimi Apostolorum, given 1
Gabriele d'Annunzio, who promoted Italian irredentism
and helped sway the Italian public to support intervention November 1914, was concerned with this subject. Benein the war.[291] The Italian Liberal Party, under the lead- dict XV found his abilities and unique position as a reliership of Paolo Boselli, promoted intervention in the war gious emissary of peace ignored by the belligerent powon the side of the Allies and utilised the Dante Alighieri ers. The 1915 Treaty of London between Italy and the
Society to promote Italian nationalism.[292] Italian social- Triple Entente included secret provisions whereby the Alists were divided on whether to support the war or op- lies agreed with Italy to ignore papal peace moves topose it; some were militant supporters of the war, includ- wards the Central Powers. Consequently, the publication
ing Benito Mussolini and Leonida Bissolati.[293] How- of Benedicts proposed seven-point Peace Note of August
roundly ignored by all parties except Austriaever, the Italian Socialist Party decided to oppose the 1917 was[298]
war after anti-militarist protestors were killed, resulting
in a general strike called Red Week.[294] The Italian Socialist Party purged itself of pro-war nationalist members, including Mussolini.[294] Mussolini, a syndicalist
who supported the war on grounds of irredentist claims
on Italian-populated regions of Austria-Hungary, formed
the pro-interventionist Il Popolo d'Italia and the Fasci
Rivoluzionario d'Azione Internazionalista (Revolutionary Fasci for International Action) in October 1914 that
later developed into the Fasci di Combattimento in 1919,
the origin of fascism.[295] Mussolinis nationalism enabled
him to raise funds from Ansaldo (an armaments rm) and
other companies to create Il Popolo d'Italia to convince
socialists and revolutionaries to support the war.[296]
The Deserter, 1916. Anti-war cartoon depicting Jesus facing a
ring squad with soldiers from ve European countries.

Main articles: Opposition to World War I and French
Army Mutinies
Once war was declared, many socialists and trade unions
backed their governments. Among the exceptions were
the Bolsheviks, the Socialist Party of America, and
the Italian Socialist Party, and individuals such as Karl
Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, and their followers in Germany.

In Britain, in 1914, the Public Schools Ocers Training Corps annual camp was held at Tidworth Pennings,
near Salisbury Plain. Head of the British Army, Lord
Kitchener, was to review the cadets, but the imminence of
the war prevented him. General Horace Smith-Dorrien
was sent instead. He surprised the two-or-three thousand
cadets by declaring (in the words of Donald Christopher
Smith, a Bermudian cadet who was present), that war
should be avoided at almost any cost, that war would solve
nothing, that the whole of Europe and more besides would


be reduced to ruin, and that the loss of life would be so
large that whole populations would be decimated. In our
ignorance I, and many of us, felt almost ashamed of a
British General who uttered such depressing and unpatriotic sentiments, but during the next four years, those of
us who survived the holocaustprobably not more than
one-quarter of uslearned how right the Generals prognosis was and how courageous he had been to utter it.[299]
Voicing these sentiments did not hinder Smith-Dorriens
career, or prevent him from doing his duty in World War
I to the best of his abilities.

of 1916, with Germany sending 20,000 ries to Ireland
to stir unrest in Britain.[301] The UK government placed
Ireland under martial law in response to the Easter Rising; although, once the immediate threat of revolution
had dissipated, the authorities did try to make concessions to nationalist feeling.[302]
Other opposition came from conscientious objectors
some socialist, some religiouswho refused to ght. In
Britain, 16,000 people asked for conscientious objector status.[303] Some of them, most notably prominent
peace activist Stephen Henry Hobhouse, refused both
military and alternative service.[304] Many suered years
of prison, including solitary connement and bread and
water diets. Even after the war, in Britain many job advertisements were marked No conscientious objectors
need apply.
The Central Asian Revolt started in the summer of 1916,
when the Russian Empire government ended its exemption of Muslims from military service.[305]
In 1917, a series of French Army Mutinies led to dozens
of soldiers being executed and many more imprisoned.

Execution at Verdun at the time of the mutinies in 1917.

In Milan, in May 1917, Bolshevik revolutionaries organised and engaged in rioting calling for an end to the
war, and managed to close down factories and stop public
transportation.[306] The Italian army was forced to enter
Milan with tanks and machine guns to face Bolsheviks
and anarchists, who fought violently until 23 May when
the army gained control of the city. Almost 50 people
(including three Italian soldiers) were killed and over 800
people arrested.[306]

In September 1917, Russian soldiers in France began

questioning why they were ghting for the French at all
and mutinied.[307] In Russia, opposition to the war led
to soldiers also establishing their own revolutionary committees, which helped foment the October Revolution of
1917, with the call going up for bread, land, and peace.
German Revolution, Kiel, 1918.
The Bolsheviks agreed to a peace treaty with Germany,
Many countries jailed those who spoke out against the the peace of Brest-Litovsk, despite its harsh conditions.
conict. These included Eugene Debs in the United States In northern Germany, the end of October 1918 saw
and Bertrand Russell in Britain. In the US, the Espionage the beginning of the German Revolution of 19181919.
Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918 made it a federal Units of the German Navy refused to set sail for a last,
crime to oppose military recruitment or make any state- large-scale operation in a war which they saw as good as
ments deemed disloyal. Publications at all critical of lost; this initiated the uprising. The sailors revolt which
the government were removed from circulation by postal then ensued in the naval ports of Wilhelmshaven and Kiel
censors,[143] and many served long prison sentences for spread across the whole country within days and led to
statements of fact deemed unpatriotic.
the proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918 and
A number of nationalists opposed intervention, particularly within states that the nationalists were hostile to.
Although the vast majority of Irish people consented
to participate in the war in 1914 and 1915, a minority
of advanced Irish nationalists staunchly opposed taking
part.[300] The war began amid the Home Rule crisis in Ireland that had resurfaced in 1912 and, by July 1914, there
was a serious possibility of an outbreak of civil war in
Ireland. Irish nationalists and Marxists attempted to pursue Irish independence, culminating in the Easter Rising

shortly thereafter to the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Conscription Conscription was common in most European countries. However it was controversial in English
speaking countries. It was especially unpopular among
minority ethnic groupsespecially the Irish Catholics in
Ireland[308] and Australia, and the French Catholics in
Canada. In Canada the issue produced a major political crisis that permanently alienated the Francophiles. It


Historian Heather Jones argues that the historiography
has been reinvigorated by the cultural turn in recent years.
Scholars have raised entirely new questions regarding
military occupation, radicalizion of politics, race, and the
male body. Furthermore, new research has revised our
understanding of ve major topics that historians have
long debated. These are: Why did the war begin? Why
did the Allies win? Were the generals to blame for the
high casualty rates? How did the soldiers endure the horrors of trench warfare? To what extent did the civilian
homefront accept and endorse the war eort?[313]

Young men registering for conscription, New York City, 5 June



opened a political gap between French Canadians, who

believed their true loyalty was to Canada and not to the
British Empire, and members of the Anglophone majority, who saw the war as a duty to their British heritage.[309]
In Australia, a sustained pro-conscription campaign by
Billy Hughes, the Prime Minister, caused a split in the
Australian Labor Party, so Hughes formed the Nationalist
Party of Australia in 1917 to pursue the matter. Farmers,
the labour movement, the Catholic Church, and the Irish
Catholics successfully opposed Hughes push, which was
rejected in two plebiscites.[310]
In Britain, conscription resulted in the calling up of nearly
every physically t man in Britainsix of ten million
eligible. Of these, about 750,000 lost their lives; Most A typical village war memorial to soldiers killed in World War I
deaths were to young unmarried men; however, 160,000
wives lost husbands and 300,000 children lost fathers.[311]
Main article: World War I memorials
In the United States, conscription began in 1917 and was
generally well received, with a few pockets of opposition
Memorials were erected in thousands of villages and
in isolated rural areas.[312]
towns. Close to battleelds, those buried in improvised burial grounds were gradually moved to formal
graveyards under the care of organisations such as the
1.2.10 Legacy and memory
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the American
Battle Monuments Commission, the German War Graves
Main article: World War I in popular culture
Commission, and Le Souvenir franais. Many of these
graveyards also have central monuments to the missing or
unidentied dead, such as the Menin Gate memorial and
... Strange, friend, I said, Here is no
the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
cause to mourn.
In 1915 John McCrae, a Canadian army doctor, wrote the
None, said the other, Save the undone
poem In Flanders Fields as a salute to those who perished
in the Great War. Published in Punch on 8 December
Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting,
1915, it is still recited today, especially on Remembrance
Day and Memorial Day.[314][315]
The rst tentative eorts to comprehend the meaning and
consequences of modern warfare began during the initial
phases of the war, and this process continued throughout
and after the end of hostilities, and still is underway, more
than a century later.

National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas

City, Missouri, is a memorial dedicated to all Americans
who served in World War I. The Liberty Memorial was
dedicated on 1 November 1921, when the supreme Allied commanders spoke to a crowd of more than 100,000


The UK Government has budgeted substantial resources
to the commemoration of the war during the period 2014
to 2018. The lead body is the Imperial War Museum.[317]
On 3 August 2014, French President Francois Hollande
and German President Joachim Gauck together marked
the centenary of Germanys declaration of war on France
by laying the rst stone of a memorial in Vieil Armand,
known in German as Hartmannswillerkopf, for French
and German soldiers killed in the war.[318]

Cultural memory

out that, although the losses were devastating, their greatest impact was socially and geographically limited. The many emotions other
than horror experienced by soldiers in and out
of the front line, including comradeship, boredom, and even enjoyment, have been recognised. The war is not now seen as a 'ght about
nothing', but as a war of ideals, a struggle between aggressive militarism and more or less
liberal democracy. It has been acknowledged
that British generals were often capable men
facing dicult challenges, and that it was under their command that the British army played
a major part in the defeat of the Germans in
1918: a great forgotten victory.[321]

World War I had a lasting impact on social memory. It

was seen by many in Britain as signalling the end of an
era of stability stretching back to the Victorian period,
and across Europe many regarded it as a watershed.[319] Though these views have been discounted as
Historian Samuel Hynes explained:
myths,[320][322] they are common. They have dynamically changed according to contemporary inuences,
reecting in the 1950s perceptions of the war as aimA generation of innocent young men, their
less following the contrasting Second World War and
heads full of high abstractions like Honour,
emphasising conict within the ranks during times of
Glory and England, went o to war to make the
class conict in the 1960s. The majority of additions to
world safe for democracy. They were slaughthe contrary are often rejected.[321]
tered in stupid battles planned by stupid generals. Those who survived were shocked, disillusioned and embittered by their war experiSocial trauma
ences, and saw that their real enemies were not
the Germans, but the old men at home who had
The social trauma caused by unprecedented rates of casulied to them. They rejected the values of the
alties manifested itself in dierent ways, which have been
society that had sent them to war, and in doing
the subject of subsequent historical debate.[323]
so separated their own generation from the past
and from their cultural inheritance.
The optimism of la belle poque was destroyed, and those
who had fought in the war were referred to as the Lost
For years afterwards, people mourned
This has become the most common perception of World
and the many disabled.[325] Many
War I, perpetuated by the art, cinema, poems, and stories published subsequently. Films such as All Quiet on soldiers returned with severe trauma, suering from shell
a condition related to
the Western Front, Paths of Glory and King & Country shock (also called neurasthenia,
Many more returned
have perpetuated the idea, while war-time lms includhome
their silence about
ing Camrades, Poppies of Flanders, and Shoulder Arms
mythologindicate that the most contemporary views of the war
share in
were overall far more positive.
Likewise, the art of
Paul Nash, John Nash, Christopher Nevinson, and Henry
Tonks in Britain painted a negative view of the conict
in keeping with the growing perception, while popular the images of suering and trauma became the widely
war-time artists such as Muirhead Bone painted more shared perception. Such historians as Dan Todman, Paul
serene and pleasant interpretations subsequently rejected Fussell, and Samuel Heyns have all published works since
common perceptions of the
as inaccurate.[320] Several historians like John Terraine, the 1990s arguing that these
Niall Ferguson and Gary Sheeld have challenged these
interpretations as partial and polemical views:
Discontent in Germany
These beliefs did not become widely shared
because they oered the only accurate interpretation of wartime events. In every respect,
the war was much more complicated than they
suggest. In recent years, historians have argued persuasively against almost every popular clich of World War I. It has been pointed

The rise of Nazism and Fascism included a revival of

the nationalist spirit and a rejection of many post-war
changes. Similarly, the popularity of the stab-in-the-back
legend (German: Dolchstolegende) was a testament to
the psychological state of defeated Germany and was a
rejection of responsibility for the conict. This conspir-


had a common origin, the collapse of the elite
structure and normal modes of government of
much of central, eastern and southern Europe
as a result of World War I, without which surely
neither Communism nor Fascism would have
existed except in the minds of unknown agitators and crackpots.[331]
Economic eects
See also: Economic history of World War I
One of the most dramatic eects of the war was the ex-

A 1919 book for veterans, from the US War Department.

acy theory of betrayal became common, and the German populace came to see themselves as victims. The
widespread acceptance of the stab-in-the-back theory
delegitimized the Weimar government and destabilized
the system, opening it to extremes of right and left.
Communist and fascist movements around Europe drew
strength from this theory and enjoyed a new level of popularity. These feelings were most pronounced in areas
directly or harshly aected by the war. Adolf Hitler was
able to gain popularity by utilising German discontent
with the still controversial Treaty of Versailles.[327] World
War II was in part a continuation of the power struggle never fully resolved by World War I. Furthermore,
it was common for Germans in the 1930s to justify acts
of aggression due to perceived injustices imposed by the
victors of World War I.[328][329][330] American historian
William Rubinstein wrote that:
The 'Age of Totalitarianism' included
nearly all of the infamous examples of genocide in modern history, headed by the Jewish
Holocaust, but also comprising the mass murders and purges of the Communist world, other
mass killings carried out by Nazi Germany and
its allies, and also the Armenian genocide of
1915. All these slaughters, it is argued here,

Poster showing women workers, 1915.

pansion of governmental powers and responsibilities in

Britain, France, the United States, and the Dominions
of the British Empire. To harness all the power of their
societies, governments created new ministries and powers. New taxes were levied and laws enacted, all designed
to bolster the war eort; many have lasted to this day.
Similarly, the war strained the abilities of some formerly
large and bureaucratised governments, such as in AustriaHungary and Germany.
Gross domestic product (GDP) increased for three Allies (Britain, Italy, and US), but decreased in France and
Russia, in neutral Netherlands, and in the three main Central Powers. The shrinkage in GDP in Austria, Russia,
France, and the Ottoman Empire ranged between 30%
to 40%. In Austria, for example, most pigs were slaugh-


tered, so at wars end there was no meat.
In all nations, the governments share of GDP increased,
surpassing 50% in both Germany and France and nearly
reaching that level in Britain. To pay for purchases in the
United States, Britain cashed in its extensive investments
in American railroads and then began borrowing heavily on Wall Street. President Wilson was on the verge
of cutting o the loans in late 1916, but allowed a great
increase in US government lending to the Allies. After
1919, the US demanded repayment of these loans. The
repayments were, in part, funded by German reparations
which, in turn, were supported by American loans to Germany. This circular system collapsed in 1931 and the
loans were never repaid. Britain still owed the United
States $4.4 billion[332] of World War I debt in 1934, and
this money was never repaid.[333]
Macro- and micro-economic consequences devolved
from the war. Families were altered by the departure
of many men. With the death or absence of the primary wage earner, women were forced into the workforce
in unprecedented numbers. At the same time, industry
needed to replace the lost labourers sent to war. This
aided the struggle for voting rights for women.[334]

sum was placed at 132 billion gold marks. However, Allied experts knew that Germany could not pay this sum.
The total sum was divided into three categories, with the
third being deliberately designed to be chimerical and
its primary function was to mislead public opinion ...
into believing the total sum was being maintained.[338]
Thus, 50 billion gold marks (12.5 billion dollars) represented the actual Allied assessment of German capacity
to pay and therefore ... represented the total German
reparations gure that had to be paid.[338]
This gure could be paid in cash or in kind (coal, timber, chemical dyes, etc.). In addition, some of the territory lostvia the treaty of Versailleswas credited towards the reparation gure as were other acts such as
helping to restore the Library of Louvain.[339] By 1929,
the Great Depression arrived, causing political chaos
throughout the world.[340] In 1932 the payment of reparations was suspended by the international community,
by which point Germany had only paid the equivalent
of 20.598 billon gold marks in reparations.[341] With the
rise of Adolf Hitler, all bonds and loans that had been
issued and taken out during the 1920s and early 1930s
were cancelled. David Andelman notes refusing to pay
doesn't make an agreement null and void. The bonds, the
agreement, still exist. Thus, following the Second World
War, at the London Conference in 1953, Germany agreed
to resume payment on the money borrowed. On 3 October 2010, Germany made the nal payment on these

World War I further compounded the gender imbalance,

adding to the phenomenon of surplus women. The deaths
of nearly one million men during the war in Britain increased the gender gap by almost a million; from 670,000
to 1,700,000. The number of unmarried women seeking
economic means grew dramatically. In addition, demobilisation and economic decline following the war caused
high unemployment. The war increased female employ- 1.2.11 See also
ment; however, the return of demoblised men displaced
many from the workforce, as did the closure of many of
Outline of World War I
the wartime factories.
Death rates in the 20th century
In Britain, rationing was nally imposed in early 1918,
limited to meat, sugar, and fats (butter and margarine),
European Civil War
but not bread. The new system worked smoothly. From
List of people associated with World War I
1914 to 1918, trade union membership doubled, from a
little over four million to a little over eight million.
Lists of wars
Britain turned to her colonies for help in obtaining essential war materials whose supply had become dicult from
List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death
traditional sources. Geologists such as Albert Ernest Kittoll
son were called on to nd new resources of precious min Lists of World War I topics
erals in the African colonies. Kitson discovered important new deposits of manganese, used in munitions pro Timeline of World War I
duction, in the Gold Coast.[335]
World War I casualties
Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (the so-called war
guilt clause) stated Germany accepted responsibility for
World War I medal abbreviations
all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them
1.2.12 Footnotes
by the aggression of Germany and her allies.[336] It was
worded as such to lay a legal basis for reparations, and a
[1] The United States did not ratify any of the treaties agreed
similar clause was inserted in the treaties with Austria and
to at the Paris Peace Conference.
Hungary. However neither of them interpreted it as an
admission of war guilt.[337] In 1921, the total reparation [2] Bulgaria joined the Central Powers on 14 October 1915.



[3] The Ottoman Empire agreed to a secret alliance with Germany on 2 August 1914. It joined the war on the side of
the Central Powers on 29 October 1914.

[23] Willmott 2003, pp. 223.

[24] Finestone, Jerey; Massie, Robert K. (1981). The last
courts of Europe. Dent. p. 247.

[4] The United States declared war on Austria-Hungary on

December 7, 1917.

[25] Smith 2010.

[5] Austria was considered one of the successor states to


[26] European powers maintain focus despite killings in Sarajevo This Day in History.
30 June 1914. Retrieved 26 December 2013.

[6] The United States declared war on Germany on April 6,


[27] Willmott 2003, p. 26.

[7] Hungary was considered one of the successor states to

[8] Although the Treaty of Svres was intended to end the
war between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire, the Allies and the Republic of Turkey, the successor state of the
Ottoman Empire, agreed to the Treaty of Lausanne.



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[7] Willmott 2003, p. 15
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Historiography and memory
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1.2.15 External links

19141918-online International Encyclopedia of
the First World War
The Heritage of the Great War / First World War.
Graphic color photos, pictures and music
A multimedia history of World War I
European Newspapers from the start of the First
World War and the end of the war
Powerpoint summary of the war
The World War I Document Archive Wiki, Brigham
Young University
Maps of Europe covering the history of World War
I at
World War I Crossroads current discussions by

Kitchen, James E., Alisa Miller and Laura Rowe,

eds. Other Combatants, Other Fronts: Competing
Histories of the First World War (2011) excerpt

World War I (First World War) Guide to websites

Kramer, Alan. Recent Historiography of the First

World War Part I, Journal of Modern European
History (Feb. 2014) 12#1 pp 527; Recent Historiography of the First World War (Part II)", (May
2014) 12#2 pp 155174

EFG1914 Film digitisation project on First World


Mulligan, William. The Trial Continues: New

Directions in the Study of the Origins of the
First World War. English Historical Review (2014)
129#538 pp: 639666.
Reynolds, David. The Long Shadow: The Legacies
of the Great War in the Twentieth Century (2014)
Excerpt and text search

Documents from Mount Holyoke College

WWI Films on the European Film Gateway

The British Path WW1 Film Archive
World War I British press photograph collection A
sampling of images distributed by the British government during the war to diplomats overseas, from
the UBC Library Digital Collections
World War I in Colour in YouTube.

Sanborn, Joshua. Russian Historiography on the Animated maps

Origins of the First World War Since the Fis An animated map Europe plunges into war
cher Controversy. Journal of Contemporary History
(2013) 48#2 pp: 350362.
An animated map of Europe at the end of the war
Sharp, Heather. Representing Australias Involvement in the First World War: Discrepancies be- Library guides
tween Public Discourses and School History Textbooks from 1916 to 1936. Journal of Educational
National Library of New Zealand
Media, Memory, and Society (2014) 6#1 pp: 123.
State Library of New South Wales
Trout, Stephen. On the Battleeld of Memory:
US Library of Congress
The First World War and American Remembrance,
19191941 (2013)
Indiana University Bloomington, USA
Turan, mer. Turkish Historiography of the First
New York University, USA
World War. Middle East Critique (2014) 23#2 pp:
University of Alberta, Canada
Winter, Jay, ed. The Cambridge History of the First
World War (2 vol. Cambridge University Press,

Chapter 2

Causes In Depth
2.1 Balkan Wars

of Turkish-dominated European territories created a

psycho-traumatic event amongst the Turks that is said to
have triggered the ultimate collapse of the empire itself
For the articles examining each war individually, see within ve years. Nazm Pasha, Chief of Sta of the
First Balkan War and Second Balkan War. For the 1990s Ottoman army, was held responsible for the failure and
conicts in the region, see Yugoslav Wars.
was assassinated on 23 January 1913 during the 1913 Ottoman coup d'tat by the "Young Turks".
The Balkan Wars (Turkish:
Balkan Savalar, liter- The First Balkan War broke out when the League memally the Balkan Wars or Balkan Facias, meaning the ber states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October
Balkan Tragedy) were two conicts that took place in 1912 and ended seven months later by the Treaty of Lonthe Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and don on 30 May 1913. (Five years later, the Ottoman
1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire Empire would lose virtually all of its possessions in the
in the rst war; one of the four, Bulgaria, was defeated Balkans, as a result of WW-I).
in the second war. The Ottoman Empire lost nearly all
of its holdings in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not The Second Balkan War broke out on 16 June 1913. Both
a combatant, was weakened as a much enlarged Serbia Serbia and Greece, utilizing the argument that the war
pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples.[2] The war had been prolonged, repudiated important particulars of
set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus was a the pre-war treaty and retained occupation of all the conquered districts in their possession which were to be diprelude to the First World War.[3]
vided according to specic predened boundaries. SeeBy the early 20th century, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro ing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatised over
and Serbia had achieved independence from the Ottoman the division of the spoils in Macedonia, made in secret
Empire, but large elements of their ethnic populations by its former allies, Serbia and Greece, and commenced
remained under Ottoman rule. In 1912, these countries military action against them. The more numerous comformed the Balkan League. There were three main causes bined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian
of the First Balkan War. The Ottoman Empire was un- oensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria. Romania,
able to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with who having taken no part in the conict, had intact armies
the rising ethnic nationalism of its diverse peoples. Sec- to strike with, and invaded from the north in violation of
ondly the Great Powers quarreled amongst themselves a peace treaty between the two states. The Ottoman Emand failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out pire also attacked Bulgaria and advanced in Thrace rethe needed reforms. This led the Balkan states to impose gaining Adrianople. In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest,
their own solution. Most important, the Balkan League Bulgaria lost most of the territories it had gained in the
had been formed, and its members were condent that it First Balkan War in addition to being forced to cede
could defeat the Turks.[4][5]
the ex-Ottoman south-third of Dobroudja province to
The Ottoman Empire lost all its European territories to Romania.[6]
the west of the River Maritsa as a result of the two Balkan
Wars, thus drawing actually present day Turkeys western
border. A large inux of Turks started to ee into the 2.1.1 Background
Ottoman heartland as a result of the lost lands. By 1914,
the remaining core region of the Ottoman Empire had See also: Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire
experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million
because of the ood of immigration from the Balkans.
The background to the wars lies in the incomplete emerIn Turkey, the Balkan Wars are considered a ma- gence of nation-states on the European territory of the
jor disaster (Balkan harbi facias) in the nations his- Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th centory. The unexpected fall and sudden relinquishing tury. Serbia had gained substantial territory during the


Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Britain attempting to keep the lid on the simmering cauldron of imperialist
and nationalist tensions in the Balkans to prevent a general European war. They were successful in 1912 and 1913 but did not
succeed in 1914.

Russo-Turkish War, 18771878, while Greece acquired

Thessaly in 1881 (although it lost a small area back to the
Ottoman Empire in 1897) and Bulgaria (an autonomous
principality since 1878) incorporated the formerly distinct province of Eastern Rumelia (1885). All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories
within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia,
comprising Eastern Rumelia, Albania, Macedonia, and


Nazm Pasha, the chief of sta of the Ottoman army was assassinated by Young Turks due to his failure.

Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary wished for a continuation of the existence of the Ottoman Empire, since both
were troubled multinational entities and thus the collapse
of the one might weaken the other. The Habsburgs also
saw a strong Ottoman presence in the area as a counterweight to the Serbian nationalistic call to their own Serb
subjects in Bosnia, Vojvodina and other parts of the empire. Italy, it has been argued, wished to recreate the
Roman empire, though its primary aim at the time seems
to have been the denial of access to the Adriatic Sea to
Policies of the Great Powers
another major sea power. The German Empire, in turn,
Throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared under the "Drang nach Osten" policy, aspired to turn the
dierent aims over the "Eastern Question" and the in- Ottoman Empire into its own de facto colony, and thus
tegrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia wanted access to supported its integrity.
the warm waters of the Mediterranean from the Black In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bulgaria and
Sea; it pursued a pan-Slavic foreign policy and therefore Greece contended for Ottoman Macedonia and Thrace.
supported Bulgaria and Serbia. Britain wished to deny Ethnic Greeks sought the forced Hellenization of ethnic
Russia access to the warm waters and supported the in- Bulgars, who sought Bulgarization of Greeks. Both nategrity of the Ottoman Empire, although it also supported tions sent armed irregulars into Ottoman territory to proa limited expansion of Greece as a backup plan in case tect and assist their ethnic kindred. From 1904, there was
integrity of the Empire was no longer possible. France low intensity warfare in Macedonia between the Greek
wished to strengthen its position in the region, especially and Bulgarian bands and the Ottoman army (the Struggle
in the Levant (todays Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian ter- for Macedonia). After the Young Turk revolution of July
ritories and Israel).
1908, the situation changed drastically.



Young Turk Revolution

Main article: Young Turk Revolution
The 1908 Young Turk Revolution saw the reinstatement
of constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire and
the start of the Second Constitutional Era. When the
revolt broke out, it was supported by intellectuals, the
army, and almost all the ethnic minorities of the Empire,
and forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to re-adopt the long
defunct Ottoman constitution of 1876 and parliament.
Hopes were raised among the Balkan ethnicities of re- Bulgarian forces waiting to start their assault on Adrianople
forms and autonomy, and elections were held to form a
representative, multi-ethnic, Ottoman parliament. However, following the Sultans attempted counter-coup, the Balkan League
liberal element of the Young Turks was sidelined and the
Main article: Balkan League
nationalist element became dominant.
At the same time, in October 1908, Austria-Hungary
seized the opportunity of the Ottoman political upheaval
to annex the de jure Ottoman province of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, which it had occupied since 1878 (see
Bosnian Crisis). Bulgaria declared independence as it had
done in 1878, but this time the independence was internationally recognised. The Greeks of the autonomous
Cretan State proclaimed unication with Greece, though
the opposition of the Great Powers prevented the latter
action from taking practical eect. It has large inuence
in the consequent world order.

Reaction in the Balkan States

Serbia was frustrated in the north by Austria-Hungarys
incorporation of Bosnia.
In March 1909, Serbia
was forced to accept the annexation and restrain antiHabsburg agitation by Serbian nationalists. Instead, the
Serbian government looked to formerly Serb territories
in the south, notably Old Serbia (the Sanjak of Novi
Pazar and the province of Kosovo).

Following Italys victory in the Italo-Turkish War of

19111912, the Young Turks fell from power after a
coup. The Balkan countries saw this as an opportunity
to attack the Ottoman Empire and fulll their desires of
With the initial encouragement of Russian agents, a series of agreements was concluded between Serbia and
Bulgaria in March 1912. Military victory against the Ottoman Empire would not be possible while it could bring
reinforcements from Asia. The condition of the Ottoman
railways of the time was not advanced, so most reinforcements would have to come by sea through the Aegean Sea.
Greece was the only Balkan country with a navy powerful
enough to deny use of the Aegean to the Ottoman Empire, thus a treaty between Greece and Bulgaria became
necessary; it was signed in May 1912.
Montenegro concluded agreements between Serbia and
Bulgaria later that year. Bulgaria signed treaties with Serbia to divide the territory of northern Macedonia.
This alliance between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and
Montenegro became known as the Balkan League; its existence was undesirable for all the Great Powers. The
League was loose at best, though secret liaison ocers
were exchanged between the Greek and the Serbian army
after the war began. Greece delayed the start of the war
several times in the summer of 1912, to better prepare
her navy, but Montenegro declared war on 8 October
(25 September O.S.). Following an ultimatum to the Ottoman Empire, the remaining members of the alliance
entered the conict on 17 October.

On 15 August 1909 the Military League, a group of

Greek ocers, took action against the government to reform their countrys national government and reorganize
the army. The Military League found itself unable to create a new political system, until the League summoned
the Cretan politician Eleutherios Venizelos to Athens as
its political adviser. Venizelos persuaded the king to revise the constitution and asked the League to disband in
favor of a National Assembly. In March 1910 the Military League dissolved itself.[7]
2.1.2 First Balkan War
Bulgaria, which had secured Ottoman recognition of her
independence in April 1909 and enjoyed the friendship Main article: First Balkan War
of Russia,[8] also looked to annex districts of Ottoman The three Slavic allies (Bulgaria, Serbia and MonteneThrace and Macedonia. In August 1910 Montenegro fol- gro) had laid out extensive plans to coordinate their war
lowed Bulgarias precedent by becoming a kingdom.
eorts, in continuation of their secret prewar settlements



ily fortied cities.

Territorial changes as a result of the First Balkan war, as of

April 1913 showing the prewar agreed line of expansion between
Serbia and Bulgaria

Montenegro was the rst that declared war on 8

October[9] (25 September O.S.). Its main thrust was towards Shkodra, with secondary operations in the Novi
Pazar area. The rest of the Allies, after giving a common
ultimatum, declared war a week later. Bulgaria attacked
towards Eastern Thrace, being stopped only at the outskirts of Constantinople at the atalca line and the isthmus of the Gallipoli peninsula, while secondary forces
captured Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia. Serbia attacked south towards Skopje and Monastir and then
turned west to present-day Albania, reaching the Adriatic,
while a second Army captured Kosovo and linked with
the Montenegrin forces. Greeces main forces attacked
from Thessaly into Macedonia through the Sarantaporo
strait and after capturing Thessaloniki on 12 November
(on 26 October 1912, O.S.) expanded its occupied area
and linked up with the Serbian army to the northwest,
while its main forces turned east towards Kavala, reaching the Bulgarians. Another Greek army attacked into
Epirus towards Ioannina.[10]

In the naval front the Ottoman eet twice exited the

Dardanelles and was twice defeated by the Greek Navy,
in the battles of Elli and Lemnos. Greek dominance on
the Aegean Sea made it impossible for the Ottomans to
transfer the planned troops from the Middle East to the
Thracian (against the Bulgarian) and to the Macedonian
(against the Greeks and Serbians) fronts.[11] According to
the E.J. Erickson the Greek Navy also played a crucial,
albeit indirect role, in the Thracian campaign by neutralizing no less than three Thracian Corps (see First Balkan
War, the Bulgarian theater of operations), a signicant
portion of the Ottoman Army there, in the all-important
opening round of the war.[11] After the defeating of the
The apple of discord: King George I of Greece and Tsar
Ferdinand of Bulgaria at Thessaloniki, December 1912. De- Ottoman eet the Greek Navy was also free to liberate the
General Nikola Ivanov identispite their alliance, Greco-Bulgarian antagonism over the city islands of the Aegean.
Navy as the chief factor in
and Macedonia in general did not abate.
the general success of the allies.[11][13]
In January, after a successful coup by young army oand under close Russian supervision (Greece was not incers, the Ottoman Empire decided to continue the war.
cluded). Serbia and Montenegro would attack in the theAfter a failed Ottoman counter-attack in the Westernater of Sandjak, Bulgaria and Serbia in Macedonia and
Thracian front, Bulgarian forces, with the help of the SerThrace.
bian Army, managed to conquer Adrianople while Greek
The Ottoman Empires situation was dicult. Its popula- forces managed to take Ioannina after defeating the Ottion of about 26 million people provided a massive pool tomans in the battle of Bizani. In the joint Serbianof manpower, but of the population and nearly all of Montenegrin theater of operation, the Montenegrin army
the Muslim component lived in the Asian part of the Em- besieged and captured the Shkodra, ending the Ottoman
pire. Reinforcements had to come from Asia mainly by presence in Europe west of the atalca line after nearly
sea, which depended on the result of battles between the 500 years. The war ended ocially with the Treaty of
Turkish and Greek navies in the Aegean.
London on 30(17) May 1913.
With the outbreak of the war, the Ottoman Empire activated three Army HQs: the Thracian HQ in
Constantinople, the Western HQ in Salonika, and the 2.1.3 Second Balkan War
Vardar HQ in Skopje, against the Bulgarians, the Greeks
and the Serbians respectively. Most of their available Main article: Second Balkan War
forces were allocated to these fronts. Smaller indepen- Though the Balkan allies had fought together against
dent units were allocated elsewhere, mostly around heav- the common enemy, that was not enough to overcome


ian 7th division by only a day, they were asked to allow
a Bulgarian battalion to enter the city. Greece accepted
in exchange for allowing a Greek unit to enter the city of

Cholera was common among the soldiers of the combatant nations

The Bulgarian unit that entered Thessaloniki turned out

to be a 18,000-strong division instead of the battalion, something which caused concern among the Greeks,
who viewed it as a Bulgarian attempt to establish a
condominium over the city. In the event, due to the urgently needed reinforcements in the Thracian front, Bulgarian Headquarters was soon forced to remove its troops
from the city (while the Greeks agreed by mutual treaty
to remove their units based in Serres) and transport them
to Dedeaa (modern Alexandroupolis), but still it left
behind a battalion that started fortifying its positions.
Greece had also allowed the Bulgarians to control the
stretch of the Thessaloniki-Constantinople railroad that
lay in Greek-occupied territory, since Bulgaria controlled
the largest part of this railroad towards Thrace. After the end of the operations in Thraceand conrming
Greek concernsBulgaria was not satised with the territory it controlled in Macedonia and immediately asked
Greece to relinquish its control over Thessaloniki and the
land north of Pieria, eectively handing over all Aegean
Macedonia. These unacceptable demands together with
the Bulgarian refusal to demobilize its army after the
Treaty of London had ended the common war against
the Ottomans and alarmed Greece, which decided also
to maintain its armys mobilization.

Boundaries on the Balkans after the First and the Second Balkan
War (19121913)

their mutual rivalries. In the original document for the

Balkans league, Serbia promised Bulgaria most of Macedonia. But before the rst war come to an end, Serbia
(in violation of the previous agreement) and Greece, revealed their plan to keep possession of the territories that
their forces had occupied. This act prompted the tsar of
Bulgaria to invade his allies. The Second Balkan War
broke out on 29(16) June 1913 when Bulgaria attacked
its erstwhile allies in the First Balkan War, Serbia and
Greece, while Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire intervened later against Bulgaria, with Romania attacking
Bulgaria from the north. When the Greek army entered
Thessaloniki in the First Balkan War ahead of the Bulgar-

Similarly, in northern Macedonia, the tension between

Serbia and Bulgaria due to later aspirations over Vardar
Macedonia generated many incidents between the nearby
armies, prompting Serbia to maintain its armys mobilization. Serbia and Greece proposed that each of the three
countries reduce its army by one fourth, as a rst step
to facilitate a peaceful solution, but Bulgaria rejected it.
Seeing the omens, Greece and Serbia started a series of
negotiations and signed a treaty on 1 June(19 May) 1913.
With this treaty, a mutual border was agreed between the
two countries, together with an agreement for mutual military and diplomatic support in case of a Bulgarian or/and
Austro-Hungarian attack. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, being well informed, tried to stop the upcoming conict on
8 June, by sending an identical personal message to the
Kings of Bulgaria and Serbia, oering to act as arbitrator
according to the provisions of the 1912 Serbo-Bulgarian
treaty. But Bulgaria, by making the acceptance of Russian arbitration conditional, in eect denied any discussion and caused Russia to repudiate its alliance with Bulgaria (see Russo-Bulgarian military convention signed 31
May 1902).
The Serbs and the Greeks had a military advantage on
the eve of the war because their armies confronted comparatively weak Ottoman forces in the First Balkan War
and suered relatively light casualties[14] while the Bulgarians were involved in heavy ghting in Thrace. The



Serbs and the Greeks had time to fortify their positions in cially warned Bulgaria that it would not remain neutral
Macedonia. The Bulgarians also held some advantages, in a new Balkan war, due to Bulgarias refusal to cede the
controlling internal communication and supply lines.[14] fortress of Silistra as promised before the First Balkan
On 29(16) June 1913 General Savov, under direct orders war in exchange for Romanian neutrality. Its forces enof Tsar Ferdinand I, issued attacking orders against both countered little resistance and by the time the Greeks
Greece and Serbia without consulting the Bulgarian gov- accepted the Bulgarian request for armistice they had
ernment and without any ocial declaration of war.[15] reached Vrazhdebna, 7 miles from the center of Soa.
During the night of 30(17) June 1913 they attacked the
Serbian army at Bregalnica river and then the Greek army
in Nigrita. The Serbian army resisted the sudden night attack, while most of soldiers did not even know who they
were ghting with, as Bulgarian camps were located next
to Serbs and were considered allies. Montenegros forces
were just a few kilometers away and also rushed to the
battle. The Bulgarian attack was halted.
The Greek army was also successful.[14] It retreated according to plan for two days while Thessaloniki was
cleared of the remaining Bulgarian regiment. Then
the Greek army counter-attacked and defeated the Bulgarians at Kilkis-Lahanas (Kukush), after which the
mostly Bulgarian town was destroyed and its population expelled.[16][17] The Greek army destroyed altogether 161 Bulgarian villages and massacred thousands of
inhabitants.[18] Following the capture of Kilkis, the Greek
armys pace was not quick enough to prevent the destruction of Nigrita, Serres, and Doxato and massacres of noncombatant Greek inhabitants at Demir Hisar and Doxato
by the Bulgarian army.[19][20] The Greek army then divided its forces and advanced in two directions. Part proceeded east and occupied Western Thrace. The rest of
the Greek army advanced up to the Struma River valley,
defeating the Bulgarian army in the battles of Doiran and
Mt. Beles, and continued its advance to the north towards
Soa. In the Kresna straits the Greeks were ambushed by
the Bulgarian 2nd and 1st Army newly arrived from the
Serbian front that had already taken defensive positions
there following the Bulgarian victory at Kalimanci.
By 30 July the Greek army was outnumbered by the
counter-attacking Bulgarian army, which attempted to
encircle the Greeks in a Cannae-type battle, by applying pressure on their anks.[21] The Greek army was exhausted and faced logistical diculties. The battle was
continued for 11 days, between 29 July and 9 August over
20 km of a maze of forests and mountains with no conclusion. The Greek King, seeing that the units he fought
were from the Serbian front, tried to convince the Serbs
to renew their attack, as the front ahead of them was now
thinner, but the Serbs rejected it. By then, news came
of the Romanian advance toward Soa and its imminent
fall. Facing the danger of encirclement, Constantine realized that his army could no longer continue hostilities,
agreed to Eleftherios Venizelos' proposal and accepted
the Bulgarian request for armistice as this had been communicated through Romania.
Romania had raised an army and declared war on Bulgaria on 10 July(27 June) as it had from 28(15) June of-

Seeing the military position of the Bulgarian army the

Ottomans decided to intervene. They attacked and nding no opposition, managed to recover eastern Thrace
with its fortied city of Adrianople, regaining an area in
Europe which was only slightly larger than the presentday European territory of the Republic of Turkey.

2.1.4 Reactions among the Great Powers

during the wars

Tirana Bazaar at the turn of the 20th century.

The developments that led to the First Balkan War did

not go unnoticed by the Great Powers, but although there
was an ocial consensus between the European Powers over the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire,
which led to a stern warning to the Balkan states, unocially each of them took a dierent diplomatic approach due to their conicting interests in the area. As a
result, any possible preventive eect of the common ofcial warning was cancelled by the mixed unocial signals, and failed to prevent or to stop the war:
Russia was a prime mover in the establishment of
the Balkan League and saw it as an essential tool
in case of a future war against its rival, the AustroHungarian Empire.[22] But it was unaware of the
Bulgarian plans over Thrace and Constantinople,
territories on which it had long-held ambitions, and
on which it had just secured a secret agreement of
expansion from its allies France and Britain, as a reward for participating in the upcoming Great War
against the Central Powers.
France, not feeling ready for a war against Germany
in 1912, took a totally negative position against the
war, rmly informing its ally Russia that it would
not take part in a potential conict between Russia


and Austria-Hungary if it resulted from the actions
of the Balkan League. The French however failed
to achieve British participation in a common intervention to stop the Balkan conict.
The British Empire, although ocially a staunch
supporter of the Ottoman Empires integrity, took
secret diplomatic steps encouraging Greek entry
into the League in order to counteract Russian inuence. At the same time it encouraged Bulgarian aspirations over Thrace, preferring a Bulgarian Thrace
to a Russian one, despite the assurances the British
had given to the Russians in regard to their expansion there.
Austria-Hungary, struggling for a port on the
Adriatic and seeking ways for expansion in the south
at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, was totally
opposed to any other nations expansion in the area.
At the same time, the Habsburg empire had its own
internal problems with signicant Slav populations
that campaigned against German-Hungarian control
of the multinational state. Serbia, whose aspirations
in the direction of Austrian-held Bosnia were no secret, was considered an enemy and the main tool
of Russian machinations that were behind the agitation of Austrias Slav subjects. But Austria-Hungary
failed to secure German backup for a rm reaction.
Initially, Emperor Wilhelm II told the Archduke
Franz Ferdinand that Germany was ready to support Austria in all circumstanceseven at the risk
of a world war, but the Austro-Hungarians hesitated.
Finally, in the German Imperial War Council of 8
December 1912 the consensus was that Germany
would not be ready for war until at least mid-1914
and passed notes to that eect to the Habsburgs.
Consequently, no actions could be taken when the
Serbs acceded to the Austrian ultimatum of 18 October and withdrew from Albania.
Germany, already heavily involved in internal Ottoman politics, ocially opposed a war against the
Empire. But in her eort to win Bulgaria for the
Central Powers, and seeing the inevitability of Ottoman disintegration, was toying with the idea of
replacing the Balkan area of the Ottomans with
a friendly Greater Bulgaria in her San Stefano
bordersan idea that was based on the German origin of the Bulgarian King and his anti-Russian sentiments.
The Second Balkan war was a catastrophic blow to Russian policies in the Balkans, where Russia had focused
its interests for access to the warm seas for centuries.
First, it marked the end of the Balkan League, a vital
arm of the Russian system of defense against AustriaHungary. Second, the clearly pro-Serbian position Russia
had been forced to take in the conict, mainly due to Bulgarias uncompromising aggressiveness, caused a permanent break-up between the two countries. Accordingly,

Bulgaria reverted its policy to one closer to the Central
Powers' understanding over an anti-Serbian front, due to
its new national aspirations, now expressed mainly against
Serbia. As a result, Serbia was isolated militarily against
its rival Austria-Hungary, a development that eventually
doomed Serbia in the coming war a year later. But most
damaging, the new situation eectively trapped Russian
foreign policy: After 1913, Russia could not aord losing
its last ally in this crucial area and thus had no alternatives
but to unconditionally support Serbia when the crisis between Serbia and Austria broke out in 1914. This was
a position that inevitably drew her, although unwillingly,
into a World War with devastating results for her, since
she was less prepared (both militarily and socially) for
that event than any other Great Power.
Austria-Hungary took alarm at the great increase in Serbias territory at the expense of its national aspirations in
the region, as well as Serbias rising status, especially to
Austria-Hungarys Slavic populations. This concern was
shared by Germany, which saw Serbia as a satellite of
Russia. This contributed signicantly to the two Central
Powers willingness to go to war as soon as possible.
Finally, when a Serbian backed organization assassinated
the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, causing the
1914 July Crisis, nobody could stop the conict and the
First World War broke out.

2.1.5 Aftermath
Soviet demographer Boris Urlanis estimated in Voini I
Narodo-Nacelenie Europi (1960) that in the rst and second Balkan wars there were 122,000 killed in action,
20,000 dead of wounds, and 82,000 dead of disease.

2.1.6 All Balkan War Conicts

First Balkan War Conicts
Bulgarian-Ottoman Battles
Greek-Ottoman Battles
Serbian-Ottoman Battles
Second Balkan War Conicts
Bulgarian-Greek Battles
Bulgarian-Serbian Battles
Bulgarian-Ottoman Battles



Bulgarian-Romanian Battles

[10] Balkan Wars Encyclopdia Britannica Online.

[11] Erickson 2003, p. 333


See also

International relations (18141919)

[12] History of Greece Encyclopdia Britannica Online

[13] Hall 2000, p. 65

Since the area has been referred to as the Balkans, notable [14] Hall 2000, p. 117
conicts have included the following:
The Ottoman wars in Europe
The Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885)

[15] George Phillipov (Winter 1995). THE MACEDONIAN ENIGMA. Magazine: Australia &World Affairs,. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2008.

The Albanian Revolt of 1910

[16] Hugh Poulton, Who are the Macedonians?", 2000, p.75

The Albanian Revolt of 1912

[17] Balkan Forum, Volume 5, Issues 12, 1997, p.132

The Balkans Campaign (World War I)

[18] Targeting civilians in war; Alexander B. Downes;

22%20greeks%20massacres&f=false p.35

The Balkans Campaign (World War II)

The Yugoslav wars (19911999)
List of places burned during the Balkan Wars



Members of Beikta J.K. fought in the war for the

defense of the Ottoman Empire. The clubs colors,
which were originally red and white were changed
to black and white following the heavy loss of the
territories as a sign of mourning.



[1] Edward J. Erickson, Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman Army

in the Balkans, 19121913, Westport, Praeger, 2003, p.
[2] Christopher Clark (2013). The Sleepwalkers: How Europe
Went to War in 1914. HarperCollins. pp. 45, 559.
[3] Richard C. Hall, The Balkan Wars 19121913: Prelude to
the First World War (2000)
[4] Ernst C. Helmreich, The diplomacy of the Balkan wars,
19121913 (1938)
[5] Richard C. Hall, The Balkan Wars, 19121913: Prelude
to the First World War (2000) online
[6] The World Crisis, 19111918 Winston Churchill, https:
Charles Scribners Sons, pp. 278
[7] Military League, Encyclopdia Britannica Online
[8] THE BALKAN WARS. US Library of Congress.
2007. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
[9] Hall, Richard. 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War http://encyclopedia.
Retrieved 26 June 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)

[19] Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the

Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, published by the
Endowment Washington, D.C. 1914, p. 97-99 pp.7995
[20] The Great Events by Famous Historians, Charles F.
Horne, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4264-4107-3, p. 420
[21] Hall, Richard (2000). The Balkan Wars, 19121913: Prelude to the First World War. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN
[22] Stowell, Ellery Cory (2009). The Diplomacy Of The War
Of 1914: The Beginnings Of The War (1915). Kessinger
Publishing, LLC. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-104-48758-4.

2.1.10 Further reading

Clark, Christopher (2013). The Sleepwalkers: How
Europe Went to War in 1914. HarperCollins.
Erickson, Edward J. Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman
Army in the Balkans, 19121913. Praeger. (2003)
ISBN 0275978885 OCLC 845518305 Available as
an e-book. ISBN 0313051798 OCLC 57426266
Gerolymatos, Andr. The Balkan wars: conquest,
revolution, and retribution from the Ottoman era
to the twentieth century and beyond. Basic Books
(2002) ISBN 0465027326 OCLC 49323460
Hall, Richard C. The Balkan Wars, 19121913:
Prelude to the First World War. Routledge. (2000)
online ISBN 0-415-22947-2 OCLC 45144367
Helmreich, Ernst C. The diplomacy of the Balkan
wars, 19121913. Harvard University Press.(1938)
OCLC 3819108 Reprinted in 1969 by Russell.
OCLC 847291378



Macmillan, Margaret. The War That Ended Peace: spy Rade Malobabi. Tankosi armed the assassins with
The Road to 1914 (2013) ch 16 excerpt and text bombs and pistols and trained them. The assassins were
given access to the same clandestine network of safehouses and agents that Malobabi used for the inltration
Winston Churchill. The World Crisis, 1911 of weapons and operatives into Austria-Hungary.
1918 , (1931)
The assassins, the key members of the clandestine netid=6l6Fgnz8fXIC, pp. 278
work, and the key Serbian military conspirators who were
still alive were arrested, tried, convicted and punished.
Those who were arrested in Bosnia were tried in Sarajevo
2.1.11 External links
in October 1914. The other conspirators were arrested
U.S. State Department. The Formation of the and tried before a Serbian court on the French-controlled
Balkan Alliance of 1912 (1918)
Salonika Front in 19161917 on unrelated false charges;
Serbia executed three of the top military conspirators.
Project Gutenbergs The Balkan Wars: 19121913, Much of what is known about the assassinations comes
by Jacob Gould Schurman
from these two trials and related records.
US Library of Congress in the Balkan Wars
The Balkan crises, 19031914

2.2.1 Background


Further information: History of Serbia (18041918),

Ottoman Empire and Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia
and Herzegovina
Under the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Austria-Hungary re-

Military uniforms and insignia of the Balkan Wars

Balkan Wars: An Overview
Facts and historical notes about Macedonia and Bulgaria, contemporary historians obejectivism issues,
Balkan Wars from a Turkish perspective
The New Students Reference
Work/The Balkans and the Peace of Europe
Historic lms about the Balkan Wars at

2.2 Assassination of Archduke

Franz Ferdinand of Austria
On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria,
heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his
wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in
Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins (ve Serbs and one Bosniak) coordinated by Danilo
Ili, a Bosnian Serb and a member of the Black Hand secret society. The political objective of the assassination
was to break o Austria-Hungary's South Slav provinces
so they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. The assassins motives were consistent with the movement that
later became known as Young Bosnia. The assassination
led directly to the First World War when Austria-Hungary
subsequently issued an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, which was partially rejected. Austria-Hungary then
declared war.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

ceived the mandate to occupy and administer the Ottoman Vilayet of Bosnia while the Ottoman Empire retained ocial sovereignty. Under this same treaty, the
Great Powers (Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, and Russian Empire)
gave ocial recognition to the Principality of Serbia as a
fully sovereign state, which four years later transformed
In charge of these Serbian military conspirators was Chief into a kingdom under Prince Milan IV Obrenovi who
of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrijevi, thus became King Milan I of Serbia. Serbias monarchs,
his right-hand man Major Vojislav Tankosi, and the at the time from the royal House of Obrenovi that main-



tained close relations with Austria-Hungary, were content Austria-Hungary who chafed under Austro-Hungarian
to reign within the borders set by the treaty.[1]
rule and whose nationalist sentiments were stirred by
In the ve years leadThis changed in May 1903, when Serbian military of- Serb cultural organizations.

mostly Serb citizens

cers led by Dragutin Dimitrijevi stormed the Serbian

of unsuccessful asRoyal Palace. After a erce battle in the dark, the attacksassination
ers captured General Laza Petrovi, head of the Palace
The assassins reGuard, and forced him to reveal the hiding place of against Austro-Hungarian ocials.
King Alexander I Obrenovi and his wife Queen Draga.
The King and Queen opened the door from their hiding place. The King was shot thirty times; the Queen
eighteen. MacKenzie writes that the royal corpses were
then stripped and brutally sabred.[2] The attackers threw
the corpses of King Alexander and Queen Draga out of
a palace window, ending any threat that loyalists would
mount a counterattack.[3] General Petrovi was then
killed too (Vojislav Tankosi organized the murders of
Queen Dragas brothers;[4] Dimitrijevi and Tankosi in
19131914 gure prominently in the plot to assassinate
Franz Ferdinand). The conspirators installed Peter I of
the House of Karaorevi as the new king.[4]
The new dynasty was more nationalist, friendlier to Russia and less friendly to Austria-Hungary.[5] Over the
next decade, disputes between Serbia and its neighbors
erupted, as Serbia moved to build its power and gradually reclaim its 14th century empire. These conicts
included a customs dispute with Austria-Hungary beginning in 1906 (commonly referred to as the "Pig War");[6]
the Bosnian crisis of 19081909, in which Serbia assumed an attitude of protest over Austria-Hungarys annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (ending in Serbian acquiescence without compensation in March 1909);[7] and
nally the two Balkan Wars of 19121913, in which Serbia conquered Macedonia and Kosovo from the Ottoman
Empire and drove out Bulgaria.[8]

Gavrilo Princip

Serbias military successes and Serbian outrage over

the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
emboldened Serbian nationalists in Serbia and Serbs in

On 15 June 1910, Bogdan eraji attempted to kill the

iron-sted Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, General
Marijan Vareanin. eraji was a 22-year-old Orthodox
Serb from Nevesinje, Herzegovina, who was a student
at the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb and
made frequent trips to Belgrade.[12] (General Vereanin
went on to crush the last Bosnian peasant uprising in the
second half of 1910.)[13] The ve bullets eraji red
at Vareanin and the fatal bullet he put in his own brain
made eraji an inspiration to future assassins, including Princip and Princips accomplice abrinovi. Princip said that eraji was my rst model. When I was
seventeen I passed whole nights at his grave, reecting on
our wretched condition and thinking of him. It is there
that I made up my mind sooner or later to perpetrate an
In 1913, Emperor Franz Joseph commanded Archduke
Franz Ferdinand to observe the military maneuvers in
Bosnia scheduled for June 1914.[15] Following the maneuvers, Ferdinand and his wife planned to visit Sarajevo
to open the state museum in its new premises there.[16]
Duchess Sophie, according to their oldest son, Duke
Maximilian, accompanied her husband out of fear for his
As a Czech countess [she] was treated as a commoner at
the Austrian court.[18] Emperor Franz Joseph had only
consented to their marriage on the condition that their descendants would never ascend the throne. The 14th anniversary of their morganatic marriage fell on 28 June.
As historian A. J. P. Taylor observes:

Photograph of the Archduke and his wife emerging from the

Sarajevo Town Hall to board their car, a few minutes before the

[Sophie] could never share [Franz Ferdinands] rank ... could never share his splen-



dours, could never even sit by his side on any

public occasion. There was one loophole ...
his wife could enjoy the recognition of his
rank when he was acting in a military capacity. Hence, he decided, in 1914, to inspect the
army in Bosnia. There, at its capital Sarajevo,
the Archduke and his wife could ride in an open
carriage side by side ... Thus, for love, did the
Archduke go to his death.[19]

Black Hand, having been sworn into the organization by

Black Hand Provincial Director for Bosnia-Herzegovina
Vladimir Gacinovi and Danilo Ili. Mehmedbai
was (here quoting Albertini paraphrasing Mehmedbai)
eager to carry out an act of terrorism to revive the
revolutionary spirit of Bosnia.[27] During this January
1914 meeting, various possible Austro-Hungarian targets
for assassination were discussed, including Franz Ferdinand. However, the participants decided only to dispatch
Mehmed Mehmedbai to Sarajevo, to kill the Governor
Franz Ferdinand was an advocate of increased federal- of Bosnia, Oskar Potiorek.[27]
ism and widely believed to favor trialism, under which
While Mehmedbai was travelling to BosniaAustria-Hungary would be reorganized by combining the
Herzegovina from France, police searched his train
Slavic lands within the Austro-Hungarian empire into
for a thief. Thinking the police might be after him, he
a third crown.[20] A Slavic kingdom could have been
threw his weapons (a dagger and a bottle of poison)
a bulwark against Serb irredentism, and Franz Ferdiout the train window.[27] Once he arrived in Bosnianand was therefore perceived as a threat by those same
Herzegovina he had to set about looking for replacement
irredentists.[21] Princip later stated to the court that preweapons.
venting Franz Ferdinands planned reforms was one of his
The day of the assassination, June 28 (June 15 in the
Julian calendar), is the feast of St. Vitus. In Serbia, it
is called Vidovdan and commemorates the 1389 Battle
of Kosovo against the Ottomans, at which the Sultan was
assassinated in his tent by a Serb.



Planning direct action

Danilo Ili was a Bosnian Orthodox Serb. He had worked
as a school teacher and as a bank worker but in 1913 and
1914 he lived with, and outwardly o, his mother, who
operated a small boarding house in Sarajevo. Secretly,
Ili was leader of the Serbian-irredentist Black Hand cell
in Sarajevo. In late 1913, Danilo Ili came to the Serbian listening post at Uice to speak to the ocer in
charge, Serbian Colonel C. A. Popovi, who was a captain at the time and a member of the Black Hand. Ili
recommended an end to the period of revolutionary organization building and a move to direct action against
Austria-Hungary. Popovi passed Danilo Ili on to Belgrade to discuss this matter with Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevi, known
more commonly as Apis.[23] By 1913, Apis and his fellow military conspirators (drawn heavily from the ranks
of the May 1903 coup) had come to dominate what was
left of the Black Hand.[24]

Franz Ferdinand chosen

The search for new weapons delayed Mehmedbai's attempt on Potiorek. Before Mehmedbai was ready
to act, Ili summoned him to Mostar. On 26 March
1914,[28] Ili informed Mehmedbai that Belgrade had
scrapped the mission to kill the governor. The plan
now was to murder Franz Ferdinand, and Mehmedbai
should stand by for the new operation.[29] (Apis confessed
to the Serbian Court that he ordered the assassination of
Franz Ferdinand in his position as head of the Intelligence
Department.)[30] The assassination was planned with the
knowledge and approval of the Russian ambassador in
Belgrade Nikolai Hartwig and the Russian military attache in Belgrade Viktor Artamonov.[31]

Ili recruited the Serbian youths Vaso ubrilovi and

Cvjetko Popovi shortly after Easter (Orthodox Easter
as given by Dedijer: 19 April 1914), for the assassination, as evidenced by the testimony of Ili, ubrilovi,
and Popovi at the Sarajevo trial.[32] Three youths
Gavrilo Princip,[33] Trifko Grabe,[34] and Nedeljko
abrinovi[35] Bosnian Serb subjects of AustriaHungary, living in Belgrade, testied at the Sarajevo trial
that at about the same time (a little after Easter), they
were eager to carry out an assassination and approached
a fellow Bosnian Serb and former guerrilla ghter known
to be well connected and with access to arms, Milan
Ciganovi, and through him Major Tankosi and reached
There are no reports as to what took place between Ili an agreement to transport arms to Sarajevo and particiand Apis, but soon after their meeting, Apiss righthand pate in the assassination.
man and fellow Black Hander, Serbian Major Vojislav Agreement in principle was quickly reached, but delivery
Tankosi, who by this time was in charge of guerrilla of the weapons was delayed for more than a month. The
training, called a Serbian irredentist planning meeting in assassins would meet with Ciganovi and he would put
Toulouse, France.[25] Amongst those summoned to the them o. At one point, Ciganovi told Grabe: NothToulouse meeting was Muhamed Mehmedbai, a car- ing doing, the old Emperor is ill and the Heir Apparent
penter by trade and son of an impoverished Muslim no- will not go to Bosnia.[36] When Emperor Franz Josephs
ble from Herzegovina.[26] He too was a member of the health recovered the operation was a go again. Tankosi



gave the assassins one FN Model 1910 pistol. They prac- with the names of three customs ocials whose identities
ticed shooting a few rounds of scarce and expensive .380 they could assume and thereby receive discounted train
ACP pistol ammunition in a park near Belgrade.[37]
tickets for the ride to Loznica, a small border town.[44][45]
The rest of the weapons were nally delivered on 26
May.[38] The three assassins from Belgrade testied
that Major Tankosi, directly and through Ciganovi,
not only provided six hand grenades and four new
Browning FN Model 1910 automatic pistols with .380
ACP ammunition,[37] but also money,[38] suicide pills,[39]
training,[34] a special map with the location of gendarmes marked,[40] knowledge of contacts on a clandestine tunnel used to inltrate agents and arms into AustriaHungary,[41] and a small card authorizing the use of
that tunnel.[42] Major Tankosi conrmed to the journalist and historian Luciano Magrini that he provided the
bombs and pistols and was responsible for training Princip, Grabe, and abrinovi and that he (Tankosi) initiated the idea of the suicide pills.[43]



Belgrd (mjus 28.)




(jn. 1-3)


(mj. 28-29.)


Loznica (mj. 29-30.)



(jn. 4)
A hrom mernyl tvonala
Princip s Grabe tvonala
abrinovi tvonala


Route of the assassins from Belgrade to Sarajevo



Belgrd (mjus 28.)





(jn. 3-15)

(mj. 28-29.)

When Princip, Grabe, and abrinovi reached Loznica

on 29 May, Captain Prvanovi summoned three of his
revenue sergeants to discuss the best way to cross the
border undetected. While waiting for the sergeants to
arrive, Princip and Grabe had a falling out with abrinovi over abrinovi's repeated violations of operational
security.[46] abrinovi handed over the weapons he was
carrying to Princip and Grabe. Princip told abrinovi
to go alone to Zvornik, make an ocial crossing there
using Grabe's ID card and then go on to Tuzla and link
back up.[47]
On the morning of 30 May Prvanovi's revenue sergeants
assembled and Sergeant Budivoj Grbi accepted the task
and led Princip and Grabe by foot to Isakovi's Island,
a small island in the middle of the Drina River that
separated Serbia from Bosnia. They and their weapons
reached the island on 31 May. Grbi passed the terrorists and their weapons to the agents of the Serbian
Narodna Odbrana for transport into Austro-Hungarian
territory and from safe-house to safe-house. Princip and
Grabe crossed into Austria-Hungary on the evening of
1 June.[48] Princip and Grabe and the weapons were
passed from agent to agent until on 3 June they arrived
in Tuzla. They left the weapons in the hands of the
Narodna Odbrana agent Miko Jovanovi and rejoined
The Narodna Odbrana agents reported their activities
to the Narodna Odbrana President, Boa Jankovi, who
in turn reported to the then Serbian Caretaker Prime
Minister Nikola Pai.[50] The report to Pai added the
name of a new military conspirator, Serbian Major Kosta
Todorovi, Boundary Commissioner and Director of Serbian Military Intelligence Services for the frontier line
from Rada to Ljubovija. Pai's handwritten notes from
the brieng (estimated by Dedijer to have taken place
on 5 June) included the nickname of one of the assassins (Trifko Grabe) and also the name of Major
Tankosi.[51] The Austrians later captured the report,
Pai's handwritten notes, and additional corroborating


Loznica (mj. 29-30.)



(jn. 15)
A hrom mernyl tvonala
Princip s Grabe tvonala
Jovanovi tvonala
Ili tvonala


Route of the weapons from Belgrade to Sarajevo

Princip, Grabe, and abrinovi left Belgrade by boat on

28 May and traveled along the Sava River to abac where
they handed the small card to Captain Popovi of the Serbian Border Guard. Popovi, in turn, provided them with
a letter to Serbian Captain Prvanovi, and lled out a form

abrinovi's father was a Sarajevo police ocial. In Tuzla, abrinovi bumped into one of his fathers friends,
Sarajevo Police Detective Ivan Vila, and struck up a conversation. By coincidence, Princip, Grabe and abrinovi boarded the same train for Sarajevo as Detective
Vila. abrinovi inquired of the detective the date of
Franz Ferdinands visit to Sarajevo. The next morning,
abrinovi passed on the news to his fellow assassins that
the assassination would be on 28 June.[53]
On arriving in Sarajevo on 4 June, Princip, Grabe, and
abrinovi went their separate ways. Princip checked
in with Ili, visited his family in Hadici and returned
to Sarajevo on 6 June taking up residence at Ili's



mothers house with Ili.[54] Grabe joined his family in

Pale. abrinovi moved back into his fathers house in
On 14 June, Ili went to Tuzla to bring the weapons to
Sarajevo. Miko Jovanovi hid the weapons in a large
box of sugar. On 15 June, the two went separately by
train to Doboj where Jovanovi handed o the box to
Ili.[56] Later that day, Ili returned to Sarajevo by train,
being careful to transfer to a local train outside Sarajevo
and then quickly transfer to a tram to avoid police detection. Once at his mothers house, Ili hid the weapons
in a suitcase under a sofa.[57] Then, on approximately 17
June, Ili traveled to Brod (Dedijer puts it on 16 June, but
trial records put it on 18 June). Questioned at trial, Ili
gave a confused explanation of the reason for his trip, rst
saying he had gone to Brod to prevent the assassination
and then saying he had returned to Sarajevo from Brod
to prevent the assassination.[58] Dedijer puts forward the
thesis (citing Bogijevi) that Ili went to Brod to meet
an emissary of Apis, Djuro arac, who had instructions
to cancel the assassination and then later Rade Malobabi
was dispatched from Serbia to Sarajevo to reauthorize the

The 1911 Grf & Stift 28/32 PS Double Phaeton in which the
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was riding at the time of his assassination.

the preannounced program was for a brief inspection of

a military barracks. According to the program, at 10:00
a.m., the motorcade was to leave the barracks for the town
hall by way of the Appel Quay.[61]

Security arrangements within Sarajevo were limited. The

local military commander, General Michael von Appel,
proposed that troops line the intended route but was told
Eve of the attacks
that this would oend the loyal citizenry. Protection for
Ili began handing out the weapons on 27 June. Until 27 the visiting party was accordingly left to the Sarajevo poJune Ili had kept the identities of the assassins from Bel- lice, of whom only 60 were on duty on the day of the
grade secret from those he had recruited locally and vice visit.
versa. Then, that night, as Mehmedbai told Albertini:
On the eve of the outrage Ili introduced me to Princip
in a Sarajevo caf with the words 'Mehmedbai who to- Bombing
morrow is to be with us.'"[22] The three sent a postcard to
Black Hand Provincial Director for Bosnia-Herzegovina
Vladimir Gainovi in France.[22]
The following morning, on 28 June 1914, Ili positioned
the six assassins along the motorcade route. Ili walked
the street, exhorting the assassins to bravery.[22]



On the morning of 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his
party proceeded by train from Ilida Spa to Sarajevo.[16]
Governor Oskar Potiorek met the party at Sarajevo station. Six automobiles were waiting. By mistake, three
local police ocers got into the rst car with the chief
ocer of special security; the special security ocers
who were supposed to accompany their chief got left
behind.[60] The second car carried the Mayor and the
Chief of Police of Sarajevo. The third car in the motorcade was a Grf & Stift 28/32 PS open sports car with its
top folded down. Franz Ferdinand, Sophie, Governor Potiorek, and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach
rode in this third car.[60] The motorcades rst stop on

A map annotated with the events of 28 June 1914, from an ocial report.

The motorcade passed the rst assassin, Mehmedbai.

Danilo Ili had placed him in front of the garden of the
Mostar Cafe and armed him with a bomb.[63] Mehmedbai failed to act. Ili placed Vaso ubrilovi next to
Mehmedbai, arming him with a pistol and a bomb. He
too failed to act. Further along the route, Ili placed
Nedeljko abrinovi on the opposite side of the street
near the Miljacka River arming him with a bomb.



At 10:10 am,[64] Franz Ferdinands car approached and

abrinovi threw his bomb. The bomb bounced o
the folded back convertible cover into the street.[65] The
bombs timed detonator caused it to explode under the
next car, putting that car out of action, leaving a 1-footdiameter (0.30 m), 6.5-inch-deep (170 mm) crater,[64]
and wounding 1620 people.[66]
abrinovi swallowed his cyanide pill and jumped into
the Miljacka river. abrinovi's suicide attempt failed, as
the cyanide only induced vomiting, and the Miljacka was
only 13 cm deep due to the hot, dry summer.[67] Police
dragged abrinovi out of the river, and he was severely
beaten by the crowd before being taken into custody.
The procession sped away towards the Town Hall leaving the disabled car behind. Cvjetko Popovi, Gavrilo
Princip, and Trifun Grabe failed to act as the motorcade
passed them at high speed.[68]
Town Hall reception


sef Stre
Frans Jo

this suggestion[71] on the grounds that soldiers coming

straight from maneuvers would not have the dress uniforms appropriate for such duties.[72] Do you think that
Sarajevo is full of assassins?" he concluded.[71]
Franz Ferdinand and Sophie gave up their planned program in favor of visiting the wounded from the bombing,
at the hospital. Count Harrach took up a protective position on the left-hand running board of Franz Ferdinands
car.[73] This is conrmed by photographs of the scene outside the Town Hall. At 10:45 a.m., Franz Ferdinand and
Sophie got back into the motorcade, once again in the
third car.[73] In order to avoid the city center, General
Oskar Potiorek decided that the royal car should travel
straight along the Appel Quay to the Sarajevo Hospital.
However, the driver, Leopold Lojka,[74] took a right turn
into Franz Josef Street. The reason for this is that Potioreks aide Eric(h) von Merrizzi was in the hospital, and
was therefore unable to give Lojka the information about
the change in plans and the driving route.[75] The Sarajevo
Chief of Police Edmund Gerde (who had earlier repeatedly protested about the lack of security precautions for
the visit)[72] was asked to tell the drivers of the new route
but in the confusion and tensions of the moment neglected
to do so.[76]
Fatal shooting











er Bri




Map of the place where the Archduke was killed.

Arriving at the Town Hall for a scheduled reception,

Franz Ferdinand showed understandable signs of stress,
interrupting a prepared speech of welcome by Mayor Fehim Curi to protest: Mr. Mayor, I came here on a
visit and I am greeted with bombs. It is outrageous.[69]
Duchess Sophie then whispered into Franz Ferdinands
ear, and after a pause, Franz Ferdinand said to the mayor:
Now you may speak.[64] He then became calm and the
mayor gave his speech. Franz Ferdinand had to wait as
his own speech, still wet with blood from being in the
damaged car, was brought to him. To the prepared text
he added a few remarks about the days events thanking
the people of Sarajevo for their ovations as I see in them
an expression of their joy at the failure of the attempt at
Ocials and members of the Archdukes party discussed
what to do next. The archdukes chamberlain, Baron
Rumerskirch, proposed that the couple remain at the
Town Hall until troops could be brought into the city to
line the streets. Governor-General Oskar Potiorek vetoed

Many sources describe this picture as showing Princip being arrested, but modern historians believe that the man was a bystander named Ferdinand Behr.[77]

After learning that the rst assassination attempt had

been unsuccessful, Princip thought about a position to
assassinate the Archduke on his return journey, and decided to move to a position in front of a nearby food
shop (Schillers delicatessen), near the Latin Bridge.[78]
At this point the Archdukes motorcade turned o the Appel Quay, mistakenly following the original route which
would have taken them to the National Museum. Governor Potiorek, who was sharing the second vehicle with
the Imperial couple, called out to the driver to reverse and
take the Quay to the hospital. Driver Lojka stopped the
car close to where Princip was standing, prior to backing
up. The latter stepped forward and red two shots from
a distance of about one and a half metres (5 feet)[79] us-



ing a Belgian-made 917mm (.380 ACP) Fabrique Nationale model 1910 semi-automatic pistol. Pistol serial
numbers 19074, 19075, 19120 and 19126 were supplied
to the assassins; Princip used #19074.[80] According to
Albertini, the rst bullet wounded the Archduke in the
jugular vein, the second inicted an abdominal wound on
the Duchess.[81] Princip was immediately arrested. At
his sentencing, Princip stated that his intention had been
to kill Governor Potiorek, rather than Sophie.[82]
Both victims remained seated upright, but died while being driven to the Governors residence for medical treatment. As reported by Count Harrach, Franz Ferdinands
last words were Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for
our children!" followed by six or seven utterances of It
is nothing. in response to Harrachs inquiry as to Franz
Ferdinands injury.[83] These utterances were followed by
a long death rattle. Sophie was dead on arrival at the
Governors residence. Franz Ferdinand died 10 minutes
Alfred, 2nd Prince of Montenuovo, Franz Josephs
Chamberlain, hated Franz Ferdinand and Sophie with a
passion and with the emperors connivance, decided to
turn the funeral into a massive and vicious snub.

Crowds on the streets in the aftermath of the Anti-Serb riots in

Sarajevo, 29 June 1914.

parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly on

the territory of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and
Croatia.[89][90][91] They were organized and stimulated
by Oskar Potiorek, the Austro-Hungarian governor of
Bosnia and Herzegovina.[92] The rst anti-Serb demonstrations, led by the followers of Josip Frank, were organized in early evening of 28 June in Zagreb. The following day, anti-Serb demonstrations in Sarajevo became
more violent and could be characterized as a pogrom.
The police and local authorities in the city did nothing
to prevent anti-Serb violence.[93] Writer Ivo Andri referred to the violence in Sarajevo as the Sarajevo frenzy
of hate.[94] Two Serbs were killed on the rst day of
pogrom in Sarajevo, many were attacked, while around
1,000 houses, shops, schools and institutions (such as
banks, hotels, printing houses) owned by Serbs were
razed or pillaged.[95]

The bodies were transported to Trieste by the battleship

SMS Viribus Unitis and then to Vienna by special train.
Even though most foreign royalty had planned to attend,
they were pointedly disinvited and the funeral was just
the immediate imperial family, with the dead couples
three children excluded from the few public ceremonies.
The ocer corps was forbidden to salute the funeral train,
and this led to a minor revolt led by Archduke Karl, the
new heir to the throne. The public viewing of the cons
was curtailed severely and even more scandalously, Mon- 2.2.4 Trials and punishment
tenuovo tried unsuccessfully to make the children foot
the bill. The Archduke and Duchess were interred at Sarajevo trial (October 1914)
Artstetten Castle because his wife could not be buried at
Austro-Hungarian authorities arrested and prosecuted the
the Imperial Crypt.[85]
Sarajevo assassins (except for Mehmedbai who had escaped to Montenegro and was released from police custody there to Serbia)[96] together with the agents and peasAftermath
ants who had assisted them on their way. The top count
All of the assassins were eventually caught.[86] Those in in the indictments was conspiracy to commit high treason
Austro-Hungarian custody were tried together with mem- involving ocial circles in the Kingdom of Serbia. Conbers of the inltration route who had helped deliver them spiracy to commit high treason carried a maximum senand their weapons to Sarajevo. Mehmedbai was ar- tence of death which conspiracy to commit simple murrested in Montenegro, but was allowed to escape to Ser- der did not. The trial was held from 12 October to 23
bia where he joined Major Tankosi's auxiliaries,[87] but October with the verdict and sentences announced on 28
in 1916 Serbia imprisoned him on other false charges (see October 1914.
criminal penalty section below).
The adult defendants, facing the death penalty, portrayed
Anti-Serb rioting broke out in Sarajevo and various other
places within Austria-Hungary in the hours following the
assassination until order was restored by the military.[88]
On the night of the assassination, country-wide anti-Serb
pogroms and demonstrations were also organized in other

themselves at trial as unwilling participants in the conspiracy. The examination of defendant Veljko Cubrilovi
(who helped coordinate the transport of the weapons and
was a Narodna Odbrana agent) is illustrative of this effort. Cubrilovi stated to the court: Princip glared at




The Sarajevo trial in progress. Princip is seated in the center of

the rst row.

me and very forcefully said 'If you want to know, it is

for that reason and we are going to carry out an assassination of the Heir and if you know about it, you have
to be quiet. If you betray it, you and your family will
be destroyed.'"[97] Under questioning by defense counsel Cubrilovi described in more detail the basis of the
fears that he said had compelled him to cooperate with
Princip and Grabe.[98] Cubrilovi explained that he was
afraid a revolutionary organization capable of committing
great atrocities stood behind Princip and that he therefore
feared his house would be destroyed and his family killed
if he did not comply and explained that he knew such
an organization existed in Serbia, at least at one time.
When pressed for why he risked the punishment of the
law, and did not take the protection of the law against
these threats he responded: I was more afraid of terror
than the law.[98]

At trial abrinovi had expressed his regrets for the murders. Following sentencing, abrinovi received a letter
of complete forgiveness from the three young children
the assassins had orphaned.[103] abrinovi and Princip
died of tuberculosis in prison. Those under the age of
20 years at the time of the crime could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years under Austrian-Hungarian
law. The court heard arguments regarding Princips age,
as there was some doubt as to his true date of birth
but concluded that Princip was under 20 at the time of
the assassination.[104] Because Bosnia and Herzegovina
had not yet been assigned to Austria or to Hungary, the
Austro-Hungarian Finance Minister administered Bosnia
and Herzegovina and had responsibility for recommending clemency to the Kaiser.
Salonika trial (spring 1917)
In late 1916 and early 1917, secret peace talks took place
between Austria-Hungary and France. There is circumstantial evidence that parallel discussions were held between Austria-Hungary and Serbia with Prime Minister
Pai dispatching his righthand man Stojan Proti and
Regent Alexander dispatching his condant[105] Colonel
Petar ivkovi to Geneva on secret business.[106] Charles
I of Austria laid out Austria-Hungarys key demand for
returning Serbia to the control of the Serbian Government
in exile: that Serbia should provide guarantees that there
be no further political agitation emanating from Serbia
against Austria-Hungary.[107]
For some time, Regent Alexander and ocers loyal to
him had planned to get rid of the military clique headed
by Apis as Apis represented a political threat to Alexanders power.[108] The Austro-Hungarian peace demand
gave added impetus to this plan. On 15 March 1917 Apis
and the ocers loyal to him were indicted, on various
false charges unrelated to Sarajevo (the case was retried
before the Supreme Court of Serbia in 1953 and all defendants were exonerated),[109] by Serbian Court Martial
on the French-controlled Salonika front. On 23 May Apis
and eight of his associates were sentenced to death; two
others were sentenced to 15 years in prison. One defendant died during the trial and the charges against him were
dropped. The Serbian High Court reduced the number of
death sentences to seven. Regent Alexander commuted
four of the remaining death sentences, leaving just three
death sentences in place.[110] Amongst those tried, four
of the defendants had confessed their roles in Sarajevo
and their nal sentences were as follows:[111]

In order to refute the charge, the conspirators from Belgrade, who because of their youth did not face the death
penalty, focused during the trial on putting blame on
themselves and deecting it from ocial Serbia and modied their court testimony from their prior depositions
accordingly.[99] Princip stated under cross examination:
I am a Yugoslav nationalist and I believe in unication of
all South Slavs in whatever form of state and that it be free
of Austria. Princip was then asked how he intended to
realize his goal and responded: By means of terror.[100]
Cabrinovi, though, testied that the political views that
motivated him to kill Franz Ferdinand were views held
in the circles he traveled in within Serbia.[14] The court
did not believe the defendants stories claiming to hold
ocial Serbia blameless.[101] The verdict ran: The court
regards it as proved by the evidence that both the Narodna Odbrana and military circles in the Kingdom of Ser- In justifying the executions, Prime Minister Pai wrote
bia in charge of the espionage service, collaborated in the to his envoy in London:"...Dimitrijevi (Apis) besides evoutrage.[101]
erything else admitted he had ordered Franz Ferdinand to
Prison terms, death sentences and acquittals were as be killed. And now who could reprieve them?"[112]



general terms the risks the Archduke heir apparent might

run from the inamed public opinion in Bosnia and Serbia. Some serious personal misadventure might befall
him. His journey might give rise to incidents and demonstrations that Serbia would deprecate but that would have
fatal repercussions on Austro-Serbian relations.[119] Jovanovi came back from the meeting with Bilinski and
told Lesanin that "...Bilinski showed no sign of attaching
great importance to the total message and dismissed it
limiting himself to remarking when saying goodbye and
thanking him: 'Let us hope nothing does happen.'"[120]
The Austro-Hungarian Finance Minister took no action
based on Jovanovi's remarks.
In 1924 J. Jovanovi went public stating that his warning had been made on his own initiative, and what he
said was that Among the Serb youths (in the army) there
may be one who will put a ball-cartridge in his rie or
revolver in place of a blank cartridge and he may re it,
the bullet might strike the man giving provocation (Franz
Ferdinand).[121] J. Jovanovi's account changed back
and forth over the years and never adequately addressed
Colonel Lesanins statement.[122] Bilinski did not speak
Indictees at the Salonika trial, after the verdict
openly on the subject, but his press department chief conrmed that a meeting had taken place including a vague
As the three condemned men were driven to their exe- warning, but there was no mention of an ethnic Serb
cution, Apis remarked to the driver Now it is clear to Austro-Hungarian soldier shooting Franz Ferdinand.[121]
me and clear to you too, that I am to be killed today
In the days leading up to the assassination, Pai was careby Serbian ries solely because I organized the Sarajevo
taker prime minister because during this period the Seroutrage.[113]
bian Government briey fell to a political alliance led by
Vojislav Tankosi died in battle in late 1915 and so was the Serbian Military. The military favored promoting Jonot put on trial.[114]
van Jovanovi to Foreign Minister,[123] and Jovanovi's
loyalties one might expect to have been divided and his
orders therefore carried out poorly. By choosing a mili2.2.5 Controversy about responsibility
tary loyalist to convey the message, and by not including
any of the specics such as the conspirators names and
Serbias warning to Austria-Hungary
weapons, Pai, a survivor, hedged his bets against the
various possible outcomes and consequences of the imFollowing the assassinations, Serbian Ambassador to pending assassination.[124]
France Milenko Vesni and Serbian Ambassador to
Russia Spalaikovi put out statements claiming that
Serbia had warned Austria-Hungary of the impending
Rade Malobabi
assassination.[115] Serbia soon thereafter denied making
warnings and denied knowledge of the plot. Prime Minister Pai himself made these denials to Az Est on 7 July In 1914, Rade Malobabi was Serbian Military Inand to the Paris Edition of the New York Herald on 20 telligences chief undercover operative against AustriaJuly.[116] Other voices eventually spoke out on the warn- Hungary. His name appeared in Serbian documents caping. As Serbian Education Minister Ljuba Jovanovi tured by Austria-Hungary during the war. These docwrote in Krv Sloventsva, in late May or early June, Prime uments describe the running of arms, munitions, and
into Austria-Hungary under MalobMinister Pai reviewed the plot of the impending assas- agents from Serbia
On 18 June,
sination with members of his cabinet.
a telegram, lacking in specics, ordered Serbias Am- Owing to the suppression by Serbia of Apiss confession
bassador to Vienna, Jovan Jovanovi, to warn Austria- and of the Salonika trial transcripts historians did not
Hungary that Serbia had reason to believe there was a initially link Malobabi closely to the Sarajevo attack.
conspiracy to assassinate Franz Ferdinand in Bosnia.[118] Apiss confession, however, states that I engaged MalobOn 21 June, Ambassador Jovanovi met with Austro- abi to organize the assassination on the occasion of the
Hungarian Finance Minister Bilinski. According to Ser- announced arrival of Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo.[30] At
bian Military Attach to Vienna, Colonel Lesanin, Am- the Salonika trial, Colonel Ljubomir Vulovi (head of the
bassador Jovanovi, spoke to Bilinski and "...stressed in Serbian Frontiers Service) testied: 'In 1914 on occasion

of my ocial trip from Loznica to Belgrade, I received
a letter at the General Sta [signed by Marshal Putnik,
Serbias top military ocer] noting that agents of Malobabi would come and a teacher whose name I don't recall
(Danilo Ili was a teacher but it is unclear if the teacher
in question was Ili as Ili can be placed in Brod but not
Loznica) so I could sent [sic] them into Bosnia.' Because
of that 'I went to Loznica and either that day or very soon
afterwards sent Rade and that teacher into Bosnia.' Soon
thereafter occurred the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.[125] On the eve of his execution,
Malobabi told a priest: They ordered me to go to Sarajevo when that assassination was to take place, and when
everything was over, they ordered me to come back and
fulll other missions, and then there was the outbreak of
the war.[126][127] Vladimir Dedijer in The Road to Sarajevo presented additional testimonial evidence that Malobabi arrived in Sarajevo on the eve of the Sarajevo
attack and gave the nal go ahead for the operation to
Danilo Ili.[128] This meshes with Dedijers theory that
Djuro arac had given instructions to Ili on 16 June cancelling the assassination. Soon after their confessions,
Serbia executed Malobabi, Vulovi, and Apis on false
charges. Serbia published no clarications of their confessions with regards to the Sarajevo attack.


Balkan Wars, the Black Hand became moribund because of the death of its president and the failure to
replace him, an inactive secretary, casualties, broken
links between its three-man cells, and a drying up of
funding.[129] By 1914 the Black Hand was no longer
operating under its constitution but rather as a creature
of the Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence, Apis, and
its active ranks were composed mostly of Serbian ocers
loyal to Apis. Apiss confession to ordering the operation
that begins with the phrase As the Chief of the Intelligence Department of the General Sta,[30] the fact that
the military chain of command was invoked, the moribund nature of the Black Hand and the fact that under
the Black Hand constitution Article 16, such an assassination could only be ordered by a vote of the Supreme
Council Directorate, the President or the Secretary and
no such order was made,[130] are factors in favor of assigning responsibility to Serbian Military Intelligence. The
fact that Milan Ciganovi was involved, that the key ocers involved were Black Hand members,[131][132] that
Black Hand Provincial Director for Bosnia and Herzegovina Vladimir Gainovi was consulted[133] and that
there was no ocial budget for the operation favors assigning responsibility to the Black Hand.
The newspaper clipping

Black Hand or Serbian military intelligence?

At trial, it was noted that the three assassins from BelFurther information: Black Hand (Serbia)
grade tried to take all blame on themselves. abrinovi
An alternative theory to the Sarajevo attack being a Ser- claimed the idea of killing Franz Ferdinand came from
a newspaper clipping he received in the mail at the end
of March announcing Franz Ferdinands planned visit to
Sarajevo.[134] He then showed the newspaper clipping to
Princip and the next day they agreed they would kill Franz
Ferdinand. Princip explained to the court he had already
read about Franz Ferdinands upcoming visit in German
papers.[135] Princip went on to testify that, at about the
time of Easter (19 April), he wrote an allegorical letter to
Ili informing him of the plan to kill Franz Ferdinand.[136]
Grabe testied that he and Princip, also at about the time
of Easter, agreed between them to make an assassination
of either Governor Potiorek or Franz Ferdinand and a little later settled on Franz Ferdinand.[137] The defendants
refused or were unable to provide details under examination.
On 26 March Ili and Mehmedbai had already agreed
to kill Franz Ferdinand based on instructions from Belgrade predating the newspaper clipping and the discussions amongst the three assassins in Belgrade.[28]
The Black Hand seal

bian Military Intelligence Operation was that it was a Narodna Odbrana

Black Hand operation. The Black Hand was a shadowy organization formed in Serbia as a counterweight to Further information: Narodna Odbrana
the Bulgaria-sponsored Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO).
Serbian Military Intelligence through remnants of the
After Serbias victory over Bulgaria in Macedonia in the Black Hand penetrated the Narodna Odbrana, using


its clandestine tunnel to smuggle the assassins and their
weapons from Belgrade to Sarajevo. In the 5 June 1914
report by the President of the Narodna Odbrana Boa Milanovi to Prime Minister Pai one can sense the frustration of the President over the hijacking of his organization in the nal sentence dealing with Sarajevo: Boa has
informed all the agents that they should not receive anyone unless he produces the password given by Boa.[52]
Milan Ciganovi
Prime Minister Pai received early information of the assassination plan. The information was received by Pai
early enough, according to Education Minister Ljuba Jovanovi, for the government to order the border guards to
prevent the assassins from crossing. This places the cabinet minister discussions in late May and the information
release to some time before that.[138] Albertini concluded
that the source of the information was most likely Milan
Ciganovi.[139] Bogievi made a more forceful case.
The circumstantial evidence against Ciganovi includes
his sinecure government job, his protection by the
Chief of Police and Serbias failure to arrest him
(Austria-Hungary demanded Serbia arrest Major Vojislav Tankosi and Ciganovi, but Serbia arrested only
Tankosi and lied saying that Ciganovi could not be
found), Serbias protection of Ciganovi during the war,
and the governments provision for Ciganovi after it.
In 1917, all of the Sarajevo conspirators within Serbias
control were tried at Salonika on false charges, except
Ciganovi, who even gave evidence against his comrades
at the trial.
Russian military attach's oce
Apiss confession to ordering the assassination of Franz
Ferdinand states that Russian Military Attach Artamonov promised Russias protection from AustriaHungary if Serbias intelligence operations became exposed and that Russia had funded the assassination. Artamonov denied the involvement of his oce in an interview with Albertini. Artamonov stated that he went
on vacation to Italy leaving Assistant Military Attach
Alexander Werchovsky in charge and though he was in
daily contact with Apis he did not learn of Apiss role until
after the war had ended.[140] Albertini writes that he remained unconvinced by the behavior of this ocer.[141]
Werchovsky admitted the involvement of his oce and
then fell silent on the subject.[142]


judge from my conversation with members

of his (Russian Foreign Minister Sazonovs)
entourage, he (Sazonov) was convinced that
if the Archduke (Franz Ferdinand) were out
of the way, the peace of Europe would not be

2.2.6 Consequences
Further information: Causes of World War I
The murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Serbien muss sterb[i]en! (Serbia must die!"; last word altered

to rhyme).
The propaganda caricature shows an Austrian hand crushing a

and his wife produced widespread shock across Europe,

and there was initially much sympathy for the Austrian
position. Within two days of the assassination, AustriaHungary and Germany advised Serbia that it should open
an investigation, but Secretary General to the Serbian
Ministry of Foreign Aairs Slavko Gruic, replied Nothing had been done so far and the matter did not concern
the Serbian Government. An angry exchange followed
between the Austrian Charg d'Aaires at Belgrade and

After conducting a criminal investigation, verifying that

Germany would honor its military alliance, and persuading the skeptical Hungarian Count Tisza, AustriaHungary issued a formal letter to the government of
Serbia. The letter reminded Serbia of its commitment
to respect the Great Powers decision regarding BosniaHerzegovina, and to maintain good neighborly relations
with Austria-Hungary. The letter contained specic demands aimed at preventing the publication of propaganda
advocating the violent destruction of Austria-Hungary,
There is evidence that Russia was at least aware of the removing the people behind this propaganda from the
Serbian Military, arresting the people on Serbian soil who
plot before 14 June. De Schelking writes:
were involved in the assassination plot and preventing the
clandestine shipment of arms and explosives from Serbia
On 1 June 1914 (14 June new calendar),
to Austria-Hungary.[145]
Emperor Nicholas had an interview with King
This letter became known as the July Ultimatum, and
Charles I of Roumania, at Constanza. I was
Austria-Hungary stated that if Serbia did not accept all
there at the time ... yet as far as I could



of the demands in total within 48 hours, it would recall its ambassador from Serbia. After receiving a telegram of support from Russia, Serbia mobilized its army
and responded to the letter by completely accepting point
#8 demanding an end to the smuggling of weapons and
punishment of the frontier ocers who had assisted the
assassins and completely accepting point #10 which demanded Serbia report the execution of the required measures as they were completed. Serbia partially accepted,
nessed, disingenuously answered or politely rejected elements of the preamble and enumerated demands #17
and #9. The shortcomings of Serbias response were published by Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary responded
by breaking diplomatic relations.[146]

[9] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 3637.

[10] Albertini 1953, pp. 1923.
[11] Dedijer 1966, pp. 236270.
[12] Dedijer 1966, p. 243.
[13] Dedijer 1966, pp. 203204.
[14] Albertini 1953, p. 50.
[15] Dedijer 1966, p. 285.
[16] Dedijer 1966, p. 9.
[17] Dedijer 1966, p. 286.

The next day, Serbian reservists being transported on

tramp steamers on the Danube crossed onto the AustroHungarian side of the river at Temes-Kubin and AustroHungarian soldiers red into the air to warn them o.[147]
The report of this incident was initially sketchy and
reported to Emperor Franz-Joseph as a considerable
skirmish.[148] Austria-Hungary then declared war and
mobilized the portion of its army that would face the (already mobilized) Serbian Army on 28 July 1914. Under the Secret Treaty of 1892 Russia and France were
obliged to mobilize their armies if any of the Triple
Alliance mobilized. Russias mobilization set o full
Austro-Hungarian and German mobilizations. Soon all
the Great Powers except Italy had chosen sides and gone
to war.

[18] Strachan 2001, p. 58.

Princips weapon, along with the car in which the Archduke was riding, his bloodstained uniform and the chaise
longue on which he died, are on permanent display in the
Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, Austria. The
bullet red by Gavrilo Princip, sometimes referred to as
the bullet that started World War I,[149] is a museum
exhibit in the Konopit Castle near the town of Beneov
in the Czech Republic.

[28] Dedijer 1966, p. 283; Dedijer placed the meeting in Sarajevo, not Mostar.

[19] Taylor 1963, p. 13.

[20] Albertini 1953, pp. 1117.
[21] Albertini 1953, pp. 8788.
[22] Albertini 1953, p. 49.
[23] Albertini 1953, pp. 2728; 79.
[24] MacKenzie 1995, p. 47.
[25] Albertini 1953, pp. 7677.
[26] Dedijer 1966, p. 282.
[27] Albertini 1953, p. 78.

[29] Albertini 1953, pp. 7879; Note the date error: 25 July
should read 25 June
[30] Dedijer 1966, p. 398.
[31] The Russian Origins of the First World War, by Sean
McMeekin, page 47
[32] Owings 1984, pp. 117118; 129131; 140; 142.


See also

July Crisis

[33] Owings 1984, pp. 5859.

[34] Owings 1984, pp. 9394.
[35] Owings 1984, pp. 2628; 30.



[1] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 910.

[36] Albertini 1953, p. 56.

[2] MacKenzie 1995, p. 22.

[37] Vanderlinden, Anthony (2014). The FN Browning 1910

Pistol & The Great War. American Rieman (National
Rie Association) 162 (September): 6769.

[3] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 2223.

[38] Owings 1984, p. 59.

[4] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 2324.

[39] Owings 1984, p. 41; 46.

[5] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 2433.

[40] Owings 1984, pp. 109110.

[6] MacKenzie 1995, p. 27.

[41] Owings 1984, p. 106.

[7] Albertini 2005, pp. 291292.

[42] Owings 1984, p. 40; 59.

[8] Albertini 2005, pp. 364480.

[43] Magrini 1929, pp. 9495.



[44] Owings 1984, pp. 3638.

[77] page 3 History Today July 2014

[45] Dedijer 1966, p. 296.

[78] Owings 1984, pp. 67-8.

[46] Dedijer 1966, pp. 295297.

[79] King, Greg. The Assassination of the Archduke. p. 206.

ISBN 978-0-230-75957-2.

[47] Dedijer 1966, pp. 296297.

[48] Dedijer 1966, p. 298.
[49] Owings 1984, pp. 6164.
[50] Dedijer 1966, pp. 388389.
[51] Dedijer 1966, p. 503.
[52] Dedijer 1966, p. 390; 505.
[53] Dedijer 1966, pp. 300301.
[54] Dedijer 1966, p. 303.
[55] Dedijer 1966, p. 305.

[80] Beleld 2005, p. 237.

[81] Albertini 1953, p. 36.
[82] Dedijer 1966, p. 346.
[83] Albertini 1953, pp. 3738.
[84] Albertini 1953, p. 38.
[85] The Funeral of the Archduke. The Independent (New
York). Jul 13, 1914. p. 59. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
[86] Albertini 1953, p. 45.

[56] Owings 1984, pp. 185186.

[87] Documents Diplomatiques Francais III Serie 191114,3, X

Doc. 537

[57] Owings 1984, pp. 118119.

[88] Albertini 1953, pp. 120-1.

[58] Owings 1984, p. 126.

[89] Reports Service: Southeast Europe series. American Universities Field Sta. 1964. p. 44. Retrieved 7 December 2013. ... the assassination was followed by ofcially encouraged anti-Serb riots in Sarajevo and elsewhere and a country-wide pogrom of Serbs throughout
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

[59] Dedijer 1966, p. 309.

[60] Dedijer 1966, p. 11.
[61] Dedijer 1966, p. 9; 12.

[63] Dedijer 1966, p. 313.

[90] Kasim Prohi; Sulejman Bali (1976). Sarajevo. Tourist

Association. p. 1898. Retrieved 7 December 2013. Immediately after the assassination of 28th June, 1914, veritable pogroms were organised against the Serbs on the...

[64] Dedijer 1966, p. 12.

[91] Johnson 2007, p. 27.

[65] Albertini 1953, p. 35.

[92] Novak, Viktor (1971). Istoriski asopis. p. 481. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- .

[62] King, Greg. The Assassination of the Archduke. pp. 168

& 169. ISBN 978-0-230-75957-2.

[66] Dedijer 1966.

[67] Malmberg, Ilkka: Tst alkaa maailmansota. Helsingin
Sanomat monthly supplement, June 2014, pp. 60-65.
[68] Dedijer 1966, pp. 318320; 344.
[69] Albertini 1953, pp. 3637.
[70] Dedijer 1966, pp. 1314.

[93] Mitrovi 2007, p. 18.

[94] Giose 1993, p. 246.
[95] Donia 2006, p. 125.

[72] King, Greg. The Assassination of the Archduke. pp. 204

& 205. ISBN 978-0-230-75957-2.

[96] Documents Diplomatiques Francais III Serie 191114,3, X

Doc. 537. This document notes that the diplomatic cable
was forwarded to the Secret Service of the National Security Department to investigate the matter of the January
1914 irredentist planning meeting in France but the Secret Service did not report back.

[73] Dedijer 1966, p. 15.

[97] Owings 1984, p. 159.

[71] Buttar, Prit. Collision of Empires. p. 282. ISBN 978-178200-648-0.

[74] Monday, Aug. 09, 1926 (1926-08-09). Time Magazine

Milestones (as Leopold Lojka)". Retrieved

[98] Owings 1984, p. 170.

[99] Albertini 1953, pp. 50-1.

[75] Full text of Sarajevo The Story of a Political Murder"". [100] Owings 1984, p. 56. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
[101] Albertini 1953, p. 68.
[76] King, Greg. The Assassination of the Archduke. p. 205.
ISBN 978-0-230-75957-2.
[102] Owings 1984, pp. 527530.



[103] Dedijer 1966, pp. 345346.

[141] Albertini 1953, p. 85.

[104] Dedijer 1966, p. 343.

[142] Trydar-Burzinski 1926, p. 128.

[105] MacKenzie 1995, p. 53.

[143] De Schelking 1918, pp. 194195.

[106] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 7071.

[144] Albertini 1953, p. 273.

[107] MacKenzie 1995, p. 72.

[108] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 5664.
[109] MacKenzie 1995, p. 2.

[145] Albertini 1953, pp. 285289.

[146] Albertini 1953, p. 373.
[147] Albertini 1953, pp. 461462; 465.

[110] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 344347.

[148] Albertini 1953, p. 460.
[111] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 329; 344347.
[112] MacKenzie 1995, p. 392.

[149] Monday, Nov. 14, 1960 (1960-11-14). Show Business:

THE ROAD. TIME. Retrieved 2010-08-03.

[113] Albertini 1953, pp. 8081.

[114] Magrini 1929, p. 95.
[115] Albertini 1953, pp. 100101.
[116] Albertini 1953, p. 99.
[117] Albertini 1953, p. 90.
[118] Albertini 1953, p. 101.
[119] Albertini 1953, pp. 104105.
[120] Magrini 1929, pp. 115116.
[121] Albertini 1953, pp. 102103.
[122] Albertini 1953, pp. 102105.
[123] Albertini 1953, p. 106.
[124] Albertini 1953, pp. 106109.
[125] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 241242.
[126] Dedijer 1966, p. 399.
[127] MacKenzie 1995, p. 391.
[128] Dedijer 1966, p. 394.
[129] MacKenzie 1995, pp. 133134; 137; 143.
[130] MacKenzie 1995, p. 46.
[131] Craig 2005, p. 3.
[132] Remak 1971, p. 71.
[133] MacKenzie 1989, p. 135.
[134] Dedijer 1966, p. 289.
[135] Owings 1984, p. 57.
[136] Owings 1984, p. 65.
[137] Owings 1984, p. 89.
[138] Albertini 1953, p. 92.
[139] Albertini 1953, pp. 282283.
[140] Albertini 1953, pp. 8485.

2.2.9 References
Albertini, Luigi (1953). Origins of the War of
1914 II. Oxford: Oxford University Press. OCLC
Albertini, Luigi (2005). Origins of the War of 1914
I. New York: Enigma Books. ISBN 1-929631-316.
Beleld, Richard (2005). The Assassination Business: A History of State-Sponsored Murder. New
York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1343-7.
Dedijer, Vladimir (1966). The Road to Sarajevo.
New York: Simon and Schuster. OCLC 400010.
MacKenzie, David (1995). Black Hand on Trial:
Salonika 1917. Eastern European Monographs.
ISBN 978-0-88033-320-7.
Magrini, Luciano (1929). Il Dramma Di Seraievo.
Origini e responsabilita della guerra europea. Milan.
OCLC 8018932.
Giose, Daniela (1993). On Prejudice: A Global
Perspective. Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0-38546938-8.
Owings, W.A. Dolph. (1984). The Sarajevo Trial.
Chapel Hill, NC.: Documentary Publications. ISBN
Donia, Robert J. (2006). Sarajevo: A Biography.
University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-47211557-0.
De Schelking, Eugene (1918). Recollections of a
Russian Diplomat, The Suicide of Monarchies. New
York: McMillan Co. OCLC 1890657.
Johnson, Wes (2007). Balkan Inferno: Betrayal,
War and Intervention, 1990-2005. Enigma Books.
ISBN 978-1-929631-63-6.



Mitrovi, Andrej (2007). Serbias Great War, 1914

1918. Purdue University Press. ISBN 978-155753-477-4.
Strachan, Hugh (2001). The First World War. I:
To Arms. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN
Taylor, A. J. P. (1963). The First World War: An
Illustrated History. London: Penguin Books. ISBN
Trydar-Burzinski, Louis (1926). Le Crpuscule This picture is usually associated with the arrest of Gavrilo Prindune Autocratie. Florence. OCLC 473403651.
cip, although some[1][2] believe it depicts Ferdinand Behr, a bystander.

Craig, John S. (2005). Peculiar Liaisons: In War,

Espionage, and Terrorism in the Twentieth Century.
Algora Publishing. ISBN 0-87586-331-0.
Remak, Joachim (1971). The First World War:
Causes, Conduct, Consequences. Wiley. ISBN 0471-71634-0.
MacKenzie, David (1989). Apis, the Congenial Conspirator: the Life of Colonel Dragutin T. Dimitrijevi.
East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-162-3.


Further reading

Fay, Sidney Bradshaw: Origins of the Great War.

New York 1928
Ponting, Clive. Thirteen Days, Chatto & Windus,
London, 2002.
Stoessinger, John.
Why Nations Go to War,
Wadsworth Publishing, 2007.
Treusch, Wolf Sren. Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand
und seine Gemahlin werden in Sarajevo ermordet,
DLF, Berlin, 2004


External links

Dragutin Dimitrijevi, leader of the Black Hand. He was also a

prominent member of the Serbian General Sta.

2.3 July Crisis

Map of Europe at the time of the assassination of

Franz Ferdinand at
Not to be confused with July Days.
The July Crisis was a diplomatic crisis among
Newsreels about Franz Ferdinands assassination at the major powers of Europe in the summer of 1914 that
led to World War I. Immediately after Gavrilo Princip, a
Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdi Prison Interview with Gavrilo Princip after the As- nand, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne,
in Sarajevo, a series of diplomatic maneuverings led to
an ultimatum from Austria-Hungary to the Kingdom of
435128.5N 182543.5E / Serbia, and ultimately to war.
43.857917N 18.428750E

The assassination had been carried out by those wishing



Franz Joseph I of Austria

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

Sergei Sazonov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire

Count Leopold Berchtold, Imperial Foreign Minister of AustriaHungary

to unite all of the territories with majority South Slavic

population not already ruled by the Kingdom of Serbia or Kingdom of Montenegro.[3][4] Austria-Hungarys

post-assassination ultimatum was part of a coercive program meant to weaken the Kingdom of Serbias threat
to take control of the northern Balkans and its signicant Southern Slavic population, especially the Bosnian
Serbs. This was intended to be achieved either through
diplomacy or by a localized war if the ultimatum were
rejected. Austria-Hungary preferred war, though Istvn
Tisza, the prime minister of the Hungarian part of
Austria-Hungary, hoped that the ultimatum would be reasonable enough that it would not be rejected outright.[5]
A month after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand,
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, thus initiating
World War I.



2.3.1 Assassination and investigation

Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in
1908. Sarajevo was the provincial capital. Oskar Potiorek was the military commander and governor of the
province. After Potioreks suggestion, in summer 1913,
that Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, might attend military exercises due to be held in Bosnia near the end of
June 1914,[6] Emperor Franz Joseph ordered Franz Ferdinand to attend. After the exercises, on 28 June 1914,
Franz Ferdinand toured Sarajevo with his wife, Sophie,
Duchess of Hohenberg. Six armed irredentists, ve Serbs
and one Bosnian Muslim, coordinated by Danilo Ili, lay
in wait along Sarajevos Appel Quay because it was announced that Franz Ferdinands motorcade would use that

Nikola Pai, Prime Minister of Serbia

At 10:10 a.m., Nedeljko abrinovi bombed Franz Ferdinands motorcade as it approached the umuria bridge.[7]
Twenty people were wounded, but Franz Ferdinand was
unhurt.[8] The bomb thrower had been instructed in Belgrade by Serbian Major Voja Tankosi to take potassium
cyanide to prevent his capture.[9] abrinovi swallowed
the cyanide, but it only sickened him. The Sarajevo police
arrested abrinovi and brought him to the police rst aid
post.[10] Investigator Judge Leo Pfeer was at the police
station and was immediately assigned to investigate.[11]
Before the investigation got far, news arrived that Gavrilo
Princip had shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and Sophie
while they were on their way to visit the wounded in the
hospital.[11] Princip took his cyanide, but the cyanide had
the same eect on Princip as it had on abrinovi. The
police arrested Princip, and he too was brought to the rst
aid post.[11] Within 45 minutes of the shooting, Princip
began telling his story to Pfeer.[12]
By the next day, 29 June 1914, based on the interrogations of the two assassins, Potiorek, Governor of BosniaHerzegovina, was able to telegraph to Vienna that Princip and abrinovi had conspired in Belgrade with Milan Ciganovi and others to obtain bombs, revolvers,
and money to kill Franz Ferdinand.[13] A police dragnet
quickly caught most of the conspirators.[13] Twenty-ve
people went to trial, but nine were acquitted.[14]
Serbian involvement

Wilhelm II, German Emperor

Immediately following the assassinations, the Serbian

ambassador to France, Milenko Vesni, and the Serbian
ambassador to Russia, Spalaikovi, put out statements
claiming that Serbia had warned Austria-Hungary of the
impending assassination.[15] Serbia soon thereafter denied making warnings and denied knowledge of the plot.
Prime Minister Nikola Pai himself made these denials
to Az Est on 7 July 1914, and to the Paris Edition of the
New York Herald on 20 July 1914.[16] During the war,
the former Serbian Military Attach to Vienna, Colonel
Lesanin, claimed that Prime Minister Pai had ordered



the Serbian ambassador to Vienna, Jovanovi, to warn Conrad von Htzendorf debated the appropriate response
Austria-Hungary of the plot, but Jovanovi carried out to the events in Sarajevo. Conrad initially advocated mohis instructions poorly.[17]
bilization against Serbia. Berchtold opposed this, saying
that public opinion must rst be prepared.[22] On 30 June,
Berchtold suggested demanding that Serbia disband antiRequests for investigation
Austrian societies and relieve certain ocials of their responsibilities for their bad acts. Conrad continued to arWhat Serbia ought to have done to prove
gue for the use of force. On 1 July Berchtold told Conrad
her innocence and render it more dicult for
that Emperor Franz Joseph would await the criminal inAustria to hold her responsible for the crime
quiry results, that Count Istvn Tisza, Prime Minister of
was to open a judicial inquiry into the possible
Hungary, was opposed to war, and that Count Karl von
complicity of Serbian subjects and take the
Strgkh, Prime Minister of Austria, hoped that the crimnecessary measures in that event.[18]
inal inquiry would provide a proper basis for action.[22]
Albertini, Origins of the War of 1914
Conrad continued to push for war but worried what attitude Germany would take, to which Berchtold replied
By 30 June, Austro-Hungarian and German diplomats that he planned to inquire of Germany what its position
began making requests for investigation to their Serbian was.
and Russian counterparts. German Undersecretary of
On 1 July, Viktor Naumann, a German journalist and
State Arthur Zimmermann addressed these requests to
friend of German Foreign Secretary Jagow, approached
ambassadors to Germany. The Austrian Ambassador
Berchtolds chief of cabinet, Alexander, Count of Hoyos.
to Serbia made a similar request to the Secretary GenNaumanns advice was that it was time to annihilate Sereral of the Serbian Ministry for Foreign Aairs, Slavko
bia and that Germany could be expected to stand by her
Grui. Germany and Austria-Hungary were rebued.[18]
ally.[23] The next day, German Ambassador Tschirschky
On 5 July, based on further interrogations of the acspoke to Emperor Franz Joseph and stated that it was his
cused assassins, Governor Potiorek telegraphed Vienna
estimate that Wilhelm II would support resolute, wellthat Serbian Major Voja Tankosi had given the assassins
thought-out action by Austria-Hungary with regard to
instructions.[19] The next day, Austrian Ambassador CzSerbia.[23]
ernin approached Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov with
the idea that the instigators of the plot against Franz Fer- Berchtold previously had decided to seek a more direct
dinand needed to be investigated within Serbia, but he statement of German intentions. On 24 June, AustriaHungary had prepared a letter for its ally outlining the
too was rebued.[20]
challenges in the Balkans and how to address them, but
Franz Ferdinand was assassinated before it could be
The last assassin
delivered.[24] According to the letter, Romania was no
longer a reliable ally especially since the Russo-Romanian
One last avenue of diplomacy and investigation lay open. summit meeting of 14 June in Constana. Russia was
The lone legal adult amongst the armed assassins was working toward an alliance of Romania, Bulgaria, SerMuhamed Mehmedbai. Following the assassination, bia, Greece, and Montenegro against Austria-Hungary,
Mehmedbai ed to Montenegro where he was ar- dismemberment of Austria-Hungary, and the movement
rested by the police. In Montenegrin custody, Mehmed- of borders from east to west. To break up this eort, Gerbai confessed to a wider conspiracy including an ir- many and Austria-Hungary should rst ally with Bulgaria
redentist Serb terrorist planning meeting in Toulouse, and the Ottoman Empire. To this letter was added a postFrance. Learning of the arrest but not of the confession, script on the Sarajevo Outrage and its impact. Finally,
Austria-Hungary asked Montenegro to honor their mu- Emperor Franz Joseph added his own letter to Emperor
tual extradition treaty and hand over the assassin. Af- Wilhelm II which closed with advocating the end of Serter Montenegro shared Mehmedbais confession with bia as a political power factor.[25] Hoyos was dispatched
the French Ambassador, Mehmedbai escaped to Ser- to Germany to present these letters.
bia, possibly with the assistance of the Montenegrin
The letters were presented to Wilhelm II on 5 July. Wilauthorities.[21]
helm II voiced his support for whatever action AustriaHungary thought appropriate but added that he needed to
2.3.2 Austria-Hungary receives German consult with Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollsupport and settles on coercive diplo- weg who he was quite sure would have a similar view.
The foreign ministry of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
macy with Serbia
sent ambassador Lszl Szgyny to Potsdam, where he
inquired about the standpoint of the German Emperor on
The Hoyos Mission
5 July. Szgyny described what happened in a secret
From 29 June to 1 July, Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minis- report to Vienna later that day:
ter Berchtold and Chief of the General Sta Count Franz


Tel. no. 237
Berlin, July 5, 1914
Top secret
After I informed Kaiser Wilhelm that I had a
letter from His Imperial and Royal Apostolic
Majesty, which Count Hoyos delivered to me
today to present to him, I received an invitation
from the German Majesties to a djeuner at
noon today in the Neue Palais [New Palace].
I presented His Majesty with the exalted
letter and the attached memorandum. The
Kaiser read both papers quite carefully in
my presence. First, His Majesty assured me
that he had expected us to take rm action
against Serbia, but he had to concede that, as a
result of the conicts facing our most gracious
Lord, he needed to take into account a serious
complication in Europe, which is why he did
not wish to give any denite answer prior
to consultations with the chancellor. When,
after our djeuner, I once again emphasized
the gravity of the situation, His Majesty
authorized me to report to our most gracious
Lord that in this case, too, we could count
on Germanys full support. As mentioned, he
rst had to consult with the chancellor, but
he did not have the slightest doubt that Herr
von Bethmann Hollweg would fully agree with
him, particularly with regard to action on our
part against Serbia. In his (Kaiser Wilhelms)
opinion, though, there was no need to wait
patiently before taking action. The Kaiser
said that Russias stance would always be a
hostile one, but he had been prepared for
this for many years, and even if war broke
out between Austria-Hungary and Russia, we
could rest assured that Germany would take
our side, in line with its customary loyalty.
According to the Kaiser, as things stood now,
Russia was not at all ready for war. It would
certainly have to think hard before making a
call to arms. Nevertheless, it would attempt
to turn the other powers of the Triple Entente
against us and to fan the ames in the Balkans.
The Kaiser said he understood full well that it
would be dicult for His Imperial and Royal
Apostolic Majesty to march into Serbia, given
his well-known love of peace; however, if we
really deemed a military operation against
Serbia necessary, he (Kaiser Wilhelm) would
nd it regrettable if we did not seize the
present moment, which was so favorable for
us. As for Romania, the Kaiser said he would
make sure that King Carol and his councilors
acted properly. The idea of entering into a
treaty with Bulgaria is not at all agreeable
to him; he did not have any trust in King Ferdinand or his previous or current councilors.

Despite this, he did not want to make the least
objection to a treaty between the monarchy
and Bulgaria, but precautions had to be taken
that the treaty did not contain any barbs against
Romania and that this state was duly informed
of the proceedings (as was emphasized in the
memorandum). Tomorrow morning, Kaiser
Wilhelm intends to travel to Kiel before going
on his northern voyage, but before this, His
Majesty will confer with the chancellor about
the matter at hand. The chancellor has been
summoned from Hohennow to the Neue
Palais in the evening for this purpose. In any
case, I will have the opportunity to consult
with the chancellor tomorrow.[26]
On 6 July, Hoyos, Zimmerman, Bethmann Hollweg, and
Austro-Hungarian Ambassador Szgyny met and Germany gave its blank cheque commitment to AustriaHungary of rm support.[27]
Policy makers compromise
On 7 July, the Council of Joint Ministers debated AustriaHungarys course of action. The most hawkish on the
Council considered a surprise attack on Serbia.[28] Count
Tisza persuaded the Council that demands should be
placed on Serbia before mobilization to provide a proper
juridical basis for a declaration of war.[29]
The Council agreed on putting harsh demands on Serbia but could not reach consensus on how harsh. Except for Count Tisza, the Council intended to make such
harsh demands that their rejection would be very probable. Tisza held out for demands that while harsh would
not appear impossible to meet.[30] Both views were sent
to the Emperor on 8 July.[31] The Emperors opinion was
that the gap in opinion could most likely be bridged.[32]
An initial set of demands was drafted during the Council
meeting.[31] Over the next few days, the demands were reinforced and made more iron-clad and dicult for Serbia
to accept.

2.3.3 Serbia drifts

Lon Descos, French Ambassador to Belgrade, on 1
July reported home that the Serbian military party was
involved in the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, that
Serbia was in the wrong, and that Russian Ambassador Hartwig was in constant conversations with Regent Alexander to guide Serbia through this crisis.[33] The
military party was a reference to Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence, Dragutin Dimitrijevi, known more
commonly as Apis, and the ocers he led in the 1903
murder of the King and Queen of Serbia. These men
had great inuence in Serbia as their acts led to the installation of the current dynasty ruled by King Peter and



Regent Alexander. Serbia requested and France arranged

the replacement of Descos with the more hawkish Boppe
who arrived on 25 July.[34] Hartwig died of a heart attack on 10 July during a visit to the Austrian legation in


Austro-Hungarian attitude to war

Those in the War Party in Vienna saw the assassination

as an excellent excuse to execute their 1912 plans for a
war to destroy Serbias ability to interfere in Bosnia.[36]
Berchtold used his memo of 14 June 1914, proposing
Serbias destruction, as the basis for the document that
would be used to solicit German support.[37] Count Franz
Conrad von Htzendorf, Chief of the General Sta of the
Austro-Hungarian Army, advised Berchtold that AustriaHungary should cut the knot and declare war on Serbia
as soon as possible.[38] Counsels were badly divided in Vienna, with Berchtold and Conrad supporting war, Franz
Joseph I of Austria though receptive to the idea of a
war insisting upon German support as a prerequisite,
and the Hungarian Prime Minister Count Istvn Tisza opposing a war with Serbia, stating (correctly, as it turned
out) that any war with the Serbs was bound to trigger a
war with Russia and hence a general European war.[39]
Austria-Hungary immediately undertook a criminal investigation. Ili and ve of the assassins were promptly
arrested and interviewed by an investigating judge. The
three assassins who had come from Serbia told almost all
they knew: Serbian Major Vojislav Tankosi had directly
and indirectly given them six bombs (produced at the Serbian Arsenal), four pistols, training, money, suicide pills,
a special map with the location of gendarmes marked,
knowledge of an inltration channel from Serbia to Sarajevo, and a card authorizing the use of that channel.


German attitude to war

On 2 July, the Saxon Ambassador in Berlin wrote back to

his king that the German Army wanted Austria to attack
Serbia as quickly as possible because the time was right
for a general war since Germany was more prepared for
war than either Russia or France.[40] On 3 July, the Saxon
military attach in Berlin reported that the German General Sta would be pleased if war were to come about
Kaiser Wilhelm II declared on 4 July that he was entirely for settling accounts with Serbia.[39] He ordered
the German ambassador in Vienna, Count Heinrich
von Tschirschky, to stop advising restraint, writing that
Tschirschky will be so good to drop this nonsense. We
must nish with the Serbs, quickly. Now or never!.[39]
In response, Tschirschky told the Austro-Hungarian government that same day that Germany would support the
Monarchy through thick and thin, whatever action it decided to take against Serbia. The sooner Austria-Hungary

struck, the better.[42] On 5 July 1914, Count Moltke, the

Chief of the German General Sta, wrote that Austria
must beat the Serbs.[40]
In order to ensure Germanys full support, the permanent
head of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry Count
Alexander von Hoyos visited Berlin on 5 July. He provided Austro-Hungarian Ambassador Count Ladislaus de
Szgyny-Marich with two documents, one of which was
a memo by Tisza, advising that Bulgaria should join the
Triple Alliance, and another letter by Franz Joseph I of
Austria stating that the only way of preventing the disintegration of the Dual Monarchy was to eliminate Serbia
as a state.[42] The letter by Franz Joseph was based closely
upon Berchtold's 14 June memo calling for the destruction of Serbia.[37] Franz Josefs letter explicitly stated that
the decision for war against Serbia had been made before
the assassination of the Archduke, and that the events of
Sarajevo only conrmed the already pre-existing need for
a war against Serbia.[43]
After meeting with Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to
Germany Szgyny on 5 July, the German Emperor informed him that his state could count on Germanys
full support, even if grave European complications ensued, and that Austria-Hungary ought to march at once
against Serbia.[40][42] He added that in any case, as things
stood today, Russia was not at all ready for war, and
would certainly think long before appealing to arms.
Even if Russia were to act in defence of Serbia, Wilhelm
promised that Germany would do everything in its power,
including war, to support Austria-Hungary.[42]
After his meeting, Szgyny reported to Vienna that Wilhelm would regret it if we [Austria-Hungary] let this
present chance, which was so favourable for us, go by
without utilising it.[44] This so-called blank cheque
of German support up to and including war was to be
the main determining factor in Austrian policy in July
1914.[44] At another meeting held on 5 July, this one
at Potsdam palace, German Chancellor Theobald von
Bethmann-Hollweg, the Foreign Ministrys State Secretary Arthur Zimmermann, the Minister of War Erich von
Falkenhayn, the head of the German Imperial Military
Cabinet Moriz von Lyncker, the Adjutant general Hans
von Plessen, Captain Hans Zenker of the Naval General Sta, and Admiral Eduard von Capelle of the Naval
State Secretariat all endorsed Wilhelms blank cheque
as Germanys best policy.[44]
When asked if Germany was ready for a war against Russia and France, Falkenhayn replied with a curt armative. Later on 17 July, the Armys Quartermaster general
Count Waldersee wrote to Gottlieb von Jagow, Foreign
Minister: I can move at a moments notice. We in the
General Sta are ready: there is nothing more for us to
do at this juncture.[44]
Within Serbia, there was much popular rejoicing over
the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.[45] Because Serbian
elections were scheduled for 14 August, Prime Minister



Nikola Pai was unwilling to court unpopularity by being seen to bow down to Austria.[46] If his attempts to
warn the Austrians in advance of the plot against Franz
Ferdinand had actually taken place, Pai was probably
concerned about his chances at the polls and perhaps his
life being endangered if news of them leaked out.[46]
Germanys policy was to support a swift war to destroy
Serbia that would present a fait accompli to the world.[47]
Unlike the three earlier cases dating from 1912 when
Austria had asked for German diplomatic support for a
war against Serbia, this time it was felt that political conditions for such a war now existed.[48] At this time, the
German military supported the idea of an Austrian attack against Serbia as the best way of starting a general
war, whereas Wilhelm believed that an Austro-Serbian
war would be purely local.[49] Austrian policy based upon
pre-existing plans to destroy Serbia involved not waiting
to complete judicial inquiries to strike back immediately
and not to strain its credibility in the coming weeks as
it would become more and more clear that Austria was
not reacting to the assassination.[50] Likewise, Germany
wished to give the impression of its ignorance of Austrian
As Wilhelm himself stated in private that In order not
to alarm world opinion, the Kaiser left on his annual
North Sea cruise.[52] Shortly after, Wilhelms close friend
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen wrote that the Emperor had Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, Chancellor of Germany from
told him:
1909-17, urged that Austria choose war.

He [Wilhelm] would declare war at once,

if Russia mobilized. This time people would
see that he was not falling out. The Emperors repeated protestations that in this case
no one would ever again be able to reproach
him with indecision were almost comic to

In the same way, Berchtold suggested that Austrian leaders go on vacation to prevent any disquiet about what
had been decided.[51]

2.3.6 Preparations for the

Hungarian ultimatum


On 7 July, on his return to Vienna, Count Hoyos reported to Austro-Hungarian Crown Council that Austria
had Germanys full support even if measures against Serbia should bring about a big war.[52] At the Crown Council, Berchtold strongly urged that a war against Serbia be
begun as soon as possible.[54]
At that meeting of the Crown Council, all involved were
in full favour of war except Count Tisza.[55] Count Tisza
warned that any attack on Serbia would, as far as can
humanly be foreseen, lead to an intervention by Russia
and hence a world war.[54] The rest of the participants
debated about whether Austria should just launch an unprovoked attack or issue an ultimatum to Serbia with demands so stringent that it was bound to be rejected.[55]
The Austrian Prime Minister, Count Karl von Strgkh,
warned Tisza that if Austria did not launch a war, its policy of hesitation and weakness would cause Germany
to abandon Austria-Hungary as an ally.[55] All present
except Tisza nally agreed that Austria-Hungary should
present an ultimatum designed to be rejected.[54]

On 6 July, Bethmann-Hollweg and Zimmermann further repeated the promise of Wilhelms blank cheque
at a conference with Szgyny.[52] Although Bethmann
Hollweg stated that the decision for war or peace was in
Austrias hands, he strongly advised that Austria choose
the former.[52] That same day, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey was warned by the German Ambassador in London, Prince Lichnowsky of the dangerous situation in the Balkans.[53] Grey felt that AngloGerman co-operation could resolve any Austro-Serbian Starting 7 July, the German Ambassador to Austriadispute, and he believed that a peaceful solution would Hungary, Tschirschky, and the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Berchtold held almost daily meetings about
be reached.[53]

how to co-ordinate the diplomatic action to justify a
war against Serbia.[56] On 8 July, Tschirschky presented
Berchtold with a message from Wilhelm who declared
he stated most emphatically that Berlin expected the
Monarchy to act against Serbia, and that Germany would
not understand it, if...the present opportunity were allowed to go by...without a blow struck.[56] At the same
meeting, Tschirschky told Berchtold, if we [AustriaHungary] compromised or bargained with Serbia, Germany would interpret this as a confession of weakness,
which could not be without eect on our position in the
Triple Alliance and on Germanys future policy.[56] On
7 July, Bethmann Hollweg told his aide and close friend
Kurt Riezler that action against Serbia can lead to a
world war.[57] Bethmann Hollweg felt such a leap in
the dark was justied by the international situation.[57]
Bethmann Hollweg told Riezler that Germany was completely paralysed and that the future belongs to Russia which is growing and growing, and is becoming an
ever increasing nightmare to us.[57] Riezler went to write
in his diary that Bethmann Hollweg painted a devastating picture with Russia building rail-roads in Congress
Poland that allow Russia to mobilize faster once the Great
Military Programme was nished in 1917,[58] and that an
Austro-Serbian war would probably cause a world war,
...which would lead to an overthrow of the existing order, but since the existing order was lifeless and void of
ideas, such a war could only be welcomed as a blessing
to Germany.[58] Bethmann Hollwegs fears about Russia
led him to credit Anglo-Russian naval talks in May 1914
as the beginning of an encirclement policy against Germany that could only be broken through war.[57] After
Anglo-French naval talks had taken place, the Russians
demanded the same courtesy be extended to them, which
led to inconclusive Anglo-Russian naval talks.[59]
On 8 July, Tisza informed another meeting of the Crown
Council that any attack on Serbia was bound to lead to
intervention by Russia and consequently world war.[55]
On the same day, Kurt Riezlers diary has his friend Bethmann Hollweg saying: If the war comes from the East,
so that we are marching to Austria-Hungarys aid instead
of Austria-Hungary to ours, then we have a chance of
winning it. If war does not come, if the Czar does not
want it or France dismayed, counsels peace, then we still
have a chance of maneuvering the Entente apart over this
On 9 July, Berchtold advised Franz Joseph that he would
present Belgrade with an ultimatum containing demands
that were designed to be rejected. This would ensure a
war without the odium of attacking Serbia without warning, put her in the wrong, and ensure that Britain and
Romania would remain neutral.[55] On 10 July, Berchtold
told Tschirschky he would present Serbia with an ultimatum containing unacceptable demands as the best way
of causing war, but chief care would be taken about how
to present these unacceptable demands.[56] In response,
Wilhelm wrote angrily on the margins of Tschirschkys


dispatch They had time enough for that![56]
It took the week of 714 July to persuade Tisza to support
war.[54] On 9 July, Prince Lichnowsky, the German Ambassador in London was told by British Foreign Secretary
Sir Edward Grey that he ...saw no reason for taking a
pessimistic view of the situation.[54] Despite Tiszas opposition, Berchtold had ordered his ocials to start drafting an ultimatum to Serbia on 10 July.[61] The German
Ambassador reported that Count Berchtold appeared to
hope that Serbia would not agree to the Austro-Hungarian
demands, as a mere diplomatic victory would put the
country here again in a stagnant mood.[62] Count Hoyos
told a German diplomat that the demands were really
of such a nature that no nation that still possessed selfrespect and dignity could possibly accept them.[61]
On 11 July, Tschirschky reported to Jagow that he again
took the occasion to discuss with Berchtold what action
was to be taken against Serbia, chiey in order to assure
the minister once again, emphatically that speedy action
was called for.[56] On the same day, the German Foreign
Oce wanted to know if they should send a telegram congratulating King Peter of Serbia on his birthday. Wilhelm
replied: As Vienna has so far inaugurated no action of
any sort against Belgrade, the omission of the customary
telegram would be too noticeable and might be the cause
of premature uneasiness.... It should be sent.[63] On 12
July, Szgyny reported from Berlin that everyone in the
German government wanted to see Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia at once, and were tired of Austrian
indecision about whether to choose war or peace.[64] He
added that this:
absolute insistence on a war against Serbia was based on the two considerations already
mentioned; rstly that Russia and France were
'not yet ready' and secondly that Britain will
not at this juncture intervene in a war which
breaks out over a Balkan state, even if this
should lead to a conict with Russia, possibly
also France.... Not only have Anglo-German
relations so improved that Germany feels that
she need no longer feel fear a directly hostile
attitude by Britain, but above all, Britain at this
moment is anything but anxious for war, and
has no wish whatever to pull chestnuts out of
the re for Serbia, or in the last instance, Russia.... In general, then, it appears from all this
that the political constellation is as favourable
for us as it could possibly be..[64]
On 12 July, Berchtold showed Tschirschky the contents of his ultimatum containing unacceptable demands, and promised to present it to the Serbs after the
Franco-Russian summit between President Poincar and
Nicholas II was over.[64] Wilhelm wrote on the margins
of Tschirschkys dispatch What a pity! that the ultimatum would be presented so late in July.[64] By 14 July,



Tisza agreed to support war out of fear that a policy of

peace would lead to Germany renouncing the Dual Alliance of 1879.[55] On that day, Tschirschky reported to
Berlin that Austria-Hungary would present an ultimatum
which would almost certainly be rejected and should result in war.[55] That same day, Jagow sent instructions to
Prince Lichnowsky, the German Ambassador in London,
stating Germany had decided to do everything within its
power to cause an Austro-Serbian war, but Germany must
avoid the impression that we were egging Austria on to
Jagow described a war against Serbia as AustriaHungarys last chance at political rehabilitation. He
stated that under no circumstances did he want a peaceful solution, and though he did not want a preventive war,
he would not jib at the post if such a war came because Germany was ready for it, and Russia fundamentally was not.[66] Russia and Germany being destined to
ght each other, Jagow believed that now was the best
time for the inevitable war,[67] because: in a few years
Russia...will be ready. Then she will crush us on land
by weight of numbers, and she will have her Baltic Fleet
and her strategic railroads ready. Our group meanwhile
is getting weaker.[66]
Jagows belief that the summer of 1914 was the best time
for Germany to go to war was widely shared in the German government.[68] Many German ocials believed that
the Teuton race and Slav race were destined to ght
each other in a terrible race war for the domination
of Europe, and that now was the best time for such a
war to come.[69] The Chief of the German General Sta,
Moltke, told Count Lerchenfeld, the Bavarian Minister
in Berlin, that a moment so favourable from the military point of view might never occur again.[70] Moltke
argued that due to the alleged superiority of German
weaponry and training, combined with the recent change
in the French Army from a two-year to a three-year period of service, Germany could easily defeat both France
and Russia in 1914.[71]

Count Franz Conrad von Htzendorf, Chief of the General Sta

of the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1906 to 1917, determined
the earliest that Austria could declare war was 25 July.

Htzendorf, the Chief of the General Sta of the AustroHungarian Army, told Berchtold that due to his desire to
get the summer harvest in, the earliest that Austria could
declare war was 25 July.[73] At the same time, the visit of
the French President and Premier to St. Petersburg meant
that it was considered undesirable to present the ultimatum until the visit was over.[74] The ultimatum, ocially
called a demarche, would not be delivered until 23 July
with an expiry date of 25 July.[72]

On 13 July, Austrian investigators into the assassination

On 16 July, Bethmann Hollweg told Count Roedern, the
of Franz Ferdinand reported to Count Berchtold that:
State Secretary for Alsace-Lorraine, that he couldn't care
less about Serbia or alleged Serbian complicity in the
There is nothing to prove or even to supassassination of Franz Ferdinand.[71] All that mattered
pose that the Serbian government is accessory
was that Austria attack Serbia that summer, to result in
to the inducement for the crime, its preparations,
a win-win situation for Germany.[71] If Bethmann Hollor the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary,
wegs view was correct, an Austro-Serbian war would eithere are reasons to believe that this altogether
ther cause a general war (which Bethmann Hollweg beout of the question. [72]
lieved Germany would win) or cause the Triple Entente
to break up.[71] That same day, the Russian Ambassador
This report depressed Berchtold as it meant there was lit- to Austria-Hungary reported to St. Petersburg that,
tle evidence to support his pretext of Serbian government
involvement in Franz Ferdinands assassination.[72]
Information reaches me that the AustroOn 14 July, the Austrians assured the Germans that
the ultimatum to be delivered to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its acceptance is practically excluded".[54] That same day, Count Conrad von

Hungarian government at the conclusion of the

inquiry intends to make certain demands on
Belgrade.... It would seem to me desirable that
at the present moment, before a nal decision



on the matter, the Vienna Cabinet should be
informed how Russia would react to the fact
of Austrias presenting demands to Serbia such
as would be unacceptable to the dignity of that

The Austrian Ambassador in St. Petersburg falsely told

the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Sazonov, that Austria was not planning on any measure that might cause
a war in the Balkans, so no Russian complaints were
On 17 July, Berchtold complained to Prince Stolberg of
the German Embassy that though he thought his ultimatum would probably be rejected, he was still worried that
it was possible for the Serbs to accept it, and wanted
more time to re-phrase the document.[76] Stolberg reported back to Berlin that he had told Berchtold:
If Austria really wants to clear up her relationship with Serbia once and for all, which
Tisza himself in his recent speech called indispensable, then it would pass comprehension why such demands were not being made
as would make the breach unavoidable. If
the action simply peters out, once again, and
ends with a so-called diplomatic success, the
belief which is already widely held there that
the Monarchy is no longer capable of vigorous action will be dangerously strengthened.
The consequences, internal and external, which
would result from this, inside Austria and
abroad, are obvious.[77]

given Austria a blank power of full authority, even at the

risk of a war with Russia.[79]
On 19 July, the Crown Council in Vienna nally decided
upon the wording of the ultimatum to be presented to Serbia on 23 July.[80][81] The extent of German inuence on
Austria-Hungary was evident when Jagow ordered Berchtold to hold back the delivery of the ultimatum by an hour
to make sure that the French President and Premier were
at sea after their summit in St. Petersburg.[80] The rst
draft of the ultimatum had been shown to the German
Embassy in Vienna on 12 July and the nal text was provided in advance to the German Embassy on 22 July.[80]
Due to Austrias delay in writing the ultimatum, the element of surprise that Germany had counted upon in
the war against Serbia was lost.[82] Instead, the strategy
of localization was adopted, which meant that when
the Austro-Serbian war began, Germany would pressure other powers not to become involved even at the
risk of war.[83] On 19 July, Jagow published a note in
the semi-ocial North German Gazette warning other
powers that the settlement of dierences which may
arise between Austria-Hungary and Serbia should remain
localized.[83] Asked by Jules Cambon, the French Ambassador to Germany, how he knew about the contents of
the Austrian ultimatum as he had revealed in the North
German Gazette, Gottlieb von Jagow pretended to be ignorant of it.[83] Sir Horace Rumbold of the British Embassy in Berlin reported:
We do not know the facts. The German government clearly do know. They know
what the Austrian government is going to demand...and I think we may say with some assurance that they had expressed approval of
those demands and promised support should
dangerous complications ensure...the German
government did not believe that there is any
danger of war.[84]

On 18 July, to reassure Stolberg, Count Hoyos promised

him that the demands in the draft text of the ultimatum were really of such a nature that no nation that still
possessed self-respect and dignity could possibly accept
them.[78] The same day, in response to rumours about
an Austrian ultimatum, the Serbian Prime Minister Pai
stated that he would not accept any measures compromis- Though Jagows pretence was not widely believed, it was
still believed at the time that Germany was aiming for
ing on Serbian sovereignty.[75]
peace, and could restrain Austria.[84] General Moltke of
On 18 July, Hans Schoen, a Bavarian diplomat in Berlin, the German General Sta again strongly approved of the
told the Bavarian Prime Minister Count Georg von idea of an Austrian attack on Serbia as the best way of
Hertling that Austria was only making a pretence of be- bringing about the desired world war.[85]
ing peacefully inclined.[79] Commenting on the draft text
of the ultimatum shown to him by German diplomats, On 20 July, the German government informed the directors of the Norddeutscher Lloyd and Hamburg America
Schoen noted that:
Line shipping companies that Austria would soon present
an ultimatum that might cause a general European war,
It is perfectly plain that Serbia cannot acand they should start withdrawing their ships from forcept any such demands, which are incompatieign waters back to the Reich at once.[86] That same day,
ble with her dignity as a sovereign state. Thus
the German Navy was ordered to start concentrating the
the result would be war.[79]
High Seas Fleet, in case of a general war.[87] Riezlers diary has Bethmann Hollweg saying to him on 20 July that
Zimmermann told Schoen that a powerful and successful Russia with its growing demands and tremendous dymove against Serbia would save Austria-Hungary from namic power would be impossible to repel in a few years,
internal disintegration, and that was why Germany had especially if the present European constellation contin-



ues to exist.[88] Riezler ended his diary with noting that

Bethmann Hollweg was determined and taciturn, and
quoted his former Foreign Minister Kiderlen-Waechter
who had always said we must ght.[88]

Austrian ultimatum, but threatening incalculable consequences if any power tried to stop Austria-Hungary from
attacking Serbia if the ultimatum were rejected.[91] When
Pourtals, the German Ambassador in St. Petersburg reOn 21 July, the German government told Jules Cam- ported that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov
bon, the French Ambassador in Berlin, and Bronewski, warned him that Germany must reckon with Europe if
the Russian charg d'aaires, that the German Reich she supported an Austrian attack against Serbia, Wilhelm
on the margin of Pourtalss dispatch No! Russia,
had no knowledge of what Austrian policy was towards wrote[91]
In private, Zimmermann wrote that the German government entirely agreed that Austria must take In supporting an Austrian war with Serbia, Germanys
advantage of the favourable moment, even at the risk of leaders knew the risks of a general war.[91] As the hisfurther complications, but that he doubted whether Vi- torian Fritz Fischer pointed out, this could be proven by
enna would nerve herself to act.[80] Zimmermann ended Jagows request to know the full itinerary of Wilhelms
his memo that he gathered that Vienna, timid and un- North Sea cruise before the Austrian ultimatum was predecided as it always was, was almost sorry that Ger- sented because:
many had given the blank cheque of 5 July 1914, instead of advising restraint with Serbia.[80] Conrad himself
Since we want to localize the conict bewas pressuring the Dual Monarchy for haste in starting
tween Austria and Serbia, we must not have the
a war, in order to prevent Serbia from smelling a rat and
world alarmed by His Majestys returning preherself volunteering compensation, perhaps under presmaturely; on the other hand, His Majesty must
sure from France and Russia.[80] On 22 July, Germany
be within reach, in case unpredictable developrefused an Austrian request to have the German Minisments should force us to take important deciter in Belgrade present the ultimatum to Serbia because
sions, such as mobilization. His Majesty might
as Jagow had said, it would look too much as though we
perhaps spend the last days of his cruise in the
were egging Austria on to make war.[86]
On 23 July, the whole German military and political leadership ostentatiously went on vacation.[89] Count Schoen, On 22 July, before the ultimatum was delivered, the
the Bavarian charg d'aaires in Berlin reported to Mu- Austrian government asked that the German government
deliver the Austrian declaration of war when the ultimatum expired on 25 July.[92] Jagow refused, stating:
The administration will, immediately
Our standpoint has to be that the quarrel with Serupon the presentation of the Austrian note at
bia is an Austro-Hungarian internal aair.[92] On 23
Belgrade, initiate diplomatic action with the
July, the Austrian Minister in Belgrade, Baron Giesl
Powers, in the interest of the localization of the
von Gieslingen, presented the ultimatum to the Serbian
war. It will claim that that Austrian action has
government.[93] At the same time, and having a strong exbeen just as much of a surprise to it as to the
pectation of Serbian rejection, the Austrian Army opened
other Powers, pointing out the fact that the Emits war book, and began preparations for hostilities.[94]
peror is on his northern journey, and that the
Prussian Minister of War, as well as the Chief
2.3.7 Poincare sails to Russia France
of the Grand General Sta are away on leave
of absence.
supports Russia
However, on 19 July four days before the ultimatum was presentedJagow had asked all German Ambassadors the world over (except for Austria-Hungary) to
state to their host governments that:
If the Austro-Hungarian government is
not going to abdicate forever as a great power,
she has no choice but to enforce acceptance
by the Serbian government of her demands by
strong pressure and, if necessary, by resort to
military measures.[91]

French President Raymond Poincare and Prime Minister

Rene Viviani departed for St Petersburg on 15 July, arrived on 20 July and departed on 23 July. The minutes
of the summit meetings that took place between France
and Russia have not survived. However, historians have
pieced together what transpired through various other
sources. The meetings were centrally concerned with the
crisis unfolding in central Europe.

The French and the Russians agreed their alliance extended to supporting Serbia against Austria, conrming
the already established policy behind the Balkan inception scenario. As Christopher Clark notes Poincare had
Subsequently, Jagow realized that his statement was in- come to preach the gospel of rmness and his words had
compatible with his claims of ignorance, thus leading to fallen on ready ears. Firmness in this context meant an
a hasty second dispatch claiming total ignorance of the intransigent opposition to any Austrian measure against



Serbia. At no point do the sources suggest that Poincare 10. Notify the Austro-Hungarian Government without
or his Russian interlocutors gave any thought whatsoever
delay of the execution of the measures comprised
to what measures Austria-Hungary might legitimately be
in the ultimatum.
entitled to take in the aftermath of the assassinations.
The delivery of the Austrian ultimatum was intended The Austro-Hungarian Government, concluded the docuto co-incide with the departure of the French delegation ment, was expecting the reply of the Serbian Government
at the latest by 5 o'clock on Saturday evening, 25 July
from Russia on 23 July.
1914. An Appendix to the main text listed various details from the crime investigation undertaken at court in
2.3.8 Content of the Austro-Hungarian ul- Sarajevo against Gavrilo Princip and his comrades on account of the assassination, which allegedly demonstrated
timatum to Serbia
the culpability and assistance provided to the conspirators
The Austro-Hungarian ultimatum[96] demanded from the by various Serbian ocials.[96]
Serbian state to formally and publicly condemn the dan- Instructions were given to the Austrian Minister in Belgerous propaganda against Austria-Hungary, the ulti- grade, Baron von Gieslingen, whereby if no uncondimate aim of which, it claimed, is to detach from the tionally positive answer is received by the Serbian govMonarchy territories belonging to it. Moreover, Bel- ernment within the 48-hour deadline of the ultimagrade should suppress by every means this criminal and tum (as measured from the day and hour of your anterrorist propaganda.
nouncing it), the Minister should proceed to leave the
Moreover, the Serbian government should

Austro-Hungarian Embassy of Belgrade together with all

its personnel.[96]

1. Suppress all publications which incite hatred and

contempt of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and 2.3.9
are directed against its territorial integrity.

Serbian response to the ultimatum

2. Dissolve the Serbian nationalist organisation On the night of 23 July, Serbian Regent Crown Prince
"Narodna Odbrana" (The Peoples Defense) and Alexander visited the Russian legation to express his
despair over the Austrian ultimatum, compliance with
all other such societies in Serbia.
which he regards as an absolute impossibility for a state
3. Eliminate without delay from schoolbooks and which had the slightest regard for its dignity.[97] Both
public documents all propaganda against Austria- the Regent and Pai asked for Russian support, which
was refused.[97] Sazonov oered the Serbs only moral
support while Nicholas told the Serbs to simply accept
4. Remove from the Serbian military and civil admin- the ultimatum, and hope that international opinion would
istration all ocers and functionaries whose names force the Austrians to change their minds.[98] Both Russia
the Austro-Hungarian Government will provide.
and France, because of their military weaknesses, were
most disinclined to risk a war with Germany in 1914,
5. Accept in Serbia representatives of the Austroand hence the pressure on Serbia to accede to the terms of
Hungarian Government for the suppression of
the Austrian ultimatum.[98] Because the Austrians had resubversive movements.
peatedly promised the Russians that nothing was planned
6. Bring to trial all accessories to the Archdukes as- against Serbia that summer, their harsh ultimatum did not
sassination and allow Austro-Hungarian delegates do much to antagonize Sazonov.
(law enforcement ocers) to take part in the inves- Confronted with the ultimatum and the lack of support
from other European powers, the Serbian Cabinet worked
out a compromise[100] where Serbia accepted all of the
7. Arrest Major Vojislav Tankosi and civil servant
terms of the ultimatum except for the demand in point 6
Milan Ciganovi who were named as participants in
that Austrian police be allowed to operate in Serbia.[100]
the assassination plot.
The German shipping tycoon Albert Ballin recalled that
8. Cease the cooperation of the Serbian authorities in when the German government heard a misleading report
the trac in arms and explosives across the fron- that Serbia had accepted the ultimatum, there was distier"; dismiss and punish the ocials of abac and appointment, but tremendous joy when it learned that
Loznica frontier service, guilty of having assisted the Serbs had not accepted all of the Austrian terms.
When Ballin suggested Wilhelm end his North Sea cruise
the perpetrators of the Sarajevo crime.
to deal with the crisis, the German Foreign Ministry atly
9. Provide explanations to the Austro-Hungarian stated the Emperor should continue his cruise because
Government regarding Serbian ocials who have ...everything must be done to ensure that he [Wilhelm]
expressed themselves in interviews in terms of hos- does not interfere in things with his pacist ideas.[101] At
the same time, a message was sent to Berchtold from his
tility to the Austro-Hungarian Government.


ambassador in Berlin reminding him Here every delay in
the beginning of war operations is regarded as signifying
the danger that foreign powers might interfere. We are
urgently advised to proceed without delay.[101]
In a letter to his close friend, Venetia Stanley, the British
Prime Minister Sir Herbert Asquith wrote:
"...the situation is just about as bad as it
can possibly be. Austria has sent a bullying
and humiliating ultimatum to Serbia, who cannot possibly comply with it, and demanded an
answer within forty-eight hours-failing which
she will march. This means, almost inevitably,
that Russia will come to the scene in defence of
Serbia and in deance of Austria, and if so, it
is dicult for Germany and France to refrain
from lending a hand to one side or the other.
So that we are in measurable, or imaginable,
distance of a real Armageddon. Happily, there
seems to be no reason why we should be anything more then [sic] spectators.[102]
The First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill,
wrote, Europe is trembling on the verge of a general war.
The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia being the most insolent document of its kind ever devised, but believed that
Britain would stay neutral in the coming war.[102] Grey
suggested to the Austrian ambassador that the deadline
for the ultimatum be extended as the best way of saving
the peace.[102]
When Grey told his friend Lichnowsky that Any nation
that accepted conditions like that would really cease to
count as an independent nation, Wilhelm wrote on the
margin of Lichnowskys report That would be very desirable. It [Serbia] is not a nation in the European sense,
but a band of robbers![103]
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov sent a message to all of the great powers asking them to pressure Austria to extend the deadline of the ultimatum.[103]
Sazonov asked the Austrian government to back its claims
of Serbian complicity in the killing of Franz Ferdinand by
releasing the results of its ocial inquiry, which the Austrians refused to do as they lacked any conclusive as opposed to circumstantial evidence.[103] Several times, the
Austrians refused Russian requests to extend the deadline, despite warnings that an Austro-Serbian war could
easily cause a world war.[104] Sazonov told the Austrian
ambassador I know what it is. You mean to make war
on Serbia...? You are setting re to Europe.... Why was
Serbia given no chance to speak and why the form of an
ultimatum? The fact is you mean war and you have burnt
your bridges.... One sees how peace-loving you are.[105]

"...our rearmament programme had not
been completed and it seemed doubtful
whether our Army and Fleet would ever be
able to compete with those of Germany and
Austria-Hungary as regards modern technical
eciency...No one in Russia desired a war.
The disastrous consequences of the RussoJapanese War had shown the grave danger
which Russia would run in case of hostilities.
Consequently our policy should aim at reducing the possibility of a European war, but
if we remained passive we would attain our
objectives...In his view stronger language than
we had used hitherto was desirable.[106]
Sazonov stated that Russia had usually been moderate in
its foreign policy, but Germany looked upon our concessions as so many proofs of our weakness and far from
having prevented our neighbours from using aggressive
methods, we had encouraged them.[107] The Russian
War Minister Vladimir Sukhomlinov and the Navy Minister Admiral Ivan Grigorovich stated that Russia was not
ready for a war against either Austria or Germany, but
that ...hesitation was no longer appropriate as far as the
Imperial government was concerned. They saw no objection to a display of greater rmness in our diplomatic
negotiations.[108] The Russian government again asked
Austria to extend the deadline, and advised the Serbs
to oer as little resistance as possible to the terms of
the Austrian ultimatum.[105] Finally to deter Austria from
war, the Russian Council of Ministers ordered a partial
mobilization against Austria.[109]
Russian policy was to pressure the Serbs to accept the
ultimatum as much as possible without being humiliated too much.[110] Russia was anxious to avoid a war
because the Great Military Programme was not to be
completed until 1917, and Russia was otherwise not
ready for war.[110] Because all of Frances leaders, including President Poincar and Ren Viviani, were at sea
on the battleship France, returning from the summit in
St. Petersburg, the acting head of the French government, Jean-Baptiste Bienvenu-Martin took no line on the
ultimatum.[111] In addition, the Germans jammed the radio messages, at least garbling contacts between the shipborne French leaders and Paris, and possibly blocking
them completely.[92]

2.3.10 Proposals for mediation

On 23 July, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey

made a mediation oer with a promise that his government would attempt to inuence Russia to inuence Serbia, and Germany to inuence Austria-Hungary as the
On 24 July, the Russian Council of Ministers met to de- best way of stopping a general war.[112] Wilhelm wrote on
cide their response to the crisis. The Russian Agricul- the margins of Lichnowsky's dispatch containing Greys
ture Minister Alexander Krivoshein, who was especially oer that Britains condescending orders were to be
trusted by Nicholas, noted that:
totally rejected, and Austria-Hungary would not retract



any of its impossible demands on Serbia. He continued: Am I to do that? Wouldnt think of it! What
does he [Grey] mean by impossible?[112] Jagow ordered
Lichnowsky to tell Grey of the supposed German ignorance of the Austrian ultimatum, and that Germany
regarded Austro-Serbian relations as internal affair of Austria-Hungary, in which we had no standing to
intervene.[112] Jagows statement did much to discredit
Germany in British eyes. Lichnowsky reported to Berlin
If we do not join the mediation, all faith here in us and
in our love of peace will be shattered.[112]
At the same time, Grey met with opposition from the
Russian Ambassador who warned that a conference with
Germany, Italy, France, and Britain serving as the mediators between Austria and Russia would break apart the informal Triple Entente.[101] Sazonov accepted Greys proposal for a conference despite his reservations about the
dangers of splitting the Triple Entente,[101] Grey wrote to
Sazonov that:
I do not consider that public opinion here
would or ought to sanction our going to war
over a Serbian quarrel. If, however, war does
take place, the development of other issues
may draw us into it, and I am therefore anxious to prevent it.[101]

part initiated.[113] A division emerged at various meetings of the Reichs leadership between those led by the
chancellor who wanted to see what would happen following an Austrian attack on Serbia, and the military led
by Moltke and Falkenhayn, who urged that Germany immediately follow up an Austrian attack on Serbia with a
German attack on Russia. Moltke repeatedly stated that
1914 would be the best time for starting a preventive
war from the German point of view, or the Russian Great
Military Programme would nish by 1917, making Germany unable to ever again risk a war.[41] Moltke added
that Russian mobilization was regarded as an opportunity
to be sought rather than as a sort of threat, as it would
allow Germany to go to war while presenting it as forced
on Germany.[114] The German military attach in Russia
reported that Russian preparations for mobilization were
on a much smaller scale than was expected.[115] Though
Moltke at rst argued that Germany should wait for Russia to mobilize before beginning the preventive war, by
the end of the week he urged that Germany should launch
it anyway.[116] In Moltkes view, in order to invade France
successfully, Germany would need to seize the Belgian
fortress of Lige by surprise. The longer the diplomatic
action continued, the less likely Moltke thought that Lige
could be stormed by surprise, and if Lige were not taken,
then the entire Schlieen Plan would be unhinged.[117]
On 24 July, Zimmermann sent out a dispatch to all German ambassadors (except for Austria-Hungary) telling
them to inform their host governments that Germany had
no advance knowledge whatsoever of the ultimatum.[86]
That same day, Grey, who was worried by the aggressive tone of the ultimatum (which he felt seemed designed to be rejected), warned Lichnowsky of the dangers
of European war a quatre (involving Russia, Austria,
France and Germany) if Austrian troops entered Serbia.
Grey suggested mediation between Italy, France, Germany, and Britain as the best way of stopping an AustroSerbian war. Jagow sabotaged Greys oer by waiting
until after the ultimatum had expired before passing on
the British oer.[112] Jagow claimed that [w]e exercised
no inuence of any kind with regard to the contents of
the note [the Austrian ultimatum], and that Germany
was unable to counsel Vienna to retract because that
would humiliate Austria too much.[118] The Russian Ambassador to the Court of St. James warned Prince Lichnowsky that Only a government that wanted war could
possibly write such a note [the Austrian ultimatum].[118]
Upon reading an account of a meeting in which Count
Berchtold informed the Russian Ambassador of his countrys peaceful intentions towards Russia, Wilhelm wrote
on the margin absolutely superuous! and called Berchtold an Ass![118]

Also on 24 July, after Berchtold met with the Russian

charg d'aaires, furious complaints were prompted from
Berlin, warning that Austria should not engage in talks
with any other powers in case a compromise might be
Starting 23 July, all of Germanys leaders returned se- worked out.[112] That same day, Wilhelm wrote on the
cretly to Berlin to deal with the crisis they had in large
Erich von Falkenhayn, Prussian Minister of War from 1913 to
1914, urged an attack on Russia.


margin of a dispatch from Count Tschirschky, calling
Austria-Hungary weak for not being aggressive enough
in the Balkans, and writing that alteration in the power in
the Balkans has got to come. Austria must become predominant in the Balkans as compared to the little ones,
and at Russias expense.[119] Count Szgyny reported
to Vienna that here, it is generally taken for granted that
if Serbia rejects our demands, we shall at once reply by
declaring war, and opening military operations. We are confront the world with a fait accompli (emphasis in the original).[119] When the German ambassador in Belgrade reported how sad the Serbian people
were with being faced with the choice of either war or
national humiliation, Wilhelm wrote on the margins of
the report: Bravo! One would not have believed it of
the Viennese!...How hollow the whole Serbian power is
proving itself to be; thus, it is seen to be with all the Slav
nations! Just tread hard on the heels of that rabble![120]

are the most perdious), and there is a brutality about their mode of procedure, which will
make most people think that is a case of a big
Power wantonly bullying a little one. Anyhow,
it is the most dangerous situation of the last 40
In order to stop a war, the Permanent Secretary of the
British Foreign Oce, Sir Arthur Nicolson, suggested
again that a conference be held in London chaired by
Britain, Germany, Italy and France to resolve the dispute
between Austria and Serbia.[122]
24 July marked the true beginning of the July Crisis.[122]
Until that point, the vast majority of the people in the
world were ignorant of the machinations of the leaders in
Berlin and Vienna, and there was no sense of crisis.[122]
A case in point was the British Cabinet, which had not
discussed foreign aairs at all until 24 July.[123]
On 25 July, Emperor Franz Joseph signed a mobilization
order for eight army corps to begin operations against Serbia on 28 July; the Austro-Hungarian ambassador Giesl
left Belgrade.[119] The Russian General Sta ordered the
Period Preparatory to War, the rst steps to mobilization if need occurred, while the caretaker government in
Paris cancelled all leave for French troops as of 26 July,
and ordered the majority of French troops in Morocco to
begin returning to France.[120]

The Schlieen Plan, the war-plan for the German Empire against
the Entente, which required a defeat of France within forty days
of mobilization in order to defeat the Russian Empire in succession. Thus, Moltke and Falkenhayn recommended to the Kaiser
a preemptive attack against France, Luxembourg and Belgium
when war against Russia (and therefore, her ally France) appeared imminent.

On 24 July, the Serbian government, expecting an Austrian declaration of war the next day, mobilized while
Austria broke o diplomatic relations.[121] The British
Ambassador to Austria-Hungary reported to London:
War is thought imminent. Wildest enthusiasm prevails
in Vienna.[122] Asquith wrote in a letter to Venetia Stanley that he was worried that:
Russia is trying to drag us in. The news
this morning is that Serbia had capitulated on
the main points, but it is very doubtful if any
reservations will be accepted by Austria, who
is resolved upon a complete and nal humiliation. The curious thing is that on many, if not
most of the points, Austria has a good and Serbia a very bad case. But the Austrians are quite
the stupidest people in Europe (as the Italians

On 25 July, Grey suggested again that Germany inform

Austria that the Serbian reply to the Austrian ultimatum
was satisfactory.[124] Jagow passed on Greys oer to
Vienna without comment.[124] The same day, Jagow told
the reporter Theodor Wol that in his opinion neither
London, nor Paris, nor St. Petersburg wants a war.[120]
On the same day, Russia announced that it could not
remain uninterested if Austria attacked Serbia.[124]
Both the French and Russian ambassadors rejected fourpower mediation, and instead proposed direct talks between Belgrade and Vienna. Jagow accepted the FrancoRussian oer as it oered the best chance to sever Britain
from France and Russia.[124] In his talks with Prince
Lichnowsky, Grey drew a sharp distinction between an
Austro-Serbian war, which did not concern Britain and
an Austro-Russian war, which did.[124] Grey added that
Britain was not working in concord with France and Russia, which heightened Jagows hopes of severing Britain
from the Triple Entente.[124] On the same day, Jagow sent
another message to Vienna to encourage the Austrians to
hurry up with declaring war on Serbia.[125]
On 26 July, Berchtold rejected Greys mediation oer,
and wrote that if a localization should not prove possible, then the Dual Monarchy was counting, with gratitude, on Germanys support if a struggle against another
adversary is forced on us.[126] That same day, General
von Moltke sent a message to Belgium demanding that
German troops be allowed to pass through that kingdom in the event of an imminent war against France
and Russia.[126] Bethmann Hollweg in a message to the

German Ambassadors in London, Paris and St. Petersburg stated that the principal aim of German foreign policy now was to make it appear that Russia had forced
Germany into a war, in order to keep Britain neutral
and ensure that German public opinion would back the
war eort.[127] Bethmann Hollweg advised Wilhelm to
send Nicholas a telegram, which he assured the Emperor
was for public relations purposes only.[128] As Bethmann
Hollweg put it, If war should come after all, such a
telegram would make Russias guilt glaringly plain.[128]
Moltke visited the German Foreign Ministry to advise
Jagow that Germany should start drafting an ultimatum
to justify an invasion of Belgium.[129] Later, Moltke met
with Bethmann Hollweg, and told his wife later that same
day that he had informed the Chancellor he was very dissatised that Germany had not yet attacked Russia.[130]
On 26 July, in St. Petersburg, the German Ambassador
von Pourtals told Sazonov to reject Greys oer of a
summit in London,[131] stating that the proposed conference was too unwieldy, and if Russia were serious
about saving the peace, they would negotiate directly
with the Austrians.[131] Sazonov replied that he was willing to see Serbia accept almost all of the Austrian demands, and following von Pourtalss advice, rejected
Greys conference proposal in favour of direct talks with
the Austrians.[131] Von Pourtals reported to Germany
that Sazonov was being more conciliatory, seeking to
nd a satisfy...Austrian demands and willing
to do almost anything to save the peace.[132] At the same
time, von Pourtals warned that changes in the Balkan
balance of power would be regarded as a highly unfriendly
act by Russia.[125] The following Austro-Russian talks
were sabotaged by Austrias refusal to abandon any of the
demands on Serbia[131] As a preparatory move in case a
war did break out, and Britain were to become involved,
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the British Admiralty,
ordered the British eet not to disperse as planned,[133] arguing that news of the British move might serve as a deterrent to war, and thus help persuade Germany to put pressure on Austria to abandon some of the more outrageous
demands in their ultimatum. Grey stated that a compromise solution could be worked out if Germany and Britain
were to work together.[133] His approach generated opposition from British ocials, who felt the Germans were
dealing with the crisis in bad faith.[133] Nicolson warned
Grey that in his opinion Berlin is playing with us.[133]
Grey for his part, rejected Nicolsons assessment, and believed that Germany was interested in stopping a general
Philippe Berthelot, the political director of the Quai
d'Orsay told Wilhelm von Schoen, the German Ambassador in Paris that to my simple mind Germanys attitude
was inexplicable if it did not aim at war.[133]
In Vienna, a dispute began between Conrad von Htzendorf and Berchtold about when Austria should begin
operations.[132] Their conversation ran as follows:
Berchtold: We should like to deliver the declaration of


war on Serbia as soon as possible so as to put an end to
diverse inuences. When do you want the declaration of
Conrad: Only when we have progressed far enough for
operations to begin immediatelyon approximately August 12th.
Berchtold: The diplomatic situation will not hold as long
as that.[132]
On 27 July, Grey sent another peace proposal through
Prince Lichnowsky asking for Germany to use its inuence on Austria-Hungary to save the peace.[134] Grey
warned Lichnowsky that if Austria continued with its
aggression against Serbia, and Germany with its policy
of supporting Austria, then Britain would have no other
choice but to side with France and Russia.[135] The French
Foreign Minister informed the German Ambassador in
Paris, von Schoen, that France was anxious to nd a
peaceful solution, and was prepared to do his utmost with
his inuence in St. Petersburg if Germany should counsel moderation in Vienna, since Serbia had fullled nearly
every point.[125]
On 27 June, Wilhelm ended his cruise in the North Sea
and returned to Germany.[130] Wilhelm landed at Cuxhaven (Kiel) departing on 25 July at 6 p.m. despite the
objections of his chancellor.[136] The next afternoon, the
order to disperse the British Fleet and dismiss British reservists was rescinded, putting the British Navy on a war
When Wilhelm arrived at the Potsdam station late in the evening of July 26, he was
met by a pale, agitated, and somewhat fearful Chancellor. Bethmann-Hollwegs apprehension stemmed not from the dangers of the
looming war, but rather from his fear of the
Kaisers wrath when the extent of his deceptions were revealed. The Kaisers rst words
to him were suitably brusque: How did it all
happen?" Rather than attempt to explain, the
Chancellor oered his resignation by way of
apology. Wilhelm refused to accept it, muttering furiously, You've made this stew, Now
you're going to eat it!" [137]
Later, on 27 July, Austria-Hungary started to complete
the preparations for war.[125] That same day, Jagow informed Szgyny that he was only pretending to take up
the British oers of mediation in order to ensure British
neutrality but had no intention of stopping the war.[138]
Szgyny reported in order to avoid a misunderstanding
that Jagow had promised him that the German government assured Austria in the most binding fashion that it
in no way identies itself with the proposal [Greys mediation oer], which may very shortly be brought to Your
Excellency [Berchtold]'s notice by the German government: it is, on the contrary decidedly opposed to consideration of them and is only passing them on out of deference to the British request (emphasis in the original).[138]


Jagow went on to state he was absolutely against taking account of the British wish,[138] because the German
government point of view was that it was at the moment
of the highest importance to prevent Britain from making
common cause with Russia and France. We must therefore avoid any action [that] might cut the line, which has
so far worked so well, between Germany and Britain.[138]
Szgyny ended his telegram that If Germany candidly
told Grey that it refused to communicate Englands peace
plan, that objective [ensuring British neutrality in the
coming war] might not be achieved.[139] Bethmann Hollweg, in a message to Prince Tschirschky, wrote on 27
July: As we have already rejected one British proposal
for a conference, it is not possible for us to refuse this
suggestion also a limine. If we rejected every attempt
at mediation, the whole world would hold us responsible for the conagration and represent us as the real warmongers. That would also make our position impossible
here in Germany, where we have got to appear as though
the war had been forced on us. Our position is the more
dicult because Serbia seems to have given way very extensively. We cannot therefore reject the role of mediator; we have to pass on the British proposal to Vienna
for consideration, especially since London and Paris are
continuously using their inuence on St. Petersburg.[138]
In passing on Greys message, Bethmann Hollweg deleted
the last line, which read: Also, the whole world here is
convinced, and I hear from my colleagues that the key
to the situation lies in Berlin, and that if Berlin seriously wants peace, it will prevent Vienna from following a
foolhardy policy.[140] In his reply to London, Bethmann
Hollweg pretended that: We have immediately initiated
mediation in Vienna in the sense desired by Sir Edward
Grey.[140] Jagow sent Greys oer to Tschirschky, his
ambassador in Vienna, but ordered him to not show it to
any Austrian ocial in case they might accept it.[139] At
the same time, Bethmann Hollweg sent a distorted account of Greys oer to Wilhelm.[140]
In London, Grey told a meeting of the British Cabinet
that they now had to decide whether to choose neutrality if war did come or to enter the conict.[139] While the
Cabinet was still undecided about what course to choose,
Churchill put the British eet on alert.[141] His order read:
Secret. European political situation makes war between
Triple Alliance and Triple Entente by no means impossible. This is not the Warning Telegram, but be prepared to shadow possible hostile men of war... Measure is
purely precautionary.[141] The Austrian Ambassador in
Paris, Count Nikolaus Szcsen von Temerin, reported to
Vienna: The far-reaching compliance of Serbia, which
was not regarded as possible here, has made a strong impression. Our attitude gives rise to the opinion that we
want war at any price.[141] A Russian diplomat in London presciently criticized Grey for putting too much faith
in Germany as a force for peace.[141] The British were
warned that War is inevitable and by the fault of England; that if England had at once declared her solidarity
with Russia and France and her intention to ght if neces-

sary, Germany and Austria would have hesitated.[142] In
Berlin, Admiral von Mller wrote in his diary that Germany should remain calm to allow Russia to put herself
in the wrong but then not to shrink from war if it were
inevitable.[142] Bethmann Hollweg told Wilhelm that In
all events Russia must ruthlessly be put in the wrong.[142]
On 28 July at 11:49 a.m. Prince Lichnowsky sent the
fourth British oer of mediation, this time from King
George V as well as Grey.[143] Lichnowsky wrote that
the King desired that British-German joint participation, with the assistance of France and Italy, may be successful in mastering in the interest of peace the present
extremely serious situation.[143] At 4:25 p.m. on 28
July, Lichnowsky reported to Berlin that since appearance of Austrian demands nobody here believes in possibility of localizing conict.[144] The Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Oce, Sir Arthur Nicolson, and
the Private Secretary to Grey, Sir William Tyrrell, saw
Greys conference oer as the only possibility of avoiding a general war and hoped to get full satisfaction for
Austria, as Serbia would be more apt to give in to the
pressure of the Powers and to submit to their united will
than to the threats of Austria.[145] Tyrrell relayed Greys
view that if Serbia were invaded, world war would be
inevitable.[145] Lichnowsky in his dispatch to Berlin offered an urgent warning against believing any further in
the possibility of localization [of the conict].[145] When
Sir Edward Goschen, the British Ambassador in Berlin,
presented Greys conference proposal to Jagow, the Germans totally rejected the oer.[119] In a letter to Grey,
Bethmann Hollweg stated that Germany could not summon Austria before a European court of justice in her
case with Serbia.[146] Austrian troops began to concentrate in Bosnia as a preparatory step towards invading
Serbia.[147] Falkenhayn told the German government, It
has now been decided to ght the matter through, regardless of the cost, and advised Bethmann Hollweg to order a German attack on Russia and France at once.[147]
Moltke supported Falkenhayn by submitting the assessment that 1914 was a singularly favourable situation for
Germany to go to war as both Russia and France were not
prepared whereas Germany was.[148] Once the Russian
Great Military Programme would be completed by 1917,
Moltke stated that Germany would never be able to entertain the prospect of a victorious war again and so should
destroy both France and Russia while it was still possible. Moltke ended his assessment that We shall never
hit it again so well as we do now.[148] Jagow backed up
Moltke by sending a message to Vienna telling the Austrians they must attack Serbia at once because otherwise
the British peace plan might be accepted.[149]
On 28 July, after reading Serbias reply, Wilhelm commented, But that eliminates any reason for war[140] or
"every cause for war falls to the ground.[148] Wilhelm
noted that Serbia had made a capitulation of the most
humiliating kind,[148] that the few reservations [that]
Serbia has made with respect to certain points can in



Hungary.[155] Wilhelm sent a telegram to Nicholas asking for Russian support for the Austrian war against
Serbia.[155] Nicholas replied: Am glad you are back ...
I appeal to you to help me. An ignoble war has been declared on a weak country.... Soon I shall be overwhelmed
by pressure brought upon me ... to take extreme meaWilhelms sudden change of mind about war enraged sures which will lead to war. To try and avoid such as a
Bethmann Hollweg, the military and the diplomatic ser- calamity as a European war, I beg you in the name of our
old friendship to do what you can to stop your allies from
vice who proceeded to sabotage Wilhelms oer.[151] A
German general wrote: unfortunately ... peaceful news. going too far.
The Kaiser wants peace.... He even wants to inuence Shortly after declaring war on Serbia, Conrad informed
Austria and to stop continuing further.[152] Bethmann the Germans that Austria-Hungary could not start opHollweg sabotaged Wilhelms proposal by informing von erations until 12 August, to much fury in Berlin.[128]
Tschirschky: You must most carefully avoid giving any Bavarian diplomat Count Lerchenfeld reported to Muimpression that we want to hold Austria back. We are nich: The Imperial government is thus put into the exconcerned only to nd a modus to enable the realisation of traordinary dicult position of being exposed during the
Austria-Hungarys aim without at the same time unleash- intervening period to the other Powers proposals for meing a world war, and should this after all prove unavoid- diation and conferences, and if it continues to maintain
able, to improve as far as possible the conditions under its previous reserve towards such proposals, the odium of
which it is to be waged.[151] In passing on Wilhelms mes- having provoked a world war will in the end recoil on it,
sage, Bethmann Hollweg excluded the parts wherein the even in the eyes of the German people. But a successful
Emperor told the Austrians not to go to war.[149] Jagow war on three fronts (viz, in Serbia, Russia and France) can
told his diplomats to disregard Wilhelms peace oer, and not be initiated and carried on such a basis. It is impercontinue to press for war. General Falkenhayn told Wil- ative that the responsibility for any extension of the conhelm he no longer had control of the aair in his own ict to the Powers not directly concerned should under
hands. Falkenhayn went on to imply that the military all circumstances fall on Russia alone.[156] At the same
would stage a coup d'etat, and depose Wilhelm in favour time, the German Ambassador to Russia, Portals, reof the hawkish Crown Prince Wilhelm if he continued to ported that, based on a conversation with Sazonov, Ruswork for peace.[149]
sia was prepared to make astonishing concessions by
promising to pressure Serbia to agree to most of the AusBethmann Hollwegs two favourable conditions for war
of talks was
that he mentioned in his telegram to Vienna were that trian demands to avoid a war. The prospect[157]
rejected out of hand by Bethmann Hollweg.
Russia be made to appear the aggressor forcing a reluctant
Germany into war, and that Britain be kept neutral.[151] Through as late as 27 July, Jagow expressed the view
The necessity of making Russia appear the aggressor that Russian partial mobilization against the frontiers of
was the greater concern to Bethmann-Hollweg because Austria-Hungary was not a casus belli, Moltke instead
the German Social Democratic Party had denounced argued that Germany should mobilize at once and atAustria for declaring war on Serbia and ordered street tack France. Moltke was overruled by Bethmann Holldemonstrations to protest Germanys actions in support- weg in two meetings on 29 July, who argued that Gering Austria.[153] However, Bethmann Hollweg put great many should wait for Russia to begin a general mobilizafaith in the private promises he received from SPD lead- tion. As Bethmann Hollweg told Moltke, this was the
ers that they would support the government if Germany best way to ensure that blame for the whole shemozzle
could be placed on Russias door, and thus ensure British
was faced with a Russian attack.[153]
neutrality.[157] While promising not to start mobilization
without the Chancellors orders, Moltke ordered the Ger2.3.11 Austro-Hungarian declaration of man military attach in Belgium to ask for permission
for German troops to cross through on the way to attack
war on Serbia
France.[158] Also on July 28, Bethmann Hollweg oered
to form an anti-Russian military alliance with Turkey.[159]
At 11:00 a.m. on 28 July, Austria declared war on
Serbia.[128] Following instructions from Bethmann Holl- In a meeting with the British Ambassador Goschen, Bethweg, von Tschirschky did not present Wilhelms Stop mann Hollweg made the agrantly false statement that
to pressure Austria to abandon the
in Belgrade proposal until noon.[128] At 1:00am on 29 Germany was trying
As Prince Henry of Prussia prewar
July 1914 the rst shots of the First World War were
V had promised him that Britain
red by the Austrian monitor SMS Bodrog, which bomwould
Kaiser rejected Bethmann
barded Belgrade in response to Serbian sappers blowing
with Britain, stating
up the railway bridge over the river Sava which linked
anything now
In Russia, partial mobilization was
the two countries.
his countrys
ordered for the four military districts bordering Austriamy opinion surely be cleared up by negotiation, and acting independently of Grey, made a similar Stop in Belgrade oer.[150] Wilhelm stated that because the Serbs
are Orientals, therefore liars, tricksters, and masters of
evasion, a temporary Austrian occupation of Belgrade
was required until Serbia kept its word.[148]


In London, Churchill wrote to George V that the Royal
Navy had been placed upon a preparatory precautionary
basis.[161] Churchill went to write that it is needless to
emphasize that these measures in no way prejudice an intervention or take for granted that the peace of the great
powers will not be preserved.[161]
On 29 July, Wilhelm sent a telegram to Nicholas stating
I think a direct understanding between your government
and Vienna possible and desirable.[162] The Austrian
General Sta sent a note to Jagow complaining about his
statement that he did not regard a Russian partial mobilization as a threat to Germany, and asked that Germany
mobilize to deter Russia from supporting Serbia.[163] In
response to the Austrian message, Jagow told a Russian
diplomat that Germany was likewise obliged to mobilize [in response to Russian partial mobilization]; there
was therefore nothing left to be done and the diplomatists must now leave the talking to the cannon.[163]
At a meeting in Potsdam, according to Admiral Tirpitz's
notes, Wilhelm expressed himself without reserve regarding Bethmanns incompetence in foreign aairs.[164]
Bethmann Hollweg suggested that Germany sign a naval
agreement with Britain limiting the size of the High Seas
Fleet to keep Britain out of the war.[164] Admiral Tirpitz
went on to record: The Kaiser informed the company
that the Chancellor had proposed that in order to keep
England neutral, we should sacrice the German eet for
an agreement with England, which he, the Kaiser had
In order to ensure acceptance of his peace plan, Grey proposed a Stop in Belgrade oer, in which Austria would
occupy Belgrade and go no further. Since this was the
same proposal as Wilhelm had made, Bethmann Hollweg
regarded this as a particular threat as it would have made
it dicult for Germany to reject it.[164] Bethmann Hollweg asked that Austria at least make an eort to show
some interest in the British peace plan.[165] In an eort
to sabotage Bethmann Hollwegs oer (which though not
sincere was regarded as dangerous in case it might succeed), Moltke asked Vienna not to consider the British
peace plan, and instead to order general mobilization and
activate War Plan R, the Austrian war plan for a war
against Russia.[166]
At a meeting with Bethmann Hollweg late on 29 July,
Falkenhayn and Moltke both again demanded that Germany use Russian partial mobilization as an excuse to go
to war.[160] Bethmann Hollweg again insisted that Germany must wait for Russian general mobilization as it
was the only way of ensuring that the German public and
that Britain would remain neutral in the imminent war
against France and Russia.[160] In order to make Russia
appear the aggressor, Moltke asked for Austrian mobilization against Russia so as to provide a casus foederis for
Germany to arise and mobilize likewise.[167] In the same
message, Moltke expressed hope that the British peace

plan would fail, and announced his belief that the only
way of saving Austria-Hungary as a power was through
a general European war.[167] In the evening, Moltke repeated his request, and promised again that Germany
will mobilize against Russia, were Austria to do the
same. Count Szogyeny reported to Vienna that the German government ...regarded the possibility of a European conict with the most complete calm,[167] and that
the Germans were only concerned about the possibility of
Italy not honouring the Triple Alliance.[167]
In a meeting in London, Grey warned Prince Lichnowsky
in veiled terms that if Germany attacked France, then
Britain would consider going to war with Germany.[165]
Grey repeated his Stop in Belgrade peace plan, and
strongly urged that Germany accept it.[168] Grey ended
his meeting with the warning that unless Austria is willing to enter upon a discussion of the Serbian question
a world war is inevitable.[165] To support Greys warnings, the British government ordered a general alert for its
armed forces.[169] In Paris, Jean Jaurs, the leader of the
French Socialist Party and an outspoken pacist was assassinated by a right-wing fanatic.[170] In St. Petersburg,
the French Ambassador Maurice Palologue, upon learning belatedly on the night of 29/30 July of Russias partial
mobilization, protested against the Russian move.[171]
At another meeting with Goschen late on the night of
29 July, Bethmann Hollweg stated that Germany would
soon be going to war against France and Russia, and
sought to ensure British neutrality by promising him that
Germany would not annex parts of metropolitan France
(Bethmann Hollweg refused to make any promises about
French colonies).[172] During the same meeting, Bethmann Hollweg all but announced that Germany would
soon violate Belgiums neutrality, though Bethmann Hollweg said that, if Belgium did not resist, Germany would
not annex that kingdom.[172]
The Goschen-Bethmann Hollweg meeting did much to
galvanize the British government into deciding to ally
with France and Russia.[172] Sir Eyre Crowe commented
that Germany had made up her mind to go to war.[172]
Germanys policy was to reveal to Britain her war aims
in hope that a statement might be reached that would ensure British neutrality.[173] Instead, Bethmann Hollwegs
move had the opposite eect, since it was now clear to
London that Germany had no interest in peace.[173]
After Goschen left the meeting, Bethmann Hollweg received a message from Prince Lichnowsky saying that
Grey was most anxious for a four power conference,
but that if Germany attacked France, then Britain would
have no other choice but to intervene in the war.[173]
In response to the British warning, Bethmann Hollweg suddenly changed course. As he wrote to Prince
Tschirschky: If therefore, Austria should reject all mediation, we are faced with a conagration in which Britain
would be against us, Italy and Romania in all probability
not with us. We should be two Powers against Four. With



Britain an enemy, the weight of the operations would fall

on Germany ... Under these circumstances we must urgently and emphatically suggest to the Vienna Cabinet acceptance of mediation under the present honourable conditions. The responsibility falling on us and Austria for
the consequences which would ensure in case of refusal
would be uncommonly heavy.[174] Five minutes later,
Bethmann Hollweg asked Vienna in a second message to
stop refusing any exchange of views with Russia, and
warned that we ...must refuse to allow Vienna to draw
us into a world conagration frivolously and without regard to our advice.[174] In another message, Bethmann
Hollweg wrote To avert a general catastrophe or in any
case to put Russia in the wrong, we must urgently wish
Vienna to begin and continue conversations with Russia.
As the historian Fritz Fischer noted, only when Bethmann
Hollweg received a clear warning that Britain would intervene in a war did he begin to apply pressure on Austria
for peace.[174] Bethmann Hollwegs advice was rejected
by Austria as being too late.[175] Count Berchtold told
the German Ambassador that he would need a few days
to think about the German oer, and until then, events
would proceed.[171]


Russian mobilization

On 30 July, Nicholas sent a message to Wilhelm informing him that he had ordered partial mobilization
against Austria, and asking him to do his utmost for
a peaceful solution.[176] Upon hearing of Russias partial mobilization, Wilhelm wrote: Then I must mobilize too.[177] The German Ambassador in St. Petersburg informed Nicholas that Germany would mobilize
if Russia did not cease all military preparations at once,
including those it had previously assured Russia it did
not see as a threat against Germany or cause for German mobilization.[178][179] The German military attach
in Russia reported that:
I have the impression that they the Russians have mobilized here from a dread of coming events without aggressive intentions and
are now frightened at what they have brought
At the same time, Nicholas order for a partial mobilization met with protests from both Sazonov and the Russian War Minister General Vladimir Sukhomlinov, who
insisted partial mobilization was not technically possible,
and that, given Germanys attitude, a general mobilization
was required.[178] Nicholas at rst ordered a general mobilization, and then after receiving an appeal for peace
from Wilhelm cancelled it as a sign of his good faith.
The cancellation of general mobilization led to furious
protests from Sukhomlinov, Sazonov, and Russias top
generals, all urging Nicholas to reinstate it. Under strong
pressure, Nicholas gave in and ordered a general mobilization on 30 July.[178]

Vladimir Sukhomlinov, Minister of War of the Russian Empire,

insisted a partial mobilization was impossible for Russia.

At the start of the July Crisis, Germany had given her

full support to Austria because this stratagem had earlier served to keep Russia on the sidelines during the
Annexationist Crisis of 1908, and therefore oered the
best possible prospect of keeping the Austro-Serb dispute
localized. On 28 July, Russia ordered partial mobilization in response to Austrias declaration of war on Serbia,
Bethmann-Hollweg became alarmed and changed his attitude 180 degrees. Already on 28 July, two hours before
becoming aware of the Austrian declaration of war, the
Kaiser had suggested the Halt in Belgrade plan and instructed von Jagow:

I propose that we say to Austria: Serbia

has been forced to retreat in a very humiliating manner and we oer our congratulations.
Naturally, as a result, no more cause for war
exists, but a guarantee that the promises will be
carried out is probably necessary. That could
be secured by a temporary military occupation
of a portion of Serbia, similar to the way we
left troops in France in 1871 until the billions
were paid. On this basis I am ready to mediate for peace with Austria. Submit a proposal
to me along the lines I have sketched out, to be
communicated to Vienna.


After learning of the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, Bethmann Hollweg sent o the Kaisers 'pledge plan'
to Vienna on the evening of 28 July, with instructions to
Tschirschky (the German ambassador in Vienna) to express himself emphatically to Berchtold and to wire
After waiting all day Wednesday (29 July) for a reply,
Bethmann Hollweg sent o three more telegrams urgently demanding an immediate answer to his pledge
plan and the plan for direct conversations between
Austria and Russia and added in severe disapproval of
These expressions of the Austrian diplomats must be regarded as indications of more
recent wishes and aspirations. I regard the attitude of the Austrian Government and its unparalleled procedure towards the various Governments with increasing astonishment. In St.
Petersburg it declares its territorial disinterestedness; us it leaves wholly in the dark as to
its programme; Rome it puts o with empty
phrases about the question of compensation; in
London, Count Mensdor (the Austrian ambassador) hands out part of Serbia to Bulgaria
and Albania and places himself in contradiction
with Viennas solemn declaration at St. Petersburg. From these contradictions I must conclude
that the telegram disavowing Hoyos {who, on
July 5/6 at Berlin, had spoken unocially of
Austrias partitioning of Serbia} was intended
for the gallery, and that the Austrian Government is harboring plans which it sees t to conceal from us, in order to assure itself in all events
of German support and to avoid the refusal
which might result from a frank statement.

The refusal of every exchange of views
with St. Petersburg would be a serious mistake,
for it provokes Russia precisely to armed interference, which Austria is primarily concerned
in avoiding. We are ready, to be sure, to fulll
our obligations as an ally, but we must refuse
to allow ourselves to be drawn by Vienna into
a world conagration frivolously and in disregard of our advice. Please say this to Count
Berchtold at once with all emphasis and with
great seriousness.
Five minutes later, at 3:00 a.m., he wired Vienna again:
If Austria refuses all negotiations, we are
face to face with a conagration in which England will be against us ... under these circumstances we must urgently and emphatically urge
upon the consideration of the Vienna Cabinet
the adoption of mediation in accordance with
the above honourable conditions. The responsibility for the consequences which would otherwise follow would be, for Austria and us, an
uncommonly heavy one.
Professor Fay wrote that To this urgent request by Germany for Austrias acceptance of a solution, which perhaps even yet might have avoided the conagration of Europe, Berchtold gave no denite or frank answer.
These early-morning telegrams from Bethmann Hollweg
were given by Tschirschky to Berchtold while the two
men lunched on Thursday, 30 July. Tschirschky reported
to Berlin that:
Berchtold listened pale and silent while
they {the Bethmann telegrams} were read
through twice; Count Forgach took notes. Finally, Berchtold said he would at once lay the
matter before the Emperor.

After receiving information from Rome that Serbia was

now ready on condition of certain interpretations, to
swallow even Articles 5 and 6, that is, the whole AusAfter Berchtold had departed for his audience with Emtrian ultimatum, Bethmann Hollweg forwarded this to
peror Franz Joseph (on the afternoon of Thursday, 30
Vienna at 12:30 a.m., 30 July, adding:
July), Bethmann was told by Berchtolds advisors (Forgach and Hoyos) that he should not expect a reply unPlease show this to Berchtold immediately
til the following morning (Friday, 31 July), for the reaand add that we regard such a yielding on Serson that Tisza, who would not be in Vienna until then,
bias part as a suitable basis for negotiations
must be consulted. Bethmann spent the remainder of the
along with an occupation of a part of Serbian
day, 30 July, continuing to impress Vienna with the need
territory as a pledge.
for negotiations and to inform the Powers of his mediation eorts. But in the evening of that hopeful day,
Berchtold replied that though the acceptance of the Aus- Thursday, July 30, with Berlins strenuous eorts to pertrian Note would have been satisfactory before hostilities suade Vienna to some form of negotiation, and with Bethhad begun, now after a state of war has begun, Aus- mann Hollweg still awaiting a response from Berchtold,
trias conditions must naturally take another tone. In re- Russia gave the order for full mobilization. When the
sponse, Bethmann Hollweg, now aware of the Russian German Emperor learned that, were Germany to attack
order for partial mobilization, red o several telegrams France and Russia, Britain would in all likelihood not
in the early morning hours of 30 July. At 2:55 a.m., he remain neutral, he launched a vehement rant, denounctelegraphed Vienna:
ing Britain as that lthy nation of grocers.[180] That

same day, the anti-Russian German-Turkish alliance was
signed.[159] Moltke passed on a message to Conrad asking for general mobilization as a prelude to a war against


main neutral accounted for the change.[183] Fischer notes
the telegram reporting these vague assurances arrived
12 minutes before the dispatch of the suspending telegram and that Bethmann Hollweg himself justied the
cancellation that way, while acknowledging that before
then Bethmann Hollweg had already prepared, but not yet
sent, a telegram to Vienna explaining that he had cancelled execution of instructions in No. 200, because the
General Sta has just informed me that military measures
of our neighbors, especially in the east, compel speedy
decision if we are not to be taken by surprise.[185]

At 9:00 p.m. on 30 July, Bethmann Hollweg gave

in to Moltke and Falkenhayns repeated demands and
promised them that Germany would issue a proclamation
of imminent danger of war at noon the next day regardless of whether Russia began a general mobilization or
not.[167] Bethmann Hollweg was overjoyed upon learning
of Russian general mobilization at 9:00 am of the 31st,
as it allowed him to present the war as something forced Upon arriving back in France, the French Premier Ren
on Germany by Russia.[181]
Viviani sent a message to St. Petersburg asking that in
At a meeting of the Prussian State Council held on July the precautionary measures and defensive measures to
30, Bethmann Hollweg noted Russian mobilization was a which Russia believes herself obliged to resort, she should
not immediately proceed to any measure which might ofnot a source of worry for Germany:[182]
fer Germany the pretext for a total or partial mobilization of her forces.[186] French troops were ordered to pull
Although the Russian mobilization had
back six miles (10 km) from the German frontier as a sign
been declared, her mobilization measures canof Frances peaceful intentions.[186]
not be compared with those of the West EuroBritish Prime Minister Asquith wrote to Stanley:
pean states ... Moreover, Russia does not intend to wage war, but has been forced to take
these measures because of Austria.[182]
The European situation is at least one degree worse than it was yesterday, and has not
been improved by a rather shameless attempt
Bethmann Hollweg stated that his only interest now was,
on the part of Germany to buy our neutralfor domestic political reasons, to "represent Russia as the
ity during the war by promises that she will
guilty party behind the war.[175] In the same meeting,
not annex French territory (except colonies) or
the Chancellor stated that if it appeared to public opinHolland or Belgium. There is something very
ion that Russian mobilization had forced Germany into
crude & childlike about German diplomacy.
a war, then there was nothing to fear from the SoMeanwhile the French are beginning to press
cial Democrats.[183] Bethmann Hollweg added, There
in the opposite sense, as the Russians have been
will be no question of a general or partial strike or of
doing for some time. The City, wh. is in a terrisabotage.[183]
ble state of depression and paralysis, is the time
Later that day, Bethmann Hollweg sent a message to the
being all against English intervention.[187]
German ambassador to Vienna increasing pressure to accept the halt-in-Belgrade proposal, saying that: If give way at all, it will hardly be possible On 31 July, the Austrian Crown Council decided to conto place the blame on Russia for the outbreak of the Euro- tinue the war against Serbia, and to ignore the dangers
mobilization in the expectation of German
pean conagration. H.M. has, on the request of the Tsar, of Russian
Nicholas wrote to Wilhelm to promise him
undertaken to intervene in Vienna because he could not
mobilization was not aimed as a prerefuse without awakening an irrefutable suspicion that we
wanted war...If these eorts of Britains meet with success, while Vienna refuses everything, Vienna will prove
I thank you heartily for your mediation
that it is set on having a war, into which we are dragged,
which begins to give one hope that all may yet
while Russia remains free of guilt. This puts us in a quite
end peacefully. It is technically impossible to
impossible position in the eyes of our own people. We
our military preparations which were obligacan therefore only urgently recommend Vienna to accept
tory owing to Austrias mobilization. We are
Greys proposal, which safeguards its position in every
far from wishing war. As long as the negoway.[183] Bethmann Hollweg could not go to war in suptiations with Austria on Serbias account are
port of Austrian intransigence under such circumstances.
taking place my troops shall not make any
But shortly afterwards, as soon as news of Russias genprovocative action. I give you my solemn word
eral mobilization began to arrive in Berlin the Chancellor
for this.[189]
instructed the ambassador in Vienna that all mediation
attempts be stopped, and the directive be suspended.
Fritz Fischer and some other scholars have maintained The German Ambassador in Paris delivered an ultimatum
the alternative view that Prince Henrys assurances that to Premier Viviani telling him that if Russia did not stop
King George had promised him that Britain would re- its mobilization, then Germany would attack France.[189]


Viviani, newly arrived back in France, knew nothing of a
Russian general mobilization, and asked his ambassador
in St. Petersburg for information.[189] Marshal Joseph
Jore of the French Army asked for permission to order
a general mobilization.[190] His request was refused.[190]


German mobilization

When the word reached Berlin of Russian general mobilization, Wilhelm agreed to sign the orders for German
mobilization, and German troops began preparations to
enter Luxembourg and Belgium as a preliminary towards
invading France.[181] As the historian Fritz Fischer noted,
Bethmann Hollwegs gamble in waiting for Russian mobilization had paid o, and the Social Democrats rallied
to support the government.[181] The Bavarian military attach recorded that he learned of Russian mobilization:
I run to the War Ministry. Beaming faces
everywhere. Everyone is shaking hands in the
corridors: people congratulate one another one
for being over the hurdle.[191]
Under the Schlieen Plan, for Germany to mobilize
was to mean war because as part of the plan, German
troops as they were called up were to invade Belgium
automatically.[192] Unlike the war plans of the other powers, for Germany to mobilize was to go to war.[178] Both
Moltke and Falkenhayn told the government that Germany should declare war even were Russia to oer to
Asquith wrote to Stanley in London that the general
opinion at present particularly strong in the City is to
keep out at all costs.[190] The British Cabinet was badly
divided with David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer being strongly opposed to Britain becoming
involved in a war. The Conservatives promised the government if the anti-war Liberal ministers were to resign,
they would enter the government to support going to war.
F.E. Smith told Churchill that the Conservatives would
support a war against Germany were France attacked.[190]

Wilhelm.[181] At 4:23 p.m. a telegram from the German Ambassador to Britain arrived with a planned British
proposal to guarantee the neutrality of France and thus
limit the war to one fought in the east. Wilhelm then ordered German forces to strike against Russia alone, leading to erce protests from Moltke that it was not technically possible for Germany to do so as the bulk of
the German forces were already advancing into Luxembourg and Belgium.[181] Wilhelm immediately accepted
the proposal by telegrams at the ambassadorial and royal
levels.[195] In keeping with this decision, Wilhelm II demanded his generals shift the mobilization to the east.
Moltke, German Chief of General Sta, told him that
this was impossible, to which the Kaiser replied Your
uncle would have given me a dierent answer!"[196] Instead, it was decided to mobilize as planned and cancel the planned invasion of Luxembourg. Once mobilization was complete, the army would redeploy to the
east. In response to Wilhelms order, a dejected Moltke
complained that Now, it only remains for Russia to back
out, too.[181] Moltke then proceeded to persuade the Emperor to continue the advance for technical reasons.[197]
In Berlin, Bethmann Hollweg announced that Germany
had mobilized and delivered an ultimatum to France
telling that country to renounce its alliance with Russia or
face a German attack.[198] In response to reports of German troops invading Luxembourg and Belgium plus the
German ultimatum, French mobilization was authorized
on August 1st.[198] On the afternoon of 1 August, Wilhelm signed the mobilization orders.[193] Bethmann Hollweg was angry with Moltke for having had Wilhelm sign
the orders without informing him rst.[193] By 7:00 pm
on 1 August, German troops invaded Luxembourg.[199]

2.3.14 German declarations of war

At the same time as the invasion of Luxembourg, Germany declared war on Russia.[200] When presenting his
declaration of war, the German Ambassador accidentally gave the Russians both copies of the declaration of
war, one which claimed that Russia refused to reply to
Germany and the other that said Russias replies were
On 31 July, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote in a lengthy com[201]
Grey warned Lichnowsky that if Germentary: For I no longer have any doubt that Eng- unacceptable.
Britain would go to war.[201]
land, Russia and France have agreed among themselves
knowing that our treaty obligations compel us to support In the morning of 2 August, while French troops were
Austria-Hungaryto use the Austro-Serb conict as a still at a distance from the German frontier,[202] German
pretext for waging a war of annihilation against us. ... troops took control of Luxembourg[203] as a preliminary
Our dilemma over keeping faith with the old and hon- step to the invasion of Belgium and implementation of the
orable Emperor has been exploited to create a situation Schlieen Plan.
which gives England the excuse she has been seeking to On 2 August, the British government promised that the
annihilate us with a spurious appearance of justice on Royal Navy would protect Frances coast from German
the pretext that she is helping France and maintaining the attack.[204] The British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey
well-known Balance of Power in Europe, i.e. playing o gave Britains rm assurance of protecting France with
all European States for her own benet against us.[194]
its navy to French Ambassador Paul Cambon. Cambons
On 1 August 1914, a British oer to guarantee French account stated: I felt the battle was won. Everything was
neutrality was sent out and promptly accepted by settled. In truth a great country does not wage war by



the British ultimatum and Goschen demanded his passports and requested a private and personal meeting with
Bethmann Hollweg; Bethmann Hollweg invited Goschen
to dine with him. During their highly emotional conversation Bethmann Hollweg expressed astonishment that
the British would go to war with Germany over the 1839
treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium, referring
to the treaty as a scrap of paper compared to the fearful fact of Anglo-German war.[208] The unied opposition shown in Britain was in fact motivated by long-term
strains of liberal and conservative thought, with the desire
to protect small nations and the balance of power in Europe, respectively, a factor in coming to the governments
Goschens telegrams on 4 August to Grey never reached
London. Whether a state of war existed between Britain
and Germany was therefore a confused matter until the
expiry of the ultimatum at midnight, Berlin time.[210]
Goschens account of the scrap of paper conversation dated August 6 was later edited and published by
the British Government and outraged public opinion in
Britain and the United States.[211] The British government
expected a limited conict of rapid movement on the battleeld like the Franco-Prussian War, in which the UK
would primarily use its great naval strength.[212]

The front page of the Lbecker Anzeigen newspaper (2 August

1914), announcing Germanys mobilisation.

At the outbreak of the war, Wilhelm is reported to have

said: To think that George and Nicky should have played
me false! If my grandmother had been alive, she would
never have allowed it.[213]

halves. Once it decided to ght the war at sea it would

necessarily be led into ghting it on land as well.[205] 2.3.15 See also
Within the British Cabinet, the widespread feeling that
Powder keg of Europe
Germany would soon violate Belgiums neutrality and destroy France as a power led to the increasing acceptance
that Britain would be forced to intervene.[206]
A German ultimatum was delivered, this time to Belgium on 2 August, requesting free passage for the German army on the way to France. King Albert of Belgium refused the German request to violate his countrys
neutrality.[207] On 3 August, Germany declared war on
France, and on Belgium on 4 August. This act violated
Belgian neutrality, the status to which Germany, France,
and Britain were all committed by treaty. It was inconceivable that Great Britain would remain neutral if Germany declared war on France; German violation of Belgian neutrality provided the casus belli.
Later on 4 August, Bethmann Hollweg told the Reichstag
that the German invasions of Belgium and Luxembourg
were in violation of international law, but argued that
Germany was in a state of necessity, and necessity knows
no law. At 7 p.m. British Ambassador Sir Edward
Goschen delivered Britains ultimatum to German Secretary of State to the Ministry for Foreign Aairs (Gottlieb
von Jagow), demanding a commitment by midnight that
evening (within ve hours) to go no further with Germanys violation of Belgian neutrality. Jagow rejected

2.3.16 Notes

[1] Jerey Finestone; Robert K. Massie (1981). The last

courts of Europe. Dent. p. 247.
[2] David James Smith (2010). One Morning In Sarajevo.
Hachette UK. He was photographed on the way to the
station and the photograph has been reproduced many
times in books and articles, claiming to depict the arrest
of Gavrilo Princip. But there is no photograph of Gavros
arrest this photograph shows the arrest of Behr.
[3] Gavrilo Princip and the Black Hand organization.
Bookrags. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
[4] Alan Cassels (15 November 1996). Ideology and international relations in the modern world. Psychology
Press. pp. 122. ISBN 978-0-415-11926-9. Retrieved
8 November 2011.
[5] See diplomatic documents here
[6] Otte, 2014, Chapter 1 p. 9
[7] Albertini, 1953, p 35



[8] Dedijer, 1966 Chapter XIV, footnote 21

[38] Fischer, 1967, pp 5152

[9] Magrini, 1929, pp 9495

[39] Fischer, 1967, p. 52

[10] Albertini, 1953 p 40

[40] Fromkin, 2004 page 156

[11] Albertini, 1953, p 41

[41] Fromkin, 2004, p. 202

[12] Dedijer, 1966, p. 321

[42] Fischer, 1967 page 53

[13] Albertini, 1953 p 43

[43] Fromkin, 2004, p. 157

[14] Owings, 1984, pp. 52730

[44] Fischer, 1967, p. 54

[15] Albertini, 1953, pp 10001

[45] Fromkin, 2004, p. 185

[16] Albertini, 1953, p 99

[17] Albertini, 1953, pp. 104-05
[18] Albertini, 1953, p. 273
[19] Albertini, 1953, p 44
[20] Albertini, 1953, pp. 18990
[21] Documents Diplomatiques Francais III Serie 191114, 3,
X Doc. 537. This document notes that the diplomatic
cable was forwarded to the Secret Service of the National
Security Department of France to investigate the matter of
the January 1914 irredentist planning meeting in Toulouse
but the Secret Service did not report back.
[22] Albertini, 1953, p. 124
[23] Albertini, 1953, pp. 13132
[24] Albertini, 1953, Vol 1, pp. 53439

[46] Fromkin, 2004, p. 186

[47] Fromkin, 2004, p. 158
[48] Fromkin, 2004, p. 159
[49] Fromkin, 2004, pp. 15960
[50] Fromkin, 2004 pages 160161
[51] Fromkin, 2004, p. 161
[52] Fischer, 1967, p. 55
[53] Fromkin, 2004 page 183
[54] Fromkin, 2004, p. 165
[55] Fischer, 1967, p. 56
[56] Fischer, 1967, p. 57
[57] Fromkin, 2004, p. 181
[58] Rohl, 1973, p. 24

[25] Albertini, 1953, pp 13334

[59] Fromkin, 2004, pp 18182
[26] Source: Ladislaus Count von Szgyny-Marich (Berlin)
to Leopold Count von Berchtold (5 July 1914), in Ludwig Bittner, et. al., eds., sterreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik von der Bosnischen Krise 1908 bis zum Kriegsausbruch 1914 [Austria-Hungarys Foreign Policy prior to
the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 up to the Outbreak of War
in 1914]. 8 vols, Vienna, 1930, vol. 8, no. 10,058.

[60] Rohl, 1973, p. 26

[61] Fromkin, 2004, p. 177
[62] Fromkin, page 177
[63] Fromkin, 2004, p. 166

[27] Albertini, 1953, pp. 14546

[64] Fischer, 1967, p. 58

[28] Vienna takes the rst step to war: 7 July 1914. The July
Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.

[65] Kautsky, 1924 No 36, p. 99

[29] Albertini, 1953, p. 168

[66] Kautsky, 1924 No 72, pp. 131-32

[67] Fischer, 1967, p. 59

[30] Albertini, 1953, pp. 16471

[68] Fischer, 1967, pp. 5960

[31] Albertini, 1953, p. 171

[69] Fromkin, 2004, p. 171

[32] Albertini, 1953, p. 172

[70] Kautsky, 1924 Supplement IV, No 27, p. 635

[33] Albertini, 1953, pp. 67, 271

[71] Fischer, 1967, p. 60

[34] Albertini, 1953, p. 272

[72] Fromkin, 2004, p. 169

[35] Albertini, 1953, pp 27677

[73] Fromkin, 2004, p. 168

[36] Fischer, 1967, p. 51

[74] Fromkin, 2004, pp. 16869

[37] Fromkin, 2004, p. 155

[75] Fromkin, 2004, p. 175



[76] Fischer, 1967 pp 5859

[113] Fromkin, 2004, p. 201

[77] Kautsky, 1924 No 87, p. 141

[114] Fromkin, 2004, pp 20203

[78] Kautsky, 1924 No 87, p. 142

[115] Fromkin, 2004, p. 203

[79] Fromkin, 2004, p. 176

[116] Fromkin, 2004 page 203

[80] Fischer, 1967, p. 61

[117] Fromkin, 2004, pp 20405

[81] Fromkin, 2004, p. 178

[118] Fromkin, 2004, p. 193

[82] Fromkin, 2004, pp 17879

[119] Fischer, 1967, p. 67

[83] Fromkin, 2004, p. 179

[120] Fromkin, 2004, p. 198

[84] Fromkin, 2004, p. 180

[121] Fromkin, 2004, pp 206207

[85] Fromkin, 2004, pp. 18081

[122] Fromkin, 2004, p. 207

[86] Fischer, 1967, p. 64

[123] Fromkin, 2004, p. 208

[87] Kautsky, 1924 No 82, p. 137

[124] Fischer, 1967 page 66

[88] Rohl, 1973, p. 25

[125] Fischer, 1967, p. 69

[89] Fischer, 1967, p. 62

[126] Fischer, 1967, p. 68

[90] Kautsky, 1924 Supplement IV, No 2, p. 617

[127] Fischer, 1967, pp. 7273

[91] Fischer, 1967, p. 63

[128] Fischer, 1967, p. 73

[92] Fromkin, 2004, p. 194

[129] Fromkin, 2004 pages 210211

[93] Fromkin, 2004, pp 18687

[130] Fromkin, 2004, p. 211

[94] Fromkin, 2004, p. 187

[131] Fromkin, 2004, p. 208

[95] Christopher Clark, Sleepwalkers, Penguin,pp449-450

[132] Fromkin, 2004, p. 210

[96] Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia, 23 July 1914, [133] Fromkin, 2004, p. 209
Primary Documents,
[134] Kautsky, 1924, p. 243, No 258
[97] Fromkin, 2004, p. 195

[135] Kautsky, 1924, p. 247, No 265

[98] Fromkin, 2004, p. 196

[136] Albertini, 1953 Vol II pp 428n, pp. 43435

[99] Lieven, 1997, p. 106

[137] Butler 2010, p. 103.

[100] Fromkin, 2004, pp 19697

[138] Fischer, 1967, p. 70

[101] Fromkin, 2004, p. 197

[139] Fromkin, 2004, p. 214

[102] Fromkin, 2004, p. 188

[140] Fischer, 1967, p. 71

[103] Fromkin, 2004, p. 189

[141] Fromkin, 2004, p. 215

[104] Fromkin, 2004, pp 18990

[142] Fromkin, 2004, p. 216

[105] Fromkin, 2004, p. 190

[143] Kautsky, 1924, page 210, No 201

[106] Lieven, 1997, p. 108

[144] Kautsky, 1924, p. 221, No 218

[107] Lieven, 1997, p. 107

[145] Kautsky, 1924, p. 230, No 236

[108] Lieven, 1997, p. 109

[146] Kautsky, 1924, p. 237, No 248

[109] Fromkin, 2004 pp, 19091

[147] Fromkin, p. 217

[110] Fromkin, 2004, p. 191

[148] Fromkin, 2004, p. 218

[111] Fromkin, 2004, p. 190

[149] Fromkin, 2004, p. 219

[112] Fischer, 1967 page 65

[150] Fischer, 1967, pp. 7172



[151] Fischer, 1967, p. 72

[188] Fromkin, 2004, p. 234

[152] Fromkin, 2004, p. 219

[189] Fromkin, 2004, p. 235

[153] Fromkin, 2004, p. 221

[190] Fromkin, 2004 page 236

[154] Church to mark centenary of the start of WWI, indepen- [191] Fromkin, 2004 page 242; accessed 28 June 2015.
[192] Fromkin, 2004 pp 233239
[155] Fromkin, 2004, p. 220
[193] Fromkin, 2004, p. 239
[156] Fischer, 1967, p. 74
[157] Fischer, 1967, p. 75

[194] Balfour, 1964, pp. 35051

[158] Fischer, 1967, pp. 7576

[195] Albertini, 1953 Vol III, p. 381

[159] Fischer, 1967, p. 84

[196] Albertini, 2005, Vol III, p. 172, referencing Die

Deutschen Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch, Vol. III, p 562

[160] Fischer, 1967, p. 76

[197] Fischer, 1967, p. 87
[161] Fromkin, page 222
[162] Fromkin, 2004, p. 223
[163] Fromkin, 2004, p. 224
[164] Fromkin, 2004, p. 225
[165] Fromkin, 2004, p. 226

[198] Fromkin, 2004, p. 237

[199] Fromkin, 2004, pp 239240
[200] Fromkin, 2004, p. 240
[201] Fromkin, 2004, p. 241

[166] Fromkin, p. 226

[202] Otte, 2014 Chapter 7, p. 487

[167] Fischer, 1967, p. 85

[203] Otte, 2014, Chapter 7, p. 477

[168] Fromkin, 2004, p. 226

[204] Fromkin, 2004, p. 243

[169] Fromkin, 2004, p. 227

[205] Albertini, 1953, Vol III, pp 40607 (referencing Recouly

p. 55 for the quote)

[170] Fromkin, page 227

[171] Fromkin, 2004, p. 229
[172] Fischer, 1967, p. 77
[173] Fischer, 1967, p. 78
[174] Fischer, 1967, p. 79

[206] Fromkin, 2004, p. 244

[207] Fromkin, 2004, p. 247
[208] Bethmann Hollweg, 1920, pp. 15859
[209] Howard, 2007, p. 26

[175] Fischer, 1967 page 80

[210] Albertini, 1953, Vol III, p. 500

[176] Fromkin, 2004, p. 230

[211] Marks, 2002 p 30; Boyle, 1999, p. 134; Tuchman, 2004,

p. 153

[177] Fischer, 1967, p. 82

[212] Strachan, 2001, pp 9798

[178] Fromkin, 2004 page 231

[179] name=Geiss, Imanuel, pp. 245, 253, 266-67
[180] Fischer, 1967, p. 83

[213] Balfour, 1964, p. 355

2.3.17 Bibliography

[181] Fischer, 1967, p. 86

[182] Fromkin, 2004 page 232
[183] Fischer, 1967, p. 81
[184] Hewitson, 2004, page 202
[185] Fischer, 1967, pp 8182
[186] Fromkin, 2004 pages 233
[187] Fromkin, 2004, p. 233

Albertini, Luigi: Origins of the War of 1914, Oxford

University Press, London, 1953
Balfour, Michael: The Kaiser and His Times, W. W.
Norton & Company, UK 1986, ISBN 978-0-39300661-2
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von: Reections on
the World War, Thornton Butterworth Ltd., London,

Boyle, Francis Anthony: Foundations of World Order: The Legalist Approach to International Relations (18981922), Duke University Press, USA,
1999; ISBN 978-0-8223-2364-8
Butler, David Allen (2010), THE BURDEN OF
GUILT: How Germany Shattered the Last Days of
Peace, Summer 1914, Casemate Publishers, retrieved 15 July 2012
Dedijer, Vladimir: The Road to Sarajevo, Simon &
Schuster, New York, 1966
Fischer, Fritz: Germanys Aims in the First World
War, New York, W.W. Norton, 1967; ISBN 978-0393-09798-6


Owings, W.A. Dolph: The Sarajevo Trial, Documentary Publications, Chapel Hill, NC, 1984, ISBN
Rohl, John C. G.: 1914: Delusion or Design, Elek,
London, 1973, ISBN 978-0-236-15466-1
Senior, Ian (2012). Home Before the Leaves Fall:
A New History of the German Invasion of 1914.
Oxford & New York: Osprey Pub. ISBN 978-178096-865-0.
Strachan, Hew Francis Anthony: The First World
War, Viking, UK, 2004, ISBN 978-0-670-032952
Tuchman, Barbara: The Guns of August, Presidio
Press, USA, 2004, ISBN 978-0-345-47609-8

Fromkin, David: Europes Last Summer: Why the

World Went to War in 1914, William Heinemann
Ltd, 2004; ISBN 978-0-434-00858-2
Geiss, Imanuel (1967). July 1914 The Outbreak of
the First World War: selected Documents. The Norton Library. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
pp. 245, 253, 26667. ISBN 978-0393007220.
Hamilton, Richard F. & Holger H. Herwig,
Decisions for War, 19141917, 2004; ISBN
0521836794, ISBN 978-0521836791
Hewitson, Mark: Germany and the Causes of the
First World War, Oxford, Berg, 2004; ISBN 9781-85973-870-2
Howard, Michael: The First World War: A Very
Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, VSI series, USA, 2007; ISBN 978-0-19-920559-2
Kautsky, Karl (editor): Outbreak of the World War:
German Documents, Oxford University Press, UK,
1924; ASIN B0018OKJVC
Lieven, D.C.B.: Russia Accepts a General War,
from The Outbreak of World War I, edited by Holger
Herwig, Boston: Houghton Miin, 1997
Ludwig, Emil (1927), Wilhelm Hohenzollern: The
Last of the Kaisers, New York: GP Putnams Sons,
ISBN 0-404-04067-5
Magrini, Luciano: Il dramma di Seraievo. Origini e
responsabilit della guerra europea, Milan, 1929 (in
Italian; out of print)
Marks, Sally: The Ebbing of European Ascendancy:
An International History of the World 19141945,
Hodder Arnold, USA, 2002; ISBN 0-340-55566-1
Otte, Thomas July Crisis, The Worlds Descent
into War, Summer 1914, Cambridge, 2014, ISBN

External links

The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum (original German

The Austro-Hungariam Ultimatum (English translation)
The Serbian Reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum (in English)
Minutes of the 7 July 1914 Austro-Hungarian Council of Joint Ministers
Day by day primary sources on the July Crisis

Chapter 3

Text and image sources, contributors, and

3.1 Text
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future, Mwanner, Cafzal, Kross, Edcreely, Phoenix Hacker, Aude, Shanes, Joaopais, Sietse Snel, Art LaPella, RoyBoy, Nickj, AltayAtli,
Markussep, Aspinelli, Jpgordon, Adambro, 96T, Causa sui, Bobo192, Vervin, Dralwik, BW, NetBot, Longhair, Hurricane111, Ypacara,
Kissall~enwiki, Feitclub, Nyenyec, Func, John Vandenberg, FETuriousness, BrokenSegue, Shenme, Viriditas, Xevious, Dpaajones, R. S.
Shaw, Get It, Foobaz, Adrian~enwiki, JW1805, Russ3Z, Wiki-Ed, Giraedata, Audrey, Man vyi, Sasquatch, Nk, PeterisP, WikiLeon,
3mta3, Ardric47, RussBlau, Obradovic Goran, Osbojos, Hesperian, Sam Korn, PochWiki, Polylerus, Krellis, Pearle, Gito~enwiki, Kutukagan, JesseHogan, Nsaa, Perceval, Mareino, LUH 3417, Orangemarlin, Tom Yates, Jumbuck, Shirimasen, Stephen G. Brown, Jigen III,
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PhilipIsPDR, Moanzhu, Carbon Caryatid, Andrewpmk, Abe Lincoln, Andrew Gray, Davenbelle, Riana, Sade, AzaToth, Lectonar, Axl,

3.1. TEXT


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Peter Bell, Meaningful Username, Science4sail, Headphonos, Leopold B. Stotch, Christophenstein, Je G., Dqeswn, Aletucker, Dan-

3.1. TEXT


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3.1. TEXT


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3.2 Images
6a/1908-10-07_-_Moritz_Schiller%27s_Delicatessen.jpg License:
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Archive photo, Sarajevo.
Scanned from the 1954 edition of Sarajevski Atentat by Vojislav Bogievi.
Original artist: Unknown<a
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data-le-height='590' /></a>
File:1914-06-29_-_Aftermath_of_attacks_against_Serbs_in_Sarajevo.png Source:
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File:1914_Sarajevo_assassination_map.jpg Source:
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Original artist: Sarajevo Archive
File:1917_-_Execution__Verdun_lors_des_mutineries.jpg Source:
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File:Armisticetrain.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: Press photo published all over the world. F.ex. Jan Dbrowski Wielka wojna 1914-1918 ( The Great War 1914-1918) Warsaw
1937 Original artist: Unknown<a href='//' title='wikidata:Q4233718'><img alt='wikidata:Q4233718'
height='11' srcset=' 1.5x, 2x' data-le-width='1050'
data-le-height='590' /></a>
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BVRC-Great-War-Contingent_1914.jpg License: PD Contributors:
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Original artist:
British Army

File:Balkan_Wars_Boundaries.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: ? Original artist: ?

File:Balkan_belligerants_1914.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: ? Original artist: ?
File:Balkan_troubles1.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: [1][cornelsen - Kursbuch Geschichte - Nordrhein-Westfalen] Original artist: Leonard Raven-Hill
File:Battle_Sarikamis_winter_gear.png Source:
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File:Bazar_Tirana_(ca._1900)2.jpg Source:

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File:BismarckundNapoleonIII.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: Bismarck. Des eisernen Kanzlers Leben in annhernd 200 seltenen Bildern nebst einer Einfhrung. Herausgegeben von Walter Stein. Im Jahre des 100. Geburtstags Bismarcks und des groen Krieges 1915. Hermann Montanus,
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File:Brest-litovsk_treaty.jpg Source: License: Public
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File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R72520,_Kiel,_Novemberrevolution,_Matrosenaufstand.jpg Source:
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File:Canadian_Scottish_at_Canal_du_Nord_Sept_1918_IWM_CO_3289.jpg Source:
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William (Lieutenant)
File:Canadian_tank_and_soldiers_Vimy_1917.jpg Source:
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File:Czech_Troops.jpg Source: License: Public domain
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File:Detail_of_Xmas_card_from_British_Mesopotamian_Expeditionary_Force,_1917.jpg Source:
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File:Europe_as_it_should_be_map.jpg Source:
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