Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary


(5) The Outbreak of General War, August 1-4, 1914


August 1

Germany.Russia.
==[1230.AM] > Germany receives word that Russia will not suspend its mobilization

Germany.Belgium.Britain.
==[200.AM] > Germany wires an evasive response to the British request for pledges to respect Belgian neutrality

France.Belgium.Britain.
==[112.AM] > Responding to the British request, France pledges to respect Belgian neutrality

France.Russia.
==[200.AM] > Russian Ambassador Izvolsky wakes up Poincaré to ask how France would respond to a German attack on Russia

Austria-Hungary.Britain.
==[345.AM] > Through Germany, Berchtold gives a veiled rejection to British requests for mediation

Britain.Russia.
==[330.AM] > George V wires a personal message to the Czar (“My dear Nicky…”) urging a peaceful solution to the crisis

Russia.Germany.
==[730.AM] > Through a Russian court official, German Ambassador Pourtalès warns the Czar that the impending German mobilization will almost certainly mean war

France.
==[800.AM] > Fearing a secret German mobilization, Joffre demands that France order a general mobilization  by 400.PM

Germany.Russia.
==[morning] > Moltke convinces the Kaiser that Germany must declare war on Russia
==[noon] > In Russia, the German ultimatum deadline passes without immediate incident

Britain.
==[late morning] > The British Cabinet meets - it continues to be sharply split on intervention, with the pro-neutrality faction threatening to bring down the government; the Cabinet decides not to immediately send the BEF to France

France.
==[1100-1120.AM] > The French Foreign Office prepares dispatches stating “The attitude of Germany proves that she wishes for war.  And she wishes for it against France.” - ~most French leaders consider war to be inevitable

Britain.Germany.
==[1114.AM] > Ambassador Lichnowsky mistakenly wires Berlin that Britain is offering to guarantee French neutrality

France.Germany.
==[noon] > In response to German Ambassador Schoen’s query on the French response to a German-Russian war, Premier Viviani states “France will have regard to her own interests.”

Belgium.Germany.
==[noon] > Ambassador Below assures the Belgian government that  “Belgium has nothing to fear from Germany.”

Germany.Russia.
==[100.PM] > Germany wires its declaration of war to Ambassador Pourtalès in St Petersburg
==[200.PM] > The Czar assures the Kaiser that the Russian mobilization needn’t lead to war, and asks Germany to pledge the same for its mobilization

France.
==[early afternoon] > The French cabinet decides to declare mobilization by 400.PM if there is no improvement in the crisis

Germany.
==[afternoon] > Excited crowds mill about in Berlin: a journalist writes that the air is “…electric with rumor…The afternoon passed in almost insufferable anxiety.”

Germany.Russia.
==[~mid-afternoon] > Chancellor Bethmann addresses the German Federal Council, concluding “If the iron dice roll, may God help us.” - the Council unanimously approves war with Russia

Britain.
==[afternoon] > With strong support, the Liberal MP Ponsonby draws up a resolution of British neutrality - Grey rejects it

Britain.Germany.
==[330.PM] > Grey warns the German Ambassador that a German invasion of Belgium will likely bring Britain into the war - Lichnowsky looses hope of British neutrality

France.
==[355.PM] > France orders mobilization, to begin at noon on Aug.02; Viviani issues a manifesto, which concludes “At this hour there are no longer parties.  There is only eternal France, pacific and resolute France.”

Russia.Britain.
==[~600.PM] > ~Sazonov meets with British and French Ambassadors Buchanan and Paléologue to discuss how to respond to George V’s plea for peace

Germany.
==[just after 500.PM] > Germany orders a general mobilization: the first day is to be Aug.02 - Tirpitz disputes the need to rush into war and angrily argues with Moltke - as the order is issued, the crowds in Berlin break into the national hymn while officers drive about waving swords and handkerchiefs

Britain.France.
==[late afternoon] > Grey tells French Ambassador Paul Cambon not to expect help from Britain - the appalled Cambon staggers from the interview repeatedly muttering “They are going to abandon us .”

Germany.Britain.
==[dusk] > Berlin receives mistaken reports from Ambassador Lichnowsky that Britain will guarantee French neutrality - the Kaiser is euphoric - the stunned Moltke argues it’s not possible to redirect the mobilization toward Russia; his spirit is permanently broken as he possibly suffers a small stroke
==[702-720.PM] > Germany wires acceptance of the British ‘offer’

Russia.Germany.
==[710.PM] > THE GERMAN DECLARATION OF WAR ON RUSSIA is delivered to Sazonov by Ambassador Pourtalès in an emotional meeting: THE START OF WAR BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN POWERS

Luxembourg.Germany.
==[700.PM] > German troops enter Luxembourg and seize Trois Vierges  (Three Virgins), but are withdrawn a half hour later by order of the Kaiser, who briefly believes that Britain will ensure French neutrality - the first military moves in the west

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==[evening] > Possible Austrian peace feelers are reported by Russian diplomats… too late

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[evening] > Franz Joseph assures Germany that Austria will primarily concentrate against Russia, but Austrian forces continue to deploy against Serbia

Belgium.Germany.
==[evening] > King Albert of Belgium personally appeals to the Kaiser - ~Belgium declares it will uphold its neutrality

Germany.Britain.Low Countries.
==[1100.PM] > George V’s denial of any offer of British or French neutrality arrives in Berlin - the Kaiser is deflated - the German advance on Luxembourg and Belgium resumes unhindered

Russia.Britain.
==[1045.PM] > King George V’s personal plea for peace is belatedly delivered to the Czar

Britain.
==[night] > Churchill orders the Royal Navy to mobilize: the action is allowed by Asquith without Cabinet approval

France.Russia.
==[1130.PM] > Poincaré learns of Germany’s declaration of war on Russia from the frightened Russian Ambassador Izvolsky

Luxembourg.Germany.
==[midnight] > German forces again enter Luxembourg and occupy the rail and telegraph stations at Trois Vierges

Germany.
==Twenty U-boats (two flotillas) assemble off Heligoland in the North Sea - the German High Seas Fleet is concentrating in Jade Bay near Wilhelmshaven - a naval mobilization order is issued at 800.PM - British ships at Hamburg are detained
==The Law of Siege divides Germany into 24 army corps districts

Britain.
== ~All strategic points in Britain are guarded by troops

Britain.Ottoman Empire.
==The Royal Navy seizes the newly constructed Turkish battleships Sultan Osman I and Reshadieh in the Tyne

Naval: Mediterranean.
==The British Mediterranean Fleet concentrates at Malta - the German warships Goeben and Breslau rendezvous at Taranto

Austria-Hungary.Italy.
==Conrad asks the Italian commander Cadorna when Italian forces will arrive in Galicia

Italy.
==Italy declares neutrality on the grounds that the war is one of Austrian aggression - a war profits tax is enacted and the export of sugar, cattle, and grain is banned

Switzerland.
==Switzerland mobilizes

Netherlands.
==The Netherlands mobilizes

Scandinavia.
==Denmark and Norway declare neutrality


August 2

France.
==[midnight-300.AM] > The French cabinet affirms that upon the completion of mobilization France will declare war against Germany

Germany.
==[230.AM] > In a meeting of German leaders, War Minister Falkenhayn says “the war is here and the question of a declaration of war on France is a matter of indifference.” - Navy Minister Tirpitz is  astonished to learn that the Schlieffen Plan is the Army’s only option

Russia.Germany.
==[400.AM] > The last ‘Willy-Nicky’ telegram is received in Russia, with a belated peace offer from the Kaiser

Germany.
==[morning] > Bethmann argues with German military leaders over declarations of war on France and Belgium - Moltke furiously denounces Bethmann and the Foreign Office to the Kaiser

Europe.
==[from morning] > ~The first small clashes occur on the Eastern and Western Fronts - German cruisers bombard Libau, on the Latvian coast near the East Prussian frontier

Britain.France.
==[morning] > French Ambassador Paul Cambon attempts to induce Britain to intervene on behalf of Luxembourg

Belgium.Germany.
==[morning] > Belgian Ambassador Beyens in Berlin wires: “Pessimistic rumors concerning us.  I believe Belgian Army should be ready immediately for all eventualities.” - German Ambassador Below assures the Belgian press “Your neighbor’s roof may catch fire, but your own house will be safe.” - ~the government in Brussels remains placid; it informs Britain that it does not intend to appeal to the powers to affirm its neutrality, and that it assumes that it will need no foreign aid to repel invaders

Britain.
==[morning] > Lansdowne and Bonar Law offer Asquith unconditional Conservative Party support for British intervention
==[1100.AM-200.PM] > In a grueling British Cabinet meeting, Asquith and Grey force the neutralist faction to declare they will support British intervention if Germany attacks the French north coast or invades Belgium - British intervention becomes inevitable

Germany.Britain.
==[noon-100.PM] > Bethmann sends allegations of French and Russian aggression to London, where they are ignored

Russia.
==[300.PM] > A solemn mass is held in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg with senior officials and officers in attendance - as the Czar vows to fight on “so long as one of the enemy is on the soil of the fatherland,” the attendees breaks into prolonged cheers, echoed by the crowds assembled outside

Russia.Britain.
==[315.PM] > The Czar responds to George V’s peace message with an appeal for British intervention against Germany, supported by British Ambassador Buchanan

France.
==[200.PM] > The French government gives Joffre full freedom of action; he moves French forces up to the German border

Britain.France.
==[300.PM] > Grey assures Ambassador Paul Cambon that Britain will intervene against a German naval attack on the French north coast, but warns that the BEF will not be sent to France immediately

Britain.
==[400.PM] > An antiwar meeting in Trafalgar Square provokes disturbances

Belgium.Germany.
==[720.PM] > German Minister Below hands Belgian Foreign Minister Davignon the German twelve-hour ultimatum to Belgium, demanding the passage of German forces - ~GERMANY IS BRANDED AS THE WAR’S PRIMARY AGRESSOR: the Bavarian Minister to Berlin comments “It is clear that in the coming war, Germany and Austria will be facing the entire world.”

Britain.
==[evening] > Grey learns of the imminent German invasion of Belgium and convinces Asquith that mobilization is necessary - Haldane is temporarily reappointed War Secretary - the British Cabinet confirms it’s earlier stance on intervention, but strong dissension continues

Belgium.Germany.
==[900.PM-400.AM] > The Belgian Council of State meets: King Albert opens with “Our answer must be ‘No,’ whatever the consequences.” - Belgium resolves to resist Germany - ~belated orders are issued to put the Liège forts in a state of defense

Germany.Britain.
==[night] > Learning that the Royal Navy intends to defend the French north coast against the German fleet, the Kaiser wants to immediately declare war on Britain, until Tirpitz dissuades him the next morning

Luxembourg.Germany.
==[by night] > German forces complete the occupation of Luxembourg - the government of Luxembourg protests but does not resist

Serbia.
==The Serbian mobilization of 500,000 men is completed - Serbian forces seize Bosnian frontier towns, to Aug.04

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==Conrad begins seeking delays of the Austrian declarations of war against Russia and France - Russia is seeking an accord with Austria and trying to separate it from Germany

Germany.
==Moltke sends a bizarre memo to the German Foreign Office, advising them to secure British neutrality by pledging postwar ‘moderation’ in ruling defeated France, to compel the Scandinavians, Turks, Italians, Japanese and Persians to enter the war on Germany’s side, and to foment revolt in India, Egypt, and South Africa
==Moltke is named Commander-in-Chief of the German Field Armies - the German army commanders are appointed
==Munich rioters attack the French and Russian legations
==A truce between German unions and employers is declared for the duration of the war

France.
==France declares a state of siege (ratified Aug 5), with martial law and military control of the railways
==French Naval Minister Gauthier suffers a mental collapse and is persuaded to resign

Canada.
==Canada offers to send troops overseas to aid Britain

Italy.
==General Cadorna reports that mobilizing the Italian Army will take a month

Bulgaria.
==Bulgaria submits a draft alliance to Austria and Germany

Greece.Germany.
==Greece declares neutrality - the Kaiser is angered by King Constantine’s refusal to accept an alliance with Germany

Scandinavia.
==The Norwegian Navy mobilizes


August 3

Belgium.Germany.
==[700.AM] > Belgium notifies German Minister Below that it has rejected the German demands and will resist with force

Britain.
==[800.AM] > In London, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum opens a special display on the European Crisis to a packed house
==[morning] > British Cabinet meeting: four pacifists have resigned or soon will - Churchill’s mobilization of the Royal Navy is authorized - patriotic crowds fill the streets of London

Belgium.France.Britain.
==[830-931.AM] > The French and British Ministers in Brussels send the first reports of Germany’s ultimatum to Belgium

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==[afternoon] > Berchtold reluctantly has an Austrian declaration of war against Russia drawn up

Britain.
==[300-415.PM] > Grey’s masterful speech to the packed House of Commons justifies British policy - Parliamentary opposition to intervention collapses
==[400.PM] > The British Army is officially ordered to mobilize
==[dusk] > Looking out a Foreign Office window, Grey sadly comments  “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

France.Germany.
==[615.PM] > THE GERMAN DECLARATION OF WAR ON FRANCE is delivered to Viviani by German Ambassador Schoen; both men behave with cool courtesy

Belgium.Germany.
==[evening] > The Kaiser’s reply to King Albert’s personal appeal of Aug 1 is received: Germany is making its demands “only with the most friendly intentions toward Belgium…” - Albert angrily exclaims “What does he take me for?”

Austria-Hungary.Serbia.
==The Austrian Balkan commander begins planning an attack on Serbia, acting on the assumption that most of the Austrian Army will be deployed southwards

Russia.
==The Grand Duke Nicholas is appointed Russian Commander-in-Chief

Germany.
==A special edition of the Alldeutscher Blätter headlined The Blessing of Arms exults “It is a joy to be alive.”
==At a German Social Democratic caucus, only 14 deputies (including Haase, Luxemburg, and Liebknecht) out of 111 oppose German war credits

France.
==Viviani willingly hands over the French Foreign Ministry to Gaston Doumerge, but remains Prime Minister

France.Austria-Hungary.
==France begins protesting the non-existent movement of Austrian troops to Alsace, creating an pretext to declare war on Austria

Belgium.
==King Albert assumes direct command of the Belgian Army - Belgium declines a French offer of military aid

Naval: North Sea.
==The first merchant ship sinking of World War I: the British SS San Wilfrido is lost to a mine off Cuxhaven in the North Sea

Australia.
==Australia offers its navy and 20,000 troops to Britain

Britain.Ottoman Empire.
==Grey officially transmits Britain’s “sincere regret” over the seizure of the two Turkish battleships in the Tyne shipyards, but fails to offer any compensation

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==A secret German-Ottoman alliance against Russia is concluded, although the Turks make no effort to act

Ottoman Empire.
==Turkish mobilization is underway - Enver effectively becomes the Ottoman commander-in-chief - the Turks declare armed neutrality

Italy.
==General Cadorna’s request for an Italian mobilization is denied

Romania.
==A Romanian Crown Council decides on neutrality, rejecting King Carol’s demand to ally with Germany


August 4

Belgium.Germany.
==[600.AM] > The German declaration of war on Belgium (in effect) is delivered by Ambassador Below in Brussels

Naval: Mediterranean.
==[608-618.AM] > The German cruisers Goeben and Breslau shell Bône and Philippeville in Algeria - they are soon ineffectively shadowed by British warships

Belgium.Germany.
==[800.AM] > GERMAN FORCES INVADE BELGIUM and advance toward Liège - ~German troops begin brutal reprisals against civilians

Naval: North Sea and Atlantic.
==[830.AM] > The British Home Fleet leaves Scapa Flo on its first sweep against German raiders - ~Jellicoe is named the commander of British Grand Fleet, replacing Callaghan

Belgium.Germany.
==[900.AM] > The Belgian Parliament votes unanimously to resist Germany, to wild popular acclaim

Britain.Germany.
==[morning] > Unaware that Germany is already invading, Grey demands immediate assurances that it won’t force its demands on Belgium

Germany.
==[midday?] > Speaking from the throne, the Kaiser tells Reichstag deputies “We draw the sword with a clean conscience and with clean hands.”

Belgium.Britain.France.
==[noon] > King Albert finally calls on Britain and France to aid Belgium

Britain.Germany.
==[200.PM] > Grey sends an ultimatum to his embassy in Berlin, demanding the immediate withdrawal of German troops from Belgium

Germany.
==[300.PM] > Interrupted by cheers, Chancellor Bethmann justifies German policy to the Reichstag, saying “Necessity knows no law” - war credits are approved unanimously, even by the Social Democrats

France.
==[300.PM] > Amidst thunderous applause, Premier Viviani emotionally justifies French policy to Parliament, saying “We are without reproach.  We are without fear.” - war credits and emergency measures are unanimously approved - ~French troops march through Paris past cheering crowds

Germany.Britain.
==[700.PM] > Ambassador Goschen confronts Jagow and Bethmann with a British ultimatum to halt the German invasion of Belgium by midnight - Bethmann angrily replies that Britain is going to war over “just a scrap of paper,” in reference to the treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality

Britain.France.
==[evening] > French Ambassador Paul Cambon urgently requests to Grey that the BEF be sent quickly

Britain.Austria-Hungary.
==[evening] > Grey informs Ambassador Mensdorff that Britain intends to maintain relations with Austria… for now

Germany.Britain.
==[midnight, Berlin time] > BRITAIN IS IN A STATE OF WAR WITH GERMANY as the British ultimatum expires - ~a mob attacks the British Embassy in Berlin

Britain.
==[1120.PM] > Britain transmits a War Telegram, notifying its forces of a state of war with Germany

France.
==Jean Jaurès is buried in Paris

Britain.
==About to sail for Egypt, Kitchener is named War Minister and begins preparing for a long, grueling war
==The British government takes control of the railroads and mobilizes the Army Reserves and the Territorials
==In a press article, H. G. Wells identifies Britain’s enemy as German militarism and imperialism

Ottoman Empire.
==Without authorization from the Turkish government, Enver implies that the Straits are open to German warships

Greece.Germany.
==The Kaiser threatens Greece, demanding that it immediately ally with Germany

United States.
==America declares neutrality

International.
==Romania, Switzerland, and Brazil declare neutrality

Scandinavia.
==Sweden mobilizes

Japan.
==The Japanese Cabinet decides on neutrality, for now



The Aftermath of the Crisis, August 5 to 1915


August 5

Germany.Britain.
==[morning] > The Kaiser petulantly divests himself of his honorary British titles of Field-Marshal and Admiral

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==[evening] > Berchtold informs Ambassador Schebeko that war between Austria and Russia is imminent

Britain.Germany.
==In London, the exhausted German Ambassador Lichnowsky is showing signs of a mental breakdown

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==Austria is under strong pressure from Germany to declare war on Russia, France, and Britain

Bulgaria.Germany.
==An eager Kaiser authorizes an immediate alliance with Bulgaria - Tsar Ferdinand delays until Sep.1915


August 6

Serbia.Germany.
==Serbia declares war on Germany

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==AUSTRIA DECLARES WAR ON RUSSIA

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==Germany agrees to Austria delaying its declarations of war on Britain and France, to enable the Austrian fleet to prepare

Britain.Austria-Hungary.
==Britain prohibits the Austrian Embassy from sending coded messages


August 10

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==[900 PM] > The German warships Goeben and Breslau enter the Dardanelles - the Turks are drawn into actively supporting Germany

France.Austria-Hungary.
==Using false stories of Austrian troop movements toward France as a excuse, French Foreign Minister Doumerge breaks relations with Austria


August 12

France.Austria-Hungary.
==France announces a state of war with Austria

Britain.Austria-Hungary.
==[midnight] > Britain is in a state of war with Austria: ALL EUROPEAN POWERS ARE AT WAR WITH EACH OTHER, except Italy


1914, from late August

Japan.Germany.
==Aug.23 > Japan declares war on Germany

Britain.France.Russia.
==Sep.04 > The Pact of London: Britain, France, and Russia pledge not to sign a separate peace with Germany

Germany.Ottoman Empire.Russia.
==Oct.28 > Without Turkish authorization, the Goeben and Breslau, now nominally part of the Turkish Navy but still commanded by German officers, enter the Black Sea and attack Russian ports

Ottoman Empire.Europe.
==Nov.01-05 > THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND THE ENTENTE DECLARE WAR ON EACH OTHER


1915

Italy.Austria-Hungary.
==May.23 > ITALY DECLARES WAR ON AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

Bulgaria.Serbia.
==Oct.14 > Bulgaria declares war on Serbia


 


Helmuth von Moltke the Younger, German Chief of Staff
 

July Crisis Introduction    //   (1) 1904-Jun.1914   //    (2) Jun.28-Jul.22
(3) Jul.23-27   //   (4) Jul.28-31    //    Biographies

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