Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg are assassinated in Sarajevo.
Secretary of the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade sends despatch to Vienna accusing Serbian complicity in the assassination.
Austria-Hungary sends troops to the Serbian frontier.
Serbia orders mobilisation of troops. Russia arranges for troops to be stationed on Russo-Austrian frontier.
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
Great Britain warns Germany that it cannot remain neutral. Austrians bombard Serbian capital Belgrade. German patrols cross the French border. Czar Nicholas II orders partial mobilisation.
French military mobilisation ordered. Germany declares war on Russia. Italy and Belgium announce neutrality.
Germany gives Belgium an ultimatum to allow passage of German troops.
Germany declares war on France. Belgium rejects ultimatum. Great Britain gives order for troops to mobilise.
Germany declares war on Belgium. United States declares neutrality. Great Britain gives Germany ultimatum to stand down from hostilities. Germany doesn’t comply; a state of war is declared at 11.00pm
Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.
Royal Navy cruiser HMS Amphion is sunk by German mines in the North Sea, causing the death of 150 men and the first British casualties of war. Serbia declares war on Germany.
First members of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) land in France.
‘Your King and Country Need You’ slogan is published, calling for the first 100,000 men to enlist for Kitchener’s New Army. The call is answered within two weeks.
Great Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary
The first squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps arrive in France.
Brussels is evacuated as Germans occupy the city.
First engagement of the BEF at the Battle of Mons, after which the allies are forced into a tactical retreat. Japan declares war on Germany.
The Royal Flying Corps claim their first ‘kill’ as three aircraft from 2nd Squadron force down a German reconnaissance plane.
The Battle of Le Cateau. BEF suffers 7,812 casualties. The retreat continues.
The Battle of Tannenberg on the Eastern Front (Aug 26th-30th). German victory.
Batttle of Heligoland Bight.
The First Battle of Marne checks German advance at the cost of 13,000 British, 250,000 French and 250,000 German casualties.
First Battle of the Masurian Lakes on the Eastern Front (Sept 9th-14th). Russian victory.
The First Battle of the Aisne pushed the German army north of the river and then began ‘The Race to the sea’ to deny the enemy access to the Channel ports.
The British Indian Expeditionary Force sails from Bombay to the Persian Gulf in preparation for the defence of Mesopotamia.
October 19-November 22
The First Battle of Ypres. Trenches established from the North Sea to the Swiss border.
River Yser flooded to halt German advance to the Channel ports.
Turkey enters the war on the side of the Central Powers.
During October, the East African war starts with the SMS Köningsberg being trapped in the Rufiji River, German East Africa.
Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile.
The British enter Basra, securing oil supplies in the Middle East needed to supply most of the Royal Navy.
The Battle of the Falkland Islands. A Royal navy task force sinks three German cruisers that were victorious at the Battle of Coronel in November. Only the SMS Dresden escapes.
The German First High Sea fleet bombards Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough, killing 137 civilians and proving that the British mainland is susceptible to attack.
Partial truce observed. Football match(es) played in No Man’s Land.
(c) B. Taylor (09/02/2015).
This and the other 5 timelines were prepared for the British Commission for Military History Great War Commemorations by Barbara Taylor, member of the Western Front Association, and grateful thanks are given to her.