First World War Timeline: 1914




28th June Franz Ferdinand assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia. They were shot by the Bosnian Serb and Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip.
5th July Germany gives Austria-Hungary ‘blank cheque’ assurance Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany pledges his country’s unconditional support for whatever action Austria-Hungary chooses to take in its conflict with Serbia.
20th July Austria-Hungary mobilizes troops Austria-Hungary sends troops to the Serbian frontier.
28th July Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia Russia mobilizes troops in support of Serbia.
29th July Austria-Hungary starts shelling Austrians bombard Serbian capital Belgrade.
1st August Germany declares war on Russia In response to the Russian mobilization, Germany declares war on Russia. French order military mobilization in accordance with the Franco-Russian Alliance signed in 1892.
3rd August Germany declares war on France Two days after declaring war on Russia, Germany declares war on France, moving ahead with a long-held strategy, conceived by the former chief of staff of the German army, Alfred von Schlieffen, for a two-front war against France and Russia. Hours later, France makes its own declaration of war against Germany, readying its troops to move into the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which it had forfeited to Germany in the settlement that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
4th August Britain declares war on Germany Germany invades Belgium to outflank the French army as part of the Schlieffen Plan. Britain protests the violation of Belgian neutrality, guaranteed by a treaty signed in 1839. Australia quickly pledged its support for Britain.
6th August Royal Navy cruiser HMS Amphion is sunk 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.
7th August First British Expeditionary Force lands in France The 120,000 highly trained members of the regular British Army form the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commanded by Field Marshal John French land in France.
10th Augustimage Volunteer recruiting starts in Australia When war was declared in 1914, Australia needed to raise a military force to fight overseas and calling for volunteers, raised the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Australian men enlisted enthusiastically at the start of the war.
11th August Volunteer recruiting starts in UK ‘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.
23rd August BEF started its retreat from Mons Though initially planned as a simple tactical withdrawal, the British retreat from Mons lasted two weeks and took them to the outskirts of Paris before it counter attacked at the Battle of the Marne.
26th August Battle of Le Cateau BEF suffers 7,812 casualties and is forced to retreat.
6th September Battle of the Marne The First Battle of Marne checks German advance at the cost of 13,000 British, 250,000 French and 250,000 German casualties.
16th October BIF sails to Mesopotamia The British Indian Expeditionary Force sails from Bombay to the Persian Gulf in preparation for the defence of Mesopotamia.
19th October First Battle of Ypres A strategic location, Ypres was the last obstacle between the Germans and the key Channel ports of Calais and Boulogne-Sur-Mer.
29th October Turkey enters the war Turkey and the Ottoman Empire enter the war on the side of Germany.
22nd November Trenches are established along the entire Western Front In the wake of the Battle of the Marne, a conflict both sides had expected to be short and decisive turns longer and bloodier and Allied and German forces begin digging the first trenches on the Western Front on September 15, 1914. Two months later they stretch along the entire Western Front from the Belgium coast to the Swiss border.
23rd November The British enter Basra Securing oil supplies in the Middle East needed to supply most of the Royal Navy.
26th Novemberimage


Australian troops in Egypt Having arrived at the seaport of Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea, Australian and New Zealand troops were diverted to Egypt as a garrison force to protect the Suez Canal against the Ottoman Turks.
16th December German fleet bombards English coastal towns The German First High Sea fleet bombards Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough, killing 137 civilians and proving that the British mainland is susceptible to attack.
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