On the afternoon of the day in 1914, two days after declaring war on Russia, Germany declares war on France, moving with a extended-held strategy ahead, conceived by the former chief of employees of the German army, Alfred von Schlieffen, for a two-front war against France and Russia. Hours later, France can make its personal declaration of war against Germany, readying its troops to go in to the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which it had forfeited to Germany in the settlement that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
With Germany officially at war with France and Russia, a conflict initially centered in the tumultuous Balkans region-with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by way of a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, and the next standoff among Austria-Hungary, Serbia and Serbia’s potent Slavic supporter, Russia-had erupted right into a full-scale war. Also on August 3, the initial wave of German troops assembled on the frontier of neutral Belgium, which relative to the Schlieffen Plan will be crossed by German armies on the solution to an invasion of France. The day right before, Germany had presented Belgium and its own sovereign, King Albert, having an ultimatum demanding passage for the German army through its territory.
This threat to Belgium, whose perpetual neutrality have been mandated by way of a treaty concluded by the European powers-including Britain, France and Germany-in 1839, united a divided British government towards German aggression. Hours before Germany’s declaration of war on France on August 3, the British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, went right before Parliament and convinced a divided British government-and nation-to give its assist with Britain’s entrance in to the war if Germany violated Belgian neutrality.
“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime,” Grey famously remarked to a pal on the evening of August 3. The following day, Britain sent its personal ultimatum to Berlin: halt the invasion of Belgium or face war with Britain aswell. That night an answer was demanded by midnight. At noon that day, King Albert finally created a concerted appeal for help France and Britain, as guarantors of Belgium’s neutrality based on the Treaty of 1839. To achieve this earlier, to contact the French and British aswell soon, could have risked violating his country’s neutrality before Germany had done so. When London received no response to its ultimatum-the initial German troops had in reality crossed the Belgian frontier at Gemmerich, 30 miles from the fortress city of Liege, that morning-Britain declared war on Germany.
In August 1914, because the fantastic powers of Europe readied their armies and navies for a fight, no-one was finding your way through an extended struggle-both sides have already been counting on a brief, decisive conflict that could result in their favor. “You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees,” Kaiser Wilhelm assured troops leaving for leading in the initial week of August 1914. Even while some military leaders, like German Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke and his French counterpart, Joseph Joffre, foresaw an extended conflict, they didn’t modify their war solution to plan that eventuality. One man, the controversial new war secretary in Britain, Lord Horatio Kitchener, did act on his conviction that the war will be a lasting 1, insisting from the starting of the war-against considerable opposition-on the require to develop Britain’s military. “A nation like Germany,” Kitchener argued, “after having forced the issue, will only give in after it is beaten to the ground. This will take a very long time. No one living knows how long.”