Sunday 5 August 2018

WW1 Remembered

On this Day

4th - 5th August, 1914

The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914 set in motion a series of actions, which would finally culminate at 11pm on Tuesday August 4th 1914, when Britain declared war on Germany.

The first newspaper reports of the outbreak of war began to circulate on Wednesday 5th August 1914 with many of the reports declaring that  "Great Britain declared war on Germany at 11 o'clock last night," and that an ultimatum from the cabinet office to the German government had received an "unsatisfactory" reply and therefore "the King held at once a council which had been called for midnight". 

Unlike today's headlines which appear on the front pages of our newspapers, news didn't appear on the front page until 1952. On the 5th August, 1914 the Manchester Guardian reported the outbreak of war on page 5 and then devoted 7 of its 10 pages to the war.

Posters exhibited on a hoarding the day Britain entered the war, 4 August 1914.

© The rights holder (IWM Q 60484)

The first battle of the war began on the 5th August 1914 when the Germans invaded the Belgian fortified city of Liรจge, which is situated at the confluence of the River Meuse and the River Ourthe, between the Ardennes to the south and Maastricht (in the Netherlands) and Flanders to the north and west. The city also lies on the main railway lines from Germany to Brussels and Paris.

Ruins of Fort Lamin in the Fortress of Liege, shot to pieces by a German 42 cm mortar.

© IWM (Q 87733)

The Great War started amid a flurry of patriotic fervour as men began to enlist in their thousands, for pride and patriotism came top of the agenda, and the excitement of meeting the challenge of war carried the country in a wave of euphoric endeavour.

The first British officer landed in France on the 11th August 1914. It would be four long years until peace was restored in Europe on the 11th November 1918. The total number of military and civilian casualties is estimated to be over 37 million, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Chorley Memorial
Photo credit: © Digital Images

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