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On This Day



On This Day… The Day That Britain Entered World War One

Written by: George Chittenden : 04 Aug 2019

It was on this day, 4th August back in 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. The previous day Germany had declared war on France and invaded neutral Belgium, forcing Britain to issue Germany an ultimatum, withdraw from Belgium or face war. So why was Britain so protective over Belgium? Well it was because Britain had promised to defend Belgium under a treaty, the Treaty of London of 1839. Britain could have avoided the war, temporarily anyway, and Germany hoped they would. In fact, Germany’s leader Kaiser Wilhelm II thought the British were foolish and had gone to war for the sake of a scrap of paper. The British were all too aware of how close Belgium's ports were to their own coast though and knew that if Germany controlled Belgium, they would have been a serious threat.

The Great War that would cost the lives of so many had started on June 28th when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated. This resulted in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia and the game of alliance began. Russia sided with Serbia and Germany sided with Austria-Hungary, resulting in Germany declaring war on both Russia and France. What had started as a relatively small problem in the Balkans was turning into the biggest and most brutal war the world had ever seen. Estimates on the number of casualties of the Great War vary, but nobody can deny that it was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race.

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