The Spark That Touched Off World War I
June 28 is the 100-year anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo. This was the catalyst for World War I.
Above: The arrest of the Bosnian student, Gavrilo Princip, pictured here, followed the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
The assassination was recognized by the Central Powers to be an adequate "casus belli," or "justification for war," and it was followed by the presentation to Serbia of an ultimatum from Austria on July 23. Five days later, Austria declared war on Serbia. That was the beginning of WWI. Next
Austria Declares War on Serbia
Austria declared war on Serbia, marking the start of World War I. This headline in the San Francisco Chronicle told the story. Next
France Enters the War
On Aug. 3, Germany declared war on France. The French marched into WWI in uniforms which often were picturesque, impractical, and sometimes dangerous, like the bright red trousers of the infantry, which made good targets for the Germans.
Above: French Dragoons, seen advancing along a tree-lined road in Flanders in the early days of war, wore uniforms which soon were to be replaced. Next
Belgium Mobilizes Troops
A day after Germany declared war on France, Germany also declared war on Belgium (a neutral country). This bold move prompted Britain to get involved and declare war on Germany.
Above: Belgian troops mobilized at Antwerp for the defense of that city.
Britain Enters the War
The invasion of Belgium brought Great Britain into the fight against Germany shortly after WWI began. She was shocked by Germany's violation of a pledge to uphold Belgium's neutrality and worried about threats to her own shores.
Above: British marines marched through the port of Ostend, Belgium, after the first landing there on Aug. 27, 1914. Next
Frustrated by the French at Verdun, the Germans attacked Ypres, Belgium, in an effort to get through to the English Channel. Stopped here too, they dug in, and this front became one of the bloodiest of WWI.
Above: During the autumn of 1914, Allied soldiers protected themselves as best they could as they shivered around a tiny fire in a trench near Ypres. Next
After an exodus from Antwerp during bombardment, refugees lived in the woods during their journey to Holland. Next
World War I Posters
In 1915, a German submarine sank the British passenger liner, The Lusitania. The ship had 128 Americans on board, which heightened tensions in the US. This event would influence the US to enter the war later.
Above: A trip schedule for The Lusitania.
Ready for the Russian Rush
The Germans had better arms and better transportation than the Russians in WWI. Their machine guns devastated the masses of Russians rushing at them in attack. By the end of the first winter, one in four Russians went into the field without a gun.
Above: German infantrymen aimed their machine guns at Russians from a trench at the Vistula River in Russia in 1916. Next
US Enters the War
The Second Battalion, 16th US Infantrymen, marched through the streets of Paris. On July 4, 1917, elements of the US First Army paraded through the streets of Paris to cheers and tears of the populace. Col. Charles Stanton uttered a graceful phrase which became a part of the legend of WWI: "Lafayette, we are here." Next
President Woodrow Wilson Leads Draft Parade
President Woodrow Wilson is shown leading the Draft Parade in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 4, 1917, nearly five months after Congress had adopted and approved the war resolution declaring that a state of war existed between the US and Germany. Next
A group of British soliders overlooked the church at Caix, France. A ruined house was smoldering and a shell had struck the big square tower of the church. Next
The church of Neuvilly en Argonne served as a first aid station for thousands of wounded men. Next
The Cathedral in St. Quentin on the Somme in northern France, was mined and destroyed by the Germans during the war. Next
Nearing the End
American troops passed through the valley town of Vaux, near Chateau Thierry, after capturing it in July 1918.
WWI would end on Nov. 11, 1918. Back to the beginning
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