Monday, 4 August 2014

Last but one of the falling dominos

Jackie Pearcey has twitted Google for not marking, via its Google doodle, the date that Britain entered the Great War*. I am therefore shamed into posting something more relevant than the anniversary below. However, it seems to me that in the grand scheme of things that 4th August is less momentous than the dates which preceded it - and one which came nearly three years later:

June 28th      Franz Ferdinand and consort assassinated
July 28th       Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
August 1st    Germany declares war on Russia
August 3rd   Germany declares war on France
August 4th    Great Britain declares war on Germany
August 12th  Great Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary
April             United States enters the war

It is presumably this last date which Google will commemorate. As Margaret MacMillan has shown in her current Radio 4 series (I am so glad that it was not named "1914 on a daily basis") not one of the events was inevitable, though the two German war declarations were linked. Also, as the BBC correspondent in Belgium, commenting on this morning's commemoration in Liège, pointed out, if it had not been for the brave Belgian army holding up for two weeks  the German intended lightning advance, the Kaiser might have succeeded in his plan of knocking out France before she could defend herself and before Britain could come to her aid.

* "World War" probably entered the vocabulary until 1916, and "First World War" seems to have been coined by Fox in the mid-1930s.

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