Saturday, August 9, 2014

World War I - The Outbreak of War

Punch Magazine, August 1914
The last we touched base with Austria-Hungary and their German allies, they'd sent an ultimatum to Serbia demanding untenable changes be made to avoid dire consequences. Well, it's probably not surprising that the Serbs didn't come through, they never were intended to and the Austria-Hungarian gesture was only meant to paper over the coming war. So, on July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia which prompted Russia to mobilize her troops in preparation to enter the war on the Serbian behalf.

On July 31, Germany sent a warning to the Russians, telling them to stop their troop mobilization mobilization and, after being refused, she plunged headlong into war. The Germans declared war on Russia on August 1, on France on the third, and on Belgium on the fourth. The same day as declaring war on Belgium, Germany executed a modified version of the Schlieffen Plan, a proto-blitz into France through Belgium which intended to encircle the French army on the German boarder and take France out of the conflict quickly. The effort stalled at the Belgian city of Liege where German general Karl von Bulow encountered unexpected resistance. Belgium had been guaranteed independence and neutrality under the 1839 Treaty of London, the violation of which brought Britain into the war.

France counterpunched on August 7th, the VII Corps attacked Alsace in an attempt to capture Mulhouse and Colmar with a second offensive taking place on August 14 when the 1st and 2nd Army attacked toward Sarrenbourg-Morhange and Lorraine. The Germans withdrew, inflicting losses on the French, and the bloody oscillation that would be the hallmark of World War I already was set in motion.

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