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Battle of Tannenberg

Russian prisoners of war following the Battle of Tannenberg Photo: Wikimedia Commons   This battle between the Russian Second Army (230,000 troops) and the smaller German Eighth Army (150,000 troops) was markedly different to most of the battles of the Western Front in that it was a fast moving affair with the Germans employing brilliant military tactics…Read more

Weekly Summary 25-31 August 1914

The devastated Church of St. Pierre of Louvain after a German raid. (Photo: The Times History of the War, Vol 1, P 415)   The fourth week of the war, from August 25th to August 31st saw significant land and naval battles develop as conflict raged across widespread areas. The situation in Belgium continued to…Read more

The Destruction of Louvain

The ruins of the Catholic University Library, Louvain. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   One of the worst events to come out of the First World War occurred on August 25th 1914, soon after the Germans had occupied the Belgian city of Louvain only a few days before. On this day German troops were fired upon from…Read more

Japan Joins the Allies

The Wakimiya – an early aircraft carrier used by the Japanese Photo: Wikimedia Commons   World War One was seen by Japan as an ideal way of expanding its influence across Asia and the South Pacific, with a particular emphasis on China. Japan had established an alliance with Britain back in 1902 and when war was…Read more

The Rise of the Aircraft Carrier

A seaplane is lowered out over the water from the deck of the Wakamiya. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   Japan’s entry into the war stemmed from a desire to expand its area of influence across Asia and the South Pacific, particularly China, primarily utilising the rising power of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Japan eventually declared war…Read more

The Contemptible Little Army

Elements of the British Expeditionary Force arrive in France, August 1914. (Photo: Times History of the War, Vol 1, p 442)   On the 19th August Kaiser Wilhelm II reportedly issued an army order to his troops that has remained a controversial issue ever since but was used thereafter as a source of inspiration to…Read more

Weekly Summary 18-24 August 1914

German troops on parade in the main square at Brussels, 20th August 1914. (Photo: The Times History of the War, Vol 1, P379)   The rising disaster in Belgium continued after the defeat of the Belgian Army at Liege, and on 20th August Brussels was evacuated and German troops marched into the city. The Germans…Read more

The British Expeditionary Force Arrives in France

Men of the British Expeditionary Force, soon after their arrival in France, August 1914. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   Almost as soon after Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914, the British Army began to mobilize under its newly appointed commander General Sir John French. The British Army had been placed on alert on…Read more

The Battle of Liege Rages

Belgian soldiers defend Herstal, a suburb north-east of Liege, 1914. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   By mid August the battle of Liege was rapidly heading for a Belgian disaster. Heavily outnumber and outgunned they had fought gallantly with little hope of winning against the might of the German Army but they had nevertheless put up an…Read more

Foundation of the Red Cross in Australia

Lady Helen Munro Ferguson, founder of the Australian Red Cross (State Library of Victoria SLV PMO13673)   The Red Cross in Australia began on 13th August 1914 – just 9 days after the start of the First World War. It was begun as a branch of the British Red Cross and formally launched by Lady Helen…Read more

This Week In The War (11-17 August 1914)

Shelling of the Liege forts by German artillery using high trajectory field howitzers. (Times History of the War Vol. 1, p347)   The second week of the war was dominated by the raging battle of Liege, where the gallant Belgians held off a vastly larger and better equipped German army. The heavily armoured Liege forts…Read more

WS 2 – Shelling at Leige – Times History of War

(Times History of the War Vol. 1, p347)

The Defence of the Realm Act 1914 (DORA)

circa 1914: A World War I evacuation order issued under the Defence of The Realm Act. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)   On the 8th August 1914, only four days after war was declared, the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed in the United Kingdom, providing the Government with sweeping powers to facilitate…Read more

Australia’s response to the war

A studio portrait of Andrew Fisher and his family in 1910. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   As soon as war between Britain and Germany was declared on 4 August 1914 there was an outpouring of nationalistic fervour in Australia. The popular sentiment was to help “defend the Mother Country” and demonstrate that Australia was a loyal servant of…Read more

The Battle of Liege

The destroyed Leopold Bridge in the centre of Liege, Belgium, in August 1914. Photo: Wikimedia Commons   This was the first land battle of the war, initiated by the Germans when they invaded Belgium on August 5th 1914, with the longer-term plan being to attack France from the north. The Germans were not anticipating serious…Read more

First Allied Shot in the War

The Allies’ first shot in World War One. The crew at the c 1890, probably 6 inch coastal gun, which fired on the German merchant ship, SS Pfalz at 1245 hours, 5 August 1914. (Photo: Australian War Memorial)   On 5 August 1914, the German steamer “Pfalz”, a 6,500 ton cargo steamer operated by the Norddeutcher Lloyd shipping company, departed…Read more

NZ declared allegiance to Britain in WWI

Arthur Foljambe, 2nd Earl of Liverpool. The last Governor of New Zealand. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   At 3pm the New Zealand Governor, Lord Liverpool, read a telegram from His Majesty King George V to a crowd of 15,000 people gathered at Parliament in Wellington. The telegram expressed The King’s appreciation for the solidarity of his overseas…Read more

This Week In The War (4-10 August 1914)

HMS Amphion – the first Royal Navy ship to be lost in World War One (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   The first week of World War One saw an immediate commencement of hostilities with the German cruisers “Goeben” and “Breslau” attacking and bombarding the French colonial ports of Philippeville and Bona, located on the northeast coast…Read more

Germany Declared War on Belgium

Crowds gather in the Place Rogier, Brussels, in the rain to watch German troops as they march into the Belgian capital. Original Publication: Illustrated War News – pub. 1914 (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)   Soon after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in June of 1914, Germany began to activate its so-called Schlieffen Plan…Read more

The Willy-Nicky Telegrams

Kaiser Wilhelm II with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1905, wearing the military uniforms of each other’s nations. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   The Willy Nicky Telegrams Following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of the Austro Hungarian Empire, on 28 June 1914, the darkening storm clouds of war began rapidly gathering across Europe. Soon after…Read more