The Battle of Bita Paka

Colonel William Holmes (later general), Commander of the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in New Guinea. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   The first significant land engagement involving the Australians in World War One was the so called Battle of Bita Paka, a conflict fought near Rabaul in what was then a part of German…Read more

First Battle of the Marne Concludes

One of the famous Renault “Taxi de la Marne”. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   The amazing First Battle of the Marne that began on September 6th continued to rage across the next 4 days, with the French Commander Joseph Joffre conducting a brilliant attacking manoeuvre that caught the Germans by complete surprise. He drove his French forces,…Read more

Indian Troops in Africa

Forward scouts of the 9th Hodson’s Horse, an Indian cavalry regiment, pause to consult a map, near Vraignes, France. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   During the first week of September the warfare spilled over into Africa, around the Nairobi area, where British and German forces clashed in several heavy engagements. Both countries had significant colonial interests…Read more

First Battle of the Marne

French infantry charge with fixed bayonets – an illustrated newspaper article depicting the First Battle of the Marne. Photo: Wikimedia Commons   Following the German invasion of Belgium on 3 August 1914, their advance had been rapid, pushing aside the Belgian army and forcing the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) into a general retreat at the Battle of…Read more

Belgians Flooded Their Countryside

Artist’s impression of the Termonde floods in Belgium. (Photo: The Graphic)   During the first week of September large German Army forces were moving across Belgium towards the border with northern France with the vastly outnumbered Belgian Army unable to stop them. However the Belgians had another, unique line of defence that had been used…Read more

Weekly Summary 1-7 September 1914

Japanese troops landing near Tsingtao in September 1914. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   The fifth week of the war, from September 1st to 7th saw major actions on both the eastern and western fronts. The Germans, following their steamroller advance through Belgium and the brushing aside of the British and French armies at Mons during late…Read more

White Feather Movement

Admiral Charles Fitzgerald – architect of the White Feather movement Photo: Wikimedia Commons   It was essential to the British war effort that able-bodied men volunteered for military service and an effective way to ensure this was to shame those who were reluctant to join up.   The so-called “White Feather Movement” was a propaganda…Read more

30 August 1914 Paris Bombed

A German Rumpler Taube in flight. Taube is the German word for dove. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)   One of the most significant events of World War One was the emergence of the aeroplane as a strategic weapon that could be employed in a variety of roles. It could, for instance be used as a fighter…Read more

27 August 1914 Crisis Hits Home

Crowds of depositors gather outside a savings bank in Berlin, eager to draw out their savings following the declaration of war. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)   In the run up to the start of the war, and then across the following three months, panic set in across the various populations of Europe and Britain,…Read more

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