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Tommy's War

TIMELINE to World War One

1871 10 May French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine annexed by Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. They had been the subject of dispute between the two countries before they were ceded to France in 1648 as part of the Peace of Westphalia.

1888 15 June Wilhelm II becomes Emperor of Germany.

1890 20 March Chancellor Otto von Bismarck forced to resign by Emperor Wilhelm II.

1894 4 January Franco-Russian Alliance finalised. This was a mutual defence arrangement against fears of future agression.

1907 7 August Triple Entente, originating in a series of 'colonial understandings', concluded by signing ofAnglo-Russian Entente. This drew Britain in to the series of military alliances.

1913 1 June (ended) First Balkan War: most remaining colonies in Ottoman Empire were lost by Turkey.

1913 31 July (ended) Second Balkan War: Bulgaria attacked its former allies Serbia and Greece. Enlarged Serbia left as Russia's only ally in the region after break-up of Russian-Bulgarian alliance.

1914 28 June Assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Hapsburg Empire, by the 'Black Hand', a group of Serbian terrorists.


1914 6 July Germany tells Austria-Hungary that it count on German support for whatever action is decided. This is often described as the 'blank cheque'.


1914 23 July Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia.

1914 25 July Austria-Hungary breaks off relations with Serbia.

1914 28 July Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

1914 30 July Russia orders general mobilisation.

1914 31 July Germany sends ultimatum to Russia and France.

1914 1 August Germany declares war on Russia.

1914 2 August Germany invades Luxembourg and sends ultimatum to Belgium.


1914 3 August Germany invades Belgium and declares war on France.


1914 4 August Britain declares war on Germany.

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