Russia 1914: Outbreak of the Great War
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Bosnian Serb in June 1914 triggered a series of political crises across Europe. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, a country protected by Russian guarantees. Russia responded by mobilizing its armies, which in turn led to war with Austria-Hungary’s ally Germany. A few days later, France and then Britain joined the war on the side of Russia.
8 Oct 1912-18 Jul 1913 Balkan Wars▲
The First Balkan War breaks out, seeing Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia defeat the Ottoman Empire, taking most of its territory in Europe. This is quickly followed by the Second Balkan War, in which Bulgaria is defeated by its former allies, the Ottoman Empire, and Romania in a fight over the division of Macedonia.
28 Jun 1914 Assassination of Franz Ferdinand▲
Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo
28 Jul 1914 Outbreak of World War I▲
The Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia, in response to Serbia’s rejection of Austria-Hungary’s July Ultimatum. In the following days, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain all entered the conflict, resulting in the First World War.
1 Aug 1914 German declaration of war on Russia▲
Alerted of Russian mobilization against Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered German mobilization and declared war on Russia. As per the Schlieffen Plan, Germany immediately prepared for the invasion of Luxembourg and Belgium on the assumption that France would enter the war. Although the British proposed that they would stay neutral if Germany did not attack France, the Kaiser was unable to get his generals to agree to this request as pausing the invasion was technically impossible.
4 Aug 1914 German invasion of Belgium▲
On 2 August 1914, Germany occupied Luxembourg and sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage through the country. When Belgium refused, Germany declared war on France on 3 August and on Belgium the following day. German troops immediately crossed the border, launching an offensive against the Belgian city of Liège.