joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 Aug, 2014 10:22 am
4 AUGUST 1914

BELGIUM: German troops cross the frontier, two hours after Berlin declares war on Belgium.

LONDON: The British government issues an ultimatum to Germany: remove your troops from Belgium by midnight or Great Britain will declare war.

BERLIN: British ambassador Sir Edward Goschen makes a last-minute appeal to Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg, but the chancellor has no intentions of ending the invasion of Belgium. Instead, he criticizes Britain for valuing Belgian neutrality over its relations with Germany - "just for a scrap of paper Great Britain was going to make war on a kindred nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her."
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Aug, 2014 10:57 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
"just for a scrap of paper

Well, that was preview of the next 40 years.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 11:19 am
5 AUGUST 1914

LONDON: As the midnight deadline passes for Germany to withdraw its troops from Belgium, Great Britain considers itself in a state of war.

MESSINA, ITALY: The German battlecruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau, after shelling French ports on the Algerian coast, put into this Italian port to take on coal. The British Mediterranean squadron, led by Admiral Milne, shadows the German ships, which Italy, a declared neutral, only permits to remain in Messina for 24 hours. Milne expects the Goeben and Breslau to head west in an attempt to intercept French troop transports crossing over from Africa, but the German commander, Admiral Souchon, has been instructed instead to steam east toward Constantinople.
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 11:32 am
@joefromchicago,
[The Goeben, scrapped in 1973, was the last surviving ship built by the Imperial German Navy, and the longest-serving dreadnought-type ship in any navy. (Transferred to the Ottoman Empire on 16 August 1914)]
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 01:31 pm
In The World Crisis, Churchill complains of the escape of the cruisers, and hints that naval officers used to peacetime conditions are loathe to risk their ships. When he comes to describe the actions of the Franco-British naval forces in the opening of the Gallipoli debacle, he openly states that naval officers, used to the standards of peacetime, are unwilling to risk their ships. He states that the Turks were on the verge of collapse and one more push would have toppled their defenses. As it happens, that's true, but then, hindsight is famous for the sharp acuity it develops.
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 01:50 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

In The World Crisis, Churchill complains of the escape of the cruisers, and hints that naval officers used to peacetime conditions are loathe to risk their ships.

Everybody was loathe to risk their capital ships. That was standard fleet-in-being theory at the time.

Setanta wrote:
When he comes to describe the actions of the Franco-British naval forces in the opening of the Gallipoli debacle, he openly states that naval officers, used to the standards of peacetime, are unwilling to risk their ships. He states that the Turks were on the verge of collapse and one more push would have toppled their defenses. As it happens, that's true, but then, hindsight is famous for the sharp acuity it develops.

Churchill's depiction of events surrounding Gallipoli should be viewed with extreme skepticism, given that Churchill, who was trying to rescue his damaged reputation as one of the authors of that failed campaign, was hardly a disinterested spectator to those events. In fact, the admirals were justified in their fear about losing their ships, considering how many they actually lost.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 01:57 pm
All of Churchill's history should be taken with many grains of salt, as almost all of it concerns events in which he was a participant. The exception would be his biography of the first Duke of Marlborough--but given that he was named for John Churchill's father and son-in-law, healthy skepticism should be exercised, there, too. I do think his biography, though, is worthwhile historical document, if for no other reason than that he had access in Blenheim Palace to documents not ordinarily seen by researchers.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2014 02:00 pm
By the way, i should note that ship losses in the Franco-British squadron does not appear to me to be that compelling an argument, as it has long been understood that navies must go in harm's way to do their duty. The point about the fleet in being doctrine can more forcefully applied to the Kaiser's reaction to Jutland, which, despite what the Royal Navy had to say, was a clear German victory.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2014 02:04 pm
6 AUGUST 1914

VIENNA: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.



It seems odd that Austria-Hungary, which started the war, would declare war on Russia five days after its ally Germany did. The German leadership thought this was a bit odd as well, given that it was counting on Austria-Hungary to launch an offensive against Russia in the initial phase of the conflict, and so it had been pushing Vienna for a declaration of war. The Austro-Hungarians, however, were woefully unprepared for even a one-front war against Serbia, let alone a two-front war that involved Russia. Their mobilization was a logistical nightmare - a perfect example of the Austrian policy of fortwursteln (muddling along). Furthermore, the chief of the Austro-Hungarian general staff, Field Marshall Conrad, was focused on knocking Serbia out of the war, and so was planning to wait for Russia to attack, rather than go on the offensive in Galicia as Germany had expected. As a result, Vienna was in no hurry to declare war on Russia.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Sun 10 Aug, 2014 10:00 am
10 AUGUST 1914

CONSTANTINOPLE: After a dramatic pursuit through the Mediterranean, the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau arrive at the Dardanelles and are granted permission to enter by the Turkish government. The Ottomans, still uncommitted in the European conflict, will circumvent this violation of its neutrality by striking a bargain with Germany to buy the two ships for a nominal price. The acquisition of the German vessels will, in a small way, go to make up for the two modern battleships confiscated by Great Britain in the days leading up to war.



Not only were the ships transferred to the Turkish navy, but the officers and crews also made the transition. The Goeben, a battlecruiser launched in 1911, was better than anything that the Turks had in their tiny and antiquated navy. More importantly, it was better than anything that the Russians had in their Black Sea fleet.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2014 12:27 pm
12 AUGUST 1914

BALKAN FRONT: The Austro-Hungarian army begins its invasion of Serbia. General Oskar Potiorek leads the attack, which is aimed at taking Belgrade from the west, across the Drina River, rather than attempting a risky assault from the north across the Danube. The resulting Battle of the Jadar (aka Battle of Cer) results in a massive defeat of the Austro-Hungarians at the hands of the outnumbered but more experienced Serbs.



Before the war, Potiorek had been governor of Bosnia, which meant that he was in charge of security for Archduke Franz Ferdinand's visit to Sarajevo on 28 June. The general proved no more adept at leading troops than he was at protecting archdukes, and the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia ended in ignominious defeat. Even though its reserve formations went into the war with antiquated weapons - or no weapons at all - the Serb army was battle-tested, having fought in two wars over the previous two years. Led by Marshall Putnik, the Serbian army upset the confident pre-war calculations that envisioned a swift victory for Austria-Hungary.

http://de-construct.net/e-zine/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/serbian-army-wwi.jpg
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 01:53 pm
14 AUGUST 1914

WESTERN FRONT: After a limited attack that briefly took the Alsatian city of Mulhouse, the French army launches its main offensive against German units in Lorraine and the Ardennes. The resulting engagement, known as the Battle of the Frontiers, would last until 24 August and would see the entire French army forced to retreat after suffering over a quarter of a million casualties.



France's military leaders knew about Germany's plan to invade Belgium at the start of the war, but regarded it as a feint to draw attention away from the main theater of war in Lorraine. This was to become an unfortunate habit for the French, who had trouble, throughout the war, distinguishing between feints and genuine offensives. Instead of repositioning his forces to counter the threat that would emerge from Belgium, General Joffre, leader of France's armies, went ahead with an offensive to retake Alsace and Lorraine in accordance with the pre-war Plan XVII. It was a plan that the Germans not only anticipated but which was essential to the success of their own plan, which envisioned a strike against Paris from Belgium while the bulk of the French forces was pinned down in Lorraine.

http://www.euro-webonline.com/world_cultures/images/france_uni.jpg
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 05:37 pm
Reading along, totally absorbed and fascinated.
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2014 07:16 am
16 AUGUST 1914

WESTERN FRONT: The Belgian fortress city of Liège, besieged by the Germans since 6 August, surrenders after an intense bombardment from German heavy artillery.



Liège sat astride the invasion route of the German First Army, which was the unit on the far right of the German line and the one tasked with the objective of sweeping around Paris and enveloping the French left wing. This army, as a result, had the farthest distance to travel, and so speed was essential. Liège was the first roadblock on its path, and, in theory, its twelve forts were a formidable obstacle. The city's defenses and guns, however, were obsolete, and Belgium had woefully neglected its military. After initial attempts to take the city by storm had failed, the Germans reduced the forts to rubble with heavy artillery, including four 305-mm guns from the Bohemian Škoda works, borrowed from the Austro-Hungarian army, and two 420-mm "Big Bertha" howitzers from the Krupp works. The Belgian army succeeded in delaying the German advance, but the French, heavily engaged in Lorraine and the Ardennes, did not take advantage of it.

http://33.media.tumblr.com/f8a397d35c49941948212fc16acfd6af/tumblr_n9zw69H7aC1rcoy9ro1_500.jpg
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2014 02:23 am
The attack on Liège was conducted by Karl von Bülow's Second Army. The event was a part of the curious mix of the modern and the antique. German heavy artillery eventually reduced the Belgian forts, but while waiting for the big guns to arrive, the Germans initially threw waves of close-ranked infantry at the barbed wire and machine guns of the Belgians, as though it were 1814 and not 1914.

General von Kluck's First Army only crossed into Belgium on August 16, 1914, the day the last of the Liège forts capitulated. In his memoirs, von Kluck stated that this was because von Bülow did not want any gaps in the line, as it would expose his flanks--that at least, was von Kluck's version.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 09:18 pm
18 AUGUST 1914

EASTERN FRONT: While fighting rages along the Franco-German frontier, Russian troops cross the Austro-Hungarian border into Galicia.



The military leadership of the Central Powers expected that the Russian mobilization would take weeks, which would have allowed Germany to finish off France and then switch its attention eastward. The Russians, however, goaded by their French allies, surprised everyone by entering East Prussia on 7 August, ten days after mobilization, and Galicia eleven days later. That may have been the last time the Russian army exceeded expectations until the Brusilov Offensive in 1916.

http://anamericaninvienna.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/for_our_zoo.png
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 09:29 pm
@Setanta,
According to the original Schlieffen Plan, the right-most army on the German line was to have marched through the Dutch "panhandle" at Maastricht, which would have allowed it to bypass Liège. At some point in the decades prior to 1914, however, the German general staff decided that invading one neutral nation was quite enough. That caused something of a bottleneck at Liège, which made reducing the fortress quickly that much more important. But the decision not to invade the Netherlands redounded to Germany's benefit, as Dutch ports gave Germany a limited means of access to imported goods during the British blockade.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 02:19 am
The Schlieffen Plan had already been modified. It is impossible to say if it would have worked as planned, largely because it was not implemented as von Schlieffen intended. I tend to think it would not have worked, though, because it did not take into account the human factor. As it was, at the beginning of the Battle of the Marne, the French found themselves obliged to wake up Germans in order to make prisoners of them. Schlieffen's plan seemed to have taken the German troops as so many automata. The Allies had the same problem as they attempted to pursue defeated German formations after the Marne--their troops were just too exhausted to perform as though they were just marks on a map exercise.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2014 09:48 pm
20 AUGUST 1914

WESTERN FRONT: German troops enter and occupy the Belgian capital of Brussels.

EASTERN FRONT: Russian and German forces engage in the Battle of Gumbinnen. The German 8th Army, commanded by Maximillian von Prittwitz, gains some initial success against the 1st Russian Army, commanded by Paul von Rennenkampf, but then is thrown back in some disorder. Prittwitz is immediately sacked and Paul von Hindenburg is called back from retirement to take over command of the army.



The German army in East Prussia had orders to retire rather than engage the Russian invading forces, consisting of Rennenkampf's 1st Army, invading from the east, and the 2nd Army of Alexander Samsonov, invading from the south. Instead, Prittwitz's second-in-command, Hermann von François, recommended launching an attack on Rennenkampf while Samsonov's army was still in Poland. The German assault took the Russians by surprise, but a counterattack pushed the Germans back, causing Prittwitz to lose his nerve and order a general retreat. The battle would be a minor footnote in the history of the war had it not led to the recall to command of Paul von Hindenburg, who would be assisted by Erich Ludendorff. These two German generals would play a major role in the war and beyond.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-aJRlmneoUDk/UTDqv-6ErrI/AAAAAAAANTE/pVtvu-AE6mE/s640/1916+Hindenburg+u.+Ludendorff.jpg
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2014 10:09 pm
@joefromchicago,
Interesting to note that, judging from their family names, the Germans on the Eastern Front are under the command of an ethnic Pole while the Russians are fighting under an ethnic German.
 

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