Saturday, August 02, 2014

Today -100: August 2, 1914: We are German brothers and nothing else

Germany declares war on Russia, after demanding it stop mobilizing its army. And it asks France, So whaddaya gonna do about it? That is, Germany demands to know France’s intentions, and gives it a deadline to explain them.

Germany asks (somewhat more politely) the intentions of Italy, its supposed ally in the Triple Alliance. Italy, which also has contradictory secret treaties and understandings with just about everybody else, says that since this is isn’t a defensive war, it’s not obliged by treaty to join Germany and Austria, and will remain neutral.

Kaiser Wilhelm makes another speech from his castle window: “When I enter upon a fight let all party strife cease. We are German brothers and nothing else. All parties have attacked me in times of peace. I forgive them with all my heart.” Isn’t that sweet of him?

France orders full mobilization, but says “Mobilization is not war.” Really, says the cabinet’s proclamation, it’s actually “the best means of assuring peace with honor.”

The French cabinet is reshuffled to butch it up (although not as butch as the article says – Georges “The Tiger” Clemenceau is offered a post but refuses). Théophile Delcassé, who dislikes Germany almost as much as Pres. Poincaré, is the new minister of war.

Greece orders full mobilization. May go to war with Bulgaria.

Russian and German troops shoot at each other (the Russians started it) along the border near Prostken. No one is hurt.

Germany invades Luxemburg. It will claim that this is not a hostile act, but a defensive seizure of Luxemburg’s rail lines (defensive in that France might have tried to seize the lines first).

Germany signs a secret alliance treaty with Turkey pledging the latter to support Germany if Russia declared war on it.  But not if Germany declared war on Russia, which it would.

German ships try to cut the telegraph cables between Germany and Russia (via Denmark), but fail.

Germany orders the return of its automobiles from the exhibition at Malmö, Sweden.

France says it will respect Belgium’s neutrality – if everyone else does.

Norway declares neutrality. Sweden declares neutrality.

The Admiralty asks Welsh coal miners if, given the world situation, they could give up their holiday next week. The miners say no.

Not everyone in the Women’s Social and Political Union is obeying the cease-fire order: someone puts dynamite in the cathedral at Lisburn (Ireland).

NAMING THAT WAR: The phrase “world war” appears, in the Westminster Gazette.

Woodrow Wilson denies a report that he said the war would be good for American business.

The home of the owner of the Youngstown Telegram is dynamited. The paper is prohibitionist and anti-police, so presumably this was done by drunk cops.

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