On This Day - 31 July 1914

Spotlights over Paris Theatre definitions: Western Front comprises the Franco-German-Belgian front and any military action in Great Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Holland.  Eastern Front comprises the German-Russian, Austro-Russian and Austro-Romanian fronts.  Southern Front comprises the Austro-Italian and Balkan (including Bulgaro-Romanian) fronts, and Dardanelles.  Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres comprises Egypt, Tripoli, the Sudan, Asia Minor (including Transcaucasia), Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, China, India, etc.  Naval and Overseas Operations comprises operations on the seas (except where carried out in combination with troops on land) and in Colonial and Overseas theatres, America, etc.  Political, etc. comprises political and internal events in all countries, including Notes, speeches, diplomatic, financial, economic and domestic matters.  Source: Chronology of the War (1914-18, London; copyright expired)

Countdown to War

Russia still complaisant, but as Austria is not responsive she announces her general mobilisation.

Austria also announces general mobilisation.

Germany declares Kriegsgefahrsustand (i.e. imminent-danger-of-war situation), and tells Russia (definite threat not delivered till midnight) that she proposes to mobilise unless Russia stops all military measures within 12 hours.  She also informs France of her intention towards Russia, and demands to know within 18 hours whether France will remain neutral.  (In that case she would have demanded the temporary cession of Toul and Verdun.  M. Viviani, however, merely replied that France would act according to her interests.)

France notifies her Ambassadors that Germany, whilst protesting peaceful intentions, has throughout by her dilatory or negative attitude caused all attempts at agreement to fail.

Sir Edward Grey goes to the furthest possible limit in endeavouring to persuade Germany to assist him in squaring matters between Austria and Serbia.  Asks France and Germany whether they intend to respect Belgian neutrality; France says, "certainly", Germany refuses to reply.  British Cabinet not yet prepared to give France definite pledge of assistance.

Financial crisis in London.  Stock Exchange closed.

Belgian mobilisation decreed for following day.

M. Jaures (Socialist leader) assassinated in Paris.

Mobilisation commenced in Turkey.


On This Day