“The calamitous conflict is not of my seeking. My voice has been cast throughout on the side of peace. My ministers earnestly strove to allay the causes of the strife and to appease differences with which my empire was not concerned. Had I stood aside when in defiance of pledges to which my kingdom was a party, the soil of Belgium was violated and her cities made desolate, when the very life of the French nation was threatened with extinction, I should have sacrificed my honor and given to destruction the liberties of my empire and of mankind.
“I rejoice that every part of the empire is with me in this decision.
“Paramount regard for a treaty of faith and the pledged word of rulers and peoples is the common heritage of Great Britain and of the empire. My peoples in the self-governing dominions have shown beyond all doubt that they whole-heartedly indorse the grave decision it was necessary to take, and I am proud to be able to show to the world that my peoples oversea are as determined as the people of the United Kingdom to prosecute a just cause to a successful end.
“The Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia and the Dominion of New Zealand have placed at my disposal their naval forces, which have already rendered good service for the empire. Strong expeditionary forces are being prepared in Canada, Australia and New Zealand for service at the front, and the Union of South Africa has released all British troops and undertaken other important military responsibilities.
“Newfoundland has doubled the number of its branch of the royal naval reserve, and is sending a body of men to take part in the operations at the front. From the Dominion and Provincial governments of Canada, large and welcome gifts of supplies are on their way for use both by my naval and military forces.
“All parts of my oversea dominions have thus demonstrated in the most unmistakable manner the fundamental unity of the empire amidst all its diversity of situation and circumstance.”
A message similar to the foregoing was addressed by King George to the princes and the people of India.
The King’s eldest son, the young Prince of Wales, volunteered for active service at the outset of the war and was gazetted as a second lieutenant in the First Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He also inaugurated and acted as treasurer of a national fund for the relief of sufferers by the war. This fund soon grew to $10,000,000 and steadily climbed beyond that amount.
EARLY BATTLES OF THE WAR
Belgian Resistance to the German Advance—The Fighting at Vise, Haelen, Diest, Aerschot and Tirlemont—Mons and Charleroi the First Great Battles of the War—Make a Gallant Stand, but Forced to Retire Across the French Border_.