Great Britain’s agreement with France and Russia, the other members of the Triple Entente, did not go so far as to require her to join them in case they should be involved in war. It is difficult to say whether or not Great Britain would have decided to enter the conflict at this time if a new element had not been introduced into the question by Germany’s invasion of Belgium. Of this invasion more will be said in the following chapter. All that need be mentioned here is that Germany, in spite of a long-standing treaty to observe Belgium’s neutrality, had decided on marching through that country as the best route to Paris. Great Britain, as one of the nations which had promised to protect the neutrality of Belgium, immediately demanded of the German government that it withdraw its plan of invasion. Germany refused, and on August 4 Great Britain declared war. So one week after Austria’s declaration of war against Serbia all the powers of the Triple Entente—commonly called the Allies—were in arms against Germany and Austria. Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance, on August 1 declared herself neutral, much to the disappointment and anger of the Central Powers, her former allies. Her treaty with them provided that she should come to their aid only in case they were attacked, and so did not apply to the present war, in which Germany and Austria were the aggressors.
SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY.—1. Locate the Kiel Canal. What is its other name? When and why was it constructed? 2. Locate Potsdam, Belgrade, Serajevo. 3. Define ultimatum; mobilization; “Der Tag”; Jugo-Slavs. 4. What is the meaning of the prefix “pan” in Pan-Slavism, Pan-Germanism, Pan-Serbism? What do you know about each of these movements? 5. What is a declaration of war? Who has the power to declare war in the United States? In Germany? 6. Where are the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina? How were they governed before 1878? Between 1878 and 1908? Since 1908? 7. Review the efforts for peace made by the British government between the Austrian ultimatum and Germany’s final declarations of war. Explain the attitude of Austria, Russia, France, and Germany during these days.
Cyclopedia (C.P.I.); Study of the Great
War (C.P.I.); The Government of Germany (C.P.I.); Davis,
The Roots of the War.
THE WAR IN 1914
GERMAN PLAN OF ATTACK.—As soon as the German leaders had determined upon war, their military machine was set in motion. The plan was first to attack France and crush her armies before the slow-moving Russians could get a force together; and then, after the defeat of France, to turn to the east and subdue Russia. The success of the plan was dependent upon the swift overthrow of France; and this in turn hinged upon the question as to whether German armies could invade France before the French were ready. Speed was the essential thing, and in order to gain speed Germany committed one of the greatest crimes in modern history.