This first volume will cover three parts. In Part I. I shall write of The Causes of the War. In Part II. I shall Contrast the Forces Opposed. In Part III. (the briefest) I shall describe the First Shock.
In Part I., where I deal first with the general or historical causes of the war, later with the particulars, I shall:—
1. Define the German object which led up to it.
2. Show how this object conflicted with the wills of other nations.
3. Briefly sketch the rise of Prussia and of her domination over North Germany.
4. Define the position of Austria-Hungary in the matter, and thus close the general clauses.
5. The particular causes of the war will next be dealt with; the curious challenge thrown down to Great Britain by the German Fleet before the German Empire had made secure its position on the Continent; the French advance upon Morocco; the coalition of the Balkan States against the remainder of the Turkish Empire in Europe.
6. Lastly, in this First Part, I shall describe the immediate occasion of the war and its surroundings: the ultimatum issued by the Austro-Hungarian Government to the little kingdom of Servia.
In Part II. I will attempt to present the forces opposed at the outbreak of war.
First, the contrast in the geographical position of the Germanic Allies with their enemies, the French, the English, and the Russians. Secondly, the numbers of trained men prepared and the numbers of reserves available in at least the first year to the various numbers in conflict. Thirdly, the way in which the various enemies had thought of the coming war (which was largely a matter of theory in the lack of experience); in what either party has been right, and in what wrong, as events proved; and with what measure of foresight the various combatants entered the field.
In Part III, I will very briefly describe the original armed dispositions for combat at the outbreak of war, the German aim upon the West, and the German orders to the Austrians upon the East; the overrunning of Belgium, and the German success upon the Sambre; then the pursuit of the Franco-British forces to the line Paris-Verdun, up to the eve of the successful counter-offensive undertaken by them in the first week of September. I will end by describing what were the contemporary events in the Eastern field: in its northern part the overrunning of East Prussia by the Russians, and the heavy blow which the Germans there administered to the invader; in its southern the Austrian opposition to the Russians on the Galician borders, and the breakdown of that opposition at Lemberg.
My terminal date for this sketch will be the 5th of September.