On This Day: First World War begins after Austria-Hungary invades Serbia

Just found this article on the web. It’s only been 100 years since the 1st World War began. So much has changed, but very little with power hungry men. Have we learnt anything over the years? Seems we have not…

Lest we forget.

JULY 28, 1914: The First World War and the ensuing slaughter of 16million people began after Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia on this day in 1914.

Russia mobilised on behalf of its Balkan ally, which had offended Vienna after an ethnic Serb shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo.

Then Germany, which was allied with Austria-Hungary, invaded neutral Belgium on its way to France since it could expect the French to attack on behalf of Russia.

The Germans, who had been spoiling for a war to increase their power amid growing imperial rivalry, hoped to defeat France quickly before Russia could gather troops from across its vast territory and attack her.

Britain, which was allied with both France and Russia in its Triple Entente or Alliance and had been enraged by the ‘Rape of Belgium’ that left 6,000 civilians dead and hundreds of villages razed, then declared war on Germany on August 4.

A standing army of 733,000 men was called into action in August 1914, followed by a massive recruitment drive and later conscription.

The Germans, who had gambled on the UK staying neutral, got within 43 miles of Paris before the British, whose troops are shown marching through ruins in British Pathé footage, helped turn them back.

Belgian soldiers in a sandbagged position by a canal (Getty)
Belgian soldiers in a sandbagged position by a canal (Getty)
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