31st July 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: Louis Germain David de Funès de Galarza, French comic.



Across Europe, Governments are ordering full mobilisation of armies, each afraid that the others will “steal a march” and gain a day’s movement of forces.

! Germany issues ultimata to both Russia and France

! Austria moves from limited aggression against Serbia to full mobilisation

! Turkey order mobilization for 3rd August

! Britain asks both Germany and France whether they will respect Belgian neutrality, and meantime issues order to its fleet in the Mediterranean to aid French transportation of troops back from Africa, and to interfere with German vessels if it can be done without undue risk.

[Almanac of Worlds War 1]


Assassination: In the “Croissant Cafe” in the Rue Montmartre in Paris, French socialist and anti-militarist Jean Jaures is shot dead by a French nationalist in retaliation for his (Jaure’s) efforts to preserve peace between France and Germany.





30th July 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In London, England – Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin, scion of one of the “Tribes of Galway”, United Kingdom peer from 1927, sixth President of the International Olympic Committee, and much more…



Unaware that Germany is frantically, and belatedly, attempting to persuade Austria to pull back from its aggression towards Serbia…the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, is reluctantly persuaded that Russia must fully mobilize in response to Austria’s aggression.


Mildred Aldrich, an American Lady watching events from her chosen retirement cottage overlooking the Marne Valley, east of Paris writes to a friend:

“I am sitting here this morning, as I suppose all France is doing, simply holding my breath to see what England is to do. I imagine there is small doubt about it. I don’t see how she can do anything but fight. It is hard to realize that a big war is inevitable, but it looks like it….if it has to come now, just imagine what it is going to mean! It will be the bloodiest affair the world has ever seen – a war in the air, a war under the sea as well as on it, and carried out with the most effective man-slaughtering machines ever used in battle”.


 Fire: In Seattle, the Grand Trunk Pacific Dock, the largest wooden pier structure on America’s west coast is destroyed by a huge fire which leaves 5 dead and 29 injured.






29th July 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Turin, Italy – Marcel Bich, manufacturer and co-founder of Bic, “the world’s leading producer of ballpoint pens”.



Austrian gunboats on the Danube shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

The German government notifies Russia that if it continues with its “pre-mobilization” actions Germany will be forced to respond.

Cousins Willy and Niky, better known as Kaiser Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia and Tsar Nicholas, Emperor of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland and King of Poland (respectively) begin a frantic exchange of telegrams.


Society and Culture: In the British House of Commons, clerks are busy duly recording the proceedings for the day in the official journal, “Hansard”:

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert, Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum and of the Vaal, in the Colony of the Transvaal, and of Aspall, in the county of Suffolk, Baron Kitchener of Khartoum and of Aspall, in the county of Suffolk, K.P., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., His Majesty’s Agent and Consul-General in Egypt and Minister Plenipotentiary in His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, haying been created Baron Denton of Denton, in the county of Kent, Viscount Broome of Broome, in the said county of Kent, and Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome aforesaid—Was (in the usual manner) introduced.”


The motor industry: In an early example of product placement, Della Crewe, from Waco, Texas, and her dog, “Trouble”, complete the first, 2147 mile, leg of their adventure on (in?) a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and side-car.

“It was a great trip with miles of smiles,” she said, “and all of them Harley-Davidson smiles. Much of this happiness was showered upon me by the big Harley-Davidson family-dealers and riders-along the way. They were a princely lot of fellows and added many a link to the unbreakable chain of happy remembrances. Everywhere the glad hand was extended to me.” [Harley-Davidson.com]

Food and agriculture:  Farmer and diarist George Adkin spends a busy day working to improve his farmland near Wellington, New Zealand.



28th July 1914 (Tuesday)


Exactly one month after the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo (in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – a month filled with military, political and diplomatic manoeuvering and deceit, all of it with very little real connection to the assassination – Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.


27th July 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: The Association of Ethnic Bulgarians in Hungary, founded by the descendants of Bulgarian vegetable farmers who initially only came to Hungary for seasonal work, and brought with them a vegetable growing method that had been unknown in the country at the time.


Science and technology: In the US, the first transcontinental telephone line is completed, from New York to San Francisco. It will be tested in two days from now, but commercial services are delayed until 1915, to coincide with the San Francisco World Fair.


Society and Culture: As the countries of Europe increasingly move to a war footing, the German Kaiser “interrupts” his summer cruise to return to Germany.




26th July 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Llanelli, Wales, to Lithuanian parents – Isaac Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1956 to 1979.


World Affairs: The British Government, distracted until yesterday with its Irish question, and only just beginning to focus on the European situation, attempts to organize a political conference among the major European powers to resolve the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. France and Italy agree to participate. Russia then agrees, but Germany refuses.

Meanwhile Russia begins “pre-mobilisation” measures along its borders with Austria-Hungary, part of its “period preparatory to war”, including cancelling leave for reservists and clearing frontier railway lines.

The French also cancel all military leave and order most of their troops back from Morocco.

Tiny Montenegro mobilizes!



Ireland: In the “Howth gun running incident” Irish Nationalists smuggle a consignment of old rifles from the Franco-Prussian War (1870) into the country. They will eventually see service in the Easter Rising in 1916.

When the British authorities attempt to intervene events rapidly turn bloody, resulting in the infamous “Massacre of Bachelor’s Walk”



25th July 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Nabrežina near Trieste (then the Mediterranean port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, eventually annexed by Italy at the expense of its Slovene community)  – Miroslav Zei, Slovenian marine biologist, after whom the The Miroslav Zei Award  for outstanding scientific achievements in Biology (bestowed by the Slovenian National Institute of Biology) is named.


World Affairs: The Serbian Government accepts all but one of the Austro-Hungarian demands in “almost humiliating” reply to the ultimatum. Both Serbia and Austria mobilize their troops. Serbia appeals to Russia for assistance. Serbian general Radomir Putnik, who happens to be visiting Budapest, is immediately arrested. Later he is released in a “chivalrous and possibly self-defeating gesture by the Austro-Hungarian emperor” [Wikipedia].



24th July 1914 (Friday)

BORN  TODAY: in Colonial Beach, Virginia, USA, the son of Lithuanian/ Austrian immigrants, – Edwin “Honest Ed” Mirvish, Canadian businessman, philanthropist and theatre impresario.


Labour Relations: In Saint John, New Brunswick, striking street (trolley) car workers supported by 10,000 sympathisers rampage and riot on the city’s streets.


Arts and Literature: In Cornwall, in England’s West Country, Forence Munnings (nee Carter-Wood) aged 26, the muse and wife of the artist Alfred Munnings, takes her own life by cyanide poisoning.



23rd July 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY:  A slippery slope into the abyss…

World Affairs: 

In Russia, the French President finishes his state visit to St Petersburg, and departs for a journey of several days by boat, during which time it will be difficult for him to consult with his allies…

In Germany, the whole German military and political leadership goes on vacation, the intention being that they can feign ignorance if (ie when) the Austrian government delivers its ultimatum to the Serbian government…

In Belgrade, the Austrian ambassador delivers the long expected ultimatum to the Serbs…

and in Austria-Hungary, the Austrian army prepares for war.


22nd July 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Harelbeke, in Western Flanders – André Defoort, Belgian racing cyclist.


World Affairs: In St Petersburg, the Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Militza, daughters of the King of Montenegro, and influential at the Russian Court, report to the French Ambassador a telegram from their father predicting that  “we shall have war before the end of the month  . . . nothing will be left of Austria. . . . You will take back Alsace-Lorraine. . . . Our armies will meet in Berlin. . . . Germany will be annihilated.”