8th August 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In London, England – Unity Valkyrie Mitford, “an aristocratic English socialite who was a devotee of Adolf Hitler”.  [Wikipedia]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_Mitford

War!

Across Western Europe: Many thousands of the figthing men of many nations are converging on Belgium, Luxembourg and the Rhine…

In Eastern Europe: German soldiers are also pressing East through Poland, as Russian men move West…

In German East Africa: The British cruiser “Astraea” arrives off the coast and begins to shell Dar Es Salaam, landing a few troops for good measure. The ship’s captain and the local German authorities agree a truce, but neither of their Imperial masters are happy with the arrangement [Burg and Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1“].

In Britain, Parliament hastily introduces DORA – the Defence of the Realm Act, giving sweeping authoritarian powers to the Government:

”  ‘No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty’s forces or among the civilian population’.  The trivial peacetime activities no longer permitted included flying kites, starting bonfires, buying binoculars, feeding wild animals bread, discussing naval and military matters or buying alcohol on public transport. Alcoholic beverages were watered down and pub opening times were restricted to noon–3pm and 6:30pm–9:30pm (the requirement for an afternoon gap in permitted hours lasted in England until 1988).”  [quoted on Wikipedia].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_of_the_Realm_Act_1914

In British India: The first Indian troops involved in World War 1 leave India headed for Egypt, where the plan is to hold them in reserve (for example if more British troops are required in Europe). The reality will be different: they will join the Allied forces fighting on the Western Front.

http://www.black-history.org.uk/pavilionindian.asp

Peace:

Exploration: Sir Ernest Shackelton’s “Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17)”, also known as the “Endurance Expedition” leaves Plymouth, England, bound for Argentina, and ultimately for the Antarctic. The ship, “Endurance” , leaves without Sir Ernest, who is detained on expedition business but will join the expedition in Buenos Aires.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Trans-Antarctic_Expedition

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6th August 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Tipperary, Ireland – George Moulson, professional footballer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Moulson

War!

Serbia declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia

In Belgium, the German Zeppelin airship L-Z drops thirteen bombs on the City of Liege, killing 9 people.

The Battle of the Frontiers opens when German troops cross from Luxembourg into France and take the town of Longwy.

In Britain, 80,000 troops, 30,000 horses and over 315 field guns are assembling on the south coast for the British Expeditionary Force crossing of the Channel / La Manche.

In West Africa: In Togoland and Cameroon, French forces seize German territory and outposts.

(sources: Almanac of World War 1; The Guns of August)

Shipping News: The SS Rohilla, (“named after Afghan tribes who had sought refuge in India during the 18th Century. They were annihilated by the Nawab of Oudh, with the unauthorised help of British troops”), is requisitioned as a hospital ship and renamed the HMHS Rohiila.

http://www.titanicandco.com/rohilla.html

Peace…

Thirty-one year old diarist Franz Kafka is having a bad day:“I am an empty vessel… Full of lies, hate and envy. Full of incompetence, stupidity, thickheadedness. Full of laziness, weakness and helplessness.”

http://kafkaesque-world.tumblr.com/page/32

1st August 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Belfast, in British Ireland – Cecil Allan – (Northern) Irish footballer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Allan

WAR!

The French and German governments both order full mobilization, and – before any declaration of war – German troops cross the border into Luxembourg to secure strategic railroad and telegraph locations.

In Berlin, the crowds who have been waiting apprehensively to hear whether Russia will accept the German ultimatum to stop its mobilization process (deadline 5.00pm today) are “electric with rumour”.  When the order to mobilize comes the crowd is “instantly converted from Marx to Mars”  by their “instinctive fear and hatred of the Slavic hordes… From the moment the order was given, everything was to move at fixed time according to a schedule precise down to the number of train axles that would pass over a given bridge within a given time“. [Barbara Tuchman: “The Guns of August”].

At seven in the evening in St Petersburg (shortly to be renamed Petrograd, to rid it of its germanic sounding name) Germany declares war on Russia because “Jurists at the [German] Foreign Office insisted it was legally the correct thing to do” [Tuchman]

In Britain, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill orders the immediate seizure in the shipbuilders’ yards of two battleships which are being built for the Turkish Government, the finances for which have been raised by severe taxation and public subscription of the Turkish people. Turkey, which has not yet indicated its position in the coming conflict, is outraged. [Almanac of World War 1].

Also in Britain, where the government is split on whether or not to support France against Germany,  the Governor of the Bank of England (the Central Bank) phones Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) to tell him that the “City” (London’s financial interests) are “totally opposed to our intervening”. [Tuchman].

PEACE?

Women’s suffrage: In Lisburn, in the North of British Ireland, a group of suffragettes attempt to blow up Lisburn Cathedral.

http://www.lisburntoday.co.uk/news/local-news/the-woman-who-tried-to-blow-up-the-cathedral-1-5014290

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guns-August-Classic-Bestselling-Outbreak-ebook/dp/B00IB43Q6C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1404478017&sr=1-1&keywords=the+guns+of+august