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War Timeline

War Timeline

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War Timeline
Updated - Saturday, 27 March, 2004
The Great War spanned four years and involved many nation states. This section illustrates the landmark
events of the period 1914-19.

The sidebar to the right offers two views of the war's key events. The 'Timeline' offers a brief listing year
by year, whereas 'On This Day' provides a summary of events for each and every day of the war and into
1919 - click the given month for details.

Sourced from the Chronology of the War, originally published between 1918-20, and drawn from
contemporary sources by Edward Gleichen, the 'On This Day' entries provide a fascinating view of the war
as it was viewed at the time.

The fact that theCh ro n o lo g y was written both during and in the immediate aftermath of the war means that
it naturally suffers somewhat from a lack of distance. Modern perspectives - and access to wider archive
sources - have altered perceptions of events as seen at the time. Information on secret alliances, for
example, were obviously not made widely available during the years 1914-18, but are important when
judging events today.

Gleichen'sChronology perhaps suffers, too, from an Allied-centric view of the war. Whilst patently
striving to be objective - many German and Austrian documentary sources were consulted during its
compilation - the entries sometimes read as propaganda entries; for example, the entry for 1 July 1916 - the
disastrous first day of the British Somme Offensive - makes no mention of the almost 60,000 casualties
suffered by the British that day. Rather, the chronology as a whole prefers instead to immerse itself in the
facts of territorial gains (and losses), without paying close attention to the often painful cost of these.

But these are quibbles. No other chronology of such detail exists; and these entries are useful as a valuable
source of contemporary perceptions of the war, albeit from the Allied perspective.
Summary Timeline: 1914
Updated - Saturday, 27 March, 2004
The First World War spanned four years and involved many nation states.

This section lists the landmark events of the year 1914, the first year of the war which began as the widely
expected war of movement, but which inexplicably (to contemporary eyes) settled into stubborn trench
warfare.

For a day by day account click any given month using the sidebar to the right.
June 28
Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austro-
Hungarian empire, in Sarajevo, Bosnia
July 28
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
July 29 - December 9
Austria-Hungary repeatedly invades Serbia but is repeatedly repulsed
August 1
Outbreak of war
Germany declares war on Russia
August 3
Germany declares war on France
August 4
Germany invades neutral Belgium
August 4
Britain declares war on Germany
August 4
US President Woodrow Wilson declares policy of US neutrality
August 14
Battle of the Frontiers begins
August 17-19
Russia invades East Prussia
August 23
Japan declares war on Germany
August 23 - September 2
Austria-Hungary invades Russian Poland (Galicia)
August 26-30
Battle of Tannenberg, which Russia loses; Germany's greatest success of
the war on Eastern Front
September 5-10
First Battle of Marne, halts German advance, resulting in stalemate and
trench warfare
September 9-14
First Battle of Masurian Lakes, which Russia again loses
September 14
First Battle of Aisne begins
September 15 - November 24
The "race to the sea", trenches appear on September 15
September 17-28
Austro-German attack western Poland
October 14 - November 22
First Battle of Ypres
October 29
Turkey enters the war on the side of the Central Powers
December 8
Battle of the Falkland Islands
December 21
First German air raid on Britain
December 25
Unofficial Christmas truce declared by soldiers along the Western Front
Summary Timeline: 1915
Updated - Saturday, 27 September, 2003
The First World War spanned four years and involved many nation states.

This section lists the landmark events of the year 1915, the first full year of the war, which saw the Allies
strive vainly to achieve a breakthrough on the Western Front, while the Germans achieved numerous
successes elsewhere. It was to prove a disappointing year for the Allies, a correspondingly positive one for
Germany and its allies.

For a day by day account click any given month using the sidebar to the right.
January 1 - March 30
Allied offensive in Artois and Champagne
January 15
Japan's 21 demands on China
January 19-20
First German zeppelin attack on England
February 4
German U-boat attacks on Allied and neutral shipping; declares blockade
of Britain
February 7-21
Russians suffer heavy losses at Second Battle of Masurian Lakes (also
known as the Winter Battle)
February - April
Austro-Hungarian attack on Russian Poland (Galicia) collapses, with the
Russians counterattacking
February 19-August

Allied amphibious attack on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli (initiated by
Winston Churchill, who resigns as a consequence) ends with the Turkish
siege of the Allied forces

March 1
First passenger ship sinks, the British linerFalaba
March 11
Britain announces blockade of German ports
April-June
Germans focus on Eastern Front, breaking through Gorlice-Tarnow and
forcing Russia out of much of Poland
April 22 - May 25
First use of poison gas by Germany starts Second Battle of Ypres
April 25
Allied landing at Gallipoli
April 26
France, Russia, Italy and Britain conclude secret Treaty of London
May 2
Austro-German offensive on Galicia begins
May 7
U-boat sinks British linerLusitania with the loss of American lives,
creating a US-German diplomatic crisis
May 9
Second Battle of Artois begins
May 23
Ignoring treaty agreements with the Central Powers, Italy declares war on
Austria-Hungary
May 25
British Prime Minister Asquith reorganises his Liberal government as a
coalition of the parties
June 29 - December 2
Italians launch unsuccessful attack on Hungarians at 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th
Battles of Isonzo; there are to be 12 in total
August 4
Germans capture Warsaw
September 5
Tsar Nicholas takes command of Russian armies
September 22
Second Battle of Champagne begins
October 3
Anglo-French force lands at Salonika in Greece
October - November
Austro-German-Bulgarian forces invade Serbia, expelling Serbian army
from the country
December 19
Sir Douglas Haig replaces Sir John French as commander of British
Expeditionary Force
December 28
Allies begin withdrawal of troops from Gallipoli
Summary Timeline: 1916
Updated - Sunday, 27 September, 2003
The First World War spanned four years and involved many nation states.

This section lists the events of the year 1916, the third year of the war. During this year the Germans attempted to "bleed France white" at Verdun, and the British strove to breakthrough along the Somme river. Both were doomed to failure; both were titanic struggles with correspondingly heavy losses.

Elsewhere possibly the greatest naval battle in history occurred at Jutland (which resulted in a tactical victory for Germany but a strategic victory for the British), and the Russians surprised everyone with impressive initial success in the Brusilov Offensive.

For a day by day account click any given month using the sidebar to the right.
February 21 - December 18
German attack on Verdun in the longest battle of the war, ultimately
defended by the French at great cost to both sides
March 11 - November 14
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battles of Isonzo between Italy and Austria-
Hungary
April
British forces in Mesopotamia begin advance on Baghdad
March 9
Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico
March 24
French passenger ship,Sussex, torpedoed
April 24
Easter rebellion starts in Ireland
May 4
Germany renounces submarine policy
May 19
Britain and France conclude Sykes-Picot agreement
May 31 - June 1
Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval battle in history, ultimately without a
clear victor

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