The 1st World War or WW1 is recorded as starting on 28th July 1914, and ending 11th November 1918. Historians list the causes which led to war as a combination of Imperialism, Militarism, National pride, Secret alliances and a failure of Politics. However, the single most referred to act was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria on 28th June 1914, which triggered a chain of events leading many to war.
Estimates for the number of deaths in WW1 do vary but are generally accepted as being 9 to 11 million military personnel, the civilian death toll was in the order of 8 million, which includes an estimated 6 million due to war-related famine and disease. The allies lost around 6 million military personnel, while Germany and its allies lost 4 approximately million. At least 2 million people died from disease, and approximately 6 million went missing and presumed dead.
The 1st World War came to involve 32 countries; the following are some key dates in that process;
On the 1st August 1914 – Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 2nd August – Germany invaded Luxembourg. The first military skirmish took place on the Western front on the 2nd August at Joncherey, in France.
On the 4th August – Germany invaded Belgium, and the United Kingdom protested against the violation of Belgian neutrality guaranteed by the Treaty of London, to which the German Chancellor (Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg) replied, that the treaty is just a ‘chiffon de papier’ (a scrap of paper). The United Kingdom then declared war on Germany, and on the same day the United States declared its neutrality.
On the 5th August – Montenegro declared war on Austria-Hungary and on the 6th August – Austria & Hungary declared war on Russia, and Serbia declared war on Germany.
On the 8th August – Montenegro declared war on Germany, and on the 11th August – France declared war on Austria-Hungary. The United Kingdom then declared war on Austria – Hungary, on the 12th August.
On the 23rd August – Japan declared war on Germany, and on the 25th August Japan also declared war on Austria-Hungary. On the 28th August – Austria – Hungary declared war on Belgium, and on the 2nd November – Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The following day the 3rd November – Montenegro followed suit. Then on the 5th November – France and the United Kingdom, both declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
On the 11th November 1914, Sultan Mehmed V who was the 35th and penultimate Sultan of the Ottoman Empire – declared a Jihad on the allies. During this period of 107 days whilst declarations of war and netralities unfolded, the British Expeditionary force had arrived in France on the 11th August, some 11 days after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The ensuing fighting would lead to dreadful loss of life and destruction, on all sides.
The Grenadier Guards first took part in fighting during a period known as the ‘Race to the Sea’, and were significantly involved in the first Battle of Ypres.
- The following pages list Cemeteries and Memorials of the fallen, by country:-