World War I History

How World War I began

The First World War had been a long time in the making. The treaty alliance system had turned Europe into a tinder box waiting to be lit. Many people believe that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by a Serbian Nationalist secret society known as the Black Hand was effectively the cause of...

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Mons, 1914

The Battle of Mons was the first engagement between the British and German forces and began on 23 August 1914. Mons was one of the so called ‘Battles of the Frontier’. The others were Mulhouse, Lorraine, the Ardennes and Charleroi. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) began arriving in France from 10 August. The BEF’s Commander-in-Chief was Sir John...

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Le Cateau, 1914

The Battle of Le Cateau was essentially a rear guard action fought by General Smith-Dorrien’s II Corps on 26 August 1914, during the general Allied retreat along the Western Front to the Marne. On the night of 25 August the General Smith-Dorrien’s II Corps consisting of three divisions and a small cavalry corps were pursued near Le Cateau by the German First Army...

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Race to the Sea

The ‘Race to the Sea’, as it became known, was conducted from September to November 1914 and ended after the First Battle of Ypres and the onset of trench warfare in the Western Front. In fact the Race to the Sea was the last mobile phase of the war on the Western Front until the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. Both sides, most notably the...

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First Battle of Ypres, 1914

Ypres was strategically located along the roads leading to the Channel ports in Belgian Flanders. This Belgian city had been the scene of numerous battles since the sixteenth century. With the German failure at the Battle of the Marne in September 1914, and the subsequent Allied counter attacks, the ‘Race to the Sea’ began. Each army outflanked the other...

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Neuve Chapelle, 1915

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle was fought between 10-13 March 1915 and was originally intended to comprise part of a wider Allied offensive in the Artois region. However, Neuve Chapelle was launched as a distinct action in its own right owing to the late arrival of relieving British troops for Ypres, due to the redirection of effort towards Gallipoli. The decision to...

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