Germany declared war on France on 3rd. August 1914, and the next day - without any declaration of war - German armed forces invaded Belgium, which had been declared a neutral country in Europe by The Treaty of London in 1839. Britain was committed to the defence of Belgium by this treaty, and declared war on Germany. A popular recruiting slogan of the time was "Remember little Belgium". The Irish felt a great empathy with this European country which was small and vulnerable, like their own.

28 June 1914 Assassination Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary is assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia by a Bosnian Serb member of a Nationalist Serb organisation
23 July 1914 Ultimatum Austria-Hungary, suspecting Serbian involvement in the assasination, issues an ultimatum to Serbia
26 July 1914 Mobilisation Austria-Hungary musters its troops along the Russian frontier
28 July 1914 War declared Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. World War I begins in Europe
1 August 1914 War declared Germany declares war on Russia, following the destabilisation of Europe. Austria-Hungary & Germany are the first Central Powers.
4 August 1914 War declared Germany declares war on France. Britain declares war on Germany. The U.S.A. declares its neutrality in this European War.
4 August 1914 German Invasion of Belgium The German Armies invaded Belgium, intending to push on into France. Britain was committed by The Treaty of London, signed in 1839 to come to Belgium's aid. British troops were sent to France throughout August.
4 August 1914 Blockade Britain extablishes a Naval Blockade of the English Channel, North Sea & Mediterranean to hamper the Central Powers
6 August 1914 War declared Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. Serbia & Montenegro declare war on Germany
10 August 1914 War declared France declares war on Austria-Hungary
12 August 1914 War declared Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary
23 August 1914 Battle & Retreat from Mons "The Race for the Sea" The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lost the battle of Mons, Belgium, with a very large number of casualties and had to retreat until 7 September. French Forces were also forced to retreat on both flanks of the British Army.
26 August 1914 Battle of Le Cateau The British Second Corps, acting without orders from the British High Command, attacked the advancing German forces from the rear, hampering and delaying their advance.
9 September 1914 Battle of The Marne An Allied victory in the area of The River Marne, causing the German Forces to retreat. This battle is thought to have been "the great turning point of the war", because it caused the planned invasion of France to fail. Following this battle, the opposing forces dug in and established more permanent battle lines along the Rivers Aisne and Marne. "Trench Warfare" then began, as both sides "dug in" to defensive trench positions. This deadlock was not broken until 1918.
22 October 1914 The First Battle of Ypres The British forces managed to stave off the German attack as they attempted to break the Allied lines and capture the area of Ypres, Belgium - which became known by the British 'Tommies' as "Wipers".
30 October 1914 Messines Ridge Despite the brave efforts of the London Scottish Regiment - the first unit of the British "Territorial Army" (part-time peacetime volunteer soldiers) to enter combat in this war, the Germans captured the Messines Ridge, a strategic point of high ground in the Flanders lowlands.
2 November 1914 War declared Russia declares war on Turkey
5 November 1914 War declared France & Britain declare war on Turkey

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