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COUNTDOWN TO THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: July 16, 2014

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John Alcock, a member of the Cheadle Branch, Royal British Legion, in conjunction with Cheadle Discovery Centre, has prepared a study of the who, the why, the where, the when and the how of Great Britain's involvement in World War One.

The Countdown to War will be published in serial form every week up to and including Wednesday 6th August, each article reflecting the events during that particular week 100 years ago, culminating in the first time the British Army engaged the German Army at Mons in Belgium in late August 2014.

Please see the latest submission below. 

ON 14th July Austria sent a team to Sarajevo to examine the records of the inquiry into the assassination which concluded: "Nothing proves complicity of the Serbian government in carrying out the attack, or in its preparation or in supply of arms, and it is not even to be presumed. There are on the contrary, indications that give reason to consider such complicity as non-existent."

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This did little to persuade the Austria-Hungarian government that Serbia was blameless, and was intent in continuing its subversive activities against Austrian rule in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Meanwhile Russia was becoming concerned about Austria's attitude to its fellow Slavs in Serbia and in the Balkans generally.

Germany was increasingly worried about Russia's stance against Austria, and France was carefully watching Germany's potential threats against Russia.

Britain was reluctantly examining its pledge to come to France's aid should Germany attack France.

Austria prepared an Ultimatum note to Serbia, written in extremely harsh and demanding terms.

The Ultimatum contained 10 points which Austria demanded Serbia address in order to resolve the growing crisis.

After consulting with Germany, the Ultimatum was delivered on 23rd July.

Surprisingly, Serbia acceded to all the points except one – that Austrian officials be allowed into Serbia to conduct a judicial investigation into the outrage in Sarajevo.

Serbia replied to the Ultimatum proposing that the matter go to arbitration, at the same time beginning to mobilise their army. Next week:- The rapid slide to war.

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