Europe

The Men Who Made Europe’s Great War

One hundred and two years ago today, in response to an act of terrorism, Austria-Hungary lit the fuse that set-off the powder keg of political tension and saber-rattling  in Europe. On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and within a fortnight most of the European continent was at war.

This article from Frank Leslie’s Weekly highlights the leaders involved in the “greatest war in history.” The article outlines the chronology of the beginning of the war.

Foreign correspondents working for Frank Leslie’s Weekly were embedded in each belligerent nation’s capital, with the armies in camp, and in the front line trenches of both sides. Their news reports provided an unprecedented look at total war in words and photography.  The American public snapped-up copies of Leslie’s Weekly’s reporting on the progress of the war, the divisive issue of America’s neutrality, and the economic consequences of the war.

A Topographical Review of the Decisive Battles and Important Events of the European War from 1914 to 1917

A Topographical Review of the Decisive Battles and Important Events of the European War
from 1914 to 1917

The Men Who Made Europe’s Great War

“Going to the Front in Motor Buses” - Frank Leslie’s Weekly, September 10, 1914

“Going to the Front in Motor Buses” – Frank Leslie’s Weekly, September 10, 1914

All Europe was convulsed by the peremptory demands made by the Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary on Servia as a result of the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. It was generally assumed that Germany was behind Austria. Servia, determining that it was not consistent with her honor to meet Austria’s demands, gave an unsatisfactory reply and looked to Russia to defend her.

The Czar accepted the implied challenge of Austria and Germany, and the efforts of Great Britain and France to avert war were unsuccessful. The responsibility may justly be placed upon the three war lords of Europe, the only Emperors in the civilized world whose power approaches that of absolute monarchs. Austria declared war against Servia on July 28th.

On August 1st, Germany declared war on Russia, alleging the mobilization of Russian troops on the German frontier. Immediately Germany marched through neutral states upon France, Russia’s ally, with three armies.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

“With Von Kluck in France” Frank Leslie’s Weekly, November 26, 1914

“With Von Kluck in France” Frank Leslie’s Weekly, November 26, 1914

At that time no declaration of war had been made by either country. Each wished to throw the blame of the formal declaration on the other, but August 4th Germany declared that a state of war with France existed and claimed to the world that the latter country had been the aggressor.

The advance through Luxemburg and Belgium, in violation of treaties, was construed by Great Britain as a challenge from Germany.

The reason for this violation of neutral states is found in the fact that France is less strongly fortified on their frontiers.

Source: Frank Leslie’s Weekly, August 13, 1914, The Greatest War in History: The Men Who Made Europe’s Great War
Top Picture: Frank Leslie’s Weekly, August 13, 1914

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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