Outline the immediate events (ie June-August) leading to the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914.

Essay by byointellectUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

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The events preceding the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 are significant in many respects. Whilst the events of 1914 were similar to many previous conflicts, it was those of June-August that were to set in motion the outbreak of "one of the most important events of modern world history". It can be argued that the war was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the diplomatic events that followed. These included the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia, Germany's "blank cheque" of support for Austria and the ensuing ultimatums, mobilisations and declarations of war from Austria, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France and Britain.

It has been claimed that "no one, not even the Austrians, went to war for the sake of Franz Ferdinand, and yet, a direct line can be drawn between his murder, the diplomatic crisis, the mobilisations and the declarations of war." It was on June 28, 1914, that Archduke Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Habsberg monarchy travelled through the streets of the Bosnian town of Sarajevo.

A first assassination attempt failed that morning, when a bomb was thrown at the passing Archduke, missing its target, but injuring two of Ferdinand's aides. The Archduke insisted on continuing his journey to the town hall, where he and his wife, ironically, listened to a speech by the Mayor of Sarajevo referring to the loyalty of the Bosnian people to Austria. After the speech, Ferdinand and his entourage travelled back along the main street to visit the injured aides at the local hospital. It was on this journey that after some confusion regarding the route to travel, the Archduke's car reversed slowly to change direction and came alongside one of the co-conspirators from the earlier assassination attempt. Seizing the opportunity, a Serbian student, Gavrilo Princip...