Outbreak of World War 1 brought to life online


To mark 100 years to the day that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, on 28 June the FCO will bring the events leading up to the outbreak of war to life online.

Known as the ‘July crisis’, the assassination sparked a diplomatic frenzy and, ultimately, led to the outbreak of World War 1 on 28 July 1914, with Great Britain joining the war on 4 August.

The FCO will be live tweeting the events leading up to the outbreak of war. Twitter accounts in the names of eleven key political and diplomatic figures from the time, including Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, and key Ambassadors, are now live. They will be tweeting their own words, from telegrams, despatches and letters, to give an unprecedented insight into how events unfolded.

The Foreign Secretary will launch a series of eight podcasts in which he, and senior British Ambassadors from key countries involved in the war, will set the scene for what was unfolding in Europe and describe what it would have been like for their predecessors during that period. They will reflect on the pressures and challenges of the time, and the factors that each would have had to weigh up when reporting and providing advice.

As Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, said in the House of Commons on the eve of Great Britain’s entry into World War 1: “It is clear that the peace of Europe cannot be preserved. […] We are in the presence of a European conflagration. […] I believe, when the country realises what is at stake, what the real issues are, the magnitude of the impending dangers in the west of Europe, which I have endeavoured to describe to the House, we shall be supported throughout, not only by the House of Commons, but by the determination, the resolution, the courage, and the endurance of the whole country.” 

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