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Material posted: Publication date: 02-08-2014

Early in the morning on July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Thus began the First world war destroyed four great empires of the Old world. The first months of the conflict showed a quick victory, no one will, and the level of cruelty is amazing.

July 28 at 11 am, exactly one month after being shot outside the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary notified the Serbian envoy in Vienna that is in a state of war with Serbia. At this time the Austrian gunboats on the Danube already shelled Belgrade and the Serbian infantry positions near the capital.

The inhabitants of Austria-Hungary about the beginning of the war, the Emperor Franz Joseph declared in a Manifesto "To my peoples": "Intrigue full of hatred of the enemy forced me to protect my monarchy... after years of the world again take up the sword".

At this time in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in full swing mobilization. In response to the conscription mobilization began, and in four cross-border military districts of the Russian Empire.

From 29 to 31 July the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the strongest European powers sought to prevent the escalation of the conflict. So, the British foreign Minister Edward grey had proposed to convene the conference, but the response is not received. Then on August 1 the German Ambassador in St. Petersburg announced that Germany is at war with Russia.

On the same day the German army without Declaration of war invaded the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and addressed an ultimatum to Belgium demanding miss troops through the territory of the country.

Thus, the Treaty of neutrality of the country would be broken up, but, as the then German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, that the Treaty "scrap of paper". Already on 3 August Germany declared war on France, a day later entered the war, speaking against the Germans, great Britain, August 6, at war were Russia and Austria-Hungary, August 12, Vienna started to fight with Paris and London. The war was drawn and Montenegro.

A truly world war began August 23rd, when the expired term of the ultimatum put forward by Japan and Germany.

After that, the army of the rising sun began operation on occupation of Qingdao in China, which was the German military base in the country and has also landed in German Micronesia. The war entered Italy.

That is, England, France and Russia who were in the military-political Union of the Entente (Entente cordialle — "Cordial agreement), occurred only two countries of the Triple Alliance — Germany and Austria-Hungary. Not fought and the United States of America: they start fighting on the side of the Entente only in 1917. In November 1914, will be determined with the decision of Turkey, who will speak on the side of Berlin and Vienna.

By the beginning of September 1914 there appeared several fronts of the war. The German army acted according to the Schlieffen plan, which envisaged a lightning invasion of France and its defeat within six to eight weeks, and then the concentration of forces on the Eastern front against Russia.

However, on the Western front the Germans to achieve such a result is not possible: the Belgians fought bravely, and quick capture of the country failed.

Nevertheless, the German army broke through French territory. After the victory in the border battle, the Germans wanted to bypass Paris through Normandy to the West. But the strength is not enough: parts were exhausted from the breakout. As a result 5-12 September on the Marne, the Anglo-French repelled the German onslaught. The war on the Western front finally came in a positional way. The front line was about 60-70 km North of Paris.

On the Eastern front, Russia is expected to continue to mobilize and move to strategic defense in the German sector of the front, attacking the weaker Austro-Hungarian positions. However, the threat of the withdrawal of France from the war led to the fact that the Russian commanders made the decision in early August to advance in East Prussia is not mobilized until the end of armies. At Gumbinnen, the First Russian army defeated the Germans. It seemed to many that this is the first step to the great victory.

"Our big victory at Gumbinnen! The enemy will be forced to clean up all of Prussia... And Austria... well the case And the Serbs win!.." — so wrote Alexander Solzhenitsyn about this feeling in "the Red wheel".
But 13-18 August at the Masurian marshes, the Germans delivered a strong counterattack. The second Russian army was surrounded, its commander, General Samsonov — he shot himself.

The loss of two armies in the Polish swamps became not only the first huge losses of the war: died there many career officers, the lack of which largely explained the defeat of 1915 and 1916.

In the course of action of the two Russian armies appeared all Armed forces of the Empire, in particular the lack of communication.

In the whole of Samsonov's army was only 25 phones, and the General himself rode on a horse entrusted to him.

Lacked modern transportation: 150-thousandth of a Second army had 42 airplane, which then were not reliable, and only 10 cars.

As a result of the Masurian catastrophe losses of the Russian army amounted to more than 170 thousand people. The plan of attack in East Prussia failed. However, the sector of the front in Galicia, the Empire was triumphant. The Russian army came to the foothills of the Carpathians, rejecting the Austro-Hungarian units at 200-300 km from the border.

Was taken in Lviv, loss of people in "pike-gray uniforms and" the hundreds of thousands.

Thus the morale of a number of parts, such as Czech, was very low: they did not understand, for what to fight. Only the transfer of German units allowed Vienna not to let Russian army in Krakow.

Stabilization in the East came only at the end of the year. The Germans failed to take Warsaw, but the Russians plans a breakthrough to königsberg in East Prussia also failed.

Fighting on a third front in Europe — in the Balkans — have been sluggish.

But it was there on the morning of July 29, killed the first soldiers of the First world: Serbian private PAL Kovacs was killed near the town of Zemun on the bridge over the border river Sava.

However Austria quickly moved the burden of the offensive in Galicia. As he wrote Kaiser Wilhelm Franz-Joseph, "in this gigantic struggle for Austria's vital not to disperse its forces campaign against Serbia". On 2 December Belgrade was occupied by Austrians, but after 12 days the Serbs drove out the enemy. Fighting in Vojvodina and Northern Serbia were long and languid until the end of the year.

The first months of the war were a time of grandiose rethinking of a new reality.

The world was shocked by the atrocities of war — from the destruction of the University of Leuven in Belgium, thousands of victims on all fronts, of mass repression in the disputed regions: Russian troops have eradicated the Greek Catholicism in Western Ukraine, Austria responded by Rusyns deportation to concentration camps Terezin and Talerhof.

Expectations of a quick victory faded, began a long period of trench warfare. It was not ready. Commander-in-chief Nikolai Nikolaevich wrote that he expected "a freight train with banaripara, and send the train with the priests!".


In preparing the material used the following materials:

  1. Utkin A. I. the First world war. Moscow: Algorithm 2001.
  2. Shary A., Y. Shimov the Roots and crown. Essays about Austria-Hungary: the fate of the Empire. M.: Colibri, 2011 .


Timur Muhamatulin


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