Franz Ferdinand (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914) was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1896 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

His assassination in Sarajevo on the 28th of June 1914 precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia. This caused the Central Powers (including Germany and Austria-Hungary) and Serbia's allies to declare war on each other, starting World War I.

Below is a timeline of events starting in July 1914. Events during 1915 and later are reduced to show mainly the ANZAC events and events affecting Australia and New Zealand directly and to a lesser extent, Great Britain. Click on the following links to navigate to your desired location. You can find a more detailed timeline at the History of the Great War website.

1915 - Timeline

1916 - Timeline

1917 - Timeline

1918 - Timeline

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Australian War Memorial

The Australian Light Horse Assoc.

History of the Great War

5th July

The Kaiser receives at Potsdam special envoy from Austrian Emperor and promises "the full support of Germany" in the event of Austrian action against Serbia. He consults his military and naval advisers before leaving for a cruise in northern waters.

14th July

Council of Austro-Hungarian Ministers finally determine on action against Serbia.

19th July

Council of Austro-Hungarian Ministers approve of draft ultimatum to Serbia.

23rd July

Austro-Hungarian Government send ultimatum to Serbia (see 25th).

24th July

German Government submit note to Entente Governments approving Austrian ultimatum to Serbia (see 23rd).

Belgian Government declare that, in the event of war, Belgium will uphold her neutrality "whatever the consequences" (see 31st).

25th July

Serbian Government order Mobilisation (see 23rd ).

Austria-Hungary severs diplomatic relations with Serbia. Austro-Hungarian Minister leaves Belgrade.

26th July

Austro-Hungarian Government order Partial Mobilisation as against Serbia (see 28th and 31st).

Montenegrin Government order Mobilisation (see August 5th).

British Admiralty countermand orders for dispersal of Fleets (see 28th).

The Kaiser returns from the Baltic to Berlin (see 5th).

27th July

German High Seas Fleet recalled from Norway to war bases.

28th July

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia (see 25th and 26th).

British Fleets ordered to war bases (see 26th).

29th July

Russian Government order Partial Mobilisation as against Austria. (Evening) Russian Minister for War orders General Mobilisation without the knowledge of the Tsar (see 30th and 31st).

Hostilities commence between Austria-Hungary and Serbia: Belgrade bombarded by Austrian artillery (see 25th, and December 2nd).

German Government make proposals to secure British neutrality (see 30th).

British Admiralty send "Warning Telegram" to the Fleets.

British War Office send out telegrams ordering "Precautionary Period" (2:10pm).

30th July

The Tsar signs order at 4pm for mobilisation of Russian army (see 29th and 31st).

British Government reject German proposals for British neutrality (see 29th).

Australian Government place Australian Navy at disposal of British Admiralty.

31st July

Belgian Government order Mobilisation (see 24th).

Russian Government order General Mobilisation (see 29th and 30th).

Austro-Hungarian Government order General Mobilisation (see 26th and 28th).

German Government send ultimatum to Russia (presented at midnight, 31st-1st) (see August 1st).

State of "Kriegsgefahr" proclaimed in Germany - (see August 1st).

Turkish Government order Mobilisation (to commence August 3rd). (see October 29th).




1st August

British Government order Naval Mobilisation.

German Government order General Mobilisation and declare war on Russia (see July 31st).

Hostilities commence on Polish frontier.

French Government order General Mobilisation.

2nd August

German Government send ultimatum to Belgium demanding passage through Belgian territory (see 3rd, and July 24th).

German troops cross frontier of Luxembourg (see November 20th, 1918).

Hostilities commence on French frontier.

British Government guarantee naval protection of French coasts against German aggression way of the North Sea or English Channel.

Moratorium proclaimed in Great Britain (see November 4).

3rd August

Belgian Government refuse German demands (see 2nd and 4th).

British Government guarantee armed support to Belgium should Germany violate Belgian neutrality.

Germany declares war on France.

British Government orders General Mobilisation.

British Government issues Proclamation authorising requisition of shipping.

Italy declares neutrality.

4th August

British Government sends ultimatum to Germany.

Great Britain declares war on Germany at 11 pm (midnight 4th-5th by Central European time).

Belgium severs diplomatic relations with Germany (see 2nd and 3rd).

Germany declares war on Belgium.

German troops cross the Belgian frontier and attack Liège (see 3rd and 7th, and November 26th, 1918). Battle and Siege of Liège begins (see 16th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

Two German airships pass over Brussels by night (first hostile act in the air).

Secret Alliance between Germany and Turkey signed at Berlin.

5th August

Montenegro declares war on Austria-Hungary (see July 26th).

First meeting of British War Council (see May 14th, 1915). [Formed to exercise the functions of the Committee of Imperial Defence, but with additional executive powers.]

6th August

Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. (Declaration presented at St. Petersburg).

Serbia declares war on Germany (see July 28th).

Battle of the Frontiers begins in France. [General name covering all operations of the French armies up to the Battle of the Marne of 5th - 9th September 1914.]

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

7th August

First units of British Expeditionary Force land in France (see 16th).

8th August

Montenegro severs diplomatic relations with Germany.

"State of War" commences between Montenegro and Germany (see 5th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

British forces cross frontier of Togoland and occupy Lome (see 13th and 26th).

Swiss Government order Mobilisation.

Hostilities commence in East Africa (see 15th)

9th August

British aerial cross-Channel patrol for the protection of transports instituted.

10th August

France severs diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary (see 12th).

11th August

German warships "Goeben" and "Breslau" enter the Dardenelles (see 4th and 7th).

12th August

Great Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary (see 10th).

13th August

Austrian forces cross River Drina and begin first invasion of Serbia (see 25th).

Four squadrons Royal Flying Corps fly from Dover to France. (First units to cross by air.)

14th August

Proclamation issued by Russian Commander-in-Chief (The Grand Duke Nicholas) promising autonomy to Poland (see April 3rd, 1915).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

15th August

German troops cross frontier of British East Africa and occupy Taveta (see 8th. November 2nd, and March 10th, 1916).

Junction of British and French squadrons effected at entrance to the Adriatic.

16th August

Landing of original British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) [4 Divisions and 1 Cavalry Division] in France completed (announced August 18th) (see 7th).

18th August

Battle of the Gette (18th/19th) in Battle for Antwerp.

19th August

Belgian Army retreats from the Gette on Antwerp.

20th August

Brussels occupied by German forces (see November 18th, 1918).

21st August

German forces begin attack on Namur (see 25th).

Battle of Charleroi begins (see 24th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

British Government issue orders for the raising of the first New Army of six Divisions (see May 9th, 1915).

22nd August

Austria-Hungary declares war on Belgium (see 28th).

Battle of the Ardennes begins (see 24th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

23rd August

Battle of Mons (see 24th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

Germany severs diplomatic relations with Japan (see 15th).

Japan declares war on Germany (see 15th).

General von Hindenburg takes over command of German Eighth Army (see September 18th).

24th August

British Army retreats from Mons (see 23rd, and September 5th).

Battle of Charleroi ends (see 21st).

Battle of the Ardennes ends (see 22nd).

Austria-Hungary severs diplomatic relations with Japan (see 25th).

25th August

Battle of the Meuse begins (see 28th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

Battle of the Mortagne (Vosges) begins (see September 3rd).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

First use of aircraft for patrol purposes (over retreating British forces in France).

Japan severs diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary (see 24th).

Japan declares "State of War" with Austria-Hungary.

French Government issue new decree defining contraband (see 11th, and November 6th).

26th August

Battle of Le Cateau.

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

28th August

Austro-Hungarian declaration of war received by Belgian Government (see 22nd).

Naval action off Heligoland (German light cruisers "Köln", "Mainz", and "Ariadne" sunk by British squadron).

29th August

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

30th August

Samoa occupied by New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

31st August

Amiens entered by German forces (see September 13th).




1st September

Lord Kitchener visits France to confer with the British Commander-in-Chief.

3rd September

French Government inform United States Government that they will observe "Declaration of London" subject to certain modifications.

4th September

Battle of the Grand Couronné (Nancy) begins (see 12th).

Battles of the Western Front: First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

German Government agree to observe "Declaration of London" if other belligerents conform thereto, and issue their list of contraband.

5th September

End of the Retreat from Mons (see August 24th, 1914, and November 11th, 1918).

Battle of the Ourcq begins.

Battles of the Western Front: German Advance Blocked at the Marne

German forces reach Claye, 10 miles from Paris (nearest point reached during the war).

Reims taken by German forces (see 14th).

British, French, and Russian Governments sign the "Pact of London." Decision not to make separate peace (see April 26th, October 19th, and November 30th, 1915).

6th September

Battle of the Marne begins [French date] (see 9th and 10th).

Battles of the Western Front: German Advance Blocked at the Marne

7th September

Naval operations off Duala (Cameroons) begin, in preparation for attack by Allied military forces (see 27th).

9th September

German retreat from the Marne begins (see 6th).

Battles of the Western Front: German Advance Blocked at the Marne

10th September

Battle of the Marne ends [British date] (see 6th).

German light cruiser "Emden" makes her first capture in the Indian Ocean (Greek collier "Pontoporos") (see 22nd, and October 28th).

German and Austrian representatives expelled from Egypt (see November 1st).

11th September

British Government issue orders for the raising of the second New Army of six divisions (see August 21st and September 13th).

Australian Expeditionary Force lands on the Bismarck Archipelago (German New Guinea).

12th September

Battle of the Aisne 1914 begins (see 15th).

Battles of the Western Front: The Germans Entrench their Positions on the Aisne

13th September

Soissons (see 1st, and January 8th, 1915) and Amiens (see August 31st) reoccupied by French forces.

British Government issue orders raising third New Army of six divisions (see 11th).

15th September

Battle of the Aisne 1914 ends (see 12th).

17th September

German New Guinea and surrounding Colonies capitulate to Australian Expeditionary Force (see 21st, and October 11th).

18th September

General von Hindenburg appointed Commander-in-Chief of German Armies in Eastern Theatre (see August 23rd and November 27th).

21st September

German armed forces in New Guinea surrender to the Australian Expeditionary Force (see 17th, and October 11th).

British Proclamation issued adding to list of contraband (see August 4th and December 23rd).

22nd September

First Battle of Picardy begins (see 26th).

First Battle of Albert begins (see 25th).

The “Race to the Sea”: Outflanking the Enemy

German light cruiser "Emden" bombards Madras (see 10th, and October 28th).

First British air raid on Germany (Düsseldorf and Cologne airship sheds attacked) (see October 8th).

First use of wireless telegraphy from aeroplane to artillery (by British Royal Flying Corps).

23rd September

British force joins Japanese army before Tsingtau [Force landed September 22nd ; in action September 24th.] (see 2nd, and November 7th).

25th September

First Battle of Albert ends (see 22nd).

Actions on the Niemen begin (see 29th).

27th September

Siege of Antwerp begins (see October 10th).

Battles of the Western Front: Siege of Antwerp

First Battle of Artois begins (see October 12th).

Duala (Cameroons) captured by Allied forces (26th/27th) (see 7th).

28th September

Distinctive markings on German aircraft first reported (see November 12th).




1st October

First Battle of Arras begins (see 4th).

3rd October

Ypres occupied by German cavalry (see 13th).

British army begins to leave the Aisne and to move northwards (see 19th).

First units of British Royal Naval Division (Marine Brigade) arrive at Antwerp (3rd/4th).

First contingents of Canadian and Newfoundland Expeditionary Forces leave for England (see 15th).

Minelaying in the open sea (between the Goodwins and Ostend) commenced by British (see August 5th).

4th October

First Battle of Arras ends (see 1st October)

8th October

General Foch appointed to command Allied forces (less Belgians) defending the Flanders coast (see May 15th, 1917).

Second British air raid on Germany (Düsseldorf and Cologne airship sheds attacked) (see September 22nd).

9th October

Last forts of Antwerp taken by German forces (see 10th, and September 27th).

First German offensive against Warsaw. Battles of Warsaw and Ivangorod begin (see 19th and 20th).

10th October

Antwerp capitulates to German forces (see 9th, and September 27th, 1914, and November 19th, 1918).

Protocol signed by United States of America and Panama as to use of Panama Canal by ships of belligerent Powers.

11th October

German gunboat "Komet" captured by H.M.A.S. " Nusa " near Talassia (Neu Pommern). [Last act of hostilities in Australasian waters.]

12th October

Battle of Messines 1914 begins (see November 2nd).

First Battle of Artois ends (see September 27th).

13th October

Battle of Armentières begins (see November 2nd).

Ypres reoccupied by Allied forces retreating from Ghent (see 3rd and 19th).

First appearance of a German submarine on the Southampton-Havre troop-transport route reported.

15th October

Belgian coast-line reached by German forces (see October 20th, 1918).

First units of Canadian and Newfoundland Expeditionary Forces land in England (see 3rd, and February 9th, 1915).

H.M.S. "Hawke" sunk by German submarine in North Sea.

16th October

Battle of the Yser begins [Belgian date.] (see November 10th).

New Zealand Expeditionary Force leaves New Zealand for France (see December 1st).

17th October

Armentières recaptured by Allied forces (see 9th, and April 11th, 1918).

First British submarines ("E.-1" and "E.-9") enter the Baltic.

German submarines attempt raid on Scapa Flow (see 18th).

First units of Australian Imperial Force embark for France (see December 1st).

18th October

Grand Fleet withdraws from Scapa Flow to West of Scotland (see 17th, and November 3rd).

19th October

Battles of Ypres 1914 begin (see 31st, and November 22nd).

Transfer of British army from the Aisne to Flanders completed (see 3rd).

Battle of Warsaw ends (see 9th).

20th October

First merchant vessel sunk by German submarine (British S.S. "Glitra") (see. February 19th and March 13th and 28th, 1915).

21st October

Battle of Langemarck 1914 (Ypres) begins (see 24th).

22nd October

United States Government issue Circular Note to belligerent Governments stating that they will insist on existing rules of International Law (see July 28th, 1916).

24th October

Battle of Langemarck 1914 (Ypres), ends (see 21st).

28th October

German cruiser "Emden" raids Penang Roads and sinks Russian cruiser "Zhemchug" (see September 10th and November 9th).

29th October

Battle of Gheluvelt (Ypres) begins (see 31st).

Turkey commences hostilities against Russia (see July 31st. and November 2nd and 5th). Turkish warships bombard Odessa, Sevastopol, and Theodosia.

New British Order in Council revises list of contraband and modifies "Declaration of London" of 1909 (see August 20th, 1914, and July 7th, 1916).

30th October

Allied Governments present ultimatum to Turkey (see 29th).

Great Britain and France sever diplomatic relations with Turkey. British and French Ambassadors demand passports (see 31st, and November 5th).

British hospital ship "Rohilla" wrecked off Whitby.

Lord Fisher appointed First Sea Lord, Great Britain (see 29th, and May 15th, 1915).

31st October

Critical day of Battles of Ypres, 1914: British line broken and restored (see 19th, and November 11th). Battle of Gheluvelt ends (see 29th).

British Government issue orders for hostilities to commence against Turkey (see 30th, and November 1st and 5th).

Lord Kitchener sends to Sherif of Mecca conditional guarantee of Arabian independence (see July 14th, 1915).




1st November

Great Britain and Turkey commence hostilities (see 5th, and October 30th and 31st).

Martial law proclaimed in Egypt (see September 10th and December 18th).

2nd November

Battles of Messines and Armentières end (see October 12th and 13th).

Russia declares war on Turkey (see October 29th).

"State of War" commences between Serbia and Turkey.

British Admiralty declare the North Sea a military zone.

3rd November

First German naval raid on British coast near Gorleston and Yarmouth.

Allied squadrons bombard forts at entrance of the Dardanelles (see December 13th).

4th November

German cruiser "Karlsruhe" sunk in the Atlantic by internal explosion (see August 6th).

German cruiser "Yorck" sunk by mine off the German coast.

Russian forces cross frontier of Turkey-in-Asia and seize Azap.

Moratorium in Great Britain ends (see August 2nd).

5th November

Great Britain and France formally declare war on Turkey (see 1st and 11th, and October 31st).

Great Britain annexes Cyprus.

6th November

Turkey severs diplomatic relations with Belgium.

British submarine "B.-11" proceeds two miles up the Dardanelles. (First warship to enter Straits.) (See December 13th).

9th November

German cruiser "Emden" destroyed by H.M.A.S. "Sydney" at the Cocos Islands (see October 28th).

10th November

Battle of the Yser ends [French date.] (see October 16th).

British force storms Sheikh Saïd (Southern Arabia) and destroys the defences (10th/11th).

11th November

Battle of Nonneboschen (Ypres). Attack by German Guard repulsed (see 22nd, and October 19th and 31st).

The Sheikh ul Islam issues Fatwa declaring Jehad (Holy War) against all the Allies (see 2nd, 5th, and 14th).

12th November

Orders issued for all British aeroplanes on Western front to bear distinguishing marks (see September 28th).

14th November

Sultan of Turkey as Khalif proclaims Jehad against those making war on Turkey or her allies (see 11th).

Japanese Cabinet decide against despatch of troops or warships to Europe (see February 8th, 1916, and April 17th, 1917).

20th November

British, Belgian, and French Governments withdraw proposal for neutralisation of African free trade zone in view of altered situation (see August 22nd).

22nd November

Battles of Ypres, 1914, end (see October 19th, 31st, and November 11th, 1914, and April 22nd, 1915).

War Office assume control of the British operations in East Africa.

27th November

General von Hindenburg promoted Field-Marshal (see September 18th, 1914, and August 29th, 1916).




1st December

First units of Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces arrive at Suez (see October 16th and 17th, 1914, and February 20th and April 25th, 1915).

3rd December

British Government agree to Japanese request that Australia should not occupy German islands north of the Equator (see 16th).

8th December

Battle of the Falklands. Admiral von Spee's squadron destroyed. "Scharnhorst", "Gneisenau", "Leipzig" and "Nürnberg" sunk. Admiral von Spee killed (see November 1st). "Dresden" escapes (see March 14th, 1915).

15th December

German airship sighted off East Coast of England (first appearance of hostile aircraft in vicinity of British Isles (see 21st).

16th December

Scarborough and Hartlepool (East coast of England) bombarded by German battle cruiser squadron.

Japanese Foreign Minister declares Japan will not give up German islands occupied north of the Equator (see 3rd, and February 14th, 1917).

19th December

British Government declare Khedive Abbas Hilmi deposed, and proclaim Prince Hussein Kamel Pasha as Sultan of Egypt (see October 9th, 1917).

Great Britain declares adherence to Franco-Moorish Treaty of 1912.

20th December

First Battle of Champagne begins (see March 17th, 1915).

Battles of the Western Front: 1915 Battles for a Breakthrough

British defence of Givenchy 1914 (20th/21st).

21st December

First German air raid on England. Aeroplane drops bombs in sea near Dover (see 24th, January 19th, 1915, and July 20th and August 5th, 1918).

Jasin (East Africa) occupied by British forces (see January 18th and 19th, 1915).

24th December

Second air raid on England (see 21st). First bomb dropped on English soil (near Dover).

30th December

Russian Commander-in-Chief (Grand Duke Nicholas) suggests a British expedition against the Turks to ease Russian situation in the Caucasus (see January 13th, 1915).