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Germany Declares War on Russia and France (1-3 August 1914)  

On 1 August, Germany issued an ultimatum to Russia to stop mobilizing within twelve hours. Russia did not stop her mobilization and instead ordered complete mobilization. As a result, Germany declared war on Russia. Germany had not yet mobilized but had declared martial law, the suspension of ordinary law during military operations, which indicated that mobilization would occur soon. Although some mediation talks were still being held, Russia’s mobilization and Germany’s declaration of war and of martial law left little hope that a general European war could be avoided.

Since peace seemed unlikely, countries around Europe began to mobilize their armies for defence purposes. Great Britain mobilized her regular army and ordered her navy to be ready in case of emergency. The neutral nations of Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, mobilized for their general defence and to prevent their territories from being used as military routes by belligerent countries.

Germany declared war on France on 3 August. Germany demanded that Belgium allow the German forces passage through their borders towards France. Despite the fact that Belgium refused the Germans passage, the German Forces crossed Belgian borders on the morning of 4 August. This action resulted in an ultimatum from Britain, demanding that Germany retreat out of Belgium.

(“Parleys Resumed,” Berlin Daily- Telegraph, 1 August 1914; Photo Origin: London Free Press, 31 July 1914.)

Germany Declares War on Russia (1 August 1914)




Valcartier, Quebec Selected as Canadian Mobilization Base (2 August 1914)

On 2 August, the Minster of Militia, Colonel Sam Hughes, announced that a base would be constructed just outside of the municipality of Saint Gabriel de Valcartier, Quebec, for the mobilization of a Canadian Expeditionary Force. The camp would be approximately 25 km north of Quebec City and accessible by railroad. The site was selected with the expectation that Canada would receive a call for an overseas force within the next few days. Hughes expected the site to be ready to accept men within a week; however, construction of the site took three weeks. Men began arriving at Valcartier in mid-August for military training before being sent overseas.

(“Contingent may be called for within few days,” London Free Press, 3 August 1914; “Would Join Force,” Berlin Daily- Telegraph, 11 August 1914; “Need Is Exceeded,” Berlin Daily- Telegraph, 14 August 1914; To Mobilize Tomorrow,” Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 20 August 1914; Visual: )