It was on this date in 1914 that great Britain declared war on Germany owing to Germanys refusal to exit Belguim. The following is the headline of the London Daily Mirror of August 4, 1914.
Great Britain Declares War on Germany
Declaration last night after 'unsatisfactory reply' to British ultimatum that Belgium must be kept neutral.
The King's message to his navy - Government to take control of all railways. Admiral Jellicoe to be in supreme command of the Home Fleets.
Huge crowds cheer their majesties at palace - £100,000,000 voted in Commons in five minutes. German invasion of Belgium with airships.
Great Britain is in a state of war with Germany.
It was officially stated at the Foreign Office last night that Great Britain declared war against Germany at 7pm. The British Ambassador in Berlin has been handed his passport.
War was Germany's reply to our request that she should respect the neutrality of Belgium, whose territories we were bound in honour and by treaty obligations to maintain inviolate.
Speaking in a crowded and hushed House the Premier yesterday afternoon made the following statement: 'We have made a request to the German Government that we shall have a satisfactory assurance as to the Belgian neutrality before midnight tonight.'
The German reply to our request, officially stated last night, was unsatisfactory.
The King and His Navy
The King has addressed the following message to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe: 'At this grave moment in our national history I send to you and, through you, to the officers and men of the fleets, of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial.'
The above message has been communicated to the senior naval officers on all stations outside of home waters.
It was reported yesterday evening that Germany had taken the first hostile step by destroying a British mine-layer.
At the present time Germany is in a state of war with: Great Britain, Russia, France and Belgium.
'Germany tried to bribe us with peace to desert our friends and duty. But Great Britain has preferred the path of honour.'
It would seem as if Germany, in her ambition to control the destiny of the whole of Europe, were ready to embark on any grandiose scheme of adventure, however precarious her chances.
So far as Great Britain is concerned, her attitude has always been plain, straightforward and perfectly intelligible. She was prepared to stand aside from the conflict that has now involved practically the whole of Europe.
But she insisted and had to insist on two things: these were that Belgium's neutrality should be respected; and that the German fleet should not bombard defenceless French towns.
Germany tried to bribe us with peace to desert our friends and duty. But Great Britain has preferred the path of honour.
Chief of the Fleets
Sir John R Jellicoe has assumed the supreme command of the Home Fleets, with the acting rank of Admiral. Rear Admiral Charles E Madden has been appointed to be his chief of staff. Field Marshal Sir John French, the famous cavalry leader, has been appointed Inspector General to the Forces.
Mr Lloyd George subsequently announced in the House that the Government was engaged in preparing a scheme for the distribution of food, and hoped that it would be completed in the course of one or two days. The House unanimously passed in five minutes all outstanding votes, amounting to over £100,000,000.
An Order in Council has been issued declaring it expedient that Government should have control over the railroads of Great Britain.more
If I am asked what we are fighting for, I can reply in two sentences. In the first place, to fulfil a solemn international obligation . . . an obligation of honor which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated. I say, secondly, we are fighting to vindicate the principle that small nationalities are not to be crushed in defiance of international good faith at the arbitrary will of a strong and overmastering Power. Rt Hon. Herbert H Asquith
The lamps have yet to come back on...