• 3 Aug 1914 15:00
    UK Parliament circa WW!

    On Monday 3 August the House of Commons debated the war - the first time in the build-up to war that it had done so. The moves towards war by the Liberal government came in for sharp criticism not only from Labour MPs but from Liberal back-benchers. But there was no vote.

    Labour leader Ramsay Macdonald said: "I think the verdict of history will be that they [the Government] are wrong."

    Keir Hardie said: "Some of us will do all we can to rouse the working classes of the country in opposition to this proposal of the Government."

    While the debate was suspended in the early evening, the Cabinet authorised a telegram to Germany protesting against any violation of German neutrality. But Parliament was not told of this.

    The parliamentary debate signalled that the British government was committed to war with Germany, if German troops moved into Belgium. But no one explained that to Germany. The German ambassador interpreted Foreign Secretary Edward Grey's rambling speech to mean "the British Government has in all probability no immediate intention of taking part in the conflict or of abandoning the neutrality she has so far observed."

    In his office that evening, Edward Grey is reputed to have said: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them again in our lifetime."

  • 2 Aug 1914
    Anti-war demo, Trafalgar Square, 2009

    On Sunday 2 August anti-war demonstrations were held across Britain. The demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London, was described by the Manchester Guardian as "the biggest held for years."

    A manifesto had already been signed by Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson on behalf of the British section of the International Socialist Bureau, saying: "Workers, stand together therefore for peace. Combine and conquer the militarist enemy and the self-seeking Imperialists to-day once and for all."

  • 31 Jul 1914
    Jean Jaures assassinated

    Jean Jaurès, leader of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), was assassinated in Paris at 9.40pm on the evening of 31 July 1914. He had just finished dining with colleagues at the restaurant Le Croissant, a few yards from the offices of l'Humanité newspaper, of which he was political director.

    His assassination marked the end of serious opposition to the war in France.

  • 29 Jul 1914 20:30
    Announcement of CGT meeting

    An anti-war meeting scheduled by the CGT for the evening of 29 July in Paris was banned by the Government.The speakers included CGT Secretary-General Léon Jouhaux and other prominent figures.

    A Government statement said: "it does not seem possible to the Government, in the present Circumstances, to tolerate a meeting where the speakers would deal with methods of hindering mobilisation."

  • 28 Jul 1914 22:00
    Friedrichstraße, January 1914

    On Tuesday 28 July well other 100,000 people attended mass anti-war meetings in greater Berlin, including about 30,000 at meetings in Berlin city.

    Police prevented most of the demonstrators marching into the city centre, but 1000-2000 nevertheless managed to reach the the Unter den Linden, and marched up and down the street before being dispersed.

  • 27 Jul 1914
    Crowd in Paris discussing news of the July crisis

    A large anti-war demonstration was held in Paris on the evening of Monday 27 July, organised by the CGT.

    The demonstrators were dispersed by violent police charges and hundreds of arrests were made.

  • 26 Jul 1914 to 30 Jul 1914
    Stuttgart 1914
    Anti-war meetings and demonstrations were held across Germany over a five-day period from 26 July to 30 July. A total of over 750,000 people participated in anti-war demonstrations on the 27 and 28 July.
  • 29 Jun 1914 to The start of the month Jul 1914
    Erich von Falkenhayn

    On 29 June 1914 Rosa Luxemburg went on trial for allegedly defaming the German army. The trial opened the day after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. News of the assassination pushed the trial off the front pages, but it nevertheless received extensive coverage in German newspapers.

    The charge arose from a statement she had made at a rally in Freiburg, saying that the treatment of recruits in the German army amounted to torture. The German War Minister, Erich von Falkenhayn, was amongst those who claimed to be insulted by he comments

    Rosa Luxemburg and her legal team threatened to bring 30,000 witnesses to court to attest to the truth of her statement. The case was adjourned indefinitely.

  • 20 Feb 1914
    Rosa Luxemburg

    On 20 February 1914 Rosa Luxemburg was tried by a Frankfurt court for allegedly inciting soldiers to disobedience. The key evidence against her was a speech she had given in the Frankfurt area in September 1913, in which she said: "If they expect us to lift the weapons of murder against our French or other foreign brothers, then let us tell them 'No, we won't do it."

    She was given a year's prison sentence but wasn't sent to prison immediately, so she went straight to a mass meeting and repeated the views for which she had been convicted.

  • 28 Aug 1913
    The Invitation, by Albert Hahn
    The Peace Palace was officially opened in The Hague on 28 August 1913. It had been built to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration set up as a result of the 1899 Hague Peace Conference, with funding from US steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.