On 28 July 1914, exactly one month after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary (with the support of Germany) declares war on Serbia, effectively beginning the First World War or The Great War.
Meanwhile Russia, Serbia’s own ally in the Balkans, commenced steps towards military mobilization against Austria. The rest of the world looked on with horror and trepidation because they were aware that this could become a general European war. The British Foreign Office lobbied its counterparts in Berlin, Paris and Rome with the idea of an international convention aimed at moderating the conflict and apparently Kaiser Wilhelm II still saw the possibility of a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the conflict.
After the declaration of war, Russia formally ordered mobilization in the four military districts facing Galicia, its common front with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That night, Austrian artillery divisions initiated a brief, ineffectual bombardment of Belgrade across the Danube River.
The world would never be the same again.
Note: I am undertaking this tour through the centenary events of World War I over the commemoration dates as a personal learning experience and my own small tribute to the people who lost their lives and/or their loved ones in the always terrible acts of war. If people who are knowledgeable about these events care to correct, expand and educate me, I will be perfectly content. I apologise to those who have landed up here while on a scholarly quest. This is NOT intended as an academic commentary.