Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

World War One: Photographs of the horror, the heroism and the suffering and slaughter - the Great War that changed to the world forever

Historian Richard Doherty looks at the complex causes behind the Great War, and asks if it could have been prevented

Rifleman Jackson Clarke of the Royal Irish Rifles (circled) marching off to war. He survived the Great War, remaining in the army until 1931. Pic from Stephen Kerr
Rifleman Jackson Clarke of the Royal Irish Rifles (circled) marching off to war. He survived the Great War, remaining in the army until 1931. Pic from Stephen Kerr
Corporal Adolf Hitler, right with two other soldiers and a dog during his stay in a military hospital, WWI, Pasewalk, Pomerania. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
First World War image of a British soldier pulling colleague from rubble. It is unlikely that the helped soldier would look as cheerful as he does or that the helper would pull the buried and probably injured man in so unprofessional a way if he had been lying beneath the weight of soil and rubble after an explosion. It is more likely that the man has slipped and fallen into this position while examining damage, the aftermath of which is depicted here. (Hogg, A. R ) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
Women in Britain say go! - Hill, Siffken and Co (LPA Ltd) - First World War Recruitment poster; 'Women in Britain say Go!' This poster, produced by E V Kealey, in 1915 for the First World War British Army Recruitment Campaign shows an image (by artist Ernest Ibbetson) of mother and children at open window watching troops march off to war. which reflects the growing engagement of middle-class women in public life, civic and recruitment campaigns Parliamentary Recruiting Committee Poster no.75. Original accession card states it is Parliamentary Recruiting poster No.72 Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of a British stretcher party surveying wounded on battlefield. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image showing soldiers in snow with tanks on backs. The men may be carrying some kind of disinfectant or else a de-icing fluid as it is visibly a cold winterís day. The item on the cart looms rather like the flue of a fire or heater, indicating that the men may well be carrying hot water. (Hogg, A. R ) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image showing British soldiers washing in water held in shell hole, which appears to be the location for several British graves as indicated by the wooden crosses surrounding the crater, where the men may well have perished in an earlier explosion. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
United We Stand - Postcard showing uniformed men representing Britain, Irish National Volunteers and Ulster Volunteers flanking a sailor with a sword in one hand and a gun in the other presented as united on the outbreak of war. The verse reads 'Old discords have sunk to oblivion, For the honour of Britain they stand, In Unity shoulder to shoulder, In defence of the old homeland.' Collection Ulster Museum
Theres room for you. Enlist to-day - W.M. Strain & Sons Ltd. - First World War recruitment poster; 'Theres room for you. Enlist to-day.' froman original drawing by W.A. Fry. Poster shows a cheery scene of soldiers going off to war by train. Published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London; poster no.122 Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of British soldiers marching over battlefield. The devastation caused by repeated shellfire over four years left some parts of the Western Front and its hinterland a total ruin. (Hogg, A. R) Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of a British soldier at machine gun post. Machine gun fire was sometimes effective against low-flying German planes. Note the bolt-holes for the gunner to hide during bombardment, the trench spike against the skyline and the horn of what may well be a gas-alarm. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of a British first aid team treating wounded soldier. There are three orderlies, treating a soldiers treating a man on a stretcher with head and shoulder injuries. The location would appear to be littered with shells and shell boxes and there is a building which has been damaged by artillery fire or an explosion. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of British soldiers wearing capes carrying shovels, road-building party, along the Western Front, probably wet and muddy conditions of Flanders, 1917. The Irish soldier and poet Francis Ledwidge was killed in just such a group as this at ëHellfire Cornerí at Ypres in 1917. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of British soldiers grouping in battlefield. The road is long which soldiers marched to and from the front were known to enemy artillery which by the end of the war was becoming more and more accurate in its fire. Note the posts which mark the line of the road, all too easily spotted by air reconnaissance (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of tank and troops. Tanks were first used in September 1916, at Delville Wood. There were over 6,000 tanks in allied possession by the end of the war whereas the Germans did not greatly make or use them. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
'Everyone should do his bit. Enlist now' - Roberts & Leete Ltd. - First World War recruitment poster; 'Everyone should do his bit. Enlist now.' Poster with boy scout standing musing in front of a wall covered in recruitment posters. Published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee London No.121 Original artwork by Baron Low Collection Ulster Museum
First World War image of a British soldier using periscope to look over rim of trench. The soldier also exhibits other features of trench hardware such as water-bottle and Lee Enfield rifle. There were various models of periscope, some improvised by the men themselves. (Hogg, A. R) © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum
Posters and Memorabilia at the launch of the National Library's World War One Family History Roadshow which takes place between 10am and 7pm on Wednesday March 21st next. Pic Steve Humphreys 15th March 2012.
British troops manhandling a field gun, World War I
Belfast Telegraph. Page. Wednesday 5/8/1914 "Britain Declares War on Germany"
German troops and dogs prepared for the threat of 'chemical warefare' during the Great War, with gas masks.
Women making cartridges for British troops during the Great War. 1914-18
The return of British pow's, from the Great war, met on arrival at London by frienfs and family with refreshments.
The Great War. 1914-18. Flanders.
Awarded the Victoria Cross for services in the Great War: Edmund De Wind (top left) James Somers (top right) Captain JA Sinton (centre) J Duffy (bottom Left) Robert Quigg ( bottom right)
Lord Kitchener inspects the 36th Ulster Division before deployment to the Great War.
British troops supply line during the Great War.
Crowds in Belfast line the streets as soldiers returning from the Great War march past Belfast City Hall.
British artillery on parade during the Great war.
British infantrymen occupy a shallow trench in a ruined landscape before an advance during the Battle of the Somme
Men of war: soldiers remove an injured man from the battlefield
The will of Private John Fleetwood, grandfather of Mick Fleetwood, who died during the First World War
First World War soldiers were treated for venereal disease in a camp at Chiseldon, Wiltshire.
The 36th Ulster Division march past at Belfast City Hall in May 1915
Undated handout photo of the front page of the Flanders Fields Post, a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, which has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war.
File photo dated 04/08/14 of the Grenadier Guards being watched by a crowd as they leave Wellington Barracks in London for active service in France at the beginning of World War I, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.
The wills of soldiers who died during the First World War will be made available online
Family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his son Bill Roberts in 1914, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war.
Undated family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his division, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war.
Letters home from the Western Front in the First World War gave a snapshot of the horrendous conditions suffered by Ulster soldiers in the trenches
16-year-old Lee Dunion re-enacts the conditions in the trenches as a soldier in Thiepval Woods during the First World War
File photo dated 17/08/14 of British soldiers from the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Cheshire Regiment in a Belgian town on their way to Mons as part of the British Expeditionary Force, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.
Sgt David Harkness Blakey who died in 1916
Handout photo issued by London Transport Museum of Ole Bill, a 1911 B-type bus No. B43 flanked by standard bearers in the Armistice Day parade 1920 as wreaths are being laid at bus stations and garages across London in memory of the transport workers who died in the First World War.
A British soldier uses a periscope device in a First World War fire trench, as it was revealed a system of practice trenches have been found in Hampshire
File photo dated 20/08/14 of the scene outside the Enlisting Office in Thogmorton Street, London, at the beginning of the First World War, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.
Men of the Royal marines landing at Ostend, during the Great War. 1914
Family handout photo of Capatain FJ Roberts (right) with family (L-R) Bert, Will, Nell and Fred Roberts, (front) dad Henry and mom Mary Roberts in 1900, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war.
Records show newspapers urged women to send 'small comforts' like cigarettes and warm clothes to troops in the trenches
Research suggests most people in the UK do not realise the First World War extended beyond Europe
Wooden wing sections from a First World War bi-plane have been saved by RAF conservation experts
The Winchester Whisperer, a journal handwritten on toilet paper that was circulated by conscientious objectors who were imprisoned for their beliefs during the First World War. (Religious Society of Friends in Britain/BBC/PA)
Horror of the trenches: many from here made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War
Family handout photo of a young Captain F. J. Roberts, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war.

One hundred years ago today, an hour before midnight, the United Kingdom government declared war on Germany. Britain thus entered into a week-old war that had begun with an Austrian declaration of war on Serbia and expanded to bring in Russia, to support the Serbs, and Germany, to support the Austrians.

Along the way, Germany had not only declared war on France but had launched an attack on its neighbour. In the hope of knocking the French armies out quickly, and then turning to deal with Russia, the Germans had taken a short cut through Belgium.

And it was that breach of Belgian neutrality which led to Britain issuing an ultimatum to Germany. That ultimatum expired at 11pm on August 4 and the Royal Navy and Army, already mobilising, began finalising their preparations for active service.

Over the next few days the Expeditionary Force, as it was then known, was transported to France to support the French armies. This was a superb piece of logistics and represented the apotheosis of much Franco-British staff work in the preceding years. What it didn't represent was a formal military alliance between Britain and France.

Looking back a century later we could be excused for thinking that the alliances that existed during the war preceded it and were solid. That wasn't the case. Those alliances were much looser than we think and didn't oblige members to support each other in war. Italy and Romania were allied with the German Empire but remained neutral in August 1914 before later entering the war against Germany.

For the driving forces that led us to war, we have to look back at the increasing nationalism of European nations, the rush to create empires and to seek out new markets for goods. It was such forces that led the newly-united Germany to enter into an arms race with Britain, attempting to create a navy that would match the Royal Navy, then the most powerful in the world.

Europe had several power blocs. France faced Germany, which had an alliance, and blood ties, with the Austro-Hungarian, or Habsburg, Empire. To meet the threat posed by this – and Germany, as Prussia, had conquered France just over 40 years earlier – France reached an agreement with Russia. In turn the Russian Empire offered protection to the Slav nations, especially Serbia which felt threatened by the Habsburg Empire.

When Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, he threw the switch that let flow the current that sparked off war a month later. But even then, war was not inevitable. The switch might have been turned off.

Major international crises had been averted in the past by the great powers. But these had not been centred in Europe. This one was. Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908, having occupied these Slav lands since 1878. The annexation was in contravention of the 1878 Treaty of Berlin and it was the desire of the Slavs for independence that led directly to war.

Could Slav wishes have been accommodated within the Habsburg Empire? It is possible that this could have occurred. One man had the idea of a federal empire of states under the Habsburg crown but this ran counter to the desires of the more extreme Slav nationalists. And when the man with the idea visited Sarajevo on his 50th birthday, those nationalists had the opportunity to eliminate him. Franz Ferdinand's grand idea died with him.

BOVINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04:  Members of the Great War Society living history group dressed as 4th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment stand under a shower of a million poppy flowers representing the dead during a World War One centenary ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington on August 4, 2014 in England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
BOVINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04: Members of the Great War Society living history group dressed as 4th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment stand under a shower of a million poppy flowers representing the dead during a World War One centenary ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington on August 4, 2014 in England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Prince Harry takes the salute during the Step Short commemorative event in Folkestone, Kent to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.
Belgium Government handout photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge laying a wreath during a ceremony at the Cointe Inter-allied Memorial, Liege, Belgium, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
BOVINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04: A member of a living history group dressed as a Gordon Highlander plays dead as he takes part in a World War One battle re-enactment at the Tank Museum, Bovington on August 4, 2014 in England. Monday August 4, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Great Britain's declaration of war on Germany. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A single cannon shot was fired from Grey Point Fort in County Down at 1pm to mark the centenary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A single cannon shot was fired from Grey Point Fort in County Down at 1pm to mark the centenary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A man pictured in period garb at the First World War commemoration in Co Down. Pic Arthur Allison.
Two men pictured in period garb at the First World War commemoration in Co Down. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
The sun sets behind the Black Watch Memorial which honours the 8,960 Black Watch officers and soldiers killed and more than 20,000 who were wounded in the course of World War One. August 1, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
King Philippe of Belgium lays a wreath as he takes part in a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia attends Glasgow Cathedral for a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia attends Glasgow Cathedral for a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Glasgow Cathedral following a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales leaves Glasgow Cathedral following the memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LIEGE, BELGIUM - AUGUST 04: (L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony with French President Francois Hollande and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Yves Herman - Pool /Getty Images)
The Prince (front) and Princess (rear right) Michael of Kent on board a1913 Rolls Royce ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
Sgt Patrick Cody, aged 77, admires the British Tommy Radiator cap of a vintage car ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
The Prince (centre) and Princess (second left) Michael of Kent with Chelsea Pensioners ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 4: Chelsea Pensioners wave to members of the public as the Great War centenary parade of Edwardian cars passes the Cenotaph in Whitehall on August 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
(L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony with French President Francois Hollande, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Philippe of Belgium and German President Joachim Gauck, at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium. (Photo by Francois Lenoir - Pool /Getty Images)
LIEGE, BELGIUM - AUGUST 04: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
A veteran looks on at Le Memorial Interallie in Liege, Belgium
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Ed Miliband leader of the Labour party and his wife Justine arrive at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow,Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Nick Clegg, British Deputy Prime Minister arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Monday August 4 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4th , 2014 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The grave stone of William McBride. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured Connaught Cemeter. Pic Liam McBurney
Thiepval Monument were over 70,000 names have been carved into the monument to those solders whom do not have a known resting place. White headstones are Commonwealth soldiers on the left. Pic Liam McBurney
Thiepval Monument were over 70,000 names have been carved into the monument to those solders whom do not have a known resting place. White headstones are Commonwealth soldiers on the left. Pic Liam McBurney
The grave stone of Samuel Edwin Gorman. Pic liam McBurney
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with French President Francois Hollande ahead of a ceremony at the Cointe Inter-allied Memorial, Liège, Belgium, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Pic Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
File photo dated 20/08/14 of the scene outside the Enlisting Office in Thogmorton Street, London, at the beginning of the First World War, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
Undated handout photo of the front page of the Flanders Fields Post, a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, which has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
File photo dated 04/08/14 of the Grenadier Guards being watched by a crowd as they leave Wellington Barracks in London for active service in France at the beginning of World War I, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
File photo dated 17/08/14 of British soldiers from the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Cheshire Regiment in a Belgian town on their way to Mons as part of the British Expeditionary Force, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
Family handout photo of Capatain FJ Roberts (right) with family (L-R) Bert, Will, Nell and Fred Roberts, (front) dad Henry and mom Mary Roberts in 1900, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Family handout photo of a young Captain F. J. Roberts, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his son Bill Roberts in 1914, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Undated family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his division, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Handout photo issued by London Transport Museum of Ole Bill, a 1911 B-type bus No. B43 flanked by standard bearers in the Armistice Day parade 1920 as wreaths are being laid at bus stations and garages across London in memory of the transport workers who died in the First World War.
France's President Francois Hollande, left, and German President Joachim Gauck pay respect during a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, at the National Monument of Hartmannswillerkop, in Wattwiller, eastern France, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' is prepared ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' is prepared ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Wild poppies grow on the verge of a Flanders field near Tyne Cot Military Cemetery as dawn breaks on the centenary of the Great War on August 4, 2014 in Passchendaele, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Rows of headstones marking the graves at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery on on August 3, 2014 in Passchendaele, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Finlay Day, aged nine, takes part in a guard of honour with other members of the Edgmond Scout Group from Shropshire, during the playing of the Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing on August 3, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Scouts and cubs from the Edgmond Scout Group, Shropshire, form a guard of honour as members of the local fire brigade sound the Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing on August 3, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium. Monday 4th August marks the 100th anniversary of Great Britain declaring war on Germany. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Even then war might have been averted. However, Franz Ferdinand, although heir to the throne, had suffered indignities from his family and the establishment. He had married a Bohemian aristocrat for love and Sophie was not considered 'royal enough'. As a result the marriage was morganatic with the couple having to accept Sophie could not inherit her husband's titles, nor could their children inherit the throne.

Part of that arrangement was that Sophie was not entitled to a state funeral. And so Franz Ferdinand had renounced his right to a state funeral. As a result there was no gathering of leaders at which talks might have taken place to avert war. In one sense, Europe had blundered into war but the blundering was a result of the adherence of the Habsburg dynasty to tradition.

The war left millions dead and it changed the face of Europe. Gone were the German and Habsburg empires. Gone, too, were the Turkish and Russian empires. Both the British and French empires survived, but in weakened states. The United States had entered the war and then retreated from the international stage, having played a major role in the settlement at Versailles that was to lead to another world war.

At home, two major pieces of legislation had been stalled on the outbreak of war: Home Rule for Ireland and the emancipation of women. In spite of the contribution that women made to the war effort, taking over men's jobs in offices, munitions factories, on the buses and the farms, only women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote in 1918.

Belfast Telegraph. Page One 5/8/1914
Britian Declares War
First World War Copy
Belfast Telegraph. Page One 5/8/1914 Britian Declares War First World War Copy

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