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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:12

Video transcript

In the last video, we left off with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. And so you could imagine, the Austro-Hungarian empire did not take that well. They already did not enjoy the kingdom of Serbia trying to, essentially, provoke this nationalistic movement. And they viewed them as this small, little, weak country right below them. And so they use this to, essentially, issue an ultimatum. Essentially say, look, immediately bring all the people who did this to justice, all the people who might have conspired with the Gavrilo Princips to allow this assassination attempt to occur, and do it or else, and accept full responsibility. And actually, the kingdom of Serbia was in no mood to get into a war with Austria-Hungary, and so they tried their best to comply, but their best wasn't enough. So then July 28, a month later, you have the Austrians declaring war on the Serbians. Now up until this point, the Austro-Hungarian empire is thinking, OK, Serbia is a small, little kingdom here. It has some ties and obviously, it's a Slavic nation so it has some linguistic ties with the Russian empire. The Russian empire also had some political ties to it, but Russia is not going to get into a war with us over this. We're justified in attacking them. They've just killed the heir to our throne. So we're going to go in there and Russia is probably not interested in actually creating a larger skirmish here. That was a severe miscalculation on the part of the Austrians. The Russians were not happy about this. They felt close ties to the Serbians and they felt a need to protect the Serbians, or you could argue, that maybe they wanted to mobilize just to scare the Austrians. Whatever it might be, whether it was Russia wanted to get into a war, whether they were really looking to protect the Serbians, or whether they were looking to mobilize to scare the Austrians from actually attacking, the Russians began to mobilize. So the Russians began to gather their troops. So the Russians mobilize. And now, this is where all of the alliances start to come into effect. If you remember about the alliances we talked about several videos ago, if you go to 1879, you have the Dual Alliance Treaty between Germany and Austria-Hungary to protect each other if Russia attacks and actually, if Russia attacks or mobilizes. So now, Germany is like, hey, maybe I am obligated to protect Austria-Hungary from Russia. You also have to remember in 1892, the Franco-Russian Military Convention. Military assistance both ways in the event of attack. So Germany is thinking, look, we signed this treaty and we, to some degree, are maybe eager for war because we've been militarizing so much. And I can't just fight Russia. I also know that France and Russia have this alliance right over here. So Germany in quite surprising quickness decides to declare war on both. So on August 1, Germany declares war on Russia. And then on August 3, Germany declares war on France because they know or at least they feel that they can't declare war on only one of them. And they wanted to do it very quickly because they didn't want Russia a chance to mobilize too much. And the fact that they were able to do this so quickly-- we're talking three days after Austria declares war on Serbia and then another two days declare war on France-- kind of shows that Germany was already in a war footing. It's not a joke to all of a sudden invade or declare war on countries. So Germany was, essentially, preparing for this. And this right over here gave them the excuse to, essentially, declare war. So they declare war on both of these characters, Germany against Russia. Germany is declaring war on France. Now, the easiest way for them to move into France-- so they're literally going on the offense here-- is for them to go through Belgium. But the Germans were aware. They're aware that there's this 75-year-old treaty, the Treaty of London in 1839, Article 7 said that Britain was to protect the neutrality of Belgium. And Germany was in no interest to get into a war with the British. The British had a powerful military, especially a very powerful navy. The Germans said, hey, let's just take on the Russians and the French for now. And so they actually reached out to the British and said, hey, this little treaty that you got here from 1839, this 75-year-old treaty, you don't really take this seriously, right? I mean if we have to go through Belgium, you're not really going to hold true to this treaty? And the British said, no, we actually take that very seriously. Obviously, the British didn't want the Germans to be aggressive here. The British didn't want the Germans to be able to invade France. And so on August 4 when Germany, essentially, rolls through Belgium, Germany invades Belgium to get to France, this gave the legal justification for the British to declare war on Germany. And so in a matter of only-- I mean not even, we're talking a few months here from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria, you essentially have all of the major powers of Europe. And then as we'll see because they had these empires, in not too long most of the world is at war with each other.