The July Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014

The First World War defined the twentieth century. In its wake, millions died. In its wake, millions lay wounded or displaced. World War I unleashed violence and tragedy on a scale never before seen during the course of human history.

One hundred years on, the debate on the origins of the Great War remains unresolved. The July Crisis of 1914, as the thirty eight days between the assassinations at Sarajevo and the British declaration of war on Germany are known, was not inevitable. In the summer of 1914 diplomacy failed. As a result, Europe fell into sombre apocalypse.

We will follow the march to war together, day by day, exactly one hundred years after the events. My aim is to share with you one document every day that traces the development of the July Crisis as it happened. Together, we will understand how peace was shattered. Together, we will understand how Europe went to war in the summer of 1914.

The countdown starts on 28 June.

About the author:

Matthieu Watson Santerre is a Master’s student in the History of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is currently researching the role of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph on the July Crisis.




  1. Reblogged this on Thoughts of Kat Canfield and commented:
    History repeats itself. If we fail to learn from history we will repeat the mistakes. It is nearly July 2014. The world is again on the edge of a precipice. Will we learn how to avoid world war or will we repeat it with much more dangerous consequences?

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      You raise an interesting question. Hopefully the blog will help you find an answer.

      1. I look forward to more of your posts!

  2. Looking forward to the journey!

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Great! So am I.

  3. When Emperor Francis Joseph learned that his nephew had been shot dead in Sarajevo, he said, “Terrible! The Almighty cannot be provoked.” After a few moments of silent pause, he remarked, “A Higher Power has restored that order which unfortunately I was unable to maintain.” The reference was not to the assassination, but to the morganatic marriage of Ferdinand to Sophie. The Archduke heir was much unloved. Nevertheless, the manner of his death changed everything.

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      You are quite right. According to Emperor Franz Joseph’s aide-de-camp, Baron Albert von Margutti, the monarch regarded the assassinations as divine retribution for Franz Ferdinand’s morganatic marriage. On the other hand, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Leopold Berchtold believed the Emperor to be severely shaken by the news. Whatever his true feelings, Franz Joseph would lead Austria-Hungary to war.

  4. Brilliant post. The Art of Polemics Magazine and myself are interested in finding contributors both for the online section and the E-zine section of our site. We have recently founded our site, and are looking for history enthusiasts. I would have contacted you in private but there are no such possibilities.

    Senior Editor,

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Thank you for your offer! In reply to your comment I have now put my contact information on my about page.

      I will let you know if I write an article that you can use.

  5. Reblogged this on o o r l a b and commented:
    Europe on the brink of collapse; good to rememeber and study.

  6. I see at least one parallel between events of today and events of a hundred years ago. Most of Europe had had about 40 years of peace 100 years ago, but it seemed that people wanted war, as there were recurring crises over the several years leading up to the war. We’ve already had war in this country, but it certainly didn’t seem to settle anything. I think people in general are looking for another war, maybe a civil war this time. I’d hate to see that, but I’m afraid it’s coming.
    Thank you for liking my blog post too.

  7. We hope that your timely online project–raising awareness regarding the origins of the awful war of 1914-18, and provoking consideration and comment based upon costly lessons of history–bears its fruit in a greater urge, among parents and children everywhere, for our necessary peace.

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      I hope so too! Thank you for your comment.

  8. Wonderful project. I look forward to reading further. It’s amazing to think that to this day we are still searching for the answers of the causes of the Great War. It is wishful thinking to say if only Austria showed restraint circumstances would have been different. I am of the opinion Germany was hellbent on war and whether it was 1914 or a future date, it was eventually going to happen. My connection to the great war is my grandfather from my dads side. He was a Croatian who fought under the banner of Austria-Hungary. Not out of loyalty to Franz Joseph, but Croatia. But that is a story for another day. Keep up the great work.

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Thank you!

  9. firecook · · Reply

    Wanted to say Thank you for liking a post and understanding the War World One is quite interesting.

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: