First Battles of the Great War

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At the beginning of the twentieth century the then civilised world had everything to look forward to: the industrialisation of the previous hundred years was evolving with ever-increasing momentum promising an exciting future; electricity had been harnessed; steam-driven engines had revolutionised transport; the internal combustion engine had been invented and man had learned how to fly like birds. Then, in the second decade, it all turned sour as countries set on each other turning the inventions of peace and promise into weaponry. The resulting conflict spawned further loathsome contrivances to destroy human beings, such as poison gas and flame-throwers. What had caused this change? Nationalism and Patriotism whipped up by religious institutions in the countries involved must surely take the blame. As to the mechanics of the outbreak of the Great War, historians will continue to debate and each generation of them will doubtless revise the works of those living closer to the events of 1914-1918, as they seek to throw fresh light on that terrible period in the history of the world. This magazine looks at the last five months of 1914 as the nations, one after another tumbled into war.

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