The Outbreak of WWI – How Europe Spiraled Into the GREAT WAR – Week 1

The Outbreak of WWI – How Europe Spiraled Into the GREAT WAR – Week 1


My name is Indy Neidell and this channel – The
Great War – is going to cover the first world war, week by week, as it unfolded 100 years later.
From today until November 2018, so you can really get a sense of just what happened
as it happened. The active weeks, the passive weeks, the weeks of carnage and the weeks
of hope – we’ll follow them all one by one. And we’ve made a couple of special episodes
about the prelude to war so you can get some idea of all of the forces in motion. We’ve
also made an episode about the assassination of the archduke
and his wife as it was one of the pivotal moments in our history. All three of these
episodes will come out in the next few days. 100 years ago today, on July 28th,
1914, the empire of Austria-Hungary declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia. Now, as you are probably aware, this snowballed within days into the First World War. Now people often talk of the “blank check” –
when Kaiser Wilhelm said on July 5th, 1914 that he would unconditionally support Austria
in whatever actions she took against Serbia, and this is seen as the main argument for
Germany’s responsibility for the war, but this is a little too simple. In the days following the assassination
of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by the Serb Gavrilo Princip, there were anti-Serbian
riots and demonstrations in much of Bosnia and official dispatches to Vienna that there
was Serbian complicity in the plot, but general European reactions to the killings were quite
mild. Austria, however, had big ideas, many of them coming from Army Chief of Staff Conrad
von Hötzendorf. And I love that name. Conrad was a vehement imperialist for
Austria and Austrian greatness. He’s also been described as being “the most dangerous
kind of officer…both stupid and intensely energetic.” There you have it. In fact, in the year and a half
before today, 1914, he asked his government to go to war no less than 26 times. And it’s
very important to note here that his main counterweight, the man who repeatedly urged
emperor Franz Josef against war with Russia or war with Serbia, not to listen to Conrad, was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, now deceased. The assassination was, to Conrad, a heaven sent means to curb Serbian power and ambition. Now to understand the next few weeks we really need to look a bit at both Germany and Russia In 1912, the Kaiser had told
army chief of staff von Moltke and Grand Admiral von Tirpitz that “Austria had to act vigorously
against the foreign Slavs… If Russia were to support the Serbs war would be inevitable
for us.” Although
we think of pre-war Russia today as a backwater, this was not really the case. Russia had become
the world’s fourth largest economy by 1914. Okay! Shortage of money had always meant before
that she had never been able to build and equip her army like the Germans could, but
more importantly, her railways. By 1914, though, Russian currency was on the gold standard
and the railroads were booming and Russia would be able to easily and quickly defend
her borders in only a few years. Now this was a big fear in the German high command – since Russia obviously had the manpower advantage, once her railways were a match for Germany,
well… German Chancellor von Bethman Hollweg’s diary from July 7th tells us these thoughts:
that Russia had become a nightmare, and that the German generals say there must be
a war before it was too late. By 1917, Germany has no hope, so better 1914. As an aside here – this was the
opinion of the generals and some government leaders but it was not the opinion of the
German people at large. You see Germany had the largest population of
socialists in Europe and they and others comprised a big anti-war segment of society. So the
Kaiser wrote on June 30, “the Serbs must be disposed of, and right soon!” and he
did pledge German support for Austria, and he did tell the Austrian ambassador on July
5th that should war between Austria-Hungary and Russia prove unavoidable, Germany would
be at Austria’s side. HOWEVER, and this is really important, he also told his chancellor
that he did not think there was a real prospect of war – that Russia was not close to being ready. The next day, he went on his annual three-week
vacation cruise to Norway, which is kind of not what you’d do if you were basically
the most powerful man in the world and you were about to go to a major war, so in spite
of it all, a world war was not on the Kaiser’s mind. So on July 7th, the Austro-Hungarian
cabinet met to discuss Serbia, and they were for a war to reduce Serbia’s size and make
her dependent on Austria. On July 13th, a secret report reached Vienna
from Sarajevo that there was zero evidence the Serbian government had anything to do
with the assassination. Now, this didn’t really change anything, but THIS did: Franz Josef finally became convinced
that Austria could take action against Serbia without other powers interfering, so he agreed
to issue an ultimatum. The terms of the ultimatum were finalized on July 19th. It had a total
of 15 demands and it linked the Belgrade government with the assassination, even without evidence. Now, you can look up the demands yourself, but
here are a couple that really stick out: the Serbian government must condemn anti-Austrian
propaganda and punish anyone who made or distributed it, and the big one – Austrian officials would
participate in the judicial process. In Serbia. Yep, they would be
in charge of justice in another country. Now, as you may guess, this ultimatum was
designed to be rejected. It was sent on July 23rd, with 48 hours for Serbia to agree to
it. 6 PM on July 25th, Serbia answered the ultimatum.
She agreed that anti-Austrian propagandists would be punished and subversive movement
suppressed, and actually agreed to almost everything else, but as to Austria participating
in the judicial process within Serbia, Serbia simply asked that this demand be submitted
to the tribunal in The Hague. Now, everybody except Austria thought this response
was just fine, but Austria was determined to go to war. Actually, Russia suggested two
days later that negotiations between her and Vienna should be opened to try and sort things out. This was refused. A British attempt that same day to talk Germany into having a four-power
conference to also try to sort things out was rejected as well. And you know what? Here’s something that happened then that remained secret until after the war: on July 28th, 100 years ago today, Kaiser Wilhelm finally read the full text of the Austrian ultimatum and Serbia’s
response. And he could see no reason at all for Austria to declare war. Yep. After all
this that had happened, The Kaiser wrote: “a great moral victory for Vienna, but with it
every reason for war is removed…” And just about an hour after the Kaiser scribbled
that in the margins, Emperor Franz Josef signed a declaration of war on Serbia, confident
of German support. And that declaration would turn out to be the death warrant of his own
empire. We’ll see you next week. Click subscribe
to get each and every episode as it comes out, and if you like the show but English
isn’t your best language, once again, this show is also available in German and Polish – you can find links to those channels below. Now I’m sure many of you have comments,
ideas, and suggestions; we’re happy to hear them. See you next week!

100 comments on “The Outbreak of WWI – How Europe Spiraled Into the GREAT WAR – Week 1

  1. so i found this channel couple of days ago . I was going through other playlist "who did what…" .I always was interested in world war 2 and had a very little knowledge of ww1 . youtube suggested me a video from this channel .Guess this is going to be a ww1 marathon ❤❤ who needs netflix when you have this ❤

  2. Man, this video completely destroyed my picture of super powerful and aggressive Serbia attacking poor Austria-Hungary in attempt to dominate the world.

  3. I've just discovered your videos. I love them! Full of information and alot of interesting facts. Love love love! I will be watching each and every episode

  4. I finished this series a few months ago, and i'm starting it again. Also. Indy saying he loves Hotendorffs name? Probably the only positive thing ever attributed to him

  5. I cant believe the series is over. It feels like a huge part of my life is gone. Thank you Indy and all the crew for the best series on the internet

  6. Wow! I wish I would have found this when you guys started…been watching a few of your later videos and they're great, so decided to start at the beginning.

  7. This is a superb resource on WW1 but very difficult to address the causes of the conflict in just over 7 minutes. Read Paul Ham's "1914: The Year the World Ended" for a comprehensive review of many of the factors and events in the decades leading up to 1914 which pushed the belligerents over the precipice into a global war.

  8. I have a great inclination to believe that the French AND American Revolutions had both direct and indirect affect on these Presented events, very likely related to the approaching development of the Infamous Balfour Declaration.

  9. Just now found this video series. I see many hours on my PC watching these. Hard to believe it was published almost 5 years ago.

  10. Europe was an antiquated and slowly dying continent, WWI was the only way to save the imperial and class systems.

  11. Just starting this series out, nobody better spoil the ending for me. The plot seems pretty interesting

  12. Well, it's 2019 and I've got five years of content to catch up on.

    cracks knuckles

    Let's get started, then.

  13. OMG this video was amaz balls! I have never watched a video so empowering and made me feel like the amazing women I am. If you are a women out there that wants to go somewhere in the World, then watch this video. Thanks.

  14. I have a small correction to make. The quote you have of Bethmann about Russia becoming a nightmare isn't from his diary; it comes from the diary of his secretary, Kurt Riezler.

  15. It's funny to see the props in the background move a little bit the odd episode. Once you've seen it you cannot un-see it.

  16. This series is an absolutely fantastic week by week overview of WWI. I watched all 225 weeks episodes in about a weeks time, it's well worth watching. Thanks to the folks who produced it and thanks to the patreons who supported it!

  17. You guys did an absolutely amazing job on this series. I loved the host, I loved the little things that immersed me into the series like the old school swagger of the host and the background. Please never stop doing history stuff like this.

  18. Came here from the world war ii channel… wow you look well rested and younger… it's like youtube has taken its toll
    Apreiciete your amazing work

  19. I Always Knew that Germany didn't really needed those punishments they had , it was Austria-Hungary and France which caused fears, if none of this happened than Germany would had not done World war 2 >:(

  20. mmm I have question do you guys have a Spanish Chanel my father love history and I would love to show him this yet prefer Spanish?

  21. It is currently July 30, 2019 at 1:30 AM CST and I’m beginning my journey to the end of the “All Videos – chronological order” playlist. Remember this comment.

  22. "Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal. A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all. I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where. Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off." – German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck, Reichstag, 1878

  23. I thought Germany was infamous for their soldiers because they were a new country and had no religion so thought the soldier of Lore was admiral .. not anti war !! So who is factual

  24. Congrats Indie for making it all the way through to the end of the war.
    When I was young and in 1964 (50 years anniversary) I drew map and pinned the various armies moving over Europe… But it got a bit boring as there was not much movement!

  25. Actually there was evidence only the UK denounced it. There was a review made by Stanford University, and some historians, linking the "Black hand", the secret organisation withing the Serbian government, and Young Bosnia, the organisation Gavrilo Princip was a member of.

  26. The only man who could save monarchy was Franz Ferdinand who already started to work on Danube federation with his Belveder circle.With his asasination fate of monarchy was acomplished

  27. The thing is, according to Ruttensteiner, that austria took way too long to declare war on serbia. Had they immediately invaded as retaliation for the assasination when europe was still in shock over the killing of a monarch by an anarchist france, the UK(still a monarchy) and even russia would most likely have not intervened. But as history has shown us things went a different way.

  28. Hi I was looking for link to polish version of these videos but could not find it. Could you please provide the link?

  29. Be me
    Realise that both Russia and Serbia tried to negotiate a deal for the Ultimatum
    Stop the video and think of how dumb Austrian rejection actually was
    Btw I am Austrian

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