Britain then sends an ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium. Explore the BBC. August 7-24, 1914 - The French desire to score a quick victory ignites the first major French-German action of the war.
Neville Chamberlain broadcast the news to the nation at 1115 hours.
Hampered by a lack of heavy artillery and muddy winter conditions, the French fail to make any significant gains and both offensives are soon suspended. Here they discovered the effectiveness of the German defenses and the ineffectiveness of the guns they had brought. Belgian Cities Occupied. Under the overall command of Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of the German General Staff, the Germans seek to achieve victory over France within six weeks and then focus on defeating Russia in the East before Russia's six-million-man army, the world's largest, can fully mobilize.
A bomb is thrown at their auto but misses. France and Belgium begin full mobilization. Allied troops invade mainland Italy. Since Prussia united the fractured German states under its leadership in the 1860s, German leaders had used military action against their neighbors to the east and west both as routes to territorial aggrandizement and a way to keep Germany united.
A German Trench. August 3, 1914 - Germany declares war on France, and invades neutral Belgium.
The French suffer heavy casualties including 27,000 soldiers killed in a single day, the worst one-day death toll in the history of the French Army.
French forces withdrew from Saarland, leaving only a small holding force. The Aim of Operation Saar Map showing the positions of the german territory hold by the french troops during the Saar Offensive.
The French had shown that they were not prepared for an offensive war, and settled into a defensive position that they would also soon lose. The day war broke out.
Six hundred taxi cabs from the city help to move French troops to the Front. Failing that, it would at least give France a head start in the war that must inevitably come her way. Undaunted, they continue their visit only to be shot and killed a short time later by a lone assassin.
The Germans then warn Russia on its mobilization and begin to mobilize themselves. Unfortunately for the French, the restrictions that bound them to this plan would also ensure its failure. But one possibility offered itself.
This marks the beginning of a pattern in which the Germans will aid the weaker Austro-Hungarian Army.