How the Declaration of World War I made news

SERVICES marking the Declaration of World War I in 1914 will be held around the country today and mark the start of year-long commemorations of the centenary of the war. 

The front page of the Sydney Morning  Herald from Wednesday, August 3

The front page of the Sydney Morning Herald from Wednesday, August 3

Here is how the Kiama Independent and Shoalhaven Advertiser ran the story - on page 2. Page being as always reserved for advertising.


The immediate occasion of the war is the assassination by a Servian of the heir-presumnptive to- the Austrian throne last June.  As a matter of fact, however, its real causes lie much deeper. In Austrian’s designs on Servia and other neighbouring Central European States, vigorous evidence of which has been shown over and over again. In this case, the close connection in the way of race and sympathy between Russia and Servia, and the existence of an alliance between Austria and Germany, have brought half Europe and may bring thw whole of it, into war. Here are the principal incidents in the story of how the war has come about. 

Just one month and four days ago - on June 30th- the Archduke Francis Ferdinand,  Heir-presumptive  to the Austrian throne, and his Consort, the Duchess of Hohonberg, were murdered at Serajevo, the capital of Bosnia. 

The murderer was Gavrilo Prinzip, a young Servian only 20 years old, who had studied for some time at Belgrade. He had been expelled from Bosnia two years before, but returned, owing to the intervention of a Socialist members of the Diet. 

He threw a bomb, which did not explode, and then fired three shots. 

The actual assassination was preceded by an unsuccessful attempt made by an exemployee in the Servian State printing works. Both the criminals  played a leading part in anti-Austrian agitation, and Prinzip declared, on his arrest, that he had intended to kill some eminent personage from nationalistic motives. 

In the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday August 3 the news was presented on page 1:

Germany has declared war against Russia.

The German Ambassador in St Petersburg handed the Foreign Minister the declaration of war at 7.30 on Saturday evening.

The staff of the German Embassy left during the night.

A general mobilisation of the forces has been ordered In Russia.

Russia, it is declared, cannot allow Austria to claim sovereignty over Servia.

The announcement of the declaration of war provoked demonstrations everywhere in Russia. A general mobilisation of the Army and navy has been ordered by Austria, in response to the Russian mobilisation.

Martial law of a drastic nature has been proclaimed in Germany.

A Russian frontier patrol fired on a German patrol near Prostken, on the frontier.

The Germans returned the fire, but no casualties were reported.

Some German patrols crossed the Franco-German frontier, and telegraph and telephone communications were cut.  

The French troops were withdrawn slightly   from the frontier, in order to avoid collisions with the Germans.

France is mobilising, but there has been no formal rupture of relations.

A few hundred Servians kept several thous and Austrians in check, and only retreated after inflicting heavy losses on the Austrians.

It is reported that the Russians have blown up a railway bridge near Granitza, in Austrian territory.

It is officially announced in Rome that Italy will remain neutral.

She considers that her obligations under the Triple Alliance apply only to defensive and not to offensive war.  

A general mobilisation of the Netherlands forces has been urgently ordered.

The financial crisis in Berlin has resulted in the suicide of a number of leading financiers.

The bank rate in England has been raised   to 10 per cent., which constitutes a record for recent times.  

The King held an audience with Lord Kit-chener on Friday, and with Mr. Asquith early on Saturday morning.

His Majesty gave an audience to Sir Edward Grey at midnight on Saturday.

The German Emperor’s yacht and other German yachts have left Cowes.

The Stock Exchanges throughout the United States are likely to close for the entire winter. J. Jaures, the Socialist leader in the French Chamber of Deputies, was assassinated in a Paris cafe.

Prime Minister at Ballarat on Saturday night suddenly changed all his plans.

Instead of going on to Adelaide, Mr. Cook returned post haste to Melbourne.

He spent yesterday in conference with the naval and military authorities and heads of the Federal Public Service.

Arrangements have been made to keep the wireless stations along the Australian coast in constant touch with each other.

References to the crisis were made in the churches of all denominations yesterday, special prayers for peace being offered. Prayers for peace wore also offered up from every pulpit In Melbourne, and references were made to the war.

The Consul-General for Germany said last night that he had received no official com munication of the declaration of war.

If such were the case, he added, he would be required to order German reservists to proceed home to the Fatherland.

The Liberal and Labour leaders have con ferred with regard to the attitude that Aus- tralia should assume.

Mr. Fisher has given Mr. Cook to understand that his party will co-operate with the Ministry in every possible way.

The effects of the war on the Australian freight trade are already beginning to be felt.