War and Government in the French Provinces

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August 1, - Germany declares war on Russia. France and Belgium begin full mobilization. August 3, - Germany declares war on France, and invades neutral Belgium. Britain then sends an ultimatum, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium. August 4, - Great Britain declares war on Germany. August , - The Siege of Liege occurs as Germans attack the Belgian fortress city but meet resistance from Belgian troops inside the Liege Forts.

The twelve forts surrounding the city are then bombarded into submission by German and Austrian howitzers using high explosive shells. Remaining Belgian troops then retreat northward toward Antwerp as the German westward advance continues. Twenty days later, the German governor there surrenders. August 7, - The first British troops land in France. August , - The French desire to score a quick victory ignites the first major French-German action of the war. However, the French offensive is met by effective German counter-attacks using heavy artillery and machine-guns.

The French suffer heavy casualties including 27, soldiers killed in a single day, the worst one-day death toll in the history of the French Army. The French then fall back toward Paris amid , total casualties. August 8, - Britain enacts the Defense of the Realm Act DORA granting unprecedented powers to the government to control the economy and daily life. Serbia is invaded by Austria-Hungary. August 17, - Russia invades Germany, attacking into East Prussia, forcing the outnumbered Germans there to fall back.

August 20, - German troops occupy undefended Brussels, capital of Belgium. Following this, the main German armies continue westward and invade France according to their master strategy known as the Schlieffen Plan. It calls for a giant counter-clockwise movement of German armies wheeling into France, swallowing up Paris, and then attacking the rear of the French armies concentrated in the Alsace-Lorraine area.

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.

August 23, - Japan declares war on Germany. Battle of Tannenberg. Aided by aerial reconnaissance and the interception of uncoded Russian radio messages, the Germans effectively reposition their troops to counter the initial Russian advance. Five days later, after surrounding the Russians, the battle ends with a German victory and the capture of , Russians.

Following this success, the Germans drive the Russians out of East Prussia with heavy casualties. The impressive victory elevates Hindenburg and Ludendorff to the status of heroes in Germany. Three days later, Japanese forces land on the coast of China, preparing to attack the German naval base at Tsingtao Qingdao. September , - On the Western Front, Paris is saved as French and British troops disrupt the Schlieffen Plan by launching a major counter-offensive against the invading German armies to the east of Paris.

Six hundred taxi cabs from the city help to move French troops to the Front. Aided by French aerial reconnaissance which reveals a gap has developed in the center of the whole German advance, the French and British exploit this weakness and press their advantage.

Treaty of Frankfurt am Main ends Franco-Prussian War

The Germans then begin a strategic withdrawal northward as the Allies pursue. Each side repeatedly tries to outmaneuver the other and gain a tactical advantage as they move northward in what becomes known as the Race to the Sea. September 8, - The French government enacts nationwide State of War regulations which include total control over the economy and national security, strict censorship, and suspension of civil liberties.

September 17, - On the Eastern Front, Austrian forces steadily retreat from the advancing Russian 3rd and 8th armies fighting in southern Poland and along the Russian-Austrian border. The Germans then send the newly formed 9th Army to halt the Russians. This marks the beginning of a pattern in which the Germans will aid the weaker Austro-Hungarian Army.

First Battle of Ypres October November 22, October 19, - Still hoping to score a quick victory in the West, the Germans launch a major attack on Ypres in Belgium. Despite heavy losses, British, French and Belgian troops fend off the attack and the Germans do not break through. During the battle, the Germans send waves of inexperienced 17 to year-old volunteer soldiers, some fresh out of school.

They advance shoulder-to-shoulder while singing patriotic songs only to be systematically gunned down in what the Germans themselves later call the "massacre of the innocents. October 29, - The Ottoman Empire Turkey enters the war on the side of the Germans as three warships shell the Russian port of Odessa. Three days later, Russia declares war on Turkey.

Russian and Turkish troops then prepare for battle along the common border of the Russian Caucasus and the Ottoman Empire. The Austrians attack the Russians in Galicia a province in northeast Austria with indecisive results. However, the Russians fail to press their advantage at Warsaw and instead begin a split counter-offensive moving both southward against the Austrians in Galicia and northward toward Germany. The German 9th Army then regroups and cuts off the Russians at Lodz, Poland, halting their advance and forcing an eastward withdrawal by the Russians. November 1, - Austria invades Serbia.

This is the third attempt to conquer the Serbs in retaliation for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This attempt fails like the two before it, at the hands of highly motivated Serbs fighting on their home ground.

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The Austrians withdraw in mid-December, after suffering over , casualties from the three failed invasions. November 1, - The British Navy suffers its worst defeat in centuries during a sea battle in the Pacific.

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The objective is to protect the oil pipeline from Persia. Two weeks later they capture the city of Basra. Trench Warfare Begins. December - The Western Front in Europe stabilizes in the aftermath of the First Battle of Ypres as the Germans go on the defensive and transfer troops to the East to fight the Russians. Troops from both sides construct opposing trench fortifications and dugouts protected by barbed wire, machine-gun nests, snipers, and mortars, with an in-between area called No Man's Land.

The Eastern Front also sees its share of trenches as troops dig in after the Russians hold off the Germans in Poland and the Austrians hold off the Russians at Limanowa. Von Spee and two sons serving in his squadron are killed. December 10, - The French begin a series of attacks along the Western Front against the Germans in the Artois region of northern France and Champagne in the south. Historical tradition dates the Hundred Years War between England and France as running from to The overseas possessions of the English kings were the root cause of the tensions with the kings of France, and the tensions reached right back to William the Conqueror was already duke of Normandy when he became king of England.

His great-grandson Henry II, at his accession in , was already count of Anjou by inheritance from his father and duke of Aquitaine Gascony and Poitou in right of his wife Eleanor.

The Hundred Years War grew out of these earlier clashes and their consequences. His son, Henry III, renounced his claim to those lands in the Treaty of Paris in , but it left him with Gascony as a duchy held under the French crown. In , Charles IV of France had died without a male heir. Edward now revived his claim, and in formally assumed the title 'King of France and the French Royal Arms'. Historians argue about whether Edward really believed he might actually attain the French throne. Irrespective, his claim gave him very important leverage in his dealings with Philip.

He could use it to stir up trouble by encouraging French malcontents to recognise him as king instead of Philip. He could also use it as a powerful weapon in negotiation, by offering to renounce his claim against very large territorial concessions, for instance the independence of Aquitaine from France - possibly even the cession of Normandy and Anjou on the same terms. Among these were the Flemings, always open to English pressure on account of their commercial links with England; the Montfort claimants to the duchy of Brittany in the succession war that broke out there in ; and Charles of Navarre, of the French blood royal and a great Norman vassal and landowner, in the s.

These alliances enabled Edward to render substantial regions of France virtually ungovernable from Paris, and to keep the fighting on French soil going in between occasional English expeditions. The conquest of territory was not an object, but Edward was quite ready to engage a pursuing French army in open battle.

Though intermittent, these expeditions had a very major impact. The conquest of territory was not an object, but Edward was quite ready to engage a pursuing French army in open battle if he could do so in advantageous circumstances.

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Treaty of Frankfurt am Main ends Franco-Prussian War - HISTORY

He rightly reckoned that economic damage and defeat in the field would force his adversary to the negotiating table. Between and , chaos engulfed the kingless French kingdom, with Charles of Navarre in revolt and temporarily controlling Paris in There was also a major peasant rising in the same year, in the central provinces the 'Jacquerie' , and freebooting companies of soldiers on the rampage almost everywhere.

But Rheims did not open its gates and nor did Paris.


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In return, Edward would renounce his clam to the French throne. By , the French under the leadership of the shrewd new king, Charles V, and his great constable, Bertrand du Guesclin, succeeded in wresting from the English the greater part of the principality of Aquitaine. This reduced England's, effective authority to a coastal strip between Bordeaux and Bayonne. But he did retaliate with the help of his Castilian allies by launching a series of damaging naval raids on English south coast ports.

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By the time Charles V died in , however, the French military revival was running out of steam, and both sides were becoming war-weary. Over the two decades that followed, fighting was desultory and punctuated by truces. Under the English King Richard II indeed, there were serious efforts to find a way towards a negotiated and final peace. This opened clear opportunities for an ambitious English intervention, which Henry V, who succeeded in , boldly seized.

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Henry returned to France in , opening a new campaign in new style - this time aiming at the conquest of territory. A campaign of sieges ensued, in which Henry correctly calculated that the rivalry between Burgundians and Armagnacs would prevent either French party attempting the relief of beleaguered towns and castles. After the fall of Rouen, the Norman capital, in January , the English were able to bring the whole duchy under their control, and the way to Paris lay open before them.

At this dire pass, the French parties at last agreed to meet at Montereau to coordinate resistance to the English.

War and Government in the French Provinces

Henry would then act as regent for Charles while he lived. These became the terms of the Treaty of Troyes of These terms were widely accepted in northern France, but not in the south. But in the south, the Armagnacs upheld the succession of the dauphin, Charles.

The regency for Henry VI in France was taken up by his eldest surviving uncle, John, Duke of Bedford, and with it the task of seeking to win acceptance of the Troyes settlement throughout France. Militarily, Bedford needed to carry the war forward successfully into the 'dauphinist' lands south of the Loire. But before he could push south, Bedford needed to consolidate Anglo-Burgundian authority north of the Loire. The aim had to be to starve the garrison out.

This dealt a mortal blow to English hopes of making the Troyes settlement stick. Paris opened its gates to Charles's general, Arthur, Constable de Richemont, in April , and though the English still controlled most of Normandy and campaigned vigorously along its borders, the prospects for their cause began to look very gloomy indeed.


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Negotiations formed a continuous background to the fighting from They finally bore fruit in with a general truce agreed at Tours. It was hoped that the arranged marriage there between Henry VI of England and the French princess Margaret of Anjou would help to make the truce a step toward full peace terms. Charles VII, who had used the break in fighting to reorganise his royal army, declared himself no longer bound by the terms of the truce.

His forces rapidly overran Normandy during In , he repeated this success in Gascony. The veteran English commander John Talbot arrived there the following year with a force from England and retook Bordeaux. But on 17 July , his army was disastrously defeated at Castillon and Talbot himself killed. Soon after, with Bordeaux once more in French hands, there was nothing left of the former English territories in France, bar Calais.

The war was effectively over, even though it would not officially end for many years yet.

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