Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, July 28, 2014

100 Years Ago: Quotes from July 1914


Headline, Washington Times, 28 July 1914

A mead 
Bordered about with warbling water brooks. 
A maid 
Laughing the love-laugh with me; proud of looks.''
Shaking the heavy dews from bloom and frond. 
Bursting the surface of the ebony pond.
Wilfred Owen, diary entries, July 1914

Anarchist Bomb Intended to Kill John D. Rockefeller 
Explodes Prematurely Killing Four 
in Lexington Avenue Apartment in New York City
4 July 1914
We have the prospect of winning [or] we still certainly have the prospect of maneuvering the Entente apart.
Bethmann-Hollweg, 8 July 1914

The text of the note to be addressed to Belgrade, agreed today, is such that we must reckon with the probability of of a warlike confrontation.  Should Serbia nevertheless yield and conceed to our demands, then such a move by the kingdom [of Serbia] would not only mean its profound humiliation and . . . a diminution of Russian prestige in the Balkans, but would also imply certain guarantees for us in the direction of a restraining of pan-Serb infiltration on our soil.
Count Berchtold to Franz Josef, 14 July 1914

There are always clouds in the international sky. You never get a perfectly blue sky in foreign affairs. And there are clouds even now. But we feel confident that the common sense, the patience, the good-will, the forbearance which enabled us to solve greater and more difficult and more urgent problems last year will enable us to pull through these difficulties at the present moment.
David Lloyd George, speech, 17 July 1914

In one of the most memorable baseball games of all time, outfielder Red Murray of the New York Giants ended his team's 21-inning, 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates with a spectacular catch. He was immediately struck by lightening, knocked unconscious, but held on to the ball for the final out.
17 July 1914

A brilliant achievement at forty-eight hours notice. More than anyone could have expected.   A great moral victory for Vienna but it removes any reason  for war .  .  . the reservations on few points of detail can in my view be cleared up by negotiation.
Kaiser Wilhelm II, 25 July 1914

This will take attention away from Ulster, which is a good thing.
Herbert Asquith, letter, 25 July 1914

Everything tends towards catastrophe & collapse. I am interested, geared up and happy. Is it not horrible to be built like that? The preparations have a hideous fascination for me. I pray to God to forgive me for such fearful moods of levity. Yet I w[oul]d do my best for peace, and nothing w[oul]d induce me wrongfully to strike the blow.
Winston Churchill, 28 July 1914

Everything possible must be done to save the peace. I will not become responsible for a monstrous slaughter.
Tsar Nicholas II, 29 July 1914

This war will turn into a world war in which England will also intervene. Few can have an idea of the extent, the duration and the end of this war. Nobody today can have a notion of how it will all end.
General Helmuth von Moltke, 30 July 1914

The Stain, Early Film of Silent Star
Theda Bara Debuts, July 1914

I thank you heartily for your mediation which begins to give one hope that all may yet end peacefully. It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations which were obligatory owing to Austria's mobilisation. We are far from wishing war. As long as the negotiations with Austria on Servia's account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this. I put all my trust in God's mercy and hope in your successful mediation in Vienna for the welfare of our countries and for the peace of Europe.
Tsar's Telegram to the Kaiser, 31 July 1914


  1. There are two quotes from the Tsar suggesting that he was hoping for peace. Yet the Germans and Austrians attacked on the next day. All the quotes from the Central Powers suggest that they had made up their minds that they wanted war.

  2. I am reading July 1914 and Guns of August in real time. Any suggestions for books covering the war after August? Do you plan on posting what happened on a given date 100 years ago?


    1. Hi,

      We recommend two works on the subsequent battles. You can find them on our homepage at

      We will occasionally do parallel articles by date but not systematically. There are some sites attempting this however.

  3. What sad commentary on our 20th Century...