The great centennial, WWI

WW1 centenary: how the events of August 4 1914 unfolded

Britain went to war on August 4 1914. In the final part of a four-day series, we document the dramatic events leading up to the declaration of war as they happened, hour-by-hour

By Richard Preston | 2:30PM BST 04 Aug 2014

The outbreak of war in 1914 is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse in the conservatory with a smoking pistol. There is no smoking gun in this story; or rather there is one in the hands of every major character. — Christopher Clark, The SleepwalkersThe outbreak of war in 1914 is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse in the conservatory with a smoking pistol. There is no smoking gun in this story; or rather there is one in the hands of every major character. — Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers

(Updated hour by hour.)

All times are London time unless marked CET – Central European

14.30 MPs are gathering in the House of Commons. David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is to make a statement about the maintenance of trade and insurance against war risks, then it will be Asquith’s turn

14.00 Sir Edward Grey tells Goschen, Britain’s ambassador in Berlin, to repeat the request to Germany that Belgium’s neutrality be respected. A reply is required by midnight Central European time, 11pm in London.

Should no assurance be received, Goschen is to ask for his passports and tell Germany: ‘His Majesty’s Government feels bound to take all steps in their power to uphold the neutrality of Belgium and the observance of a Treaty to which Germany is as much a party as ourselves’.

More: The Telegraph (Continually being updated)

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