20 August 2017
Treaty of Versailles

“President Wilson signing the Peace Treaty in the Hall of Mirrors, Trianon Palace, Versailles, 28 June 1919.”
© IWM (Q 14997)

Today, for the final activities of the 2017 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize program, the participants are visiting the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris as well as the Palace of Versailles. On 28 June 1919, on the fifth anniversary of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles. This officially ended the hostilities of the First World War.  

Statues and monuments on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles were sandbagged and sheltered to avoid potential damage from enemy bombardment.
© IWM (Q 78183)
© IWM (Q 69618)

4 August 1914-2017
British Declaration of War

The London Gazette Publication date: 4 August 1914 Supplement: 28861 Page: 6161

Today, 4 August 2017, marks the 103rd Anniversary of the British Declaration of War on the German Empire in 1914. The declaration came over a month after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914. Four years later, countries, empires, and arguably the entire world, had been irrevocably altered.  

One of the popular explanations for Britain’s declaration of war maintains that the English were provoked by Germany’s invasion of Belgium, thus automatically compelling them to honour their alliance to protect Belgian neutrality. While it is beyond the scope of our social media posts to tackle such a complex topic, we would like to share the following podcast, produced by BBC Radio 4 for the 1914-2014 centennial. It provides an interesting primer to the discussion on British reasons for the declaration of war. The entire Month of Madness program is an intriguing, accessible study of the five nations at the centre of that tumultuous summer of 1914. 

Listen to it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03th83q 

Crowds outside Buckingham Palace cheer King George, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales (who can just be seen on the balcony) following the Declaration of War in August 1914.
© IWM (Q 81832)