by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
The Statesman headlines read:
German Forces Invade Duchy of Luxemburg
France’s Delay in Answering Germany’s Ultimatum Disastrous
French Are Mobilizing
General Outbreak Seems Imminent in Europe
French Roads At Standstill: Crews Enlist
Realization of Meaning of War Brought Home
Bands of Germans and Frenchmen Fight – Excitement Prevails in German Restaurants of West End
United States Acts to Help Its Nationals
London Hotels Crowded With Americans Unable to Get Passage Home
Thousands of Americans Are Scattered In Europe
By the second of August, Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary and France had all mobilized. Russia and Germany were at war. Austria-Hungary was at war with Serbia. Russia had crossed the border and invaded Germany and as the headline read, Germany had invaded Luxembourg.
The United States sought to mediate, but Europe was not inclined to listen. Italy was neutral and public opinion in Britain was hardening against Germany. Belgium would be the fulcrum. For centuries, Britain’s foreign policy turned on preserving Belgium and The Netherlands as critical waterways through which funneled commerce and armies.
The paper had no editorial comment.