world war one
Flanders Fields Miscellenea

How did World War 1 start?

What led to 16 million people losing their lives? And what were the key battles in Flanders, Belgium?

This may seem a strange title for a post on Discovering Belgium, but it’s a highly relevant one. Today Belgium marks the 100th centenary of its invasion by Germany. Belgium was never the same from that day, and still carries the marks of its 4-year occupation which saw much of the country – particularly the Westhoek, or Flanders Fields – totally destroyed and around 100,000 Belgian soldiers and civilians killed. Elsewhere on this site I introduce readers to some of the battlefield sites in Belgium that are worth visiting.

Today I link to an article I was recently asked to write for the Flemish weekly newspaper Flanders Today. The editor wanted an overview of the First World War in Flanders, explaining how it started, and describing the key events and battles. I wrote it as it might have covered by the press in 1914-1918.

It was fascinating to research – particularly how the “war to end all wars” started. Such a jigsaw or pacts and treaties, that once started seemed impossible to stop. You can read the article here.

world war one

 

3 comments on “How did World War 1 start?

  1. We found the sites of the battles and the war cemeteries to be very moving places and so beautifully maintained. Seeing all those headstones is a fitting reminder of the waste of war.

    You might enjoy reading these articles Denzil, which are about the first shot fired in WW1 by allied troops…it was not in Europe but in Australia! I didn’t know about it until I heard about this story on the radio this morning during the coverage of the commemorations.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-11/the-mystery-of-the-first-bullet-fired-in-world-war-i/5083444

    http://nepeanhistoricalsociety.asn.au/history/defence/defence-in-the-20th-century/

    • They are really interesting Carol. I never realised this. And it just shows the truly global scope of this war, even from day one.

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