In 1914 the political map of Europe was dominated by
five great powers: Austria, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and
one near great power, Italy. These countries had long been suspicious
of each other’s motives eager for power and intent on arming themselves
again the possibility of war. Tension between France and Germany had
not relaxed since the Franco-Prussian war of 1871, Germany had the best
army in Europe and was now rivalling Britain in naval power, and Austria-Hungary
and Russia were vying for power in the Balkans. In this mood of fear
and aggression these powers formed alliances for self_protection.
Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy formed the Triple Alliance France,
Russia and Britain formed the Triple Entente. Thus Europe was divided
into two hostile camps and was sitting on a keg of gun-powder.
The fatal spark that set it alight occurred on June 28th; 1914. Archduke
Franz Ferdinand heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne driving through
Sarajevo a Bosnian town under Austrian rule. Gavrilo Princip a young
Serbian in the crowd shot him dead. Austria-Hungary held Serbia responsible
for the assassination. Russia mobilized to support Serbia, backed by
her ally France. Germany mobilized declaring war on Russia and France.
Britain stood to guarantee Belgian neutrality, so when Germany attacked
France and invaded Belgium, the result was inevitable. At midnight On
August 3rd, 1914, Britain entered the war.
On August 8th, the ILN produced a special double number entitled ‘War’
(appendix list no. 67)
As well as containing a 16 page supplement on Britain’s power
at sea, it illustrates the German navy and army, the French army, the
mobilisation of Russia, prominent personalities in the crisis, naval,
military, and diplomatic, and the mobilisation of the British fleet.
The cover of this number in red, white and blue, is dominated by the
flags of the Triple Entente; the tricolore of France, the Czarist Russian
ensign and the Union Jack. At the base of each flagstaff are the coats
of arms of each of these three nations.
This issue is number 3929, vol. 145 (pages 201-240) measures 30 x 42
cm and was priced at one shilling.