On This Day

Published in Issue 4 (July/August 2014), Volume 22


President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act, a landmark in civil rights legislation in the United States, was passed.

The Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street, Dublin, was founded. It was the first medical institution in Ireland or Britain to allow women to sit its examinations.

Eight days after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary was assured by Germany that it would support any action it took against Serbia. This commitment became known as the ‘blank cheque’ by which Germany pledged unconditional support for any action taken by Austria-Hungary.

In a joint communiqué to Vienna, French President Raymond Poincaré and Russian Tsar Nicholas II expressed the hope that Austria-Hungary would do nothing to compromise the honour or independence of Serbia.
‘The July Ultimatum’: Austria-Hungary issued Serbia with a list of demands, all but one of which—the participation of Austro-Hungarian delegates in a judicial inquiry into the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand—were accepted by Serbia.

The Buckingham Palace Conference, a last-minute attempt to break the impasse between nationalists and unionists over Home Rule, ended in failure after four days.

The Asgard, navigated by Erskine Childers, landed 1,500 guns for the Irish Volunteers at Howth. Later that day, three people were killed and 38 injured when British soldiers fired indiscriminately on supporters of the Irish Volunteers at Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin.

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Belgrade, the Serbian capital, was bombarded the following day.
Tsar Nicholas II ordered the partial mobilisation of Russian forces on the Austro-Hungarian border.

Tsar Nicholas II ordered a full mobilisation of Russian forces. Germany demanded that Russia cease her mobilisation within 24 hours and that France announce her neutrality. The Russians failed to reply. The French refused to comply.


Germany declared war on Russia. France and Germany began a general mobilisation.

Germany demanded of the Belgian government that they permit the free passage of German forces across her territory into northern France. Belgian neutrality had been guaranteed by Germany, France and Britain under the Treaty of London (1839). Belgium refused the German demand the following day.
Around 100,000 people attended anti-war rallies across Britain, organised by the Labour Party and socialist activists.

Germany declared war on France. Britain became the last of the Great Powers to engage in the July crisis when the cabinet decided that a ‘substantial violation’ of Belgium had occurred, justifying war. Speaking in the House of Commons, the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, John Redmond, pledged Ireland’s support for Britain should she enter the war.

At 8am German troops invaded Belgium. At 11pm Britain declared war on Germany.
‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’—Sir Edward Grey, British foreign secretary.

The Endurance, commanded by Sir Ernest Shackleton, set off on its celebrated expedition to the Antarctic.

The 48-mile-long Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic Ocean, via the Caribbean Sea, with the Pacific Ocean, was officially opened.

27,000 French soldiers were killed in a German counter-offensive—the deadliest day in the history of France.

Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, journalist and writer, notably author of the Gothic suspense novel Uncle Silas (1864), born at 45 Dominick Street, Dublin.

The IRA announced ‘a complete cessation of military operations’.


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