•July 1, 1916 – Battle of the Somme
oBritish launched offensive against Somme River
oAlso known as the Somme Offensive, took place during the First World War between 1 July and 14 November 1916 in the Somme department of France, on both banks of the river of the same name. The battle consisted of an offensive by the British and French armies against the German Army, which, since invading France in August 1914, had occupied large areas of that country. The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the First World War; by the time fighting had petered out in late autumn 1916 the forces involved had suffered more than 1 million casualties, making it one of the bloodiest military operations ever recorded. oThe plan for the Somme offensive evolved out of Allied strategic discussions at Chantilly, Oise in December 1915. Chaired by General Joseph Joffre, the commander-in-chief of the French Army, Allied representatives agreed on a concerted offensive against the Central Powers in 1916 by the French, British, Italian and Russian armies. The Somme offensive was to be the Anglo-French contribution to this general offensive, and was intended to create a rupture in the German line, which could then be exploited with a decisive blow. With the German attack on Verdun on the River Meuse in February 1916, the Allies were forced to adapt their plans. The British Army took the lead on the Somme, though the French contribution remained significant. oThe opening day of the battle on 1 July 1916 saw the British Army suffer the worst one-day combat losses in its history, with nearly 60,000 casualties. •Feb 1916 – Battle of Verdun
oOne of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. The German High Command had failed to achieve its two objectives: 1) to capture the city of Verdun and 2) to inflict a much higher casualty count on its French adversary. By the end of the battle (December 1916) the French Second Army had rolled back the German forces around Verdun, but not quite to their initial positions of February 1916. oIt was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and the history of warfare. Verdun was primarily an artillery battle. In both France and Germany, Verdun has come to represent the horrors of war, like the Battle of the Somme in the British consciousness. The renowned British military historian Major General Julian Thompson has referred to Verdun as "France's Stalingrad". •July 28, 1914 – heir to Hapsburg throne – Franz Ferdinand assassinated oOn 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip. The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack. oAssignment of responsibility for the bombing and murders of 28 June is highly controversial because the attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later. •The July Crisis was a diplomatic crisis among the major powers of Europe in the summer of 1914 that led to the First World War. Immediately after Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo, a series of diplomatic maneuverings led to an ultimatum from Austria-Hungary to Serbia, and ultimately to war. oThis ultimatum was part of a coercive program meant to weaken the Kingdom of Serbia as a threat to Austria-Hungary's occupation of the northern Balkans which had a significant southern Slavic population, including a majority Serbian community in Bosnia. This was supposed to be achieved either through diplomacy or by a localized...