Why did an Assassination Lead to a General European war?

This timeline outlines the events leading up to the beginning of the First World War.

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Why did an Assassination Lead to a General European war?
Thursday 30th July
Kaiser Wilhelm heard that the Russian army was getting ready for a war, so
he sent an ultimatum to Tsar Nicholas ordering him to stop.
Saturday 1st August
Tsar Nicholas refused the ultimatum and so Germany mobilized its army and
declared a war on Russia. France, an ally of Russia, ordered the mobilisation
of its army on the same day.
Sunday 2nd August
Germany had long ago planned how to fight a war against France and Russia.
The Schlieffen Plan was to invade France through Belgium and defeat the
French within six weeks, before crossing to the other side of Europe to fight
Russia. The Germans started to send huge armies towards Belgium on army
trains, which started from six o'clock in the morning and the trains were
leaving Cologne at the rate of one every three minutes.
Monday 3rd August
The British honoured their promise from seventyfive years before, which
was that Britain would protect Belgium from attack by another country.
Britain sent a telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm ordering him to call back his army.
He was given until midnight on Tuesday to reply.
Tuesday 4th August
Britain's politicians sat in the Cabinet room anxiously waiting for an answer
to their telegram. No answer came. At midnight the operator of the telegram
cable to Berlin sent off the signal GN, meaning Good Night. The line stayed
dead for the next four years.
Wednesday 5th August
All the great powers of Europe were now at war with each other.


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