The Archduke was going to look at imperial armies in the recently annexed Bosnia. It was his wedding anniversary. His wife was accompanying him. After a failed bomb attempt on the couple, the party took a wrong turn and the couple was shot at point-blank range by Gavrilo Princip. An angry mob attacked the 19 year old before he could shoot himself and the police wrestled him away.
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
Austria-Hungary’s Government knew that Serbian Nationalist were responsible for the assassination of the Archduke. They believed the best response to this was to prepare for a military invasion by Serbia, so they gave Serbia an ultimatum. When Serbia did all but one of many task, Austria-Hungary declared war.
Germany Declares War on Russia
Since Germany backed Austria-Hungary and Russia backed Serbia, when those two went to war Germany warned Russia that going to war with Austria-Hungary was going to war with Germany. When Russia did not back down, Germany declared war.
Germany Declares War on France
Germany declared war on France, who backed Russia and Serbia (The Triple Alliance), as a military strategy for a two-front war against Russia and France. Many people welcomed this war with the idea that their country would be victorious within a couple months.
UK Declares War on Britian
After Germany invaded the neutral Belgium, the UK declared war on them, joining Serbia, Russia and France. The UK told Germany to respect Belgium’s neutrality like the rest of the world did, when they didn’t the UK declared war.
The US Declares Neutrality
President Wilson declares US’ policy of neutrality, saying we’d be impartial in both words and actions. This is soon compromised when US ships are damaged making trades with Britain.
Austria-Hungary Declares War on Russia, Germany Declares War on Serbia
Following their alliances, the two starters of the war declare war on the other participants. This is the strart of a full blown world war.
Japan Declares War on Germany
Japan gave Germany the ultimatum of removing all their ships from Japanese waters or there would be war. When Germany did not remove all their ships, Japan declared war.
Trenches First Appear
Due to technological and stratigic advances, the Western Front starts showing signs of trenches. These would later cause a stalemates across the war. The trenches were a hard place to live in, and caused a lot of deaths.
Turkey Enters War on the side of the Central Power
The Ottoman Empire (Modern-day Turkey) enters the war in an alliance with Germany. Though the Ottoman Empire had lost a lot of its power, Germany still wanted their alliance. So Germany convinced them to enter the war.
Unofficial Christmas Truce along the Western Front
Soldiers along the western front called an unofficial cease fire starting Christmas Eve 1914. The soldiers were reported singing carols, exchanging gifts, and playing soccer together.
First Air Raid on Britain (Zeppelin)
Two German Zeppelins dropped bombs amount the coastal towns of Britain. This raid would lead to the first casualties via airstrike. This would send the whole world into a tizzy looking for ways to defend their airspace.
France, Italy, Britain, and Russia conclude secret of Treaty of London
Italy signs a treaty, agreeing to enter the war on the side of the Allies. Italy weighed the options for joining on either side. Ultimately it was the landed promised in the Treaty of London that won them over.
Von Richthofen Gets Moved to Flying Unit
Von Richthofen was in a cavalry unit and wasn’t happy there so he put in a request to be moved to a flying unit. His cavalry unit was “...collect[ing] cheese eggs...” and he was bored. He wanted to see action.
A supposedly innocent British ship is sank with American passengers aboard. This event later is the rally cry for America’s entrance in the war. The supposedly innocent ship was actually shipping American ammo to the Allies.
Von Richthofen starts Pilot Training
After sitting in the backseat and observing for months, Von Richthofen started training to become a pilot. Later he would become a flying ace. This was the start of his amazing career as a pilot.
Von Richthofen passes his flight examination
After three months in training, Von Richthofen was a pilot. He was on step closer to the great flying ace we know him as today. He was also one closer to meeting his goal of becoming a fighter pilot.
US Declares War on Germany
After multiple attacks on civilian ships, one having “innocent” Americans on it, the Zimmerman Telegram the US decided to go to war. The official reason was to make the world safe for democracy. Take into consideration that American mercenaries were already fighting.
Joins Jagdstaffel (Jasta 2)
Upon meeting flying ace legend Oswald Boelcke, who was recruiting for Jagdstaffel, Von Richthofen wanted to join this elite flying group. After a brief interview, Von Richthofen was accepted into the group. He shipped out later.
Italy Declares War on Germany
Italy officially declares war on Germany, officially breaking its alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. (See Treaty of London for reasons)
Baron’s first mission with Jasta 2
On this day Jasta 2 goes on its first mission. This mission is against the British. The Baron shoots down an FE-2 2-seater built by the Royal Aircraft Factory.
Given the name Red Baron
After painting his plane red after created his own unit, Jagdstaffel 11, he was given the nickname the Red Baron. At this point in time, he had 16 victories. This nickname would follow him into history books.
Germany issues Peace Note
Germany issues a speech asking for compromise for peace. They suggest meeting in a neutral country. Very quickly, this is shot down by lots of people.
US Severs Ties with Germany
Due to Germany reopening unrestricted naval warfare the US cut diplomatic ties to uphold the honor and dignity. It also severs trading ties with the Germans and ceases to have contact with them.
This telegram was between Germany and Mexico about teaming up against America. This upset the American people and gov’t. This would later be credited to the entrance of the US in the war.
Red Baron had downed 31 Allies Planes
By this time, Von Richthofen had shot down 31 enemy planes. Not to say, but the Baron was well admired for this feat. He was also disliked by the enemies.
Bombed by the British
To say that the Baron had enemies was an understatement. All the British Airmen were obsessed with killing him. They planned a mass bombing on his airfield, when Von Richthofen caught wind of this he chose to stay put. It is said that on the night of the bombing he and his senior pilots laid out a fabulous dinner and ate, drank and told war stories during the whole bombing. So while the whole airfield was destroyed the Baron and his buddies in the bomb shelter were unharmed. Later in the month o
Wounded in Firefight
While in a firefight with the British Royal Airmen, Flt. Cdr. A. E. Woodbridge and Capt. Pilot D. C. Cunnell. Woodbridge wounded the Baron with a bullet to the head. While he recovered and came back to the war, it never fully healed. It is said that he had chronic headaches for the rest of his life from it.
On this day, the fighting stops. Surrenders and Peace agreements are made. It would be another 2 months before the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles began but this is the official end of the war.
The Last Dogfight
In the morning, the Baron was involved in a firefight with Canadian pilots. After taking off for a young lieutenant, the Baron was shot by Captain Roy Brown. Von Richthofen fell not far from an Australian encampment. While Captain Brown never officially claimed the kill, a couple Aussie gunmen did.
The Red Baron’s Funeral
It was actually the British who buried Von Richthofen. The British Royal Airmen buried the Red Baron with full military honors. They also took pictures of the funeral and dropped them at the Baron’s airdrome with the message:
TO THE GERMAN FLYING CORPS:
Rittmeister Baron Manfred von Richthofen was killed in aerial combat on April 21st, 1918. He was buried with full military honours.
From the British Royal Air Force
The Red Baron died with 80 victories.
Treaty of Versailles is Signed
The Treaty of Versailles is signed in the Palace of Versailles. This treaty makes Germany take blame for the war and pay everyone back. This also sets up the League of Nations and new country boundaries for Europe.