1.3 What caused the First World War?

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 kick-started the First World War. Yet it wasn’t just this that led to war. Potential conflicts had been simmering away for a considerable period of time, but it took this event to bring them all to the surface. The films on this page relate to some of the longer term causes.

4 MINS 19 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1914

This film probably dates from July 1914 when French President Raymond Poincare made a state visit to Russia. Poincare and his wife are greeted by the Russian tsar, Nicholas II, before watching a display by Russian troops. The film illustrates international relations prior to the outbreak of war.


4 MINS 47 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1911, 1912, 1913

A collection of material featuring the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II during the years immediately preceding the First World War. The events covered are as follows: the emperor returning from a military review in 1913, military processions and displays from 1911, the Kaiser (informally dressed) with his chancellor in 1913, the Kaiser at a deer hunt in 1912, the Kaiser with his officers and with Constantine of Greece in 1913, and the Kaiser (in ceremonial uniform) entering a carriage. These clips give an indication of the Kaiser's style and of pre-war German militarism.


0 MINS 22 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1910-1914

In this film, which may date from 1913, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visits the Austrian emperor Franz Josef in Vienna. Their two countries were part of the Triple Alliance.

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