Brittain, Vera, Diary, 3-4 August 1914

Diary of Vera Brittain


Case Study: 
From Youth to Experience: Vera Brittain’s Work for Peace in Two World Wars
Brittain, Vera
3-4 August 1914
McMaster University Libraries
Vera Brittain estate; McMaster University has a non-exclusive licence to publish this document.


plights trying to get along the railways, particularly back to England. Paper money is useless & the majority of the trains are cut off. None of them are allowed to cross the frontier, & tourists besides travelling fifteen in a carriage intended for six have to get out at the frontiers & take their own luggage across. Nancy Garnett does not know what will become of her German cousins who tried to return to Berlin on Friday. It is rumoured that there is fear in Paris that a fleet of German Zeppelins are going to destroy Paris from above in the night. Truly it is a situation never equaled & scarcely imagined within the memory of living men.
Tuesday August 4th
Late as it is & almost to excited to write as I am, I must make some effort to chronicle the stupendous events of this remarkable day. The situation is absolutely unparalleled in the history of the world. Never before has the war strength of each individual nation been of such great extent, even though all the nations of Europe, the dominant continent, have been armed before. It is estimated that the when the war begins 14 millions of men will be engaged in the conflict. Attack is possible by earth, water & air, & the destruction attainable by the modern war machines used by the armies is unthinkable & past imagination.
This morning at breakfast we learnt that war is formally declared between France & Germany, that the German ambassador has left Paris & the French ambassador Berlin. Germany has declared to Belgium that if her troops are allowed to pass unmolested through Belgian territory she will protect her interests in the Treaty at the end of the war. Belgium has indignantly refused any such violation of international honour, and the King of the Belgians has appealed to King George for aid. For an hour this morning I read a fine speech of Sir Edward Grey’s, in which he manages successfully to steer the middle course