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Wilton Park and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office bring First World War diplomacy to life


By dxw

Wilton Park and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launch a series of podcasts that focus on the diplomacy of the period leading up to the First World War from 28 June – 4 August 1914.

The 28 June 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the trigger which sparked the chain of events leading to the First World War.

Known as the ‘July crisis’, the assassination triggered a diplomatic frenzy and, ultimately, led to the outbreak of World War 1 on 28 July 1914, with Great Britain joining the war on 4 August. In these 37 days Europe was convulsed by conflict, tangled in a complex war of competing alliances and embroiled Britain in a world war that had never been seen before.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, launched Wilton Park’s and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office podcast series that focuses on the diplomacy leading up to the outbreak of the First World War with an introduction and detailed analysis on Sir Edward Grey, Britain’s Foreign Secretary in 1914.

In the interviews, the Foreign Secretary and former British Ambassadors to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia and Serbia set the scene for what was rapidly unfolding in Europe between 28 June – 4 August 1914 and describe the events, circumstances, pressures and challenges that faced them during the same period.

The podcasts feature diplomatic correspondence and minutes that have been extracted from the main players in the July Crisis: Sir Edward Grey; Sir Francis Bertie, British Ambassador in Paris; Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador in St. Petersburg; Sir Maurice de Bunsen, British Ambassador in Vienna; Sir Edward Goschen, British Ambassador in Berlin; Sir Francis Villiers, British Minister in Brussels; Dayrell Crackanthorpe, British Chargé d’Affaires in Belgrade.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”

Sir Edward Grey, 3rd August 1914

With many thanks to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, Charles Crawford, Sir Michael Arthur, Dame Anne Pringle, Sir Ivor Roberts, Lord Michael Jay, Colin Munro and all those involved at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all your greatly respected contributions.


Further information

Outbreak of World War 1 brought to life online (

FCO First World War podcasts (Audioboo)


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