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"The Conflict Begins... ...International relations in Europe in the summer of 1914 were, apparently, quiet: but great tensions existed under the surface. The Great European Powers were ranged against each other in two alliances—The Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) and the Triple Entente (France, Russia and Great Britain). The situation was heightened by economic and imperial rivalries, national pride, the nationalism of new countries, ambitious statesmen, the instability of eastern Europe (particularly the Balkans where the Ottoman Empire was collapsing) and the constant talk of wars somewhere. All the ingredients were there for a small international fire to become a raging inferno. Once started by those fatal shots, efforts to stop the blaze proved futile.... ...Then, on August 4, the German Army on its way to France invaded neutral Belgium. Britain sent an ultimatum demanding withdrawal of German troops and reminding Germany of the Treaty of 1839 guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality, to which Prussia (effectively the predecessor of Germany) was also a signatory. Unanswered, the ultimatum expired at midnight on August 4. Britain was at war. And when Britain was at war, Canada was at war. That was her sole obligation. How Canada reacted to the war and what measures she took in support of Britain was up to her own government... ...On October 29, the German Army made one final effort to reach the Channel ports. In the First Battle of Ypres, in a little corner of Belgium known as Flanders, the British Expeditionary Force and their French allies held against overwhelming odds and the ports were saved. Unfortunately in these early campaigns Britain lost the greater part of her precious regular army, while the efforts to protect the Ypres Salient were to be even more costly in the future."