August 4 - German troops invade neutral Belgium in advance on France. Britain declares war on Germany after the latter fails to undertake to respect Belgian neutrality. The United States declares neutrality.
November 1 - World War I: Battle of Coronel fought - A Royal Navy squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock is met and defeated by the superior German forces led by Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. This is the first British naval defeat of the war.