What's amazing about 1914 too is how fast things escalated and changed a decent, civilized state of peace into all-out war and an everyday routine where the war was the overwhelming fact. In just a few weeks, the killing of a Habsburg prince whom very few people had ever heard about beyond, at most, his name, led to a full European war. I mean, considering the state of communications back then and how many people actually wanted peace, that's incredible. The people in Belgrade who put together a reply to the Austrian ultimatum -. one of the key moments on the path to war - actually wrote it in longhand, with many crossings-out and last-minute corrections because they had different ideas of how to reply and what they needed to hide. They didn't even get a clean fair copy typed out - too hard up for time - and sent a man on foot with it (not even on a horse!) The Austrian minister who received the reply didn't get fooled by the shoddy appearance of the note though; after he'd read it he dubbed it "a masterpiece of diplomatic thinking, one of the shrewdest, most impressive replies I have ever seen" - and he repeated that assessment twenty years later. Today nobody would have wanted to reply under those communications conditions.
It went incredibly fast - from an uncommonly hot summer into a deafening war. The idea of war may have been in the air but pretty much no one imagined it would become that kind of war. If you're looking for a razor sharp edge of transition in history, this is it.