In 1914, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway will be completed and the Last Spike will be driven at Fort Fraser on April 7th. The long awaited day has finally arrived, but there is little joy in the accomplishment. The railway is deeply in debt and the towns along the line are already struggling in an economy that, for the first time in thirty years, is going in a downward spiral.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th will set in motion a series of events that will swiftly escalate through the summer months. The Kaiser’s decision to march his army through neutral and peace-loving Belgium will earn him widespread condemnation and even some of his former allies will become his foes. And when King Albert decides to resist the massive army, Belgium’s bravery in the face of inevitable defeat will touch the hearts of many, giving the Allies not only a reason to go to war, but a Cause. On August 4th, the watch towers on the hills will be lit and all of England’s loyal colonies will answer her call. England will join forces with its old enemy, France, and together with Russia, the Triple Entente will become the mighty Allied Powers. Now the Kaiser’s worst nightmare has come true, he has war on two fronts, with England and her steadfast colonies against him as well. In the beginning Germany and Austria/Hungary will stand alone, having alienated Italy by invading Belgium. But in a bold and history-changing move, Germany will recruit a new ally and they will become the fierce and formidable Central Powers. Winston Churchill said that 1914 is the year that will mark the beginning of the ‘Terrible Twentieth Century’ and Sir Edward Grey, England’s Foreign War Secretary said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Nevertheless, there are voices of hope in the darkness. The beloved best-selling author, HG Wells writes that this war could be the war to end all wars. His statement will be widely quoted, yet it is never meant to be simple propaganda. Wells believes that a world war of such magnitude will finally earn the world the peace that it so greatly desires. Another voice belongs to the esteemed poet laureate and author, Rudyard Kipling, who wrote the most famous and best known poem in the world: If, words of wisdom for his only son, John. He will write another in September of 1914, which will become a ringing call to arms across all the Allied Nations, the ultimate anthem of patriotism, entitled, For All We Have and Are. The declaration of war will send English-born Jonathan Sterling away from his beloved family in Prince George, while Dustin remains in Hazelton, torn by indecision and wondering whether his first loyalties are to Heather and their three children or to his country. However, Dustin's ultimate decision could be impacted by his belief that Heather and Jonathan have betrayed him. Jeff and Lily watch helplessly as Anne is left pregnant and alone in Hazelton, as Ryan goes to war with the Canadian Expeditionary Force leaving her in the not so tender care of his parents. Billy Hamilton and Jessica Sterling are impacted the least by the war, even though the dream castles were never built, they are sharing a grand fairy tale.