When World War I broke out in August 1914 Ima was on her way to it. She had sailed from Galveston, Texas, June 11 on the Chemnitz, a German ship bound for Bremen, Germany. (Was this another visit to someone she loved in Germany?) The Chemnitz was at sea when the fateful event that set off the war occurred: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Duchess Sophie (whom many historians forget about) were killed by a Serbian assassin in Sarajevo on June 28 (a date that also happened to be the couple’s wedding anniversary). That very day Austria declared war on Serbia.
The next day, on June 29, Ima Hogg sent a cable from the Chemnitz to her home in Houston:
“When news came of the Austro-Serbian conflict and the Triple-Alliance complications, our imaginations even pictured us being captured by an English cruiser in the Channel!” Traveling with friends, she was not really alarmed.
The latest news,” she wrote, “makes us think all will be peaceably settled.”
Little did she--or anyone else--know what was to come.