Austria, Monday, 29th June
29 June and after Strong belief in Vienna that the Sarajevo assassinations were plotted in Belgrade and involve the Serbian government. There have been bad relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia for over 10 years. It is the last straw.
A consensus quickly forms among Austro-Hungarian leaders and senior officials that only military action will put a stop to Serbia's agitation for a Greater Serbia. [More]
29 June Conrad tells Berchtold Austria-Hungary should immediately mobilise and attack Serbia.
Berchtold agrees the time has come to solve the Serb problem but he says time is needed to assess the situation and prepare public opinion.
Berchtold's previous policies regarding Serbia have failed and his associates believe he lacks sufficient will-power for his role.
30 June Though he expresses caution to Conrad, Berchtold takes a firm position for action throughout the rest of the crisis.
He talks to Tschirschky mentioning a "final and fundamental reckoning with Belgrade". Tschirschky reports the views in Vienna to Berlin and says "I take opportunity of every .... occasion to advise quietly but very impressively and seriously against too hasty steps".
30 June Berchtold sees the Emperor. He says the Monarchy's policy of tolerance has been badly rewarded. Its neighbours to the south and east will work even harder against it. The future of the Monarchy is at stake.
There is need for a clear programme of action. The Emperor agrees. He insists that Berchtold must discuss the next steps with Tisza and get his agreement.
30 June Tisza tells Berchtold the assassinations should not be used as a pretext for war with Serbia. He thinks Serbia should be given time to mend its ways. Tisza is not against war with Serbia but the present circumstances are not favourable.
Austria-Hungary must first have satisfactory alliances with its other Balkan neighbours, Romania and Bulgaria. They should especially obtain the co-operation of Bulgaria. Tisza is the only Austria-Hungary leader against immediate extreme measures. [More]
1 July Tisza sees the Emperor and again says it is a mistake to attack Serbia. It could start a great war in circumstances unfavourable to the Monarchy. The Monarchy would be internationally isolated. Romania had turned towards Russia and Bulgaria was weak. He emphasises his right as Hungarian Prime Minister to be consulted. He thinks Austria-Hungary must enlist the diplomatic support of Germany in obtaining the necessary Balkan alliances. [More]
1 July So far German advice has indicated Austria-Hungary should be cautious but Victor Naumann a well known German journalist calls on Hoyos and tells him in Berlin "the idea of a preventive war against Russia is regarded with less disfavour than a year ago".
If the Kaiser is spoken to in the right way he will support Austria-Hungary even if it leads to war.
Austria-Hungary will be finished as a Great Power if she does not take advantage of the moment.
Naumann has no official status but he is known to have good contacts with Jagow and Stumm in Berlin and Tschirschky. [More]
2 July Tschirschky calls on Berchtold who says Germany has not always given Austria-Hungary its support regarding Balkan problems. Tschirschky gives his opinion that Austria-Hungary's lack of a firm plan of action has been the cause of this. He mentions too that it is important to create a favourable diplomatic situation and ensure the support of Italy and Romania.
2 July Tschirschky has an audience with the Emperor. He passes on the Kaiser's regrets that he is unable to attend the Archduke's funeral.
The Emperor says he thinks the future looks very black and he hopes the Kaiser also sees the threat Serbia poses to the Monarchy.
In line with what he has said to Berchtold, Tschirschky tells the Emperor, Germany is resolutely behind the Monarchy defending its vital interests. And, he adds, the general political situation and the attitude of other powers has to be considered and the ground carefully prepared.
2 July Police reports from Sarajevo confirm the assassins got their weapons from Serbia and elements of the Serbian government were involved.
2-3 July German support is vital. To get German support Berchtold modifies a recently prepared memorandum discussing what must be done to strengthen the position of Austria-Hungary and Germany in the Balkans and to prevent Russia building on the success of Serbia and its allies in the recent Balkan wars.
In addition there is a personal letter from the Emperor to the Kaiser. Neither of these documents explicitly calls for war against Serbia, but that extreme measures, including war, are intended is clear. [More]
4 July Ganz, the Vienna correspondent of a German newspaper, who has just been to see Tschirschky, calls on Forgách at the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office.
He says "Germany would support the Monarchy through thick and thin in whatever it might decide regarding Serbia". The ambassador had added that the sooner Austria-Hungary went into action the better.
4-5 July To ensure the memorandum and letter are understood and have the greatest influence they are taken to Berlin by Hoyos who is strongly in favour of military action against Serbia and who can give an additional verbal brief to the leaders in Berlin and answer questions.
4 July Tisza suggests changes to these documents. Instead of the phrase "eliminated as a power factor in the Balkans" Serbia is to be "required to give up its aggressive tendencies", but Hoyos has already left for Berlin so no changes are made.