Austria, Sunday, 5th July
5 July Conrad sees the Emperor and tells him war against Serbia is inevitable. The Emperor points out Russian intervention might prevent it. Conrad replies Austria-Hungary has German support and the Emperor asks "Are you sure of Germany".
The Emperor tells Conrad of the note sent to Germany. Conrad asks "if Germany takes her stand on our side, do we then make war on Serbia?". The Emperor replies, "in that case, yes".
6 July Berchtold has Szögyény's telegram reporting his meeting with the Kaiser. He sees Conrad and asks what the Emperor has said. He tells Conrad the Kaiser has said "yes" but he must first have word from Bethmann.
He also notes that Tisza is against a war because he believes the Russians will attack. He suggests that Austria-Hungary starts with a test mobilisation but Conrad insists if there is to be mobilisation it must be total.
7 July, morning On his return to Vienna Hoyos immediately meets Berchtold, Tisza, Stürgkh and Tschirschky and tells them about his meeting with Zimmermann.
Tisza is furious at hearing of the discussion of a surprise attack on Serbia and the partition of the country. He says this must be considered purely as Hoyos' personal suggestion not official policy. Tschirschky leaves so the others can hold a Joint Ministerial Council.
7 July, morning Berchtold asks the Ministerial Council "whether the moment had not arrived to render Serbia innocuous once and for all by a display of force?" He mentions the unconditional support of Germany and says that intervention in Serbia makes war with Russia very likely.
Immediate military action is ruled out because of Tisza's objections and the fear it would isolate Austria-Hungary diplomatically.
They agree the first step will be the presentation of a diplomatic note making demands on Serbia and if these demands are not met to issue an ultimatum. With the exception of Tisza they want the demands to be so harsh they will be refused so "the way is open to a radical solution by means of military intervention".
They believe a purely diplomatic success even the "sensational humiliation" of Serbia, will be worthless. Tisza agrees the note can be stiff but it must not be unacceptable. Serbia must be given the opportunity of avoiding war and accepting a severe diplomatic defeat. [More]
7 July, afternoon Conrad joins the meeting. He discusses the military options. He says he needs to know if Russia is going to enter the conflict by the fifth day of mobilisation. This will enable him to reconcentrate his forces against Russia in the north in time. [More]
7 July and after Rapid action from Vienna, as desired by the Germans, is highly unlikely. As well as the need to persuade Tisza to agree to an unacceptable ultimatum, many regular troops are on harvest leave. Future leave is cancelled. Those on leave are not recalled because of the negative economic impact it would have.
Also, by co-incidence the French President is on a State visit to Russia from the 20-23 July and it is best to deliver the ultimatum after he has left so the Russians and French do not have the chance to co-ordinate their reactions. [More]
8 July Tisza prepares another memorandum for the Emperor setting out his objections to the majority view in the Joint Ministerial Council.
He does not agree with the determination to invade Serbia because it will bring Russian intervention and a world war. After giving the memorandum to Berchtold to present to the Emperor Tisza returns to Budapest. [More]
8 July Berchtold tells Tschirschky about the Joint Ministerial Council meeting. He says even if the Emperor accepts Tisza's view it is still possible to make the note unacceptable to Serbia. Tschirschky gives Berchtold the latest message from Berlin that "an action of the Monarchy against Serbia is fully expected and that Germany will not understand why we should neglect this opportunity of dealing a blow".
Berchtold communicates this to Tisza hoping it will change his mind.
8 July Conrad calls on Berchtold and they discuss what might follow the planned note. If the Serbs give way at the last moment the country will still be occupied until the cost of Austria-Hungary's mobilisation is reimbursed.
Conrad says the occupation of territory alone will not settle anything. It is necessary to beat the Serbian army or to demobilise and disarm it.
8 July At a meeting with Berchtold, Conrad, Hoyos, Forgách, and Macchio, Burián, the representative of the Hungarian government at the Imperial Court, and a close confidant of Tisza, and a Hungarian like him, comes to the same view as the majority in the Council and decides to go to Budapest to try to persuade Tisza to drop his objections.
Conrad insists army mobilisation happens only if war is definitely decided.
9 July, Bad Ischl Berchtold reports the results of the Joint Ministerial Council meeting to the Emperor. The Emperor believes Berchtold's and Tisza's positions can be reconciled and that "concrete demands should be levelled at Serbia".
10 July Updated by Berchtold, Tschirschky reports to Berlin on the meeting with the Emperor who has thanked the Kaiser for being ".... now entirely of our opinion that a decision must be made to put an end to the intolerable situation in regard to Serbia".
Berchtold also believes placing demands on Serbia avoids the odium of a surprise attack, and should facilitate the neutrality of Romania and England.
10 July Tschirschky also reports the formulation of the demands to make on Serbia is the main concern in Vienna and Berchtold would like to know what Berlin thinks.
One demand might be for a unit in Belgrade to monitor pan-Serb agitation. Berchtold is also turning over in his mind what demands would render acceptance by Serbia absolutely impossible. [More]