Russia, Saturday, 25th July
Morning Sazonov writes memorandum for the Tsar saying the real purpose of the Austrian action, supported by Germany, is to annihilate Serbia and to upset the balance of power in the Balkans.
Morning, Krasnoe Selo The Council of Ministers meets chaired by the Tsar. The meeting endorses the decision to move to partial mobilisation, that is, to mobilise in those military districts facing Austria-Hungary, if it takes action against Serbia.
The meeting also agrees that the general staff should immediately implement the measures for the "Period Preparatory to War" in all European military districts including those facing Germany.
These measures are quickly noticed by German military intelligence and are part of the process in which military considerations become paramount. [More]
St Petersburg The Russians publish an official communique which includes the statement ".... the Imperial Russian government follows attentively the development of the Serbo-Austrian conflict, with respect to which Russia cannot remain indifferent".
Afternoon Sazonov sees Paléologue and Buchanan and informs them of the measures approved by the Tsar including the mobilisation of 1.1 million men if necessary. Paléologue repeats that France is unreservedly at Russia's side.
Sazonov says Russian policy is not to allow Austria to crush Serbia and become the predominant power in the Balkans. Sazonov also points out the Serbian obligations mentioned in the ultimatum are to the Powers and not to Austria alone.
Were Serbia to appeal to the Powers Russia would stand aside and leave the question in the hands of England, France, Italy and Germany. [More]
Later Paléologue wires Paris that the Council of Ministers has agreed to partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary if it takes action against Serbia and other preparatory measures are being taken. He doesn't explain they include pre-mobilisation military measures.
Later In his report to London Buchanan says Sazonov thinks Berlin is gambling on British neutrality. If Britain takes a stand with France and Russia there will be no war.
If Britain does not give Russia active support now then Britain will not be able to rely on Russia’s friendly co-operation in Asia involving the protection of India and other imperial interests. [More]
Later Sazonov wires Benckendorff and asks him to tell Grey that Austria-Hungary in her treatment of Serbia believed she would meet no opposition from England and "... In the event of the situation becoming more acute ... we rely upon England’s not delaying to range herself definitely on the side of Russia and France in order to maintain that European balance".
Evening General Yanushkevich chairs a general-staff conference about the preparatory measures to be taken. He says that it is permissible to go further than the regulations specify to ensure that the preparations are successful.
Evening Sukhomlinov warns General Chelius, the German military representative at the Tsar's court, that Russia will stand by Serbia. An indiscrete Russian general tells Chelius Russian troops are to be mobilised. He also notices manoeuvres are cancelled and regiments returning to their barracks. He wires Berlin saying he believes Russia is starting partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.
8.00 P.M. Spalajkovic wires Belgrade that the council has shown the greatest warlike spirit and decided to go to the limit in defence of Serbia. The Tsar surprised everyone with his decisiveness.
Very early hours next day Yanushkevich issues the orders for the "Period Preparatory to War"