Austria, Sunday, 26th July
Lunchtime Berchtold has now seen the telegram from Szögyény saying Berlin believes Vienna should declare war on Serbia immediately to avoid diplomatic pressure for a settlement. Berchtold calls in Conrad and says he wants a declaration of war as soon as possible.
Conrad prefers to wait until mobilisation is complete on the 12 August and he can start military operations. Berchtold believes the diplomatic situation won't hold that long. Conrad also wants to gain a better understanding of Russia's attitude before committing the army. No final decision is made but preparations are put in hand for a declaration of war. [More]
Afternoon Berchtold sees Giesl and tells him breaking-off diplomatic relations is not by any means war. There is the possibility Serbia will accept the ultimatum unconditionally after Austria-Hungary makes a limited military demonstration, perhaps involving the occupation of undefended Belgrade. For Berchtold an early declaration of war is simply another way of increasing the pressure on Serbia and showing resolve to Germany.
4.30 P.M. Telegrams are sent to the ambassadors in Berlin, Rome, London and Paris saying war is imminent because Austria-Hungary is faced with "the necessity of enforcing on Serbia by the sharpest means a fundamental change" in its attitude.