Germany, Sunday, 26th July
Berlin The German general staff is planning for all eventualities. It prepares an ultimatum to be given to the Belgian government in the event that Germany implements its military plan and attacks France through Belgium.
Berlin With the Russian "Period Preparatory to War" underway Berlin receives numerous reports on Russian military activities. Especially disturbing is news that some reserves have been called up. The general staff decides to initiate its own intelligence gathering.
Berlin Bethmann and the vice-chancellor have a secret meeting with the leaders of Germany's largest political party, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). To ensure their support Bethmann wants to convince them that German policy is defensive and pacific.
The German socialist are suspicious of Tsarist Russia and Bethmann is doing everything to put Russia in the wrong. He convinces the socialists that Germany wants to preserve the peace and has taken steps to mediate between Vienna and St Petersburg
Berlin Bethmann telegrams Lichnowsky. According to unconfirmed news from a reliable source Russia is about to call-up several classes of reserves. Such a move must lead to Germany taking counter measures. To preserve European peace the conflict must be localised. He is to ask Grey to use his influence in this sense at St Petersburg.
Berlin Stumm talks to the representatives of the smaller German states. The best policy is "quiet perseverance". Britain desires peace and is taking steps in that sense at St Petersburg.
Russia is not ready for war and the poor state of French armaments recently revealed in the Senate would make Paris incline towards peace as well.
Germany supports Austro-Hungary because it "could no longer look on as the Austro-Hungarian state was eaten up from the inside by Serbdom".
Afternoon Bethmann uses Sazonov's statement that Russia would go to war if Austria-Hungary swallowed Serbia, as a means of avoiding war or blaming Russia. Austria-Hungary has already said to Russia it has no intention of taking territory from Serbia.
He telegrams Pourtalès to say to Sazonov "that Count Berchtold has declared to Russia that Austria plans no territorial gains in Serbia .... the preservation of European peace depends entirely on Russia".
Evening Bethmann telegrams Pourtalès again. He is now alarmed by Russia's military preparations. He wants Pourtalès to warn Sazonov that Russian preparatory military measures directed in any way against Germany will force Germany to take counter measures and mobilise the army. He says mobilisation means war.
He again stresses Austria-Hungary does not want Serbian territory.
North Sea, early in the day The Kaiser receives a telegram from Bethmann. It implies the Kaiser has ordered the Fleet to prepare to return home on the basis of a news agency report. Bethmann begs him to hold back on ordering the Fleet to return. As had been hoped the Royal Navy had not taken any unexpected measures.
The Kaiser is furious. He thinks Bethmann's telegram is "unheard of" and "incredibly impertinent". He has given his orders on the basis of the mobilisation in Belgrade.
"My Fleet has been ordered to sail to Kiel, and that is where it will go!"
North Sea News from Bethmann that he and England are working to localise the conflict keeping Russia out of it give the Kaiser and his staff an optimistic picture. The Kaiser even talks of going to his next holiday location.
He continues his marginal comments on dispatches saying in regard to Grey's comment a country that accepted the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum would cease to be an independent state, "Serbia is not a state in the European sense, but a band of robbers". He is not willing join in the four power mediation proposed by Grey.