Austria, Monday, 27th July
Morning Berchtold sends Hoyos to see Conrad who gives way and agrees to a declaration of war if diplomatic considerations make it necessary.
Morning Berchtold can now respond to the German pressure for military action and declare war on Serbia. He has in mind the reports from St Petersburg that Sazonov recognises Austria-Hungary has legitimate claims to make on Serbia and Russia will only mobilise if and when Austria-Hungary assumes a hostile attitude towards Russia.
He also wants to pre-empt Grey's mediation proposals and Sazonov's desire for direct talks. A draft declaration of war with Serbia is forwarded to the Emperor at Bad Ischl.
Morning Even though the Serbian reply amounts to a rejection it appears conciliatory and as it would look bad to reject it out-of-hand the Austro-Hungarians prepare a point-by-point rebuttal which is circulated to the Empire's representatives abroad who are told the Serbian reply must be treated as unsatisfactory.
Morning In light of optimistic reports - Britain and France working to restrain Russia, Britain likely to be neutral, French government against war, Russian reservists have not been called up - Berchtold sees no reason to soften his stand.
He wires Szápáry instructing him not to mention Austria's "territorial disinterest for the time being". This contradicts the Germans who are making Austria's "territorial disinterest" the centre of their diplomatic campaign.
Morning Tschirschky wires Berlin "They have decided here to send out the declaration of war tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow at the latest, to frustrate any attempt at intervention".
Morning, Bad Ischl The Emperor who is seeing Giesl to hear his report on his actions in Belgrade, tells him "you could not have acted otherwise, and I must bear this too. However this still does not mean war" ... "we are not at war yet, and if I can, I shall prevent it".
Morning, Bad Ischl Berchtold tells the Emperor that as the Serbian reply appears conciliatory the Entente powers are likely to make further efforts to solve the crisis peacefully unless the situation is clarified by a declaration of war.
He also tells the Emperor of a report that Serbian troops have fired on Austro-Hungarian troops and there has been a considerable skirmish.
This report is later found to be false and is removed from the declaration of war. The Emperor gives his approval to a draft telegram to the Serbian Foreign Minister declaring war on Serbia.
Afternoon Reports arrive in Vienna from the military attaché in St Petersburg indicating that Russia is beginning extensive military preparations. Conrad worries about the safety of attacking Serbia if the reserves are needed against Russia.
Afternoon At a meeting with Berchtold and Tschirschky, Conrad suggests if Russia mobilises against Austria-Hungary, the Germans tell the Russians it constitutes such a threat to Germany on its southern and eastern frontier corresponding German measures will have to be taken.
This shows Conrad has a severe misapprehension of his ally's war plans. If Germany mobilises, it inevitably means war and an attack on France with only minimal forces left against Russia. Also Conrad does not know that Jagow has already stated on two occasions that Germany would not mobilise if Russia only mobilised against Austria-Hungary. [More]