Germany, Monday, 27th July
North Sea, Kiel, in the early hours Bethmann radios the Kaiser dispatch from St Petersburg reporting Russian military exercises have been cancelled and troops recalled to barracks.
On arrival at Kiel the Kaiser receives report from Chelsius in St Petersburg. There is a very angry mood at the Tsar's court. The Tsar's entourage are making clear a war between Austria and Serbia means war with Russia.
Kiel-Potsdam Bethmann wires his latest report to the Kaiser on his train journey from Kiel to his palace at Potsdam.
Austria-Hungary is unable to take military action before the 12 August. Serbia has accepted most of the points in the ultimatum. England, France and Italy want peace. Russia not yet mobilising and is willing to start negotiations with Vienna.
Germany’s position is still that the Austro-Serbian conflict is an affair that concerns only those two states. Russia has been warned about the consequences of any military measures that might in any sense be directed at Germany.
Morning Jules Cambon sees Jagow. Cambon says if there is war England will stand by France and Russia. Jagow replies "You have your information. We have ours which is quite to the contrary. We are sure of English neutrality".
Jagow is worried by early signs of Russian military preparations. He tells Cambon "We shall mobilise at once either if Russia mobilises on our frontier or if Russian troops invade Austrian territory". Cambon immediately passes this information to the Russians who take it to mean German acceptance of Russian partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary only.
Late morning Bethmann replies to Lichnowsky's telegram about Grey's four-power ambassadors' conference proposal.
He rejects the idea. He says a conference is too close to summoning Austria before a European court of justice in her case with Serbia.
Germany will consent to international mediation only in the event of an Austro-Russian crisis. He thinks that Sazonov's suggestion for direct talks is a better idea. [More]
Berlin Zimmermann sums up Germany's position in a conversation with the Belgian envoy. For Austria-Hungary, suppressing the pan-Serb movement was now "an existential question, of being or not being". Serbia "had to receive a severe and salutary lesson by means of a military expedition".
It was thus impossible now to avert an Austro-Serbian conflict.
Germany would support mediation to prevent an Austro-Russian clash provided that Austria-Hungary was not prevented from "inflicting exemplary punishment on Serbia".
Afternoon, Potsdam The Kaiser calls for the Chancellor and his military advisors including Moltke to meet him at Neues Palais. Bethmann has his first audience with the Kaiser since 5 July.
The latest reports from Russia are contradictory. Russian mobilisation in some military districts is near certain, yet Pourtalès reports Sazonov seems to have lost his nerve possibly as a result of information from Paris and London. The Russian leaders appear to be wavering.
Bethmann also gives the Kaiser a copy of Lichnowsky's latest dispatch but he deliberately omits the section reporting London's warning that Russia cannot possibly allow Austria to invade Serbia. He has also removed Lichnowsky's warning that Germany's policy of localisation is an illusion.
Afternoon, Potsdam No decisions are taken at the meetings and despite the mixed news from Russia the participants are confident about the course of events. German policy is working.
There is time for more diplomacy as the Austro-Hungarians cannot start military action until the 12 August, and Sazonov wants to talk with Vienna. And, if there is war Bethmann has said England wishes to remain neutral.
The Kaiser's naval advisor sums it up "the tendency of our policy .... staying calm, letting Russia put herself in the wrong, but then not shrinking from war". [More]
Afternoon Goschen is back in Berlin from London and calls on Jagow to formally submit Grey's conference proposal. Jagow says a conference is tantamount to a "court of arbitration" and Austria-Hungary will not accept that.
Jagow repeats his warning that Germany must respond to a Russian mobilisation but as with Cambon he qualifies it saying "if Russia only mobilises in the south [i.e. against Austria-Hungary only] Germany will not mobilise".
He adds that the Russian system is so complicated it might be difficult to judge what is happening and Germany cannot allow Russia to gain a head start.
Afternoon Jules Cambon calls on Jagow who repeats the reasons for rejecting Grey's four-power conference proposal. Germany is only willing to intervene in an Austro-Russian dispute, not one between Austria and Serbia.
Cambon points out a dispute involving Russia is a consequence of the one between Austria and Serbia. Jagow says talks between St Petersburg and Vienna are in progress and he expects good results from them.
Cambon says Serbia has accepted the Austrian demands except for a few details and Germany should counsel moderation in Vienna. Jagow admits he hasn't had time to read the Serbian reply.
4.00 P.M. The general staff intelligence committee concludes Russia is beginning to implement its "Period Preparatory to War".
4.37 P.M. Telegram from Tschirschky arrives informing Berlin that Vienna has decided to send out the declaration of war on Serbia the next day, or the day after at the latest, to frustrate any attempt at intervention.
Evening Lichnowsky's telegrams arrive recording his talk with Grey that morning. Britain thinks Germany holds the key to Vienna's actions and should use its influence to have the Serbian reply regarded either as satisfactory or as a basis for negotiation.
Grey believes Russia will take Austro-Hungarian military action against Serbia as a direct challenge and it will lead to the most frightful war. In Lichnowsky's opinion, Britain will support France and Russia joining them in a European war.
With Bethmann's approval Jagow forwards Lichnowsky's telegrams to the Kaiser in Potsdam. [More]
9.15 P.M. Szögyény wires Vienna. Jagow has told him the German government is against any British mediation proposal that it might forward to the Austrian government in the immediate future. It only passes it on to conform to the British request as it is vital to ensure that Britain does not side with France and Russia. [More]
9.30 P.M. Jagow sends a copy of the Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to the Kaiser in Potsdam by special messenger.
Only now does Germany take any interest in this document. Jagow has had a copy given to him by the Serbian chargé d’affaires since late morning. [More]
Very late evening Bethmann has decided Germany should not reject the latest British mediation proposal out of hand as this will alienate Britain and Germany will be blamed for any conflict.
He wires Tschirschky in Vienna saying Germany must appear as the one being forced into war. He asks Tschirschky to obtain Berchtold's views on the latest English suggestion that Germany should mediate in Vienna and on Sazonov's desire to negotiate directly with Vienna. [More]
Very late evening Bethmann wires Lichnowsky "We have at once inaugurated a move for mediation at Vienna along the lines desired by Sir Edward Grey".