Germany, Tuesday, 28th July
Early morning, Potsdam The Kaiser now has a copy of the Serbian reply. He thinks it is a great moral victory for Vienna and with it every cause for war drops away. The few reservations that Serbia makes in regard to individual points can be settled by negotiation.
He thinks Austria should take Belgrade as a guarantee until the Serbs carry out their promises. This becomes known as the "halt in Belgrade" proposal. The Kaiser sends a note to Jagow saying these views should be transmitted to the Austrians. [More]
Morning Bethmann and Jagow send circular to the Associated Governments of the German Empire declaring the Serbian reply is not made in good faith and Austria-Hungary has no choice "but to enforce its demands by the use of heavy pressure, or, if need be, by resort to military measures". [More]
Lunchtime The Kaiser’s note gets to Berlin but is not acted on until the evening.
3.20 P.M. Bethmann replies to Vienna's first request for Russia to be threatened with German mobilisation if it mobilises against Austria-Hungary. He says rumours of Russian military measures have not been confirmed and it is premature to threaten Russia with military counter-measures.
3.45 P.M. A message arrives from Lichnowsky. He has been told by Mensdorff and his staff at the Austro-Hungarian embassy in London that Austria-Hungary intends to partition Serbia among the other Balkan states and turn the rump into a client of Austria-Hungary.
Since the beginning of the crisis Germany has been saying to the other powers that Austria-Hungary has no territorial ambitions with regard to Serbia. [More]
4.00 P.M. German military intelligence reports that Russian partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary is underway in two military districts - Odessa and Kiev. However, the "Period Preparatory to War" is being implemented across the whole country, including the border with Germany.
Afternoon, Potsdam The Kaiser receives a letter from Prince Henry reporting his talk with King George two days earlier.
He says the King has given him an assurance the he and the British government will "leave no stone unturned" to localise the war between Austria and Serbia. The King thinks Europe is near to a major war and Britain will try to keep out. [More]
6.39 P.M. Word of the Austria-Hungary declaration of war on Serbia arrives in Berlin.
Evening Bethmann writes to the Kaiser in Potsdam suggesting he should send a personal message to the Tsar. It would make clear Germany is backing direct talks between Austria-Hungary and Russia.
He says "A telegram of this kind would if war were to come about, place the guilt of Russia in the strongest light". This becomes the first from the Kaiser in a series of telegrams between the German and Russian emperors. [More] [W1]
10.15 P.M. At last Bethmann takes action on the Kaiser’s "halt in Belgrade" proposal as he interprets it. He wires Tschirschky in Vienna (Telegram 174) first complaining about the lack of information from Vienna regarding its true intentions for Serbia.
Berlin now feels the Serbian reply largely meets Vienna's demands and if Austria-Hungary continues an uncompromising attitude it will be held responsible for a world war even in the eyes of the German people. The responsibility for any war should fall on Russia.
He says it is vital for Vienna to make clear its military preparations are solely aimed at a temporary occupation of Belgrade to ensure Serbia complies with Austro-Hungarian demands.
Tschirschky is instructed to discuss this with Berchtold but to avoid giving rise to the impression Germany wishes to hold Austria back. He does not communicate the Kaiser's emphatic view that "halt in Belgrade" is the right policy and war is now unnecessary. [More]