Russia, Tuesday, 28th July

Morning Sazonov is worried and in a bad mood because Vienna has not replied to his proposal for direct talks. Buchanan calls on him and asks if Russia will accept Vienna's assurances on Serbian independence and integrity.
Sazonov says "No engagement that Austria might take on these two points would satisfy Russia". He tells Buchanan that Russia will mobilise when Austro-Hungarian troops cross the Serbian border.

Morning Sazonov sees Pourtalès and angrily accuses him of being part of a joint Austro-Hungarian and German plot to provoke war.
Pourtalès walks out of the meeting but returns later.
Sazonov says the Serbian reply gives Vienna all it could want. If it was not accepted it simply proves Austria-Hungary wants war. Pourtalès says he has reports that Russian military preparations are far more advanced than stated in the assurances given the previous day. [More]

Morning Sazonov sees Szápáry who still has no instructions from Vienna about the talks over the ultimatum that Sazonov wants to have. Szápáry repeats the pledge not to annex Serbian territory. Sazonov also asks to see the full dossier from the Austro-Hungarian government concerning Serbian complicity in the assassination.
Szápáry reports to Vienna that Sazonov clutches at straws and lays stress on Russia's interest that Serbia should not be reduced to a state of vassalage.

3.00 P.M. Sazonov sees Buchanan. Sazonov says Russia is no longer satisfied by Austria-Hungary's statements regarding Serbian independence.
In response to Buchanan asking what Russia would do to prevent further escalation of the crisis Sazonov says the only way to avert war is for Britain to say it will side with Russia and France. This would have the necessary deterrent effect.
Buchanan urges Russia to refrain from any measures that would provoke Germany into taking military preparations.

About 4.00 P.M. St Petersburg hears of the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia.

St Petersburg Military intelligence on the size of the Austro-Hungarian mobilisation alarms the Russian general staff. It is larger than the force they have calculated Austria-Hungary would need to invade and subdue Serbia. Austria-Hungary must be preparing to ward of any Russian threat on its northern border.

Later Paléologue calls on Sazonov. Paléologue does not pass on the full message from Poincaré and Viviani of the previous day omitting the part about the two countries working together for a solution "in the interests of the general peace".
He tells Sazonov of "the complete readiness of France to fulfil her obligations as an ally in case of necessity". [More]

Later Sazonov talks to General Yanushkevich who now follows the advice of his military colleagues and argues strongly for general mobilisation as the only feasible option.
Sazonov understands the problem but is still inclined to partial mobilisation as a means of putting pressure on Vienna. Sazonov leaves to see the Tsar.

6.00 P.M., Peterhof Sazonov tells the Tsar about Austria-Hungary's declaration of war on Serbia. He also explains the mobilisation problem and proposes the preparation of two ukazes (orders), one for partial, and one for general mobilisation, so that a decision on which to use can be left to the last moment in light of the latest developments.
The Tsar agrees to this and the declaration of partial mobilisation the next day, Wednesday, 29 July. Nothing is to be finally decided without his further approval. He and Sazonov want to see the effect of the announcement of partial mobilisation. [More]

After return from Peterhof Sazonov telegrams Berlin, repeated to Vienna, Paris, London and Rome: "In consequence of the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, we shall tomorrow (the 29 July) proclaim mobilisation in the districts of Odessa, Kiev, Moscow and Kazan. Inform the German Government of this and lay stress on the absence of any intention on the part of Russia to attack Germany".

After return from Peterhof Sazonov also telegrams Benckendorff in London saying "It would be necessary for England with all speed to take action in view of mediation and for Austria at once to suspend military measures against Serbia. Otherwise mediation will only furnish a pretext for delay in bringing the matter to a decision and make it meanwhile possible for Austria to annihilate Serbia completely".

1.00 A.M. At Sazonov's suggestion the Tsar telegrams the Kaiser appealing to him to avoid the calamity of a European war by stopping his ally Austria-Hungary going too far. [N1]

7.20 A.M. next day On his own initiative Yanushkevich wires the commanders of all Russia's military districts giving them advance warning that general mobilisation will be ordered on 30 July. Such a message shows how the Russian military are independent of the civilian leaders as in Germany.