Austria, Thursday, 30th July
Early part of morning The first of the late night early morning telegrams from Bethmann have arrived. The tone is different from previous messages and it is clear Berlin now wants Vienna (1) to pursue the "halt in Belgrade" proposal and associated mediation, the general idea of which has now been proposed by the British, and (2) to have direct talks with St Petersburg. Tschirschky informs Berchtold of their content.
Morning Now concerned that Germany is pulling back from its policy of total support for Austria-Hungary's plan to deal with Serbia, and seeking a peaceful solution, Berchtold decides Austria-Hungary should declare general mobilisation without waiting for German approval or warning the Russians. He sends Hoyos to ask Conrad to be ready to see the Emperor later that day to discuss ordering general mobilisation.
Morning Conrad too is in favour of general mobilisation and he has already prepared a draft statement saying Austria-Hungary is extending its mobilisation without any intention to attack or threaten Russia but to make provision against an attack by Russia.
1.20. P.M. Berchtold wires Szápáry telling him to see Sazonov immediately and explain he is ready to elucidate any points in the note to Serbia and amicably discuss relations between Austria-Hungary and Russia. This is not what Russia is asking. It wants to change the note so it can be accepted by Serbia.
Early afternoon Tschirschky reports back to Berlin. He says Austria-Hungary is willing to discuss with Russia all questions directly affecting the two countries, but not the Serbo-Austrian conflict.
In the case of Serbia now that a state of war exists Austria-Hungary's terms would be different. Berchtold has instructed Szápáry to talk to Sazonov and will himself talk to Shebeko. Tschirschky does not mention that Austria-Hungary intends to order general mobilisation. [More]
Early afternoon Tschirschky now has the Telegram from Bethmann that warns Britain will not be neutral. "... we should be two against four Great Powers. Germany, as the result of England’s hostility, would have to bear the brunt of the fighting. .... we must urgently and emphatically recommend to the consideration of the Vienna Cabinet the acceptance of mediation on the honourable terms indicated".
He shows it to Berchtold who appears shocked. Berchtold says he will have to talk with the Emperor and leaves for his meeting with Franz-Joseph.
Tschirschky continues talking with Berchtold's colleagues. They do not believe that Austria-Hungary's military operations can be restricted.
Afternoon Stumm at the German Foreign Ministry phones Tschirschky. He tells Stumm that the Austrians are so far unwilling to limit their military action against Serbia. Tschirschky goes again to talk with Berchtold's colleagues.
Afternoon Berchtold, Conrad and Krobatin meet the Emperor who has come from Bad Ischl to Vienna to see them and brief him on the messages from Berlin and the military position.
They agree Serbia must meet the demands of the note in full and now pay the cost of the mobilisation and military operations against her.
Despite German pressure they resolve to continue the war against Serbia, to give a courteous reply to the English proposal without accepting it, and to order general mobilisation.
They agree to discuss matters the next day when Tisza will be back in Vienna before formalising their decisions. [More]
Late afternoon Berchtold talks to Shebeko. He says he had not intended to break off direct talks with Russia. Szápáry has been instructed to give Sazonov any explanations he requires regarding the demands of the note, and to explore ways of maintaining friendly relations with Russia. Shebeko reports to St Petersburg he thinks Berchtold really wants to arrive at an understanding. [More]
5.00 P.M. Tschirschky wires Berlin saying his "Instructions emphatically executed. Count Berchtold will reply by return after receiving Emperor Francis Joseph’s commands".
Evening Stumm again phones Tschirschky who confirms Austria-Hungary's determination to reject all compromise and mediation. He doesn't mention the Austro-Hungarians are about to order general mobilisation.
7.30 P.M. In response to Moltke's question that morning of what Austria-Hungary will do in response to Russian partial mobilisation Conrad prepares a reply saying "On the basis of His Majesty’s decision the resolve is: to go forward with the war against Serbia. To mobilise remainder of army, assemble in Galicia. First day of mobilisation 4 August. Mobilisation order issued today 31 July. Request intimation of your first mobilisation day".
1.35 A.M. next day Tschirschky sends fuller report of his discussions with the Austro-Hungarian leaders before and after his first call with Stumm.
He says "I begged [them] to bear in mind the incalculable consequences of a rejection of mediation".
In the last paragraph he states "Conrad von Hotzendorf this evening was to submit the order for general mobilisation to the Emperor as the answer to the measures already taken by Russia. It was not quite certain whether in the present situation mobilisation was still the right course".
Brief Tschirschky's and Vienna's response to Bethmann's telegrams [More]