Germany, Saturday, 1st August

Morning There is no official Russian response to the German ultimatum. Berlin prepares a declaration of war. As Russia is not attacking either Austria-Hungary or Germany the declaration says "His Majesty the Emperor, my August Sovereign, accepts the challenge in the name of the Empire, and considers himself as being in a state of war with Russia".

Morning Bethmann addresses the Bundesrat. [More]

Shortly after 1.00 P.M. German declaration of war sent by telegram to German embassy in St Petersburg. It is to be given to the Russians at 5 P.M. Berlin time, 7 P.M. St Petersburg time.

2.05 P.M. Message to the Kaiser from the Tsar says he understands why the Kaiser is obliged to mobilise but he wishes to have the same guarantee that he gave the Kaiser "that these measures do not mean war and we shall continue negotiating". [More]

5.00 P.M. The Kaiser signs the mobilisation order.

Immediately after the signing A telegram arrives from Lichnowsky. Grey is proposing that if Germany does not attack France, Britain will remain neutral in a Russo-German war and also guarantee the neutrality of France. The Kaiser is delighted. He declares that Germany must now deploy all its forces in the East. Moltke says this is impossible and a very heated argument ensues.
They finally agree the British proposal should be accepted, but mobilisation along the French frontier will continue, and they will study the possibility of redeploying forces to the East. The Kaiser sends a personal message to King George supporting the British proposal.

During this meeting Without reference to Moltke who is very upset the Kaiser orders the halting of the 16th Division which is about to invade Luxembourg.

About 6.10 P.M. Berlin receives news from Schoen that in response to definite and repeated requests, Viviani has "stated to me, hesitatingly, that France would act in accordance with her interests".

Shortly after 10.00 P.M. Szögyény delivers a message for the Kaiser from Emperor Franz Joseph. The Emperor assures Wilhelm that as soon as he heard Germany was "determined to commence war against Russia ... we here came to the firm determination, too, to assemble our principal forces against Russia".

10.30 P.M. The Kaiser replies to the Tsar's earlier telegram. He says that as Germany has not yet received a reply to the noon deadline demand that Russia stops mobilising he cannot discuss the Tsar's telegram. [More]

Late evening King George replies to the Kaiser’s telegram. There must have been "some misunderstanding as to a suggestion that passed in friendly conversation between Prince Lichnowsky and Sir Edward Grey this afternoon when they were discussing how actual fighting between German and French armies might be avoided while there is still chance of some agreement between Austria and Russia".
The Kaiser tells Moltke he can now do whatever he wants. All hope of peace has gone. Moltke immediately telegrams the army to resume the attack in the West on France. [More]


7.00 P.M. Just across the border in Luxembourg a German infantry company seizes the railway station and telegraph office. Within thirty minutes more troops arrive telling them the invasion is a mistake. The British proposal being discussed in Berlin has led to the invasion being halted.

11.00 P.M. On discovering the British proposal is the result of a misunderstanding the Kaiser has told Moltke he can continue with the invasion. By midnight the railway station and the telegraph office are back in German hands. The rest of Luxembourg is occupied by German forces during Sunday, 2 August.