Germany, Tuesday, 4th August
Morning Austria has still made no move to fight Russia and that afternoon Bethmann will be explaining to the Reichstag that Germany is forced to go to war to defend its Austro-Hungarian ally.
He wires Vienna: "We have been compelled to go to war on account of Austria's procedure, and have a right to expect that Austria should not seek to hide this fact, but will openly announce that the threat of interference in the Serbian conflict is forcing Austria to go to war".
3.00 P.M. Bethmann addresses the Reichstag. He admits the invasions of Luxembourg and Belgium are breaches of international law but says "necessity knows no law". He also says Britain has been told Germany will not attack the northern French coast and the territorial integrity and independence of Belgium will be respected at the end of the war. [More]
Afternoon Goschen calls on Jagow with the British request sent that morning that Germany does not violate Belgian neutrality. Jagow says the answer must be "no" and he explains German troops have already crossed the Belgian border that morning and the Belgians are resisting.
7.00 P.M. Goschen calls on Jagow again. This time he has the British ultimatum sent in the afternoon.
He reads it to Jagow. "Unless Imperial Government can give assurance by 12 o'clock that night that they will proceed no further with their violation of Belgian frontier and stop their advance, I have been instructed to demand my passports and inform the Imperial Government that His Majesty's Government will have to take all steps in their power to uphold neutrality of Belgium".
Jagow says that his answer is the same. Goschen says in that case he has to ask for his passports. He asks to see Bethmann and Jagow eagerly agrees.
Shortly after The Chancellor is very agitated and he harangues Goschen for about twenty minutes.
He says it is "intolerable" that when Germany is trying to save itself Britain "should fall upon them just for sake of the neutrality of Belgium". Goschen's account of the meeting says Bethmann used the notorious phrase that Britain was going to war for "a scrap of paper". [More]