View Larger Map This map shows the the spot where Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. The Archduke’s motorcade drove west to east along the Appel Quay (Obala Kulina bana) to the Town Hall. Čabrinović threw his bomb as it got to the Cumurija Bridge. On leaving the Town Hall, the new plan […]
War had been no accident … it was the consequence of decisions taken in Berlin and Vienna, and the result of attitudes which regarded war not as the ultimate catastrophe, but a necessary, or even desirable evil and as a way of continuing foreign policy by other means. [Annika Mombauer. British historian]
… the Triple Entente fought to dismember the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and reconquer Alsace-Lorraine, while the Central Powers fought to defend their existing territory. France and Russia played their traditional role as the expansionist Powers of Europe … [Edward E McCullogh. Canadian historian]
As Germany willed and coveted the Austro-Serbian war and, in her confidence in her military superiority, deliberately faced the risk of a conflict with Russia and France, her leaders must bear a substantial share of the historical responsibility for the outbreak of general war in 1914. [Fritz Fischer. German historian]
When cut down to essentials, the sole cause for the outbreak of war in 1914 was the Schlieffen plan …. Yet the Germans had no deliberate aim of subverting the liberties of Europe. No one had time for a deliberate aim or time to think. All were trapped by the ingenuity of their military preparations, […]
… Austria-Hungary made the conscious decision to launch a Balkan war in order to reduce Serbia to the status of at best a semi-protectorate, and to appeal to its ally in Berlin for support in case the Austro-Serbian conflict escalated into a general European war. Unfortunately, Austria-Hungary’s culpability for the start of the First World […]
The outbreak of war in 1914 is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse in the conservatory with a smoking pistol. There is no smoking gun in this story; or, rather, there is one in the hands of every major character. Viewed in […]
The chief objects of Russian and French foreign policy, seizure of the Straits and the return of Alsace-Lorraine, could be realized only through a general European war…. In estimating the order of guilt of the various countries we may safely say that the only direct and immediate responsibility for the World War falls upon Serbia, […]
How was it that the world was so unexpectedly plunged into this terrible conflict? Who was responsible? . . . The nations slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war without a trace of apprehension or dismay. [David Lloyd George. British Prime Minister, 1916-1921]
The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies. [Article 231, […]
Shortly after midnight: The Foreign Office gets a message from Brussels saying the Belgium government has asked for military help.
Shortly after 11.00 P.M.: Midnight Berlin time. There is still no news from Berlin and Asquith and the cabinet ministers with him decide to send a declaration of war to Lichnowsky. [More]
Shortly after 9.00 P.M.: A small group of cabinet members, Asquith, Grey, Haldane, later joined by Lloyd George and McKenna, meet in the cabinet room.There is no news from Berlin. Goschen’s messages never get to London but the government learns from an intercepted message from Berlin to the German embassy he has asked for his […]
Evening: Paul Cambon now knows Britain will support France. He asks Grey “How will you fight the war?”. “Will you send your Expeditionary Force?” Grey replies “No”. “We shall blockade the German ports. We have not yet considered sending a military force to the Continent”.Cambon says public opinion will force Britain to intervene on the […]
Afternoon: Grey sees Mensdorff. He says there is no cause for Britain and Austria to quarrel as long as Austria does not go to war with France.
2.00 P.M.: Asquith and Grey telegram Goschen asking for a reply to the message sent to him at 9.30 A.M. If Germany does not reply by midnight he is instructed to “ask for your passports and to say that His Majesty’s Government feel bound to take all steps in their power to uphold the neutrality […]
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 […]
Midday: Lichnowsky passes the Foreign Office a message from Jagow. It repeats the German assurance that in the case of armed conflict with Belgium, Germany will not annex any Belgian territory. It claims that Germany is compelled to invade Belgium to forestall a French attack on Germany through Belgium.
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 […]
11.30 A.M.: Cabinet Meeting Grey gives the latest news from Belgium and reads out the draft of another telegram he is going to send to Goschen in Berlin requiring an answer by midnight.
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.
3.00 P.M.: The President has no right to address the National Assembly and Poincaré’s speech is read out for him in both houses. It stresses the defensive nature of French policy and claims France represents liberty, justice and reason. He calls for a union sacrée. In the Chamber of Deputies the entire assembly gets to […]
11.00 A.M.: The Belgian legation gets news that Germany has warned Belgium she will use armed force. Confirmation of this from the British Minister in Brussels follows shortly after.
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 […]
Following the Emperor’s orders of the 31 July, Austria-Hungary begins general mobilisation.
8.00 A.M.: Brussels receives confirmation German troops have entered Belgium.
French President writes to King George requesting him to send British troops to cover the French left flank as the Germans attack through Belgium. President’s speech to the National Assembly stresses the defensive nature of French policy and calls for a “union sacrée”.
Morning: Poincaré is worried that the British have made no commitment to send the BEF to France. He writes to King George requesting him to send British troops to cover the French left flank as the Germans attack through Belgium.
Foreign Secretary sends instructions to the British ambassador in Berlin on what to say to the German government about Belgium. A reply is required by midnight. The deadline has passed and there is no response from Germany BRITAIN DECLARES WAR ON GERMANY.
9.30 A.M.: Grey wires Goschen instructing him to tell the German government Britain is “bound to protest against this violation of a treaty to which Germany is a party in common with themselves, and must request an assurance that the demand made upon Belgium will not be proceeded with, and that her neutrality will be […]
Chancellor addresses the Reichstag. He admits the invasions of Luxembourg and Belgium are breaches of international law but says “necessity knows no law”. British ambassador tells German leaders unless Germany halts its invasion of Belgium the British government will do all in its power to uphold the neutrality of Belgium. He must have this assurance […]
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 […]
Germany is at war with Russia, France and Britain. Austria-Hungary, the country that started the crisis with its ultimatum to Serbia, is at war with only Serbia.
Military situation: Germany is at war with Russia, France and Britain. Austria-Hungary, the country that created the crisis with its ultimatum to Serbia, is at war with only Serbia.
Brief: The cabinet resignations
Evening: While looking out of his office window watching the lamps being lit in St James Park, Grey makes the remark “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”.
7.00 P.M.: Grey returns to the Commons and reads a note he has just received from the Belgian legation. It summarises the German ultimatum and declares that Belgium has rejected the ultimatum and is resolved to repel aggression by all possible means. He and Asquith leave the House.Even though Grey had the support of most […]
6.00 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting The cabinet meets again and agrees that a message is sent the next day to Berlin asking the German government to withdraw its ultimatum to Belgium. [More]
After the last speeches: A meeting of the Liberal Foreign Affairs Group attracts 27 MPs. The majority of them disagree with Grey and they issue a press release calling for the government to continue negotiations with Germany with a view to Britain remaining neutral.
About 4.30 P.M.: Following Grey the leader of each main political party makes a brief statement. Bonar Law for the Conservatives again gives the government “unhesitating support”.Redmond, the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, to great surprise, is wholeheartedly behind the government’s policy.MacDonald, the leader of the Labour Party, says he believes the government is […]
3.00 P.M.: Grey makes a statement to a packed House of Commons. He explains that Britain has no alliance or binding military agreements with France.As a result of the strong friendship France has with Britain her fleet has concentrated in the Mediterranean and Britain has now promised France the Royal Navy will protect the Channel […]
Early afternoon: King George receives a personal telegram from King Albert of Belgium referring to the King’s friendship and Britain’s support of Belgium in 1870. King Albert makes a supreme appeal for “the Diplomatic intervention of your Majesty’s government to safeguard the integrity of Belgium”.
Late afternoon: The British ambassador is given a copy of the German ultimatum and the Belgian reply and he wires summaries to London.
10.00 A.M.: Cabinet Meeting Grey reports the latest information. He tells the cabinet about the unconfirmed German demand for passage of its troops through Belgium. He mentions Lichnowsky’s promise that Germany will not attack the French coast if Britain is neutral but he doubts that Lichnowsky is authorised to say this.Asquith announces he has overnight […]
Brussels: The Belgian government is careful not to openly side with the Entente powers, France and Britain, hoping when the German government realises Belgium will resist it will call off its invasion.
9.30 A.M.: Bonar Law and Lord Lansdowne call on Asquith. They fear he is trying to find a reason for Britain not to intervene. On talking to him they conclude he supports Grey and Churchill but is trying to find a way to keep the cabinet together.
Afternoon 1.05 P.M.: Schoen in Paris is instructed to deliver the German declaration of war on France to the French government at 6.00 P.M. It contains accusations of French frontier infringements and bombing raids on Germany. There have been no bombing raids.
10.55 A.M.: Below wires Berlin that Belgium has rejected the German demand “and will oppose by force any violation of her neutrality”. Later he also wires “Feeling towards Germany bad”.
Morning: Shortly after Grey sees Lichnowsky, the British Foreign Office learns Germany has sent an ultimatum to Belgium.
Midday: German government receives news Belgium has rejected the ultimatum. They don’t declare war on Belgium hoping the Belgians will offer only token resistance to the German army.
Belgium delivers its rejection of the German ultimatum to the German legation. It includes the statement “Were Belgium to accept the proposals laid before it, the Belgian Government would sacrifice the nation’s honour while being false to its duties towards Europe”. To clear its invasion route to France, the German army starts the invasion of […]
7.00 A.M.: An official of the Belgian foreign ministry delivers the Belgian reply to the German legation. It includes the statement “Were Belgium to accept the proposals laid before it, the Belgian Government would sacrifice the nation’s honour while being false to its duties towards Europe”. [More]
6.00 P.M. GERMAN AMBASSADOR DELIVERS DECLARATION OF WAR ON FRANCE.
6.00 P.M.: Schoen delivers and reads out the German declaration of war on France to Viviani. It contains false accusations that the French have carried out bombing raids on Germany. Schoen asks for his passports and leaves.
Cabinet discuss what the Foreign Secretary is going to say to the House of Commons. Four cabinet members have announced their resignations. Foreign Secretary tells the House of Commons Britain cannot stand aside and see Belgium lose her neutrality and France defeated. It would mean the whole of the continent falling under the control of […]
Morning: Lichnowsky gives Grey an assurance from Berlin that “a threat to the French north coast on our part will not take place as long as England remains neutral”. He also assures Grey that Germany will maintain the “integrity” of Belgium after the war.
9.30. A.M.: Tirpitz approves suggestion that Germany refrains from naval actions that might provoke the British. Jagow telegrams Lichnowsky saying “We can definitely state that a threat to the French north coast on our part will not take place as long as England remains neutral”.
German government receives news Belgium has rejected the ultimatum. They don’t declare war on Belgium hoping the Belgians will offer only token resistance to the German army. German ambassador in Paris instructed to deliver the German declaration of war on France at 6.00 P.M. It contains accusations of French bombing raids on Germany. There have […]
See next day:
Evening: A small number of cabinet neutralists including Lloyd George meet at dinner. Lloyd George speaks strongly about the importance of maintaining Belgium’s neutrality. He also talks about the danger of Russian expansion. Many are not willing to support a country like Russia. Lloyd George thinks the cabinet is on the point of breaking up.
9.30 P.M.: Conservative leaders meet. They know about the promise to France of naval protection but are disappointed with Asquith’s formal reply to their letter which repeats the line Britain is under no obligation to France or Russia to give them naval or military support. They suspect the government is wavering and decide they should […]
6.30 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting The cabinet have an easier meeting and they agree to a statement regarding Belgium.The report to the King of the day’s meetings says “… protection of the French coasts … is not only a recognition of our friendship with France, but is also imperatively required to preserve British interests” and “As […]
Afternoon: Grey gives a formal assurance to Paul Cambon that if German warships enter the Channel to operate against the French coast or shipping, the British navy will give all the protection possible.Cambon asks what the cabinet would say about an invasion of Belgium. Grey tells him they are still considering what to say to […]
During lunch: The cabinet neutralists meet. Some feel they are being drawn step-by-step into a war for the benefit of France and Russia. They are being “jockeyed” over the German fleet. But Harcourt says he thinks an attack on the French Channel coast is a British interest. They discuss what to say about Belgium at […]
Just after midday: Based on earlier diplomatic conversations the German Military Attaché reports to Berlin “… it would be desirable if our Navy refrained from actions which might lead to incidents … regarded as a challenge. This would … include naval attacks on French north coast, left unprotected by France in reliance on England”.
Late afternoon: In response to Lichnowsky’s message that it is most likely Britain will oppose Germany if it violates Belgian territory Jagow tells him to explain to the British government the actions being taken in Belgium are “self-defence against French menace” and the integrity of Belgium will be restored in the peace settlement.He is not […]
During the cabinet meeting: Asquith reads out the letter from Bonar Law and Lord Lansdowne offering “unhesitating support” for the government in any measures it considers necessary to support France and Russia. The cabinet know if the government collapses its successor will either be a coalition or a Conservative minority government in favour of war.Asquith […]
Afternoon: Below in Brussels is instructed to give the ultimatum to the Belgian government 7 P.M. local time. He has this in the envelop he received from Berlin on 29 July, three days earlier. [More]
11.00 A.M. to about 2.00 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting There is a long and difficult meeting. There is a danger the cabinet will split and the government have to resign.Grey says he is outraged by the way Germany and Austria have pushed aside all attempts at mediation.Grey reminds the meeting of the 1912 naval agreement with […]
Morning: At a meeting with the Kaiser the German military strenuously repeat their opposition to a formal declaration of war on France. Bethmann says it is a legal requirement and the ultimatum to Belgium does not make sense unless Germany is at war with France. His view prevails. [More]
Morning: The Conservative leaders, Bonar Law and Lord Lansdowne, send a letter to Asquith. It says “… it would be fatal to the honour and security of the United Kingdom to hesitate in supporting France and Russia at this juncture; and we offer our unconditional support to the Government in any measures they may consider […]
Morning: Tschirschky in Vienna is sent the news about war with Russia and told “we expect of Austria fulfilment of her allied obligations and immediate vigorous intervention against Russia”. Moltke sends similar message to Conrad. Austro-Hungarian military efforts should concentrate against Russia, the “mortal enemy”. “Serbia can be kept in check with limited forces”.
Late evening: King Albert calls a Crown Council with his ministers. It goes on through the night. There is heated argument but not on whether or not to accept the German ultimatum. They are all agreed it should be rejected. The argument is over how best to resist the Germans. Should they fight near the […]
Morning: A small group of ministers meets in Lloyd George’s office. They are not willing to go to war to support France in all circumstances or for a mere violation of Belgian territory but would go to war if there was a wholesale German invasion of Belgium.Lloyd George and Harcourt go to Asquith and tell […]
Just after dawn: German troops invade and occupy Luxembourg.
7.00 P.M.: Below arrives at Davignon’s office and hands him the note. Both men are upset and Davignon grows angry. He does not believe the German claim that France is about to attack. Davignon says the note will be dealt with immediately and Below leaves.
Afternoon: Poincaré starts preparing his message to the National Assembly. He wants to say “at last we can release the cry, until now smothered in our breasts: Vive L’ Alsace Lorraine” but ministers persuade him that such a declaration will be bad for foreign opinion and make the war appear as one of revenge. He […]
Morning: Lichnowsky calls on Asquith. Asquith tells him war between Britain and Germany is unthinkable but it rests largely with Germany to make British intervention impossible if she would (i) not invade Belgium and (ii) not send her fleet into the Channel to attack the unprotected north coast of France.
Shortly after 4.00 A.M.: News arrives in Berlin that Russian troops have attacked a railway installation inside the German border and a statement is issued saying Germany is at war with Russia.
German minister delivers ultimatum to Belgian Foreign Minister. It claims the French are about to attack Germany through Belgium and the Germans must be allowed to come through Belgium to repel this attack. The Foreign Minister is angry. He does not believe the German claim that France is about to attack Germany through Belgium. King […]
Brussels: Below is told by Berlin to open the sealed document he received on Wednesday and deliver the note inside to the Belgian government at 7.00 P.M. The note claims the French are about to attack Germany through Belgium and the Germans must be allowed to come through Belgium to repel this attack.He is to […]
French declare a state of emergency.
2.00 P.M.: The cabinet agree a proclamation of a state of emergency. The National Assembly now has to meet within forty-eight hours.
Conservative Party leaders write to the Prime Minister saying “… it would be fatal to the honour and security of the United Kingdom to hesitate in supporting France and Russia”. Foreign Secretary reminds the cabinet of the 1912 agreement with France whereby the French fleet is concentrated in the Mediterranean and the British in the […]
Early morning: The German invasion and occupation of Luxembourg breaks the 1867 treaty signed by Britain, France and Prussia. Paul Cambon calls on Grey to ask what the British will do. Grey says the treaty is a collective guarantee, unlike the treaty with Belgium, and Britain individually is not obliged to act.
Just after dawn German troops invade and occupy all of Luxembourg. German minister in Brussels instructed to give ultimatum to Belgium 7.00 P.M. local time. It is in the envelop he received from Berlin on 29 July.
2.30 A.M.: Bethmann calls a meeting with Moltke, Falkenhayn, Tirpitz, Jagow and foreign ministry officials. Berlin has not received Pourtalès’ message that he has given the declaration of war to Sazonov. The Russians have cut communications. They do not know if they are at war with Russia. There is also a heated discussion over the […]
Germany asks Austria to declare war on Russia. The Austrians are reluctant to do this until their troops can be returned from the Serbian front but they agree to declare war on Russia by the 5 August.
Early morning: Tschirschky calls on Berchtold to persuade Austria-Hungary to declare war on Russia. Berchtold does not want to do this until troops can be returned from the Serbian front in mid-August. After further pressure the Austro-Hungarians agree to declare war on Russia before the 5 August.
Brief: The British and French naval deployments [More]
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.
Brief: The Military Conversations [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.
Brief: Grey and Lichnowsky – the proposal that never was [More]
Very late evening and early morning: Conservative leaders meet including those who have returned to London. They hear from General Wilson and there is great concern that the British Expeditionary Force is not being mobilised to support France. They try to contact Asquith but he is not available until the morning.
Late evening: Churchill has heard of Germany’s declaration of war on Russia and he too comes to Downing Street. He says he intends without waiting for the cabinet to immediately fully mobilise the Fleet by calling up reserves. Asquith offers no objections.
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 […]
Late evening: News of Germany’s declaration of war on Russia reaches London.
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]
Evening: Grey, Haldane and Lord Crewe go to see Asquith at Downing Street. They all agree a pledge of Naval support to the French must be obtained from the cabinet the next day.
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”.
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”.
Evening: Grey is called to Buckingham Palace. The King has received a telegram from the Kaiser saying Germany agrees with the British proposal that Britain and France remain neutral in a war between Germany and Russia.Grey says there is no such proposal and drafts a message for the King to send to the Kaiser saying […]
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.
11.00 P.M.: Izvolsky receives news from St Petersburg of the German declaration of war on Russia and immediately goes to Poincaré to ask how France will respond. Poincaré does not want to declare war on Germany. He prefers Germany to declare war on France so as to appear as peaceful as possible to the French […]
Afternoon: Grey tells Paul Cambon the cabinet has agreed “we could not propose to Parliament at this moment to send an expeditionary force to the continent”. This did not mean under no circumstances would Britain assist France, but it did mean France must take her own decision without reckoning on assistance from Britain.Cambon reminds Grey […]
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 […]
4.00 P.M.: Telegrams announcing general mobilisation are dispatched across France and MOBILISATION GENERALE notices posted up outside main Paris post offices. France mobilises one hour before Germany.
Afternoon: As agreed in cabinet Grey tells Lichnowsky that the German position on Belgian neutrality is a matter of “very great regret”. The neutrality of Belgium affects public opinion in Britain.In response to a question from Lichnowsky he also says if Germany did pledge not to violate the neutrality of Belgium, Britain could not promise […]
5.00 P.M.: The Kaiser signs the mobilisation order.
Morning: The cabinet decides to issue the mobilisation order.
11.00 A.M. – 1.30 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting Grey reports the replies from France and Germany on Belgian neutrality to the cabinet. They agree the words of the warning that Grey wants to give to Lichnowsky.“The reply of the German Government with regard to the neutrality of Belgium is a matter of very great regret …. […]
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]
Morning: Viviani is called out of a cabinet meeting to see Schoen who has called at the Quai d’Orsay to get the answer to the German question asked the day before whether France will remain neutral. Schoen repeats the question several times and Viviani finally answers that France will look after its own interests.
Morning: Grey sends Tyrrell to talk to Lichnowsky and make an unexpected and extraordinary proposal. If France is neutral in a war between Russia and Germany, would Germany pledge not to attack France. The ambassador takes it upon himself to offer such a pledge.Grey himself phones Lichnowsky and repeats the question. Grey proposes to use […]
10.00 P.M., Peterhof: Buchanan delivers King George’s urgent message to the Tsar. Even if it would have had some influence it has come too late.The Tsar replies reporting Germany’s declaration of war and says he hopes Britain will support France and Russia in fighting to maintain the balance of power in Europe.He also says that […]
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.
Morning: The cabinet meet with Joffre present. He repeats his argument that the Germans are well advanced secretly mobilising.
Morning: King George uses a draft provided by Grey to reply to a letter from Poincaré. It maintains Britain’s non-committal attitude regarding support for France but the King is as friendly as possible, expressing admiration for the care France is taking not to make provocative military moves and promising Britain will continue discussions on all […]
7.00 P.M.: Pourtalès calls on Sazonov and asks him whether the Russian Government is ready to give a favourable answer to the ultimatum presented the night before.Sazonov replies in the negative and says Russia wants to continue talks.Pourtalès asks him twice more but to no avail. He then hands over the German declaration of war. […]
Morning: Bethmann addresses the Bundesrat. [More]
Military strategy: Vienna now has to abandon its attack on Serbia. Conrad assures Moltke that Austria-Hungary will now “employ the main weight of our strength in the north” towards Russia, despite the difficulties in moving troops from the Serbian frontier.
Morning: Belgian government replies to inquiry from Grey made the day before that Belgium “will to the utmost of her power maintain neutrality …. that the relations between Belgium and the neighbouring Powers were excellent …. no reason to suspect their intentions, but that Belgian Government believed that in case of violation they were in […]
French Chief of the General Staff threatens to resign if mobilisation is not ordered. In response to his question of the previous day the French Prime Minister tells the German ambassador that France will look after its own interests in a Russo-German conflict. French order general mobilisation (one hour before Germany).
8.00 A.M.: Joffre sees Messimy and claims that Germany will be entirely mobilised by 4 August “even without the order for mobilisation having been issued”. (This is nonsense.) He again threatens to resign if mobilisation is not ordered by 4.00 P.M.
French reply they will respect the neutrality of Belgium. Germans refuse to reply saying it would disclose their intentions. Cabinet discuss the responses but is still divided and uncertain what to do. The neutralists in the cabinet get the cabinet to agree even if Germany invades Belgium Britain will not send an Expeditionary force to […]
Early morning: Telegrams arrive from Paris and Berlin with the responses to the British enquiry about attitudes to Belgian neutrality. The French say they will respect Belgian neutrality.Jagow refuses to reply, saying that if he did so it “could not fail, in the event of war, to have the undesirable effect of disclosing to a […]
Early afternoon: The Tsar responds to the Kaiser’s last message. He says “Understand you are obliged to mobilise but wish to have some guarantee from you that these measures do not mean war and that we shall continue negotiating for the benefit of our countries and universal peace” [N5].
The Tsar sends message to the Kaiser. He understands why he is mobilising but wishes to have the same guarantee from the Kaiser that he has given the Kaiser, that mobilisation does not mean war. 7.00 P.M. GERMAN AMBASSADOR HANDS OVER THE DECLARATION OF WAR ON RUSSIA.
There is no reply to the ultimatum to Russia. Germans send declaration of war to Russia. The Kaiser signs the German mobilisation order. Luxembourg Late evening German infantry company seizes the railway station and telegraph office.
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 […]
Austria has to abandon its attack on Serbia and in support of Germany direct its efforts at Russia. The Austrian Chief of the General Staff assures his German counterpart Austria-Hungary will now “employ the main weight of our strength in the north”.
Morning: As war has not been declared Shebeko talks to Berchtold. He argues that Russian military measures “bare no hostile character”. Austria-Hungary must “not solve the conflict with Serbia without consulting Russia”. He suggests talks in London.
Very late evening: and early hours of next day. After more telephone messages Conrad informs Moltke that Austria-Hungary will go to war with Russia as well as Serbia. [More]
Late evening: Goschen sees Jagow to urge him to accept Grey’s peace ideas. He also asks if in the event of war Germany will respect the neutrality of Belgium. A similar question has been asked of the French. Jagow says he cannot answer such a question as it would reveal Germany’s intentions.
8.30 P.M.: Bethmann telegrams Lichnowsky explaining that Russia’s general mobilisation “cut short Austria’s pending reply to our mediation proposal. … We have told Russia we should have to mobilise, which would mean war, unless, within twelve hours, the military preparations against Austria-Hungary and ourselves are suspended …. Please use every means to insure this course […]
Early evening: Moltke sends telephone message to Conrad. “Germany will proclaim mobilisation of entire military forces probably 2 August and open hostilities against Russia and France. Will Austria leave her in the lurch?”
Brief: French reaction to Russian mobilisation measures and Paléologue’s role [More]
4.15 P.M.: Telephone message from Conrad arrives. He says “Austro-Hungarian mobilisation against Russia is only for the purpose of taking precautions against attack from Russia, without any intention of declaring or beginning war”.
1.00 A.M. next day: Izvolsky forwards a message from Messimy to St Petersburg asking the Russian General Staff “…. to confirm the hope of the French General Staff that all …. efforts will be directed against Germany and that Austria will be regarded as a negligible quantity”.
4.05 P.M.: The Kaiser telegrams Franz Josef telling him Germany is preparing to mobilise. He says Germany will fulfil its alliance obligations and it is of the “greatest importance that Austria directs her chief force against Russia and does not split it up by a simultaneous offensive against Serbia”.
During the meeting: Viviani is called out of the meeting to see Bertie. The British want to know if the French will respect Belgium neutrality. A little later Bertie wires London that the French government is resolved to respect Belgium neutrality.
Early hours next day: Tyrrell takes it to Asquith and they prepare a message for King George to send to the Tsar appealing to him to stop Russian mobilisation. They drive to Buckingham Palace and get the King out of bed. He agrees to the message addressing it personally to “My Dear Nicky”. It is […]
3.30 P.M.: Germany demands to know what France will do. Schoen instructed to “ask the French Government if it intends to remain neutral in a Russo-German war”. Germans require handing over of fortresses of Toul and Verdun as a pledge of neutrality. French given until 4.00 P.M. next day to reply.
Late evening: The cabinet meet again. They have Paléologue’s telegram confirming Russian general mobilisation. They discuss Joffre’s demand for immediate mobilisation and agree to wait until 4.00 P.M. the next day.This is the latest time at which the announcement can be made if 2 August, the earliest practicable date, is to be the first day […]
Very late evening: Lichnowsky receives wire from Bethmann informing him of the German ultimatum to Russia to stop mobilising and if Germany has to mobilise it means war.It mentions the enquiry in Paris asking what the French will do if Germany and Russia are at war.Grey is unavailable and Lichnowsky gives a copy to Tyrrell.
3.30 P.M.: Germany sends ultimatum to Russia. Pourtalès instructed to tell the Russian government that German mobilisation must follow “unless within twelve hours Russia suspends all war measures against ourselves and Austria-Hungary and gives us a definite assurance to that effect. Please notify M. Sazonov of this at once and wire hour of notification”.It does […]
Evening: On learning of Schoen’s announcement that Germany will mobilise if Russia doesn’t demobilise, Joffre tells Messimy that France must mobilise at once.
Evening: Churchill privately on his own initiative has asked a conservative friend, F. E. Smith, if Bonar Law, can suggest conservatives who might replace Liberal cabinet ministers who resign. Smith tells Bonar Law. He is not ready to suggest names but agrees Smith should write to Churchill expressing Conservative Party support for the government in […]
3.25 P.M.: Berlin has telegram from Lichnowsky reporting that Grey says if Austria-Hungary can make a concession that Russia would be wrong to reject it would influence the attitude of Britain if war broke out after all.
8.30 P.M.: A very brief message from Paléologue sent that morning announcing Russia has declared general mobilisation finally arrives in Paris.
Evening: General Wilson, the Director of Military Operations, has seen the news of Russian mobilisation and phones his contacts in the Conservative Party.They should urgently recruit sympathetic Conservative leaders and newspaper editors to shock the government into action in support of France and Russia. Those Conservative leaders who have left London for the holiday weekend […]
Midnight: Pourtalès calls on Sazonov to deliver the German ultimatum.Unless within twelve hours Russia begins to demobilise against Germany and Austria-Hungary, the German government will be compelled to give the order to mobilise.Sazonov says this is a “technical impossibility” and Germany is “overestimating the significance of a Russian mobilisation”. He asks Pourtalès if German mobilisation […]
2.52 P.M.: Telegram from the Tsar to the Kaiser arrives promising him though Russian mobilisation cannot be stopped Russian troops will “not make any provocative action”.
Evening: Izvolsky reports French government’s “firm resolve to fight” to St Petersburg.
7.30 P.M.: Grey telegrams Bertie rebutting Poincaré’s view that Germany believes Britain will be neutral and this is a decisive factor. He says he has made it clear that Britain might not be neutral and Germany is not counting on British neutrality.
Afternoon: Pourtalès sees the Tsar. Russian mobilisation will have a terrible impact in Berlin and will end the mediation efforts.Pourtalès says “…. the only thing which in my opinion might yet prevent war was a withdrawal of the mobilisation order”.The Tsar says on technical grounds a recall of the order issued is no longer possible.The […]
2.45 P.M.: Telegram from the Emperor says threatening attitude of Russia will not stop Austria-Hungary acting against Serbia.
Evening: Viviani telegrams Paléologue summarising the meeting with Schoen. He asks the ambassador to report “as a matter of urgency” on Russian mobilisation. He also says “I do not doubt that the Imperial Government, in the overruling interests of peace, will on its side avoid anything which might open up the crisis”. [More]
5.30 P.M.: Grey wires Goschen in Berlin and Bertie in Paris saying in view of the existing treaties on Belgian neutrality, he wants pledges from France and Germany “to respect the neutrality of Belgium so long as no other Power violates it”. He wants an early reply.
Afternoon: Szápáry changes his mind and goes to see Sazonov. He explains his instructions predate Russian mobilisation. Sazonov again says that as the Russian army will not attack “mobilisation has no significance”.Szápáry says that Vienna welcomes talks and is even ready to discuss the text of the ultimatum as far as interpretation is concerned. Sazonov […]
Early afternoon: The German military appear pleased with developments. Russia can be blamed. According to General von Wenninger, in the afternoon he found in the War Ministry “…. everywhere beaming faces, people shaking hands in the corridors, congratulating one another on having cleared the ditch”.
Evening: Berchtold wires Austria-Hungary’s formal response to Bethmann’s urgent messages of the 29/30th July to Szögyény in Berlin.It says “… we are … prepared to examine more closely Sir E. Grey’s proposal … The premises of our acceptance, however, are of course that our military action against the Kingdom shall in the meantime take its […]
7.00 P.M.: Schoen calls on Viviani and tells him of the German ultimatum to Russia that if she does not demobilise Germany will mobilise, and for Germany mobilisation means war.He wants to know what France will do in a Russo-German conflict. He wants an answer within 18 hours.Viviani says he has no news of Russian […]
Shortly before 5.00 P.M.: A German embassy official delivers message that as Russia has declared general mobilisation Germany has declared “State of Imminent Danger of War” and that if Russia does not withdraw her mobilisation proclamation Germany will mobilise in her own defence. The message does not say for Germany mobilisation means war.
Morning: Szápáry telegrams Vienna saying there is no point in holding discussions with Sazonov.
1.45 P.M.: Bethmann telegrams Tschirschky telling him “After the Russian total mobilisation we have proclaimed imminent danger of war, which will probably be followed within forty-eight hours by mobilisation. This inevitably means war. We expect from Austria immediate active participation in the war against Russia”.
4.10 P.M.: Vienna gets message from Berlin that Germany has proclaimed imminent danger of war and this inevitably means war. Germany expects immediate participation of Austria-Hungary in war against Russia.
Afternoon: Schoen has an appointment with Viviani at 7.00 P.M. Viviani consults Poincaré as to what he should say. He expects to be asked about France’s intentions. They agree they will put off the answer until the next day and say only France will look after its own interests.
4.30 P.M.: News of the Russian general mobilisation reaches London.
Morning: Sazonov amends the latest peace proposals from Grey and circulates his new version to the other Great Powers.If Austria-Hungary agrees to stop its invasion of Serbia, recognises the European nature of the crisis, and agrees the other Powers shall enquire how Serbia can satisfy Austria-Hungary’s demands, “Russia engages to maintain her waiting attitude”. He […]
Shortly after: Germany proclaims “State of Imminent Danger of War”.
1.00 P.M.: Bad Ischl. The Emperor sends a message to the Kaiser stating he has ordered general mobilisation following news of Russia’s partial mobilisation. The latest British mediation proposal came too late. The army operations against Serbia “can suffer no interruption” and any “fresh rescue of Serbia by Russian intervention” would have the “most serious […]
Afternoon: In two telegrams from Berlin an hour apart, Jules Cambon reports (1) the German ambassador in St Petersburg has said Russia has decided on general mobilisation, and (2) Germany has declared the “State of Imminent Danger of War” in response to Russian general mobilisation and will ask Russia to demobilise failing which Germany will […]
Afternoon: Grey tells Paul Cambon the cabinet is unable to guarantee Britain will intervene in support of France at the present time. It could not pledge Parliament in advance. Further issues such as the preservation of the neutrality of Belgium might change attitudes.Cambon says Britain has pledged its support and asks Grey to again put […]
10.43 A.M.: Paléologue telegrams Paris saying “An order has been issued for the general mobilisation of the Russian army”. He had known of the decision to mobilise the previous evening. For security reasons the message goes via Sweden and doesn’t get to Paris until 8.30 P.M.
Midday: Bethmann meets with Moltke and Falkenhayn. Moltke wants to order immediate German mobilisation and opening of hostilities. Instead, it is decided to first send an ultimatum to Russia to cease its mobilisation, and to proclaim the “State of Imminent Danger of War”. The Kaiser joins them from Potsdam and approves these measures. [More]
12.23 P.M.: Bad Ischl. The Emperor has signed the orders for general mobilisation and they are returned to Vienna.
Late morning, Potsdam: Before leaving for Berlin the Kaiser writes telegrams for the Tsar and King George. He tells the Tsar that Russia’s measures on Germany’s Eastern frontier force him to take preventive measures, and the threatened disaster will not be his responsibility. Russia can avert it if it stops its military measures. [W4]
Afternoon: In response to Joffre’s latest statement the cabinet allows the positioning of covering forces by train but reservists are still not to be called up.
11.00 A.M.: Cabinet Meeting Grey tells the cabinet about Bethmann’s proposal for British neutrality and his rejection of it. They agree Grey was right to reject the proposal but it does not change the minds of the cabinet members who think Britain should be neutral. Lloyd George warns that business is strongly against war.They discuss […]
10.20 A.M.: Pourtalès sends an urgent message to Berlin reporting that Russia has begun general mobilisation.
11.40 A.M.: Telegram from Pourtalès confirms Russia has begun general mobilisation.
Morning: Berchtold convenes the Joint Ministerial Council. He reviews all the latest diplomatic exchanges.They discuss and approve the basis of a formal reply to Germany. “(1) War operations against Serbia must be continued, (2) We cannot negotiate on the English proposal unless Russian mobilisation is suspended, and (3) Our terms must be integrally accepted [by […]
Afternoon: Shortly before a cabinet meeting Joffre sends Messimy a note saying every 24 hour delay in France putting its covering forces in position means a loss of 10 to 12 kilometres of French territory. He is unwilling to carry this responsibility. He claims Germany is secretly mobilising.
Morning: Lichnowsky calls on Grey with the news that Berchtold has authorised resumption of talks between Vienna and St Petersburg. Grey assumes Berchtold is sincere.Grey is delighted and adds if Germany can get Austria to agree to a reasonable proposal then Britain would support it in Paris and St Petersburg and “if Russia and France […]
Early morning: Pourtalès protests to Sazonov. Vienna has agreed to resume direct talks. Germany had been assured Russia would take no military steps. Sazonov tries to explain that the measures are entirely precautionary and that Russia is not making any irrevocable moves. Pourtalès asks to see the Tsar.
10.00 A.M.: Goschen calls on Bethmann to inform him Britain has rejected his bid for neutrality. Bethmann tells him about the Russian general mobilisation and says Germany will probably have to take serious steps later in the day.
Early morning: Conrad and Krobatin go to see Berchtold. Tisza, Stürgkh and Burián are also present.Conrad reads out the messages he has from Moltke urging Austria-Hungary to mobilise against Russia. They contrast starkly with Bethmann’s appeals and the Kaiser’s latest message. Berchtold exclaims who “Who runs the government, Moltke or Bethmann?!”.The meeting decides to submit […]
French Chief of the General Staff tells French Minister of War that every 24 hour delay in mobilising means a 10 to 12 km loss of French territory. He says Germany is secretly mobilising. (This is not true). German ambassador tells the French Prime Minister of the German warning to Russia that if doesn’t stop […]
12.30 P.M.: Viviani wires Paul Cambon the false rumour that German reservists are being called up and German troops are advancing on the French frontier. Viviani wants Cambon to impress upon the British the Germans are being aggressive not the French.
Early morning: Report from Bertie says Poincaré believes the preservation of peace is in the hands of Britain. If Britain announces it would come to the aid of France in a conflict between France and Germany, Germany would modify her attitude, and there would be no war.Crowe minutes the report saying though Britain is refusing […]
British ambassador in Paris says French President believes if Britain announced it would come to the aid of France, Germany would modify her attitude and there would be no war. The Foreign Secretary says he has made it clear that Britain might not be neutral. Cabinet discuss what to say to the French ambassador. The […]
Russian red mobilisation notices appear throughout St Petersburg and other parts of the country. German ambassador protests to the Russian Foreign Minister. Vienna has agreed to talks. The Foreign Minister says Russia’s military measures are entirely precautionary. The ambassador asks to see the Tsar. The ambassador tells the Tsar that Russian mobilisation will have a […]
Early morning: Notices on red paper announcing the mobilisation call-up appear throughout St Petersburg.
Germany has confirmation of Russian general mobilisation. British ambassador informs the Chancellor Britain rejects his proposal for British neutrality. The Kaiser joins the civil and military leaders in Berlin. German military are pleased with developments. Russia can be blamed for the outbreak of war. Germany instructs its ambassador in St Petersburg to tell the Russian […]
Early morning: German military intelligence has reports Russian general mobilisation is underway. Moltke asks for firm evidence and by noon the Germans have a copy of the Russian red mobilisation notices posted up in Russian villages.
Early morning: Tschirschky has told Berchtold of the Kaiser’s message to the Emperor sent the previous evening which gives the impression he still wants a peaceful solution and to avoid war. The Kaiser wants to know the Emperor’s decision regarding the “halt in Belgrade” proposal.
Austrians now have message from the German Chief of the General Staff urging Austrian general mobilisation. They note how it contradicts the messages from the Chancellor. Austrians believe mediation would work against them. They are intent on destroying the Serbian army to avoid another problem arising in a few years time. The Emperor signs the […]
Brief: German awareness of Russian military measures [More]
Brief: Control passes to the German military [More]
Shortly after: Bethmann does not send the second telegram prepared by Zimmermann. He now telegrams Tschirschky saying “I have suspended the execution of Telegram 200 in consideration of the following telegram from the King of England. You should communicate the telegram immediately to Count Berchtold and hand him a copy for possible submission to Emperor […]
11.20 P.M.: Zimmermann prepares an unencoded telegram for Bethmann to send Tschirschky telling him not to carry out the instructions of Telegram 200. It is unencoded so the recipient will see it as soon as possible.Zimmermann drafts a second explanatory telegram for encoding. It says “I have suspended execution of Telegram 200” because the General […]
11.00 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser gets King George’s reply to Prince Henry’s message saying Britain is trying to get St Petersburg and Paris to suspend military activities if Vienna agrees to limit its military actions in Serbia. [More]
9.00 P.M.: Bethmann has heated discussion with Moltke and Falkenhayn. Both generals believe mediation efforts in Vienna will fail. They want to proclaim the “State of Imminent Danger of War” immediately. Bethmann still wants Russia to be seen to make the first move but promises to make a decision by noon the next day.
Before 9.00 P.M.: Bethmann makes one more effort to influence Vienna. He telegrams Tschirschky (Telegram 200). He says “while Vienna declines everything, Vienna will be giving documentary evidence that it absolutely wants a war” and Russia would be “free of responsibility”.If this happens it “would place us, in the eyes of our own people, in […]
7.15 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser himself follows up on his “halt in Belgrade” proposal. He telegrams Emperor Franz Joseph saying he has had proposals put to his government that after occupying Belgrade or other places, Austria-Hungary should make known her terms. He would be most sincerely obliged if the Emperor would let him know his […]
7.00 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser sees Pourtalès’ report received early that morning that Sazonov says Russian partial mobilisation cannot be revoked. The Kaiser vents his feelings in a long footnote even accusing his dead uncle, King Edward VII, of plotting against Germany. [More]
About 6.00 P.M.: Telegram from Lichnowsky arrives about his conversation with Grey that afternoon. Grey is still trying to bring about an understanding between Vienna and St Petersburg.
Brief: Tschirschky’s and Vienna’s response to Bethmann’s telegrams [More]
5.00 P.M.: Bethmann briefs the Prussian cabinet “the greatest importance must be attached to presenting Russia as the guilty party”. He is still against the proclamation of the “State of Imminent Danger of War” because he doesn’t want to abandon hope or give up his attempts to keep the peace, “as long as my demarche […]
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 […]
Afternoon: Bethmann gets Pourtalès’ report outlining the formula that Sazonov had drafted for Pourtalès in the early hours of Thursday morning: if Austria would recognise the European character of its dispute with Serbia and would declare its readiness to eliminate those points in its note that would infringe upon Serbia’s sovereignty, Russia would suspend its […]
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 […]
8.45 P.M.: King George replies to a message from the Prince Henry. He says he is glad to hear that William is working for peace.He puts forward Grey’s “halt in Belgrade” formula. “My Government is doing its utmost suggesting to Russia and France to suspend further military preparations, if Austria will consent to be satisfied […]
Afternoon: Berlin learns by phone call to Tschirschky that the leaders in Vienna are waiting for Tisza to return to the city so that they can get his views but it is very unlikely that Austria-Hungary will limit its military operations as required by the “halt in Belgrade” proposal.
Later: Grey talks to Mensdorff saying he cannot intervene in Russia unless Vienna gives him something to offer.
Afternoon: Jagow sees Jules Cambon who reminds him he has said Germany would not mobilise if Russia mobilised only against Austria-Hungary and not in the districts facing Germany.Jagow admits this but now says the German army chiefs are insisting on action as any delay is a loss of strength for Germany. In any case his […]
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.
7.35 P.M.: Grey makes another effort to solve the crisis. He telegrams Buchanan saying as Berlin is trying to persuade Vienna to halt military action after taking Belgrade, and wait as the Powers arrange for Serbia to satisfy Austrian demands, it is hoped Russia will agree to discussions and suspend further military preparations. He does […]
Later: Moltke wires Conrad saying “Stand firm against Russian mobilisation. Austria-Hungary must be preserved, mobilise at once against Russia. Germany will mobilise”. This is in completely the opposite sense to what Bethmann is trying to achieve, and shows how the German military reporting directly to the Kaiser are independent of the civilian leaders. [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”.
6.00 P.M.: Liberal Foreign Affairs Group sends letter to Asquith saying they will withdraw their support from the government if Britain goes to war.The letter claims nine tenths of the Liberal Party supports the group’s stand.
Afternoon: Moltke learns from the Austrian liaison officer that Conrad is still implementing Plan B, the main army deployment against Serbia rather than, Plan R, the main deployment against Russia.He is greatly alarmed and tells the Austrian military attaché that Austria-Hungary should immediately mobilise against Russia. The only hope for Austria-Hungary is a European war […]
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 […]
Afternoon: Cambon calls on Grey. He reminds Grey of their exchange of letters in 1912 which formalised the agreement that Britain and France would immediately discuss whether they should act together if either country or the general peace was threatened.He draws Grey’s attention to the French decision to pull its covering forces 10km back from […]
Brief: Russian mobilisation [More]
1.00 P.M.: Bethmann, Falkenhayn, Moltke and Tirpitz discuss the latest information.This time Moltke strongly supports Falkenhayn’s demand that Germany proclaims “State of Imminent danger of War”.Moltke has undergone a dramatic change of attitude. He now wants immediate action. They also know Belgium is making military preparations and the Liege forts are operational. But Bethmann still […]
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 […]
Morning: Telegram to Paul Cambon explains cabinet’s decision to leave part of French territory undefended. “In doing so we have no other reason than to prove to British public opinion and the British government that France, like Russia, will not fire the first shot”.
Afternoon: Lichnowsky calls on Grey. Following a telegram from Bethmann he is also trying to get Grey to put pressure on Russia to stop its mobilisation against Austria-Hungary and to persuade France to stop its military preparations at once.Grey tells Lichnowsky he believes the French are not making real war preparations such as calling up […]
9.15 P.M.: Paléologue has confirmation from Sazonov. He wires Paris that Russia has intelligence that German war preparations are far advanced (this is not true, they are not) and has decided to proceed secretly to the first measures of general mobilisation.
1.00 P.M.: An extra edition of the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger, a semi-official publication, claims the Kaiser has ordered mobilisation of the German army and navy. It is immediately withdrawn but a few hundred copies are sold.
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.
9.30 A.M.: French cabinet meets. Their main concern with Russia is not to stop Russian military preparations but to ensure Germany cannot blame Russia for provoking war.They agree covering troops take up positions but on condition no train transport is used or reservists called up and most importantly, troops are to approach no closer than […]
Afternoon: Telegram from Goschen says Jagow is asking Britain to do something to restrain St Petersburg while Germany tries to put pressure on Vienna for a “halt in Belgrade”. Jagow has also remarked Bethmann would not have made his neutrality proposal if Grey’s warning to Lichnowsky had arrived in Berlin earlier.
5.00 P.M.: Dobrorolski is again at the Central Telegraph Office. He waits until 7.00 P.M. until all military districts confirm receipt of the mobilisation order. Russian general mobilisation begins.
1.00 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser is shown Lichnowsky’s report of Grey’s warning the previous evening that Britain will join its Entente partners if war breaks out between them and Germany. The Kaiser has another angry outburst and writes his comments on the report including “England shows her hand when she thinks we are cornered”. [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 […]
Before 9.30 A.M.: After Ignatiev, the Russian Military Attaché, asks Messimy how to translate into military terms Viviani’s recommendation to Sazonov, Izvolsky wires Sazonov saying “the French Government has no intention of interfering in our military preparations but thinks it extremely desirable, in view of the further pursuance of negotiations for the preservation of peace, […]
Afternoon: Grey tells Harcourt, a leading neutralist in the cabinet, about his rejection of Bethmann’s “shameful” neutrality proposal.Harcourt says Grey has done the right thing but Harcourt again meets with other cabinet neutralists to discuss what they might do. As many as seven or eight might resign.
4.31 P.M.: Paléologue has a wire from Viviani asking him to urge Russia to do nothing to give Germany a pretext for mobilisation. Paléologue responds “this very morning I have recommended to M. Sazonov to avoid all military measures that might furnish Germany with a pretext for general mobilisation”. He adds in the course of […]
11.50 A.M.: Urgent telegram arrives in Berlin from Pourtalès announcing Russia is mobilising in its military districts facing Austria-Hungary.
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 […]
7.00 A.M.: As a result Viviani wires Paléologue saying “France is resolved to fulfil all the obligations of her alliance,”“but …. in the interest of the general peace …. in taking any precautionary measures of defence Russia should not immediately take any step which may offer Germany a pretext for a total or partial mobilisation […]
3.30 P.M.: Grey instructs Goschen to give Britain’s formal response to Bethmann’s neutrality proposal. He says “You must inform the German Chancellor that his proposal that we should bind ourselves to neutrality on such terms cannot for a moment be entertained”. [More]
3.10 P.M., Peterhof: Sazonov sees the Tsar. Despite the proposal he has made to Pourtalès in the early hours that morning he tells the Tsar there is no hope of peace.Germany is determined on war and is well advanced in its military preparations (this is not true). Sazonov talks at length, and finally, the Tsar […]
11.00 A.M.: Bethmann gets a copy of the Tsar’s telegram from Potsdam with the Kaiser’s comments. Bethmann writes back advising the Kaiser not to end mediation while there is still no answer from Vienna and he drafts a telegram for the Kaiser to send to the Tsar saying that it is Russian mobilisation that endangers […]
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.
Very early morning: Viviani and Messimy wake Poincaré and discuss this important news with him.Viviani thinks Sazonov is giving a very wide meaning to any assurances that Paléologue may have given him.
Afternoon: The Conservative Party leaders have suggested to Asquith that legislation on Ireland is put-off in view of the international situation. The Liberal leaders are pleased to agree with this.Accordingly Asquith announces to the Commons the postponement of the second reading of the Bill on Irish Home Rule in light of the “almost unparalleled” gravity […]
Morning: Sazonov tells Paléologue and Buchanan about the solution he discussed earlier with Pourtalès. He also says for strategic reasons Russia cannot postpone converting partial mobilisation into general mobilisation as she knows Germany is preparing.
Morning: Moltke tells the Austro-Hungarian liaison officer Russian partial mobilisation no reason for Germany to mobilise. It would only happen if Russia was at war with Austria-Hungary.
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.
2.00 A.M.: Izvolsky realises the importance of this message and immediately has its contents communicated to Viviani and Messimy.
London: Labour Party adopt resolution if there is a European war Britain should remain neutral in all circumstances.
Morning: Sazonov then sees Yanushkevich and Sukhomlinov. They are worried that partial mobilisation will wreck the plans for general mobilisation. Yanushkevich phones the Tsar who refuses to reverse his decision. However, he agrees to see Sazonov at 3.00 P.M. [More]
Morning, Potsdam: The Kaiser has Prince Henry wire King George saying Wilhelm is “trying his utmost to fulfil Nicky’s appeal to him to work for peace,” but Nicky “today confirms news that military measures have been ordered by him”.France is taking military measures as well. Germany had taken none, “but may be forced to do […]
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 […]
Russians tell the French they can’t agree to the German request to stop military preparations and as war is likely the best thing is to speed up armaments. They thank the French for their support under the Franco-Russian alliance. French Prime Minister thinks the Russian Foreign Minister is giving a very wide meaning to the […]
2.00 A.M.: Izvolsky has a message from Sazonov sent before the Tsar changed general back to partial mobilisation.It explains Germany has warned it will mobilise if Russia does not stop her military preparations. “As we cannot meet the German wish, all we can do is to speed up our armaments and reckon with the probable […]
9.00 A.M.: Goschen’s dispatch containing Bethmann’s proposal for British neutrality reaches London. Crowe minutes “these astounding proposals … reflect discredit on the statesman who makes them”. He concludes Germany is practically determined to go to war and the one restraining influence is the fear that Britain will join in the defence of France and Belgium. […]
Labour Party adopts resolution if there is a European war Britain should remain neutral in all circumstances. British turn down German proposal for British neutrality. Foreign Office official comments “these astounding proposals … reflect discredit on the statesman who makes them”. French ambassador reminds the Foreign Secretary of the 1912 agreement that Britain and France […]
In response to question from German ambassador Russian Foreign Minister says Russia would suspend military preparations if Austria was ready to eliminate the points in its ultimatum that infringe on Serbia’s sovereignty. Russian civil and military leaders are still strongly in favour of general mobilisation. Russian Foreign Minister sees the Tsar and talks at length. […]
Morning: Sazonov is still in favour of general mobilisation. He asks Krivoshein to put pressure on the Tsar to change his mind.
Germans get confirmation of Russian partial mobilisation. German Chief of the General Staff is greatly alarmed Austria’s main army deployment is in the south against Serbia. He wires his Austrian counterpart saying mobilise at once against Russia. Germany will mobilise. Chancellor tells Prussian cabinet it is of the greatest importance that Russia is seen as […]
Morning, Potsdam: The Kaiser receives wire from the Tsar [N3] mentioning his “military measures” started five days before aimed at Austria-Hungary.Wilhelm thinks he has been tricked by the Tsar. Russia was mobilising even when the Tsar asked him to speak to Vienna and Russia is now that much ahead of Germany. He says “I must […]
From the tone of the Chancellors latest wires the Austrians realise he really is trying to change Austrian policy. They should talk with the Russians and consider the latest proposal to “halt in Belgrade”. They tell the Austrian ambassador in St Petersburg to explain the ultimatum to the Russians. This isn’t what the Russians want. […]
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, […]
About 2.00 A.M. next day: Pourtalès asks to see Sazonov. He has a more positive message from Bethmann than the one delivered that afternoon warning that Russian mobilisation would compel Germany to mobilise.Bethmann is trying to get a fresh formal assurance of Austria’s “désintéressement” in Serbian territory. Sazonov is still very doubtful about Vienna’s intentions […]
1.20 A.M. next day: The Tsar wires the Kaiser thanking him for his message [W2]. He says Russia’s military measures started five days before are on account of Austria-Hungary’s actions and are defensive. He hopes with all his heart they won’t interfere with the Kaiser’s role as mediator which the Tsar greatly values. [N3]
Around midnight: Sazonov sees Pourtalès for the fourth time to tell him of the Russian decision for partial mobilisation. He asks Berlin to take part in four-power talks aimed at persuading Vienna to drop demands detrimental to Serbian sovereignty. Pourtalès is not optimistic, saying that talks are almost impossible “now that Russia had resolved on […]
11.00 P.M. and shortly after: Paléologue is told about the decision for general mobilisation and prepares a telegram for Paris saying the Russian government has decided “…. to order the mobilisation of thirteen corps destined to operate against Austria and secretly to commence general mobilisation”. At the last minute news arrives of the Tsar’s change […]
Shortly after 10.00 P.M.: Dobrorolski gets the new order just in time to stop the telegrams going out. He collects them and orders new ones for partial mobilisation. These go out at midnight.
1.30 A.M.: While his telegrams are being encoded Bethmann receives one from Tschirschky saying Vienna wants more time to consider the “halt in Belgrade” proposal. It is not very encouraging.
9.40 P.M.: The Tsar gets a message from the Kaiser [W2] asking for Russian restraint while he tries to mediate in Vienna. The Tsar decides he cannot ignore this appeal and immediately countermands the order for general mobilisation. Instead, he orders partial mobilisation. [More]
Late evening, early hours next day: In response to the bad news, Russia is mobilising and Britain is likely to support its Entente partners, Bethmann sends a series of telegrams to Tschirschky in Vienna which in contrast to previous German encouragement appear to seek to hold Austria-Hungary back from triggering a European war.Two go about […]
9.00 – 10.00 P.M.: General Dobrorolski completes the collection of signatures for the mobilisation order and goes to the St Petersburg Central Telegraph Office to wire the order across the country. The telegrams are ready shortly after 10.00 P.M.
Immediately after: Bethmann gets another report from Lichnowsky recounting what Grey said to him that afternoon. Grey repeats his proposal that Austria-Hungary limits its military operations, a proposal similar to the Kaiser’s “halt in Belgrade”, but he makes it clear that Britain will join France and Russia if a European war breaks out. If Germany […]
Shortly after: Sazonov telegrams Izvolsky so he can inform the French.
10.30 P.M.: Bethmann sees Goschen to make a bid for British neutrality. If Britain will remain neutral in a war between Germany and France, Germany will not acquire French territory. Goschen asks about French colonies and Belgium. The chancellor’s replies are unsatisfactory. Goschen says he thinks Britain will want to keep its options open but […]
8.00 P.M.: Austria-Hungary’s refusal of direct talks, the bombardment of Belgrade, the latest message from Pourtalès, which sounds like an ultimatum, together with the military reasons against partial mobilisation persuade Sazonov war cannot be avoided and Russia must order general mobilisation.He meets Yanushkevich and Sukhomlinov and they decide “in view of the small probability of […]
Shortly after 10.00 P.M.: Bethmann wires Tschirschky demanding to know by return of the discharge of Telegram 174 setting out the Kaiser’s mediation proposals based on the “halt in Belgrade” idea sent nearly 24 hours earlier.
Soon after: The Tsar phones Sazonov to tell him about the message from the Kaiser [W1] which sounds friendly. It contrasts with what Pourtalès has just said to Sazonov. The Tsar telegrams the Kaiser thanking him for his conciliatory telegram and asks why the ambassador’s official message is in such a different tone. [N2]
Evening: Back in Berlin Bethmann gets the news of the Russian partial mobilisation and meets with Jagow, Moltke and Falkenhayn to decide what to do. Moltke and Bethmann are still against German mobilisation and even the proclamation of “State of Imminent Danger of War”.Russian partial mobilisation does not necessarily mean war. Nevertheless, they dispatch the […]
7.15 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser sees Tirpitz and the other naval chiefs. Tirpitz has reports from the German naval attaché in London and thinks the news does not correspond with King George’s comment about British neutrality. The Kaiser is not concerned because he has “the word of a King”.
6.30 P.M., Potsdam: The Kaiser replies to The Tsar’s telegram [N1]. He says he thinks an agreement is possible between the Russian government and Vienna but Russian military measures are jeopardising his position as mediator which he readily accepted on the Tsar’s appeal. [W2]
7.00 P.M.: Pourtalès calls on Sazonov for their third meeting that day. He carries out Bethmann’s instruction and tells Sazonov that “further progress of Russian mobilisation measures would compel us to mobilise and that then European war would scarcely be prevented”.Sazonov sees the German message as an ultimatum. It convinces him that Berlin is behind […]
6.10 P.M., Potsdam: Prince Henry briefs the Kaiser on his discussions in London with King George. [More]
5.07 P.M.: Lichnowsky’s report of his talk with Grey that morning reaches Berlin. Grey asks if it might be possible to bring about an understanding as to the extent of Austro-Hungarian military operations and demands (this is similar to the Kaiser’s “halt in Belgrade” proposal) and to involve other powers in mediation.
Afternoon: Yanushkevich instructs Dobrorolski to obtain the signatures of the Minister for War, the Navy Minister and the Minister of the Interior needed to make the ukazes operative.
5.00 P.M.: While the meeting takes place in Potsdam Sverbeev implementing his instructions of the previous day calls on Jagow to tell him Russia is going to mobilise against Austria-Hungary. While they talk a wire arrives from Pourtalès confirming that news. Jagow says this is the end of diplomacy. Sverbeev protests that Jagow had earlier […]
Evening: Joffre asks Messimy for authorisation for French covering forces to take up their positions on the French border with Germany.
Afternoon: Grey sends for Lichnowsky. He tells him even though it is too late to stop Austro-Hungarian military action it might be possible to have mediation after they occupy Belgrade. This resembles the Kaiser’s “halt in Belgrade” idea even more than Grey’s earlier suggestion to Lichnowsky that Austria-Hungary limit its military operations. This comparison is […]
Afternoon: Szápáry calls on Sazonov. Though Austria-Hungary will not discuss the ultimatum or the Serbian reply, it is ready for a “far broader basis for the exchange of views” and does not wish to damage Russian interests. Sazonov says the Austro-Hungarian note infringes Serbian sovereignty though, oddly, he says it is “quarrelling over words”. He […]
4.40 P.M., Potsdam: Bethmann, Falkenhayn, Moltke, and Lyncker meet with the Kaiser to discuss the military position. The Kaiser supports Bethmann and Moltke in not proclaiming “State of Imminent Danger of War”.It is important to get Austria-Hungary’s response to Telegram 174 concerning the Kaiser’s “halt in Belgrade” proposal. It is also better Russia makes the […]
Afternoon and later: Izvolsky sends Sazonov several telegrams about events in France.He mentions the attitude of the French press which is very pro-Russian and the very warm welcome given to Poincaré on his return from the French visit to St Petersburg.He also reports that after the cabinet meeting Viviani told him of the determination of […]
Afternoon: Following what the cabinet agreed Grey tells Paul Cambon the dispute between Austria and Serbia, even if it brings in Russia, is not one in which Britain feels involved. British policy has always been not to be drawn into a war over a Balkan question.If Germany and France become involved Britain has not decided […]
Afternoon: Sazonov calls back Pourtalès to tell him Berchtold has rejected talks and Russia is now supporting the British proposal. Pourtalès emphasises that Austria-Hungary is not going “to submit to any kind of European court of arbitration” and repeats his warning that any form of Russian mobilisation would be “a grave mistake”. [More]
Afternoon: Following the information received Tuesday about Austro-Hungarian intentions regarding Serbia, Bethmann telegrams Tschirschky complaining of confusing policies coming from Vienna. It says it will not take Serbian territory yet it might let other Balkan countries take parts of Serbia.He softens the impact of his complaint by telling Tschirschky he is only to indicate to […]
During the cabinet meeting: As the meeting starts Viviani is called out to see Schoen who has a message from Bethmann.Though France is at liberty to take what measure it believes necessary, continued military preparations will mean that Germany will have to declare a “State of Imminent Danger of War”. Viviani says the French preparations […]
Afternoon: Mensdorff finally gives the British Foreign Office the Austro-Hungarian dossier on Serbian involvement in the Sarajevo assassination. It is too late to have any influence.Grey points out to Mensdorff if the other powers are to ask Russia to refrain from action it is equivalent to giving Austria-Hungary a free hand. Russia will not accept […]
Afternoon: Sazonov tells Buchanan that Russia is not ordering general mobilisation though that is what the military recommend. He also says Russia now supports Grey’s four-power mediation proposal as Vienna is rejecting direct talks with St Petersburg.
Morning: Szögyény sees Jagow to ask that Germany mobilises if Russia carries out partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary. Jagow is in a bind. Such a move would make a war inevitable and he has previously told the Russians that Germany would not mobilise in those circumstances. He asks Szögyény to put the request into writing.
1.00 A.M. next day: Berchtold now has news of Russian partial mobilisation. He instructs Szögyény to tell the German government “for military reasons our general mobilisation must be put in hand at once if the Russian measures for mobilisation are not immediately suspended”. The ambassador is also told although diplomatic action continues in St Petersburg […]
Late afternoon: The French cabinet meets chaired by Poincaré. They discuss the situation and decide to hold daily meetings.
Afternoon: The chairman of the Liberal Foreign Affairs Group, an unofficial committee of backbench Liberal MPs, writes to Grey saying Britain should tell Russia and France “Great Britain in no conceivable circumstances will depart from a position of strict neutrality”. [More]
Morning: Sazonov reads Shebeko’s report that Berchtold has refused to authorise further direct talks with St. Petersburg. (Shebeko did not realise the refusal covered only talks on the Serbian reply, not other talks.)
Morning: Bethmann sends instructions to Pourtalès to impress on Sazonov “further continuation of Russian mobilisation measures would force us to mobilise, and in that case a European war could scarcely be prevented”.He also asks Schoen to warn the French that their military measures will force Germany to proclaim “State of Imminent Danger of War” which […]
Probably late evening: Telegram 174 concerning the “halt in Belgrade” proposal and opening direct talks with Russia has been in Vienna since 4.00 A.M. but Tschirschky talks to Berchtold about it much later in the day.Berchtold is willing to repeat to Russia that Austria-Hungary will make no territorial acquisitions at the expense of Serbia but […]
Morning, Potsdam: The Kaiser gets the message from the Tsar [N1] warning he might have to take extreme measures and appealing to the Kaiser to “do what you can to stop your ally from going too far”.
11.15 A.M.: Izvolsky informs the French government Russian partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary will shortly be announced. This is not the consultation the Franco-Russian alliance requires. Also, it creates no immediate alarm because Jagow has told the French ambassador that mobilisation against only Austria-Hungary would not cause German mobilisation.
11.30 A.M. – 2.30 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting Reflecting the military view that if Germany attacks France it will be through Belgium the cabinet discuss the Belgium treaties of 1839 and 1870.Each signatory of the 1839 Treaty is obliged to act to maintain the neutrality of Belgium even if the others do not but what the […]
Morning, Peterhof: Yanushkevich takes the ukazes for partial and general mobilisation to the Tsar who signs both of them.
Morning: Bethmann sees Falkenhayn and Moltke. Falkenhayn wants Germany to proclaim Kriegsgefahrzustand (“State of Imminent Danger of War”). Bethmann is against this as it will escalate the crisis. Despite the concerns expressed in his report Moltke agrees with Bethmann. They need to know more about Russian and French intentions.
Afternoon: Austro-Hungarian military intelligence detects signs of Russian military preparations along the border with Galicia, the province bordering Russia.
French Presidential party returns to France. Russian ambassador informs the French that Russia is about to announce partial mobilisation. Russian ambassador wires Russian Foreign Minister. The French press is very pro-Russia and the President has received a very warm welcome on his return to France. French Chief of the General Staff asks for authorisation for […]
8.00 A.M.: The French Presidential party returns to France. They dock at Dunkirk and go by train to Paris. At the quayside and at stations on the way they are met by large cheering crowds. The French public are reacting to the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia which the Presidential party now hear about.
British cabinet discuss what to do if Germany attacks France through neutral Belgium. Britain signed the 1839 Treaty that created neutral Belgium. They decide British action will be based on policy rather than treaty obligations. Cabinet decides the Foreign Secretary continues his ambiguous stance with France and Germany. Tell the French not to count on […]
Morning: Grey asks Lichnowsky if Germany itself can make a mediation proposal as the British ambassadors’ conference proposal has been rejected and direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary seem unlikely.Lichnowsky repeats the German view that Russia should not interfere in a fight between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Austria-Hungary does not intend to annex Serbia. Grey points […]
German ambassador tells Russian Foreign Minister Berlin is still pushing Vienna to talk. Foreign Minister says there is no sign Vienna wants to talk. While talking with the Austrian ambassador the Foreign Minister hears of the Austrian shelling of Belgrade and assumes the invasion of Serbia has begun. He tells ambassador there can be no […]
11.00 A.M.: Pourtalès calls on Sazonov to tell him Berlin is still pushing Vienna to talk with St Petersburg and clarify “the aims and extent” of its actions in Serbia. Sazonov says he wants to talk with Vienna but there is no sign Vienna wants to talk.He tells Pourtalès Russia is about to order mobilisation […]
German Chief of the General Staff warns the Chancellor Russian and French military preparations are putting Germany at a disadvantage. Given Germany’s alliance with Austria-Hungary German mobilisation is inevitable. Germany tells Russia further military preparations will force Germany to mobilise and a European war could scarcely be prevented. Germany gets the news of Russian partial […]
Morning: Bethmann reads a memorandum from Moltke. It mentions the Russian and French military preparations and says the military situation is becoming more unfavourable to Germany.Moltke says Germany’s alliance with Austria-Hungary and the military circumstances make German mobilisation inevitable and only a miracle will avoid war. [More]
The Austrians start shelling Belgrade. Late in the day the German ambassador puts forward the “halt in Belgrade” proposal. The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister says Austria is willing to repeat to Russia that it will not annex any part of Serbia but it needs time to consider the “halt in Belgrade” idea. The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister […]
During the day: The Austro-Hungarians start shelling Belgrade.
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.
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]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Evening: Tschirschky finally acts on Bethmann’s Monday evening telegram asking for Berchtold’s opinions on Grey’s suggestion that Berlin mediate in Vienna and Sazonov’s desire to have direct talks. Berchtold says he will let Tschirschky have his views very soon though he thinks the British move comes too late. Berchtold claims Serbia has already opened hostilities.Berchtold […]
Late in the day: Crowe thinks the situation is grave. “Austria at the very moment of using soft words at St Petersburg, has declared war on Serbia. Unless the Russians now decide to run away – which is always possible – we shall have the general war upon us very soon.”
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.
6.39 P.M.: Word of the Austria-Hungary declaration of war on Serbia arrives in Berlin.
Afternoon: They again look to Germany for help. They believe that if Austria-Hungary is engaged in operations against Serbia, then even if Russia only mobilises against Austria-Hungary Germany should mobilise too, even though this makes European war inevitable. They telegram Szögyény telling him to ask Germany to consider issuing “a friendly reminder” to Russia along […]
7.45 P.M.: Message from Bunsen informs Grey that Berchtold says Austria-Hungary cannot delay its proceedings against Serbia and therefore cannot negotiate on the basis of the Serbian reply. This means direct conversations between Austria-Hungary and Russia are unlikely to happen.
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 […]
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 […]
Afternoon: Austrian leaders discuss the military situation following the declaration of war on Serbia. Berchtold asks whether war with Russia can be carried on if the army is attacking Serbia.That Berchtold asks this shows for him the declaration of war is a diplomatic move designed to increase the pressure on Serbia and has no military […]
Afternoon: News of the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war reaches London. Formal confirmation from Crackanthorpe in Nish arrives at 6.45 P.M.
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.
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: Shebeko compounds the confusion reporting to Sazonov that Austria-Hungary “cannot retreat and enter into a discussion of its note” which Sazonov takes to mean a complete rejection of direct talks between Austria-Hungary and Russia.
About 6.30 P.M.: Grey again telegrams Goschen saying he is ready to ask Jagow to make his own suggestions on how to proceed with mediation but he will keep the idea in reserve till they know how the conversations between Austria-Hungary and Russia are progressing.
About 4.00 P.M.: St Petersburg hears of the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia.
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 […]
Afternoon: Berchtold sees Shebeko who he has been deliberately avoiding because he doesn’t want to discuss Sazonov’s proposal for direct talks between the two countries before Vienna declares war.Berchtold tells Shebeko that Austria-Hungary refuses to enter into any negotiations on the Serbian reply, which has already been rejected as unsatisfactory.He is thinking of Grey’s proposal […]
5.00 P.M.: The Admiralty orders the ships of the First Fleet to proceed, during the night without lights, through the Channel and the North Sea to their war stations at Scapa Flow.
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 […]
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.
Late morning: Tschirschky calls on Berchtold to urge Austria-Hungary to offer Italy territorial compensation according to the Triple Alliance. If Italy does not support the Alliance it upsets Germany’s military plans.Berchtold says they will consult with the Italian government if Austria-Hungary occupies any part of the Balkans even if only temporarily. The Italians want to […]
Rome: San Giuliano tells Rodd the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum is a deliberate provocation to war or “le triomphe de l’imbecilite”.Italy supports Britain’s mediation proposals. San Giuliano says the Serbian representative in Rome has said Belgrade might accept all the demands with some further explanations. San Giuliano thinks Serbia should do this, the Austro-Hungarians suspend hostilities, and […]
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 […]
Lunchtime: The Kaiser’s note gets to Berlin but is not acted on until the evening.
Late morning: Bunsen calls on Berchtold. He says that as the Serbian government has gone a long way to meet Vienna’s demands it might be possible for the four powers suggested by Grey to devise a solution that would be acceptable to Austria-Hungary.Berchtold makes it clear that Austria-Hungary cannot delay its military preparations and hints […]
Early afternoon: A telegram arrives from Goschen saying a “conference” sounds too much like a “tribunal”. Britain should ask Germany to put the proposal in another form or suggest a way to work with Britain on mediation.However, this crosses a message already sent by Grey saying he believes the best way forward is a direct […]
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 […]
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]
Just before 11.00 A.M., Bad Ischl: The eighty-four-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph signs the declaration of war on Serbia. Shortly after midday the declaration is telegrammed to Nish.
French Prime Minister wires Paris his approval of the British proposal for an ambassadors’ conference.
North Sea: Viviani wires Paris his approval of the British proposal for mediation by a four-power conference and of Bienvenu-Martin’s reply to Schoen that Germany should exercise restraint in Vienna.
10.00 A.M.: Churchill, Battenberg, the First Sea Lord, and the Chief of Staff decide that the First Fleet should move to its war stations and the Second Fleet assemble at Portland. Churchill obtains Asquith’s approval for these moves.
The Admiralty orders the Royal Navy First Fleet to move to its war stations. Explanation received from British ambassador in Berlin of Germany’s rejection of Britain’s ambassadors’ conference proposal. “Conference” sounds too much like a “tribunal”. British Foreign Secretary has already sent wire to the ambassador saying he believes best way forward now is direct […]
Austria has not responded to the proposal to have direct talks with Russia Russian Foreign Minister tells German ambassador he thinks Germany is in a plot with Austria to provoke war Foreign Minister tells British ambassador the only way to avert war is for Britain to say it will side with Russia and France. This […]
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 […]
The Kaiser thinks the Serbian reply is moral victory for Austria. Every cause for war drops away. Austria should take Belgrade as a guarantee until the Serbs carry out their promises. This becomes known as “halt in Belgrade”. He forwards his proposal to the German leaders in Berlin. The Kaiser gets letter from Prince Henry […]
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 […]
Morning: As agreed on the 25 July Austro-Hungarian partial mobilisation Plan B begins. About two-fifths of the Austro-Hungarian army is to be deployed to the south along the border with Serbia. One reserve army corps is also being mobilised.So as not to give the Russians any reason to intervene there are no military preparations in […]
Austria-Hungary begins its Balkan mobilisation. Two-fifths of the army is to be deployed in the south along the border with Serbia. Austria declares war on Serbia. Austria rejects Russian proposal to have direct talks. Late in the day the German ambassador forwards the latest British mediation proposal Berlin has already told Vienna can be ignored. […]
Very late evening: Bethmann wires Lichnowsky “We have at once inaugurated a move for mediation at Vienna along the lines desired by Sir Edward Grey”.
Very late evening: Bethmann has decided Germany should not reject the latest British mediation proposal out of hand as this will alienate Britain and Germany will be blamed for any conflict.He wires Tschirschky in Vienna saying Germany must appear as the one being forced into war. He asks Tschirschky to obtain Berchtold’s views on the […]
9.30 P.M.: Jagow sends a copy of the Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to the Kaiser in Potsdam by special messenger.Only now does Germany take any interest in this document. Jagow has had a copy given to him by the Serbian chargé d’affaires since late morning. [More]
9.15 P.M.: Szögyény wires Vienna. Jagow has told him the German government is against any British mediation proposal that it might forward to the Austrian government in the immediate future. It only passes it on to conform to the British request as it is vital to ensure that Britain does not side with France and […]
Evening: Lichnowsky’s telegrams arrive recording his talk with Grey that morning. Britain thinks Germany holds the key to Vienna’s actions and should use its influence to have the Serbian reply regarded either as satisfactory or as a basis for negotiation.Grey believes Russia will take Austro-Hungarian military action against Serbia as a direct challenge and it […]
4.37 P.M.: Telegram from Tschirschky arrives informing Berlin that Vienna has decided to send out the declaration of war on Serbia the next day, or the day after at the latest, to frustrate any attempt at intervention.
Brief: Grey’s policy [More]
4.00 P.M.: The general staff intelligence committee concludes Russia is beginning to implement its “Period Preparatory to War”.
Brief: The divided cabinet [More]
Afternoon: Jules Cambon calls on Jagow who repeats the reasons for rejecting Grey’s four-power conference proposal. Germany is only willing to intervene in an Austro-Russian dispute, not one between Austria and Serbia.Cambon points out a dispute involving Russia is a consequence of the one between Austria and Serbia. Jagow says talks between St Petersburg and […]
After cabinet meeting: Churchill sends a secret telegram to all navy commanders. It says it is not the warning telegram but “the European political situation makes war between the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance powers by no means impossible”. Purely as a precautionary measure commanders should consider positioning their ships so they can shadow hostile […]
Afternoon: Goschen is back in Berlin from London and calls on Jagow to formally submit Grey’s conference proposal. Jagow says a conference is tantamount to a “court of arbitration” and Austria-Hungary will not accept that.Jagow repeats his warning that Germany must respond to a Russian mobilisation but as with Cambon he qualifies it saying “if […]
Afternoon: At a meeting with Berchtold and Tschirschky, Conrad suggests if Russia mobilises against Austria-Hungary, the Germans tell the Russians it constitutes such a threat to Germany on its southern and eastern frontier corresponding German measures will have to be taken.This shows Conrad has a severe misapprehension of his ally’s war plans. If Germany mobilises, […]
Paris: The French military urge their counterparts in St Petersburg that if hostilities break out to immediately take the offensive in East Prussia despite the slowness of Russian mobilisation.A Russian attack in the east will draw German forces away from the expected big German attack against France in the west. They know German military strategy […]
After cabinet meeting: Several cabinet members meet in Harcourt’s room. They are worried by what is happening and talk about forming a “peace party” that Harcourt thinks could be of some 11 cabinet members, to break up the cabinet if necessary in the interests of abstention.
Afternoon: Reports arrive in Vienna from the military attaché in St Petersburg indicating that Russia is beginning extensive military preparations. Conrad worries about the safety of attacking Serbia if the reserves are needed against Russia.
Paris: The French cabinet agrees further precautionary military measures including the recall of troops from Algeria and Morocco and full protection of railways.
5.30 P.M. Cabinet Meeting Grey explains his policy to the cabinet. He wants to keep Britain’s position as a mediator as strong as possible. He is doing this by keeping opposing groups of powers in the dispute uncertain as to what Britain will do if mediation fails and there is a war.Germany wants Britain to […]
Afternoon, Potsdam: No decisions are taken at the meetings and despite the mixed news from Russia the participants are confident about the course of events. German policy is working.There is time for more diplomacy as the Austro-Hungarians cannot start military action until the 12 August, and Sazonov wants to talk with Vienna. And, if there […]
Morning, Bad Ischl: Berchtold tells the Emperor that as the Serbian reply appears conciliatory the Entente powers are likely to make further efforts to solve the crisis peacefully unless the situation is clarified by a declaration of war.He also tells the Emperor of a report that Serbian troops have fired on Austro-Hungarian troops and there […]
Paris: Szécsen calls on Bienvenu-Martin with the official Austro-Hungarian explanation of its reaction to the Serbian reply. Austria-Hungary has to take strong measures. In response to Bienvenu-Martin’s question he admits there might be a declaration of war, or the crossing of the frontier. He wires Vienna saying that the Austro-Hungarian attitude is giving the impression […]
Afternoon: In answer to a parliamentary question from the leader of the opposition, Grey tells parliament about his four-power mediation proposal, and the latest proposal for an ambassadors’ conference in London.He explains that as matters are so grave and urgent he has to take the risk of making proposals that might not be accepted. He […]
Afternoon: General Danilov, the man in charge of mobilisation plans, arrived back in St Petersburg on Sunday evening from an inspection tour. He is strongly opposed to partial mobilisation believing it jeopardises any general mobilisation that might follow.He persuades Yanushkevich to call a staff conference which concludes from a practical military point of view the […]
Afternoon, Potsdam: The Kaiser calls for the Chancellor and his military advisors including Moltke to meet him at Neues Palais. Bethmann has his first audience with the Kaiser since 5 July.The latest reports from Russia are contradictory. Russian mobilisation in some military districts is near certain, yet Pourtalès reports Sazonov seems to have lost his […]
Morning, Bad Ischl: The Emperor who is seeing Giesl to hear his report on his actions in Belgrade, tells him “you could not have acted otherwise, and I must bear this too. However this still does not mean war” … “we are not at war yet, and if I can, I shall prevent it”.
Paris: Izvolsky returns to Paris. He sends a telegram to St Petersburg saying Bienvenu-Martin and his colleagues understand the situation and are determined to give Russia full support and avoid the slightest hint of a difference of opinion.Later he gets a telegram from Sazonov who is concerned with what Bienvenu-Martin said to Schoen on the […]
Afternoon: Grey tells Benckendorff about his conversation with Lichnowsky. Benckendorff says he hopes Grey’s warnings will open the eyes of the German government, who appear to believe Britain will in all circumstances remain neutral. Grey thinks he has been sufficiently frank with Lichnowsky to dispel German confidence in British neutrality.
During the day: Sukhomlinov sends for Major Eggeling and gives him his word of honour no order for mobilisation has been issued. Purely preparatory measures are being taken. If Austria crosses the Serbian frontier there will be mobilisation in the districts facing Austria. Eggeling says even mobilisation against Austria must be regarded as dangerous.
Berlin: Zimmermann sums up Germany’s position in a conversation with the Belgian envoy. For Austria-Hungary, suppressing the pan-Serb movement was now “an existential question, of being or not being”. Serbia “had to receive a severe and salutary lesson by means of a military expedition”.It was thus impossible now to avert an Austro-Serbian conflict.Germany would support […]
Morning: Tschirschky wires Berlin “They have decided here to send out the declaration of war tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow at the latest, to frustrate any attempt at intervention”.
Paris: Bertie writes to Grey. He is sure the French government does not want to fight and they should be encouraged to put pressure on the Russians not to assume the obsolete attitude of defender of all Slav states. It will lead to war.
Afternoon: Grey sees Mensdorff and summarises what he has said to Lichnowsky.In a stark indication of his opinion of Serbia Grey goes on to say “If they [Austria-Hungary] could make war on Serbia and at the same time satisfy Russia, well and good; but, if not, the consequences would be incalculable”.He tells Mensdorff owing to […]
During the day: Sazonov gets report from Bronevski that Jagow has said Germany will only mobilise if Russia mobilises on their common border. [More]
Late morning: Bethmann replies to Lichnowsky’s telegram about Grey’s four-power ambassadors’ conference proposal.He rejects the idea. He says a conference is too close to summoning Austria before a European court of justice in her case with Serbia.Germany will consent to international mediation only in the event of an Austro-Russian crisis. He thinks that Sazonov’s suggestion […]
Morning: In light of optimistic reports – Britain and France working to restrain Russia, Britain likely to be neutral, French government against war, Russian reservists have not been called up – Berchtold sees no reason to soften his stand.He wires Szápáry instructing him not to mention Austria’s “territorial disinterest for the time being”. This contradicts […]
Baltic Sea, midday: Viviani wires instructions to Paléologue which ask him to tell Sazonov that France “…. is ready, in the interests of the general peace, whole heartedly to second the action of the Imperial Government”.Viviani’s words “in the interest of general peace” indicate he is aware of the risks inherent in Poincare’s policy of […]
Afternoon: Crowe writes “If Russia mobilises, we have been warned Germany will do the same, and as German mobilisation is directed almost entirely against France, the latter cannot possibly delay her own mobilisation for even the fraction of a day”. “…. within twenty-four hours His Majesty’s Government will be faced with the question” of whether […]
Morning: Sazonov is in a good mood when he sees Pourtalès. He thinks the Serbian answer is a way forward. He tells him “the moment has come to seek the means by an exchange of views among the Powers” and to “build a golden bridge” for Austria. He is confident the Austrians will negotiate. Pourtalès […]
Morning: Jules Cambon sees Jagow. Cambon says if there is war England will stand by France and Russia. Jagow replies “You have your information. We have ours which is quite to the contrary. We are sure of English neutrality”.Jagow is worried by early signs of Russian military preparations. He tells Cambon “We shall mobilise at […]
Morning: Even though the Serbian reply amounts to a rejection it appears conciliatory and as it would look bad to reject it out-of-hand the Austro-Hungarians prepare a point-by-point rebuttal which is circulated to the Empire’s representatives abroad who are told the Serbian reply must be treated as unsatisfactory.
Baltic Sea: They hear of Paléologue’s message to Paris that Russia has decided to order partial mobilisation if Austria-Hungary threatens Serbia with military force and secret military preparations are underway.Up to this point Poincaré did not realise that any military measures were underway.If mobilisation is ordered troops will concentrate on the border with Austria-Hungary but […]
Afternoon: Lichnowsky reports Grey’s proposal and comments and his interpretation of them in a series of telegrams to Berlin. He notes that it is the first time he has found Grey annoyed.If war comes now Germany can no longer count on British support since the Austrian action would be regarded as showing a lack of […]
Morning: Sazonov has studied the Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. He wires all Russian ambassadors saying it “…. exceeds all our expectations in its moderation and readiness to offer Austria the fullest satisfaction. We cannot understand in what Austria’s demand can still consist unless she seeks a pretext for a campaign against Serbia”.
Evening, Nish: Pašić writes “We have made our last concession – further we will not go, nor will we seek mediation, for that would suggest that we are ready to yield even more. Russia is resolute. Italy neutral”. There is further news of Russian support. There is no prospect of Serbia changing course and unconditionally […]
Kiel-Potsdam: Bethmann wires his latest report to the Kaiser on his train journey from Kiel to his palace at Potsdam.Austria-Hungary is unable to take military action before the 12 August. Serbia has accepted most of the points in the ultimatum. England, France and Italy want peace. Russia not yet mobilising and is willing to start […]
Morning: Berchtold can now respond to the German pressure for military action and declare war on Serbia. He has in mind the reports from St Petersburg that Sazonov recognises Austria-Hungary has legitimate claims to make on Serbia and Russia will only mobilise if and when Austria-Hungary assumes a hostile attitude towards Russia.He also wants to […]
French Presidential party at sea sends message to St Petersburg saying France will support Russia. French Prime Minister adds “…. in the interests of peace”. French cabinet agree precautionary military measures including recall of troops from Algeria. French military remind their Russian counterparts if war breaks out Russia must give priority to attacking Germany and […]
Baltic Sea: The Presidential party agrees to return to Paris as quickly as possible. The journey will take two days.
British Foreign Secretary tells German ambassador the Serbian reply meets Austria’s demands. If Austria now invades it proves she all along intended to provoke a military conflict. He tells the ambassador Germany should use its influence in Vienna to have the Serbian reply regarded either as satisfactory or as a basis for negotiation. This is […]
Late morning: Grey sees Lichnowsky. He tells him he thinks the Serbian reply agrees with the Austro-Hungarian demands “to an extent such as he would never have believed possible”. It is the result of Russia’s conciliatory influence at Belgrade. Moderation is now needed in Vienna.If Austria-Hungary now invades it proves it intended all along to […]
Russia prefers direct talks with Austria rather than the British conference proposal but it is willing to pursue any mediation supported by other European Powers. Russian Foreign Minister tells German ambassador it must be possible to give Serbia a well-merited lesson while respecting her sovereignty. Russia tells Germany only purely preparatory military measures are being […]
Morning: Buchanan calls on Sazonov to put forward London’s idea for an ambassadors’ conference. Sazonov prefers the direct talks which he believes he has arranged with Austria-Hungary on the modification of the ultimatum. He says if they fail he is willing to accept the British proposal if accepted by other powers or any other that […]
There is no prospect of Serbia changing course and unconditionally accepting the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. The Serbian Prime Minister believes too much has been conceded and he would not have gone as far as he has if had been sure of Russian support earlier.
Morning, Nish: The Serbian cabinet reject a proposal from Sazonov that they should ask England to mediate between Austria and Serbia because it would give England an excuse to maintain her apparent policy of not becoming involved in any conflict with Austria and Germany.The cabinet agree, in view of the promise of Russian support, they […]
North Sea, Kiel, in the early hours: Bethmann radios the Kaiser dispatch from St Petersburg reporting Russian military exercises have been cancelled and troops recalled to barracks.On arrival at Kiel the Kaiser receives report from Chelsius in St Petersburg. There is a very angry mood at the Tsar’s court. The Tsar’s entourage are making clear […]
French ambassador tells the German Foreign Minister Britain will stand by France and Russia if there is a war. He says Germany believes Britain will be neutral. Germany rejects the British ambassadors’ conference proposal. It is too close to summoning Austria before a European court of justice in her case with Serbia. Germany forwards the […]
The Austrian Foreign Minister has optimistic reports; Britain and France working to restrain Russia, Britain likely to be neutral. Russian reservists have not been called up. Austria decides to declare war on Serbia. Austria’s military chief wants Germany to tell Russia that it will mobilise if Russia comes to the defence of Serbia.
Morning: Berchtold sends Hoyos to see Conrad who gives way and agrees to a declaration of war if diplomatic considerations make it necessary.
Evening: Lichnowsky takes his note to the Foreign Office. In Grey’s absence he sees Nicolson and Sir William Tyrrell. The two British diplomats tell Lichnowsky about the proposed conference.They also warn Lichnowsky if Austria-Hungary attacks Serbia European war is inevitable. The localisation of the conflict as hoped for in Berlin is wholly impossible. Lichnowsky is […]
North Sea: News from Bethmann that he and England are working to localise the conflict keeping Russia out of it give the Kaiser and his staff an optimistic picture. The Kaiser even talks of going to his next holiday location.He continues his marginal comments on dispatches saying in regard to Grey’s comment a country that […]
Afternoon: In the absence of Churchill, Prince Louis of Battenberg, the First Sea Lord, decides in the light of the deteriorating European situation, to stop the dispersal of the fleet and maintain its crews at full strength. Churchill confirms the order when he returns to London late in the evening. [More]
Brief: Russia’s crisis management and its consequences [More]
North Sea, early in the day: The Kaiser receives a telegram from Bethmann. It implies the Kaiser has ordered the Fleet to prepare to return home on the basis of a news agency report. Bethmann begs him to hold back on ordering the Fleet to return. As had been hoped the Royal Navy had not […]
Day and evening: Adolphe Messimy takes the first French military measures of the crisis. Following the news of the recall of German officers from leave he orders the recall of French officers.As more negative news comes in during the evening he orders the recall of other ranks from harvest leave and initiates security restrictions on […]
Afternoon: London receives a wire from Rodd in Rome. He says Italy will be neutral in the event of a conflict between Austria-Hungary and Russia.It has not been consulted by Austria-Hungary and the move against Serbia amounts to a deliberate provocation of Russia. Italy believes in these circumstances the alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany, the […]
Later: Sazonov asks Sukhomlinov to see the German military attaché to give further assurances.
Evening: Bethmann telegrams Pourtalès again. He is now alarmed by Russia’s military preparations. He wants Pourtalès to warn Sazonov that Russian preparatory military measures directed in any way against Germany will force Germany to take counter measures and mobilise the army. He says mobilisation means war.He again stresses Austria-Hungary does not want Serbian territory.
Evening: Paris advises Presidential party, somewhere in the Baltic Sea, to abandon the state visits to Denmark and Norway and return home as soon as possible.
Late evening: Pourtalès sees Sazonov to give him the warning from Berlin that Russian military measures directed at Germany might easily call forth German countermeasures. Sazonov is startled.He tries to reassure Pourtalès and tells him mobilisation will only be ordered if Austria-Hungary takes a hostile attitude to Russia. He also tells him about what he […]
Afternoon: Bethmann uses Sazonov’s statement that Russia would go to war if Austria-Hungary swallowed Serbia, as a means of avoiding war or blaming Russia. Austria-Hungary has already said to Russia it has no intention of taking territory from Serbia.He telegrams Pourtalès to say to Sazonov “that Count Berchtold has declared to Russia that Austria plans […]
Evening: Berthelot tells Sevastopula he thinks the successive German demarches at Paris have the object of intimidating France and inducing her to put pressure on St Petersburg.Austria-Hungary and Germany “are aiming at a brilliant diplomatic victory but not at war at any price, although in the extreme case they would not recoil from it”. “He […]
Afternoon: Asquith writes a letter to his friend Venetia Stanley, part of which is about the developing European crisis. He thinks “Russia is trying to drag us in”. However, on the ultimatum he thinks that “on many, if not most, of the points Austria has a good & Serbia a very bad case”.
Evening: The German military attaché, Major Eggeling, asks Pourtalès to tell Berlin he regards it “as certain mobilisation ordered in Kiev and Odessa; Warsaw and Moscow doubtful, the rest probably not yet”.
Berlin: Stumm talks to the representatives of the smaller German states. The best policy is “quiet perseverance”. Britain desires peace and is taking steps in that sense at St Petersburg.Russia is not ready for war and the poor state of French armaments recently revealed in the Senate would make Paris incline towards peace as well.Germany […]
Evening: Schoen calls on Berthelot to suggest making a joint press statement saying Germany and France are “acting in an identical spirit of peaceful co-operation” to find ways of preserving peace, and head off negative newspaper comments.Berthelot says the suggested statement is misleading. The real situation is dangerous. He tells Schoen he thinks Vienna would […]
Afternoon: Grey telephones his agreement to Nicolson’s suggestion of a conference. Telegrams are sent to the British ambassadors in Paris, Vienna, St Petersburg, Berlin and Rome and the minister in Nish, instructing them to ask their respective foreign ministers if they would agree to a conference of ambassadors in London to prevent complications. While the […]
Afternoon: Sazonov telegrams the Russian embassy in Vienna suggesting that the government there authorise Szápáry to start talks with him for a “joint revision of some articles of the ultimatum”.
Berlin: Bethmann telegrams Lichnowsky. According to unconfirmed news from a reliable source Russia is about to call-up several classes of reserves. Such a move must lead to Germany taking counter measures. To preserve European peace the conflict must be localised. He is to ask Grey to use his influence in this sense at St Petersburg.
Shortly after: Schoen telegrams Berlin saying Bienvenu-Martin personally “is most willing to exercise a quietening influence in St Petersburg now that, by the Austrian declaration that no annexation is intended, the conditions for doing so had been created”. He could not make a formal statement because he must first consult the absent French Prime Minister.He […]
Morning: Lichnowsky has a message from Bethmann saying Russia might be calling up reserves without declaring a mobilisation. “We therefore request Sir Edward Grey to use his influence at St Petersburg”. Lichnowsky writes a note for Grey saying if Russia calls up reserves Germany will mobilise. “My Government … instructs me to request you to […]
Afternoon: Pourtalès reports to Berlin the view in St Petersburg that the ultimatum could be made acceptable. If Vienna modifies its demands direct talks between Austria-Hungary and Russia should take place and if they succeeded then St Petersburg would be ready to “advise” Belgrade to accept the revised document.Pourtalès adds he has the impression Sazonov’s […]
Berlin: Bethmann and the vice-chancellor have a secret meeting with the leaders of Germany’s largest political party, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). To ensure their support Bethmann wants to convince them that German policy is defensive and pacific.The German socialist are suspicious of Tsarist Russia and Bethmann is doing everything to put Russia in […]
4.30 P.M.: Telegrams are sent to the ambassadors in Berlin, Rome, London and Paris saying war is imminent because Austria-Hungary is faced with “the necessity of enforcing on Serbia by the sharpest means a fundamental change” in its attitude.
5.00 P.M.: Schoen sees Bienvenu-Martin to ask if France is willing to advise Russia to keep out of the conflict as Vienna has said it will not annex Serbian territory.
Morning: Nicolson in charge in Grey’s absence studies the latest information including the imminence of a Russian partial mobilisation and Sazonov’s threat about Britain’s position in Asia if it does not cooperate with Russia.Noting Sazonov’s remark that Russia might stand aside and leave the question of how matters are resolved between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in […]
Afternoon: Acting on word from Pourtalès, Szápáry goes to see Sazonov and the two men meet in a friendlier mood. Sazonov thinks Austria-Hungary’s aims are legitimate but not pursued safely.He wants to review the ultimatum to Serbia.Szápáry is happy to do this but reminds Sazonov he has no instructions from his government to go beyond […]
Berlin: With the Russian “Period Preparatory to War” underway Berlin receives numerous reports on Russian military activities. Especially disturbing is news that some reserves have been called up. The general staff decides to initiate its own intelligence gathering.
Afternoon: Berchtold sees Giesl and tells him breaking-off diplomatic relations is not by any means war. There is the possibility Serbia will accept the ultimatum unconditionally after Austria-Hungary makes a limited military demonstration, perhaps involving the occupation of undefended Belgrade. For Berchtold an early declaration of war is simply another way of increasing the pressure […]
During the day: French Ministry of War hears from the French military attaché in St Petersburg that the Russians have decided to mobilise in the military districts of Kiev, Odessa, Kazan and Moscow if Austria-Hungary attacks Serbia.Russia is secretly making the preparations in all military districts including Warsaw, Vilna and St Petersburg facing Germany. The […]
German ambassador asks if France is willing to advise Russia to stay out of the conflict as Austria does not intend to annex any Serbian territory. French Minister of Justice says he personally is willing to do this but he must consult the Prime Minister. Senior official tells German ambassador he thinks Austria is acting […]
Prince Henry, the Kaiser’s brother, calls on George V. The King says Britain has no quarrel with anyone and hopes the country will be neutral but could be drawn in. This is misreported to Berlin as Britain will be neutral in a European war. In light of the deepening crisis the British put forward another […]
Morning: Prince Henry on his way to see his sister staying in Eastbourne has a brief meeting with his cousin King George. He doesn’t report to the Kaiser what the King said until he gets back to Germany on Tuesday, 28 July, but a naval attaché at the German embassy in London wires Berlin a […]
German ambassador suggests to the Russian Foreign Minister that he has direct talks with Austria-Hungary. The Minister says Russia cannot tolerate the reduction of Serbia to a vassal state of Austria. He takes up the German ambassador’s suggestion of direct talks and sees the Austrian ambassador. After going through the ultimatum with the Austrian he […]
Morning: Sazonov meets by chance Pourtalès on the train from Tsarskoe Selo to St Petersburg. They both have summer houses near Tsarskoe Selo.Sazonov indicates Russia has peaceful intentions and is willing to find a means of procuring legitimate satisfaction for Austria-Hungary. They discuss mediation options.Pourtalès suggests direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary even though this […]
See next day:
German military prepare an ultimatum to Belgium in the event Germany has to attack France through Belgium. German Chancellor warns Russia that any Russian preparatory military measures directed at Germany will force Germany to mobilise and mobilisation means war.
Berlin: The German general staff is planning for all eventualities. It prepares an ultimatum to be given to the Belgian government in the event that Germany implements its military plan and attacks France through Belgium.
Austrians see report from their ambassador in Berlin that the German authorities believe Austria should declare war on Serbia and pre-empt diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis. No decision is made but preparations are put in hand for a declaration of war.
Lunchtime: Berchtold has now seen the telegram from Szögyény saying Berlin believes Vienna should declare war on Serbia immediately to avoid diplomatic pressure for a settlement. Berchtold calls in Conrad and says he wants a declaration of war as soon as possible.Conrad prefers to wait until mobilisation is complete on the 12 August and he […]
Brief: Serbian reaction and Russian influence [More]
Very early hours next day: Yanushkevich issues the orders for the “Period Preparatory to War”
Evening: The Serbs expect Austria-Hungary to invade at any moment and Belgrade empties. The Government is moving to Nish. Crown Prince Alexander has already signed the order for general mobilisation. It is the first mobilisation of the crisis.
8.00 P.M.: Spalajkovic wires Belgrade that the council has shown the greatest warlike spirit and decided to go to the limit in defence of Serbia. The Tsar surprised everyone with his decisiveness.
Immediately after: Giesl reads the reply. His instructions are to accept the reply only if it is unconditional. It is not unconditional. He signs an already typed note telling the Serbian government they have not accepted the Austro-Hungarian demands and diplomatic relations between the two countries are broken off. Giesl says he and his staff […]
Balholm, North Sea, 3.00 P.M.: The Kaiser’s personal cabinet agree he should return home. That the Kaiser is engaged in a pleasure trip at such a critical time is not acceptable. The Kaiser agrees and they set sail for home at 6.00 P.M.
10.30 P.M.: Telegram arrives from Buchanan reporting Sazonov’s remarks that afternoon. He says Russia will not allow Austria-Hungary to crush Serbia but also says Russia would stand aside and allow four-power mediation.Sazonov has confirmed Russia is taking pre-mobilisation measures. Buchanan has warned him that Germany will not allow Russia to get ahead militarily.Sazonov thinks Germany […]
Evening: Sukhomlinov warns General Chelius, the German military representative at the Tsar’s court, that Russia will stand by Serbia. An indiscrete Russian general tells Chelius Russian troops are to be mobilised. He also notices manoeuvres are cancelled and regiments returning to their barracks. He wires Berlin saying he believes Russia is starting partial mobilisation against […]
6.00 P.M.: The two texts of the reply (in Serbian and French) are ready by 5.45 P.M. Most government officials have left their offices to catch the train for Nish due to leave at 6.00 P.M. Pašić takes the reply to the Austro-Hungarian legation arriving at 5.55 P.M. and hands it to Giesl. [More – […]
Balholm, North Sea, 9.30 A.M.: The Kaiser issues a secret order to speed up the coaling of the battleships and to prepare them to leave port.Later that afternoon he gives his consent for the Fleet to return to its bases in Germany.
Late in the day: Grey leaves for his fishing lodge at Itchen Abbas in Hampshire where he normally spends his weekends.
Evening: General Yanushkevich chairs a general-staff conference about the preparatory measures to be taken. He says that it is permissible to go further than the regulations specify to ensure that the preparations are successful.
Afternoon: Crown Prince Alexander signs the order for mobilisation
Late evening: In response to Lichnowsky’s telegrams about the British four-power mediation proposal and his warning that rejection of the British proposal or an unaccommodating German attitude would probably drive Britain to the side of France and Russia, Jagow replies that he can tell the British government that if an Austro-Russian conflict arises Germany, subject […]
Afternoon: Lichnowsky wires Jagow reporting his meeting with Grey. He says Grey’s proposal is the only means of averting world war. Without German support mediation will fail.Grey makes a strong distinction between an Austro-Serbian dispute and an Austro-Russian crisis. Austria has the right to demand satisfaction from Serbia but a clash with Russia could lead […]
Later: Sazonov wires Benckendorff and asks him to tell Grey that Austria-Hungary in her treatment of Serbia believed she would meet no opposition from England and “… In the event of the situation becoming more acute … we rely upon England’s not delaying to range herself definitely on the side of Russia and France in […]
Afternoon: Giesl discovers by 3.00 P.M., when he sees a Serbian minister on a routine matter, that the reply will not be unconditional. He begins final preparations to leave Belgrade.
Evening: Moltke just back from his month-long holiday holds meeting on the preparations the army should make. Army commanders are recalled to Berlin.
Late morning: Grey telegrams Buchanan. He says British public opinion would not sanction going to war over the Austrian Serbian quarrel.He thinks Russian mobilisation almost inevitable and he will launch his idea for four-power mediation after both Vienna and St Petersburg mobilise.
Later: In his report to London Buchanan says Sazonov thinks Berlin is gambling on British neutrality. If Britain takes a stand with France and Russia there will be no war.If Britain does not give Russia active support now then Britain will not be able to rely on Russia’s friendly co-operation in Asia involving the protection […]
Drafting: The preparation of the reply is chaotic as changes are made up to the last moment. In the final version the Serbs give the impression they are accepting as much as possible of the ultimatum while rejecting outright only point six – the participation of Austro-Hungarian officials in the judicial inquiry.The drafting is clever […]
Evening: Szögyény sends report to Berchtold saying Berlin believes Austria-Hungary should declare war and start military operations immediately if the Serbian reply is unsatisfactory. Any delay gives other powers the opportunity to intervene. It is best to present the world with a fait accompli. [More]
Stockholm: Viviani telegrams Paris saying France should work with Russia and Britain and if Austria-Hungary insists on taking part in an investigation on Serbian territory to call for a conference similar to the 1904 Rome conference to combat European anarchists which would widen the inquiry to include other Powers.They decide to continue with their Swedish […]
Morning: Benckendorff sees Grey to reinforce Sazonov’s view that Britain should support Russia in the crisis.He thinks that Grey’s mediation proposals will give Germany the impression France and Britain are detached from Russia. It would be more effective to tell Germany that Britain might not be neutral if there is a European war. Grey replies […]
Later: Paléologue wires Paris that the Council of Ministers has agreed to partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary if it takes action against Serbia and other preparatory measures are being taken. He doesn’t explain they include pre-mobilisation military measures.
11.30 A.M.: A third telegram arrives from Spalajković in St Petersburg reporting that the Russian Council of Ministers has decided to take energetic measures, even mobilisation, and that it will issue an official announcement supporting Serbia.
After 4.30 P.M.: Jagow sees Bronevski and tells him Vienna will not give way over the time limit. Jagow refuses to discuss any other matters, saying Russia will have to be satisfied by Austria-Hungary’s pledge not to seek territorial acquisitions.
Morning: Grey sees Lichnowsky. Grey says Austria-Hungary will mobilise if it rejects the Serbian reply but will not immediately start military operations, and Russia can be expected to mobilise in response to the Austro-Hungarian mobilisation.The delay before military operations start and frontiers are crossed provides the opportunity for the four not directly involved powers – […]
Afternoon: Sazonov sees Paléologue and Buchanan and informs them of the measures approved by the Tsar including the mobilisation of 1.1 million men if necessary. Paléologue repeats that France is unreservedly at Russia’s side.Sazonov says Russian policy is not to allow Austria to crush Serbia and become the predominant power in the Balkans. Sazonov also […]
Morning: Both the British and French ministers in Belgrade report home that they expect the Serbian reply to agree to all the Austrian demands with a few reservations.
8.00 P.M., Bad Ischl: News of the Serbian rejection reaches Berchtold. He goes to see the Emperor. Krobatin is also present and the three men agree to continue the plan agreed in early July. There will be war with Serbia.The Emperor orders mobilisation of seven army corps against Serbia, Plan B. As the next day […]
Paris: Bertie reports to London that he has told Bienvenu-Martin that in democratic countries such as England and France war could not be made without the support of public opinion and public opinion in England would not sanction a war in support of Russia if she went to the aid of Serbia.As a private individual […]
Morning: Lichnowsky receives telegram from Berlin, prompted by his and Schoen’s warnings that the feeling in London and Paris is Germany must be behind the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, declaring Germany had nothing to do with the Austrian ultimatum and Germany cannot ask Vienna to modify its demands because “Austria-Hungary’s prestige, both internal and external, would be […]
St Petersburg: The Russians publish an official communique which includes the statement “…. the Imperial Russian government follows attentively the development of the Serbo-Austrian conflict, with respect to which Russia cannot remain indifferent”.
Morning: The diplomatic reaction of other powers, Britain, France, and Italy, is not encouraging. There is little support for Serbia. Serbia should be prudent and cooperative. The appeal to the Italian King has had no effect.
Berlin: Bethmann has returned to Berlin from his country estate where he has been since the 5 July. He has been kept informed of the main international developments but has not been involved in day to day policy management.He telegraphs the Kaiser, still on his North Sea cruise, that Britain’s “direct participation in a possible […]
Morning: Kudashev telegrams Berchtold on the train to Bad Ischl demanding an extension of the time limit.Berchtold replies to Macchio that he agrees with his earlier statements to Kudashev and he can also tell him that “even after the breaking-off of diplomatic relations the unconditional acceptance of our demands can bring about a peaceful solution” […]
Paris: A French newspaper publishes news of Schoen’s “demand” for localisation of the conflict. The newspaper says this amounts to saying “Leave Austria to crush Serbia or you will have to reckon with Germany”.Schoen calls on Berthelot to protest against this leak and its interpretation. Berthelot assures him the French government has had nothing to […]
Morning, Krasnoe Selo: The Council of Ministers meets chaired by the Tsar. The meeting endorses the decision to move to partial mobilisation, that is, to mobilise in those military districts facing Austria-Hungary, if it takes action against Serbia.The meeting also agrees that the general staff should immediately implement the measures for the “Period Preparatory to […]
Morning: Pašić wires all Serbia’s foreign legations saying “…. the reply would be quite conciliatory on all points and the Serbian Government would accept the Austro-Hungarian demands as far as possible. The Serbian Government trust that the Austro-Hungarian Government, unless they are determined to make war at all costs, will see their way to accept […]
Late morning: Rumbold sees Jagow to ask Germany to support a British request to extend the time limit. Jagow says he has already asked the German ambassador in Vienna to do this.Jagow admits Serbia cannot accept the ultimatum but believes the dispute can be localised because Austria-Hungary is promising Russia it won’t annex Serbian territory.He […]
Morning: Berchtold telegrams Szápáry saying he is to reassure Sazonov that the demand for Austro-Hungarian officials to operate in Serbia is not an infringement of its sovereignty. The idea is to establish a “Security Bureau” in Belgrade similar to the Russian bureaux in Paris and Berlin, where Russian officials monitor the activities of the Russian […]
French Presidential party in Stockholm. They get report Germany is insisting the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia is localised. They decide to continue with the Swedish visit.
Stockholm, morning: On reaching Stockholm Poincaré and Viviani get report of what the German ambassador said in Paris the previous day. They realise if Germany is insisting the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia is localised, then Germany is supporting Austria-Hungary.
British Foreign Secretary tells German ambassador he expects Russia to mobilise in response to an Austro-Hungarian mobilisation but there will be a delay before military operations start. This will provide the opportunity for the four power mediation that he has proposed. Russian ambassador calls on the Foreign Secretary to reinforce the Russian view that Britain […]
The Tsar agrees that partial mobilisation against Austria can be ordered if necessary. The Council also decides the Army should immediately implement preparatory military measures along the entire Russian European border including the border with Germany as well as Austria. French ambassador repeats that France stands with Russia. Russian Foreign Minister tells British ambassador Germany […]
Morning: Sazonov writes memorandum for the Tsar saying the real purpose of the Austrian action, supported by Germany, is to annihilate Serbia and to upset the balance of power in the Balkans.
Initial Russian response is cautious. Serbia should accept as much of the ultimatum as possible and not resist if invaded and appeal for international support. Later the Serbs hear that the Russian Council of Ministers is prepared to take strong action including mobilisation. Serbs compose clever reply which appears to conform to all the Austrian […]
Morning: A telegram in two parts, one arriving at 4.00 A.M. and one 10.00 A.M., from Spalajković in St Petersburg gives only general expressions of support for Serbia.There is no clear advice apart from accepting as much of the ultimatum as possible. It seems Russia thinks Serbia should not offer any resistance to the expected […]
Morning: Theodor Woolf, the editor of a leading Berlin newspaper, warns Jagow that Russia might not yield and there would be a European war.Jagow claims that neither Russia nor France nor England want war but war is likely to come in the future anyway when Russia would be stronger.Woolf also talks to Stumm who says […]
German Foreign Minister tells newspaper editor neither Russia nor France nor England want war but war is likely to come in the future when Russia would be stronger. Germans tell the Austrian ambassador Austria should start military operations against Serbia immediately it receives an unsatisfactory response to the ultimatum. Germany tells Britain that it would […]
Austria refuses Russia’s request to extend the time limit of the ultimatum. Following the unsatisfactory Serbian reply and the breaking of diplomatic relations, the Emperor orders mobilisation Plan Balkans, that is in the south, against Serbia, to begin on the 28th July. There is it be no military deployment on the frontier with Russia.
Morning: Acting on instructions from St Petersburg Kudashev asks for an extension of the time limit. He sees Macchio because Berchtold has already left Vienna for Bad Ischl to be with the Emperor when the Serbian reply is received.Macchio says there is no possibility of an extension and also rejects any idea that the other […]
Evening: Sazonov sees Paléologue again and updates him on the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers. Paléologue telegrams Paris but does not mention the Russians are considering partial mobilisation. He speaks of the need for solidarity with Russia and says “M. Sazonov will endeavour to win the day for ideas of moderation”.
8.00 P.M.: Buchanan’s report of the lunch with Sazonov and Paléologue arrives in London.Crowe minutes the report. He believes France and Russia consider the Austrian charges against Serbia are pretexts and it is now a matter of the Triple Alliance versus the Triple Entente.He thinks Britain should not obscure this issue by any representations at […]
7.00 P.M.: Sazonov sees Pourtalès. Sazonov disagrees with the Austro-Hungarian and German view that the dispute should be localised as it concerns only Vienna and Belgrade. There should be some form of international arbitration. He also says “If Austria-Hungary devours Serbia, we will go to war with her”. Pourtalès takes this to mean Russia will […]
Evening: Churchill meets Ballin at dinner. Ballin asks Churchill if Britain would stay out of a war if Germany promised it would not take any French territory except some colonies as indemnification.Churchill says Britain would judge events as they arose. It would be a mistake to assume that Britain would stay out whatever happened.
Evening: Grey wires Crackanthorpe with his response to an appeal from Pašić. Serbia should give Austria-Hungary the fullest satisfaction regarding any Serbian officials that might have been involved in the assassinations.The only chance of avoiding a conflict is in giving “a favourable reply on as many points as possible within the limit of time, and […]
Evening: Foreign Office asks Bunsen in Vienna to seek an extension of the time limit in the ultimatum.
Early evening: Sazonov sees Spalajkovic and condemns the ultimatum saying no sovereign state could accept parts of it.As agreed at the Council of Ministers he says if Serbia is not able to resist the expected attack they should offer no military resistance and instead appeal to the great powers for help. He says Serbia can […]
Evening: The cabinet agree on two of the points of the note, that Narodna Odbrana would be dissolved and that officials guilty of anti-Austro-Hungarian propaganda would be dismissed subject to them being found guilty. A policy is developing of agreeing to most of the demands in the note.
Paris: Vesnić sees Berthelot. Berthelot gives only his personal opinion that “Serbia should try to gain time”. It should also offer “immediate satisfaction” on most points, ask for proof of the Austro-Hungarian allegations and offer to submit the dispute to great power mediation.
Evening: Mensdorff gives message from Vienna to British Foreign Office. It says the note to Serbia is not an “ultimatum” but a demarche with a time limit. If it is rejected, Austria-Hungary will break off relations and begin military preparations, though not military operations. This seems to give time for diplomacy to work.
3.00 P.M.: The Russian Council of Ministers meets and decides if Austria-Hungary takes action against Serbia, to move to partial mobilisation, that is, to mobilise in those military districts facing Austria-Hungary. The Tsar is to be asked to approve the measure the next day.They discuss what advice to give Serbia and Sazonov is to contact […]
Afternoon: The Serbian cabinet agrees to Crown Prince Alexander’s proposal that he should send a personal telegram to his uncle the King of Italy to ask Austria-Hungary to extend the time limit.The cabinet also agrees further military measures and put in hand arrangements for the evacuation of the government from Belgrade to Nish, Serbia’s second […]
Paris: Schoen calls on Bienvenu-Martin to explain the German view especially the need to keep the conflict local. In view of the various alliances any foreign intervention would have “incalculable consequences”.Bienvenu-Martin has been joined by Philippe Berthelot, the deputy head of the French Foreign Ministry. He repeats his view that Austria-Hungary can make legitimate demands […]
Afternoon: Grey sees Lichnowsky. He says Britain does not want to intervene in a purely Austro-Serbian dispute.He is only concerned if the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia leads to trouble between Austria and Russia.He suggests if relations between Austria and Russia become threatening the four not directly involved powers – Germany, Italy, France and Britain – […]
Lunchtime: Sazonov has lunch at the French embassy with Paléologue and Buchanan. Paléologue says France will give full diplomatic support to Russia and will fulfil all its alliance obligations. Buchanan points out Britain has no direct interest in Serbia.Sazonov says if there is war Britain will be drawn in and if Britain does not support […]
Morning: Crown Prince Alexander makes a direct appeal to the Tsar saying the Austro-Hungarian note is humiliating but Serbia might agree to terms that were consistent with its sovereignty or any which Russia advised them to accept. [More]
Evening: Following warnings from Lichnowsky and Schoen that London and Paris believe the German government is behind the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia Jagow wires Paris, London, and St. Petersburg declaring that Germany had nothing to do with the ultimatum and knew nothing of its contents.
Morning: The Austro-Hungarian embassy in Rome informs the Italian government of the ultimatum to Serbia. The Italian official notes its terms and says we appear “to have arrived at a turning point in history”.San Giuliano has already earlier that morning instructed the Italian ambassadors in Berlin, Vienna and also St Petersburg to tell the respective […]
Paris: Szécsen calls on Bienvenu-Martin to explain the note to Serbia. He says it is an act of self-defence. Though Bienvenu-Martin makes critical comments calling the note “virtually an ultimatum” containing demands that would probably be “unacceptable” he gives a sympathetic impression.Szécsen reports to Vienna Bienvenu-Martin thinks “energetic action” by Austria-Hungary “can be understood” and […]
3.15 P.M.: Cabinet Meeting Grey attends a cabinet meeting. At the very end of the meeting he mentions the European situation and tells his colleagues it is “the gravest event for many years past in Europe”. [More]
Morning: Sazonov calls in the General Yanushkevich and tells him the army should be ready for partial mobilisation, that is mobilisation against Austria-Hungary, but not Germany. [More]
Morning: Pašić cables Spalajković asking him to ascertain the views of the Russian government and let the Russians know that Serbia was in no state to resist an invasion by Austria-Hungary.
Rome: Flotow meets with San Giuliano and Salandra. He insists only Triple Alliance unity can prevent other powers intervening and escalating the crisis.San Giuliano doesn’t agree and says Italy will keep her options open.He also explains that Italy’s political system makes it necessary for the government to give the country some advantage if it is […]
Morning: Berchtold sends coded instructions by courier to Szápáry instructing him to tell Sazonov that if Austria-Hungary’s statement that it does not covet Serbian possessions or intend to infringe the sovereignty of Serbia does not persuade Russia to give Austria-Hungary a free hand in dealing with Serbia he is to make it clear that Vienna […]
Paris: In the absence of Viviani the French Foreign Ministry is in the hands of Bienvenu-Martin, the Minister of Justice. He has no diplomatic experience.
Early afternoon: Grey sees Paul Cambon and tells him when he sees Lichnowsky he is going to suggest mediation between Vienna and St Petersburg by the four major powers not directly involved – Germany, Italy, Britain and France – if the need arises.
Morning: Szápáry comes to the Foreign Ministry and tries to read from the document summarising the evidence linking Serbia with the assassination but Sazonov interrupts him. “You mean to make war on Serbia and this is just a pretext”. Both men are angry. Sazonov says “You want to go to war with Serbia; You are […]
10.00 A.M.: The Serbian cabinet meets. Some members realise that given Serbia’s weak condition following the Balkan wars she could not resist an Austrian attack. Pašić believes no decisions should be taken until the Russians make their views known.
Berlin: Cambon tells his diplomatic colleagues he believes the Austro-Hungarians are going to use the assassination to try to salvage their position in the Balkans and Berlin will support them because Germany does not want Austria-Hungary weakened any further. Vienna and Berlin “are playing a dangerous game of bluff, and they think they can carry […]
Morning: Kudashev reports what he has been told to St Petersburg.
German ambassador calls on French Minister of Justice (who is acting for Foreign Minister while on state visit) to tell him Germany believes the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia must be kept local. In view of the alliances any intervention would have “incalculable consequences”. French Minister of Justice tells the ambassador he thinks Austria can […]
Baltic Sea: Poincaré, Viviani and Margerie are at sea on the battleship France bound for Stockholm. Communications are difficult.As agreed with Sazonov, Viviani sends instructions to the French ambassador in Vienna to urge Berchtold in a friendly way to act with moderation and restraint in making any demands upon the Serbian government.Through fragmentary messages they […]
British Foreign Secretary says the ultimatum is “the most formidable document that was ever addressed from one state to another” but he says some of the demands in the ultimatum are fully justified. He sees the German ambassador and proposes if there is trouble between Austria and Russia over Serbia, the four powers not directly […]
Midday: Mensdorff gives Grey the full text of the ultimatum. Grey comments point five compromises Serbian sovereignty. According to Mensdorff, he calls the note “the most formidable document that was ever addressed from one state to another” but admits what it says on the guilt of Serbia in the crime of Sarajevo and some of […]
On learning the details of the Austrian ultimatum the Russian Foreign Minister declares angrily “C’est La guerre Européenne!” The French ambassador tells him France will give Russia its full support and fulfil its alliance obligations. The British ambassador says Britain has no direct interest in Serbia. Russian Council of Ministers decides to ask Tsar to […]
10.00 A.M.: On learning the details of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum Sazonov declares angrily “C’est La guerre Européenne!”. He summons Szápáry. He tells the Tsar by phone that he thinks the ultimatum is designed to be rejected, that Vienna intends to attack, and they must have been given prior German approval. The Tsar orders him to […]
Serbs decide not to do anything until they know what Russia thinks. They ask their ambassador in St Petersburg to ascertain the views of the Russian government. Serbian Crown Prince also makes a direct appeal to the Tsar saying Serbia will accept whatever he advises. Serbs begin to compose reply conforming as best as possible […]
5.00 A.M.: Pašić gets back to Belgrade. He sees Strandtmann and says he thinks it is “not possible either to accept or reject the Austrian note” and more time is needed for diplomatic action. He adds “if war is unavoidable we shall fight, though Belgrade would not be defended”.
Italian Foreign Minister tells the German ambassador in Rome that Italy is not obliged to support Austria-Hungary under the Triple Alliance. It will keep its options open. In response to opinion in Paris and London that Germany is behind the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum Germany says it had nothing to do with the ultimatum and knew nothing […]
Berlin: Jules Cambon calls on Jagow. Jagow tells him Germany was not aware of the terms of the ultimatum before they were published though it supports them.He says Serbia’s friends should give her “wise advice”. Cambon responds saying Germany should give similar “wise advice” in Vienna. Jagow says the problem has to be localised between […]
Austria tells Russia its objective is to stop Serbia supporting the Greater Serbia movement and to be able to check that this support has stopped. It has no intention of taking territory from Serbia. Austria is willing to risk armed conflict.
Morning: Berchtold asks Kudashev to call on him. He explains the purpose of the ultimatum is to stop Serbia supporting the Greater Serbia movement and to enable Austria-Hungary to check that it is doing so. Austria has no intention of taking territory from Serbia and wishes only to preserve the existing order.Vienna considers her demands […]
Evening: The Serbian leaders expect Austria-Hungary to attack as soon as the time limit on the note expires so the Minister of War and the Serbian military decide to initiate preliminary measures for mobilisation.The Serbian military position is precarious because most of the army is in the south occupying territories taken in the recent Balkan […]
Evening: Crown Prince Alexander also calls on Strandtmann to discuss the crisis and says acceptance of the note is “an absolute impossibility for a state which has the slightest regard for its, dignity” and adds that he places his trust in the magnanimity of the Tsar of Russia “whose powerful word alone could save Serbia”.
Evening: Paču goes to see Strandtmann to ask for Russian help. Strandtmann telegrams St Petersburg.
Evening: Paču dispatches a circular to the Serbia’s foreign legations telling them of the Austrian note. He says he thinks the demands set out in the note are “such as no Serbian government could accept them in their entirety”. The last two words indicate the likely approach of the Serbian government, accepting most of the […]
Brief: What the Russians knew about Austro-Hungarian intentions [More]
Evening: The six available Serbian ministers meet. They are shocked by the severity of the note and study it in silence. The first to speak is Jovanović, the Minister of Education. He says “we have no other choice than to fight it out”. He thinks that even if the demands were accepted complications over their […]
Brief: The French and Russians meeting in St Petersburg [More]
Terminology: The Austro-Hungarians refer to their written demands on Serbia as a “note with a time limit”. Giesl himself refers to the note as an ultimatum when he reports to Vienna that it has been delivered and is rebuked by the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry for using that term.
Brief: Issues facing Russia [More]
6.00 P.M.: Giesl hands the note to Paču who has taken on the task of receiving the Austro-Hungarian minister. The Serbs have forty-eight hours to reply. If it is unsatisfactory or there is no reply Giesl says he has orders to break off diplomatic relations and leave Belgrade immediately. [More – The Austro-Hungarian Note]
Balholm, North Sea: In view of the political tension the Kaiser forbids the dispersal of the German fleet to Norwegian harbours. On his orders Berlin is asked if the Fleet should return home.Berlin later replies recalling the Fleet ahead of schedule could give rise to general concern and be regarded as suspicious, especially in England.
Evening: Three cabinet members Haldane, Morley, and Grey have dinner with Albert Ballin, a German shipping magnate, who sometimes acts as an informal link with the German government.They talk mainly about naval matters but the Serbian crisis is mentioned. After the meeting Ballin writes to Jagow saying it should be easy to keep Britain and […]
St Petersburg: Paléologue draws up a communique “The two governments have discovered that their views and intentions for the maintenance of the European balance of power, especially in the Balkan Peninsula, are absolutely identical”.Viviani changes this to “… the two friendly and allied governments … are in entire agreement in their views on the various […]
Later: While waiting at the station for the train to Salonika Pašić gets Paču’s phone call. Paču warns him that the expected note is not going to be an ordinary note and begs him to return to Belgrade but he refuses.Only at the next station when he gets a telegram from Crown Prince Alexander ordering […]
Balholm, North Sea: The Kaiser agrees with Jagow’s intention to say in a wire to Lichnowsky “…. we had no knowledge of the Austrian demands and regarded them as an internal question for Austria-Hungary in which we had no competence to intervene”.The Kaiser notes “Grey is making the mistake of putting Serbia on a level […]
London: Haldane receives a letter from Hoyos setting out the reasons why Austria-Hungary is forced to take strong action against Serbia.There is a proven connection with the assassins. They had been equipped and trained by Serbian officers and smuggled across the frontier by customs officials.Serbia is working to bring about a revolution in the Austro-Hungarian […]
St Petersburg: The Tsar and Poincaré watch a military review of 70,000 men.
4.30 P.M.: Giesl telephones the Foreign Ministry to say he has an important note to deliver to Prime Minister Pašić at exactly 6.00 P.M. The senior minister available, Lazar Paču, phones Pašić on his journey.
Balholm, North Sea: A copy of a dispatch from Lichnowsky gets similar treatment. Grey’s statement that the British government will exercise its influence in favour of a peaceful settlement of the Austro-Serbian conflict, provided that Vienna’s demands were compatible with Serbian sovereignty makes him very cross.Whether the demands made on Serbia were moderate or not […]
Late morning: Berchtold sees Conrad to discuss the military aspects of the crisis. Conrad says if Serbia yields to Austro-Hungarian pressure after mobilisation, Belgrade must pay the costs of mobilising the Habsburg armed forces in addition to accepting the demands made in the ultimatum. He also says that they should not mobilise if Italy is […]
French President and Prime Minister on state visit to Russia. See Russia.
See next day:
British Foreign Secretary tells the Austrian ambassador it would be terrible if the four great powers – Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia and France – were involved in war. Naming just these four powers implies Britain will remain neutral in a European war.
Morning: Mensdorff gives Grey an outline of the Austrian note to Serbia mentioning it would have something in the nature of a time limit. To Grey’s concern it is thus really an ultimatum.Grey remarks everything depends on convincing Russia of the justice of Austria’s demands and on whether the demands can be accepted by Serbia.He […]
The Tsar and the French President watch a military review of 70,000 troops. French and Russians each send a message to Austria cordially but firmly warning of the dangerous consequences of making demands unacceptable Serbia. French Presidential party leaves Russia by ship for state visits to Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
4.00 A.M.: Sazonov sends instructions to Shebeko to see Berchtold and “cordially but firmly” to warn him of the dangerous consequences of making demands of a character unacceptable “to the dignity of Serbia”.Austria-Hungary should do nothing to compromise Serbian independence.The French have agreed to send similar instructions to their ambassador in Vienna but in both […]
Morning: Although an Austro-Hungarian move of some kind is expected, Pašić leaves Belgrade by train for Nish, Serbia’s second largest city, on an election campaign. When in Nish he decides to take a short break in Salonika.
At 6.00 P.M. Austrian minister in Belgrade gives ultimatum to the Serbs. They have 24hrs to reply. Serbian cabinet is shocked by severity of the ultimatum’s demands. Some infringe Serbian sovereignty. They tell Serbian foreign legations “no Serbian government could accept them in their entirety”.
Balholm, North Sea: The Kaiser receives a report of a heated discussion between Pourtalès and Sazonov about the threatening conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia.As is his habit he makes marginal comments on the report. He thinks the “annihilation of Serbia” by Austria would “be the best thing”.He rejects Sazonov’s warning Austria would have to reckon […]
Morning: In a private letter to Merey, Berchtold explains the reason for the ultimatum to Serbia. Pan-Serb agitation in Bosnia and its effects in the Empire’s other provinces can only be stopped by direct action at Belgrade.Such action runs the risk of escalation because allies Italy and Romania cannot be relied on to support such […]
22 July, Krasnoe Selo: During a dinner held by Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, the commander of the Imperial Guard and a cousin of the Tsar, for the French visitors, his wife and sister-in-law talk openly and enthusiastically about war with Germany and Austria and the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine by France.In his diary Poincaré contrasts their […]
22 July: After meeting Grey, Lichnowsky reports to Berlin that Grey will advise Mensdorff that the British government will use its influence for Serbia to accept Austro-Hungarian demands provided they are moderate and reconcilable with the independence of Serbia.It is vital that the Austro-Hungarian government is in a position to prove beyond doubt the connection […]
21-22 July: Poincaré gets worrying reports from Paris. Jules Cambon has reported from Berlin that Germany will not act as a mediator and will give its full support to Austria-Hungary’s demarche at Belgrade.A report from Italy says Germany will make no effort to restrain Austria, and Vienna believes Russia will let Serbia be violated.A further […]
22 July: Crowe adds a comment to Rumbold’s report. “It is difficult to understand the attitude of the German government. On the face of it, it does not bear the stamp of straightforwardness. If they really are anxious to see Austria kept reasonably in check, they are in the best position to speak at Vienna”.Crowe […]
21 July: Poincaré talks to Sazonov during an embassy dinner and finds him reluctant to take a firm line. Saznov thinks the timing is bad for Russia. The harvest is in progress.
22 July: A report from Rumbold says Jagow has admitted he practically drafted an article in a leading German newspaper stating what may arise between Austria-Hungary and Serbia should remain localised.He insists the question at issue should be settled by those two countries alone without interference from outside. That being his view, he has not […]
21 July, afternoon: Poincaré also speaks to Szápáry at the reception and expresses his sympathy concerning the assassinations in Sarajevo.While talking about the Austro-Hungarian judicial inquiry he implies the results will be suspect by mentioning two earlier Austro-Hungarian inquiries that produced false evidence.He points out to Szápáry that if demands are made on Serbia that […]
22 July: A letter arrives from Rodd in Rome who says San Giuliano, the Italian Foreign Minister, who is in constant touch with the Austrian Embassy, fears the communication to be made to Serbia has been drafted in unacceptable terms. He is convinced a party in Austria is determined to take the opportunity of crushing […]
21 July, afternoon: During a diplomatic reception Buchanan tells Poincaré he fears Austria-Hungary is looking for a pretext to attack Serbia and suggests direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary in Vienna.Poincaré rejects this as “very dangerous at the present” and suggests instead a joint Anglo-French demand for moderation in Vienna.
Brief: German localisation policy [More]
22 July: Benckendorff writes privately to Sazonov reporting a conversation with Lichnowsky.Lichnowsky fears the Austrian demarche will be unacceptable to Serbia. He thinks Berlin is unlikely to restrain Austria-Hungary. He suggests Russia communicates its concern to Vienna but Benckendorff doesn’t think this will help.Benckendorff tells Sazonov that if war breaks out it will be important […]
21 July, morning: The Tsar and Poincaré meet again. They talk about the tension between Britain and Russia in Persia. They believe local interests are the cause and neither Britain nor Russia can be blamed.The Tsar says he will not allow Persia to cause a division between Britain and Russia.According to Poincaré, the Tsar is […]
Brief: Pašić’s reluctance to launch an inquiry in Serbia [More]
Brief: Pašić’s reluctance to launch an inquiry in Serbia [More]
22 July, 7.00 P.M.: Szögyény gives a copy of the ultimatum to Jagow. Though they know what is intended the Germans see for the first time the final version of the note, in effect an ultimatum, that is going to have such disastrous consequences for Europe.In memoirs written after the war both Jagow and Bethmann […]
Brief: Tschirschky’s role [More]
21 July: Grey sees Benckendorff and presses his idea for direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary. Grey thinks direct talks are “the surest means” of avoiding a clash and keeping Vienna’s demands “within reasonable limits”.Grey makes clear to Benckendorff that it is not Britain’s business “to take violent sides in this matter”. Grey says Britain […]
20 July, 2.00 P.M.: The French Presidential party arrives at Kronstadt harbour. Poincaré has a one-to-one conversation with the Tsar on his yacht as they go ashore.They discuss matters concerning the alliance between the two countries including the French efforts to maintain a large army. Both men are keen to reaffirm the diplomatic and military […]
20 July: Pašić leaves Belgrade for an election campaign tour of north-east Serbia.
21 July: Bethmann sends instructions to the German ambassadors in St Petersburg, Paris and London. They are to stress the investigations into the Sarajevo crime have established beyond doubt strong links between the assassins and “official” Serbia and say that unless Austria-Hungary wishes to renounce its position as a Great Power it must press its […]
Brief: Time taken by Austria-Hungary to decide its response and the consequences [More]
20 July: Bunsen’s information is corroborated when Haldane receives a letter from Hoyos trying to justify the action Austria-Hungary is about to take.Haldane forwards the letter to Grey with the comment: “This is very serious. Berchtold is apparently ready to plunge Europe into war to settle the Serbian question. He would not take this attitude […]
19 July: Sazonov shows Shebeko’s report of the 16 July to the Tsar. The Tsar comments that a State should not present any sort of demands to another unless it is bent on war.
19 July, early hours: Pašić sets out the Serbian government position in an urgent telegram to all Serbian legations apart from Vienna.Evidence suggests Vienna is planning a demarche that will accuse Serbia and pan-Serbianism of the assassinations.While Serbia would agree to any Austrian requests to bring accomplices of the assassins to justice, “she could not […]
19 July: Jagow begins a press campaign for “localisation” with an article in the semi-official North German Gazette.It says “… more and more voices are heard admitting that the desire of Austria-Hungary to bring about a clarification of her relations with Serbia is justified.” To maintain the European peace “… the settlement of differences which […]
22 July: A copy of the note is forwarded to Berlin.
20 July, 7.00 P.M.: Grey wires Buchanan saying it is possible the Serbian government has been negligent and if Austria-Hungary’s demands are reasonable every effort should be made to prevent any breach of the peace.To this end it would be a good idea if Austria-Hungary and Russia had direct talks if things became difficult. He […]
18 July: Szápáry calls on Sazonov. Following Berchtold’s instructions not to say anything that might reveal what was being planned in Vienna Szápáry says his government is interested only in putting an end to terrorism and is convinced the Serbian government will prove itself to be accommodating with respect to demands from Vienna.In light of […]
18 July: Crackanthorpe has a copy of Bunsen’s report. He asks Gruić if it might be a good idea for Belgrade to launch an independent investigation into the alleged South Slav conspiracy on Serbian soil.Gruić says they must wait for the findings of the Austro-Hungarian investigation in Sarajevo. The Serbian government will comply with “whatever […]
19 July, Balholm, North Sea: The Kaiser instructs that Berlin is asked if the time had not come to secretly let the directors of Germany’s two biggest shipping lines know about the forthcoming Austrian ultimatum.If there is a conflict it would give them time to make plans for their ships in foreign ports. The directors […]
21 July, Bad Ischl: The Emperor sees Berchtold and Hoyos and gives his assent to the note. He comments on the harsh nature of the demands to be made on Serbia and says he thinks Russia cannot possibly tolerate it.The text of the note is picked up from Vienna by Giesl’s legation counsellor and taken […]
20 July: Grey sees Lichnowsky and asks if he has any news of what Vienna intends to do regarding Serbia. Lichnowsky has no news but he thinks the situation is very uncomfortable.Grey repeats his view that if Austria-Hungary keeps its demands within reasonable limits there is a chance of things being smoothed over. He hates […]
18 July: Sazonov shortly after tells Buchanan that anything in the shape of an ultimatum at Belgrade cannot leave Russia indifferent and she might be forced to take some precautionary military measures. Buchanan wires this information to London.
17 July: Boskovic, the Serbian minister in London, reports that a “well-informed source” has advised that Austria-Hungary’s peaceful statements should not be believed and that it is planning “momentous pressure” on Serbia which may develop into an armed attack. This source is almost certainly Bunsen.
19 July, Balholm, North Sea: On learning that the Austro-Hungarian note making demands on Serbia is to be delivered on the 23 July, the Kaiser orders that the German fleet exercises should be organised to allow its immediate concentration for returning home.This greatly concerns Bethmann who wants to avoid premature conspicuous naval movements. He asks […]
20 July: Tschirschky tells Berchtold he thinks Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance, will claim compensation if Austria-Hungary expands its influence in the Balkans.Italy has an eye on the Trentino, an Italian speaking part of the Empire. Berchtold counters by saying Italy needs a strong Austria “as a bulwark against the Slav flood”. […]
17 July: Lichnowsky sees a leading article in the Westminster Gazette which says strong action by the Austro-Hungarian government can be understood given the negative Serbian influence among Serbian citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.Serbia should be ready to allay the fears of her great neighbour. Lichnowsky suggests to Berlin the article might have been inspired […]
18 July: Sazonov sees Pourtalès. He counters Pourtalès’ claim the assassination originated in Serbia and Austria-Hungary cannot tolerate the agitation coming out of BelgradeHe says the problems with the Serb subjects of the Empire are mainly the result of Austro-Hungarian misgovernment. And, if the Austro-Hungarian government intended to break the peace it would have to […]
17 July: Crackanthorpe reports to London that Pašić has unofficially told Giesl the Serbian government is prepared to comply with any request for a police investigation and to take any other measure compatible with the dignity and independence of Serbia.But the concern in Belgrade is that Austria-Hungary might demand a mixed commission of inquiry which […]
18 July: Jagow responds to warnings from Lichnowsky. In a private letter he argues Germany must stand by Austria-Hungary.Moving closer to Britain is not possible given Britain’s growing intimacy with Russia and Russian hegemony in the Balkans cannot be permitted.He believes an Austro-Serbian war can be localised. Localisation depends on France and Britain restraining Russia […]
20 July: Giesl, the Austro-Hungarian minister in Belgrade, is told he is to present the note to the Serbian government at 5 P.M. on the 23 July. The time is later changed to 6 P.M.The ambassadors to the great powers are told they are to present it to the respective governments on the morning of […]
French President and Prime Minister on state visit to Russia. See Russia.
Senior British official thinks it is difficult to understand the German position regarding Austria. They are in the best position to influence Austria. He thinks Germany knows what Austria intends and has given its support.
17 July: Bunsen wires again saying his informant is Count Lutzow, a former Austro-Hungarian ambassador in Rome, who has been in conversation with Berchtold and Forgách at the Austro-Hungarian foreign ministry.Lutzow had asked Bunsen if he realised how grave the situation was. If Serbia did not at once cave in, force would be used to […]
18 July: In light of the alarming information Schilling himself goes to meet Sazonov at the train station on his return to St Petersburg and updates him. They agree a way has to be found to make it clear to the Austro-Hungarian leaders that Russia will oppose any move against Serbia’s independence.
Russian Foreign Minister tells German ambassador the problems that Austria has with its Serb subjects are the result of Austrian misgovernment. He says privately that anything like an ultimatum to Serbia might force Russia to take precautionary military measures. French President on a state visit to Russia confirms the importance of the Franco-Russian military alliance. […]
Concern in Serbia that Austria might demand a mixed commission of enquiry and thus infringe Serbian sovereignty. Serbia receives warning via foreign diplomats that Austria is planning to exert momentous pressure that might result in an armed attack.
17 July: A leading German newspaper publishes an interview with Pašić. He denies any Serbian involvement in the assassinations at Sarajevo and speaks of Austro-Hungarian oppression of Serbs. He says if Serbia is attacked by a great power then other states would come to its aid. Pašić disavows the interview.
18 July: Zimmermann summarises how matters stand. The note might bring on war between Austria-Hungary and Russia which will pull in Germany. It would have been better if Vienna had acted immediately.The conflict might be localised but complications are inevitable if Austria-Hungary takes territory for herself. He assumes Britain and France will moderate Russian reaction […]
Germans begin diplomatic efforts to keep a conflict between Austria and Serbia local. “Intervention by another Power might in consequence of the various alliances bring incalculable consequences in its train”.
The final wording of the ultimatum is decided. The Emperor gives his approval. He thinks the demands made on Serbia are harsh and Russia cannot possibly tolerate it. The ultimatum is to be presented to Serbia on 23 July after the French President has left St Petersburg. A copy of the ultimatum is forwarded to […]
19 July: The Joint Ministerial Council meet in secret to agree the final wording of the note and decide the diplomatic steps to be taken against Serbia. The note is to be presented to Serbia on the 23 July after the French leaders have left Russia. There is a forty-eight hour time limit for a […]
14 July and after: Following this agreement the Austro-Hungarians set about finalising the note. They also wish to give the rest of Europe the impression that nothing alarming is about to happen and Conrad and Krobatin go on leave as planned and the newspapers are told not to comment on Serbia. [More]
14 July: Tisza has changed his mind and returns to Vienna. He now accepts the note making demands on Serbia should be designed to be rejected.He sets two conditions, that special defensive measure are taken on the Hungarian border with Romania and that Austria-Hungary itself does not annex any Serbian territory except for minor border […]
13 July: Berchtold gets the results of a rapid three day investigation in Sarajevo by a legal counsellor from the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry.In a strict legal sense there is “nothing to prove or suppose that the Serbian Government is accessory to the inducement for the crime” but there is evidence suggesting that elements in the […]
16 July: Shebeko also sends details of a speech by Tisza in the Hungarian Parliament. Tisza had said the clarification of relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia did not necessarily mean warlike complications but every state must be ready for war if all peaceful solutions are exhausted.
12 July: Conrad writes to Berchtold telling him a protracted or piecemeal diplomatic action with Serbia must be avoided because it will give the Serbs time for military measures that will place Austria-Hungary at a disadvantage. A peaceable appearance should be maintained.
16 July: Carlotti, the Italian ambassador, gives his impression to Schilling that Austria-Hungary is capable of taking an irrevocable step in regard to Serbia in the belief that Russia will not take any forcible measures to protect Serbia.Schilling says Russia will not permit any weakening or humiliation of Serbia.
16 July: Jagow writes to Tschirschky. He thinks it would be helpful if Germany knew what the Austro-Hungarian leaders intended for the future shape of Serbia.They had dissociated themselves from Hoyos’ view but had not followed up with their territorial plans.It could influence the attitude of Italy and public opinion and attitude of England.Tschirschky should […]
12 July, Bad Ischl: Burián sees the Emperor. The Emperor says he wants the demands on Serbia to allow no excuses and to fix guarantees. He realises this is difficult but he hopes the Austro-Hungarian leaders will soon reach unanimity on what is required. As a further gesture to Tisza he says there is no […]
16 July: Shebeko reports from Vienna information he has received from the British ambassador that the Austro-Hungarian government is planning to make demands on Serbia that would be unacceptable to any independent State.The original source of the information is a retired Austrian diplomat Count Lutzow, who has been told this in a long and surprisingly […]
12 July: Jagow telegrams Lichnowsky. The issue between Austria and Serbia might lead to complications.He should use his influence with the British press to recognise there exists in Serbia “a criminal political mentality” and it is understandable the Monarchy should rise in self-defence against the menace from Serbia. He should avoid giving the impression that […]
11 July: Austro-Hungarian intelligence has broken the Italian diplomatic code and learns the German ambassador in Rome has told the Italian Foreign Minister Austria-Hungary intends to take strong action against Serbia and the Minister has passed this information to the Italian ambassador in St Petersburg.The Austrians suspect the Russians have also broken the code and […]
16 July: Lichnowsky writes privately to Bethmann. He repeats his earlier warning that if Vienna resorts to force against Serbia it will turn public opinion in Britain against Austria-Hungary.He also offers his analysis that military measures will not solve the underlying problem of pan-Slav agitation in parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
14 July: Sazonov leaves St Petersburg for his country estate to take a few days rest before the French State visit.While he is away there are more warnings concerning Austria-Hungary’s intentions.
12 July: In a report to Berchtold, Szögyény gives a summary and explanation of why “authoritative German circles and not least [the Kaiser] himself – one might almost say – press us to undertake possibly even military measures against Serbia”.“Germany [believes] Russia is arming for war against her western neighbours … but is not at […]
11 July: Tschirschky calls on Berchtold to impress upon him once more that quick action is called for. Berchtold tells him the note will not be presented before 23 July after the French president has left St Petersburg. They do not want the Russians and French co-ordinating their response to the ultimatum at a high […]
16 July: Bunsen wires alarming report from Vienna. An informant has told him the Austro-Hungarians will require the Serbian government to adopt measures to stop nationalist and anarchist propaganda, and the Austro-Hungarian government is in no mood to parley and will insist on immediate compliance, failing which force will be used.Germany is said to be […]
14 July: Russian intelligence has broken the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic code. It learns that Vienna is asking its embassy in St Petersburg when the French President will be leaving St Petersburg after his State visit.The Russians have also broken the Italian diplomatic code and they know the contents of the message sent by the Italian Foreign […]
11-17 July: The German military attaché in Vienna keeps Moltke and Waldersee informed about Vienna’s intentions, even though they are on holiday.An Austro-Hungarian staff officer tells the attaché Austria-Hungary will send an unacceptable note to Serbia and war is certain. He has the date of the note so Moltke and Waldersee know when to return […]
11 July: Berchtold, his colleagues, and Burián meet again and make good progress on drafting the note.It is now decided to do everything in one step; a note with a time limit rather than as Tisza wants in two steps, a note making demands, followed by an ultimatum if they are not accepted. He has […]
15 July: After another meeting with Grey Lichnowsky reports to Berlin that Grey believes everything depends on the form of the Austro-Hungarian intervention might take. In no case should there be a reduction of Serbian territory.Britain is not in a position to influence Russian policy if Austro-Hungarian military measures upset Russia.
Retired Austrian diplomat tells the British ambassador in Vienna Austria plans to make extreme demands on Serbia. If these are not immediately accepted force will be used. Germany is in agreement with this.
Russian Foreign Minister denies Austrian press assertions that the assassinations are the result of a pan-Serb plot. It is unjust to hold the Serbian government responsible for the acts of a few youths. Russian ambassador in Vienna passes on information from British ambassador regarding Austria’s intention to make unacceptable demands on Serbia.
13 July: In a conversation with Pourtalès, Sazonov denies the Austro-Hungarian press assertions that the Sarajevo outrage is the result of a pan-Serb plot.He says there is till now not the slightest proof and it is utterly unjust to hold the Serbian government responsible for the acts of a few callow youths.
15 July, Vienna: The French ambassador mentions to the Serbian minister the possibility that Austria will ask the Serbian government to dissolve various nationalist associations.He responds saying “…. the whole of Serbia will have to be dissolved. Not one of us but cherishes the hope of a union of all Serbs”.
11 July: Jagow replies to Berchtold’s request, made via Tschirschky, for Berlin’s ideas on the demands to be made on Serbia.He says it is a matter for Austria though it seems desirable that Vienna should collect enough material to prove that in Serbia pan-Serb agitation exists and is a danger to the Monarchy. [More]
11 July: In a private letter, Tschirschky tells Jagow more details about some of the demands being discussed in Vienna, and if Serbia’s reply is unsatisfactory mobilisation will follow.
Germany stresses quick action is called for. A complicating factor is the visit of the French President to see the Tsar and the desirability of delivering the ultimatum when they are not together. An Austrian investigation says “there is evidence suggesting elements in the Serbian government are responsible” for the crime in Sarajevo. There is […]
10 July: Tschirschky also reports the formulation of the demands to make on Serbia is the main concern in Vienna and Berchtold would like to know what Berlin thinks.One demand might be for a unit in Belgrade to monitor pan-Serb agitation. Berchtold is also turning over in his mind what demands would render acceptance by […]
10 July: Updated by Berchtold, Tschirschky reports to Berlin on the meeting with the Emperor who has thanked the Kaiser for being “…. now entirely of our opinion that a decision must be made to put an end to the intolerable situation in regard to Serbia”.Berchtold also believes placing demands on Serbia avoids the odium […]
9 July, Bad Ischl: Berchtold reports the results of the Joint Ministerial Council meeting to the Emperor. The Emperor believes Berchtold’s and Tisza’s positions can be reconciled and that “concrete demands should be levelled at Serbia”.
8 July: At a meeting with Berchtold, Conrad, Hoyos, Forgách, and Macchio, Burián, the representative of the Hungarian government at the Imperial Court, and a close confidant of Tisza, and a Hungarian like him, comes to the same view as the majority in the Council and decides to go to Budapest to try to persuade […]
8 July: Conrad calls on Berchtold and they discuss what might follow the planned note. If the Serbs give way at the last moment the country will still be occupied until the cost of Austria-Hungary’s mobilisation is reimbursed.Conrad says the occupation of territory alone will not settle anything. It is necessary to beat the Serbian […]
Brief: What did the Germans expect [More]
8 July: Berchtold tells Tschirschky about the Joint Ministerial Council meeting. He says even if the Emperor accepts Tisza’s view it is still possible to make the note unacceptable to Serbia. Tschirschky gives Berchtold the latest message from Berlin that “an action of the Monarchy against Serbia is fully expected and that Germany will not […]
6 July: Bethmann and Zimmermann meet with the two Austro-Hungarians, Szögyény and Hoyos, to formalise the discussions and decisions of the previous day.According to Szögyény “It is the view of the German government that we must judge what ought to be done to sort out this relationship [with Serbia]; whatever our decision turns out to […]
8 July: Tisza prepares another memorandum for the Emperor setting out his objections to the majority view in the Joint Ministerial Council.He does not agree with the determination to invade Serbia because it will bring Russian intervention and a world war. After giving the memorandum to Berchtold to present to the Emperor Tisza returns to […]
6 July, morning: The Kaiser leaves for his annual North Sea cruise on his yacht. By continuing with the Kaiser’s planned schedule the intention is not to cause any alarm.Before leaving he repeats to the acting Navy Minister his belief that there will be no major military complications. The Tsar will not take the part […]
7 July and after: Rapid action from Vienna, as desired by the Germans, is highly unlikely. As well as the need to persuade Tisza to agree to an unacceptable ultimatum, many regular troops are on harvest leave. Future leave is cancelled. Those on leave are not recalled because of the negative economic impact it would […]
Brief: Serbian reaction to the assassinations [More]
5 July: After the meeting Falkenhayn writes to Moltke saying he does not need to return to Berlin. He has now had the chance to read the two documents himself and thinks the Austro-Hungarians have not yet come to a firm decision.
7 July, afternoon: Conrad joins the meeting. He discusses the military options. He says he needs to know if Russia is going to enter the conflict by the fifth day of mobilisation. This will enable him to reconcentrate his forces against Russia in the north in time. [More]
10 July, 9.00 P.M.: Hartwig calls on Giesl who has just returned to Belgrade. Hartwig first expresses his condolences for the assassinations and then asks about Austria-Hungary’s intentions towards Serbia.Giesl says that with goodwill on the part of the Serbian government a satisfactory solution will be found. Hartwig starts to give his response and collapses […]
5 July 5.00 P.M. and after, Potsdam: Bethmann and Zimmermann have been summoned to Potsdam and join the Kaiser already in conference with available German military leaders.The Kaiser briefs them on the documents from Vienna. He says it is Austria’s affair for her to settle in her own way. The preservation of Austria is a […]
7 July, morning: Berchtold asks the Ministerial Council “whether the moment had not arrived to render Serbia innocuous once and for all by a display of force?” He mentions the unconditional support of Germany and says that intervention in Serbia makes war with Russia very likely.Immediate military action is ruled out because of Tisza’s objections […]
9 July: Grey sees Lichnowsky again. Grey admits there have been naval talks between Britain and Russia but everything has been on the basis that the hands of the British government are completely free.He goes on to report the Russian ambassador has said St. Petersburg has no hostility toward Germany.Grey says if Austria-Hungary’s action is […]
9 July: In a report to Paris the French minister says “The announcement that Austro-Hungarian diplomacy is planning a demarche with the Royal Government following the close of the Sarajevo preliminary inquiry in order to secure the pursuit of the criminals shown to be on Serbian territory greatly disquiets the Government and public opinion”.
5 July, Potsdam: After reading the documents the Kaiser expresses some caution mentioning the possibility of “a serious European complication” and that he needs to hear the opinion of the Chancellor.After lunch Szögyény again presses the seriousness of the situation and the Kaiser authorises him to tell the Emperor “Austria-Hungary may reckon on full support […]
7 July, morning: On his return to Vienna Hoyos immediately meets Berchtold, Tisza, Stürgkh and Tschirschky and tells them about his meeting with Zimmermann.Tisza is furious at hearing of the discussion of a surprise attack on Serbia and the partition of the country. He says this must be considered purely as Hoyos’ personal suggestion not […]
8 July: Grey sees Benckendorff and repeats the substance of Lichnowsky’s remarks. Grey says that discoveries made during the inquiry into the assassination might give the Austro-Hungarians cause to act against Serbia.Benckendorff believes that would arouse Russian public opinion and he hopes Germany will restrain Austria-Hungary.He notes Grey’s comment that the Germans feel threatened by […]
Early July: Sazonov is also mindful of a previous Austro-Hungarian investigation in 1909 that notoriously used forged documents to incriminate Bosnian Serbs accused of agitation against the Empire.
8 July: Pašić tells the German minister in Belgrade of his horror and indignation at the crime in Sarajevo.He goes on to say “…. that a civilised government could not possibly be held responsible for the excesses of callow and overwrought lads”.The surveillance of nationalistic associations at home and abroad is most difficult for a […]
5 July: Following Tschirschky’s advice to have a plan and his and Berchtold’s views Hoyos says Serbia is to be invaded without prior diplomatic steps and the country partitioned between Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Albania. What remained would become a client state of the Empire.Zimmermann says it is for Austria-Hungary to decide what to do but […]
6 July: Berchtold has Szögyény’s telegram reporting his meeting with the Kaiser. He sees Conrad and asks what the Emperor has said. He tells Conrad the Kaiser has said “yes” but he must first have word from Bethmann.He also notes that Tisza is against a war because he believes the Russians will attack. He suggests […]
German ambassador tells the British Foreign Secretary growing Russian military strength makes Germany inclined not to restrain Austria. Trouble now would be better than trouble later. The Foreign Secretary says he will speak to the Russian ambassador. Foreign Secretary sees the German ambassador again and says if Austria’s actions are reasonable and don’t excite pan-Slav […]
6 July: On returning from Germany, Lichnowsky calls on Grey. There is anxiety and pessimism in Berlin about the attitude of Russia and Russia’s growing military strength.He knows the Austrians intend to do something and might take military action against Serbia. In response to Grey, he says there would be no annexation of territory.Grey says […]
Austrian diplomat tells Russian Foreign Minister Austria might demand support of Serbian government in an investigation in Serbia. The Russian minister says they should drop this idea.
8 July: Czernin, the Austrian chargé d’affaires in St Petersburg, mentions to Sazonov the possibility that the Austro-Hungarian government might demand the support of the Serbian government in an investigation within Serbia of the assassinations.Sazonov says this would make a very bad impression in Russia. The Austrians should drop this idea “lest they set their […]
7 July: Serbian government gets report from its minister in Vienna warning Austria-Hungary might take strong action.
Serbian Prime Minister tells German diplomat of his horror at the crime in Sarajevo. He also says a civilised government cannot be held responsible for the acts of troubled youths.
The Kaiser gives Germany’s unqualified support to Austria-Hungary in any action it wishes to take against Serbia. The Kaiser thinks it likely Russia will stay out. The Tsar will not take the part of regicides and Russia and its ally France are not prepared for war. A senior German official tells the Austrian envoy he […]
5 July: Hoyos arrives in Berlin early morning and briefs Szögyény on the Emperor’s letter to the Kaiser and the revised memorandum.Szögyény takes the two documents to the Kaiser in Potsdam. Hoyos goes to see Zimmermann at the German Foreign Office.
5 July: Conrad sees the Emperor and tells him war against Serbia is inevitable. The Emperor points out Russian intervention might prevent it. Conrad replies Austria-Hungary has German support and the Emperor asks “Are you sure of Germany”.The Emperor tells Conrad of the note sent to Germany. Conrad asks “if Germany takes her stand on […]
Now they have German backing the Austrians make plans to deal with Serbia. So as not to jeopardise international support by launching an invasion without warning they decide to first send Serbia an ultimatum making demands the Serbs are almost bound to reject. Germany wants Austria to act quickly but disagreement over the terms of […]
4 July: Tisza suggests changes to these documents. Instead of the phrase “eliminated as a power factor in the Balkans” Serbia is to be “required to give up its aggressive tendencies”, but Hoyos has already left for Berlin so no changes are made.
4-5 July: To ensure the memorandum and letter are understood and have the greatest influence they are taken to Berlin by Hoyos who is strongly in favour of military action against Serbia and who can give an additional verbal brief to the leaders in Berlin and answer questions.
4 July: Ganz, the Vienna correspondent of a German newspaper, who has just been to see Tschirschky, calls on Forgách at the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office.He says “Germany would support the Monarchy through thick and thin in whatever it might decide regarding Serbia”. The ambassador had added that the sooner Austria-Hungary went into action the better.
2-3 July: German support is vital. To get German support Berchtold modifies a recently prepared memorandum discussing what must be done to strengthen the position of Austria-Hungary and Germany in the Balkans and to prevent Russia building on the success of Serbia and its allies in the recent Balkan wars.In addition there is a personal […]
2 July: Police reports from Sarajevo confirm the assassins got their weapons from Serbia and elements of the Serbian government were involved.
2 July: Tschirschky has an audience with the Emperor. He passes on the Kaiser’s regrets that he is unable to attend the Archduke’s funeral.The Emperor says he thinks the future looks very black and he hopes the Kaiser also sees the threat Serbia poses to the Monarchy.In line with what he has said to Berchtold, […]
2 July: Tschirschky calls on Berchtold who says Germany has not always given Austria-Hungary its support regarding Balkan problems. Tschirschky gives his opinion that Austria-Hungary’s lack of a firm plan of action has been the cause of this. He mentions too that it is important to create a favourable diplomatic situation and ensure the support […]
1 July: So far German advice has indicated Austria-Hungary should be cautious but Victor Naumann a well known German journalist calls on Hoyos and tells him in Berlin “the idea of a preventive war against Russia is regarded with less disfavour than a year ago”.If the Kaiser is spoken to in the right way he […]
1 July: Tisza sees the Emperor and again says it is a mistake to attack Serbia. It could start a great war in circumstances unfavourable to the Monarchy. The Monarchy would be internationally isolated. Romania had turned towards Russia and Bulgaria was weak. He emphasises his right as Hungarian Prime Minister to be consulted. He […]
30 June: Tisza tells Berchtold the assassinations should not be used as a pretext for war with Serbia. He thinks Serbia should be given time to mend its ways. Tisza is not against war with Serbia but the present circumstances are not favourable.Austria-Hungary must first have satisfactory alliances with its other Balkan neighbours, Romania and […]
3 July: Waldersee, deputy to the German Chief of the General Staff, expresses his views to a military colleague that Germany could become “involved in a war from one day to another”.The German military think the situation is very serious. He thinks everything will depend on the attitude of Russia to the Austro-Serbian business.He gives […]
30 June: Berchtold sees the Emperor. He says the Monarchy’s policy of tolerance has been badly rewarded. Its neighbours to the south and east will work even harder against it. The future of the Monarchy is at stake.There is need for a clear programme of action. The Emperor agrees. He insists that Berchtold must discuss […]
3 July, Potsdam: The Kaiser makes his views known. On reading Tschirschky’s first report that he has advised the leaders in Vienna “against too hasty steps” the Kaiser makes the irate marginal note:“Who authorised him to do so? That is utterly stupid! It is not his business, since it is entirely Austria’s affair, what she […]
30 June: Though he expresses caution to Conrad, Berchtold takes a firm position for action throughout the rest of the crisis.He talks to Tschirschky mentioning a “final and fundamental reckoning with Belgrade”. Tschirschky reports the views in Vienna to Berlin and says “I take opportunity of every …. occasion to advise quietly but very impressively […]
29 June and immediately after: The top civilian and military leaders are absent from Berlin. Zimmermann suggests to foreign diplomats the assassinations are linked to Serb agitation but not to the Serbian government who he expects to condemn the murders and help in their investigation.He tells Szögyény he thinks the whole world will sympathise with […]
29 June: Conrad tells Berchtold Austria-Hungary should immediately mobilise and attack Serbia.Berchtold agrees the time has come to solve the Serb problem but he says time is needed to assess the situation and prepare public opinion.Berchtold’s previous policies regarding Serbia have failed and his associates believe he lacks sufficient will-power for his role.
Brief: The British position [More]
Serbian official tells Austrian diplomat the investigation of a possible Serbian involvement in the assassinations is not the concern of the Serbian government.
30 June: The Austro-Hungarian chargé calls at the Serbian Foreign Ministry to ask unofficially if the Government does not consider it advisable to investigate possible Serbian involvement in the assassinations at Sarajevo.Gruić replies that “nothing had been done so far and the matter did not concern the Serbian Government”.
The Kaiser thinks it’s time to settle with the Serbs. German deputy Chief of the General Staff thinks the situation is very serious. Everything will depend on the attitude of Russia to the Austro-Serbian business.
29 June: The Kaiser had been preparing to sail his yacht, the Meteor, at the Kiel regatta when he was given the news of the assassination. He decided to return immediately to Berlin.
Austria’s leaders believe Serbia is involved in the Sarajevo assassinations. Serbia is also the source of agitation for the breakaway of the Empire’s Slavic provinces such as Bosnia, to be part of a Greater Serbia. They decide only a military invasion will put a stop to Serbia’s trouble-making. They seek the support of Germany as […]
29 June and after: Strong belief in Vienna that the Sarajevo assassinations were plotted in Belgrade and involve the Serbian government. There have been bad relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia for over 10 years. It is the last straw.A consensus quickly forms among Austro-Hungarian leaders and senior officials that only military action will put a […]