|Austria Thursday, 23rd July||Germany Thursday, 23rd July||Serbia Thursday, 23rd July||Russia Thursday, 23rd July||Britain Thursday, 23rd July||France Thursday, 23rd July|
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.
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 against them. Austria-Hungary cannot fight a war on three fronts.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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 implementation would lead to war.
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 demands but rejecting some.
Evening Paču goes to see Strandtmann to ask for Russian help. Strandtmann telegrams St Petersburg.
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 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.
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".
St Petersburg The Tsar and Poincaré watch a military review of 70,000 men.
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".
Brief Issues facing Russia [More]
Brief The French and Russians meeting in St Petersburg [More]
Brief What the Russians knew about Austro-Hungarian intentions [More]
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.
London Haldane receives a letter from Hoyos setting out the reasons why Austria-Hungary is forced to take strong action against Serbia.
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.
See next day
|Austria Friday, 24th July||Germany Friday, 24th July||Serbia Friday, 24th July||Russia Friday, 24th July||Britain Friday, 24th July||France Friday, 24th July|
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.
Morning Kudashev reports what he has been told to St Petersburg.
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 will go to "extreme lengths" to obtain fulfilment of its demands and it will not recoil from the possibility of European complications.
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".
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.
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 matters through with a high hand". Rumbold reports these views to London.
Rome Flotow meets with San Giuliano and Salandra. He insists only Triple Alliance unity can prevent other powers intervening and escalating the crisis.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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 call a Council of Ministers.
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 setting fire to Europe".
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]
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.
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.
Early evening Sazonov sees Spalajkovic and condemns the ultimatum saying no sovereign state could accept parts of it.
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 only take military steps if Austria attempts to acquire Serbian territory. [More]
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".
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 the demands are fully justified.
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.
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]
Afternoon Grey sees Lichnowsky. He says Britain does not want to intervene in a purely Austro-Serbian dispute.
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.
Evening Foreign Office asks Bunsen in Vienna to seek an extension of the time limit in the ultimatum.
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.
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.
8.00 P.M. Buchanan's report of the lunch with Sazonov and Paléologue arrives in London.
Baltic Sea Poincaré, Viviani and Margerie are at sea on the battleship France bound for Stockholm. Communications are difficult.
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.
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.
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".
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.
|Austria Saturday, 25th July||Germany Saturday, 25th July||Serbia Saturday, 25th July||Russia Saturday, 25th July||Britain Saturday, 25th July||France Saturday, 25th July|
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.
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 revolutionaries in exile.
Morning Kudashev telegrams Berchtold on the train to Bad Ischl demanding an extension of the time limit.
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.
Morning Theodor Woolf, the editor of a leading Berlin newspaper, warns Jagow that Russia might not yield and there would be a European war.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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 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 to its well-known alliance obligations, would join with the other Great Powers, to enable mediation between Austria and Russia. He does not wish to offend Britain at this critical stage of the crisis. [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.
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.
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.
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 the full satisfaction offered in the Serbian reply.".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Afternoon Crown Prince Alexander signs the order for mobilisation
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 - The Serbian Reply]
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 are leaving Belgrade that evening. The note is taken by messenger to Pašić.
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.
Brief Serbian reaction and Russian influence [More]
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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 order to maintain that European balance".
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.
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 Austria-Hungary.
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.
Very early hours next day Yanushkevich issues the orders for the "Period Preparatory to War"
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 completely lost".
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.
Morning Benckendorff sees Grey to reinforce Sazonov's view that Britain should support Russia in the crisis.
Late morning Grey telegrams Buchanan. He says British public opinion would not sanction going to war over the Austrian Serbian quarrel.
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.
Late in the day Grey leaves for his fishing lodge at Itchen Abbas in Hampshire where he normally spends his weekends.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
|Austria Sunday, 26th July||Germany Sunday, 26th July||Serbia Sunday, 26th July||Russia Sunday, 26th July||Britain Sunday, 26th July||France Sunday, 26th July|
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.
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 on Serbia and showing resolve to Germany.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 taken any unexpected measures.
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.
See next day
Morning Sazonov meets by chance Pourtalès on the train from Tsarskoe Selo to St Petersburg. They both have summer houses near Tsarskoe Selo.
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.
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.
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".
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".
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.
Later Sazonov asks Sukhomlinov to see the German military attaché to give further assurances.
Brief Russia's crisis management and its consequences [More]
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 misleading account of the King's comments, saying Britain would be neutral in a European war.
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.
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 use your influence in St. Petersburg".
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 conference is meeting, all sides are asked to suspend "active military operations".
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".
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Austria Monday, 27th July||Germany Monday, 27th July||Serbia Monday, 27th July||Russia Monday, 27th July||Britain Monday, 27th July||France Monday, 27th July|
Morning Berchtold sends Hoyos to see Conrad who gives way and agrees to a declaration of war if diplomatic considerations make it necessary.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kiel-Potsdam Bethmann wires his latest report to the Kaiser on his train journey from Kiel to his palace at Potsdam.
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".
Late morning Bethmann replies to Lichnowsky's telegram about Grey's four-power ambassadors' conference proposal.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
4.00 P.M. The general staff intelligence committee concludes Russia is beginning to implement its "Period Preparatory to War".
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.
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.
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 Russia. [More]
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.
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.
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".
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.
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 accepting the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. Pašić 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 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 would resolve the conflict.
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".
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 does not know if Vienna is prepared to modify its demands but says it is time to put an end to Serbian provocations. Sazonov seems to agree saying it must be possible to give Serbia a well-merited lesson while respecting her sovereign rights.
During the day Sazonov gets report from Bronevski that Jagow has said Germany will only mobilise if Russia mobilises on their common border. [More]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to "stand idly aside, or take sides".
Afternoon Grey sees Mensdorff and summarises what he has said to Lichnowsky.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 men-of-war if necessary.
Brief The divided cabinet [More]
Brief Grey's policy [More]
Baltic Sea The Presidential party agrees to return to Paris as quickly as possible. The journey will take two days.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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 "that we want war at any price".
Paris The French cabinet agrees further precautionary military measures including the recall of troops from Algeria and Morocco and full protection of railways.
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.