Who started WW One?




Austria  Thursday, 23rd JulyGermany  Thursday, 23rd JulySerbia  Thursday, 23rd JulyRussia  Thursday, 23rd JulyBritain  Thursday, 23rd JulyFrance  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.
Such action runs the risk of escalation because allies Italy and Romania cannot be relied on to support such action and there is strong pro-Slav support in Russia, but it is better to act now than let the problem get worse.

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.
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 with Europe. Russia will have to reckon with Europe. It is a defender of regicide.

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 was not for Grey to judge: "that is a matter for H.M. the Emperor Franz Josef".

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 with Austria and other Great Powers! That is unheard of! Serbia is a band of robbers that must be arrested for their crimes".

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.

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.
Only at the next station when he gets a telegram from Crown Prince Alexander ordering him to return does he change his mind. Pašić may have been hoping his absence from Belgrade would give time for Serbia to prepare its response and allow friendly great powers to intervene.

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.
The Serbian military position is precarious because most of the army is in the south occupying territories taken in the recent Balkan wars which have also exhausted its supplies.

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 cases the instructions are too late.
The Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia has already been delivered.

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".
Viviani changes this to "... the two friendly and allied governments ... are in entire agreement in their views on the various problems which concern for peace and the balance of power in Europe has laid before the powers, especially in the Balkans".

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.
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 also tells Mensdorff 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.

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 Southern Slav provinces. Russia stands behind Serbia. Vienna has to act even at the risk of a European war.
He points out that if Russia is successful in the Balkans it will then turn its attention towards India.

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 France peaceful. Haldane later says he told Ballin that Britain's neutrality depended on Germany not attacking France. [More]

See next day

Austria  Friday, 24th JulyGermany  Friday, 24th JulySerbia  Friday, 24th JulyRussia  Friday, 24th JulyBritain  Friday, 24th JulyFrance  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.
Vienna considers her demands can be met and is prepared to risk armed conflict in the event of rejection. Austria-Hungary has to give proof of her stature as a Great Power, essential to the balance of power in Europe.

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.
The courier doesn't get to St Petersburg until the afternoon of 27 July.

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 governments that Italy has no formal obligation towards Austria-Hungary and Germany in the event of a Balkan war.

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-Hungary and Serbia.

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.
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 to run risks in a war fought in the interests of Austria-Hungary. [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.

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.
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 city.

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.
Sazonov says if there is war Britain will be drawn in and if Britain does not support France and Russia from the outset it renders war more likely and Britain will not have played a "beau role". [More]

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 the other major powers to seek an extension of the deadline so each country can take a view on the Austro-Hungarian case. [More]

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 rely on Russian help but does not say what that help might be.

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.
He tells Mensdorff he is worried by the situation the ultimatum has created and by the danger it could lead to a European war. Again he mentions only Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia and France in such a war.

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.
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 – mediate between them. This is Britain's first mediation proposal.
Grey again comments on the dangers of a war between the four nations, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany and France. [More]

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.
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 not to meet Austrian demand(s) with a blank negative".

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.

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 St. Petersburg and Paris. The question is whether Germany is or is not determined to have a war now. [More]

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 later learn of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum and its contents.

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.
Szécsen reports to Vienna Bienvenu-Martin thinks "energetic action" by Austria-Hungary "can be understood" and "expresses the hope that the dispute will be peacefully settled in a manner agreeable to our wishes".
Szécsen ends his report saying "On the conduct of foreign policy M. Martin has of course no influence."

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 on Serbia but Berthelot adds Russia might be unable to resist the pressure to defend Serbia and he hopes Austria will discuss any demands to which Serbia cannot agree.
Schoen gives a positive report to Berlin saying the French minister is "visibly relieved at our idea that Austro-Serbian conflict is one to be settled exclusively by the two participants. French Government sincerely shares the wishes that conflict remain localised".

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 JulyGermany  Saturday, 25th JulySerbia  Saturday, 25th JulyRussia  Saturday, 25th JulyBritain  Saturday, 25th JulyFrance  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.
Macchio says there is no possibility of an extension and also rejects any idea that the other powers can be involved in the dispute.

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.
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" though Serbia would then have to pay all of Vienna's costs.

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 is a Sunday, the measure is to be proclaimed on Monday, 27 July, and Tuesday, 28 July, will be the first day of mobilisation.
They agree that there will be no military deployment along the frontier with Russia in Galicia and a central reserve will be maintained until it is clear how the crisis is developing.

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 Berlin needs to establish if Austria-Hungary is worth anything as an ally.
Stumm predicts the Russians "would shout loudly and some hot days might follow". In the event of a war, there would be revolutions in Russia’s Finnish and Polish provinces and Russia lacked military supplies.

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 says Germany will support Grey's four-power mediation proposal if relations between Vienna and St Petersburg became "threatening". [More]

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 European war" does not appear likely. Later he also reports that at London and Paris "they are working energetically towards a localisation of the conflict".

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.
Later that afternoon he gives his consent for the Fleet to return to its bases in Germany.

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.
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 Austro-Hungarian attack, should give up Belgrade and then appeal for international support.

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.
The drafting is clever and subtle. The wording is conciliatory and caveats are included on nearly every point which would lead to lengthy discussions and enable Serbia to avoid implementing many of them.

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.
The meeting also agrees that the general staff should immediately implement the measures for the "Period Preparatory to War" in all European military districts including those facing Germany.
These measures are quickly noticed by German military intelligence and are part of the process in which military considerations become paramount. [More]

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.
Sazonov says Russian policy is not to allow Austria to crush Serbia and become the predominant power in the Balkans. Sazonov also points out the Serbian obligations mentioned in the ultimatum are to the Powers and not to Austria alone.
Were Serbia to appeal to the Powers Russia would stand aside and leave the question in the hands of England, France, Italy and Germany. [More]

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.
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 of India and other imperial interests. [More]

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.
The delay before military operations start and frontiers are crossed provides the opportunity for the four not directly involved powers - Germany, Italy, France and Britain - to mediate between the two opposing powers.
It is essential that Germany is one of the mediators. He also says Britain would not be indifferent to European complications.
Lichnowsky reads Grey the telegram from Berlin saying Germany has had nothing to do with the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. [More]

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 he "has given no indication that we will stand aside". [More]

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.

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 to world war and Britain could not be indifferent.
Lichnowsky says Germany should adopt a friendly and largely neutral position and work with Britain.

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.
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 is counting on British neutrality and if Britain makes it clear she stands with Russia and France there will be no war.
And, with reference to Asia, "we shall have to choose between giving Russia our active support or renouncing her friendship. If we fail her now we cannot hope to maintain that friendly cooperation with her in Asia". [More]

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".
Schoen calls on Berthelot to protest against this leak and its interpretation. Berthelot assures him the French government has had nothing to do with the news article.

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 Bienvenu-Martin agreed. It would be difficult to get the support of the French people in this case. Bertie thinks France will advise Russia to moderate its support for 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.
They decide to continue with their Swedish visit. [More]

Austria  Sunday, 26th JulyGermany  Sunday, 26th JulySerbia  Sunday, 26th JulyRussia  Sunday, 26th JulyBritain  Sunday, 26th JulyFrance  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.
Conrad prefers to wait until mobilisation is complete on the 12 August and he can start military operations. Berchtold believes the diplomatic situation won't hold that long. Conrad also wants to gain a better understanding of Russia's attitude before committing the army. No final decision is made but preparations are put in hand for a declaration of war. [More]

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.
The German socialist are suspicious of Tsarist Russia and Bethmann is doing everything to put Russia in the wrong. He convinces the socialists that Germany wants to preserve the peace and has taken steps to mediate between Vienna and St Petersburg

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.
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 supports Austro-Hungary because it "could no longer look on as the Austro-Hungarian state was eaten up from the inside by Serbdom".

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 no territorial gains in Serbia .... the preservation of European peace depends entirely on Russia".

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.

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.
The Kaiser is furious. He thinks Bethmann's telegram is "unheard of" and "incredibly impertinent". He has given his orders on the basis of the mobilisation in Belgrade.
"My Fleet has been ordered to sail to Kiel, and that is where it will go!"

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 accepted the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum would cease to be an independent state, "Serbia is not a state in the European sense, but a band of robbers". He is not willing join in the four power mediation proposed by Grey.

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.
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 would require some modification of Vienna's position.
Sazonov says the balance of power in the Balkans is a vital Russian interest and Russia cannot tolerate the reduction of Serbia to a vassal state of Austria.

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 the ultimatum.
They study the ultimatum point by point. Sazonov says he thinks many points could be made acceptable with minor amendment. Szápáry says he will report Sazonov's views to Vienna. [More]

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 friendlier attitude is the result of news from Paris and London. He is mistaken.

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.
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 sees as the satisfactory talk with Szápáry.

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.
The attaché also reports the British fleet, which had been taking part in the annual review at Spithead, is now being dispersed and crews departing on leave. In fact, later in the day the First Sea Lord stops the dispersal. [More]

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 the hands of Britain, France, Italy and Germany, he decides to suggest to Grey he calls an ambassadors' conference of these four powers in London.
This is Britain's second mediation proposal. Such an ambassadors' conference is similar to one Grey chaired to defuse problems arising from the first Balkan war in 1912. [More]

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".
He also communicates Berlin's acceptance of Britain's first mediation proposal "My government accepts your suggested mediation à quatre". (This mediation suggestion has now been overtaken by Nicolson's four-power ambassadors' conference idea.)

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.
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 Triple Alliance, does not oblige it to support Austria-Hungary.

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.
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 delighted by the conference idea and wires Jagow urging him to support it and to report what the British have said.
He adds his own urgent warning that Berlin should no longer believe in the possibility of localisation. [More]

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 Russian Minister of War says he is determined to leave to Germany the eventual initiative of an attack on Russia.

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.
He asked if there could not also be a question of quietening at Vienna as Serbia had apparently yielded on most points and this made room for negotiations. He considers Sazonov's idea that all the powers acting together could pass judgement on Serbia is "juridicially hardly tenable".
Bienvenu-Martin's sympathetic attitude is in stark contrast to what the French have said and are saying in St Petersburg.

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 not be acting the way it is without German approval and Germany is not trying to change Vienna's stance.
Schoen says Austria-Hungary has only rejected formal mediation and a conference where it might be arraigned before what could be seen as a European tribunal. He adds Germany would not refuse to give advice to Vienna in all circumstances.

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 regarded an urgent and vigorous demarche on the part of England at Berlin as useful".

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.
As more negative news comes in during the evening he orders the recall of other ranks from harvest leave and initiates security restrictions on the railways.

Austria  Monday, 27th JulyGermany  Monday, 27th JulySerbia  Monday, 27th JulyRussia  Monday, 27th JulyBritain  Monday, 27th JulyFrance  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.
He also wants to pre-empt Grey's mediation proposals and Sazonov's desire for direct talks. A draft declaration of war with Serbia is forwarded to the Emperor at Bad Ischl.

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.
He wires Szápáry instructing him not to mention Austria's "territorial disinterest for the time being". This contradicts the Germans who are making Austria's "territorial disinterest" the centre of their diplomatic campaign.

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.
He also tells the Emperor of a report that Serbian troops have fired on Austro-Hungarian troops and there has been a considerable skirmish.
This report is later found to be false and is removed from the declaration of war. The Emperor gives his approval to a draft telegram to the Serbian Foreign Minister declaring war on Serbia.

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.
This shows Conrad has a severe misapprehension of his ally's war plans. If Germany mobilises, it inevitably means war and an attack on France with only minimal forces left against Russia. Also Conrad does not know that Jagow has already stated on two occasions that Germany would not mobilise if Russia only mobilised against Austria-Hungary. [More]

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 a war between Austria and Serbia means war with Russia.

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 negotiations with Vienna.
Germany’s position is still that the Austro-Serbian conflict is an affair that concerns only those two states. Russia has been warned about the consequences of any military measures that might in any sense be directed at Germany.

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 once either if Russia mobilises on our frontier or if Russian troops invade Austrian territory". Cambon immediately passes this information to the Russians who take it to mean German acceptance of Russian partial mobilisation against Austria-Hungary only.

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 for direct talks is a better idea. [More]

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 mediation to prevent an Austro-Russian clash provided that Austria-Hungary was not prevented from "inflicting exemplary punishment on Serbia".

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 nerve possibly as a result of information from Paris and London. The Russian leaders appear to be wavering.
Bethmann also gives the Kaiser a copy of Lichnowsky's latest dispatch but he deliberately omits the section reporting London's warning that Russia cannot possibly allow Austria to invade Serbia. He has also removed Lichnowsky's warning that Germany's policy of localisation is an illusion.

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 is war Bethmann has said England wishes to remain neutral.
The Kaiser's naval advisor sums it up "the tendency of our policy .... staying calm, letting Russia put herself in the wrong, but then not shrinking from war". [More]

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 Russia only mobilises in the south [i.e. against Austria-Hungary only] Germany will not mobilise".
He adds that the Russian system is so complicated it might be difficult to judge what is happening and Germany cannot allow Russia to gain a head start.

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 Vienna are in progress and he expects good results from them.
Cambon says Serbia has accepted the Austrian demands except for a few details and Germany should counsel moderation in Vienna. Jagow admits he hasn't had time to read the Serbian reply.

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.
Grey believes Russia will take Austro-Hungarian military action against Serbia as a direct challenge and it will lead to the most frightful war. In Lichnowsky's opinion, Britain will support France and Russia joining them in a European war.
With Bethmann's approval Jagow forwards Lichnowsky's telegrams to the Kaiser in Potsdam. [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 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.
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]

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 latest English suggestion that Germany should mediate in Vienna and on Sazonov's desire to negotiate directly with Vienna. [More]

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.
The cabinet agree, in view of the promise of Russian support, they do not need to take any further action.

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.
He persuades Yanushkevich to call a staff conference which concludes from a practical military point of view the choice is between general mobilisation and no mobilisation at all. [More]

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 crush Serbia. This is a challenge to Russia and it will lead to the most terrible war Europe has ever seen.
Grey thinks that Germany can settle the matter and he appeals to Germany to use its influence in Vienna to have the Serbian reply regarded either as satisfactory or as a basis for negotiation. This is Britain's third mediation proposal. [More]

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 goodwill.
The whole Serbian question is becoming a trial of strength between the Central Powers (Germany and Austria) and the Triple Entente (France, Russia and Britain). If war comes in these conditions we shall have England against us".

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.
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 the possibility of a European conflagration Britain has not dispersed its fleet. News of this is in the newspapers.

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.
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 also warns that if another great power becomes involved in the Austro-Serbian dispute, it will be the greatest catastrophe ever to befall Europe in one blow.

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 be neutral, and Russia and France both want Britain to declare it will support them. The cabinet endorse Grey’s policy of deliberate ambiguity.
This approach has the great advantage that the cabinet which is deeply divided between those who support Britain's Entente partners and those who would be neutral, does not for the moment have to decide what Britain will do.
The cabinet also approves the decision already taken to keep the fleet at full strength and agrees to discuss Britain's obligation to Belgium at their next meeting. [More]

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.
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 will not take the offensive so as not to give Germany the reason to come to the aid of Austria-Hungary. [More]

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 firmness.

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.
Later he gets a telegram from Sazonov who is concerned with what Bienvenu-Martin said to Schoen on the 26 July about a moderating influence at St Petersburg. Sazonov rejects this as Russia has already met all acceptable demands on the part of Austria.

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.
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 is to first defeat France then to turn on the slower mobilising Russians. [More]