Jean Jaurès, French Socialist leader


(4) The Height of the Crisis, July 28 - July 31, 1914


July 28

Germany.Britain.
==[200.AM] > Bethmann wires German Ambassador Lichnowsky in London, rejecting talks based on Serbia’s reply

Serbia.Russia.
==[morning] > ~Serbia receives a wire from the Czar pledging “that Russia will in no case disinterest herself in the fate of Serbia” - Serbian Premier Pasic weeps and embraces the Russian envoy

Germany.
==[1000.AM] > Unaware that Austria is about to declare war, the Kaiser is astonished when he finally reads the Serbian reply of Jul.25: “…with it every reason for war drops away…” - he orders that Austria be advised to be conciliatory and proposes that Austrian military operations be limited to an occupation of Belgrade

Austria-Hungary.Serbia.
==[1100.AM] > AUSTRIA-HUNGARY DECLARES WAR ON SERBIA - THE START OF WORLD WAR I

Germany.
==[midday] > Bethmann receives the Kaiser’s orders to open a peace process with Serbia - Bethmann hesitates

Serbia.Austria-Hungary.
==[early afternoon] > Serbian Premier Pasic receives the Austrian declaration of war while eating lunch in the Hotel Europa in Nish

Russia.Britain.
==[300.PM] > Sazonov meets with British Ambassador Buchanan, states that Russia will mobilize against Austria the day that Serbia is invaded, and urgently asks Britain to declare to Germany its full support for Russia and France

Russia.Germany.
==[~330.PM] > Angry encounter between German Ambassador Pourtalès and Sazonov, who accuses Germany and Austria of engineering the crisis

Russia.France.
==[~400.PM] > Exceeding his instructions, French Ambassador Paléologue assures Sazonov of France’s “complete readiness…to fulfill its alliance obligations…” with Russia

Russia.
==[~late afternoon] > Sazonov is frightened by news of the Austrian declaration of war against Serbia and asks that orders for both partial and general Russian mobilizations be prepared, after being told by Chief of Staff Yanushkevich that a partial mobilization is dangerous

Britain.
==[500.PM] > The Royal Navy is ordered to Scapa Flo and to its other war stations

Germany.
==[639.PM] > Berlin receives word of the Austrian declaration of war - ~German Chief of Staff Moltke is agreeable to the Kaiser’s conciliatory approach

Britain.Germany.
==[615.PM] > Grey asks Germany to propose the form of mediation desired by Austria and Germany

Russia.Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[evening] > After consulting the Czar, Sazonov announces that partial mobilization against Austria will commence on Jul.29 - Russia attempts to reassure Germany

Austria-Hungary.Britain.
==[evening] > After receiving it through Germany, Berchtold rejects Grey’s proposed four-power mediation as “too late”

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[1015.PM] > Bethmann urgently asks Austria to make overtures to Russia and limit military action to the occupation of Belgrade, in a weak and belated German peace attempt

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[1100.PM] > After frantic requests from Conrad, Berchtold asks Germany to threaten to mobilize in order to force Russia to quickly drop its threatened mobilization against Austria

Austria-Hungary.Serbia.
==[night, to early.AM Jul.29] > The first shots of World War I: Austrian gunboats on the Sava River fire on Serbian positions near Belgrade, often misreported as a heavy bombardment of the city - the Serbs blow the Sava bridge at Zemun

Germany.
==German War Minister Falkenhayn orders all troops on maneuvers to return to their garrisons

France.Germany.
==French Acting Foreign Minister Bienvenu-Martin condemns Germany’s active support of Austria, telling German Ambassador Schoen that “The best means of avoiding a general war is by preventing a local one.”

France.Russia.
==Joffre assures Russian Military Attaché Ignatiev of France’s “full and active readiness faithfully to execute her responsibilities as an ally.”

Britain.
==In the House of Commons, Grey predicts that a general war “…cannot but end in the greatest catastrophe that has ever befallen the continent of Europe at one blow…the consequences of it, direct and indirect, would be incalculable.”
==(to Jul.31) > The London Stock Exchange plummets

Italy.Austria-Hungary.
==Italian Foreign Minister San Giuliano warns that without compensation Italy will not aid Austria

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==The Turks offer Germany specific terms for a secret offensive-defensive alliance against Russia - Germany replies favorably within the day

Bulgaria.
==Bulgaria declares its neutrality

United States.
==The New York Times reports “A general European war is unthinkable... Europe can’t afford such a war, and the world can’t afford it, and happily the conviction is growing that such an appalling conflict is altogether beyond the realm of possibility.”


July 29

Russia.Germany.
==[100.AM, to Aug.02] > The Czar and the Kaiser exchange the increasingly frantic ‘Willy-Nicky’ telegrams - the Czar wires “I foresee that very soon I will be overwhelmed by the pressure brought against me…”

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[430.AM] > Bethmann sends Telegram 174, an ambiguous attempt to limit Austria to an occupation of Belgrade - German Ambassador Tschirschky hesitates to deliver it

Russia.
==[720.AM] > Without authorization, Russian Chief of Staff Yanushkevich tells his generals that a general mobilization will begin on Jul.30 - ~the Czar signs both partial and general mobilization decrees

Britain.
==[700.AM] > The British First Fleet departs Portland for Scapa Flo, passing through the Straits of Dover in the night
==[morning] > A British Cabinet meeting bitterly divides over the European crisis: most members strongly support neutrality in opposition to Grey and Asquith - there is uncertainty on how to react if Germany invades Belgium

France.
==[early afternoon] > Poincaré and Viviani finally arrive back in Paris, traveling through fervent patriotic demonstrations

Britain.
==[200.PM] > British government departments are instructed to implement war precautions - ~authorities throughout the Empire, including the Royal Navy, are ordered to a state of readiness - ~the Committee for Imperial Defense opens its War Book - ~the Cabinet rejects Churchill’s request to mobilize the fleet
==[afternoon] > When Austrian Ambassador Mensdorff says it’s too late for a settlement with Serbia, Grey responds “Then it is perhaps too late also to avert a general war.” - Grey declines to give assurances to French Ambassador Paul Cambon, but grimly warns German Ambassador Lichnowsky that Britain might intervene in a French-German conflict

Russia.Austria-Hungary.
==[late afternoon] > Sazonov ominously warns Austrian Ambassador Szápáry that “Russian interests were identical with those of Serbia;” he angrily ends the meeting when he’s informed of the Austrian shelling of Belgrade

Germany.Russia.
==[late afternoon] > Berlin learns of the imminent Russian partial mobilization and receives reports that Russian forces are moving to frontier assembly points - Jagow angrily tells Russian Ambassador Sverbejev that  “Germany would be obliged to mobilize as well.  There was therefore nothing more to do: from now on diplomats would have to let the cannons talk.”

Germany.
==[late afternoon] > ~Moltke is aware that an Austrian mobilization will provoke a Russian one and bring on a general war, which he describes as “the mutual butchery of the civilized nations of Europe”… but he urges Bethmann to stand firm
==[440.PM] > Bethmann and German military leaders meet with the Kaiser, who refuses to allow Bethmann to propose a naval accord to ensure British neutrality

Russia.Germany.
==[700.PM] > German Ambassador Pourtalès warns Sazonov that Russian preparations will force a German mobilization - Sazonov is convinced that a general war is virtually inevitable

France.Germany.
==[530-730.PM] > The French Council of Ministers meets - German Ambassador Schoen warns Premier Viviani against undertaking preparations for war

Russia.
==[800.PM] > The Czar briefly approves a general Russian mobilization

Russia.Germany.
==[940.PM] > The Czar receives a telegram from the Kaiser warning that Russian war preparations will cause a European war - the Czar cancels the Russian general mobilization

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[late evening] > German Ambassador Tschirschky at last mentions Bethmann’s restraining Telegram 174 to Austria, but Berchtold refuses to limit military action against Serbia

Germany.Britain.
==[1100.PM] > The ‘infamous offer’: unaware of Grey’s warnings to Lichnowsky, Bethmann proposes to British Ambassador Goschen that in the event of a German-French war, Germany will not annex French territory if Britain pledges neutrality - Britain is not impressed

Russia.Austria-Hungary.
==[midnight] > Russia orders a partial mobilization directed against Austria

Serbia.
==Prince Alexander issues a war manifesto calling on Serbs to “Defend your homes, hearths, and Serbia with all your strength.”

Serbia.Austria-Hungary.
==(to Aug.12) > Austrians make eighteen unsuccessful attempts to cross the Danube between Belgrade and Gradishte

Germany.
==The German fleet is mobilizing

Britain.Ottoman Empire.
==The British Admiralty considers the seizure of the just-completed Turkish dreadnought Sultan Osman I just as five hundred Turkish sailors arrive at the Tyne to fetch her

Belgium.
==Belgium strengthens the fortifications at Liège

Italy.Austria-Hungary.
==An Austrian proposal that does not promise compensation for Italy is angrily rejected by Foreign Minister San Giuliano, who is planning to declare Italian neutrality rather than honor its alliance with Austria and Germany

Italy.
==Italian Chief of Staff Cadorna recommends moving fortress artillery from the Austrian to the French border - the proposal is approved by the King on Aug.02

Africa.
==Defensive precautions are undertaken in French Equatorial Africa

International.
==(to Jul.30) > International socialist leaders hold an emergency meeting in Brussels, with Jaurès, Haase, Luxemburg, Adler, and Hardie in attendance - the Frenchman Jaurès and the German Haase publicly embrace, despite a “sense of hopelessness and frustration” - the International Socialist Congress is rescheduled from Aug.23 in Vienna to Aug.09 in Paris, but it will be overtaken by events


July 30

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[100.AM] > Berchtold notifies Germany that unless Russia immediately suspends its partial mobilization, Austria will order a general mobilization - he asks for German support against Russia but refuses German attempts to restrict an Austrian invasion of Serbia

Russia.Austria-Hungary.
==[200.AM] > Sazonov tells Ambassador Pourtalès that Russia will halt its mobilization if Austria drops any demands that threaten Serbian sovereignty - Vienna is not notified

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[300.AM] > Bethmann frantically wires demands that Austria open talks with Russia - the first serious German attempt to restrain Austria

Russia.France.
==[300.AM] > Russia informs France of its partial mobilization - France urges caution

France.Russia.
==[700.AM] > Premier Viviani wires French support for Russia, but cautions against provoking Germany

France.Britain.
==[700.AM] > Viviani reminds Grey of British obligations to France in the event of war

France.
==[700.AM] > After receiving exaggerated reports of German preparations, General Joffre asks permission to bring the French frontier forces to wartime strength

Russia.
==[morning] > Premier Goremykin tries to persuade the Czar not to involve Russia in a war

Serbia.
==[morning] > Serbian Prime Minister Pasic publicizes exaggerated accounts of the Austrian shelling of Belgrade

Germany.Russia.
==[morning] > Upon receiving a telegram from the Czar announcing the partial Russia mobilization, the Kaiser angrily writes “…then I must mobilize too!” - feeling betrayed by Russia and Britain, he briefly abandons his attempts at mediation

Russia.
==[1100.AM] > Exaggerated reports of Austrian and German war preparations convince Sazonov and the Russian military chiefs that a general mobilization is imperative - the Czar refuses

France.Russia.
==[930.AM] > The French Council of Ministers meets - it decides not to ask Russia to end its partial mobilization

Germany.Russia.
==[noon] > Berlin learns that the Russian partial mobilization is far more extensive than it has realized

Germany.
==[200.PM] > The Berlin paper Lokal Anzeiger prematurely reports that Germany has ordered a mobilization - ~exaggerated rumors of German military preparations

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[200.PM] > Moltke is terrified to learn that Austria is putting its Galician forces on the defensive, thereby exposing East Prussia to a Russian attack - he frantically urges Austria to immediately order a general mobilization against Russia

Russia.
==[310-400.PM] > In a tense meeting Sazonov persuades the Czar to proclaim a general mobilization

Germany.
==[300.PM] > Bethmann resists Moltke’s demands for a German general mobilization

Austria-Hungary.Germany.
==[afternoon?] > German Ambassador Tschirschky tells a shocked Berchtold that Germany is now demanding that Austria open talks with Russia - Austria refuses to restrict its military operations

Britain.Germany.
==[330.PM] > Grey rejects Bethmann’s call for British neutrality, but pledges to reach a settlement with Germany in return for cooperation in ending the crisis - ~he proposes to Germany that a settlement might be reached if Austria halts after taking Belgrade

Germany.Russia.
==[430.PM] > Berlin receives Sazonov’s proposal to halt the Russian mobilization if Austria respects Serbian sovereignty - the suggestion is simultaneously pursued by Bethmann and rejected by Jagow

Austria-Hungary.
==[late afternoon?] > Without consulting Germany, an Austrian Imperial Conference decides to order a general mobilization directed against Serbia, to be announced Aug.01

Russia.
==[600.PM] > Russia orders a general mobilization, but does not immediately notify the other powers: the first official day will be Aug 4 - red mobilization notices are publicly posted during the night - A EUROPEAN GENERAL WAR BECOMES VIRTUALLY INEVITABLE

France.
==[500.PM] > France orders a cautious troop buildup near the German frontier, keeping troops ten kilometers from the border

Germany.
==[845.PM] > Under intense pressure from Moltke and Falkenhayn, Bethmann agrees to decide by noon on Jul.31 whether to decree a State of Imminent War

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[900.PM] > A desperate Bethmann urgently advises Austria to accept Grey’s four-power mediation proposal

Austria-Hungary.Russia.
==[evening?] > In a cordial meeting, Berchtold tells Ambassador Schebeko that Austria is willing to open direct talks with Russia - very brief revival of optimism among the powers

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[1120.PM] > Bethmann suspends attempts to pressure Austria into accepting a settlement after receiving early reports of the Russian general mobilization

Russia.Austria-Hungary.
==[late evening] > Austrian Ambassador Szápáry is ordered to resume talks with Sazonov - he hesitates till Jul.31

Britain.Germany.
==[1010.PM] > King George V conveys Grey’s latest peace proposal to Germany: Britain and Germany are to jointly ensure that Austria stops in Belgrade while Russia stands down

France.Russia.
==[late night] > Paris learns hints of the Russian general mobilization, but makes no attempt to dissuade Moscow or to inform either Britain or the French public

Serbia.
==A Serbian emergency legislative session at Nish loudly cheers a bellicose speech by Prince Alexander - ~the Serbs decide to defend Belgrade, surprising the powers

Russia.
==The Russian Baltic and Black Sea fleets begin to mobilize

Germany.Britain.
==An angry Kaiser comments on Gray’s Jul.29 warning to Lichnowsky: “Common cur!  England alone bears the responsibility for peace and war, not we any longer!  That must be made clear to the world.” - he blames the crisis on a plot by the late Edward VII and orders German agents to foment Moslem revolts against the British Empire: “If we are to bleed to death, England shall at the very least loose India.”

Germany.
==The Berliner Morgenpost prints Last Warning by the moderate socialist Bernstein, predicting millions will be killed and maimed and a vast national debt will be incurred  if war erupts
==Bethmann tells the Prussian Minister of State that the Social Democrats are no threat to German war preparations

Britain.France.
==Grey is unable to tell French Ambassador Paul Cambon what the British response would be if Germany attacked France

Britain.
==(to Jul.31) > The London Times begins insisting that Britain support the Entente; most of the British press still prefers neutrality
==Sir John French is designated the commander of the British Expeditionary Force
==All parties in Parliament agree to adjourn the debate on the Irish Amending Bill indefinitely in order to “present a united front” in the European crisis, as Asquith puts it

Italy.
==The Italian fleet mobilizes off Gaeta

Germany.Greece.
==The Kaiser attempts to pressure King Constantine of Greece into a German alliance

Canada.
==The Canadian Militia Council discusses raising 25,000 men

New Zealand.
==New Zealand begins preparations for raising an expeditionary force

Netherlands.
==The Netherlands declares neutrality


July 31

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[245.AM] > Contradicting his earlier wire, Bethmann orders Ambassador Tschirschky to present King George V’s peace proposal to Berchtold

Germany.Russia.
==[700.AM] > A German officer in East Prussia reports to Berlin that Russia has posted mobilization notices and sealed the border

Russia.Germany.
==[morning] > German Ambassador Pourtalès learns of the Russian mobilization and warns Sazonov that Germany will mobilize in response

Germany.Britain.
==[morning] > Ambassador Goschen presents Grey’s offer of a general British-German settlement to Bethmann, who is too upset by accelerating Russian military activity to listen

Austria-Hungary.
==[morning] > Bemused by contradictory German advice, the Austrian Council of Ministers rejects Grey’s proposed mediation and declines to pledge any compensation to Italy

Britain.Germany.
==[morning] > Grey virtually offers British neutrality to German Ambassador Lichnowsky if Austria agrees to reasonable terms

Britain.
==[morning] > Lord Rothschild and a group of financiers meet with Lloyd George, fervently urging Britain to maintain neutrality
==[1000.AM] > The London Stock Exchange closes until further notice, after severe losses - the British bank rate is rising sharply to record levels - Churchill writes “The City has simply broken into chaos.  The world’s credit system is virtually suspended.”

Germany.Russia.
==[1155.AM] > Bethmann receives a direct report from Ambassador Pourtalès confirming Russian general mobilization

Britain.France.
==[late morning?] > The British Cabinet refuses to make any commitments to France despite Grey’s recommendations

Russia.Germany.
==[early afternoon] > As German Ambassador Pourtalès warns the Czar that Russian mobilization will provoke a war; the Czar points upwards and says “Then there is only One who still can help.”

Austria-Hungary.
==[1230.PM] > Austria orders a general mobilization that will  commence Aug.04; ~political administration is turned over to the military, including control of the railroads and communications

Germany.
==[100.PM] > Germany declares a State of Imminent War, allowing a declaration of martial law and the sealing of the frontiers - Bethmann resists Moltke’s demands to mobilize and declare war on Russia immediately - ~a run on German banks and a sharp rise in food prices occurs

Russia.Germany.
==[200.PM] > The Czar wires the Kaiser that the Russian mobilization cannot be halted but is not intended as an act of war
==[200.PM] > The Kaiser wires the Czar that peace depends on Russia halting its mobilization

Russia.Austria-Hungary.
==[afternoon] > Austrian Ambassador Szápáry has friendly but unproductive talks with a shaken Sazonov

France.
==[200.PM] > Fearing imminent war with Germany, General Joffre forcefully warns against delaying French mobilization

Germany.France.
==[330.PM] > German Ambassador Schoen is instructed to demand that France declare neutrality within 18 hours, and turn over the fortresses of Verdun and Toul to Germany as pledges

Germany.Russia.
==[330.PM] > The German 12-hour ultimatum to Russia is wired to Ambassador Pourtalès in St. Petersburg

Britain.France.
==[afternoon?] > Grey informs the worried French Ambassador Paul Cambon that Britain cannot at the moment be held to any pledge that has been made to France
==[afternoon] > A special message from Poincaré to King George V calls on Britain to aid France in her time of danger - the British reply is guarded

France.Germany.Russia.
==[330.PM] > Paris learns from Ambassador Jules Cambon in Berlin that Russia has ordered a general mobilization and that Germany will soon do the same

Germany.Austria-Hungary.
==[600.PM] > A worried Moltke phones Vienna to warn that Germany is about to order mobilization and demands that Austria concentrate its forces against Russia instead of Serbia, asking “Is Austria going to leave us in the lurch?”

Britain.Belgium.
==[530.PM] > Grey asks Germany and France to pledge to respect Belgian neutrality

France.
==[540.PM] > The French cabinet orders accelerated military preparations

Britain.Russia.
==[640.PM] > Britain is belatedly informed of the Russian mobilization by Ambassador Buchanan in St. Petersburg

France.Germany.
==[700-730.PM] > German Ambassador Schoen warns French Premier Viviani that war is imminent and demands to know what France will do in a Russian-German conflict - Viviani delays his response

France.
==[early evening] > In an angry confrontation with French Foreign Undersecretary Ferry, Socialist leader Jaurès declares “To the very end, we will continue to struggle against war.” - Ferry prophetically replies “You will be assassinated on the nearest street corner.”

Germany.
==[evening] > The Kaiser speaks to a Berlin crowd from a palace balcony, telling them to ask God to help the German Army - they respond with wild cheering

France.Russia.
==[830.PM] > France finally receives confirmation of the Russian mobilization from Ambassador Paléologue

Britain.
==[evening] > British Foreign Undersecretary Nicolson writes Grey “It is useless to shut our eyes to the fact that possibly within the next 24 hours Germany will be moving across the French frontier.”

Italy.France.
==[evening] > Italy secretly informs France that it no longer feels bound to its obligations to the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria

France.
==[900.PM] > French socialist leader Jean Jaurès is assassinated in a Paris restaurant by an extreme monarchist
==[900.PM-late] > A French Cabinet meeting fears that Jaurès’ murder will provoke risings in Paris, but decides against the mass arrest of extremists - mobilization is to be declared Aug.01

Germany.Belgium.
==[late evening] > Germany evades a British request to pledge to respect Belgian neutrality

Austria-Hungary.
==[late evening] > After repeated warnings from Moltke, Conrad finally grasps that war with Russia is imminent, and prepares to concentrate Austrian forces in Galicia

Germany.Russia.
==[late night] > Moltke convinces a reluctant Bethmann that Germany must declare war on Russia - German Foreign Office officials work on the declaration of war through the morning

Russia.Germany.
==[midnight] > The German 12-hour ultimatum to Russia is delivered by Ambassador Pourtalès: Germany will mobilize unless Russia stands down - Sazonov fails to understand that once Germany mobilizes, war is inevitable

Russia.
==Russia begins laying mines in the Gulf of Finland

Germany.Belgium.
==Only now does Bethmann learn that German mobilization dictates an immediate attack on Liège in neutral Belgium

Britain.
==British Foreign Undersecretary Crowe sends a memo to Grey maintaining that Britain must go to war if it wishes to remain a great power
==A weak pro-neutrality demonstration occurs in the House of Commons
==The British Home Fleet has reached its battle stations in Scotland and at Scapa Flo

Belgium.
==Belgium declares a mobilization, to begin Aug.01

Naval: Mediterranean.
==Churchill sends contradictory orders to British Mediterranean Commander Milne

Italy.
==General Cadorna informs the King that the Italian Army is completely unready for war

Romania.Germany.
==The Kaiser urges King Carol of Romania to honor his alliance with Germany and Austria

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==Germany and the Turks hastily reach an agreement on the terms for an alliance

Ottoman Empire.
==Turkish mobilization is declared for all men between the ages of 20 to 45, to begin Aug.03

Africa.
==The German cruiser Königsberg departs Dar-es-Salaam in German East Africa and evades British warships, in preparation for commerce raiding

United States.
==The New York Stock Exchange closes for the first time since 1873 - it will reopen Dec.12

International.
==The German Social Democrats send Mueller to Paris to consult with French socialists


 


Czar Nicholas II
 
 

July Crisis Introduction    //   (1) 1904-Jun.1914   //    (2) Jun.28-Jul.22
(3) Jul.23-27    //    (5) Aug.1-4; Aftermath    //    Biographies

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