Wednesday, July 28, 2010

War with the Serbians is never a good idea.

Draft of the Austrian declaration
of war against Serbia July 1914

A young Adolf Hitler attends a rally in
Munich Odeonsplatz celebrating
Austria's declaration of war against Serbia July 1914 

Aleksandra's Note:  It was in these days of summer 96 years ago, in the lovely, peaceful summer of 1914, that things just got really out of hand. The more one learns of how the first World War in history, that war that was to "end all wars", really began, the more amazed and horrified one becomes at how an ostensibly "local" conflict, that was to take no more than a few months to resolve and finish, could manifest into an international monster that quite literally changed the world in  four short years.

That is precisely why everyone needs to pay attention to, and be concerned about, those "local" matters, "way over there".

Just in considering the few bits of information here, one can confidently draw a few conclusions in hindsight:

1. Never underestimate how big something can become.

2. Never become overconfident, even if you are an Empire, because those "little peoples in their little states" could end up beating you and your Empire, and your Empire could become "no more".

3. There is no way that one can justifiably blame "Greater Serbian Nationalism" as being the true cause of World War I.

Even after all these years, almost a century later, there are STILL people who believe that World War I was caused by an 18 year old Bosnian Serb "nationalist" named Gavrilo Princip. That's perhaps the most amazing thing of it all.

It might behoove the great powers of today, in the 21st century, to consider that it's not necessarily wise to mess with Serbia and the Serbians.


Aleksandra Rebic


"At 11:10 A.M. on July 28, 1914, Count Leopold von Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, sent the following telegram from Vienna to M. N. Pashitch, Serbian Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. This declaration of war was received at Nish at 12:30 P.M."


Vienna, July 28, 1914

The Royal Serbian Government not having answered in a satisfactory manner the note of July 23, 1914, presented by the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade, the Imperial and Royal Government are themselves compelled to see to the safeguarding of their rights and interests, and, with this object, to have recourse to force of arms. Austria-Hungary consequently considers herself henceforward in a state of war with Serbia.

Austr0-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs

From: Collected Documents Relating to the Outbreak of the European War (London, 1915), p. 392. This is Document No. 45 quoted from the Serbian Blue Book.


According to historian John Clinton Adams:

"The telegram came indirectly. It went from Vienna to Bucharest and from there down to Nish, which in the last three days had become the new capital of Serbia. Copied in pencil, the impersonal French words looked unimpressive..."


From the Manchester Guardian July 29, 1914

"Austria has declared war upon Serbia. An unconfirmed report says Austro-Hungarian troops have invaded Serbia by crossing the River Save at Mitrovitz. Two Serbian steamers have been seized on the Danube.

"In Vienna it is believed that Montenegro, which stands with her Serb sister state, is mobilising, and that a joint force is gathering near the Bosnian frontier in readiness to deliver a counter-stroke towards Sarajevo.

"Our St. Petersburg correspondent, telegraphing last night, says if Austria occupies Belgrade, Russia will reply at once by mobilising all her army. Her partial mobilisation is in full swing.

"In Berlin, it is believed that if Russia calls her troops to the colours, Germany will at once follow her example. The fleet has returned to home waters."



"The 'Great War', which began on 28 July 1914 with Austria-Hungary's declaration of war with Serbia, was the first truly global war. It began in Europe but quickly spread throughout the world. Many countries became embroiled within the war's first month; others joined in the ensuing four years, with Honduras announcing hostilities with Germany as late as 19 July 1918 (with the record going to Romania, who entered the war - albeit for the second time - one day before it finished, on 10 November 1918).

"Detailed below is a list of the nations [in alphabetical order] who formally declared hostilities during World War One, along with their date of entrance. Nations of the British Empire, e.g. Australia, Canada and New Zealand, automatically entered the war with Britain's decision to enter the fray on 4 August 1914.

"Note that on numerous occasions hostilities were assumed without a formal declaration, e.g. Russia with Germany and Austria-Hungary in August 1914."


Entered war together with Britain on 4 August 1914


Declared war with Serbia on 28 July 1914

Declared war with Russia on 6 August 1914

Declared war with Belgium on 28 August 1914

Declared war with Portugal on 15 March 1916


Invaded by Germany on 3 August 1914


Severed relations with Germany on 13 April 1917


Severed relations with Germany on 11 April 1917

Declared war with Germany on 26 October 1917


Declared war with Serbia on 14 October 1915

Declared war with Romania on 1 September 1916


Entered war together with Britain on 4 August 1914


Severed relations with Germany on 14 March 1917

Declared war with Germany on 14 August 1917

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 14 August 1917

Costa Rica

Severed relations with Germany on 21 September 1917

Declared war with Germany on 23 May 1918


Declared war with Germany on 7 April 1917


Severed relations with Germany on 8 December 1917


Invaded by Germany on 2 August 1914

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 12 August 1914

Declared war with Turkey on 5 November 1914

Declared war with Bulgaria on 16 October 1915


Declared war with Russia on 1 August 1914

Declared war with France on 3 August 1914

Declared war with Belgium on 4 August 1914

Declared war with Portugal on 9 March 1916


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 27 June 1917

Declared war with Bulgaria on 27 June 1917

Declared war with Germany on 27 June 1917

Declared war with Turkey on 27 June 1917


Declared war with Germany on 23 April 1918


Declared war with Germany on 12 July 1918


Declared war with Germany on 19 July 1918


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915

Declared war with Turkey on 21 August 1915

Declared war with Germany on 28 August 1915

Declared war with Bulgaria on 19 October 1915


Declared war with Germany on 23 August 1914

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 25 August 1914


Declared war with Germany on 4 August 1914


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 5 August 1914

Declared war with Germany on 8 August 1914

Declared war with Bulgaria on 15 October 1915

New Zealand

Entered war together with Britain on 4 August 1914


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 8 May 1918

Declared war with Germany on 8 May 1918


Declared war with Germany on 7 April 1917

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 10 December 1917


Severed relations with Germany on 6 October 1917


Entered war against Germany on 9 March 1916

Entered war against Austria-Hungary on 15 March 1916


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 27 August 1916

Exited war with Treaty of Bucharest on 7 May 1918

Re-entered the war on 10 November 1918


Declared war with Turkey on 2 November 1914

Declared war with Bulgaria on 19 October 1915

San Marino

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 3 June 1915


Declared war with Germany on 6 August 1914

Declared war with Turkey on 2 November 1914


Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 22 July 1917

Declared war with Germany on 22 July 1917


Declared war with Romania on 30 August 1916

Severed relations with United States on 23 April 1917

United Kingdom

Declared war with Germany on 4 August 1914

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 12 August 1914

Declared war with Turkey on 5 November 1914

Declared war with Bulgaria on 15 October 1915

United States of America

Declared war with Germany on 6 April 1917

Declared war with Austria-Hungary on 7 December 1917


Severed relations with Germany on 7 October 1917


Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, Volume 27, Funk and Wagnall, 1983


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me


Monday, July 19, 2010

Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasich issues conciliatory appeal to foreign governments on July 19,1914 to avert a potential catastrophe

Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasich

Aleksandra's Note: I never cease to be amazed at just how cooperative and conciliatory the Serbs have been throughout history in dealing with their adversaries, with their neighbors, with their allies, and with their enemies. Everyone has their threshold, and the Serbs have a high one. They have tolerated much throughout their history - some might say they have compromised too much - and the more one learns of Serbian history the more one becomes convinced that history does indeed repeat itself. The players may change, but the essence remains the same.

I've concluded that even though the Serbs are not a group of pacifists, they are never the ones to throw the first punch.

In studying the "July Crisis" of 1914, it becomes increasingly clear that the Serbs and the Serbian government did everything humanly possible to avoid war, short of selling their souls out completely, as a nation and a people.

"Everything humanly possible" would not be enough for their enemies, for the simple fact that their enemies wanted war, regardless, and Serbia would be the scapegoat, regardless.

They would get their war.

The following communication was issued by Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasich just four days before the pivotal Austro-Hungarian ultimatum was delivered to the Serbian government.

Aleksandra Rebic


Statement of Serbia's Prime Minister Nikola Pasich of July 19, 1914 (to be transmitted to foreign governments via Serbia's accredited ambassadors):

"Immediately after the Sarajevo outrage [June 28, 1914] the Austro-Hungarian press began to accuse Serbia of that detestable crime, which, in the opinion of that press, was the direct result of the "Great Serbian" idea. The Austrian press further contended that that idea was spread and propagated by various [nationalist] associations, such as the "Narodna Odbrana," . . . which were tolerated by the Serbian Government.

"On learning of the murder, the Serbian Royal Family, as well as the Serbian Government, sent messages of condolence, and at the same time expressed severe condemnation of, and horror at, the crime that had been committed. Nevertheless, the press of the [Austro-Hungarian] Monarchy continued to hold Serbia responsible for the Sarajevo outrage. Moreover, the Austro-Hungarian press began to spread various false reports, designed to mislead public opinion, which provoked the Belgrade press to reply in self-defense and sometimes with hostility in a spirit of embitterment aroused by the misrepresentation of what had occurred. . . .the Serbian Government hastened to warn the press in Belgrade, and to recommend it to remain calm and to confine itself to simple denials and to the suppression of false and misleading reports. The action of the Serbian Government was ineffectual in the case of some of the less important papers. . . (being) unable to avert these polemics between the Serbian and the Austrian press, seeing that Serbian law, and the provisions of the constitution itself, guarantee the complete independence of the press and prohibit all measures of control and the seizure of newspapers. . .

"The Serbian Government at once expressed their readiness to hand over to justice any of their subjects who might be proved to have played a part in the Sarajevo outrage. The Serbian Government further stated that they had prepared a more drastic law against the misuse of explosives.

". . . During the whole of this period, from the date of the perpetration of the outrage until to-day, not once did the Austro-Hungarian Government apply to the Serbian Government for their assistance in the matter. They did not demand that any of the accomplices should be subjected to an Inquiry, or that they should be handed over to trial. . . . It is evident . . .that Austria is contemplating some action, but it is not clear in what sense. It is not stated whether the measures which are to be taken -- more especially military measures -- will depend upon the reply and the conciliatory attitude of the Serbian Government. But an armed conflict is being hinted at in the event of the Serbian Government being unable to give a categorically satisfactory reply...

"The Serbian Government considers that their vital interests require that peace and tranquillity in the Balkans should be firmly and lastingly established. And for this very reason they fear that the excited state of public opinion in Austria-Hungary may induce the Austrian Government to (take a line of action) which may humiliate the dignity of Serbia as a State, and to put forward demands which could not be accepted.

"I have the honor therefore to request you to impress upon the Government to which you are accredited our desire to maintain friendly relations with Austria-Hungary, and to suppress every attempt against the peace and public safety of the neighboring Monarchy. We will likewise meet the wishes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the event of our being requested to subject to trial in our independent Courts any accomplices in the outrage who are in Serbia -- should such, of course, exist.

"But we can never comply with demands which may be directed against the dignity of Serbia, and which would be unacceptable to any country which respects and maintains its independence.

"Actuated by the desire that good neighborly relations may be firmly established and maintained, we beg the friendly Governments to take note of these declarations and to act in a conciliatory sense should occasion or necessity arise."

Statement of Serbian Prime Minister Pasich, July 19, 1914 (to be transmitted to foreign governments via Serbia's accredited ambassadors)

Ref.: The Serbian Blue Book (from Collected Diplomatic Documents relating to the outbreak of the European War, British Parliamentary Papers, Cd. 7860, 1915)


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paving the way to war by consensus: Setting up Serbia for the inevitable.

Austria - Green / Serbia - Orange

Aleksandra's Note:  When people want to go to war they will find a way to justify it, regardless of whether it's justified or not. The following text reflects, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that war was going to be waged against Serbia no matter what. Serbia's "guilt" or "accountability" in the Sarajevo event of June 28, 1914 was, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. This was 1914. Change the names of the players and you could fool virtually anyone into believing that this meeting took place in the 1990s.

What should concern everyone who believes that history does indeed repeat itself, and how can anyone not believe that it does, is that scenarios such as this could be going on behind closed doors right now.


Aleksandra Rebic


The following text is all from

Primary Documents: Austrian Ministerial Council Meeting Minutes, 7 July 1914

Reproduced below are the official minutes of the Austrian Ministerial Council Meeting which took place on 7 July 1914, some nine days following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.

During the meeting the prospect of war with Serbia was debated; aside from the Hungarian Prime Minister, Count Tisza, all present favoured presenting Serbia with a sufficiently severe ultimatum that could not be accepted. Its rejection would therefore prove grounds for a subsequent declaration of war.

Minutes of Ministerial Council on affairs of State held at Vienna on July 7, 1914, under the presidency of the Minister of the Royal and Imperial Household and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Berchtold.

Also present:

The Austrian Premier, Count Sturkh
The Hungarian Premier, Count Tisza
The Joint Minister for Finance, Ritter von Bilinski
The War Minister, Ritter von Krobatin

Keeper of the Minutes: Councillor of Legation, Count Hoyos

Agenda: Bosnian Affairs - The diplomatic action against Serbia

The President opens the sitting by remarking that the Ministerial Council has been called in order to advise on the measures to be used in reforming the evil internal political conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as shown up by the disastrous event at Sarajevo.

In his opinion there were various internal measures applicable within Bosnia, the use of which seemed to him very appropriate, in order to deal with the critical situation; but first of all they must make up their minds as to whether the moment had not come for reducing Serbia to permanent inoffensiveness by a demonstration of their power.

So decisive a blow could not be dealt without previous diplomatic preparation; consequently he had approached the German Government. The conversations at Berlin had led to a very satisfactory result, inasmuch as both the Emperor William and Herr von Bethmann Hollweg had most emphatically assured its of Germany's unconditional support in the case of hostilities with Serbia.

Meanwhile, we still had to reckon with Italy and with Rumania, and here he agreed with the Berlin Cabinet that it would be better to negotiate and be prepared for any claims to compensation which might arise. He was clear in his own mind that hostilities with Serbia would entail war with Russia. Russia, however, was now playing a far-seeing game, and was calculating on a policy of being able to unite the Balkan States, including Rumania, with the eventual objective of launching them at an appropriate moment against the Monarchy.

He suggested that we must reckon on the fact that in face of such a policy our situation was bound steadily to deteriorate, and all the more if an inactive policy of laisser alley were to be interpreted as a sign of weakness by our own South Slavs and Rumanians, and were to be a direct encouragement to the power of attraction of the two neighbour States.

The logical inference to be drawn from his remarks was that we must be beforehand with our enemies and, by bringing matters to a head with Serbia, must call a halt to the gathering momentum of events; later it would no longer be possible to do so.

The Hungarian Premier agreed that during the last few days the results of our investigations and the tone of the Serbian press had put a materially new complexion on events, and emphasized the fact that he himself held the possibility of warlike action against Serbia to be more obvious than he had thought in the period immediately after the act at Sarajevo.

But he would never give his consent to a surprise attack on Serbia without previous diplomatic action, as seemed to be contemplated and as had unfortunately already been made the subject of discussion by Count Hoyos at Berlin; were that done, in his opinion, our position in the eyes of Europe would be an extremely bad one, and in all probability we should have to reckon with the enmity of the whole Balkans, except Bulgaria, while Bulgaria herself being at present very much weakened would not be able to give us the necessary support.

It was absolutely necessary that we should formulate demands against Serbia and only send an ultimatum in case Serbia failed to satisfy them. These demands must undoubtedly be hard, but should not be impossible of fulfilment. Should Serbia accept them we should be able to quote a dazzling diplomatic victory, and our prestige in the Balkans would be raised.

Should our demands not be accepted he himself would then be for warlike action, but even at this point he thought it essential to lay stress on the fact that the object of such action ought to be the reduction of Serbia, but not her complete annihilation; first, because this would never be allowed by Russia without a life and death struggle, and also because he, as Hungarian Premier, could never consent to the annexation of part of Serbia by the Monarchy.

It was not Germany's place to judge whether we should now deal a blow at Serbia or not. Personally, he was of opinion that it was not absolutely necessary to go to war at this moment. At the present time we must take into account that the agitation against us in Rumania was very strong, that in view of the excited state of public opinion, we should have to reckon with a Rumanian attack.

We must also remember that in the sphere of European politics the relation of French to German power would continually deteriorate because of the low birthrate, and that Germany would therefore continually have more troops at her disposal, as time went on, against Russia.

These considerations ought all to be weighed on the occasion of a decision as important as the one to be taken to-day; he must, therefore, come back to this, that, in spite of the crisis of affairs in Bosnia, he would not make up his mind unconditionally for war.

The President remarked that the history of the last years had shown that while diplomatic successes against Serbia raised the reputation of the Monarchy for the time being, the actual tension in our relations with Serbia had only increased. Neither our success during the annexation crisis, nor at the creation of Albania, nor Serbia's submission later in consequence of our ultimatum of the autumn of last year, had altered the real situation in any way.

He imagined that energetic action alone would suffice to solve once for all the problem created by the systematic propaganda for a Greater Serbia encouraged from Belgrade, the disintegrating effects of which had made themselves felt as far as Agram and Zara.

As regards the danger of a hostile attitude on the part of Rumania, mentioned by the Hungarian Premier, the President remarked that this was less to be feared now than later on, when the unity of interests between Rumania and Serbia would have become more pronounced.

To be sure, King Carol had let fall doubts as to whether he would be able to fulfil his duty as an ally, should occasion arise, by sending active help. On the other hand, it was scarcely likely that he would allow himself to be so far carried away as to become involved in hostilities against the Monarchy, even supposing that public opinion did not itself oppose that. Further, there was Rumanian fear of Bulgaria; even as things stood at present this was bound to a certain extent to hamper Rumania's freedom of movement.

As for the observation made by the Hungarian Premier on the relative strength of France and Germany, surely they had to remember that the decreasing birthrate of France was counter-balanced by the infinitely more rapid increase in the population of Russia, so that the argument that in future Germany would always have more troops at her disposal against France would not hold.

The Austrian Premier remarked that to-day's Ministerial Council had actually been called for the purpose of advising about the internal measures to be taken in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to make effective the present inquiry into the assassination, on the one hand, and, on the other, to counteract the Greater Serbia propaganda. But now these questions must give way to the principal question; should we solve the internal crisis in Bosnia by a demonstration of power against Serbia?

Two considerations now made this principal question an immediate one; first, the Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina was proceeding on the presumption, acquired in the course of inquiries and in consequence of his knowledge of Bosnian affairs, that no internal measures would be effective, unless we made up our minds to deal a forceful blow to Serbia abroad. In view of this report from General Potiorek we must ask ourselves whether the schismatic activities originating in Serbia could be stopped at all, unless we took action against the Kingdom.

During the last few days the whole situation had received a materially fresh complexion and a psychological situation had been created, which, in his opinion, led unconditionally to an issue of arms with Serbia.

He certainly agreed with the Hungarian Premier that it was for us, and not for the German Government, to decide whether a war were necessary or no; he must nevertheless observe that our decision must be materially influenced by the fact that, in the quarter which we were bound to regard as the greatest support of our policy in 'the Triple Alliance, unconditional loyalty was, as we were informed, promised to us and that, in addition, on our making inquiry, we were urged to act at once; Count Tisza ought to weigh this fact, and to consider that a hesitating, weak policy would run us into the danger of losing the certainty of this unconditional support of the German Empire on a future occasion.

This was the second consideration which must be taken into account in forming our decision, and was additional to our interest in restoring order in Bosnia.

How to begin the conflict was a question of detail, and should the Hungarian Government be of opinion that a surprise attack "sans crier Bare," to use Count Tisza's expression, was not feasible, then they must needs think of some other way; but he did most earnestly hope that, whatever they might do, they would act quickly, and our trade and commerce be spared a long period of unrest.

All this was detail compared with the chief question as to whether it should in any case come to armed action or not, and here the authoritative interest was the reputation and stability of the Monarchy, whose South Slav provinces he held to be lost if nothing were to happen.

They ought, therefore, to make up their minds to-day, in a general way, whether they meant to act or not. He, too, shared the President's view that the situation would not be in the least improved by a diplomatic success. If, therefore, international considerations caused them to adopt the method of an initial diplomatic action against Serbia, this would have to be done with the firm intention of allowing such action to end only in a war.

The Joint Finance Minister observed that Count Sturkh had referred to the fact that the Governor wanted war. For two years General Potiorek had held the view that we must match ourselves against Serbia, in order to be able to retain Bosnia and Herzegovina. We ought not to forget that the Governor, who was on the spot, could better judge the situation. Herr von Bilinski, too, was convinced that a decisive struggle was unavoidable sooner or later.

The Hungarian Premier observed that he had the highest opinion of the present Governor as soldier, but, as regards the civil administration, it could not be denied that it had broken down completely and that reform was absolutely essential. He would not now enter more fully into this question, especially as it was no time for big alterations; he would only observe that the most incredible conditions must be reigning among the police, to make it possible that six or seven persons known to the police should have been able to place themselves along the route of the procession on the day of the assassination, armed with bombs and revolvers without a single one of them being noticed or removed by the police. He could not see why the condition of Bosnia could not be materially improved by means of a thorough reform of the administration.

The Joint War Minister is of opinion that a diplomatic success would he of no value. Such a success would only be interpreted as a weakness. From the military point of view he must emphasize the fact that it would be better to wage the war now, rather than later, as the balance of power would move disproportionately against us later on.

As for the procedure for beginning war, he might be permitted to remark that the two great wars of recent years, both the Russo-Japanese and the Balkan Wars, had been begun without previous declarations of war. His opinion was at first only to carry through their contemplated mobilization against Serbia, and let general mobilization wait until they knew whether Russia was going to take action or not.

We had already neglected two opportunities of solving the Serbian question and had deferred decision on both occasions. If we did this again and took no notice of this latest provocation, this would be taken as a sign of weakness in every South Slav province and we should be inducing an increase of the agitation directed against us.

It would be desirable from a military point of view if the mobilization could be carried out at once, and secretly, and a summons addressed to Serbia only after mobilization had been completed. This would also be a good thing as against the Russian forces, as just about this time the Russian frontier forces were not at their full strength on account of harvest-leave.

Thereupon a discussion developed about the aims of warlike action against Serbia, and the Hungarian Premier's point of view was accepted, to the effect that Serbia should be reduced in size, but not, in view of Russia, entirely annihilated.

The Austrian Premier emphasized the fact that it might also be advisable to remove the Karageorgevich dynasty and to give the Crown to a European prince, as well as to induce a certain condition of dependency of this reduced kingdom on the Monarchy in relation to military affairs.

The Hungarian Premier still remained convinced that the Monarchy could adopt a successful Balkan policy by means of Bulgaria's adherence to the Triple Alliance, and pointed out what a frightful calamity a European war would be under present circumstances.

The question of war was then further argued thoroughly in the course of a long discussion. At the end of this discussion agreement was reached:

(1) That all present wish for the speediest decision which is practicable in the conflict with Serbia, whether by means of war or peace.

(2) That the Ministerial Council is prepared to adopt the point of view of the Hungarian Premier to the effect that mobilization shall only follow after concrete demands have been addressed to Serbia, and have been refused, and an ultimatum has further been sent.

(3) On the other hand, all present, excepting the Hungarian Premier, hold that a purely diplomatic success, even if ending in a startling humiliation for Serbia, would be without value, and that, therefore, the demands to be put to Serbia must be so far-reaching as to pre-suppose a refusal, so that the way would be prepared for a radical solution by means of military intervention.

Count Tisza observes that he is desirous of meeting the views of all present, and therefore would be prepared to concede this much, that he would agree that the demands to be put to Serbia must be very hard, yet must not be of such a nature as to cause our intention of putting unacceptable demands to become obvious.

Otherwise, our legal position would be an impossible one for a declaration of war. The text of the Note would have to be most carefully formulated, and he must lay importance on the necessity of seeing the Note before its despatch. He must further stress the necessity, as regards his own person, of taking the obvious action contingent on having had his point of view rejected.

The meeting was now adjourned till the afternoon.

On the reassembly of the Ministerial Council, the Chief of the General Staff, and the Representative of the Navy Command [Admiral Kailer] were also present.

By request of the President, the Minister for War addressed the meeting and put the following three questions to the Chief of the General Staff [Von Hoetzendorff]:

(1) Whether it would be possible to mobilize against Serbia first, and only subsequently against Russia as well, if this should become necessary?

(2) Whether large bodies of troops could be retained in Transylvania to overawe Rumania?

(3) At which point the war against Russia would be begun?

The Chief of the General Staff, in response to these inquiries, supplies information which is confidential, and therefore requests that it be omitted from the Minutes.

A discussion of some length develops out of these explanations as to the relation of forces and the probable course of a European war, which, on account of its confidential character, could not be entered on the Minutes.

At the end of this discussion the Hungarian Premier repeats his views on the question of war, and once more appeals to all present to weigh their decisions with care.

A discussion followed on the points to be included in the demands to be put in the Note to Serbia. The Ministerial Council took no definite decision as to these points; suggestions were simply made with a view to obtaining an idea of what demands might be put.

The President sums up to the effect that though there still existed a divergence of view between all members and Count Tisza, yet they had come nearer agreement, inasmuch as the Hungarian Premier's own proposals would in all probability lead up to that armed conflict with Serbia, which he and the others at the meeting held to be necessary.

Count Berchtold informs the meeting that he proposes to travel to Ischl on the 8th, and report to His Imperial Apostolic Majesty. The Hungarian Premier requests the President to submit also a humble memorial, which he would draw up, on his view of the situation.

After a communiqué had been drawn up for the Press, the President closes the meeting.

Secretary: A. HOYOS (Signature)

BERCHTOLD (Signature)

I have noted the contents of these Minutes. Vienna, August 16th, 1914.

FRANZ JOSEF (Signature)

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. I, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923


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