Our fourth batch examines the twilight hours of peace. Ultimatums, having been delivered, are contemplated. The alliances for so long meant to ensure peace seem to be pushing the powers towards rash action, while Sazonov deceived his French counterparts and most historians by beginning the preparations for war as early as 25th July! How could anyone hold back the tides? Rather than a straightforward march, Europe in fact spluttered its way into war.

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July Crisis Project #17: Expiration and Mobilisation (25 July 1914)

How would Serbia react to the deadline now that they had Russian support? Could Britain do anything to dissuade the powers away from their respective courses? On a day that three states mobilised, was there any stopping anyone anymore?

The Russian period preparatory to war ensured that Russia would be readying its forces from 25 July, contrary to the mainstream historical narrative which states that Germany both mobilised and attacked first.

The Russian period preparatory to war ensured that Russia would be readying its forces from 25 July, contrary to the mainstream historical narrative which states that Germany both mobilised and attacked first.

July Crisis Project #18: Sazonov's Deception (26 July 1914)

On 26th July 1914 Sazonov met with numerous officials from foreign states. He said one thing to them while his country was doing another, out of fear of looking like the aggressor - the key, it seemed, was to bait Germany, rather than attack her.

Maurice Payleologue was the French ambassador to Russia at the time of the JC - the extent to which Sazonov had him fooled isn't fully known.

Maurice Payleologue was the French ambassador to Russia at the time of the JC - the extent to which Sazonov had him fooled isn't fully known.

July Crisis Project #19: Grey Areas (27 July 1914)

How were the powers in Europe on so many different levels? The dissemination of information, barely considered in most histories of the event, was in fact a key point for all involved.

Maintaining an almost unremarkable appearance - Sir Edward Grey was in fact one of the most important statesmen of his age, and he had guided British foreign policy arguably against its will for nearly a full decade by the time the war broke out.

Maintaining an almost unremarkable appearance - Sir Edward Grey was in fact one of the most important statesmen of his age, and he had guided British foreign policy arguably against its will for nearly a full decade by the time the war broke out.

July Crisis Project #20: War on Serbia (28 July 1914) 

On 28th July, contrary to both their previously declared policy and common sense, A-H declared war on Serbia. Europe scrambled to understand what had just happened.

 

The idea that Russia controlled or answered for the Balkan States like Serbia was by no means a new one. The consequences of history meant that Russia viewed the Austrian attack as an attack on its interests and its people.

The idea that Russia controlled or answered for the Balkan States like Serbia was by no means a new one. The consequences of history meant that Russia viewed the Austrian attack as an attack on its interests and its people.

July Crisis Project #21: End of Innocence (29 July 1914)

The aftermath of Austria's war declaration was felt across Europe, when the real intentions of all seemed to appear more and more clear. By the end of the day, it was clear to all where Europe was going.

It seemed impossible that the very alliances meant to prevent war were now facilitating it. Like a load of dominoes or violent chemicals producing a chain reaction, the alliance blocs whirred into life at the news that Austria was at war with Serbia.

It seemed impossible that the very alliances meant to prevent war were now facilitating it. Like a load of dominoes or violent chemicals producing a chain reaction, the alliance blocs whirred into life at the news that Austria was at war with Serbia.

July Crisis Project #22: United We Stand (30 July 1914)

On 30th July Germany was reacting to the news that Russia had effectively been pulling the wool over its eyes for the past 5 days. As the last efforts to acquire peace came to nothing, Sazonov was attempting round 2 of mobilisation in St Petersburg...

It seemed plainly unreasonable that the three cousins and grandsons of Queen Victoria all could not cooperate. Imperialism, mutual distrust and a failure to communicate made war both necessary and inevitable, at least to the Emperor, the Kaiser and the King.

It seemed plainly unreasonable that the three cousins and grandsons of Queen Victoria all could not cooperate. Imperialism, mutual distrust and a failure to communicate made war both necessary and inevitable, at least to the Emperor, the Kaiser and the King.

July Crisis Project #23: The Last Day of Peace (31 July 1914)

How could the powers of Europe push through the recent diplomatic calamities? You'll be sorely disappointed if you think they were at all capable of doing so...

It seemed impossible to halt the torrent of men and materials, which all sides now built up at a rapid rate for fear of their rivals. The modern mechanisms of war so threatened nations that war seemed in play before it had even been declared. This left it to the German sense of legal propriety to make if official, with unfortunate results for Berlin across the world.

It seemed impossible to halt the torrent of men and materials, which all sides now built up at a rapid rate for fear of their rivals. The modern mechanisms of war so threatened nations that war seemed in play before it had even been declared. This left it to the German sense of legal propriety to make if official, with unfortunate results for Berlin across the world.