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that if she did not cease her military preparations, she [Germany) would order mobilization.
Russia felt that she could not accede to this demand, and, therefore, had no alternative but to hasten military preparations and consider that war was inevitable. On July 31 Russia ordered a general mobilization. The Emperor of Germany was, however, assured by Czar Nicholas that "his troops would not move so long as mediation negotiations continued.” The reason alleged for this action was that Austria had determined not to yield to the intervention of the powers and was moving troops against Russia as well as Serbia, or, in other words, had begun general mobilization. Besides, she had reason to believe that Germany was making active military preparations and Russia could not afford to let her get the start.9 Sazonof, the Russian foreign minister, told the English ambassador at St. Petersburg on July 30 that he had absolute proof that Germany was making military and naval preparations against Russia.10 The German chancellor as late as July 31 declared that his Government had made no preparations for mobilization. The German White Book also charges that between July 29 and 31 there appeared renewed and cumulative evidence concerning Rus
9 R. O. B., 58; F. Y. B., 100; B. W. P., 113; S., 1022. 10 B. W. P., 97; R. O. B., 61, 62.
sian mobilization. Concentration of troops on the east Russian frontier and a declaration of a state of war over all important parts of Russia's west frontier allowed no further doubt that Russian mobilization was in full swing, while such measures were all being denied on word of honor. 11
The order of mobilization on the part of Russia did not cause an immediate break in the relations with Austria-Hungary. For the Russian ambassador at Vienna was still exchanging views with the Austro-Hungarian minister for foreign affairs on the 31st, after Russia's order for mobilization had been promulgated.12 Russia maintained that mobilization in her case did not necessarily mean war, as she could remain mobilized for months without making war.
“This was not the case [with Germany). She had the speed and Russia had the numbers,'' and she did not propose to sacrifice that advantage by delay.13 So at midnight July 31, the German ambassador at St. Petersburg declared to the Russian Government that Germany would mobilize if Russia did not commence demobilization in twelve hours, not only against Germany but also against Austria. The French foreign minister considered this a
11 G. W. B., S., 777–8; exhibits 23, 24.
very unreasonable demand inasmuch as Russia had not ordered a general mobilization until "after Austria had decreed a general mobilization and that the Russian Government were ready to demobilize if all Powers did likewise." The German chancellor took the position that a general mobilization on the part of Russia necessarily meant a mobilization against Germany.14 Russia made no answer to this demand, and Germany declared war on Russia on the evening of August 1.15 Five days later Austria-Hungary followed her ally in a declaration of war against Russia. 16
France and Germany were the next countries to go to war. The documents show conflicting claims as to which power first began mobilization and it is hard to say which country took the initiative as to mobilization. The question of priority, of military preparations, however, was of no great significance as a cause of war between Germany and France. France was bound by treaty obligations to Russia, and let it be known before Russia and Germany went to war that she would stand by her ally. As early as July 27, the French ambassador at Berlin informed Von Jagow, German foreign minister, that the relations of Germany
14 R. O. B., 70; G. W. B., 23, 24; B. W. P., 126. 15 R. O. B.,
76. 16 R. O. B., 79.
and Austria were no closer than those of France and Russia. 17 On July 29 the French premier declared that Russia could count on his country, as France would fulfill all her obligations as Russia's ally. He was anxious, however, for peace and wanted England to renew her offer of the mediation of the four powers.18 The French ambassador at London told Sir Edward Grey this same day that France “was bound to help Russia if Russia was attacked.” 19
Two days later (July 31), M. Jules Cambon, the French ambassador at Berlin, was informed by Von Jagow that his Government, owing to the general mobilization of the Russian army, had proclaimed Kriegsgefahrzustand (the state of danger of war). M. Cambon was also at the same time notified of Germany's demand on Russia that the latter cease mobilization.20 The French military authorities regarded this proclamation as tantamount to mobilization. It was, they said, “mobilization under another name. As the French frontier forces were faced by eight German corps, they were in imminent danger of attack by the latter. For these reasons the French Government in the afternoon of August 1 ordered a general mobilization, stating at the same time that it was
17 F. Y. B., 74.
taking this action purely for defensive purposes. The French troops were stationed ten kilometers from the frontier and were not to attack the Germans.21
In the evening of July 31, M. Viviani, the French foreign minister, was asked by the German ambassador at Paris to state "what the attitude of France would be in case of war between Germany and Russia." The French Government understood this inquiry, it declared, to carry with it an intimation that Germany would recall her ambassador from Paris if a satisfactory answer were not given next day. The French foreign office regarded this as an extraordinary request and took the position that it did not have to announce its intentions to any power other than an ally.22 Therefore, when the inquiry was renewed next day, the French premier replied that “France would do that which her interests dictated.” 23
This answer was, of course, not satisfactory to Germany, but her ambassador was not recalled until Auugst 3, on which day war was formally declared on France by Germany.24 France maintained diplomatic relations with Austria-Hungary a week longer, and did not declare war on this power until August 12.25
21 B. W. P., 136, 140.
25 A. R. B., 63, 65.