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on other points, too, the Serbian answer failed to meet the requirements of her note, and that the whole statement was an effort to deceive the powers, as Serbia knew that the promises given would not be kept.12 The German ambassador at Vienna was of the same opinion.13
Austria-Hungary, therefore, broke diplomatic relations at once 14 and notified France, July 27, that she would on the next day take steps to make Serbia give satisfaction.15 Germany supported Austria in this policy, and believed the latter had a right to "secure full guarantees that Serbia's promises shall [should] be also turned into deeds.” 16 ACcording to Russian and French sources, however, the Austrian and German ambassadors at Paris were surprised that the reply had not satisfied the Austrian Government,17 and Sir Edward Grey stated that the German secretary of state admitted that “there were some things in the Austrian note that Serbia could hardly be expected to accept.” 18
12 A. R. B., 34, enclosure and 39; B. W. P., 48. 13 B. W. P., 32. 14 A. R. B., 24. 15 F. Y. B., 75. 16 G. W. B., annex 22; R. O. B., 43. 17 R. O. B., 27; F. Y. B., 57. 18 B. W. P., 46.
EFFORTS TO PREVENT WAR
The danger of a rupture between AustriaHungary and Serbia became imminent as soon as the former announced her refusal to give the latter a longer time in which to meet her demands. As Europe was divided into two rival groups, each composed of great powers tied together by alliances, a war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary would almost inevitably widen into a general conflict. The great problem, therefore, that confronted European diplomacy was to settle the Austro-Serbian quarrel without war or, if this could not be done, to prevent this local quarrel from widening into a European conflict.
Two solutions were proposed. One was to allow Austria to punish Serbia but to prevent the trouble from spreading to other countries. The other was to settle the difficulty without a war between Serbia and Austria. A great war could therefore be avoided if the Austro-Serbian conflict could be either localized or pre
vented. Germany was the champion of "localization," i Russia of prevention 2 of war.
The difficulties of this problem were greater than were those raised by the annexation (1908) of Bosnia and Herzegovina by AustriaHungary. Now, as then, both Russia and Serbia were in violent opposition to the policy of the Dual Monarchy. Now, as then, the friends of Russia, France and Great Britain, were not sufficiently interested to go to war solely over an Austro-Serbian quarrel. Then Russia and Serbia were finally induced to yield to Austria-Hungary. Both Serbia and Russia, however, considered that their grievance now against the Habsburg Government was greater than it had been on the former occasion; for if the Austrian demands were met in their entirety the independence of Serbia would, in their opinion, unquestionably be compromised. Besides, Russia, at the time of the annexation crisis, did not feel that she had the military strength to risk a war with Germany and Austria; now she was more hopeful as to the state of her military preparedness. In 1908–9 there was plenty of time for negotiations; now there were only a few days in which to settle the quarrel.
These difficulties would have taxed the diplo16. W. B., annex, 1 and 13; B. W. P., 9, 46; R. O. B., 18. 2 F. Y. B., 83; B. W. P., 56.
matic skill of a Bismarck or a Talleyrand; but Europe at this time could not point to any great names in the list of her official diplomats. In fact, the inefficiency exhibited by European diplomacy during this great crisis is one of the most unfortunate circumstances connected with the entire war. The diplomats, however, took up the task before them and worked energetically at the problems confronting them. Efforts to prevent war were made both before and after Serbia's reply to the Austrian ultimatum was delivered.
Germany's plan for solving the problem was to induce Russia to stand aside and allow Austria-Hungary and Serbia to settle their own quarrel. If Serbia were unsupported by a great power she would, of course, have to yield and there would be no war. Germany, therefore, early in the dispute, made an effort to secure the neutrality of Russia toward a possible conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Before Austria had sent her note to Serbia, the German ambassador at London had asked Sir Edward Grey to exercise a “moderating influence at St. Petersburg.” After the note was sent, Sir Edward Grey in a conversation with the German ambassador said (July 24) that, “in view of the extraordinarily stiff character of the Austrian note, the shortness of the time allowed, and the wide scope of the demands upon Serbia,” he “felt quite helpless as far as Russia was concerned,” and he “did not believe any power could exercise influence alone." 4
3G. W. B., annex 13.
Later (July 26) Germany asked that France unite with her in trying to influence Russia to moderation. France regarded this proposal as an effort to separate her from her ally and compromise her in the eyes of Russia. The same effort was made by Germany in London on or before July 27. Paris and London replied that Russia had “given proof of the greatest moderation, especially in urging upon Serbia to accept all that was possible of the Serbian note." According to these Governments, the lack of moderation had been shown by Vienna and it was there that action should be taken. After this rebuff, Germany apparently gave up "the idea of pressure upon Russia only” and inclined rather “toward mediatory action both at St. Petersburg and at Vienna." 5
Sir Edward Grey was in favor of the joint “mediation of the four Powers ... in the Serbian question, namely, England, France, Italy, and Germany, this mediation to be exercised simultaneously at Vienna and at St. Peters4 B. W. P., 10, 11. 5 F. Y. B., 56; B. W. P., 46; R. O. B., 35, 53.