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Speech of Bethmann-Hollweg to the Reichstag in 1914

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  • Speech of Bethmann-Hollweg to the Reichstag in 1914

    Speech of German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg to the Reichstag, 1914

    Where the responsibility in this greatest of all wars lies is quite evident to us.

    Outwardly responsible are the men in Russia who planned and carried into effect the general mobilization of the Russian army.

    But in reality and truth the British Government is responsible.

    The London Cabinet could have made war impossible if they had unequivocally told Petersburg that England was not willing to let a continental war of the Great Powers result from the Austro-Hungarian conflict with Serbia.

    Such words would have compelled France to use all her energy to keep Russia away from every warlike measure.

    Then our good offices and mediation between Vienna and Petersburg would have been successful, and there would have been no war!

    But England has chosen to act otherwise. She knew that the clique of powerful and partly irresponsible men surrounding the Czar were spoiling for war and intriguing to bring it about.

    England saw that the wheel was set a-rolling, but she did not think of stopping it. While openly professing sentiments of peace, London secretly gave St. Petersburg to understand that England stood by France and therefore by Russia too.

    This has been clearly and irrefutably shown by the official publications which in the meantime have come out, more particularly by the Blue Book edited by the British Government.

    Then St. Petersburg could no longer be restrained. In proof of this we possess the testimony of the Belgian Charge d'Affaires at St. Petersburg, a witness who is surely beyond every suspicion.

    He reported (you know his words, but I will repeat them now), he reported to his Government on July 30th that:

    England commenced by making it understood that she would not let herself be drawn into a conflict. Sir George Buchanan said this openly. To-day, however, everybody in St. Petersburg is quite convinced - one has actually received the assurance - that England will stand by France.

    This support is of enormous weight and has contributed largely toward giving the war-party the upper hand.

    Up to this summer English statesmen have assured their Parliament that no treaty or agreement existed influencing England's independence of action, should a war break out, England was free to decide whether she would participate in a European war or not.

    Hence, there was no treaty obligation, no compulsion, no menace of the homeland which induced the English statesmen to originate the war and then at once to take part in it.

    The only conclusion left is that the London Cabinet allowed this European war, this monstrous world war, because they thought it was an opportune moment with the aid of England's political confederates, to destroy the vital nerve of her greatest European competitors in the markets of the world.

    Therefore, England, together with Russia (I have spoken about Russia on the 4th of August), is answerable before God and man for this catastrophe which has come over Europe and over mankind.

    The Belgian neutrality which England pretended she was bound to shield, is but a mask.

    On the 2nd of August, 7 p.m., we informed Brussels that France's plan of campaign was known to us and that it compelled us, for reasons of self-preservation, to march through Belgium, but as early as the afternoon of the same day, August 2nd, that is to say, before anything was known and could be known of this step, the British Government promised unconditional aid to France in case the German navy attacked the French coastline.

    Not a word was said of Belgian neutrality. This fact is established by the declaration made by Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons on the 3rd of August.

    The declaration was communicated to me on August 4th, but not in full, because of the difficulties experienced at that time in the transmission of telegrams. Besides the very Blue Book issued by the British Government confirms that fact.

    How, then, can England allege that she drew the sword because we violated Belgian neutrality? How could British statesmen, who accurately knew the past, talk at all of Belgian neutrality?

    When on the 4th of August I referred to the wrong which we were doing in marching through Belgium, it was not yet known for certain whether the Brussels Government in the hour of need would not decide after all to spare the country and to retire to Antwerp under protest.

    You remember that, after the occupation of Liege, at the request of our army leaders, I repeated the offer to the Belgian Government.

    For military reasons it was absolutely imperative that at the time, about the 4th of August, the possibility for such a development was being kept open. Even then the guilt of the Belgian Government was apparent from many a sign, although I had not yet any positive documentary proofs at my disposal.

    But the English statesmen were perfectly familiar with these proofs. The documents which in the meantime have been found in Brussels, and which have been given publicity by me, prove and establish in what way and to what degree Belgium has surrendered her neutrality to England.

    The whole world is now acquainted with two outstanding facts:

    (1) In the night from the 3rd to the 4th of August, when our troops entered Belgian territory, they were not on neutral soil, but on the soil of a state that had long abandoned its neutrality.

    (2) England has declared war on us, not for the sake of Belgian neutrality, which she herself had helped to undermine, but because she believed that she could overcome and master us with the help of two great military powers on the Continent.

    Ever since the 2nd of August when England promised to back up the French in this war, she was no longer neutral, but actually in a state of war with us. On the 4th of August she declared war, the alleged reason being our violation of Belgian neutrality.

    But that was only a sham motive and a spectacular scene intended to conceal the true war motive and thus to mislead both the English people and foreign neutral countries.

    The military plans which England and Belgium had worked out to the minutest details now being unveiled, the policy of English statesmen is branded for all times of history to come. But English diplomacy still added to this. At its call, Japan snatched from us Kiautschau, so bravely defended, and thus violated Chinese neutrality.

    Has England interfered with that breach of neutrality? Has she shown in this instance her scrupulous anxiety about the neutral states?

    When, in 1910, I became Chancellor, the Triple Alliance had to reckon with a solid counter-combination of Powers. England had created the Triple Entente and knitted it firmly for the purpose of maintaining the "balance of power."

    For centuries it had been a fundamental tenet of British policy to turn against that Continental Power which was strongest, and this principle was to find its most efficient instrument in the Triple Entente.

    Thus, whilst the Triple Alliance was of a strictly defensive character, the nature of the Triple Entente was offensive from the beginning. In this lay all the elements of a terrific explosion.

    A nation as great and efficient as the Germans are does not allow its free and pacific development to be thwarted. In the face of this aggressive combination the course of German policy was clear. We had to try to come to a separate understanding with each member of the Triple Entente in order to dispel the clouds of war, and at the same time we had to increase our armaments so as to be ready if war actually broke out.

    Gentlemen, you know that we have done both. In France we encountered, again and again, sentiments of revenge. These sentiments being fed and fostered by ambitious politicians proved stronger than the wish, undoubtedly cherished by a part of the French people, to live with us, as neighbours should, on friendly terms.

    We made, indeed, some specific agreements with Russia, but her close alliance with France, her opposition to our Austro-Hungarian ally and an anti-German feeling, born and bred of the Panslavistic craving for power, made agreements impossible which would have averted all dangers of war in the case of a political crisis.

    Freer than France and Russia was England. I have already reminded you how British statesmen in parliament, again and again, proudly affirmed Great Britain's absolutely unrestricted right to steer her own course. The attempt to come to an understanding, which would have safeguarded the peace of the world, was easiest to make with England.

    On these lines I had to act and I did act. I well knew that it was a narrow road, not easy to tread. In the course of centuries, the English insular way of thinking had evolved the political maxim that England had a right to an "arbitrium mundi," which she could only uphold by an unrivalled supremacy on sea and by the maintenance of the balance of power on the Continent. I never had any hopes that my persuasion could break that old English maxim.

    What I did hope and thought possible was that the growth of German power and the increase of the risks of a war might open England's eyes to the fact that her old-fashioned maxim had become untenable and impracticable, and that an amicable settlement with Germany was preferable.

    But that old doctrine of hers more than once stood in the way of a peaceful understanding. The crisis of 1911 gave a new impetus to the negotiations. The English people suddenly realized that they had stood at the brink of a European war.

    Popular sentiment forced the British Government to a rapprochement with Germany. After long and arduous negotiations we finally arrived at an understanding on various disputed questions of an economic character, regarding Africa and Asia Minor. This understanding was to lessen every possible political friction. The world is wide. There is room enough for both nations to measure their strength in peaceful rivalry as long as our national strength is allowed free scope for development.

    German policy always stood up for that principle. But during the negotiations England was indefatigable in her endeavours to enter into ever closer relations with France and Russia. The decisive point was that beyond the political sphere of action one military agreement after the other was made in view of a possible continental war.

    England kept these negotiations as secret as possible. When something about them would percolate, it was declared, both in the press and in Parliament, to be perfectly harmless. But things could not be concealed, as you know from the official papers that were published by me.

    The general situation was this: England was indeed ready to come to an understanding on single items, but the first and foremost principle of her policy was the "balance of power" as a means of checking German strength in its free development.

    This forms the border-line of England's amicable relations with Germany; and the purpose was the utmost strengthening of the Triple Entente. When the Allies demanded military assurances in return, England was at once ready to give them. The circle was closed. The English were sure of the following of France and hence of Russia.

    But they, too, had to abandon their free-will. As the jingoes of France and Russia found their strongest support in the military accommodation promised by her, England, as soon as either of the two Allies began the war, was morally bound to support them.

    And all this was done to what purpose? Because Germany was to be kept down. We have not been remiss in warning the British Government. As late as the beginning of last July I gave them to understand that their secret negotiations with Russia about a naval agreement were well known to me. I called their attention to the grave danger which such policy implied for the peace of the world. As soon as a fortnight afterward my predictions came true.

    We have taken the consequences of the general situation. In quick succession I have laid before you the hugest war bill which history ever recorded, and you, gentlemen, fully recognizing the country's danger, have gladly made the sacrifice and have granted what was necessary for our national self-defence.

    And when war broke out, England dropped the mask of hypocrisy. Loudly and openly she declares her determination to fight until Germany is laid prostrate both in an economic and military sense. Anti-German Panslavism joins its jubilant notes, France with the full strength of an old warlike nation hopes to redeem the humiliation inflicted on her in 1870.

    Our only answer to our enemies is Germany does not allow herself to be crushed!

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


    It should be remembered that that no credible motive for Germany (other than self-defense) has ever been established despite the best efforts by Fritz Fischer.
    Last edited by peterhof; 16 Sep 12, 14:41.
    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

  • #2
    Please see my response to your other new thread that tries to apportion
    blame to Britain entitled "ENGLAND'S BLANK CHEQUE".
    "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
    Samuel Johnson.

    Comment


    • #3
      Obviously B-H is playing to the home audience.

      Comment


      • #4
        As the saying in Germany at the time went:

        "ENGLAND IST SCHULD!"

        B-H's little tirade can well be followed up by Falkenhayn's nonsense arguments for starting the battle of Verdun, about crushing the French army as a way to strike Englands primary weapon from its hand, etc...

        It signifies how pissed the Germans at the time were at the British. I would strongly advise against trying to read anything like an actual description of why events unfolded as they did into it. It's a bit of German deflection over their massive self-deluded disappointment over the thwarted hope the UK might not join against them (+ the delusion as if the UK's position would even matter to the Russians and French). It's just that the Germans had no expectation from the Russians and French beyond being obliging adversaries.

        [It's His Fault!
        That you still have to fight and bleed,
        that you still have to suffer,
        that you have to save on coal and light,
        that you need rationing cards for food and goods,
        that you still cannot go back to your peaceful work!
        The Main Enemy Is England!
        Therefore,
        Remain united!
        Remain strong!
        Thus you guarantee Germany's victory!]
        Last edited by Johan Banér; 17 Sep 12, 03:41.

        Comment


        • #5
          England declared war on Germany on account of Belgium. In 1914, the British ultimatum, British leaders and newspaper editorials spoke of nothing but Belgium. We know today and British historians concur that Belgium was never the issue but merely the pretext. See Morley's Memorandum on Resignation. It proves that the British decision for war was made before the issue of Belgium was ever raised in Cabinet deliberations. By 1914, Belgium was anything but "neutral" (as documented by Professor Fuehr) and the Treaty of 1839 was indeed a "scrap of paper" as Bethmann characterized it.

          So why did England declare war? Germany had grown too big for her britches and England decided use the Franco-Russian alliance to take her down a few notches. Take a look at The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson. He writes that Edward Grey and some like-minded Ministers were motivated by a "misreading" of German intentions and ambitions. England's reasons for going to war are neatly summarized in the Crowe Memorandum of January 1907. Did you perhaps imagine that Grey's welter of military agreements with France and Russia meant nothing?
          "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

          Comment


          • #6
            Had Germany not back the A-H from the outset there would have been no war. All Germany had to say when the Austrian's sought German approval for removing Serbia from the map was no. The reason was simple. Germany was armed to the teeth, powerful and with the best chance of victory and European hegemony available in 1914. The same could not be guaranteed in the future.

            "Better now than later" is the quote that can be found coming from senior army commanders.

            Both A-H and Germany made one push too many in the Balkans. Kaiser Wilhelm, Napoleon and Hitler all made the same diplomatic errors (dictators/absolute rulers often do). At one point or another a pliant or weak opponent (in this case Czar Nicolas) will stop retreating and draw the line if for no other reason than they (or their nation) cannot be pushed further and retain credibility/honour/or power status. Napoleon did so with Francis (1805) and Fredrick-Wilhelm (1806), Wilhelm II with Czar Nicolas in 1914, Hitler with Chamberlain in 1939.

            Wilhelm's failure to recognise that events were not playing out as he expected, that Russia would not back down to his threats this time, that France would support Russia and that Britain would follow British interests is his failing and it led to global war.

            That is Wilhelm's hat to wear. He had the oppotunity to a stop Austria, he chose to push them onwards instead.
            The Purist

            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

            Comment


            • #7
              When Princip fired the shots heard 'round the world, it was immediately recognized that a possible European war hinged on Russian intervention. Germany supported Austria with the specific intention of keeping Russia sidelined. This policy was the result of an expensive lesson learned during the 1908 annexationist crisis when Germany's initial failure to support Austria almost led to war.

              When Russian intervention became a real possibility on or about July 27th, Germany reversed her policy 180 degrees and leaned heavily upon Austria to negotiate. Unfortunately, France continued her encouragement of Russia while England continued her conspicuous failure to moderate Russia. See my thread "England's 'blank cheque' to the Franco-Russian alliance" above.
              "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

              Comment


              • #8
                Codswallop.

                There had been at least a dozen assassinations by Anarchists in the period 1895-1914, often of royal family members, including Austria's, as well as a serving US President. None of them were used for a pretext for war. Sarejevo was an excuse, not a justification.

                So you agree that Wilhelm misread the situation. 1914 was not 1908 or 1912 or 1913. The Austrians were being warned by the Russians as soon as they drew their sabres in early July that Russia would not permit the destruction of Serbia,... they ran to Germany for permission to attack. The Kaiser misread Russian intention and French resolve to back Russia. When offered the opportunity to negotiate a settlement the Austrians came up with an ultimatum that was designed to be denied. Only at last minute, when the plan had collapsed and continental war was imminent did Wilhelm have second thoughts.

                He could have abandoned the Austrians then and there and worked out a deal with Russia to avoid war (and let Austria be defeated by Russia and Serbia). Instead he declared war, first against Russia then against France. In the meantime the Austrians began shelling Belgrade and prepared to march on Serbia.


                Regarding 1908 -

                Had Germany not intervened in 1908 A-H would have suffered for its deliberate violation of the Treaty of Berlin by annexing Bosnia-Herzegovina. But Russia did back down. Russia backed down again in 1912 and again in 1913. The Czar could not afford to do so again. Germany could afford to step aside and let Austria take its lumps. The Kaiser misjudged the Russians.

                Wilhelm misread the situation
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by peterhof View Post
                  When Princip fired the shots heard 'round the world, it was immediately recognized that a possible European war hinged on Russian intervention. Germany supported Austria with the specific intention of keeping Russia sidelined. This policy was the result of an expensive lesson learned during the 1908 annexationist crisis when Germany's initial failure to support Austria almost led to war.

                  When Russian intervention became a real possibility on or about July 27th, Germany reversed her policy 180 degrees and leaned heavily upon Austria to negotiate. Unfortunately, France continued her encouragement of Russia while England continued her conspicuous failure to moderate Russia. See my thread "England's 'blank cheque' to the Franco-Russian alliance" above.
                  What is wrong with Russia supporting Serbia? What is wrong with France supporting Russia? What is wrong with UK supporting France and Russia? I see you have not complained that Germany gave Austria-Hungary a "blank cheque" fully a fortnight before the Austrian ultimatum was delivered.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                    What is wrong with Russia supporting Serbia? What is wrong with France supporting Russia? What is wrong with UK supporting France and Russia? I see you have not complained that Germany gave Austria-Hungary a "blank cheque" fully a fortnight before the Austrian ultimatum was delivered.
                    The German purpose in backing Austria was to keep Russia out. The Anglo-French purpose was to encourage Russia, full-well knowing that Russia meant the difference between an Austro-Serb dispute and a European war.

                    Here is a quote from Dobrorolsky, Chief of the Mobilization Division of the Russian General Staff:

                    "On the evening of July 24th, 1914, a meeting of the Committee of the General Staff took place at which it was decided to declare at once a preparatory mobilization period and further to declare a state of war over all fortresses and frontier stations. War was already decided on and the whole flood of telegrams between the governments of Russia and Germany represented merely the stage setting [mise en scène] of an historical drama."



                    The Russian general mobilization meant war as Dobrorolsky himself defined it. Had Russia waited even one day, Bethmann would have been in possession of Berchtold's response to Bethmann's warning telegrams - each more urgent than the last. As Austria was in no condition to fight Russia alone (she even lost the opening battles against Serbia), she had no choice but to make concessions to Germany.
                    Last edited by peterhof; 17 Sep 12, 14:01.
                    "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And the Czar offered Germany a way out through negotiations and pouring water on the mobilisation issue. However this would have meant abandoning Austria and since the German High Command was not afraid of war, they chose to declare war instead. Austria wanted war with Serbia and wanted Germany to hold off Russia. The Kaiser believed German support for Austria's position would be enough to discourage Nicolas,,... and he then returned to sailing his yacht off the German coast.

                      Russia would have been happy to march to war against Austria alone and leave Germany out of the equation. All the Kaiser had to do was climb down and leave Austria to deal with its own political fiasco. Austria's choice would then be defeat in war or climbing down regarding Serbia.

                      Neither Germany or Austria was afraid of the war and both were extremely provocative in the month leading up to the Austrian attack on Belgrade. Both Berlin and Vienna under estimated the fact that Nicolas would not, and could not, suffer another diplomatic defeat over the Balkans. The Austrians and Germans pushed too hard once too often and set in motion a global war.
                      The Purist

                      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My reply is in a new thread entitled: "German Efforts to Preserve Peace in 1914." Please read it.
                        "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                          Codswallop.

                          There had been at least a dozen assassinations by Anarchists in the period 1895-1914, often of royal family members, including Austria's, as well as a serving US President. None of them were used for a pretext for war. Sarejevo was an excuse, not a justification.

                          So you agree that Wilhelm misread the situation. 1914 was not 1908 or 1912 or 1913. The Austrians were being warned by the Russians as soon as they drew their sabres in early July that Russia would not permit the destruction of Serbia,... they ran to Germany for permission to attack. The Kaiser misread Russian intention and French resolve to back Russia. When offered the opportunity to negotiate a settlement the Austrians came up with an ultimatum that was designed to be denied. Only at last minute, when the plan had collapsed and continental war was imminent did Wilhelm have second thoughts.

                          It was worse than that. Austria-Hungary still thought of itself as a world power. A-H was on its way to becoming another Ottoman Empire; yet they still decide to overextend themselves in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bernhard von Bulow, the German Foreign minister at the time advised against this. Aehrenthal went ahead and annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina. Then the disasters started.

                          He could have abandoned the Austrians then and there and worked out a deal with Russia to avoid war (and let Austria be defeated by Russia and Serbia). Instead he declared war, first against Russia then against France. In the meantime the Austrians began shelling Belgrade and prepared to march on Serbia.


                          Regarding 1908 -

                          Had Germany not intervened in 1908 A-H would have suffered for its deliberate violation of the Treaty of Berlin by annexing Bosnia-Herzegovina. But Russia did back down. Russia backed down again in 1912 and again in 1913. The Czar could not afford to do so again. Germany could afford to step aside and let Austria take its lumps. The Kaiser misjudged the Russians.

                          Wilhelm misread the situation
                          Wilhelm spent too much time on his military maneouvres and his yachts. This, instead of doing his task of ruling a fractious country still coalescing. You are right in that Wilhelm's lack of responsibility and strategy promoted the war. However there were many more factors; note that Sweden almost joined the Central Powers. Had a different political party been in control in Italy, Italy would have joined the Central Powers. Things might have turned out differently.
                          When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
                          Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
                          "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Was Austria’s ultimatum too harsh? And was she wrong to reject Serbia’s seemingly conciliatory reply? On this question Professor Barnes has offered the following analogy:

                            "American readers can perhaps get some idea of the Austrian feeling by imagining the attitude of the United States if Theodore Roosevelt and his wife had been assassinated at El Paso, Texas, on July 4, 1901, while watching a review of the Rough Riders; their assassins having been members of a notorious Mexican secret society which had plotted against the United States, with the Mexican papers acclaiming the assassination as a noble and heroic act.
                            There is little probability that under these circumstances the United States would have delayed even long enough to send an ultimatum to Mexico. In all probability, American forces would have been rushed into Mexico without any formal diplomatic exchanges whatever. Certainly our conduct in initiating the Spanish-American War was less provoked than that of Austria and no more creditable in the details of its execution. Or, suppose the
                            Prince of Wales had been shot by a Sinn Feiner in 1916!"

                            Professor Fay likewise was of the opinion that the Serbian reply “was regarded more as a diplomatic gesture than a serious effort to satisfy Austria . . . more yielding in form than in substance.”

                            The indisputable fact is that Austria was amply justified and even restrained. Serbia had long been regarded by the Powers as something of an international pest. On August 3, 1914, The Manchester Guardian opined that “Of all the small powers of Europe, Serbia is, quite decidedly, the one whose name is most foully daubed with dishonour. The record of her rulers and her policy in recent years is an unmatched tissue of cruelty, greed, hypocrisy, and ill-faith. . . If one could tow Serbia to the edge of the ocean and sink it, the atmosphere of Europe would be cleared.” Nor should it be supposed that Austria was under the German thumb. The Hapsburg Empire was a proud and ancient one that pre-dated the German by many centuries, and she was in no wise inclined to take her orders from Germany or any other Power.
                            In his masterful International Anarchy G. Lowes Dickinson concluded the following:

                            "For years the little state of Serbia had been undermining the Austrian Empire . . . What was the Empire to do in self-defense? One can conceive a world in which Austria would not have wished to hold down a nationality against its will. But that would not be the world of history, past or present. Never has an Empire resigned before the disruptive forces of nationality. Always it has fought! And I do not believe that there was a state in existence that would not, under similar circumstances, have determined, as Austria did, to finish the menace once and for all by war . . ."
                            "We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peterhof View Post
                              Was Austria’s ultimatum too harsh? And was she wrong to reject Serbia’s seemingly conciliatory reply? On this question Professor Barnes has offered the following analogy:

                              "American readers can perhaps get some idea of the Austrian feeling by imagining the attitude of the United States if Theodore Roosevelt and his wife had been assassinated at El Paso, Texas, on July 4, 1901, while watching a review of the Rough Riders; their assassins having been members of a notorious Mexican secret society which had plotted against the United States, with the Mexican papers acclaiming the assassination as a noble and heroic act.
                              There is little probability that under these circumstances the United States would have delayed even long enough to send an ultimatum to Mexico. In all probability, American forces would have been rushed into Mexico without any formal diplomatic exchanges whatever. Certainly our conduct in initiating the Spanish-American War was less provoked than that of Austria and no more creditable in the details of its execution. Or, suppose the
                              Prince of Wales had been shot by a Sinn Feiner in 1916!"

                              Professor Fay likewise was of the opinion that the Serbian reply “was regarded more as a diplomatic gesture than a serious effort to satisfy Austria . . . more yielding in form than in substance.”

                              The indisputable fact is that Austria was amply justified and even restrained. Serbia had long been regarded by the Powers as something of an international pest. On August 3, 1914, The Manchester Guardian opined that “Of all the small powers of Europe, Serbia is, quite decidedly, the one whose name is most foully daubed with dishonour. The record of her rulers and her policy in recent years is an unmatched tissue of cruelty, greed, hypocrisy, and ill-faith. . . If one could tow Serbia to the edge of the ocean and sink it, the atmosphere of Europe would be cleared.” Nor should it be supposed that Austria was under the German thumb. The Hapsburg Empire was a proud and ancient one that pre-dated the German by many centuries, and she was in no wise inclined to take her orders from Germany or any other Power.
                              In his masterful International Anarchy G. Lowes Dickinson concluded the following:

                              "For years the little state of Serbia had been undermining the Austrian Empire . . . What was the Empire to do in self-defense? One can conceive a world in which Austria would not have wished to hold down a nationality against its will. But that would not be the world of history, past or present. Never has an Empire resigned before the disruptive forces of nationality. Always it has fought! And I do not believe that there was a state in existence that would not, under similar circumstances, have determined, as Austria did, to finish the menace once and for all by war . . ."
                              That Russia had advised Serbia to be as compliant as possible seems to have escaped your attention. The Russians knew they were in no real state for a war and probably wouldn't be for another two years.

                              However, the comparison with T. Roosevelt and Archduke Franz Ferdinand is not accurate. Teddy needs to be replaced by the "heir apparent", who would be Thomas R. Marshall. Further, Tex-Mex separatists would also need to have been agitating for some time et cetera. What is impressive about the affair is that Austria waited almost four weeks before presenting the ultimatum even though war had been decided upon by the Austrian cabinet (for want of a better term).

                              But getting on track, no matter how annoying Serbia was, neither Austria-Hungary nor Great Britain, nor any other state, had the right to meddle in its internal affairs. And Austria had been attempting to control Serbian behaviour since at least 1906.

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