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2   DAYS OF PREPARATION

to permit Austrian officials to take part in the investigation of the crime. It stated further, however, that if Austria did not regard the reply as satisfactory, Serbia would submit the matter in dispute to the Hague Tribunal, or to the Great Powers. This reply was not regarded by Austria as satisfactory, and her ambassador left Belgrade on the 25th of July.

War was not declared immediately. For several days communications were exchanged between the Great Powers, the British Foreign Secretary taking a foremost part in the endeavour to avoid hostilities and expressing the hope to Germany that the Serbian reply might be regarded as satisfactory by Austria. With this hope the German Government "associated themselves to a certain extent," but "did not see their way to going beyond this." It further said, having the probable interposition of Russia before its eyes, that "the quarrel must be localized, but if it is not localized, Russia will be to blame for the consequences." This meant that Austria had determined on chastising Serbia, and that if Russia, in the maintenance of her role as protector of the Slav peoples, should interfere, the consequences, not difficult to define, she must be responsible for. This statement was presented to Russia, and it required no extraordinary gifts to interpret it as a direct threat to the great Northern power. In order to isolate Russia as much as possible in the event of her paying no heed to the threat, the German Ambassador to France on July 26th requested the French Government to join him in informing the Press that he and the French Minister were endeavouring "with a feeling of peaceful solidarity" to find means for the maintenance of general peace.' In other words, Serbia must be isolated for purposes of correction, after the Austro-Germanic fashion, and if Russia persisted in her championship of the doomed nation, she must be cut off from outside support. Naturally this request was rejected by a chivalrous

' French Yellow Book, p. 51.


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