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Therefore, he felt that very soon in the future, he would feel overwhelmed by the escalating situation, and thereby be forced to undertake certain measures, which would most definitely lead to war. If a European war were to be prevented from taking place, then the Kaiser must help him, and the Kaiser must also stop the allies from going too far.
Kaiser replied to the telegram immediately, and stated that he too was gravely concerned about the tensions in Russia, and that the actions of Austria in Serbia, in which the Archduke Francis Ferdinand had fallen victim to the atrocious crime of murder, were responsible for the mounting pressures and tensions within Serbia. At the same time, Kaiser said: "I cannot consider Austria's action against Serbia an ignoble war" and this was because of the fact that Austria knew very well that whatever promises Serbia managed to make on paper were usually completely unreliable. Austria did not demonstrate any willingness to make any type of territorial conquests at the cost of harm to Serbia, and therefore, it would even become possible that Russia could stand to the side and stay as a mute spectator of the Austro-Serbian conflict, without managing to involve the entirety of Europe in any way. If Russia were to exercise its military powers, despite being asked not to do so by Austria, then, the Kaiser said, he would have no other option than to regard it as a calamity, in which his basic role as an unprejudiced mediator would have to be jeopardized, and his ages old friendship and trust with the Russian Tsar would have to be compromised. The tsar replied to this telegram by stating that he felt that it would be "right to give over the Austro-Serbian problem to the Hague conference."
In reply, Kaiser said that until that time, Austria had only mobilized a small part of her army against a small part of Serbia, and if Russia were to decide to mobilize her forces against Austria, then they would have to face the grave danger of losing Kaiser's favor and his friendship, and he would have to declare that the entire responsibility of opting for either 'peace' or for 'war' now lay with Russia and her Tsar. In his reply, the Tsar stated that he was greatly thankful for the Kaiser's mediation and gestures of help, and therefore, it could still be possible that peace would prevail, and war could be avoided. However, he said, "It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations which were obligatory owing to Austria's mobilization," but, he promised, he would be able to vouch for the fact that his troops would not make any sort of 'provocative action' against Austria-Hungary. Kaiser attempted reconciliation one last time, and said that although he understood that the Tsar would not be able to stop his military operations, he must be able to offer his guarantee and assurance that there would not be 'war' eventually, and that he would make serious and concerted attempts to ensure that there would be peace at all times, in the entirety of Europe. Soon however, Kaiser sent a telegram to the Russian Tsar stating that alas, it was too late, he had already given the order to mobilize his troops in the region, and that Russia had not taken the necessary measures that he had pointed out to them, in order to avert and avoid war. Therefore, be warned, he said, that Russian troops not trespass over to Berlin, at any cost, or they would have to face the penalty.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned in his memorandum, that the various measures taken by the Austro-Hungarian Government against Serbia, in which the Austro-Hungarian Government had turned upon the Serbian Government with certain demands that he felt were completely unacceptable by the Serbian government. Anticipating in advance the fact that Serbia would turn to him for advice on how to proceed, he had prepared an answer, he said. Accordingly, the Foreign Minister stated that he would make serious and concerted attempts to get the Great Powers to agree to investigate the various documents related to the tragedy at Sarajevo, and wherein he would also advise Serbia that in the case of the eventuality of an armed invasion by Austria-Hungary, he would make sure that Serbia would yield to force and that she would try to entrust her fate to the judgment of the Great Powers.
This was the Serbian response to the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum: the Royal Government of Serbia was in fact quite upset and also painfully surprised by the widespread assertions that it was the people and the citizens of Serbia who had had a major role in the heinous murder that had taken place in Sarajevo recently, and that the Serbian government had, at an earlier date, fully expected to be invited to take a major part in the investigations into the murder and the outrage that followed. Instead, it was not invited, and today, stated the Serbian government, the Royal Government was fully prepared to surrender to the court, disregarding rank or position, any Serbian citizen or official, who it could be proved participated in the Sarajevo crisis. The announcement also stated, "The Royal Serbian Government condemns every propaganda which should be directed against Austria-Hungary," and that any overt display of hatred or anger or any similar feelings towards the Monarchy would be dealt with severely, and the perpetrator punished. Serbia is at present ready and waiting for a peaceable solution to the entire problem, concluded the missive.
Prince Lichownowsky defended himself and his country Germany through this letter, which he wrote to Sir Edward Grey, the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs: "The impression grew continually stronger that we desired war under any circumstance," and when on July 19, 1914, he decided to give his now famous warning, stating that "If war breaks out, it will be the greatest catastrophe the world has ever seen," after which, following the instructions that he received from Berlin, the Count Berchtold went ahead with advancing the troops on Russia, after it was decided that sufficient warning had been given. All this meant, mistakenly, that it was Prince Lichownowsky who actually encouraged Count Berchtold to attack Serbia, although it was a well-known fact that Germany was in no way at all involved in the entire episode, and that Germany was also well aware of the fact that this would case the outbreak of a World War.
It was also, albeit mistakenly, alleged that during the time period between the 23rd and the 30th of July 1914, when it was declared everywhere that Serbia would not tolerate an attack that the Germans managed to reject all the numerous proposals that the British brought out for reconciliation. This happened, stated the Prince, despite the fact that Serbia had already, bowing under the intense pressure from Russia and from Britain, accepted the entire ultimatum. Furthermore, it was, also mistakenly, reported by all concerned, that on the 30th of July, when Count Berchtold demonstrated some willingness to change the course of things, the Prince managed to send over an ultimatum to St. Petersburg, merely on account of the Russian mobilization, and this despite the then acknowledged fact that Austria had not yet been attacked.
The final straw was on the 31st of July, when it was stated that Germany declared war against the Russians, although, purportedly, everyone was well aware of the fact that the Tsar had already pledged and given his solemn promise that he would not allow one single man to march forward, until such time as negotiations were going on. The entire world therefore came to the conclusion that it was Germany that single-handedly managed to destroy the very real possibility of a peaceful settlement to the whole crisis, engendered at the outset by the severe crisis at Sarajevo. This is why, said Prince Lichownowsky, it is not at all surprising that the entire world mistakenly believes that it was Germany, and only Germany that was solely responsible for the starting of the World War I.
Kaiser or Wilhelm II gave a speech from the balcony of his Royal Palace in Berlin on July 31st 1914. He started with stating, "The sword has been forced into our hands," and in the event that he would not be able to successfully reason with his opponents and enemies in his efforts to preserve peace at any cost whatsoever, he would then use the sword with honor and with God's blessings, and therefore, sheathe it again, with honor. Since war will demand enormous sacrifices from German citizens, he stated, we must make up our minds to show the enemy what exactly it means to attack the Germans. Therefore, Wilhelm…[continue]
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