The First World War Part 8

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The First World War Part 8

The First World War Part 8

How the First World War Started.

In 2003 the American historian Richard C. Hall perceptively pointed out that, by themselves, the killings of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo had “caused nothing” – that what brought the war about was “the use made of this event”, initially by Austria-Hungary “The key event”, according to Hall, “was the delivery of the Austro- Hungarian note to Serbia on 23 July.”1 Officially; Vienna insisted on calling its note a “demarche with a time limit”, but everyone else was to designate it as an “ultimatum” precisely because of the forty-eight hour time limit that accompanied it. In internal discussions, both at the Ballhausplatz and elsewhere, moreover, it was invariably referred to as “ultimatum”. Not least because of the conciliatory Serbian reply to it, this document was to become one of the most notorious in twentieth-century diplomatic history: a document designed to produce, indeed guarantee, a war against Serbia, it also led to a world war. Lord Vansittart, at the time a junior official at the Foreign Office, described the ultimatum as “a real stinker which left little prospect of independence”, and which “no country with a spark of spirit could accept”.2 Winston Churchill who, as the First Lord of the Admiralty had attended the British Cabinet meeting on 24 July which discussed the ultimatum, held much the same opinion: “This note was clearly an ultimatum, but it was an ultimatum such as had never been penned in modern times. As the reading proceeded it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it”.3 In Italy; the text of the ultimatum was on 24 July read together by Antonio Salandra, the Prime Minister, and San Giuliano, the Foreign Minister. Present, too, was Hans von Flotow; the German Ambassador. “It is no exaggeration to say that our faces blanched”, Salandra recalled. Even Flotow; who had turned “pale”, exclaimed: “Vraiment! c’est un peu fort!”4 Prince Bulow; the former German Chancellor, declared in 1916 that no land, “not even the Republic of San Marino”, could have accepted the contentious paragraphs of the ultimatum.5

The exacting nature of Austria- Hungary’s final terms to Serbia are examined below. But could those terms, nonetheless, have been accepted unreservedly by the Government in Belgrade, thus halting Europe’s descent into cataclysm? After all, it seemed obvious even then, as international tensions grew rapidly following the presentation of the ultimatum on 23 July, that only an unequivocal Serbian acquiescence to its demands could stop the crisis from escalating. However, what was unknown to international opinion at the time, except to very small decision-making circles in Austria-Hungary and Germany, was that the ultimatum which Giesl was to deliver in Belgrade on 23 July was always intended to be a complete farce. Prince Friedrich Stolberg, the Councillor at the German Embassy in Vienna, had in mid-July asked Berchtold what would happen if Serbia accepted all the demands. “With a smile … the count had said he felt it most unlikely that even such a government as the Serbian would swallow the ultimatum whole. If, however, they did make up their mind to do it, the only other course, after all its exactions had been fulfilled, would be so to harry and injure Serbia that, in the end, she gave Austria pretext for invading her.”6 Despite such evidence, some historians, from Albertini to the present day, have pursued what to them is not an academic question of why Serbia had not accepted all the demands in full. And while the ultimatum itself has certainly not been the subject of heated historiographical disputes, views on the evolution of the Serbian response present, if not a controversy as such, then at least very strange dichotomies among historians. Given a century-long academic debate on the origins of the war of 1914, fixated on the question of “war-guilt”, it is useful that some background be given here on how contemporaries and historians have treated the matter.

The Serbian Government, whatever its views on the possible European repercussions of the local Balkan ruckus , was at least supremely aware that Serbia could find itself suddenly standing first in the line of fire if it returned to Vienna anything other than a wholly satisfactory reply Indeed, one account from 1928 by a contemporary on the spot in Belgrade in 1914 (the journalist Dusan Loncarevic) suggested that the Serbs had been heading for complete capitulation, when a “sensational turnabout” occurred in the afternoon hours of 25 July as a result of two telegrams that had arrived from St Petersburg.7 In 1927 Giesl wrote in his memoirs that until midday on that 25 July it had looked as if the Serbs would give in; in the early afternoon hours, however, he had learnt of a long telegram which had just arrived from the Tsar for King Petar: “Russia’s entire might” had apparently been pledged to Serbia that she might resist the ultimatum; and Crown Prince Alexander, according to Giesl, brought the telegram to the officers’ club where it was read to the assembled amid “stormy demonstrations in favour of the war”.8 In 1931 Alfred von Wegerer, the editor of Berliner Monatshefte and a key academic apologist for the Central Powers, wrote a whole book on the subject: in it, he argued that two telegrams from Russia – one from the Serbian Minister Spalajkovic, and one from the Tsar – had on 25 July decisively changed the outlook of the Serbian Government which had been about to surrender to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum.9 However, Wegerer supplied neither. In 1933 the French historian Jules Isaac assumed that the information arriving from St Petersburg had produced a new attitude in Belgrade – but he was careful not to claim any certainty on the matter.10 The celebrated authority Luigi Albertini later elaborated on these contentions, arguing that, but for the “assurances of full support” from St Petersburg, the Serbian reply would have contained “full formal acceptance of the ultimatum”, with a reservation on one point only (point 6) – but a reservation “so skilfully worded’ that it would have made it ‘very difficult for Austria to construe it into a rejection”.11

“Full support” from St Petersburg? Did Russia, then, start World War One? And did Serbia, by embracing that alleged Russian support on 25 July and by not accepting at least one of the demands in the ultimatum (point 6, referring to the participation of Austro-Hungarian officials in a judicial enquiry on Serbian soil) play a full ancillary role in bringing about the war? These questions go right to the heart of the war guilt issue which has characterized so much of the historiographical discussion on the origins of the First World War. For if Russia had indeed advised the Serbian Government to resist the ultimatum, it must have willed the war.

Of course, the converse also applies. But the question of exactly what information the Serbian Government received from St Petersburg after the delivery of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum at 6 p.m. on Thursday; 23 July- and before the expiry of the time limit for Serbia to reply by 6 p.m. on Saturday; 25 July – has not been settled even after a hundred years. In his renowned 1983 study of Russia and the origins of the First World War, Dominic Lieven briefly tackled the subject and mentioned “Russia’s support” (communicated, according to Lieven, on 24 July by Foreign Minister Sazonov to Miroslav Spalajkovic, the Serbian Minister at St Petersburg) which, Lieven writes, “came as music to the ears of Pasic and Prince-Regent Alexander”. Lieven even deferentially refers to Albertini’s conclusion that Russian promises of support had resulted in the Serbian rejection of Point 6 of the ultimatum.”12 However, following the publication in 1980 of the relevant Serbian documents, the American historian Samuel R. Williamson rejected, in an essay from 1988, the earlier explanations that “the Russians had acted to stiffen the Serbian will to resist”, emphasizing that a “hardline position in Belgrade” had predated the ultimatum.13 In 1995 the British historian Mark Cornwall, utilizing the same Serbian documents and a wealth of additional material, produced by far the most thorough account of Serbia’s action and responses during the July Crisis. He addressed the subject of the St Petersburg telegrams head on, concluding that during those crucial forty-eight hours Serbia had “remained almost isolated” and ‘lacked sufficient backing even from the Russians”.14 And yet, already in 1996, in his influential book on the July Crisis, the American historian William Jannen had gone back to the assumptions entertained by Albertini. Jannen submitted that in the afternoon hours of 25 July a telegram from Spalajkovic, caused the Serbian Government not to agree to all ten demands in the ultimatum (“with minor reservations”) and “risk a firmer reply” instead.15

The bewildering discrepancies between various accounts of the Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum have continued to this day. The Albertini school is certainly still very strong. In 2012 Christopher Clark essentially dismissed Mark Cornwall’s research and relied on Albertini instead. “It was probably the news from Russia”, Clark writes, “that dispelled the mood of fatalism in Belgrade and dissuaded the ministers from attempting to avoid war by acquiescing in the demands of the ultimarum.”16 And in 2013, Margaret MacMillan wrote that a report had reached Belgrade on 25 July that Russia’s key ministers and the Tsar had decided ‘to go to the limit in defense of Serbia’, and that this ‘may well have encouraged’ the Serbian Government as it formulated its final reply to the ultimatum.”17 In his book on the July Crisis, likewise from 2013, Sean McMeekin similarly writes that sometime in the afternoon of 25 July a new attitude had been formed in Belgrade – following the arrival of a telegram from Spalajkovic in which Sazonov had advised Pasic not to accept points 5 and 6 and that ‘Serbia may count on Russian aid”.18 In her 2014 study of the July Crisis, Annika Mombauer drew attention to Sazonov’s view; expressed to Spalajkovic on 24 July, that no state could accept the points in the ultimatum “without committing suicide”. While careful to emphasize that no blank cheque had been given by Russia to Serbia, Mombauer nevertheless writes: “This counsel was fatal, for it implied an encouragement of Serbia not to accept all the Austrian terms, and to risk a war.”19 In his updated, massive work on Austria-Hungary in World War One, Austria’s leading authority Manfried Rauchensteiner repeated in 2013 the point he had already made in 1993: that the Serbian Government, in rejecting point 6 of the ultimatum, was “confident of Russia’s support”.20

On the other hand, three other experts who in 2014 published detailed books on the July Crisis have remained sceptical about such claims. Gerd Krumeich has explicitly rejected Clark’s arguments, declaring himself a follower of Mark Cornwall’s “impressively clear analysis”.21 TG. Otte has remarked that Sazonov’s advice to the Serbs “appeared anything but hardline”, and that he did not wish Serbia “to complicate matters by taking a provocative stance”.22 Finally, Gordon Martel has argued that Russia, France and Britain had all urged the Serbs to go for maximum accommodation: “No one promised military assistance.” Martel also pointed out that the British and French representatives in Belgrade both thought that ‘Russia had been instrumental in convincing the Serbs to reply in such a conciliatory manner”.23

Clearly, then, a massive divergence of opinion still exists about what is arguably the most important single episode in the whole of the July Crisis. How so? Are the Serbian (and Russian) sources really so ambiguous as to allow of diametrically opposed interpretations? As will be shown below; the available evidence actually makes it abundantly clear that, far from encouraging the Serbian Government to defy any points in the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, the information from St Petersburg which reached Belgrade on 25 July, before the expiry of the ultimatum, actually had the opposite effect, demonstrating to the Serbs that concrete Russian support for them was conspicuous only by its absence. The recently published memoirs of Vasily Strandtmann, the Russian Charge d’Affaires in Belgrade, confirm that Russia had in fact engaged in a moderating effort. And although there is no final clarity as to the arrival time of one particular telegram from Spalajkovic, it will be seen from long-neglected Serbian evidence that the drafting of Serbia’s reply to the ultimatum was in any case completed at around 11 a.m. on Saturday, 25 July. That is to say, contrary to the suggestions of numerous historians, there were, in reality, no further interventions that afternoon, i.e., before the expiry of the deadline at 6 p.m.

The Crisis of 23-25 July

What information, then, about the likely conduct of Russia did Belgrade receive during the pivotal forty-eight hours, 23-25 July 1914? A central figure in the historiography of these famous days in the July Crisis, perhaps undeservedly, became Miroslav Spalajkovic, the Serbian Minister in St Petersburg. There are several reasons for Spalajkovic’s fame or, rather, his infamy. In the first place, his unquestionably combative nature was always going to ruffle feathers and attract comment. In July 1914 even Sazonov reportedly thought of Spalajkovic as “unbalanced”.24 A few years later, with Spalajkovic still serving as the Serbian Minister in Russia, Lenin was to remark on his “brutality of expression”. For in January 1918, at a meeting with Lenin and his associates, Spalajkovic produced a “veritable tirade of accusation”, calling them “bandits” and announcing that “he was spitting in their faces”.25

Secondly, Spalajkovic’s notoriety was further guaranteed when Albertini reinforced the mystery (created initially in Germany by the aforementioned Wegerer) of a “missing telegram” from him, which supposedly arrived in Belgrade in the afternoon of 25 July, and which allegedly contained Russia’s recommendation to Serbia to reject points 5 and 6 of the ultimatum, coupled with the promise that Russia would vigorously support and defend Serbia.26 As will be seen below; this reconstruction of events finds adherents even today. And, thirdly, Spalajkovic has been seen as an ardent, at times reckless, Serbian ultra-nationalist – mostly by post-war Austrian and German academics making the case for the Central Powers, and subsequently by the like-minded Anglo-Saxon ‘new revisionists’ of today. They were never able to forgive him, inter alia, for the highly effective role he had played during the Friedjung process in exposing the Austro- Hungarian forgeries. The fact that Spalajkovic was the son-in-law of Gligorije Jeftanovic, the Bosnian Serb grandee from Sarajevo, is also taken as proof of his ultra-nationalism – notwithstanding the fact, that Jeftanovic and his political circle were quite happy to cooperate with the imperial Austro-Hungarian authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1935 Alfred Rappaport von Arbengau wrote a long, malicious article for Berliner Monatshefte, devoted entirely to Spalajkovic.27 Christopher Clarke has recently described Spalajkovic as the “excitable Austrophobe”.28

It seems, however, that such adverse assessments of Spalajkovic have been exaggerated. Robert Seton-Watson wrote admiringly about him in 1911, commenting, in particular, on his self-restraint at the Friedjung trial.”29 Anatole Nekludov, Spalajkovic’s Russian colleague when they were serving in Sofia, thought that his Serbian nationalism was tempered by sensitivity to wider Slavic solidarity.30 And as for his bellicosity, even Count Friedrich Szapary; the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to St Petersburg, remarked that Spalajkovic appeared ‘crestfallen’ when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.31

Be that as it may, Spalajkovic’s role in the July Crisis has unfortunately been over-coloured by frequent references to his vibrant persona. Historically far more relevant, however, are the telegrams which he sent in the critical forty-eight hours following the ultimatum. It will be contended here that they have been invested with an importance out of all proportion to any impact they may have had. It will be further contended that they are in a sense more significant for what they omitted to say than for what they actually passed on.

What, then, had Spalajkovic been reporting from St Petersburg? There was an air of routine business about the dispatches he had sent to Belgrade just before the storm unleashed by the delivery of the Austro- Hungarian ultimatum in the early evening of 23 July. He had briefly notified Belgrade on 22 July that, since Sazonov was busy with the French President’s visit, the contents of Pasic’s circular telegram of 18 July had been sent to him in a letter.32 The next telegram, sent on 23 July was similarly terse. It stated that the Russian Foreign Ministry had had no news from either Vienna or Belgrade, and that there had been no talk of an ultimatum. In the concluding sentence, Spalajkovic informed that Szapary who had recently returned from Vienna, had personally told him that there, in the Austrian capital, the relations with Serbia were being viewed “with calm”.33

Of course, by the time this telegram had reached Belgrade, at 12:40 p.m. on 24 July; following the presentation of the ultimatum the day before, the Serbian Government had taken precisely the opposite view of the state of its relations with Austria-Hungary. Nevertheless, amid the turmoil in Belgrade, Pasic, the hardened political veteran, kept his nerve. He also kept his determination not to compromise Serbia’s independence. It was seen in the preceding chapter that he had returned to Belgrade that morning and had been to see Strandtmann, whom he had told in no uncertain terms that, if necessary; Serbia would fight – whatever the Tsar might say. On the same day; Pasic asked Crackanthorpe to convey to London his hope that the British Government would work to moderate the Austrian demands, whilst adding that some of them were ‘quite unacceptable’ He then let the Serbian Legation in London know that he had spoken to the English Charge d’Affaires, and concluded: “I did not hide my concern about the events that might unfold.”35

Meanwhile, in St Petersburg, Spalajkovic had towards noon on the 24th received from the Foreign Ministry in Belgrade the full text (in French) of the Austro- Hungarian ultimatum. In 1934 he was to write a memoir of that day for a lecture delivered at the Societe d’Histoire Generale et d’Histoire Diplomatique in Paris, subsequently published in Revue d’Histoire Diplomatique. In it, Spalajkovic writes that after “the first moments of consternation” had passed, he telephoned the Russian Foreign Ministry; asking for an urgent meeting with Foreign Minister Sazonov. The meeting, according to Spalajkovic, was agreed for 4 p.m. at the Ministry; and he recalls arriving there shortly before the appointed hour.36 However, it is most unlikely that he was able to see the Russian Foreign Minister at around that time: Sazonov had in the morning already talked to Szapary who had shown him the note his country had presented to Serbia; he had then had luncheon at the French Embassy with the French and British Ambassadors to discuss the crisis; and afterwards attended the Russian Ministerial Council, which had been hastily convened for the same reason, starting at 3 p.m. Count Friedrich Pourtales, the German Ambassador to St Petersburg, informed Berlin that the Ministerial Council session was still in progress at 5 p.m.37 According to the official diary of the Russian Foreign Ministry for 24 July; Spalajkovic had an interview with Sazonov after the Ministerial Council had ended but before the arrival of Pour tales, who was received around 7 p.m.38

The meeting of the Russian Ministerial Council on 24 July 1914, in response to the Austro-Serbian tension, is a famous benchmark in the history of the July Crisis, for it decided in principle (pending the Tsar’s approval) to mobilize four Russian military districts as well as the Baltic and Black Sea fleets. As regards Serbia, the Council approved two proposals by Sazonov: “(I) In conjunction with the other Powers to request Austria to prolong the period which she had fixed for the receipt of a reply from Serbia in order to afford the Powers time in which to acquaint themselves, in accordance with the proposal of Austria herself, with the results of the judicial enquiry into the Serajevo assassination; and (2) to advise Serbia not to enter into hostilities with Austro-Hungarian troops, but, withdrawing her own forces, to request the Powers to compose the quarrel that had arisen.” The diary of the Russian Foreign Ministry notes briefly that Sazonov, in his ensuing interview with Spalajkovic, had “advised extreme moderation in respect of the Serbian reply to the Austrian note”.39

Sazonov’s memoirs also make only brief mention of his talk with Spalajkovic, The latter was told that his Government “should accept the Austrian demands, save those concerning the sovereign rights of Serbia”. Sazonov wrote that he had offered this advice “from a practical point of view”.40 He was clearly alluding to the idea that Serbia, and the Great Powers, might be able to gain time were there to be a conciliatory Serbian reply. As has been seen, Pasic had already received much the same advice from the Quay d’Orsay, and Grey had communicated to Crackanthorpe in Belgrade a similar suggestion that Serbia’s only chance of averting Austrian military action was to accept as many demands as possible. In other words, all three Entente Powers viewed the question in essentially identical manner: that Serbia should comply to the last possible limit of concession. Their recommended tactical scenario – offering maximum concession in order to buy time – did not differ from the one envisaged by Pasic.

But the Sazonov-Spalajkovic meeting had lasted for about one hour.41 What else had been said? Had Sazonov, contrary to his own and the official Russian Foreign Ministry’s record, perhaps whispered words of encouragement to Spalajkovic, promising mother Russia’s military support to little Slavic Serbia – as writers from Wegerer and Albertini to, more recently, Clark and McMeekin, have been more or less suggesting? Not according to Spalajkovic’s recollections from 1934. After he and Sazonov had considered the various points raised in the Austro- Hungarian ultimatum, the Russian Foreign Minister said that it contained some clauses which a sovereign state could hardly accept “without risking suicide”. But he then proposed that they should treat the matter as “wise and practical people”, following this up by asking: “What should be our objective?” To which he himself answered: “Avoiding the worst, which is war. Therefore one ought to accept as much as possible of what Austria demands.” Sazonov then went on to praise Pasic’s wisdom, saying how certain he was that Pasic would be able to do the “impossible”, that he would “even find the means not to refuse anything”. Pasic alone, Sazonov said, “could make sacrifices which, probably, no one else would dare contemplate”.42

Sazonov, in other words, was more than hinting at the desirability of Serbia considering complete capitulation in its reply to the ultimatum. When Spalajkovic put it to him that “the key to the solution” did not lie “there” (i.e., in how Pasic would handle the matter), Sazonov agreed that whatever the Serbian response to the ultimatum, it would not be of “capital importance” in the whole affair. This sounds strange in the light of the emphasis by Sazonov on the need for Serbia to make sacrifices in its response to the ultimatum. It will be explained below; however, that the Russian Foreign Minister was urging Serbia to adopt a submissive attitude only as the initial gambit in a desperately tight framework when time was of the essence.

Not everything is clear in Spalajkovic’s account from 1934. Sazonov added, according to Spalajkovic, that he would immediately ask Nikolai Shebeko, Russia’s Ambassador to Vienna, to demand a prolongation of the forty-eight hour limit for the Serbian reply.43 But Shebeko was at that time on his way to St Petersburg and Sazonov must have known that – the Russian Embassy in Vienna was in Shebeko’s absence being run by Prince Nikolai Kudashev, the Charge d’Affaires.44 Moreover, as has been seen, the Russian Ministerial Council had just taken the decision to seek a prolongation of the time-limit for the Serbian response – Sazonov, presumably, would have informed Spalajkovic of this development. There is a further oddity in Spalajkovic’s 1934 memoir. He writes about how he had suggested to Sazonov that, for there to exist the slightest hope of averting war, Germany had to understand that the conflict could not be localised to Austria-Hungary and Serbia. And so he recommended that Russia should mobilize in those districts adjoining the border with Austria-Hungary. Sazonov, according to Spalajkovic, replied that he would talk to the Tsar.45 Again, the Russian Ministerial Council had only a little while earlier decided in principle on such a mobilization. It is not inconceivable, on the other hand, that Sazonov deliberately withheld this information so as not to unduly encourage Spalajkovic who, as he knew; was about to report to Pasic.

It is of course also possible that Spalajkovic’s memory, twenty years after the event, had left something to be desired. Be that as it may, the next section in his 1934 memoir contains undoubtedly authentic utterances from Sazonov because, as will be seen, the Serbian Minister would later that night pass on to Belgrade substantially the same information. Sazonov, aware that Spalajkovic’s report from St Petersburg had to reach Pasic at the latest by midday the next day, 25 July, “envisaged the eventuality of an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia”. In such a case, he advised “abstaining completely from any defence, any fight, any resistance.” He asked: “What is the point?” Serbia, he thought, had been exhausted by the two Balkan Wars and could not defend itself without arms, ammunition and equipment. So, his advice was that Serbia, instead of resisting, make an appeal to all the nations, “even Japan”, that a small country numbering four million, attacked by a Great Power of over fifty million, desists to defend itself in such an unequal battle, and takes humanity as the witness of its martyrdom. “And the world”, Sazonov added, “will soon revolt against the infamy of Austria-Hungary.” He then explained the practical aspect of his advice: “Whilst, if no blood is being spilled, if Serbia does not resist, one gains time, one continues to negotiate, and finally, we’ll see.”

Clearly, then, Sazonov had for his guidance to the Serbs conceived of two scenarios, both of which were all about gaining time. The first was to urge that Pasic should make sacrifices when responding to the ultimatum: that he do the “impossible’ and even find ways ‘not to refuse anything”. Thus, unlike France and Britain, Russia was actually recommending complete surrender. Sazonov, however, had anticipated that not even such an abject submission would necessarily deter Vienna from launching war. His remark to Spalajkovic that the Serbian response would not be of “capital importance” reflects his own scepticism on the matter, that is, his conviction that Austria-Hungary was determined on war. He had therefore thought a step further, prognosticating a second scenario (in effect a continuation of the first) whereby Austria-Hungary indeed declared war, in which event he begged Serbia not to resist but appeal to the Powers instead. Spalajkovic’s comment is perhaps worth noting: “Paradoxical as his thoughts may seem to us today, Sazonovwas no less confident in July 1914 that, to get the most, Serbia had to momentarily renounce everything, and that through its imminent declaration of war, Austria-Hungary would offer Serbia a way to recover from this paradox.”46

Spalajkovic, however, was less than impressed by Sazonov’s advice to Serbia not to oppose an attack. “Mr Pasic”, he told Sazonov, “can do everything, even the impossible, except one thing … I know him as well as I know myself and we both know our people. All defeatism is repugnant to the Serbian soul. How can you advise the most heroic among peoples a non-resistance which will be seen everywhere as an abdication of its honour, its independence, its glory? Anything, anything, even death, but not that! A people which does not defend itself hardly deserves that other peoples come to its aid.” Before he left Sazonov, Spalajkovic also reproached him by reminding him about the promise that had been made to Pasic to deliver much-needed Russian rifles to the Serbian Army. “I did not wish to do it up to now”, Sazonov replied revealingly, ‘so that Russia could not be accused of arming Serbia against Austria.”46

Spalajkovic sent Pasic his report about the meeting with Sazonov in a telegram at midnight, 24/25 July. But this was only the first part of the telegram, the second part being sent at 1 a.m. on 25 July. The first part arrived in Belgrade at 4:17 in the morning of 25 July, and the second later that morning at 10. Thus both parts could be considered by the Serbian Government before the expiry of Vienna’s deadline at 6 p.m.48 The first part of Spalajkovic’s telegram reads as follows:

The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs condemns, with loathing, the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. He tells me: there are demands within it which no state can accept without committing suicide. Report: we can undoubtedly count on Russia’s support, but as yet he did not make himself clear in what shape that support will manifest itself, since the Tsar will have to decide on that and France will have to be asked; he has taken energetic steps in Vienna and Berlin. He has received a telegram from the Charge d’Affaires in Belgrade that chaos has taken over there and that Serbia, for lack of weapons and ammunition, was not in a position to defend itself. If that is so, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs is giving this advice: to announce, immediately, to all the states that Serbia had condemned, with loathing, the crime in Sarajevo and it had been prepared to deliver to the Court any of its subjects about whom it had been proved that he had been a participant; the Serbian Government categorically rejects all the charges which stipulate that Serbia is responsible for that crime; towards Austria-Hungary, Serbia had loyally carried out all its obligations; and, generally, through its loyal conduct Serbia had in the last years won general recognition on all questions.

The second part of the telegram continued thus:

Hence Serbia is directing an appeal at the feeling of justice and humanity, declaring that it will not, and cannot, defend itself by arms against a Great Power like Austria-Hungary, which is eleven times the size of small Serbia. Accordingly, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs is advising us provisionally: if you cannot defend yourselves, then act like the Bulgarians did last year. That would cause the indignation of all the peoples against A.-Hungary. He has, to that effect, telegraphed the Charge d’Affaires in Belgrade. I told him that his advice would be practical if we had the assurance that Austria-Hungary would invade only the border areas, but we cannot allow Austria-Hungary to devastate the whole of our country, and we would have to organize the defence somewhere in the interior and accept the fight. The Minister for Foreign Affairs replied to me that our decision has to depend on our defence capability, and we could transport the money and the rest to Greece, and retreat with the Army towards Greece. He has also telegraphed to Bucharest, for Romania’s role will be of great significance. I said to the Minister: the only method of preventing war is for Russia to declare to Austria-Hungary and Germany that it will be forced to declare general mobilization should the Serbo-Austrian conflict not be submitted, as in 1909, for the deliberation of the Great Powers, as the declaration of the Serbian Government at the time was the work of the Great Powers which retain the exclusive right to assess whether or not Serbia had fulfilled its obligations from that declaration. This matter will be solved in the evening, and a communique will be issued. Spalajkovic.49

The telegram makes no mention of the 24 July meeting and decisions of the Russian Ministerial Council, but it is an open question here as to how much, if anything at all, Sazonov had told Spalajkovic about the meeting from which he had just emerged. More strangely, perhaps, not a word was written here about Sazonov’s urgings that Pasic do the “impossible” and accommodate the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum – something which Spalajkovic himself admitted in his 1934 memoir that Sazonov had implored. Yet it would be difficult to argue that Spalajkovic was deliberately hiding anything from Pasic, or that he had contrived to present a picture rosier than the reality For the telegram to Belgrade contained not a single greatly encouraging piece of news from St Petersburg. Spalajkovic did inform that Serbia could “undoubtedly” count on Russian support, but he added that Sazonov had been unable to specify the nature of that support. And this, in conjunction with the mention of Sazonov’s talk about taking “energetic steps” in Vienna and Berlin, was just about the only moderately buoyant piece of news that Pasic could glean from Spalajkovic’s telegram – not an altogether reassuring message.

Moreover, Sazonov’s suggestion that Serbia’s treasure should be sent to Greece, and that the Serbian Army should also be withdrawing towards Greece, could only be interpreted as a sure indication that Russia was not about to spring to Serbia’s military defence. Sazonov’s words, as reported by Spalajkovic, that Serbia should consider whether to fight in the light of its “defence capability” carried the meaning that Serbia should not include Russia in any such calculation. As Mark Cornwall has argued, “the implication was that, although Russia was working on Serbia’s behalf, for the present the latter would be alone in its conflict with the Austrians”.50

Pasic wrote a short minute at the bottom of this telegram: “Have taken note with gratitude.” But his gratitude could only have related to reading that Sazonov had assessed the ultimatum as containing demands which no state could accept without committing suicide. The Serbian Prime Minister could thus feel justified and confirmed in the course he had taken from the start: there would be no complete surrender to the ultimatum. Little did he know; owing to Spalajkovic’s impressionistic telegram, that Sazonov had in fact recommended precisely such a suicide, i.e., that Pasic should fashion a way “not to refuse anything”.

There followed a further, much shorter telegram from Spalajkovic, sent at 1.40 a.m. on 25 July, which mayor may not have arrived in the course of the morning. Vladimir Dedijer and Zivota Anic, the editors of the relevant tome of Serbian documents, pointed out that the two-part telegram from St Petersburg was the only one to have arrived in Belgrade on 25 July before the expiry of the Austro-Hungarian deadline.51 Mark Cornwall disagrees according to him, the next telegram arrived at 11:30 a.m. on 25 July.52 Be that as it may, this telegram should also be cited in full:

The Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador that all of this represents a threat in the highest degree. The general opinion is that Serbia cannot accept the demands of Austria-Hungary. The Ministerial Council has resolved to take energetic measures, even a mobilization. The Tsar’s sanction is expected. An official communique will now be published, by which Russia is taking Serbia under protection. Spalajkovic53

As is well known, during the morning of 25 July there indeed took place another session of the Russian Ministerial Council, at Tsarskoe Selo, presided over by the Tsar. This meeting “approved and further developed” the decisions of the Ministerial Council from the previous evening.54 At long last, Spalajkovic had passed on to Belgrade that something was moving, or was about to move, at the highest levels in St Petersburg. But did this telegram, assuming that it had indeed reached Belgrade at 11:30 a.m. on 25 July, along with the two-part telegram which had indisputably arrived in the morning of 25 July, actually make any difference to Pasic and his colleagues as they were polishing off the Serbian reply to the ultimatum?

In the first place, it will be shown below that the drafting of the Serbian reply had in all probability already been completed around 11 a.m. – and undergone no subsequent addition or alteration. And secondly, the evidence from contemporaries, such as it is, also suggests that Belgrade had acted independently. Already in 1925 Robert Seton-Watson had “learnt on first-hand authority at Belgrade” that the Serbian answer to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum was ‘the unaided work of the Belgrade Government”.55 Also in 1925, Ljuba jovanovic told Hamilton Fish Armstrong of Foreign Affairs that it had been “prepared entirely without communication with the Powers”.56 The academic opinion, as has been seen, is mixed, but Mark Cornwall, the leading authority on the subject, is also on the whole convinced that the Serbian Government had behaved autonomously on that fateful 25 July. He considers that the ‘messages from St Petersburg by midday on 25 July were still imprecise”. Sazonov’s language, he writes, was “too vague”. He maintains that, even taking into account the telegram hinting at Russian mobilization, “it seems highly unlikely that … Pasic was suddenly moved to stiffen the terms of the Serbian reply. Cornwall concludes that it is “quite probable … that Russian advice had little effect on the framing of Serbia’s note”.57

The “Missing Telegram” from St Petersburg

Where, then, is Spalajkovic’s “suppressed” telegram from St Petersburg, speculated about and made famous by Luigi Albertini?58 Where is the evidence on which Christopher Clark bases his musings that “the steady crescendo of indications in Spalajkovic’s cables must have sufficed to reassure the Serbian leadership that the Russians were on the track to intervene”?59 And just where does Sean McMeekin find support for what he calls “Sazonov’s pledge” and “Russian backing” – referring to an alleged report from Spalajkovic in which Sazonov had advised Pasic “not to accept points 5 and 6”?60 All these are major, indeed massive claims, for they depict the Serbian reply to the ultimatum as a last-minute modification of what is alleged to have previously been a draft note offering complete capitulation. The drift of their logic points to the conclusion that war broke out in 1914 because Russia had decisively encouraged Serbia not to accept the ultimatum in toto. Such contentions, therefore, require to be addressed and examined, especially because, as will be shown, they stem from a fantastic concoction. And whereas Clark and McMeekin have only recently appeared with their contributions to the subject, Albertini has over many decades barely been challenged.

Perhaps the most problematic of all is his analysis of what took place in Belgrade on 23-25 July 1914. Here, Albertini relied heavily on what his friend and fellow Italian journalist Luciano Magrini had written after the war. In the autumn of 1915 Magrini was in Serbia as a journalist, joining the Serbian Army on its retreat south in October. His 1929 book on the origins of the war, II drama di Seraievo, is especially interesting because it describes the events in Belgrade following the reception of the Austro Hungarian ultimatum on 23 July. Magrini writes that in 1915 he obtained details about that period from Colonel Zivko Pavlovic, whose function in the Serbian Army in July 1914 he gives as “Chief of Staff”. His account, certainly, makes for some arresting reading.

According to Magrini, the Serbian Government held a meeting on the evening of 23 July, presided over by Regent Alexander, and “in the presence of Colonel Pavlovic” as Chief of Staff Everybody realized that “if the Austrian note were not accepted in full, war would follow”. Pavlovic too, along with the Ministers, was in favour of full acceptance of the ultimatum “to avoid the worst” – so claims Magrini. But no decision was taken, not only because Pasic was absent, but also because the governments in London, Paris and St Petersburg would have to be consulted – “especially the latter”. When Pasic returned the following day; a new cabinet meeting was held. “The opinions were not different”, Magrini writes, “from those of the previous evening. The Chief of Staff categorically repeated that Serbia was not able to sustain an Austrian offensive.”61

There now follows the crucial part of Magrini’s story: “But in the afternoon [of 24 July] came a telegram from Spalajkovic, stating that Sazonov had told him that he considered the Austrian ultimatum unacceptable in its totality, and that Serbia, to demonstrate goodwill, should accept those parts which it considered compatible with its independence, but that if she wished to preserve its honour, she had to reject those impositions such as clauses 5 and 6, damaging the sovereign rights of Serbia. Russia could not remain indifferent to an Austrian attack against Slav interests and, taking up the Serb cause, would vigorously support and defend legitimate Serb interests.”62

What appears to be an excited Luigi Albertini makes a great deal in his book out of Magrini’s startling revelations, citing large chunks of what his friend had written on this subject. “The existence of this telegram from Spalaikovic”, Albertini opines, “vouched for by Colonel Pavlovic, is not proved by the Serbian documents which have been made public, but that does not mean anything because the Serbian diplomatic documents of the period have never been published in full. This may well be due to the unwillingness of the Serbian Government to confess that Serbia would have accepted the ultimatum unconditionally if Russia had not advised her otherwise.” And more: “This telegram proves that the Serbian Government had suppressed certain communications from its St Petersburg representative.”63

Not many people read Magrini these days, but Albertini’s work on the origins of the war of 1914 is still seen as one of the most authoritative studies. Indeed, Christopher Clark’s bestseller The Sleepwalkers, directs its readers to Albertini’s account of the impact of the telegrams from Russia, but it also – “specifically on Sazonov’s rejection of points 5 and 6 of the ultimatum” cites page 206 of Magrini’s work – the page which contains the story about the arrival of Spalajkovic’s dramatic telegram in the afternoon of 24 July. 64 In his book on the July Crisis, Sean McMeekin wonders about the reasons why “Serbia’s prime minister decided not to comply with the Austrian ultimatum” and suggests an explanation whereby ‘Pasic resolved to take a firmer line after reading Spalaikovic’s report from Petersburg, in which Sazonov had advised him not to accept points 5 and 6″.65

Elsewhere in his book McMeekin insists on this explanation. “Sazonov’s advice was firm”, he writes, Serbia must not ‘accept articles 5 and 6’. Sazonov, according to McMeekin, sent a ‘clear’ message to Belgrade: “Serbia should make a show of moderation but not yield. If it came to war, Russia would fight on her behalf.”The authority cited by McMeekin for these rather brave assertions is Albertini. 66

It appears that Albertini had constructed his own relevant passages on the basis of what his friend Magrini had written. Yet despite a fanfare lasting many decades, the famous St Petersburg telegram of 24 July has stubbornly refused to surface – for in reality it never existed. Whereas Albertini could, at the time of writing his work, legitimately complain about the non-publication of relevant Serbian documents, later generations of historians have had every opportunity to look at them, as they were published in 1980. However, instead of then questioning the Magrini-Albertini thesis, as those documents seem to demand, these historians have actually lent it further support. Yet it can now be demonstrated in any case that the entire basis upon which Magrini, then Albertini, and now their modern followers, pronounced judgment on Serbia’s reply to the ultimatum is a spurious one: a pure concoction. The latter concerns the whereabouts at key times of Colonel Zivko Pavlovic – the indispensable figure in Magrini’s narrative.

Colonel Pavlovic was not, as Magrini stated, the Serbian “Chief of Staff”. He was the head of the operations section of the Serbian General Staff As such, he was the first assistant to Vojvoda (Field Marshal) Radomir Putnik, who was the Chief of the General Staff But that is not the problem – the problem is that Pavlovic was not even in Belgrade at the time when Magrini makes him not just a witness, but also a player with a role in the deliberations of the Serbian Government which were held in Belgrade on 23-24 July. Yet Pavlovic had been staying in Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria. Just like his boss Putnik, who had since late June been in Bad Gleichenberg, Styria, Pavlovic was taking a cure at a time when July’s major European events were taking place. A three-page letter by Pavlovic, deposited in the archive of the Serbian Academy in Belgrade, reveals his exact movements. He wrote it in July 1931 to his friend Dusan Stefanovic who had been the War Minister in 1914. Pavlovic had already left Belgrade for Bad Reichenhall with his wife and son at the end of May. After the assassination in Sarajevo, feeling “very uncomfortable” in the German environment and sensing that serious events were about to take place, he decided to cut short his stay and set off for Belgrade, which he reached via Salzburg and Zagreb towards midnight on 24 July (he writes: “around 23:30”).

In other words, Magrini’s chief source Colonel Pavlovic was actually traveling on a series of trains through Austria-Hungary at the time of his supposed personal involvement in the Belgrade conferences of the Serbian Government on 23 and 24 July. Concerning the ultimatum, Pavlovic wrote that he had not had “the foggiest idea” about it, and had learned of it only after his return to Belgrade late on 24 July. On the next day, 25 July, he reported to Colonel Dusan Pesic at the General Staff where he found “a terrible hubbub” as the General Staff were moving to Kragujevac. Nowhere in his letter does Pavlovic hint that he may have been, even on 25 July, in any way consulted by the Serbian Government.67 This is important to emphasize, because Albertini, in an obsessive attempt to prove the existence of a game-changing telegram from St Petersburg was forced to change the arrival day of this supposed telegram – from 24 July as cited by Magrini, to the following day, 25 July. Hence he wrote: “Pavlovic’s statement that the telegram which changed the whole situation arrived on the afternoon of the 24th is evidently due to a slip of memory which has led him to confuse the 24th with the 25th.”68 Of course, Albertini had to say this. Unlike Magrini, he knew his history and realized that Belgrade could not possibly have received such a telegram on the afternoon of 24 July since that day the Russian Ministerial Council had been in session until the evening. Even so, Albertini’s retrospective change of date would still presuppose Pavlovic’s presence in the Foreign Ministry on 25 July – something which, if true, Pavlovic would surely have mentioned in his detailed letter. Whereas Pavlovic merely stated in that letter that on 25 July he had been called to the War Ministry by Minister Stefanovic and confirmed in his position as head of the operations section.69 Stefanovic’s own account makes it clear that this meeting took place as late as 9p.m.70 And given that Magrini has Pavlovic allegedly participating in the earlier ministerial deliberations of 23 July – a claim Albertini does not question – the whole story, even when modified by the later change of date, is simply unsustainable because its chief protagonist Pavlovic, despite being cited as the source, had clearly had nothing to do with it.

The accounts by Albertini and Magrini are thus baseless and fallacious. The more recent ones (Clark, McMeekin), relying on those two Italians, should now also be dismissed in the light of the available evidence. There is a telling little intervention by Albertini who demotes Pavlovic to “acting” Chief of Staff, whereas Magrini had promoted him to “Chief of Staff”.71 Even this correction by Albertini, incidentally, is false: in the absence of Vojvodina Putnik, his deputy, i.e., the acting Chief of Staff, was actually Colonel Dusan Pesic.72 But Albertini, who had otherwise interviewed a great many participants of the events leading up to the outbreak of the war, had never interviewed Pavlovic who was still alive in 1938.73 Magrini mayor may not have talked to Pavlovic in 1915, but he certainly could not have heard from the latter’s lips the sort of information which he subsequently put in his book.74 It would be fruitless to wonder why he wrote his tale. Perhaps a more appropriate question to ask might be why some historians today still refer to a telegram which has never been seen and, in the light of published materials, is highly unlikely ever to have been sent.

25 July 1914: Morning or Afternoon?

Important circumstantial evidence – hitherto neglected – actually exists about the impact of at least some of the information from Spalajkovic in St Petersburg reaching Belgrade on the morning of 25 July It is contained in the brief 1926 memoir of Jovan Nestorovic, the editor of Samouprava. As this paper was the mouthpiece of Pasic’s Radical Party, Nestorovic was in daily touch with its leaders. He saw Pasic on the evening of Friday, 24 July, when the latter asked him to write an article for Samouprava in which the main message should be that “Serbia will meet all the justified demands of its northern neighbour, but that there also exist in the submitted note such demands which infringe sovereign Serbia as an independent state”. Nestorovic dutifully carried out this ‘order’, as he called it, and submitted the article to Pasic sometime that night. The piece was meant to appear the following day, Saturday, 25 July. Pasic read it and, though satisfied, asked Nestorovic to bring him the article again in the morning – newspapers in Belgrade, it should be noted, appeared in the afternoon hours, so that Pasic would still have the time on the morning of 25 July to ask for revisions. Indeed, Nestorovic thought to himself: “He still hasn’t made up his mind!”

At “around” 10 a.m. on Saturday, 25 July, Nestorovic arrived at the Foreign Ministry with the article, now already typeset. But Pasic was in a ministerial session, so Nestorovic sent him the article via an employee at the Ministry. After “several minutes” he was summoned inside and Pasic told him: “Run just this first part, and cut the rest.” The first part, as Nestorovic recalled, was only about a third of the original article and referred to Serbia’s readiness to meet all the justified demands of Austria-Hungary. The rest, about Serbia’s reservations with regard to the demands infringing its sovereignty, had been censored by Pasic. Nestorovic unfortunately does not specify those reservations, but judging by his reaction to the fact that they had now been struck from his article one can safely assume that they were numerous. “We have had it”, he thought to himself, his knees trembling. “With desperation in my heart”, he recalled, “I carried out the order”

He need not have worried, however, that Pasic was about to capitulate.

Nevertheless, later in the day the Samouprava carried the truncated article on its front page under the title “Serious Moments”. After introductory remarks about the delivery of the ultimatum, it stated:

Serbia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has on several occasions already expressed his and his government colleagues’ view that Serbia, in the name of its great and important interests, desires sincere and correct neighbourly relations with the Austro- Hungarian Monarchy. Permeated sincerely by this desire and the conviction about the necessity of such relations, the Government of the Kingdom of Serbia will compliantly meet all those demands of the Austro- Hungarian Government which aim at the elimination of criminal and disorderly acts in the neighbouring countries, because it sees this as the obligatory fulfilment of duty for any civilized state. Today, the Government of the Kingdom of Serbia continues, after the submission of the note, to adhere to that standpoint and will, in pursuit of that aim, do everything in its power to demonstrate the full sincerity of its aspiration to carry out, vis-ii-vis Austria-Hungary, all the obligations of a good neighbour.76

The proposed acceptance here of “all those demands” which aimed at “the elimination of criminal and disorderly acts” had still left Pasic with plenty of space to reject any demand compromising Serbia’s sovereignty. Now, by the time Pasic had bowdlerized most of the original article at some point after 10 a.m. on Saturday, 25 July, he mayor may not have read the second part of Spalajkovic’s telegram – which had arrived at 10 a.m., but may not have been deciphered in time for him to consider. That second part, it will be remembered, had passed on Sazonov’s suggestion that, in the event of an Austro-Hungarian attack, Serbia’s response should depend on its defence capability – about which the Russian Foreign Minister had obviously taken a dim view since he had also suggested that the Serbian Army should in such a situation retreat towards Greece. But Pasic would undoubtedly have read the first part of the telegram, which had arrived at 4.17 a.m. In that first part, it will also be remembered, Spalajkovic had related Sazonov’s horror at the ultimatum (“there are demands within it which no state can accept without committing suicide”), and his assurance of Russian support for Serbia. But Spalajkovic had also commented on the basic ambiguity of that assurance, since Sazonov “did not make himself clear in what shape that support will manifest itself”.

This piece of information alone would have been enough for Pasic to wish to moderate the public pronouncement of his position, about to be published in the Samouprava. In other words, his action in stopping Nestorovic from printing what were no doubt hawkish parts of the original article had been influenced by information about Russian ambivalence. If Pasic had by this time also seen the second part of the telegram, his further conclusion could only have been that Sazonov’s language betrayed meekness as well as ambivalence. Nestorovic’s evidence convincingly demonstrates that, contrary to Albertini’s view about 25 July 1914, Pasic had, far from moving towards complete capitulation on 24 July and the morning of 25 July, in fact contemplated a tougher response than the one which his Government eventually submitted. It was Russian restraint, not Russian encouragement, that had begun to influence Pasic. At the same time there was never any doubt that, in the reply to the ultimatum, the Serbian Prime Minister would include objections or reservations regarding anything perceived as encroaching on Serbia’s sovereignty. All his pronouncements and telegrams since his return to Belgrade early on 24 July had contained at least a shade of defiance.

Unfortunately, in his treatment of the events of 25 July in Belgrade, Luigi Albertini was not content to rely solely on Colonel Pavlovic’s supposed testimony. He also believed he had identified a document to which, to his surprise, “so few historians have paid attention”. This is Pasic’s circular telegram to Serbian legations of 25 July, which does not carry the time of dispatch, but whose context makes clear that it had been sent before the handing in of the Serbian reply to the ultimatum:

A brief summary of the reply of the Royal Government was communicated to the representatives of the allied Governments at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to-day. They were informed that the reply would be quite conciliatory on all points and that the Serbian Government would accept second part of Spalajkovic’s telegram – which had arrived at 10 a.m., but may not have been deciphered in time for him to consider. That second part, it will be remembered, had passed on Sazonov’s suggestion that, in the event of an Austro- Hungarian attack, Serbia’s response should depend on its defence capability – about which the Russian Foreign Minister had obviously taken a dim view since he had also suggested that the Serbian Army should in such a situation retreat towards Greece. But Pasic would undoubtedly have read the first part of the telegram, which had arrived at 4.17 a.m. In that first part, it will also be remembered, Spalajkovic had related Sazonov’s horror at the ultimatum (“there are demands within it which no state can accept without committing suicide”), and his assurance of Russian support for Serbia. But Spalajkovic had also commented on the basic ambiguity of that assurance, since Sazonov “did not make himself clear in what shape that support will manifest itself”.

This piece of information alone would have been enough for Pasic to wish to moderate the public pronouncement of his position, about to be published in the Samouprava. In other words, his action in stopping Nestorovic from printing what were no doubt hawkish parts of the original article had been influenced by information about Russian ambivalence. If Pasic had by this time also seen the second part of the telegram, his further conclusion could only have been that Sazonov’s language betrayed meekness as well as ambivalence. Nestorovic’s evidence convincingly demonstrates that, contrary to Albertini’s view about 25 July 1914, Pasic had, far from moving towards complete capitulation on 24 July and the morning of 25 July, in fact contemplated a tougher response than the one which his Government eventually submitted. It was Russian restraint, not Russian encouragement, that had begun to influence Pasic. At the same time there was never any doubt that, in the reply to the ultimatum, the Serbian Prime Minister would include objections or reservations regarding anything perceived as encroaching on Serbia’s sovereignty All his pronouncements and telegrams since his return to Belgrade early on 24 July had contained at least a shade of defiance.

Unfortunately, in his treatment of the events of 25 July in Belgrade, Luigi Albertini was not content to rely solely on Colonel Pavlovic’s supposed testimony. He also believed he had identified a document to which, to his surprise, “so few historians have paid attention”. This is Pasic’s circular telegram to Serbian legations of 25 July, which does not carry the time of dispatch, but whose context makes clear that it had been sent before the handing in of the Serbian reply to the ultimatum:

A brief summary of the reply of the Royal Government was communicated to the representatives of the allied Governments at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to-day. They were informed that the reply would be quite conciliatory on all points and that the Serbian Government would accept the Austro- Hungarian demands as far as possible. The Serbian Government trust that the Austro-Hungarian Government, unless they are determined to make war at all costs, will see their way to accept the full satisfaction offered in the Serbian reply.

According to Albertini, in this telegram “Pasic announces the acceptance in principle of all the Austrian demands”. And he berates other historians because they had failed to ask themselves how it came about that Pasic “later in the final reply made reservations on many points and rejected one outright”.77Albertini uses here the English translation of the telegram which is included in the Serbian Blue Book and which forms part of the Collected Diplomatic Documents, published in London and New York in 1915. In the original Serbian publication from 1914, however, “quite conciliatory on all points” is in fact “quite conciliatory overall”. But this is a minor point – what is worrisome is Albertini’s disregard of the ensuing caveat by Pasic that the Austro- Hungarian demands would be accepted “as far as possible”. 78 In other words, the telegram which is claimed by Albertini as corroborating his thesis about an imminent capitulation, contains the opposite message.

In the course of 25 July it was entirely clear to at least two diplomats in Belgrade that the reply of the Serbian Government was not going to embody a full acceptance of the demands. Crackanthorpe, having received from Grujic at the Foreign Ministry a brief summary of the reply, dispatched a telegram to London at 12.30 p.m. informing that the demands would be met “in as large measure as possible”, and that the ten points “are accepted with reserves”,79 As Mark Cornwall has noted, the words “in as large measure as possible” were really a euphemism for the rejection of those points violating Serbia’s sovereignty.80 The other diplomat on that day was Auguste Boppe, who had arrived in Belgrade only that morning to replace the increasingly demented Descos as the French Minister. Boppe had always dreamt of becoming the Minister in Belgrade – he had learnt Serbian as a student and had already served at the French Legation in Belgrade in a junior capacity.81 But his old acquaintance Strandtmann, who had run into him at the railway station whilst putting his family on what turned out to be the last Orient Express train to Constantinople before war broke out, told him that the Government and the diplomatic corps would be leaving the city that very evening.82 By 3 p.m. Boppe had found out enough about the situation to be able to send his first telegram to Paris. Having seen Pasic, he wrote to the Quai d’Orsay about the wide-ranging acceptance by the Serbian Government of the demands in the ultimatum – exceping one point: namely, regarding the participation of Austrian functionaries in the enquete on Serbian soil, the Government would ask for an explanation, and it would “only take into consideration that which corresponds to international law or good neighbourly relations”. The fact that Boppe further reported Pasic’s readiness – in the event of Austrian dissatisfaction with the Serbian government response – to hand the matter over to the Hague Tribunal or to the Great Powers, also heralded a less than absolutely conciliatory Serbian reply.83

Strandtmann, for his part, was convinced that the Serbs would fight. So much so that he chose not to convey to Pasic the contents of an urgent telegram he had received on the morning of 25 July from Sazonov in which the latter now repeated the advice he had already given to Spalajkovic: if Serbia’s position was hopeless, it would perhaps be better for the Serbs to allow the country to be occupied without a fight and then make a solemn appeal to the Great Powers.84 Even though, as has been seen, Strandtmann had otherwise been a veritable dove of peace in the advice he had been giving the Serbs ever since the arrival of the ultimatum, his encounters with Pasic and Regent Alexander had left him in “no doubt about their determination to defend the fatherland’. So he ignored the telegram because he considered it impossible to give advice which, while it would not be taken, could be interpreted as ‘a shameful incitement to lay down the weapons”. 85

It is important, however, to point out another telegram from St Petersburg which Strandtmann did show to Pasic in the course of 25 July. This was Sazonov’s circular of 24 July to the Russian embassies in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London and Rome, and to the legations in Bucharest and Belgrade. Sazonov insisted that, since Austria-Hungary had only consulted the Powers twelve hours after the delivery of the ultimatum, the remaining short period did not suffice for them to undertake anything useful towards the settlement of the complications which had thereby arisen. It was thus necessary that Austria-Hungary should, “above all”, prolong the time-limit for the reply, and a failure to so would be contrary to “international ethics”. 86 Again, what Pasic had learnt from this about Russian reaction to the ultimatum was that it seemed merely to consist of some diplomatic resistance to what Austria.Hungary was doing – not of any proposed Russian military steps. In his memoirs Strandtmann wrote that he had shown this telegram to Pasid before the completion of the Serbian reply.87 Essentially, both telegrams seen by Pasic had it in common that neither was offering him concrete Russian support nor any encouragement for a hardline Serbian response.

But when exactly on 25 July had the Serbian reply to the ultimatum been completed? This is not some pointless academic question. For those historians painting a picture whereby “Russian support stiffened Serbia’s spine”,88 it is rather important to maintain that the reply had only been completed in the late afternoon hours – as more work had been required following the alleged receipt of information during the day about, so it is claimed, Russian encouragement. “During the afternoon of Saturday 25 July”, Christopher Clark writes, “there were numerous drafts as the ministers took turns in adding and scratching out various passages.”89 Recently, Clark has by no means been alone in suggesting that frenetic activity had been taking place in the Serbian Foreign Ministry in the few hours left before the expiry of the deadline. “All Saturday afternoon”, Sean McMeekin insists, “Pasic and his advisers badgered poor Gruic with suggested changes”, and the Serbian Prime Minister “clearly sweated over his draft until the last minute. In fact, no drama of this kind had transpired.

The source used by Clark and McMeekin – and many others before them – to back up such vivid descriptions is once more that towering authority, Luigi Albertini. The latter, it has to be said, was a rather imaginative scenographer. In addition to hastening Colonel Pavlovic’s return from Bavaria and placing him in the very interesting role of a crown witness to the events in Belgrade from 23 to 25 July, he also succeeded in creating historiographically lasting images of a supposedly very hectic afternoon of 25 July in the Serbian Foreign Ministry. So what did Albertini do here? He claimed to have talked to Slavko Grujic, in 1914 the Secretary-General at the Serbian Foreign Ministry, who had “narrated” to him (Albertini does not say when or where) that at II a.m. he had received “the first text” of the Serbian reply for translation (into French). Without directly quoting Grujic, Albertini merely tells the following story:

At many points the text was almost illegible, there were many sentences crossed out and many added. While the work of translation was proceeding, between noon and 5 p.m., the text was several times taken away and the Ministers, in continuous session in an adjoining large room, made many changes, additions, and completions. At last, after 4 p.m. the text seemed finally settled and an attempt was made to type it out. But the typist was inexperienced and very nervous and after a few lines the typewriter refused to work, with the result that the reply had to be written out by hand in hectographic ink, copies being jellied off Towards 5 p.m. when the copying out of the translation was not yet quite finished, Gruic was summoned into the Cabinet room and asked for the first part of the Serbian text for the introduction of one more change. Gruic declared that it was not possible to make any fresh corrections or the text would never be ready in time. The last half-hour was one of feverish work. The reply was corrected by pen here and there. One whole phrase placed in parenthesis was crossed out in ink and made illegible. At 5.45 p.m. Gruic handed the text to Pasic in an envelope.91

It is truly surprising that the above account, used and relied on by so many historians, has never been challenged. For it becomes clear, on closer inspection, that Albertini had probably never talked to Grujic – but merely read him. After all in 1934 Grujic’s 1934 memoir which had been published in four instalments by the Belgrade daily Politika.  Albertini literally reproduced large chunks of the relevant part of Grujic’s memoir while claiming that the material had been “narrated” to him by Grujic. In 1935 the Berliner Monatshefte published the memoir in German – which is what Albertini must have read. Everything in Albertini’s narration, from the contents of the sentences to the sequences in which they appear, and even the mispelling of Grujic’s name, indicates not a conversation with Grujic, but rather a reading of his published memoir.92 In this exercise, however, there was also a necessary modicum of adding – in order for an authentic testimony to be twisted to conform to Albertini’s view of 25 July in Belgrade.

The key change which Albertini made to Grujic’s published account relates to the time when the Serbian reply (in Serbian) had finally been completed. Grujic states very clearly that he received the text “at around II a.m.” – he did not write that this was “the first text” as Albertini would have it. He then began working on its translation into the French. While complaining about the difficulty of reading the original Serbian text, in which many parts were rubbed out and new sentences inserted, at no point does he say – as Albertini makes him say in the imagined rendition – that “the text was several times taken away” so that the Ministers could make “many changes, additions and completions”. There is nothing about that in Grujic’s memoir. True, he writes (and Albertini repeats this) that around 5 p.m. he had been called into the Cabinet room and asked to bring back the first part of the Serbian text because a change needed to be made. Grujic had refused to go along with this because time had been pressing, but Albertini describes the episode not as a request for a change, but as a request for “one more change”. Again, this is absent from Grujic’s memoir, in which the firm impression is given that this had been the only attempt at changing anything in the six hours since 11 a.m.93

The fact that Grujic had been asked to bring back the first part of the Serbian reply is in itself quite revealing. For the first part of the Serbian reply to the ultimatum did not deal with any of the ten points raised in the ultimatum – those were dealt with in the second part. The first part was restricted to general remarks. In other words, whatever change the Serbian Ministers had wished to make towards 5 p.m., it could not have been related to a last-minute attempt to alter the substance of the draft reply as a result of any allegedly encouraging news coming from Spalajkovic in St Petersburg.

Attempting to maintain the credibility of his story that Colonel Pavlovic had testified to the arrival of a supportive telegram from Russia in the afternoon of 25 July, Albertini thus had to do two things: firstly, to depict the drafting of the Serbian reply as running well into the afternoon and, secondly, in order to make this believable, he had to invent a first class witness. Given the structural likeness of his account to Grujic’s published memoir, it seems clear that Albertini simply added to the latter a few crucial details – those concerning the allegedly incessant reworking of the reply late into the afternoon – and pretended that Grujic himself was the author of this revised narrative. Why, Grujic himself had told him so (Grujic had died in London in 1937 and was thus not able to comment). All the other details, for example the typewriter breaking down, were genuine and had been wisely retained by Albertini. But what the Italian journalist had in effect managed to achieve, in order to validate his own story, was to report Grujic as the source – in blatant contradiction, at least in crucial details, to the latter’s own 1934 account. There is little point in dwelling on why Albertini crafted his falsification – except to say, perhaps, that people can get perversely obsessed with the question of how to persuade others to accept a scenario in which they themselves genuinely believe. Inventing small, key details when depicting events may seem to them a small price to pay. However, this crossing of the boundary between history and undeclared fiction is of course a step too far.

The fact that the Serbian reply had been completed well before 5 p.m. on 25 July is confirmed by Strandtmann in his memoirs. Strandtmann, otherwise quite taken up on that day with packing the archive of his Legation, nevertheless managed to see Pasic who told him that the text of the reply had been formulated and was being translated, and that he should ‘come back after 5 o’clock in the afternoon’ when he, Pasic, would be able to show him the reply in its final, translated form. Strandtmann does not state the time of this meeting with Pasic, but the context points towards late rnorning.94 In any event, Pasic’s words hardly suggest a continuous, feverish activity on re-wording the text of the reply until the last moment. Alexander Savinsky, who knew Strandtmann, and who in 1914 served as the Russian Minister in Sofia, later wrote that the text of the Serbian reply to the Austrian ultimatum had been established “much earlier than the appointed hour” – one assumes that he had received this information from his Russian colleague in Belgrade.95 According to the diary entry for 25 July of the Serbian politician Jovan Zujovic, it had been known in Belgrade “around midday” that Austria would not be satisfied with the reply to the ultimatum – this, again, suggests that the original Serbian version had been completed sometime late in the morning 96

Grujic wrote that the final French translation was handed to Pasic at 5.45 pm.97 The reason why it had taken so long to complete the work is fully explained in his article in Politika. He had initially been allocated another Ministry official, fluent in French, to carry out the work of translation. But soon Pasic had given this man some other task, so that Grujic had had to do it all alone. His writing was fairly illegible, necessitating that the whole text had to be written down again, with Grujic dictating his own translation. On top of that the work was constantly being interrupted by officials bringing in deciphered telegrams, as well as by foreign diplomats, hungry for news, crowding the ante chamber of the Ministry and “physically detaining” Grujic as he crossed it to enter the Cabinet room. Because the Ministry was being evacuated, Grujic, as its Secretary-General, had to deal at the same time with his officials seeking instructions.98 It is remarkable that, in this chaotic environment, he had been able to complete his onerous task on time.

He may even have done it a little earlier than he himself suggested, i.e., before 5.45 p.m. For another contemporary source maintains that Pasic had emerged from the Foreign Ministry “at exactly 5.40 p.m.” to take the reply to the Austro-Hungarian Legation.99 Be that as it may, it should perhaps be noted here that the Prime Minister was not carrying some horribly messy collage of a document which, under Albertini’s influence, many historians still believe was the case. The nine-page hand-written reply (plus Pasic’s covering note) is available for inspection in Vienna’s Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv. It is very legible and contains only a few minor corrections – with one exception on page 6 where a whole sentence is blotted out.100 This, indeed, is the page which the editors of the Osterreich-Ungarns Aussepolitik chose to attach as a facsimile to their official collection of documents. 101

As Pasic, sporting a black redingote and with a long white envelope under arm, stepped on to a carriage, he looked “dignified” and wore on his face “that eternal, light smile”. A crowd had already gathered at the Foreign Ministry. When they heard Pasic order the coachman to take him to the Austro- Hungarian Legation, many people ran to Krunska Street in order to await his departure from the Legation and attempt to judge the outcome by his demeanour and facial expression.102 For his part, Baron Giesl knew in advance that the Serbian reply would not concede all the points because shortly before Pasic’s arrival he had seen the Economy Minister Velizar Jankovic who had told him that the ‘humiliating’ demands had not been accepted. Giesl had in any case anticipated as much, having during the day packed everything in the Legation and got his personnel ready to catch the 6.30 train to Zemun, just across the river in Hungary. He must also have felt justified in his choice of attire for the day, which Jankovic described as “a travelling suit” with “short trousers”. Although Giesl subsequently denied it in his memoirs, other witnesses, not least Pasic, also reported him as wearing an informal outfit, which was most probably a suit with knee-length breeches.103

The meeting between Baron Giesl and Nikola Pasic at the Austro-Hungarian Legation was brief and devoid of any drama. Pasic arrived, according to Giesl, at 5.55 p.m., “evidently aware of the importance of the moment”. His “exceptionally clever” eyes betrayed a “solemn gravity” of expression. When Giesl enquired about the contents of the reply, he said: “We have accepted one part of your demands … as for the rest, we place our hopes on the loyalty and chivalry of an Austrian General. We have always been content with you.” Pasic must have been gently poking fun with his flattering remarks addressed to Giesl, though the latter had apparently taken him seriously because in his 1927 memoir he wrote that Pasic could “naturally not have known” that the decision had not depended on him, i.e., on Giesl. He promised Pasic an early response – he first had to compare the terms of the Serbian reply with his instructions. The two men then shook hands and the Prime Minister left the Legation.104


1 Richard C. Hall, “Serbia” in Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, The Origins of World War I, Cambridge, 2003, p.110.

2 Robert Gilbert Vansittart Vansittart, The mist procession: the autobiography of Lord Vansittart, 1958, p.123.

3 Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis 1911-1914, London, 1923, p.193.

4 Antonio Salandra, Italy and the Great War: From Neutrality to Intervention, London, 1932, pp.49-50.

5 Theodor Wolff, Tagebucher 1914-1919,1984, vol. 1, entry for 31 January 1916, p.342.

6 Bernhard Bülow, Memoirs of Prince Von Bülow, 1909-1919, 1972, p.205.

7 Dusan A. Loncarevic,Jugoslaviens Enstehung, 1929, p.608.

8 Giesl, Zwei Jahrzente, 1927, pp.267-268. Giesl repeated these points in Konnte die Annahme der serbische Antwortnote den Ausbruch des Weltkrieges verhindern? Berliner Monatshefte, May 1933, p.465.

9 Alfred von Wegerer, Der entscheidende Schritt in den Weltkrieg, Berlin, 1931. See, in particular, pp.44-B.

10 Jules Isaac, Un debat historique. Le probleme des Origins de la Guerre, Paris, 1933, pp.122-124.

11 Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914, vol.2, pp.36o-361. In 1933 an interview with Berchtold was published, in which he claimed that the Serbs were on the morning of 25 July intent on accepting the ultimatum, but Russia had then “belstered them up.” See Hans Roger Madol, Gespräche mit Verantwortlichen,1933, Berlin, p.4.

12 Lieven, Russia and the Origins of the First World War, p.144.

13 Samuel R. Williamson, Jr., The Origins of World War 1, The Journal of Inter disciplinary History, vol.18, no.4, Spring 1988, p.811.

14 Cornwall, “Serbia”, p.84.

15 William Jannen Jr., The Lions of July: Prelude to war, 1914, Novato, 1996, p.100.

16 Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.463 and n.35, p.649.

17 MacMillan, The war That Ended Peace, 2014, p.537.

18 Sean McMeekin, July 1914, 2014 pp.198-199.

19 Annika Mombauer, Die Julikrise. Europas Weg in den Ersten Weltkrieg, Munchen, 2014, p.65.

20 Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg,2014 p.118; Manfried Rauchensteiner, Der Tod des Doppeladlers. Osterreich-Ungarn und der Erste Weltkrieg, Graz-Wien-Koln, 1997, p.85.

21 Gerd Krumeich,Juli 1914. Eine Bilanz, Paderborn-Munchen-Wien-Zurich, 2014, p.128.

22 Otte, T. G. July Crisis: The World’s Descent into War, Summer 1914, 2014, pp..238-239.

23 Martel, The Month That Changed the World, 2014, pp.204-205.

24 Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik von der Bosnischen Krise 1908 bis zum Kriegsausbruch 1914 (ÖUA), ed. L. Bittner, A. F. Pribram, H. Srbik and H. Uebersberger (9 vols., Vienna and Leipzig, 1930), vol.8, no.10461, telegram Szapary, 21 july 1914.

25 George F. Kennan, Russia Leaves the war, Princeton, 1956, p-336.

26 Albertini, The Origins of the war of 1914, vol.2, pp.352-353.

27 Alfred Rappaport von Argenbau, Staatsmanner und Diplomaten der Vorkriegszeit. Spalajkovic’, Berliner Monatshefte,July 1935, pp.555-576.

28 Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.359.

29 Seton-Watson, The Southern Slav Question, pp.263-271.

30 Nekludoff, Diplomatic Reminiscences, p.53.

31 ÖUA, vol.8, no.10999, telegram Szapary; 29 July 1914.

32 Vladimir Dedijer et al.(eds.), vol.7/2, no.477 telegram Spalajkovic, 22 July 1914- In fact, it was in the form of an aide-memoire that Spalajkovic notified Sazonov, on 22 July, about Pasic’s circular of 18 July. See Internationale Beziehungen im Zeitalter des Imperialismus, 1st ser., 1911–14, ed. O. Hoetzsch (5 vols., Berlin, 1931–6) IBZI, vol.1/4, no.319.

33 Vladimir Dedijer et al.(eds.), vol.7/2, no.496, telegram Spalajkovic, 23 July 1914-

34 British Documents, vol.11, nos. 92 and 94, Crackanthorpe to Grey, 24 July 1914.

35 Vladimir Dedijer et al.(eds.), vol.7/2, no.502, telegram Pasic, 24 July 1914.

36 M. Spalaikovitch, Une journee du Ministre de Serbie a Petrograd, Le 24 juillet 1914′, Revue d’histoire diplomatique, Paris, April-June 1934, p.138.

37 Deutsche Dokumente, vol. I, no.148, telegram Pourtales, 24 July 1914- The conversations at the French Embassy had begun “at noon”, according to Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador. See George Buchanan, My Mision to Russia and Other Diplomatic Memories, London, 1923, vol.I, p.192. Paleologue, the French Ambassador, writes that Sazonov had left at “three o’clock” to go to Ielaguin Island, where the Ministerial Council meeting was going to be held. See Paleologue, An Ambassador’s Memoirs, vol.1, p.32.

38 IBZI, vol.1/5, no.25. Albertini asserts that on 24July Spalajkovic saw Sazonov or his representative twice before the Cabinet meeting, i.e., before he saw him for the third time in the evening. Based on Sazonov’s timetable for 24 July, it is impossible to see just when, before the evening, he could have received Spalajkovic. The latter may well have seen a representative of Sazonov in the afternoon hours as he waited for the Cabinet meeting to come to an end. But it seems most unlikely that Spalajkovic was sending any telegrams to Belgrade that afternoon – another claim made by Albertini. Indeed, the Serbian documents do not contain any telegrams from him sent before midnight on 24/25 July. See Albertini, The Origins of the war of 1914, vol.2, p.354.

39 The citations are from the English translation of the relevant passages in the diary of the Russian Foreign Ministry. See How the war Began in 1914, London, 1925, pp.30-31.

40 Serge Sazonov, Fateful Years 1909-1916, London, 1928, p.177.

41 Cornwall, “Serbia”, p.79.

42 M. Spalaikovitch, Une journee du ministre de Serbie ä Petrograd. Le 24 juillet 1914, Rev.Hist. Dipl 48.1934, p.139.

43 Ibid., pp.139-140.

44 N. Schebeko, Souvenirs. Essai historique sur les origines de la guerre de 1914, Paris, 1936, p.218.

45 Spalaikovitch, Une journee, p.40-46.

46 Ibid., pp.140-141.

47 Ibid., pp.142-143.

48 See the note by the editors of the relevant volume of Serbian documents, Dedijer et al.(eds.), vol.7/2, no.527, n.1, p.649.

49 Dedijer et al., vol.7/2, no.527, telegram Spalajkovic, The dispatch date and time of this telegram are given as 24 July 1914 at 12 a.m.-“24. VII 1914. u 12 sati – min. prepodne”. This is clearly a mistake as Spalajkovic was reporting on his 24 July talk with Sazonov – the correct date is 25 July, that is, around midnight on 24/25 July.

50 Cornwall, Serbia, p.80.

51 See the note by the editors, Dedijer et al., vol 7/2, no.527, n.I, p.649.

52 Cornwall, Serbia, p.80 and p.94, n.149.

53 Dedijer et al., vol.7/2, no.503, telegram Spalajkovic, 25 July 1914. Mark Cornwall points out that this telegram is incorrectly dated as 24 July, Cornwall, Serbia, p.94, n.152. Since it was sent at 1:40 a.m. (received at n:30), and since it clearly refers to the events of 24 July, its date of dispatch can indeed only be 25 July.

54 IBZI., vol/5, no.51.

55 Seton-Watson, Sarajevo, p.257 and n.4 on the same page.

56 Armstrong, Peace and Counterpeace, p.363

57 Cornwall, Serbia, pp.80-81.

58 Albertini, The Origins of the war of 1914, vol.2, p.353.

59 Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.649, n.35.

 60 McMeekin, July 1914, pp.199-200.

61 Luciano Magrini, II drama di Seraievo. Origini e responsabilita della guerra europea, Milano, 1929 pp.203-205.

62 Ibid., p.206.

63 Albertini, The Origins of the war of 1914, vol.2, p.353.

64 Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.649, n.35.

65 McMeekin, July 1914, p.199.

66 Ibid., pp.185-186 and p.414, n.12 to “Notes to Chapter 14”.

67 Letter Pavlovic to Dusan Stefanovic, 16 July 1931.

68 Albertini, The Origins of the war of 1914, vol.2, p.356.

69 Letter Pavlovic to Dusan Stefanovic, 16 July 1931.

70 Dušan P. Stefanović, “Pred buru”, 1931, p.7.

71 Ibid., p.352.

72 Rudolf Kibling, Die serbische Mobilmachung im Juli 1914, Berliner Monatshefte, July 1932, p.678.

73 Mile S. Bjelajac, Generali i admirali Kraljevine Jugoslavije 1918-1941, Beograd, 2004, p.239.

74 Pavlovic was an altogether serious officer and also, after the war, a noted military historian, publishing a study of the battles between Serbia and Austria-Hungary during August 1914. See Zivko G. Pavlovic, Bitka na Jadru avgusta 1914 god., Beograd, 1924.

75 Jovan V Nestorovic, “Prisebnost” in Spomenica Nikole P. Pajita 1845-1925, Beograd, 1926, p.123.

76 “Ozbiljni trenutci”, Samouprava, Beograd, 12 (25) July 1914, p.1.

77 Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914, vol.2, pp.358-359.

78 Dedijer et al., vol.7/2, no.537 Telegram Pasic, 12 (25) July 1914.

79 British Documents, vol.II, no.114, telegram Crackanthorpe to Grey.

80 Cornwall, Serbia, p.81.

81 Dedijer et al., vol.7/2, no.495, report Vesnic, 23 July 1914.

82 Strandman, Balkanske uspomene, p.306.

83 Documents diplomatiques francais, Paris, 1936, 3rd series, vol.II no.63, telegram Boppe to Bienvenu-Martin, 25 July 1914. Hereafter cited as DDF.

84 IBZI, vol.1/5, no.22, telegram Sazonov to Strandtmann, 24 July 1914.

85 Strandman, Balkamke uspomene, pp.309-310.

86 IBZI., vol.1/5, no.23, Sazonov circular, 24 July 1914.

87 Strandman, Balkamke uspomene, p.309.

88 Paul Ham, 1914: The Year the World Ended, London, 2013, p.306.

89 Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.463.

90 McMeekin, July 1914, p.200.

91 Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914, vol.2, pp.36 n.64.

92 Slavko Gruic, Personliche Erinnerungen aus der Julikrisis 1914, Berliner Monatshefte, July 1935 pp.576-597.  Grujic’s surname is spelled in the Berliner Monatshefte without the letter ‘j’, which is how Albertini also spells it. Had he really talked to Grujic, he would have received from him a carte de visite with the correct spelling. Interestingly, Albertini does not include this article in his bibliography.

93 Grujic, Od austro-ugarskog ultimatuma do objave rata Srbiji, Politika, Beograd, 24July 1934, p.1-2.

94 Strandman, Balkanske uspomene, p.308.

95 Savinsky, Recollections, p.238.

96 Zujovic, Dnevnik, vol.2, p.58.

97 Grujic, ‘Od austro-ugarskog ultimatuma do objave rata Srbiji’, Politika, Beograd, 24 July 1934, p.2.

98 Ibid., p.1.

99 Pavlovic, 1914: Ljudi i dogatfaji, p.64.

100 Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Vienna, P.A. I/8-11.

101 ÖUA, vol.8, attachment to no.10648.

102 Aleksandar Pavlović, 1914: Ljudi i dogadjaji, p.64.

103 Giesl, Zwei Jahrzente, p.268-269.

104 Giesl, Zwei Jahrzente, pp.268-269.

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