In the early on hours of July 29, 1914, Czar Nicholas II that Russia and also his an initial cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany, start a frantic exchange that telegrams regarding the recently erupted battle in the Balkan region and the possibility of the escalation into a general European war.

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One job prior, Austria-Hungary had declared war top top Serbia, one month after the assassination in Sarajevo that Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his mam by a Serbian nationalist. In the wake up of the killings, Germany had actually promised Austria-Hungary its unconditional support in every little thing punitive activity it made decision to take towards Serbia, regardless of whether or no Serbia’s powerful ally, Russia, stepped right into the conflict. By the moment an ultimatum native Vienna to Serbia to be rejected ~ above July 25, Russia, defying Austro-German expectations, had currently ordered preliminary mobilization to begin, believing that Berlin was using the assassination crisis as a pretext come launch a war to coast up its strength in the Balkans.


The relationship between Nicholas and Wilhelm, two grandsons the Britain’s Queen Victoria, had long been a rocky one. Despite Wilhelm described himself as Victoria’s favorite grandson, the good queen consequently warned Nicholas to be mindful of Wilhelm’s “mischievous and unstraight-forward proceedings.” Victoria did no invite the kaiser, who she defined to she prime minister together “a hot-headed, conceited, and also wrong-headed young man,” to her Diamond Jubilee celebration event in 1897, nor she 80th birthday 2 years later. Czar Nicholas himself commented in 1902 after a meeting v Wilhelm: “He’s raving mad!” Now, however, the two cousins stood at the center of the dilemm that would shortly escalate into the first World War.


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“In this major moment, i appeal come you to aid me,” Czar Nicholas created to the kaiser in a telegram sent out at one o’clock top top the morning of July 29. “An ignoble war has actually been claimed to a weak country. The indignation in Russia shared completely by me is enormous. Ns foresee that an extremely soon ns shall be overwhelmed by the pressure compelled upon me and be required to take too much measures which will cause war.” This blog post crossed v one from Wilhelm to Nicholas to express concern about the effect of Austria’s declaration in Russia and urging calm and consideration as a response.


After receiving the czar’s telegram, Wilhelm cabled back: “I…share her wish that peace should be maintained. But…I cannot take into consideration Austria’s action against Serbia one ‘ignoble’ war. Austria to know by experience that Serbian guarantees on document are wholly unreliable. I know its activity must be judged as trending to get full guarantee the the Serbian assures shall come to be real facts…I thus suggest that it would certainly be quite possible for Russia to continue to be a spectator of the Austro-Serbian conflict without including Europe in the many horrible battle she ever before witnessed.” despite Wilhelm assured the czar that the German federal government was working to broker an agreement in between Russia and also Austria-Hungary, the warned the if Russia were to take military measures versus Austria, war would be the result.

The telegram exchange ongoing over the next few days, together the two men spoke of your desire to maintain peace, even as their respective countries continued mobilizing for war. On July 30, the kaiser created to Nicholas: “I have gone to the utmost limits of the possible in my efforts to conserve peace….Even now, you can still save the tranquility of Europe by protecting against your armed forces measures.” The complying with day, Nicholas replied: “It is technically impossible to avoid our military preparations which to be obligatory fan to Austria’s mobilization. Us are far from wishing for war. As lengthy as the negotiations with Austria top top Serbia’s account are ensuing my troops shall no make any type of provocative action. I offer you my solemn word for this.” however by that time things had actually gone as well far: Emperor Franz Josef had rejected the kaiser’s mediation offer, speak it came as well late, together Russia had currently mobilized and Austrian troops were currently marching on Serbia.


The German ambassador come Russia yielded an ultimatum the night—halt the mobilization within 12 hours, or Germany would begin its own mobilization, a action that would certainly logically proceed to war. By 4 o’clock in the afternoon of respectable 1, in Berlin, no reply had actually come indigenous Russia. In ~ a meeting through Germany’s civilian and military leaders—Chancellor Theobald Bethmann von Hollweg and also General Erich von Falkenhayn—Kaiser Wilhelm i agree to authorize the mobilization orders.

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That very same day, in his last donation to what were referred to as the “Willy-Nicky” telegrams, Czar Nicholas pressed the kaiser because that assurance that his mobilization walk not absolutely mean war. Wilhelm’s solution was dismissive. “I yesterday mentioned to your government the way by i beg your pardon alone war may be avoided….I have…been obliged come mobilize my army. Instant affirmative clear and unmistakable answer from your government is the only way to avoid endless misery. Till I have received this prize alas, ns am can not to discuss the subject of your telegram. As a matter of fact I have to request you come immediatly order her troops ~ above no account come commit the little act the trespassing end our frontiers.” Germany asserted war on Russia that very same day.