29/6/1914 War fever in Vienna

War fever grips Austrian government circles. The murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne is an unpardonable act. Serbian complicity in Franz Ferdinand’s assassination is taken for granted.

Army chief of staff Conrad calls for immediate mobilisation against Serbia. Leopold von Berchtold, the foreign minister, argues for delay. But he is not implacably opposed to war as such. Previously he had always argued against those who proposed war with Serbia, but now he seems more bellicose. Yet he is naturally cautious, constitutionally incapable of swift decisions.

Another opponent of war is Stefan Tisza, the Hungarian prime minister (the peculiar constitutional setup of Austria-Hungary means that it has two prime ministers and two governments, but one army and one foreign minister). He visits Vienna to offer condolences to the Emperor. He also meets Berchtold and is perturbed by the foreign minister’s new found belligerence towards Serbia. Tisza is implacably opposed to war and to Austro-Hungarian expansion in the south; as far as Tisza is concerned, the less Slavs in the empire, the better.

Sarajevo, meanwhile, is convulsed by anti-Serb riots. And under interrogation, Chabrinovitch, the man who threw a bomb at Franz Ferdinand, admits to having worked with Gavrilo Princip. He continues to deny the existence of a wider conspiracy.

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