2/7/1914 Berchtold has good news and bad

In Vienna Berchtold receives some bad news. Back trouble means that Wilhelm II will not be able to attend tomorrow’s funeral for Franz Ferdinand. The opportunity is lost to have Franz Josef persuade the Kaiser of the necessity of sorting out Serbia.

The German ambassador, Heinrich von Tschirschky, had previously counselled caution with regard to Serbia. But now he urges Berchtold to pursue decisive action against Austria-Hungary’s southern neighbour. The change of heart surprises Berchtold, who is unaware that Tschirschky has been rebuked by the Kaiser himself for his previously pacific stance.

Franz Josef remains cautious, wary of moving too quickly or of alienating Count Tisza, the Hungarian prime minister.

Berchtold decides to send an envoy to Berlin to win over the Germans. The envoy will bring a previously prepared plan by Tisza for a diplomatic initiative in the Balkans, but with a new postscript saying that Franz Ferdinand’s murder means that the time for talking is now over.


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