6/7/1914 Germany writes Austria a blank cheque

It is morning in Berlin. Wilhelm II meets with senior military figures. He predicts that Russia will make no response to action by Austria-Hungary against the regicidal regime of Serbia. Then he goes off to the Baltic for a yachting holiday.

The Austro-Hungarians Hoyos and Szögyény meet with the Bethmann Hollweg and Zimmermann. The German chancellor agrees that Austria-Hungary must decide on its own course of action vis-à-vis Serbia, but it can count on Germany’s full support in whatever it chooses to do.

Senior German figures seem to see war as unlikely. Falkenhayn, the war minister, writes to Helmuth von Moltke, army chief of staff. Moltke is on leave and Falkenhayn reports that energetic diplomacy seems to be on the cards, not military conflict. Falkenhayn himself then goes on leave.

But in Vienna, General Conrad has convinced Franz Josef that with Germany’s backing they can sort out Serbia. Berchtold now writes to Tisza, telling the Hungarian prime minister of Germany’s backing for war with Serbia, hoping that this will bring him onside.

3 thoughts on “6/7/1914 Germany writes Austria a blank cheque

  1. v. Moltke was on leave because he had to accompany Wilhelm II on the Nordreise. This was an annual event, twinned with a spring cruise in the Mediterranean, dreaded by all the court because of its appalling dullness. But the Kaiser wanted company and you had to attend. I’m pretty sure Falkenhayn also had to show up. I’ve been researching the cruises because I’m writing a chapter on the Achilleion on Corfu and there are some great telegrams from v. Moltke basically saying “this is the worst holiday ever”.


    • I think I read somewhere that Moltke was on a spa trip for his holidays, though he may have spent some time cruising with the Kaiser. He gets back to Berlin earlier (minor spoiler) though that would not be inconsistent with him having spent some time boating with Wilhelm.

      I must admit, my reading on all this pre-war business is making me feel a bit sorry for Wilhelm. Not necessarily in a way that means I think having him running a country was a great idea, but he seems to have been a rather troubled individual.


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