10/7/1914 Sensational events in Belgrade

From Vienna, Ambassador Tschirschky reports back to Berlin that the Austro-Hungarians are readying for action against Serbia and that Tisza’s opposition is being overcome.

In Belgrade, Austro-Hungarian ambassador Wladimir Giesl von Gieslingen returns after a long stay in Vienna. That evening, the Russian ambassador, Nikolai Hartwig, calls to the Austrian embassy to formally offer condolences on the death of Franz Ferdinand. Without prompting, Hartwig also urges Giesl to ignore rumours suggesting that he had hosted a bridge party on the night of the Archduke’s murder. Hartwig goes on to deny that the Russian embassy had declined to fly its flag at half mast during Franz Ferdinand’s funeral. Giesl diplomatically accepts his guest’s assurances.

Hartwig then has a sudden heart attack and collapses. Giesl sends a carriage to fetch Ludmilla Hartwig, the ambassador’s daughter and next of kin. Doctors arrive but are unable to revive the Russian. When Ludmilla Hartwig arrives, she makes clear that she suspects foul play. A policeman is attracted by the commotion, but the embassy staff invoke their extra-territorial rights and send him on his way, further fuelling suspicions that they have something to hide.

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