25/7/1914 The British Foreign Secretary goes fishing

Many in Britain are still unaware of the gravity of the European situation. Not so Sir Eyre Crowe, a senior Foreign Office official, who believes that a general European conflict is very likely, unless Britain declares that it will side with France and Russia if war breaks out. Alas, this is a political impossibility.

Grey, meanwhile, is still optimistic about his plan for a four-power mediation between Russia and Austria-Hungary. He puts it to Count Benckendorff, the Russian ambassador, who is dismissive; he sees it as detaching France and Britain from Russia. Grey also sends the suggestion to his ambassador in Berlin, who forwards it to foreign minister Gottlieb von Jagow. Jagow is interested by the proposal.

Grey thinks war can be avoided if Russia and Austria-Hungary avoid mobilisation. Thinking there is nothing too much to worry about, the foreign minister heads off to his country estate to catch up on his fly fishing.

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