25/7/1914 The Russians spring into action

In Tsarskoe Selo, Tsar Nicholas himself chairs a meeting of the Council of Ministers. A partial mobilisation of the military districts facing Austria-Hungary is agreed. The council also agrees a range of other measures, including the declaration of a Period Preparatory to War as part the readying of the vast nation’s army for action. None of this is to be publicised and strict censorship will keep it out of the press.

On returning to St. Petersburg, Sazonov meets again with the British and French ambassadors. Buchanan urges no peremptory mobilisation; Sazonov assures him that Russia has no aggressive intentions. Paléologue reaffirms France’s support for Russia, but Buchanan remains circumspect, offering only mediation. He reports home that ultimately Britain will either have to back Russia or forfeit its friendship.

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