29/7/1914 The Tsar orders general mobilisation, then orders it halted

In Russia, the Tsar talks to Sazonov by telephone. Nicholas is perplexed by the discrepancy between the friendly telegram he has received from the Kaiser and the threats of Pourtalès. He telegrams the Kaiser, asking for an explanation.

Sazonov telephones the Tsar later, asking him to approve general mobilisation, given Austria-Hungary’s moves against Serbia and Germany’s threats. The Tsar agrees. Telegrams go out to district commanders, setting the wheels of war in motion. But then the Tsar receives another telegram from the Kaiser (a reply to his message of yesterday). The message is conciliatory and urges Nicholas to avoid mobilisation. There is still a chance for peace!

The Tsar telephones Sukhomlinov, the war minister. Despite the protests of Sukhomlinov and Yanushkevitch, the army chief of staff, the Tsar insists that mobilisation be halted.

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