30/7/1914 Moltke and Bethmann Hollweg confuse the Austro-Hungarians

Bethmann Hollweg telegrams Tschirschky in Vienna. The Austro-Hungarians are to be encouraged to accept Britain’s four-power mediation proposal.

But Moltke, chief of staff of the German army, is increasingly concerned by reports of Russian military preparations. He tries to get Bethmann Hollweg to agree to ask the Kaiser to declare Kriegsgefahrzustand, a formal declaration of an imminent danger of war that serves as a prelude to mobilisation. But the chancellor declines, as he is still trying to pursue a diplomatic solution.

After failing with Bethmann Hollweg, Moltke tries his luck with the Austro-Hungarians. He says to Lt. Colonel Bienerth, Austria-Hungary’s military attaché, that his country should implement full mobilisation, against both Russia and Serbia. Bienerth relays this back to Vienna. Berchtold is confused when he hears that Moltke wants Austria-Hungary to escalate while Bethmann Hollweg is urging him to accept mediation. “Who rules in Berlin?” he asks. “Moltke or Bethmann?”

Dramatis Personae

image source (Wikipedia)

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