30/7/1914 The Tsar upsets the Kaiser

After midnight, Sazonov summons Pourtalès and confronts him with the contradiction between the conciliatory telegrams from the Kaiser and his own threatening messages. The German ambassador tries to claim that his messages were a friendly warning to Russia to halt its mobilisation against Austria-Hungary. But Sazonov is not having it and insists that the mobilisation cannot be reversed.

In the small hours of the morning, the Tsar decides to send another telegram to the Kaiser. He tries to reassure the Kaiser of Russia’s peaceful intentions, but he lets slip that Russia began its military preparations five days ago. When the Kaiser reads this, he is furious. The duplicitous Tsar has tricked him, for Russia’s armed forces were already readying for war when Nicholas sent his first telegram saying that Russia might have to start military preparations in the future.

Dramatis Personae

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