31/7/1914 Britain asks about Belgium

Foreign Secretary Edward Grey is coming under pressure from France to clarify Britain’s position. The cabinet meets, but the anti-interventionists are still too strong for Grey, Churchill and Asquith to adopt a forceful international position. Still, the cabinet does not definitively adopt a position against intervention either, which prevents Grey’s resignation and the possible collapse of the government.

The cabinet does agree that Grey should ask France and Germany whether they will be respecting the neutrality of Belgium.

Churchill, meanwhile, issues orders to seize the two battleships being built in Britain for the Turkish navy. He is probably not acting in response to Russia’s request to deny these ships to Turkey. He just wants them for the British navy.

Dramatis Personae

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