A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 47
- I have communicated the substance of the above telegram to the secretary of state, and spent a long time arguing with him that the chief dispute was between Austria and Russia, and that Germany was only drawn in as Austria's ally. If, therefore, Austria and Russia were, as was evident, ready to discuss matters and Germany did not desire war on her own account, it seemed to me only logical that Germany should hold her hand and continue to work for a peaceful settlement. Secretary of state said that Austria's readiness to discuss was the result of German influence at Vienna, and, had not Russia mobilized against Germany, all would have been well. But Russia, by abstaining from answering Germany's demand that she should demobilize, had caused Germany to mobilize also. Russia had said that her mobilization did not necessarily imply war, and that she could perfectly well remain mobilized for months without making war. This was not the case with Germany. She had the speed and Russia had the numbers, and the safety of the German Empire forbade that Germany should allow Russia time to bring up masses of troops from all parts of her wide dominions. The situation now was that, though the Imperial Government had allowed her several hours beyond the specified time, Russia had sent no answer. Germany had therefore ordered mobilization, and the German representative at St. Petersburg had been instructed within a certain time to inform the Russian Government that the Imperial Government must regard their refusal to answer as creating a state of war.
In his telegram Sir E. Goschen reported the German case with regard to Russia, whose hasty mobilization, so Germany's leaders believed, was a main cause of the trouble. Her refusal to demobilize had aggravated it, and before the telegram reached London, perhaps before it was dispatched, Germany had carried out her threat, and about five o'clock on Saturday, August 1, had declared war on an empire with which she had been at peace for almost exactly 100 years.
On the same evening France and Germany issued orders for a general mobilization, and so ended a week of alternate hopes and fears. Sunday, August 2, with Germany and Russia at war and France and Germany hurrying soldiers to the frontiers, was an eventful day all over Europe, not least so in London. Ministers, who were in consultation almost continuously, decided to mobilize the fleet and call out the naval reserves, while Sir John Jellicoe,