Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 01 Jan 2018 22:29

waldopepper wrote:At a Cabinet meeting on the 24th it was decided to order a partial mobilization to put pressure on AH. This from Lieven ? who quotes from notes taken by Bark the finance minister. The notes are now at Columbia University. Janushkevich who was present at the meeting was apparently unaware that there was no plan for partial mobilization and that to partially mobilize would seriously disrupt a subsequent general mobilization.

For the ensuing events that led Russia to order a general mobilization see this link which relies heavily on the recollections of Dobrorolski then chief of the mobilization section of the Russian General Staff

http://www.vlib.us/wwi/resources/archiv ... 0831b.html

wp


The Dobrorolski document is interesting, but it is also questioned by some people as to quite how it came to surface where it did and even who was behind it. Usually when the words 'Published by the Central Office for Research into the Question of War Guilt' appear on a document people need to at least be suspicious as it appears the translation is deliberately worded to create and effect, or translated by someone who was not fluent in Russian. Also relying on the document for opinion on the Russian war plans ignores that these were the work of Danilov, Dobrorolski was simply in charge of disseminating the mobilisation order if it was given, and that Danilov was alive and out of Russia and able to give his version of things.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby ljadw » 02 Jan 2018 12:02

The German DoW had nothing to do with the Russian mobilisation : it was caused by the fact that there was no war between AH and Germany ,Germany's aim was such a war .

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 02 Jan 2018 14:03

ljadw wrote:The German DoW had nothing to do with the Russian mobilisation : it was caused by the fact that there was no war between AH and Germany ,Germany's aim was such a war .


Then show some supporting evidence for this? Otherwise it is simply conjecture on your part.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 02 Jan 2018 17:31

ljadw wrote:No :
AH would have been happy with a small war against Serbia .


The problem was that Austria didnt care if she dragged Germany into a war by doing so, even when Germany did protest belatedly.

ljadw wrote:Something as the occupatio of Belgrade and a financial compensation.


That must be why Sazonov ruled out Halt in Belgrade and never made any suggestion to support your claim, if anything comments very much different were made by different people in the Austrian leadership.

ljadw wrote:Russia would have accepted this :it did not declare war on AH when, after a month of dawdling and eexhortations of an irritated Germany, AH declared war on Serbia,DoW not followed by an invasion .


Given we have only a few days before declarations of war took place, we do not know what would have happened if the declarations had not been made. We do know that Russia intended to move if Austria attacked Serbia, and we know Austria always intended to do this.

ljadw wrote:Germany was interested in a war between AH and Serbia only if this war triggered a war between Russia and AH,which would give Germany the excuse to declare war on Russia, war, which had as only importance that it would trigger a French intervention which would make possible a war between Germany and FRance .


Almost all conjecture. If what you say were to be true, all Germany needed to do was wait until 12th August when Austria would attack Serbia.

ljadw wrote:The AH DoW on Serbia did not result in war between AH and Russia .


It caused Russia to take the last step before resorting to war, so it is likely Austria troops entering Serbia would lead them to take the final step.

ljadw wrote:AH was not impressed by the Russian mobilisation, thus there was no reason for German to be impressed .


Austria concluded that the Russian actions meant they had to move to mobilising the units on the Galician front, and thus to full mobilisation for themselves too. This gave Austria casus foederis under the alliance system, thus causing Germany to follow suit if requested. Moltke's memo points out many scenarios all stemming from Austria going to war with Serbia, and all end in a general war down to the automated nature of those systems. He was shown to be correct.

ljadw wrote:The Russian threat for Germany did not exist.


I think we can file this under rubbish. There is enough indication that Germany was unwilling to see another Russian invasion with the dreaded cossacks. It may not have been realistic but it was still very much feared.

ljadw wrote:There was no French threat, otherwise Germany would have mentioned it in its DoW on France .


There was no need for a French threat in the eyes of the Germans as their only war plan needed them to take France out of the war as fast as possible. France was deemed too untrustworthy and likely hostile anyhow to be trusted in a Russo-German war.

ljadw wrote:When there was no war in the east, Germany started him, hoping that it would start a war in the west,and when there was no war in the west, Germany was forced to invent a lame excuse to start him .

After Sarajevo, the Emperor said : it's now or never,but everyone -Serbia, AH, Russia and France sabotaged the German plan, because they were unwilling to start an European war,only Germany wanted this war;and prepared him before there was a DoW and before ONE soldier was killed .

Remember the Api Api telegram of July 25, remember the occupation of Luxembourg which was ordered and started before the DoW on Russia .


Pretty much all conjecture based on hindsight.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby waldopepper » 02 Jan 2018 20:45

Interesting that doubts have been cast on Dobrowolsky's account. I was not aware of that. I would be interested in following up on the doubts cast. Can you please give me some information on who does so? I don’t need detailed cites; names will suffice.

The link I gave seems to be based on Dobrowolsky Die Mobilmachtung die Russie 1914 published in Berlin 1922.

There is an article by Dobrowolsky “La mobilization de l’armee russe en 1914” pubished in Revue d’Histoire de la Guerre Mondiale (1923) with some comments by Davidov appended that recites the facts of the on again off again vagaries of the Russian mobilization decisions.


You mention Davidov. He wrote a book about Russia in the war in which he discusses the confusion of the Russia mobilization decisions. A French translation entitled La Russie dans la Guerre Mondiale 1914-18 is available on Gallica. Here is the gist of what he says:

July 24:

partial mobilization decided [Though Davidov does not say so, apparently the provisions of the Period Preparatory to Mobilization began effective July 25]

Davidov returns from the Caucasus

July 25

Meeting with Janushkevich, Davidov, Dobrowolsky and Rongine, chief of military transport. J is convinced that partial mobilization presents problems. It is decided to prepare two orders, one for partial & one for general mobilization and to leave the final decision to the Tsar.

Davidov then spends a number of pages describing in detail how a partial mobilization will disrupt a later attempt at full mobilization. The reasons given are similar to those given by Dobrowolsky in the French journal article.
Davidov then picks up his chronological narrative as of July 29:

July 29:
Morning: gets order for general mobilization (signed by Tsar) effective midnight July 29

During the evening (8:20pm) Tsar gets conciliatory telegram from Wilhelm and changes back to partial mobilization. That order is sent out to the military districts. [Interestingly, Davidov seems to be unaware that this order was not sent out but cancelled at the last minute (this from Dobrowolsky’s narrative)]

July 30:

Based on various alarming reports, an order for general mobilization is issued effective midnight July 30. This is sent to the military districts. The full mobilization is on.

At midnight Russia receives Germany’s 12 hour ultimatum.

Interestingly, the Germans got wind of Russia’s preliminary preparations for mobilization and its somewhat chaotic fits and starts toward mobilization. These events, occurring as they did while active negotiations were ongoing, were interpreted by Germany as dissembling on Russia’s part so that Russia could “steal a march” on Germany.

I have Albertini on order. It will be interesting to see his take on the Russian mobilization.

wp

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby ljadw » 02 Jan 2018 22:19

The following are from the July Crisis and prove that Germany wanted AH to attack Serbia, threatening AH if it did not attacked Serbia and lied to the other countries that it had nothing to do with the whole thing . And that Germany wanted a general war .


2 july : Saxon ambassador said that the German army wanted AH to attack Serbia as quickly as possible because the time was right for A GENERAL WAR .
Source : Europe's last summer P 56 (Fromkin)

5 July : Moltke said : AH must beat the Serbs (Fromkin P 202)

7 July : Stürgkh told Tisza : Germany will abandon us if we do not start a war against Serbia (Source : Fischer :Germany's Aims in the World War : P 55)

8 july : The Kaiser said that he would not understand if AH did not use this opportunity (Fischer P 57)

12 July : Szögyeny said that Germany was tired of Austrian's indecision about whether to chose war or peace (Fischer : P 58)

12 july : Jagow told Lichnowski that Germany did everything to cause a war between AH and Serbia (Kautsky : Outbreak of the World War ,German Documents P 99)

14 July :Tisza supported war,fearing that otherwise Germany would abandon AH (Fischer P 56)

Jagow said also that war with Serbia was Austrian's last chance for political rehabilitation ; (Kautsly : P 131-132 )

Now that we know that Germany wanted GENERAL WAR (= war with Russia, France, UK) that it threatened AH if it did not start war with Serbia, it is obvious that Germany wanted war between AH and Serbia, because this would cause war between Russia and AH,and that this would cause war between Germany and Russia,and that this would cause war between France and Germany,and that this would cause war between UK and Germany .

The theory of the falling dominos was not invented by Kennedy and Johnson .

Germany did it best to have the dominos fall, but the other countries did not cooperate : on 1 august there was still no war between AH and Russia, and Germany had to improvise (= lie that the Russian mobilisation was a threat for Germany,which was nonsense;opne will observe that on 1 August Germany abandoned its ally ),as the German DoW on Russia had not the desired result (French DoW ) ,Germany had to improvise= a Gleiwitz avant la lettre .

In 1939 Hitler needed something to attack Poland ,thus he ordered Himmler to organise an attack by Germans in Polish uniforms on a German police station .

In 1914 Germany needed something to attack France (such something was essential as on 5 august the leader of the SPD was still talking about his French friends),thus Germany used as reason something of which it knew that it did not happen = attacks on German cities by FRench aircraft .

This would be the same as if today the Luxemburg aircraft would attack New York .

It is obvious that those who start a war using as reason lies,have evil intentions .

These evil intentions (= a general war ) existed already on 2 July . All the rest was comedy .

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby ljadw » 02 Jan 2018 22:26

Terry Duncan wrote: and we know Austria always intended to do this.



There was no need for a French threat in the eyes of the Germans as their only war plan needed them to take France out of the war as fast as possible. France was deemed too untrustworthy and likely hostile anyhow to be trusted in a Russo-German war.




1) This is not correct


2) This is also not correct . It is the opposite . For Berlin a war with Russia only had no sense .

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 02 Jan 2018 22:44

ljadw wrote:
Terry Duncan wrote: and we know Austria always intended to do this.



There was no need for a French threat in the eyes of the Germans as their only war plan needed them to take France out of the war as fast as possible. France was deemed too untrustworthy and likely hostile anyhow to be trusted in a Russo-German war.




1) This is not correct


2) This is also not correct . It is the opposite . For Berlin a war with Russia only had no sense .



1. Yes it is. Conrad was asked when he would be ready to attack Serbia several times in the July Crisis, and always responded with the 12th August date as this was the first date after harvest leave would expire. Curiously, 12th August happens to be the actual date Austria did attack Serbia, so it would appear you are the one who is wrong here. Of course you are welcome to offer an alternative date for when Conrad said he would be ready or even for when he did launch the attack.

2. The French 'threat' was having a large modern military they were not willing to leave in their rear, indeed an army pretty much the equal of the German one as Moltke himself predicted. France was certainly very willing to accept the risk of war as the evasive 'France will look to her own interests' comment from Viviani shows, as whilst it was a splendid response to the German demands it also shows that France was making no effort to avoid war, indeed was herself only one step away from war.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby ljadw » 03 Jan 2018 08:15

What Conrad said proves that he was bluffing : he never had the intention to attack Serbia:he did not need 6 weeks to mobilize,the harvest was only an excuse:the harvest was not an obstacle for the Germans . On 14 july,Tisza capitulated and supported war, but still it took AH 14 days to draft a DoW and than, it took Conrad an other 14 days to start the war . AH first declared war on Russia (forced by Germany) and only a week later it attacked Serbia .

You ignore the political situation in France : the elections had resulted in an anti-Russian majority; an intervention to help the Tsar would mean civil war . Besides, parliament declared war and for a DoW ,unanimity was needed: in France, in Germany, in Britain .

In 19O8 Clemenceau abandoned Russia, ,when Liman von Sanders was appointed commander of Istanbul , France also abandoned Russia, after Sarajevo, France counseled Russia moderation and prudence ,that's one of the reasons Russia was very cautius: Russia was on its own, without ally . As was AH .
And peace would be saved, was it not that Germany intervened with as aim to have its war, for which it was longing .

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 03 Jan 2018 12:58

waldopepper wrote:Interesting that doubts have been cast on Dobrowolsky's account. I was not aware of that. I would be interested in following up on the doubts cast. Can you please give me some information on who does so? I don’t need detailed cites; names will suffice.

wp


I am not sure if all the doubts had surfaced by the time of Albertini, but at least the major questions are raised by the article you linked to itself;

Introduction

Sergei Dobrorolski, a former lieutenant general in the Tsarist army and in charge of the mobilisation section of the General Staff in 1914 was living in Belgrade when he wrote his article. It was published in 1921 in the first volume of a military journal, Voienny Sbornik. In 1922, it was republished in Germany in translation, the version upon which most of this note is based. Clearly, it was welcome to the German "war guilt" industry especially as von Eggeling below could rightly claim that since the author was living in Belgrade when he wrote it, "in the atmosphere of the Entente", he could not be accused of being being prejudiced in Germany's favour. The text was published again, about a year later in 1923, in the two issues of the French "Revue d'Histoire de la Guerre Mondiale". No significant differences have been found between the German and French translations but the second part of the French version does contain a number of comments by Dob on the German commentary and a few remarks by Danilov, the Quarter Master General of the Russian Army in 1914.

However it was obtained, it was most welcome to the German effort to discredit the war guilt clause of the Treaty of Versailles on which the payment of reparations was based. The commentary is far from impartial and it is regrettable that Dobrorolski was not asked to comment further since he may well have objected to many of the interpretations placed on his words. No consideration whatever is given to any alternative interpretation. For example, it does seem clear that the soldiers had very understandable misgivings about any attempt at partial mobilisation especially if a general mobilisation might have to follow. This is an aspect which the German commentators ignore completely. If they had taken it into account, it might have been difficult then to maintain that the Russian military were demanding general mobilisation because they wanted war with Germany.


As far as I can remember people have only ever referenced the German translation, the original Russian text seems to either not exist or to have long since vanished. The problems seem to be that nobody ever bothered to check with Dobrorolski afterwards as noted, and that this is a period in which the German War Guilt Section was even paying people to write articles for it in gold. In the most recent books I have read on this subject, iirc Clarke's The Sleepwalkers, McMeekin's July 1914, and Otte's The July Crisis, Dobrorolski is cited at least in one, although in the footnotes it did suggest an alternative explanation - possibly Otte, though as all were library books and long since returned I cannot check. Look at the wording of the document though, it really doesnt flow very well in some places, almost as though a certain meaning was desired to be there rather than being a natural translation. The paying for articles by the War Guilt Section was also linked to Bogicevic who has been discussed here many times for just the same reasons, namely that we have post-war writings that are often not supported by anything else from when they surfaced until today. In Dobrorolski's case it is strange to see him considered an expert on what the plans entailed, when he was simply responsible for making sure the orders were sent out efficiently, when Danilov survived the war and was in France if people had needed such confirmation.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby The Ibis » 03 Jan 2018 15:43

Terry Duncan wrote:
waldopepper wrote:Interesting that doubts have been cast on Dobrowolsky's account. I was not aware of that. I would be interested in following up on the doubts cast. Can you please give me some information on who does so? I don’t need detailed cites; names will suffice.

wp


I am not sure if all the doubts had surfaced by the time of Albertini, but at least the major questions are raised by the article you linked to itself;

Introduction

Sergei Dobrorolski, a former lieutenant general in the Tsarist army and in charge of the mobilisation section of the General Staff in 1914 was living in Belgrade when he wrote his article. It was published in 1921 in the first volume of a military journal, Voienny Sbornik. In 1922, it was republished in Germany in translation, the version upon which most of this note is based. Clearly, it was welcome to the German "war guilt" industry especially as von Eggeling below could rightly claim that since the author was living in Belgrade when he wrote it, "in the atmosphere of the Entente", he could not be accused of being being prejudiced in Germany's favour. The text was published again, about a year later in 1923, in the two issues of the French "Revue d'Histoire de la Guerre Mondiale". No significant differences have been found between the German and French translations but the second part of the French version does contain a number of comments by Dob on the German commentary and a few remarks by Danilov, the Quarter Master General of the Russian Army in 1914.

However it was obtained, it was most welcome to the German effort to discredit the war guilt clause of the Treaty of Versailles on which the payment of reparations was based. The commentary is far from impartial and it is regrettable that Dobrorolski was not asked to comment further since he may well have objected to many of the interpretations placed on his words. No consideration whatever is given to any alternative interpretation. For example, it does seem clear that the soldiers had very understandable misgivings about any attempt at partial mobilisation especially if a general mobilisation might have to follow. This is an aspect which the German commentators ignore completely. If they had taken it into account, it might have been difficult then to maintain that the Russian military were demanding general mobilisation because they wanted war with Germany.


As far as I can remember people have only ever referenced the German translation, the original Russian text seems to either not exist or to have long since vanished. The problems seem to be that nobody ever bothered to check with Dobrorolski afterwards as noted, and that this is a period in which the German War Guilt Section was even paying people to write articles for it in gold. In the most recent books I have read on this subject, iirc Clarke's The Sleepwalkers, McMeekin's July 1914, and Otte's The July Crisis, Dobrorolski is cited at least in one, although in the footnotes it did suggest an alternative explanation - possibly Otte, though as all were library books and long since returned I cannot check. Look at the wording of the document though, it really doesnt flow very well in some places, almost as though a certain meaning was desired to be there rather than being a natural translation. The paying for articles by the War Guilt Section was also linked to Bogicevic who has been discussed here many times for just the same reasons, namely that we have post-war writings that are often not supported by anything else from when they surfaced until today. In Dobrorolski's case it is strange to see him considered an expert on what the plans entailed, when he was simply responsible for making sure the orders were sent out efficiently, when Danilov survived the war and was in France if people had needed such confirmation.


It was Clark who attempted to ascertain what Dobrorolski meant (assuming he said what the Germans translated for him). McMeekin said we should take Dobrorolski at his word and therefore assumed the validity of the quote.

I think its worth noting that Mombauer cited the Dobrorolski quote without apparent hesitation in her document collection.
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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 03 Jan 2018 19:12

The Ibis wrote:It was Clark who attempted to ascertain what Dobrorolski meant (assuming he said what the Germans translated for him). McMeekin said we should take Dobrorolski at his word and therefore assumed the validity of the quote.

I think its worth noting that Mombauer cited the Dobrorolski quote without apparent hesitation in her document collection.


My own problem is that nobody seems to have ever traced the original document, we know some phrases in French are used when it is quoted, but not if they were in the original, and it is often those phrases that are cited as being significant. The most commonly quoted segment (endlessly, over many forums by Peterhof) is;

The following days are all well known because of the official "colour books" and documents. The war was already decided upon and the whole flood of telegrams between the governments of Russia and Germany was only the staging [ "mise en scène"] of an historical drama....


Nowhere does Dobrorolski say that war was decided upon by Russia, and from the accounts from other Russians we do know they felt Austria and Germany were the ones who had decided upon war long before the final mobilisations. What we do have though is a translated document with no sight of the actual original to say how well it was translated, we could even call the entire document fabricated on that basis, but even by allowing it we have the problem of what it says is hardly clearly supporting the line for which it was used.

From what you say, Clark must be at least doubtful of accepting such a document blindly which is close to my position on it, but I am not shocked McMeekin just went with the quote, of all the writers on the subject I mentioned, he seemed to have the least grasp of the subject matter (and certainly of the ships he based his claims about in his first book). I would say nobody really wanted the war they got, all were hoping the opposite alliance would fall apart or back down first.

One point does stem from what Dobrorolski wrote however, and that is 'on what date was war really decided upon' as if that can be pinpointed, the events beyond would be clearer. War was probably inevitable from the moment the Note was seen, but we still struggle to suport claim that any of the powers were really decided on going to war even on 30th July, there is too much evidence of doubt in the minds of the leaders to allow the idea that anyone really understood they were going to war until very late on.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Sid Guttridge » 03 Jan 2018 19:33

Hi John2,

Russia's prestige as a major power had sunk to a low following its defeat by Japan in 1905. It had spent a decade trying to rebuild it.

Tiny Serbia was a fellow Eastern Orthodox and fellow Slavic state that looked towards Russia for support in international affairs. If Russia allowed Serbia to be over run by Roman Catholic, Germano-Magyar, Austria-Hungary without reacting, a decade of rebuilding Russia's international prerstige would be undone.

I would suggest that Russian mobilisation was therefore the almost inevitable consequence of the hard line Austro-Hungary took against Serbia and should have been factored in by the Austro-Hungarian and German foreign ministries when they colluded together on policy towards Serbia in early August.

Similarly, once Russia had mobilized, Germany could not be seen to abandon its own ally, Austria-Hungary, and so on and so on.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby Terry Duncan » 04 Jan 2018 14:41

ljadw wrote:What Conrad said proves that he was bluffing :


So, doing exactly what he said he wanted to do and on the date he specified is bluffing! You must be really good at poker.

ljadw wrote:he never had the intention to attack Serbia:he did not need 6 weeks to mobilize,the harvest was only an excuse:the harvest was not an obstacle for the Germans .


So why did Berchtold, Sturgkh,Tiza and Franz-Joseph all accept what Conrad said without question? What was an obstacle for the Germans does not have to be the same as what was for Austria.

ljadw wrote:You ignore the political situation in France : the elections had resulted in an anti-Russian majority; an intervention to help the Tsar would mean civil war . Besides, parliament declared war and for a DoW ,unanimity was needed: in France, in Germany, in Britain .


At no point did France suggest she would not adhere to her alliance obligations, if anything she made it clear she would stick very close to the alliance. You seem to be the only person I have come across who insists France would never support Russia and you have provided nothing to support that idea other than opinion. Even Jaures approved of the goiverments handling of the situation up to the point he was assassinated, and was not opposing their policies.

ljadw wrote:In 19O8 Clemenceau abandoned Russia, ,when Liman von Sanders was appointed commander of Istanbul , France also abandoned Russia, after Sarajevo, France counseled Russia moderation and prudence ,that's one of the reasons Russia was very cautius: Russia was on its own, without ally . As was AH .
And peace would be saved, was it not that Germany intervened with as aim to have its war, for which it was longing .


In the Balkan Wars Crisis all the alliances held firm, and that came close to war too. You seem to mistake asking an ally to attempt to avoid war (in this case by persuading Serbia to give up the Adriatic port) for not holding to the alliance. There was no sign the French and Russians would split, hardly something the Germans would have missed anyhow. Also if your idea were to be correct, Germany could just attack France, it didnt need to fight Russia at all as she wouldnt support France anyhow - you do keep telling us how dead the alliance was after all. So why didnt Germany simply find an excuse to attack France?

The only nations to cause anyone any anxiety over what they would do was Britain, testimony to how even handedly Grey played things.

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Re: Origins of the war - Why did Russia mobilize?

Postby The Ibis » 04 Jan 2018 19:35

ljadw wrote:What Conrad said proves that he was bluffing : he never had the intention to attack Serbia:he did not need 6 weeks to mobilize,the harvest was only an excuse:the harvest was not an obstacle for the Germans . On 14 july,Tisza capitulated and supported war, but still it took AH 14 days to draft a DoW and than, it took Conrad an other 14 days to start the war . AH first declared war on Russia (forced by Germany) and only a week later it attacked Serbia .


I don't know why you can't wrap your head around the fact there was a war as of July 28. A real live shooting war no less.

You ignore the political situation in France : the elections had resulted in an anti-Russian majority; an intervention to help the Tsar would mean civil war . Besides, parliament declared war and for a DoW ,unanimity was needed: in France, in Germany, in Britain .


Civil war? Had you said "the population wouldn't have obeyed the mobilization order," your point might have a shred more viability.
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