MarkN wrote:1) Grey's answer to Lichnowsky began, "I do not think that ...". It was his answer not the Cabinet's however much you obsess over the word "we".
Grey's quote on the matter in Twenty Five Years, has already been cited. It looked to me like you've never read Grey's book, yet somehow you have opinions on his thinking. Is that correct? Have you read Twenty Five Years?
When Grey answered Lichnowsky on 1 August, the pro-French faction in cabinet would not have agreed to pledge British neutrality on that condition. That may split the cabinet and the Liberal government falls. That's what Grey said on the matter later, and that's why it was impossible for him to say "yes" to Lichnowsky's 1 August inquiry.
3) 'No war' as in 'Britain not at war' was the determined ambition of a majority of the Cabinet up to, and including the 2 August. Not my imagination. Historical fact as recorded at the time and evidenced throughout the issue and decision-making.
The cabinet debate was to either go in on France's side or break up the Liberal government. The number of cabinet ministers willing to cause the fall of the government for neutrality was quite slim - as few as 1 or 2. Those willing to break up the cabinet instead of neutrality contained all the heavy hitters on the Liberal side, Asquith, Grey, and yes, even LG, IMO.
5) Grey did not get the 'all in for France' you claim he was after - and yet he didn't resign. Why? Coz he got what he wanted - the Cabinet stuck by the agreement that it had helped draft just 2 years earlier.
Grey had no reason to resign - cabinet delivered the naval pledge necessary to cover the French army's flank on 2 August. On the matters where cabinet did not agree - naval and army mobilization - these were done without cabinet consent and presented as a fait accompli.
6) It is clear that, at some point which cannot be precisely stated, Grey recognised war was inevitable. I suggest late on 29 July.
And having come to that understanding, it was obvious that Britain would/should fight on France's side rather than Germany's or find a third way. But, as you quote, it was to stand by France NOT stand by the Triple Entente. Again, the mental gymnastics prove to complex for you to handle.
As already covered at length, Grey preferred peace to war unless this came at the cost of the unity of the Triple Entente. In that instance, war was better. You talk of Grey's thinking but give the impression you know next to nothing about what he actually said of these matters. Here's a sample,
"One danger I saw so hideous that it must be avoided and guarded against at every word. It was that France and Russia might face the ordeal of war with Germany relying on our support; that this support might not be forthcoming...of course I could resign....but what good would my resignation be to them in their ordeal?"
Bold and underlined is mine. Grey was not some hobby historian with a pet theory sitting cozy 100 years from danger. He was a foreign minister aware of how powerful Germany was and how little margin for error the Entente had with such nonsense half-measures as you suggest. If it were war, it was to be the Triple Entente versus the Central Powers. If it were peace, only a peace that did not threaten the unity of the Triple Entente.