The sequence of events which led up to the final disaster is of great importance, although very far from being in itself a full explanation of the causes.
When these occurrences became known, the English Foreign Minister immediately made proposals for a conference between representatives of Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain, with the object of discovering some means of peaceful settlement.[6] France and Italy promptly accepted his invitation.[7] Germany, while professing to desire mediation, did not accept it.[8] Consequently Sir Edward Grey's effort failed; and before he was able to renew it in any more acceptable form, Austria, acting with a promptitude almost unique in her annals, declared war upon Servia, and hostilities began inflatable bounce.

It is unnecessary to enter here into an examination of the feverish and fruitless attempts to preserve peace, which were made in various quarters during the next four and twenty hours. They present a {19} most pathetic appearance, like the efforts of a crew, sitting with oars unshipped, arguing, exhorting, and imploring, while their boat drifts on to the smooth lip of the cataract.


Russia ordered the mobilisation of her Southern armies, alleging that she could not stand by while a Slav nation was being crushed out of existence, despite the fact that it had made an abject submission for an unproved offence Zero Moment Of Truth.[9]

Subsequently, on Friday, July 31, Russia—having, as she considered, reasons for believing that Germany was secretly mobilising her whole forces—proceeded to do likewise.[10]
'a state of war' within her own territories, and a veil instantly fell upon all her internal proceedings. She demanded that Russia should cease her mobilisation, and as no answer which satisfied her was forthcoming, but only an interchange of telegrams between the two sovereigns—disingenuous on the one side and not unreasonably suspicious on the other—Germany declared war on Russia on Saturday, August 1.

On Saturday and Sunday, war on a grand scale being by this time certain, the chief interest centred in questions of neutrality. Germany enquired of France whether she would undertake to stand aside—knowing full well beforehand that the terms of the Dual Alliance compelled the Republic to lend assistance if Russia were attacked by more than one power. {20} Sir Edward Grey enquired of France and Germany if they would undertake to respect the integrity of Belgium. France replied in the affirmative. Germany declined to commit herself, and this was rightly construed as a refusal Academic alliance.[11]