“I remember that some time in July, an influential Hungarian lady called upon me at 11 Downing Street and told me that we were taking the assassination of the archduke much too quietly; that it had provoked such a storm throughout the Austrian Empire as she had never witnessed – and that unless something were done immediately, it would certainly result in war with Serbia, with the incalculable consequences which such an operation might precipitate in Europe. However, such official reports as came to hand did not seem to justify the alarmist view she took. (The War Memoirs of David Lloyd George (Nicholson & Watson, 1933-38))
On Monday 6th July 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II left Germany for his annual 20-day cruise of the North Sea.
In Russia, Sergei Dmitrievich Sazonov, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, had invited Count Otto von Czernin, the Austro-Hungarian Chargé d’Affaires at St Petersburg to an interview. On 6th July Maurice Paléologue, the French Ambassador at St Petersburg, wrote a report of this interview to René Viviani, Prime Minister of France and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In the course of an interview which he had asked for with the Austro-Hungarian Chargé d’Affaires, M. Sazonof pointed out in a friendly way the disquieting irritation which the attacks of the Austrian press against Servia are in danger of producing in his country. Continue reading →
Because the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, had been married morganatically – it was forbidden for Habsburg heir to marry anyone who was not a member of one of the reigning families of Europe – Ferdinand had known that his wife could not be buried with him in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. He had built a family tomb at his private residence, Schloss Artstetten near the Danube, so that they could be buried together. The last funeral and internment took place on Saturday 4th July: their three children were present. Continue reading →
On Friday 3rd July, the open coffins of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie lay in state at the Court Chapel from eight in the morning til noon. It’s reported that fifty thousand people attempted to view the bodies, but most were turned away due to the short period of time allowed.
Alberto Pollio, the chief of the Italian general staff, died early on Wednesday morning, 1st July 1914, in Turin, aged 62. He had entered the Naples military college in 1860, aged 8, and was first commissioned as a sub-lieutenant of artillery in 1870. He had written military histories of Waterloo and Custozza which had been widely translated and praised.
Lieutenant-General Pollio was an enthusiastic supporter of the Triple Alliance of 1882 between Italy, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, despite the historical enmity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire towards Italy. Continue reading →
Michael Gove in the Daily Mail: “The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war.”
Michael Gove’s qualifications for being Secretary of State for Education consists of a 2:1 degree in English at Oxford, and once winning Top Club.
Michael Gove does not care for shows like Blackadder Goes Forth, which he feels depict World War One – or as it was called then “the Great War”, as “a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite”, whereas, Gove thinks, WWI was really about British opposition to:
“The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.
“And the war was also seen by participants as a noble cause. Historians have skilfully demonstrated how those who fought were not dupes but conscious believers in king and country, committed to defending the western liberal order.”