There is nothing in Balfour's letter to his sister to suggest Britain would enter the war without provacation or valid CB. As previously explained, the Conservatives and the hawks were working on the correct assumption the Germans were intent on a wider invasion of Belgium, which in this scenario is no longer valid. There are multiple communications received from the Conservatives stating the importance of Belgium in their calculations. The actual players are not the opposition, nor are the actual players the functionaries in the British military or foreign office. The actual players are the ministers of the British Cabinet, Asquith was the Prime Minister and Grey the Foreign secretary. The fact Churchill felt compelled to plot with Tories highlights the weak position of the hawks among those in power. Again, the Conservatives were not in Government. Churchill's concept of a coalition government was to remedy the Liberal Goverment being held hostage by the doves in power. If Asquith remains in place, the Liberal Cabinet can well afford the loss of a couple of hawks. No. There was an 'understanding on naval matters', which argubly created a moral obigation. There was nothing in respect of a formal alliance. Black or White = no Grey. Both Grey and Asquith were on record as believing Belgium was a big deal to the Conservatives - even war mongers need a plausible CB. A coup? Because the neither the Hawks nor the Conservatives had the numbers to overthrow the Government in pursuit of a war of aggression? Again, your reference refers to a coalition goverment being formed in a scenario where ministers resign enmass - the hawks only really had two. The Conservatives were not in government - it is not their call to make. The Liberal war-hawks (both of them) without Asquith have no means to destroy the Liberal Party - those Cabinet positions can be simply filled from within the Party. From memory, there were about five fanatical doves aligned with 3 neutralists lead by Lloyd George. In respect of the Liberal war-hawks, Haldane appeared to also favour of intervention, but in the absence of any sign of fanaticalism, I assume he would return to the flock. The reference you provided was interesting, but the focus was on the Conservative/Unionist support for the war. The article does not contemplate Belgium being spared, although it hints Unionist belligerence might have been independent of Belgium, but then states there is no evidence anywhere to support this. So even an article that goes out of its way to highlight Conservative support for the war, assumes Belgium was a big deal.