Sane German response to the Sarajovo murder in July 1914

WI Germany had decided to stand to defend against France (in otl the French attack failed desperately- But Germany attacked Belgium. Had more of Germany's forces attacked Russia they would have done badly in 1914.

My feeling is that Russia would accept some humiliation for Serbia.

Over by Christmas. A lot fewere dead than OTL and none of the from Britain.

Could that have happened?
 
Doing a search you see a ton of threads about Germany going east. There is a lot of debate on if Britain comes in anyway (Belgium or no Belgium). Its in Britain's interests to be in anyway.

If Britain stays neutral and France respects Belgian neutrality, Germany wins in the end, but its a grind, the Russians will do better defending their country, vs launching years of forlorn attacks on Germany and Austria. Germany was hoping to avoid such a long war. Yes, I could see a settlement after some frontier battles, slightly Germany/Austria favorable, or it could drag on for years.
 
The real sane response is for the Tzar not to fully mobilize over a dispute that you have no defense treaty with.
That's the Blank Check that needed to go away, the unquestioning Russian support for Serbia
 
The real sane response is for the Tzar not to fully mobilize over a dispute that you have no defense treaty with.
That's the Blank Check that needed to go away, the unquestioning Russian support for Serbia
Your not wrong in that respect at all Niki did go off half cocked

However the kaisers 'Blank Cheque' to the AH Empire did then allow/encourage them to make demands of Serbia that no Sovereign nation could possibly accept and was in effect therefore a declaration of war.

This is what I think the OP is alluding too - would the AH Empire still make the same demands if Germany / The Kaiser had not given them was was in effect unconditional support.

Maybe the whole thing could have ended up being an exercise in Sabre Rattling / Handbags at dawn with Niki not given the excuse to mass mobilise.

After all Serbia was willing to make a great deal of concessions over the murders which should have been enough to satisfy AH's honour.
 
Doing a search you see a ton of threads about Germany going east. There is a lot of debate on if Britain comes in anyway (Belgium or no Belgium). Its in Britain's interests to be in anyway.
It is consistent with British policy regarding the continent to be in anyway; given the consequences of British involvement in the war it seems to me hard to argue that it was really in their interests.
 
Your not wrong in that respect at all Niki did go off half cocked

However the kaisers 'Blank Cheque' to the AH Empire did then allow/encourage them to make demands of Serbia that no Sovereign nation could possibly accept and was in effect therefore a declaration of war.

This is what I think the OP is alluding too - would the AH Empire still make the same demands if Germany / The Kaiser had not given them was was in effect unconditional support.

Maybe the whole thing could have ended up being an exercise in Sabre Rattling / Handbags at dawn with Niki not given the excuse to mass mobilise.

After all Serbia was willing to make a great deal of concessions over the murders which should have been enough to satisfy AH's honour.
Ever read the actual Serbian responses to Austria's 10 demands? Of course, I can't read them in the original language so there may be some "nuance" that I'm missing, but to me they seem to positively drip of a certain disingenuousness... sort of a "yes we are agreeing to eight of these 10 demands, but you are so infernally stupid if you think we'll ultimately comply..."
Also IIRC the ones they did not comply with pretty much obviated any likelihood of an impartial investigation being conducted, particularly if that investigation were to point toward certain elements within the Serbian government... which as we now know, it would have...
 

Grey Wolf

Gone Fishin'
The British declaration of war in 1914 was very much akin to the British vote to go to war with Iraq in 2003 - if a couple of big-hitters had stayed true to their original intentions, the government would have fallen. In August 1914, if Germany is not attacking Westwards, and is thereby not violating Belgian neutrality, then it is hard to see how Lloyd George and others who changed their minds could be swung around to the idea of what appears in essence a war for Russian pride. Churchill and Prince Louis can keep the fleet mobilised, send it to its bases, and make dubiously-legal promises to France, but this has no actual effect on greater politics, if Germany is not attacking in the West.

If Asquith attempts to declare war anyway, his government will fall. If he does not, then Britain is sort of in the position of the USA after the Lusitania etc - it is ideologically opposed to Germany but there is no casus belli within immediate time range.

However, if Asquith's government falls and the King calls upon Bonar Law to form a government, then the Conservative administration, reckoning that it can win votes with pro-war Liberals in the Commons, might take a much more bellicose approach to things.
 
It is consistent with British policy regarding the continent to be in anyway; given the consequences of British involvement in the war it seems to me hard to argue that it was really in their interests.
Well, consistent with British policy only if you go back to around 1907-08, and after that ONLY consistent with the views of a handful of Ministers in Asquith's cabinet (and with certain personages in their Conservative opposition, and with a couple of very widely-read newspapers)... unfortunately it was some of the most powerful Ministers (Grey, Churchil) who held to this view...
 
However the kaisers 'Blank Cheque' to the AH Empire did then allow/encourage them to make demands of Serbia that no Sovereign nation could possibly accept and was in effect therefore a declaration of war.
Need to check up on the Demands Serbia had in the first two Balkan Wars

'This is the Territory we have taken by force of arms. Deal with it.'
The other Sovereign nations had to suck that up
And as stated in my post,
Serbia had no Defense Treaties with Russia, or anybody else, for that matter, not even secret ones. They didn't even have a official Guarantee of Independence, like Belgium had
 
The British declaration of war in 1914 was very much akin to the British vote to go to war with Iraq in 2003 - if a couple of big-hitters had stayed true to their original intentions, the government would have fallen. In August 1914, if Germany is not attacking Westwards, and is thereby not violating Belgian neutrality, then it is hard to see how Lloyd George and others who changed their minds could be swung around to the idea of what appears in essence a war for Russian pride. Churchill and Prince Louis can keep the fleet mobilised, send it to its bases, and make dubiously-legal promises to France, but this has no actual effect on greater politics, if Germany is not attacking in the West.

If Asquith attempts to declare war anyway, his government will fall. If he does not, then Britain is sort of in the position of the USA after the Lusitania etc - it is ideologically opposed to Germany but there is no casus belli within immediate time range.

However, if Asquith's government falls and the King calls upon Bonar Law to form a government, then the Conservative administration, reckoning that it can win votes with pro-war Liberals in the Commons, might take a much more bellicose approach to things.
I've seen similar arguments before, suggesting that if the UK failed to declare war, then a couple of prominent Cabinet members would resign (including possibly Asquith himself), which would lead to the Liberal government falling, which would lead to a Conservative government being formed, which would then declare war at the earliest possible moment. I'm just not quite so sure that it would shake out like that, but maybe someone on here who is more familiar with UK Parliamentary procedure in 1914 could elucidate it further for me?
 
Ever read the actual Serbian responses to Austria's 10 demands? Of course, I can't read them in the original language so there may be some "nuance" that I'm missing, but to me they seem to positively drip of a certain disingenuousness... sort of a "yes we are agreeing to eight of these 10 demands, but you are so infernally stupid if you think we'll ultimately comply..."
Also IIRC the ones they did not comply with pretty much obviated any likelihood of an impartial investigation being conducted, particularly if that investigation were to point toward certain elements within the Serbian government... which as we now know, it would have...
The only conditions Serbia didn't fully accept would have violated Serbia's constitution.

Kaiser Wilhelm himself said that Serbia's response removed all cause for war. He had to be reminded that the object of the Austrian demands, as endorsed by Germany, was to force war. It is not clear whether the German leadership intended to bring on a larger war against Russia and France. However, it is clear that some of them wanted such a war, and none were opposed. Nobody was thinking about how to avoid war.

Sane German leadership, not inflated with military bombast and national paranoia, would have reined in Austria rather than spurring them. Let Austria's demands be focused strictly on investigating the assassination, with military action reserved in case Serbia actually obstructs. Get Russia on side; the fact that Germany and Austria pushed Russia into siding with a nation involved in regicide shows how much they overreached.
 
The only conditions Serbia didn't fully accept would have violated Serbia's constitution.

Kaiser Wilhelm himself said that Serbia's response removed all cause for war. He had to be reminded that the object of the Austrian demands, as endorsed by Germany, was to force war. It is not clear whether the German leadership intended to bring on a larger war against Russia and France. However, it is clear that some of them wanted such a war, and none were opposed. Nobody was thinking about how to avoid war.

Sane German leadership, not inflated with military bombast and national paranoia, would have reined in Austria rather than spurring them. Let Austria's demands be focused strictly on investigating the assassination, with military action reserved in case Serbia actually obstructs. Get Russia on side; the fact that Germany and Austria pushed Russia into siding with a nation involved in regicide shows how much they overreached.
Kaiser Bill seems a bit dense sometimes... doubt he was that good at "reading between the lines" :)
As far as Russia, I don't think Germany and A-H really had to push that hard. To my knowledge, the only prominent Russian that spoke out against mobilization was Witte (probably the most intelligent man in the Russian government), who was in favor of essentially sitting back and letting the Serbs "get what they deserved". I believe he was the only man in Russia for whom the issue of regicide seemed to register with - ironic if you ask me, considering the fate that befell Nicky's grandfather...
 
Ever read the actual Serbian responses to Austria's 10 demands? Of course, I can't read them in the original language so there may be some "nuance" that I'm missing, but to me they seem to positively drip of a certain disingenuousness... sort of a "yes we are agreeing to eight of these 10 demands, but you are so infernally stupid if you think we'll ultimately comply..."
Also IIRC the ones they did not comply with pretty much obviated any likelihood of an impartial investigation being conducted, particularly if that investigation were to point toward certain elements within the Serbian government... which as we now know, it would have...
That may very well be the case but we will never know

Despite that we are taking about events before Austria gave the 10 demands (and therefore before the Serbian Governments response dis-ingenuous or otherwise) - which many believe - emboldened by the Kaisers 'Blank Cheque' regarding support in the face of Russia, where far more demanding than might have been the case had the 'Blank Cheque' not been given.

Indeed on the morning that news of the Austrian ultimatum broke The Kaiser himself who was on board his Yacht Hohenzollern on the morning of July 25th remarked to the Ships captain "That's a pretty Strong Note"
 
That may very well be the case but we will never know

Despite that we are taking about events before Austria gave the 10 demands (and therefore before the Serbian Governments response dis-ingenuous or otherwise) - which many believe - emboldened by the Kaisers 'Blank Cheque' regarding support in the face of Russia, where far more demanding than might have been the case had the 'Blank Cheque' not been given.

Indeed on the morning that news of the Austrian ultimatum broke The Kaiser himself who was on board his Yacht Hohenzollern on the morning of July 25th remarked to the Ships captain "That's a pretty Strong Note"
It was a "strong note"... that was the intention, I have no doubt. Austria-Hungary wanted to force a reckoning with the Serbs. I won't agree that it was completely unwarranted.
Just a couple days before the Kaiser was reading his diplomatic correspondences re: the ultimatum, Poincare had been wining and dining with Tsar Nicky... far from urging a course of moderation, he fully encouraged Russia to support the Serbian position and all but assured Nicky that if a war were to erupt in the East, there would be a concomitant war in the West... IMO there were "blank cheques" issued on both sides before the Ultimatum was even issued...
 
I've seen similar arguments before, suggesting that if the UK failed to declare war, then a couple of prominent Cabinet members would resign (including possibly Asquith himself), which would lead to the Liberal government falling, which would lead to a Conservative government being formed, which would then declare war at the earliest possible moment. I'm just not quite so sure that it would shake out like that, but maybe someone on here who is more familiar with UK Parliamentary procedure in 1914 could elucidate it further for me?
No takers on this one? :(
 

raharris1973

Gone Fishin'
Donor
Monthly Donor
No takers on this one? :(
It may force new elections, I don't know that the outcome would be a foreordained conservative led government.

The Conservatives were however, pretty much unconditionally pro-Entente, and anti-German, along with several of the press barons. So if they stick with that, and get into power, Britain is going to war, just later, unless they are breaking campaign promises. I was tempted to say that bringing Britain into the war a few weeks late would mean bringing Britain in just in time to lose. However, on reflection, that really wouldn't be the case in an east first scenario, because any defeats of the French would be defeats of French offensives, not the conquest of France by German invasion, which was the threat in OTL 1914.

By the end of 1914, no matter what Britain has done, the Austrians are likely to have have taken Belgrade and most of Serbia, and the Germans are likely to have pushed the Russians out of most of Congress Poland. The Austrians are likely to have basically held their Galician border. The Germans are likely to have basically held their Alsace-Lorraine border. So, the Entente powers (either France and Russia, or France and Russia plus Britain) will have a long slog ahead of them of them if they want to bring down the Central Powers, or even push back to the status quo ante bellum. Likewise, to impose a true victor's peace or destroy either Russia or France as great powers, the Central Powers would have a long, daunting slog ahead of them. However, of the two coalitions, the CPs are the better positioned to take and hold their winnings and declare, "Yay, we win on points, ready to make a deal now, or would you like to suffer some more beatings as you try and fail to take your territory back and resuscitate your little terrorist sidekick?"
 
It may force new elections, I don't know that the outcome would be a foreordained conservative led government.

The Conservatives were however, pretty much unconditionally pro-Entente, and anti-German, along with several of the press barons. So if they stick with that, and get into power, Britain is going to war, just later, unless they are breaking campaign promises. I was tempted to say that bringing Britain into the war a few weeks late would mean bringing Britain in just in time to lose. However, on reflection, that really wouldn't be the case in an east first scenario, because any defeats of the French would be defeats of French offensives, not the conquest of France by German invasion, which was the threat in OTL 1914.

By the end of 1914, no matter what Britain has done, the Austrians are likely to have have taken Belgrade and most of Serbia, and the Germans are likely to have pushed the Russians out of most of Congress Poland. The Austrians are likely to have basically held their Galician border. The Germans are likely to have basically held their Alsace-Lorraine border. So, the Entente powers (either France and Russia, or France and Russia plus Britain) will have a long slog ahead of them of them if they want to bring down the Central Powers, or even push back to the status quo ante bellum. Likewise, to impose a true victor's peace or destroy either Russia or France as great powers, the Central Powers would have a long, daunting slog ahead of them. However, of the two coalitions, the CPs are the better positioned to take and hold their winnings and declare, "Yay, we win on points, ready to make a deal now, or would you like to suffer some more beatings as you try and fail to take your territory back and resuscitate your little terrorist sidekick?"
In OTL there were no UK general elections between 1910 and 1918 due to the war, only 2 re-shufflings of the cabinet with the formation of "grand coalition" governments... had the UK remained neutral in 1914 (and stayed that way for a while, another matter entirely) and there been an election in 1916 or before (which by law should have happened were it not for the circumstances), I wonder what would've happened....
 
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