Your favorite reason why Britain would DoW Germany anyway if Berlin went east-first in 1914

If Germany attacked Russia, not France or Belgium, in 1914, UK would DoW Germany because:

  • 1. It thinks France and Russia are the likely winners and wants to stay on their good side

    Votes: 8 2.3%
  • 2. It thinks a defeat or setback for Russia in Poland/Balkans alone makes Germany too powerful

    Votes: 92 26.7%
  • 3. It thinks a defeat/setback for Russia now means a defeat for France later, so preempt it now

    Votes: 55 15.9%
  • 4. Getting involved in war in Europe is a great way to distract from Irish controversies

    Votes: 17 4.9%
  • 5. It wants to capture Germany’s overseas colonies for Cape-to-Cairo route

    Votes: 10 2.9%
  • 6. It wants to have an excuse to blockade German commercial competition off from markets

    Votes: 19 5.5%
  • 7. It wants to destroy the German navy, either through battle, or coerced as part of peace terms

    Votes: 36 10.4%
  • 8. Britain actually wouldn’t go to war with Germany in this case

    Votes: 108 31.3%

  • Total voters
    345
If you're looking for a fight, chances are you will find it.
Well it certainly was a setup:
...The machinery of state had drained the body of Franz Ferdinand of its diplomatic usefulness, and Austria-Hungary, encouraged by Germany, carefully determined the next stage in the tragedy of what many would later describe as ‘inevitable’ and ‘unstoppable’ events. On the contrary, the leaders of the Austrian and German Governments, careless of the risks, determined the stations of the Third Balkan War every step of the way.
Nobody wanted a European war, they later claimed. Yet their outlook and policies made a continental war likely, and varied according to hidden agendas, flaring up and dying down with terrific and unexpected force. Germany’s civilian leaders (none of them voted in despite Germany's vaunted 'male suffrage') expected Vienna, at this stage, to confine the conflict to a local stoush with Serbia. The Prussian generals paid lip-service to this policy. ‘Austria must beat the Serbs,’ Moltke, the chief of the General Staff, told the German military attaché in Vienna on 13 July, ‘and then make peace quickly, demanding an Austro-Serbian alliance as the sole condition.’ At other times, however, Moltke spoke by turns zealously or resignedly of a European catastrophe, a chance to take the war to Russia, enact the Schlieffen Plan and settle Germany’s great reckoning with the world.​
Germany did not wish to seem the belligerent, however. Berlin delicately removed itself from Vienna’s deliberations – refusing to help draft the ultimatum, for example – and stood back to watch the process it had started. Ministers were instructed to affect surprise at the harshness of the document, when made public.​
Hans von Schoen, Bavarian counsellor in Berlin, advised:​
The administration will immediately upon the presentation of the Austrian note at Belgrade, initiate diplomatic action with the Powers in the interests of the localization of the war. It will claim that the Austrian action has been just as much of a surprise to it as to the other Powers, pointing out the fact that the Kaiser is on his northern journey and that the Chief of the General Staff and the Prussian Minister for War are away on leave of absence.

Source: Ham, Paul. 1914: The Year the World Ended
 
In this and I think in other threads as well it has been pointed out hat both France and Russia agreed to attack germany simultaneously on a predetermined day of mobilization - a day that was as russian railway development continued getting closer and closer to the day the mobilization order went out.
Pretty sure it would have taken a declaration of war by them (or being declared war upon of course), the side effect of Russia's slower mobilisation is that there is still plenty of time between starting mobilisation and making your final choice to actually go to war.

This attack they both did carry out OTL. The fact that Germany too had a fixed timetable for war after mobilization and because theirs was faster they declared war first does not erase the fact that the french and russians had the same built in mechanism in their alliance.

Thing is you are equating mobilisation speed with the speed of declaring war, however as per above the big difference here between say Germany and Russia is that Germany can mobilise and invade all on the same day (which is what it did). I.e your point is more true of Germany than France/Russia

On top of this Germany's entire plan is steal a march on France by going through Belgium as quickly as possible, so every aspect of German planning is to go from mobilisation to invasion and into France as quickly as possible.

And while I can see why they had that plan, it was still their choice to have that plan and they take the responsibility for not only doing so but also basically suborning everything else to the needs of that plan.

After Austria decided that they will attack Serbia even if this could mean a war with Russia and Russia decided that this indeed means war the world war could not be avoided. At that point german and french involvement was guaranteed - not the least because both of them have given blank cheque's to their alliance partners earlier in the conflict.
The difference was Germany had been pushing AH to move troops for the best part of a month. Remember the German's were pissed at AH when they didn't go quicker after the assassination when not only would international opinion would be more sympathetic, but a fait acompli of AH swarming Serbia and it being largely over before anyone can react was more likely.

It is very much Germany and AH who decide to keep going when that window of opportunity closes, it's Germany and AH who keep relying on Belgium letting Germany march across it and the UK staying out of it despite clear warning of the opposite.


Any discussion about a non existent possibility of - but if the declarations of war between the GP's could have been delayed just a week/month/whatever a diplomatic solution might have been found are the same: bullshit or worse - an attempt to clear the franco-russians of any responsibility of what happened on the summer of 1914. Russia and France were strategically at the weakest position at the beginning of the conflict - because they could mobilize slower than Germany. They still opted for war. Any delay in the beginning of hostilities while mobilization continues weakens the CP's strategic position tremendously. The point is if the Russians decided not to comprimise in a weaker position what does make people believe they will be willing to compromise in a strategically much stronger one?

So let gets this straight it's bullshit that a delay would have favored France and Russia because they were slower, and it's bullshit to favor one over the other. But somehow it's not bullshit to invade faster because that would favor Germany and thus one side over the other?!

Also your point is entirely based on the idea that both sides were as hell bent on war as teh other no matter what so there not only no chance of peaceful resolution but neither side bare the responsibility for not allowing one. But the records don't show that, there were attempts to create a diplomatic alternative, only the CP knocked them back and by invading/declaring war made them impossible.
 
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Joffre was told not to consider it because it was against national policy to invade Belgium.
Again, i didn't say that France would.

It hadn't been French policy since 1830.
Which certainly don't matter to a Belgian response to a French invasion, given that the French have just Invaded!
So I reiterate, if France had been the one to attack Belgium, Belgium would have had no choice but to defend itself.

No, they wouldn't act the same. For the Russians to attack East Prussia with 4 German armies on the Eastern Front would be suicidal. Surrendering most of Western Poland would be far preferable to losing half of their army. Doing that would lose them Poland anyway, and gain them nothing.
First, they don't know where the German Armies are, Second, Their planing dictated attacking, Third, Again, they started the war to recover Prestige - Surrendering western poland without a fight is completely anti-thethical to that, Fourth, everyone thought it would be a short sharp war, and then negotiations - If they abandon Poland, and the war ends in 1915 - what would they have gained?

They had advised the Serbs to accept all of the Austrian demands
Then why did they mobilise? - More particularly, why did they mobilise elements that were tasked with invading Germany? Not defending, Invading.

, no matter how unreasonable they were.
Again, the Bosnian terrorist were trained and armed by the Serbian military, and the Head of military intelligence was the head of the terrorist organisation in question -
This is like suggesting that the USSR wouldn't have been responsible for a plan concocted by the head of the GRU, and performed by agents reporting to him, armed out of Red army stocks - It's delusional.

Responding to Austria's actions by mobilization was a sensible precaution, only the Germans considered it an act of war.
Except the military convention called for attacking Germany on M30. And the elements that were mobilised were not for defending or even attacking AH - They were elements that were to attack Germany (and did).

What you are suggesting is the only thing Russia should have done was passively accept Austria's attack on Serbia,
Yes. In just the same way that Russia didn't start Armageddon after the US invaded Afghanistan.

Only the Germans, and Austrians made ultimatums in 1914.
No, the UK also forbade the German's from sailing their Navy in international waters and from attacking France, a country they were at war with.
The UK's ultimatum about the legal deployment of the German Navy as an act of War was made for the exact same reasons as Germany in regards to the Russian mobilisation - Except for being wholly unjustified.
 
Actually there is another aspect of the russian mobilization that is important and we have not discussed it yet:
Russia has started its mobilization in secret and only officially announced and acknowledged it days later.
The important bit we havent discussed is the secret part. Why did Russia start mobilization in secret?

IMO:
There is no diplomatic adventage to mobilization in secret - the threat of mobilization or actually announcing it can be used as a diplomatic tool - to threaten with it or to actually draw away austrian troops from the serbian front without declaring war for instance while also trying to calm germany by assuring them that its only targeted on Austria for example.
Whats the use than of doing this secretely? Reducing germanies adventage of faster mobilization is a huge strategic adventage - in war. Russia starting to mobilize in secret indicates that Russia has already decided very early that this will end in war - at the very least if the CPs dont back down.
 
...


Then why did they mobilise? - More particularly, why did they mobilise elements that were tasked with invading Germany? Not defending, Invading.

Because starting mobilization =/= invading

especially not when it takes you a lot longer to do it than others,

I know there is this theory that it is , but it not. Although how mush it not does depend on your own context. For instance when you are Germany who can mobilise, and invade on the same day and have a plan pretty much entirely based on getting into France as fast as you possible can by exploiting strategic "surprise". Then mobilsiation = invading becomes more true, but that is based on German operational choices not immutable law.


Not forgetting that it wasn't done in a vacuum, Russia ordered a secret partial mobilizations in response to what Germany and AH were doing.

Now what's certainly true is that if you see your opposition mobilising it makes sense to start mobilising as well, but mobilisation still =/= war
 
Actually there is another aspect of the russian mobilization that is important and we have not discussed it yet:
Russia has started its mobilization in secret and only officially announced and acknowledged it days later.
The important bit we havent discussed is the secret part. Why did Russia start mobilization in secret?

IMO:
There is no diplomatic adventage to mobilization in secret - the threat of mobilization or actually announcing it can be used as a diplomatic tool - to threaten with it or to actually draw away austrian troops from the serbian front without declaring war for instance while also trying to calm germany by assuring them that its only targeted on Austria for example.
Whats the use than of doing this secretely? Reducing germanies adventage of faster mobilization is a huge strategic adventage - in war. Russia starting to mobilize in secret indicates that Russia has already decided very early that this will end in war - at the very least if the CPs dont back down.
I agree it was silly to do it in secret because you do lose the deterrent aspect of it, but I think your assumption it was secret because they knew war was unavoidable and were gaming an advantage is not shown.

However you last caveat about the CP not backing down is odd, because yes if the CP don't back down war is inevitable because what does the CP not backing down entail here? It entails them declaring war and invading people,

so yeah a pretty significant difference between

War is inevitable

and

War is inevitable if the other side refuses to back down and then declares war and invades everyone

I suspect they did it in secret because they knew their mobilisation would be that mush slower than everyone else and while mobilisation =/= invasion or declaring war, it does ratchet up tensions even if everyone would factor slower mobilisation rates into that.
 
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No power involved wanted to back down, that was the whole problem. That left only the option of war...

I understand from this article about the 'Russian entry into World War I' that Russia also had its reasons for starting a war:
Historians researching the causes of World War I have emphasised the role of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Scholarly consensus has typically minimised Russian involvement in the outbreak of this mass conflict. Key elements were Russia's defence of Orthodox Serbia, its pan-Slavic roles, its treaty obligations with France, and its concern with protecting its status as a great power. However, historian Sean McMeekin has emphasised Russian plans to expand its empire southward and to seize Constantinople as an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea.[1]
Although Russia had no formal treaty obligation to Serbia, it wanted to control the Balkans, and had a long-term perspective toward gaining a military advantage over Germany and Austria-Hungary. Russia had incentive to delay militarization, and the majority of its leaders wanted to avoid war. However, Russia had the support of France and feared that a failure to defend Serbia would lead to the loss of Russian credibility, constituting a major political defeat in its goal of controlling the Balkans.[2] Tsar Nicholas II mobilized Russian forces on 30 July 1914 to threaten Austria-Hungary if it invaded Serbia. Christopher Clark stated: "The Russian general mobilisation [of 30 July] was one of the most momentous decisions of the August crisis". The first general mobilization occurred before the German government had declared a state of impending war.[3]

Chain_of_Friendship_cartoon.jpg
 
No power involved wanted to back down, that was the whole problem. That left only the option of war...

I understand from this article about the 'Russian entry into World War I' that Russia also had its reasons for starting a war:



View attachment 708567
Well it's certainly true Russia (like AH) wanted the Balkans in it's sphere of influence. Pan-slavism may have been a true cause for some in Russian governmental circles but it was also a handy enthno-nationalist coat tail for Russian influence to ride on.

However a couple of points with the article you cited:

1). Starting a war with AH and Germany in order to take Constantinople is a bit wheels, within wheels, within wheels

2). By July the 30th AH and Serbia had already mobilized, AH declared war on Serbia on the 28th, on the 29th AH began combat operations. The British had confirmed that they wouldn't stay neutral on the 29th, and Germany was already talking about going through Belgium either way. Plus we already have lots of information on what was going on in Germany and AH to accept that Russian general mobilisation actaully changed their chosen course of action but rather allowed them to adjust the window dressing of it for internal consumption:

At 9:00 p.m. on 30 July, Bethmann Hollweg gave in to Moltke and Falkenhayn's repeated demands and promised them that Germany would issue a proclamation of "imminent danger of war" at noon the next day regardless of whether Russia began a general mobilization or not.[167] Bethmann Hollweg was overjoyed upon learning of Russian general mobilization at 9:00 am on 31 July, as it allowed him to present the war as something forced on Germany by Russia.[181]

At a meeting of the Prussian State Council held on 30 July, Bethmann Hollweg noted Russian mobilization was not a source of worry for Germany:[note 33] Bethmann Hollweg stated that his only interest now was, for domestic political reasons, to "represent Russia as the guilty party" behind the war.[173] In the same meeting, the Chancellor stated that if it appeared to public opinion that Russian mobilization had forced Germany into a war, then there was "nothing to fear" from the Social Democrats.[182] Bethmann Hollweg added, "There will be no question of a general or partial strike or of sabotage."[182]
 
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Actually there is another aspect of the russian mobilization that is important and we have not discussed it yet:
Russia has started its mobilization in secret and only officially announced and acknowledged it days later.
The important bit we havent discussed is the secret part. Why did Russia start mobilization in secret?

IMO:
There is no diplomatic adventage to mobilization in secret - the threat of mobilization or actually announcing it can be used as a diplomatic tool - to threaten with it or to actually draw away austrian troops from the serbian front without declaring war for instance while also trying to calm germany by assuring them that its only targeted on Austria for example.
Whats the use than of doing this secretely? Reducing germanies adventage of faster mobilization is a huge strategic adventage - in war. Russia starting to mobilize in secret indicates that Russia has already decided very early that this will end in war - at the very least if the CPs dont back down.
What your suggesting is that the "Secret Mobilization" was proof of Russian plans for a sneak attack. That doesn't follow because the time scale was so short before the Czar informed the Kaiser of it that it had very little military significance. If Russia was hoping to gain a preemptive advantage against Germany, they'd try to keep it a secret as long as possible and reveal it only when they were ready to attack. Your theory would have more weight if Russia had kept it secret for 2 weeks, not 4 days.

On 25 July 1914, Nicholas decided to intervene in the Austro-Serbian conflict, a step toward general war. He put the Russian army on "alert" on 25 July. Although it was not general mobilisation, the German and Austro-Hungarian borders were threatened and looked like military preparation for war. However, the Russian Army had few workable plans and no contingency plans for a partial mobilisation. On 30 July 1914, Nicholas took the fateful step of confirming the order for general mobilisation, despite being very reluctant.

On 28 July, Austria-Hungary formally declared war against Serbia.[19][20] Count Witte told the French Ambassador, Maurice Paléologue that the Russian point of view considered the war to be madness, Slavic solidarity to be simply nonsense and nothing could be hoped by war.[21]



Russian prisoners at the Battle of Tannenberg, where the Russian Second Army was annihilated by German forces
On 30 July, Russia ordered general mobilization but still maintained that it would not attack if peace talks began. Germany, reacting to the discovery of Russian partial mobilization ordered on 25 July, announced its own pre-mobilization posture, the imminent danger of war. Germany told Russia to demobilize within twelve hours. In Saint Petersburg at 7 p.m., the German ultimatum to Russia expired. The German ambassador to Russia met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov; asked three times if Russia would reconsider; and, with shaking hands, delivered the note accepting Russia's war challenge and declaring war on 1 August. On 6 August, Franz Joseph I of Austria signed the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Russia.
 
The British had confirmed that they wouldn't stay Neutral on the 29th
... if France is attacked by Germany.

I agree that Germany (like the other powers except Britain) made no effort to prevent war (and some leaders pushed for it). This also applies to Russia. Russia had the option of not mobilizing and thus limiting the war to Serbia. But it chose differently... Even if Germany did not declare war on Russia, Russia would have put itself in a position that it could not back down without losing face. And so will have to declare war on Austria-Hungary (if A-H doesn't back down). Etc, etc.
 

NoMommsen

Donor
...Germany, reacting to the discovery of Russian partial mobilization ordered on 25 July, announced its own pre-mobilization posture, the imminent danger of war. ...
... simply wrong.
"Imminent Danger of War" was declared on 31st July after being signed at about 14:00 by Kaiser Bill in Potsdam though it was 'pressed' for by several sides since noon after russian General Mobilization became known in Berlin.
 
... if France is attacked by Germany.

and also if Germany ignores Belgium neutrality, but it's not like Germany didn't attack France anyway. But frankly Britain has alliances with both France and Russia, they're coming in.

I agree that Germany (like the other powers except Britain) made no effort to prevent war (and some leaders pushed for it). This also applies to Russia. Russia had the option of not mobilizing and thus limiting the war to Serbia. But it chose differently... Even if Germany did not declare war on Russia, Russia would have put itself in a position that it could not back down without losing face. And so will have to declare war on Austria-Hungary (if A-H doesn't back down). Etc, etc.
The difference to me is that Germany and AH constantly made moves for and deliberately pushed towards war right from the start, and continued to do so even when it become apparent that war would not be localised to just Serbia. They also ignored options to avoid war. They each had different reasons to do this but part of Germany's was they wanted a war with France and Russia now rather than later

Also when you say "Russia had the option of not mobilizing and thus limiting the war to Serbia" do you mean:


1). just letting AH invade Serbia?

or do you mean

2). just limiting it to AH, Serbia and Russia?


if it's the former why would Russia abandon it's ally like that, especially as it already publicly stated it's support for them

if it's the latter, that doesn't work because Russia knows if it's fighting AH then it's also fighting Germany (Germany had been very public about that)
 
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What your suggesting is that the "Secret Mobilization" was proof of Russian plans for a sneak attack. That doesn't follow because the time scale was so short before the Czar informed the Kaiser of it that it had very little military significance. If Russia was hoping to gain a preemptive advantage against Germany, they'd try to keep it a secret as long as possible and reveal it only when they were ready to attack. Your theory would have more weight if Russia had kept it secret for 2 weeks, not 4 days.
1. I did not suggest a plan of sneak attack. I suggested that mobilizing in secret has no diplomatic use and only gives strategic adventage in actual war so Russia opting for that indicates that Russia was ready, willing and actually preparing to resolve the crisis by war very early on.
2. We are speaking of attacking the enemy with million strong armies in about 2 weeks from the order of mobilization. In a timetable of about 14 days gaining 1-2 let alone a 4 days head start on the enemy can be crucial.
 
1. I did not suggest a plan of sneak attack. I suggested that mobilizing in secret has no diplomatic use and only gives strategic adventage in actual war so Russia opting for that indicates that Russia was ready, willing and actually preparing to resolve the crisis by war very early on.
2. We are speaking of attacking the enemy with million strong armies in about 2 weeks from the order of mobilization. In a timetable of about 14 days gaining 1-2 let alone a 4 days head start on the enemy can be crucial.
Russia's mobilization was a diplomatic move warning Austria that the crisis could lead to war if Austria persisted.

Nothing in the historical record indicates that Russia wanted the crisis to lead to war. There's plenty to show that Austria and Germany were full of officials who did. In Germany, they went to great lengths to sabotage the Kaiser's peaceful wishes.

Russia was prepared to accept some harsh terms on Serbia including the Austrian occupation of Belgrade. She wasn't willing to allow Austria to dismember Serbia.
 
1. I did not suggest a plan of sneak attack. I suggested that mobilizing in secret has no diplomatic use and only gives strategic adventage in actual war so Russia opting for that indicates that Russia was ready, willing and actually preparing to resolve the crisis by war very early on.
1). Everyone had an army and a plan so everyone was prepared to resolve the crisis by war if need be, what's important is the distinction between those who were only prepared to to resolve it by war or to push it so far towards war that it could only be resolved by war

2). Very early on? they did it on the 25th after many moves have already been made, if the 25th of July is very early on how about 5th -6th July (and 14th June even)


Hoyos visits Berlin (5-6 July)


Finally, Emperor Franz Joseph added his own letter to Emperor Wilhelm II which closed with advocating the end of Serbia as a political power factor.[34] Hoyos was dispatched to Germany to present these letters. The letters were presented to Wilhelm II on 5 July.

Von Hoyos provided Austro-Hungarian Ambassador Count Ladislaus de Szögyény-Marich with two documents, one of which was a memo by Tisza, advising that Bulgaria should join the Triple Alliance, and another letter by Franz Joseph I of Austria stating that the only way of preventing the disintegration of the Dual Monarchy was "to eliminate Serbia" as a state.[32] The letter by Franz Joseph was based closely upon Berchtold's 14 June memo calling for the destruction of Serbia.[27] Franz Josef's letter explicitly stated that the decision for war against Serbia had been made before the assassination of the Archduke, and that the events of Sarajevo only confirmed the already pre-existing need for a war against Serbia.[35]

After meeting with Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Germany Szögyény on 5 July, the German Emperor informed him that his state could "count on Germany's full support", even if "grave European complications" ensued, and that Austria-Hungary "ought to march at once" against Serbia.[30][32] He added that "in any case, as things stood today, Russia was not at all ready for war, and would certainly think long before appealing to arms". Even if Russia were to act in defence of Serbia, Wilhelm promised that Germany would do everything in its power, including war, to support Austria-Hungary.[32] Wilhelm added that he needed to consult with Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, who he was quite sure would have a similar view.[36]

After his meeting, Szögyény reported to Vienna that Wilhelm "would regret it if we [Austria-Hungary] let this present chance, which was so favourable for us, go by without utilising it".[37][38] This so-called "blank cheque" of German support up to and including war was to be the main determining factor in Austrian policy in July 1914.[37]

At another meeting held on 5 July, this one at Potsdam palace, German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the Foreign Ministry's State Secretary Arthur Zimmermann, the Minister of War Erich von Falkenhayn, the head of the German Imperial Military Cabinet Moriz von Lyncker, the Adjutant general Hans von Plessen, Captain Hans Zenker of the Naval General Staff, and Admiral Eduard von Capelle of the Naval State Secretariat all endorsed Wilhelm's "blank cheque" as Germany's best policy.[37] On 6 July, Hoyos, Zimmerman, Bethmann-Hollweg, and Austro-Hungarian Ambassador Szögyény met and Germany gave its "blank cheque" commitment to Austria-Hungary of firm support.[36]


2. We are speaking of attacking the enemy with million strong armies in about 2 weeks from the order of mobilization. In a timetable of about 14 days gaining 1-2 let alone a 4 days head start on the enemy can be crucial.
Only due to the length to time it take thr Russian army to mobilise they're not getting the jump on anyone, plus it was a partial not full mobilisation, they would still need the full mobiisation (the Russian army didn't actaully have a plan for partial mobilisation so it doesn't really do them much).

But if we're talking about getting a jump on you opponents who about Germany plan to go through neutral Belgium and who can mobilise and invade in teh same day?
 
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Russia's mobilization was a diplomatic move warning Austria that the crisis could lead to war if Austria persisted.
How do you warn someone by starting to mobilize in secret? That was the exact point i was making. Mobilizing in secret has no diplomatic use as by its very definition cant be used as a warning or anything else. It only makes sense if you are actively preparing for war.
Nothing in the historical record indicates that Russia wanted the crisis to lead to war.
As I see it non of the Great powers wanted a World War. Even Austria wanted a war against Serbia and not WWI. The point is all - every single one of the continental powers - was rather ready to escalate the crisis to WWI than back down. And there were tons of Russian officials who wanted war - there was a pro war party in every single country.
There's plenty to show that Austria and Germany were full of officials who did. In Germany, they went to great lengths to sabotage the Kaiser's peaceful wishes.
No one argued that Germany or Austria did not bear responsibility for the conflict. Whom are you debating?
Russia was prepared to accept some harsh terms on Serbia including the Austrian occupation of Belgrade. She wasn't willing to allow Austria to dismember Serbia.
And where did Russia make this readiness to accept harsh terms and occupation of Belgrade make known? Because I never heard of it. What I do know is that they started mobilizing - before evryone else, before the declaration of war by Austria on Serbia.
 
... What I do know is that they started mobilizing - before evryone else, before the declaration of war by Austria on Serbia.

No, Russian partial mobilization was 25th July and AH mobilization was also the 25th July (to commence military operations on the 28th)

but again taking this in isolation ignores the context of what else had been going on during the previous weeks as neither Russia's or AH's actions came out of the blue
 
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But frankly Britain has alliances with both France and Russia, they're coming in.

Britain had no military alliance with Russia and only a (defensive) naval agreement with France. This article reads:
The Entente, unlike the Triple Alliance and the Franco-Russian Alliance, was not an alliance of mutual defense and so Britain was free to make its own foreign policy decisions in 1914. As British Foreign Office Official Eyre Crowe minuted, "The fundamental fact, of course, is that the Entente is not an alliance. For purposes of ultimate emergencies, it may be found to have no substance at all. For the Entente is nothing more than a frame of mind, a view of general policy which is shared by the governments of two countries, but which may be, or become, so vague as to lose all content".[18]
The coming into being of the entente did not necessarily fix a permanent division into two opposing power blocs, the situation remained flexible.[21] The alignment of the Russian Empire with Europe's two largest power centers was controversial on both sides. Many Russian conservatives mistrusted the secular French and recalled British past diplomatic maneuvers to block Russian influence in the Near East. In turn, prominent French and British journalists, academics, and parliamentarians found the reactionary tsarist regime distasteful. Mistrust persisted even during wartime, with British and French politicians expressing relief when Tsar Nicholas II abdicated and was replaced by the Russian Provisional Government after the February Revolution in 1917. An offer of political asylum for the Romanovs was even withdrawn by the British king for fear of popular reaction.[22] Also, France never brought up the subject of asylum with the deposed tsar.

Also when you say "Russia had the option of not mobilizing and thus limiting the war to Serbia" do you mean:


1). just letting AH invade Serbia?

or do you mean

2). just limiting it to AH, Serbia and Russia?

I thought of "just letting AH invade Serbia". After all, Russia had no formal treaty with Serbia. The fact that Russia nevertheless decided to support Serbia was in fact a choice for war:
On 25 July 1914, the council of ministers was held in Krasnoye Selo at which Tsar Nicholas II decided to intervene in the Austro-Serbian conflict, a step toward general war. He put the Russian army on alert on 25 July. Although this was not mobilization, it threatened the German and Austrian borders and looked like a military declaration of war.[123][124]
Source
 
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Britain had no military alliance with Russia and only a (defensive) naval agreement with France. This article reads:


It's not a mutual defense pact true, but it's an alliance they will side with Russia and France, because you have to ask what was the reasoning behind those alliances from Britain's perspective? Not out of love for the French and Russians but to limit Germany in general and AH in the Balkans.

Either way it's moot because Germany ignores Belgium Neutrality

I thought of "just letting AH invade Serbia". After all, Russia had no formal treaty with Serbia. The fact that Russia nevertheless decided to support Serbia was in fact a choice for war:

Source
Again yes no formal treaty but everyone knew the Russians would back the Serbians under almost all circumstances, no one in all the back and forth in July 1914 expressed any surprise about Russia's support of Serbia
 
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Again yes no formal treaty but everyone knew the Russian would back the Serbians under almost all circumstances, no one in all the back and forth in July 1914 expressed any surprise about Russia's support of Serbia
Then the conclusion is that all the powers involved openly risked a continental war. Only Britain's entry into the war depended on a German attack on France...
 
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