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
Russia also lived under a perceived doomsday clock.
They felt that the impeding German control of the Straits and railroad expansion would choke their vital grain trade route to the global markets.
It made strategic sense for them to prepare for this eventuality and seek to counter it.
Yes, in 17 pages and no one has mentioned the von Sanders Affair at the end of 1913. A German hand around Russia's economic throat through the Straits would be intolerable.
 
Russia also lived under a perceived doomsday clock.
They felt that the impeding German control of the Straits and railroad expansion would choke their vital grain trade route to the global markets.
It made strategic sense for them to prepare for this eventuality and seek to counter it.

Mere Mahanism does not explain the significant resources poured to their naval reconstruction efforts and their focus to the Black Sea. These resources were also put to actual use - the end result was that the Russian Black Sea fleet was an aggressive and competent force, and IMO the most successful combined army-navy operations force in the whole WW1. They routinely turned the flanks of Ottoman defensive lines with naval landings at the Black Sea coast.
That is not a doomsday clock. Perceiving long term strategic economic, and military problems, and planning for them isn't the same thing. A doomsday clock means you're thinking we have to act now, or face disaster. At no time in the period leading up to WWI did Russian leaders believe they had to go to war with anyone immediately, or face disaster. In fact, it was quite the opposite, Russia was trying to put off Crises, till their long term programs were complete. Even then we have no reason the think they were planning some kind of reckoning with anyone. They had no plans to start a war with Germany in 1917, or any other time we know of. And in advance no, having war plans is not the same thing as planning on war. Russia understood any new agreement regarding the Straits would involve an international conference, they could not act unilaterally.
 
That is not a doomsday clock. Perceiving long term strategic economic, and military problems, and planning for them isn't the same thing. A doomsday clock means you're thinking we have to act now, or face disaster. At no time in the period leading up to WWI did Russian leaders believe they had to go to war with anyone immediately, or face disaster. In fact, it was quite the opposite, Russia was trying to put off Crises, till their long term programs were complete. Even then we have no reason the think they were planning some kind of reckoning with anyone. They had no plans to start a war with Germany in 1917, or any other time we know of. And in advance no, having war plans is not the same thing as planning on war. Russia understood any new agreement regarding the Straits would involve an international conference, they could not act unilaterally.
Compared to the other autocratic empires of the era, the Russian elites were a mixed bunch. Some of them felt that everything was just peachy keen and good, others were really gloomy about the future prospects of Russia. Nicholas II, hapless as he was, stumbled along and kept his advisors squabbling between themselves so that the Russian foreign policy became really erratic and focused on key personnel. Russian authorities learned nothing from Bezobrazov, and later on Izvolsky finally got them into a mess. Stumbling to a war because of diplomats playing their own games is not something exclusive for Russia by any means.

There is also a world of difference between pre- and post- Russo-Japanese War Russian foreign policy. Prewar Russian policy in Central Asia and the Far East was cocksure.
Postwar policy can be described as neurotic, with new focus on Russification of the imperial border provinces, extensive naval rearmament drive - and the growing importance of Straits because of the growing importance of grain trade.

Mixed with the feeling of being humiliated by the Japanese at Manchuria and being slighted by the Austrians in the Bosnian Crisis 1908 soon afterwards was widespread among the court elites. Generally it was the rise of Germany that divided the Russian elites the most, as the German Empire was correctly viewed as the only true security threat the Empire could face. The Baltic nobility wanted to maintain good relations, Western-oriented liberals opposed closer ties with Germany, and the Danish/Montenegrin clique of the Romanovs wanted to promote Balkan connections and Pan-Slavism.

As for the Caucasus and Ottomans, the traditional policy of keeping the Balkans on ice was gone by the time Izvolsky took over, and the new policy was markedly confrontational - and alarmed of potential joint Franco-Anglo-German railroad construction plans.
 
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.
When presented with the first mobilisation order, the Tsar asked his generals if they understood the implications of what they were asking him to do. He certainly grasped that the move meant war.

He was far from the only one. British and French officials in St Petersburg realised this as well. So did Sazonov, for the matter. And the whole "smash the phone" anecdote relating to the second general mobilisation would not even exist, unless all people involved in Russia at the time clearly understood that the step they were taking was irreversible.

I can only recommend a close reading of Keegan's The First World War, and Watson's Ring Of Steel, for starters. While Germany bears undeniable shared culpability in the conflagration, Russia is being whitewashed a bit too much in some comments, I think.
 
B-H was a mix of Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox

From the wiki
According to the 1910 population census there were 1,898,044 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

ReligionNumber
Eastern Orthodox825,918 (43.49%)
Muslims612,137 (32.25%)
Roman Catholics434,061 (22.87%)
others26,428 (1.39%)

The urban population was, according to religion, 50.76% Muslims, 24.49% Roman Catholics, and 19.92% Eastern Orthodox. Land ownership was 91.1% Muslims, 6% Eastern Orthodox, 2.6% Roman Catholics, and 0.3% others. Comparing the 1910 percentages with the 1879 census shows a drop of the Muslim percentage from 39% to 32%, and a rise in Catholics from 18% to 23%, while the Orthodox population hovered around 43% the entire time.

So not a Majority, and proven in the the two Balkan Wars, the Serbs loved their ethnic cleansing, as infamously with the Albanians

The Orthodox were still a relative majority as you can see, even if not an absolute majority. And even leaving that aside, I don't think the Bosnian Muslims and Croats were necessarily 'culturally' more inclined to Austria-Hungary than to Serbia. Perhaps for the Catholics they were to Croatia-Slavonia, but that's another matter I guess.

Comments like the bold also seem rather distasteful.
 
KThey did many distasteful things in their two Balkan Wars.
Yes, I'm well aware, Marathag, it's just the way you phrased it seems almost to imply that it's an inherent trait the Serbs have.

In regards to Bosnia-Herzegovina - yes, while Serbian nationalist movements had begun to infiltrate the provinces especially following the ascension of the Karadjordjević dynasty, the Habsburg treatment of the Bosnian Serbs left much to be desired, too, and was an understandable bone of contention between Vienna and Belgrade. Discriminatory measures against the Serbs were already enacted during the Balkan Wars, and continued to much more devastating effect after 1914 - to the tune of forced displacements, internments and massacres by auxiliary militia units. See Vladimir Ćorović's histories for a closer examination, or Heiner Grunert's more recent work in English.
 
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Yes, I'm well aware, Marathag, it's just the way you phrased it seems almost to imply that it's an inherent trait the Serbs have.

In regards to Bosnia-Herzegovina - yes, while Serbian nationalist movements had begun to infiltrate the provinces especially following the ascension of the Karadjordjević dynasty, the Habsburg treatment of the Bosnian Serbs left much to be desired, too, and was an understandable bone of contention between Vienna and Belgrade. Discriminatory measures against the Serbs were already enacted during the Balkan Wars, and continued to much more devastating effect after 1914 - to the tune of forced displacements, internments and massacres by auxiliary militia units. See Vladimir Ćorović's histories for a closer examination, or Heiner Grunert's more recent work in English.
See serbian actions in Macedonia before the Balkan wars. They turned it into a hellhole of anarchy, murder, and terrorism (together with Greece and Bulgaria), with various gangs rowing the country and attacking anyone who didnt align with their flavour of nationalism. Those were the operations they were transferring to Bosnia after they conquered Macedonia.

See serbian actions during the balkan wars (again the rest of the christian balkan states were not much better which does not absolve the serbians in the least) but what the serbians did was basically ethnic cleansing. English reports of their behaviour are incredibly sad reads.

A nationalistic serbia frehly conquering bosnia lets say in a Balkan War is hard to imagine would not behaved as badly or worse to the muslims in bosnia than they did OTL in the rest of their conquests - meaning genocide and enthnic cleansing. Bosnia did not completely escape that fate from serbian hands even OTL - though much later and on a much smaller scale than what would have happened in the case of a late 19th / early 20th century conquest.

I dont pretend to know the solution to the bosnian question - if there is or ever was any at all. But I think from a humanitarian point of view it can be safely argued that the people of the province were much better off at the time under Austrian rule than they would have been under serbian one. Negative discrimination is a far cry from large scale ethnic cleansing which would have been the likely fate of the bosniak from a serbian conquest.

I wont defend Austrian behaiour towards their serbian subjects after the war started - it was abysmal.
 
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See serbian actions in Macedonia before the Balkan wars. They turned it into a hellhole of anarchy, murder, and terrorism (together with Greece and Bulgaria), with various gangs rowing the country and attacking anyone who didnt align with their flavour of nationalism. Those were the operations they were transferring to Bosnia after they conquered Macedonia.

See serbian actions during the balkan wars (again the rest of the christian balkan states were not much better which does not absolve the serbians in the least) but what the serbians did was basically ethnic cleansing. English reports of their behaviour are incredibly sad reads.

A nationalistic serbia frehly conquering bosnia lets say in a Balkan War is hard to imagine would not behaved as badly or worse to the muslims in bosnia than they did OTL in the rest of their conquests - meaning genocide and enthnic cleansing. Bosnia did not completely escape that fate from serbian hands even OTL - though much later and on a much smaller scale than what would have happened in the case of a late 19th / early 20th century conquest.

I dont pretend to know the solution to the bosnian question - if there is or ever was any at all. But I think from a humanitarian point of view it can be safely argued that the people of the province were much better off at the time under Austrian rule than they would have been under serbian one. Negative discrimination is a far cry from large scale ethnic cleansing which would have been the likely fate of the bosniak from a serbian conquest.

I wont defend Austrian behaiour towards their serbian subjects after the war started - it was abysmal.
Yes, once again, I'm well aware of what Serbia did in the southern Balkans. I've read (parts of) that famous 1914 report on the causes and conduct of the Balkan Wars, which goes into gruesome detail. I wouldn't dream of downplaying it.

I'm more sceptical, however, of the suggestion that ethnic cleansing would have followed a Serbian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina - even less of the connection you drew to what happened in the '90s. There probably would have been some attempts at forced assimilation of the Catholic and Muslim population, as many Serbian nationalists, undoubtedly, saw B-H as a fundamentally 'Serbian' province - see for example the manuscript written by the ethnographer Jovan Cvijić, Aneksija Bosne i Hercegovine i Srpsko pitanje [The Annexation of B-H and the Serbian Question] (1908). But I'm not so certain this would have amounted to genocide or 'large scale ethnic cleansing', as you seem sure of. Or that it would've been any more egregious than Vienna's own attempts to Germanise the provinces by, for instance, importing (mainly Catholic) civil servants into the provinces, of whom many could not speak the local language.

If we look at what actually happened after WWI in the newly formed Yugoslav kingdom, Belgrade actually took steps, if often belatedly, to put down large-scale agrarian unrest (targeted against the Bosnian Muslims) which had erupted in B-H in 1918. They followed this up, true, by enacting wide-ranging agricultural reform in 1921, which essentially put an end to the system of serfdom which still existed in B-H, and thus disadvantaged the largely Muslim landowners. However, this only had to be done as this problem was largely neglected by Vienna during its forty years in B-H - some minor reforms aside, the agrarian question was never completely settled and serfdom remained in force all the way until 1918.
 
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a paper with an overview of the land reform after the War http://megatrendreview.naisbitt.edu.rs/files/pdf/EN/Megatrend Review vol 08-2-2011.pdf

Bosnia and Herzegovina entered a wholly new era of economic development after the Austro-Hungarian occupation of 1878. Guided by their own aims and the interests of those they represented, the Austro-Hungarian authorities aided capitalist development. At the same time, they preserved the inherited feudal relations in agriculture, despite the obligations they had taken on at the Congress of Vienna. Such an agrarian policy produced even bigger socio-economic differences.
Religious divergences and national contradictions additionally deepened social differences, which were felt not just in the villages but in the cities as well.
After establishing its power on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary proclaimed the validity of the Ottoman laws on agrarian-legal property relations, thus showing that it had no intention of bringing any changes in this area. The imperial proclamation of 1878 to the people on the occupied territory included the following:

Your laws and regulations shall not be autocratically abolished. Your customs and habits shall be preserved. Nothing must be changed forcibly without careful consideration of Your necessities. The old laws shall apply until new ones are issued 16

The most important law in that area was the Ramadan Law of 1858, which was a general law on land ownership. Its interpretation was based on religious teachings, that is, property rights according to Sharia law. It was adjusted in the meantime to the new circumstances, after the abolition of the military feudal system.
The existing Law on Title Deeds of 1859, which allowed the granting of documents that regulated land property rights, also remained in force.17

During the time of Ottoman rule, the title deed served as confirmation of a right to lease an immovable property. On the basis of a title deed, the authorities collected revenue each time the leasing right was transferred. 18

The Safar Order of 1859, issued with the goal of sanctioning the customary law that regulated relations between feudal landowners (aghas and beys) and land tillers – serfs, also remained in force. The people had expected essential changes in agrarian-legal relations after Christian authorities replaced the Ottoman ones. However, the extension of the Ottoman laws further stratified the population and deepened social differences.
The Shawwal Law of 1868, which also remained in force, regulated property rights regarding the division of forests. It pertained to the four existing categories of beneficiaries: state, waqf, municipal and private. Conditions of use were defined for the first three categories while provisions of the Ramadan Law remained in force for the fourth. The Austro-Hungarian administration enforced the Shawwal Law only to the extent to which it suited its interests and the interests of foreign capital, without taking into account the interests of the local populace. The consequences of such a social policy were poverty and growth in the number of forestry crimes.
...
Macedonia and Old Serbia were under Ottoman rule all the way up to the Balkan Wars of 1912. Such long life under the rule of a declining empire negatively affected the socio-economic development of this area. Backward agrarian relations required modernization. Primitive agriculture and obsolete tools could barely ensure basic subsistence. Pressed by feudal rents, state taxes and usurious capital, agrarian producers were not able to modernize their technology and improve production.20

The peasantry on the territory of Macedonia and Old Serbia was divided into two categories, free and obligated peasants (“čifčija”). The word “čift” is derived from Turkish and denotes an area of land that can be worked over a year’s time with one pair of oxen. The largest number of free villages was located in mountain regions, while the čifčija villages were found in the Vardar river valley and fertile basins. Land registries and cadastres did not exist, and property rights were determined exclusively with the aid of title deeds. The deeds had little proof value, so property rights had to be checked in each concrete case, even through witness statements. Such a state of affairs was often abused, especially during transactions. It was hard to determine the state of ownership of immovable property, and property-legal security was non-existent.
Montenegro, due to its scarcity of arable land, soil composition and climate conditions, was generally agriculturally backward. Animal husbandry and, to a much lesser extent, crop farming were practically the only economic branches.
Agricultural technology was characterized by extremely primitive tools. The state of agrarian relations and the land ownership structure were characterized by small landholdings, with no trace of feudal relations. The peasantry was free, while čifčija relations existed only in parts that were annexed after the Berlin Congress of 1878. The authorities in those areas intervened and freely distributed the land that had been considered “imperial” to soldiers, with the remains going to those who had worked it until then. The exception was the Zeta region, where feudal relations remained. 21
In the Bjelo Polje, Pljevlja, Berane, Kolašin and Peć districts, areas liberated by Montenegro during the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, feudal agrarian property relations had remained, similar to those on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.22
...skip...
The liquidation of feudal land relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina was performed through the Decree on Procedure Regarding Feudal Lands in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of May 12, 1921, and the Law on Feudal Lands in Bosnia and Herzegovina of December 3, 1928. On the basis of these acts, those that worked the land became the owners of feudal lords’ (aghas and beys) lands that were held without rights of inheritance. The previous owners of the land were compensated in the total amount of 500 million dinars. Towards that end, in 1930 the state began to issue bonds for the financial liquidation of compensation for feudal lands in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was referred to as the “Begluk Loan” (Beglučki zajam), with a total issuance value of 150 million dinars in four installments, between 1930 and 1935, with an interest rate of 6% and a term of payment of 43 years. 42

Compensation for the feudal lands, i.e., the payout of coupons and amortized bonds, was carried out by the Sector for State Debt of the Ministry of Finance, the financial directorate, the tax administration, the board and affiliates of the Postal Savings Bank, and monetary institutions authorized by the Ministry of Finance, beginning with September 14, 1929. Namely, the Sector for State Debt of the Ministry of Finance issued bonds to the Agrarian Directorate in Sarajevo, with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture, on the basis of which competent provincial authorities paid out the adjudicated compensations. A portion of the payments was given in bonds and the rest in cash.
...
It was not until 1931, during the dictatorship of King Aleksandar, 12 years after the adoption of the Preliminary Provisions for the Implementation of Agrarian Reform, that the Law on the Liquidation of Agrarian Reform could be adopted. In the opinion of Nikola Vučo, the created provisional state had been purposely prolonged,52 in the interest of the large landowners.
It suited them that the general principles of agrarian reform had already been essentially undermined with the adoption of the Decree on Granting Four-Year Leases on Land from Large Landholdings in 1920. While peasants were still lacking property legal security for being denied the right to become land owners, the large landholders were haggling with the authorities about setting the maximum land area over which they could retain permanent ownership.

On the basis of the Law on the Liquidation of Agrarian Reform, serf and feudal property relations were liquidated in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but 235 large landed estates of between 100 and 450 hectares remained. Namely, there were 2,804,189 hectares of arable land in Bosnia and Herzegovina, out of which only 1,076, 685 hectares were distributed to agrarian interested parties. Former serfs and workers on beys’ lands were granted an average of 7 hectares of land, while invalids, volunteers and landless peasants received barely 2 hectares apiece.
In the northern parts, in Slovenia, Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina, the large landholders retained 49.21% of the total land that had been initially marked for expropriation.53

Out of a total of 2,185,883 cadastral jutros of arable land, forest and pasture, the large landholders had retained over 1,500,000 cadastral jutros.
The large landholders retained one half of their land thanks to constantly pressuring the authorities to increase the land maximum, which is known to be the most important element of any agrarian reform. Abandonment of the initially determined land maximum brings into question the success of agrarian reform, and that is precisely what happened in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
5. Conclusion
In the social sense, agrarian reform brought momentary political stability.
However, in the economic sense, agrarian reform brought negative results. The years of palliative, provisional solutions negatively affected the agricultural activity of the agrarian interested parties. The small interested parties were granted land without inventory and with all the existing burdens. Land was even given to those that had never engaged in land cultivation before. As a result, due to neglect, primitive cultivation methods, and the unresolved issue of favorable agricultural credits, agricultural production on the entire territory of the state fell significantly. In the newly established circumstances, some alienated the land, selling it to rich peasants or returning it to the earlier owners, as in cases of the land of the Bosnian aghas and beys. Agrarian reform slowed the penetration of capitalism into agriculture, by creating large landholdings. As Dr. Nikola Vučo puts it, the consequence was the strengthening of the middle peasant class, which, due to its specific position, slowed the penetration of capitalism into the village. Vučo adds that the highly complex agrarian question in pre-war Yugoslavia could not be resolved by agrarian reform alone.54

.

So a magic wand was not waved over Bosnia with reform happening quickly by saying 'No More Serfs', and Yugoslavia did their own share of kicking the can down the road, as the Austrian shared control with the Ottoman Empire from 1878 til 1908, as shown in the bit from the Wall of Text above

' The imperial proclamation of 1878 to the people on the occupied territory included the following:

Your laws and regulations shall not be autocratically abolished. Your customs and habits shall be preserved. Nothing must be changed forcibly without careful consideration of Your necessities. The old laws shall apply until new ones are issued '


and the A-H officials found the existing system was working, so left it mostly alone

Should note that the unrest of the farmers was not limited just to Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also Macedonian areas gained in the Balkan Wars and Montenegro
 
So a magic wand was not waved over Bosnia with reform happening quickly by saying 'No More Serfs', and Yugoslavia did their own share of kicking the can down the road, as the Austrian shared control with the Ottoman Empire from 1878 til 1908, as shown in the bit from the Wall of Text above

Yes, their kicking of the can, as it were, was still far more rapid than anything the Habsburgs did. The fact that a law was passed as early as 1921 to abolish serfdom says something, given that significant reforms to agricultural relations were not enacted by the monarchy until the twentieth century (and these fell well short of abolition). It was obviously far too delicate a situation to be resolved immediately by just outright abolishing serfdom - particularly as the nature of the landowner/serf relationships made it an ethnic and confessional issue, as well as an economic one. Yes, the problem was obviously far from being resolved in the early '20s - the underdeveloped situation of many Yugoslav lands ensured that this would be the case, regardless of what Belgrade did. But it was a step in the right direction. Also, B-H was under very little real Ottoman influence from 1878-1908 - while nominally still Constantinople's province, local administration (and thus control over land relations) was completely under the Habsburgs.

>>
and the A-H officials found the existing system was working, so left it mostly alone
>>

Lol. Yes, they found the existing Ottoman system 'working' in favour of their interests - which were, namely, to restore order in B-H following the Herzegovina Uprising, and to cultivate the favour of the local ruling classes, which was critical if they were to smooth the transition of the two provinces to Austro-Hungarian rule as peacefully as possible. For all this, they needed the loyalty of the Muslim beys and agas to as great an extent as possible, and thus, large-scale agricultural reform was generally eschewed. There were greater allowances made to the serfs at the beginning of the twentieth century, allowing some to buy their freedom and acquire land - but this did little in the way of resolving the wider issue. By 1910, a full 68% of the Orthodox rural population (which was over 90% of their total population) was under some form of feudal obligations - a greater portion than either their Catholic or Muslim counterparts. See: Milan Gaković, "Rješavanje agrarnog pitanja," 14-15, (1970). I would also question the notion that the system was working all the way until WWI - there were famously widespread agrarian revolts in the north-western Krajina region in 1910, which had to be suppressed with military force. This was before Serb nationalism had truly penetrated rural society (which happened mainly during the Balkan Wars), and so it was mainly the result of economic disillusionment.
 
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When presented with the first mobilisation order, the Tsar asked his generals if they understood the implications of what they were asking him to do. He certainly grasped that the move meant war.

He was far from the only one. British and French officials in St Petersburg realised this as well. So did Sazonov, for the matter. And the whole "smash the phone" anecdote relating to the second general mobilisation would not even exist, unless all people involved in Russia at the time clearly understood that the step they were taking was irreversible.

I can only recommend a close reading of Keegan's The First World War, and Watson's Ring Of Steel, for starters. While Germany bears undeniable shared culpability in the conflagration, Russia is being whitewashed a bit too much in some comments, I think.
So, what was the Russian alternative to mobilization? Just to protest while Austria invaded Serbia? We know the German Government was relieved by the Russian mobilization, because it gave them an excuse to declare war. The Germans intended to attack Russia if they mobilized or not.

German response to Russian mobilization[edit]​


In the evening of Thursday, 30 July, with Berlin's strenuous efforts to persuade Vienna to some form of negotiation, and with Bethmann Hollweg still awaiting a response from Berchtold, Russia gave the order for full mobilization. When the German Emperor learned that, were Germany to attack France and Russia, Britain would in all likelihood not remain neutral, he launched a vehement rant, denouncing Britain as "that filthy nation of grocers."[180] That same day, the anti-Russian German-Turkish alliance was signed.[160] Moltke passed on a message to Conrad asking for general mobilization as a prelude to a war against Russia.[167]

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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