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Anthony Pigott

8 July 1914

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Anthony Pigott

Gen. Smith-Dorrien chaired a meeting of the Harrow Assoc. (old Harrovians) at the Savoy.

In his speech, he spoke of the war-cloud hanging over Europe and encouraged his audience to prepare themselves for the coming struggle.

He was mocked by his friends and asked why he was so gloomy that evening.

Paraphrased (slightly) from S-D's 'Memories of Forty-Eight Years Service'.

Anthony

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BottsGreys

"Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Buchanan

Foreign Office, July 8, 1914

Sir,

Speaking to Count Benckendorff quite unofficially to-day, I expressed the apprehension that the Austrian Government might be forced by the strength of public opinion in Austria to make some demarche with regards to Servia, as Austrian public opinion had been very strongly roused against Servia by the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand....Count Benckendorff said that he was aware of the strong feeling in Austria, but he did not see on what a demarche against Servia could be founded...

Count Benckendorff said that he hoped that Germany would restrain Austria. He could not think that Germany would wish a quarrel to be precipitated. I said that my information was that the authorities in Berlin were very uncomfortable and apprehensive. They had got into their minds that Russian feeling was very adverse to Germany. They had obtained information somehow from Paris or St. Petersburg, founded upon the conversations between the Russian and British naval authorities, and they no doubt imagined that there was much more in these conversations than actually existed. All this might lead the German authorities to think that some coup was being prepared against Germany, to be executed at a favourable moment. (**See prior post reJuly 6, 1914, Sir E. Grey to Sir H. Rumbold). Of course, there was no foundation for such a thought...

Count Beckendorff confirmed emphatically that, since the question of the German military command in Constantinople had been settled, he had no indication whatever from St. Petersburg of ill-will towards Germany. But he added that the increase in the Russian army and the greater Russian preparedness for war were undoubted facts which might possibly make some spirits in Germany think that it would be better to have a conflict now, before the situation was more to the German disadvantage. He could not, however, believe that the German Emperor and the German Government would really take this line. I said that it would be very desirable that, in whatever way the Russian Government could best do it, they should do all in their power to reassure Germany, and convince her that no coup was being prepared against her....

Count Benckendorff said that he would write to M. Sazonof. He expressed himself quite conscious of the apprehension felt in Berlin; of the danger that lay in it, especially at this moment, when Austria was excited against Servia, and of the desirability of preventing the horrible situation of having the Servian question forced open.

I am, &c.

E.Grey"

(My bold)

Chris

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BottsGreys

"Sir H. Rumbold to Sir Edward Grey

Berlin, July 8, 1914

Sir,

As far as can be judged, the asassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his Consort at Serajevo produced an impression almost amounting to consternation in Germany. The Emperor had only quite recently returned from Konopischt and the intimacy existing between His Majesty and the Austro-Hungarian Heir Apparent was a matter of common knowledge as well as of great satisfaction to Germans....It may, perhaps, be observed generally that the relations between the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires fall into two parts, viz., the relations of the two Empires and of their Rulers inter se and the extent of the military and naval assistance they can give one another in the event of war. The two questions are, of course, closely connected. In regard to the first point, the intimcy existing between the Emperor and the late Archduke seemed to constitute one certain factor in the future relations between the two Empires. This factor has now disappeared. It is now a matter of academical speculation whether, had the Archduke lived, there would have been found room in the Triple alliance for two such masterful personalities as the Emperor and the late Austro-Hungarian Heir Apparent, in other words, whether the intimacy betwen them would have lasted....

You are aware that, since the Balkan wars, doubts have sprung up in Germany as to the extent to which she can reckon on military assistance from her neighbor in the event of a general war. The idea is that Austra-Hungary would be hampered by having to prepare for eventualities on the Servian frontier. This idea has been strengthened by the recent crime at Serajevo...."

I have, etc.

Horace Rumbold"

Chris

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