June 28, 1914: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo by Bosnians affiliated with the “Black Hand.”
July 5/6: Hoyos Mission to Berlin. Germany issues a “blank check” to Austria.
July 7: Cabinet of Austria-Hungary meets in Vienna; everyone but the Hungarian Prime Minister Tisza agrees that Serbia must be punished militarily.
July 8-22: Lull in diplomatic activity while the wheat harvest proceeds in Austria-Hungary.
July 23: Austrian ultimatum to Serbia includes the demand that Austrian police officials be allowed to arrest Serb government officials on Serb territory.
July 24/25: Flurry of diplomatic activity; Great Britain urges international diplomatic conference.
July 28: Austria declares war on Serbia.
July 29: Austria commences bombardment of the Serb capital, Belgrade.
July 30: Russia orders general mobilization of its army reserves.
July 31: Germany delivers 12-hour ultimatum to Russia.
August 1/2: Schlieffen Plan implemented; Germany declares war on Russia, but its troops enter Luxemburg and threaten Belgium.
August 3/4: The violation of Belgian neutrality persuades overwhelming majority in British cabinet and Parliament to support war. Britain declares war on Germany after its ultimatum is ignored.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Berchtold= Count Leopold Berchtold, Austrian foreign minister, the top policy-maker in Vienna
Bethmann Hollweg= Imperial German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, the top policy-maker in Berlin
Bienvenue-Martin= French finance minister and deputy premier, highest policy maker in Paris while Premier Viviani and President Poincaré were gone on their mission to St. Petersburg
Buchanan= Sir George Buchanan, British ambassador in St. Petersburg
Cambon= Paul Cambon, French ambassador in London
Conrad= Conrad von Hötzendorf, Chief of Staff of the Austrian Army (Moltke’s opposite number)
Grey= Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, the most important policy-maker in London
Hoyos= Count Alexander von Hoyos, Austrian diplomat who traveled to Berlin in early July
Jagow= Gottlieb von Jagow, German Secretary of State (Bethmann Hollweg’s foreign minister)
Lichnowsky= Prince Karl von Lichnowsky, German ambassador in London and notorious Anglophile
Moltke= Helmuth von Moltke, Chief of Staff of the German Army (Conrad’s opposite number)
Nicky= Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, reigned 1894-1917
Pourtalčs= Count Friedrich von Pourtalčs, German ambassador in St. Petersburg
Sazonov= Russian Foreign Minister Serge Sazonov, the most important policy-maker in St. Petersburg
Schoen= Wilhelm von Schoen, German ambassador in Paris
Szápáry= Austrian ambassador in St. Petersburg
Szögyény= Austrian ambassador in Berlin
Tschirschky= German ambassador in Vienna
Willy= Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, reigned 1888-1918
Excerpts from Imanuel Geiss, ed., July 1914: The Outbreak of the First World War. Selected Documents (New York: Norton, 1974)