Conrad von Hötzendorf and Serbia: 10 July 1914

Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf (pictured) was the Austro-Hungarian Chief of the General Staff in July 1914. On 10 July he gave the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Berchtold, his views on Austria’s Serbian policy.


The Imperial and Royal chief of the General Staff to Count Berchtold. 10 July 1914.

Your Excellency,

In addition to what I said in the conference [see 7July post] which recently took place under the presidency of your Excellency, I should like to send you the following in writing:

In my position as chief of the General Staff it is of utmost importance that the formula be clearly defined, whether we are to exert ourselves to bring about a war with Servia or whether we are merely to take into account the possibility of a war.

In what way either of these possibilities is to be treated diplomatically is outside my sphere of activity, but I must repeat, as I have fully agreed with you, that our diplomatic steps must avoid everything that would delay action by protracted negotiations, so that our antagonists would gain time for military preparations, which would put us at a military disadvantage, always injurious, but very much so, in the case of Servia and Montenegro.

For the same reason everything should be avoided, that might alarm our antagonists and cause them to take countermeasures; on the contrary, peaceful intentions should be feigned.

On the other hand our mind is made up for war, our military interests demand that a single step should be taken, with a short term for the ultimatum, which, if it be answered in the negative, must immediately be followed by the order for mobilisation.

I beg your Excellency to accept the expression of my highest esteem.


Source: Austrian Red Book


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