On 15 July, the French Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, Monsieur Dumaine, shared his views on the Austro-Hungarian press reaction to Sarajevo with the French President of the Council, René Viviani, the de facto Prime Minister. Viviani was also France’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.
M. Dumaine to M. René Viviani. Vienna, 15 July 1914.
Certain organs of the Vienna Press, discussing the military organization of France and of Russia, represent these two countries as incapable of holding their own in European affairs; this would ensure appreciable facilities for the Dual monarchy, supported by Germany, to subject Servia to any treatment which it might be pleased to impose.
The Militärische Rundschau frankly admits it: “The moment is still favourable to us. If we do not decide for war, that war in which we shall have to engage at the latest in two or three years will be begun in far less propitious circumstances. At this moment the initiative rests with us: Russia is not ready, moral factors and right are on our side. Since we shall have to accept the contest some day, let us provoke it at once. Our prestige, our position as a Great Power, our honour, are in question; and furthermore, it would seem that our very existence is concerned — to be or not to be — which is in truth the great matter to-day.”
Surpassing itself, the Neue Freie Presse of to-day reproaches Count Tisza for the moderation of his second speech, in which he said, “Our relations with Servia require, however, to be made clear.” These words raised indignation. For it, tranquillity and security can result only from a war to the knife against Pan-Servism, and it is in the name of humanity that it demands the extermination of the cursed Servian race.
Source: edited from French Yellow Book