Szapáry Informs Berchtold of Russia’s Attitude Towards Serbia: 18 July 1914

Count Frigyes Szapáry (pictured) was the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Russia in July 1914. On 18 July, he informed Berchtold, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, of Russia’s attitude towards Vienna following the assassinations at Sarajevo. The following details a conversation he had with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Sazonov.


Szapáry to Berchtold. Saint Petersburg, 18 July 1914.

Herr Sazonow, whom I visited to-day, on his part avoided speaking of our relations towards Servia. I mentioned to him that in our country everybody was still under the sad impression of the recent catastrophe; told him that I considered the beginning of terrorist revolutionary methods in the life of neighbouring people a very serious symptom and a danger for all States, especially for Russia.

The minister did not attempt to deny this, and remarked that he had been somewhat disquieted by the latest news from Vienna. He then expressed his conviction that a proof of the toleration of such doings on the Servian government’s part would never be obtained. I answered that I ignored the result obtained up to the present time by the judicial inquiry but that I believed that every government was to a certain degree responsible for what happens on its territory. Moreover, the belief is held in Vienna, that, should any demands be addressed to the Servian government on this subject, Servia would meet them halfway.

Though Herr Sazonow had a short time before expressed some anxiety with regard to the form in which these demands might be put, to my German colleague, he did not say anything of the kind to me.


Source: Austro-Hungarian Red Book



  1. It is fascinating to watch from a century away as the actions and inaction of nations swing them closer and closer to war.

    By the way, is there a way I can get in touch with you directly? I need some advice on how to find out biographical information on General Von Bissing, the governor-general of Belgium, when I am located in the United States and am a novice researcher. If you prefer not to give me your contact information, I certainly understand.


    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Dear Nancy,

      I know little about General von Bissing as I study the outbreak of the First World War rather than the events of the war itself. However, I would suggest taking a look at von Bissing’s testament to start, which is available online, (, as well as his obituary in the New York Times (

      I hope that helps! If you need more information, please contact me via email using the contact information on my “About” page (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: