Kaiser Wilhelm’s Telegram to Tsar Nicholas: 29 July 1914

On 29 July 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany sent a telegram to Tsar Nicholas of Russia. Between the end of July and the beginning of August, the two monarchs exchanged telegrams in English in what became known as the Willy-Nicky telegrams.

Kaiser Wilhelm to Tsar Nicholas. Berlin, 29 July 1914, 6:30 P.M.

I received your telegram and share your wish that peace should be maintained. But as I told you in my first telegram, I cannot consider Austria’s action against Servia an “ignoble” war. Austria knows by experience that Servian promises on paper are wholly unreliable. I understand its action must be judged as trending to get full guarantee that the Servian promises shall become real facts.

Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas

Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas


My reasoning is borne out by the statement of the Austrian cabinet that Austria does not want to make any territorial conquests at the expense of Servia. I therefore suggest that it would be quite possible for Russia to remain a spectator of the Austro-servian conflict without involving Europe in the most horrible war she ever witnessed.

I think a direct understanding between your Government and Vienna possible and desirable, and as I already telegraphed to you, my Government is continuing its exercises to promote it. Of course military measures on the part of Russia would be looked upon by Austria as a calamity we both wish to avoid and jeopardize my position as mediator which I readily accepted on your appeal to my friendship and my help.



Source: German Documents collected by Karl Kautsky


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on WWILibrarian and commented:
    Even after war was declared, there was still time to avoid something so large-scale. Unfortunately, those involved were not interested in anything but pressing forward.

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