Russia also called up half of its troops to fight in aid of Serbia. Always with an eye to expand its territory, Russia viewed the war that might ensue as a chance to gain access through the Balkans to the straits linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, a compensation for the debacle of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 which had stymied Russia’s ambitions in the Far East. Czar Nicholas also favoured a distraction from the domestic disturbances that threatened his power. In reaction to these positions, Germany issued a war alert. In France, fear of war was at its height. In L’Écho de Paris of July 30, French parliamentary representative Albert de Mun wrote: “Has the hour struck? Has the day come? Germany is the one to tell us! » The United Kingdom, allied to France by the Entente Cordiale, a set of agreements harmonizing their relations, held its breath.