Muscle-flexing

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.