The murder of the Archduke presented the Austrians with a perfect opportunity to punish Serbia
The Austrians had a strong case - the heir to the throne had been murdered by terrorists who had already murdered a King of Serbia. They had been helped by Serbian officials such as Colonel Apis of Serbian Military Intelligence. Such was popular anger that there were anti Serbian riots in Bosnia.
Germany was prepared to help
The Russian government was facing serious strikes in Russian factories and mines and another revolution seemed to be imminent
The UK would not intervene in a purely Balkan matter and was deeply involved in a possible civil war in Ireland
There had been wars in the Balkans in 1912 and 1913 and these had not spread
It was now or never. To the Austrians the very future of the Empire hung in the balance. War might just save it.
An ultimatum was designed that if it was accepted then Serbian independence would be reduced, if rejected it would mean war
The Serbs accepted all but two terms which would have allowed Austrian officials into Serbia to search for suspects and punish them without any Serbian contribution. The ultimatum was delivered on the 23rd with a 48 hour time limit.
The Serbs replied on the 25th and on the 28th the Austrians declared war.
The Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia
Read pages 26 to 27 and answer these questions-
What was Austria determined to do after the murders at Sarajevo?
Why did the Austrians delay taking action?
What was the German response?
Why did the Austrians wait until the 23rd July before they sent the ultimatum?
What was the German views of these demands?
Where was Kaiser Wilhelm II for most of July?
What was the Kaiser's response to the Austrian ultimatum?
What was the Serbian reply to the ultimatum?
Why did the Kaiser think there was no longer any cause for war?
How were the Kaiser's "peace plans" thwarted?
When did Austria declare war on Serbia?
What point of view is being expressed in source K?
How reliable is this source?
The Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia - Help Sheet
Read pages 26 to 27 and the Key facts and answer these questions-
When was the Austrian ultimatum sent to Serbia?
What were the most serious demands made by the Austrians?
What was the Serbian reply to the Austrians?
What did the Austrians then decide to do?