Top 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About World War I

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9. Russia Begged Germany To Stop The War

World War I officially started on July 28, 1914, the day that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. That same morning, Nicholas II sent a telegram to Wilhelm II begging him to stop the war. The telegram was partly informal, and Nicholas II even signed it with his nickname, Nicky.

Nicholas II explained that a war against Serbia would lead to the involvement of Russia, which was something he did not want. Wilhelm replied that the impending war had no political undertone and was merely to deal with the people who had assassinated the archduke. He added that he was doing his best to ensure that Austria-Hungary reached an agreement with Russia. He also signed the telegram with his nickname, Willy.

The cousins continued exchanging telegrams. However, they failed to reach an agreement even though neither wanted the war. At one point, Wilhelm suggested that Austria-Hungary troops marched into Belgrade, Serbia, without attacking the Serbians and waited while Serbia destroyed the Black Hand terrorist group that had assassinated the archduke.

He instructed his chancellor to forward this suggestion to Russia, but the chancellor instructed the German ambassador to Russia to inform Russia that Germany would mobilize its military in response to Russia’s mobilization.

Both emperors continued exchanging telegrams but still didn’t reach a conclusion. They didn’t stop mobilizing their armies, either. Neither did they do anything to delay the war. On August 1, a few days after the first telegram was sent, Germany declared war on Russia.

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