William II's Intransigence

26 July, 1914:
William II's Intransigence

I. The Imperial Chancellor [Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg] to Emperor Wilhelm II:

Berlin, July 26, 1914

As Your Majesty has just been informed by the Admiralty Staff, the naval attache at London reports that the English fleet is discharging its reservists, and giving crews leave according to schedule. In agreement with this fact, I venture most humbly to suggest to Your Majesty to order the High Seas Fleet to remain in Norway for the present, as this would materially lighten the burden of England's proposed mediation action at Petersburg, which is evidently beginning to get shaky.


II. The Emperor's Marginal Notations

There is a Russian fleet! In the Baltic there are now five Russian torpedo boat flotillas engaged in practice cruises, which as a whole or in part can be at the Belts within sixteen hours and close them. Port Arthur should be a lesson! My fleet has orders to sail for Kiel, and to Kiel it is going to go.

[Alongside the last sentence] Where does he get that idea? Not from the material submitted to me.

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