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Menace of a ‘great war’

01 August 2014

July 31st, 1914

ALL Europe, at the moment, stands face to face with the menace of a great and devastating war. The quarrel between Austria-Hungary and Servia was not begun yesterday: it is a thing of some years' standing. It is true that the recent assassination of the Austrian Heir-Apparent through the machination of agents in Belgrade has been made the occasion for the declaration of war by Austria against Servia, but behind and beyond that was a long series of plots against the House of Habsburg and the Dual Monarchy. If it were only the assassination that constituted the casus belli, it would be a simple matter to decide on which side our sympathies should lie. But, if the war is extended be-yond the two belligerent states, we may find ourselves espousing a quarrel with which we are in sympathy only in part. It will then be the Triple Entente against the Triple Alliance. It is a grievous disappointment that Germany has declined to accept our Foreign Secretary's invitation to join in a Conference of the Powers in London, though France and Italy had already signified their willingness to take part in it. But it is not necessary to augur the worst from this attitude of Germany. She is believed to be doing her best to arrive at an understanding with Russia, on whose action depends the possibility of localizing the war. Russia, however, will never consent to stand by while Servia is being reduced from the position of a Sovereign State, but, if Austria gives her an assurance that this is not her intention in attempting to punish Servia, the general war that Europe so greatly dreads will be staved off. Towards that happier issue the prayers of the peoples and the efforts of responsible statesmen will be directed. Give peace in our time, O Lord.

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