Finally! I get to tackle one of the big quotable moments of the lead up to the great war from Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary. The quote above shows up again and again in books and documentaries about the war. The thing that bugs me about it is that it is so pat, quotable and oh-so-prophetic when viewed in hindsight.
One source I have relates that Grey’s famous lines were told to John Rutherford, an Irish politician, Wikipedia says it was J.A. Spender, editor of the Westminster Gazette and a gentleman with no easy to find photographs. I used this one. I have no idea if it’s actually the right guy. Anyway, I’m of the belief that it’s the latter. Grey, after all, was a politician, and even while facing the defining moment of his age probably would have been aware of the importance of a good soundbite. Maybe I’m just too cynical…
That’s about it for the July Crisis for now. I know I didn’t cover France, Russia or even England at all and only briefly addressed Austria-Hungary. Maybe I’ll come back to them in the future.
Next: The Battle of the Frontiers!