Karl Max, Prince Lichnowsky

Imperial German Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s from 1912-14, Karl Max, Prince Lichnowsky, was the only German diplomat who raised objections to Germany’s efforts to provoke an Austro-Serbian war, arguing that Britain would intervene in a continental war.

On July 25, he implored the German government to accept an offer of British mediation in the Austro-Serbian dispute.

On July 27, he followed with a cable arguing that Germany could not win a continental war. This cable was not shown to Kaiser Wilhelm II.

A cable on July 28 relayed an offer from King George V to hold a conference of European ambassadors to avoid general war.

A final cable on July 29 to the German Foreign Office stated simply “if war breaks out it will be the greatest catastrophe the world has ever seen.” These warnings went unheeded, and by the time the final cable reached Berlin, Austrian troops were already bombarding Belgrade.

On Britain’s declaration of war on 4 August 1914, Lichnowsky returned to Germany. So highly was he thought of that a military guard of honour saluted his departure; a rare privilege in the circumstances.

(source: Wikipedia)


Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein

Albert (Viktor Julius Joseph Michael) Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein (5 September 1861 – 15 June 1945), was the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to London at the outbreak of World War I.

He was considered both an effective and popular diplomat in London’s aristocratic circles, and his friendship with King Edward VII and his successor George V contributed to the secure and friendly diplomatic relations between Austria-Hungary and Great Britain before the war.

However, his alleged Anglophilia also brought him a certain mistrust in some circles in Vienna, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In the critical negotiations during the July Crisis of 1914, he supported the attempts to avert the danger and correspondence has shown that he was not kept fully informed of his capital’s intentions. War against Austria-Hungary was declared by the United Kingdom on 12 August, whereafter Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein left London.

During World War I, Mensdorff-Pouilly was entrusted with several diplomatic missions directed towards the restoration of peace. The most famous one was the meeting with General Jan Smuts in Geneva in December 1917. However, these negotiations proved as fruitless as those which he conducted with the representatives of the Triple Entente in the last days of the Habsburg Monarchy.

In 1917, Mensdorff-Pouilly was appointed to the Upper House (Herrenhaus) and in the following year he was a favourite of the court to replace Count Ottokar Czernin as foreign minister, but he was judged too Anglophile by Berlin.

Although the count retired from active service in 1919, he was appointed the first chief delegate of the Republic of Austria to the League of Nations in 1920. In this capacity, he negotiated the Geneva Protocols in 1922 on a loan for the economic and financial reconstruction of Austria.

Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein died of starvation in Vienna on 15 June 1945.

(source: Wikipedia)