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But a few days have passed since- the ultimatum of Austria to Seivia sent the rumour of war on its lightning course through the Chancellories of Europe, and fewer einoe a formal declaration, on the part of the Dual Monarchy warned tho world that the conflicting elements in that danger zone, tho East of Europe, threatened the most serious blow to its peace in modern times. The gravest anticipations of the magnitude of tho menace have unfortunately been already justified in an alarming degree. Since Austria made her decisive move the peace of Europe has hung in the balance, and the scale has unfortunately dipped sadly in the wrong direction. The action of Austria gave speedy impulse to measures of mobilisation on the part of each of the Great Powers that considered its interests vitally implicated in the fate of Servia. Germany then became the cynosure of all eyes. If the action of Austria was a> challenge to Russia, that of Russia seemed likely to provoke prompt retaliation from the powerful ally of \ Austria. So it has proved in the sequel. The extension of the area of conflict has ■proceeded precisely in the automatic way that had been predicted. It is to be regretted that the process is capable of proceeding far beyond its present etage, and it is the imminent danger of its extending to- the limits of its influence that makes the present outlook so dark. The ,G«nnan demand that Russia should cease mobilisation within a given time was not complied with. There little expectation thatit would be. The news which we publish this morning, that Germany has declared war upon Russia, is an announcement fraught with possibilities of a most farreaching character. Moreover, these are already revealing themselves only too surely in various aspects. The first shots are said to have been exchanged across the R.usso-German frontier. The Kaiser's speech at Berlin constitutes a plea that Germany has done her utmost in the interests of peace at St; Petersburg as well as at Vienna and Belgrade, and that a sword has been forced into her hand. The German Emperor may have worked* zealously for peace in his way,; albeit his way has unfortunately not been that of Sir Edward Grey. In the meantime, however, it is the hard facts of the situation and their probable sequel that command universal attention. With mobilisation the order of the day in Austria, Russia, Germany, and France, the magnitude of the conflict that is at hand stuns the imagination. France must already be held to be hopelessly involved in the struggle. Her bond with Russia will be carried out, and she will probably be the first objective of Germany's attack. It is not only the movement of troops 'on the FrancoGerman frontier that suggest* this. According to well-informed authorities, Germany has latterly been pushing on schemes for conveying large bodies of troops to the French frontier by way of Belgium. The assassination at Paris, under peculiarly dastardly circumstances, of the eminent French Socialist, M. Jaures, is an episode that strikes an ill note amid the reported French enthusiasm over the order for mobilisation. Its probable effect may be to arouse the antagonism of the Socialists at a time when national unity is an absolute necessity. Reports from Rome suggest that Italy, the third member of the Triple Alliance, is desirous of retaining neutral, regarding, the obligations pi the Alliance as applicable only in respect to a defensive war. All the indications point to Italy feeling somewhat aggrieved at Austria for acting on her own initiative, and, apart from their alliance, Italy and Austria are by no means fiee from mutual rivalry. But there seems no good reason to hope that neutrality will be possible for Italy, even if ehe is anxious to adopt that position.' But the giavest consideration which must be causing profound anxiety throughout the British Empire at the present time is the course that Great Britain will find it necessary to take in this overwhelming crisis. There is no esoape from ; the conclusion that the outlook is as grave as it could be. It seeme to be a» foregone conclusion in the eyes of Europe that Great Britain cannot avoid becoming* a belligerent on the side of her friends of the Triple Entente. In a glance at the possibilities of the situation-, the statement attributed to the Japanese Ambassador in London, that if Great Britain should be embroiled Japan will act in the spirit of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, is not to be ignored, capable as it is of more than one interpretation. The military view has been that in the event of tJreat Britain finding herself engaged in a Continental war she would take prompt steps to transport an expeditionary force across the Channel for the purpose of lending assistance to France. Speculation in this direction has received no support so far from any word of mobilisation in the Old Country. The steps taken thus far by the British authorities, who may, however, have been less communicative than those on the Continent, appear to have been of a mainly precautionary character. They include the assumption by the Government of control of the Welsh coal mines. But the gloom of the situation is practically unrelieved. The recall of shipping, the stoppage of the export trade, and various other symptoms indicate realisation and experience of an hour of gravest stress in which the whole Empire participates. The tribute of the American press to British national calmness at such ..a time will doubtless, however, be well earned.

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THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 1914. THE BURSTING OF THE WAR CLOUD., Otago Daily Times, Issue 16142, 3 August 1914

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THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 1914. THE BURSTING OF THE WAR CLOUD. Otago Daily Times, Issue 16142, 3 August 1914