If Britain announces neutrality during the July Crisis, do France and Russia fight?


Ad Honoris
May 2014
Do you think that France and Russia would have still been willing to fight for Serbia in 1914 if Britain would have announced neutrality in any future European war during the July Crisis of 1914?


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
I'd say yes to that. What the British did or did not do wasn't really all that material for Russia at the time. And for the French the key alliance to contain/confront Germany was with Russia. In the end also it was the Germans who declared war on France. With the UK committed to the sideline, there is even less reason for Germany to hold off on that. Not least with an expectation that while this might be a massive possibly brutal war, it would be fought, and won or lost, rather quickly by the new, huge conscript armies on the continent, a set of calculations not featuring the UK much either.

If the UK enters in direct support of Germany that might be different. A neutral UK wouldn't stop anything much. The French would rearrange their armies on the western front fractionally to make up for the absence of the BEF, but the BEF was there mostly as a token (and placed in a sector not primarily expected to see the bulk of the fighting). The absence of the RN and the risk of the Kaiserliche Marine making a dash down the Channel might require some contingent planning on the part of the French, but I can't see how it would stop anything.


Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Stockport Cheshire UK
Do you think that France and Russia would have still been willing to fight for Serbia in 1914 if Britain would have announced neutrality in any future European war during the July Crisis of 1914?
Neither had a choice in the matter, Germany declared war on them.


Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
Welsh Marches
I agree with Larrey's post, but I would be interested to know what difference it would have made to the French if they were unable to rely on support from the Royal Navy in the Channel and the North Sea.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
actually Britain had declared its non involvement
France didn't go to war for Serbia , but to honor the Franco Russian treaty of assistance
Germany declared war on Russia which triggered the French response
Britain was not involved in any way ,
only the breaching of Belgium neutrality which Britain ,France and Germany were guarantors
resulted in a British ultimatum to Germany to stop and desist their military incursion
a good point is if Germany had evacuated Belgium territory would Britain had gone to war anyway and under which pretext
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Apr 2014
Istanbul Turkey
What tipped Britain's hand towards intervention on behalf of Entante was not declarations of war between Russia-Austria-Germany-France but invasion of Belgium by Germans without any provocation.
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May 2017
The battle of the Marne was won principally because the general de Castelnau was victorious in Charmes and Grand Couronne (defense of Nancy).But the republican historians had prefered creating the legend of the "taxis de la Marne" with the first motorized division.....
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Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Was Germany that invaded France, and without british support would have won the Battle of Marne.
No they wouldn't. The BEF did next to no fighting at the Marne. And they were late.

They turned up, and that was good enough under the circumstances. (Had they NOT turned up, that might have screwed up the end-game of a battle the French were winning though.) But if no BEF in France in 1914, then a number of French divisions would have been positioned in the line instead of the BEF at the time. And then Joffre would have had the added advantage of actually being able to issue direct orders to them with realistic expectation these would also be obeyed.