- No categories
The “blank cheque” of 5 July was primarily an act of negligence by Germany, in part because it was not important details such as the date of all subsequent moves. Berlin expected Vienna to act quickly against Serbia, while the Sarajevo killings were still fresh, which suddenly put the Triple Agreement in front of the fait accompli, thus (perhaps) reducing the chances of a larger war. What they got instead were the classic Austrian traits that have always driven the Prussians crazy: indecision, subterfuge and delay. In a meeting with British Ambassador Goschen, Bethmann Hollweg gave the blatant false testimony that Germany is trying to push Austria to abandon the war against Serbia.  When Prince Henry of Prussia declared that King George V had promised him that Britain would remain neutral, Emperor Bethmann Hollweg rejected the offer of a maritime agreement with Great Britain and declared that Germany had nothing to offer Britain, now that King Georg had apparently promised his country neutrality.  At a meeting in Potsdam, Wilhelm spoke “unreservedly about Bethmann`s incompetence” in the outer domain, according to Admiral Tirpitz`s notes.  Bethmann Hollweg proposed that Germany sign a maritime agreement with Great Britain that would limit the size of the high seas fleet in order to keep Britain out of war.  Admiral Tirpitz added: “The emperor informed the company that the chancellor had proposed that, in order to keep England neutral, we would sacrifice the German fleet for an agreement with England which he, the emperor, had refused.”  Germany gives “blank cheque” insurance to Austria and Hungary A blank cheque or carte blanche, in the truest sense of the word, is a cheque that has no monetary value, but is already signed. In a figurative sense, it is used to describe a situation in which an agreement has been reached, which is permanent or vague and is therefore subject to abuse, or where a party is willing to take all costs into account in the pursuit of its objectives. It is recommended that the orderers specify the amount of the cheque before signing it. A blank cheque can be extremely expensive for the drawer that writes the cheque, because whoever receives the cheque could write and cash in any amount (if the current account (US: current account) contains enough money and according to the laws of the country concerned).
Under U.S. law, a blank cheque is an example of an “incomplete instrument” within the meaning of Section 3, Section 115 A of the Single Code of Commerce.  The inclusion of an amount in a blank cheque without the authority of the signatory is a “change.”  It is legally equivalent to changing the numbers on a full (non-empty) cheque. On the contrary, Britain`s support for France was decisive. Edward Grey argued that maritime agreements with France (although not approved by the cabinet) were a moral obligation to Britain and France. British Foreign Secretary Eyre Crowe said: “If war comes and England is on the side, one in two things has to happen. a) Either Germany and Austria win, destroy France and humiliate Russia. What will be the position of a friendly England? b) Or France and Russia win. What would be their attitude towards England? What about India and the Mediterranean?  The Emperor`s promise, which historians have called a “white ticket,” marked a defining moment in the chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War in Europe in the summer of 1914.