His I&R [imperial and royal; "c. und k." in Czech, "k. und k." in German] Apostolic Majesty descended in order to most graciously publish this Highest blog post and a manifesto written by His own hand:
Dear count Stürgkh
It has been seen to Me to command the minister of My house and the foreign affairs to inform the royal government of Serbia that in between the Monarchy and Serbia the state of war has been initiated.
On this fateful moment I feel the need to turn to my beloved nations. I therefore order you to publicly announce the attached manifesto.
In Bad Ischl [Spa Town in Austria], on July 28th, 1914
Franz Joseph, with His own hand
Stürgkh, with his own hand
To my nations!
It has been my most fervent wish that I could devote the remaining years that will be donated to me by mercy of God to the deeds of peace and to protect My nations from hard sacrifices and the burdens of the war.
In the council of Providence, a different decision has been made.
The intrigues of the foe who is full of hatred are forcing Me to draw the sword after long years in the sake of the protection of My Monarchy, its esteem, its power, and its territorial possession.
With the quickly forgetful ingratitude, the Kingdom of Serbia, which has been – from the first moments of its sovereignty to the most recent times – defended from My ancestors as well as from Myself and which was supported, began its journey towards the open hostilities against Austria-Hungary.
When I Was, after three decades of blessed work of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, able to extend my ruling rights to those lands, these policies of Mine ignited in the Kingdom of Serbia, whose rights had been violated in no any matter, explosions of unbound avidity and the most exasperated hatred. At that time, My government had used the beautiful right of the stronger side and was most extremely indulgently and graciously requesting just a modest thing from Serbia, the reduction of its army to the level of peace and the promise to remain on the path of peace and friendship for the future times.
With the same spirit of temperance, My government had restrained itself when Serbia found itself in the struggle against the Turkish Empire, down to the rudimentary defense of conditions for the life of My Monarchy. This attitude of Mine was the first reason that Serbia had to thank for when it achieved its goal in the war.
The hopes that the Serbian kingdom would appreciate the benevolence and peaceableness of My government and that it would fulfill its commitments have not been fulfilled.
The flame of hatred against Me and My house is blazing to ever higher heights, the efforts to violently separate the inseparable territories from Austria-Hungary are appearing ever more openly.
The criminal rampage is surpassing the borders when it managed to undermine the pillars of the state order on the Southwest of the Monarchy, in order to shake My peoples' conviction, the conviction of the peoples whom I dedicate the full care in My paternal love, the conviction to be faithful to the ruler's House and the homeland, to seduce the youth and encourage it to commit criminal acts of unreason and high treason. Many murderous attacks, a conspiracy prepared and performed with a forethought, whose terrifying success has hit Me and My faithful nations to our hearts, is a trace of those secret intrigues that were initiated and directed from Serbia and that are still seen from far away.
This intolerable rioting has to be made to come to a halt, the persistent provocativeness of Serbia has to be kindly terminated, if the honor and respect of My Monarchy are supposed to remain undamaged and its political, economic, and military development is to be saved from neverending oscillations.
Futile were the last attempts of My government to achieve those goals by the means of peace, to move Serbia to a U-turn by our admonishments.
Serbia has rejected restrained and just requests of My government and refused to fulfill the duties whose satisfaction is a natural and necessary basis for peace in the life of nations and states.
And that is why I Am forced to guarantee the vital warranties by the power of weapons whose task is to bring internal peace to My nations and the persistent peace externally, too.
On this serious moment I Am fully aware of the full scope of my decision and my responsibility in front of the Omnipotent one.
I have investigated and taken into consideration everything.
With My conscience relaxed, I am setting on a journey that My duties have drawn in front of Me.
I rely on My nations that would always unite in their loyalty and surround My throne during all the thunderstorms and that were ready to bring the highest sacrifices in the name of the honor, size, and power of their homeland.
I rely on the brave power of Austria-Hungary that is filled with unselfish excitement.
And I trust the Omnipotent one that He will grant a victory to My weapons.
Franz Joseph with His own hand
Stürgkh with his own hand
From vicegerental printing works in Prague