Primary Documents - Count Okuma on the Japanese Capture of Tsingtao, 15 August 1914

Japanese Prime Minister Count Okuma Reproduced below is the text of the ultimatum issued by the Japanese government to Germany on 15 August 1914.  Written by Japanese Prime Minister Count Okuma the ultimatum demanded that Germany give up control of the disputed territory of Tsingtao into Japanese control.

In the event - given Germany's inevitable rejection of the Japanese ultimatum - Japan declared war on Germany and seized control of Tsingtao in short order in early November 1914.

Japanese Prime Minister Count Okuma's Ultimatum to Germany, 15 August 1914

We consider it highly important and necessary in the present situation to take measures to remove the causes of all disturbance of peace in the Far East, and to safeguard general interests as contemplated in the Agreement of Alliance between Japan and Great Britain.

In order to secure firm and enduring peace in Eastern Asia, the establishment of which is the aim of the said Agreement, the Imperial Japanese Government sincerely believes it to be its duty to give advice to the Imperial German Government to carry out the following two propositions:

(1) Withdraw immediately from Japanese and Chinese waters the German men-o'-war and armed vessels of all kinds, and to disarm at once those which cannot be withdrawn.

(2) To deliver on a date not later than September 15th, to the Imperial Japanese authorities, without condition or compensation, the entire leased territory of Kiao-chau, with a view to the eventual restoration of the same to China.

The Imperial Japanese Government announces at the same time that in the event of its not receiving, by noon on August 23rd, an answer from the Imperial German Government signifying unconditional acceptance of the above advice offered by the Imperial Japanese Government, Japan will be compelled to take such action as it may deem necessary to meet the situation.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. III, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

The Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was the first ever delivered by telegram.

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