In 1914, the German Emperor conferred with the Imperial Chancellor and Ministers of War and Marine reserve officers received orders to mobilize. Austrian invaders and Servian troops came in contact with each other in Servian territory and hundreds of casualties were said to have resulted. The main British fleet had left Portland under sealed orders. France was preparing for eventualities. European stock markets had virtually ceased operations. English statesmen were seeking to avert a general European war. Nevertheless, all the nations were preparing for the worst.