Nicholas II. The king who wanted peace

This year marks the 150 anniversary of the birth of Russian Emperor Nicholas II and 100 since the date of his assassination. I would like to touch on the theme of his pacifism, which should be distinguished from the capitulatory pacifism, which we often try to impose.

Deeply religious man, Nicholas II was a staunch opponent of wars and bloodshed. At the same time, it is important to note that he was not a Tolstoyan and defeatist, he wanted only to prevent war, trying to resolve all contradictions with the world, but at the same time strengthening the army and navy as a guarantee of the country's security.

In this, he continued the course of his father, who was nicknamed the Tsar-Peacemaker. He believed that Russia did not need conquests and that forces and means should be directed to internal development, to internal affairs, mainly to educating and enlightening the people. Of course, the kingdom of Emperor Nicholas II was overshadowed by two wars - the Russian-Japanese and the First World War, but both of these wars did not start at the behest of the Sovereign.

Prince Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire (1895 - 1896), who managed to achieve a revision of the Shimonoseki peace treaty.
Prince Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire (1895 - 1896), who managed to achieve a revision of the Shimonoseki peace treaty.

The main task of his foreign policy was to preserve the status quo in Europe and prevent a big war in it. For the industrialization and peaceful development of the country, external and internal peace was necessary. Dialogue with the governments of the leading powers of the world was necessary for this. The Franco-Russian alliance was used as an instrument of European reconciliation.

But do not forget about Germany. In 1897, Foreign Minister Muravyov told Bernhard von Bülow that Nicholas II "by virtue of his deepest conviction desires peace everywhere, but especially in Europe and in particular between Russia and Germany." The main task was to ensure peace with Germany and friendship with France. The emperor always emphasized that the very thought of war makes him dislike. The beginning of the reign of the emperor was marked by joint actions of Russia, France and Germany against excessive appetites of Japan.

The fact is that in 1895, this country ended the war with China, having won a landslide victory and began to dictate its own terms of peace to it. Shimonoseki peace was concluded, according to which China yielded to the winner Formoso (Taiwan), the Pescadores islands and the Liaodong peninsula, and also renounced its rights in Korea and was forced to pay the indemnity. Japan’s occupation of the Liaodun Peninsula worried Russia, as it gave Japan a reference point on the mainland and the key to the Pechili Gulf. For our country, this situation was unfavorable, because our coastal possessions had previously been separated from Japan by sea, and now this state was landing on the mainland, on which Russia had its own serious interests.

Russia was alarmed by the strengthening of Japan and decided to oppose this by the united efforts of the European powers. England took a neutral position in this matter. Two European powers, France and Germany, became allies of Russia in this matter. The first one was tied up with Russia by the allied treaty concluded during the last reign, the second by personal friendly and family ties of the two monarchs. As Oldenburg noted, “Russia did not want to partition China. She sought to keep him intact in order to assert his preeminent influence in him. ” It was beneficial for Russia to have a single, strong but immovable China nearby, which was considered a guarantee of calm for Russia in the East.

Moreover, in a single and whole China, Russia could have a preeminent influence. Russian Foreign Minister Lobanov-Rostovsky immediately entered into an agreement with Germany and France, which agreed to support the demand of Russia, after which, without any delay, Russia delivered an ultimatum to Japan. 23 April 1895 in Tokyo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Count Mutsu, was put forward by the envoys of three great European powers - Russia (Mikhail Khitrovo), France (Jules Armand) and Germany (Baron von Gutsmid). The latter said in this very decisive phrase: "Resistance to the three great powers would be useless." In case of refusal, the united fleet of the three powers must interrupt the communication between Japan and its troops on the mainland. Japan has given way.

The Liaodong Peninsula was returned to China, but the contribution was increased. This step was very significant, since, notes Oldenburg, "the unification of massive China with a technically strong Japan would change the balance of power not only in Asia, but throughout the world." This step served Russia only for profit: a contract was signed with China, according to which Russia promised him support, receiving in return permission to take the Great Siberian Route (the famous Trans-Siberian Railway) through Manchuria, and in December 1897 was occupied by the Russians in response to the capture of the Germans of Qingdao in November of the same year, and in March 1898 of the year, in agreement with China, loaned to Russia.

Fedor Fedorovich Martens - an outstanding international lawyer, one of the organizers of the Hague Peace Conference, a long-term nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fedor Fedorovich Martens - an outstanding international lawyer, one of the organizers of the Hague Peace Conference, a long-term nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

29 August 1898 was initiated by the Russian Czar and the Hague Peace Conference was convened. It opened on 6 / 18 on May 1899 of the year, on the birthday of Nicholas II, and took place on July 17 / 29. It took part 26 states. Baron Egor Egorovich (Georg Karl Friedrich) von Stal (1822 - 1907), Ambassador of the Russian Empire in Great Britain (1884 - 1902) presided. The 3 Convention was adopted (On the peaceful solution of international clashes; On the laws and customs of land war; On the application of the Geneva Convention 10 on August 1864 of the year to the sea war) and the 3 declaration (on the prohibition of throwing projectiles and explosives from balloons or the help of other similar new methods; On the use of projectiles, which have the sole purpose of distributing asphyxiated or harmful gases; On the use of bullets that easily turn around or flatten in the human body).

In 1901, Nicholas II was nominated for the Nobel Prize as the initiator of convening the Hague Peace Conference 1899 of the Year together with the prominent Russian international lawyer and one of the conference organizers Fyodor Fedorovich (Friedrich Fremhold) Martens (later nominated repeatedly before 1908) and a banker and representative Of Russia at the conference by Ivan Stanislavovich (Jan Gotlib) Bliokh, who was the author of the book “Future War and Its Economic Consequences” (in 6 volumes; 1898). These were the first Russian nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nicholas II was not understood by other monarchs, the Kaiser openly laughed at his peace initiative: “So that he [Nicholas II - SZ] does not disgrace himself before Europe, I agree to this nonsense. But in my practice I will continue to rely and rely only on God and on my sharp sword. And *** to me for all these resolutions! ”But it was the desire of a deeply religious Christian to end the wars. Subsequent events proved the correctness of the Russian tsar, who with all his heart wanted to avoid such a catastrophe.

Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve, Minister of the Interior (1902 - 1904), a remarkable Russian statesman who died at the hands of terrorists.
Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve, Minister of the Interior (1902 - 1904), a remarkable Russian statesman who died at the hands of terrorists.

There is a well-known expression “a small victorious war” attributed to Interior Minister Vyacheslav Konstantinovich von Plehve, who he allegedly said in a conversation with the Minister of War Alexei Kuropatkin. The source of this phrase are the memoirs of Count Sergei Witte, who hated Plehve and rejoiced at his death at the hands of a terrorist. They also refer to Kuropatkin’s conversation with Plehve, described in A. Morsky’s book “The Exodus of the Russian Revolution 1905 and the Government of Nosarius” (1911), where the author refers to certain “unpublished memoirs” of Kuropatkin, which in reality did not exist.

In the diaries of the former Minister of War, when describing conversations with Plehve, there is no this phrase. Apparently, this is a forgery. These words originally belong to US Secretary of State John Hey, who wrote them in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt from 27 in July 1898 of the year - a splendid little war (a brilliant little war). These words of Roosevelt published later in the book "Description of the Spanish-American War" (1900). Thus, it can be said with confidence that these words of Plehve do not belong.

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Sergey Zelenin

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