Nicholas II and the First World War

We recently published part of Sergei Zelenin’s article on Emperor Nicholas II as a supporter of peace. We did not publish the entire text, but only his part. Therefore, we publish another large fragment and give links to both the main text and two more fragments published earlier.

Peace policy before the Russian-Japanese war.

Russian-Japanese War.

Full text of the article.

A new piece is devoted to the theme of the First World War.

Nicholas II and Wilhelm II

With all his peace initiatives, the Sovereign did not forget to build up his military power, strengthen the army and navy, which are a reliable guarantee of security. Only the strength of the country can ensure peace, only the strong can prevent war. It was necessary to be ready in the event of aggression to repel the attack of the enemy on Russia.

“The world is most important, unless honor is damaged,” he said.

Prince Heinrich of Prussia

"If someday he leads the war in Europe, it is only because he considers himself attacked by another great power," said Prince Heinrich of Prussia about the king.

World War I also began against the will of the king. In 1911, he wrote to the Russian ambassador in Bulgaria, Neklyudov:

“I do not want war. I made it an immutable rule to do everything to save my people all the benefits of a peaceful life. At this historical moment, everything that could lead to war must be avoided. ”

In October 1912, the king stated at a meeting of the Council of Ministers:

"I do not admit the thought of war."

Cavalry General Brusilov

General Brusilov later recalled that "Emperor Nicholas II was the enemy of any kind of war in general, and of the war with Germany in particular."

Pierre Gilliard recalled that the king said:

"I did everything I could to avoid this war, I went to meet all the concessions that are compatible with our dignity and national honor."

Nicholas II 29 July 1914 of the year sent a telegram to Kaiser Wilhelm with the proposal “to transfer the Austro-Serbian question to the Hague Conference” (to the international arbitration court in The Hague), but Wilhelm II did not answer it. 31 July Russia announced a general mobilization, in order to sober up Germany and be ready in case the war does start. The next day, Germany declared war on Russia and attacked Luxembourg, August 3 declared war on France, and August August 4 invaded Belgium.

Enver Pasha, an ideologist and practitioner of Pan-Turkism, one of the leaders of the Young Turks, a war criminal, a supporter of the eradication of the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire, one of the participants and ideologists of the Armenian genocide in 1915. War Minister. In 1922, he was killed during a Basmac raid into Soviet Russia. Ethnic Armenians organized and conducted a liquidation operation

There is an opinion that Russia entered the war to occupy the Black Sea Straits and Constantinople. However, it is usually forgotten that in August 1914 of the year the Ottoman Empire did not enter the war, besides, there were disputes on which side to take the floor. And although on August 2 a German-Turkish alliance treaty was concluded, and mobilization was announced in the country, the Turkish government published a declaration of neutrality. Most of the members of the government and the vizier himself opposed the war. Enver-Pasha, who actively cooperated with the German command and had pronounced pro-German sympathies, got Turkey into the war. During the war he occupied the highest military post of deputy commander in chief (the sultan was formally listed as commander in chief).

“Göben” and “Breslau”

11 — On November 10, the Turkish fleet under the command of German admiral Souchon, who brought the German cruisers “Geben” and “Breslau”, which became part of the Turkish fleet, fired on Sevastopol, Odessa, Feodosiya and Novorossiysk on August 12 on August. It was a real act of blatant aggression, after which there could be no doubt, and on November 10, 15, Russia declared war on Turkey. However, entering the war, even against one's will, it would be strange not to pursue any goals in it, not to gain anything after defeating the enemy. To return the original Russian Galicia from Austria-Hungary, to take East Prussia, Poznan and Silesia from Germany — these goals were set much later, when hostilities were already taking place.

Boris Stürmer, Minister for Foreign Affairs (1916). He managed to secure for Russia the right to Constantinople and the Straits, after which the Allies decided to strike Russia from within

Officially, the right of Russia to acquire Constantinople and the straits at the end of the war was secured in 1916 year. The Foreign Minister (as well as the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior) Boris Stürmer acted on the direct instructions of Nicholas II with extraordinary courage and perseverance in providing Russian benefits in the event of a successful end to the war and achieved the Allies' consent to all Russian demands, for which he was disliked by allies . This is what caused slanderous harassment against the minister, which led to his resignation.

During the war, which he did not begin and which he did not want, the Sovereign was honest, decent, and faithful to his allied duty.

"Despite any obstacles or losses, Russia will fight with its opponents to the end," he said.

Christian X, king of Denmark and cousin of Emperor Nicholas II

Germany tried to probe Russia for the conclusion of a separate peace. This was done through the mediation of neutral countries. One of the channels was chosen by the friendly Russia, Denmark, while being under strong German influence. King of Denmark (1912 - 1947) Christian X (1870 - 1947) was the cousin of the Russian Tsar. The Danish government led the Social-Liberal Party leader Karl Theodor Sahle (1913-1920) from 1868 to 1946, who was a passionate peace activist and wanted his country's neutrality not to be violated. The foreign ministry was headed by Eric Julius Christian Scavenius (1877 - 1962) who came from a noble Danish family, a supporter of the “German course” - a policy of keeping Denmark from participating in the conflict with Germany by aligning interests. He supported the demands of the Germans to mine the Danish straits in August 1914 of the year in order to avoid the passage of British ships into the Baltic Sea. The Danish envoy to Russia (1912 - 1918) was his cousin Harald Roger Scavenius (1873 - 1939). The Danish representative in Russia enjoyed the special location of the imperial court because of the close relationship of the Danish king with the Russian tsar. Scavenius knew Russian and spoke fluently.

Hans-Nils Andersen, a Danish major entrepreneur who carried out the important tasks of the Danish king. In 1915, he visited Russia twice, transferring assumptions about separate peace talks with Germany through the mediation of the King of Denmark, but received a categorical refusal

In late February, the personal envoy of the Danish king, the large shipowner, financier and director of the East Asian Company, State Counselor (1915), Hans-Niels Andersen (1900 - 1852), is sent to Russia with the goal of making a trusting sounding of the soil for the possible conclusion of a separate world with Germany. In Petrograd, he met not only with the Sovereign, but also with Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov, with former Prime Minister Count Witte (1937 February / 28 in March of the same year, he died) and widowed Empress Maria Fedorovna (aunt of King Christian). On the proposals for negotiations on a separate world, he heard very negative reviews.

From left to right: Reich Chancellor Theobald von Betman-Golweg, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Gotlieb von Yagov and Secretary of State for the Imperial Treasury Karl Helferich

Convinced of the negative attitude towards his mission in Russia, Andersen traveled through Denmark to Berlin, where he met with the Reich Chancellor (1909 - 1917) Teobald von Betman-Golweg and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1913 - 1916) Gotlib von Yagov, and 17 in March was personally accepted by the Kaiser.

He told them that in Petrograd everything "from the tsar to the minister of foreign affairs is completely rejected the idea of ​​a separate peace with Germany."

The telegram from the Danish king responded to his proposal to send a trustee to Copenhagen for negotiations in early June 1915, a "negative response" was received. Andersen’s second visit to Russia took place in July 1915, and also ended in failure. He again met with the sovereign and Sazonov, but this time the refusal was even more decisive.

German Ambassador to Denmark, Count Ulrich Karl Christian Brokdorf-Rantzau. Subsequently became the German ambassador to the USSR

As the German envoy (1912 - 1919) Count Ulrich Karl Christian Brokdorf-Rantzau (1869 - 1928) reported to the German foreign ministry from Copenhagen, “Andersen did not find a tendency towards a separate world”. 8 August 1915, Nicholas II decisively rejected the offer of Denmark to mediate in possible separate peace negotiations with Germany. He made it clear that peace can only be general, and negotiations on a separate peace are undesirable and impossible. Negotiations on a common world were also unacceptable for the German side.

Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) wanted war in order to be able to use it to start a civil war. During the First World War, called for the defeat of Russia

I can not ignore this topic. Look at the man who became the murderer of the emperor, who seized power in Russia and killed millions of people. This is Lenin. Just look at what he thought about a possible war. He really wanted her and waited. Referring to the resolution of the Basel Conference 1912 of the year, Lenin formulated the slogan:

"The transformation of the modern imperialist war into a civil war is the only correct proletarian slogan ..."

He needed war, it was necessary for the fulfillment of his black and vile purposes. In January (later than 25 of the year) 1913, Lenin wrote to Gorky from Krakow in Capri:

"The war between Austria and Russia would be very useful for the revolution (throughout Eastern Europe), but there is little likelihood that Franz Josef and Nikolasha would give us this pleasure."

When the war began, he literally exulted:

“In each country, the struggle with its government, leading an imperialist war, should not stop at the possibility of the defeat of this country as a result of revolutionary agitation. The defeat of the government army weakens this government, contributes to the liberation of the peoples enslaved by them and eases the civil war against the ruling classes. As applied to Russia, this provision is especially true. Russia's victory entails an intensification of the world reaction, an intensification of the reaction within the country and is accompanied by the complete enslavement of the peoples in the areas already occupied. Because of this, the defeat of Russia under all conditions is the least evil. ”

T.N. “Fraternization” on the Russian-German front

So Lenin needed war, he wanted her to use for his own purposes. In 1917, the Bolsheviks actively distributed their own newspapers on the front with defeatist propaganda, which had a devastating effect on military discipline. Lenin actively supported the campaign of fraternization with the soldiers of the enemy in certain sectors of the front, saying that all this was happening spontaneously and ostensibly against the will of the German officers. In fact, this was an absolute and deliberate lie: fraternization on the Eastern Front was a well-prepared operation carried out by specially trained soldiers and officers. Obviously, Lenin could well be aware of the real state of affairs and, perhaps, even instructed somehow on this score by the Germans. Through fraternization, the Germans received information about the mood and state of affairs in the Russian army. All this was used against Russia.

In 1918, the Bolsheviks signed the bawdy Brest Peace, which nullified all Russia's achievements and meant shameful capitulation. This peace treaty allowed Germany to fight a few more months.

3 March 1918, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, signed a separate peace with Germany in Brest, called nothing but “obscene” (by the way, what is most interesting, this definition was invented for him ... by Lenin himself). Germany occupied large territories of Russia - Little Russia, Novorossia, Crimea, Donbass. One of the members of the Soviet delegation, Major General Skalon, on his arrival in Brest, shot the first day of the negotiations, unable to bear this national shame. December 1 1917, after learning of the beginning of the Bolshevik peace talks with the Germans, Nicholas II wrote in his diary:

“I never expected such a nightmare. How did these scoundrels of the Bolsheviks have the audacity to fulfill their cherished dream - to offer the enemy to make peace without asking the opinion of the people, and at that time, that the enemy is occupied by a large strip of the country? ”

Pierre Gilliard recalled the reaction of the Emperor, who had learned about the signing of the Brest Peace Treaty:

“No matter how hard the Sovereign tried to control himself, with all his composure, he could not hide his terrible sufferings, which he suffered mainly from the time of the Brest Treaty. There has been a marked change. She was reflected in his mood, spiritual experiences. I would say that by this treaty His Majesty was put down like a grievous grief. ”

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Использованная литература:

  • Katkov G.M. The Kornilov case. M., 2002.
  • Katkov G.M. February Revolution. M., 2002.
  • Lenin V.I. Full composition of writings. Tom xnumx. Tom xnumx.
  • Multatuli P.V. Emperor Nicholas II: the tragedy of the misunderstood autocrat. M., 2018.
  • Oldenburg S.S. The reign of Emperor Nicholas II.
  • Seraphim (Kuznetsov). Orthodox Tsar-Martyr. M., 1997.
  • Sobolev L.G. Russian revolution and "German gold". SPb., 2002.
  • Firsov S.L. Nicholas II. M., 2010.

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