ROYAL RUSSIA: News, Videos & Photographs About the Romanov Dynasty, Monarchy and Imperial Russia - Updated Daily
« November 2014 »
S M T W T F S
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30
Entries by Topic
All topics
400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
Alapaevsk
Alexander I
Alexander II
Alexander III
Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
Alexander Palace
Alexandra Feodorovna
Alexandra Nicholayevna, GD
Alexandra Pavlovna GD
Amber Room
Anna Feodorovna, GD
Anna Pavlovna, GD
Antiques
Architecture
Auctions
Bagrations
Beautiful Orthodox Churches
Benckendorff, Count Paul
Bolsheviks
Bolshoi
Books
Catherine II
Chavchavadze
Chekhov
Collectibles
Conspiracy Theories
Constantine Constantinovich, GD
Cossacks
Country Estates
Crimea
Dmitri Pavlovich, GD
Dmitri Romanovich
Documentaries
Dowager Empress Maria
Eagar, Margaretta
Easter
Ekaterinburg
Elena Vladimirovna, GD
Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress
Events
Exhibitions
Faberge
Ganima Yama
GARF
Gatchina
George Alexandrovich, GD
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexa
Grand Duke Mikhail Alexan
Grand Dukes
Holy Royal Martyrs
Imperial Russia
Jewels
Kazan Cathedral
Kerensky, Alexander
Kolchak, Admiral
Kolomenskoye
Kostroma
Kremlin
Kronstadt
Livadia
Maria Alexandrovna
Maria Feodorovna, Empress
Maria Pavlovna, Senior
Maria Vladimirovna GD
Marie Georgievna, GD
Massandra
Mikhail Nikolayevich, GD
Moscow
Museums
Nevsky, Alexander
Nicholas Alexandrovich GD
Nicholas I
Nicholas II  «
Nicholas Mikhailovich, GD
Nicholas Nicholayevich, GD
Nicholas Romanovich
Nobility
Numismatics
Oleg Konstantinovich, Prince
Olga Alexandrovna GD
Olga Konstantinovna GD
Olga Nicholayevna GD
Oranienbaum
Ostankino
OTMA
Palaces
Paley, Princess Natalia
Paul Alexandrovich, GD
Paul Gilbert
Paul I, Emperor
Pavlovsk
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter III
Peter Nicholayevich, GD
Peter the Great
Peterhof
Prince Michael of Kent
Pushkin
Rasputin
Romanov
Romanov Descendants
Royal Russia
Russian Art
Russian Church
Russian Cuisine
Russian Film
Russian History
Russian Imperial House
Russian Monarchy
Russian Orders
Russo-Japanese War
Sergei Alexandrovich
Sergei Alexandrovich GD
St. Petersburg
St. Theodore's Church
State Hermitage Museum
Stieglitz, Alexander
Stolypin, Pyotr
Strelna
Succession
Tauride Palace
Tobolsk
Tsarevich Alexis
Tsaritsino
Tsarskoye Selo
Vladimir Alexandrovich, GD
Vyrubova, Anna
Winter Palace
Witte, Sergei
World War I
Wrangel, Pyotr
Yachts
Yalta
Yelagin Palace
Yusupov
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
You are not logged in. Log in
Monday, 17 November 2014
Monument To Russian Emperor Nicholas II Unveiled In Belgrade - VIDEO
Now Playing: Language: Serbian. Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds
Topic: Nicholas II
 
Video Source: Russia Today
 
A monument to Russian Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled and blessed in Belgrade on Sunday and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said at the ceremony that Belgrade was getting yet another symbol of the old friendship, a place where people could meet and discuss their friendships based on Russia’s last emperor’s example of loyalty to Serbia.

A whole series of important monuments commemorating the Russian troops who fought alongside Serbian soldiers in both world wars will now include the monument to Nicholas II Romanov, a gift from the Russian historical society, a gift from the Russian Federation to Serbia, which will become part of their stories of gratitude and honour, the Serbian president stated.

“Emperor Nicholas II Romanov was killed ritually; Christianity and support for Slavic ideals was being killed,” Nikolic said, adding that the crime had amde the civil war in Russia even more fierce, and that Nicholas II had already been viewed as a saint by the Serbian people by that time. 

The monument was created by the most famous Russian sculptor, Andrey Kovachuk and Genady Pravotvorov and Belgrade architect Janko Krstic, who designed the park in which the monument is placed. 

Russian Patriarch Kirill and Serbian Patriarch Irinej blessed the monument, which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony. 

The unveiling and blessing of the monument is an important and historic event, Kirill said. 

Nicholas did a lot to save the Serbs in World War One and sacrificed his crown, empire and life to save Serbia, the Russian patriarch pointed out. 

Irinej stressed that this was a great day for Belgrade, Serbia and the Serbian people in the country and abroad. Many citizens, bishops, Russian government officials, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin attended the unveiling. 

Kirill and Irinej held a joint service at the St Sava Cathedral earlier. The unveiling ceremony marked the end of Kirill’s visit to Serbia. For more information on the monument to Emperor Nicholas II in the Serbian capital, please refer to the following articles: 
 

Patriarch Kirill Consecrates Monument to Nicholas II in Belgrade

Patriarch Kirill Will Visit Belgrade to Consecrate Monument to Nicholas II

Monument to Emperor Nicholas II Installed in Serbian Capital

Serbia to Erect Monument to Tsar Nicholas II 

 
© InSerbia News. 17 November, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:04 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 17 November 2014 8:42 AM EST
Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Patriarch Kirill Consecrates Monument to Nicholas II in Belgrade
Topic: Nicholas II


Patriarch Kirill consecrates the monument to Emperor Nicholas II in central Belgrade. 
 
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Patriarch Irinej of Serbia sanctified a monument to the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, in the center of Belgrade on Sunday.

Local residents welcomed the Russian and Serbian patriarchs, as well as Serb President Tomislav Nikolic, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and Federation Council Deputy Speaker Alexander Torshin, who attended the ceremony.

"The role that Tsar Nichols II played in saving Serbia and Europe as a whole is too great to describe it in just a couple of words. He sacrificed his crown, his reign and his life to save Serbia and to save Europe," the Russian patriarch said.

It is noteworthy that the first monument to Nicholas II to have been built in Europe is in Belgrade, he said.

"Nicholas II was remembered by the people of Serbia even when his name could not be said out loud in Russia. What was being said about him was nasty, or nothing was said about him at all," Patriarch Kirill said.

However, the truth about the Russian tsar's feat "sprouted trough the iron-and-concrete slab, placed on him and on Russia," he said. The historical truth must never be forgotten either in Serbia, or in Russia, for it will sprout through like grass sprouts through asphalt, the Russian patriarch said.

The monument was set up in the center of Belgrade on September 13 2014, in a park on King Milan Street, where the Russian embassy was located in the early 20th century. The statue was created by Russian sculptors Andrey Kovalchuk and Gennady Pravotorov.

It is Russia's gift to Belgrade, while the ceremony was part of a program to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The park surrounding the monument is being landscaped into one of the city's most beautiful places.

Yesterday, His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej visited the Russian necropolis in Belgrade - Europe's largest cemetery for Russian soldiers who died in the First World War. The Primates of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches laid flowers at the monument to Russian soldiers. The hymn "Eternal Memory" was sung.
 
For more information on the monument to Emperor Nicholas II in the Serbian capital, please refer to the following articles: 

Patriarch Kirill Will Visit Belgrade to Consecrate Monument to Nicholas II

Monument to Emperor Nicholas II Installed in Serbian Capital

Serbia to Erect Monument to Tsar Nicholas II 

© Interfax. 16 November, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:33 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 17 November 2014 8:01 AM EST
Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 10 November 2014
The Reign of Nicholas II, Russia's Last Emperor
Topic: Nicholas II


During the reign of Nicholas II in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Russia made considerable progress in all areas of life. Many predicted that Russia would have an important future and a more essential role to play in the world. It was in stark contrast to these predictions that the Empire came tumbling down in 1917 in a collapse that had dramatic consequences for the Russian people.

Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the April 14th, 2005 edition of The Voice of Russia. The author Lyubov Tsarevskaya , owns the copyright of the work presented below.

To read the full article, please refer to the following link in the Emperors and Empresses of Russia section of our web site:

The Reign of Nicholas II, Russia’s Last Emperor 

© Lyubov Tsarevskaya / The Voice of Russia. 10 November, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:33 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:35 PM EST
Permalink | Share This Post
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Patriarch Kirill Will Visit Belgrade to Consecrate Monument to Nicholas II
Topic: Nicholas II


Monument to Emperor Nicholas II was unveiled in the Serbian capital of Belgrade last month
 
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will visit Belgrade in mid-November, where he will, with Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church, consecrate a monument to Russian Emperor Nicholas II, recently erected in Devojacki park, the Belgrade Patriarchate has confirmed.

His visit will have "great significance" and will send a message of "political romanticism" considering the monument is dedicated to the last Russian tsar who is considered a martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church and a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. 

"The consecration of the monument is a symbolic act that should once again emphasize the spiritual unity of Russian and Serb peoples, but also unequivocally point to the importance and influence that Russia is gaining in a country that stands divided between East and West, and direct the spiritual vertical and the political horizontal lines along which Serbia should move in the future" - said Nikola Kneževi, president of the Novi Sad-based Center for the Study of Religion, Politics and Society

Patriarch Kirill’s visit was announced last summer, when it was said that he will meet with top Serbian Orthodox Church dignitaries, as well as with state officials. It will be Patriarch Kirill’s second visit to Serbia since his election as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). He attended the celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of the signing of the Milan Edict, held in Nis last year. 
 
© B92 and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 November, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:28 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 5 November 2014 6:31 AM EST
Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Historian Doubts Nicholas II Abdicated the Throne
Topic: Nicholas II

The original document of Emperor Nicholas II’s abdication has not survived, so there may not have been any abdication at all, principal research officer of the Russian History Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Lavrov, Ph.D. believes. 

"First, they said that the document kept in the State Archive of the Russian Federation is the original. But it is absolutely clear that it is not the original," Lavrov said during an interview on the program Vechnost i Vremya (The Time and Eternity - IF) on the Russian network Spas TV channel.

According to Lavrov, there are many questions regarding this document: "it is written without a letterhead, signed with a pencil, it is addressed to the chief of the headquarters, and minister of the Emperor's court, Count Vladimir Frederiks, who certified the tsar's signature, said during his interrogation that the signature was forged."

"I believe the abdication possible, but the Provisional Government concealed it as the Provisional Government wasn't happy about the text of the abdication and it was a substitution. There is no original," the historian said. 

He is convinced that both the Provisional Government and Bolsheviks were interested in preserving the original as "the Provisional Government didn't have any other legitimacy, any connection with the previous authority."

"There is another option: there wasn't any abdication at all," Lavrov said.
 
In April 2012, Royal Russia News published an article from a Russian media source which discussed this issue. A conference on the subject was held at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, on March 15, 2012, attended by many prominent Russian historians and scientists. Click on the link below to read the article: 

Did Nicholas II Really Abdicate?

© Interfax and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 October, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 23 October 2014 5:49 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Monument to Emperor Nicholas II Installed in Serbian Capital
Topic: Nicholas II


Monument to Emperor Nicholas II has been installed in the center of Belgrade, capital of Serbia
 
A new monument to Russian emperor Nicholas II has been installed in the center of Belgrade, in recognition of his support of Serbia and the Serbian people in 1914.

The monument arrived in the Serbian capital on Friday evening. Together with the pedestal, it stands at 7.5 meters in height and weighs over 40 tons. It took 6 hours to unload from the truck and nearly 13 hours to install with the help of a crane yesterday.

The installation of the pedestal and sculpture was organized by two teams of specialists and workers from Russia, with the support of two local Serbian companies.

The monument’s creators, sculptor Andrei Kovalchuk and academician Gennady Pravotorov were on hand and directly involved with the monument’s installation. 

Andrei Kovalchuk said that the work on the monument lasted six months. The sculpture is made from bronze, and the base - of granite. According to the sculptor, he found inspiration in the story of the Russian emperor coming to the aid of his country a century ago. "Russia and Serbia have always been fraternal powers" - said Kovalchuk. 

Co-creator of the monument academician Gennady Pravotorov noted that the monument is dedicated to the Emperor, who at one time was admired and appreciated more in Serbia than in Russia. "Nicholas II lives in the hearts of Serbs long and fervently" - said Pravotorov. He went on to say that they did their best to achieve harmony with the sculpture and they spot were it would stand.
 
The monument is made in the classical tradition which is quite rare in contemporary Europe, Kovolchuk said and added that the pedestal contains details linking our era to the historical period honoured by the monument. 

The monument to the Tsar Martyr is set in Devojacki Park on King Milan Street - near the place where the Embassy of the Russian Empire once stood - and in the immediate vicinity of the Russian House and the Assembly of the City of Belgrade. It was a gift of the Russian Federation to Serbia in honour of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The installation takes place one week before Russian President Vladimir Putin's forthcoming visit to the Serbian capital on October 20th.

The grand opening of the reconstructed park and monument to Emperor Nicholas II is scheduled for November 11th. The event will be attended by senior officials from Russia and Serbia, while the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk expressed the hope that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will consecrate this monument during his visit to Serbia in mid-November. 

It is interesting to note that at the beginning of the 20th century a monument to Emperor Nicholas II stood in front of the Embassy of the Russian Empire in Belgrade.

Up until now, there were only two places of memory of the last Russian Tsar in Belgrade. At the Belgrade New Cemetery in 1935, was erected a memorial to "Russian Glory", on which is written: "Eternal Memory Emperor Nicholas II and two million Russian soldiers of the Great War." In 2013, a bust of Nicholas II was unveiled in the Russian House.

For more information on this monument, please refer to the following article:
 
Serbia to Erect Monument to Tsar Nicholas II - originally published 2nd April, 2014 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 October, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 October 2014 6:04 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post
Sunday, 12 October 2014
Coronation of Nicholas II Scenes Shot in St. Petersburg for New Film
Topic: Nicholas II

A scene from the film 'Mathilde' shows the interior of the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin which has been recreated in a St. Petersburg film studio to shoot scenes from the 1896 coronation of Nicholas II. Watch the short video below to view more scenes from this historical recreation.
 
Russian director, Alexei Uchitel is currently in St. Petersburg where he is shooting scenes for his large-scale historical drama, Mathilde, based on the life of the legendary ballerina and mistress of Nicholas II - Mathilde Kschessinskaya.

Powerful special effects include construction of the full-size interior decoration of the Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The recreation of the cathedral was constructed in a film studio in St. Petersburg in order to film the scenes from the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in May 1896. 

The coronation scenes involved more than 500 actors and extras. Each wore a gown or uniform costume recreated from historical designs by costume designer Nadezhda Vasilieva. Exact copies of the decorative jewels were also reproduced. Rabbit fur was used instead of ermine for the coronation robes worn by Emperor Nicholas II (played by German actor Lars Edinger) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (played by Louise Wolfram). Estonian actress Ingeborga DapkÅ«naite, who plays the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, literally had to relearn how to walk in a heavy crown and fur mantle. 

Nearly 17 tons of fabrics were used to produce the more than 5000 items for the 300 historical costumes required for the elaborate coronation scenes. The unique interior set for the cathedral took more than two months to create by V. Zelinsky. Alexei Uchitel has no plans to dismantle the set once the filming has ended, instead he is considering creating a museum. 

 

Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 October, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:25 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 12 October 2014 5:37 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, 11 October 2014
Bust of Nicholas II Unveiled in Moscow
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 14 seconds
Topic: Nicholas II


The unveiling and consecration of a new bust of Saint Martyr Tsar Nicholas II was held on Sunday, October 5th at the Church of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the former Lazarev Cemetery in Moscow.

The bronze bust was created by sculptor Vyacheslav Klykov, and presented to the church as a gift of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR), Metropolitan Hilarion in memory of the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov and the centennial of the First World War.

"Let this gift serve to strengthen the unity of our Church and our congregation. Let it be a good example of love and veneration of the Holy Royal Martyr Tsar Nicholas and the Holy Royal Martyr Family," - stated in a letter by Metropolitan Hilarion that was read out during the ceremony.

The event was attended by an honour guard in the dress uniform of the Izmailovo Life Guards Regiment. The miraculous myrrh-streaming icon of St. Nicholas II was brought to the celebration, which is under the special care of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 October, 2014


 

 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:46 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 October 2014 6:46 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Hunting Lodge of Tsar Nicholas II to be Opened for Tourism
Topic: Nicholas II


The former hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II at Sarikamis (now part of Turkey)
 
The hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, built during the forty-year Russian reign over Sarikamis, will be restored and serve as an expanded hotel with 124 rooms that will attract tourists throughout the year

Located in Sarikamis district of the Kars province, the hunting lodge of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia will be opened for tourists soon. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Sarikamis Mayor Göksal Toksoy said that they want to introduce the region to tourism by making use of its natural and historical potential. Although Sarikamis has its peak season for five months in a year, Toksoy said their aim is to draw tourists to the region for the whole year. He noted that the region will be an attraction for Russian tourists in particular once the lodge is restored. 

According to the mayor's statement, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will build a hundred bed capacity hotel matching the mansion's architecture following the restoration of the Tsar's hunting lodge. He further stated that they planned to contribute to the local economy and the local population's standard of living. "We are working on the project non-stop with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Governorate of Kars, the District Governorate of Sarikamis and the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate. Within the scope of the project, we immediately began the restoration of the historical mansion,"

Toksoy said. The mansion has 24 rooms, and after the construction of the hotel with hundred additional rooms, the region will be able offer its services to the visitors with 124 rooms that combine history and nature. Also known as Katarina Mansion, the 116-year-old hunting lodge was built with Baltic-style architecture without using nails between 1877 and 1878 (during the reign of Tsar Alexander II), during the 40-year-long Russian occupation in Sarikamis.

Back in July 2010, Royal Russia reported on the proposed restoration of this hunting lodge, click the link below to read the article in Royal Russia News:

Tsar Nicholas II's Hunting Lodge in Sarikamis to be Restored 

© Daily Sabah. 04 September, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:12 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 September 2014 8:22 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post
Saturday, 26 July 2014
How Nicky and Willy Could Have Prevented World War I
Topic: Nicholas II


Emperors Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany
 
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the July 25th, 2014 edition of the Washington Post. The author Graham Allison , owns the copyright presented below.

One hundred years ago this week, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany exchanged a series of telegrams to try to stop the rush to a war that neither of them wanted. They signed their notes “Nicky” and “Willy.”

Cousins who vacationed together, hunted together and enjoyed dressing up in the uniforms of each other’s military officers when sailing on their yachts, these two great-great-grandsons of Paul I of Russia wrote to each other in English, affirming their mutual interests and outlining an agreement that would have resolved the crisis on terms acceptable to both rulers.

Yet only three days after the tsar and kaiser’s initial exchange, Germany declared war on Russia, and World War I was underway. Tragically, these leaders were caught in what Henry Kissinger has called a “doomsday machine”: a network of interlocking alliances and military mobilization timetables that allowed the march of events to overcome their best efforts.

The telegrams between them were discovered by an American journalist in the Russian government archives in 1919 and caused a sensation when they were first published in 1920. A century after they were written, they are vivid reminders of the perils of crisis management — and the wisdom of preventive diplomacy to resolve challenges like today’s territorial dispute in eastern Ukraine before they become crises that suck great powers into confrontations.

The exchange began in the very early morning of July 29, just hours after Austria-Hungary (an ally of Germany) declared war on Serbia (an ally of Russia) in retaliation for the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Time was short to find a diplomatic solution that would prevent a regional war from becoming a world war.

Tsar Nicholas wrote: “In this serious moment, I appeal to you to help me. An ignoble war has been declared to a weak country. The indignation in Russia shared fully by me is enormous. I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure forced upon me and be forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war. To try and avoid such a calamity as a European war I beg you in the name of our old friendship to do what you can to stop your allies from going too far. Nicky.”

Even before this telegram arrived in Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm sent his own message to the tsar, reading in part: “The persons morally responsible for the dastardly murder should receive their deserved punishment. In this case politics plays no part at all. On the other hand, I fully understand how difficult it is for you and your Government to face the drift of your public opinion. Therefore, with regard to the hearty and tender friendship which binds us both from long ago with firm ties, I am exerting my utmost influence to induce the Austrians to deal straightly to arrive to a satisfactory understanding with you. I confidently hope that you will help me in my efforts to smooth over difficulties that may still arise. Your very sincere and devoted friend and cousin. Willy.”

So from the outset, both leaders expressed hope for a diplomatic solution. And Wilhelm had a particular compromise in mind: Austrian troops would be allowed to advance as far as Belgrade and remain there until Serbia dismantled the Black Hand terrorist group, responsible for the murder of the archduke.

The kaiser told the German chancellor to communicate this proposal to Vienna. But the chancellor privately opposed the “halt in Belgrade” policy and did not deliver the message clearly. Instead, he instructed his ambassador in St. Petersburg to tell the Russian foreign minister that if Russia continued preparing troops for battle against Austria, Germany would also mobilize and “a European war could scarcely be prevented.”

In the next volley of telegrams, sent on the evening of July 29, Wilhelm explained to his cousin why Russia should remain on the sidelines of a limited Austro-Serbian war. Nicholas responded: “Thanks for your telegram conciliatory and friendly. Whereas official message presented today by your ambassador to my minister was conveyed in a very different tone. Beg you to explain this divergency! It would be right to give over the Austro-Serbian problem to the Hague conference. Trust in your wisdom and friendship. Your loving Nicky.”

In this telegram, the tsar made clear that he was still eager to find a diplomatic solution. He endorsed the kaiser’s proposal of negotiations at the Hague, where Germany, Russia, France and England would mediate an agreement between Austria and Serbia. And later that night, because of the messages he was receiving from the kaiser, he resisted the counsel of his war ministers that an immediate mobilization of the entire Russian army was the only plausible response to Austria’s declaration of war. Instead, he issued an order permitting partial mobilization, hoping that this would be viewed less provocatively in Berlin.

Unfortunately, by the next day, both Nicholas and Wilhelm had been overwhelmed by competing views and the momentum of their governments. The tsar accepted his generals’ argument that full mobilization was necessary, because anything less would put his forces at a disadvantage in the event they had to be deployed against Germany. And the kaiser sent a telegram with strong language drafted by the German chancellor: “If, as it is now the case, according to the communication by you & your Government, Russia mobilises against Austria, my rôle as mediator . . . will be endangered if not ruined. The whole weight of the decision lies solely on you[r] shoulders now, who have to bear the responsibility for Peace or War. Willy.”

In the round of telegrams sent on July 31 (which crossed in transmission), neither side proved willing to make concessions or take actions that could have made room for a deal to prevent or delay the outbreak of war.

Kaiser Wilhelm: “I now receive authentic news of serious preparations for war on my Eastern frontier. Responsibility for the safety of my empire forces preventive measures of defence upon me. In my endeavours to maintain the peace of the world I have gone to the utmost limit possible. . . . My friendship for you and your empire, transmitted to me by my grandfather on his deathbed has always been sacred to me and I have honestly often backed up Russia when she was in serious trouble especially in her last war. The peace of Europe may still be maintained by you, if Russia will agree to stop the milit[ary] measures which must threaten Germany and Austro-Hungary. Willy.”

Tsar Nicholas: “We are far from wishing war. As long as the negociations with Austria on Serbia’s account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this. I put all my trust in Gods mercy and hope in your successful mediation in Vienna for the welfare of our countries and for the peace of Europe. Your affectionate Nicky.”

Shortly after that telegram arrived in Berlin, the German chancellor sent an ultimatum to St. Petersburg, giving Russia 12 hours to “suspend every war measure against Austria-Hungary and ourselves.”

The tsar responded to the kaiser: “Understand you are obliged to mobilise but wish to have the same guarantee from you as I gave you, that these measures do not mean war and that we shall continue negociating for the benefit of our countries and universal peace dear to all our hearts. Our long proved friendship must succeed, with God’s help, in avoiding bloodshed. Anxiously, full of confidence await your answer. Nicky.”

Russia never received that guarantee. Germany saw its ultimatum rejected. The exchange between Nicky and Willy ended on Aug. 1, with the kaiser writing: “I must request you to immediatly order your troops on no account to commit the slightest act of trespassing over our frontiers.”

That evening, Germany’s ambassador to St. Petersburg handed the Russian foreign minister a declaration of war and then burst into tears. The last-inning efforts of the cousins clearly failed, and today the legacy of their correspondence is one of missed opportunities. Had the kaiser and the tsar started sooner and been better statesmen, they might have prevented a world war that in the end both of them would lose.

Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. 
 
© Graham Allison / Washington Post. 26 July, 2014 
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 26 July 2014 6:47 AM EDT
Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older