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Bank of France. The repayment of these amounts would assist in hastening the economic reconstruction of Russia, the stabilization of her currency and the consequent resumption of payments on her public debt.
Russian goods, property and other assets held by the creditor nations should be evaluated and brought into account.
V. Finally, discrimination will obviously be exercised by the Russian Government in its relations with other countries according to their attitude to the Red Tyranny by which our country is temporarily enslaved.
It must further be taken for granted that those countries or private groupings which financially supported the "Freedom International" and thus contributed to the liberation of Russia will enjoy undisputed priority over all her other creditors and will, obviously, be accorded exceptional advantages in the Russia of tomorrow.
THE INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF RUSSIA
As Czarist Russia was both a European and an Asiatic power, we may begin by examining her role in inter-continental history. A rampart of the West throughout the early stages of her history, she later became a bulwark of western civilization in Asia. Or, perhaps one might say that Russia first defended Europe against the dark forces of the East and then brought civilization to the barren lands of Asia. There is another Asia to that of Alaric, Attila and Ghengis Khan, an Asia which in the course of history exerted a civilizing influences over Europe. In the days of the Roman Empire the greatest schools of medicine flourished in Asia. In agriculture and trade she gave us the cherry, the peach, the raisin, the mulberry, the silk worm, cotton and coffee, while a Europe recovering from Germanic invasions is indebted to her for numerous industries. From her we learned the art of pottery. Many more examples could be quoted. Besides, do not all our religions and all our races stem from Asia?
In science and industry, however, the Westerners have been for over a century the absolute masters of Asia, even of the civilized Asia which sought protection against the somber forces of the East behind the Great Wall of China.
In the 13th century it was Russia that stood as a barrier between these forces, represented by the Tartar-Mongolian hordes and Western civilization. It was Russia which saved Europe Irom barbarism and annihilation, herself shedding in this gigantic struggle three centuries of painfully acquired progress from the days of Vladimir, who converted Russia to Christianity, and his son, Yaroslav the Wise. Let us take a look
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at the international position of Russia before these invasions. By his marriage to Princess Inguigerd of Sweden, Yaroslav had seven children. Four of his daughters later became queens: Anastasia, of Hungary; Elizabeth, of Norway; Marie, of Poland; and Anne of France. One of his sons, Vladimir II, was married to Guilda, the daughter of King Harold II of England; another, Isaslav I, to Marie, daughter of the King of Poland; the third, Vsevolod I, to Anne, daughter of Constantine Monomach, Emperor of Byzantium. Praxede Adelaide, the daughter of Vsevolod, became the wife of Henry IV, Emperor of Germany, and Vladimir III, his son, who inherited the title of Monomach from his grandfather, was allied to Christine, the daughter of the Swedish King, Inge IV.
Vladimir Monomach left his children a testament of great historical interest. In it he exhorts his heirs to acquire the best education possible and points to his father, Vsevolod, who, though burdened with the duties of government, still found time to learn five foreign languages. He talks of hospitality, which he says should be shown to all alike without distinction and should always be generous. Lastly, he wants to see capital punishment abolished forever. On the threshold of the 12th century, it would be difficult to find in Western Europe a document as lofty in conception as these admonitions left by a Russian prince to his children.
The Tartars first appeared on the Russian approaches in 1223 during the lifetime of Ghengis Khan. Bruised, despoiled and mutilated by successive waves of terrifying invasions, the Russian nation withdrew into itself and patiently awaited the hour of revenge and liberation from the cruelties of its oppressors and the hardships imposed by fate. That hour dawned at last, after more than two hundred years of thralldom, and the nation took its revenge under John IV, the Czar Alexis, Peter I and Catherine II. By then it was our turn to penetrate into the Asia of Ghengis Khan and to bring civilization to the wastelands of the Mongol Empire, as well as to establish over the
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continent of Asia the supremacy and influence of the White Race.
The West, once saved by Russia in the Middle Ages, soon forgot the fact and instead chose to misread the role of Czarist Russia in the East. And, in an attitude of haughty ingratitude and wilful ignorance, persisted in regarding Russia as a barbarian nation.
The collapse of Czarist Russia was witnessed with ill-concealed satisfaction by many countries of the West and especially by England who persistently regarded Russia as a dangerous rival in Asia whose fall could but serve the interests of the British Empire. This was a gross miscalculation: the disappearance of imperial Russia dealt an irreparable blow to the prestige and might of all European nations, but for none were the consequences more severe than for England.
"When an empire emerges victoriously from a great war, writes Guglielmo Ferrero, it should, in all logic, inspire its subjects with a greater sense of fear and respect. The opposite occurred after the Armistice. Afghanistan demanded complete independence, similar tendencies were brutally awakened in China, and India. In Persia England found no support for the reapplication of the 1909 Treaty. The Assembly of Ankara contrived to build up a new army . . . and the Treaty of Sevres remains a dead letter ... In a word, everywhere Asia is in revolt against Europe." (a)
Can any explanation be found for this strange contradiction? The answer is supplied by the same historian:
"There is a debit and a credit side to all outstanding human events—alliances, wars, revolutions, victories, de-
(a) Guglielmo Ferrero, "Entre le Passe et l'Avenir" ("Between the Past and the Future"), Paris, 1926, pp. 87-90.
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feats. Man is compelled to draw up his accounts and balance his books. But we, instead, have only looked at the profit and credit side of our war accounts and never bothered to subtract the debit and the losses which weigh down our victory. We have thus forgotten that the Russian Empire no longer exists.
"The Allied victory in the West was total, but not so in the East, where a great ally has collapsed. If Italy, France, England, America and their allies have destroyed Austria and beaten Germany, these two countries prior to their defeat had destroyed Russia. In the balance sheet of the war the complete ruin of the Russian Empire must be regarded as a serious debit item to the victors, a fact the latter failed to take into account. They drew up the Peace as if the Russian Empire was on its feet, still mighty and capable of action . . . Therein lies the key to all our Asiatic setbacks." (a)
As long as Czarist Russia was in existence the unity of Europe was so complete that, as a whole, it was never weakened by internal antagonisms or, what is more important, its influence in the world affected.
The rivalry between England and Russia was in reality only apparent as the influence of both countries in Asia rested upon the mutual prestige they enjoyed. The respect paid to all Europeans, in the broad sense of the word, and in particular, the position they enjoyed in Constantinople, was due, directly or indirectly to the existence of Russia.
Distant countries, like England and France, owed the compliant and accommodating attitude of the Chinese largely to Russia and to the influence she exerted.
When Czarist Russia fell, the prestige and influence of all European nations in Asia were lost forever.
Things being what they are, the position of Europeans in
(a) Guglielmo Ferrero, Ibid.
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Asia, none too good at the present, cannot but worsen rapidly to a point where it may endanger the continent of Europe, while Russia, having lost the positive character of her influence in international politics, has been transformed into a base for world revolution.
More than thirty years ago, G. Gautherot, another farsighted historian of our times, wrote:
"In the midst of the Chinese anarchy and across the revolt in India, we begin to discern the new masters. The Soviet Union, spread over half the continent of Asia, is injecting its poison directly into a human mass of eight hundred million beings. Even if it does not succeed in uniting them against Europe, it can at least use them to chase out the white colonialists, to sever international lines of communication, to disrupt effectively the stability of the world, to strike an indirect but mortal blow at Europe." (a)
In 1926, I wrote:
"We must bear in mind that a peaceful settlement of the conflict between the white and colored races, a conflict only beginning, but already ominous, can only be reached with the assistance of a peaceful and firmly established Russia. No honest approach to this problem is possible before the total eclipse of Bolshevism with all its recognized subversive activities in Asia." (b)
It is a matter of pride that these lines have been repeatedly quoted by the press in commenting on the development of events in the Far East.
(a) Gustave Gautherot, "Le Bolchevisme aux Colonies et l'lmperialisme
Rouge," Paris, 1930, p. 14.
(b) "Le Bolchevisme, la Russie et I'Europe," Revue "Vers I'Unitc," Paris,
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Voltaire is perhaps guilty of exaggeration in his "History of Charles XII" when he describes Russia as "a country hardly known to Europe before Czar Peter." Nevertheless, "it was in the 18th century only that the State of Moscovy joined the family of European nations as an active and fully fledged member and first took part in international relations." (a)
At this period, in the South and East, unaided by, but in the interests of the entire West, Russia had triumphed over the hostile forces of Asia and had removed a constant threat to her existence as a nation. In the West, Poland, in the 17th century, was no longer a mighty state and a source of danger to Russia, leaving the way clear to intercourse with Europe. A series of defensive wars had cleared the Swedes out of the northwest. In a word, to quote Pushkin, "a window had been opened into Europe."
The individual and salient characteristic trait of Russian military history is a form of strategy based on defense (b) so brilliantly applied by Field Marshall Kutuzov who led our armies in the Napoleonic Wars. The whole trend of Russian diplomacy, aimed at preserving the peace and often pacifist in character, was in strict accordance with this strategy. In international relations the Russian Government has invariably worked for peace. After the 17th century on those occasions when our armies have crossed our borders, it was either to maintain a proper balance in Europe or to free Christian nations from the Mohammedan yoke. Furthermore, most of these campaigns were waged in the concerted interest of Europe and not of Russia alone.
Russia helped to maintain the balance in Europe against Frederick II in the course of the Seven Years War and in 1759 her armies occupied Berlin. But for this timely and decisive intervention, the disturbing influence of "Prussianism" would have made itself felt a century earlier.
(a) Kliuchevsky, "Course of Russian History," Moscow, 1910. Vol. 4 p. 66.
(b) "Outcome of Russian Wars," General Leer, St. Petersburg, 1898.
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In order to free Europe of the tyrant, Russia joined in the coalition against Napoleon (1805-1806; 1812-1814) though offered a tempting share in his sphere of influence, (a) At the time, England, in particular, was rescued by Russia.
Napoleon's supremacy once broken, Russia intervened with the greatest wisdom in favor of France. Alexander I successfully opposed every effort at despoiling and dismembering France, foreseeing that a policy of this nature could only lead to a war of revenge; and after Waterloo, thanks to his influence, Europe enjoyed forty years of uninterrupted peace.
In 1849 it was the turn of Austria to be saved by Russia, who, in compliance with the principles of the Holy Alliance, intervened and helped to suppress the Hungarian revolt. (1)
The constructive policy of peace, fostered by Russia, and the disinterested assistance she gave to nation after nation in distress, were strangely rewarded by the Crimean Campaign. (2) Austria, in particular, "astounded the world by her ingratitude" in preventing the Russians from undertaking operations on the Danube; Napoleon III tried to avenge Napoleon I and thirsted for military honors, while England was already haunted by the idea of Anglo-Russian rivalry in Asia. The European coalition saved Turkey from Russia who regarded herself as the rightful protector of her brethren by faith living under intolerable conditions of oppression. In 1854 Western Europe prevented Russia from carrying out her great historic mission in the Balkans. This was never abandoned, only postponed. Protection, once assumed, was not to be swept aside by intrigue or the machinations of European diplomacy and the victorious crusade of liberation was achieved a few years later. We shall return to this subeject.
When the main achievement of the Congress of Vienna, the equilibrium of Europe, was once more jeopardized by Bismarck,
(a) Regarded by some as an error. See work by D. Merejkovsky, "Napoleon, the Man," translated from the Russian by M. Dumesnil de Gramont. Calmann-Levy, pub., Paris, 1930.
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Russia, in 1875, prevented Prussia from crushing France. (3) It is fairly evident that but for the Crimean War and the unhappy policy of Napoleon III toward Russia, the latter would have intervened in 1870 and saved France from the ignominy of Sedan. But Bismarck's followers still persevered in their pursuit of world supremacy. The dark shadow of future events began to spread over the European horizon. In a last attempt to disperse the gathering thunder clouds, Russia took the initiative and convened a peace conference at the Hague in 1898. She tried to induce the member nations to resort to arbitration in the settlement of their disputes and to create an international instrument of justice at the Hague, which, had the Russian efforts borne fruit, would have averted World War I. As a first step to stopping the armaments race, Russia proposed (1899) that the twenty-eight assembled nations should agree not to increase their armed forces any further. This proposal was turned down by Germany and England and the Russian prophecy that the prolongation of the existing situation would inevitably lead to war was realized fifteen years later to the great misfortune of the world and the greater misfortune of Russia. (4)
At the time of the Hague conference, Russia found herself compelled to intervene in the affairs of China. On the eve of the conference, the European Powers (Russia and France, followed by Germany but not by England) brought pressure the bear on Japan to stop an offensive war on an unarmed China. By this intervention further bloodshed was averted and the aggressor nation prevented from pursuing a policy of conquest on the Asiatic mainland. This action did not coincide with the views of Downing Street and Japan, openly encouraged by England, promptly commenced preparing for war. In 1904, powerfully armed, assured of English support and secretly encouraged by Wilhelm II and the wealthy New York banker, Jacob Schiff (a), Japan, without warning, attacked
(a) See Israel Zangwill, "The Problem of the Jewish Race," New York, p. 14.
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Russia. Anxious to shorten the conflict she availed herself of American mediation a year later (5) and so terminated a war which it might have been to Russia's interests to prolong. (6) In her external relations, Imperial Russia has always followed a policy of moderation and sought a peaceful solution to existing problems. An approach of this nature best expressed the temperament of the nation as the Russian people are the most peace-loving and peace-minded in the world.
The most brilliant pages in the history of Russian international relations are those which relate to our policy in the Balkans aimed at protecting Christian minorities under Turkish domination.
As early as 1828, seconded at the time by England and France, we waged war on the Turks in an attempt to put an end to their atrocities in the Balkans and terminated a victorious war by a peace treaty signed at Adrianople. The Turks recognized the independence of the Greek Provinces in the southern end of the Balkan Peninsular which, in 1830, were formed into the Kingdom of Greece. The principalities of Moldavia, Valakhia and Serbia, though remaining under Turkish suzerainty, were granted a measure of internal autonomy and placed under Russian protection. Thus as a power entitled by treaty to watch over the welfare of its brothers by religion under the Sultan, Russia gained a right to intervene in the internal affairs of Turkey. Though Greece gained her complete independence and emerged as a kingdom, only a beginning was as yet set to the final liberation of the Serbs, the Rumanians and the Bulgars. Thwarted both in 1828 and 1854 from attaining the aims to which she was dedicated, Russia finally succeeded in 1878.
The Treaty of Paris which put an end to the Crimean War did little to solve the "Eastern Question" and merely underlined the existing difficulties. Russia remained obdurate in her unwillingness to relinquish the moral obligation of protecting the Christian subjects of the Sultan, while the other signatory
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powers, now endowed with equal protective rights over the Balkan Slavs, showed no interest in their fate. The obstinacy of the Sultan in maintaining his barbarous methods of administration in lands inhabited by the Serbs and Bulgars evoked the repeated intervention of Russian diplomacy, progressively less effectual, thanks to the position adopted by England under Disraeli, now more Russophobe than ever. Lord Beaconsfield, the fierce enemy of Russia, was firmly convinced that an increase of Russian prestige in the East, or, as a matter of fact, any advantage or success gained by Russia, was nothing but a defeat for England. There gradually arose between England and Russia a permanent state of ill feeling over Balkan affairs, where Turkey was encouraged and upheld by English diplomacy and the Sultan given a sense of freedom to pursue his tactics.
In 1875 rebellion broke out among the Balkan Christians. The events that followed and the threat of total annihilation to Serbia compelled Russia to declare war on Turkey in 1877, after exhausting all peaceful means, in spite of unfavorable conditions at home and an adverse international situation. (7) I quote Mr. Gladstone's comment at the time: "If Russia is beaten it will be a misfortune for Christendom and humanity. If she is victorious she will reap immortal glory."
In the summer of 1877 Turkey and Russia clashed both in Europe and Asia. By December of the same year Turkish resistance was broken and the Russian armies were advancing on Constantinople. The Sultan sued for peace.
An armistice was signed on January 19, 1878, but the ensuing peace talks were embittered by the intervention of England. On the orders of Lord Beaconsfield, an English squadron anchored off Constantinople on January 26th. On February 3, the squadron entered the Sea of Marmora, stood off the Prince's Islands, threatened the Russian flank and rendered open support to the policy of procrastination and bad faith which the Turks had adopted since the Armistice. Alexander II replied to this provocative behavior by moving his headquarters
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to within ten miles of Constantinople. The Turks at once became accommodating and peace was signed in San Stefano on February 19, 1878.
The Sublime Port recognized the independence of Serbia, Rumania and Montenegro and agreed to cede a few provinces to the two last named countries. Turkey further accepted the creation of a new state, composed of all her Bulgarian and some Macedonian provinces, to form Bulgaria, which was thus given an exit to the Aegean Sea and was permitted to organize a national army of her own. Bosnia and Herzegovina were granted a broad measure of autonomy. Russia regained Ismail, at the mouth of the Danube. She acquired the possession of the port of Batum on the Black Sea and of Kars and its surrounding region to the South of the Caspian range, where a numerous Armenian minority was freed from continued atrocities and massacres by the Turks. England and Austria both violently objected to these terms, primarily from a desire not to see Turkey excessively weakened, but equally in the hope of gaining concrete advantages for themselves. The firm resolve of Alexander II to maintain peace in Europe was the only reason why war between these two countries and Russia was averted. The pacifist policy of Russia was skillfully used to impair the results of the war of liberation and to provide Russia's opponents with territorial gains, while Germany seized on the opportunity to further her plans in Europe and to extract from the existing situation the greatest possible profit. Bismarck was now in a position to make Russia pay dearly for her intervention in favor of France in 1875. Assuming, according to his own definition, the role of "honest broker" between Russia, England and Austria, he convened the famous Berlin Congress, where he firmly sided with England and Austria and forced Russia into accepting extremely humiliating modifications to the Treaty of San Stefano. Serbia and Montenegro were deprived of a major portion of their territorial gains; Bulgaria was cut in two; instead of one united country, two states were created, a small principality of Bulgaria and on autonomous province,
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to be known as Eastern Rumelia. Both were placed under Turkish suzerainty. Lastly, Bosnia and Herzegovina were handed to Austria.
Future peace in the Balkans was obviously threatened by the terms of the new treaty, but it would appear this was precisely what the "honest broker" desired. English support was gained by her acquisition of Cyprus, while the humiliation of Russia was a personal triumph for Disraeli. The "Iron Chancellor" led Austria to believe that Russian public opinion was particularly angered with her and Germany, and forced her into a secret alliance, later joined by Italy. He thus gained his second objective, the creation of the Triple Alliance with a view to crushing France and Russia. For the latter, the outcome of the Berlin Congress was a matter of great disappointment; a frustrated nation sought consolation in the knowledge that the initial purpose of the war had at least been achieved and the fate of the Christian population in the Balkans to a great extent improved.
An assessment of Russian policy in the Near East was made by Professor Ch. Sarolea. This is what he says:
"As heir to the Byzantine Empire and natural protector of her Slav brethren and co-religionists, Russia may have been guided by motives and ambitions of a national character, but, in the final analysis, the Balkan policy of the Russian monarchy, resulted in the liberation of Christian nations from Turkish domination and opposed the bid for world supremacy of the Austro-German coalition. In the largest public square in Sofia there stands an impressive monument to the great Liberator, Czar Alexander II. Never was a title better deserved.
"English writers who criticize the "aggressive" nature of Russia's Balkan policy must surely be devoid of any sense of humor. They seem to forget that during a whole century when English politics were helping to maintain the cruel tyranny of Turkey over defenseless peoples in
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the Balkans, Russian politics brought freedom to Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria and Serbia. Four nations thus owe their freedom to the "tyrannical" Moscovite State. No country could improve on this record." (a)
In 1914, as in 1876, the existence of Serbia was once again threatened, but this time by a new and more formidable enemy. In her distress she appealed for help to Czarist Russia and unhesitatingly we went to the assistance of our sister nation. The political and economic situation inside the country was definitely unfavorable to armed intervention, but, when presenting their unreasonable demands to defenseless Serbia, both Germany and Austria rightly foresaw the course of action Russia would follow and correctly assessed her sense of honor and her loyalty to international obligations. (8)
As time goes on and more documentary historical evidence comes to light, it becomes increasingly evident that the timing of the European conflict was deliberately planned by the Central Powers. In the preceding chapters I have described the immense process of transformation that was taking place in Russia toward 1914. The transitional period of development tended to weaken the nation's normal forces of resistance and militarily we were not sufficiently prepared. But the pace and rhythm of this development was such that a few years later an anti-European aggression would have had no chance of success.
The sheer logic of events drove Prussian Imperialism into forcing the issue. If the opportunity presented in 1914 had been missed, a Russia internally strong in 1920, for example, would by her mere presence have dispelled the somber machinations of Germany.
Prussian militarism was broken by the 1914-1918 war and the Slav nations freed from Turkish and Austrian oppression. By a cruel turn of fate the greatest of the Slav nations, their natural protector and defender of Slavism in the world, perished in
(a) "English Review," June 1925.
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the struggle. In helping to remove one yoke, Russia found herself burdened by another, unsurpassed in history for its brutality and infamy.
In closing this chapter on the role of Russia in international affairs I venture to suggest that had any of her allies been subjected to the suffering imposed upon her by Communism or any other kind of political upheaval even approaching it in brutality she would have intervened against the oppressors regardless of the cost to herself. I do not want to dwell on the culpable indifference of the majority of nations to Russia at the time of her ordeal, but only to stress the paramount necessity, dictated both by reasons of humanity and self-interest, of helping her people to throw off the yoke of Communism. I need not repeat that there never will be the slightest chance of restoring stable and lasting conditions of peace to the world or of social tranquility in any nation as long as the Soviets continue to exist and Russia is not restored, alike in her own interests and those of Europe. A future Russia, freed from the oppression of this tyranny, will exercise a stabilizing and moderating influence on international affairs, as peace and tranquility are the two conditions she herself will most urgently require.
(1) In 1849 Austria was saved by Russia whose troops quelled the revolt of the Hungarian separatists. By doing so she was fulfilling an obligation imposed upon her by the Holy Alliance, though by this time the original spirit of the Alliance had been vitiated by the Convention of 1833. The fact that this unselfish intervention was a serious mistake was appreciated by the knightly Nicholas I from the start of military operations, i.e., long before the treacherous conduct of Austria at the time when Louis Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of the French and consequently many years before the Crimean War.
When the revolt was put down the Russian commander-in-chief Count Paskevitch, guaranteed the safety of the leaders of the Hungarian Revolution. The execution of these leaders, with Count Teleky at their head, by the Austrian Government, in cowardly breach of this undertaking, enraged Nicho-
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las I. To his Secretary of State, Nesselrode, the Emperor dictated a letter addressed to Francis Joseph beginning with these words: "The foul and infamous conduct of your government," and continuing in the same vein. His reaction is a measure of the chasm separating the two governments and the difference of approach to contracted solemn obligations.
On the monstrous butchery of Budapest in 1956 I would refer the reader to a study of the facts, entitled: "An analogy favored by Mr. Khrushchev: The two interventions in Hungary of 1849 and 1956," written by the ablest Hungarian historian, Bela Menczer and published in the October and November, 1960, issues of "Exil et Liberte."
(2) The Crimean War was a defeat for Russia. It has become a commonplace of orthodox revolutionary propaganda to attribute this defeat to defects of administration and internal shortcomings. It may well be asked what would have been the fate of any other European state faced with the necessity of fighting a similar combination of powers? The aggressor nations, to use a modern term, were successful in delaying the fulfilment of the fixed aim of Russian policy, that of liberating Christian countries from Turkish rule. The abandonment by Russia of this policy, temporary only, was, on the whole, the only concrete result gained by the Allies as, after the fall of Sebastopol, the coalition was quite willing to come to terms with Russia. It was realized that a prolongation of hostilities would benefit no one but Russia and it was Russian pacifism that put an end to a war which would have turned to her advantage.
This contention is sustained by one of our most celebrated historians, S. Solo vie v, a contemporary of the events then taking place. Let us see what he says:
"Peace was signed after the fall of Sebastopol and yet Sebastopol had as much significance as Moscow in 1812. It was precisely then that we should have declared that the war, far from ending, had in reality just started in order to make the Allies abandon their undertaking . . .
"External affairs were by no means in such a desperate state as to preclude the possibility of an energetic monarch withdrawing from the struggle with essential gains in hand. Inside the country there were no signs of lassitude or distress and the young sovereign beloved by everyone, could have mustered an imposing array of forces had he appealed to the devotion and patriotism of the people. The war was irksome to the Allies and they were longing to see it terminated. Faced by a Russian sovereign determined to prolong it till final victory, they would have retreated."
Many Russian military writers share this opinion. General Kuropatkin says: "Had we but followed the example set us by Peter I and Alexander I, we should have continued to fight and eventually pushed the enemy back into the sea."
Whether the decision of the young Emperor was right or wrong at the time
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and I, for one, think it was correct, the policy of Russia was vindicated in 1877-78. The main point to retain is that the alleged "vices" of our internal administration had nothing whatsoever to do with the defeat of 1856.
(3) In mentioning the events of 1875, which lay at the root of the Franco-
Russian Alliance, I quote a few extracts from a speech delivered by the former
Prime Minister, Count W. N. Kokovtzev on the subject of "The Russian
Problem and France," at a luncheon given by the French Union du Commerce
et de Flndustrie:
"I should like to remind you, pro memoria, of two unforgettable dates: the first, 1875, when a second war against a France, injured and hurt by the disaster of 1870-71, was avoided by the decisive words of Emperor Alexander II; and the second, 1891, when the national policy of Alexander III helped to lay the cornerstone of the Franco-Russian Alliance. I shall also remind you of an event in which I took a personal share on orders from my sovereign, the late martyred Nicholas II, and one with which the French public is probably unacquainted. It was in December, 1905; the Russo-Japanese War had come to an end and the fires of the first Russian revolution were dying out. Russia was weakened and France threatened by imminent danger in Morocco. It was at this moment that I was entrusted personally to convey to the French President of the Council, Mr. Rouvier, my sovereign's decision to stand by France and to support her by every means at his disposal.
"We come now to the last historical event, the War of 1914. Russia entered the war with the firm intention of doing all within her power to help the Allied cause and at once altered her own strategic plan of campaign and so rendered possible the victory on the Marne. You will permit me to say that this victory changed the whole course of the war."
"The few instances I have quoted should confirm us in the conviction that this unforgettable past has not been swept aside by subsequent events and will explain why, without presuming too much, I foresee that the future of both our countries will be based on the legacies of this past."
(4) Russian Circular Note Proposing the First Peace Conference
Handed to the diplomatic representatives accredited to St. Petersburg on August 12-24, 1898, by Count Muraviev, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the weekly reception at the Ministry.
"The maintenance of general peace and the possible reduction of the excessive armaments which weigh upon all nations present themselves, in the existing conditions of the world, as the ideal towards which the endeavors of all the Governments should be directed.
"The humanitarian and magnanimous views of His Majesty the Emperor, my august master, are in perfect accord with this sentiment.
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"In the conviction that this lofty aim is in comformity with the most essential interests of the legitimate aspirations of all the Powers, the Imperial Government believes that the present moment would be very favorable for seeking, by means of international discussion, the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.
"In the course of the last twenty years the longings for a general state of peace have become especially pronounced in the consciences of civilized nations. The preservation of peace has been put forward as the object of International policy. In its name great states have formed powerful alliances; and for the better guarantee of peace they have developed their military forces to proportions hitherto unknown and still continue to increase them without hesitating at any sacrifice.
"All these efforts nevertheless have not yet led to the beneficient results of the desired pacification.
"The ever increasing financial charges strike and paralyze public prosperity at its source; the intellectual and physical strength of nations, their labor and capital, are for the most part diverted from their natural application and unproductively consumed; hundreds of millions are spent in acquiring terrible engines of destruction, which though today are regarded as the last word of science, are destined tomorrow to lose all value in consequence of some fresh discovery in the same field. National culture, economic progress, and the production of wealth are either paralyzed or perverted in their development.
"However, in proportion as the armaments of each power increase, so do they less and less attain the object aimed at by the governments. Economic crises, due in great part to the system of amassing armaments to the point of exhaustion, and the continual danger which lies in the accumulation of war material, are transforming the armed peace of our days into a crushing burden which the peoples have more and more difficulty in bearing. It appears evident then, that if this state of affairs be prolonged, it will inevitably lead to the very cataclysm which it is desired to avert, and the impending horrors of which are fearful to every human thought.
"In checking these increasing armaments and in seeking the means of averting the calamities which threaten the entire world lies the supreme duty today resting upon all States.
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"Imbued with this idea, His Majesty has been pleased to command me to propose to all the Governments which have accredited representatives at the Imperial Court the holding of a conference to consider this grave problem.
"This conference would be, with the help of God, a happy presage for the century about to open. It would converge into a single powerful force the efforts of all the States which sincerely wish the great conception of universal peace to triumph over the elements of disturbance and discord. It would at the same time cement their agreement with a solemn avowal of the principles of equity and law, upon which repose the security of States and the welfare of peoples.
Count Muraviev August 12, 1898.
All subsequent efforts to ensure peace among the nations right up to the events of 1914-1918 were but a continuation of the magnificent work commenced at the Hague by Czar Nicholas II. Therein lies the importance of this document.
(5) It appears appropriate to say a few words on Russo-American relations. The unbroken friendship which has hitherto united the two countries dates back to the earliest days of American history. During the American War of Independence the Union's cause was sustained by Russia, who, by heading the League of Northern Powers, made England respect the rights of neutral nations.
In the years following the Congress of Vienna, Russia endeavored to bring America into the general system of balance which she had helped to create with a view to the maintenance of peace in the world. With singular political perspicacity, Alexander I foresaw the grand development of America in the future and consistently extended his friendship to the United States. During the Civil War (1860-65) Russia firmly sided with President Lincoln and a squadron under Admiral Lissovski was dispatched to New York with a supply of arms and ammunition. The gratitude of the Federal Government for the support rendered to the Union forces was referred to in a speech by the late American Ambassador in Paris, Myron T. Herrick, when, in 1927, he said: "We shall never forget the Russian ships which sailed into New York harbor during our Civil War bringing strength and confidence to a country exhausted by strife. We cherish the hope that the message conveyed by those ships still expresses the feelings of the vast masses of the Russian people toward the Republic of the United States. It would, indeed, he continued, be an evil thing to allow a band of men who have gained mastery over a gifted race
THE INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF RUSSIA 179
and who, with diabolical cunning are trying to introduce the poison of their teaching into our country and are endeavoring to undermine the institutions which have assured the happiness and prosperity of our continent, to proceed unhindered with their dreadful activities."
Russia is the only world power with which the United States have never come into serious conflict though they have in turn fought England (the War of Independence and 1812), France (under the Directoire), Spain (1897) and Germany in two World Wars. In contrast, the cordial relations between the American and Russian peoples have never been upset.
Let us hope that the loyal stand taken up by the Government of the United States toward the Russian people after the Revolution and the distinction it draws between the people and its present "Government," which is least qualified to speak in the name of the Russian nation, will reap its just reward in the future. No single factor in international relations could render a greater contribution to the establishment and maintenance of world peace than a friendly entente between the United States and Russia. (6) There is a certain analogy between the fate of Sebastopol and that of Port Arthur. Both were distant points on the immense territory of Russia lying thousands of miles from the capital, and both were fortresses which surrendered after a prolonged and heroic siege. On the other hand, at the time when President Theodore Roosevelt put forward his offer of mediation for the negotiation of a settlement, Japan, according to her own subsequent admission, was well-nigh exhausted, while Russian resources had been strained to a far lesser degree in spite of the treacherous activities of our revolutionaries.
It is now quite apparent that Russia's weakness in the Pacific was one of many, if not the leading, factor which contributed to the war. Faced by the rapid militarization of Japan, the latter's designs in Korea and, in 1895-1896, brutally manifested desire to complete freedom of action in Manchuria, the Russian Government committed several grave mistakes in its Far Eastern policy.
The initial error lay in the guarantee by Russia of the Chinese loan raised for the payment of the contribution imposed by Japan after the Sino-Japanese War. The proceeds of this contribution allowed Japan to build in English dockyards a powerful modern fleet which in 1905 destroyed the Russian fleet in the Far East. At the end of the 19th century Japanese credit on the international market was to all intents non-existent and, without this Sino-Russian aid, she never would have mustered a comparable fleet in the space of a few years. It was a mistake to construct and equip Dalni (now Dairen), a splendid commercial harbor in the proximity of Port Arthur, as yet not properly fortified. After the capture of this undefended harbor, the Japanese were able to unload their heavy guns, without which the siege of Port Arthur would have been impossible. The third mistake committed was the decision temporarily to
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cease work on the construction of the Amur Railway. The last, and perhaps the gravest, lay in restricting credits for the creation of a powerful squadron capable of defending our possessions in the Far East and for strengthening the defenses of our fortresses on the Pacific. After the Second World War and the whole Pacific campaign, the errors of which we were guilty become abundantly clear.
Japan hastened to take advantage of Russia's strategic inferiority, fully realizing that this weakness was temporary. My readers will remember that the single track Trans-Siberian Railway was not yet completed when, on the night of February 8th, 1904, as a dress rehearsal of Pearl Harbor, Japanese destroyers sank three of our largest battleships at Port Arthur without the declaration of war.
A few military critics have suggested that had the Trans-Siberian Railway been completed in 1903, instead of 1906, the Japanese would never have attacked. In my opinion this underrates the military strength of Japan and overlooks the importance of the conflict. One thing, however, is quite clear. With a new army one million strong, poised in Manchuria, we could have prolonged the war to victory had the Japanese delegates at Portsmouth, U.S.A., been less moderate in their terms or shown less willingness to reach a settlement.
(7) A detailed account of events preceding the "War of Liberation" is
given in the "Memorial to the 1877-1878 Crusade," published in Russian by
the Old Comrades Association of the Preobrajensky Regiment to mark the 50th
anniversary of the War.
(8) As tension mounted toward the end of July, 1914, the statesmen of the
Triple Entente made repeated efforts to avoid the catastrophe which was
about to burst over Europe. All their efforts failed against the stonewall oppo
sition of the Triple Alliance, bent on war at any price. In a last minute attempt,
Emperor Nicholas II, true to the dictates of his heart and the principles he had
always followed, sent Wilhelm II a personal telegram offering to place the
whole question at issue before the Tribunal of the Hague. Had Germany
accepted, the war would have been averted. Instead, the appeal remained
unanswered and in lieu of reply, Belgrade was bombarded a few hours later.
Could the war have been really avoided? When events were unrolling with terrifying rapidity in July, Nicholas II told the French Ambassador, Mr. M. Paleologue that "unless Germany has completely taken leave of her senses, she will never dare to attack a united coalition of France, England and Russia." (M. Paleologue, "La Russie des Tsars Pendant La Grande Guerre," vol. I, p. 3.) Unfortunately, England had not yet definitely stated her position when Wilhelm sent up his last trial balloon by ordering the Austrians to shell Belgrade. Instead, she elected to wait for events to develop before taking her stand when it was too late and Europe was already ablaze. We may now
THE INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF RUSSIA 181
regretfully ponder upon the fact that Russia's endeavor to bring about a general reduction of armaments in 1899 at the Hague was frustrated by the combined opposition of Germany and England.
The responsibility borne by Russia for precipitating the world crisis in 1914 is one of the many imputations made against Czarism by the Bolsheviks, the Germans and pro-German writers and sympathizers. The injustice of any such assertion is by now well established; it is mentioned merely as an example of biased anti-Czarist propaganda.
THE MILITARY CONTRIBUTION OF RUSSIA TO THE GREAT WORLD WAR, 1914-1918
1914. The outbreak of hostilities came with overwhelming suddenness to Europe, stunned by the ominous course of events following upon the drama of Sarajevo and the general threat of war. The fact that it was almost inevitable under the circumstances was reluctantly admitted by the Triple Entente (England, France and Russia), as long as Germany, the principal partner of the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria and Italy) regarded resort to arms as a necessary step to her policy of expansion.
When war was actually declared, every nation in Europe was overwhelmed by a sense of stupefied surprise. Russia was no exception. Up to the last fateful hours there still had lingered the faint hope that some means would be found to appease the intractable Central Powers. When the blow fell, the nation bowed to fate and, in a spirit of glowing patriotism, with the exception of a minority of left wing politicians (a) wholeheartedly responded to the summons of the Czar. There was a feeling, confined to no particular section, but quite universal in Russia, that something immense had been unleashed and that the destiny of the Empire, and in fact of the whole world, would depend on the final issue.
The original plan for the disposition of the Russian armies in the event of hostilities called for the total abandonment of the salient formed by Poland. Consequently, as soon as mobiliza-
(a) See Chapter XI, Note 1.
MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE GREAT WORLD WAR 183
tion was completed and in order to secure freedom of action for orderly concentration, the troops of the Warsaw military district were withdrawn further East and deployed in front of Belostock. With the armies so disposed, provided with fortified rear zones prepared in advance, the whole front from north to south would have presented a strategic line tactically in accord with the elaborated plans of campaign. Why the armies never took up these positions will soon become apparent.
At the outbreak of hostilities the forces of the opposing sides were fairly evenly matched, though the Germans and Austro-Hungarians had the advantage of a central position and internal lines of communication, whereas the Allies held two distinct and separated fronts.
The decision where to strike first lay with the Germans and Hindenburg in his "Memoirs" tells us what partly inclined the German High Command to select the West. "Eastward or Westward? That was the great question. Our fate depended on the answer. Germany instinctively turned to the West for a final solution, by what had now become a national process of reasoning and tradition."
"Nach Paris!" Thirteen divisions were dispatched to reinforce the Eastern Front and eighty-three thrown into the battle against France.
The conviction of the German Staff that Russia would not undertake any active operations before completing the concentrations of her armies no doubt influenced the High Command, but as an additional safeguard, thirty-seven Austro-Hungarian divisions were ordered to advance into the South of Russia.
Meanwhile, in the West, the German onslaught was about to reach its peak and the opening stages of a decisive battle were in progress, with the English and French in full retreat, though fighting stubbornly. On August 31st, at the very height of battle, the Germans unexpectedly withdrew two army corps and one cavalry division from the battle and dispatched them to Eastern Prussia. The whole situation was at once radically
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altered and what looked like a triumphal advance on Paris was transformed a few days later into defeat on the Marne.
Why did the Germans make this dramatic move? What overwhelming factor could possibly have compelled them to take such a step at the height of a battle which they confidently anticipated would settle the fate of the war?
The answer to this question is supplied by the situation as it had developed in the East.
As soon as the first alarming news from the West reached Russian Headquarters, Grand Duke Nicholas, the Commander-in-Chief, at once decided to take the most drastic measures to succor his allies. On his own responsibility, he reversed the entire Russian strategic plan and, disregarding the incompleted concentration of his armies, ordered a full scale advance into Eastern Prussia.
With singular insight and breadth of vision, he realized that the final outcome of the war would never depend on success or failure on any particular front, but would come as a result of a concerted strategy, when national interests might have to be sacrificed to the common good.
General Cherfils in "La Guerre de la Delivrance" (p. 172) writes:
"The spirit in which this offensive was undertaken is something which demands the greatest attention. It was conceived as an intervention, a diversionary operation, to assist and relieve the French Front. As Russian Com-mander-in-Chief, the Grand Duke behaved more like an ally than a Russian and deliberately sacrificed the interests of his own country to those of France. In these circumstances his strategy can be termed as "anti-national."
The East Prussian campaign entailed very heavy losses for Russia and ended in retreat and a major military disaster. It was redeemed by the fact that Paris and France were saved. Referring to it later, Marshal Foch used these words: "We are
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primarily indebted to Russia for the fact that France was not wiped off the face of Europe."
The Germans were so alarmed by this totally unforeseen offensive and the initial Russian successes in Eastern Prussia that fresh formations from inside the country were rushed to the front to strengthen the original thirteen divisions and the two army corps and cavalry division withdrawn from the Marne. Simultaneously other vigorous counter measures had to be taken by the Germans, as a new threat to the Central Powers developed at the Southwestern end of the Russian Front, where the routed Austrians were clamoring for help.
After concentrating three army corps on the west bank of the River San, the Austrians, according to plan, set out to capture southern Poland. They were met by hastily assembled Russian formations, thrown piecemeal into battle, halted and eventually forced into retreat. Further south and east two Russian armies entered Galicia and captured the capital, Lwow (Lemberg). By mid September the Austrians were retreating along the whole length of their battle front and by the end of the month the Russians were in the foothills of the Carpathians. Beaten in Poland and in Galicia, the Austrian Army was in desparate straits.
The first of many subsequent rescues was effected by the Germans. Hindenburg was instructed to relinquish pursuit of the Russians in Eastern Prussia and to transfer the greater part of his troops into upper Silesia and toward Cracow. There, after incorporating a few Austrian divisions into his forces, he was ordered to advance to the Vistula, the central sector of the Russian front. A situation of the gravest danger now arose for the Russians. There were no troops on the left bank of the Vistula and, in fact, the whole line of the river was virtually undefended. Once across, there was little to stop the Germans from making a clean break through, fanning out and severing the Northern and Southwestern ends of the front. The exceptional bravery of the troops engaged and the promptitude with which orders were executed saved the day. Within less than
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a day's march from Warsaw and as the German cavalry patrols were probing into the outskirts of the city, the enemy was met by unexpected stiff Russian resistance. A few hours later, another surprise awaited the Germans. Troops, somehow transferred from farther south and in the process of deployment on the right bank of the Vistula, instead of defending the river, forced their way across, attacked the Germans and stemmed the advance. Giving the enemy no time to recover, they drove the bewildered Germans before them and never halted until they had thrown them back into Silesia, the initial starting point of the offensive.
With Hindenburg temporarily out of the running and nursing his wounds, the Russians were free to turn on the Austrians. These they defeated and drove back 125 miles to the border along the line Warthe, Czenstohow, Cracow. "The situation is again tense on the Eastern Front," writes Ludendorf in "Conduct of the War and Politics." "The issue of the war hangs once more on a thread."
The drive west, to Silesia and southwest to Cracow in turn, uncovered the right flank of the Russians. Never slow to attack, Hindenburg at once took advantage of the opportunity offered, concentrated von Malkensen's army to the west of Thorn and threw it against the sector between the Vistula and the Warthe. There ensued a period of nightmarish and chaotic fighting, later known as the battle of Lodz. Concerning it, Hindenburg writes: "Attacks and counter-attacks, encirclement and the threat of oneself being encircled followed each other in succession, the whole a picture of utter chaos unsurpassed in savagery by any of the previous fighting on the Eastern Front."
This last offensive of 1914 brought no gain in territory or strategic advantage to the Germans in spite of very heavy casualties. By the end of the year they were brought to the reluctant conclusions that the Eastern Front demanded the constant presence of a far larger number of divisions than they
MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE GREAT WORLD WAR 187
had foreseen and consequently additional new formations were dispatched to the East.
1915. By the beginning of 1915 the fighting in France had settled into positional warfare. In the East, where the Germans never abandoned their attempts to secure a strategic advantage over the Russians, a war of manoeuvre was still in progress. In the early months of the year, the Russians, with the initiative firmly in their grasp, opened a large-scale offensive at the southwestern end of the front. In February, the Austrian province of Bukovina was captured and in mid-March Przemyzl surrendered, with a garrison of 120,000 men and 1,050 guns. The time was fast approaching when the Commander-in-Chief could reasonably hope to deal the Austrian army a coup de grace by destroying it in the Carpathian passes and completing the debacle by pouring his troops into the Hungarian plain. Severed from Germany, Austria would be compelled to sue for a separate peace. On the verge of imminent collapse, she once again turned to Germany for succor.
At the time when these events were developing, Germany, in the hope of forestalling the deployment of the British armies in full strength and of knocking out France before the supply of munitions improved, was about to stage an all-out attack in the West. The front was to be broken at the junction of the Allied Armies, the British and French separated and Paris captured.
The offensive was cancelled at a Council of War in Lille in March, 1915, where the necessity of first dealing with the Russians, now threatening the very existence of Austria, was given priority over any other operation.
Immediately elite German formations, among them two corps of the Guard, began to move to the East where the number of divisions was brought from forty-four to seventy. Preparations, on an unprecedented scale, for a break-through, were set in motion and a sector between the Carpathians and the Vistula was chosen for the initial attack. A new technique,
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later adopted as a standard pattern for any major operation in trench warfare, was also introduced. This consisted of an intensive bombardment on a narrow front, followed by waves of assault infantry.
On May 2nd, 250 guns, half of them heavy, placed practically wheel to wheel, heralded the opening of the offensive. After a few hours of bombardment the Russian defenses were obliterated. Succeeding waves of specially trained "sturmtrup-pen" overran the lightly manned lines and frustrated any attempt by hastily summoned reserves to close the gap. Units in the Carpathians, now in imminent danger of being cut off, made speed to join the main body of the army and the whole front in Galicia was forced into retreat, sustaining the most grievous losses. An overwhelming superiority of artillery and fresh reserves, unceasingly transferred from the West, enabled the enemy to sustain his relentless pressure, while in the South an Austrian offensive, bolstered by German divisions, caused a further worsening of the situation.
Not content with a regional success, the German High Command decided that the situation warranted an attempt to finish off the Russians and ordered a general offensive along the whole front, stretching for over two thousand miles from north to south, with the main objective of encircling the central group of Russia armies in the region of Brest-Litovsk.
A period of unprecedented trial faced the Russians. A deep strategic withdrawal was executed in order, the enemy prevented from breaking through at any point, cohesion and liaison between neighboring groups maintained. Warsaw, Ivangorod and Brest-Litovsk were ceded to the enemy. Kovno fell, after experiencing the full weight of massive shelling and finally Vilno was threatened.
Both Hindenburg and Ludendorff speak with feeling of those days in their memoirs and deplore their failure to destroy the Russian army. In one passage Hindenburg says: "If ever high hopes were centered in the heart of an impatient and worried man, it is my case today. Are we in time? Have we the means?
MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE GREAT WORLD WAR 189
What does it matter! Forward! To Vilno! And then, right about, South! The cavalry will shortly lay hands on the main artery of Russian supplies. A squeeze . . . and death to the bulk of the Russian forces. However, our foes have apparently foreseen the danger and by skillful manoeuvre are trying to avert the threat. Intensive fighting is developing in the approaches to Vilno. Every hour gained by the Russians means so many more of their troops saved and allowed to withdraw to the East! Our cavalry is being driven back by the counterattacking foe! The road to the East is again open to the Russians. We have arrived too late and we are utterly exhausted." The grandiose plans for destroying the Russian armies in one all-embracing offensive had failed.
General Goulevitch, my father, as Chief of Staff of the group of Russian armies fighting the Germans, was largely instrumental in correctly assessing Hindenburg's intentions and in insisting on the timely adoption of measures that helped to avert what might have been an irrevocable disaster; the possibility of a general debacle was not even considered by the majority of the Russian Commanders and the real magnitude of the peril in which Russia stood was fully appreciated only after the publication of the quoted "Memoirs."
Across marshes and impassable roads, lacking artillery support and exhausted to the point of collapse after an interminable retreat, the Russians were again attacking. By a superhuman effort the enemy advance was checked, then brought to a halt and the front line stabilized.
Summarising the campaign of 1915, Hindenburg wrote:
"For our G.H.Q. the end of 1915 was no occasion for the triumphal fanfare we had anticipated. The final outcome of the year's fighting was disappointing. The Russian bear had escaped from the net in which we had hoped to entrap him, bleeding profusely, but far from mortally wounded, and had slipped away after dealing us the most terrible blows."