220 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
were not to be forgotten by Social Democracy. The leaders were convinced that the methods employed were correct and that, at some future date, given a larger and more detailed organization, with a greater share in the movement by the armed forces, Social Democracy had a good chance of success.
The effects of failure caused a falling off in membership among the workers who were thoroughly disgusted with the results produced by "direct action." The leaders of the party were forced to flee abroad and there find an outlet for their energy in continuing the wrangle between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Nevertheless they combined in pursuing their seditious propaganda abroad, as well as in Russia, directed at rekindling the revolutionary spirit of the workers and at developing their own organization. Particular attention was devoted to the establishment and the activities of party "cells."
In this field three special schools were founded abroad by the Social Democrats for training propaganda agents from among the workers, for instruction in the organization of cells and the methods best suited to bring the masses nearer to revolt.
It was obvious that a revolution had no chance of success without the complete support of part, at least, of the armed forces. Somehow or other it was essential to get at the soldiers as well as the workers. As the majority in the ranks were peasants they should be shown what they stood to gain by a "revolutionary" solution of the agrarian problem. Consequently a large part of the Social-Democratic Party program was directed to solving this problem.
Though by this time there was, to all intent, no more land left to divide, the confiscation of privately owned estates in favor of the peasants was demanded by the party congress in Stockholm in 1906. Propaganda among the peasants was directed to proving that a measure of this kind would result in an immediate betterment of their lot.
In this particular field, social democracy joined hands with the Social-Revolutionary Party, not mentioned before. In its
THE INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENT AND ITS RESOURCES 221
teaching this party followed the principles of the former "Narodniki"; its activities were centered on intense revolutionary propaganda, especially in the rural districts; it resorted to acts of individual terrorism. Broadly speaking, the aims and tactics of the party differed little from those of Social democracy. The more so as, since 1905, at Lenin's instigation, numerous social democratic terrorist groups had also been formed. These terrorist groups engaged in indiscriminate and wholesale political murder of government servants. (3) Both parties aimed, after the overthrow of Czarism, at overcoming the bourgeoisie and at establishing a new social order of society based on the abolition of private ownership. It was on the subject of this new order that the two parties differed theoretically, a divergence of views outstanding in their debates in congress, but not reflected in their activities against either Czarism or the bourgeoisie. On the whole, there was little, indeed, to divide the parties.
Thus, in the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War and in spite of continued bickering between the two enemy factions, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, social democracy continued to organize, strengthen its cadres and increase its influence in the major industrial centers by means of a vast network of branches, ranging from Archangel to Baku, from the Baltic Provinces to Vladivostok, and by allying its activities to those of the Social-Revolutionary Party.
It is important to realize the extent to which the political propaganda of both parties was aimed at fostering a feeling of hatred in the masses. Directed against Czarism and the bourgeois classes, it never even stooped politically to educate these masses. The Social Democratic and Social Revolutionary parties were fighting organizations. They recruited their followers by means of primitive slogans, holding out the promise of a bright future and prepared them for a sudden seizure of power by the use of force.
The efficiency of the Party organization can easily be gauged by the rash of Soviets which broke out all over the country on
222 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
the morrow of the revolution. The 1917 revolution developed within the framework built up in 1905 and according to the formulae preached by the Social Democrats. It is therefore obvious that it was begotten by the extreme Social-Democratic Party of Russia, a direct descendent of the terrorists of "The People's Freedom" and the first nihilists.
Splendidly organized for the purpose of insurrection, the Party was pledged to resort to armed rebellion when opportunity offered. It was presented with this opportunity by the 1914-18 War. Three factors played into its hand: the enormous sacrifices demanded of the nation; the general dislocation of ordered administration; and, lastly, the formidable financial resources which, at this critical time of Russian history, were placed at the disposal of the Party.
The nature and origin of these resources is a question which must, by now, have excited the curiosity of my readers. Where did the money come from in quantities sufficient to permit a small group of individuals, acting in a spirit of devilish hatred, to undermine the Empire of the Czars, gain victory and simultaneously bring about the downfall of Russia? It is obvious that in this brief review I can only touch on the fringes of the question, one which is not easy to answer because of the complexity of the transactions involved and the secrecy in which they were shrouded.
I shall, therefore, limit myself to a short description of the threefold origin of the financial resources which helped to organize and bring about the Russian Revolution.
1) The least important source. Funds of Russian origin which helped to swell the revolutionary coffers and which fall into two categories:
a) A few successful Moscow business men and industrialists, descending from the people, were captivated by the teaching of the Social Democratic leaders. Flattered by alluring promises of prominent posts in the "Russian Social Democratic Republic" of the immediate future, they assumed an attitude of
THE INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENT AND ITS RESOURCES 223
hostility to Czarism and the upper classes. One of the principal go-betweens was the author Maxim Gorki. Considerable sums which helped to stage the rebellion of 1905 were provided by the rich Moscow industrialist Savva Morozov. Additional funds for the same purpose were extracted by the actress Adreyeva. Gorki's mistress, from a wealthy youth by the name of Schmidt. After order had been restored the authorities requested Morozov to take a voyage abroad, where he committed suicide under somewhat mysterious circumstances, having heavily insured his life and named the Social-Democratic Party as his beneficiary. Gorki and Krassin, the party treasurer, made haste to have the legacy collected by the latter. In 1917, a young millionaire and sugar "tycoon," Teres-chenko, financially supported the revolution. He was rewarded with the post of Minister of Finance in the Provisional Government, though his abysmal ignorance in anything to do with his post gave rise to many "funny" stories in the capital.
b) The second Russian source to feed the revolution was used as pocket money by the future People's Commissars who found it convenient to be amply supplied with this useful commodity. Though less important than the first it is mentioned as typical of the spirit which prompted the Russian revolutionaries in those days and one which has not changed. It derived from the proceeds of hold-ups, euphemistically called "expropriations," by armed bands of revolutionary bandits. (4)
The robberies of the branches of the State Bank in Helsing-fors (Helsinki) in 1906 and in Tiflis in 1907 were the most daring of these hold-ups. The leaders of the Tiflis raid have since gained considerable notoriety. They were Litvinov, subsequently USSR delegate to the United Nations and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and . . . Stalin. Litvinov and his brother were both arrested in Paris by the French Police; one in 1907, while trying to get rid of the money looted in Tiflis, the other in 1929 in connection with a case of forged Soviet drafts.
2) British and American. The main purveyors of funds for the revolution, however, were neither the crackpot Russian
224 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
millionaires nor the armed bandits of Lenin. The "real" money primarily came from certain British and American circles which for a long time past had lent their support to the Russian revolutionary cause. Thus Trotsky, in his book "My Life" speaks of a large loan granted in 1907 by a financier belonging to the British Liberal Party. This loan was to be repaid at some future date after the overthrow of the Czarist regime. According to Trotsky, the obligation was scrupulously met by the revolution. (a) The financier just mentioned was by no means alone among the British to support the Russian revolution with large financial donations.(5)
The important part played by the wealthy American banker, Jacob Sch'ff in the events in Russia, though as yet only partially revealed, is no longer a secret. Referring to a telegram sent by Lord Rothchild to Wilhelm II on the eve of war, Emil Lud-wig, in his book "June 1914," says: "This banker, with all that amount of Jewish money behind him, could have embarrassed us as much as Schiff of New York embarrassed Russia."
From the day that he was placed at the head of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., one of the influential American banking houses, Schiff's behavior was that of an avowed enemy of Russia. A number of references to his anti-Russian and anti-Czarist activities are contained in a book describing the life of this important personality who died in 1920. (b) Written as it is, by a friendly pen and prefaced by his son Mortimer, this book deals with the avowable aspects of SchifFs financial dealings. On the other hand we are told by other writers, like A. Lambelin, D. Petrov-sky, et al., that there existed in America before the First World War a veritable syndicate of Jewish bankers, formed for the purpose of supplying funds for Russian revolutionary propaganda, while in the spring of 1917, Jacob Schiff openly boasted of having been instrumental in overthrowing the Czarist regime by his financial support of the revolution.
(a) "My Life," Trotsky. Berlin, 1930, p. 281.
(b) "Jacob Schiff, His> Life and Letters," Cyrus Adler. London 1929.
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It is worth noting that in his "Diary of an Author," Dostoievsky foresaw the creation of a similar syndicate.
We also are in possession of more detailed information stemming, according to General A. Nechvolodov(a), from the French Intelligence Service: Twelve million dollars are reported to have been donated by Schiff to the Russian revolutionaries in the years preceding the war, while other sources confirm and amplify this fact.(6)
Mr. Bakhmetiev, the late Russian Imperial Ambassador to the United States, tells us that the Bolsheviks, after victory, transferred 600 million roubles in gold between the years 1918 and 1922 to Kuhn, Loeb & Co.
3) German. The very considerable financial resources mentioned above were further augmented, starting from August 1914, by 70 million marks, paid by the Germans to Lenin's organization with the object of attacking Russia in the rear and fomenting a revolution. An agreement for the payment of this subsidy, immediately after the beginning of hostilities, and of other sums in proportion to the results achieved and the "the work" in hand, was signed in June 1914 between representatives of the Reich and Lenin who voyaged from Switzerland for the purpose. The existence of the agreement is admitted in principle by Generals Hoffman and Ludendorff. The latter in his memoirs says that "Germany dispatched Lenin to Russia" and further that "this step was justified from the military point of view as it was imperative that Russia should fall."(b) It is also confirmed by Lenin.
On October 20th, 1918, at a meeting in Moscow of the Central Executive Committee, under the chairmanship of Sverdlov, Lenin, the Red dictator, made the following statement: "I am frequently accused of having won our revolution with the aid of German money. I have never denied the fact, nor do I do so
(a) Quoted from A. Nechvolodov, "The Emperor Nicholas II and the
Jews." E. Cheron, publ. Paris 1924. P. 98.
(b) "Memoirs of the War," Vol. II, pp. 22 and 119 of French edition.
226 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
now. I will add though, that with Russian money we shall stage a similar revolution in Germany."(a)
I wish to underline the erroneous appraisal of the Bolshevik leaders by the enemies of Bolshevism who for years and sometimes even today, regard these men as ordinary traitors, at the time in German pay, or simply as brigands. They are criminals otherwise dangerous and of a kind never met before: criminals who today are pursuing and who will continue to pursue until the day of their doom, with devilish cunning and logic their monstrous dreams of world subversion.
Useful information concerning the transactions between Germany and the Bolshevik leaders may be gained from a collection of 70 documents, published by the U.S. Public Information Committee, under the title, "The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy." These documents contain an account of the relations between the revolutionary leaders, the German army, big business and industry.(7)
From this information it appears that the Germans knew the exact date on which the revolution was to break out, i.e., on the eve of the combined great Allied offensive in the spring of 1917.
An attempt has sometimes been made to differentiate between the "February Revolution," also known as the "Kerensky Revolution," and the "October Revolution," or the definite installation of Bolshevism. Though separated, in time, both these events represent, synthetically, two phases of one and the same historical phenomenon and to distinguish between them demonstrates a tragic and vexing lack of realistic appreciation. It is hoped that the preceeding pages and tho.se that follow will help to dissipate this illusion; the oneness and continuity of the revolutionary movement and, especially, the oneness and continuity of the revolution, can never be sufficiently stressed.
The triumph of Bolshevism (in October 1917) was the fatal
(a) A. Spiridovitch. "History of Belshevism in Russia," p. 226 of Russian edition.
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and inevitable consequence of the downfall of Czarism and the logical consummation of the "February Revolution." It was financed by a coalition of Russia's enemies; it was engineered by the Russian Social Democrats and seconded by the other parties of the opposition, always in tow of the Social-Democratic Party, who thus contributed to their own destruction and Russia's enslavement. (8)
(1) The mutiny of the garrison in St. Petersburg on December 14, 1825,
organized and led by a small group of young men, mainly officers of the
regiments of the Guards, later known as "Decembrists" should, perhaps, be
included in the history of the Russian revolutionary movement. However, a
description of the causes by which it was prompted would lead us too far
afield, while its effects were not such as to warrant inclusion in our neces
sarily cursory survey of the movement. Briefly, what occurred was this: As I
have said, the mutiny broke out on December 14, 1825, but treasonable activ
ity among the younger members of the aristocracy and in the Guards had been
known to exist for some time past. When informed of this spirit of unrest,
the Emperor Alexander I, himself a liberal at heart, confounded his in
formants by replying: "At one time I myself shared these illusions. It would
ill befit me to punish the men who pursue them today." His tolerance was
ill rewarded. Immediately following his death, the "Decembrists" took ad
vantage of the confusion caused by the refusal of the Emperor's elder brother,
the Grand Duke Constantine, to ascend the vacant throne. They raized the
garrison of the capital on the false pretext of defending the rightful claim of
the Grand Duke against his younger brother, Nicholas, the new Emperor, who,
the troops were told, was a usurper. The personal intervention of the Emperor
at the head of the Preobrajensky Regiment of the Guards nipped the mutiny
in the bud and thus averted a period of probable anarchy. One hundred and
twenty Decembrists were arrested and tried by a High Court composed of
members of the Council of Empire, the Senate and the Synod. Five were
sentenced to death, a few exiled to Siberia and the rest pardoned.
This tragic event never ceased to be a cause of great grief to the Emperor, who all through his life deplored the fact that at the outset of his reign he had been compelled to shed the blood of his subjects.
(2) C. Pobedonostzev was a great admirer of "the father of modern social
economy," F. Le Play. In his young days, when writing his thesis on Russian
Civil Law, Pobedonostzev referred to him in terms of the greatest respect and
ranked him as the most outstanding authority in this field. The Frenchman re-
228 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
turned the compliment: the bulletin of the "Societe d'Economie Sociale," presided over by Le Play, contain many complimentary references to Pob-edonostzev. Some years ago the president of the society was the late A. Sou-chon, doyen of the Faculty of Law at the University of Paris and my lecturer at the School of Political Science. I take this opportunity to pay him my grateful homage for the benefit I derived from his wise counsels and his teaching. I am grateful to him for his guidance in my efforts to study events in a spirit of impartiality by establishing their primary causes.
For the benefit of those of my readers who are unfamiliar with Pobedo-nostzev's views and the policy he both advocated and practised, I would add that, while paying full tribute to the lucidity of his mind and his dialectical talent, I am not one of his followers. Together with M. Paleologue, the former French Ambassador to the Russian Court, quoted in this work, I am much tempted to say: "We sometimes come to the same conclusions but from widely different angles." (M. Paleologue. Vol. I p. 274.)
(3) From the early days and up to the end of 1905 the number of casualties, victims of the Russian revolutionary movement, had reached 12,000. Within the next three years it claimed as many more. The following is a list of casualties officially recorded for 1906, 1907 and 1908.
These figures relate to 4742, 12,102 and 9424 attempts in each respective year, or a total of 26,268 attempts in the period under review.
As a result of the energetic measures taken by Prime Minister Peter Stolypin, one of the most remarkable statesmen ever produced by Russia, there was a marked decrease during 1909 and 1910 in the number of attempts at political assassination. He is reputed to have said: "I have got the revolution by the throat and I shall strangle it to death ... if I live." "If I live" was no idle statement. There had been ten attempts on his life. This great and enlightened patriot, author of the agrarian reform which would have assured the well-being of the nation, was a victim, like Czar Alexander, the Liberator, of the eleventh plot directed against him. On September 11, 1911, he was shot to death in the Opera House in Kiev at a gala performance and in the presence of the Emperor. Though mortally wounded, he yet was able to turn to the Imperial box and to bless the Emperor with the sign of the cross. "I am happy to die for my Czar and for Russia" were the last words he murmured. For his life and work see A. Stolypin: "L'Homme du Dernier Czar, Souvenirs"
THE INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENT AND ITS RESOURCES 229
(The Servant of the Last Czar, Memoirs). Alexis Redier. Publ. Paris, 1931.
In the face of these facts and the official figures quoted above, is it still possible to reproach Czarism with the few death sentences carried out, or with the orders of deportation to Siberia? Any other government compelled to deal with revolutionary assassins of the Russian ilk would have reacted in a like and probably stronger manner. The truth is that, under the circumstances, the measures taken by the State in self defense were much too mild.
So much has been heard about the "dreadful" fate of the political exiles in Siberia that a few remarks on the subject are not out of place. Lenin put the years he spent there to profit and wrote the greater part of his "Works." As a general rule the political deportees were received by local society and the authorities and were allowed to enjoy their hospitality. If credence is given to the memoirs of some of our revolutionaries, they were, on occasion, even permitted to join the local administration. On the face of it, this would appear to be a gross exaggeration, but the fact remains that a few did not find it too difficult to take French leave, fleeing abroad and then returning to Russia to continue their nefarious work.
It should further be noted that during the three centuries of Romanov reign the annual number of political deportees to Siberia never once much exceeded one hundred.
According to George Kennan, (relative of the well known diplomat) who in the 19th century thoroughly investigated the subject, only 749 such prisoners were held in detention between the years 1874 and 1884.
Let me stress that in 1913 the deportees in Russia numbered 32,750 and that of this total only an infinitely small minority were political prisoners, while I need hardly remind you of the tens of millions of unfortunate slaves who perished in the death camps of the Soviets.
(4) This is what G. Alexinsky, a former member of the Bolshevik party, has to tell us about the so-called "expropriations." Mr. Alexinsky, thanks to the position he held, is well fitted to give us these details. "The Bolshevik faction within the Social-Democratic Party was at the time (1906-1910) governed by a central committee. In this committee there existed a small and secret inner group, concealed both from the other party members and the prying eyes of the Czarist police. This inner group was known under the name of "The Little Trinity" and consisted of Lenin, Krassin (called "Comrade Nikitich") and a Mr. X, who has since withdrawn from politics. Constantly in search of additional funds, "The Trinity" devised a simple method of filling the party till. "Orders of expropriation" were issued to youthful enthusiasts, eager to prove their revolutionary ardour, who translated these orders into armed holdups of post officers, railway booking officers, or even of whole trains, previously derailed." ("The Tragic Life of a Bolshevik Commissar," "Le Matin," Paris 9 September 1921.)
230 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
(5) The attitude to Russia and the policy followed by Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador to the Imperial Court during the War, have been the subject of sustained criticism, especially after the publication of various memoirs and documents which reveal their true purport. As the war progressed, the suspicion that the British Embassy was being turned into one of the centers of the growing conspiracy against Czarism and consequently Russia, was gradually confirmed and left very little room for any sort of doubt.
Rodzianko, M. Paleologue, the historian James Navor, are all forced to admit the fact, while even M. Gilliard in his "Memoirs" states that the "ill-informed ambassador" had allowed himself to be misled." (M. Gilliard was the French tutor of the Heir to the Throne.) Princess Palei, the widow of the Emperor's uncle, the Grand Duke Paul, goes further and openly accuses Sir George of treachery to the sovereign to whom he was accredited. In some of his recollections, published by the "Revue de Paris," Sir George makes an unsuccessful attempt to rebutt these charges, but nevertheless concedes that they "still weigh over him and his efforts to refute them have not met with success."
On April 7, 1917, General Janin made the following entry in his diary ("Au G.C.G. Russe"—at Russian G.H.Q.—"Le Monde Slave," No. 2, 1927, pp. 296-297): "Long interview with R., who confirmed what I had previously been told by M. After referring to the German hatred of himself and his family, he turned to the subject of the Revolution which, he claimed, was engineered by the English and, more precisely, by Sir George Buchanan and Lord Milner. Petrograd at the time was teeming with English. . . . He could, he asserted, name the streets and the numbers of the houses in which British agents were quartered. They were reported, during the rising, to have distributed money to the soldiers and incited them to mutiny. He, personally, had seen in the Millionnaia Street persons who he knew were British agents, handing 25 rouble notes to the men of the Pavlovski Regiment a few hours before it turned coat and joined the revolution."
In private interviews I have been told that over 21 million roubles were spent by Lord Milner in financing the Russian Revolution.
What could have induced England to play into the hands of Germany during the War? Some day, perhaps, the archives of the Foreign Office will shed light on the subject, one of the many secrets of British foreign policy. Meanwhile, M. de Rauville suggests a clear cut answer. In "La Revue Heb-domnadaire" he says: "Bolshevism was born in London on September 5, 1916. On that date England was compelled to agree to the cession of the Straits (Bosphorus) to Russia. However, she firmly decided that a 'fortuitous event' would prevent Russia from ending the war and so realizing the age-old dream of the Slav World: 'Constantinople and St. Sophia/" This 'fortuitous event' had somehow to be brought about and Sir George and Lord Milner actively applied themselves to the task.
THE INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENT AND ITS RESOURCES 231
(6) In an excerpt from a secret report, dated New York, 15 February, 1916, (quoted from Boris Brazol, "The World at the Cross Roads," 1921, Boston, Small, Maynard and Co., Publ. p. 19) we read: "The Russian Revolutionary party in America has decided upon a policy of overt action. Risings and disturbances may, therefore, be expected at any moment. The first secret meeting, marking the commencement of this new period of violence was held on the East Side in the evening of February 14th and was attended by 62 delegates of whom 50 were veterans of 1905, while the remaining 12 were newly joined members. The majority consisted of Jewish intellectuals, some of whom were professional revolutionaries. The discussions at this meeting were mainly centered around the opportunities offered and the means available for staging a revolution on a grand scale in Russia, the present time being considered extremely propitious. As previously reported, the party had just received from Russia secret information to the effect that all the necessary preliminaries for an immediate rising had been concluded. The only question of concern to the meeting was that of a possible shortage of funds; however, as soon as it arose, several members announced that no fears should be entertained on that subject as, at the appropriate time, the necessary money would be supplied by sympathizers. In this connection the name of Jacob Schiff was repeatedly mentioned."
A copy, dated September 23rd, 1919, of "To Moscow," published in Rostov, contains further interesting facts about the part played by Jacob Schiff in the 1917 revolution. According to this paper, the information is based on a document originating from the French High Commissioner in Washington. The authenticity of this document cannot be contested as it was extracted from the archives of one of the high French government offices. Later it was quoted by Gen. Nechvolodov in his book, previously mentioned (pp. 97-104). Nechvolodov claims that it was drafted by official branches of the American Services and handed by them to the French High Commissioner. I present a few quotations:
"In February 1916, it was learnt that a revolution was being fomented in Russia and that the following persons and business concerns were engaged in this destructive enterprise: 1) Jacob Schiff; 2) Kuhn, Loeb & Co. (Directors: Jacob Schiff, Felix Warburg, Otto Kahn, Mortimer Schiff, Jerome H. Hanauer); 3) Guggenheim; 4) Max Breitung.
"It would therefore appear that the revolution in Russia, which broke out one year after this information was first reported, was sustained by Jewish interests.
"In April 1917, Jacob Schiff publicly declared that it was thanks to his financial support that the revolution in Russia had succeeded.
"In the Spring of the same year, Schiff commenced to subsidize Trotsky,
232 CZARISM AND REVOLUTION
who also received a contribution from 'Forward/ a Jewish publication of New York.
"Simultaneously Trotsky and Co. were also being subsidized by Max Warburg and Olaf Aschberg of the Nye Banken of Stockholm, another Jewish concern, the Rhine-Westphalian Syndicate and Jivotovsky, a wealthy Jew whose daughter later married Trotsky. Relations were thus established between multi-millionaire and proletarian Jewry."
There follows a list of names drawing attention to the predominence of the Jewish element in the first Soviets.
This document, after stressing the ties linking Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and other Jewish financial establishments, expresses the opinion "that the Bolshevik movement to a certain degree is the expression of a more general Jewish movement and that certain Jewish banking houses are interested in its furtherance." (For exhaustive study of this problem see Salluste, "Les Origines Secretes du Bolchevisme," J. Tallandier, Publ. Paris, 1930.)
We must, on the other hand, avoid the mistake of thinking that the Jews the world over are in sympathy with Bolshevism. Such an attitude would be doubly unfair if we consider how many of their brethren have suffered in the revolution.
This distinction is underlined by Sir Winston Churchill in an article published in the "Sunday Herald" and later reprinted by "B'nai B'rith News," No. 9 Vol. XII, the mouthpiece of international Jewish Masonry, with a lodge in Chicago.
"The conflict between good and evil, forever present in the human heart, is nowhere so markedly manifest as in the Jewish race. In no other race is this duality of human nature more forcibly, or more terrifyingly expressed. We owe the Jews the revelation of Christianity and of a moral system which, were it completely divested of the miraculous, would still remain the greatest treasure of humanity and one which, alone, is of greater worth than the accumulated knowledge of the world and of all the other teachings. And now, in our time, this astonishing race has evolved another system of morality and philosophy so saturated with hatred, as is Christianity with love; a system which, if no help is forthcoming, will overthrow all that has been created by Christianity. It is as if the Gospels of Christ and the Anti-christ were destined to be born within the bosom of a single person and that this mysterious and mystical race were preordained to be the apostle both of Divine Revelation and of the power of Satan." (Translated from the French text.)
The author of the article then goes on to examine the activities, first of the "national Jews," whom he exonerates of any blame and then of the "international" and "terrorist" Jews. "It is a conspiracy of the latter which succeeded in raising from the dregs of the large cities of Europe and America that band of individuals, which has diverted the Russian people from the straight path
THE INSURRECTIONARY MOVEMENT AND ITS RESOURCES 233
and which has in fact become the absolute master of that immense Empire." I very much fear that the Russian people might decline to accept the distinction drawn by Sir Winston Churchill, one with which I am in full agreement. It is likely that, sooner or later, the Russian Jews will be indiscriminately held responsible for the crimes committed by those of their race who took an active share in the butchering of a nation of more than 150 million. Their salvation lies in the measure of assistance given by the Jews of Europe and America to the struggle of the Russian people for its liberty; a contribution which, it is hoped, will be as generous as that afforded by Jacob Schiff to the revolution.
Caveant Consules! World Jewry must realize these facts at the earliest possible moment, both in the interests of the Russian Jews, the enormous majority of whom have nothing in common with Bolshevism, of Russia herself and the whole of humanity.
(7) Some of the documents included in "The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy"
(French translation, Bossard Publ., Paris 1920) are of exceptional historical
value. First, those relating to June 1914 and other data extending to August
as well as preceding by some weeks the assassination of the Austrian Arch
Duke, used by the Germans as a pretext for declaring war, contain an account
of the dispositions taken by Germany with hostilities in view.
Second, a copy of instructions sent by the Reichsbank to representatives of German banks in Sweden on March 2, 1917. These instructions prove that the Germans were aware of the date on which the revolution was expected to break out. Here is the text: "You are hereby notified that requests for funds for pacifist propaganda in Russia will reach you via Finland. The requests will be addressed to you by one of the following: Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Sumenson, Kozlovsky, Kollontai, Sievers, or Merkalin, for whom current accounts have been opened by the Swedish, Norwegian and Swiss agencies of private German banks in conformity with our instructions No. 2754.
"These demands must bear either one of the two following signatures: Dirshau or Milkenberg. Demands countersigned by one of the above and emanating from any of the persons previously enumerated are to be met without delay."
The above instructions, No. 7433 of the Reichsbank are dated March 2, 1917, i.e., ten days before the outbreak of the revolution and at a time when the majority of the accredited agents mentioned were either in Switzerland or Scandinavia, or, like Trotsky, in America, while the German-Bolshevik underground work in Russia was temporarily entrusted to agents of minor importance.
(8) The Provisional Government was by no means unaware of the important
part played by German money in bringing the "February Revolution" to a
head. Mr. V. Nabokov, Secretary of the Cabinet, tells us: "I recall a lively
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incident which occurred at one of the closed sessions of the Cabinet, some two weeks after the revolution. Miliukov was the speaker and, among other things, said: 'Of course, it is an open secret that German money was one of the factors which helped to produce the revolution/ At this, Kerensky, who was seated at the other end of the room, leapt from his seat, rushed up to Miliukov and shouted: 'What? what did you say? Repeat those words!' Miliukov did so, stressing every word. Kerensky was livid with rage, but none of the other ministers made the slightest attempt to contradict the statement that had so angered Kerensky. (Archives of the Russian Revoltuion, in Russian. Publ. by I. Hessen. Vol. I. Article by V. Nabokov: "The Provisional Government." pp. 22, 23.)
In an article which appeared in "The Common Cause" (Russian) on January 21, 1921, Mr. Burtzev devotes a few lines to the behavior under the Czarist regime of Mr. Kerensky, the future "Generalissimo of the Russian Land and Sea Forces," under the Provisional Government. According to him it would appear that Kerensky at the time was an active "pacifist" and was campaigning against the "defensists" and those who stood for continuing the war with Germany in conjunction with our Allies to the end. By the close of 1916 extremely heavy charges weighed over him; in spite of his parliamentary immunity he was on the point of being arrested and brought before the courts on charges of treason and relations with "persons working for the defeat of the Russian Armies." Mr. Burtzev further adds that these allegations were well-founded and that Kerensky owed his immunity to the Revolution.
During the First World War, between 1914 and 1917, the Social Democratic Party was given an outstanding opportunity of intensifying and broadening the scope of its subversive activities among the workers by the greatly altered composition of the population in the capital. Within those years the labor force of St. Petersburg had doubled and now totalled 400,000, mainly concentrated in the large metal-processing plants and foundries of the city and suburbs.
In addition another element, open to skillfull propaganda, had also been introduced into the capital. It consisted of regimental "depot battalions," billeted in the large barracks of the former garrison. These battalions were made up of middle-aged men who had never before served with the colors and who, naturally enough, bitterly resented a belated call-up at the time when, more often than not, they were the sole bread-winners of their families. The losses in the Army after nearly three years of war were appaling and, as a measure of precaution, the Government had mobilized large numbers of these peasants and massed them in the barracks of the capital. Their total number amounted to 160,000.(a) Badly disciplined, as compared to old standards, half-trained and mostly unarmed, from a military point of view they were, as yet, of little value. However, as we shall presently see, they were more than adequate to bolster up a revolutionary uprising. These battalions were officered either by "praporschiki" (ensigns), generally young university
(a) "Errinerungen von General Wassili Gourko." (Memoirs of General Vassili Gurko.) Berlin, 1921. p. 206.
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students who, like their men, could only be called soldiers by courtesy, or by a regrettably small number of regular officers, invalided out of the Army. This dearth of properly trained officers was another factor that played into the hands of the Party. With the exception of these units there were no other troops in St. Petersburg, while the police force numbered 3500 men, armed with revolvers and a few carbines.(a)
The apparent anomaly of thousands of elderly men who had never done a day's military service and were now mobilized is explained by the fact that in Russia under pre-war conditions only 29 per cent of the yearly call-up was actually drafted into the army, whereas in the majority of other continental states the entire yearly contingent of recruits did their military service. It follows therefore that the "troops" which so largely contributed to the success of the disturbances in St. Petersburg and turned a violent political demonstration into a revolution were neither, properly speaking, soldiers, nor "reservists" as they are sometimes described in foreign literature unversed in this aspect of the Russian recruiting system.
An increased labor population and a mass of discontented and badly disciplined soldiery in the capital thus presented the Social Democratic Party with a golden opportunity of simultaneously winning over the two elements which, by experience, they knew were indispensable to success.
Detailed information as to the actual activities of the revolutionaries at this period is of necessity scant, but a few important events which occurred at the time serve as a pointer to the general pattern they followed.
On January 27/February 9, 1917, all the workers' delegates in the Committee of War Industries were arrested by order of the Government. In an official statement issued three days later the arrested men were described as "workers' delegates, all of them active members of revolutionary parties, who had
(a) E. Martynov. "The Army During the Revolution." (In Russian), 1927. p. 62.
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grouped together and formed a center of those workers' organizations which aim at fomenting a revolutionary movement throughout the Empire and at establishing a social-democratic republic." It was further claimed that "the systematic revolutionary indoctrination of the labor masses is being actively pursued by this group." The majority of the arrested workers quite frankly admitted the truth of these charges. One, in particular, claimed that he was working for the revolutionary cause so as to help his country defeat "the external foe." This strange point of view, demanding a radical change of the country's political structure and holding that such a change was a necessary preliminary to any large scale offensive against the Germans, was popular among the working classes at the time. It was also shared by a few gullible and youthful members of the "intelligentsia."(l) Needless to say, ideas of the sort were welcomed by the revolutionary parties and this particular conception was only one of many defeatist and antisocial theories which they assiduously propagated among the workers and the broad masses of the population. However, the most popular of these was open incitement to end the war which "the Czar and his generals have resolved to pursue until the complete extermination of the people" and a call to the workers in the large plants to down tools and get ready to fight for an immediate peace and to join in armed rebellion in order to seize the reins of power.
On February 10/23 an article in "Russkoje Slovo" drew attention to rumors concerning Mr. Miliukov's presence at workers' political meetings and to the strange tenure of his speeches. The persistence of the rumors and their widespread character induced Mr. Miliukov, who was then leader of the Cadet Party (Constitutional Democrats) to address an open letter to the Press in which he said:
"It has come to my notice that some person of whom I am not aware, but by whom I am being impersonated, has recently indulged in active propaganda among factory
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workers, in particular at the Lessner Plant. This person is alleged to have incited the workers to organize public demonstrations against the prosecution of the war. I am also informed that other persons pretending to be members of the Duma are distributing arms to the workers. I hasten to warn the public that it is being wickedly hoaxed."
This letter, while saving the face of Miliukov's Party, did little to diminish the spate of defeatist propaganda in the factories.
It was unfortunate that the Constitutional Democrats, one of the largest, if not the largest party in the Duma, should have been so out of touch with the masses or the political realities of the time. It was a party largely led by political theoreticians, professors and lawyers who disdainfully shrugged aside these realities and who suffered from many of the worst shortcomings of our "intelligentsia." As brilliant orators they were invariably to the fore in the deliberations of the Duma and formed the "professional opposition"; one the whole, however, they were neither true liberals, nor yet true revolutionaries. But, by their unbridled and venomous attacks on the Government, particularly by Miliukov toward the close of 1916, they played straight into the hands of the revolutionary parties, who were quick to seize on any advantage, especially one so gratuitously conferred. (2)
Difficulties of supply, more apparent than real, in the second half of February 1917, were used to further advantage by these parties and helped to trigger off the final rebellion.
The daily consumption of flour in the capital amounted approximately to 600 tons and on February 23/March 8 the stocks in hand totalled about 8000 tons, i.e., just under a fortnight's supply. Fresh quantities were on the way but were delayed by heavy snow storms which temporarily blocked the railway lines. The amount issued to retail dealers was slightly curtailed by the authorities and in the poorer sectors of the capital the
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inhabitants had to stand in queues at their bakers' shops. (A familiar occurrence, perhaps, in the cities of the other belligerents but one unprecedented in Russia.) Revolutionary agents immediately seized upon the ensuing discontent in order to spread the most fantastic rumors and urge the workers to resort the direct and violent action.
Proletarian Womens' Day, February 23/March 8, was marked by processions with red banners parading in the more densely populated quarters of the town. 87,000 workers downed tools and left their factories pretexting difficulties in obtaining food. A general strike was declared on the following day. In the suburbs sporadic clashes occurred between the police and the 190,000 workers who by then had joined the demonstrators. A number of policemen were killed. A bomb was thrown at a detachment of mounted gendarmes. A Council of Workers' Delegates took over the control of the movement on February 25/March 10. The chief organiser of the Council was a certain Nahamkes, a secret and well-paid agent of the Germans since the beginning of the war. For the sake of expediency at this stage he posed as an Internationalist and a Menshevik sympathizer, but soon declared his real colors as an ardent and active Bolshevik.
As soon as the Council of Workers' Delegates was formed the general strike became grimly effective. There was a complete stoppage of work in all but a few of the factories and over 300,000 workers joined their comrades already out on strike, though by this time the supply position had been fully restored and additional rations of flour issued to the bakers. On February 26/March 11 dense crowds of armed workers moved from the outlying suburbs into the center of the capital. On the way in they subverted the soldiery, already systematically "worked over" and indoctrinated. When the troops were ordered out later in the day to help in the maintainance of order they did nothing to restrain the crowds; though not openly taking sides with the rebels they stood passively by and unconcernedly watched the slaughter of the police which began on that day.
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The police force was the only organized body to offer any resistance to the armed workers and fight valiantly to the end. Many policemen were killed in street fighting but the majority were foully butchered as a result of organized hunts all over the town.
By the night of February 27/March 12 the capital was virtually in the hands of the rebels.
By misfortune the post of military governor of St. Petersburg was held by General Kabalov, a weak and irresolute man. In view of the meagre resources at his disposal (3500 police) he should have taken vigorous and prompt action at the very start of the disturbances. However, he missed the right moment to intervene resolutely and after two days fighting in the streets the position was lost for good.
On February 27/March 12 enemy or revolutionary agents, disguised as soldiers, infiltrated into the barracks and on the following day brought out the men in open mutiny. The central telegraph and government offices were captured and sacked; police stations were smashed all over the town and the gates of the jails thrown open. According to Lenin: "the prisoners under Common Law, resolute and purposeful, largely contributed to the final success of the rebellion." The dregs of the population joined in the ensuing pillage of shops, stores and private houses.
Meanwhile, what was happening in the Duma, the elected body of the people's representatives? In recess at the time for the Easter holidays it hurriedly met in unofficial session to take stock of the situation. A great majority of the deputies appear to have been utterly stunned by the terrible course of events. Mr. V. Shulgin, one of the leaders of the Duma, has left us some notes in which he vividly describes the feelings of anxiety and stupefaction of the men who had themselves contributed so much to discrediting the monarchy, the traditional supreme authority in Russia.
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"Something dangerous, terrifying and abominable had been unleashed which threatened all of us alike. Even the old fighters in our midst shared in the common wave of fear then sweeping over us, as we sat huddled together in a vain attempt to draw courage and support from one another. In step with the mob outside there was something else stalking down the street. Our pallor and the quickened beating of our hearts proved that we all intuitively felt it. The breath of this invisible monster was actually tangible. Surrounded by the shouting rabble, 'Death' was marching down the street."
From the very outstart the Duma lost complete control over the course of events. It was taken in tow by the movement and did not so much as try to curb the unleashed passions of the mob and the soldiery. If one is asked whether, perhaps, it was not driven into passivity by the turn events had taken the only truthful answer is an emphatic "no." The attitude adopted by the Duma was deliberately chosen and was prompted by a pious and subsequently unfulfilled desire not to lose face. In proof let me quote Miliukov's own words:
"The success or failure of the revolutionary movement depended entirely upon the degree of support it was afforded by the Duma."(a)
It is an established fact that increased freedom of action was given to the leaders of the revolution by the passivity of the Duma and it can even be argued that this enhanced freedom was a decisive factor in events as they gradually developed. This will be more apparent when we see what was the reaction of the rest of the country and, in particular of G.H.Q., to the pro-revolutionary behavior of those of our parliamentarians who were supposed to hold "moderate and enlightened" views.
(a) P. Miliukov, "History of the Russian Revolution." (In Russian). Vol. I, p. 43. Sofia, 1922.
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While the Duma was only going thru the initial stages of forming a "Provisional Committee," a few days later re-christened "Provisional Government," the "Council of Soldiers' and Workers' Delegates" had taken definite shape. This was the real Soviet, the begotten child of the Social Democratic Party. The first chairman of the Council was Tscheidze, leader of the Social Democrats in the Duma and the two deputy-chairmen, Skobelev, later Bolshevik envoy to France, and the renowned Kerensky. The latter as cabinet Minister of the Provisional Government acted as liaison-officer to the two authorities born of the revolution.
As in 1905 the Soviet was entirely composed of Party cell-leaders, who had long been active in the factories, with an admixture of soldiers' delegates. Numbering 150 when it first met, its membership increased to well over 1000 within the next few days. On February 27/March 12 "Izvestia," first published in 1905, reappeared again, with Nahamkes as editor-in-chief. The first number was accompanied by a supplement containing a declaration of policy on the war, the most topical subject of the hour, definitely Bolshevik in trend in spite of the strong Menshevik majority in the Soviet.
"The most pressing task facing the Government, the declaration stated, lies in coming to an understanding with the proletariat of the belligerent states with a view to engendering a revolutionary struggle by the people against their oppressors and exploiters, the imperialist governments and capitalist groups. The next is to enforce an immediate cessation of the bloody butchery imposed by them on their enslaved peoples."
The Soviet, directed by Nahamkes, was responsible for the issue of the famous "Prikaz" (Order) No. 1, which at one fell stroke broke any semblance of military discipline in the Army. It was, of course, accepted and passed by the Provisional Government and counter-signed by the Minister of War, Guchkov,
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as was all else the Soviet cared to foist on the Government.
The respective positions of the Soviet and the Provisional Government, formed by consent of the former, is brought into vivid relief by a speech of one of its Deputy-Chairmen:
"The proletariat is master of the situation; it must constantly be on the alert so as to prevent the bourgeoisie from turning the power it temporarily holds against the people. The Soviet, as representative of the revolutionary workers and soldiers, must subject the bourgeoisie to its control, inform it of the decisions it takes and lend the weight of its authority only to those measures of the executive power which conform to the political program it has adopted. We shall continue to support the present government just for so long as it stands in the defense of democracy, but on the day it wavers, we shall overthrow it as we overthrew the old order."
It is thus obvious that the Soviet assumed tutelage over the Government, that it jealously watched its every step and inspired its policy. The Provisional Government, caught between two utterly incompatible policies, divided by internal squabbles from the first day of its existence was inexorably moving toward its own downfall, the while jettisoning every day a mounting load of ballast and maintaining a precarious balance by playing a complicated game of overbidding. The mere fact that this government contrived to stay in office for seven months, not seven weeks or days as might have been expected, shows the reluctance of the nation to endorse any extreme revolutionary doctrines and is a measure of the soberness of its political feeling during the first few months of the revolution.
The guilt and the incompetence of the men who first seized the reigns of power and then so lamentably relinquished their hold stands exposed. We owe to the pen of Mr. B. Maklakov, Ambassador to France of the Provisional Government and at
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the time a leading member of the Cadet Party, the following impartial appraisal:
"The leaders who deliberately chose to follow the road of revolution cannot complain. They won the match. Their numbers were small and victory would have eluded them had not the others, in whom at the time Russia had placed her trust, lightheartedly abandoned their country to the miseries of the revolution. The final triumph of total revolution is due to the policy followed by these allegedly moderate elements. The blame is theirs and theirs the responsibility."
"They may, perhaps seek comfort in claiming that the revolution was inevitable. Their actions made it so. They have redeemed their mistakes by their fate, but, in the future, history will prove a sterner judge than their unfortunate contemporaries of today." (a)
We can follow the systematic application of the Social Democrat Party theoretical program to concrete politics from the very first days of the revolution. Having attained the first objective, the overthrow of Czarism, the Soviet at once set about preparing to attack the second, the fight against the bourgeois elements of society. Meanwhile the duties of government were entrusted to the so-called moderates until such time as the proletariat would be judged adequately "conscious." The tactics employed by the Soviet were those laid down at the Second (London) Congress of the Party, described in the previous chapter. Even the bid for supremacy between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks which had started at the Congress was not allowed to lie low, but was kept boiling in the inner circles of the Soviet and paraded before the whole country. As long as the Mensheviks retained their majority, clashes between the Soviet and the Government were settled by compromise; but as soon as
(a) "The Fall of the Czarist Regime." Payot, publ., Paris, 1927. p. 87.
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the Soviet and then the broad masses of the population succumbed to defeatism and the seditious poison of Lenin's organization, these clashes assumed the character of open brawls and finally resulted in the break-up and deposition of the Provisional Government. At this stage the Bolsheviks, the real actors in the political drama, after ridding themselves of their understudies and the puppets, threw out their erstwhile comrades, the Mensheviks who had, nevertheless, done so much for the revolutionary cause.
Bolshevism was the logical outcome of a trend set in motion at the beginning of the revolution: the triumph of the left wing of a party whose right, though ultimately destroyed, was no less responsible for bringing the country into a state of rebellion and unleashing the most hideous passions of the masses.
After the Emperor had assumed supreme command of the Armies at the most critical stage of the war in 1915 he chose mainly to reside at his G.H.Q. in the town of Moghilev. Here he was able to devote more of his attention to military matters and leave the direction of home affairs to his ministers. The latter failed dismally to appreciate the growing gravity of the political situation inside the country. This obtuseness and wilfull obstinacy courageously to face realities were shattered only at the time of their wholesale arrest by the revolutionary forces. That this was a tragedy is an understatement. It was rendered doubly so by the fact that in misleading themselves they withheld the truth from their sovereign. For instance, on the day the general strike was declared in St. Petersburg in February 1917, Protopopov, the Minister of the Interior, informed the Emperor that "trouble had started among the workers of the capital" but added that "the labor movement was badly organized" and that "there was every reason to hope that the men would return to work on the following day."
I should add that some of the ministers appointed during the war were not professional civil servants; as a concession to public opinion a few members of the Duma were given min-
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isterial posts. Some of these "parliamentarian ministers" and, notably Protopopov, former Vice-President of the Duma and former chairman of the "Progressive Block," were bad servants of the Crown. In view of the record of some of their colleagues at the time of crisis one is entitled to ask, "was their conduct due to incompetence or deliberate design?"
Disregarding the reassuring tone of Protopopov's report the Emperor ordered General Kabalov, the military governor of St. Petersburg "to put an immediate stop to the disturbances in the capital, totally inadmissible at this trying time of war with Germany and Austria." Two days later the general reported by wire that he "had been unable to restore order in the capital." Meanwhile, on February 27, as soon as news of the disturbances had reached G.H.Q. the Emperor invested Prince Galitzyn, President of the Council (Prime Minister) with dictatorial powers. He was arrested before he was even given a chance to exercise them. Simultaneously General Ivanov was ordered to proceed by train to St. Petersburg accompanied by a battalion of Knights of the Cross of St. George(a) and there to replace General Kabalov as military governor of the capital. General Ivanov, one of our most popular generals and the battalion he was to lead, were at the time in Moghilev. General Goulevitch, commanding the troops stationed in Finland against a possible German landing,(b) was told to dispatch three battalions to St. Petersburg, where they were to come under the orders of General Ivanov, the new Governor General. The small number of troops dispatched to the capital shows how little G.H.Q. realized the magnitude and portent of the events which were developing in the rear.
The plans of the rebel leaders were carefully laid. The railway-men were, perhaps the staunchest supporters of the Social
(a) The St. George Cross was the highest decoration for valor in the Rus
sian Army. Like the German Iron Cross it was awarded both to men in the
ranks and commissioned officers and had four grades.
(b) The Germans did land in and occupy Finland after the revolution.
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Democrats among the workers and were certainly the most effectively indoctrinated. By February 27 practically the whole network of railways was in their hands and all of the lines on the approaches to St. Petersburg. By dismantling the tracks to the Finnish border they checked the progress of General Goulevitch's detachment, while General Ivanov and his battalion reached St. Petersburg only in the late hours of March 1/14. By then the situation had so altered that acting on direct orders from the Emperor any further attempt at intervention was abandoned.
Toward evening of February 27/March 12 the Emperor decided to proceed personally to Czarskoe-Selo, the residence of the Imperial family within 15 miles from St. Petersburg. This decision is but another indication of the distorted appreciation of the overall situation by the Czar, his entourage and the Staff at G.H.Q. At 5 a.m. on February 28/March 13 the Imperial train steamed out of Moghilev; it was not allowed to reach its destination and was held up by the new masters of the railways.
Next, a spate of telegrams dispatched from St. Petersburg and other parts of the country started pouring in to G.H.Q. The general tone and purport of these telegrams mounted from hour to hour, while the various demands they contained increased in curtness. The majority were sent either by the President of the Duma or by some of its leaders who, though traditionally members of the opposition, were all known to be supporters of the monarchy and in favor of pursuing the war to final victory. This fact should be borne in mind, for their influence on the course of future events was immense. When they realized the extent to which their reputations were compromised by their first reaction to the rebellion and subsequent conduct, the moderate elements of the Duma did all in their power to make the rest of the nation follow them into the abyss into which they themselves were falling.
After the first two days of rioting and following the arrest of the cabinet ministers these men informed General Alexeiev,
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Chief of Staff at G.H.Q., that the revolution, victorious in St. Petersburg, Kronsdat and the Baltic Fleet, was spreading all over the country and that resistance to the movement could only lead to civil strife, fatal to the prosecution of the war with Russia's external enemies. They added that the movement was mainly directed against the person of Nicholas II and demanded his abdication for the sake both of the nation and the dynasty.
This deluge of tendacious and distorted information produced the effect desired by the senders on General Alexeiev, now in sole authority at G.H.Q. after the departure of the Emperor. In a moment of fatal aberation, the consequences of which were only later apparent, he came round to sharing the views St. Petersburg wished him to accept. It was in this light that he passed on, over his own signature, the information he had received to the individual commanders of the Armies at the Front.
These events took place at a time when civil war, dreadful as it seemed, might possibly have retrieved the situation. The army on the battlefront was still sound and virtually uncon-taminated in spite of all the efforts of the Social Democrats. An army corps of four divisions, promptly dispatched from the nearest point of the Front, would certainly have arrived in time to deal with the rioting factory workers, the soldiery and the disorderly mobs, even if it had had to gain the capital by route marches. By settling the account of the Nahamkeses, Kerenskis and their like the troops would have strangled at birth the evil to which Russia was to succumb only a few months later.
, The suggested solution, horrible as it may sound, appears to be based on sound logic and, moreover, the only one which had any chance of success. However, it is not surprising that patriotically-minded public opinion, far removed from the capital and fed on false information, should have recoiled at the thought of civil war at a time when the enemy was on our
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soil and felt that this solution was precisely the one to avoid at all cost.
In the afternoon of 1/14 March the Emperor succeeded in reaching the H.Q. of the Northern Front, commanded by General Ruzsky. There, on the following day, he was handed the telegrams addressed to him by the commanders of the five groups of front-line armies following the instructions they had received from General Alexeiev on the eve. In the latter Alexeiev had stressed that "the only possible solution was abdication" and "in order to preserve the independence of Russia and safeguard the fate of the dynasty" he requested his subordinate commanders to petition the Emperor accordingly. Deprived of any other information but that stemming from General Alexeiev and, themselves, bombarded by telegrams from the Duma direct, the army-group commanders obeyed what amounted to an order from their superior. Each one of the individual submissions, inspired solely by a sense of discipline, patriotism and loyalty to the monarchy, expressed to the full all the grief felt by the sender.
The Emperor complied with their advice. Willing to make any sacrifice for the sake of his country, informed from every quarter that his refusal to abdicate would entail civil war at a time when the independence of Russia was at stake, he relinquished the throne in favour of his brother Michael, both in his own name and that of his ailing son.
The Grand Duke Michael who was then in St. Petersburg was at once informed by members of the "Provisional Committee" that they refused to hold themselves responsible for as much as his life. Under pressure by its members, Kerensky in particular, he declined to accept the throne and handed over supreme authority to the Committee.(a) It was understood
(a) This transmission was, incidentally, legally invalid, if only because "Nemo plus juris alium transferre potest quam ipse habet." For a detailed study of this question see A. Gorovtzev, former professor of the Faculty of Law at St. Petersburg. "Revolutions, Methods of Breaking and Promoting Them." (in French) Alcan, publ. Paris, 1930. p. 108 et seq.