Your manifest directing the formation of the "Duma" made an excellent impression in Europe -- especially -- in my country, and I beg you to receive my warmest congratulations. It is a great step forward for the Political development of your country and gives the people an opening by which they will be able to bring before you their hopes and wishes, and enable a combined work of Master and Couttry for the Nations welfare. You will be able to take touch with all sorts of conditions of men and infuse into them directly your spirit and your ideas, which was formerly hindered by the great bulky wall of the ''Tchin''1 bureaucracy regarded with much suspicion by your subjects. Excuse my telegram the other day but I thought it might be a good idea to try the "mettle" of the "Duma" and to see wether it is workable or not. In the same time you get an excellent insight into the mind of your People and make them carry a part of the responsibility for the future, which it would have probably liked to saddle solely upon you, thereby making a wholesale "critique" and dissatisfaction with deeds done by you alone impossible.
I send you enclosed some interesting articles showing the tendency of the thoughts of France. The British have prostituted themselves before France and the French sailors in the hopes of gaining them over from you, and stopping any "rapprochement" between you, me and them. The French felt much flattered, but I hope the sensible people have kept their heads cool and clear and seen, that all is "consu de fil blanc", and that Britain only wants to make France her "catspaw" against us, as she used Japan against you. The article in the "Forum" is wriften by Maurice Low, the correspondent of the "Morning Post" sent to America. It is cleverly written and most indiscret about the extension of the new Anglo-Japanese treaty which was kept quite secret in London till now, but he seems to have let the "cat out of the bag." The "Arch intriguer -- and mischiefmaker" in Europe as ycu rightly called the King of England has been hard at work in the last months. At Cowes he said to one of my friends -- a German gentleman I sent to observe the "Entente Cordiale" -- "I cant find out what has been going on at Bjoerkoe! Benckendorff2 knows nothing -- for he always tells me everything -- Copenhagen knows nothing and even the Emperors mother -- who always lets me know everything -- has heard nothing from her son this time; even Lambsdorff -- who is such a nice man and lets me know all I want to hear -- knows nothing or at least wont tell! It is very disagreeable!" This shows you how very wide is the net of secret information he has cast over Europe and over you. He first let his Press launch the idea of a visit to me, and when all the papers of Europe had taken it up and talked it over, suddenly published an insulting dementi, declaring my Foreign Office had started the idea. The finest lie I ever came across! After this he goes and invites my son behind my back to come and visit him in England! I have of course stopped that business. His fleet is in the act of visiting our shores and I think this will open the eyes of many Germans who are still loth to vote money for an extension of our Fleet; we shall send many down by rail and steamer to take an object lesson. They will I hope learn to understand the necessity of building a strong fleet. The enclosed brochure3 was sent me from America, I enclose it, as I think it may interest you, especially from the point of view of the future plans England has vis-à-vis of Russia in Asia and what she is trying to use the Japanese for. It throws light on the Japanese expedition to the Turkestan frontier I told you about.
Your most aff. Cousin and Friend
2.. The Russian ambassador in London.
3. The pamphlet in question was not attached to tho original letters kept in Moscow.
Cronberg 24/VIII 1905
To-day 4 weeks ago "Bjoerkoe"! The delightful hours we spent together! And the lasting bonds of unity of friendship which will bring fruits of good to our countries, so God will. I just got your kind long telegram! So many thanks; most kind to take so much trouble. I quite understand your position and resolutions! As soon as you are sure of your People backing you up, and they are ready for fur~ ther fighting then all is right, and wish you Heavens help and a speedy victory. I am on a visit to my sisters here, who just returned from a long stay in England. They tell me the news of our meeting at Bjoerkoe threw all the people there and the press into the state of wildest excitement. The King and the Court before all were quite "aus dem Häuschen'',1 he trying to find out from my sisters whether they know anything of what was going on! They laughed him in the face of course, and were much amused.
The extract from the letter of Bismarck to Schleinitz2 from Russia in 1858 will interest you as it shows that history repeats itself and the times were very like what they are now. I saw Granduke Georg today with Minny of Greece, he told me his news from private source were that the publication of the "Duma" had created great satisfaction in Russian provincial circles; and that sympathy for Germany and acknowledgement for our behaviour to Russia during the war were warm and lively. My sisters and Tino3 and all the family send you their very best love! Dont forget the order ranking the "advancement" of the line equal to the Guard. It will answer splendidly! I enclose some new postcards of the Saalburg I visited today, it is nearly finished and looks lovely in the fine summer weather.
Now Good bye my dear Nicky, God help you and protect you and all your family my prayers will always follow you as from you
most devoted and aff-ate friend and cousin
P. S. Just when I had finished my letter I got a message from President Roosevelt.4 Knowing my interest in the Peace Conference he kindly sent me information of the situation and of the points at issue upon which there is a difference of opinion between Japan and Russia, and his proposals for meeting the wishes of both belligerents as far as it is possible. I think his proposals most sensible and practical and hope that they may come up to your expectations. As far as I can make out they seem to secure to Russia all the advantages of an honourable Peace. But of course it is for you solely to decide, as you are best able to judge of the feeling of your countrymen. Once more I beg your pardon for being such an awful bore and bothering you, but you know that it all comes from a friendly heart, which beats warmly for you and your welfare as well as that of your country.
I have ordered my fleet to shadow the British and when they have anchored to lay themselves near the British Fleet to give them a dinner and make them as drunk as possible to find out what they are about; and then sail off again! I think the astonishment will be great as the English as well as our people believe that our fleet will be in the North Sea! So dont tell anybody for the secret must be well kept! Tata I this is the real end of my epistle!
The following is a translation of the extracts of Bismarck's letter to the German Secretary of State, von Schleinitz, appended by the Kaiser to his foregoing letter:
"Following the announcement of the agrarian reforms, every one in Russia who does not make his living exclusively by holding office demands and expects some tangible form of participation by the people and especially by the higher social strata in the government of the country; the masses are temperate, but one hears voices reminding one of the "Convention" and which have already outdistanced the viewpoint of the Girondists. One traces the activity of agitators who neglect no method for spreading calumnies against the court and the imperial house, even among the lowest social strata. The intimate circle of the Czar is unfortunately not free from elements offering opportunities for the worst of such (charges) and whose acts as well as responsibility for the whole Augean stable of official blunders are cleverly blamed on the Czar, whose kindly heart without doubt is too indulgent toward many persons known to him, and whose honest efforts for the improvement of things are even recognized by those who criticize him for the failure of these efforts. The poor people, even the common soldiers, it is said, are told stories of the money expended at the court, the retainers of the grand dukes, the purchase of houses for the youngest sons of the Czar, the corruption at court, and this is compared with their poverty. Persons in high places, through office and birth, speak to me of revolutions as of things possible, but affecting them little personally, and touching the Czar alone, so that in no case does it appear that they think of sacrificing their lives in the defence of the throne. Indeed, at all times here people have made up by sharp criticism in conversation for the deference which they show to governmental authority in practical life; but in former times the European atmosphere was not so unfavorable for monarchical authority as today and especially as it has been in Russia for the last four years. Perhaps it will pass like an intermittent fever, yet it is possible perhaps some little stray spark may yet start a great conflagration here. One hears officers complaining about the laxity of discipline among the soldiers and war is considered necessary if bad morale is to be avoided. All over the world things look ominous and when it has come to such a pass that nobles outwardly of calm and peaceable temperament buy up whole shipments of revolvers and munitions in order to be prepared for the summer, I do not know if it were not better to be a Christian dog in Damascus than a gentleman in the land of Czar Nicholas. The prospects of the Germans in North Schleswig are at any rate less uncomfortable than those of the Russian land junker who padded with revolvers goes among his peasants like a living infernal machine. The Czar is depressed by the seriousness of the internal situation and has not the same interest as ordinarily for foreign politics. He said to me yesterday with deep sighs that Wednesdays are for him the only happy days, because then his duties give him 24 hours of rest. It is because every Tuesday evening he goes on a hunt. Also at my recent audience he was downcast; he presented me with photographs of himself and the august Czarina and appended to them a description of the originals of all the family portraits hanging in the room. If words were fatal, not a male of the entire house of Hollstein-Gottorp would still be alive. Everyone does justice to the noble heart of the Czar, but the "buts" which follow depends upon my coming at the opportune moment, or to beg for a change in the subject of the conversation. It is very unfortunate that the Czar is made responsible for all the various and far-fetched misdeeds associated with the name of Minna Iwanowna, in German Frau von Burghof, friend of the old Adlerberg. That guard officers should discuss in the presence of strangers the question whether or not to fire on the people, Czar Nicholas surely did not expect so soon. The police system here, dating from olden times, has been so good, that the Czar was bound to learn too much of all these things, and the practical chief of this institution, Timaschew, sees everything in the near future as extremely gloomy."
1. Put out.
2. The letter of Bismarck's was not written in 1858, as the Kaiser claims, but on November 30th, 1860.
3. Crown Prince Constantin, later King, of Greece.
4. The Russo-Japanese peace agreement was reached at Portsmouth, New hampshire, on August 29th, five days after this letter was written, and the treaty was signed on September 5th.
Rominten 26/IX 1905
Witte's visit1 gives me the agreeable opportunity to send you a few words. This allways affords me great pleasure and I only trust that the letter may not bore you too much. I had most interesting conversations with Witte. He has impressed me as a man of uncommon pespicacity and foresight and a rare gift of energy. He has managed to turn -- with Rooseveldt's equally energetic and clever help -- the Portsmouth Conference to a very good end. So much so, that in the rest of the world it is regarded as a signal and effective victory of Russia over Japan. This may be of interest to you, because doubtless enemies of his and invidious people in Russia, may wish to detract from his work, and make believe that he has not safeguarded his country's interests as he ought to. Great men -- and he must be I believe counted among them -- will ever have to face a certain amount of envy and lies which counterbalance the share of praise lavished on them by their admirers. But it is the facts that speak for them, and Portsmowth speaks for itself.
I found to my great satisfaction that his political ideas fully coincide with the base upon which we rested our views exchanged at Björkoe. He is a firm advocate of a Russo-German-France Alliance which as he tells me will be gladly "cotaoygé"2 by Amerika -- for the maintenance of the Peace and statu quo in the world, the balance of which has been disturbed by the Anglo-Japanese Treaty.3 He was consequently very agreeable surprised when I told him of our work at Björkoe. It is the grouping of Powers which is the most natural -- they beeing the representants of the "Continent"-- and will have the consequence of drawing all the other lesser Powers in Europe into the orbit of this great block. Amerika will stand on the side of this "Combination." Firstly from the "Racial" point of view, they are decidedly "White" anti "Yellow." Secondly politically, from fear of Japan on account of the Philippines upon which the Japanese have cast longing eyes, their loss would impair the American position in the pactfic. Thirdly from the dangerous competition of the Japanese trade sustained by very cheap labour and without the cost of long transport with its tariffs for freight and for the passage of the Suez Canal. The sums to be paid for its passage beeing a heavy tax on the whole European commerce. The same thing will be with the "Panama Canal."
The "Continental Combine" flanked by America is the sole and only manner to effectively block the way to the whole world becoming John Bull's private property, which he exploits at his hearts contents after having, by lies and intrigues without end, set the rest of the civilized nations by earh others ears for his own personal benefit. We see this pernicious principle at work now in the Marocco question,4 in which John Bull is equally doing his best to set the French dead against us. Thereby causing endless delay and trouble. But your Allies are so hypnotized by "Cowes" and "Brest" and the "Entente Cordiale" that scarcely do anything in Foreign Politics without consulting London first! I think it would be a good thing if you would have Nelidoff5 advised to put a stop to this Anglomania and to remind the French that their future lies with you and us; for I hear that he is also somewhat "anglomane" Witte kindly gave the French advice about Marocco to take reason and I have ordered Radolin6 to be as "conciliant" as possible, so that I hope that we shall come to terms in a few days.
With regard to the Anglo-French "Entente Cordiale" you may perhaps find in my letters to you from two years ago, where I warn you of the beginning "Rapprochement" of the two Governments and countries; when they commonly opposed your policy in Macedonia after the "Müerzsteg Punctations." I then showed that they were resuming their old former Policy of the "Crimean" and called them the "Crimean Combination." The Liberal "Western Powers" have combined as I predicted; and are not only opposing you in foreign Policy, but more hotly and open on the field of internal Russian policy. The French and English Liberal Press quite openly and in conjunction denounce all monarchical and energetic actions in Russia -- the "Zardom" as they call it and openly espouse the cause of the Revolutionaries for the expansion and maintenance of liberalism and "enlightement" against the "Zardom" and "Imperialism" of "certain" backward countries. That is yours and mine. The phrase by which the French are allways recaught by England is "to uphold in common the interests of Liberalism in the world and to propagate it in other countries." That means to foster and help revolutions all over Europe especially in countries which are happily not yet under the absolute dominations of those infernal parliaments.
Alvensleben7 who is on leave at home is I am sorry to say quite broken down in health and has begged to be allowed to resign and leave the service. With your kind approval I propose to send your court H. v. Schoen8 Minister at Copenhagen. He was formerly a long time in Paris, is married to an elegant and most charming wife; he accompanied me on my journey to Tangiers and the Mediterranean this year and is a loyal quiet discret man; a personal friend of mine having my fullest confidence since many years. He is well acquainted with all the English intrigues in Denmark, many of which he was able to counteract. He knows Italy well, speaks french, italian, english like his mothertongue; is most active and a good lawn-tennis player, in case you should need one.
The visit of the British Fleet at Swinemunde and Danzig went off without collisions. The Public was civil and "hospitalier" but without enthousiasm. At Esbjerg I had one of my friends who speaks Danish and english well. He went on board the ships disguised as a coal merchant and frequently dined or lunched with the officers. They told him that they were sent to the Baltic to show the Emperors, that they had no power whatever to decide anything as they pleased, for the British Fleet would never allow them to!!! A fine piece of impudence! May your fleet soon lay again on the waters in fine ships of new types commanded by able bodied and clear minded officers and well trained men.
A piece of news that will amuse you come from Vienne a few days ago. The American Ambassador Mr. Bellamy Storer9 told a friend of mine that he had been with King of England at Marienbad a few days before the conclusion of peace the King told Storer that there was no idea of Peace as Japan would never be allowed to give up the demand for indemnity, which was due to it as Victor. He then went on saying that it was necessary that Russia should be and remain financially helpless and crippled for a long time. Storer said he was in a very awkward position as the King asked his advice on the promenade loudly before a large number of people who were accompanying him and who were listening!! It seems he is afraid Amerika will join the other Nations in giving Russia money, when a great loan is internationally issued; and wanted to influence Storer to report home to that effect; which he of course refused to do.
Now the Peace beeing signed and the rat)fications even to be exchanged would not you think it practically, if we two instruct our ambassadors at foreign courts identically without letting them into the secret of the existence of a treaty that in all matters not specially affecting our countries in their own interest, but in all questions of general policy our ambassadors are to work together and inform each other of their instructions and ideas. This common exposal of a common cause, will not fail to impress the world that our relations have become closer and thus slowly prepare your Allies the French, for the new orientation which their policy must take for the entry into our treaty. The Marocco question will be settled in a few days, -- Witte having talked sense and given good advice to both sides, and I have instructed to be as "coulant" as possible. Witte has charmed all the ladies and Gentlemen here by his amusing stories about America and his experiences which will greatly amuse you too! Now goodbye dearest Nicky, love to Alix a kiss to the boy from Ever your most devoted
friend and cousin
1. Count Sergei Witte was chief Russian envoy at tbe Portsmouth peace conference. On his way home from America he stopped at Paris, and while there was requested from Petrograd to go on to Rominten at the Kaiser's suggestion. He arrived there the day this lener was written, and left on the day following.
2. "Côtoyé" probably, meaning "followed."
3. The treaty between England and Japan, signed January 30th, 1902, and due to expire in 1907, was expanded in its scope and signed on August 12th, 1905.
4. The Franco-German agreement, embodying the program for the conference later held at Algeciras, was signed two days after this letter was written.
5. Alexander I. Nelidoff was Russian ambassador to France from 1903 until his death in 1910. He played a considerable part in settling the Dogger Bank incident in the Russo-Japanese War.
6. Prince Hugo de Radolin was German ambassador in Paris at this time.
7. Count Friedrich Johann Alvensleben, German ambassador at Petrograd, 1901-1905.
8. Baron W. von Schoen, German Minister at Copenhagen from 1900 to 1905, was appointed German ambassador to Russia in the latter year. In 1910 he became ambassador in Paris.
9. Formerly American Minister to Belgium and Spain, American Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, 1902-1906.
Neues Palais 8/XI 1905
The Chancellor, to whom I read some parts of your letter, told me that our purely defensive agreement cannot possibly clash with the French treaty concluded by your Father. For if it did, the meaning would be, that by the French treaty Russia is bound to support France even in a war of aggression against Germany! But such a contingency i.e. Russia supporting France in an agrressive poIicy against us, we never till now looked upon as deservmg even a moments consideration; because your dear father often told me he would at all times set his face openly against any war of aggression. Besides beeing on the most friendly and intimate terms with me. This is illustrated by the fact that in 1891 during the maneuvres near Narva, he openly expressed to me his aversion to the French Republican system, advocating the restoration of Monarchy in Paris, for which undertaking he begged me to help him. If your French agreement is like ours purely defensive, then there is no incompatibility between the two, one does not exclude the other, so that no further declaration is required.
On the other hand I can understand that it may be opportune for you, not to publicly proclaim yourself as ally, at the moment when the international revolutionists are spreading broadcast over the world the infamous lie of my having tried to influence you in favour of reaction.
My fervent wish is that you may pass unharmed through the present crisis, and that your people may fully grasp your noble intentions. Now you must wait and see how the institutions you called into life work practically; only after this it will later on be possible to judge wether and how modifications would be required.
As for your opinion of Witte, I of course cannot pretend to know him as well as you do, but he certainly impressed me as a man above the average. At the same time I am glad you took your uncle Nicolas Nicolaiewitsch1 into your confidence. He appears to me as representing an element of firmness; and firmness may be necessary to maintain order. Without orders young liberty cannot live.
With regard to Tattenbach2 and Morokko your French information is incorrect. I do not aim nor ever aimed at any special advantage for Germany, and Tattenbach never advocated any Policy of his own. This is a thing unheard of in my service, my representatives in foreign countries only advocating one policy and that is mine! We only wish to secure the open Door, that is an interest we have in common with all the other seafaring and trading nations. There is no reason whatever why an equitable arrangement with France should not be arrived at on that ground. I trust that you whose permanent aim is to promote peace between all nations and goodwill all over the civilized world, will lend your powerful help to bring the Conference to a general understanding, based on the maintenance of the open Door. A word in this direction to your representative at the Conference would be most advantageous in lightening the task of my minister. With best love to Alix and the baby believe me dear Nicky ever your
1. It was believed that the Grand Duke, who later commanded the Russian Armies in the Great War, was the influence that was mainly responsible for the annulment of the secret treaty concluded by the Kaiser and Czar at Bjoerkoe.
2. Count de Tattenbach was on a special mission to the Sultan of Fez to secure special privilege for Germany in Morocco.
Neues Palais 30/XII 1905
General Tatischeff1 has given me your letter and presented himself in his new "charge." It is of the highest importance for me to know that he enjoys your full confidence, and I will "le cas echéeant" with pleasure avail myself of his services in my private relations with you. He is welcome here and in the ranks of my headquarters, to which he now belongs.
The new ambassador von Shoen is leaving today with Gen. v. Jacobi.2 I can vouch for the General's character in every way. He was my first adjutant I ever had, studied with me at Bonn, served in the Ist Guards with the Ist Batallion; later on for a second time became my aide de camp after I came to the throne, spent several years as milit. attache at Rome and finally commanded Mama's Regiment at Wiesbaden, where you saw him. I am sure that he is as worthy of your confidence as he commands mine, who knows him intimately since 25 years! Best thanks for your kind letter and your wishes for New Year, which I heartily reciprocate. May God bless and protect you and your family and grant Peace to your People this is the earnest wish of
Ever your devoted and aff-ate cousin, friend and ally
1. Count Ivan D. Tatiseheff, the Czar's military representative attached to the person of the Kaiser.
2. General F. W. L. Albano von Jacobi, a member of the Kaiser's suite, was at this time Minister Plenipotentiary at the Russian Emperor's Court, with a residence at Petrograd.
Berlin 29/I 1906
General v. Jacobi brought me your letter and wishes for which best thanks. He was most happy at the kind reception he met at your hands as well as in society, I am glad to hear from him that you are quite well as also are Alix and the children. He was most impressed by the good looks and "tenue" the Regiments showed, which were inspected by you, at which ceremony he was allowed to assist. But he was very sorry he cut such a miserable figure at the shooting party, not having his own guns, and beeing only an indifferent marksman.
The idea of a swaggering "aide-de-camp" from our "Collegue" the woodcutters von Fallieres1 following about in your "suite" caused me unlimited amusement. But besides being awfully funny it is in some respects at least also a useful idea. The more closely France is drawn over to you -- provided it succeeds -- the more it gets out of mischief. The Moroccan business2 will as far as I can see come out all right without war. The decisive point is that hitherto no other Power has shown any disposition for eventually lending France armed support, in case she wants to invade Morocco. Without the certainty of armed support France is not likely to risk such an invasion. Some arrangement will ultimately be agreed upon ensuring Peace for all the parties concerned with honour assuring at the same time for the trade of the whole world the maintenance of the open Door in Morocco. That the French refused a loan to Russia now,3 has not so much to do with the Moroccan Affair, as she has much calmed down since the opening of the Conference of Algesiras, but to the reports of the Jews from Russia -- who are the leaders of the Revolt4 -- to their kinsmen in France who have the whole Press under their nefarious influence. Berlin is quite full of Russians and noble families fled from the Baltic Provinces. Over 50,000 of your subjects are here. 20,000 about at Königsberg and other thousands in the small Provincial towns of Prussia, Posen and Silesia. Especially the Nobles from the Baltic Provinces are in dire distress, having lost all their castles burnt and their properties pillaged and their forests partly destroyed. Many a baroness has gone in for simple housekeeping in other families, and young comtesses and baronesses have had to enter "Magazine" as simple shopgirls, only to save themselves and their mothers from starving!! Our great landed proprietors have volunteered to harbour some families in their country houses, and even the Empress has taken girls into her seminary to relieve the poor mothers! You have no idea of the terrible loss and distress reigning in the best of your Courland and Livland Nobility. As many of my officers serving in the army have married young ladies from these families, receiving their main means of subsistence from their parents-in-law these poor fellows are also suddenly placed vis-a-vis de rien, as they cannot live on their pay. To my opinion many millions will be necessary for reestablishing these poor people and helping to rebuild their destroyed homes, which sums I trust your Government will readily place at their disposal; an order from you to that effect would make an excellent impression in the whole of Europe, and rally the dropping spirits of these lamentable people.
While I am writing these lines I just receive the sudden and quite unexpected news of your dear grandfathers death.5 What a noble ideal and chivalrous monarch has passed away! Beloved by his family and his subjects who looked upon him as their fatherl I deeply sympathize with you in this great loss, which we monarchs all feel and deplore, as we have lost one of our best among us! Your poor mother will be in an awful distress, but thankful that she was there to spend the last moments with her adored father! I of course intend going to the funeral.
General Saionzkowsky 6 was presented to me and made an excellent impression upon me; I was glad to be able to congratulate him on the brilliant achievemeets of my brave Regiment of Viborg, that fought so gallantly for its Emperor and Country.
Now goodbye dearest Nicky, best love to Alix and the children from
Your aff-ate friend and cousin
Notes 1. Falliereo had a fortnight before been elected President of France. The Kaiser's "woodcutters" joke is not clear.
2. The conference at Algeciras had opened on January I6th, under the Presidency of the Duke of Almodovar.
3. The new Russian loan of 800,000,000 francs proposed at the moment, was rejected by the French Government, but the French banks were willing to advance funds to strengthen the gold reserve of the Imperial Bank.
4. The revolutionary outbreaks in the Baltic Provinces in the fall of 1905.
5. King Christian IX. of Denmark died this day. He was the father of the Czar's mother.
6. In the Russo-Japanese War he commanded the 8th Viborg Infantry Regiment, of which the Kaiser was Honorary Colonel.
Berlin 6/III 1906
The return of General à la suite v. Jacobi to Tsarskoe gives me the opportunity of sending these lines through him. They are to express my sincerest and heartfelt thanks for your kind wishes for our silver wedding1 and for the splendid present you kindly sent us both. They are really most splendid! Lovely in colour and exquisite in workmanship; the chiffres in precious stones making an excellent set off on the soft dark green of the stone. They attracted great attension among our guests and were duly admired. It was most kind of you to think of our old wedding and to take part in our festivities like this I was most pleased to salute all the deputations you sent me. Especially my brave "Viborgs" were the centre of admirative curiosity; they made a very good impression everywhere and were "fêted" as much as possible. The festivities were most tiring and exerting, but happily Victoria got through pretty well after just having had a sharp attack of influence. Since 3 days we have perfect summer here and everybody is out on horseback and on foot, auto or cycle even hundreds are to be seen sitting in the gardens and on the terraces of the "cafes" drinking their coffee or bier out of doors! I suppose this warm weather will soon reach you too! With best love to Alix and the babies and once more thanking you for your lovely gift,
Ever your most devoted and aff-ate Friend and
I. The Kaiser was married on February 27th, 1881, to Augusta-Victoria, Princess of Slesvig-Holstein. With their silver wedding was celebrated the marriage of their second son, Prince Eitel Friedrich, to the Duchess Sopbie Charlotte of Oldenburg.
Neues Palais I4/VI 1906
Sincerest thanks for your kind letters Tatischeff brought me and the second one Wladimir gave me today. I fully sympathize with you in these difficult times. The best way to relieve the cares and worries the situation at home causes you, is as you do, to occupy yourself with your fine Guard by inspecting them and speaking to them. It gives you pleasure and gratifies the troops, who will in no doubt in serious moments, acknowledge the interest you show them, by proving a loyal, trustworthy and keen weapon in the hand of their sovereign! I am glad your Hussars satisfied you, who served in their ranks! It is the same with me here; as I also have a "penchant" for my Guarde Hussars, whom I commande for a time. I review them yesterday, before maneuvering the Guards Cavalry Division, which was most successful, but like all inspections this year ended in a heavy shower.
I quite agree with your views on the Anarchist question. The attempt1 was dastardly and fuiendish, The difficulty to cope with this pest of Mankind is, as you rightly observe that in some countries -- before all in England -- these beasts may live undisturbed and there to plot against the lives of anybody. I am informed that the Spanish Prime Ministed had charged the Prince of Wales to express the wish of the Spanish nation to H. M. the King Edward VII, that it was deemed necessary he should cause his Government to join the Continental Powers in the serious repression of this murderous sect.
This occurence shows that the arrangements made by our two Governments for the control of these fellows, have completely miscarried. Because they can live with absolute impunity in London, and there mature there murderous designs. The right place for these fuiends is the scaffold, sometimes the imprisonment for life in a lunatic asylum. All Continental Powers should send London a joint invitation to ask the English Government to join them by an International agreement to fight these beasts. I should think that it would be possible, by a common consent, in the defence of life and culture to legally place the fabrication of chemicals for the the filling and use of bombs under capital punishment. The Duma2 creates most difficult situations for your Government and the circumstances are most trying. But one must hope that after a time, both will manage to find means and ways to come to a reasonable modus vivendi, so that positive work may be done for the welfare of the country.
As I expected your choice fell on Iswolsky,3who will I am sure satisfy you, as a most clever man he will easily guide the course of Russian Foreign politics, along peaceful lines according to your wish. He gave a very sensible answer to Schoen in the Bagdad Railway4 question so that I hope my Government will be able to continue working with him on the base of mutual confidence arising out of the community of interests. Our interests in this Railway are purely economic and commercial for the welfare of mankind. It represents a concession in full legal form to a German Company, who is building and running it. I can well imagine that the English are, as you say fiddling around you, about Asia.5 But as you have decided calmly to await their proposals, it is sure that, if their terms about Central Asia seems acceptable to you, an understanding with them would remove many elements of friction and conflict which would also give me satisfaction.
No doubt everybody will understand that the actual moment chosen by the English Fleet to pay their self-invited visit must be most irritating and inopportune to you and your country, and I am fully convinced of your feelings of indignation about it from my feelings about the visit to us last year. They will certainly try to strengthen the backs of your ultra liberal party. The fleet on their return journey have announced their visit to Pillau and Travemunde. I shall have them closely watched.
Like you I look forward with great pleasure to our meeting in the end of Summer. As I shall be back in the Baltic in the first days of August I thought to propose to you to meet on the I of August -- new style -- if the weather is fine in the roads of Heringsdorf off Swinermünde. The place is very pretty and the communication with the shore for dispatches etc. much easier than at Hela.
The kind old Emperor Francis Joseph6 I went to see, was still remarkably fresh, though age has bent him a little; he also was much irritated at the behaviour of his parliament. The hours I spent with him were most agreeable through his warm hearted kindness and chivalry.
I visited a most interesting old -- restored -- castle Krenzenstein7 belonging to the celebrated explorer Count Wilzeck. It is a marvel of Gottick architecture and furniture from the I3th and Isth century most harmonious and instructive.
Tatischeff will tell you of my inspection this spring and the maneuvers of 2nd Brigade showing the new "Reglement" for the 1st time, as well as the evolutions of the Guards Cavalry Division under my command, which went off exceedingly well. Wladimir was here and gave me your kind lines, which, as Colonel of the Viborgs made me feel very proud. I once more thank you for the great kindness you showed them, and the honour you gave them by inspecting them; they fully deserved it as they behaved most gallantly. Wladimir also accompanied us to a great cattle show near Berlin and seemed highly amused at the production of prize cows, buIls, pigs, horses, etc., that made a great noise; the thousands of peasants and small proprietors were most jubilant in their loyal demonstrations. Most astonishing progress was shown in the departments of the Electric and Alcoholic motors, as well as the alcoholic gas lamps for the use of the landed proprietors. Now good bye dearest Nicky, God bless and protect you, best love to Alix, and "au revoir" at Swinemünde, where we shall try to be a merry company.
Ever your most aff-ate friend and cousin
I. On May 31st, while the King and Queen of Spain were returning from their wedding in the Church of San Jeronimo el Real in Madrid, a bomb was thrown at the royal coach.
2. The Duma had been opened on May 10th, on the eve of which Count Witte's resignation was announced. The first Duma's life was stormy from the beginning. It was soon dissolved.
3. Iswolsky became Minister of Foreign Aftairs.
4. This project which had been marking time since October, 1904, now began to move forward again.
5. Great Britain and Russia were through their representatives discussing the interests of the two countries in Asia, so as to pave the way for the coming Triple Alliance.
6. The Kaiser on June 6th arrived in Vienna on a short visit to the Emperor Francis-Joseph at Schönbrunn.
7. The castle had been turned practically into a mugeum of Fifteenth Century arms and armor.
Hintze1 is about to leave and this affords me the opportunity of sending you these lines through him. My warmest wishes accompany you in the New Year hoping that your steady work for your country and the welfare of the people may succeed in calming the minds heated by discussion and mis lead by unwarrantable agitation I hope that, if wiser counsels prevail with your subjects this year, and they behave themselves we shall be able to meet on the "waters" somewhere and that Henry2 will be happy to show you the Fleet under his Flag. I think you will find a certain progress in its development since 1901 near Danzig old types having been eliminated and new ones added so as to render the whole fleet more homogenous.
With best love to Alix and the Children, whose photos pleased me immensely, specially of the boy and wishing you Gods blessing believe me dear Nicky
Ever your most aff-ate cousin and friend
1. Captain von Hintze was a member of the Kaiser's suite, attached to the person of the Czar.
2. Prince Henry of Prussia, the Kaiser's brother, had been appointed in September, 1906, to the chief command of the German battle-fleet.
Go to Photo of the Tsar and Kaiser 'Comrades in Autocracy' 'This picture, taken on one of the Czar's last visits to the Kaiser in Germany, gives an extremely interesting and accurate facial character study of the two ill-fated monarchs."
With all my heart warmest wishes for 1908. God bless and protect you Alix and the children. Let me hope of having the pleasure of meeting you again. By my visit to England1 I think I have removed many courses of misunderstanding and of distrust, so that the atmosphere is cleared and the pressure on the safety valve relieved. As a piece of news only quite private and confidential for YOU PERSONALLY, I found the British people very nervous about the Japanese whom they begin to fear and mistrust. The sailing of the American Pacific fleet has angered London highly as they tried everything in their power to hinder it. London is afraid of an encounter between Japan and America, because they must take sides with one of them, as it will be a question of Race, not of Politiks, only Yellow versus White. The dropping of Japan would immediately entail the loss of India; which the Japanese are quietly undermining, revolutionizing etc. The Japanese have foreseen this devolpment and are preparing for it. Perhaps they will first attack India and leave Philippines alone. British Naval and Army officers spoke openly to me and my officers of their disgust at the "Yellow" alliance with Japan, whom they hate. In this state of feelings judge what an effect Count Okumas speech2 a few days ago has made! The action is that of a Shimose shell in London! Now their newspapers have for the first time used the term "Yellow Peril" from my picture, which is coming true. A German Gentleman just back from Mexico reported to me having himself counted 10,000 Japanese men in the plantations in South Mexico, all in Military Jackets with brass buttons. After work at sundown they all assemble under sergeants and officers who are disguised as simple labourers, in squads and detachments and drill and exercise with staffs of wood, which he observed very often, when they thought they were unobserved. They are Japanese reservists who have hidden arms with them, and intended as army corps to seize the Panama Canal and to cut off communication on land with America. It is not impossible that England will have to send out a squadron to the Pacific, which they are very loth to do. Meanwhile American and British Journalists are having a little friendly nosepulling among each other, which shows the nervousness of the London Press. This is my secret information for YOU PERSONALLY, so that you may have time to arrange for your plans, it is sure information and good, as you well know by now that I never gave you wrong one. The main point is to have ones eyes open and be prepared. The development may be slow, yet incidents may create an unexpected and sudden outburst before the question has ripened, as will sometimes happen. It is imposing to observe how well the Japanese prepare themselves for an emergency! They are going in for the whole of Asia, carefully preparing their blows and against the white Race in general! Remember my picture, its coming true! If France sides with England in this affair, Saigon and Annam are gone!
1. The Kaiser visited the King of England in the beginning of November, 1907.
2. The speech of Count Okuma, the Japanese Prime Minister, contained a reference to the 300,000,000 inhabitants of India looking toward Japan for aid in their emancipation from European rule.
Wilhelmshöhe 18/VIII 08
Will you kindly do me the favour of kindly accepting the first proofs of my photos in the new Russian uniforms. They have not yet been published, and I hope your scrutinizing eye would find any faults with the turn out. Uncle Betrie1 was all sunshine at Cronberg and in very good humour. He intends visiting Berlin officially with Aunt Alix2 next year, date to be fixed. He also talked about Turkey, giving to understand that she was best left alone, to organize herself, and to reform Macedonia herself, so that the Powers were able for the time to drop the projected reforms, which seemes to relieve him visibly. I hope your trip is favoured by good weather, whilst we have incessant pouring rain here, with best love to Alix
Ever your aff-ate friend and cousin
1. King Edvvard met the Kaiser on August 11th in Cronberg
2. Queen Alexandra.
Hubertusstock 8/I 09
Many thanks for your kind letter of Dec. 25th which you sent me through Tatischeff. I was much pleased to hear from you, and my wife and I both thank you most sincerely for your kind wishes for the New year. You are quite right in saying that the old year was an eventful one. The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegowina1 was a genuine surprise for everybody, but particularly so for us as we were informed about Austrias intentions even later than you. I think it my duty to draw your attention to this, considering that Germany has been accused of having pushed Austria to take this step. This allegation is absurd and as untrue as it was in the case of the Sanjack Railway. I am glad to see by your letter that people in Russia begin to ret arise this now.
The fact is that once Austria had taken this step without previously consulting us hesitation as to the course we had to follow as loyal allies was out of the question. We could not side with her opponents. You will be the first to approve of this loyalty of ours.
But this does not mean that we intend to drop our old friendly relations with Russia. I am even more firmly convinced than ever, that Germany and Russia should be as closely united as possible; their union would form a powerful stronghold for the maintenance of Peace and of monarchical institutions. You know my views in that respect that my friendship is loyal and sincere I was able to prove to you by facts; when during the period of adversities Russia had to pass through recently I took grave responsibility on myself for your sake.
Valuing as I do friendly relations between our two countries I consider it all the more important, that whatever might injure them should be removed. You wont I hope mind my telling you quite frankly what I think on that subject. Recently we have been represented as resenting and showing uneasiness about your agreement with England concerning Central Asia. The same rumours are circulated about the visit Uncle Bertie paid to you at Reval.2 All nonsense! We understand perfectly that Russia for the present must avoid getting into a conflict with Great Britain, and that for this reason she is bent on smoothing away actual points of controversy.
Apart from this you have repeatedly given me the formal assurance, that you would not enter upon any agreement with England of a more general nature. I have your word what else should I require? We are quite as anxious as you to improve our relations with England. I am looking forward to the visit Uncle Bertie is going to pay me next month in Berlin not only because I am gratified to have him and Aunt Alix over here, but also because I expect the visit to have useful results for the Peace of the World.
No my dear Nicky neither your agreement with England about Central Asia nor your meeting at Reval has produced any uneasiness or disappointment in Germany! The cause is quite a different one. It is the patent fact that for the last two years Russian Policy has been gradually drawing away from us more and more, evolving always closer toward a combination of powers unfriendly to us. The Triple Entente between France-Russia and England is beeing talked of by the whole world as an accomplished fact. English and French papers miss no opportunity of representing this alleged Triple entente as being directed against Germany, and only too often the Russian Press chimes in joining the chorus. On the other hand in many cases of late Russian policy has shown mistrust in German policy, for instance in Persia and China, a mistrust entirely unwarranted. As for other questions in which we are interested, such as the Bagdad Railway, were we expected to count on Russia, she in her policy gave us a wide berth. It is surprising consequently that a certain estrangement should have grown up between our two countries?
I need not assure you that all these questions impress me very keenly, and I think it my duty to draw your attention to the situation as it really is and to the reasons which lead up to it before it be too late.
The tendency of Russian policy to prefer to lean on England and France was particularly in the present crisis. Your Government approached mine about the Bosnian question only after a programme for an intended Conference had been drawn up and agreed to in Paris and London. This programme was published in the French Press before beeing communicated to us. French Papers as well as English and Russian rising a jubilant chorus about this achievement of the new "Triple entente" as matters stood when Iswolsky came to Berlin, my Government had no alternative but the striktest reserve with regard to several important points forming part of the Russian wishes. We could not urge our ally to consent to a programme, which we knew she would not accept, quite apart from the consideration that the programme had been drawn up without us; our cooperation having been dispensed with in a manner that was judged by the outer world as an intended demonstration. Had another course been adopted we would have been able to suggest to your Government not to launch this programme. We would have suggested preliminary confidential negotiations between the cabinets, such negotiations affording us more than opportunity of rendering valuable services to Russia. Had Russia consulted us in the right time, matters would not be in the awful muddle they are in now nor in such a critical state. Under the present circumstances I dont quite see, what I could do, except giving words of moderation to both sides, which I allready have done. I also feel it my duty to tell you quite frankly that I am under the impression that your views about Austria's intentions are too pessimistic and that you are over anxious, more than is necessary. We here at any rate have not the slightest doubt that Austria is not going to attack Servia. This would not at all be like the Emperor Francis Josef, who is wise and judicious and such a venerable Gentleman. Nor do we believe that Aehrenthal harbours any such plans. Of course the small Balkan states must necessarily be prudent and loyal and avoid all provocations and put a stop to warlike preparations. These small states are an awful nuisance. Quantitées negligeables! The slightest encouragement from any quarter makes them frantic. The speeches that were made in the Skuptschtina on the 2d made a very bad impression upon me on account of their revolutionary tendency. Six years ago these very small people were looked upon with disgust and horror by the whole world as the murderers of their King!
I do hope with all my heart that notwithstanding numerous and serious difficulties have to be surmonted a peaceful solution will be arrived at; anything I can do in that direction will certainly be done. Take my word for it!
Hintze will be the bearer of this letter and will I hope find you all in health and happiness, to whom I once more wish that the Lord may give you Peace and prosperity and happiness in the New Year
Victoria and I send best love to Alix; so glad my Xmas presents were a success. Believe me dearest Nicky, ever
Your true and devoted cousin and friend
I. Austria's annexation of these two Balkan provinces on October 5th, 1908, caused an international crisis. In Russia it was considered a blow at Russia's prestige in the Balkans, delivered with the connivance of Germany. This the Kaiser denies here. Austria's act nearly precipitated in 1908 the war which broke out six years later. The incident also gave powerful impetus to the Russo-English rapprochement.
2. King Edward had visited the Czar in Reval on June 9-10, 1908, and there the foundation was laid for the Triple Entente.
Neues Palais 3/IV 09
Will you kindly accept for yourself and dear Alix an Easteregg from us as a token of undiminished love and friendship. The one with the Greek portico and fountain represents a part of Charlottenhof, which was copied in the gardens of Peterhof and is for Alix. The round temple in the "Freundschaftstempel" built by Fred. the Great in the park of Sans-souci and dedicated to all great historical pairs of men who kept their friendship unswervingly down to death, or who died for it. This may serve you as a symbol for our relation to each other as I look upon it. Easter is now nearing and I want to once more thank you sincerely for the loyal and noble way in which you kindly led the way to help to preserve peace. It is thanks to your highminded and tinselfish intiative that Europe has been spared the horrors of a universal war, and that the Holy Week will remain unsullied by human blood, which would have been spilt. You may celebrate your Easter with the elating knowledge that everywhere in Europe thausands of families are on their knees thanking the Lord for Peace and praying for his blessing on your head. I intend to leave for Corfu after Easter passing through Venice on our way down. How I wish I could show you this lovely spot, a little Paradise on Earth! No tourists and easily reached from the sea direct!A happy Easter and best wishes to Alix and the boy. --
Ever your devoted friend Willy
P.S. On my home voyage I shall probably visit Uncle Arthur at Malta.
Corfu 8/V 09
As Hintze is returning for your birthday I gladly seize the opportunity to send you these lines. With all my heart I wish you many happy returns. May Heaven bless and protect you and your wife and children. May you be successful in your work for your country and the welfare of your people.
A few weeks ago when affairs threatened to become dangerous1 your wise and courageous descision secured peace for all the nations. I was most gratified that through my helping cooperation you were able to fullfill your task.
I very naturally expected that you and I would win universal applause, and I venture to think that we may have earned the gratitude of all well meaning people. But to my regret and astonishment a great many blame us both instead. Especially the Press in general has behaved in the basest way against me. By some papers I am credited with beeing the Author of annexation and am accused among other rot and nonsense of having humiliated Russia by my Peace proposal! Of course you know better. Yet the fact must be taken note of that the papers mostly create public opinion. Some of them err through their ignorance and lack of correct information; they scarcely see further than their own noses length. But more dangerous and at the same time more loathesome is the part of the press which writes what it is paid for. The scoundrels who do such dirty work, are in no fear of starving. They will allways continue to incite the hostility of one nation against the other, and when at last, through their hellish devices, they have brought about the much desired collision, they placidly sit down and watch the fight which they organized, well assured that the profit will be theirs no matter what the issue may be. In this way in 99 cases out of a hundred what is vulgarly called "public opinion" is a mere forgery.
As Sovereigns who are responsible to God for the wellfare of the Nations entrusted to our care it is our duty therefore to closely study the genesis and development of "public opinion" before we allow it to influence our actions. Should we find that it takes its origin from the tarnished and gutterlike sources of the above named infamous press our duty will and must oblige us to energetically correct it and resist it.
Personally I am totally indifferent to newspaper gossip, but I cannot refrain from a certain feeling of anxiety, that if not contradicted at once, the foul and filthy lies which are freely circulated about my policy and my country, will tend to create bitterness between our two people by virtue of their constant uncontradicted repetition. Public opinion wants clear information and leading. When I set out for Corfu I was looking forward to a quiet holiday. But alas it was no to be! Another revolution2 broke out at Constantinople! We poor rulers it seems are not entitled to holidays like other simple mortals. The troubles in the East made me very anxious for the time and still do so. The east is a regular nightmare a "boite à surprises".3 I would be most grateful if you could kindly write to me what your opinion is about the general outlook in Turkey. An exchange of our views is urgent and necessary lest fresh events should again take us by surprise.
The events of the last half year are a vivid proof of the absolute necessity of doing so; as they clearly show that it would have been most profitable if we had immediately communicated with each other at the outbreak of the crisis.
"If you and I join in loyal and open cooperation for the maintenance of Peace -- which is my most fervent wish -- I am thoroughly convinced that Peace will not only be maintained but not even be troubled. There is not a shadow of doubt that Peace guarantees the vital interests, the security and wellfare of our People as well as of our dyansties.
Will you kindly accept as birthday present a watercolour sketch made by a clever Corfiote painter representing the "Achilleon"4 seen from the olive grove at the foot of the hill. We spent a lovely time there under a blue sky, surrounded by sweet scents and the marvellous display of any amount of flowers spending the whole day nearly out of doors, sitting on the marble terraces in the shade of fine palmtrees. I hope that once I may be able to show you this Paradise when you chance to be yachting in the Mediterranean. We made many charming excursions par Auto with tea picnics in the country, quite delightful. The island is quite lovely and the people quiet, simple and very polite, and no tourists! Today we leave with a heavy heart on our return journey to Malta, Brindisi, Pola.5 We saw much of the King and Queen6 and I had the great pleasure of seeing my sister7 very often.
Now goodbye dearest Nicky, best love to Alix and the children, especially the boy, God bless and protect you, au revoir I hope and believe me
Your most aff-ate and devoted friend and cousin
1. The affairs which had threatened to become dangerous were connected with Bulgaria's outstanding compensation to Turkey, the negotiations over which were impeded by friction between Constantinople and Sofia on associate questions. Mobilisation and movements of troops by both Powers caused Europe to be apprehensive of fresh conflict, but trouble was averted by an offer from Russia hr the capitalisation of the Russian indemnity for the war of 1876. The solution thus affected was ratified on April 19th, three weeks before the present letter. At the same time Bulgaria's independence, proclaimed by Turkey the previous year, was formally recognized by all the signatories to the Berlin Treaty.
2. The Kaiser had not reached Corfu when, on April 13th, the revolution broke out in Constantinople which led to the resignation of Hilmi Pasha, and the appointment of Tewfik Pasha in his place, as Grand Vizier, the brief overthrow of the Committee of Union and Progress and ultimately its return and the deposition of Abdul-Hamid on April 27th.
3. A box of surprises.
4. The Kaiser's palace in Corfu.
5. The Kaiser and Kaiserin visited Malta on the 10th, where they were received by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught; Brindisi on the 12th, where they met the King and Queen of Italy; and Pola on the 13th. From there they went to Vienna, where the Kaiser's visit was one of great ceremony.
6. The King and Queen of Greece.
7. The wife of Constantine, then Crown Prince of Greece.
Neues Palais 20/X 09
As Tatischeff leaves Berlin to accompany you during your journey1 through our country I send you a short line by way of a salute. May your journey be pleasant and your stay in Italy agreeable and favoured by weather as we are here. Our Manoeuvres2 went off very well and were most successful as he will have reported to you. Discipline and marching powers of the Infantry very exceptional and brilliant. The country was interesting but most difficult beeing very hilly and partly wooded. The field kitchens copied from your models have proved most practical and were freely used. A very stirring moment for the spectators at the last day of the manoeuvres was the appareance of the Zeppelin3 airship accompanied by the military airship, which manouevered around it. My hunting stay in Rominten was favoured by such an exceptionally fine summer weather as we have not enjoyed for a long time. I killed 21 stags among them 6 of first class. The St. Johns Hospital which I built in the small frontier-town of Kittkehmen (opposite Wyschtynez) has answered very well, and during my inspection I saw several Russian patients we were able to care for. I am glad to hear that on account of the newly endowed Rontgen-Ray Cabinet, which I dedicated to the Hospital they have a good number of Russian patients, who come there to be "Durchleuchted"4 and we have done lots of good. You kindly sent a sum through Stremaukoff5 the Governor of Suwalki, who kindly came and inspected the Hospitals for which I beg you to accept my warmest thanks. He followed my invitation to Rominten and dined with us; he is a very nice, quiet and agreeable man, and keeps "Gute Nachbarshaft"6 with his Russian Collegues over the frontier, who are en rapport with him. I thought you would be pleased to know what a capable and good "representant" you have on this part of your frontier, which I regularly visit, as he is universally respected by my people. 2 days ago my daughter7 was confirmed in the Friedenskirche, and she pleased everybody by the brave way she passed the ordeal of reading her "Confession" out to the community all people were deeply moved and I was very proud of her. For she showed a depth of feeling, and a seriousness in dealing with the problem of Life and Religion, which deeply impressed the assembled clergy; the more so as she wrote it quite alone, forbidding anyone to help her. The splendid summer still continues all the roses are out and the flowerbeds full of colour like in August! The enclosed card corresponds exactly to the light of this evening.
With best wishes believe me dearest Nicky ever your most devoted
cousin and friend
1. The reference is to the visit of the Czar later in the month to Italy, when he was received by King Victor Emmanuel at Racconigi. A secret treaty, it was later disclosed, was concluded there between Russia and Italy.
2. At Morgentheim, in Wurtemberg, from September 13 to 17. The Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the Earl of Lonsdale, Mr. Winston Churchill, and General Sir Bruce Hamilton were among those attending them.
3. The airship referred to was the "Zeppelin III." which set out on the morning of the 17th from Frankfort for Morgentheim, a distance of about 200 miles.
5. Peter P. Stremoukhov, Councillor of State, and Governor of Suwalki.
6. Good neighbors.
7. Princess Victoria Louise, born I892, who in 1913 married the Duke of Brunswick.
Berlin 11/I 10.
So many thanks for your very kind letter with the photos Henry brought me, which pleased me much. What an excellent idea of yours making a two hours march in a private's kit and finding out for yourself what it means to carry such a load in the field! I am very glad to hear that you were satisfied with the appearance and behaviour of my deputation for poor Uncle Micha's1 funeral. Thank you so much for the kind reception you gave them. They were very grateful for the permission to do duty on guard near his bier.
Henry faithfully repeated all the messages you intrusted him with for me. I entirely share your views. I can perfectly understand that developments in the Far East2 are absorbing your attention.
The communication made to him about your decisions to withdraw 4 Army Corps from our frontier has given me great satisfaction. The more so as Henry told me, that in informing him of your decision you referred in the heartiest terms to the traditional friendship of our 2 countries and their brotherhood in arms established a century ago. You well know how I allways had and will have these sacred relations at heart and I need not tell you how deeply gratified I am at your kind and touching words.
I hope this letter will reach you on New Years day and I seize this opporunity of renewing to you and Alix the best wishes for the happy New Year for all of you God grant.
I hope to again hear from you as soon as you will be able to finally fix the date for our meeting in German waters. Henry suggested that he thought beginning of August on your and my return from Norway would suit you best? What a pleasure, the idea of seeing you dearest Nicky again! Best love to Alix and the children, the boy in particular, and believe me
Your true and devoted friend and cousin
I. Grand Duke Michael Nicholaievitch, the Czar's great-uncle.
2. There were numerous international complications at this time arising out of railways administration and construction in Manchuria and elsewhere in the Far East.
Neues Palais 1
Allow to me to lay before you confidentially a matter of importance to me.
It is the question of wether you would perhaps care to see a change in the person of the Aide-de-Camp, who has the honour of beeing attached to your person from here. As at our former meetings you allways spoke very highly of your appreciation of Capt. v. Hintze's qualities, and that he fully enjoyed your confidence, I do not desire to take any steps before having heard from you, or to act without your approval.
Please let me know quite unrestrainedly and frankly what you think about this matter. Should you think it desirable for me to replace Hintze, I would first communicate with you about the choice of his successor.
Your wishes in this respect are of the highest importance to me, as I consider it an absolute necessity, that the officer, who is attached by me to your person should command your fullest confidence.
I am glad to hear from the Chancellor that he is having a satisfactory exchange of views on different questions with Sassonoff,2 which may be settled to mutual satisfaction.
We are still thinking of the kind visit you paid us here and hope that the homeward journey did not fatigue Alix too much. Best love to her and the children from your
devoted cousin and friend
I. This letter was written at the end of November or the beginning of December, 1910.
2. During the visit of the Czar and Czarina in Potsdam on November 4th, 1910, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sazonoff, discussed at length with the German Chancellor a number of international questions, including that of the Bagdhad Railway, which also formed the subject of subsequent discussions.
Neues Palais 24/XII 1910
I am most grateful for your frank answer concerning Hintze.1 I learn with deep regret from your letter that he no longer enjoys your confidence, I have therefore decided to recall him.
As his successor I would propose sending Major Gen: à la suite von Lauenstein at present in command of a Brigade of Infantry in Hanover. He was my personal aide-de-camp before taking over his command. You will probably remember him from the time he was mili. attache to St. Petersburg; he also had the honour of accompanying your army to the war, and as I hear he was most popular with your officers. He is a most capable soldier and alltogether most reliable and trustworthy. He writes a splendid german style, and were consequently member of 3 committees who sat on the Reform of the Regelements of our Infrantry, Artillery and Cavalry, all three having emanated from his pen.
I place unlimited confidence in him and in the hopes of your approval to my proposal look forward to your answer.
I had Osten-Sacken2 for lunch the other day. His health seems perfect and he was in high spirits. I am so glad you made him a knight of St. Andrews and I very much appreciate your most friendly and sympathetic allusion to the relations of our two countries in the letter which you addressed to the dear old gentleman on this occasion.
I got some charming cards from Alix with the children as a group please thank her from me for them. I send you a "couteau de chasse" and to Alix a "saladiere" for the zakouska table, made in my Majolikafactory,3 and mounted in silver in Dresden.
With the best wishes for a happy prosperous New Year, which may be one of Peace, and much love to Alix and the children I remain
Ever your devoted friend and cousin
I. This Captain von Hintze afterwards became the well-known Admiral. After the fall of Kühlmann, he became German Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
2. Russian ambassador at Berlin.
3. The Royal factory at Meissen, a few miles west of Dresden, until 1863 in the fortress of Albrechtsburg, and thereafter nearer the city.
Corfu 2I/IV I9II
As your Easter is approaching I beg to be allowed to send you my warmest Easterwishes through these lines. It is a time in which one allways passes in review ones acts and thoughts, before one goes to the Communion, and at this and after it one goes back into ones life with fresh resolutions and reaffirmed convictions. To these latter ones I rekon our relations to each other and our firm friendship for one another which were so happily confirmed at Wolfsgarten1 and at Potsdam. You may allways count on me and my faithful interest in you and your family and your country.
We had a lovely time here amid flowers, scent, blue sky and sun. Only in the week before last it was cold and rainy. We were greatly surprised and interested in the quite unexpected discovery, by a chance experimental digging, of quite enormous sculptures belonging as it seems to an antique Temple2 which dates as far back as the 6th or 7th century b.Chr. I spent several days basking in the sun and looking at the appearance of the different objects, which was very exciting and would have amused you immensely.
I send you enclosed some photos from our house and garden, with the statue of Achilles I caused to be placed on the Terrace. Besides I enclose an article recently published in the German Press, written by an intimate friend of Uncle Bertie, an English Politician; with the intention to persuade the Germans to think better of Uncles policy than they do now. His name is not known. As you will see for yourself, it is very striking the greatest anxiety which governed Uncle for the future of England, was the possibility of the closer friendship between the 3 Empires (Germany, Russia, Austria), which he regarded as dangerous for England, and which he consequently tried to inhibit by all means in his power. That is the explanation for the phrase perpetually used by the English Press "Balance of Powers in Europe" i.e. keep the 3 Emperors apart, or we are lost, for they would assemble the whole European Continent around them and that is against English interests. I go to London for Grandmamas unveiling,3 at Georgy's invitation I hope to find out more about this --
With best love to Alix and all I remain
Ever your most devoted cousin and friend
1. On November 11th, 1910, the Kaiser paid a visit to Schloss Wolfsgarten, near Darmstadt, where the Russian Emperor was living.
2. In the course of the excavations in the village of Garitza or Kastrades, in Corfu, the buried ruins of one of the Corcyrean temples, probably dating from the beginning of the 6th Century B. C., were brought to light. On April 12th, 1911, a few days before this letter was written, sculptures were discovered representing the battles between Zeus and the Giants. The Kaiser all day watched the operations under a blazing sun and without interval for food.
3. The Kaiser was present at the unveiling of Queen Victoria's statue in the Mall on May 16th following. His visit lasted until the 21st.
Wilhelmshohe 8/VIII 1911
I am sorry that I am again compelled to approach you with a request relating to Gen. von Lauenstein, who has the honour of being attached to your august person. When I chose him for his post -- with your approval -- he immediately drew my attention to the fact that his wife was of very delicate health. I know her personally and am aware of the fact. Yet I prevailed upon him to go to his post, as you had written so very kindly about him.
She now has just had her 3rd baby, which has so much affected her health, that the doctors have all agreed, that it is quite out of the question, that she should stand the climate of St. Petersburg. Accordingly Lauenstein has now again remarked his request to be relieved of his post. I have regretfully consented seeing that it is impossible to exact from him to lead a life permantly detached from his family.
I feel assured that you will approve of my decision taken under such serious considerations.
I propose to send as his successor Lieut. Gen. of my suite Count Dohna-Schlobitten, now in command of the Guards Cavalry Division. I daresay you re member my presenting him to you during your last visit to Potsdam -- which left wish us such pleasant recollections. He was then about to join my son for his trip to India and would have been on his staff during his stay at Zarskoje if the original itinerary of the journey had been carried out.
Dohna is alltogether a genuine cavalry man -- Frontsoldat -- a first rate horseman, passionate rider and sportsman and allround man. of the world. He has allways been popular with everybody in his different employments: as Captain in the Ist Dragoon guards, later as Colonel of my Hussars of the Guard then as Brigadier, and then as Leader of the Guards Cavalry Division. Last not least he won every officers esteem and sympathy in India; so much so that the Commander in Chief of the Forces there has invited him to the Coronation Durbar, to which I granted him leave. He will I trust on his return be able to give you vivid descriptions of the unique festivities and their unrivalled oriental splendor. His wife is good looking most sociable, and an old friend of mine from long standing. She enjoys an excellent position in the Berlin Court Society.
Dohna has my entire confidence, and I trust my choice will meet with your approval. We are deeply distressed by poor Knesebecks1 sudden and untimely death. He was private secretary to my Grandmother for 11 and to my wife for 21 years! A loyal trusted and faithful friend and a thorough gentleman. With best love to Alix and the children (what is the Railway doing?) believe me dearest Nicky
Ever your devoted friend and cousin
I. Herr Bothe von dem Kneesebeck, who died suddenly at Cassel two days before this, was Assistant Master of Ceremonies at the household of the Kaiserin.
Neues Palais 12/I 1912
This letter will be brought to you by Gen. count Dohna just returned from India. He was present at the Durbar and will be able to give you vivid descriptions of the splendid and gorgeous scenes he took part in. His wife, who is staying since a few months at Petersburg to arrange his home for returning husband, will I am sure and hope be as agreeable to you and your Court as he. She writes very happy letters about the kindness shown to her by the society. As he is only just out of the tropics and the change to your climat with 20° beeing very sudden, I crave your condescension to think of him when opendoor ceremonies in winter are on the programme. As he is very thin, beeing bald too I suggested a warm wig forthe [sic] "Blessing of the water"! You can decide which colour it is to have!
I once more send you my sincerest wishes for a happy New Year, joining in your hopes and prayers to Heaven that He may grant us a peaceful one; well knowing that our sentiments in this point are identical, for our 2 countries. I hope that Xmas eve went off well and that no accidents happened with my gifts; especially I hope that the little "tummies" will be none the worse for their own cooking.
Is the electric Railway of last year still in good order? I was very sorry when I heard of the death of poor Gen. Stroukow,1 he was an excellent man and an old and cherished acquaintance of mine and a loyal friend.
With my very best wishes also for Alix and the children, from whom I had through Olga such a nice telegram, I remain Ever
Your most aff-ate friend and cousin
I. General Alexander P. Strukov, a well known Russian cavalry officer.
Rominten 3/X 1912
May I venture to call your attention and also your interest to a plan which has allready occupied my mind since some years. During my stays at Rominten I have minutely studied the question of the development of the frontier country1 on both sides in my vicinity. I have come to the conclusion that the districts on both sides of our frontier are promising and may expect a hopeful future. But they must be opened up and also, if possible, be brought into relation to each other. On the enclosed railway map, a line is marked in red, it is a new railway which is going to be built running around the great Rommter Heide, so as to rend the transport of wood easier than now. The line runs from Goldap, past Pablindsen to Szittkehmen where it strikes the branch line to Eydtkuhnen. The line will open up stone and gravel quarries and pits and will transport a large amount of wood out of the Rominten forest. Now I venture to submit to your attention the idea wether it would not be a practical thing for your Government to lay a line from Suwalki to Pablindzen and there join our line. This would develop commerce between the two districts in a fine way. Pablindzen is allready a point over which a very "lebhafter Verkehr" to and fro has developed and is promising much more, in case a line came there. This plan has been discussed with your authorities since a considerable lapse of time, and I especially had talked it over with Mr.de Stremaukow who was very much interested in it and thought it most necessary also in the interest of the Government of Suwalki. He promised me he would report to you in a favourable way about this scheme and prepare to take an active part in furthering it, when he was relieved from his post, and so there was an end to it. That is a great pity because the frontier people are most anxious for the development of this question and he was quite acquainted with all the details of the question on both sides of the frontier and in permanent "rapport" with my authorities here. All this has stopped now, as his successor has a yet taken no steps to communicate with his collegues accross the frontier, though he is in office since 2 years. Therefore the people from all sides begged me to lay the matter directly before you. This I have done. I beg your pardon for troubling you with such a miserable little frontier detail; but 24 years living among these people I have grown together with them and they have gained confidence in me. They are simple, quiet, laborious and as all frontier districts a little bit forgotten, and as it is a good deal to help such poor felIows on, I try my luck with you. I had good sport -- about 19 Stags -- but beastly weather excepting 2 days. Today snow and hail. Best love to Alix and the children and Waidmannsheil for you from Ever your
most aff-ate cousin and friend
I. Some of the lines suggested by the Kaiser were eventually built. They had little strategic value, however, and only served the busy traflic which was here developing.
Berlin 3/I 13
The messenger leaves today with my presents for you Alix and the children. I hope that they may please the august recipients. At the same time I send you my heartiest wishes for Xmas and a peaceful New Year. I earnestly hope and trust that 1913 may prove a peaceful one, as you telegraphed to me on New Years day. I think that on the whole the outlook is reassuring, and that the discussions in London,1 which are progressing favourably, will continue to be held in a conciliatory and friendly spirit, in which direction the foreign Policy of your Government so ably cooperates with all the other Powers.
I thank you for your message Tatischeff transmitted to me, who will allready have returned my answer to you. I trust that also this matter may be brought to a satisfactory issue and the difficulties which have arisen overcome.
Your war minister Gen. Souchomlinow2 paid me a visit on his return from Leipzig. He was most agreeable and most interesting in his descriptions of his deeds during the campaign 1877.
Up to now we have had a warm snowless winter here, which allows us to indulge in nice long gallops on horseback, nearly every day, provided it does not pour with rain.
Goodbye dearest Nicky, my best love to Alix and the children especially to the boy, who I hope is getting better, and believe myself Ever
Your most aff-ate cousin and friend
1. The London Conference of Ambassadors had met on December 17th, but their discussions did not make the favorable progress here anticipated.
2. General Wladimir A. Sukhomlinov, who was dismissed as Minister of War and tried for corruption and mismanagement during the Great War.
Berlin 3/II 13
So many thanks for your kind wishes and the splendid gift you so kindly sent me. What a great surprise when I entered my birthday room I and saw the two grand pictures. It was really a charming idea of yours to send me those two beautiful originals which are of great artistical and historical value to us here, as they represent portraits of so many well known personality here. These pictures gave me a real great pleasure, and I beg you to accept my most hearty thanks once more.
I am so glad to see by your letter, that the dear boy1 is making good progress, but sorry that the state of Alix's health is not satisfactory, I am sure the weeks she spent in tending the boy, must have been most trying; but confidently hope that rest and a cure or the Crimea will soon put her to right again.
I fervently hope with you that the Balkan troubles may soon be finally arranged without further complications, and am most anxious to cooperate with you for that purpose. Of course Austria as a near neighbour to those parts has interests to look after. But I am under the impression that in doing so, she does not reclaim anything for herself, but only wishes to make sure that no readjustments of the map occur which might turn out a danger to her in future. Adalbert is again out of bed, and tomorrow Dona2 will again take up her quarters together with me. Thank God all went off so well. Best love to Alix and the children and believe me
Your most devoted and aff-ate cousin
1. The Czarevitch Alexei.
2. The Kaiserin.
Berlin 18/III I9I3
May I inform you that we have now definitely fixed the date for the wedding of our dear Sissy1 for the 24th of May.
The main object of my lines is to convey to you and Alix our most cordial invitation to the wedding ceremonies. We both would only be too delighted if you could give us the pleasure of your presence and I fervently hope that you will be able to leave Russia for a few days to meet many of your relatives; as we have asked your dear Mama, Aunt Alix, Georgie and May, Waldemar2 etc. to enable all the "Geschwister" to meet each other as well as Aunt Thyra.3
I am so glad all your festivities4 went off so well and successfully, and that your boy could be present, and that he is progressing satisfactorily, and will soon I hope have quite recovered. After Easter the Cumberlands5 are coming for a visit and then we go to Hamburg for a month, as the damned Balkan muddle has deprived me of the possibility of beeing at my heavenly paradise Corfu!
With best love from Victoria and me to Alix and all the children believe me Ever your most devoted cousin and friend
1. Princess Victoria Louise, who on May 24 married the Duke of Brunswick.
2. The Dowager Empress, Maria Feodorovna, was not present at the wedding. King George and Queen Mary, but not Queen Alexandra (Aunt Alix), accepted the invitations here referred to. Waldemar was the Grand Duke Vladimir.
3. Aunt Thyra -- mother of the Duke of Brunswick.
4. From the 6th to the 9th of March the 300th anniversary of the Romanoffs' accession to the throne was celebrated throughout Russia.
5. The Brunswick family.
Berlin 30/I 14.
Many thanks to you dear Alix and the children for your kind wishes and the lovely china pot which accompanied them. Thank God I could spend my birthday in happiness especially owing to the presence of dear Sophy and Georgy who had come all the way from Athen to spend the day with me. I am most gratified that you still keep pleasant recollections of the visit you paid us last summer on the occasion of Sissy's wedding, and you may be assured that we all most heartily reciprocate your kind feelings and remembrance.
I am so glad to hear that you all have benefited so much by your nice stay in the Crimea, and that especially Alix and the boy are so much better for their visit to the sunny South.
Remember the interest, which you took a few years ago, when you visited Homburg, and saw the cathedral I built there, I venture to present you with a book, which I have caused to be published about the Chapel in the New Castle of Posen.1 It is in the old Byzantine Style, took 7 years work and was consecreted in our presence last August. It is copied from Motives partly from Ravenna (Theodoric the Great's tomb) partly from Mon Reale and the Capella Palatina in Palermo.
The mission of Bieloselsky who brought the cravat for Alix's Dragoons was a very kind thought and most appreciated by the Regiment; he is to lunch with me on Sunday. With best love to Alix and the dear children believe me, dearest Nicky Ever
your devoted cousin and friend
1. The Schloss, a Romanesque structure of granite and eandstone, was erected in 1905-1910. In the high tower is a chapel decorated with mosaics. But there is nothing Byzantine about Theodoric the Great's tomb in Ravenna.
Berlin 26/III I4.
General Count Dohna, who has the honour of beeing attached to your person, has intimated to me his intention of leaving the service in the month of May. By the death of his father he has inherited a very large and extensive property as well as a very fine castle of Finkenstein;1 a 100 years ago the Headquarter of Napoleon I before the battle of Eylau. He is absolutely necessary for the personal administration of it and so to my great regret I must accede to his wish. As remplacant for him I intend to send you, with your kind approval, his Excellency Gen. Lieut. v. Chelius.2 He was my Regimental adjutant when I commanded the Leib Garde Husars, spent several years in Rome as militaire attache, commanded my old Hussar Regiment as Colonel with great distinction, and was on my personal service since then. He is quite phenomenal as musician, and plays piano as well as Rubinstein, d'Albert or any other great artist. He is very agreeable and quite discret and absolutely reliable; he is to accompany me to Corfu next month. He speaks fluently German, English, Italian and Ancient Greek, and is one of my most intimate personal friends I have.
With best love to Alix and the children Ever your
most aff-ate cousin and friend
1. The Castle of Finkelstein, in East Prussia, is about 20 miles east of the Vistula and 50 southwest from Preuss-Eylau where Napoleon fought and defeated the Russians and Prussians under General Bennigsen on February 8, 1807.
2. The last personal attaché of the Kaiser's to the Czar's Court.