Written by Vladimir Moss



     It is sometimes claimed that democracies are less belligerent than monarchies. The comparison may be valid with regard to despotic monarchies, but not in relation to real autocracies or monarchies in general. Truer is the assertion that monarchs, by virtue of their monopoly of political power in their own kingdoms, have the power to make war or prevent it. The evidence from 1914 goes to demonstrate that if the monarchs then had been allowed to exercise full sovereignty by their subjects, and had not had their strivings for peace sabotaged by them, they could have prevented the First World War…


     The only hope of avoiding the catastrophe after Austria declared war on Serbia on July 28 was that the Emperors of Russia and Germany would get together and work out some compromise. It nearly happened. For in 1914 Europe was a family of nations united by a single dynasty and a cosmopolitan elite confessing what most considered a single Christianity, albeit divided into Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant varieties.[1]


     The idea of a family of nations linked by dynastic marriages and/or a common faith as a bulwark against war is an old one. The Byzantine emperor saw himself as the head of a network of Orthodox nations in various degrees of relationship to himself, the head of the family. Of course, there was a large element of wish-fulfilment in this idea, and there were often “black sheep” who decided to make war against other members of the family against the will of the father. Nevertheless, there was enough substance in the idea to preserve a certain stability – until the empire was destroyed.

     The idea was revived in a slightly different form by Tsar Alexander I, who in 1815, fresh from his victory over Napoleon, proposed a “Holy Alliance” of Christian monarchs (one Orthodox, one Catholic and one Protestant) against the revolution to the kings of Austria and Prussia. This alliance, though mocked by Metternich and the British, and based more on a common monarchism and anti-democratism, did manage to preserve Europe against major revolutions until the Crimean War, but then foundered when Catholic France and Protestant Britain teamed up with the Muslim Ottoman empire against Russia. Thus the most serious “breach of the peace”, the Europe-wide revolution of 1848, was brought to an end by Tsar Nicholas I, invading revolutionary Hungary in 1849. But of course no European head of state seriously thought of the tsar of Russia as the head of a European family of nations. Even the monarchs of Europe regarded him with fear rather than filial love. And when Nicholas II proposed the Hague court of justice in 1899 as an arbitration mechanism for halting the arms race and preventing war, he was politely (or in the Germans’ case, not so politely) ignored…


     However, there was still the European royal family. Almost all the crowned heads of Europe were united in one family, German in origin, being made up of branches of the Saxe-Coburg dynasty.[2]  Thus even the matriarch of the family, Queen Victoria of England, once told her uncle, King Leopold of the Belgians: “My heart is so German…”[3] As for the Russians, for many generations, the tsars and great princes had taken brides from German princely families; Nicholas II, though thoroughly Russian in spirit, had much more German blood than Russian in his veins; and the Tsaritsa Alexandra and her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth were Hessian princesses with an English mother.[4] However, a divisive factor within the family was the fact that Alexandra and Minnie, the wives of King Edward VII of England and Tsar Alexander III of Russia, were sisters from the Danish dynasty; for the Danes nurtured an intense dislike of the Prussians, who had invaded their country in 1864, and so moved their husbands, and later their sons, King George V and Tsar Nicholas II, closer to each other and further away from Germany, thereby weakening the traditional hostility that existed between Russia and England and turning them against Germany. Meanwhile, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, a cousin of George V and Nicholas II, reacted strongly against the liberalism of his English mother, and was attracted towards the militarist and fiercely anti-English monarchism of the Prussian aristocracy. In some ways, this also attracted him to autocratic Russia; but the developing alliance between Russia, Britain and France engendered in him and his circle a fear of “encirclement” and hostility against them all. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1914 many hoped that the family links between the Kaiser and the Tsar would prevent war.[5] For, as the London Standard had observed in 1894, “the influence of the Throne in determining the relations between European Power has never been disputed by those at all familiar with modern politics, it is sometimes lost sight of or ignored by the more flippant order of Democrats…”[6]

     In July, 1914 it was the last chance to prevent war…


     The emperors – cousins “Nicky”, “Willy” and “Georgie” - did talk, for they knew each other well, and Nicky in particular hoped that his family ties with Willie could prevent war... On July 29, the day after Austria declared war on Serbia, Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov received a message from the German chancellor via the German ambassador Pourtalès warning that if the Russians continued their military preparations the Germans themselves would be compelled to mobilize. This confirmed Sazonov in his belief that the Germans had instigated the Austrians’ attack on Serbia, so he ordered the chief of the Russian General Staff Yanushkevich to authorize a general mobilization. However, at 9.20 p.m. the Tsar received a telegram from the Kaiser pleading with him not to undertake military measures that would undermine his position as mediator with Austria. At 9.30, “saying ‘I will not be responsible for a monstrous slaughter’, the Tsar insisted that the order [for general mobilization] be cancelled. Yanushkevich reached for the phone to stay Dobrorolsky’s hand, and the messenger was sent running to the telegraph to explain that an order for partial mobilization was to be promulgated instead.”[7] Partial mobilization involved only the districts adjoining Austria (Odessa, Kiev, Moscow, Kazan); and, as Dominic Lieven points out, “so long as the Petersburg and Warsaw military districts were not mobilized, Russian preparations of war against Germany could not get very far.”[8] So by the late evening of July 29, Russia had partially mobilized against Austria, which had partially mobilized against Serbia. Germany was not yet directly involved or threatened… However, as Sazonov hastened to tell the Tsar at Peterhof the following afternoon (July 30), the reversal of the previous order was impractical for purely military and logistical reasons. Reluctantly, the Tsar agreed to revert to the order for full mobilization…

     Before that, the Tsar had made another appeal to the Kaiser: “I foresee that very soon I shall be overwhelmed by the pressure brought upon me and forced to take extreme measures which will lead to war.” “On the morning of 30 July, when the Tsar received a telegram from Wilhelm reiterating the warning issued by Ambassador Pourtalès on the previous day, Nicholas II abandoned any hope that a deal between the cousins could save peace and returned to the option of general mobilization…”[9 

     However, the game was not yet quite over: a final exchange took place on July 31, “after the news reached Berlin that Russia was mobilizing against Germany as well as against Austria. The Kaiser had just finished cabling the Czar that ‘the peace of Europe may still be maintained by you, if Russia will agree to stop the military measures which must threaten Germany and Austro-Hungary.’ He offered to continue his mediation efforts.

     “The Czar replied: ‘I thank you heartily for your mediation which begins to give one hope that all may yet end peacefully. It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations which were obligatory owing to Austria’s mobilization. We are far from wishing for war. As long as the negotiations with Austria on Serbia’s account are taking place my troops shall not make any provocative action. I give you my solemn word for this.’

     “Meanwhile, Franz Joseph cabled the Kaiser his thanks for his mediation offer but said it came too late. Russia had already mobilized and Austrian troops already were marching on Serbia…”[10]

    So in the last resort the avoidance of world war counted for less for the Kaiser than nationalist pride and solidarity with the Austrians, and less for the Tsar than solidarity in faith and blood with the Serbs…[11]

     The Tsar has been accused of weakness of will and the Kaiser - of war-mongering. But neither accusation is just. Leaving aside their differences in faith, character and general sympathies (which were great), the Tsar and the Kaiser had this in common: they were both monarchs in a proto-democratic age when it was no longer possible, as it had been in the time of Louis XIV or Peter the Great, for one man, however authoritative or authoritarian, to impose his will on the whole nation and the whole of its administrative machinery. And the result was profoundly tragic: the monarchs were forced to acquiesce in a war neither of them wanted that was to destroy both their kingdoms and the very foundations of European Christian civilization…

     Left to themselves, the Tsar, the Kaiser and Emperor Franz Josef could probably have prevented war. But all three monarchs were pushed into war by the pressure of their subordinates, patriotic emotions and the logic of the opposing alliances to which they had willingly ascribed, at least to some degree. This logic had been built up on both sides over the course of several years, and the monarchs were neither solely responsible for it nor able on their own to free themselves from its gravitational force… 

     Grand Duchess Elizabeth said that the Tsar had not wanted war, but rather blamed her cousin, the Kaiser, “who disobeyed the bidding of Frederick the Great and Bismarck to live in peace and friendship with Russia.”[12]

     But the Kaiser’s real tragedy was not that he disobeyed Bismarck but that he obeyed his generals…  Thus on July 28 the minister of war Falkenhayn had reminded the Kaiser that he “no longer had control of the affair in his own hand”. For since 1908 his position, writes Fromkin, “had been precarious. In May 1914, only two months before Falkenhayn’s reminder, Edward House, President Woodrow’s envoy, had reported from Berlin that ‘the ‘military oligarchy’ were supreme, were ‘determined on war’ and were prepared to ‘dethrone the Kaiser the moment he showed indications of taking a course that would lead to peace.’ Of course, Wilhelm, whose grip on reality was fragile at best, may not have been fully alive to the perils of his position. Alternatively, House may have exaggerated.

     “But there can be little doubt that much was going on of which the emperor was unaware. Indeed, among the things that Wilhelm did not know was that, the day before, [Foreign Minister] Jagow had cabled Vienna urging – indeed, practically ordering – the Austrian government to declare war on Serbia immediately. Jagow warned that the English proposal for a conference to keep the peace could not be resisted much longer. The German foreign minister neither consulted the Kaiser before sending this warning not informed him afterwards that it had been sent.

     “In Austria, too, a reluctant monarch was gotten around. Emperor Franz Joseph was hesitant about declaring war, and his ministers were obliged to obtain his assent in order to do so. Berthold obtained that assent by reporting – falsely – that Serbian troops had opened fire on Austrian forces. Actually – and it was only one isolated incident – it was Austrian troops who had fired on Serbs…”[13]

     In the past the Kaiser’s bombast had always given way in the end to caution. And now, on August 1, just as the German army was mobilizing in the West, the Kaiser, on the basis of some misinterpreted telegrams from the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, again counseled caution, calling for the troops to be halted on the promise of Anglo-French neutrality. If France was going to stay out of the war, the plan had to be changed to concentrate all of Germany’s forces on Russia.

     “According to Moltke, ‘the Kaiser, without asking me, turned to the aide-de-camp on duty and commanded him to telegraph immediate instructions… not to march into Luxembourg. I thought my heart would break.’ With England and France refusing to be drawn into the war, ‘The final straw,’ Moltke exploded, ‘would be if Russia now also fell away.’ Germany would be deprived of enemies!”[14]

     Moltke threw a tantrum, and “implored the Kaiser not to hinder the occupation of Luxembourg on the grounds that this would jeopardize German control of its railway route.” Wilhelm retorted: “Use other routes!” Now Moltke became “almost hysterical. In a private aside to the Minister of War Erich von Falkenhayn, the chief of the General Staff confided, close to tears, ‘that he was a totally broken man, because the decision by the Kaiser demonstrated to him that the Kaiser still hoped for peace’.”

     However, when Grey’s real meaning became clearer through another telegram, and he saw that there was no question of British neutrality, the Kaiser finally surrendered, saying to Moltke: “Now you can do what you want…”[15]

     So the Kaiser nearly prevented the catastrophe. But he bent his own sovereign will before that of his subject, the true war-mongerer, Moltke. In the end the Kaiser betrayed his own monarchist ideals – and paid for it with his  own crown and his country’s defeat…


     Did the Tsar also bow before his subjects and thereby lose his crown? Not exactly… The Tsar was limited, not only by the highly nationalist sympathies of the press and most of his ministers, but also by the constitution (because that is what it was) imposed on him in 1906, which he could get round temporarily by the emergency use of Article 87, but not on a regular basis. Moreover, he was the victim of what may only be called a campaign of national disobedience, not only from avowed revolutionaries, but also from Duma deputies and Zemstvo officers, Grand Dukes and generals, workers and peasants. So it was not only the family ties of the general European family that broke down in 1914: it was also the bonds of the Russian family, who disobeyed their batyushka-father-tsar, and in a tide of nationalist emotion forced his hand, compelling him to join a war that destroyed him, the state and the whole of European civilization. At the same time, while there can be no doubt that most of the elites wanted war, it is doubtful that the majority of the people wanted anything other than peace…


     The tsar was not to blame. “The emperor is sometimes accused,” writes Lieven, “of ‘caving in’ to his generals in 1914 and thereby bringing on the descent into war. This is unfair. Nicholas was forced by the united pressure not just of the generals but also of the Foreign Ministry, the de facto head of the domestic government, and the spokesmen of the Duma and public opinion. In many ways, the surprise is that the emperor held out on his own for so long…”[16]

     There is another vitally important difference between the Tsar’s submission to his counselors and the Kaiser’s. The Tsar was not fighting only for Russia and her interests, or for Serbia and her interests, but also for Holy Orthodoxy. For if the Germans tended to see the contest as a racial or cultural one between Teuton Kultur and Slavic barbarism, for the Russians who still had faith it was rather a religious one between Protestantism and Orthodoxy. As Archbishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky) put it: “Germany and Austria declared war on us, for which the former had already been preparing for forty years, wishing to extend its control to the East. What then? Should we quietly have submitted to the Germans? Should we have imitated their cruel and coarse manners? Planted in our country in place of the holy deeds of Orthodoxy piety the worship of the stomach and the wallet? No! It would be better for the whole nation to die than to be fed with such heretical poison!

     “We have swallowed enough of it since the time of Peter the Great! And without that the Germans have torn away from the Russian nation, from Russian history and the Orthodox Church its aristocracy and intelligentsia; but in the event of a total submission to the German governmental authority, at last the simple people would have been corrupted. We already have enough renegades from the simple people under the influence of the Germans and of German money. These are above all those same Protestants who so hypocritically cry out for peace. Of course, they were not all conscious traitors and betrayers of their homeland, they did not all share in those 2.000,000 marks which were established by the German government (and a half of it from the personal fortune of the Kaiser) to be spent on the propagation of Protestant chapels in Russia…”[17]

     At the deepest level, therefore, the First World War, at any rate on the Eastern front, was a religious war whose outcome would have huge religious consequences: if Russia won, the liberation of Russian Orthodoxy from its German captivity, and if she lost, her captivity not only to Protestantism but even to militant atheism through the German agent Lenin. As Archimandrite (later Archbishop and Hieromartyr) Hilarion (Troitsky), put it, the war was “liberational in the broadest meaning of the word”, and called on his students to resist German influence in theology with books and words.[18]

     However, although this was a righteous – indeed, a supremely righteous – reason for going to war, the war did not achieve the aim of saving Russia from heterodoxy. Instead, it plunged the country into captivity, if not to German Protestantism, at any rate to other western heresies, democratism and socialism. For the people as a whole had already embraced these heresies when they rejected their God-given tsar…


     Finally, a word should be said about the pessimism and fatalism that, according to some, seemed to overcome all the main actors in the tragedy at this time. This is most clearly evident in the German Chancellor Bethmann, whose acquiescence to the war party Lieven finds “bewildering”.[19] After all, Bethmann had successfully opposed the military’s warmongering for several years. Why did he give in to the idea of a war that he considered “a leap in the dark”?

     One hypothesis is that he surrendered to the “alpha male”, machismo culture of the Prussian warrior class. “To have shrunk from supporting Austria-Hungary during the crisis of 1914, Bethmann commented in his memoirs, would have been an act of self-castration.”[20]

     Another is that he finally accepted Moltke’s argument that it was “now or never” if Germany wanted to triumph in the inevitable war with Russia – but was still pessimistic about the outcome. “He was, he confessed in 1912, ‘gravely distressed by our relative strength in case of war. One must have a good deal of trust in God and count on the Russian revolution as an ally in order to be able to sleep at all. In June 1913 he admitted to feeling ‘sick of war, the clamour for war and the eternal armaments. It is high time that the great nations quieted down again… otherwise an explosion will occur which no one deserves and which will harm all.’ To the National Liberal leader Bassermann, he said ‘with fatalistic resignation: “If there is war with France, the last Englishman will march against us.” His secretary, Kurt Riezler, recorded some of his musings in his diary for 7 July 1914: ‘The Chancellor expects that a war, whatever its outcome, will result in the uprooting of everything that exists. The existing [world] very antiquated, without ideas… Thick fog over the people. The same in all Europe. The future belongs to Russia, which grows and grows and weighs upon us as an ever heavier nightmare… The Chancellor very pessimistic about the intellectual condition of Germany.’ On 20 July Bethmann returned to his Russian theme: ‘Russia’s claims [are] growing [along with her] enormously explosive strength… In a few years no longer to be warded off, particularly when the present European constellation persists.’ A week later, he told Riezler that he felt ‘a fate [Fatum] greater than human power hanging over Europe and our own people.’ The mood of near despair, sometimes attributed by cultural historians to excessive exposure to the works of Nietzsche, Wagner and Schopenhauer, becomes more intelligible when the military realities of Europe in 1914 are considered…”[21]

     It was indeed “excessive exposure to the works of Nietzsche, Wagner and Schopenhauer”, as well as his personal Theosophism, that had corrupted this most intelligent and cultured of Germans, and the whole of his generation, to a “greater than human power”, a demonic power, that was leading him and the whole of Europe like the Gadarene swine into the abyss. And even Bethmann, who saw more clearly than anyone in his nation that a war would “turn everything that exists upside down”, was prepared to make this “leap in the dark”…


     How different was the so-called “fatalism” of Tsar Nicholas II. The Tsar’s “fatalism” should rather be called “providentialism”, or simply “faith”, an unwavering belief in God’s omnipotence and complete control of world history.He certainly believed in the proverb: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16.9). And even more in the proverb: “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord. Like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21.1). It was not for him to argue with God, Who declares: “I make peace, and I create calamity: I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45.8). For “it is not for [us] to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1.7).

     Unlike all those around him, the Tsar had a secret, God-given knowledge, which in spite of its tragic content brought him, not despair, but peace. For he knew  - probably from the letter he received from St. Seraphim at Sarov in 1903, which had such a shattering effect on him and the Tsarina, but also from other sources – that all his efforts to save Russia from war and catastrophe would fail, and that he himself would die in 1918. So while he struggled bravely against what his and Russia’s tragic destiny, he knew – in 1914, as during his abdication in 1917 – that at a certain point he would have to surrender. For he knew that “there is a tide in the affairs of men”, and that the tide in European politics, all over the continent, was towards war – a tide that no man could resist indefinitely.

     The Tsar might have resisted the tide for a while, as he resisted it in 1912; but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he felt he had no real alternative but to go to war eventually. The best he could do was choose a time when honour and loyalty (to his allies, to the Serbs and, above all, to Holy Orthodoxy) provided a moral justification for war. And that time came in July, 1914.


     The die was now cast: the Tsar published his order for general mobilization on July 31. The Germans declared war the next day, August 1. That was the feastday inaugurated by the tsar himself commemorating the translation of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov in 1903 – that is, the feast of the great prophet of the last times, who had foretold both the Great War and how tragically it would end for the Tsar and for Russia…

      On August 1, as Lubov Millar writes, “large patriotic crowds gathered before the Winter Palace, and when the Emperor and Empress appeared on the balcony, great and joyful ovations filled the air. When the national anthem was played, the crowds began to sing enthusiastically.

     “In a sitting room behind this balcony waited Grand Duchess Elizabeth, dressed in her white habit; her face was aglow, her eyes shining. Perhaps, writes Almedingen, she was thinking, ‘What are revolutionary agents compared with these loyal crowds? They would lay down their lives for Nicky and their faith and will win in the struggle.’ In a state of exaltation she made her way from the Winter Palace to the home of Grand Duke Constantine, where his five sons – already dressed in khaki uniforms – were preparing to leave for the front. These sons piously received Holy Communion and then went to the Romanov tombs and to the grave of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg before joining their troops.”[22]

     Moreover, there were no signs of imminent revolution. “Before the war,” as Hew Strachan writes, “the incidence of strikes – which had both soared in number and become increasingly politicized – peaked in July 1914, and conservatives  had warned against war for its ability to stoke revolution. The actual experience of mobilization suggested that such fears had been exaggerated: ‘As if by magic the revolutionary disorders had died down at the announcement of war’. In Petrograd (as St. Petersburg had been renamed), ‘patriotic fervour had gripped the workmen… They cheered us enthusiastically as we marched by their factories.’ Ninety-six per cent of reservists reported for duty, a rate not far behind that of France.”[23]

     “But, as in France, public demonstrations of enthusiasm were urban phenomena, and of all the major armies of 1914 Russia’s was overwhelmingly made up of peasants… They had crops to harvest and families to feed. Mobilisation prompted rioting in 49 out of 101 provinces [oblast] in European and Asiatic Russia.”[24]

     The great tragedy of the war was that the lofty patriotic-religious mood prevalent at least in some parts of the country at the beginning did not last, and those who rapturously applauded the Tsar in August, 1914 were baying for his blood less than three years later…

     The Tsar sincerely wanted and strove for peace, knowing better than anyone what the terrible consequences of the war would be. But he also knew that it is God Who controls the destinies of nations. Who was he – who was any man? – to resist the will of God if He wanted to punish His people and all the nations in accordance with His inscrutable judgements?


     It is impossible to understand the superiority of monarchy, and in particular Orthodox autocracy, to all other systems of government, especially at moments of crisis, unless we adopt a religious point of view. For the question here is not: what is best for the king, or for the ruling class, or even for the people as whole, but what is the will of God, Whose mercy and justice encompasses all human beings everywhere, and takes into account the consequences of present events far into the future, and Whose will is not necessarily that we should have peace and prosperity in this life but rather salvation and eternal joy in the age to come.  When put in that way, it is obvious that no individual human being or human collective has anything like the far-seeing wisdom needed to answer such a question. The only hope, therefore, is that God will communicate His will to a king directly - or indirectly through another man (say, a prophet or priest). This does not mean that the will of God cannot be expressed through a democratic election. But it seems intuitively more likely – and this is certainly what Holy Scripture and Tradition lead us to believe – that He will communicate His will more clearly and decisively through one man chosen by Him and anointed for that very purpose than through millions of voters who do not know their right hand from their left and have no special training or knowledge of politics. Vox populi, contrary to the popular saying, is not (usually) Vox Dei.

     And if it is objected that the anointed king may be evil or blind to the truth for some reason or other, then we reply: Of course, where men are involved, there is sin, and therefore the possibility of error. But the possibility of error is surely increased many times if the masses make the decision – which they may then weaken by their divisions or overthrow at the next election. Solomon asked wisdom from God and was granted it, in spite of the fact that he did not live a spotless life. But when do the teeming masses ask for wisdom from God?

     In any case, if the king defies the will of God, God can remove him as He removed Saul – unless, of course, He judges that the people are not worthy of having a better king. But if they are worthy, then He can and will provide them with such a king, a king “after My own heart” a king like David or Tsar Nicholas II, who, though sinful like all men, still loved God and strove to know and do His will. The question then becomes: will the people continue to be worthy of such a king? And will they honour and obey him?


September 21 / October 3, 2019.

[1] Tsar Nicholas II became the godfather of the future King Edward VIII at his Anglican baptism (Carter, op. cit., p. 137), and in 1904 Kaiser Wilhelm was invited to be godfather of the Tsarevich Alexis (Niall Ferguson, The War of the World, London: Penguin, 2007, p. 100).

[2] Sophie Gordon, “The Web of Royalty”, BBC History Magazine, February, 2012, pp. 16-18. Victoria’s son, Edward VII, reacted against this Germanism by becoming very anti-German.

[3] Ferguson, The War of the World, p. 97.

[4] However, as Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky) pointed out, the sisters were more English than German in their tastes and upbringing, taking after their English mother rather than their German father ("Homily on the Seventh Anniversary of the Martyric End of Emperor Nicholas II and the Entire Royal Family", Orthodox Life, vol. 31, no. 4, July-August, 1981).

[5] This in spite of the remark of the Tsarina Alexandra in a letter to her sister, Princess Victoria of Battenburg:”Family ties should not influence political considerations” (3 March, 1897).

[6] Miranda Carter, The Three Emperors, London: Penguin, 2010, p. 145. As Christopher Clark writes, “The European executives were still centred on the thrones and the men or women who sat on them. Ministers in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were imperial appointees. The three emperors had unlimited access to state papers. They also exercised formal authority over their respective armed forces. Dynastic institutions and networks structured the communications between states. Ambassadors presented their credentials to the sovereign in person and direct communications and meetings between monarchs continued to take place throughout the pre-war years; indeed, they acquired a heightened importance” (The Sleepwalkers. How Europe Went to War in 1914, London: Penguin, 2012, p. 170).

[7] Clark, op. cit., p. 521.

[8] Lieven, Towards the Flame. Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia, London: Allen Lane, 2015, p. 333. ”Russian mobilization did not pose the deadly danger that German mobilization would. For Germany, mobilization meant war; for Russia, as its government explained to the Germans, it did not. ‘Russia’s armies,’ as an academic authority recently has pointed out, could ‘remain mobile behind their frontier almost indefinitely.’ And the German government really knew that.” (David Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer, London: Vintage, 2005, p. 131)

[9] Clark, op. cit., p. 513. As he said to Sazonov: “They [the Germans] don’t want to acknowledge that Austria mobilized before we did. Now they demand that our mobilization be stopped, without mentioning that of the Austrians…He is asking the impossible… If I accepted Germany’s demands now, we would be disarmed against Austria.” In fact, the Austrians were not mobilized against Russia, but only against Serbia…

[10] Fromkin, op. cit., p. 235.

[11]As for the third royal cousin, the British King George V, he appealed to the Tsar to stop his mobilization on August 1. But by then it was too late: the Germans had mobilized on the same day, and Churchill had already mobilized the British fleet…

[12] Abbot Seraphim, Martyrs of Christian Duty, Peking, 1929; quoted in Lyubov Millar, Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia, Redding, Ca.: Nikodemos Publication Society, 1993, p. 176.

[13] Fromkin, op. cit., pp. 219-220.

[14] Frumkin, op. cit., p. 240.

[15] Clark, op. cit., pp. 531, 533.

[16] Lieven, Towards the Flame, p. 337.

[17] Khrapovitsky, The Christian Faith and War, Jordanville, 2005, pp. 8-9.

[18] Troitsky, “Bogoslovie i Svoboda Tserkvi” (Theology and the Freedom of the Church), Bogoslovskij Vestnik (Theological Herald), September, 1915, vol. 3, Sergiev Posad; reprinted in Kaluga in 2005, p. 4.

[19] Lieven, Towards the Flame, p. 317.

[20] Clark, op. cit., p. 359.

[21] Ferguson, The War of the World, London: Penguin, 2007, pp. 98-99. “Yet Bethmann,” writes Fromkin, “felt that Germany had no choice. The portrait that he painted of the country’s international position showed a dark and even paranoid vision, with dangers exaggerated. As he saw it, Germany was ‘completely paralyzed’, and its rivals, the allied powers of Russia, France and Britain, knew it. ‘The future belongs to Russia which is growing and is becoming an ever-increasing nightmare to us.’ Even the Dual Monarchy would ally with Russia in order to go with the winner. Germany would be alone and helpless in the world of international politics…” (op. cit., p. 181)

[22] Lyubov Millar, Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia, Redding, Ca.: Nikodemos Publication Society, 1993, p. 171.

[23] Strachan, The First World War, London: Pocket Books, 2006, p. 141.

[24] Strachan, op. cit., p. 141.

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