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War and Peace in Karabakh (Updated)

The text of a question and answer piece I did with Deutsches Zentrum fur Sudkaukasus on the war in Karabakh and the armistice:

What are the real reasons for the current escalation? Would the war have been avoidable? 

The second Karabakh war was probably unavoidable. Such an injustice and moral blow was dealt to the Azerbaijanis in the early 1990s by the Armenian take over of Karabakh and subsequent occupation of nearly a fifth of Azerbaijan, that a response was inevitable one day. The ethnic cleansing of around 750,000 Azeris, the massacres at Khojaly and other places, by the Armenians, compounded the enormous hurt inflicted by the territorial loss on Azerbaijan. 

The mistake the Armenians made was that their victory was too complete and they proved incapable of trading land for peace as the first Armenian leader, Ter-Petrosyan, wanted to do. He knew the problems, including isolation, that the failure to do this would bring to Armenia, but he was ousted when he attempted a settlement. After that the Armenians obstructed every effort made for a diplomatic solution and their attitude to any compromise actually hardened, both in the occupied territories and in Armenia itself. The sheer intransigence of Armenian nationalism left the Azeris little option but to accept their humiliation or attempt to regain their territory by armed force one day. For this eventuality they developed their economy, improved their military capacity and prepared a plan of campaign utilising the latest military technology. But first they put their faith in the Minsk Group and International Law to right the wrong they had suffered without resort to war.

In your view, what responsibility does the Armenian leadership under Nikol Pashinyan bear for the dramatic worsening of the situation? 

The new Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, was undoubtedly the trigger for the second war. He came to power in a Colour Revolution against the Karabakh Clan who had dominated Armenian politics since the victory in 1994. Pashinyan unbalanced Armenia through his promise of reform and peace which he retreated from when he met with opposition from the former ruling elite. Pashinyan decided to save himself by attempting to outflank the opposition by becoming a bellicose nationalist and out Karabakhing the Karabakh Clan. He did this to save himself and to avoid the fate of Ter-Petrosyan. 

So Pashinyan proceeded to engage in a series of provocations that effectively detonated the conflict. These included, among other things, promising “new wars for new territory” signalling a further advance into Azerbaijan’s territory; holding illegal elections in the occupied territories; demanding representation for ‘Artsakh’ in the peace negotiations, effectively ending them; and bombarding Azerbaijan with artillery at Tavuz in July, inflicting military and civilian casualties.

This led to a popular upsurge of anger that was directed against the government in Baku for its seeming inaction. The Aliyev government could not respond effectively to the Armenian military provocation because it took place on the national border between the two countries, rather than the line of contact with the occupied territories, inviting a potential Russian intervention if its ally, Armenia, was counter-attacked. But the writing was on the wall for Pashinyan and when the Armenians mounted more military attacks in September the war kicked off. It seems that the reckless Pashinyan over played his hand with disastrous consequences. 

For almost 28 years, the OSCE Minsk Group with Russia, USA and France are unsuccessfully attempting to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh-conflict by peaceful means. Why did these efforts fail so far?

The OSCE Minsk Group failed because its makeup was always weighted against Azerbaijan. Russia, France and the US chairs all had various degrees of Armenian influence upon them within their societies that made them unlikely to engage in meaningful action against the Armenian occupation, despite  International Law supporting the Azerbaijan position. They therefore went through the motions of peace making for over two decades and tolerated the Armenian prevarications and refusal to engage in meaningful negotiation toward a settlement. 

It was probably believed that Azerbaijan would never risk a military operation to liberate their territories and it would be stopped in any case. That proved a mistaken assumption and it only increased Azerbaijan’s frustration, resulting in a decline in faith in the Minsk group. It also emphasized the unfortunate fact that International Law is impotent without the use of force. In the end, because the international community failed to deliver, it took Azerbaijani military action to provide the impetus to implement International Law and the four UN Security Council Resolutions of 1993. The war and peace deal have really made the Minsk Group defunct now and Russia and Turkey are the new powerbrokers. If the US and France had planned to guide the “Artsakh Republic” gradually and stealthily to independence that objective has been destroyed. 

To what extent will Armenia’s military defeat affect Russia’s dominant power position in this country?

Armenia’s defeat will probably strengthen Russia’s hold over the country, at least in the short term. Prime Minister Pashinyan had flirted with the West and this was a bad mistake. Russia, in the final analysis, is the only reliable support Armenia has in the region. Historically Tsarist Russia made an Armenian state possible through its colonisation policy that concentrated the dispersed Armenian population around Yerevan as frontiersmen. Bolshevik Russia saved Armenia in 1920 from complete collapse after the disastrous Dashnak mismanagement of the state. 

President Putin would have not been amused by Pashinyan’s Colour Revolution and his subsequent courting of the West. The Russian President would have determined to let Pashinyan suffer the consequences of his provocations and ignore pleas for assistance when he triggered a war in Russia’s backyard and then started to suffer serious defeats. After Armenia shattered two Russian brokered ceasefires by bombarding Azeri cities, Putin bided his time knowing that a rescue of Armenia from itself, at the right moment (such as the fall of the strategic centre, Shusha) would put the country firmly back in Moscow’s pocket. 

The Russians were able to implement the Lavrov Plan, the essence of which was that there would be a phased withdrawal by Armenia from the occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh, and a Russian peacekeeping force in the region guaranteeing the security of the Karabakh Armenians. This had been resisted by the Armenians before the war in favour of making the much larger “Republic of Artsakh” permanent. But now the Lavrov plan has been imposed on a more favourable basis to Azerbaijan, with a third less territory left to the Armenians. This has frustrated the aims of France, the US and some Europeans who desired a multilateral solution to the conflict and an international peace agreement. Paris and Washington were rendered impotent by the sudden appearance and acceptance of the Russian plan. 

Armenia is now totally dependent on Russia’s goodwill, having used up its Russian supplied armed forces and decimated its Russian-subsidised economy by provoking its neighbour. And what’s left of ‘Artsakh’ is a small protectorate of Russia, completely dependent for contact with Armenia on Russia and for its continued existence on Moscow. Azerbaijan controls the key strategic centre of Karabakh, Shusha, which is recognised on all sides as the key to controlling Karabakh. 

According to the agreement reached on 10.11.2020 the Russian peacekeeping forces are to be deployed in some parts of Nagorno-Karabakh to ensure the security. What do you think of this mission? What does this development promise for the entire region?

The fairly small Russian peacekeeping mission (under 2000) is primarily there to secure continued Moscow influence in the region. The rump of Nagorno Karabakh, the territory it will operate within, is of little interest to Russia in itself. It is the leverage the Russian military presence can exert upon Yerevan and Baku that gives it significance. If Russia had chosen to support Armenia earlier in the war it could have lost all influence over Azerbaijan. If it had waited for a total rout of the Armenians (which was imminent) it risked a very dangerous situation in which Armenia collapsed and Russia could not pick up the pieces of the state containing its military bases. Russia’s long term objectives in the remnant of Karabakh are unclear. But it will be there for five years at least exerting strong influence over the actions of both Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

There is naturally hostility toward the Russian presence in Azerbaijan but Moscow’s forces can certainly be useful to Baku in the short term. Russia, in moving in to maintain geopolitical influence, has also taken on responsibility and it will probably be blamed by both sides if things start to go badly wrong. The Russians have committed themselves to managing the Armenian defeat and withdrawal from the occupied territories. Over the next month Russia has agreed to facilitate this rapid Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani regions Armenia has held for nearly three decades. There are hundreds of Armenian settlers in these areas who might put up resistance. 

Azerbaijan has gained Lachin, Kalbajar and Aghdam without having to sacrifice blood and treasure to win them. The peace plan saved Azeri forces from having to assault Stepanakert which would have been bloody and difficult and perhaps turned into a Sarajevo, damaging Azerbaijan’s international reputation. The illegal Armenian settlers and their settlements will now be ushered out of the Azerbaijan provinces by Russian power and influence while Azerbaijan can concentrate its resources on re-homing its internally displaced people on lands, many of which have been won without a fight. At the same time the Russian forces will form a ring around the Armenians remaining in the rump of Nagorno Karabakh, with the armed forces of Azerbaijan in an outer ring around them. Any Armenian resistance to the deal will have to be directed at Russian forces. 

One unexpected development of the war has been a second corridor forming an overland route between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan. For the first time in 30 years there’s going to be a direct road connecting Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, and Turkey, as a consequence. This has the potential to develop into the busiest transport artery in the Southern Caucasus with Russia-Azerbaijan-Turkey trade going through a slice of Armenian territory, protected by the Russian forces. So Azerbaijan has gained direct access to Nakhchivan and Turkey in the most important geopolitical outcomes of the war.

It is difficult to predict the prospects for the region in the longer term. If Armenian nationalism can be chastened, after it absorbs the enormity of the defeat, increased stability could be possible through the Russian/Turkish security partnership. However, instability in Armenia and further reckless behaviour perhaps encouraged by the geopolitical enemies of Russia and Turkey (who are many) might unravel the whole settlement and ignite a more limited form of conflict that could persist for years.

Note on Reconstruction: President Aliyev has just announced that Azerbaijan will re-home between 7 and 10 thousand internally displaced families per year in Karabakh and the other formerly occupied territories. This also shows the value of the 5 year Russian presence for deterring further Armenian provocations and allowing the re-population of the liberated region by the state. It would take more than a decade to re-home everyone that left and now survive. Many of the towns are filled with mines which have to be carefully cleared, there is almost zero infrastructure: no electricity, no water, and poor roads. The construction of new houses, schools and kindergartens is essential, many of which have been burned in a scorched earth policy, by the departing Armenian settlers. Agricultural land needs to be rejuvenated. An enormous budget will be required. According to independent experts the damage to Azerbaijani lands will amount to between $20-50 billion. And all this in a very large territory, larger than some EU countries. This enormous undertaking can only be done under stable conditions over a period of 20 years or so. How much harder this would have been with another winter of fighting, Armenian resistance and further shedding of blood. The thing most needed is stability to guarantee that Karabakh is Azerbaijan in a real sense, not just territorially. Fighting on against Armenia would have made this very problematic. All the occupied territory might be won by force and Armenia thoroughly defeated but the resources needed for re-homing the people would be expended on war and not rebuilding.

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James Bryce – the Historian who sold out

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I am grateful for the following contribution from a reader:

The Year 1915 in the Ottoman Empire and the Work of the War Propaganda Bureau at Wellington House

– A Departure Point for the Truth Seeker –

James Bryce’s “The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916”, (London: G.P.Putnam’s Sons for HMSO, 1916) is the No. 1 baseless source of the Armenian claims regarding the incidents of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire.

Bryce was, it appears, at first a staunch advocate of “Teutonic Freedom” (Keith G. Robbins, “Lord Bryce and the First World War”, The Historical Journal, Vol.10, No.2 (1967), p.255), then was forced to change his views when he was 77 years old and work for “Report of the Committee an Alleged German Outrages, Presided by, James Bryce, (NY: Macmillan and Co., 1915) which became his first book wartime propaganda.

Britain had set up the War Propaganda Bureau (WPB) at Wellington House for the sole purpose of promoting lies and misinformation on Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The Allies were in full co-operation with Protestant missionaries in Anatolia and their diplomatic missions in Istanbul conjured a so called Armenian genocide based on gossip, hear-say and erroneous information. The real purpose behind this exercise was to create and strengthen an image in the minds of Allied armies and nations that Turks were evil, horrible and untrustworthy.

Jameson Ryley’s article in The Iowa Historical Review, “The Historian Who Sold Out: James Bryce and the Bryce Report” reaffirms the fact that Bryce was a mere propagandist.

https://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=iowa-historical-review

Quite astonishingly, “his days as a student at the University of Heidelberg gave him a long-life admiration of German historical and legal scholarship. He became a believer in “Teutonic freedom”, an ill-defined concept that was held to bind Germany, Britain, and the United States together. For him, the United States, the British Empire and Germany were natural friends”.

(Robbins, Keith G. (1967). “Lord Bryce and the First World War”, The Historical Journal. 10 (2): 255–278).

Thus, Bryce, it appears was an early example of proto-fascism too (Bryce, The Relations of the Advanced and the Backward Races of Mankind, Romanes Lecture, 1902) Bryce later shelved his “Teutonic” views as seen in “Essays and Addresses in War Time 1918”, (https://archive.org/details/essaysaddressesi01bryc/page/n6/mode/2up) where he rigorously discussed “War and Human Progress” (pp.72-103), trying to vindicate himself that it was in fact not war but peace required for the human progress.

The birth of the narrative of the Armenian “genocide”, had therefore a nefarious origin, an origin which attempted to employ as instruments almost all the peoples of the Ottoman Empire for the purposes of destruction, in which in taking down the Ottomans these people would be collateral damage n modern terminology.

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Where did it all go wrong for Russia?

MEV-10289679 - © - Mary Evans / John Massey Stewart Collection

The short answer is: when Tsar Nicholas II offered his country and its population up to Britain in its Great War of 1914 to destroy Germany and break up the Ottoman Empire. In waging that War, in which Russia was bled to collapse in return for substantial British finance to continue fighting to the bitter end, the Tsar sealed the fate of himself, his dynasty and his State. And it has taken Russia, and the World, a century to recover from that momentous decision.

The Tsar had been warned for a long time before about the dangerous road he was taking by his most able and impressive minister, Count Witte, who Nicholas had unfortunately dismissed in 1903. But he received one final warning before he finally took Russia to the abyss.

It came from Pyotr Durnovo, Count Witte’s old Interior Minister, who had effectively suppressed the 1905 Revolution for the Tsar. Durnovo was a conservative monarchist who believed that it was not in Russia’s interest to fight a costly war with an uncertain outcome against Germany, another state of traditional character. He thought the outcome of such a destructive war would only help further the inserts of Russia’s geopolitical enemy, Britain, and that rapprochement with Germany should be taken as a more prudent course by the Tsar.

In a long memorandum to the Tsar, written in February 1914, Durnovo set out his case to his leader. He warned about the drift of Russian Foreign Policy toward war, since 1907, in alliance with England and France, over the Pan-Slavic cause in the Balkans. It is one of the most magnificently prophetic pieces of writing in World history and is, therefore, worthy of re-publication. It can be found in full below this commentary.

A copy of the Durnovo Memorandum was found among the Tsar’s most valued personal papers when he was arrested in 1917. It might have been that Nicholas had come to realise the wisdom of Durnovo’s warning and saw the document as a kind of guide to what future travails would befall his country as a result of the decision to go to war. Or it might be that the Tsar kept it to remind the doubters how wrong they had been when the Russian Steamroller rolled into Berlin and Istanbul had become Tsargrad. We will never know.

It shows an unusually perceptive understanding of the nature of the Great War that was about to fought and why it was the wrong course for Russia to take. And history verifies its almost faultless predictive accuracy.

Durnovo made no bones about describing the war he saw coming as being about the rivalry that had developed between Germany and England over recent decades. It was, really, none of Russia’s business. Durnovo told the Tsar that the British would, through necessity, expand this war into a world war, and wage it with such a formidable group of allies that success was highly probable. It would seize the small number of German colonies, stop Germany’s trade and destroy her navy. Durnovo also accurately predicted the main line ups as France, Russia, Britain, Italy, Serbia and Romania against Germany, Austro-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Bulgaria with the U.S. coming in later on the British side.

Durnovo saw no good in the Tsar’s 1907 agreement with England and plenty of danger for Russia in what it was now entailing. It was the pivotal event on the Russian road to destruction. After a discussion about the supposed benefits to Russia in the Far East and Persia of the Anglo-Russian Convention, Durnovo stated: “To sum up, the Anglo-Russian accord has brought us nothing of practical value up to this time, while for the future, it threatens us with an inevitable armed clash with Germany.”

Durnovo correctly foresaw that the main burden of the war would fall on Russia and her population, as the Allies’ “battering ram”. The French, with their declining population, could only possibly provide a holding operation in the West, whilst the British would use the sea to their own selfish advantage, as per usual. That was, after all, the British way in warfare and Empire building.

In conclusion, Durnovo advised the Tsar:

“A summary of all that has been stated above must lead to the conclusion that a rapprochement with England does not promise us any benefits, and that the English orientation of our diplomacy is essentially wrong. We do not travel the same road as England; she should be left to go her own way, and we must not quarrel on her account with Germany.

The Triple Entente is an artificial combination, without a basis of real interest. It has nothing to look forward to. The future belongs to a close and incomparably more vital rapprochement of Russia, Germany, France (reconciled with Germany), and Japan (allied to Russia by a strictly defensive union). A political combination like this, lacking all aggressiveness toward other States, would safeguard for many years the peace of the civilized nations, threatened, not by the militant intentions of Germany, as English diplomacy is trying to show, but solely by the perfectly natural striving of England to retain at all costs her vanishing domination of the seas. In this direction, and not in the fruitless search of a basis for an accord with England, which is in its very nature contrary to our national plans and aims, should all the efforts of our diplomacy be concentrated.

 It goes without saying that Germany, on her part, must meet our desire to restore our well-tested relations and friendly alliance with her, and to elaborate, in closest agreement with us, such terms of our neighborly existence as to afford no basis for anti-German agitation on the part of our constitutional-liberal parties, which, by their very nature, are forced to adhere, not to a Conservative German, but to a liberal English orientation.”

The Tsar could have not been presented with better analysis of the dangerous situation Russia was propelling itself toward and more astute advice about what to do instead. But evidently Durnovo’s advice was ignored by the Tsar and his war mongering ministers and they proceeded to lead their country to destruction.

Count Witte and the Russia Threat

By the last decade of the 19thCentury the Russian Empire had grown into the largest state in the world, in terms of continuous territory. It was not as large as the British Empire, but Greater Britain was an empire on many continents, held together by a navy. The Russian Empire had a population of 150 million and it had expanded at a rate of over 50 miles a day over the previous centuries.

After the Russian Revolution fatal weaknesses were found to exist within the Tsarist system, but that is not how things were seen from Britain at the turn of the century. Russia was a “Going Concern” of enormous size and considerable power. As a sure sign of its health, both capital and people migrated there in considerable amounts. And it was the state that Britain undoubtedly feared most in the World.

Tsarist Russia was not the declining decrepit state that it is often portrayed as, in histories written after 1917. But the astonishing resurrection of Russia under the Bolsheviks, from where the Tsar and the Russian Liberals had left it in 1917, also tends to disguise how low it had fell.

Russia was seen in England as the advance guard of Western Civilisation in Asia and its “civilising mission” was admired as much as the consequences of it were feared. In the decades prior to the events that led Tsar Nicholas to War, the Russian economy was in very good shape and was the fastest growing in the World. New railways were being laid at a tremendous rate. Between 1900 and 1914 , iron and coal production more than doubled and Russian grain fed much of the European continent. Russia had a vigorous intellectual life which produced Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and there was a great flowering of cultural life in the last decades of the Romanovs.

In 1902 Valentine Chirol, Director of the Foreign Department of The Times and friend of Lord Curzon, visited the Southern Caucasus and Persia to see what the Russians had achieved. After disembarking from a Caspian ferry from Baku at Enzeli he observed the new 220-mile road from Resht to Teheran, funded by Russian capital and built through Russian enterprise. For Chirol it was symbolic of the ascendency of Russia in the region and he marvelled at the enormous outlay and the difficulties that had been overcome. Chirol believed that the road would enable Russia to pour its troops quickly into Northern Persia where expansion was inevitable.

Russia’s great industrial development in the 1890s took place largely under the guidance of Count Sergei Witte. Witte was the director of Railway Affairs from 1889 to 1891 and after his success in this important role was appointed the Tsar’s Minister for Finance, a position he held until 1903. Under his direction Russia embarked upon a hugely ambitious programme of economic modernisation. Importantly, it was performed within the context of good diplomatic relations with both France and Germany. Witte was for internal development and against problems with other Powers.

Count Witte had to overcome a substantial conservative opposition which feared the growth of industrial capitalism and a proletariat in agrarian Russia. What distinguished Witte from his predecessors was his ability to produce a climate conducive to development and his ability to direct government policy, planning and resources to that end. He practiced state capitalism, which directed the flow of capital into heavy industry and infrastructure and encouraged foreign inward investment and technological development to improve efficiency in all areas of the Russian economy.

Count Witte introduced monetary reform and placed the Russian currency on the Gold Standard. His measures created the climate for foreign capital investment of a progressive type. Between 1894 and 1902 the highest proportion of government funds were assigned to industrial growth and the development of the railways and the Russian State became the prime mover in this, by supplying capital itself or making it available from other sources. The chemical, mining and steel industries were built up and a programme of training was instituted to create an industrial proletariat out of the peasants. By 1900 there were around 2.5 million factory workers in Russia.

Railroads were most important to Witte as a force capable of drawing together the Empire’s vast spaces, its people, agriculture and industry. He saw them as agents of civilisation and progress, linking Russia with Europe and, particularly Asia, where markets could be developed that would reduce the country’s dependence on Europe. Under Witte’s administration there was a doubling of the amount of railroad track and it was he who was responsible for the great Trans-Siberian line of 4,000 miles, which unified the Empire. The spread of the railways was accompanied by the expansion of heavy industry and increased outputs of iron, steel, coal, oil and machinery production to serve the expansion of trackbed. Ports like Riga and Odessa were expanded and quadrupled in size and Baku was transformed into one of the richest cities in the world during the period of Witte’s administration.

Russian growth rates, at around 8 per cent per annum, were phenomenal under Witte’s influence, with the country exceeding those of America, Germany and Britain and surpassing those of Britain’s industrial revolution at its height of progress – with far less of the brutal exploitation that had characterised Victorian England.

In 1904, the illustrious Director of the London School of Economics, Professor Halford Mackinder, eyeing the overall development of Russia with great concern, noted in a famous paper given to the Royal Geographical Society, ‘The Geographical Pivot of History’, that:

“The Russian railways have a clear run of 6000 miles… The Russian army in Manchuria is as significant evidence of mobile land-power as the British army in South Africa was of sea-power… the century will not be old before all Asia is covered with railways. The spaces within the Russian Empire and Mongolia are so vast, and their potentialities in population, wheat, cotton, fuel and metals so incalculably great, that it is inevitable that a vast economic world… will there develop inaccessible to oceanic enterprise…Is not the pivot region of the world’s politics that vast area of Euro-Asia which is inaccessible to ships, but in antiquity lay open to the horse riding nomads, and is today about to be covered with a network of railways. There have been and are here the conditions of a mobility of military and economic power of a far-reaching and yet limited character. Russia replaces the Mongol empire. Her pressure on Finland, on Scandinavia, on Poland, on Turkey, on Persia, on India, on China replaces the centrifugal raids of the steppe-men. In the world at large she occupies the central strategic position held by Germany in Europe.” (Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, pp.260-1)

This is Mackinder’s influential idea of the world as an island, with Russia as its “pivot state”.Whoever controlled this “heartland”would control the world, according to Mackinder. This Russian “heartland”was unfortunately beyond the control of the great Sea Power of Britain.

One can see from this analysis, by the father of geopolitics, the issue that confronted Imperial Britain at the turn of the Century. Both Germany, with its Berlin-Baghdad Railway, and Russia, with its Trans-Siberian Railway, were developing rapidly and establishing extensive inter-continental markets that were largely immune from the influence of British Sea Power. These were dangerous developments for Britain’s global dominance and threatened the development of something that was seen as intolerable – a multi-polar world.

Britain, of course, could not confront the threat of Germany and Russia together. The two had to be detached and dealt with differently. One had to be curtailed and accommodated to a degree, to facilitate a situation by which the other could be destroyed as a rival.

The Liberal Fear of Russia

After Britain had secured the Russian Steamroller in its Great War on Germany, H.G. Wells addressed “The Liberal Fear of Russia” in a famous piece for The Nation on 22ndAugust 1914. He aimed to dispel the fears of English Liberals, which might get in the way of the waging of a successful war against the new enemy, with the former enemy as ally. It is interesting in understanding how the unlikely alliance between Liberal England and Tsarist Russia was justified in Britain.

H.G. Wells described Russia as an “obscurantist”, “barbaric”and “aggressive” state. He declared himself prepared to let it expand, taking Constantinople if it must, along with the creation of Greater Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, which he hoped it would check. Such ideals were hardly the traditional causes of English Liberalism or even the Jingoes in the Tory Party.

There was little doubt that England would not have procured Russia as a force against Germany if it was not worth procuring. Wells’ basic message to English Liberals was that a triumphant Russia was not to be feared. It did not possess the internal character to be a future force in the World, that its size might have determined it should be, and if it liberalised itself in its development it would deprive itself of the very character that made it a threat in the first place, in the minds of English Liberals.

Russia was a very useful instrument to create the second front that was necessary for Britain to win such a War against that country which had been identified as the primary threat to British World dominance at that moment in time. Wells seems to have presumed that Russia would probably do enough for Britain’s needs, but damage itself badly in the process. That would be all well and good for the future. Russia would be no future threat to the British Empire in the aftermath of the War.

That seems to have been the calculation that British Liberals made when they cast aside their doubts about being an ally of autocratic Russia and abandoned their opposition to War in the days following Edward Grey’s famous speech.

It was as much a fatal calculation for English Liberalism as it proved to be for Tsarist Russia (Rather fittingly H.G. Wells’ article is included in the appropriately named collection, The War to End War. Perhaps the greatest illusion/miscalculation of all made in 1914.)

It was in the course of attempting to destroy the successful German State that Britain led Tsarist Russia to its destruction. Tsarist Russia was ready for war in 1914. It was a powerful and long-standing expansionary state with further ambitions of expansion – particularly down to the Dardanelles. It immediately went on the offensive on all fronts – European and Caucasian.

After Britain had made the European war of July 1914 into a World War by joining it and expanded its conflict zone to global proportions it supported the Tsarist War effort with nearly 600 million pounds in loans over the following few years. As in previous wars fought on the European continent, in pursuit of the Balance of Power, British finance was an important element in sustaining conflict to the required level of attrition so that the enemy could be ground down.

All that was required from Russia was blood in the short-term, until the War was won and then the loans could be repaid when things returned to normality, minus Germany and the Ottomans.

The Road to Destruction

A series of three events enabled Britain to ultimately master the perceived Russian threat to its preponderance in the World: Firstly, there was the unfortunate dismissal of Count Witte as Finance Minister by the Tsar in 1903. This was closely followed by the disastrous Russian war on Japan in the following year, facilitated by the British alliance with the Japanese of 1902. And then the 1905 Revolution.

The disastrous war that the Tsar fought with Japan over Manchuria, after the dismissal of Count Witte, was a pivotal event in the downward spiral of things that took the Romanovs and Russia to destruction in 1917. It is a war that is very much neglected in British history books despite, or maybe because of, England’s important role in provoking it and managing it.

After Japan had seized the Liaoting Peninsular, as a result of its 1894-5 war on China over the possession of Korea, Count Witte became determined to maintain the integrity of the Chinese Empire and prevent it becoming carved up by the Western Imperialists. Witte pressed the European Powers to present an ultimatum to the Japanese to evacuate Liaoting for a war indemnity. The tripartite alliance that Witte summoned up, through his good relations with France and Germany, forced the Japanese out. However, ominously, Britain, which had its eyes on an alliance with Japan, refused Witte’s invitation to join the pressure on Tokyo.

To protect the future integrity of China, Witte established a Russian/Chinese Bank and secured loans for the Chinese Government. He also signed a secret treaty promising military assistance to China if it were attacked again.

However, Count Witte then found all his good work undone by his enemies at the Tsar’s court, who persuaded Nicholas to occupy Port Arthur on the Liaoting Peninsular and undermined good Russian/Chinese relations as a consequence. This act, and other European encroachments on Chinese territory, led to the Boxer Rebellion. Russian forces were then sent into Manchuria to secure interests and the Chinese Eastern Railway. Count Witte urged the Tsar to withdraw these troops as soon as possible to avoid Russia falling into a quagmire, but Nicholas hesitated.

England concluded an alliance with Japan in February 1902, ostensibly to block Russian movement toward the Pacific coast and the attainment of a warm-water port. From the 1890s British shipyards had built a modern battlefleet for the Japanese navy, which Tokyo would require to safeguard its own designs on China and Korea. The agreement had a clause which promised British assistance if Japan got into a war with more than one Power.

This was clever because it meant that if Japan felt like taking on Russia there would be a strong deterrent effect on France, Germany, or anyone else, minded to help Russia. Secret clauses authorised the Japanese to avail of British coaling stations and docks in the region, in return for looking after British interests in the Far East. The British thus contracted out a policing role to Tokyo on behalf of the British Empire to release the Royal Navy for other pressing engagements elsewhere in the world. Large British loans were facilitated by Lord Esher, through the City of London, to build up Tokyo’s war chest.

The Anglo-Japanese treaty was something that astonished the World. It was unprecedented as a formal alliance, granted by Britain to a foreign Power, and an Asiatic one at that. It was concluded in secret by Lord Lansdowne and presented as a fait accompli to a surprised British Parliament.

The Tsar, who had initially taken Witte’s good advice and agreed to recognise Chinese sovereignty over Manchuria and promised a phased withdrawal of Russian troops, inadvisably went back on his word. This prompted Count Witte, who had warned him of the danger, to resign from the Council of Ministers. The Japanese presented Russia with an ultimatum to recognise Tokyo’s claims on Korea or face war. The Tsar refused to accept the indignity of an ultimatum from an inferior race and in February 1904 Japanese torpedo boats attacked the Russian fleet at Port Arthur, without issuing a declaration of war. The Russian garrison at Port Arthur was then put under siege by a force of up to 80,000 Japanese, blocking off all chance of relieving them by land.

This is where the Straits Convention came into play for Britain. The Russian Black Sea fleet was the closest naval force with the potential to relieve Port Arthur, but the Tsar was reminded by London, citing the Treaty of Berlin, that any attempt to sail it through the Dardanelles would mean war, and this severely handicapping the Russian war effort against the Japanese.

Because of this obstruction the Russian Baltic fleet had to be sent on an eight month voyage to relieve the Russian force at Port Arthur. Before it could reach the Cape of Good Hope the Russians were forced to surrender at Port Arthur and their army in Manchuria was destroyed by Japanese forces. Having sent his fleet out, half way across the world, the Tsar then decided, unwisely, to let it fight a face-saving battle to restore prestige. At Tsushima the Russian fleet was annihilated by the Imperial Japanese Navy, which lay in restful wait for the exhausted Russians. The Baltic fleet lost 24 ships in the battle, before surrendering the rest. This meant that the Tsar lost two of his three fleets – the Pacific and Baltic- whilst the British bottled up his remaining forces in the Black Sea.

Count Witte was summoned out of retirement by the Tsar to salvage a deal with the Japanese victors, which he did in limiting the Japanese to the southern half of the Liaoting Peninsula and avoiding a crushing war indemnity.

The Russian defeat resulted in the loss of 100,000 soldiers and sailors and the obliteration of the Tsar’s navy. The 1902 treaty with Japan had been a wonderful success for Britain. Russian prestige had been badly damaged by the Japanese, because the Orientals were not seen as a first-class race by White Europeans. The limitations of Russian land power had been demonstrated by the appliance of a sea power from the East. The importance of the Straits had been demonstrated to the Tsar and his only warm-water port was gone. And worse was to come when the disastrous and humiliating war sparked off revolution in Russia in 1905.

1905 and After

During 1905 terrorism grew to gigantic proportions in Russia with 3,600 officials killed or wounded by assorted assassins. The remains of the Tsar’s fleet mutinied in the Black Sea. Bloody Sunday occurred outside the Winter Palace and Nicholas’s uncle was assassinated. Serious inter-communal violence exploded in the Southern Caucasus destroying the important Baku oil wells and paralysing production for the Russian economy.

Count Witte advised the hesitating Tsar that he should either appoint a military dictator to crush the revolution or buy it off by embracing constitutionalism, through the convoking of a representative Duma. This would split the liberals from the revolutionaries, who could then be dealt with in an appropriate way. Witte told the Tsar that it was one course or another and half-measures would be fatal. The Tsar authorised Witte to draw up a reform plan that became the October Manifesto.

The Revolution was defeated through Witte’s programme and the main soviets in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Tiflis were crushed in the military clampdown organised by the Minister of the Interior, Durnovo. The Revolution, following the disastrous war, had shook the Romanov regime to its foundations, but Witte, before he resigned in April 1906, had bought the Tsar time to stabilise things.

Count Witte had enabled the Tsar to stabilise his State and preserve the Romanov dynasty if he took the right course of consolidation andretrenchment. Luckily for the Tsar, after Witte’s retirement, another effective statesman emerged. Peter Stolypin, who became Minister for the Interior and Chairman of the Council of Ministers, employed a combination of ruthless suppression of the revolutionaries and terrorists with popular social and land reforms, which he pushed through the Duma, to restore stability and order. He revived Witte’s state capitalism with good effect and resumed railway building to finish the Trans-Siberian line. Following Witte, Stolypin operated a paternalistic system through the Tsar and Church, counterposed to the excesses of the profiteering liberal capitalists.

But the success of the Stolypin programme, like that of Count Witte, depended on the maintenance of external peace and the avoidance of war adventurism. Stolypin, most of all, endeavoured to avoid foreign entanglements to avoid a repeat of 1905.

In that respect the 1907 convention with Britain was a dangerous initiative. It was opposed by Count Witte, in retirement, who called it “a triumph of British diplomacy” viewing it as a fatal accommodation by Russia to the British interest in the World. Witte knew that it would poison relations with Germany through the suspicions it would raise and he saw it as an unnecessary concession over Persia, whose Northern provinces Russia was destined to absorb in any case. Britain had given little and secured a great deal, locking Russia into a fatal embrace.

Sir Edward Grey’s Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, settled a number of territorial issues between the two Powers, including the Persian issue. In the Agreement Persia was partitioned into 3 zones of influence, with the Tsar taking the Northern part, the British absorbing the South East and an intermediate “neutral” zone in between.

This Agreement suspended “The Great Game”of Imperial rivalry between England and Russia in the interests of the British Balance of Power Policy in Europe and a future war on Germany.

The ground for the 1907 Agreement with Russia was prepared by Sir Edward Grey and the City of London through a 90 million pound loan made to Russia in 1906. The disastrous war with Japan had caused a financial crisis in Russia with the Tsarist State buckling under the strain of maintaining the Gold Standard, as its Bonds rapidly depreciated in value. Russia had a long-standing financial relationship with French banks, but after the 1904 Entente France and Britain began to work more closely together and the British Foreign Secretary insisted in British participation in the 1906 Bond issue. It may have seemed strange that Britain was ready and willing to bail out its chief enemy in the world, at a time of its great financial crisis, but Grey obviously saw a great opportunity to tie Russia into a relationship, when it was most vulnerable.

The British Agreement with the Tsar in 1907 had immediate effects within Russia, with Britain’s signal that they probably would no longer defend the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Izvolski, began to press the Tsar for a “short, victorious war” against the Ottomans, to restore Russia’s prestige after the defeat by Japan. Izvolski argued for a war to bring about “Russia’s historical goals in the Turkish East”, and he made plans for seizing the Straits and for the partition of the Ottoman territories.

Stolypin opposed such schemes, telling the Tsar that Russian mobilisation would be madness in the situation and would kill the financial stability he had recently put in place, endangering the recovery of the State after 1905. He demanded “twenty years of peace” to ensure the stability and transformation of Russia.

Izvolski was undermined by a foolish deal he cut with the Austro-Hungarians in October 1908, designed to take advantage of the instability in the Ottoman State, as a result of the Young Turk revolution of July 1908, which nearly toppled Sultan Abdul Hamid. In exchange for Russian acquiescence in Vienna’s annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina the Austrians offered to revise the Treaty of Berlin to allow Russian warships through the Istanbul Straits. This was not in the gift of Vienna, coming up against not only the opposition of the Sultan but Britain too. It would have ran a coach and horses through the Public Law of Europe/International Law.

Russian opinion was outraged when Vienna announced its annexation of the Ottoman territory in Bosnia and Izvolski revealed his part in the deal. Sergei Sazonov, Stolypin’s brother-in-law, replaced Izvolski as Foreign Minister in 1910.

Stolypin continued to oppose the Liberal Pan-Slavism, which threatened to entangle Russia in the Balkan quagmire against the Ottomans. However, court politics resulted in his sudden disfavouring by the Tsar, and soon after he was shot dead by a terrorist in September 1910. With both Witte and Stolypin gone the brakes were off.

From this time on pressure began to be mounted on the Tsar to take advantage of the situation in the Ottoman Empire and to seize the Straits. The importance of the Straits had been demonstrated in 1911 when they were closed due to an Italian invasion of Ottoman Libya. Russian exports were stopped, factories ground to a halt and the balance of payments was severely affected.

The Tsar knew, however, that in relation to taking Constantinople, Russia could only act in conjunction with England, when Britain was prepared to move against Germany, and he vetoed plans for war. Instead, Russia adopted a policy of fake rapprochement with the Ottomans, under the new Foreign Minister, Sergei Sazonov, in a holding operation to maintain the integrity of the Ottoman territories until the moment for a large war was right.

The Straits agreement in the Treaty of Paris, therefore, continued to provide Britain with great leverage over Russia. The blocking of the Straits, and its unblocking, which seemed to be the Sultan’s prerogative, was actually strongly determined by British attitude and action. Russia’s ability to trade could, therefore, be contingent upon services rendered by the Tsar in relation to England’s Germany problem. And Russian internal stability was very much dependent on the value of trade.

Things came to a head at a meeting of the Russian Council of Ministers in January 1914. Sazonov had, a week earlier, proposed to the Tsar that the time was now right to provoke a European war, in alliance with England and France, so that Constantinople could be stormed and made into Tsargrad. The idea was to use the appointment of Liman von Sanders, a German, as a cause for war. Only a reality check by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Kokovtsov, who asked: “Is the war desirable and can Russia wage it?” seems to have stayed the Russian rush to war.

There was almost unanimous enthusiasm among the Tsar’s ministers for provoking a European war over the von Sanders affair. However, whilst there was near certainty amongst the ministers that Russia would be joined by England and France in such a war there were lingering doubts about whether London would stay out of the conflict if it was provoked at that point on such an issue. Britain was a democracy of sorts and had to take care of public opinion and the Liberal Government had not be straight with its own backbenchers on what it had been doing in the background so it was vital that the war be launched on the right issue.

The Russian naval command warned that a unilateral amphibious assault would also be beyond them at that moment. It was determined, therefore, to resort to war only if “the active participation of both France and England in joint measures were assured.” Kokovtsov then convinced everyone to back down from war.

Durnovo was of the opinion that the Ottomans would be drawn into any war between the two great combinations who were shaping up for confrontation in Europe. After all, how would the Tsar get the Straits without the war being taken to Istanbul? It was self-evident.

It was at that moment, in February 1914, that the Tsar got his final warning:

The Durnovo Memorandum of February 1914

A Future Anglo-German War Will Become an Armed Conflict between Two Groups of Powers

The central factor of the period of world history through which we are now passing is the rivalry between England and Germany. This rivalry must inevitably lead to an armed struggle between them, the issue of which will, in all probability, prove fatal to the vanquished side. The interests of these two powers are far too incompatible, and their simultaneous existence as world powers will sooner or later prove impossible. On the one hand, there is an insular State, whose world importance rests upon its domination of the sea, its world trade, and its innumerable colonies. On the other, there is a powerful continental empire, whose limited territory is insufficient for an increased population. It has therefore openly and candidly declared that its future is on the seas. It has, with fabulous speed, developed an enormous world commerce, built for its protection a formidable navy, and, with its famous trademark, “Made in Germany,” created a mortal danger to the industrial and economic prosperity of its rival. Naturally, England cannot yield without a fight, and between her and Germany a struggle for life or death is inevitable.

The armed conflict impending as a result of this rivalry cannot be confined to a duel between England and Germany alone. Their resources are far too unequal, and, at the same time, they are not sufficiently vulnerable to each other. Germany could provoke rebellion in India, in South Africa, and, especially, a dangerous rebellion in Ireland, and paralyze English sea trade by means of privateering and, perhaps, submarine warfare, thereby creating for Great Britain difficulties in her food supply; but, in spite of all the daring of the German military leaders, they would scarcely risk landing in England, unless a fortunate accident helped them to destroy or appreciably to weaken the English navy. As for England, she will find Germany absolutely invulnerable. All that she may achieve is to seize the German colonies, stop German sea trade, and, in the most favourable event, annihilate the German navy, but nothing more. This, however, would not force the enemy to sue for peace. There is no doubt, therefore, that England will attempt the means she has more than once used with success, and will risk armed action only after securing participation in the war, on her own side, of powers stronger in a strategical sense. But since Germany, for her own part, will not be found isolated, the future Anglo-German war will undoubtedly be transformed into an armed conflict between two groups of powers, one with a German, the other with an English orientation.

It Is Hard to Discover Any Real Advantages to Russia in Rapprochement with England

Until the Russo-Japanese War, Russian policy has neither orientation. From the time of the reign of Emperor Alexander III, Russia had a defensive alliance with France, so firm as to assure common action by both powers in the event of attack upon either, but, at the same time, not so close as to obligate either to support unfailingly, with armed force, all political actions and claims of the ally. At the same time, the Russian Court maintained the traditional friendly relations, based upon ties of blood, with the Court of Berlin. Owing precisely to this conjuncture, peace among the great powers was not disturbed in the course of a great many years, in spite of the presence of abundant combustible material in Europe. France, by her alliance with Russia, was guaranteed against attack by Germany; the latter was safe, thanks to the tried pacifism and friendship of Russia, from revanche ambitions on the part of France; and Russia was secured, thanks to Germany’s need of maintaining amicable relations with her, against excessive intrigues by Austria-Hungary in the Balkan peninsula. Lastly, England, isolated and held in check by her rivalry with Russia in Persia, by her diplomats’ traditional fear of our advance on India, and by strained relations with France, especially notable at the time of the well-known Fashoda incident, viewed with alarm the increase of Germany’s naval power, without, however, risking an active step.

The Russo-Japanese War radically changed the relations among the great powers and brought England out of her isolation. As we know, all through the Russo-Japanese War, England and America observed benevolent neutrality toward Japan, while we enjoyed a similar benevolent neutrality from France and Germany. Here, it would seem, should have been the inception of the most natural political combination for us. But after the war, our diplomacy faced abruptly about and definitely entered upon the road toward rapprochement with England. France was drawn into the orbit of British policy; there was formed a group of powers of the Triple Entente, with England playing the dominant part; and a clash, sooner or later, with the powers grouping themselves around Germany became inevitable.

Now, what advantages did the renunciation of our traditional policy of distrust of England and the rupture of neighbourly, if not friendly, relations with Germany promise us then and at present?

Considering with any degree of care the events which have taken place since the Treaty of Portsmouth, we find it difficult to perceive any practical advantages gained by us in rapprochement with England. The only benefit-improved relations with Japan-is scarcely a result of the Russo-English rapprochement. There is no reason why Russia and Japan should not live in peace; there seems to be nothing over which they need quarrel. All Russia’s objectives in the Far East, if correctly understood, are entirely compatible with Japan’s interests. These objectives, in their essentials, are very modest. The too broad sweep of the imagination of overzealous executive officials, without basis in genuine national interests, on the one hand, and the excessive nervousness and impressionability of Japan, on the other, which erroneously regarded these dreams as a consistently executed policy – these were the things that provoked a clash which a more capable diplomacy would have managed to avoid.

Russia needs neither Korea nor even Port Arthur. An outlet to the open sea is undoubtedly useful, but the sea in itself is, after all, not a market, but merely a road to a more advantageous delivery of goods at the consuming markets. As a matter of fact, we do not possess, and shall not for a long time possess any goods in the Far East that promise any considerable profits in exportation abroad. Nor are there any markets for the export of our products. We cannot expect a great supply of our export commodities to go to industrially and agriculturally developed America, to poor, but likewise industrial, Japan, or even to the maritime sections of China and remoter markets, where our exports would inevitably meet the competition of goods from the industrially stronger rival powers. There remains the interior of China, with which our trade is carried on, chiefly overland. Consequently, an open port would aid the import of foreign merchandise more than the export of our own products.

Japan, on her part, no matter what is said, has no desire for our Far Eastern possessions. The Japanese are by nature a southern people, and the harsh environment of our Far Eastern borderland cannot attract them. We know that even within Japan itself northern Yezo is sparsely populated, while apparently Japanese colonization is making little headway even in the southern part of Sakhalin Island, ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Portsmouth. After taking possession of Korea and Formosa, Japan will hardly go farther north, and her ambitions, it may be assumed, will turn rather in the direction of the Philippine Islands, Indo-China, Java, Sumatra, and Borneo. The most she might desire would be the acquisition, for purely commercial reasons, of a few more sections of the Manchurian railway.

In a word, peaceable coexistence, nay, more, a close rapprochement, between Russia and Japan in the Far East is perfectly natural, regardless of any mediation by England. The grounds for agreement are self-evident. Japan is not a rich country, and the simultaneous upkeep of a strong army and a powerful navy is hard for her. Her insular situation drives her to strengthen her naval power, and alliance with Russia would allow her to devote all her attention to her navy, especially vital in view of her imminent rivalry with America, leaving the protection of her interests on the continent to Russia. On our part, we, having the Japanese navy to protect our Pacific coast, could give up once for all the dream, impossible to us, of creating a navy in the Far East.

Thus, so far as our relations with Japan are concerned, the rapprochement with England has yielded us no real advantage. And it has gained us nothing in the sense of strengthening our position in Manchuria, Mongolia, or even the Ulianghai territory, where the uncertainty of our position bears witness that the agreement with England has certainly not freed the hands of our diplomats. On the contrary, our attempt to establish relations with Tibet met with sharp opposition from England.

In Persia, also, our position has been no better since the conclusion of this agreement. Every one recalls our predominant influence in that country under the Shah Nasr-Eddin, that is, exactly at a time when our relations with England were most strained. From the moment of our accord with the latter, we have found ourselves drawn into a number of strange attempts to impose upon the Persian people an entirely needless constitution, with the result that we ourselves contributed to the overthrow, for the benefit of our inveterate enemies, of a monarch who was devoted to Russia. That is, not only have we gained nothing, but we have suffered a loss all along the line, ruining our prestige and wasting many millions of rubles, even the precious blood of Russian soldiers, who were treacherously slain and, to please England, not even avenged.

The worst results, however, of the accord with England–and of the consequent discord with Germany – have been felt in the Near East. As we know, it was Bismarck who coined that winged phrase about the Balkan problem not being worth to Germany the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Later the Balkan complications began to attract much more attention from German diplomacy, which had taken the “Sick Man” under its protection, but even then Germany, for a long time, failed to show any inclination to endanger relations with Russia in the interests of Balkan affairs. The proofs are patent. During the period of the Russo-Japanese War and the ensuing turmoil in our country, it would have been very easy for Austria to realize her cherished ambitions in the Balkan peninsula. But at that time Russia had not yet linked her destinies with England, and Austria-Hungary was forced to lose an opportunity most auspicious for her purposes.

No sooner had we taken the road to closer accord with England, however, than there immediately followed the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a step which might have been taken so easily and painlessly in 1905 or 1906. Next came the Albanian question and the combination with the Prince of Wied. Russian diplomacy attempted to answer Austrian intrigue by forming a Balkan league, but this combination, as might have been expected, proved to be quite unworkable. Intended to be directed against Austria, it immediately turned on Turkey and fell apart in the process of dividing the spoils taken from the latter. The final result was merely the definite attachment of Turkey to Germany, in whom, not without good reason, she sees her sole protector. In short, the Russo-British rapprochement evidently seems to Turkey as tantamount to England’s renouncing her traditional policy of closing the Dardanelles to us, while the creation of the Balkan league, under the auspices of Russia, appeared as a direct threat to the continued existence of Turkey as a European power.

To sum up, the Anglo-Russian accord has brought us nothing of practical value up to this time, while for the future, it threatens us with an inevitable armed clash with Germany.

Fundamental Alignments in the Coming War

Under what conditions will this clash occur and what will be its probable consequences? The fundamental groupings in a future war are self-evident: Russia, France, and England, on the one side, with Germany, Austria, and Turkey, on the other. It is more than likely that other powers, too, will participate in that war, depending upon circumstances as they may exist at the war’s outbreak. But, whether the immediate cause for the war is furnished by another clash of conflicting interests in the Balkans, or by a colonial incident, such as that of Algeciras, the fundamental alignment will remain unchanged.

Italy, if she has any conception of her real interests, will not join the German side. For political as well as economic reasons, she undoubtedly hopes to expand her present territory. Such an expansion may be achieved only at the expense of Austria, on one hand, and Turkey, on the other. It is, therefore, natural for Italy not to join that party which would safeguard the territorial integrity of the countries at whose expense she hopes to realize her aspirations. Furthermore, it is not out of the question that Italy would join the anti-German coalition, if the scales of war should incline in its favour, in order to secure for herself the most favourable conditions in sharing the subsequent division of spoils.

In this respect, the position of Italy is similar to the probable position of Rumania, which, it may be assumed, will remain neutral until the scales of fortune favour one or another side. Then, animated by normal political self-interest, she will attach herself to the victors, to be rewarded at the expense of either Russia or Austria. Of the other Balkan States, Serbia and Montenegro will unquestionably join the side opposing Austria, while Bulgaria and Albania (if by that time they have not yet formed at least the embryo of a State) will take their stand against the Serbian side. Greece will in all probability remain neutral or make common cause with the side opposing Turkey, but that only after the issue has been more or less determined. The participation of other powers will be incidental, and Sweden ought to be feared, of course, in the ranks of our foes.

Under such circumstances, a struggle with Germany presents to us enormous difficulties, and will require countless sacrifices. War will not find the enemy unprepared, and the degree of his preparedness will probably exceed our most exaggerated calculations. It should not be thought that this readiness is due to Germany’s own desire for war. She needs no war, so long as she can attain her object-the end of exclusive domination of the seas. But, once this vital object is opposed by the coalition, Germany will not shrink from war, and, of course, will even try to provoke it, choosing the most auspicious moment.

The Main Burden of the War Will Fall on Russia

The main burden of the war will undoubtedly fall on us, since England is hardly capable of taking a considerable part in a continental war, while France, poor in man power, will probably adhere to strictly defensive tactics, in view of the enormous losses by which war will be attended under present conditions of military technique. The part of a battering-ram, making a breach in the very thick of the German defence, will be ours, with many factors against us to which we shall have to devote great effort and attention.

From the sum of these unfavourable factors we should deduct the Far East. Both America and Japan– the former fundamentally, and the latter by virtue of her present political orientation–are hostile to Germany, and there is no reason to expect them to act on the German side. Furthermore, the war, regardless of its issue, will weaken Russia and divert her attention to the West, a fact which, of course, serves both Japanese and American interests. Thus, our rear will be sufficiently secure in the Far East, and the most that can happen there will be the extortion from us of some concessions of an economic nature in return for benevolent neutrality. Indeed, it is possible that America or Japan may join the anti-German side, but, of course, merely as usurpers of one or the other of the unprotected German colonies.

There can be no doubt, however, as to an outburst of hatred for us in Persia, and a probable unrest among the Moslems of the Caucasus and Turkestan; it is possible that Afghanistan, as a result of that unrest, may act against us; and, finally, we must foresee very unpleasant complications in Poland and Finland. In the latter, a rebellion will undoubtedly break out if Sweden is found in the ranks of our enemies. As for Poland, it is not to be expected that we can hold her against our enemy during the war. And after she is in his power, he will undoubtedly endeavour to provoke an insurrection which, while not in reality very dangerous, must be considered, nevertheless, as one of the factors unfavourable to us, especially since the influence of our allies may induce us to take such measures in our relations with Poland as will prove more dangerous to us than any open revolt.

Are we prepared for so stubborn a war as the future war of the European nations will undoubtedly become? This question we must answer, without evasion, in the negative. That much has been done for our defence since the Japanese war, I am the last person to deny, but even so, it is quite inadequate considering the unprecedented scale on which a future war will inevitably be fought. The fault lies, in a considerable measure, in our young legislative institutions, which have taken a dilettante interest in our defences, but are far from grasping the seriousness of the political situation arising from the new orientation which, with the sympathy of the public, has been followed in recent years by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The enormous number of still unconsidered legislative bills of the war and navy departments may serve as proof of this: for example, the plan of the organization of our national defence proposed to the Duma as early as the days of Secretary of State Stolypin. It cannot be denied that, in the matter of military instruction, according to the reports of specialists, we have achieved substantial improvements, as compared with the time before the Japanese War. According to the same specialists, our field artillery leaves nothing to be desired; the gun is entirely satisfactory, and the equipment convenient and practical. Yet, it must be admitted that there are substantial shortcomings in the organization of our defences.

In this regard we must note, first of all, the insufficiency of our war supplies, which, certainly, cannot be blamed upon the war department, since the supply schedules are still far from being executed, owing to the low productivity of our factories. This insufficiency of munitions is the more significant since, in the embryonic condition of our industries, we shall, during the war, have no opportunity to make up the revealed shortage by our own efforts, and the closing of the Baltic as well as the Black Sea will prevent the importation from abroad of the defense materials which we lack.

Another circumstance unfavourable to our defense is its far too great dependence, generally speaking, upon foreign industry, a fact which, in connection with the above noted interruption of more or less convenient communications with abroad, will create a series of obstacles difficult to overcome. The quantity of our heavy artillery, the importance of which was demonstrated in the Japanese War, is far too inadequate, and there are few machine guns. The organization of our fortress defences has scarcely been started, and even the fortress of Reval, which is to defend the road to the capital, is not yet finished.

The network of strategic railways is inadequate. The railways possess a rolling stock sufficient, perhaps, for normal traffic, but not commensurate with the colossal demands which will be made upon them in the event of a European war. Lastly, it should not be forgotten that the impending war will be fought among the most civilized and technically most advanced nations. Every previous war has invariably been followed by something new in the realm of military technique, but the technical backwardness of our industries does not create favourable conditions for our adoption of the new inventions.

The Vital Interests of Germany and Russia Do Not Conflict

All these factors are hardly given proper thought by our diplomats, whose behaviour toward Germany is, in some respects, even aggressive, and may unduly hasten the moment of armed conflict, a moment which, of course, is really inevitable in view of our British orientation.

The question is whether this orientation is correct, and whether even a favourable issue of the war promises us such advantages as would compensate us for all the hardships and sacrifices which must attend a war unparalleled in its probable strain.

The vital interests of Russia and Germany do not conflict. There are fundamental grounds for a peaceable existence of these two States. Germany’s future lies on the sea, that is, in a realm where Russia, essentially the most continental of the great powers, has no interests whatever. We have no overseas colonies, and shall probably never have them, and communication between the various parts of our empire is easier overland than by water. No surplus population demanding territorial expansion is visible, but, even from the viewpoint of new conquests, what can we gain from a victory over Germany? Posen, or East Prussia? But why do we need these regions, densely populated as they are by Poles, when we find it difficult enough to manage our own Russian Poles? Why encourage centripetal tendencies, that have not ceased even to this day in the Vistula territory, by incorporating in the Russian State the restless Posnanian and East Prussian Poles, whose national demands even the German Government, which is more firm than the Russian, cannot stifle?

Exactly the same thing applies to Galicia. It is obviously disadvantageous to us to annex, in the interests of national sentimentalism, a territory that has lost every vital connection with our fatherland. For, together with a negligible handful of Galicians, Russian in spirit, how many Poles, Jews, and Ukrainian Uniates we would receive! The so-called Ukrainian, or Mazeppist, movement is not a menace to us at present, but we should not enable it to expand by increasing the number of turbulent Ukrainian elements, for in this movement there undoubtedly lies the seed of an extremely dangerous Little Russian separatism which, under favorable conditions, may assume quite unexpected proportions.

The obvious aim of our diplomacy in the rapprochement with England has been to open the Straits. But a war with Germany seems hardly necessary for the attainment of this object, for it was England, and not Germany at all, that closed our outlet from the Black Sea. Was it not because we made sure of the cooperation of the later power, that we freed ourselves in 1871 from the humiliating restrictions imposed upon us by England under the Treaty of Paris?

Also, there is reason to believe that the Germans would agree sooner than the English to let us have the Straits, in which they have only a slight interest, and at the price of which they would gladly purchase our alliance.

Moreover, we should not cherish any exaggerated hopes from our occupation of the Straits. Their acquisition would be advantageous to us only as they served to close the Black Sea to others, making it an inland sea for us, safe from enemy attack.

The Straits would not give us an outlet to the open sea, however, since on the other side of them there lies a sea consisting almost wholly of territorial waters, a sea dotted with numerous islands where the British navy, for instance, would have no trouble whatever in closing to us every inlet and outlet, irrespective of the Straits. Therefore, Russia might safely welcome an arrangement which, while not turning the Straits over to our direct control, would safeguard us against a penetration of the Black Sea by an enemy fleet. Such an arrangement, attainable under favorable circumstances without any war, has the additional advantage that it would not violate the interests of the Balkan States, which would not regard our seizure of the Straits without alarm and quite natural jealousy.

In Trans-Caucasia we could, as a result of war, expand territorially only at the expense of regions inhabited by Armenians, a move which is hardly desirable in view of the revolutionary character of present Armenian sentiment, and of its dream of a greater Armenia; and in this region, Germany, were we allied to her, would certainly place even fewer obstacles in our way than England. Those territorial and economic acquisitions which might really prove useful to us are available only in places where our ambitions may meet opposition from England, but by no means from Germany. Persia, the Pamir, Kuldja, Kashgar, Dzungaria, Mongolia, the Ulianghai territory – all these are regions where the interests of Russia and Germany do not conflict, whereas the interests of Russia and England have clashed there repeatedly.

And Germany is in exactly the same situation with respect to Russia. She could seize from us, in case of a successful war, only such territories as would be of slight value to her, and because of their population, would prove of little use for colonization; the Vistula territory, with a Polish-Lithuanian population, and the Baltic provinces, with a Lettish-Estonian population, are all equally turbulent and anti-German.

Russia’s Economic Advantages and Needs Do Not Conflict with Germany’s

It may be argued, however, that, under modern conditions in the various nations, territorial acquisitions are of secondary importance, while economic interests take first rank. But in this field, again, Russia’s advantages and needs do not conflict with Germany’s as much as is believed. It is, of course, undeniable that the existing Russo-German trade agreements are disadvantageous to our agriculture and advantageous to Germany’s, but it would be hardly fair to ascribe this circumstance to the treachery and unfriendliness of Germany.

It should not be forgotten that these agreements are in many of their sections advantageous to us. The Russian delegates who concluded these agreements were confirmed protagonists of a development of Russian industry at any cost, and they undoubtedly made a deliberate sacrifice, at least to some extent, of the interests of Russian agriculture to the interests of Russian industry. Furthermore, we ought not to forget that Germany is far from being the direct consumer of the greater share of our agricultural exports abroad. For the greater share of our agricultural produce, Germany acts merely as middleman, and so it is for us and the consuming markets to establish direct relations and thus avoid the expensive German mediation. Lastly, we should keep in mind that the commercial relations of States depend on their political understandings, for no country finds advantage in the economic weakening of an ally but, conversely, profits by the ruin of a political foe. In short, even though it be obvious that the existing Russo-German commercial treaties are not to our advantage, and that Germany, in concluding them, availed herself of a situation that happened to be in her favour – in other words, forced us to the wall-this action should have been expected from Germany and thought of. It should not, however, be looked upon as a mark of hostility toward us, but rather as an expression of healthy national self-interest, worthy of our emulation. Aside from that, we observe, in the case of Austria-Hungary, an agricultural country that is in a far greater economic dependence upon Germany than ours, but nevertheless, is not prevented from attaining an agricultural development such as we may only dream of.

In view of what has been said, it would seem that the conclusion of a commercial treaty with Germany, entirely acceptable to Russia, by no means requires that Germany first be crushed. It will be quite sufficient to maintain neighborly relations with her, to make a careful estimate of our real interests in the various branches of national economy, and to engage in long, insistent bargaining with German delegates, who may be expected to protect the interests of their own fatherland and not ours.

But I would go still further and say that the ruin of Germany, from the viewpoint of our trade with her, would be disadvantageous to us. Her defeat would unquestionably end in a peace dictated from the viewpoint of England’s economic interests. The latter will exploit to the farthest limit any success that falls to her lot, and we will only lose, in a ruined Germany without sea routes, a market which, after all, is valuable to us for our otherwise unmarketable products.

In respect to Germany’s economic future, the interests of Russia and England are diametrically opposed. For England, it is profitable to kill Germany’s maritime trade and industry, turning her into a poor and, if possible, agricultural country. For us, it is of advantage for Germany to develop her sea-going commerce and the industry which serves it, so as to supply the remotest world markets, and at the same time open her domestic market to our agricultural products, to supply her large working population.

But; aside from the commercial treaties, it has been customary to point out the oppressive character of German domination in Russian economic life, and the systematic penetration of German colonization into our country, as representing a manifest peril to the Russian State. We believe, however, that fears on these grounds are considerably exaggerated. The famous “Drang nach Osten”was in its own time natural and understandable, since Germany’s land could not accommodate her increased population, and the surplus was driven in the direction of the least resistance, i.e., into a less densely populated neighbouring country. The German Government was compelled to recognize the inevitability of this movement, but could hardly look upon it as to its own interests. For, after all, it was Germans who were being lost to the influence of the German State, thus reducing the man power of their own country. Indeed, the German Government made such strenuous efforts to preserve the connection between its emigrants and their old fatherland that it adopted even the unusual method of tolerating dual citizenship. It is certain, however, that a considerable proportion of German emigrants definitely and irrevocably settled in their new homes, and slowly broke their ties with the old country. This fact, obviously incompatible with Germany’s State interests, seems to have been one of the incentives which started her upon a colonial policy and maritime commerce, previously so alien to her. And at present, as the German colonies increase and there is an attendant growth of German industry and naval commerce, the German colonization movement decreases, in a measure, and the day is not remote when the “Drang nach Osten”will become nothing more than a subject for history.

In any case, the German colonization, which undoubtedly conflicts with our State interests, must be stopped, and here, again, friendly relations with Germany cannot harm us. To express a preference for a German orientation does not imply the advocacy of Russian vassalage to Germany, and, while maintaining friendly and neighborly intercourse with her, we must not sacrifice our State interests to this object. But Germany herself will not object to measures against the continued flow of German colonists into Russia. To her, it is of greater benefit to turn the wave of emigration toward her own colonies. Moreover, even before Germany had colonies, when her industry was not yet sufficiently developed to employ the entire population, the German Government did not feel justified in protesting against the restrictive measures that were adopted against foreign colonization during the reign of Alexander III.

As regards the German domination in the field of our economic life, this phenomenon hardly justifies the complaints usually voiced against it. Russia is far too poor, both in capital and in industrial enterprise, to get along without a large import of foreign capital. A certain amount of dependence upon some kind of foreign capital is, therefore, unavoidable, until such time as the industrial enterprise and material resources of our population develop to a point where we may entirely forego the services of foreign investors and their money. But as long as we do require them, German capital is more advantageous to us than any other.

First and foremost, this capital is cheaper than any other, being satisfied with the lowest margin of profit. This, to a large extent, explains the relative cheapness of German products, and their gradual displacement of British products in the markets of the world. The lower demands of German capital, as regards returns, have for their consequence Germany’s readiness to invest in enterprises which, because of their relatively small returns, are shunned by other foreign investor;. Also, as a result of that relative cheapness of German capital, its influx into Russia is attended by a smaller outflow of investors’ profits from Russia, as compared with French and English investments, and so a larger amount of rubles remain in Russia. Moreover, a considerable proportion of the profits made on German investments in Russian industry do not leave our country at all, but are spent in Russia.

Unlike the English or French, the German capitalists, in most cases, come to stay in Russia, themselves, with their money. It is this very German characteristic which explains in a considerable degree the amazing number of German industrialists, manufacturers, and mill owners in our midst, as compared with the British and French.

The latter live in their own countries, removing from Russia the profits produced by their enterprises, down to the last kopek. The German investors, on the contrary, live in Russia for long periods, and not infrequently settle down permanently. Whatever may be said to the contrary, the fact is that the Germans, unlike other foreigners, soon feel at home in Russia and rapidly become Russianized. Who has not seen Frenchmen and Englishmen, for example, who have spent almost their whole lives in Russia and yet do not speak a word of Russian? On the other hand, are there many Germans here who cannot make themselves understood in Russian, even though it be with a strong accent and in broken speech? Nay, more-who has not seen genuine Russians, orthodox, loyal with all their hearts dedicated to the principles of the Russian State, and yet only one or two generations removed from their German emigrant ancestry? Lastly, we must not forget that Germany herself is, to a certain extent, interested in our economic well-being. In this regard, Germany differs, to our advantage, from other countries, which are interested exclusively in obtaining the largest possible returns from capital invested in Russia, even at the cost of the economic ruin of this country. Germany, however, in her capacity of permanent-although, of course, not unselfish-middleman for our foreign trade, has an interest in preserving the productive resources of our country, as a source of profitable intermediary operations for her.

Even a Victory over Germany Promises Russia an Exceedingly Unfavourable Prospect

In any case, even if we were to admit the necessity for eradicating German domination in the field of our economic life, even at the price of a total banishment of German capital from Russian industry, appropriate measures could be taken. it would seem, without war against Germany. Such a war will demand such enormous expenditures that they will many times exceed the more than doubtful advantages to us in the abolition of the German [economic] domination. More than that, the result of such a war will be an economic situation compared with which the yoke of German capital will seem easy.

For there can be no doubt that the war will necessitate expenditures which are beyond Russia’s limited financial means. We shall have to obtain credit from allied and neutral countries, but this will not be granted gratuitously. As to what will happen if the war should end disastrously for us, I do not wish to discuss now. The financial and economic consequences of defeat can be neither calculated nor fore- seen, and will undoubtedly spell the total ruin of our entire national economy.

But even victory promises us extremely unfavourable financial prospects; a totally ruined Germany will not be in a position to compensate us for the cost involved. Dictated in the interest of England, the peace treaty will not afford Germany opportunity for sufficient economic recuperation to cover our war expenditures, even at a distant time. The little which we may perhaps succeed in extorting from her will have to be shared with our allies, and to our share there will fall but negligible crumbs, compared with the war cost. Meantime, we shall have to pay our war loans, not without pressure by the allies. For, after the destruction of German power, we shall no longer be necessary to them. Nay, more, our political might, enhanced by our victory, will induce them to weaken us, at least economically. And so it is inevitable that, even after a victorious conclusion of the war, we shall fall into the same sort of financial and economic dependence upon our creditors, compared with which our present dependence upon German capital will seem ideal.

However, no matter how sad may be the. economic prospects which face us as a result of union with England, and, by that token, of war with Germany, they are still of secondary importance when we think of the political consequences of this fundamentally unnatural alliance.

A Struggle Between Russia and Germany Is Profoundly Undesirable to Both Sides, as It Amounts to a Weakening of the Monarchist Principle

It should not be forgotten that Russia and Germany are the representatives of the conservative principle in the civilized world, as opposed to the democratic principle, incarnated in England and, to an infinitely lesser degree, in France. Strange as it may seem, England, monarchist and conservative to the marrow at home, has in her foreign relations always acted as the protector of the most demagogical tendencies, invariably encouraging all popular movements aiming at the weakening of the monarchical principle.

From this point of view, a struggle between Germany and Russia, regardless of its issue, is profoundly undesirable to both sides, as undoubtedly involving the weakening of the conservative principle in the world of which the above-named two great powers are the only reliable bulwarks. More than that, one must realize that under the exceptional conditions which exist, a general European war is mortally dangerous both for Russia and Germany, no matter who wins. It is our firm conviction, based upon a long and careful study of all contemporary subversive tendencies, that there must inevitably break out in the defeated country a social revolution which, by the very nature of things, will spread to the country of the victor.

During the many years of peaceable neighborly existence, the two countries have become united by many ties, and a social upheaval in one is bound to affect the other. That these troubles will be of a social, and not a political, nature cannot be doubted, and this will hold true, not only as regards Russia, but for Germany as well. An especially favorable soil for social upheavals is found in Russia, where the masses undoubtedly profess, unconsciously, the principles of Socialism. In spite of the spirit of antagonism to the Government in Russian society, as unconscious as the Socialism of the broad masses of the people, a political revolution is not possible in Russia, and any revolutionary movement inevitably must degenerate into a Socialist movement. The opponents of the government have no popular support. The people see no difference between a government official and an intellectual. The Russian masses, whether workmen or peasants, are not looking for political rights, which they neither want nor comprehend.

The peasant dreams of obtaining a gratuitous share of somebody else’s land; the workman, of getting hold of the entire capital and profits of the manufacturer. Beyond this, they have no aspirations. If these slogans are scattered far and wide among the populace, and the Government permits agitation along these lines, Russia will be flung into anarchy, such as she suffered in the ever-memorable period of troubles in 1905-1906. War with Germany would create exceptionally favorable conditions for such agitation. As already stated, this war is pregnant with enormous difficulties for us, and cannot turn out to be a mere triumphal march to Berlin. Both military disaster,-partial ones, let us hope-and all kinds of shortcomings in our supply are inevitable. In the excessive nervousness and spirit of opposition of our society, these events will be given an exaggerated importance, and all the blame will be laid on the Government.

It will be well if the Government does not yield, but declares directly that in time of war no criticism of the governmental authority is to be tolerated, and resolutely suppresses all opposition. In the absence of any really strong hold on the people by the opposition, this would settle the affair. The people did not heed the writers of the Wiborg Manifesto, in its time, and they will not follow them now.

But a worse thing may happen: the government authority may make concessions, may try to come to an agreement with the opposition, and thereby weaken itself just when the Socialist elements are ready for action. Even though it may sound like a paradox, the fact is that agreement with the opposition in Russia positively weakens the Government. The trouble is that our opposition refuses to reckon with the fact that it represents no real force. The Russian opposition is intellectual throughout, and this is its weakness, because between the intelligentsia and the people there is a profound gulf of mutual misunderstanding and distrust. We need an artificial election law, indeed, we require the direct influence of the governmental authority, to assure the election to the State Duma of even the most zealous champions of popular rights. Let the Government refuse to support the elections, leaving them to their natural course, and the legislative institutions would not see within their walls a single intellectual, outside of a few demagogic agitators. However insistent the members of our legislative institutions may be that the people confide in them, the peasant would rather believe the landless government official than the Octoberist landlord in the Duma, while the workingman treats the wage-earning factory inspector with more confidence than the legislating manufacturer, even though the latter professes every principle of the Cadet party.

It is more than strange, under these circumstances, that the governmental authority should be asked to reckon seriously with the opposition, that it should for this purpose renounce the role of impartial regulator of social relationships, and come out before the broad masses of the people as the obedient organ of the class aspirations of the intellectual and propertied minority of the population. The opposition demands that the Government should be responsible to it, representative of a class, and should obey the parliament which it artificially created. (Let us recall that famous expression of V. Nabokov: “Let the executive power submit to the legislative power!” In other words, the opposition demands that the Government should adopt the psychology of a savage, and worship the idol which he himself made.

Russia Will be Flung into Hopeless Anarchy, the Issue of Which Will be Hard to Foresee

 If the war ends in victory, the putting down of the Socialist movement will not offer any insurmountable obstacles. There will be agrarian troubles, as a result of agitation for compensating the soldiers with additional land allotments; there will be labour troubles during the transition from the probably increased wages of war time to normal schedules; and this, it is to be hoped, will be all, so long as the wave of the German social revolution has not reached us. But in the event of defeat, the possibility of which in a struggle with a foe like Germany cannot be overlooked, social revolution in its most extreme form is inevitable.

As has already been said, the trouble will start with the blaming of the Government for all disasters. In the legislative institutions a bitter campaign against the Government will begin, followed by revolutionary agitations throughout the country, with Socialist slogans, capable of arousing and rallying the masses, beginning with the division of the land and succeeded by a division of all valuables and property. The defeated army, having lost its most dependable men, and carried away by the tide of primitive peasant desire for land, will find itself too demoralized to serve as a bulwark of law and order. The legislative institutions and the intellectual opposition parties, lacking real authority in the eyes of the people, will be powerless to stem the popular tide, aroused by themselves, and Russia will be flung into hopeless anarchy, the issue of which cannot be foreseen.

Germany, in Case of Defeat, is Destined to Suffer Social Upheavals No Less than those of Russia

No matter how strange it may appear at first sight, considering the extraordinary poise of the German character, Germany, likewise, is destined to suffer, in case o defeat, no lesser social upheavals. The effect of a disastrous war upon the population will be too severe not to bring to the surface destructive tendencies, now deeply hidden. The peculiar social order of modern Germany rests upon the actually predominant influence of the agrarians, Prussian Junkerdom and propertied peasants.

These elements are the bulwark of the profoundly conservative German regime headed by Prussia. The vital interests of these classes demand a protective economic policy towards agriculture, import duties on grain, and consequently, high price for all farm products. But Germany, with her limited territory and increasing population, has long ago turned from an agricultural into an industrial State, so that protection of agriculture is, in effect, a matter of taxing the larger part of the population for the benefit of the smaller. To this majority, there is a compensation in the extensive development of the export of German industrial products to the most distant markets, so that the advantages derived thereby enable the industrialists and working people to pay the higher prices for the farm products consumed at home.

Defeated, Germany will lose her world markets and maritime commerce, for the aim of the war – on the part of its real instigator, England – will be the destruction of German competition. After this has been achieved, the labouring masses, deprived not only of higher but of any and all wages, having suffered greatly during the war, and being, naturally, embittered, will offer fertile soil for anti-agrarian and later anti-social propaganda by the Socialist parties.

These parties, in turn, making use of the outraged patriotic sentiment among the people, owing to the loss of the war, their exasperation at the militarists and the feudal burgher regime that betrayed them, will abandon the road of peaceable evolution which they have thus far been following so steadily, and take a purely revolutionary path. Some part will also be played, especially in the event of agrarian troubles in neighbouring Russia, by the class of landless farmhands, which is quite numerous in Germany. Apart from this, there will be a revival of the hitherto concealed separatist tendencies in southern Germany, and the hidden antagonism of Bavaria to domination by Prussia will emerge in all its intensity. In short, a situation will be created which (in gravity) will be little better than that in Russia.

Peace Among the Civilized Nations is Imperilled Chiefly by the Desire of England to Retain Her Vanishing Domination of the Seas

A summary of all that has been stated above must lead to the conclusion that a

rapprochement with England does not promise us any benefits, and that the English orientation of our diplomacy is essentially wrong. We do not travel the same road as England; she should be left to go her own way, and we must not quarrel on her account with Germany.

The Triple Entente is an artificial combination, without a basis of real interest. It has nothing to look forward to. The future belongs to a close and incomparably more vital rapprochement of Russia, Germany, France (reconciled with Germany), and Japan (allied to Russia by a strictly defensive union). A political combination like this, lacking all aggressiveness toward other States, would safeguard for many years the peace of the civilized nations, threatened, not by the militant intentions of Germany, as English diplomacy is trying to show, but solely by the perfectly natural striving of England to retain at all costs her vanishing domination of the seas. In this direction, and not in the fruitless search of a basis for an accord with England, which is in its very nature contrary to our national plans and aims, should all the efforts of our diplomacy be concentrated.

It goes without saying that Germany, on her part, must meet our desire to restore our well-tested relations and friendly alliance with her, and to elaborate, in closest agreement with us, such terms of our neighborly existence as to afford no basis for anti-German agitation on the part of our constitutional-liberal parties, which, by their very nature, are forced to adhere, not to a Conservative German, but to a liberal English orientation.

N. Durnovo,

February, 1914.

(Basil Dmytryshyn, Imperial Russia; A Source Book, 1700-1917 for full text, and Sean McMeekin, The Russian Revolution, p.55-6 and p.363 for summary.)

 

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Mindless Liberalism

An article in the NY Review of Books of October 2018 entitled The Suffocation of Democracy by Christopher R. Browning states the following, in a mindless anti-Trump piece of pseudo-history:

“Today, President Trump seems intent on withdrawing the US from the entire post–World War II structure of interlocking diplomatic, military, and economic agreements and organizations that have preserved peace, stability, and prosperity since 1945. His preference for bilateral relations, conceived as zero-sum rivalries in which he is the dominant player and “wins,” overlaps with the ideological preference of Steve Bannon and the so-called alt-right for the unfettered self-assertion of autonomous, xenophobic nation-states—in short, the pre-1914 international system. That “international anarchy” produced World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Depression, the fascist dictatorships, World War II, and the Holocaust, precisely the sort of disasters that the post–World War II international system has for seven decades remarkably avoided.”

There have, of course, been no World Wars during the last 7 decades but there have been a plentiful supply of wars during that period which have killed 10s of millions all the same. Donald Trump hasn’t started a World War yet or even started any war, to the best of my knowledge. That actually sets him rather apart from his predecessors. In fact, unless I have been missing something, he has even been attempting to wind up some of the wars of that his illustrious and peace-loving predecessors began.

But that is not the point of the matter. Every right-thinking person feels that the current President of the U.S. is the worst thing that ever befell the American people and the world in general so let us not waste our time disputing the matter. Our words would be wasted anyway on those who do not think, but only feel.

What is a more serious matter is the assertion that the Public Law of Europe of the 19thCentury led to the catastrophe of 1914, and then the further catastrophes following on from that.

The Public Law of Europe? What on earth is that, you might say? 

It was the system, built by all the Treaties concluded by the Great Powers and lesser States from 1815 onwards during the period sometimes known as the “British Peace of a Century”(1815-1914). Or as the author calls it “the unfettered self-assertion of autonomous, xenophobic nation-states.”

But surely if the Public Law of Europe was so bad how did it lead to the “British Peace of a Century”pray tell?

In fact, if we look at the Public Law of Europe, and ask why it produced, in the end the catastrophe of 1914, and the catastrophes that followed, we find something quite interesting but disturbing for our Liberal totalitarians. We find that the “British Peace of a Century”was undone by a “peace-loving”British Foreign Secretary who subverted the Public Law of Europe in the interest of the Balance of Power.

Who says so? One of the most substantial Liberals of the late 19thCentury/early 20thCentury, William Thomas Stead.

W.T. Stead’s main political ambition was to bring about an alliance between England and Russia – which he felt was the only way of securing the future peace of Europe and Asia.For decades he called for a revolution in British Foreign Policy and campaigned for it in books, newspapers and periodicals. But when it was achieved, he began to notice something had changed that threatened the peace, stability and security of the world which he also campaigned for as a good Liberal. He described it, started to expose it and tried to campaign against it without quite putting his finger on it. And then he went to the U.S. on a speaking tour on the Titanic. 

In 1911 Stead published‘Tripoli and the Treaties; or Britain’s duty in this war.’ This was a book protesting against Italy’s invasion of Ottoman Libya and asking why Britain was not lifting a finger to protest or prevent it.  

Stead was outraged that Britain was unprepared to defend the International Treaties it had signed up to in 1856, 1871 and 1878 – part of the Public Law of Europe – which guaranteed the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and failed to follow through on its pledges to go to war to defend it.

Stead was no sympathiser with the Ottomans and described himself as having written more abuse against the Ottoman Turks than any man alive. He had always seen the British defence of the Ottoman Empire as a hypocrisy founded on primarily an anti-Russian position and as a Gladstonian Liberal, he had been in favour of a “bag and baggage”policy toward the Turk in Europe. But he was outraged at what the British Foreign Secretary was doing to endanger the peace and stability of the World.

Stead was, of course, aware of the other hypocrisy he was himself engaging in – as a Briton criticising other nations for seizing foreign peoples’ territories. But he saw something very momentous in Edward Grey’s appeasement of the Italian aggressors when previous British Foreign Secretaries had so often threatened war with much greater Powers, like Russia, for the same principles in Foreign Affairs.

Stead smelt a rat and instinctively knew that something that really threatened the peace and stability of Europe was afoot. 

The following passage of Stead’s is an argument that I had not come across expressed elsewhere, when I drew attention to it about 10 years ago. I thought I was mistaken in seeing anything of significance in it. But I did feel it odd that the great anti-Turk went so far to defend the Turk on principle. And then, a couple of years ago, I found someone who also, saw it as significant and referred to it in his writings for the Continental Times. 

This was W.T. Stead’s friend, Sir Roger Casement.

I think that although Stead could not see the real reason behind Grey’s actions in relation to the Ottoman Empire he is observed the momentous revolution in British Foreign Policy that was tearing up the treaties on which the peace of Europe and beyond rested and which ultimately led to the Great War on Germany and Ottoman Turkey:

“‘The Treaty of Paris, of 1856,’ said Mr. Gladstone, ‘is the public law of Europe.’ That law was reaffirmed at the Conference of London in 1871, and again re-enacted at the Berlin Congress of 1878. Great Britain took a leading part in 1856, in 1871, and in 1878 in defining and in defending this public law of Europe. It has been invoked time and again by successive Foreign Ministers of both parties to resist the isolated action of any Power in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire. It has been used repeatedly to silence the repeated demands made by the friends of Humanity in this country that something drastic should be done to suppress anarchy in Macedonia or to punish massacre in Armenia. 

The doctrine of the European Concert formally embodied in the Treaty of Paris is that each of the great Powers binds itself to abstain from isolated action in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire. Any intervention must be collective. The Powers constituted themselves a Board of Trustees for the protection of the Sick Man’s estate. and bound themselves by a solemn treaty to abstain from any isolated action. That remains to this day the recognised public law of Europe on which the peace and security of the modern State system depends… It absolutely forbids any isolated action by any single Power in any part of the Ottoman dominions, it guarantees the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and it expressly prescribes that in the case of any dispute arising between any of the signatories and the Ottoman Government, no recourse shall be had to arms until the other signatory Powers have had an opportunity to compose the quarrel by peaceable mediation. 

The action of the Italian Government in suddenly launching an expedition to seize Tripoli, which is part and parcel of the Ottoman Empire, without offering any of the other signatories of the Treaty of Paris an opportunity to compose the dispute by mediation, was not only a gross breach of treaty faith, it was a deliberate violation of the public law of Europe. 

How was it met by the British Government? By protest, by warning, by remonstrance, by a declaration that Great Britain would not tolerate this breach of the public law of Europe? 

Lord Granville in 1871, and Lord Salisbury in 1879 had confronted a much mightier Power than Italy, and that in a much more questionable quarrel, with the resolute statement that Great Britain was not prepared to tolerate the trampling under foot of the public law of Europe and the contemptuous tearing up of treaties to which the signature of Great Britain was attached. 

But we are living in other days, when the spirit of Gladstone and Salisbury no longer inspires our Foreign Office. The action of our present Government appears to have been limited to issuing a Declaration of Neutrality! 

Is this an adequate discharge of the duties and obligations of Great Britain in the present crisis? 

That we have a duty need not be argued, because it has not been and cannot be disputed. Great Britain is one of the great Powers of Europe which has taken a leading part in the past — perhaps the leading part — in framing the treaties which embody the public law of Europe with regard to the Ottoman Empire of which Tripoli is an integral part. We have fought in one great war to secure the right to an equal voice in the settlement of all Turkish questions, and we have faced without flinching the possibility of having to wage war single-handed in defence of that right.” (pp.9-11)

Writing about the Ottoman defeat in the war with Russia of 1877/78 Stead explained how the Public Law of Europe worked and how Britain upheld it to ensure observance to International Law, bringing the Russians to order by the threat of force:

“The war ran its course. The Turkish armies in Europe and in Asia were defeated, and the victorious Russians only halted at the gates of Constantinople. Before the Russians imposed their treaty of peace upon the vanquished Turks, although the British Government had declared its neutrality, it did not hesitate to intervene. 

On January 14, in view of the reports which had reached Her Majesty’s Government as to the negotiations for peace which were about to be opened between the Russian Government and the Porte, and in order to avoid any possible misconception, Her Majesty’s Government instructed Lord A. Loftus to state to Prince Gortschakoft that, in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, any treaty concluded between the Government of Russia and the Porte affecting the Treaties of 1856 and 1871 must be a European treaty, and would not be valid without the assent of the Powers who were parties to those treaties. 

With this warning before them the Russians concluded the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, and sent it round to the other Powers with an intimation that portions of it affecting the general interests of Europe could not be regarded as definitive without general concurrence. But this did not satisfy the British Government. They insisted that every single article of the new treaty must be submitted to the Powers for their approval. 

As Russia appeared to hesitate, the British Government beat the war-drum with vigour. The Reserves were called out, the Sepoys were brought from India; six millions were voted for military preparations; the British fleet was ordered to force the Dardanelles and anchor in the Sea of Marmora. Lord Salisbury, on April 1, issued his famous Circular, in which, after citing the Protocol of 1871, he declared in the most categorical fashion: — 

‘It is impossible for her Majesty’s Government, without violating the spirit of this Declaration, to acquiesce in the withdrawal from the cognisance of the Powers of articles in the new treaty which are modifications of existing treaty engagements, and inconsistent with them.’ 

Threatened in Europe and in Asia with war by sea and land, and menaced also by Austria, Russia consented to recognise this extreme interpretation of the Treaty of Paris, and submitted her treaty, lock, stock and barrel, to be revised, mutilated, and transformed by the Congress of Berlin. 

At Berlin the representatives of the Powers converted the Treaty of San Stefano into the Treaty of Berlin, and while doing so they expressly re-enacted the articles of the Treaty of Paris which were not affected by the articles in the new treaty. Among these re-enacted and doubly confirmed articles are Seven and Eight, which assert the principle of collective dealing with the Porte, which guarantee the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and which bind each of the contracting Powers to afford the co-signatories an opportunity of mediation before having recourse to force. 

Here we have the plain, straightforward story of the public law of Europe as it was made in the first instance, and then emphasized and insisted upon by the British Government. We see how that the essential principle of the law of nations was formulated by a British Government in our own capital and accepted by all the Powers, including Italy. We see how, on the only two occasions on which their authority was threatened British Governments, one Liberal, the other Conservative, instantly asserted their authority and proclaimed their readiness to defend it by arms, with or without allies. In deference to the energetic action of these British Governments, the principle has been unanimously accepted by all the Governments of Europe. Here, if anywhere, is the traditional policy of Great Britain. Here, if anywhere, we may expect to find applied the principle of continuity which has been proclaimed by successive Administrations of both parties.” (pp.13-16)

Stead wrote about the way Britain had previously threatened war against anyone who dared threaten the Public Law of Europe, even though that might mean acting unilaterally against a most powerful State. But suddenly it was so different:

“We come, therefore, to the examination of the action of our present rulers with no room for uncertainty as to the principles upon which they were expected to act. 

The public law of Europe specifically sets forth (1) that no Power having a dispute with the Porte shall have recourse to arms until after it has invoked the friendly mediation of its co-signatories; and (2) that no modification whatever of the existing arrangements of the Ottoman Empire shall be made without the concurrence of all the signatory powers. 

How, then, has Sir Edward Grey applied these principles when he was suddenly faced with the intimation that Italy was going to war with the Turks for the purpose of seizing Tripoli?

We are, of course, left in the dark as to the action of the Foreign Office, and we can only infer what has been done or what has been left undone by the evidence of known facts, and the meagre admissions of the Foreign Secretary. What everyone would have expected would have been done if the Foreign Office had been occupied by Lord Palmerston, Lord Granville, or Lord Salisbury would have been a sharp unmistakable public intimation to the Italian Government (1) that her proposed action was a flagrant violation of the public law of Europe (Article 7 & 8) of the Treaty of Paris ; and (2) that whatever arrangements she might attempt to carry out by force of arms in Tripoli would have no validity until they had received the concurrence of the signatory Powers. That much, at least, might have been regarded as certain. But Lord Palmerston or even Mr. Gladstone might have gone further and have intimated that if the Italian Government persisted in so high-handed a defiance of the essential principle of the law of nations. Great Britain would be compelled to consider the necessity of intervening to defend the public law of Europe. 

That was what might have been done. If even the first stern warning had not been backed up by an unmistakable intimation that Italy might have to reckon with the British fleet, everyone knows the invasion of Tripoli would never have taken place. 

But Sir Edward Grey did none of these things. He, the custodian of British honour, the keeper of the great trust which we have inherited from our fathers, does not appear to have uttered one word of protest, of remonstrance, or of warning. 

Neither does he appear to have offered his services as mediator between Italy and Turkey. For a whole month the nation waited in vain for a single word of information as to what he was doing to protect the public law of Europe from this insolent and defiant assault. 

…Unless our traditional policy was thrown to the winds and the principle of continuity abandoned, we had a right to expect from the British Foreign Secretary the very next day a declaration couched in the spirit, if not in the actual words, of his predecessors to the effect that the status of the African provinces of the Ottoman Empire is by the Treaties of Paris and Berlin a matter which must be dealt with by the signatories of those treaties acting in concert, and that until their consent was duly had and obtained any alleged or attempted alteration of the status quo in Tripoli was ipso facto null and void.” (pp.16-17)

Here lies the reason why the Public Law of Europe was undermined and led to the catastrophe of 1914, and all the events that followed. It was nothing to do with the system, which actually worked, and had kept the peace – relatively – for a century in Europe.

It was all to do with its subversion by the British Foreign Secretary, who, having instituted a revolution in British Foreign Policy brought the whole house down. 

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When T.P. O’Connor met General Andranik

andraniko

On 19 June 1919 T.P. O’Connor, MP, spoke at a meeting held in Central Hall, Westminster, in support of the Armenian cause. O’Connor appeared on the platform with Lord James Bryce, Lord Gladstone (son of William), G.P. Gooch (famous historian) and the Armenian General Andranik. A record of the proceedings was published in a pamphlet, Armenia and the Settlement, by the Armenian Bureau in London.

O’Connor was one of the last remaining Redmondite MPs left in the British House of Commons, after Sinn Fein had destroyed the Irish Parliamentary party in the 1918 election. The Irish had rejected O’Connor’s party after it had gone over to Imperialism and recruited Irishmen in their hundreds of thousands to die and kill in Britain’s Great War on Germany and Ottoman Turkey.O’Connor had supported the war because England had promised Irish Home Rule in return for war-recruiting by his party. But five years later there was no sign of Home Rule, Britain had rejected the vote by the Irish democracy for an independent Republic and it was governing Ireland through military repression.

T.P. O’Connor had been a long-standing supporter of the Armenians, and an anti-Turk in the Gladstonian “bag and baggage” tradition. He supported Russian “liberation” of the Armenians in the 1877/8 war. He was not only an M.P. for Liverpool in England but had a successful journalistic career in English Liberal circles.

O’Connor is also noteworthy as the inspirer of Wellington House, the secret British Department of State, set up under Charles Masterman, to conduct a massive propaganda campaign against the Germans and Turks through distinguished historians and literary figures (This information about O’Connor’s role in the foundation of Wellington House is contained in Lucy Masterman’s biography of her husband, p.272). It was Wellington House that published Arnold Toynbee’s ‘Armenian Atrocities, The Murder of a Nation’, which formed the basis of Lord Bryce’s Blue Book, the British Government record of the massacres, produced in 1916.

At the meeting Lord Bryce said that “we should have in Armenia a homogeneous Armenian population including all these territories”. But he didn’t say how. Given that the Armenians constituted a minority in “all these territories” claimed—illustrated in a map of Magna Armenia contained in the pamphlet —one presumes the author of the Blue Book was in favour of extensive ethnic cleansing or worse, to create this “homogeneous Armenia”.

T.P. O’Connor revealed in his speech that he had been fighting for the Armenians for 45 years with Gladstone, the Chairman’s father, and he was angered by newspaper reports of the terms to be given to the Turks (in what became the Treaty of Sèvres):

“Why is it that the terms of the Armistice in the demands on the Turks contrast so favourably with the terms we imposed on the Austrians and Germans?..  when I … read in an English paper of the ‘gentlemanly Turk,’ well Ladies and Gentlemen, I see red. What is the meaning of it all? Is it money? Is it international finance? Whatever the secret is, from this platform, we declare here to-night that we go back to the old policy of our Chairman’s father: ‘Out with them, Bag and Baggage!’ (Applause) I agree with all that Lord Bryce… as to what the future Armenia should be. It ought to be a big Armenia, not a small one.”

Immediately after O’Connor’s speech a resolution was read out pledging those present to supporting “The Future Government of Armenia and the Boundaries of the New State” as claimed by the Armenian delegations at Paris. The claim for the 7 Ottoman vilayets plus Cilicia and Russian Armenia was then read out. A map appears in the pamphlet showing what Magna Armenia represented. It took in about half of Turkey, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, most of Georgia and Azerbaijan, and parts of Iran as well as Erivan.

When I originally wrote about this meeting in the book The Armenian Insurrection and the Great War a thought occurred to me: What was the most effective Armenian General, Andranik, doing away from the battlefield at this time?

The war, of course, was far from over. A few months earlier Andranik had, himself, been waging it in a very thorough manner, carving out Greater Armenia through massacre and ethnic cleansing of Moslems in the Caucasus, after he had been driven out of eastern Anatolia by the Turks.

Andranik had a fearsome reputation as an irregular fighter (fedayi). The Armenian publication Andranik – Armenian Hero (Patriot Publishing) details his exploits. He became active against the Ottoman Government and the Kurdish population in the late 1880s in the Hunchak party. He then joined the Dashnaktustyun, participating in the assassination of Constantinople’s chief of police, in 1892. He took part in the Sasun Rising in 1894, which was portrayed as an Ottoman massacre of Armenians but which was actually an inter-ethnic battle between Armenians and Kurds which the Ottoman Army put an end to. It was an event manufactured by the Armenian insurrectionists to provoke foreign intervention on the model of the ‘Bulgarian Horrors’ that had enthralled the Gladstonian Liberals a couple of decades before.

In 1901 Andranik took part in the Battle of Holy Apostles monastery, another attempt to encourage Great Power intervention in the Ottoman state on the Armenian side. This exploit greatly impressed Trotsky at the time. He then took command of another attempted insurrection in Sasun in 1904 which led to the deaths of thousands of Armenians and Kurds before Andranik was forced to flee into Persia by Ottoman forces.

After these failures the ARF/Dashnaks changed tack and went into politics. When the Dashnaks decided to go into the Ottoman parliament and worked with the Young Turks Andranik dissented and went to fight in Bulgaria against the Ottomans, pursuing the “bag and baggage’ policy of driving the Moslem population out of the Balkans.

When the Great War began Andranik commanded the first Armenian volunteer battalion attached to the Tsarist invasion force. He took part in the capture of Van and the massacre of the Moslem population there, as well as the taking of Mush in February 1916.

Annoyed by the Russian decision to demobilise the Armenian battalions after their freelance ethnic cleansing operations and the successful capture of most of eastern Anatolia Andranik resigned and left the front in July 1916.

Things, however, all changed in late 1917 because of events in Russia. Andranik returned and participated in the Armenian administration of occupied eastern Anatolia, authorised by the Provisional Government in Russia. Much killing and ethnic cleansing took place with Russian authority weakened and the Dashnaks in key positions.

Andranik was appointed Major General within the new Armenian Army Corp and he led the unsuccessful defence of Erzurum in early 1918 after the Russian lines dissolved, with the Bolshevik takeover. When the Armenian National Council signed the peace Treaty of Batum with the Ottomans, giving up their demand for Western Armenia and settling for the Erivan Republic in the Caucasus, Andranik took a die-hard position, refused to recognise the Armenian State and set out with his forces to realise the original demand for Magna Armenia.

Andranik took his Special Striking Division of Dashnaks to Nakhchivan, Zangezur and  then Karabakh in the Caucasus to extend the territories of the Armenian state he would not recognise. He cosied up to the Bolsheviks after accusing the Armenian Republic of betrayal and declared Nakhchivan part of Soviet Russia. With the arrival of Turkish forces he moved his forces into Zangezor in order to put an Armenian territorial barrier between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Andranik – Armenian Hero is quite frank about the ethnic cleansing this involved:

“Andranik’s irregulars remained in Zangezur surrounded by Muslim villages that controlled the key routes connecting the different parts of Zangezur. According to David Bloxham, Andranik initiated the change of Zangezur into a solidly Armenian land by destroying Muslim villages and trying to homogenize key areas areas of the Armenian state. In late 1918 Azerbaijan accused Andranik of killing innocent Azerbaijani peasants in Zangezur and demanded that he withdraw Armenian units from the area. Antranig Chalabian wrote that, “without the presence of General Andranik and his Special Striking Division, what is now the Zangezur district of Armenia would be part of Azerbaijan today…” Andranik’s activities in Zangezur were protested by Ottoman General Halil Pasha, who threatened the Dashnak government with retaliation for Andranik’s actions. Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovhannes said he had no control over Andranik and his forces.”   

Despite the Mudros Armistice at the end of October ending the war with the Ottomans Andranik decided to fight on to extend Armenian territory into Azerbaijan. He took his Special Striking Division north-east toward Karabakh and its main town, Shusha. Local Armenians, fearing the worst, attempted to stop Andranik through negotiations with their Moslem neighbours. However, after overcoming Kurdish resistance on the road to Shusha, Andranik was only stopped by British General Thomson in Baku, who informed him that a dim view would be taken of any further activities at the Peace Conference in Paris.

The British warning forced Andranik back to Zangezur. After staying the winter there with his force he was persuaded to surrender his weapons to the Armenian Catholicos in Etchmidzin and go to Europe by the British, to get him out of the way.

When the Armenian (Erivan) Republic was established on May 28, 1918  under “Turkish Protection” and a series of Peace and Amity Treaties were signed between  the Ottomans and Armenians on June 4, 1918,  revolutionary leaders such as Andranik, Drastamat Kanajan, and Hanazsap refused to abide by the treaties signed by Khatachaznouni. They continued their cleansing operations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Caucasus with their own forces. A month after the Mudros Treaty of October 1918 Armenia abolished all treaties they had previously signed with the Ottomans on June 4, 1918 and entered Kars and Ardahan with the permission of the British army in Persia.

However, geopolitical considerations determined that the British curb Antranik’s ethnic cleansing activities in Azerbaijan, where a buffer state was needed against the Bolsheviks.

We have an interesting reaction to all of this from Near East Relief, one of the main U.S. Protestant missionary organisations which promoted Armenian/Christian interests in America against the Ottomans during the period. They were one of the suppliers of anti-Moslem propaganda to the West that fuelled atrocity stories and formed the basis of War Propaganda against the Ottomans in Britain and America.

E.A. Yarrow, Assistant to the Chief of Staff, Near East Relief, in Tiflis wrote an article called The British Withdrawal and Present Conditions in early 1920. He was “bewildered” with the British evacuation from the Caucasus, which had been completed in September 1919. The British had occupied the region for a mere 7 months. Yarrow contended that Britain overall had “did badly” in their occupation in the Caucasus, although, at the same time, he gave them the credit for bringing peace, order and stability to the general area:

“They defined the territories of the different republics, put these territories under the control of constitutional authorities, and adopted the policy of maintaining the status quo.”

What seems to have annoyed Yarrow was the surprisingly impartial attitude of the British military authorities in the Caucasus. They did not favour their former allies, the Armenians, as Yarrow thought they should have. Instead, the Georgians, who had been sympathetic to the German enemy, and the Azerbaijanis, who had sided with the Turks, were given every respect, even at expense of the “Christian nation”.

Yarrow noted, the complaints of his Armenian contacts about the British:

“In the Shusha and Karabagh districts, a detachment of the Armenian army under the leadership of General Andranig was making a successful advance on the Tartars, but were stopped by the British, and Andranig was ‘persuaded’ to take a journey to Paris to take part in the peace negotiations! Nothing has been heard of his actions there.” (The Journal of International Relations Vol.10, No.3, January 1920, pp.251-55)

Yarrow complained that Karabakh had been placed under British authority and was given an Azerbaijani Governor. The Armenians had been disarmed and ammunition taken away from them. Finally Nakhchivan, like Karabakh, was not given to the Armenians, but retained as part of Azerbaijan.

Yarrow believed that the British were intending to off-load the mandate for Armenia to the United States whilst retaining influence over the Baku to Batum Railway, through Azerbaijan and Georgia. He thought such an arrangement ‘would be deadly” for the mandated Power over Armenia.

Of one thing Yarrow was correct, but not in the way he intended. He forecast that there would be trouble when the British left. The Armenians, supported by the government in Erivan, began an offensive against the Azerbaijani populations of Zangezur, Nakhjivan and Karabakh. It was reported that the Azerbaijani police force in Karabakh had been slaughtered by their Armenian colleagues. This aggression,  which necessitated the diversion of the Azerbaijani army to these areas, left the northern border open to the Red Army in April 1920. Not only Azerbaijan but Armenia and Georgia, fell to the Bolsheviks as a result. Lloyd George, stumbling from one crisis to another in the expanded British Empire that had been won through the Great War, did nothing to defend the Caucasian states he had helped create and guaranteed the existence of.

It must be said that in the year following the Mudros Armistice, during 1919, Britain did some good in the Caucasus, stabilising things and bringing about orderly state formation in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Democratic government, in particular functioned effectively in Azerbaijan. Of course, this was done largely with the intention of establishing buffer states against Bolshevik Russia.

But nevertheless it was a positive development that upset those who were mindlessly agitating in the West for a Greater Armenia and the establishment of a large Christian state among a predominantly Moslem population.

T.P. O’Connor was one of these. And he found himself on a platform in Westminster with a Die-hard terrorist supporting great irredentist objectives involving substantial ethnic cleansing and massacre.

The last word about how T.P.O’Connor met with General Andranik in Westminster in June 1919 should go to British General Thomson:

“Pursuant to our requirement, the Azerbaijani Army was withdrawn from Baku and was deployed in Yelizavetpol to fight against Armenian aggressors, who committed massacres of Muslims under the command of Andranik and Avetisov.” (CAB 45/107, General W.M. Thomson, Narrative of first few days in Baku, November 17th-24th 1918)

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Pasdermadjian on the war in the Caucasus 1917-18

22852195_1983681511912426_5741226045173895152_nGaregin Pasdermadjian, the Dashnak leader, had two small books published under his revolutionary name of “Armen Garo” (Armenian Hero) as he waited in Washington for his nation to be provided for by the victorious Allies in Paris. The books were called ‘Why Armenia Should Be Free’ (1918) and ‘Armenia and her Claims to Freedom’ (1919).

The first of these is a description of the Armenian Insurrection of 1914 and its contribution to the military efforts of the Great War Allies that was deserving of reward at the Peace Conference. ‘Armenia and Her Claims to Freedom’ is quite different. It is made up of four parts; a description of the ‘Armenian nation’ that is split between Russia, Persia and the Ottoman Empire in the first two; the third part consists of the case for a large Armenian state to be established by the Peace Conference, and the fourth part is an argument why the Allies, for their own interests, should establish this state.

The two books were published when the Great War was won, or about to be won by the Allies. Ottoman Turkey was presumably going to pay a high price for being on the losing side in this highly moral war of Good over Evil. It had been described as the personification of Evil for half a century by the Liberal wing of the victors of 1918 so it was going to get its come-uppance if the war was an honourable one at all.

The Armenians had suffered defeat, but they were very much on the side of “Civilisation against the Barbarians” and had contributed something to the victory, whilst sustaining enormous losses in the process. They expected to be getting a large share of the spoils for their suffering for the cause that was often described as their martyrdom. Or so it was hoped.

It is probably because the two books were written at this precise moment of seeming triumph that they are amazingly candid. Of course, there is much propaganda in them, of an anti-Ottoman and anti-Moslem nature, but there is also a recognition of facts that are nearly always hidden in publications since that time, about what happened to the Armenians in these years.

Pasdermadjian was keen to emphasise that the Armenians were no passive victims of Ottoman massacre.His books describe an Armenian Insurrection, beginning in late 1914, that, it is argued, contributed substantially to the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, and which was seen by Pasdermadjian as well worth the lives of the hundreds of thousands, or more, it consumed, because it had presumably achieved its objective.

Below, from ‘Why Armenia Should be Free’ (1918) is Pasdermadjian’s account of the ‘Role Played By the Armenians in the Caucasus after the Russian Collapse.’

I do not intend to comment on the assertions made in it by Pasdermadjian. Of course, he had to present the Tartars (Azerbaijani Turks etc.) as aggressors and the Armenians as victims. And that is more or less how it is presented to the Western world today.

However, anyone with any knowledge of these events, knows differently – as did British officers in the area and Ministers in Whitehall.

Who, after all, had armed these hordes of Tartars? Who had established their army and trained it? The answer is nobody. The Azerbaijani Turks were the most unmilitarised element in the whole region, excluded from the Tsar’s army before the Great War and refused enlistment in it during conscription. On the other hand there were hundreds of thousands of Armenians under arms in both regular and irregular forces with a long tradition of guerrilla warfare behind them. They were trained by the Tsar in his army, reconstituted by Kerensky in a new army, employed by the Bolsheviks in the absence of a Red Army and then funded by the British to make up a new line in the Caucasus against the Ottomans.

So, in which people did the military art and experience lie in the Caucasus in 1918 and how was that likely to determine who was aggressor and who was victim?

The only thing that the Azerbaijanis had in their favour was that they constituted the majority of humanity in the area. But that was something that was of little concern to the Armenian Dashnaks in establishing their Greater Armenia. And in the one area where the Armenians had the advantage – their military forces – they could always reduce that majority if given the chance.

‘Role Played By the Armenians in the Caucasus after the Russian Collapse.’ (Garegin Pasdermadjian)

This was the state of affairs when there came the crash of the Russian revolution. The heart of every Armenian was greatly relieved, thinking that the greater part of their torments would come to an end. And in truth, during the first few months of the revolution, the temporary government of Kerensky made definite arrangements to rectify the unjust treatment of the Armenians by the government of the Czar. But events progressed in a precipitate manner. The demoralization of the Russian troops on all the fronts assumed greater proportions as the days went by. Foreseeing the danger which threatened the Caucasus, the Armenian National Organization of the Caucasus, as early as April, 1917, sent to Petrograd on a ‘special mission Dr. Zavrieff, already mentioned, and the writer of these lines, in order to have them obtain permission to transfer to the Caucasus some 150,000 Armenian officers and men (scattered throughout the Russian army), by whose assistance the Armenians might be able to protect their own native land against the Turkish advance.

Mr. Kerensky, who was well acquainted with the abnormal conditions reigning in the Caucasus, agreed to grant the request of the Armenian delegates, but, on the other hand, for fear of receiving similar requests from the other races in case he granted an order favourable to the Armenians, he decided to fulfill our request unofficially, that is, without a general ordinance, to send the Armenian soldiers to the Caucasus gradually, in small groups, in order not to attract the attention of the other races. And he carried out this plan.

But unfortunately, scarcely 35,000 Armenian soldiers had been able to reach the Caucasus by November, 1917, when Kerensky himself fell at the hands of the Bolsheviks, and there was created a chaotic condition the result of which was the final demobilization of the Russian army. During December, 1917, and January, 1918, the Russian army of 250,000 men on the Caucasian front, without any orders, abandoned its positions and moved into the interior of Russia, leaving entirely unprotected a front about 970 kilometers (600 miles) in length, extending from the Black Sea to Persia.

As soon as the Russian army disbanded, the 3,000,000 Tartar inhabitants of the Caucasus armed themselves and rose en masse. Toward the end of January last, the Tartars had cut the Baku-Tiflis railroad line as well as the Erivan-Joulfa line, and now began to raid and plunder the Armenian cities and villages, while behind, on the frontier, the regular Turkish army had commenced to advance in the first days of February. Against all these Turks and Tartars the Armenians had one army corps made up of some 35,000 regular troops under the command of General Nazarbekoff, and nearly 20,000 Armenian volunteers under the command of their experienced leaders.

Armenia’s only hope of assistance was their neighbours, the Georgians, who were as much interested in the protection of the Caucasus as the Armenians were, because the Turkish demands of the Brest-Litovsk treaty included definite portions of Georgia, as well as of Armenia; for example, the port of Batoum. And in fact, during the months of January and February they seemed quite inclined to help the Armenians, but when the Turks captured Batoum on April 15 and came as far as Usurgeti, the morale of the Georgians was completely broken, and they immediately sent a delegation to Berlin and put Georgia under German protection.

From this time on the 2,000,000 Armenian inhabitants of the Caucasus remained entirely alone to face, on the one hand, the Turkish regular army of 100,000 men, and on the other hand, the armed forces of hundreds of thousands of Tartars. From the end of February the small number of Armenian forces commenced to retreat step by step before the superior Turkish forces, from Erzingan, Baiburt, Khenous, Mamakhatoun, Erzeroum, and Bayazid, and concentrated their forces on the former Russian-Turkish frontier. Here commenced serious battles which arrested for quite a long time the advance of the Turkish troops. It took them until April 22 to arrive before the forts of Kars, where the first serious resistance of the Armenians took place. The fierce Turkish attack which continued for four days was easily repulsed by the Armenians, owing to the guns on the ramparts of Kars.

During these events a temporary government of the Caucasus existed in Tiflis, composed of representatives of three Caucasian races Georgian, Armenian, and Tartar. This Caucasian government was formed immediately after the coup d’etat of the Bolsheviks, and conducted Caucasian affairs as an independent body. It refused to recognize the authority of the Bolshevik government, or the terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty signed by its accredited delegates. The president of the government was Chekhenkeli, a Georgian. Immediately after the capture of Batoum the Caucasian government opened peace negotiations with Turkish delegates in Batoum itself.

The Turks, by their usual crafty tricks, persuaded the Georgian delegates that they would return Batoum to the Georgians if Kars surrendered without resistance. Feeling assured of this Turkish promise, the Georgian president of the Caucasian government, Chekhenkeli, on the night of April 25, without consultation with the other members of the government, telegraphed the commander of Kars that an armistice had been signed with the Turks on condition of surrendering Kars, and therefore to give up the forts immediately and retreat as far as Arpa-Chai. On the following day the commander of the Armenian soldiers who were defending Kars delivered the fortress into the hands of the Turks and retreated to Alexandropol. Then it became known that Chekhenkeli had sent the fateful telegram on his own responsibility, but it was already too late. This event occasioned very strained relations between the Armenians and Georgians. Not long after, on the 26th of May, the Georgians, assured of German protection, declared in Tiflis the independence of Georgia. Thus the temporary Caucasian government dissolved.

After the separation of the Georgians the Armenian National Council of the Caucasus declared Armenian independence, under the name of the Republic of Ararat, with Erivan as its capital. While the negotiations were going on in Batoum always between the delegates of the Turks and the three Caucasian races comprising the Caucasian temporary government, the Turkish armies, after the occupation of Kars, became more aggressive and commenced to advance toward Alexandropol and Karakilissa.

Concentrating their forces around Karakilissa and Erivan, early in June, the Armenians in two fierce battles drove the Turks back almost to their frontier. In the battle of Karakilissa, which lasted four days, the Turks left 6,000 dead before the Armenian posts, and escaped to Alexandropol. When the Turks felt that their position in the face of the Armenian resistance was becoming more and more hopeless and that it would cost them dear to continue the fight, they immediately began to make concessions.

Up to that time the Turks had not yet recognized the right of Russian Armenia to independence, their objection being that they only recognized in the Caucasus Georgian and Tartar countries. But when they heard the news of the last military victory of the Armenians, on June 14, in Batoum, the Turkish delegates, together with the representatives of the Republic of Ararat, signed the first terms of armistice, leaving the final peace signature to the congress of Constantinople, where the final negotiations were to take place.

The delegates of the three nations of the Caucasus reached Constantinople on June 19. They were 32 in number. Among them were also the representatives of the Republic of Ararat, Mr. A. Khatissoff, the minister of foreign affairs, and Mr. A. Aharonian, the president of the Armenian National Council. In that congress, which convened in presence of the delegates of the German and Austrian governments, the Turks signed peace treaties with each of the newly-formed Caucasian Republics. It is needless to say that those treaties had as much value as that which the Roumanian government was forced to sign a few months before by the central powers. And, as was expected, the Turks and the Germans rewarded the Georgians and the Tartars at the expense of the Armenians. They gave the greater part of the Armenian territories to the other two nations, and the remainder was claimed by Turkey, with the exception of 32,000 square kilometers (about 12,350 square miles), with 700,000 Armenian inhabitants, which were left to the Republic of Ararat.

According to these terms only one-third of the Armenians of the Caucasus are included within the Republic of Ararat, while the remaining 1,400,000 Armenians are left in territories allotted to the Tartars or the Georgians. That portion of the Armenians which inhabits the mountainous regions of Karabagh (which was assigned to the Tartars), up to this very day, October, 1918, resists the Turco-Tartar hordes and refuses at any price to be subjected to the unjust terms of the treaty of Constantinople, while beyond, the Armenians at Van, when their military forces realized that their retreat was cut off early last May, after being sheltered for two whole months in Van, moved toward Persia, there joined the Christian Assyrians in the neighbourhood of Urmia, repulsed for a long time the Turkish and Kurdish attacks, and only early in September succeeded in shattering the Turkish lines and thereby reached the city of Hamadan in Persia, where they entrusted to the care of the British forces the protection of about 40,000 Armenian and Assyrian refugees. In order to complete this picture of the heroic resistance of the Caucasian Armenians, let me say a few words more about the struggle at Baku.

As already mentioned, early in May, 1917, through the efforts of the Armenian National Organization of the Caucasus, the Armenian soldiers and officers scattered throughout Russia were gradually brought together and mobilized on the Caucasian front. With that purpose in view an Armenian Military Committee was formed in Petrograd with General Bagradouni as president. Bagradouni was one of the most brilliant young generals of the Russian army. He had received his military training at the highest military academy of Petrograd, and, during Kerensky’s administration, was appointed Chief of the Staff of the military forces at Petrograd. When the Bolsheviks assumed power they ordered him to take an oath of loyalty to the new government. General Bagradouni refused to do so, and for that reason he was imprisoned, with many other high military officials. After remaining in prison two months, through repeated appeals by the Armenian National bodies, he was freed by the Bolsheviks on condition that he should immediately leave Petrograd.

After his release from prison, General Bagradouni, accompanied by the well-known Armenian social worker, Mr. Rostom, with 200 Armenian officers, left for the Caucasus to assume the duties of commander-in-chief of the newly-formed Armenian army. This group of Armenian officers reached Baku early in March, where it was forced to wait, for the simple reason that the Baku-Tim’s railroad line was already cut by the Tartars. During that same month of March from many parts of Russia a large number of Armenians gathered at Baku and waited to go to Erivan and Tiflis in response to the call issued by the Armenian National Council. Toward the end of March nearly 110,000 Armenian soldiers had come together at Baku. By the 30th of March the news of German victories was spread throughout the Caucasus by the Turco-German agents. On the same day in Baku and other places appeared the following leaflets:

“Awake, Turkish brothers !

“Protect your rights; union with the Turks means life. “Unite, Children of the Turks! “Brothers of the noble Turkish nation, for hundreds of years our blood has flowed like water, our motherland has been ruined, and we have been under the heel of thousands of oppressors who have almost crushed us. We have forgotten our nation. We do not know to whom to appeal for help. “Countrymen, we consider ourselves free hereafter. Let us look into our conscience! Let us not listen to the voice of plotters. We must not lose the way to freedom; our freedom lies in union with the Turks. It is necessary for us to unite and put ourselves under the protection of the Turkish flag. “Forward, brothers! Let us gather ourselves under the flag of union and stretch out our hands to our Turkish brothers. Long life to the generous Turkish nation! By these words we shall never again bear a foreign yoke, the chains of servitude.”

And on the following day (March 31) from all sides of the Caucasus the armed hordes of Tartars attacked the Armenians. The leaders of the Tartars at Baku were convinced that they would easily disarm the Armenian soldiers, because they were somewhat shut up in Baku, but they were sadly mistaken in their calculations. After a bloody battle which lasted a whole week the Armenians remained masters of the city and its oil wells. They suffered a loss of nearly 2,500 killed, while the Tartars lost more than 10,000. The commander of the military forces of the Armenians was the same General Bagradouni, who, although he lost both of his legs during the fight, continued his duties until September 14, when the Armenians and the small number of Englishmen who came to their assistance were forced to abandon Baku to the superior forces of the Turco-Tartars, and retreat toward the city of Enzeli in the northern Caucasus.”

During these heroic struggles, which lasted five and a half months, the small Armenian garrison of Baku, together with a few thousand Russians, defended Baku and its oil wells against tens of thousands of Tartars, the Caucasian mountaineers, and more than one division of regular Turkish troops which had come to the assistance of the latter by way of Batoum. Time after time the Turkish troops made fierce attacks to capture the city, but each time they were repulsed with heavy losses by the gallant Armenian garrison.

The Armenians had built their hopes on British assistance, since nothing was expected from the demoralized Russian army. But, unfortunately, the British were unable to reach Baku with large forces from their Bagdad army. Nevertheless, on August 5, they landed at Baku 2,800 men to help the Armenians. The arrival of this small British contingent caused great enthusiasm among the tired and exhausted defenders of the city. But meanwhile the Turks had received new forces from Batoum and renewed their attacks. After a series of bloody battles the armed Armenian and British forces were forced to leave Baku on September 14 and retreat toward Persia, taking with them nearly 10,000 refugees from the inhabitants of the city.

As to the condition of those who were left behind, this much is certain; that on the day the city was occupied by the Turco-Tartars, nearly 20,000 Armenians were put to the sword, the greater portion of them being women and children. According to the news received from Persia, after that first terrible massacre, other massacres likewise have taken place. The number of the losses is not known; but it may safely be surmised without any exaggeration that out of the entire 80,000 Armenian inhabitants of Baku, all those who were unable to leave the city in time were slaughtered by the revengeful Turks and Tartars. Thus ended the resistance of five months and a half by the Armenians at Baku against the Turco-Germans.

The remnants of the retreating Armenian garrison of Baku, at the time of writing, are located in the Persian city of Enzeli, where, under the command of their heroic leader, General Bagradouni, they are recuperating before hastening to the aid of the Armenians in the eastern Caucasus, who, as already mentioned, up to this very day are resisting the forces of the Turco-Tartars in the mountains of Karabagh.

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GFA RIP?

Is the Good Friday Agreement dead? It has certainly been successfully nullified by the DUP at Westminster.

When the Agreement was signed 20 years ago there were two unionist responses to it. The then majority of unionists represented by the Ulster Unionist Party of David Trimble reluctantly signed up to it and attempted to obstruct its operation from within. The then minority of unionists represented by the Rev. Ian Paisley did not sign up to it and attempted to destroy it from within. An element of the first group of unionists who were not happy with the terms of the Agreement acted as a kind of hand break on it within the majority group before deciding the game was up and joining the second group in outright hostility. Chief amongst them was the current leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster.

Over the course of the operation of the Agreement the minority unionist group replaced the majority group and decided to operate the agreement with the element in nationalism that they detested most, who had been the minority but which had become the majority after the original majority had bungled the Paradise of their own making.

The DUP did a deal with the devil despite the devil’s refusal to repent or wear sack cloth and ashes in repentance for his past sins. And the pact with the devil proved much more fruitful for all than the effort of the fallen Angels.

The Rev. Ian Paisley then conceived a masterly strategy to draw the devil away from his wicked ways and his carnal desires so that he might even embrace Heaven. The devil was to be brought into God’s House and be treated with an element of respect so that he would forget his yearnings for another place.

Although Paisley was got rid of by his former acolytes after conceiving such a radical plan his successor, Peter Robinson, initially embraced it and gave it its fullest expression in his famous/infamous Castlereagh speech of 2013.

But by then unionism had become unsettled by some mortal blows in the communal battle. The 2011 Census result revealed an impending Catholic majority and the Union flag restriction struck at unionist symbolism in the former citadel, which had become overrun by Fenians as the Protestants retreated to its hinterlands.

And so Robinson sounded the retreat from the Paisley strategy and things began gathering momentum in the other direction. Not feeding the crocodiles became the mantra of unionism instead of fattening them for contentment, as Robinson gave way to the UUP deserter, Foster.

However, another blow was in store for unionism. At the start of 2017 the political majority that it had held over the nationalists in the territory of its choosing was smashed by a resurgent Sinn Fein, buoyed up by Catholic discontent at no being fed. This made the Agreement very problematic for the DUP. The historic, inbuilt majority that unionism had used to frustrate nationalist advance could no longer be relied upon to do the job in the future. The goal posts needed moving.

At this point came the Brexit Opportunity. Brexit unfroze the stalemate in the communal grind by introducing an element of flux. It was all to play for again after the last offensive had become bogged down in the mud.

The new British Prime Minister, flattered at being portrayed as Iron Lady II, and believing she could enhance her predecessor’s small majority, decided on a snap election, whilst the Labour Party was tearing itself asunder. This was despite an Act of Parliament recently passed by her party establishing 5 year set terms. The fundamentals of British politics proved too strong for mere constitutional reform. The Constitution was restored by the Government and May exercised her Prerogative Power in going to the country.

But the election proved a disaster for Prime Minister May. Labour, who were to be humiliated, were made more cohesive in the election campaign and Its leader’s position was enhanced both in his party and in the country. And May found herself with no majority and dependent on the DUP to obtain the required parliamentary arithmetic to govern. She negotiated a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP to support her Government during the Brexit negotiations, which have proved to be negotiations within the Conservative Party rather than with the EU.

The new enhanced position of the DUP M.P.s has had an effect within the DUP. Foster, who was wounded by her incompetent handling of the RHI scheme, has joined the British Prime Minister, as a leader who remains on sufferance.

When Foster became leader it was an unexpected turn of events. It was generally thought that Nigel Dodds would follow Robinson. But once Foster threw her hat in the ring and availed of the current fashion for having leaders without testicles, Dodds decided the game was not worth the candle. He held fire and laid low for another time.

Dodds as leader of the phalanx of DUP M.P.s found himself at the axis of the new power. It was already in the interest of the DUP that power moved away from Stormont, where the unionist majority had been nullified, to Westminster, where they were omnipotent. The parliamentary arithmetic made them feel as powerful as John Redmond had felt a century ago as a result of May’s miscalculation. They went to bed with Theresa while Arlene, not being an M.P., froze in the outhouse.

Speaking of the outhouse – In the negotiations to restore Stormont it appears that Sinn Fein gave most of the ground and seemed the most desiring of the two parties for a new accommodation. Foster, herself, seems to have been at least favourable to an accommodation with some allowance for an Irish Language measure and gave reason to believe a deal was done. But the new axis of power – the strong DUP presence in the House of Commons – seem to have decided that the frolics around the outhouse were now inconsequential, compared with the walking of the corridors of power during the Nation’s moment of destiny. The power lies in Westminster and even a little bit of it was not to be given back to Sinn Fein.

The success of the McGuinness/Paisley period of government at Stormont unfortunately had the effect of enabling London, and Dublin, to withdraw from the tending of the Six Counties. But the Six Counties is a garden that quickly gets overgrown with weeds if it does not receive careful tending.

Brexit has made the Good Friday accommodation problematic in a number of ways. As usual instability in England has had detrimental effects in Ireland.

Surprisingly, after all the dissident republican criticism of the Agreement and Adams over the years they have had little to say at their moment of destiny. But surely if Good Friday is dead they were right all along and they are suddenly back in business? Perhaps they were not all they seemed to be?

We shall see. We live in interesting times.

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Dublin Book Launch

BOOK   LAUNCH

by the author: Dr Pat Walsh

Friday 11 November 2016

7:00 pm

The Pearse Centre, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 

“The Catholic Predicament in ‘Northern Ireland”

Volume Two

Resurgence 1969-2016

 

Chair: Mark Langhammer 

Belfast Historical & Educational Society

 In August 1969 came a pivotal event in the collective experience of the Catholics of the North after the Unionist Pogrom of that month set off a defensive Insurrection. Things could never be the same again. And they weren’t.

The Catholic community, let down in its hour of need by both the British Labour Government of the State and Jack Lynch’s Government in Dublin, for the first time fell back on its own resources. In the vital hour it produced something from itself that transformed its situation, turning its position from one of subordination to that of equality.

The Insurrection turned into a 28 Year War that set out to solve, once and for all, the political predicament that the Catholic community of the North had been sealed into back in 1920-1 by Westminster. That was when Britain set up the perverse political construct known as ‘Northern Ireland’ that generated an eternal conflict between its two communities, in which ’the minority’ always came off worst.

Volume One in this series, aptly titled Catastrophe, gives an account of what happened between 1914 and 1968. The present volume tells the rest of the story, putting military and political developments in context.

Resurgence explains why the primary responsibility for that conflict lies with the architects and operators of the system that gave the minority community a stark choice only between permanent second-class status or war. And it describes how that War was ended to the advantage of the community, though short of its final objective, in such an effective way that momentum was carried from war to politics.

It is the story of how the Catastrophe of 1920-5 was transformed by the Resurgence of August 1969 so that the map of Ireland can be unfolded again.

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Sie wollten den Krieg

953600Sie wollten den krieg – wie eine kleine britische elite den ersten Weltkrieg vorbereitete. Wolfgang Effenberger, Jim MacGregor (HG.)

Dr. Pat Walsh: Schlafwandler? Von wegen! Das Committee of Imperial Defence. Wie Grossbritannien seinen Krieg gegen Deutschland plante.

Danke.

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Resurgence at Féile an Phobail

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I will be giving a talk on Resurgence during Féile an Phobail

at St. Mary’s College, Falls Road, Belfast

Tuesday 9th August at 1pm

Everyone Welcome

Dé Mairt 9 Lúnasa, 1.00 i.n. Seoleadh leabhair agus caint i leabhar Pat Walsh ‘Catastrophe’ tugann sé cuntas ar na rudaí a tharla sa Tuaisceart idir 1914 agus 1968. Sa leabhar is déanaí atá scríofa aige dar teideal ‘Resurgence’, míníonn sé na fáthanna a bhfuil an phríomhfhreagracht as an choimhlint sa Tuaisceart ag údair agus oibreoirí an chórais a thug rogha lom amháin don phobal mionlaigh, idir stádas mar shaoránach dara aicme nó dul i mbun cogaíochta. Déanann sé cur síos ar an bhealach a cuireadh deireadh leis an Chogadh ar mhaithe le leas an phobail, cé gur theip air ó thaobh a chuspóra dheireanaigh de, ach ar bhealach éifeachtach a chuir an pholaitíocht chun cinn in áit na cogaíochta. Arna óstáil ag Mark Langhammer.