Difference between revisions of "L Cronberg 24/VIII/1905"

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Cronberg 24/VIII/1905

To-day 4 weeks ago "Bjoerkoe"! The delightful hours we spent together! And the lasting bonds of unity of friendship which will bring fruits of good to our countries, so God will. I just got your kind long telegram! So many thanks; most kind to take so much trouble. I quite understand your position and resolutions! As soon as you are sure of your People backing you up, and they are ready for fur~ ther fighting then all is right, and wish you Heavens help and a speedy victory. I am on a visit to my sisters here, who just returned from a long stay in England. They tell me the news of our meeting at Bjoerkoe threw all the people there and the press into the state of wildest excitement. The King and the Court before all were quite "aus dem Häuschen",[1] he trying to find out from my sisters whether they know anything of what was going on! They laughed him in the face of course, and were much amused.

The extract from the letter of Bismarck to Schleinitz[2] from Russia in 1858 will interest you as it shows that history repeats itself and the times were very like what they are now. I saw Granduke Georg today with Minny of Greece, he told me his news from private source were that the publication of the "Duma" had created great satisfaction in Russian provincial circles; and that sympathy for Germany and acknowledgement for our behaviour to Russia during the war were warm and lively. My sisters and Tino[3] and all the family send you their very best love! Dont forget the order ranking the "advancement" of the line equal to the Guard. It will answer splendidly! I enclose some new postcards of the Saalburg I visited today, it is nearly finished and looks lovely in the fine summer weather.

Now Good bye my dear Nicky, God help you and protect you and all your family my prayers will always follow you as from you

most devoted and aff-ate friend and cousin

P. S. Just when I had finished my letter I got a message from President Roosevelt.[4] Knowing my interest in the Peace Conference he kindly sent me information of the situation and of the points at issue upon which there is a difference of opinion between Japan and Russia, and his proposals for meeting the wishes of both belligerents as far as it is possible. I think his proposals most sensible and practical and hope that they may come up to your expectations. As far as I can make out they seem to secure to Russia all the advantages of an honourable Peace. But of course it is for you solely to decide, as you are best able to judge of the feeling of your countrymen. Once more I beg your pardon for being such an awful bore and bothering you, but you know that it all comes from a friendly heart, which beats warmly for you and your welfare as well as that of your country.

I have ordered my fleet to shadow the British and when they have anchored to lay themselves near the British Fleet to give them a dinner and make them as drunk as possible to find out what they are about; and then sail off again! I think the astonishment will be great as the English as well as our people believe that our fleet will be in the North Sea! So dont tell anybody for the secret must be well kept! Tata I this is the real end of my epistle!


The following is a translation of the extracts of Bismarck's letter to the German Secretary of State, von Schleinitz, appended by the Kaiser to his foregoing letter:

"Following the announcement of the agrarian reforms, every one in Russia who does not make his living exclusively by holding office demands and expects some tangible form of participation by the people and especially by the higher social strata in the government of the country; the masses are temperate, but one hears voices reminding one of the "Convention" and which have already outdistanced the viewpoint of the Girondists. One traces the activity of agitators who neglect no method for spreading calumnies against the court and the imperial house, even among the lowest social strata. The intimate circle of the Czar is unfortunately not free from elements offering opportunities for the worst of such (charges) and whose acts as well as responsibility for the whole Augean stable of official blunders are cleverly blamed on the Czar, whose kindly heart without doubt is too indulgent toward many persons known to him, and whose honest efforts for the improvement of things are even recognized by those who criticize him for the failure of these efforts. The poor people, even the common soldiers, it is said, are told stories of the money expended at the court, the retainers of the grand dukes, the purchase of houses for the youngest sons of the Czar, the corruption at court, and this is compared with their poverty. Persons in high places, through office and birth, speak to me of revolutions as of things possible, but affecting them little personally, and touching the Czar alone, so that in no case does it appear that they think of sacrificing their lives in the defence of the throne. Indeed, at all times here people have made up by sharp criticism in conversation for the deference which they show to governmental authority in practical life; but in former times the European atmosphere was not so unfavorable for monarchical authority as today and especially as it has been in Russia for the last four years. Perhaps it will pass like an intermittent fever, yet it is possible perhaps some little stray spark may yet start a great conflagration here. One hears officers complaining about the laxity of discipline among the soldiers and war is considered necessary if bad morale is to be avoided. All over the world things look ominous and when it has come to such a pass that nobles outwardly of calm and peaceable temperament buy up whole shipments of revolvers and munitions in order to be prepared for the summer, I do not know if it were not better to be a Christian dog in Damascus than a gentleman in the land of Czar Nicholas. The prospects of the Germans in North Schleswig are at any rate less uncomfortable than those of the Russian land junker who padded with revolvers goes among his peasants like a living infernal machine. The Czar is depressed by the seriousness of the internal situation and has not the same interest as ordinarily for foreign politics. He said to me yesterday with deep sighs that Wednesdays are for him the only happy days, because then his duties give him 24 hours of rest. It is because every Tuesday evening he goes on a hunt. Also at my recent audience he was downcast; he presented me with photographs of himself and the august Czarina and appended to them a description of the originals of all the family portraits hanging in the room. If words were fatal, not a male of the entire house of Hollstein-Gottorp would still be alive. Everyone does justice to the noble heart of the Czar, but the "buts" which follow depends upon my coming at the opportune moment, or to beg for a change in the subject of the conversation. It is very unfortunate that the Czar is made responsible for all the various and far-fetched misdeeds associated with the name of Minna Iwanowna, in German Frau von Burghof, friend of the old Adlerberg. That guard officers should discuss in the presence of strangers the question whether or not to fire on the people, Czar Nicholas surely did not expect so soon. The police system here, dating from olden times, has been so good, that the Czar was bound to learn too much of all these things, and the practical chief of this institution, Timaschew, sees everything in the near future as extremely gloomy."


  1. Put out.
  2. The letter of Bismarck's was not written in 1858, as the Kaiser claims, but on November 30th, 1860.
  3. Crown Prince Constantin, later King, of Greece.
  4. The Russo-Japanese peace agreement was reached at Portsmouth, New hampshire, on August 29th, five days after this letter was written, and the treaty was signed on September 5th.

Return to 'Willy-Nicky' Letters XLIX - LXXV (22 August 1905 - 26 March 1914)