XXVI Generalcommando Posen 2/IX/1902

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Generalcommando Posen 2/IX/1902

Dearest Nicky

Since my return from Reval I have been very buisy, as you will have seen by the papers. Now that my illustrious guest the King[1] has left after a successful visit I am able in the "trouble" of maneuvres to spare a few minutes, which will consecrate to these lines I send you. For needless to say so, the souvenir of Reval is still vivid before my eyes; with it the kindness and friendship you showed me, the fine military display, the efficiency of your fleet at target practice and at evolutions and last not least the many hours of amiable and undisturbed companionship with friendly intercourse I was allowed to spend with you, all that is still forward in my thoughts and still fully occupies my suites and my mind that I feel it would be a decided want of tact and education if I did not once more thank through this letter from all my heart. The whole stay was a continuous treat for me; but it was more. The school of Naval gunnery which was shown to me by your orders is the most vital part of the development of the Navy and of its preparation for "business." Through this permission you showed me a special mark of confidence in fact a reciprocity for what I showed you at Danzig -- which implies a complete trust in the visitor, only possible between men having the same ideas and principles, and which between two Monarchs means united work in the common cause of preserving the peace for their countries. This trust and faith you have shown me is, -- I can assure you -- not misplaced, for I fully reciprocate it. That is shown by the fact that the secret plans for my newest ships -- invisible to the foreigner -- were handed over to you and to the discretion of your Naval authorities. To these facts add that we both have the same interest in the de" velopment of our Navies, that the passion for the sea is inborn to us, that will suffice to show that we must look at our two navies as one great organization belonging to one great Continent whose interest it must safeguard on its shores and in distant seas. This means practically the Peace of the World.

For as the Rulers of the two leading Powers of the two great Continental Combinations we are able to exchange our views on any general question touching their interests, and as soon as we have settled how to takle it, we are able to bring our Allies to adopt the same views, so that the two Alliances -- i.e. 5 Powers -- having decided that Peace is to be kept, the World must remain at peace, and will be able to enjoy its blessings. This is a vivid illustration of the fact that the two Alliances hold the balance of Europe and of the World in keeping in close communication with each other by the annual meeting of their two leaders to exchange their views.

This is the more necessary as certain symptoms in the East seems to show that Japan is becoming a rather restless customer and that the situation necessitates all coolness and decision of the Peace Powers. The news of the attachment of the Japanese General Yamai[2] -- former leader of the Jap. troops in China -- to the Legation at Peking in order to take in hand the reorganisation of the Chinese Army -- i.e. for the unavowed object of driving every other foreigner out of China is very serious. 20 to 30 Million of trained Chinese helped by half a dozen Jap. Divisions and led by fine, undaunted Christian hating Jap. Officers, is a future to be contemplated not without anxiety; and not impossible. In fact it is the coming into reality of the "Yellow Peril" which I depicted some years ago, and for which engraving I was laughed at by the greater mass of the People.

As it is interesting to see how the distribution of Naval Power would be in case complications should arise in the East I have made a rough and approximate calculation, which has taken the form of a table, which I submit to you. The numbers are not accurate as the ships are constantly changing, but are more to serve as a general clue. The vessels nearing completion are counted as available, and the oldest ones as well as smaller ones are omitted.

The review went off very well and the V Corps was as good as when you saw it near Görlitz. Everybody was glad to welcome your officers and the Governor General Tschertkoff.[3] I am most grateful you allowed them to come and am quite charmed with the whole bearing of the fine old soldier, who has shown himself exactly as you described him to me. I have given him the Black Eagle to show how I appreciate his visit. He as well as all your officers -- who made an excellent impression on me -- were deeply afflicted and of course we all too including my wife, at the mishap of Alix; God grant she may soon recover, and that she may feel no ill effects. With Victoria's and my best love to you ~both I remain your most devoted friend and cousin

Ad. of Atlantic


  1. The King of Italy, in Germany August 27-31, I902.
  2. Major-General Yamai was Military Attaché at the Japanese Legation in Peking in 1902-1903.
  3. The Governor-General of Warsaw.

Return to 'Willy-Nicky' Letters XXI - XXVIII (22 August 1901 - 30 October 1904)