XXXV Schloss Wilhelmshöhe 19/VIII/1904

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WWI Document Archive > Pre - 1914 Documents > Willy-Nicky Letters between the Kaiser and the Czar > Letters XXI - XXVIII (22 August 1901 - 30 October 1904) > XXXV Schloss Wilhelmshöhe 19/VIII/1904

Schloss Wilhelmshöhe 19/VIII/1904

Dearest Nicky

What a very kind thought that was of yours to ask me to be Godfather to your little boy! You can well imagine what our joy was when we read your telegram announcing his birth![1] "Was lange währt wird gut"[2] says an old German proverb, so may it be with this little dear one! May he grow to be a brave soldier and a wise and powerful statesman; and may Gods blessings allways rest on him and preserve him from all harm of body and soul. May he allways be as a ray of sunshine to you both during your life as he is now in the time of trial! Henry is the bearer of these lines and of my sincerest and heartfelt wishes for you, Alix and the boyl Accompanied by the gift of a Goblet for my little Godchild which he will I hope begin to use when he thinks that a mans thirst cannot for ever be quenched by milk only! Perhaps he may then find out for himself one day that "Ein gut Glas Branntewein, soll Mitternachts nicht schädlich sein"[3] is not only a "truism", but that often "Im Wein ist Wahrheit nur allein"[4] as the butler sings in "Undine",[5] to be wound up by the classical word of our great Reformer Dr. Martin Luther: "Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib and Gesang, der bleibet ein Narr sein Leben lang".[6] These would be the maxims I would try to see my Godchild educated up to!! There ist great sense in them, and nothing can be said against them!

The course of the war has been most trying to your army and navy and I deeply grieve for the loss of so many brave officers and men who fell or were drowned in doing their duty, loyally fullfilling the oath they swore to their Emperor. May the reinforcements which are being sent out increase the numbers and powers of your army to such a extent that the absolute supremacy may be established also in numbers. As far as I could make out Kouropatkine has 180,000 men in the field, where. as the Japs muster about 250-280,000. This seems a disparity still and makes your valiant General's task a very heavy one. Should your battleships in making their last dash from Port Arthur,[7] not be able to reach Wladiwostok on account of injuries received in the fight, their best chance is to try for Tsingtau, where they will be well looked after till the end of the war, instead of beeing blown up or sunk; just as well as we will take care of "Zesarewitch" and the Torp. boats. May next year bring better luck when the Army prepared and formed in full strength will be able to takle their enemy with better chance as there is for the moment; for it seems to me that Kouropatkine is still in danger of beeing cut off from his retreat, which he will have to fight for in the direction of Mukden; God grant he may get through unscathed. The old saying of Napoleon I still holds true "la victoire est avec les gros battaillons".

There is no doubt to me that you will and must win in the long run, but it will cost both money and many men; as the enemy is brave and well led and can only be beaten by overwhelming numbers and time and patience. Of course the operations of the field army will be easier and will give better results, as soon as the Baltic fleet[8] will have arrived on the scene, and forced the Jap. Fleet back into their ports, thus restituting the command of the sea to you, now lost by the inefficiency of the Admirals in command of the Naval Forces at Port Arthur. The command of the sea is an absolutely necessary equivalent to the final success of the land campaign of the army. As it deprives the enemy of his base supports, reinforcements etc, which he can now use freely for the pouring in of reserves, ammunitions, commissariat, evacuation of wounded etc.

When the war broke out in February I worked out a plan of Mobilisation[9] on my own account founded upon the number of Jap. Divisions of 1st line. These being 10-I2 Div. it gives 20 Russ Div. absolute supremacy over them, that means 10 army Corps. Of these 4 Siberian Corps may be deducted as beeing on the spot forming the Manchourian Army, it leaves 6 Corps to be sent from Russia. They would be formed in 2 Armies of 3 Corps each, served by a cavalry corps of 8 brigades with 4 mounted batteries per Army. That was what I expected would be sent out and what would be sufficient to win with. Leaving the Manchourian Army as a sort of advance Guard to mask the arrival of the Russian Corps at their base and their formation and dislocation as an Army. I did not venture to write you my ideas as it is not my business to meddle with your affairs, and I was afraid of your telling me to mind my own business, as you know better what Russia requires. But at this moment the first stage of the campaign being practically over I thought it might be of interest to you.

With best love to Alix and the sunray[10] I remain Ever Your most devoted

and aff-ate friend and cousin


  1. The Czarevitch was born on August I2th, I904, and christened Alexei on August 24th.
  2. Whatever lasts long becomes good.
  3. A good glass of brandy will do one no harm at midnight.
  4. In wine alone is truth.
  5. One of the most charming German fairy-tales by Friedrich de la Motté Fouque, 1777-1843.
  6. Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long.
  7. On the night of August I0th, 1904, a Russian battleship, a cruiser and three destroyers escaped from Port Arthur to TsinTao, by breaking through the Japanese cordon.
  8. It sailed in October, 1904.
  9. The Kaiser's plan of mobilization was useless in solving Russia's difficulties, which were mainly of transportation.
    Against the Japanese army of 520,000 men at the outbreak of the war, Russia only had 150,000 troops east of Lake Baikal. Russia'. problem was how to carry enough men eastward.
  10. Presumably the little Czarevitch.

WWI Document Archive > Pre - 1914 Documents > Willy-Nicky Letters between the Kaiser and the Czar > Letters XXI - XXVIII (22 August 1901 - 30 October 1904) > XXXV Schloss Wilhelmshöhe 19/VIII/1904