Wednesday, August 1, 2012

As the world turns

Peter's Court, Palace, 1 August 1914
Sa Majesté l'Empereur

I received your telegram. Understand you are obliged to mobilise but wish to have the same guarantee from you as I gave you, that these measures do not mean war and that we shall continue negociating for the benefit of our countries and universal peace deal to all our hearts. Our long proved friendship must succeed, with God's help, in avoiding bloodshed. Anexiously [sic], full of confidence await your answer.

The above telegram is from Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to his cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, days after the Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia and the mobilization of the Russian, German, and French armies, i.e., the beginning of World War I. If we've learned anything from WWI and the first half of the 20th century, it should be this: beware of men with withered arms (see also: Joseph Stalin).

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Maira Gall