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The Kaiser and the Tsar

08 September 2017

September 7th, 1917

AN EXTREMELY enlightening series of telegrams that passed between the Kaiser and the Tsar of Russia has been published by the New York Herald. In them there is revealed an ingenious attempt on the part of the Kaiser to prevent the entente between England and France from developing into a triple alliance. The North Sea incident in 1904, which created considerable ill-feeling between England and Russia, furnished the Kaiser with a favourable opportunity for entrapping the weak-minded Tsar into a dishonourable engagement. In many particulars the correspondence between the two autocrats — Willy and Nicky as they called one another and themselves — was so ridiculous as to throw some doubt at first on its authenticity, but there seems to be no reason for thinking that it is a clever hoax. We all know — has he not himself told us? — that the Kaiser has such lofty knightly ideals that, in his judgment, those who sank the Lusitania went perhaps a little too far. But, as seeing that he himself was the author of the scheme for corrupting the Tsar’s sense of honour, we may be sure that there was nothing unknightly in the transaction. In one of the telegrams we see the Kaiser in another rôle, that of the Imperial bagman. He suggested to the Tsar that he had better place in Germany orders for new ships, which could be used, when the war with Japan was over, as “excellent persuaders during the peace negotiations”. “Our private firms”, said the All-Highest, “would be most glad to receive contracts.” The Tsar, if he had not been such an innocent, might have had his suspicions aroused by this bid for business. At any rate, he will have time, in his retirement in Siberia, to meditate on the folly of listening to his astute relative.


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