100 Years Since Russia in World War I


This past August 1, 2014, marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the entry of the Russian Empire into World War I. This past August 10, 2014, marks the 110 years anniversary of the Battle of the Yellow Sea between the Russian and Japanese navies during the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese War. These two events can provide a background for discussing some subjects concerning the constant interference of foreign powers into Russia.


Imperial Russia: Constantly Under Attack From Within and Without, Yet Still Progressing

Tsarist Russia, a much maligned civilization,  was  fast advancing and beginning to overtake the nations of Western Europe on all grounds, i.e., military, financial, economic, and political. The land of Rus’  had long overtaken the West in terms of theological truth. Russia was, nevertheless, subject to intense Communistic terrorism in the time prior to St. Nicholas’ reign and in the time after it. Communist forces continuously murdered civil servants, attempted to assassinate Tsars ( in fact successfully killing Tsar Alexander II in a suicide bombing), blowing up buildings, train stations, provoking riots, and continuously trying to foment revolution. As Fr. Raphael Johnson, Ph.D., in his book “The Third Rome“(which I advise you to buy; it will change you outlook on pre-Revolutionary Russia) says:

Alexander III came to the throne over the corpse of his father. The revolutionaries, emboldened, as they always are, by liberal pacification, the communist and other far left groups were becoming increasingly violent. From the reign of Alexander II to 1905, the total number of people — both innocent civilians and government officials (including lowly bureaucratic clerks) — murdered by the Herzenian “New Men” came roughly to 12,000. From 1906-1908, it rose by 4,742 additional, with 9,424 attempts to murder. On the other hand, the Russian government’s attitude towards the “New Men” was mixed. Generally, the monarchy was lenient. Exile to Siberia was often not a punishment. Siberia is not entirely a massive, frozen wasteland, but is possessed of great natural beauty, mountains and rivers. It is cold, but it is not the locale of the popular imagination. Local people, not knowing who the deportees were, received them with hospitality; they became part of town life, and the deportees were given much personal freedom. This sort of “imprisonment” was far superior to the American penal system, which can be — at its maximum security level — considered merely a gang war between various minority groups.


Additionally, in the 1904-5 Russo-Japaense War, which started by a Japanese surprise attack on Port Arthur,  an opportunity was given to begin the destruction of Russia.  Famously, Jacob Schiff, the well-known Jewish New York banker, extended 200 million dollars (an enormous amount of money in 1904) to the Japanese Empire to fund its war against Russia.  Ostensibly, Schiff did this as Jewish revenge for the some 66 Jews killed in the fighting of the Kishinev pogroms. In return, between 34,000 and 54,000 Russians were killed in the Russo-Japanese War; a good return for his investment of revenge.  Yet, Japan, had additional allies in various ways in its war against Russia.

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, signed in 1902, was intended specifically to oppose Russia. British diplomat Cecil Rice was preparing the groundwork for aiding Japan in a future war against Russia in the 1890s.  In David Henry Burton’s book about the British diplomat, “Cecil Spring Rice: A Diplomat’s Life“, on pg. 100, it says concerning the questions of influence in Northeast Asia:

Was it to be Japan or Russia? Spring Rice reported that Russia had clearly earmarked parts of Korea for exploitation. He was also mentally lining up sides, not for the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, but for Russo-Japanese conflict ten years on. How was Russia to be stopped in its quest for territory and influence? By Japan and England “acting in concert,” was Spring Rice’s answer. “The great feeling in Japan,” as he saw it, ” is that England is her natural ally; not out of love for us but out of hatred of Russia.

Additionally, in Donald Keene’s “Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912”, on pg. 630, ch. 56:

“The first alliance between Japan and England, signed in 1902, was for a period of five years, but in 1905, while the treaty was still in effect, it was modified and extended. During the Russo-Japanese War, the British aided the Japanese in various ways, the most important of which was selling munitions, without which the Japanese could not have fought the war. The British kept the Japanese informed when they sighted Russian warships, and they also had been instrumental in preventing ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet (which might have reinforced the naval forces sent against Japan) from passing through the Dardanelles. But Britain’s announced policy during the war was one of strict neutrality and officially did not favor Japan.”


Despite the disaster of the Russo-Japanese War ( and the continous agitation by revolutionary parties in Russia, taking advantage of the aftermath) Russia was still in rather good condition. The historian Charles Emmerson, observes:

In May 1913 a prominent French economist, Edmond Théry, travelled to Russia to investigate an economic miracle: the unruly transformation of a financially backward empire into a modern agricultural and industrial superpower. The conclusions of his whistle-stop tour were dramatic and far removed from the kind of gloomy prognostications one might have expected. By 1948, Théry wrote, Russia’s population would be 343.9 million – three times that of Germany, six times that of Britain and eight times that of France. ‘If things continue between 1912 and 1950 as they have between 1900 and 1912’, he argued, ‘Russia will dominate Europe by the middle of the current century, politically as much as economically and financially.’ Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) could now be consigned to history. Though socialists, anarchists and the perpetual schemers of the radical intelligentsia plotted the regime’s downfall and unrest sporadically rippled across the country, Russia did not feel to Théry like a country on the brink of full-blown social revolution. The future, it seemed, was bright.


Britain, which was the center of world finance at that time, continued to obstruct Russia on every single level.  Although there was a group of Englishmen who were committed Russophiles, and sympathetic to Russian civilization on many fronts, such never controlled policy on any significant level.  However, it was not only on the level of foreign policy that Britain (which represented the western elite) consistently plotted the downfall of Orthodox Russia.  The numerous attempts by the Russian Church to bring about a legitimate corporate re-union of non-Orthodox bodies into Orthodoxy, by such bodies fully accepting Orthodoxy in its fulness, were constantly being sabotaged by the religious wing of the British state, the Anglican Church (whether in Anglican attacks on Dr. Overbeck and his work, especially the Anglican sabotage at the 1877 Bonn Conference that the Russian Church held in order to bring the Old Catholics into Orthodoxy; or the smugness of Fortescue, who, though a Roman Catholic, records with satisfaction how the British fought against close relations between Ethiopia and Russia, and the possibility of Ethiopia leaving the Coptic communion for Orthodoxy).


Russia in World War I: Enemies Become “Allies”, Friends Enemies, and Russia Saves the Day (Numerous Times)

At the outset of World War I, Britain seemed to be an ambivalent ally. After all, they had helped the Japanese; and why should their policy be any different now? And before that, France and Britain enaged on the side of the Ottoman Muslim Empire against the Russian Christians in the Crimean War of the 1850s.  Lloyd George, the British prime minister during World War I, lauded the fall of the Tsar. And King George V and others blocked the Imperial Family from finding refuge in England (and thus, shared some responsibility in their murders; though, what man meant for evil, God turned to Good).

And despite all the propaganda, Russia did rather well in World War I. With the single exception of the absolute catastrophe of the Battle of Tannenberg, the Russians was able to score several victories against the central powers, with little or no aid from their supposed allies in the West. Russia had to simultaneously fight the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Persian Empire, and eventually their fellow Orthodox, the Bulgarians (apparently Bulgaria had forgotten Russia’s help in their liberation in 1877). In turn, Russia found herself having only Romania and Serbia on her side; and Serbia was not in a position to launch anything like an effective and deadly attack on the Central Powers.  Yet, Romania would only enter the war on the side of Russia in 1916. Rightly was World War I named the “Second Fatherland War” by imperial authorities; the First Fatherland War was the Napoleonic War on Russia (which was also combined with Ottoman and Persian wars on Russia in the South).  For the second time in 100 years Russia was facing three major powers on multiple fronts that could legitimately pose an existential threat to Russia; a situation which the United States, Britain, or modern France hasn’t known.

Despite the aforementioned slaughter at Tannenberg, Russia successfully defeated several Austrian armies under the command of such a military genius as Conrad von Hotzendorf, and pushed the Austro-Hungarian forces out of Gallicia. The Battle of Galicia resulted in the liberation of Lvov (Lemberg) and the attendant unification of many Uniates to Holy Orthodoxy. These successes of the Russian forces, despite massive opposition, caused the Central Powers much greater alarm than anything that was happening on the Western Front. So terrified was the German High Command by the early Russian victories and advances that they transferred massive resources AWAY from the Western front which was engaging the British and French armies (and was having great success, almost 43 miles away from Paris in September of 1914; needless to say, a German victory could have forced the Western allies to end the war and thus have prevented a great deal of bloodshed).  As Fr. Raphael Johnson writes in his book, “The Third Rome”:

“A full corps was sent to the eastern part of Germany to shore up the terribly flagging Austrian weakling who was now dealing with a major advance into German held territory led by the commander in chief, Tsar Nicholas himself. Nicholas, seeing the inability of Austria to continue the war, and of the coming defeat of France, decided to launch an assault against Germany and thus distract her from the ultimate victory against Paris.”


Thus, it was the Russian Empire, which had entered the war in order to protect its Orthodox ally Serbia, and was allied with two powers (France and Britain) which had historically been inimical to Russia (on many fronts), that prevented the complete collapse of the Western allies in France.  This author cannot help but agree with and quote (at length) Fr. Raphael’s sentiments on what should have happened:


“Now, this author would, had he been alive at the time, have loved to see the rotten, Freemasonic-controlled and anti-clerical French republic smashed asunder by royal Prussian guns, but, insofar as historical circumstances sent France and Russia together (largely over the Balkan question), Russian policy, therefore and most unfortunately, was to win against Germany. Nonetheless, it is true that, outside of the Balkan quagmire, the interests of Prussia and Russia were far closer than to those of France or England. Russia certainly had an interest in joining with the Germans against the imperial arrogance of England, which was continually chafing the Russians in Asia. Prussia, not exactly interested in south Asia as she had her own political consolidation to worry about, would have been far Jess of a competitor. Let it suffice to say that the world would have been a much better place had Russia been able — by some miracle of providence — to join with Prussia and create an alliance of Christian monarchs against the vapid liberal capitalism that typified Britain and France, and, unfortunately, post-modern America. Thus, it is safe to say that the Balkan questions artificially twisted the objective interests of Wilhelm II such as to shift the natural alliance structure between Germany and Russia. In other words, challenging British dominance and inhumanly arrogant imperialism was far more a shared interest of both Russia and Prussia than has been heretofore been mentioned in the literature.

The Kaiser and Tsar were cousins, and had corresponded regularly before the war. St. Nicholas had sent many telegrams to his cousin in Berlin to reach a peace agreement as war clouds loomed echoing the peace missions of Nicholas I to Paris before the Crimean War exploded. It should be kept in mind that the Serbs had long since satisfied every demand of the weakening and insecure Austrian monarchy after the assassination of their archduke. Austria, however, desperate to smash that ever present threat to Catholic imperialism in the Balkans, wanted war at any price. Germany, interested herself in the potential wealth of Croatia and Slovenia (both of which had long been faithful servants of Vienna), did not seek to influence Vienna in any constructive manner, but clearly understood the situation. Kaiser Wilhelm II stated concerning the Serbian concessions after the assassination: “This is more than one could have expected. . . . With it, every reason for war disappears. … I am convinced that, on the whole, the wishes of the Dual Monarchy have been acceded to” (Singleton, 118-9). In other words, Wilhelm understood that there was no reason for war, but waited and saw what Prussia could gain from one. Unfortunately, it was the loss of his throne and the redrawing of Europe by the liberal capitalist powers and the subhuman financial scum who controlled them.”

The Menshevik and socialist enemy of Christian rule, Pushkarev, who was alive during the War and the Revolution, admits freely the fact that, despite set backs, Russia’s military position was not as bad as we are led to believe:

Evaluated objectively, the military situation of Russia at the beginning of 1917 was not at all catastrophic. During 1916 the Russian army on the Austrian and Hungarian fronts went over to the offensive and achieved a number of major victories, although not in the German held sections of the front. The shortage of ammunition was a thing of the past, and the army was supplied better than ever before. The morale of the front line troops was, on the whole, fully satisfactory, as foreign observers such as Alfred Knox or Bernard Pares have testified. But as General Golovine put it: “the further from the firing line, the greater the pessimism.” (Quotes on pg. 223, “The Third Rome”)

By 1915, due to the success of the Russian Empire, and the almost total collapse of the Austro-Hungarian forces, the German High Command was forced to transfer 140 divisions to the Eastern Front, thus, tying up tremendous reserves that could otherwise have been used against the Western allies with deadly effect. In 1916, the Brusilov Offensive by the Imperial Russian Army effectively destroyed any further meaningful resistance of the Austro-Hungarian empire. St. Nicholas, who was commander of the Imperial forces, despite the objections of General Evert, sided with the innovative and successful General Brusilov (whose pre-Blitzkrieg shock tactics proved stupendously successful).  Once again, Orthodox Russia, in the Brusilov Offensive, saved the Western allies from defeat; the offensive forced Germany to halt its attack on Verdun and transfer additional military forces to counter Russia’s successful breakthroughs and advances.

Western Powers Put Communists in Control; Russia’s Sacrifice Not in Vain

And despite Germany and its allies maintaining, by 1917, an uneasy stalemate against Russian forces, the Kaiser and his government were still deathly afraid of the future.  In order to sow more chaos in Russia (other than was being sown by constant Marxist terrorist actions in the midst of the War), Germany sent Lenin along with several other revolutionaries into Russia, with, literally, a train full of gold, as Dr. Antony Sutton, the well known British economists documents.

His scholarship has never been seriously challenged (seriously), devoting an entire book to the manner in which Western banking interests actively supported the Bolshevik Revolution. Woodrow Wilson even made it possible for Trotsky to get an American passport to enter Russia!  So, Germany sent Lenin into Russia and  the United States sent Trotsky!
The result was the overthrow of the Tsar and the imperial government, and the capitulation of the socialist Kerensky provisional government to the demands of the Central Powers.  The attendant result was the collapse of the imperial Russian army on the southern fronts, and the massacres of the Armenians and the Assyrians. The Tsar’s forces had been protecting, and allying with these Christian peoples in their resistance to Islamic fanaticism (despite the fact that the Armenians and the Assyrians were not Orthodox; thus, the generosity of the Russian empire to even its theological enemies).

Russia did not want the war. In fact, Russia was not prepared for war in the conventional sense of the war; that is, it had not engaged in a massive armament build up like the western allies or the Central Powers. In fact, St. Nicholas had been a constant proponent of international disarmament and peace among nations.  He did not want war, and if it had been up to St. Nicholas and his relative in Berlin, it could have been avoided; however, the alliance between Germany and Austria was too much for Berlin to resist (even though the Kaiser admitted Serbia had gone further in fulling Austria’s demands than anyone could reasonably expect). Yet, despite the generally non-militaristic stance (in comparison to other major empires) of Russia, its forces performed more than admirably; they performed heroically in a situation that would have caused any other nation to loose hope. They were fighting on multiple fronts and constantly harassed by terrorist bombings and actions that could only be described as treasonous (for example, Marxists forces disrupting trains, productions, organizing and agitating strikes, allying with German forces).

Bp. Nikolai (Velimirovich), summed up well what the Russian empire sacrificed. Though he speaks in terms of what Russia gave Serbia, the sentiment nevertheless reveals the true nature of the Christian Monarchy of Russia. Bp. Nikolai said,

“Our debt to Russia is great. A person could owe a debt to another person, a nation – to another nation. But the debt the Serbian people owe to Russia for its actions in 1914 is so great that it won’t be repaid in generations and centuries. This is a debt of love, when one dies saving one’s neighbor. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, said Christ. The Russian Tsar and Russian people, who went to war in order to defend Serbia, entered it unprepared, knowing full well that they are facing death. But the love the Russians have for their brothers did not retreat in the face of danger and was not afraid of death”.