MoboReader> Literature > Kelly Miller's History of the World War for Human Rights

   Chapter 18 THE WORLD RULERS AT WAR.

Kelly Miller's History of the World War for Human Rights By Kelly Miller Characters: 28248

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Woodrow Wilson, the Champion of Democracy-The Egotistical Kaiser-The German Crown Prince-Britain's Monarch-Constantine Who Quit Rather than Fight Germany-President Poincaire-And Other National Heads.

No matter what the human frailties may be there are always men who rise in the stress of circumstances to unexpected heights. They thrive upon difficulties and in the emergencies become protectors and saviors of men. In the world's greatest melting-pot-the burned and blood-stained battlefields of Europe-there were tried and tested millions of men of all nationalities and characteristics, and though the experience was one of bitterness, there was found in it the satisfaction that in their own way millions of men proved themselves great.

Out of the hordes that rode over mountains, sailed the seas or picked their way through trenches and across the scarred surface of the earth there looms the figures of some whose names will go down in history for all time. Their names will be written indelibly upon the pages of life and they will be known for ages after the evidences of the great strife have been obliterated and the peace for which the world struggled has been made a permanent thing.

Among those whose names will be forever linked with the terrible war as a leader of men-whose figure stands out against the mass of humanity-is Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America. Though he neither faced bullets nor tramped the historic byways of Europe in the terrible struggle, he was to all intents and purposes the commander-in-chief of all the world forces seeking to break the autocratic domination of the Hohenzollerns of Germany and give democracy its place among the nations of the world which its character justifies.

President Wilson, when he was elevated to the highest position in America which the Nation could bestow, was recognized as one of the greatest essayists and students of history, political economy, constitutional law and government in the country. And those who made light of his "book-learning" and referred to him as "the school-master president," came to know that his training and the very character of his life's work fitted him better than probably any other man in America to deal with the great national and international problems which confronted, which culminated with or grew out of America's entrance into the great war.

WILSON'S MANY HONORS.

He was born in Staunton, Va., in 1856, the son of Rev. Joseph Woodrow Wilson, and received his early education at Davidson College, N.C. Subsequently he received a degree at Princeton University and graduated in law at the University of Virginia, later practicing law at Atlanta. After this he received degrees at Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale Colleges, and was professor of history and political economy, first at Bryn Mawr College and later at Wesleyan University, and finally professor of jurisprudence and political economy, then jurisprudence and politics and afterward president at Princeton University, from which post he was elected Governor of the State of New Jersey in 1913. He resigned from the Governorship and was elected President of the United States for a term beginning March, 1913, and was re-elected in November, 1916, for a second term beginning March, 1917, both times on the Democratic ticket.

As against the figure of President Wilson there stands that of the Emperor William of Germany, whose policies indirectly precipitated the war and impelled the alignment of nations to defend themselves against his autocratic domination. For years the head of the House of Hohenzollern, descendant of the ancient margraves of Germany who have battled with the old Romans, made it manifest in speech and by action that his ambition was to create a world empire.

GERMANY MUST BE RECKONED WITH.

Once at the launching of one of the great German warships he said: "The ocean teaches us that on its waves and on its most distant shores no great decision can any longer be taken without Germany and without the German Emperor. I do not think that it was in order to allow themselves to be excluded from big foreign affairs that, thirty years ago, our people, led by their princes, conquered and shed their blood. Were the German people to let themselves be treated thus, it would be, and forever, the end of their world-power; and I do not mean that that shall ever cease. To employ, in order to prevent it, the suitable means, if need be extreme means, is my duty and my highest privilege."

In a famous interview in the London "Daily Mail" in 1908, discussing the attitude of Germany toward England, the Kaiser was quoted as follows:

"You English," he said, "are mad, mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you that you are so completely given over to suspicions quite unworthy of a great nation? What more can I do than I have done? I declared with all the emphasis at my command, in my speech at Guildhall, that my heart is set upon peace, and that it is one of my dearest wishes to live on the best of terms with England. Have I ever been false to my word? Falsehood and prevarication are alien to my nature. My actions ought to speak for themselves, but you listen not to them but to those who misinterpret and distort them. That is a personal insult which I feel and resent. To be forever misjudged, to have my repeated offers of friendship weighed and scrutinized with jealous, mistrustful eyes, taxes my patience severely. I have said time after time that I am a friend of England, and your Press-or at least a considerable section of it-bids the people of England refuse my proffered hand, and insinuates that the other holds a dagger. How can I convince a nation against its will?"

And then as if to impress upon the world the belief that he was chosen of God, the Kaiser repeatedly gave voice to such bombastic utterances as when to his son in Brandenburg, he declared: "I look upon the people and nation handed on to me as a responsibility conferred upon me by God, and that it is, as is written in the Bible, my duty to increase this heritage, for which one day I shall be called upon to give an account; those who try to interfere with my task I shall crush."

THE "GOD-APPOINTED" HOHENZOLLERNS.

Again he expressed the same sentiment when he said: "It is a tradition of our House, that we, the Hohenzollerns, regard ourselves as appointed by God to govern and to lead the people, whom it is given us to rule, for their well-being and the advancement of their material and intellectual interests."

And finally in his address to the people in August, 1914, he said at the beginning of war: "A fateful hour has fallen for Germany. Envious peoples everywhere are compelling us to our just defence. The sword has been forced into our hands. I hope that if my efforts at the last hour do not succeed in bringing our opponents to see eye to eye with us and in maintaining the peace, we shall, with God's help, so wield the sword that we shall restore it to its sheath again with honor.

"War would demand of us an enormous sacrifice in property and life, but we should show our enemies what it means to provoke Germany. And now I commend you to God. Go to church and kneel before God, and pray for His help for our gallant army."

This is the picture of "Kaiser Bill" whose egotism gave expression to itself in 1910 when in a speech he said: "Considering myself as the instrument of the Lord, without heeding the views and opinions of the day, I go my way."

EMPEROR WILLIAM'S CHILDREN.

William II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia, was born January 27, 1859, succeeding his father, Emperor Frederick the III, in June, 1888. He married the Princess Augusta Victoria, of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, and had the following issue: Frederick William, Crown Prince, born May 6, 1882; William Eitel-Frederick, born 1883; Adalbert, born 1884; August, born 1887; Oscar, born 1888; Joachim, born 1890, and Victoria Louise, born 1892.

Crown Prince Frederick William is one of the remarkable figures of the war. A profound admirer of Napoleon he has always made a close study of that great French soldier, and has long been one of the leaders of the war-seeking element in Germany. The Crown Prince, who was born in 1882, is tall, slim and impulsive. The late Queen Victoria, his great grandmother, was his godmother.

After he had completed a military course he attended Bonn University, and on the completion of his college course he set out on extensive travels. After his return he was placed in the offices of the Potsdam provincial government so that he might study local administration. After completing this study he was given a course in the intricate routine through which two-thirds of the German people are governed, by being placed in the Prussian Ministry of the Interior. Naval administration has also been a part of the studies of the Crown Prince, in fact he was deeply engrossed in that study when the war was declared.

The Crown Prince married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, in 1905.

King George V, of Great Britain, the only surviving son of the late King Edward, was born in 1865. He was the second son of the king, his brother Prince Albert, the heir to the throne, dying suddenly in 1892 and bringing the second son, who had been destined for the navy, into direct succession. In 1893 Princess Mary of Teck, who was to have married Prince Albert, was married to Prince George, and there is one daughter, Princess Mary, and five sons-Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princes Albert, Henry, George and John.

THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT.

Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, who is now Governor General of Canada, is an uncle of the King. He was married to Princess Louise-Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Frederick-Charles of Prussia and Princess Marie-Anne of Anhalt. He has three children; Margaret, the oldest, is the Crown Princess of Sweden; Prince Arthur is married to his cousin, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife, and Princess Victoria-Patricia, who is unmarried.

King Edward had three brothers and five sisters, two brothers falling heir in turn to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

King George V is uncle by blood to Olaf, Crown Prince of Norway, and by marriage with Queen Mary, to three Princes and three Princesses of Teck. He is brother-in-law to King Haakon VII of Norway and Prince of Denmark, Duke Adolph of Teck, and Prince Alexander of Teck. He is a first cousin on his father's side to Emperor William II of Germany, and his brothers and sisters, among whom, principally, is the Queen of Greece; to Ernst-Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, and his four sisters, one of whom is the wife of Prince Henry of Prussia, and another is Alice, former Czarina of Russia. The first and second cousins of the King run well up into the hundreds.

The Royal Family of Belgium was founded when, in 1831, the people elected King Leopold I to rule the destinies of that country. The king was married to Princess Louise of Orleans, after which practically all the marriages of the family were with the southern group of royal houses.

There were three children born to the couple, the oldest son succeeding to the throne as King Leopold II. The latter married Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria. One son, and three daughters were born, the son dying when he was 23 years old. The oldest of the daughters became the wife of Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the second wedding Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary, who died in youth, and the third becoming the wife of Prince Napoleon Bonaparte. The daughter of Leopold I is the widow of the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, who was executed there in 1867.

SECOND SON OF LEOPOLD I.

The second son of Leopold I was Philip, the Count of Flanders, who was married to Princess Marie of Hohenzollern, sister of the Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern and King Charles of Roumania. The son to this marriage is King Albert of Belgium, who succeeded his uncle, Leopold II, in 1909. The Queen of Belgium is Princess Elizabeth of the Ducal House of Bavaria. Through her King Albert is allied to the Crown Prince of Bavaria, the Grand Duchess of Luxemburg, the Duke of Parma, the late Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and the present heir-apparent, Archduke Charles Francis Joseph. The King and Queen have two sons, Leopold, born in 1902, and Charles Theodore, who is two years younger. There is also a daughter, the Princess Marie-Josephine, born in 1906.

King Nicholas I, ruler of the picturesque little country of Montenegro, which was the scene of much bitter fighting, was born October 7, 1841, and proclaimed Prince of Montenegro, as successor to his uncle Danilo I, in 1860. He became king in 1910. Nicholas I married Milena Petrovna Vucotic. The children are Princess Militza, who married the Russian Grand Duke Peter Nikolaievitch; Princess Stana, who married George, Duke of Leuchtenberg, but which marriage was dissolved, the Princess subsequently marrying the Russian Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaievitch. The other children are Prince Danilo Alexander, heir-apparent; Princess Helena, who married Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy; Princess Anna, who married Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg; Prince Mirko, who married Natalie Constantinovitch; Princess Zenia, Princess Vera and finally Prince Peter, who was born in 1889.

KING OF SERVIA.

Peter I, King of Servia, one of the figures of the war, is the son of Alexander Kara-Georgevitch. He was born in Belgrade in 1844, and was proclaimed King after the murder of King Alexander and Queen Draga. He ascended the throne on June 2, 1903. He was married in 1883 to Princess Zorka, of Montenegro, who died in 1890. He has two sons and a daughter; George, who was born in 1887, and who renounced his right to the throne in 1909; Alexander, born in 1889, and Helen, who was born in 1884. Because of his ill health King Peter, for a long time, delegated authority to his son Alexander for the purpose of government

.

Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia, who abdicated in June, 1917, was born May 18, 1868, and succeeded his father, Emperor Alexander III, on November 1, 1894. He married Princess Alexandra Alice, daughter of Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, and has four daughters and one son: Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia and Alexis.

The family is descended in the female line from Michael Romanof, first elected Czar in 1613, and, in the male line, from Duke Karl Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp. As the result of intermarriages and connections with the royal houses of Germany, they are practically Germans by blood.

It was in fact the German influence, which is said to have been the immediate cause of the revolt in the great country.

The revolution may be said to have had its inception when a small group of men opposed to the German influence at court assassinated the monk Gregory Rasputin, who had a great influence over the Czar.

A REACTIONARY CABINET INSTALLED.

Czar Nicholas in anger dismissed Premier Trepoff and installed a thoroughly reactionary Cabinet. Trepoff had been in office only a short time, having followed M. Sturmer, who had bitterly fought the Duma. It had been commonly reported that the real power in the Russian Government after Sturmer went out was in the hands of the Minister of the Interior, M. Protopopoff. Sturmer had been called to the premiership to succeed M. Goremykin, who was in office when the war began.

The fact that Michael Rodzianko, president of the Duma and one of the leading advocates of liberalization of the Government, was named as the chief figure in the provisional government, showed that the movement is in the hands of the same forces which had demanded the overthrow of the bureaucracy and a more energetic prosecution of the war.

There were many changes in the Russian Government during the war, although the censorship was enforced so rigidly that the significance of the rapid shifts was apparent. Vague reports reached the outside world of high councilors of State who were obstructing instead of assisting the work of carrying on the war, and the strength of German influence at Petrograd. The most conspicuous case of this sort was that of General Soukhomlinoff, former Minister of War, who was dismissed from office and imprisoned as a result of charges of criminal negligence and high treason.

M. Sazonoff, Russia's Foreign Minister at the beginning of the war and an ardent believer in the prosecution of the war, was deposed early in the reactionary regime and sent as envoy to London. It was suggested that the motive for this was not to honor an anti-German, but to get him out of Russia.

MEMBERS OF THE RUSSIAN CABINET.

The members of the Russian Cabinet, as announced for the Provisional Government, were:

Prince Georges E. Lvov, well known as president of the Zemstvos' Union, Prime Minister.

Alexander J. Guchkoff, Minister of the Interior.

Paul Milukoff, well known as a Constitutional Democrat leader, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

M. Pokrovski, Minister of Finance.

General Manikovski, chief of the Artillery Department, War Minister.

M. Savitch, Minister of Marine.

M. Maklakoff, Minister of Justice.

M. Kovalevski, Minister of Education.

M. Nekrasoff, Minister of Railways.

M. Konovaloff, Moscow merchant, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

M. Rodischneff, Secretary for Finland.

M. Kerenski, Minister without portfolio.

The executive committee of the Imperial Duma, as the provisional Government styles itself, is composed of twelve members, under M. Rodzianko, including two Socialists, two Conservatives, three Moderates, five Constitutional Democrats and Progressives.

Constantine I, King of Greece, who abdicated in favor of his son, Prince Alexander, on June 11, 1917, under pressure from the Allied countries, was born in 1868. His father, King George, was assassinated at Salonica on March 18, 1913. The abdication of King Constantine in June, 1917, was due to his opposition to the forces in the government which desired to join the Allies in the war against Germany. The influence in favor of the Germans in the royal family of Greece was Queen Sophia, a sister of the Kaiser.

For a time Constantine was a veritable idol in Greece. In 1896 when his country was drifting into war with Turkey, he sounded a warning that the Greek army was unprepared for a campaign. The infantry was armed with condemned French rifles; the cartridges were 15 years old; there was no cavalry; the artillery was obsolete, and the officers few. When the country went to war despite his warning, the result was a disastrous defeat. A similar situation developed when King George tried to oppose the popular clamor for the annexation of Crete. The King knew that Turkey was waiting for another opportunity to crush Greece, and there was a second uprising.

CONSTANTINE BECOMES AN IDOL.

Constantine had been in command of the military forces, and King George was obliged to dismiss him as Generalissimo. In the Balkan war of 1912, however, when he led an army of 10,000 Greeks to the capture of Salonica, causing 30,000 Turks to lay down arms, he became an idol. On ascending the throne, it was said that he aimed to restore the grandeur of the ancient Hellenic Empire, and that he was a firm believer in the old national prophecy that, under the reign of a "Constantine and a Sophia," the Eastern Empire would be rejuvenated and the cross restored on Saint Sophia in Constantinople, supplanting the Crescent of the Turk. In fact, after the Balkan war, when Greece added a section of Turkish territory to her domain, and the islands of Crete were annexed, King Constantine hoisted the ancient Hellenic flag over the fort.

The climax in Grecian affairs was precipitated when Turkey entered the great World War on the side of Germany. The question of intervention on the part of Greece arose, and King Constantine insisted on strict neutrality being observed. The cabinet, headed by Premier Venizelos, which was for war on the side of the Allies, tendered its resignation. When the operations began against the Dardanelles the Government believed that the time had come for Greece to enter the war. The King refused to countenance the plan, arguing that the sending of forces to the Dardanelles would dangerously weaken the Greek defences on the Bulgarian frontier. Queen Sophia was regarded as bitterly opposed to the country joining the Allies, and was reported to have threatened several times to leave the country.

The criticism directed against Constantine was severe because, under the terms of the treaty made in the Balkan war, Greece was committed to ally herself with Servia if that country were attacked by another power. Austria did invade Servia, but Constantine asserted that the treaty applied only to an attack by another Balkan nation.

ACCUSED OF EVASION.

The occupation by troops of the Entente Powers of a part of Macedonia, and the seizure of Salonica as their base, involved the King of Greece in a long series of clashes with the Entente commanders, and he was accused of evasion and attempting to gain time in the interests of Germany. A temporary understanding was obtained, but meantime the provisional government, headed by Venizelos, had been growing in strength, and obtained the recognition of the Entente Powers.

The Allies laid an embargo on the supplies of Greece, and Constantine was denounced by the people of Crete and other territory, who demanded his dethronement. This was the situation, in a general way, which led to his abdication and his retirement to Berlin, with the Queen, in the summer of 1917.

Alexander, who succeeded his father, was a second son, born August 1, 1893. He was a captain in the First Regiment, artillery, in the Greek army.

Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy, who threw the weight of his country with the Allies, repudiating the treaty with Germany and Austria-Hungary which established what was known as the Triple Entente, was born in 1869, the only son of King Humbert, second King of United Italy, who was murdered at Monza, in July, 1900. Victor Emmanuel married Princess Elena, daughter of Nicholas, King of Montenegro, and has four children: Princess Yolanda, Princess Mafalda; Prince Humbert, heir-apparent, and Princess Giovanna. The mother of King Emmanuel-Dowager Queen Margherita-is a daughter of the later Prince Ferdinand of Savoy.

TRAGEDY THE PATHWAY TO THRONE.

Charles I, the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, was born in 1887 and succeeded his grand uncle, Francis Joseph I, in November, 1916. His way to the throne lay through tragedy, for he came into the crown immediately through the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir-apparent, and his morganatic wife Countess Sophie Chotek, in Bosnia, and which crime was the signal for the war. Nor would Charles have been entitled to succeed to the throne but for the fact that the Archduke Rudolf, heir-apparent to the throne, committed suicide in 1889.

The right of succession went with his death to the second brother of the then Emperor Francis Joseph, or Archduke Charles Louis, father of the assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand. It passed then after the tragedies to Archduke Otto, brother of Francis Ferdinand, Charles I being the son of the Archduke Otto. The young Emperor married Princess Zita of Bourbon Parma in 1911. She is the daughter of Duke Robert of Parma, and sister of the first wife of Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria. The Emperor has four children: Francis Joseph Otto, Adelaide Marie, Robert Charles Ludwig and Felix Frederic August.

Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Czar, is son of the late Prince Augustus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and late Princess Clementine of Bourbon-Orleans, daughter of King Louis Philippe. He was born in 1861 and succeeded Prince Alexander, who abdicated. He married Marie Louise, daughter of Robert of Parma, and after her death married Princess Eleanore of Reuss-Kostritz. There are four children by the first marriage: Prince Boris, heir-apparent; Prince Cyril, Princess Eudoxia, Princess Nadejda.

Alfonso XIII, King of Spain, was born May 17, 1886, his father, King Alfonso XII, having died nearly six months previous to his birth. Maria Christina, mother of the heir to the Spanish throne, was an Austrian princess. In 1906 King Alfonso XIII married the English Princess Victoria Eugenie, daughter of the late Henry of Battenberg and Princess Beatrice, a daughter of the late Queen Victoria.

KING ALFONSO'S SONS.

King Alfonso XIII has four sons: Alfonso, Prince of the Asturias, heir to the Spanish throne; Prince Jaime, who is deaf and dumb; Prince Juan, and Prince Gonzalo. There are two daughters, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Maria Christina.

The King's sisters were Maria de las Mercedes, who married Prince Carlos of Bourbon, in February, 1901, and died in 1904, and Infanta Maria Teresa, who died suddenly from the effects of childbirth. She was the wife of Prince Ferdinand, who afterward remarried Dona Maria Luisa Pie de Concha, who was created Duchess of Talavera de la Reina, and given the courtesy title of Highness by Alfonso. Don Carlos, who was born in 1848, and was the pretender to the Spanish throne, was a second cousin to the King. He died in 1909, leaving a son, Prince Jamie, born in 1870, and who is the present pretender, and four daughters.

The Spanish reigning family are the Bourbons, descendants of King Louis XIV of France.

Ferdinand, King of Roumania, was born in 1865, and is a nephew of the late King Carol, who died in 1914. In 1893 he married Princess Marie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and two sons and four daughters were born to the royal couple as follows: Charles, who was born in 1893, and who is heir-apparent; Nicholas, Elizabeth, Marie, Ileana and Mircia, the latter dying when four years old.

POINCAIRE'S VERSATILITY.

President Poincaire, of France, is a bearded, pale-faced, short, and rather stout man, who leaves upon those who come in contact with him, an impression of his mental ability. He was born in 1860, and is regarded as one of the few strong characters who have held the office of President since the war which brought about the third Republic. He is an author of widely read books, and has won a place in the French Academy. As a lawyer he was a leader at the bar, and before being chosen President, in 1913, he served as Minister of Finance, and as Minister of Public Instruction. While serving as Minister of Finance he is credited with having put on the statutes admirable laws regulating and equalizing the taxations of millions. President Poincaire is a patron of art, and has been counsel of the Beaux Art, of the National Museum and President of the Society of Friends of the University of Paris.

The Sultan of Turkey, the outstanding nation in the conflict, not Christian, was chosen ruler and took the Osman sword on May 10, 1909, and was designated Mohammed V. His name is Mohammed Reshad Effendi, and he succeeded Abd-ul-Hamid, who was deposed. The latter became Sultan in 1876, succeeding Abd-ul-Aziz, who was preceded by Abd-ul-Mejid.

The history of the Ottoman Empire is filled with mystery, romance and stories of intrigue, cruelty and barbarities, involving internal wars, uprisings, almost continuous struggles with practically all of the European countries and massacres that aroused the whole world. Legend assigns Oghuz, son of Kara Khan, father of the Ottoman Turks, whose first appearance in history dates back to 1227 A.D.

The reign of Abd-ul-Aziz in the latter part of the last century was marked by many massacres and the extravagant conduct of affairs by the Sultan, who visited England in 1876 and was honored by Queen Victoria, who bestowed upon him the Order of the Garter. He was deposed and Abd-ul-Hamid succeeded. He made feeble attempts to reorganize the Government, but his efforts were fruitless and following wars and uprisings and further internal troubles and the loss of territory he was deposed and the present Sultan was chosen.

* * *

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares