Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
“For long years, King Edward wove, with masterly skill, the Nessus robe that was to destroy the German Hercules.” – Leipziger Neuste Nachrichten, after the death of Edward VII, May 1910
“What neither Azincourt nor Poitiers could do, the genius of Edward VII realized.” – Emile Flourens, La France Conquise, 1906
“There are no frictions between us, there is only rivalry.” – Edward VII to State Secretary von Tschirschky of the German Foreign Ministry, at the Cronberg Anglo-German summit, 1906
The Triple Entente is the name given to the alliance among Great Britain, France, and Russia which was formed during the first decade of this century, and which led to the outbreak of the First World War. This Triple Entente was the personal creation of King Edward VII of Britain. The Triple Entente was King Edward’s own idea.
It was King Edward who set up the British alliance with Japan, the Russo-Japanese War, and the 1905 Russian Revolution. It was King Edward VII, acting as the autocrat of British foreign policy, who engineered the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France in 1903-04, and who then went on to seal the fateful British-Russian Entente of 1907. It was King Edward who massaged Theodore Roosevelt and other American leaders to help bring about the U.S.-U.K. “special relationship,” which dates from the time of his reign. This diplomatic work was masterminded and carried out by King Edward VII personally, with the various British ministers, cabinets, round tables, and other apparatus merely following in his wake. Edward had a geopolitical vision in the Venetian tradition, and it was one of brutal simplicity: the encirclement of Germany with a hostile coalition, followed by a war of annihilation in which many of Britain’s erstwhile “allies” – notably France and Russia – would also be decimated and crippled.
Edward VII was also Casanova with a crown, a satyr and sodomist on the throne of England, the royal rake of Edwardian legend. All of this provides useful insight, but is finally beside the point. Edward VII, far more than any other single human being, was the author of the First World War, and thus brought about what is probably the most destructive single event in the history of western civilization. Without Edward’s exertions, the war could never have occurred. The Lord of the Isles, as he appeared in Scottish costume at a ball in 1871, was the Lord of the Flies.
And why should we be concerned with these matters today? The main things that have gone wrong with the twentieth century are demonstrably rooted in World War One. World War One opened the door both to the Communism of Lenin and Stalin and to the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler. World War One made possible the entire Versailles system, including reparations, which produced the Great Depression. And finally, World War II, with its greater scale of destruction, was essentially the prolongation of the First World War after two decades of fitful truce. And in our own time, the mad hatters and March hares of the London oligarchy, the Rees-Moggs, Evans-Pritchards, and the Hurds, are proposing a return to the Triple Entente as the shape of things to come.
I. THE ANATOMY OF A MONSTER
EDWARD VII, AUTOCRAT
Edward VII has been hailed by the British as the greatest political activist of the House of Windsor, and as the greatest monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066. He represents the case in which the monarch and the leader of the oligarchy are united in the same person. The result was an autocrat more absolute than the Kaiser or the Czar.
Edward VII’s role as dictator of British foreign policy before the war, although denied by recent biographers, was a matter of common knowledge through the 1920s. During the last months of Edward’s life, Robert Blatchford, the editor of the Clarion, wrote in the Daily Mail of Dec. 14, 1909 that: “The king and his councilors have strained every nerve to establish Ententes with Russia and with Italy; and have formed an Entente with France, and as well with Japan. Why? To isolate Germany.” (Farrer, p. 261)
J.A. Farrer, writing after the cataclysm of World War I, commented that Edward’s: “whole reign was a preparation and education for a war accepted as inevitable…. It is now plain that [Edward’s] policy, though achieving peace in some directions, was in essence a policy of war, and one that ended in war. The panic of a German invasion, sustained by the Press during the whole decade, failed of such discouragement as might have prevented a needless enmity to arise between us and Germany. The king seems to have shared the popular belief in the will and power of Germany to invade us.” (Farrer, p. 5, pp. 261-262)
The leading ambassadors and ministers of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs clearly recorded their understanding of Edward’s project. Here is the view of Baron Greindl, the Belgian ambassador to Berlin, as expressed in April 1906: “One is driven to the conclusion that British foreign policy is directed by the king in person … there is undoubtedly in England a court policy pursued outside and alongside that of the government.” In 1907 Greindl added: “The king of England’s visit to the king of Spain is one of the moves in the campaign to isolate Germany that is being personally directed with as much perseverance as success by his Majesty King Edward VII.” (Middlemas, pp. 173-174)
Austrian sources confirm the essential view of Edward the Encircler (Eduard der Einkreiser) as the architect of the Entente system. The following example is from the Vienna Neue Freie Presse of April 15, 1907, and came in response to Edward VII’s overtures to Russia: “Who can fail to receive the impression that a diplomatic duel is being fought out between England and Germany under the eyes of the world. The king of England … is no longer afraid of appearing to throw the whole influence of his personality into the scales whenever it is a question of thwarting the aims of German policy. The meeting at Gaeta [of Edward VII with the king of Italy] is another fact connected with the burning jealousy between England and Germany. Already people are asking themselves everywhere: ‘What is the meaning of this continual political labor, carried on with open recklessness, whose object is to put a close ring around Germany?'” (Brooke-Shepherd, p. 283)
Born in 1841, Edward VII had the typical Saxe- Coburg- Gotha mug, like the current heir apparent. Edward VII was a pupil of Lord Palmerston, with whom he discussed a Russian alliance during the mid-1860s. The young Edward was also close to Palmerston’s stooge Napoleon III, and the Empress Eugenie.
In that 1866 war, Edward’s mother, Queen Victoria, sympathized with Prussia. But Edward supported Austria, even when Austria was crushed by Prussia at Königgrätz. In 1866, Edward favored what he called an Anglo-French Entente to contain Prussia. This was already the germ of the London-Paris Entente Cordiale of nearly 40 years later. Hostility to Prussia and later to Germany is thus the one fixed point of Edward VII’s career. What is reflected here is classical Venetian geopolitics as applied by the British. For centuries, London’s maxim has been to ally with the second strongest continental power to destroy the strongest continental power. Until 1870, the British perceived Russia to be the strongest land power. In the 1870s that abruptly changed with the emergence of a united Germany. Edward VII was quicker than other elements of the British oligarchy to take note of that momentous shift.
Edward visited Canada and the United States in the fall of 1860, helping to give a final push to secession and civil war. In 1862 he was in Egypt and the Middle East. In 1875-76 Edward visited India, where he helped to prepare the Afghan war of 1878, which was waged against the influence of Russia. One of the members of Edward’s party on this tour was his fellow rake, lifelong friend, and political ally, Lord Carrington.
QUEEN VICTORIA: MRS. JOHN BROWN
Edward’s apprenticeship for the monarchy was a long one. In 1861 his father, Prince Albert of Saxe- Coburg- Gotha, died. Edward’s mother, Queen Victoria, went into deep mourning and did not emerge from it during the 40 remaining years of her life. The queen was an occultist, as befits a royal house which has always been dominated by Venetians.
Queen Victoria retreated to her castle at Balmoral in the Scottish highlands, 500 miles north of London. The court was organized as a death cult, with every pretense that Albert was still alive. His laundry had to be done, and his nightgown laid out every night. Hot water was brought to his room every morning, and the chamber pot cleaned. There were two guest books, one for the queen, one for Albert, and so on. Victoria made repeated attempts to contact the shade of Prince Albert in the underworld – or the beyond – and these became the origins of the modern British occult bureau. As a result of these seances, the queen became convinced that John Brown, her Scottish gillie (attendant), was a powerful medium through whom the spirit of Albert addressed her. Gossip seeped out from Balmoral to London that John Brown was “the queen’s stallion,” granted every conjugal privilege, including adjoining bedrooms far from the ladies-in-waiting. A pamphlet about the queen appeared entitled “Mrs. John Brown.” Victoria was very like Miss Habisham of Satis House in the Dickens novel “Great Expectations.” This was the woman for whom time had stopped when she had lost her husband. When we factor in the frequent orders made for opium and heroin at the local Balmoral pharmacy, we get a picture of Victoria’s life in the Highlands. Prim and straight laced it was not.
EDWARD THE CARESSER
When Edward VII married, he chose Princess Alexandra of the Danish Royal House, who had her own anti-German revanche complex because of Bismarck’s war against Denmark in 1864. Victoria remained in mourning, gazing at a marble bust of Albert. Victoria refused to appear at state occasions, so Edward had to assume these functions, for 40 years. Edward set up a household in Marlborough House in London, and began his career as a royal rake. He became the undisputed leader of British high society. Hence the Edwardian legend of the sybaritic hedonist and sex maniac whose mistresses included Lillie Langtry, Daisy Countess of Warwick, Lady Brooke, Mrs. George Keppel, and others too numerous to mention. Some of the can-can dancers painted by Toulouse- Lautrec had been Edward’s girlfriends.
There was a fling with Sarah Bernhardt, the French actress. When Bernhardt was playing in “Fedora” in Paris, Edward told her that he had always wanted to be an actor. The next night, in the scene in which Fedora comes upon the dead body of her lover, few recognized the heir to the British throne: Edward VII had made his stage debut as a cadaver.
Edward’s home at Marlborough House in London was also a center of the “Homintern.” One of Edward’s friends, Lord Arthur Somerset – known to his friends as Podge – was arrested during a police raid in one of London’s numerous homosexual brothels. A satire of Edward was written in the style of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King.” This was called “Guelpho the Gay – the Coming K.” Some recalled a predecessor on the throne, Edward the Confessor. This future king was to go down as Edward the Caresser.
Prince Felix Yussupov was the heir to the biggest fortune in Russia. He was also considered the most beautiful transvestite in Europe. One evening Yussupov, dressed as a woman, attended the theater in Paris. He noted a portly, whiskered gentleman ogling him through an opera glass from one of the box seats. Within minutes, Yussupov received a mash note signed King Edward VII. Remember that Yussupov is the man who assassinated Rasputin, the holy man and reputed German agent, in December 1916, detonating the Russian Revolution a few months later. Here we see the great political importance of King Edward’s Homintern.
THE HOUSE OF JACK THE RIPPER
Edward VII’s first son was Prince Albert Victor Edward, known in the family as Prince Eddy and formally as the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Prince Eddy, like his father, had been considered mentally impaired in his youth.
Prince Eddy was arrested at least once in a homosexual brothel. His main claim to fame today is that he is the prime suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders. This grisly series of crimes involved the murder of five prostitutes in the Whitechapel- Spitalfields slum of London in 1888-89. At the time of the murders, rumors abounded of the involvement of a member of the royal family, and of an obscure background of Freemasonic intrigue. The papers of the attending physician of the royal family indicate that he had indeed treated Jack the Ripper. A number of exhaustive studies have concluded that this was Prince Eddy. According to some versions, Prince Eddy had contracted syphilis during a trip to the West Indies during his youth, and this had affected his brain. According to others, Prince Eddy was part of a homosexual clique that killed because they hated women. There is no doubt that Prince Eddy answered to the best available description of the Ripper. Young Prince Eddy conveniently died a few years after the Ripper murders ceased.
A quarter of a century ago, a British physician came forward with evidence supporting the thesis that Jack the Ripper was Prince Eddy. A wire service dispatch from the period sums up the allegations made at that time:
“LONDON, Nov. 1, 1970 (AP) – The Sunday Times expressed belief today that Jack the Ripper, infamous London murderer of nearly 100 years ago, was Edward, Duke of Clarence, grandson of Queen Victoria and older brother of George V. The Times was commenting on the statement of an eminent British surgeon who said that the Ripper ‘was the heir to power and wealth.’ The surgeon, Thomas E.A. Stowell, while claiming to know who the criminal was, refused to identify him in an article to be published tomorrow in The Criminologist…. The Sunday Times, in commenting on Dr. Stowell’s article, said there was one name that fitted his evidence. It said: ‘It is a sensational name: Edward, Duke of Clarence, grandson of Queen Victoria, brother of George V, and heir to the throne of England. All the points of Dr. Stowell’s story fit this man.'” (Spierig, p. 11)
Shortly after having published his article in The Criminologist and thus made his allegations public, Dr. Stowell wrote a letter to the London Times in which he disavowed any intention of identifying Prince Eddy or any other member of the royal family as Jack the Ripper. In this letter Stowell signed himself as “a loyalist and a Royalist.” Stowell died mysteriously one day after this letter appeared, and his family promptly burned all his papers.
An American study of the Jack the Ripper mystery was authored by the forensic psychiatrist David Abrahamsen, who sums up his own conclusions as follows: “It is an analysis of the psychological parameters that enabled me to discover that the Ripper murders were perpetrated by Prince Eddy and J.K. Stephen.” (Abrahamsen, pp. 103-104) J.K. Stephen had been chosen as a tutor for Prince Eddy, who was mentally impaired. Stephen was a homosexual. He was the son of the pathological woman-hater Fitzjames Stephen. J.K. Stephen’s uncle was Sir Leslie Stephen, the writer. There is evidence that J.K. Stephen sexually molested his cousin, best known today by her married name, Virginia Woolf, the novelist. This experience may be related to Virginia Woolf’s numerous suicide attempts.
While he was at Cambridge, Prince Eddy was a member of the Apostles secret society. Abrahamsen quotes a maxim of the Apostles: “The love of man for man is greater than that of man for woman, a philosophy known to the Apostles as the higher sodomy.” [p. 123] Prince Eddy died on Jan. 14, 1892. J.K. Stephen died in a sanitarium on Feb. 3, 1892.
Prince Eddy’s younger brother, the later George V, assumed his place in the succession, married Eddy’s former fiancée, Princess May of Teck, and became the father of the Nazi King Edward VIII. If the persistent reports are true, the great-uncle of the current queen was the homicidal maniac Jack the Ripper. Perhaps the recurring dispute about what to call the British royal house – Hanover, Windsor, Guelph, Saxe- Coburg- Gotha, etc. – could be simplified by calling it the House of Jack the Ripper.
Of the existence of a coverup there can be no doubt. One of the main saboteurs of the investigation was a certain Gen. Sir Charles Warren, the chief of the London Metropolitan Police. Warren suppressed evidence, had witnesses intimidated, and was forced to resign amidst a public outcry about Masonic conspiracy. Warren was the master of a new Freemasonic lodge that had recently been created in London. This was the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, number 2076 of the Scottish rite. The Quatuor Coronati lodge had been founded in 1884 with a warrant from the Grand Master of British freemasonry, who happened to be Edward VII.
II. THE HOMICIDAL UNCLE OF EUROPE: EDWARD VII’S NETWORK
During these years, Edward VII built up an unparalleled personal network of politicians and others who owed their careers to him. They are historically significant because they constituted the international war party up through 1914, and have remained in power through two world wars and the cold war, into the Balkan crisis of the 1990s.
THE CHURCHILL FAMILY
One of the habitués of Edward’s Marlborough House fast set and a rising member of Parliament during the Disraeli era of the 1870’s was Lord Randolph Churchill. Randolph was clearly headed for a great political career when he died of syphilis. Randolph’s son was Sir Winston Churchill, who was promoted by Edward VII to a post in the Privy Council. Winston considered himself King Edward’s protégé; Edward had urged him to pursue a career in politics and writing. For a time Winston sent the king a daily letter summing up the activities of the House of Commons.
Another of Edward’s most important political operatives was Joseph Chamberlain. Chamberlain had been mayor of Birmingham and known for his anti-royalist rhetoric, but he soon became a member of the Marlborough House set. When Edward VII wanted to start the Boer War, he did so through Joseph Chamberlain, who was the Colonial Secretary between 1895 and 1903, serving for years in Lord Salisbury’s cabinet. Chamberlain was an architect of the Fashoda crisis with France and of the Boer War. Chamberlain was also the point man for Edward’s deception operation of an alliance with Germany. Edward also used Chamberlain to propose the Entente Cordiale to the French. Those who don’t know Joseph Chamberlain may know his son, the later Prime Minister Sir Neville Chamberlain, the author of the Munich sellout of 1938.
SIR EDWARD GREY
A family servant of Edward VII was Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary who actually started World War I. Grey’s father was an army officer who had joined the household of Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales. The elder Grey was an equerry, or master of the royal horses. Edward VII was Edward Grey’s godfather, and did the traveling while Grey stayed in the Foreign Office to do the clerking. Grey’s problem later, in August 1914, was to make Germany think that England would not go to war until the war had actually started. This he did with the help of King Edward’s surviving son, George V. At the same time, Grey had to convince the Russians and the French that Britain would indeed honor the Triple Entente and go to war in support of Russian aggression. In his effort to start the war, Grey also had to lie to his own prime minister and cabinet. He finally had to sell the entire result to the House of Commons. Grey was Perfide Albion with an Edwardian pedigree.
How Edward Grey Started World War 1
By 1914, even after decades of British geopolitical machinations, it still required all of Sir Edward Grey’s perfidy and cunning to detonate the greatest conflagration in world history by exploiting the diplomatic crisis surrounding the assassination of the Austrian heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Sir Edward Grey had learned an important lesson in the Moroccan crisis of 1911, when Germany sent the warship Panther to Agadir to secure German interests there, which were in conflict with those of France. This lesson was that if Germany clearly perceived in a crisis that there was a direct risk of Anglo- German war, Berlin would back down, frustrating the war party in London. In the Agadir crisis, the British minister Lloyd George had delivered a clear public warning to Berlin, and Germany had replied at once that she was not seeking a permanent presence on the Atlantic coast of Morocco; the crisis was soon resolved.
The German chancellor from 1909 to 1917, Dr. Theobald von Bethmann- Hollweg, was an anglophile and a crony of the Kaiser’s student days, anxious to make concessions to London in order to secure peace. Sir Edward Grey declared in 1912 that any differences between England and Germany would never assume dangerous proportions “so long as German policy was directed by” Bethmann- Hollweg.
During the Balkan Wars and the Liman von Sanders affair of 1913, Grey cultivated the illusion of good relations with Germany. By mid-1914, Anglo- German relations were judged by Sir Edward Goschen, the British ambassador to Berlin, as “more friendly and cordial than they had been in years.” But it was all a trick by Perfidious Albion.
Some weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian government, blaming Belgrade, addressed a very harsh ultimatum to Serbia on July 23 demanding sweeping concessions for investigating the crime and the suppression of anti- Austrian agitation. The Russian court slavophiles were demanding war against Austria and Germany in defense of Serbia; these slavophiles were madmen on the strategic offensive who sought a general European war. In Vienna, the leading minister, Count Berchtold, and the chief of staff, Conrad von Hoetzendorff, were determined to use the crisis to smash Serbia, which they saw as a threat to the survival of their empire. Berchtold and Hoetzendorff were madmen on the strategic defensive, even if they assumed the tactical offensive against Serbia. Their aggressive intentions involved Serbia, but not other great powers. When Serbia issued a conciliatory reply to the Austrian ultimatum, Kaiser Wilhelm II and others were relieved and thought that the war danger had receded; but the Vienna madmen seized on minor refusals by Serbia to declare war on July 28.
If Sir Edward Grey had sincerely wished to avoid war, he could have pursued one of two courses of action. The first would have been to warn Germany early in the crisis that in case of general war, Britain would fight on the side of France and Russia. This would have propelled the Kaiser and Bethmann into the strongest efforts to restrain the Vienna madmen, probably forcing them to back down. The other course would have been to warn Paris and especially St. Petersburg that Britain had no intention of being embroiled in world war over the Balkan squabble, and would remain neutral. This would have undercut the St. Petersburg militarists, and would have motivated Paris to act as a restraining influence.
Grey, a disciple of Edward VII, did neither of these things. Instead he maintained a posture of deception designed to make Germany think England would remain neutral, while giving Paris hints that England would support Russia and France. These hints were then passed on to Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov, a British agent, and to Czar Nicholas II. In this way, French revanchistes and Russian slavophiles were subtly encouraged on the path of aggression.
Grey’s deception of Germany meant assuming the posture of a mediator rather than a possible party to the conflict. In early and middle July, Grey proposed direct conversations between Vienna and St. Petersburg to avoid war, but dropped this when French President Poincaré, a war-monger, responded that this would be “very dangerous.” On July 24, Grey shifted to a proposal for mediation by other great powers of the Austrian- Russian dispute. On July 26, Grey proposed a conference of ambassadors from England, France, Italy, and Germany, which was declined by Germany for various reasons. Grey’s charade of war avoidance contributed to complacency in Berlin and a failure to do anything to restrain the Vienna crazies, since, the Kaiser thought, if England did not fight, France and Russia were unlikely to do so either.
Edward VII’s son King George V made a vital contribution to the British deception. Late on July 26, King George V told the Kaiser’s brother, Prince Henry, who was visiting England, that Britain had “no quarrel with anyone and I hope we shall remain neutral.” This was seized upon by the pathetic Kaiser as a binding pledge of British neutrality for which, he said “I have the word of a king; and that is sufficient for me.” The gullible Kaiser Wilhelm was kept thoroughly disoriented during the last critical period when Germany could have forced Vienna to back down and avoid general war, before the fateful Russian and Austrian mobilizations of July 30 and 31.
The Declaration Of War
It was late on July 29 before any warning of British armed intervention in the looming conflict was received in Berlin. When German forces entered Belgium in the context of the Schlieffen Plan (the German plan for a two-front war against France and Russia), Grey declared war at midnight Aug. 4-5, 1914.
The British were the first of the great powers to mobilize their war machine, in this case the Grand Fleet of the Royal Navy. On July 19, the British had already staged a formidable naval demonstration with a review of the Grand Fleet at Portsmouth. On the afternoon of July 28, Winston Churchill ordered the fleet to proceed during the night at high speed with no lights from Portsmouth through the Straits of Dover to its wartime base of operations at Scapa Flow, north of Scotland. On July 29, the official “warning telegram” was sent out from the Admiralty; the British fleet was now on a full war footing.
The first continental state to mobilize had been Serbia, on July 25. The order of general mobilizations was Serbia, Great Britain, Russia, Austria, France, and, finally, Germany.
ADMIRAL JACKIE FISHER
A leading proponent of preventive war against Germany was Edward’s protégé Adm. Jackie Fisher, the man who introduced the new battleship called the Dreadnought. Fisher owed his entire career to Edward’s patronage. As First Sea Lord after 1904, Fisher was constantly talking about the need for a sneak attack to destroy the German Navy. He called this the need to “Copenhagen” the German fleet, referring to British attacks on the Danish fleet in Copenhagen harbor during the Napoleonic wars. Fisher caused a war scare in November 1904, during frictions with Germany involving the Russo- Japanese war. At this time, his demand for Copenhagening leaked out. During the first Moroccan crisis of 1905, Fisher was at it again, telling Edward that the Royal Navy could “have the German fleet, the Kiel canal, and Schleswig- Holstein within a fortnight.” (Magnus, p. 340) In the Balkan crisis of 1908, Fisher again called for Copenhagening. Fisher once expressed his gratitude to Edward for protecting him from his many enemies who, he said, “would have eaten me but for Your Majesty.” (Magnus, p. 442)
Nobody in Europe, not the Austrian crazies Berchtold and Hoetzendorf, not the even crazier Russian Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, was so outspoken a warmonger as Fisher.
SIR ERNEST CASSELL
Sir Ernest Cassell typified another group that Edward VII cultivated assiduously: Jewish bankers. As Prince of Wales, Edward had to live on a limited allowance, and he was deeply in debt. Edward accordingly allowed a series of Jewish bankers to buy their way to presentability at court by their benevolent management of his personal finances, with the proviso that Edward would always make a handsome profit. The first of Edward’s financial advisers was Baron von Hirsch of Vienna. Then came Sir Ernest Cassell, knighted by Edward. Edward also cultivated the Rothschild and Sassoon families. In short, Edward’s personal household finance agency was identical with the leading lights of turn- of-the-century Zionism. Cassell was also a political operative for Edward, becoming the head of the Ottoman National Bank – the Banque Ottomane – at the request of the Young Turk regime in 1909.
BATTENBERGS AND BASTARDS
Edward was also a close friend of Prince Louis of Battenberg, who married Princess Victoria, the daughter of Edward’s late sister Alice, in 1884. This marks the entrance of the Mountbatten family, including Lord Louis and Prince Philip, onto the British royal scene. Asquith, Balfour, and Lloyd George were all more or less Edward’s stooges. Edward’s influence also lived on through his bastards, one of whom, Sir Stewart Menzies, was a boss of British secret intelligence who betrayed vital U.S. secrets to the Soviets.
Edward’s French network was extensive, and included royalists and oligarchs. The common denominator of Edward’s network was la revanche, the need for France to exact vengeance from Germany for the loss of the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine in 1871. The central figure was a leftish radical, Georges “Tiger” Clemenceau, France’s wartime premier and the chairman of the Peace Conference at Versailles. Clemenceau’s talents for overthrowing governments gave the Third French Republic some of its proverbial instability. Clemenceau was attacked from 1892 on as a British agent and paid spy of the British Embassy.
Former French Foreign Minister Emile Flourens saw that the Dreyfus affair was concocted by Edward VII and his agents in order to break French institutional resistance to a dictatorial regime of Clemenceau. Flourens wrote that: “Clemenceau is the pro-consul of the English king, charged with the administration of his province of the Gauls.” (Flourens, 1906) Flourens argued that the friends of the late French leader Leon Gambetta were determined to resist Clemenceau. At the same time, in Flourens’s view, the French Army simply hated Clemenceau. According to Flourens, Edward VII used the 1890s Panama scandal to wreck the Gambetta political machine, and then unleashed the Dreyfus affair in order to break the resistance of the French Army to Clemenceau.
Flourens also showed how Edward VII was the mastermind of the post-1904 anti-clerical hysteria in France, which included the confiscation of Catholic Church property and the break of diplomatic relations with the Holy See. For Flourens, Edward VII was seeking to shut down the French Catholic foreign missions, which had proved a barrier to British colonial expansion. Edward VII’s ultimate goal was to create a schismatic church in France on the Anglican or Presbyterian model, wrote Flourens. “As the schism in England dates from the reign of Henry VIII, so the schism in France will date from the reign of Edward VII.” (Flourens, pp. 155-156)
Delcassé was Edward’s partner in the British- French Entente Cordiale of 1903-04. Delcassé had taken office in the British- French confrontation around the Fashoda crisis, when London and Paris had been on the verge of war. Delcassé’s view was that France could survive only as a very junior partner of the British.
When Kaiser Wilhelm made his famous visit to Tangier, Morocco in March 1905, France and Germany came to the brink of war. At this time, Edward VII was vacationing on board his yacht in the Mediterranean. During the debate on the Moroccan question in the French National Assembly in April 1905, Delcassé came under heavy attack because of his refusal to seek a modus vivendi with Germany; one of Delcassé’s severest critics was the socialist leader Jean Jaurès. When Delcassé was about to be forced into resignation, Edward VII docked his yacht, the Victoria and Albert, at Algiers, and asked the French governor- general to send a telegram to Paris. This was a personal message to Delcassé dated April 23 in which Edward announced that he would be “personally distressed” if Delcassé were to leave office. Edward “strongly urged” Delcassé to remain in office, because of his great political influence but also because of England. As in the case of Alexander Izvolski, Edward VII was not reticent about standing up for his own puppets.
But it became clear that Delcassé had been acting as Edward’s minister, not the republic’s, and that he had been lying to his ministerial colleagues about the actual danger of war with Germany. Delcassé fell as foreign minister, but stayed on in other posts. Other members of Edward’s network in France included Paul Cambon, for many years the French ambassador in London, and Raymond Poincaré, the wartime President and a leading warmonger.
“A plumpish, dandified man, he wore a pearl pin in his white waistcoat, affected white spats, carried a lorgnette, and always trailed a faint touch of violet eau de cologne.” So wrote a contemporary of Alexander Petrovich Izvolski, the Russian foreign minister who was Edward’s partner for the Anglo- Russian Entente of 1907, which completed the encirclement of Germany. Edward first proposed the Anglo- Russian Entente to Izvolski in 1904, and at that point Izvolski entered Edward’s personal service. Izvolski was made Russian foreign minister in May 1906, after Russia’s defeat in the Russo- Japanese War; he served under Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin. With Izvolski, Russian diplomacy gave up all interest in the Far East, made deals with the British for Iran, Afghanistan, and Tibet, and concentrated everything on expansion in the Balkans – the approach that was to lead straight to World War.
When Izvolski’s position as Russian foreign minister became weakened as a result of his Buchlau Bargain adventure, Edward VII took the singular step of writing to Czar Nicholas II to endorse the further tenure in office of his own agent. Edward wrote: “You know how anxious I am for the most friendly relations between Russia and England, not only in Asia but also in Europe, and I feel confident that through M. Izvolski these hopes will be realized.” (Middlemas, p. 170)
Izvolski had to settle for Russia’s embassy in Paris, where he used a special fund to bribe the Paris press to write that France should go to war. In July 1914, Izvolski ran around yelling that it was his war. As Lord Bertie, the British ambassador to Paris, confided to his diary: “What a fool Izvolski is! … At the beginning of the war he claimed to be its author: C’est ma guerre!” (Fay, I, p. 29)
Izvolski was succeeded as Russian foreign minister by Sazonov, another British agent who played a key role in starting the fateful Russian mobilization of July, 1914.
Edward VII’s favorite pen pal was U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who was handled from day to day by Cecil Spring-Rice of Sir Edward Grey’s Foreign Office. Edward can hardly have been ignorant of the British role in the assassination of President William McKinley. Starting in 1904, Edward wrote Teddy letters about how the two of them had been placed in command “of the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race.” Teddy wrote back about the need for “understanding between the English-speaking peoples,” and discussing his race theories about “our stock.” Teddy wrote to Edward his view that “the real interests of the English-speaking peoples are one, alike in the Atlantic and the Pacific.” Roosevelt served Edward’s goals in his mediation of the Russo- Japanese War, in his support for the British at the Algeciras Conference, and in raising naval disarmament at the Hague Conference. Behind his back, Edward’s envoys mocked the U.S. President as a semi-savage who gave primitive lunches at Oyster Bay. Later, Sir Edward Grey exerted a decisive influence on Woodrow Wilson through the intermediary of his key adviser, Col. Edward House.
Edward was called the Uncle of Europe – Uncle Bertie – because so many of Queen Victoria’s other children married into the various royal houses, making one European royal family. This, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was Edward’s nephew. Czar Nicholas II was also his nephew, married to Edward’s wife’s niece. After 40 years as Prince of Wales, Edward knew Europe like a book. He was personally acquainted with every crowned head, every prominent statesman and minister, and “he could accurately gauge their influence, their processes of thought, their probable action in a given emergency.”
Emile Flourens found that Edward owed his triumphs primarily to himself, to his “profound knowledge of the human heart and the sagacity with which he could sort out the vices and weaknesses of individuals and peoples and make these into the worst and most destructive of weapons against them.” Edward’s empire was built on “eternal human folly,” on the “intellectual and moral degradation” of the subject populations. Flourens praised Edward’s practical understanding of French ideology. Edward knew how to exploit the chauvinism of the Alsace- Lorraine revanchards to incite France against Germany. He knew how to play upon the fascination of the Russian slavophiles with the Greater Serbia agitation in the Balkans. He knew how to use the hatred of the Italian irredentisti against Austria to detach Italy from the pro-German Triple Alliance. He knew how to drive wedges between Germany and Austria by evoking Vienna’s resentments of the 1866 war and Prussian preeminence, and their fear of Serbia. He could exploit an American racist’s eagerness to be, like the king, a member of a mythical Anglo-Saxon race. He could use the aspirations of Japanese militarists, for the greater glory of the British Empire. Much of Edward’s personal magnetism was exercised during his incessant state visits, where he was able to unleash highly orchestrated outbursts of “Bertiemania.” Those who recall the equally implausible Gorbymania of some years back will find the phenomenon familiar.
KAISER WILHELM II
Edward’s mastery of psychological and ideological manipulation is most evident in his relation with his pathetic and unstable nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm. Edward made a detailed study of Willy’s psychological profile, which he knew to be pervaded by feelings of inferiority and incurable anglophilia. As Flourens noted: “Edward VII made an in-depth study of the defects of Wilhelm II. He counted them as his most precious allies.” (Flourens, p. 58)
The British and Entente demonization of Wilhelm as the world’s chief warmonger was always absurd. Wilhelm felt inferior to British royalty. Wilhelm’s greatest secret desire was for acceptance by the British royals. Edward could modulate his own behavior to get the desired result from the Kaiser. If he wanted a public tantrum, he could get that. One British writer, Legge, reports that Edward punched the Kaiser and knocked him down in a meeting.
But if Edward needed to be friendly, he could do that too. During the Boer War, in November 1899, when Britain’s diplomatic isolation was at its height, Edward was able to con the Kaiser into making a state visit to Britain. The Boxer Rebellion in China, with its overtone of white racial solidarity against the “yellow peril,” was also made to order for duping the Kaiser. In Wilhelm’s dockside harangue to the German contingent setting out for Peking, he urged his soldiers on to cruelty against the Chinese:
“Give no quarter! Take no prisoners! Kill him when he falls into your hands! Even as, a thousand years ago, the Huns under their King Attila made such a name for themselves as still resounds in terror through legend and fable, so may the name of Germans resound through Chinese history a thousand years from now.” (Cowles, p. 177) This “Huns” speech has provided grist for the London propaganda mill for almost a century, from World War I to the Margaret Thatcher- Nicholas Ridley “Fourth Reich” hysteria of 1989. Not just once, but again and again, the Kaiser muffed opportunities to checkmate Edward’s plans.
Edward also played on the Kaiser to sabotage the Berlin to Baghdad railway. At Windsor Castle in 1907, Edward demanded that the British keep control of a section of the railway between Baghdad and the Persian Gulf as a “gate,” supposedly to block German troops going to India. The Kaiser was ready to grant such a gate. Otherwise, Edward demanded that all talks about the Baghdad railway should be four-way, with France, Russia, Britain, and Germany involved, so that German proposals would always be voted down 3 to 1.
When the war was finally over, and the Kaiser had lost his throne, the first thing he wanted in exile from the Dutch host was a cup of real English tea.
Edward joked with his French friends that while many prayed to an eternal father, he alone seemed to have an eternal mother. Queen Victoria finally died in 1901, and Edward began his drive to world war.
III. TAILORING AND FITTING THE NESSUS ROBE
Edward’s problem as the twentieth century began was rooted in old Lord Salisbury’s policy of British “splendid isolation.” On the continent of Europe were two main alliances, the Triple Alliance of Germany and Austria- Hungary, with Italy as an adulterous partner, and opposite to this the Dual Alliance of the France of Hanotaux with the Russia of Count Witte. Britain was a member of neither one. British relations with all the continental powers was bad. Russia had been traditionally hostile since the Crimean War of mid- century. With France, Britain had just been to the brink of war in the Fashoda affair. War had been avoided, but French resentment was very great. Relations between Britain and the United States of President Grover Cleveland were traditionally also bad; a dangerous flare-up had come in the 1895 boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guyana, when the US had invoked the Monroe Doctrine and forced the British to accept arbitration. Edward had tried to quiet that one with the help of his asset Joseph Pulitzer.
THE BOER WAR CRISIS
In the midst of all this, Edward and Joseph Chamberlain had started the Boer War against Transvaal and the Orange Free State, two small states dominated by the Dutch-speaking settlers of the Cape area of South Africa. The British attempt to force the Afrikaners to knuckle under led to the celebrated “Black Week” of December, 1899, with a stunning series of British military defeats on the ground.
A wave of anti-British hatred swept the world as press accounts from the front showed that the bullying imperial colossus had feet of clay. German, French, and Russian newspapers fulminated against London. The Russian government asked Paris and Berlin if they might not consider an intervention to stop the British. Agitation increased when the British responded to their defeats with increased atrocities. The British set up the century’s first concentration camps where Afrikaner children were systematically starved to death.
A CAMBRAI DANGER FOR THE BRITISH EMPIRE
As a good Venetian, Edward recognized what he was dealing with. It was a Cambrai moment. In 1509, the Venetian oligarchy, after centuries of geopolitical perfidy, had been faced with a united front of virtually every other power in Europe, all wanting to destroy Venice. Edward himself had seen something similar in 1863, when Russia and the United States seemed about to combine to crush the British Empire. Between 1899 and 1902, public opinion in every country, including the US, demanded measures against the British lion. Britain risked a continental league or continental coalition, a new League of Cambrai against the new Venetians in London. Edward’s official biographer Sir Sidney Lee makes the danger perceived by London in those days explicit enough:
“The year 1901 and the first part of 1902 found all unofficial Europe sympathizing with the enemies of Great Britain in South Africa, and any serious diplomatic mistake on the part of Britain in those days might have resulted in European swords being flung into the balance act against her.” [Lee II. 731] “…there was always a chance, although a remote one, that jealousy of Britain, from which no great European power could be reckoned quite free, might be so stimulated by circumstances as to bring the members of the two alliances together in a combined challenge to Britain’s place in the world. Britain was thus isolated, friendless, and engaged in a none too successful or popular war when King Edward ascended the throne…. Lord Salisbury, King Edward’s first Prime Minister, had long been wedded to that policy of ‘splendid isolation’ which had been the constant British tradition through the last forty-five years of Queen Victoria’s long reign. Persistence in that policy offered little opportunity of improving the foreign situation as it existed in 1901, and might actually have exposed Britain to the risk of a hostile combination on a well-nigh overwhelming scale.” [Lee, II. 116-117]
Gasparo Contarini and the Venetian patricians of his time had responded to the War of the League of Cambrai by launching the Protestant Reformation and the wars of religion. Edward responded to the isolation of the British Empire by launching World War One.
The first imperative for Edward was a deception operation, designed to dupe and neutralize Germany, the natural centerpiece of any continental coalition against England. This was the mission of Joseph Chamberlain, a member of Lord Salisbury’s cabinet. In his celebrated speech at Leicester in November, 1899, Chamberlain said, “No far-seeing statesman could be content with England’s permanent isolation on the continent of Europe…. The natural alliance is between ourselves and the German Empire…. Both interest and racial sentiment unite the two peoples, and a new Triple Alliance between [sic] Germany, England, and the United States would correspond with the sentimental tie that already binds Teutons and Anglo-Saxons together.” [Lee, II. 117]
The rhetoric of a racist alliance was designed to entice the Kaiser, who was so eager to be accepted among the Anglo-Saxons. Wilhelm was advised by the Chancellor, Prince von Buelow, who was slippery as an eel, and by the grey eminence of the German Foreign Ministry, Baron von Holstein. Were these men British agents or British dupes? Were they part of a homosexual court cabal? In any case, Berlin sought an Anglo-German deal, but with hard bargaining. The Berlin consensus was that Britain needed Germany, and as time went on the price that London would have to pay for German help would only increase. The Kaiser’s policy was to move slowly towards a deal with London. Von Buelow and Holstein stressed that a British alliance with either France or Russia was simply impossible, given the existing frictions.
And so, Wilhelm and his advisors let slip the great opportunity for a continental bloc, which would have meshed with the efforts of Hanotaux and Wittle. Wilhelm was chasing the chimera of an accord with London which was nothing but a racist deception ploy. In January, 1901, in town for Queen Victoria’s funeral, the Kaiser was still proposing an “Anglo-German alliance, [the British] to keep the sea and [Germany] the land; with such an alliance, not a mouse could stir in Europe without our permission….” Even after 1918, the Kaiser was still repeating that he had saved Britain from a French- German- Russian combine during the Boer War.
THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR AND 1905 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
The Kaiser was constantly babbling about the “yellow peril” in the Far East, but the first ally Edward got for himself was Japan. Edward wished to use Japan as his Asian torpedo against Russia. The Japanese wanted Russia to stop encroaching on what they considered their sphere of influence in China and Korea. But sections of the Russian oligarchy hostile to Witte refused to respect Korea, and the Japanese were looking for an ally. The critical moment came when the former Prime Minister, Marquis Ito, visited London in December, 1901. Edward saw to it that Ito was socially lionized and decorated, and an Anglo- Japanese treaty was signed within a month. Both partners were in a hurry because Witte’s Trans-Siberian railway was nearing completion, and that would vastly increase Russian power in the Far East. The key clause was that if Japan went to war in the Far East against a single power, Britain would observe a benevolent neutrality. This meant that if Japan and Russia came to war, the British would prevent any other Europeans from helping Russia. This gave Japan a free hand for Admiral Togo’s sneak attack on the Russian base of Port Arthur in early 1904.
King Edward did everything but go to war against Russia. When Russia lost their fleet in the Far East, they embarked on the desperate gamble of sending their Baltic squadron around the world to fight the Japanese. In October, 1904, the Russian ships, steaming through the North Sea, fired on some British fishing trawlers, sinking one of them. The Russian admiral thought they were Japanese torpedo boats. In this Dogger Bank incident, Edward at first went to the brink of war and demanded that the Royal Navy stop the Russian ships, seize the Russian admiral, and punish him. Later, Edward backed down.
In order to reach the Far East, the Russian fleet required logistical assistance, since there was nowhere to get coal. The Kaiser was now in the mood to court Russia, so German ships did the coaling. The British press thereupon demanded that the Royal Navy stop the Germans from delivering the coal. At the same time, Admiral Fisher began popping off about Copenhagening the Germans. But this was all a circus, set up by Edward for his diplomatic aims. The Russians came out of the war with one capital ship left. But Edward wanted a disaster, not just a defeat, for Russia – a disaster that was beyond the power of Japan to inflict. To procure the disaster he wanted, Edward unleashed British intelligence and all of its assets – boyars, democrats, communists, Zionists, the works. This produced a civil war which went on into 1906, crippling Russia as a military power.
In the meantime, Edward had sealed his pact with France.
THE ANGLO-FRENCH ENTENTE CORDIALE OF 1904
At first Edward was not popular in France, because of centuries of conflict, and because of Fashoda, for which he was blamed personally. Indeed, for a time Edward’s image in the Paris press was decidedly bad. Joseph Chamberlain, who had terrified the French with his pro-German line, took the message to the French: Edward was willing to trade Egypt for Morocco to get a deal with France. This was a very unequal barter. Since the 1880’s, the British presence in Egypt had been officially temporary, ostensibly a matter of restoring order in the name of the other European powers; the British would then get out. They had no intention of getting out, but instead wanted the whole Nile Valley. But the French, the builders of the Suez Canal, still had some rights. However, if the French caved in, the British position in Egypt would be unassailable, at least by Europeans. Morocco was much different. The Moroccan government was stronger, and there were strong competing claims by Germany and Spain. In fact, the idea of French preeminence in Morocco placed France on a collision course with Germany once again.
But French society had been weakened by Edward’s Dreyfus affair, and with the help of Delcassé, Clemenceau, and Cambon, the deal was signed. Edward also contributed a tour de force of personal diplomacy, his visit to Paris in the spring of 1903. Here Bertie turned on the charm, with speeches in French about friendship while recalling his own sentimental association with Paris, Biarritz, and the Riviera. With the press doubtless well paid, the Parisian dandies and gratins turned anglophile overnight in an explosion of Bertiemania that was crowned by Edward’s appearance at Longchamp, the race track, with President Loubet, of puppet of Clemenceau. This Bertiemania started France on the road that led to Verdun, with 6 million casualties, proportionally the highest of any belligerent.
Edward had designed the Morocco gambit in the hope that Germany would quickly take the bait and challenge the new French domination in Morocco. Prince von Buelow gave Edward exactly the crisis he needed. Von Buelow told the Kaiser that Germany should challenge France in Morocco, both to defend commercial interests and to show France that the British alliance was worthless. If France was the continental dagger now in the hands of England, von Buelow argued, it was time to knock that dagger out of British hands. Von Buelow convinced the witless Kaiser to undertake the lunatic adventure of a visit – like Uncle Bertie – but to Tangier, Morocco, where the Kaiser landed in March, 1905. This led to the predictable confrontation between France and Germany. Delcassé decided to hang tough and go to the brink. When the real immediate risk of a war with Germany became clear to Delcassé’s colleagues in the government, Delcassé was fired. But this crisis succeeded in heating up the revanche syndrome in France once more, and directing all the hatred against Germany. Especially because their ally Russia was crippled, and still at war with Japan, the French were thrown completely into the arms of Edward. At the same time, secret conventions were signed for a division of labor between the British and French fleets, and planning was begun for the future British Expeditionary Force.
This first Moroccan crisis was a serious attempt by Edward to start war, despite the fact that France’s ally, Russia, was crippled. Edward may have had a promise of support from Denmark, as well. It is certain that Edward was urging France to go all the way. Under the Dual Alliance, Russia would have had to join France in war like it or not. But the French cabinet pulled back.
BJOERKJOE: THE IMPOTENT REVOLT OF TWO DOOMED NEPHEWS
In the midst of all these events, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II met at Bjoerkjoe, a Baltic fjord in Finland. This was a poignant moment, the last abortive revolt of the two doomed nephews of Edward VII – the revolt of cousin Willy and cousin Nicky. Nicholas was very unhappy with his French alliance, since France had done nothing to help him against Japan, and had concentrated on courting Uncle Bertie. The Kaiser had momentarily returned to his continental league sloganeering. As the two conversed, it became clear to the Kaiser that they shared a common ground of resentment against Uncle Bertie. Here is the Kaiser’s narrative, as sent to his chancellor, von Buelow:
“Our talk then turned on England, and it very soon appeared that the Tsar feels a deep personal anger at England and the King. He called Edward VII the greatest ‘mischief- maker’ and the most dangerous and deceptive intriguer in the world. I could only agree with him, adding that I especially had had to suffer from his intrigues in recent years. He has a passion for plotting against every power, of making ‘a little agreement,’ whereupon the Tsar interrupted me, striking the table with his fist: ‘Well, I can only say he shall not get one from me, and never in my life against Germany or you, my word of honor upon it!'” [Fay 175]
The Kaiser proposed that the two cousins join in a “little agreement” of their own to stymie Edward. The Tsar accepted, and signed a draft treaty of mutual defense which the Kaiser pulled from his pocket. The two tearfully pledged friendship. But these two borderline psychotics were unable to imagine a community of principle based on economic development, since that would have contradicted oligarchism, and both demented cousins were oligarchical to the core.
Still, if the idea of Russo-German cooperation had been exploited, the World War could not have occurred in the form which it finally assumed in 1914. But when the Kaiser told von Buelow about his talks, the chancellor threatened to resign, in response to which the Kaiser threatened to commit suicide if jilted. The Russian response was more complicated, but the opportunity drifted away. Within 2 years, Russia would be England’s ally.
AIMING AT ENCIRCLEMENT
Edward VII left no stone unturned in his efforts to isolate Germany. Edward VII was a prime mover in the dissolution of the personal union of the crowns of Norway and Sweden which gave rise to an independent Norway under British sponsorship in 1905. To underline his point, Edward saw to it that his son in law, the Danish Prince Charles (who had married Edward’s third daughter, Maud) became King of the newly independent Norway with the name of Haakon VII. Because of his marriage with the anti-German princess Alexandra, Edward was confident that no support for Germany would be forthcoming from Copenhagen.
Spain was an important country with an ancient grievance against the British: Gibraltar, which the redcoats had occupied since 1704 and the War of the Spanish Succession. In a general European war, there was a clear potential for Spain to join Germany against the Entente. In the face of modern artillery, the British would have been hard pressed to defend Gibraltar. If Spain had also conducted hostilities against France, there was the threat that many French divisions might be tied down in costly attacks on the natural fortress of the Pyrenees. In this latter case, France would have been encircled and confronted with a two-front war. Edward VII pacified Spain by marrying one of his nieces to the Spanish King; this niece converted to Catholicism for the occasion.
To Portugal, Britain’s oldest ally, Edward gave worthless promises about British support for the integrity of the Portuguese colonial empire. Portugal duly entered World War I on the side of the British.
THE ANGLO-RUSSIAN ENTENTE
On the same day in April, 1904 on which the Anglo-French entente had come into effect, Edward VII had met with his agent Izvolski to propose an Anglo-Russian combination. The big crises of the Russo-Japanese war were still months ahead, but Edward moved fast. With the help of Izvolski, Edward cut a deal with Russia that divided Iran into spheres of influence, while Afghanistan and Tibet were both neutralized, much to the disadvantage of Russia. The Russian Slavophiles got nothing tangible about their eternal goal of Constantinople.
The Anglo-Russian entente was signed in September, 1907. In June, 1908, Edward VII sailed to Reval for an ocean-going state visit to Tsar Nicholas. Admiral Jackie Fisher was there, urging Stolypin to build up his land forces facing Germany. The meeting of uncle and nephew was the grimmest of portents, foreshadowing Russia’s nine million casualties in World War I – the most of any belligerent – with more than three quarters of all Russian soldiers ending up killed, wounded, or missing. This set the stage for the revolutions of 1917 and the Bolshevik regime.
But for Edward, the important thing was that Germany was now encircled. The ring had been closed. Bismarck’s old nightmare of the coalitions (le cauchemar des coalitions) and a two-front war was now reality. With the help of Izvolski, Edward embarked at once on a new attempt to start general war. This started with Izvolski’s Buchlau Bargain with Austria, made in September, 1908, and revealed a month later. By this deal Austria was given the go-ahead to formally annex Bosnia- Herzegovina, which had been occupied by Austria after the Congress of Berlin, but not annexed. In exchange Russia was supposed to get the right to send warships through the straits, but this was blocked by the British. But when Austria annexed Bosnia- Herzegovina, Serbia, which wanted Bosnia- Herzegovina, protested. Austria and Serbia went to the brink of war, mobilizing their armies. Germany restrained Austria, and Russia felt too weak for war. Germany actually mediated the dispute. But Edward’s agents soon concocted a legend that Germany had humiliated Russia with the threat of war.
As a result of this Balkan crisis of 1908-1909, the Russian Slavophiles turned their rage more and more against Germany, which they saw as blocking their desired path of expansion into the Balkans. The greater Serbia agitators went wild. The Austrian government concluded that Serbia was a threat to its existence, and had to be crushed. This was the pattern which, after a second Moroccan crisis of 1911 much like the first, and after the Balkan wars, led to war in 1914.
Behind the Buchlau Bargain and the Balkan crisis of 1908-1909 was – King Edward. Russian war with Germany had been on his agenda with the Tsar in Reval. In August, 1908, Edward had met with Izvolski and Clemenceau at Marienbad, just before Izvolski made the bargain. During the same month Edward also met with Franz Joseph, the Austrian Emperor, in Bad Ischl. Edward had every reason to start a crisis. If Germany had repudiated Austria, Germany would have emerged totally isolated, with no allies at all left. If Germany supported Austria, the result would be either immediate war, or increased tensions that could turn into war soon.
SPLITTING THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE
One of Edward’s last memorable outings was his 1909 visit with King Victor Emmanuel, held at Baiae near Naples on April 29, 1909. Here Edward VII briefed his agent, Italian Foreign Minister Tittoni on what he saw as the alarming growth of the Austro- Hungarian fleet, the navy of a power to which Italy was theoretically allied, but to which it was in reality a rival.
This was the meeting in which Edward VII made his famous toast to the “alliance” between Italy and Britain. Modern pedantic scholars have portrayed this as a blundering gaffe by Edward VII, allegedly proving that the King was a bungler in diplomacy. In the light of subsequent history, it is clear that Edward VII’s toast to an Anglo- Italian alliance was perhaps a boastful indiscretion, but it was an error that came from knowing too much, not too little. It is likely that during this visit, Edward VII had secured from the Italian monarch and ministers commitments which rendered Italy’s participation in the Triple Alliance wholly inoperative – commitments which withstood the test of 1914, and which were followed by Italy’s entry into the war on the side of the Allies in May, 1915, in return for compensations purveyed by Theophile Delcassé. Edward’s achievement meant that World War I would be fought not by three powers against three, as the alliance patterns might have suggested, but by four powers against two.
If Edward VII had had his way, it would have been five powers against an isolated Germany. Edward VII never abandoned an Austrian option, which, if it had succeeded, would have left Berlin with no allies at all. An official in the entourage of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph was Baron Albert Margutti, who was on hand for each of the Bad Ischl meetings between Franz Joseph and Edward. Margutti wrote that, starting with the 1905 meeting, Edward VII began trying to entice Franz Joseph away from his German alliance, offering a series of vaguely defined compensations if he were to do so. [See Margutti, The Emperor Franz Joseph and His Times, pp. 259-261.] The last of these Bad Ischl meetings came in August, 1908, just before the Buchlau Bargain. At this conference, Edward is reported to have pressed Franz Joseph to intercede with Berlin to stop the planned German fleet expansion. After this meeting, Franz Joseph is reported to have muttered, “After all, I am a German prince.”
The war would come soon, but not soon enough for Edward. The old roué died in May, 1910. At the time a Leipzig newspaper wrote that he had skillfully woven the Nessus robe to destroy the German Hercules. Recall that in the old Greek myth, the hero Hercules could not be killed by any living man. But Hercules was killed by the centaur Nessus, who had tried to rape Dejaniera, the wife of Hercules. The dying Nessus told Dejaniera to soak Hercules’ robe in his centaur blood, and dress him in it if he should ever seem unfaithful. Dejaniera later did this, and the poisoned blood of Nessus, the sex-crazed old centaur, finally killed Hercules.
For a few moments during early August, 1914, the Kaiser realized what had happened:
“England, Russia, and France have agreed among themselves… after laying the foundation of the casus foederis for us through Austria… to take the Austro-Serbian conflict for an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us…. That is the real naked situation slowly and cleverly set going by Edward VII and… finally brought to a conclusion by George V…. So the famous encirclement of Germany has finally become a fact, despite every effort of our politicians and diplomats to prevent it. The net has been suddenly thrown over our head, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted anti-German world policy against which we have proved ourselves helpless, while she twists the noose of our political and economic destruction out of our fidelity to Austria, as we squirm isolated in the net. A great achievement, which arouses the admiration even of him who is to be destroyed as its result! Edward VII is stronger after his death than am I who am still alive! And there have been people who believed that England could be won over or pacified, by this or that puny measure!!!” [emphasis added; in Cowles, p. 347, from Kautsky Documents]
In 1915 a pamphlet was issued in Berlin by the military writer Reinhold Wagner. The pamphlet was entitled “The Greatest Criminal Against Humanity in the Twentieth Century: King Edward VII of England.” With admirable conciseness, Wagner formulated his indictment of the deceased British monarch: “The greatest criminal against humankind which the twentieth century has seen so far was King Edward VII of England. For he was the one, he was the one, who has instigated the world war of today.” Despite everything that has happened in this tormented world since 1915, Wagner’s case is still overwhelmingly compelling.
From Edward’s time to our own, the British monarchy has successfully weathered three storms. One was the “republican” agitation of circa 1870, reflecting the dissatisfaction with Victoria as a royal recluse, and with Edward, the heir apparent, as a rake. Then came 1916-1918, when British troops began to die in large numbers on the western front in King Edward’s World War I, which caused a wave of hatred of all things German, including the royal family, which had to take the absurd name of “Windsor” to cover up their German origins. This was when George V refused to accept the Tsar, because of the fear of an even greater political reaction. Then came the Edward VIII crisis of 1937, which reflected the fact that the King was a Nazi. Now, since 1991-92, we have the Charles-Diana crisis, which reflects a deeper breakdown in the Versailles system. There is no reason to assume that the British monarchy, having weathered all these storms, will be easily swept away. We must rather conclude that the royals will stop at nothing, including a military coup, a fascist dictatorship, or World War III, to avoid giving up power.
The historical truth about Edward VII simplifies the question of what and who caused World War I. The world war was caused by Edward VII, his geopolitics, his diplomacy, his agents, and his alliance system. A clause in the Versailles treaty specifies that Germany bears the entire guilt for World War I. This is a patent absurdity. The world war was caused by Edward VII, as we have seen. The dismantling of the Versailles system must therefore include the revision of the treaty to specify British war guilt in the person of Edward.
France, Russia, Japan, the United States, and other great nations were used by Edward VII as geopolitical pawns, and they have suffered immeasurably as a result. Ninety years after Edward’s ententes, citizens and statesmen must learn the lesson of how the British monarchy and oligarchy orchestrated the catastrophe of 1914.
THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE OF THE VERSAILLES TREATY, 1919
The entire international public order of the post-1919 era, including the League of Nations and, by extension, the United Nations, has been based on the absurd lie that Germany was solely responsible for the outbreak of World War I. This finding was officially reported to the Paris Peace Conference at the close of the war by a “Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War,” which was chaired by the American Secretary of State, Robert Lansing. Lansing refused to allow any Germans to take part in his deliberations, and the commission ignored a new “German White Book” compiled in 1919 by Hans Delbrueck, Professor Mendelssohn- Bartholdy, Count Montgelas, and Max Weber, which contained enough evidence to show that the thesis of exclusive German war guilt was untenable. The kernel of Lansing’s conclusions was as follows:
“The war was premeditated by the Central Powers together with their allies, Turkey and Bulgaria, and was the result of acts deliberately committed in order to make it unavoidable. Germany, in agreement with Austria- Hungary, deliberately worked to defeat all the many conciliatory proposals made by the Entente Powers.”
This false verdict was then incorporated into the infamous Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, which alleges:
“The Allied and Associated Governments affirm, and Germany accepts, the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.”
The German delegates were coerced into signing the Versailles Treaty by threats of renewed war and by the economic blockade still imposed on Germany after the armistice by the fleets of the Entente. The thesis of exclusive German war guilt was required by the Entente as a premise for the Carthaginian peace imposed on the Central Powers, which included the demand for more than $32 billion in war reparations, especially to France, plus interest for servicing this debt over decades into the future.
In the years after the war, documentary evidence was published which further undermined the Big Lie of Versailles. This included Karl Kautsky’s “Out break of the World War” (New York, 1924), the Soviet “Materials for the History of Franco- Russian Relations from 1910 to 1914” (Moscow, 1922), the “Austrian Red Book of 1919,” and the diary of Baron Schilling of the Russian Foreign Ministry (edited by W.C. Bridge, London, 1925).
The false verdict of Versailles had already become a scandal in America during the 1920’s, when historians like H.E. Barnes and others demanded the revision of the war guilt clause. Typical is this conclusion from the academic historian Sidney B. Fay of Harvard in 1930: “…the verdict of the Versailles Treaty that Germany and her allies were responsible for the War, in view of the evidence now available, is historically unsound. It should therefore be revised. However, because of the popular feeling widespread in some Entente countries, it is doubtful whether a formal and legal revision is as yet practicable. There must first come a further revision by historical scholars, and through them of public opinion.”
Now, after fascism, a second world conflict, the cold war, and the fall of the communist regimes in Europe, the time has come to reopen the Versailles Treaty. The Treaty must be revised to specify the war guilt of an international conspiracy masterminded first by King Edward VII of England, and after him by Sir Edward Grey, of which figures like Izvolski, Sazonov, and Clemenceau were participants. The center of war guilt must be fixed in London.
David Abrahamsen, “Murder and Madness: The Secret Life of Jack the Ripper” (New York: Fine, 1992)
Theo Aronson, “The King in Love: Edward VII’s Mistresses: Lillie Langtry, Daisy Warwick, Alice Keppel and Others” (New York: Harper & Row, 1988)
Gordon Brook-Shepherd, “Uncle of Europe: The Social & Diplomatic Life of Edward VII” (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975)
Virginia Cowles, “The Kaiser” (New York: Harper & Row, 1963)
J.A. Farrer, “England Under Edward VII” (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1992)
Sidney Bradshaw Fay, “The Origins of the World War” (New York: Macmillan, 1930)
Emile Flourens, “La France Conquise” (Paris: Garnier, 1906)
Christopher Hibbert, “The Royal Victorians: King Edward VII, His Family and Friends” (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1976)
Sir Sidney Lee, “King Edward VII: A Biography” (New York: Macmillan, 1927)
Keith Middlemas, “The Life and Times of King Edward VII” (New York: Doubleday, 1972)
Philip Magnus, “King Edward the Seventh” (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1964)
Frank Spiering, “Prince Jack” (New York: Doubleday, 1978)
Reinhold Wagner, “Der Groesste Verbrecher an der Menschheit im Zwanzigsten Jahrhundert: Koenig Eduard von England – Eine Fluchschrift” (Berlin: Verlag Karl Curtius, 1915)
Stanley Weintraub, “Victoria: An Intimate Biography” (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987)