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PRAG UE PAPERS
ON THE HISTORY
OF INTERNATIONAL
R E L AT I O N S
2008
Institute of World History
Institute of East European History
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Faculty of Historical and Cultural Sciences
Charles University Prague
University of Vienna
Prague Papers on the History of International Relations
Institute of World History
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Charles University Prague
nám. Jana Palacha 2
116 38 Praha 1
Czech Republic
Institute of East European History
Faculty of Historical and Cultural Sciences
University of Vienna
Universitätscampus, Spitalgasse 2/Hof 3A
A 1090 Wien
Austria
Editors-in-chief: Aleš Skřivan Sr., Arnold Suppan
Redaction: Václav Drška, Richard Lein, Lukáš Novotný
CONSULTING EXPERTS:
Leopold Auer (Wien), Ivo Barteček (Olomouc), Winfried Becker
(Passau), Marie Bláhová (Praha), Lenka Bobková (Praha), Franz
Bosbach (Bayreuth), Egon Boshof (Passau), Ivo Budil (Plzeň),Václav
Bůžek (České Budějovice), Jaroslav Čechura (Praha), John R. Davis
(Kingston upon Thames), Reimer Hansen (Berlin), Arno Herzig
(Hamburg), Hermann Joseph Hiery (Bayreuth), Wolfgang von Hippel
(Mannheim), Milan Hlavačka (Praha), Rainer Hudeman (Saarbrücken),
Ivan Jakubec (Praha), Drahomír Jančík (Praha), Zdeněk Jirásek
(Opava), Thomas Kletečka (Wien), Dušan Kováč (Bratislava), Martin
Kovář (Praha), Hans-Christof Kraus (Passau), Rudolf Kučera
(Praha), Robert Kvaček (Praha), Igor Lukes (Boston), Jürgen Miethke
(Heidelberg), Dagmar Moravcová (Praha), Vladimír Nálevka (Praha),
Josef Opatrný (Praha), Alexander Patschovsky (Konstanz), Bianka
Pietrow-Ennker (Konstanz), Volker Sellin (Heidelberg), Jiří Schwarz
(Praha), Aleš Skřivan, Sr. (Praha), František Stellner (Praha), Holm
Sundhaussen (Berlin), Arnold Suppan (Wien), František Šmahel
(Praha), Jiří Štaif (Praha), Miroslav Tejchman (Praha), Marko
Trogrlić (Split), Jan Wanner (Praha), Eike Wolgast (Heidelberg),
Rudolf Žáček (Opava)
Magazine’s title abbreviation: Prague PHIR
©Institute of World History
Printed by Reprostředisko UK MF, Sokolovská 83, Praha 8
ISBN
CONTENTS/INHALT
Václav Drška
La Bourgogne entre la politique dynastique des Francs et Byzance.
Quelques remarques à propos de l’influence
du regnum Burgundiae sur la création de l’État mérovingien
9
Dana Picková
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
17
Martin Nejedlý
Le premier projet d’union des Etats européens,
conçu en Bohême dans les années 1463–1464 à l’initiative
de Georges de Poděbrady, le «roi hussite»
et de son conseiller français Antonio Marini de Grenoble
29
Drahomír Suchánek
The Emperor Maximilian I and the Possibility
of Personal Connection of Empire and Papacy
57
Michal Wanner
The Madagascar Pirates in the Strategic
Plans of Swedish and Russian Diplomacy 1680–1730
73
Radek Fukala
Silesia in the Power Plans of European States and Dynasties
95
František Stellner
Die russisch-württembergischen Beziehungen
unter Katharina der Großen
105
Miroslav Šedivý
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich
towards the Treaty of Adrianople
115
Ivo Budil
Arthur Gobineau and Greece.
A View of a Man of Letters and Diplomat
131
Peter Skokan
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed.
The Round Table Conference of 1887
155
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz
169
Roman Kodet
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
179
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
191
Filip Nerad
The Gallant Allies? German-Irish Military
Cooperation Before and During the World War I
209
Václav Horčička
Soziale Zusammenhänge im Krieg
zwischen Österreich-Ungarn und
den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika in den Jahren 1917–1918
239
Jan Županič
Die Frage des Adelstandes und seiner
Aufhebung in den Nachfolgestaaten von Österreich-Ungarn
255
Rupert Quaderer
Liechtenstein und die Bodenreform
in der Tschechoslowakei nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg
265
Lukáš Novotný
Kameradschaftsbund. Contribution
to the History of Czech-German Relationship (Part one)
291
Radek Soběhart
Die Begriffe „Feind“ und „Freund“ im Werk von Carl Schmitt.
Ein Beitrag zur Ideengeschichte der Weimarer Republik
311
Igor Lukes
The Schönborn Palace and its Prewar American Residents
321
Andrej Tóth
Conclusion of the Czechoslovak-Romanian
Little Entente Treaty of Alliance in Spring 1921
335
Jan Štemberk
Czechoslovakia as the Tourist Destination between 1918 and 1938
355
Beata Katrebova-Blehova
Die slowakisch-sowjetischen Beziehungen,
1939–1941: eine ungleiche Partnerschaft
375
Jakub Rákosník
Czechoslovak Social Politics
and Its Representatives in London Exile during Second World War
429
Martin Kovář
The British Welfare State:
First Attempts at Its Revision. Labours and Tories at the Time
of the Birth of „One Nation“ and the Cold War (1949–1951)
445
Stanislav Tumis
Marc Ellis’ Responses to Holocaust
and Its Application to the Jewish-Palestinian Conflict
457
Marcin Kula – Leon Koźminski
The Poles and the Hungarians in 1956
469
Jaroslav Fiala
Was Kennedy a “Realist”? The Cuban Missile Crisis
and the Decision Making in International Affairs
487
INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS / INTERNATIONALE AKTIONEN
Kolloquium „Auf dem Weg zm Ersten Weltkrieg“
(Philosophische Fakultät der Karlsuniversität Prag, 16.Mai 2008)
SEKTION DIPLOMATIE
František Stellner
Wilhelm II. und die Juli-Krise 1914
509
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
Angeblicher „Kriegsrat“ auf Konopischt, 12.–14. Juni 1914
517
Jan Županič
Umwandlung der österreichisch-ungarischen
Diplomatie vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg
521
Radek Soběhart
„Primat der Innenpolitik“.
Ursachen des Ersten Weltkrieges im Werk von Eckart Kehr
527
Roman Kodet
Conrad von Hötzendorf and the Foreign Policy of Austria-Hungary
537
SEKTION POLITIK
Gabriele Clemens
Der politische Katholizismus in Deutschland
vor und nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg
545
Arno Herzig
Die deutschen Juden vor und nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg
557
Peter Skokan
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed.
The Round Table Conference of 1887
567
SEKTION WIRTSCHAFT
Aleš Skřivan, Jr
The Role of Export in the Economy
of the Habsburg Monarchy before the First World War
575
Lukáš Novotný
Bismarcks Fehler oder ein unvermeidliches Ereignis?
Beitrag zur Forschung nach der Entstehung
der russisch-französischen Allianz
581
Stanislav Tumis
The Economic Position of Women
in Great Britain in the Beginning of the 20th Century
587
Jan Kočvar
Japan’s Policy and Economic Interest during
the Scramble for Concessions and the „Boxer Uprising“ in China
595
DISCUSSION/DISKUSSION
Arnold Suppan
Between Hitler, Beneš, and Tito.
Occupation Policy, Resistance and Revenge in World War II.
605
BOOK REVIEWS / BUCHBESPRECHUNGEN
ALEŠ SKŘIVAN, Jr., Hospodářské reformy v Čínské lidové
republice v letech 1979–1989 (Wirtschaftsreformen in
der Volksrepublik China von 1979 bis 1989),
Karlova Univerzita Praha – Filosofická fakulta, Praha 2007
(Václav Horčička)
635
VÁCLAV HORČIČKA, Vztahy Rakousko-Uherska a
Spojených států amerických v období první světové války
(Die Beziehungen Österreich-Ungarns und der Vereinigten
Staaten von Amerika in der Zeit des Ersten Weltkrieges.
Karolinum, Praha 2007 (Jan Županič)
637
Acta Oeconomica Pragensia 16, Německé hospodářské dějiny
(Die deutsche Wirtschaftsgeschichte), hrsg. von František Stellner
und Radek Soběhart, Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze,
Praha 2008 (Pavel Szobi)
639
REPORTS/BERICHTE
Die wirtschaftlichen und politischen Auswirkungen
der Meilensteine 1848-1918-1938-1948-1968 (Petra Mikušová)
645
La Bourgogne entre la politique dynastique des Francs et
Byzance.
Quelques remarques à propos de l’influence du regnum
Burgundiae sur la création de l’État mérovingien
Václav Drška
Le royaume des Burgondes s’est intégré dans l’empire franc, à première vue, sans problème. Les historiens récents trouvent cependant de plus
en plus d‘indices probants pour établir que ce processus fut, en fait, plus
complexe. Ce fut en effet une tâche difficile pour les élites franques
régnantes du Haut Moyen Âge de maîtriser un État prestigieux et stable, au
sein duquel la formation non seulement de la représentation politique mais
aussi des normes et traditions culturelles, juridiques et religieuses avaient
atteint un certain niveau. Il est indéniable que ce pays, même après sa
défaite, influença l’histoire de l’empire et qu’il existait, en effet, plus de
variantes du règlement ultérieur des relations que l’on ne trouve dans les
chroniques, souvent concises et formulées par le côté du vainqueur.1 Dans
cette situation-là, il ne nous reste qu’à confronter leur témoignage aux
renseignements d’un autre type: on peut compter parmi eux aussi bien les
relations sur la stratégie familiale au sein de la dynastie des Mérovingiens
que les conflits dans ce domaine. Ceux-ci étaient parfois utilisés par la
diplomatie byzantine qui tentait par ce biais-là de ne pas perdre le reste de
son autorité réelle dans la moitié latine de l’ancien Empire.
Les chercheurs arrêtent leur attention notamment sur Gontran, fils de
Clotaire Ier. Il est probable que son prénom fut intentionnellement composé
du préfixe burgonde Gund- et du prénom franc Chramnus; Clotaire fit
d’ailleurs baptiser de ce prénom un autre de ses fils cadets. Gontran est né
autour de 532, c’est-à-dire à l’époque où le conflit avec le dernier roi
burgonde Godomar II arrivait à son apogée. Naturellement cela pose la
question de savoir si le père comptait déjà au temps de la naissance de son
fils sur l’éventualité que ce dernier puisse entrer en possession du royaume
burgonde.2 Il est vrai que Gontran imita pendant son règne jusqu’à un
certain point ses prédécesseurs burgondes; il n’était pourtant pas le fils de la
Voir Reinhold KAISER, Die Burgunder, Stuttgart 2004, pp. 72–74; Justin FAVROD,
Histoire politique du royaume Burgonde (443–534), Lausanne 1997, pp. 472–474.
2 Cf. Eugen EWIG, Die Namengebung bei der ältesten Frankenkönigen und im
merowingischen Könighaus, Francia 18/1 (1991), pp. 28–33. Or la première partie du
prénom de Gontran pourrait tirer son origine de celui de sa mère Ingonde.
1
10
Václav Drška
_______________________________________________________________________________
deuxième épouse de Clotaire, la princesse burgonde Guntheuc (bien que son
prénom le supposât), ce qui contredirait cette éventualité.
Or le frère de Gontran aurait été Gondovald, dit Ballomer („Trompeur“) qui dans la moitié des années 80 revint de son exil byzantin et
déclencha un soulèvement contre celui qu’il considérait comme son frère. Il
est intéressant de suivre ses intentions: gagner surtout l’égalité, bien sûr,
quoi qu’il fût son frère présumé ou réel, mais de toute façon par la voie
légale. „Reconnaissez donc maintenant que je suis roi tout comme mon
frère Gontran“ ou, au moins … „que je sois conduit auprès de votre roi et,
s’il me reconnaît pour son frère, qu’il fasse ce qu’il voudra. Si vous ne le
voulez pas, que du moins il me soit permis de m’en retourner là d’où je suis
d’abord venu“,3 aurait-il affirmé à ses partisans. Or ces paroles datent de
l’époque où son étoile commençait nettement à décliner. Néanmoins il avait
commencé à négocier encore plus tôt avec son frère par l’intermédiaire de
ses propres ambassadeurs. Ceux-ci firent savoir à Gontran que leur seigneur
demandait „la portion de son royaume qui lui est due“. Lui-même
argumentait du soutien des hommes braves qui se trouvaient derrière la
Dordogne et menaçait de guerre en tant que tribunal de Dieu si Gontran
hésitait de l’exaucer.4 On peut en déduire que sa base principale se trouvait
hors de l’ancien royaume burgonde mais il faut se rappeler que toute l’action
a commencé à Marseille, donc à proximité. Même Frédégaire était plus tard
persuadé que Gondovald tentait de gagner une partie du domaine de
Gontran5 marqué dans le chapitre précédent comme regnum Burgundiae.
Le prétendant venant de l’Orient, s’intéressait-il effectivement au moins à
une partie de l’empire burgonde ? C’est un problème difficile à résoudre car
la plupart de ses actions militaires et le sens de ses décisions politiques nous
amènent à constater qu’il préférait le rétablissement du royaume avec son
centre à Paris: „Je suis le fils du roi Clotaire et je m’emparerai immédiatement d’une partie du royaume, puis je me rendrai rapidement jusqu’à
Paris où j’établirai le siège du royaume“, proclama-t-il à une autre
GREGORIUS TURONENSIS, Libri historiarum X, in: MGH SS rer. Mer. I.1, Gregorii
Turonensis Opera, éd. Bruno KRUSCH et Wilhelm LEVISON, Hannover 1951, VII.36, p. 357
(GREGORIUS, Historia désormais). Traduction en français: GREGOIRE DE TOURS, Histoire
des Francs (t. II), trad. de Robert Latouche, Paris 1995, p. 115. (GREGOIRE, Histoire
désormais).
4 Ibid., VII.32, p. 352 („debitam portionem regni sui“)
5 Chronicarum quae dicuntur Fredegarii Scholastici libri IV cum Continuationibus, in:
FREDEGARIUS SCHOLASTICUS, Chronicarum libri IV, IV.2. p. 124: „Gundoaldus cum solatio
Mummulo et Desiderio ... partem regni Gunthramni praesumpsit invadere et civitates
evertere.“
3
La Bourgogne entre la politique dynastique des Francs et Byzance
11
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occasion.6 Il est pourtant évident que Gondovald changea ses plans selon la
situation du moment et que l’on ne connaît pas ses intentions réelles. Enfin
il est frappant de constater que c’était justement le roi de Bourgogne qui
s’inquiétait le plus de ses actions.
Pour mieux s’orienter dans cette affaire il faut d’abord examiner si la
revendication de Gondovald s’appuyait sur le droit légitime ou non. Les
renseignements dont on dispose sur cet homme ne proviennent que de
Grégoire de Tours, éventuellement des témoignages de Ballomer lui-même,
rapportés par le chroniqueur. L’évêque lui-même admet qu’il était de
naissance noble, en écrivant qu’il était né en Gaule, qu’il avait été élevé avec
un soin diligent et qu’il portait de longs cheveux à l’instar des rois
mérovingiens. Quand il fut grand, sa mère le présenta à Childebert, frère de
Clotaire, en lui demandant de prendre son cousin sous sa protection parce
que son père ne pouvait pas le supporter. Son oncle accepta parce que luimême n’avait pas d’enfant. Mais ensuite, il accéda aux désirs de son frère et
donna le garçon à Clotaire. Ce dernier lui fit couper la chevelure et dénier sa
paternité. A sa mort, Gondovald passa entre ses fils Charibert et Sigebert
pour finir, de nouveau privé de ses longs cheveux, prisonnier à Cologne. Il
réussit à s’échapper et, disposant de nouveau d’une chevelure, trouva un
asile chez le commendant byzantin Narsès. Après son mariage et la
naissance de plusieurs enfants, il rendit avec sa famille à la cour impériale
de Constantinople. Ainsi fini la première, tout compte fait heureuse, partie
de son destin.7
Ballomer n’a pas du tout la sympathie de Grégoire de Tours.
Néanmoins la plupart de ses assertions parlent en faveur de l’origine
légitime de Gondovald: son éducation, sa longue chevelure et surtout
l’accueil par Narsès et plus tard par l’empereur d’Orient peuvent faire
allusion aux contacts traditionnels de la dynastie burgonde à la cour du
Bosphore. Ensuite, il est important de savoir qui était sa mère: comme on
sait, Clotaire avait épousé Guntheuc, veuve de son frère Chlodomir, qui
provenait probablement de la dynastie royale de Bourgogne. Surtout l’âge de
Gondovald pourrait nous servir d’indice; il n’est pas possible de fixer
exactement sa date de naissance – au moment où il est présenté à
Childebert, Grégoire le désigne par des termes puer, iuvenis et admet qu’il
était litteris eruditus. Il s’agissait alors d’un adolescent déjà formé.
Childebert est mort en 558 et Gondovald est demeuré chez lui un certain
temps – il a donc dû naître au début des années 40 au plus tard, mais il n’est
6
7
GREGORIUS, Historia, VII.27, pp. 345–346; GREGOIRE, Histoire, p. 101.
Ibid., VI.24, p. 291.
12
Václav Drška
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pas exclu que ce fut encore plus tôt. Clotaire eut pour troisième femme
Arnegond qui lui donna un fils, le futur Chilpéric Ier, en 537. La précédente
fut peut-être Guntheuc que Clotaire épousa après la mort de Chlodomir,
c’est-à-dire après 525. Si la rencontre entre Gondovald et Childebert a eu
lieu entre 540 et 550, ce qui n’est pas à exclure, Guntheuc pourrait être en
effet sa mère et encore en vie. Repoussée par son ancien mari et sa nouvelle
femme, elle cherchait avec son fils asile auprès des autres cours
mérovingiennes.
Il s’agit, bien sûr, d’une hypothèse qu’on ne peut pas vérifier plus en
détail. Or il existe d’autres indices qui vont dans le même sens. D’abord,
pourquoi Clotaire Ier a-t-il aussi longtemps hésité à nier sa paternité?
D’après les écrits de Grégoire on peut constater que le petit Gondovald jouit
d’emblée de tous les privilèges dus aux princes mérovingiens. Deuxièmement,
Childebert traitait la mère et l’enfant aimablement et il ne les repoussa que
sur les insistances de son frère: ce garçon ne représentait-il pour lui, sans
postérité, un bon argument dans un éventuel conflit avec son frère? De plus,
d’autres aventures de Gondovald en Gaule nous prouvent que, d’un côté, on
lui accordait certains privilèges (il était toujours privé de sa chevelure, mais
jamais mis à mort; il trouva, bien que temporairement, un soutien même
auprès des fils de Clotaire), d’un autre côté il suscitait des inquiétudes
(internement à Cologne).
Plus tard Gondovald assura lui-même avoir été accueilli à Constantinople par l’empereur et y avoir été traité de benignissime, donc pas du
tout comme une personne sans aucune importance. Il fut exhorté à revenir
en Gaule par le duc franc Gontran Boson qui lui assura un soutien général:
„Viens parce que tu es invité par tous les grands du royaume du roi
Childebert et personne n’a osé rien articuler contre toi. Car nous savons
tous que tu es le fils de Clotaire et il n’est resté dans les Gaules personne qui
puisse gouverner le royaume si tu n’arrives pas.“8 Certes Gondovald
exagérait mais même Grégoire qui paraphrase ses mots ne nie pas que
Ballomer eût beaucoup de partisans. Childebert II était le neveu de Gontran
mais sa position fut longtemps compliquée par le fait qu’il devint roi enfant.
Il est facile à imaginer qu’autour du nouveau souverain pouvaient se créer de
nouvelles coteries dont le but était de compliquer la situation au roi des
Burgondes. Il nous reste à supposer que le destin de cet homme, couronné
par sa mort brutale, pouvait être en partie déterminé par les querelles sur
l’avenir du royaume burgonde après la défaite de Godomar II. Gondovald,
8
Ibid., VII.36, p. 358. GREGOIRE, Histoire, p. 115.
La Bourgogne entre la politique dynastique des Francs et Byzance
13
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en tant que fils de Guntheuc, ne devait-il pas être d’abord son héritier avant
que Clotaire I ne changeât ses plans?
L’enjeu de l’asile chez l’empereur de Constantinople était pour
Gondovald la solution unique et logique dans cette situation. Les Burgondes
n’étaient pas des inconnus dans le milieu impérial; Ammien Marcellin ainsi
que Symmaque les considèrent comme les alliés des Romains et Agathias de
Myrine, juriste et historien de la deuxième moitié du VIème siècle, les
complimente en les traitant de peuple industrieux et courageux.9 Les
Burgondes étaient en effet les alliés des empereurs d’Orient en Gaule depuis
longtemps10 et ils se sont eux-mêmes présentés ainsi. Leur attitude était
appréciée, du moins par les intellectuels gallo-romains de l’époque, tels que
Sidoine Apollinaire ou Avit, évêque de Vienne. On ne peut donc pas douter
que Byzance, même après la dislocation de leur royaume, ne cessa de
s’intéresser au maintien des liens avec ce territoire. De plus, le développement déséquilibré des relations avec les rois francs la força à cette
politique. Ces derniers s’immiscèrent dans la guerre de Justinien contre les
Goths, ce qui conduisit non seulement à l’occupation de la Provence mais
aussi aux tentatives de pénétrer en Italie du nord et de gagner l’alliance des
Lombards. Malgré l’échec de ces plans et le début de la crise intérieure du
royaume mérovingien au début des années 50 du VIe siècle, liée à la stratégie
défensive, la cour de Constantinople ne cessa d’observer la situation en
Gaule. Quand l’empereur Tibère II demanda son soutien contre les
Lombards, c’était justement Gontran qui refusa de se joindre à la coalition,
tandis que Chilpéric, son frère et roi d’Austrasie, prit une attitude favorable
par son ambassadeur. On sait que Tibère soutint plus tard matériellement
l’action de Gondovald et son héritier Maurice tenta de l’imiter lors des
premières années de son règne.11 Si, au début, Gondovald ne réussit pas, à
cause du changement de la stratégie dynastique, quand son père lui dénia sa
légitimité, il était tout à fait naturel qu’il tentât alors d’acquérir ses droits
avec le soutien byzantin.
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS, Rerum gestarum libri, LLA 638, (d’après Bibliotheca
Teubneriana Latina, Ver. 3.0.B, Saur Verlag München, Leipzig – Brepols Publishers,
2004) XXVIII, c. 11.5, p. 87; Q. AURELIUS SYMMACHUS, Laudatio in Valentinianum
Seniorem Augustum altera. in: Orationes, MGH AA 6.1, éd. OTTO SEECK, Berlin 1883, p.
326; AGATHIAS MYRINAEUS SCHOLASTICUS, Historiarum libri V, in: J.-P., MIGNE PG 88,
Paris 1864, I.3, col. 1284.
10 Une vue d’ensemble de cette problématique chez FAVROD, Histoire politique, pp. 141–
148.
11 Globalement chez Eugen EWIG, Die Merowinger und das Frankenreich, Stuttgart,
Berlin, Köln 1997, pp. 37–41, p. 45–49
9
14
Václav Drška
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Il ne reste qu’à répondre à la dernière question: où faut-il chercher la
cause du changement mentionné au-dessus ? La solution nous amène à
l’histoire célèbre des fils de Chlodomir qui ont eu, sans aucun doute,
Guntheuc pour mère. Ils portaient les noms de Théodovald, Gonthier et
Cloud. Le nom du deuxième a son origine chez Gondicaire, le roi burgonde
de la dynastie de Gibica. Les deux autres sont des mots composés dont les
deuxièmes parties rappellent le style burgonde des prénoms et le nom du roi
Gondovald qui était peut-être le grand-père des trois garçons. On ne peut
pas, bien sûr, considérer cela comme un argument définitif mais il est
frappant qu’aucun des princes mérovingiens ne soit plus nommé de cette
manière par la suite. Le seul à être baptisé d’un prénom semblable à
Théodovald était leur contemporain un peu plus jeune, le fils du souverain
franc Théodebert Ier – roi qui fit pieusement déposer les reliques du roi
burgonde saint Sigismond.
Quant au destin tragique des fils de Chlodomir, c’est Grégoire de Tours
qui nous informe en détail12 mais d’une façon qui suscite des soupçons.
Après le décès de leur père, leur grand-mère Clotilde se chargea des enfants
ce qui en soi ne représente rien d’extraordinaire. La veuve de Clovis était
aussi la tante éloignée des princes, la cousine du roi assassiné Sigismond et
on sait qu’elle s’est beaucoup engagée dans la politique burgonde. Ses
demandes rencontraient surtout de l’écho chez Chlodomir, et notre
choniqueur écrit qu’elle élevait les orphelins unico affectu, alors avec une
„affection exclusive“. Si exclusive qu’elle éveilla les soupçons de leur oncle
Childebert. Il s’adressa alors à son frère Clotaire en l’avertissant que leur
mère voulait les priver du regnum. Mais duquel? En général on parle de
celui de Chlodomir mais, à cette époque-là, le royaume des Burgondes était
aussi en jeu. La grand-mère ne projetait-elle pas le partage entre ses petitsenfants non seulement de l’héritage du père mais aussi du royaume voisin?
Childebert invitait son frère à délibérer s’il fallait couper la chevelure
de ses neveux – et les priver ainsi d’un attribut visible de leur prétention –
ou bien les tuer directement pour partager également „le royaume de notre
frère“. Ensuite, tout se déroula conformément à une ruse: on avait fait courir
dans la population le bruit que les enfants de Chlodomir seraient élevés sur
le trône. C’est ainsi que l’on prévint aussi Clotilde. Sa joie, que le nom de
Chlodomir ne serait pas oublié, prit fin quand un messager arriva chez elle
avec une proposition simple et cruelle: soit elle permet que l’on coupe les
cheveux des fils („et ils seront traités comme le reste du peuple“) soit on les
tue. Il est remarquable que la décision sanglante ne concernât que deux des
12
GREGORIUS, Historia, III.18, pp. 117–119.
La Bourgogne entre la politique dynastique des Francs et Byzance
15
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trois frères.13 En effet, le petit Cloud était épargné parce que défendu par les
vires fortiores, comme l’écrit le chroniqueur tourangeau.
Il y a trois circonstances qui attirent notre attention. D’abord on a
visiblement modifié le plan initial en épargnant Cloud. Deuxièmement,
Clotilde elle-même préférait l’élimination de ses petits-fils – après les avoir
soigneusement gardés (!) – à la privation des droits provenant de leur père.
Ce fait était incompréhensible même pour Grégoire de Tours („elle […] se
laissa gagner par l’amertume et ne sachant plus dans sa douleur ce qu’elle
disait répondit simplement: ‘Je préfère s’ils ne doivent pas monter sur le
trône, les voir morts que tondus.’“) et suscite des questions même
aujourd’hui.14 Troisièmement, le dernier descendant de Chlodomir n’était
pas épargné sur ses instances mais par la résistance d’une partie de la
noblesse ou par le changement des plans de ses fils.
Partons du fait que les orphelins de Guntheuc auraient pu être, au
début, garants communs pour la reine-veuve et ses deux fils contre les
prétentions éventuelles de leur demi-frère Thierry Ier dans les affaires
burgondes. Par conséquent, il devait exister un accord entre la mère et
Chlodomir avec Childebert sur leur destin ultérieur. Certes il est possible de
se figurer que Clotilde défendait les intérêts de ses petits-fils seulement
parce qu’elle aurait eu, en tant que descendante de la royauté burgonde, des
idées différentes sur la pratique de l’héritage. Néanmoins son engagement
dans la lutte contre Sigismond nous force d’adopter comme exacte
l’hypothèse qu’elle suivait son propre plan de l’avenir de la Bourgogne, peutêtre en tant que partie du regnum de Chlodomir. Mais quand la lutte contre
le dernier roi burgonde Godomar se montra longue et ses résultats
incertains, les frères décidèrent de partager au moins le royaume du frère
défunt, ce qui surprit leur mère. Les neveux faisaient obstacle dans ce
nouveau projet, c’est pourquoi on devait les éliminer. Il s’agit aussi d’une
supposition qui est cependant fondée par le procédé choisi – le plan du
meurtre était soigneusement caché au peuple et à la reine. Il est alors
„...utrum incisis crinibus eos vivere iubeas, an utrumque iugulare“, Ibid., p. 118.
Cf. Reinhard SCHNEIDER, Die Einheit des Frankenreiches und das Teilungsprinzip, in:
Lotharingia – eine europäische Kernlandschaft um das Jahr 1000, Saarbrücken 1995 (=
Veröffentlichungen der Kommission des saarlandischen Landesgeschichte 26), pp. 17–
18; IDEM, Königswahl und Königserhebung im Frühmittelalter. Untersuchungen zur
Herrschaftsnachfolge bei der Langobarden und Merowinger (Monographien zur
Geschichte des Mittelalters 3), Stuttgart 1972, p. 75 ou Waltraut BLEIBER, Das
Frankenreich der Merowinger, Berlin 1988, p. 80 et suiv. On suppose globalement que
Clotilde essayait sans succès faire reconnaître les droits d’héritage de ses fils en dépit du
principe, traditionnel chez les Francs, de la réception de l’héritage du frère à l’instar du
lot paternel.
13
14
16
Václav Drška
_______________________________________________________________________________
possible d’expliquer sa réaction non seulement comme une affection de
grand-mère mais aussi comme une désillusion politique de la reine qui a
compris que le destin de la Bourgogne lui glisse entre les doigts. Guntheuc
devait être, en effet, l’épouse de Clotaire, le petit Gondovald (Ballomer) était
déjà né et les frères étaient d’accord sur le partage égal; celui-ci pourrait
consister dans la promesse d’aide pour Clotaire contre Godomar et la
participation au butin, tandis que Childebert devait s’emparer de la plus
grande part du royaume franc de Chlodomir. Il est pourtant remarquable
que celui qui a ourdi le plan du meurtre fut devancé par „l’esprit de décision“
de Clotaire. Seulement le refus d’une partie des nobles (soutenus par Thierry
Ier ou bien son fils?) et peut-être les protestations de Clotilde, ont abouti à
épargner au moins la vie du dernier prince: cependant à la condition que ce
dernier suivrait la carrière spirituelle et renoncerait à ses droits séculiers.15
On peut tirer l’essentiel de toute l’histoire en constatant que Guntheuc
ainsi que son fils ne jouèrent qu’un rôle temporaire et tactique dans le projet
dynastique de Clotaire. Son point de gravité consistait dans l’obtention de
tous les arguments possibles pour gagner l’héritage de Chlodomir,
éventuellement même le royaume burgonde. Il s’agissait d’une méthode
utilisée mais critiquée par le clergé franc qui n’était pas, bien sûr, persuadé
de sa validité. Clotaire était le plus jeune de tous ses frères. Il avait déjà trois
fils de son premier mariage, tandis que son frère Childebert restait sans
postérité et aussi la lignée de Thierry Ier qui passait par Theudebert Ier ne
donnait pas non plus espoir de grande longévité. Clotaire avait donc une
possibilité de gagner, tôt ou tard, l’ensemble de l’empire; c’est pourquoi
Guntheuc et son fils perdaient de l’importance. Il s’efforça de se priver d’eux
et de faire oublier ainsi la manière dont il s’était emparé de l’héritage de
Chlodomir. La Damnatio memoriae ne réussit cependant qu’en partie:
l’existence même des enfants de Guntheuc (et leurs prénoms) était un rappel
du nomen Burgundiae et, au moment où la politique byzantine put en
profiter, elle s’empressa d’utiliser ce fait pour contenir les projets expansifs
des Francs.*
GREGORIUS, Historia, III.18, p. 119.
This article has been published as a part of the research project MSM 0021620827 The
Czech Lands in the Midst of Europe in the Past and Today at the Faculty of Arts, Charles
University, Prague
15
*
Were the Varangians Really the Founders
of the Rus’ian State?1
Dana Picková
In 793 Danish Vikings attacked the island of Lindisfarne off the
Northeastern coast of England. Though probably not the first action of its
kind, it was the first Viking raid, which entered history, and thus opened up
the long Viking age in Europe. For more than two and half centuries the
Norsemen ploughed the sea covering the entire European coast and
threatening the continent from the British Islands down to Byzantium. Not
only were they proficient invaders but also merchants and they colonised the
invaded territories as well as deserted islands in the Atlantic. In addition,
they are also said to have founded the old Rus’ian state – Kievan Rus’. The
German historians, Gottlieb Siegfried Bayer and Gerhard Friedrich Müller,
working in the newly founded St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, first
expressed this opinion in the first half of the 18th century. Their ideas were
developed at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries by August Ludwig von
Schlözer. On the basis of a thorough study of the oldest preserved work of
the Rus’ian annals, Povest vremennych let (The Primary Chronicle), von
Schlözer enunciated the so called Normanist Theory (the term is of a later
provenance). Within the context of historical events, such as the Northern
War with the Swedes or the harmful influence of the Germans on the reign
of Russian tsarinas (e.g. Ernst Johann von Biron), the question of Norman
influence on the creation of the original Rus’ian state was politicised from
the very beginning because the Russians interpreted it as placing emphasis
on Slavic insufficiency and backwardness. The Normanist question injured
the Russian national pride, roused strong disagreement and heated
exchanges and despite many new findings (e.g. results of intensive
archaeological research in the Northern part of the East European Plain in
This article has been published as a part of the research project MSM 0021620827 The
Czech Lands in the Midst of Europe in the Past and Today at the Faculty of Arts, Charles
University, Prague
1
18
Dana Picková
_______________________________________________________________________________
the 1960s, the study of archival sources of foreign origin, etc.) it basically
still persists even today.2
Contacts between the inhabitants of Northern and Eastern Europe
were not new in the Viking age. They had existed long before that, perhaps
since the Bronze Age, but they culminated in the Early Middle Ages. At that
time, the Scandinavians were engaged in European-wide trade and had
interconnected the system of their routes, which stabilized in the middle of
the first millennium and connected Central Europe with the Baltic States
and the North Sea region, first with Eastern Europe and then with the two
richest states of the time as well, the Arab Caliphate and Byzantium.
The first Vikings of Swedish origin, the Varangians3 as called in Rus’,
had appeared in Eastern Europe as early as the 7th century. They landed on
the coast of the Gulf of Finland and they started to penetrate inland. Their
first route led along the Neva River, Lake Ladoga and upstream along the
Volkhov River, into Lake Ilmen. In this area the Varangians built up their
first fortified bases. One of the oldest and undoubtedly the most important
ones was Aldeigjuborg (now Staraia Ladoga), situated near the mouth of the
Volkhov River into Lake Ladoga. According to several permutations of
Povest vremennych let, the „fortified town of Ladoga“, as it was called by
the Slavs, was built by the Varangian chieftain Rurik and his brothers. It is
possible that Rurik really settled here after his arrival to the North of Rus’ in
862. Nevertheless, he could not have founded Ladoga in any case, because
dendrochronological research of the oldest remains of the local ramparts
points to the 50s of the 8th century. This means that it is necessary to date
the beginnings of Aldeigjuborg into the mid-8th century at the latest.4
The founding of this fort, which was at the same time a port, dock and
stock, was an important step for widening the current trade connections.
From Aldeigjuborg, the Varangians were setting out to explore new
See f.e. Анmuнopмaнизм. Cбopник Pyccкoгo ucmopuчecкoгo oбщecmвa, т. 8/156,
Mocквa 2003; Caxapoв, A.Н., Pюpuк, варяги u cyдьбы pyccкoй гocyдapcmвeннocmи,
in: Mиp иcтopии 2002; Кyзмин, A.Г., Kmo в Пpuбaлmикe „кopeннoй“?, Mocквa 1993;
Фoмин, B.B., Pyccкиe летописu u варяжcкaя лeгeндa, Липпeцк 1999; Нopмaнcкaя
пpoблeмa в зaпaднoeвpoпeйcкoй ucmopuoгpaфuu XVIII вeкa, in: Cбopник Pyccкoгo
ucтopичecкoгo Oбщecтвa, т. 4/152, Mocквa 2002; Варяги u варяжcкaя pycь: к umoгaм
дucкyccuu пo варяжcкoмy вoпpocy, Mocквa 2005.
3 The Slavic term варяги–Varangians (in Byzantine sources ςαρανγοι) originates from
the proper Scandinavian denomination Vaeringar or Vaeringjar, which marked a
member of the retinue who was bound by a pledge (vár). See more: Мeльникoвa, E.A. –
Пeтpyxин, B.Я, Cкaндuнaвы нa Pycu u в Buзaнmuu в X – XI вв.: к ucmopuu нaзвaнuя
„вapяг“, in: Cлaвянoвeдeниe1994, вып. 2.
4 S. FRANKLIN, J. SHEPARD, The Emmergence of Rus 750–1200, London, New York
1996, pp.12– 13.
2
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
19
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possibilities. Thanks to the local environmental conditions, it was not
difficult for Swedish voyagers to travel huge distances across the continent.
Not only the North of Rus’, but the whole terrain of the slightly undulating
East European Plain is interwoven by a network of water sheets and
navigable rivers, out of which the most important lead from North to South.
Thus it was possible to sail from the Baltic Sea all the way to the Caspian Sea
or the Black Sea. Only rarely did the Varangians have to pull their ships and
goods with a tow5 on the land.
During the 8th and 9th centuries, the Varangians came into contact
with Volga Bulgaria, which lays from the middle reaches of the Volga,
southwards from the confluence with Kama, with the Khazar empire,
spreading across a vast territory from the lower Dnieper and Crimea all the
way to the Caspian Sea and the foothills of the Northeastern Caucasus
Mountains, and eventually with the Arab Caliphate itself. At the Arabic
markets, the Scandinavian merchants were buying luxurious goods and
silver, which was very cheap there. The archaeological finds are the proof –
rich treasuries of Arabic silver coins have been found not only in Sweden but
also spread along transit routes in Eastern Europe. Many trade transactions
were made in khanates along the Volga River, where not only Varangians
but also Arabic merchant caravans would come.
In the middle of the 9th century the importance of the Varangian trade
route towards the Arabs declined. It was clearly related to the weakening of
the Caliphate, which occurred as a consequence of inner dissensions as well
as subsequent foreign political failures. At that time a second and more well
known route had formed, leading „from the Varangians to the Greeks”, this
means from Sweden over the Baltic Sea towards the Dnieper and then to the
Black Sea. It was the right time for the Varangians to arrive at the Byzantine
trade centres as the expansion lead by the Arabs towards the West, and
mainly their pirate actions, impaired the traditional trade route through the
Mediterranean which up to then had been the domain of Byzantine
merchants.
Along lengthy routes, the Varangians were building other fortified
trade bases. Some of them served only as hold during their long sails, others
stayed there over the winter in case they did not make it on time to sail away
for Scandinavia, and others settled here with their retinues and families
forever. Many Scandinavian warriors, who were considered some of the best
The ship with its load was put on a calash so that it was possible to drag it more easily
from one river to the next.
5
20
Dana Picková
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at that time in Europe, entered the services of Slavic aristocrats. Colonists
settled places below the castle walls as well as big river basins, many of
which were also of Scandinavian origin. They were engaged in various crafts,
their production relied on distance trade, and in some case they traded
amongst themselves on a small scale. As a consequence many fortified
settlements came to have an urban character. Scandinavians themselves
called Rus’ Garðar in their sagas, it means castles or more precisely castle
towns (grad – gorod – gardar), or Garðaríki – land of castle towns.
The Varangians were taking taxes from the local Slavic, Baltic and
Finno-Ugrian inhabitants, mostly in kind, and sometimes also in money.
The Arabic geographer Ibn Rusta narrates it in Povest vremennych let and
and it is also proven by archaeological findings (in the North of Rus’ already
from the first half of the 9th century).6 At that time, it was more of a tribute
by which the local inhabitants were supposed to ward off attack by the tax
collector than a public legal rent paid by the subjects. The Varangian chiefs
maintained their retinues from these resources and mainly they made their
businesses with them. Valuable furs, wax and honey, which this country
provided sufficiently, were in great demand in both Arabic areas and in
Byzantium. But the most profitable trade article were slaves. It is thus
presumable that there was not always a peaceful coexistence between the
Varangians and the local tribes and that the Norsemen were also going on
predatory quests – which was, for that matter, characteristic of them – and
they gained not only loot but also captives. It is mentioned as well in Povest
vremennych let.
The system of Varangian forts was first oriented from the West to the
East. In the first decades they spread widely to the North around the Gulf of
Riga, in the area of Lake Ladoga and the Volkhov River, eastwards from
Smolensk, and between the upper Volga and Oka Rivers. Later the
orientation turned more and more towards the South along the Dnieper.
Other than that, the Varangians dominated some of the old Slavic centres,
which eventually became Finno-Ugrian, such as Novgorod (in fact the nearby settlement of Gorodishche)7, Beloozero, Izborsk, Pskov, Rostov,
B.Я Пeтpyxин, Д.C Paeвcкий, Д.C Oчepкu ucmopuu нapoдoв Poccuu в дpeвнocmu u
paннeм cpeднeвekoвьe, (Studia historica), Mocквa 2004, p. 288.
7 Rurik could not have settled in Novgorod in 862 nor could have Oleg taxed the
inhabitants twenty years later, because this town came into being in the first third of the
10th century at the earliest. Nestor’s Нoвeгopoд was in fact a settlement of urban
character surrounding a fort called Городище (sometimes also Рюриково Городище),
which stood not far from the present Novgorod.
6
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
21
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Gniezdovo at Smolensk and finally Kiev, and they conquered the outlying
areas. The centre of the Varangian trade organisation moved from the North
to the South, thus from Aldeigjuborg and Novgorod to Kiev. The gradual
spread of the Varangian influence on the North of Rus’ and after Nestor
recorded that from the North to the South, the author of Povest vremennych
let, and he connected it with particular events. The beginnings of Rus’ian
history, the formation of Rus’ian statehood and as an ethnic group, thus
there came to be a so-called tale about inviting the princes: „Въ лето 6367.
[859] Имаху дань варязи изъ заморья на чюди и на словeнех, на мерu и
на всeхъ кривичeхъ. А козари имаху на полянех, и на сeверех, и на
вятичeхъ, uмаху по бeлe и вeверицe от дыма. Въ лето 6370. [862]
Изъгнаша варяги за море, и не даша имъ дани, и почаша сами в собе
вoлoдети, и не бе въ нихъ правьды, и въста родъ на родъ, и быша у них
усобице, и воевати почаша сами на ся. И реша сами в себе: «Поищемъ
собе князя, иже бы вoлoделъ нами и cyдилъ по праву.» И идоша за
море къ варягомъ, къ руси. Cице бо cя зваху тьи варязи русь, яко се
друзии зъвyтся свuе, друзии же ypмane, анъгляне, друзии гъme, тако
и си. Реша рус, чюдь, словенu и кривичи и всu: «Земля наша велика и
обилна, а наряда в ней нетъ. Да поидете къняжитъ и вoлoдети
нами.» И изъбрашася 3 братья с роды своими, пояша по собе вьсю
русь, и придоша; старейший Pюрикъ, седе Нoвeгopoдe, а другый
Cинеусъ на Белe-oзерe, а третий Избopьcтe, Тpyвopъ. И от техъ
варягъ прозвася Руская земля….“8
According to Nestor, the arrival of the Varangians into Kiev was the
work of Askold and Dir, men from Rurik’s retinue, who gained control of the
local tribes of the Polans, whereas Rurik ruled in Novgorod.9 Before 879 the
semi-legendary chief died, according to the chronicler „предасть княженье
свое Олгови, от рода ему суща, въдавъ ему сынъ свой на руцe, Игоря,
бе бо детескъ вельми.“ In 882 „поиде Олeгъ, поимъ воя многи, варяги,
чюдь, словeни, мeрю, весь, кривичи, и придe къ Смоленьскy съ кривичи,
и прия грaдъ и посади мужь своu, oттуда поиде внизъ, и взя Любець, и
посади мужь своu. И придоста къ горамъ xъ киевьскымъ, и увeдa
Олeгъ, яко Осколдъ и Диръ княжита.“ He brought them out of the town
with a trick and when they came to him, he said: “«Вы нeста князя, ни
родa княжя, но азъ есмь роду княжа», и вынесоша Игоря: «A ce есть
Повест временных лет, издано под редакциею Д.С. Лихачева и B.П. AдpиaнoвoйПеpeтц, Санкт Петepбypг 1996, p.12–13.
9 According to Nestor, Askold and Dir, together with their men, made the first historically
known raid of the Rus‘ against Constantinopole in 866 (according to Byzantine sources
860 - see e.g. Photii epistulae 1, Lipsiae 1983, No.2, pp.293–296).
8
22
Dana Picková
_______________________________________________________________________________
сынъ Рюриковъ».“10 Askold and Dir were killed and Oleg assumed the
reigns of government in Kiev. He settled there, started to build fortified
towns and required the Slovenes, the Krivichi and the Mer from Novgorod to
pay taxes to the Varangians. This tax remained until the death of Yaroslav I
the Wise (1054). Connecting Novgorod and Kiev under the single reign of
the Varangian chief Oleg has been noted traditionally in historiography as
the founding of the old Rus’ian state, Kievan Rus’. Nevertheless, it is only
possible to confirm the information from Nestor on general terms. It is not
possible to prove factually the existence of persons such as Rurik,11 Askold,
Dir and Oleg in other historical sources, nor of a foreign provenance.
Nevertheless, there exists a contemporaneous testimony according to
which the Varangians might have ruled in southern Rus’ a quarter of century
earlier than the 60s of the 9th century. We find it in Annales Bertiniani (The
Annals of St-Bertin), in which Prudentius, the chancellor of the emperor
Louis the Pious, recorded the following information: A delegation of the
Byzantine emperor Theophilos arrived to the emperor’s court in Ingelheim
in 839, among which were several men „qui se, id est gentem suam, Rhos
uocari dicebant, quos rex illorum chaganus uocabulo ad se [Theophilum]
amicitiae, sicut asserebant, causa direxerat, petens per memoratam
epistolam, quatenus benignitate imperatoris redeunti facultatem atque
auxilium per imperium suum tuto habere possent, quoniam itinera per
quae ad illum Constantinopolim uenerant, inter barbaras et nimiae
feritatis gentes inmanissima habuerant, quibus eos, ne forte periculum
inciderent, redire noluit. Quorum aduentus causam imperator diligentius
inuestigans, comperit gentis esse Sueonum.“12
The mentioned passage represents one of the main disputed subjects
between supporters and opponents of the Normanist theory. The thing is
that Prudentius does not state where the land of the khagan (chaganus) of
the Rus’ was situated, he only indicates that the route of the delegates to
Byzantium lead through the lands of wild peoples – most likely the steppes
in the northern territory along the Black Sea under threat of raids by
Повест временных лет, p.14.
Regarding the historical authenticity of the figure of Rurik see: G. Schramm, Die erste
Generation der altrusischen Fürstendynastie. Philologische Argumente für Historizität von Rjurik
und seinen Brüder, in: Jahrbücher für Gechichte Osteuropas 28 (1980); newer Altrusslands
Anfang. Historische Schlüsse aus Namen, Wörtern und Texten zum 9. und 10. Jahrhundert,
Freiburg 2002.
12 Monumenta Germaniae historica, Annales et chronica aevi Carolini, ed. PERTZ, G.H.,
Hannover 1826, p. 434. It is the oldest known reference about the ethnicity called "Rhos"
– the Rus‘.
10
11
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
23
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Hungarians and Pechenegs. To this day, historians try in vain to pinpoint
the location of this khagan. Assuming „khagan“ to be the traditional Turkic
term for a leader of a tribe, later a ruler, points to the influence of the
Chazars and the southern areas of Eastern Europe, perhaps directly at Kiev.
Nevertheless, there are no archaeological findings in this territory, which
would prove the presence of Scandinavians there as early as the first half of
the 9th century. On the contrary, one can find an abundance of such
material in the North of Rus’ – but it is hard to provide a reason why the
local ruler would be called khagan there.
The Rus’ khaganate is also mentioned later, starting from the 10th
century, in several Arabic and Persian sources. The first mention is by a
geographer of Persian origin, Ibn Rusta, in the encyclopaedic work written
in Arabic, Kitábu l-a’láqi n-nafísati (Book of Precious Jewels), written in
903 – 913. The Rus’ live on an island surrounded by a lake and have a ruler,
“khaqan rus”, Ibn Rusta writes: "They harry the Slavs, using ships to reach
them; they carry them off as slaves and … sell them. They have no fields but
simply live on what they get from the Slav's lands."13
Also the Persian historian Gardízí wrote about the island of the Rus’ in
the mid-11th century, though he probably cribbed the data from Ibn Rusta.
But in his version the island is surrounded by the sea and is inhabited by a
hundred thousand people. We find analogous narratives, although
shortened, in other Arabic and Persian authors all the way to the 16th
century.
Just as the effort of researchers to define the territory of the Rus‘
khaganate more precisely failed, so too did the endeavour to identify the
island of the Rus’ with a particular geographical location. None of the
Oriental geographers as well as the annalist Prudentius indicated where the
island or peninsula (the Arabic word jazira also supports this explanation),
on which the Rus’ian khagan ruled was located. Was it in the north of Rus’,
in the vicinity of Novgorod, the upper basin of the Volga, or even in
Scandinavia, as the orientalists say, or, on the contrary, was it in the
southern regions around Kiev, Tmutarakana, and the Crimea or in the
Danubian delta? Neither of these speculative theories is possible to prove
with conviction.
The recently-deceased Russian archaeologist Valentin Vasiljevič Sedov
pointed out the fact that the Khazars built up a belt of forts in the 30s and
Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum VII. ed. M.J. de Goeje, Lugduni Batavorum
1894, pp.145–146.
13
24
Dana Picková
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40s of the 9th century with the help of Byzantine builders on their western
frontier, which in his opinion was supposed to protect their realm from the
Rus’ Khaganate, as mentioned in Annales Bertiniani. It is not known,
however, if an outside party threatened the Khazarian realm at that time.
Sedov assumes that this khaganate spread between the Dnieper and Don
Rivers and he considers it not to have been Swedish but rather a Slavic state
formation.14 Nevertheless, this is contradicted by the above-mentioned
Arabic-Persian reports because the great majority of authors writing in
Arabic assiduously distinguish between the Rus’ (ar-Rús) and Slavs. Also
the Czech historian Dušan Třeštík points out the complete absence of
written testimony about the Slavic character of this khaganate and adds that
the archaeological sources cannot be decisive in judging the ethnicity,
although it is right to suppose that the dominant majority of the inhabitants
of this khaganate were not of Swedish origin.15
Regarding the story about the island of the Rus’, the most reasonable
explanation seems to be the hypothesis of the Russian historian Je. A.
Melnikova who supposes that it cannot be seen as a report about a particular
island which belonged to the Rus’, but that it is necessary to see it as the
result of a literary adaption of a compilation of miscellaneous information
about the Rus’, gathered by Muslim authors from different sources during
the 9th century,16 including biblical and ancient tradition.
The Varangians, however, did not only write the history of Eastern
Europe. There can be no doubt that most of the local inhabitants were not
Northern in origin, but Slavic and also Baltic or Finno-Ugrian. The intensive
archaeological research carried out in the 1960s brought to light major
findings about the wider settlement of the Northern part of the East
European Plain not only by Scandinavian, but also by Baltic and FinnoUgrian peoples. Up to then it was believed that the settlements of Slavs were
the only ones in the area. In fact Slavs had not come there until the 11th
century. Other findings have been brought to light through etymological
analysis of the term Rus’. Nevertheless Soviet researchers and scientists
from other countries of the Eastern block concentrated specifically, on the
basis of richer and richer archaeological material, on the proof that the
B. B. Ceдoв, Cлaвянe, ucmopuкo-apxeoлoгuчecкoe uccлeдoвaнue, (Studia historica),
Mocквa 2002, pp.275–280.
15 D. TŘEŠTÍK, "Veliké město Slovanů jménem Praha". Státy a otroci ve střední Evropě v
10.století. In: Přemyslovský stát kolem roku 1000, Praha 2000, pp.66–67.
16 Дpeвняя Pycь в cвeme зapyбeжныx ucmoчнuкoв, издано под редакциею E.A.
Мeльникoвoй, Mocквa 1999, p.123.
14
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
25
______________________________________________________________________________
socio-economic development of the Eastern Slavs proceeded more rapidly
than supposed and that the actual roots of the statehood were built up
before the arrival of the Varangians.17
According to the schema of the genesis of the Rus’ian state which
dominated Soviet historiography up to the early 1990s, Slavs in the 6th and
8th century were in a phase of a military democracy with tribal features
presented as the last stage of a primitive communal system or a transition
stage from clans to early feudal society. They were organised into tribes, but
mainly there were already larger tribal federations led by a prince who stood
above the other minor rulers. The first state formations in the territory of
the Eastern Slavs were believed to have been created in the 9th century;
these were overlapping tribes, which provided the decisive condition for the
later genesis of the Kievan Empire.18 These theories give the Varangians
some credit in founding the Rus’ian state, but only in the idea that Oleg
united two early state formations at the end of the 9th century. The noted
Soviet historian Boris Alexandrovič Rybakov considers the Varangians to
have only been mercenaries, and he does not credit them with any special
role in the process of state formation of the Eastern Slavs – with the
exception of the rather coincidental occupation of Kiev by Oleg. He
considers their identification with the Rus’ in Povesti vremennych let to be a
mistake.19
These seemingly credible schemata of the development of the Eastern
Slavs’ political organisation contain several pitfalls. One of the basic weak
points is the fact that they mostly do not rely on written sources, which are
non-existent for the 7th – 8th centuries. Although we have sources for the
9th century, they are fragmentary and not completely clear, and the most
important one, Povest vremennych let, is not even a contemporaneous
writing. The results of Soviet historiography were therefore constructed on
the basis of archaeological material and analogical reasoning. The
conditions in Eastern Europe were applied based on the knowledge from the
17
See f. e. Łowmiański, H., Geneza państwa ruskiego jako wynik procesu wewnętrznego. In:
Świantowit 24 (1962).
18 See f. e. A. H. Нacoнoв, „Pyccкaя зeмля“ u oбpaзoвaнue meppumopuu
дpeвнepyccкoгo гocyдapcmвa, Mocквa 1951, pp. 28–46; Д. A Мaчинcкий,, A. Д.
Мaчинcкaя,, Ceвepнaя Pycь, Pyccкuй ceвep u Cmapaя Лaдoгa в VIII-XI вв. In:
Кyльтypa pyccкoгo Ceвepa, Лeнингpaд 1988.
19 Б.A., Pыбaкoв, , Киeвcкaя Pycь u pyccкue княжecтвa XII–XIII вв., Mocквa 1982, pp.
55–90. See also И.П. Шacкoльcкий, Hopмaнcкaя meopuя в coвpeмeннoй
бypжyaзнoй нayкe, Mocквa, Лeнингpaд 1965, p.205; M.H.Тиxoмиpoв, Pyccкoe
летописaниe, Mocквa 1979.
26
Dana Picková
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environment of Western Slavs, where, due to more widely available written
sources, it is possible to document the existence of tribal federations as well
as the formation of monarchic government within a regional framework, or
the development in this area is compared to individual stages of the
formation of the Swedish state.20
As has been indicated, in searching for how the Varangians
participated in the founding of the Rus’ian state, it is necessary to answer
the question who the original Rus’ were. Were they arriving Norsemen, or
Slavs already settled in Eastern Europe? Nestor knew the outright answer to
this question: the Rus’ian country was named after the Varangian retainers
("vsja rus"), who came there in 862 together with Rurik. In 882 Oleg united
Rurik’s holdings in the North with the territory of the Polans, who, up to
then, had been ruled by Askold and Dir: “И седe Олегъ княжa в Киеве, и
peчe Олегъ: «Ce будu матu грaдoмъ руськимъ». И бeшa у него варязи и
слoвeнu u прочи, прозвашaся русью.“21
However, Povest vremennych let does not represent a trustworthy
source for the 9th century and it is not possible to rely on the accuracy of its
chronology. But on the basis of more accurate contemporaneous sources of
foreign origin we can prove that the name Rus’ must have spread into the
Middle Dnieper region earlier than in 882, as mentioned by Nestor. The
ethnonym Rhos appeared for the first time in Annales Bertiniani in a
previously mentioned record in 839. The form Rhos points to the influence
of Greek. Somewhat later the concept appeared in Byzantine sources as well,
together with the first historically documented attack of the Rus’ () on
Constantinople in 860.22 From the second half of the 9th century we
encounter this ethnonymum in German and Byzantine sources, and from
the 10th century in Arabic sources as well (in the form ar-rus), where it
occurs more often. The development of the concept Rus’ in various written
traditions and its dissemination is an important record of the increasing
ethnogenesis of the Eastern Slavs.
The majority of contemporary researchers attribute a Scandinavian
origin to the ethnonym Rus’.23 However, the form of the word itself indicates
See more GOEHRKE, C., Frühzeit des Ostslaventums, (Erträge der Forschung 277),
Darmstadt 1992, pp. 150–153.
21 Повест временных лет, p.14.
22 B. Г. Bacилeвcкий, Pycкo-вuзaнmuйcкue uccлeдoвaния. Жuтuя cв. Гeopгuя
Aмacmpuдcкoгo u Cmeфaнa Cypoжcкoгo. In: B.Г. Bacилeвcкий, Тpyды, т. 3.,
Петepбypг 1915, pp.64–68.
23 Detailed analysis of the problem in: G. SCHRAMM, Altrusslands Anfang, pp. 75–112.
20
Were the Varangians Really the Founders of the Rus’ian State?
27
______________________________________________________________________________
that it could not have been primarily a Slavic expression.24 It is supposed
that it was an Eastern Slavic form of a Finnish word Ruotsi, which even
today indicates Sweden in the Finnish language. Finno-Ugrian tribes, settled
in the North of Eastern Europe, most likely referred to Scandinavians who
infiltrated into Eastern Europe with this name. However, they had met with
them earlier than with the Slavs, already sometime in the 7th – 8th century.
They could have been elite brigades of armed travelling merchants,
Varangians, or, as the German historian Dittmar Schorkowitz has suggested,
they could have been Northern inhabitants who had come to Eastern Europe
with the intention to colonise the scarcely inhabited regions and settle
southwards from the Finnish Gulf.25 Nevertheless, the Czech historian
Jaroslav Bidlo pointed out the fact that Varangians and the Rus are not
identical.26
As soon as the Slavs started to participate in Finno-Swedish contacts,
they took up the local designation of the Norsemen into their own language,
where it got the form Rus’. A century later the denomination Rus’ spread
into the countries and tribes under the subjugation of the Rus’ian prince in
Kiev and, finally, on both the developing state and its Eastern Slavic
inhabitants.27
The fact that Eastern Europe had started to become a place of transit
as well as the arrival of the Norsemen there brought new impulses into the
processes taking place in the local society. The Varangians needed to
safeguard the organisation and control of their trade, so they started
building fortified economic trade centres along the trade routes and also
collecting tribute from the local inhabitants. This pushed forward the socioSee more A. B. Haзapeнкo, Oб uмeнu pycь в нeмeцкux ucmoчнuкax IX– XI вв.. In:
Вoпpocы языкoзнaнuя, 1980, вып. 5.
25 D. SCHORKOWITZ, Die Herkunft der Ostslaven und die Anfänge des Kiewer Reiches
in der postsowjetischen Revision, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 48 (2000),
No.1, p.581.
26 „Normans, who under the guidance of Askold and Dir and, later, under the
chieftanship of Oleg, became the lords of Kiev, were called the Rhos or the Rus‘... The
oldest Rus’ian chronicle calls them varjagi–Rus‘. The way these two terms are used in the
chronicle corresponds with the existing results of the philological – historical research,
that the so-called Varangians were fighters and soldiers, forming fixed military
formations or retinues, and that the word Rus’ indicated their tribal membership.
Therefore the state, which was created through the subjugation of the Eastern Slavs by
Norman Varangians, was not call Varangia, but Rus’, the state of the Rus’, not the
Varangians.“ J. Bidlo, Dějiny lidstva od pravěku k dnešku 3, Praha 1937, p. 678.
27 E. A. Мeльникoвa, B.Я Пeтpyxин, Нaзвaнue pycь в эmнoкyльmypнoй ucmopuu
Дpeвнepyccкoгo гocyдapcmвa (IX-X вв.), in: Вoпpocы ucтopии 1989, вып. 8; see also
A. DANYLENKO, The name "Rus". In search of a new dimension. In: Jahrbücher für
Gechichte Osteuropas 52 (2004).
24
28
Dana Picková
_______________________________________________________________________________
political development of the local Finnish and Slavic tribes and led to the
formation of early state structures, with the Scandinavians in the forefront.
Their primary goal was not to build up a state formation, but to secure
successful trade operations and to gain tribute, which they could use for
other trading. Through the interconnection of the two most important trade
centres of Kiev and Novgorod (which without a doubt also represented a
crystallisation of the core state formation) the foundation of the old Rus’ian
state was laid down. Slavic tribes settled around the axis of Kiev – Novgorod
were, through the following century, slowly bound to Kiev through tribute
dependence28 and only later subdued. The integration of the vast Kievan
realm was accomplished through Christianisation at the very end of the 10th
century.
There is no doubt about the influence of the Varangians on the
development in Eastern Europe, or about the Varangian origin of the first
rulers of the Kievan state. However the Norsemen were not the only group
participating in the formation of the Eastern Slavic state as they themselves
entered into a constructive process that was already under way. Thus a more
developed form of state – a government of Scandinavian military aristocracy
– replaced the local government of Slavic family aristocracy in the mid-9th
century, which gradually integrated multiple centres of forming political
organisation into one unit – the state of the Rus’ with its centre in Kiev.
In this context Richard Pipes actually denotes the first East Slav state as „a by-product
of international trade between two alien peoples, Normans and Greeks.“ Russia under
the old regime, London 1995, p. 49.
28
Le premier projet d’union des Etats européens,
conçu en Bohême dans les années 1463–1464
à l’initiative de Georges de Poděbrady,
le „roi hussite“et de son conseiller français
Antonio Marini de Grenoble
Martin Nejedlý
Chaque historien doit se garder de relire le passé à la lumière des
préoccupations actuelles. Dans les projets de Georges de Poděbrady de
1463–1464 on a voulu voir successivement le précurseur de la Société des
Nations, puis de l’ONU et maintenant de la construction européenne. Certes,
cela n’est pas tout à fait faux mais, à mon avis, l’on force un peu la note. Le
contenu de ce document, le rôle central attribué à la France par Georges de
Poděbrady et l’effort acharné pour imposer sa ratification par la voie
diplomatique à la cour royale de France vont sans doute éveiller l’attention
au moment où la République Tchèque prendra en charge la présidence
tournante du Conseil de l’Union européenne.1 A mon avis, on peut se passer
facilement de ces actualisations forcées. L’effort sincère qui vise à résoudre
les conflits entre les États et les confessions par des moyens pacifiques est
suffisamment lisible dans les documents authentiques du XVe siècle. Cette
étude a pour but de présenter le contexte de la création du projet des années
1463–1464 et d’ en décrire le principe.
Elle succédera justement à la France à cette fonction à partir du 1er janvier 2009. Les
relations franco-tchèques constituent un sujet de recherche que nous menons
systématiquement, et ce depuis plusieurs années, avec une équipe de jeunes chercheurs
et doctorants de l’Université Charles de Prague dans le cadre du Projet de recherche du
ministère de l’éducation nationale tchèque MSM 00 216 208 27. Par son sujet
particulièrement approprié, cet article s’inscrit dans ce programme; il représente par
ailleurs une version élargie et complétée d’une conférence que j’ai prononcée au Centre
Tchèque de Paris le 3 novembre 2007, à l’initiative de l’Association Masaryk, avec le
concours de l’AFTS et le soutien du Ministère des Affaires étrangères de la République
Tchèque. Son texte a été publié sous le titre Un premier projet de constitution
européenne né en Bohême au XVème siècle. L’initiative du roi Georges de Poděbrady et
de son conseiller français Antonio Marini, AFTS, Bulletin de l’Amitié franco-tchécoslovaque, numéro spécial Georges de Poděbrady, décembre 2007, pp. 2–10.
1
30
Martin Nejedlý
_______________________________________________________________________
Le contexte du projet
„Je congnois la faute des Boesmes, /Je congnois le pouvoir de
Romme, /Je congnois tout, fors que moy mesmes,“2 écrivit François Villon
dans une ballade pour parodier la tradition médiévale du monologue où
l’auteur faisait étalage de ses connaissances. L’effet comique de ces vers
réside dans la banalité des connaissances et l’antithèse du refrain avec le
couplet. En effet, à l’époque de Villon, presque tout le monde parmi les gens
instruits a plus ou moins entendu parler de cette fameuse „faute des
Bohémiens“, c’est à dire de l’hérésie hussite.3
A partir de l’exécution du réformateur Jean Hus sur le bûcher en 1415
et de la mort du roi Wenceslas IV de la dynastie des Luxembourg en 1419,
l’État tchèque a vécu une période de luttes dont le but était d’imposer un
programme de réforme ecclésiastique et sociale.4 Ces efforts
s’accompagnèrent de massacres et de souffrances dans les deux camps
ennemis (catholique et réformé) et de raids étrangers extrêmement brutaux
et sanguinaires sous la forme des croisades anti-hussites. Toutes ces
invasions militaires furent défaites grâce à la détermination des partisans
tchèques de Hus, combattant un envahisseur toujours mieux équipé et à
chaque fois supérieur en nombre.
Les étrangers évoquant les Hussites, tel un Gilles de Bouvier en
France, mirent volontiers l’accent sur la qualité de leur armement et de leur
tactique militaire. Il décrivirent les fameux chariots fortifiés (ou
Wagenburgen) dont usaient les combattants tchèques pour arrêter les
charges de la chevalerie ennemie, ainsi que leurs fléaux, un outil agricole qui
se transforma dans les mains des soldats taborites (hussites radicaux) en
une arme redoutable. Capable de tailler en pièces les armures les plus
F. VILLON, Poésies complètes, présentation, édition et annotations de Claude THIRY,
Le Livre de Poche, Paris 1991, p. 265, v. 22, Voir aussi F. VILLON, Poésies complètes,
édition présentée, établie et annotée par Pierre MICHEL, préfaces de Clément MAROT et
de Théophile GAUTIER, Paris 1972, p. 231.
3 Le topos du Bohémien hérétique revient avec insistance dans la poésie didactique en
français des années 1430. Avant Villon, Jean Régnier et Alain Chartier brodèrent déjà sur
ce thème, tandis que l’auteur anonyme de la Moralité du concile de Bâle (1434–1435)
campa avec verve un personnage d’hérétique pragois. Voir la fine analyse d’Olivier
MARIN, Histoires pragoises. Les chroniqueurs français devant la révolution hussite,
Francia, 34, 1, 2007, pp. 39–63, plus précisément p. 61.
4 Sur la naissance du mouvement réformateur tchèque, cf. la monographie d’Olivier
MARIN, L’archevêque, le maître et le dévot. Genèses du mouvement réformateur
pragois. Années 1360–1419, Paris 2005.
2
Le premier projet d’union des Etats européens...
31
________________________________________________________
solides des croisés, cet outil devint dans l’iconographie hussite le symbole de
la lutte nationale.5
Ces quinze années de guerres (entre 1419 et 1434 environ) n’ont pas
seulement produit des effusions de sang, la disparition de villages entiers,
l’expulsion d’habitants de leurs villes et la destruction de châteaux et
d’églises; elles ont également profondément transformé le royaume de
Bohême. La plus grande partie du peuple de langue tchèque s’est attachée au
programme de réforme, ou programme hussite. Ils prirent pour symbole le
calice, dans la mesure où les hussites communiaient sous les deux espèces
(calixtins, utraquistes). C’est seulement en 1436 qu’un compromis fut
solennellement proclamé à Jihlava6 entre la Bohême hussite et le Concile de
Bâle. Ces accords, appelés compactats (compactata), autorisaient à
communier au calice dans le royaume de Bohême et dans le margraviat de
Moravie et, sous une forme affaiblie, donnaient suite aux autres articles du
programme hussite. Il s’agissait d’une concession d’importance primordiale
dans l’histoire de l’Église latine. Les Pays Tchèques devinrent par
conséquent l’État d’un „peuple double“ dans lequel chaque individu pouvait
choisir son appartenance soit à la confession hussite (utraquiste), soit à la
confession catholique. Mais une circonstance a fatalement compliqué les
choses : les compactats et l’autonomie des hussites (ou utraquistes) étaient
approuvés par le concile mais pas par le pape,7 ce qui ne fut pas sans
engendrer des attaques de la part des catholiques radicaux et surtout
d’innombrables malentendus. Citons un exemple significatif. Un moine
anonyme, auteur de la Chronique du Mont Saint-Michel, entendant parler
de ces compactats (probablement de la bouche de l’un des nombreux
pèlerins) a consigné par écrit et avec une jubilation manifeste pour l’année
1435 le retour des Tchèques dans le giron de l’Église: „L’ an dessus dit, les
Boemez, qui avoient tenu de grans erreurs contre la foy, se révoquèrent au
Éd. de Joseph Kervyn de LETTENHOVE, t. 2, Bruxelles 1864, „Quand ils venoient en
bataille contre les Alemans, ils s’enfremoient de leurs chariots a chesnes de fer“, éd.
Kervyn de LETTENHOVE, p. 116: „ ...et avoient grans bastons fors, ou avoit au bout une
chesne de fer, et au bout de la chesne une bolle de plonc, et a chascun qu’ilz frappoient ilz
abbatoient ung homme, et par ce moyen demourerent toujours en leurs charios
fortiffiez“.
6 Iglau en allemand, ville capitale de la région de Vysočina, au sud-ouest de Prague.
7 Voir Petr ČORNEJ, Milena BARTLOVÁ, Velké dějiny zemí koruny české, tome VI,
1437–1526, Praha, Litomyšl, 2007. Il s’agit de la monographie détaillée la plus récente
sur cette période, elle renvoie de manière très utile aux sources et à la littérature de base
sur ce sujet.
5
32
Martin Nejedlý
_______________________________________________________________________
concille de Balle qui lors tenoit et s’ en revindrent à nostre foy“.8 Mais la
situation en Bohême était infiniment plus complexe.
La coexistence des deux religions dans le pays était un fait avec lequel
il fallait tout simplement compter. Celui qui voulait renverser cet équilibre
risquait de se retrouver face à l’opposition farouche de l’autre partie; on ne
pouvait plus envisager de revenir en arrière sans une guerre fratricide. En
1458, Georges de Poděbrady, un noble utraquiste surnommé par la suite le
„roi hussite“, fut élu roi de Bohême.9 Il régna de 1458 à 1471. Le fondement
de sa conception politique était la coexistence paisible des deux confessions
dont la légalité et l’égalité en droit avaient été assises sur les compactats.
Pour le roi Georges, ce document symbolisait la relation mutuelle de
tolérance entre les deux confessions, les utraquistes majoritaires et les
catholiques minoritaires. A ses yeux, il garantissait aussi la stabilité de la
position des Pays Tchèques en Europe: les accords de Jihlava basés sur les
compactats proclamaient clairement que les calixtins tchèques faisaient,
malgré les différences théologiques, partie intégrante de l’Église romaine et
ne devaient pas être insultés comme hérétiques à cause de leurs croyances.
Georges de Poděbrady lui-même tentait de prêcher l’exemple. Il observait
les compactats scrupuleusement et, à chaque occasion, se présentait comme
un roi juste, impartial, un roi du „peuple double“ qui ne favorisait ni les
catholiques, ni les calixtins. La double croyance devenait le fondement des
rapports de force politiques intérieurs du royaume tchèque.
Georges de Poděbrady comptait d’ailleurs parmi ces rares souverains
de la fin du Moyen Age qui appliquaient une conception politique claire,
fruit d’une démarche de longue haleine. Dans l’application de cette
conception, il s’est montré très déterminé et créatif. Il a su faire la part des
choses entre les idéaux et les nécessités stratégiques. Il savait manœuvrer,
reculer, assouplir sa politique, sans jamais abandonner les principes de base
et sacrifier les buts majeurs de sa conception. Il avait l’habitude d’ exprimer
son credo politique par les mots suivants: „Le calice est le privilège de notre
courage et de notre foi“.10 Par le mot „calice“, le roi comprenait l’ensemble
des règles et des acquis de la réforme tchèque par rapport à l’universalisme
du pape.
Il faut relever un autre trait caractéristique de la politique de Georges
de Poděbrady, qui s’est avéré indispensable eu égard à la situation dans
Chronique du Mont Saint-Michel, éd. Simon LUCE, t. 1, Paris 1879, pp. 36–37.
Cf. les pp. 152–172 sur le gouvernement de G. de Poděbrady. Nous ne renverrons qu’à
ce texte dans le cadre de cette introduction, dans la mesure où la problématique y est
traitée en profondeur et sous tous les angles possibles.
10 Josef MACEK, Jiří z Poděbrad, Praha 1967, p. 228.
8
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laquelle se trouvait son royaume: la volonté d’être toujours mis au courant
des événements importants qui survenaient à la Curie romaine et dans les
cours princières d’Europe. Pour ce faire, un dense réseau d’ambassadeurs et
d’informateurs en tous genres avait été mis en place. Ces efforts royaux
dépassaient la seule nécessité d’être informé des agissements des ennemis et
des alliés politiques. Ouvrir son pays aux nouvelles idées, aux nouvelles
inventions, aux nouveaux métiers, aux nouveaux courants de pensées, telle
était l’ambition du roi Georges de Poděbrady. Rares sont pour l’époque les
exemples de souverains s’évertuant avec autant de ténacité à combattre les
tendances au repli et à l’isolationnisme avant la lettre de leurs propres pays,
que ce soit dans les domaines diplomatique, commercial ou culturel.
Cette politique du roi hussite avait pour corollaire logique la place très
influente accordée aux conseillers étrangers et catholiques. Ces hommes de
talent triés sur le volet avaient pour tâche d’aider le roi Georges à convaincre
les souverains européens de l’importance de la question tchèque et de la
légitimité des revendications de la cour de Prague vis à vis de Rome.
Catholiques, ils ne pouvaient pas être soupçonnées d’hérésie. Étrangers, ils
vidaient de leur sens les pamphlets accusant le roi Georges d’être aveuglé
par le fanatisme ethnique et linguistique.11 C’est avec leur aide que Georges
de Poděbrady tâcha, dès son élection, de se faire accepter comme souverain
légitime sur le plan international. Nommons les plus importants d’entre eux.
Le docteur Martin Mayr était un influent juriste allemand qui avait essayé de
faire valoir le projet de candidature du souverain tchèque au trône de roi des
Romains. Gregor von Heimburg était un autre juriste non conformiste qui
avait rendu de bons services au roi hussite.12 Le troisième de ces conseillers
étrangers, auquel le roi de Bohême prêtait une oreille attentive, concerne
tout particulièrement notre propos. Il s’agissait d’un Français aux talents
multiples: Antoine Marini.13 Certains historiens présentèrent ce globeRudolf URBÁNEK, Věk poděbradský IV. Čechy za kralování Jiříka z Poděbrad, léta
1460–1464, České dějiny, III/4, Věk poděbradský IV, Praha 1962, p. 26
12 Pour consulter une littérature linguistiquement abordable sur la politique étrangère de
Georges de Poděbrady, voir Frederick G. HEYMANN, George of Bohemia. King of
Heretics, Princeton 1965, notamment pp. 293–315 et Otakar ODLOŽILÍK, The Hussite
King. Bohemia in European Affairs 1440–1471, New Brunswick 1965, notamment pp.
135–160.
13 Il est symptomatique que la première monographie sur ce Français au service du roi de
Bohême provienne d’Ernest DENIS, De Antonio Marini et de Bohemiae ratione politica
eo oratore, Paris 1878. Les faits généraux ont été de nouveau résumés et augmentés par
Nicolas JORGA, Un auteur de projets de croisades Antoine Marini, in: Études d’histoire
du Moyen Âge dédiées à Gabriel Monod, Paris 1896, p. 445. Plus récemment, la plus
grande attention a été accordée au cas Marini dans l’œuvre monumentale de Rudolf
URBÁNEK, Praha 1962.
11
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Martin Nejedlý
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trotter comme un aventurier et un fantaisiste. A cause de cela, son projet
d’union et de paix européenne, conçu pour le roi Georges et dont le lecteur
trouvera le texte dans le présent volume, a été parfois considéré comme un
plan utopique.
Le conseiller français Antonio Marini de Grenoble
Que savons-nous donc de cet homme de grand talent et quelque peu
mystérieux? Il venait de Grenoble dans le Dauphiné.14 Il apparaît pour la
première fois dans les sources sous la modeste mention de „maître Antoine
de France, ingénieur“.15 Effectivement, cet homme était avant tout un
inventeur, prédestiné à une vie errante. En 1444, sa présence est attestée à
Venise, où il demande la permission de construire des moulins d’un type
nouveau, à savoir des moulins sans eau. Un autre de ses projets permettait
un dragage plus rapide et moins onéreux des canaux vénitiens. Il inventa
également une méthode pour mettre à l’eau les grands navires de la
République de Venise et un certain „engin de bois“ qui aurait permis aux
bateaux de franchir des obstacles naturels sur le fleuve de la Brenta. Enfin, il
inventa même une nouvelle forme de four dont il obtint le privilège en 1456.
La même année, on le trouve à Graz en Autriche, où il réussit à obtenir, pour
lui et ses compagnons, un privilège de vingt-cinq ans concernant „certains
travaux de son invention pour calciner la chaux, cuire des briques, brasser
la cervoise, bouillir du sel, construire des moulins, des aqueducs et fortifier
les digues des rivières contre la crue des eaux“.16
C’est justement pour faire valoir ses inventions que Marini vint en
Bohême, probablement en 1459. Bientôt, il devint conseiller et inspirateur
de Georges de Poděbrady, au début dans les domaines économique et
commercial. Il rédigea à son intention les „Livres sur le monneyage“,
aujourd’hui perdus. Ensuite, il écrivit à la demande du roi un mémoire plus
Anthonius Marini de Francia filius quondam domini Bartholomei Marini miles et
doctor natus in ciuitate gracianopolitanensi in Delphinatu, in: Urkunden-Auszuge zur
Geschichte Kaiser Friedrich des III. in den Jahren 1452–1467, éd. Ernst BIRK, Archiv für
Kunde österreichischer Geschichtsquellen, 10, 1853, Notizenblatt, p. 292.
15 Archiv für Kunde österreichischer Geschichtsquellen, 13, 1854, Notizenblatt, p. 191.
16 La franchise fut délivrée au „Magister Anthonius Marini de Francia“, „Anthonius
Marini de Francia filius quondam domini Bartholomei Marini miles et doctor natus in
ciuitate gracianopolitanensi in Delphinatu“, „...pro executione certorum mei ingenij
laborum hoc est pro coquendo calce et lateribus pro braxanda ceruisia Sale buliendo
molendinis construendis aqueductibus formandis et firmandis aggeribus fluminum
contra aquarum impetum etc“, in Urkunden-Auszuge zur Geschichte Kaiser Friedrich des
III. in den Jahren 1452–1467, éd. Erns BIRK, Archiv für Kunde österreichischer
Geschichtsquellen, 10, 1853, Notizenblatt, p. 289.
14
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large sur de possibles améliorations à faire dans le domaine du commerce
du pays. Il recommanda par exemple aux bourgeois tchèques d’investir leurs
capitaux personnels dans les mines et encouragea le roi Georges à prêter
sans intérêt les sommes d’argent nécessaires à la réalisation de grands
projets.17 Peu à peu, il était devenu conseiller universel et confidentiel
du „roi hussite“. Ses compétences linguistiques et sa connaissance de la
situation en Europe le prédestinaient à la carrière diplomatique. Il en saisit
la première occasion à l’été 1461, quand Georges l’envoya auprès de la Curie
romaine. En 1462, Marini eut l’idée de la manière dont on pourrait redorer
le blason du „roi hussite“ en tant que bon roi chrétien. En même temps, il
crut pouvoir empêcher le pape d’isoler la Bohême hussite du reste de
l’Europe. Georges de Poděbrady devait prendre l’initiative d’organiser une
croisade, à laquelle le pape Pie II tenait par ailleurs beaucoup.18 Marini a
tout d’abord présenté au roi Georges son Mémorandum sur la nécessité
d’une alliance anti-turque.19 Il s’agissait à ses yeux d’une arme de
propagande, dont on pourrait exploiter les effets d’annonce dans les
domaines politique et diplomatique. Ces projets de croisade échouèrent
totalement après que le pape Pie II eut proclamé, le 31 mars 1462, la nullité
des compactats de Bâle sur lesquels reposaient les accords entre la Bohême
hussite et l’Église. Cette démarche eut de graves conséquences pour la
cohésion interne et la position internationale de l’État tchèque. Le danger
des guerres religieuses et des croisades dévastatrices recommençait à planer
sur le royaume de Bohême à peine stabilisé.20
Ces données ont été retrouvées par URBÁNEK, p. 570, note 1. Marini est cité comme
„Antonius carbonista, de Francia laicus“ parmi les membres de l’ambassade du roi à
Rome en 1462 (voir František PALACKÝ, Urkundliche Beiträge, p. 268).
18 La lettre de Marini du 8 août 1461 a été éditée par František PALACKÝ, Psaní králi
Jiřímu z města Viterbie léta 1461, Časopis Společnosti vlasteneckého Museum v Čechách,
2, 1828/III, pp. 21–24. Pour le contexte général de la négociation à la Curie voir
URBÁNEK, pp. 506–510.
19 Voir František ŠMAHEL, Antoine Marini de Grenoble et son Mémorandum sur la
nécessité d’une alliance anti-turque à paraître avec la première édition critique de ce
document in: M. NEJEDLÝ, J. SVÁTEK, La noblesse et la croisade à la fin du Moyen Âge
(France, Bourgogne et Bohême), Actes du colloque international tenu à Prague les 26 et
27 octobre 2007, Toulouse 2008.
20 Josef MACEK, Jiří z Poděbrad, Praha 1967, Frederick G. HEZMANN, George of
Bohemia. King of Heretics, Princeton 1965; Josef MACEK, Král Jiří a Francie, v. l.
1466–1468, ČsČH, 15, 1967, pp. 497–534, ici p. 497; Otakar ODLOŽILÍK, The Hussite
King. Bohemia in European Affairs 1440–1471, New Brunswick, 1965.
17
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Cultus pacis
N’ayant jamais souhaité un schisme avec l’Eglise catholique, Georges
de Poděbrady décida cependant de rester fidèle au calice et de faire face à la
pression de la Curie romaine par des activités diplomatiques aussi intenses
que variées. D’ailleurs, les hussites modérés dont il faisait partie se
rendaient compte depuis longtemps, au moins depuis les années 1430, que
le problème tchèque ne pouvait être résolu qu’à l’échelle européenne par le
recours à une activité de propagande et à des conceptions diplomatiques
hardies. C’est dans la continuation de cette tradition que la cour du roi
Georges vit, entre 1462–1464, se cristalliser progressivement un nouveau
projet de traité international et multilatéral. Cette fois-ci, il s’agissait d’un
projet très large, jusqu’alors inimaginable. Antonio Marini en fut
incontestablement l’auteur principal. Il se servit de certains éléments de son
Mémorandum anti-turc, mais en l’élargissant substantiellement et en le
remodelant complètement dans sa forme et dans son contenu.21 De même
que le Mémorandum, le projet d’alors visait à empêcher l’isolement de l’État
tchèque et à affaiblir l’influence internationale de la Curie romaine. Mais
cette fois-ci, il avait un caractère révolutionnaire. L’organisation traditionnelle de la chrétienté médiévale, avec à sa tête l’empereur et le pape, y
était abandonnée. Leur position devait être occupée par une union des États,
indépendants et égaux entre eux.22
La participation principale du docteur Martin Mair est affirmée par F. M. BARTOŠ, Návrh
krále Jiřího na utvoření svazu evropských států, Jihočeský sborník historický, 12, 1939, pp.
65–82. La coparticipation du roi était présumée déjà par URBÁNEK, p. 593; V. VANĚČEK, p.
37, parle de l’ensemble des auteurs et de la gestion personnelle du roi.
22 Voir Miloslav POLÍVKA, George of Poděbrady and his Idea of European Security, in: The
Czech Contribution to Peace and War. From the Hussite Wars to NATO Memberhip, Praha
2002, pp. 80–91; Jaroslav BOUBÍN, Der Versuch einer Neuordnung Europas. Das Projekt
König Georgs von Podiebrad und seines Rates Antonio Marini aus dem 15. Jahrhundert, in:
Auf der Suche nach einem Phantom? Widerspiegelungen Europas in der Geschichtswissenschaft, Baden-Baden 2003, p. 93–106 ; Vilém HEROLD, Werner KORTHAASE, Der
Friedensplan des böhmischen Königs Georg von Podiebrad und die Friedenspläne des
Johann Amos Comenius, in: Comenius und der Weltfriede, ed. W. KORTHAASE, S. HAUFF,
A. FRITSCH, Berlin 2005, p. 367–376; Gerhard MESSLER, Das Weltfriedensmanifest König
Gergs von Podiebrad. Ein Beitrag zur Diplomatie des 15. Jahrhunderts, Kirnbach über
Wolfach 1973; JORGA, pp. 445–457; H. MARKGRAF, Über Georg von Podebrads Projekt
eines christlichen Fürstenbunden zur Vertreibung der Türken aus Europa und Hersstellung
des allgemeinen Friedens innerhalb der Christenheit, Historische Zeitschrift, 21, 1869, pp.
257–304; Jaromír MIKULKA, Jiří z Poděbrad a plán mírového uspořádání Evropy,
Slovanský přehled, 50, 2–3, 1964, pp. 75–80 et 154–159; Josef POLIŠENSKÝ, Bohemia, the
Turk and the Christian Commonwalth (1462–1620), Byzantinoslavica, 14, 1953.
21
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Il est vrai que ce projet d’union et de paix servait à Georges
d’instrument de défense de l’utraquisme tchèque et de son propre trône.
L’alliance anti-turque en demeurait partie intégrante. Le succès des efforts
communs contre les Turcs était en effet conditionné par une étroite
collaboration pour le maintien de la paix entre les États chrétiens qui aurait
trouvé son expression dans le conseil des représentants des souverains
unis.23 Dans cette nouvelle organisation de l’Europe, le rôle prépondérant
devait échoir à la France. On avait également adjugé une certaine
importance à Venise, à la Hongrie et à la Pologne. La France bénéficiait d’un
rôle extraordinaire d’abord à cause de son attitude vis-à-vis du Saint Siège et
aussi grâce à Antonio Marini, qui n’oublia jamais ses racines françaises. De
façon logique, Marini s’acquitta également d’une mission diplomatique
préliminaire auprès de Louis XI en sa qualité d’auteur principal de ce projet
pacifique de la ligue des princes chrétiens, projet auquel il avait consacré
quatre ans de sa vie (1461–1464).24 Les premiers contacts avec le roi de
France lui parurent – peut-être à tort – encourageants, si bien qu’il
persuada Georges de Poděbrady de faire de ce projet le pivot de sa politique
étrangère et de mettre tout en oeuvre pour qu’il soit réalisé dans les plus
brefs délais. Essayons maintenant de relever les traits les plus importants de
ce plan visionnaire.
Les propositions du roi Georges et de son conseiller Antonio Marini
étaient incorporées dans un document que l’on peut considérer comme une
Charte d’organisation générale de la paix. Sur le plan formel, cet acte
proposait un projet de traité international et multilatéral, ouvert à tous les
États chrétiens. Le document était conçu en deux parties: la première était
František KAVKA, La Bohême hussite et les projets de paix de Georges de Poděbrady.
In: Cultus pacis. Études et documents du „symposium pragense cultus pacis 1464–1964“;
Commemoration pacis generalis ante quingentos annos a Georgio Bohemiae rege
propositae, publié par les soins de Václav VANĚČEK, Praha 1966, pp. 13–20; Remigiusz
BIERZANEK, Les nouveaux éléments politiques et sociaux dans le projet du roi Georges
Podiébrad. in: Cultus Pacis, pp. 57–74; František ŠMAHEL, Problèmes rattachés aux
recherches sur le projet pacifique du roi Georges. In: Cultus Pacis, pp. 155–165; Josef
MACEK, K zahraniční politice krále Jiřího, ČsČH, XIII, 1965, pp. 19–49,
particulièrement p. 27.
24 C’est un autre conseiller de Georges de Poděbrady, Martin Mair, qui se voit adjuger la
paternité du projet d’après BARTOŠ, pp. 65 et sqq. Cette opinion reste cependant isolée.
Voir POLIŠENSKÝ, p. 86 qui penche pour la paternité de Marini, comme en particulier
URBÁNEK, pp. 580–582; Marini est considéré comme l’auteur unique du projet par
exemple par ODLOŽILÍK, p. 152. Il est incorrectement tenu pour Italien par MACEK, Jiří
z Poděbrad, pp. 148 et sqq. L’origine de Marini est relatée avec la plus grande précision
par URBÁNEK: „Marini était d’origine française de Grenoble dans le Dauphiné,
descendant d’une famille italienne naturalisée“, p. 215.
23
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un préambule pour les propositions particulières, la deuxième présentait le
canevas des statuts de l’organisation des États européens en projet.25
Dans l’introduction étaient d’abord expliquées les causes qui avaient
amené à l’élaboration du projet. On y parlait, avec une grande franchise, du
déclin de la chrétienté dont la cause principale aurait été le manque d’une
unité véritable. C’était juste cette situation qui, d’après l’auteur, permettait à
l’Islam de conquérir toujours plus de nouveaux territoires. C’était pourquoi
le texte proclamait l’effort pour l’unité, la paix et la défense commune contre
la pénétration de l’Islam en Europe, devoir principal de tous les souverains
chrétiens. Il faut se rendre compte que ce texte a vu le jour une dizaine
d’années après la chute de Constantinople et la destruction définitive de
l’Empire byzantin.26
L’alliance anti-turque n’était cependant ni le seul ni le principal
objectif du projet. D’ailleurs on ne parlait plus de la lutte contre les Turcs
dans les parties décisives du document. En revanche, on y mettait en
évidence la nécessité d’une organisation unitaire dont le but aurait été le
maintien de la paix. Cet effort faisait l’objet de plusieurs articles de la
deuxième partie du rapport représentant le coeur du projet. On y trouvait
des propositions concrètes, élaborées parfois dans les moindres détails,
parfois ne donnant que des principes fondamentaux. Ce fait témoignait
plutôt de la prévoyance des auteurs du projet. On avait laissé en effet une
série de questions à l’appréciation des instances de l’organisation
envisagée.27
L’enjeu principal de la nouvelle organisation reposait, d’après les
auteurs du projet, sur le maintien de la paix internationale ainsi que, comme
ils le soulignaient, sur le droit et la justice.28 On peut même dire que la paix
et la justice étaient les buts principaux du projet. C’est à ce point-là –
garantir une paix durable – que plus d’un tiers des articles étaient consacrés.
De plus, l’ensemble des articles le concernant se trouvait à la tête du projet
(art. 1–8). Ils faisaient suite au préambule, dont la thèse était de créer une
organisation unitaire pour délivrer le monde de la menace de la guerre et
instaurer un gouvernement de paix, de fraternité et d’amour. Cette idée
The Universal Peace Organization of King George of Bohemia a fifteenth century plan
for world peace 1462/1464, Praha 1964, traduction en français Konstantin JELÍNEK, pp.
102–111.
26 Václav VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího a vědecké problémy
kolem něho, in: Všeobecná mírová organizace podle návrhu českého krále Jiřího z let
1462/1464, Praha 1964, p. 14.
27 Ibid, p. 15.
28 Ibid, p. 24.
25
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principale était assez bien exprimée par l’expression „cultus pacis“ utilisée
dans l’article 9: il s’agissait d’un véritable culte de la paix. „...le culte de la
paix ne pouvant exister sans la justice, ni la justice sans la paix, puisque
c’est de la justice que la paix prend naissance et garde en vie, que nous et
nos sujets ne pourrions vivre en paix sans la justice, ainsi associons-nous la
justice à la cause de la paix.“29 Cet effort avait pour but la fondation d’une
communauté à jamais pacifique.
Dans le préambule, les auteurs du projet s’adressaient à un public très
large: omnes populi, omnes nationes, omnesque reges et principes („tous les
peuples, toutes les nations, tous les rois et princes“)30 bien qu’ils y fissent
d’abord appel, assez logiquement, aux nations chrétiennes. L’universalité
proposée dans le projet était différente, par son caractère, de celle des
époques médiévales précédentes. Son objectif consistait dans une communauté internationale des nations et des États égaux en droit qui deviendrait un ensemble organisé selon de nouveaux principes, sans pape ni
empereur. Cette communauté aurait été responsable du maintien de la paix
universelle, de la solution paisible des conflits entre les États et de la
punition de ceux qui troubleraient la paix. C’est justement dans ce sens qu’il
faut comprendre l’orientation anti-turque de certaines parties du projet car
l’Empire Ottoman se montrait, dans la deuxième moitié du XVème siècle,
l’agresseur le plus dangereux qui troublait la paix et menaçait les États
voisins.31
Le statut propre de la ligue de paix contient 23 articles. Parmi eux, les
dispositions à caractère politique, qui envisageaient des changements
fondamentaux dans les relations entre les États, étaient mises au premier
plan. Ce n’est que dans la suite que l’on trouvait des articles sur
l’organisation et l’administration.
Quelles seraient donc les relations entre les membres de l’organisation
selon les propositions du roi Georges de Poděbrady? D’après l’énoncé de
l’article 1, les représentants des États concernés devaient s’engager à la
fraternité mutuelle („pure, véritable et sincère fraternité“).32 A un autre
endroit (dans l’article 23) elle est désignée comme „verae et sincerae
fraternitationis vinculum“ – d’où cet engagement: „Nous accomplirons tout
ce qu’exige et requiert le lien de la véritable et sincère fraternité.“ L’objectif
The Universal Peace Organization of King George of Bohemia a fifteenth century plan
for world peace 1462/1464, p. 106.
30 Ibid., Préambule, p. 103.
31 VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 26.
32 The Universal Peace Organization, p. 104.
29
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Martin Nejedlý
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principal de l’organisation se définit simplement comme pax ou pax generalis, donc la paix générale (art. 6).33
C’est dans l’article 1 que l’on interdisait clairement l’usage de la force
pour résoudre les conflits entre des États membres de l’organisation. Aucun
d’eux ne devait recourir aux armes contre l’autre („nous faisons déclaration
et promesse … de ne pas recourir aux armes l’un contre l’autre“ et ce „quelle
que soit la nature de nos différends, discussions ou griefs“).
Les querelles éventuelles devaient être réglées seulement par les
institutions régulières de l’Union dont on parlait aussi dans d’autres clauses
spéciales de l’article 11, où les compétences du tribunal de l’organisation
sont énumérées. On disait clairement, dans l’article 3, que même les
dommages causés par n’importe quelle action, même criminelle, d’un État
membre sur le territoire d’un autre, ne devaient pas servir de prétexte à la
violation de la paix générale. Ces torts ne devaient pas être redressés par les
armes mais par la voie du droit, en d’autres termes, par une plainte auprès
du tribunal concerné. „Nous garantissons, comme ci-dessus dit, que si l’un
ou plusieurs des sujets de l’un d’entre nous commet ou commettent
dévastations, pillages, rapines, incendies ou toute sorte de méfaits dans les
royaumes, principautés ou terre de l’un d‘entre nous, la paix et l’union n’en
seront ni troublées ni rompues, mais que les malfaiteurs seront amenés à
réparer les dommages. S’il est impossible d’obtenir satisfaction à l’amiable,
ils seront traduits en justice par celui dans la juridiction duquel les
coupables ont leur résidence, ou sur le territoire duquel le crime a été
constaté, de façon que le dommage commis soit réparé par ses auteurs à
leurs dépens, ... sans que l’un s’en remette à l’autre, sera tenu et obligé de
les poursuivre et mettre hors d’état de nuire en tant que malfaiteurs... La
victime de l’injustice ou du dommage aura le droit de poursuivre et de citer
en justice celui d’entre nous devant le Parlement ou Consistoire prévu plus
loin.“34
En cas de conflit entre les États membres et les non-membres, il est
prescrit que l’on devait obvier à la guerre à l’amiable, au moyen d’un
accommodement aux frais de l’organisation et par l’office de ses institutions.
Si cela échouait, l’organisation soutiendrait son membre. „...s’il arrivait que
quelqu’un ou quelques-uns, ne faisant pas partie de notre convention,
charité et fraternité, fît la guerre ou entreprît de la faire à l’un d’entre nous
et cela sans molestations ou provocations de notre côté ce qui n’est
absolument pas à craindre, aussi longtemps que durera cette amitié et
33
34
Ibid., p. 106.
Ibid., p. 104.
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41
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charité, notre Assemblée prévue plus loin, au nom de tous les signataires
du pacte – même si l’allié attaqué ne nous a pas fait appel – enverra à frais
communs et solennellement, en vue d’aplanir le différend et de ménager la
paix, une délégation qui devra se transporter au plus vite en un endroit
commode aux deux parties. Et là, en présence des parties en litige ou de
leurs représentants munis des pleins pouvoirs, nos délégués feront tout
effort et diligence pour ramener paix et concorde entre les adversaires, si
possible par voie amicale...“ 35
Enfin, en ce qui concerne les guerres entre les États non-membres (art.
5) le projet ordonnait que l’organisation les empêche par son offre de
médiation.36 Si, malgré tous ses efforts, la guerre éclatait, l’organisaion
soutiendrait celui qui aurait voulu accepter la médiation de l’organisation et
aurait donc eu la volonté de trouver une solution pacifique. Ces
prescriptions se justifiaient explicitement par l’intérêt de la paix même entre
des États qui seraient en dehors de l’organisation.
Dans le cas des États membres, le recours aux armes dans des conflits
internationaux serait conditionné par l’accord de l’organisation. Ceci était
exprimé par les mots „sans édit légitime“ (absque legitimo edicto), employés
dans l’article 1er, et qui concernaient la décision (edictum, édit) prise par
l’organisation dans la question du recours aux armes contre un des États. La
démarche guerrière de n’importe quel membre contre un autre, sans
approbation explicite de l’organisation, serait considérée comme un acte
illégitime.37
Sur ce point, on peut constater cette proposition remarquable qui
subordonnait à des obligations juridiques l’une des fonctions régaliennes de
l’État, son activité militaire. Cet engagement ainsi que d’autres dispositions
du projet, surtout au sujet de la juridiction de l’union sur les États membres
et sur l’admission des successeurs des souverains défunts, signifiaient sans
aucun doute une atteinte à leur souveraineté.
Ceux qui troublaient la paix devaient être traités comme de véritables
criminels. Ce problème était réglé par l’article 6: „Aucun sauf-confuit ne
pourra faire obstacle à l’arrestation, saisie et châtiment de ces personnes,
comme profanateurs de la paix générale, selon la sanction encourue par la
nature de leur crime ou délit.“38 Par conséquent, un État membre ne devait
donner ni soutien ni aide à celui qui porterait atteinte aux prescriptions de
Ibid., p. 105.
Ibid.
37 VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 27.
38 The Universal Peace Organization, p. 105.
35
36
42
Martin Nejedlý
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solution paisible des querelles. Les sauf-conduits (salvus conductus) qui leur
seraient délivrés n’auraient aucune validité selon l’article suivant, le n° 7.39
Dans l’article 8, il était affirmé d’une manière générale que celui qui
donnerait n’importe quel soutien au violateur de la paix serait passible de la
même punition que l’agresseur.
Pour comprendre la portée des propositions du roi Georges
concernant l’exclusion des guerres, il faut prendre en considération la réalité
politique de la deuxième moitié du XVème siècle. Les guerres étaient à l’ordre
du jour; en plus de celles entre des États sévissaient les guerres „privées“,
typiques du Moyen Âge, entre les divers titulaires de pouvoirs soit à
l’intérieur d’un pays, soit appartenant à différents États.40
Il est vrai que deux articles (13 et 14) concernaient une affaire
d’importance primordiale pour l’Europe chrétienne de l’époque: la défense
contre l’expansion de l’Islam représentée par les Turcs. Dans ce cas-là, la
guerre n’est cependant pas considérée comme une nécessité inévitable. La
possibilité de conclure la paix avec les Turcs y est prévue explicitement, par
une résolution générale, à condition que la sécurité des chrétiens qui vivent
à proximité de l’Empire Ottoman soit assurée. „Nous ne cesserons pas de
poursuivre l’ennemi, si notre Assemblée le juge utile, tant qu’il n’aura pas
été chassé du territoire chrétien, ou bien qu’en vertu d’une résolution prise
en commun, nous ne nous serons pas convenus de faire la paix, laquelle ne
devra être signée, à moins qu’on n’ait jugé qu’elle garantissait la sécurité
des chrétiens avoisinants.“ 41
Ce qui importe le plus du point de vue de l’histoire sociale des
organisations humaines, est le contenu des huit derniers articles du statut.
L’ensemble politique né de la réalisation du projet de Georges de Poděbrady
et d’Antonio Marini, n’aurait pas eu un caractère étatique, ni monarchique.
Il était plutôt envisagé une organisation appelée „union“ dans les derniers
mots du préambule.42 Le sens et la fonction de cette organisation étaient
sous-entendus dans les mots „connexio, pax, fraternita et concordia“:
„...nous avons décidé de sceller dans la forme qui suit un pacte établissant
union, paix, fraternité et concorde inébranlable...“43
Ibid., p. 106.
Ibid., p. 105.
40 VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 28.
41 The Universal Peace Organization, art. 13, p. 108.
42 Ibid., pp. 103–104.
43 Dans le texte latin „...consilio et assensu, ad huiusmodi connexionis, pacis, fraternitatis
et concordie inconcusse...“, The Universal Peace Organisation, p. 72.
39
40
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Le terme d’ „union“ est le plus pertinent pour exprimer le principe de
l’ensemble envisagé. D’ailleurs, son utilisation dans le projet même est
attestée dans de nombreux passages importants. Il s’agit d’abord de l’article
3 (ici dans l’expression „la paix et l’union“)44, de l’article 8 („notre présente
union“)45 ou de l’article 12 („notre présente paix, union, charité et
fraternité“).46
On peut, bien sûr, se poser la question de savoir quel nom donnaient à
ce projet de nouvelle union les représentants des États auxquels il était
présenté dans les années 1460. Dans la réponse du roi de Hongrie aux
propositions de Georges de Poděbrady, l’organisation envisagée était
désignée par les termes liga generalis ou universalis concordia, ce qui est
très significatif.47 Quand le texte du projet fut envoyé en 1463 de Prague au
roi de Pologne, le copiste de la chancellerie royale polonaise lui donna pour
titre „Tractatus pacis toti christianitati fiendae“.48 Ce qui en soi témoigne
du fait que le projet était, en son temps, considéré plus comme un
instrument de paix que de guerre contre les Turcs.
Dans la pratique quotidienne de la politique internationale,
l’institution principale de l’union était représentée, d’après les idées du roi
Georges incorporées dans le projet, par un corps, un congrès ou simplement
l’assemblée fixe des délégués des États membres. Dans le texte latin du
document se trouve partout le mot congregatio, ce qu’on peut traduire en
français par „congrégation“.
Ibid., p. 104. Voici la teneur de ce passage en latin: „Tercio, spondemus modo
supradicto, quod si aliquis vel aliqui ex subditis cuiuscunque nostrum aliquas
vastaciones, predas, rapinas, incendia aut alia quecunque maleficiorum genera in regnis,
principatibus seu terris alterius nostrum commiserit vel commiserint, volumus, quod per
hos pax et unio premissa non sint vilate ne infringantur...“, ibid. p. 73. „Item volumus
eciam, quod congregacio nostra debeat habere omnimodam et liberam facultatem quoscunque reges, principes et magnates cristianos, qui de presenti huic unioni incorporati
non fuerint, ad presentem nostram pacem, unionem, caritatem et fraternitatem
accipiendi et sesse nomine nostro...“, ibid., p. 76.
45 „Qui autem violatorem pacis presentis scienter sociaverit aut ei quovis quesito colore
consilium, auxilium vel favorem prestiterit vel eum receptaverit aut ipsum defendere seu
protegere vel ei salvum conductum contra presntem nostram unionem dare
presumpserit, par pena ipsum et reum expectet“, ibid., p. 75.
46 Ibid., p. 107, en latin: „ad presentam nostram pacem, unionem, caritatem et
fraternitatem...“, ibid., p. 77.
47 VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 45; voir Štěpán KATONA,
Historia critica regum Hungariae stirpis mixtae, XIV, 1792, p. 704 et sqq.
48 VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 41. Comparer avec R. HECK,
p. 176; M. TOEPPEN, Acten der Ständetage Preussens unter der Herrschaft des
Deutschen Ordens, V, Leipzig 1886, n. 35, pp. 83–85.
44
44
Martin Nejedlý
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On ne compte pas, dans le projet, sur la présence des souverains euxmêmes lors des sessions de la congrégation. Selon l’énoncé de l’article 16, ce
serait des délégués spéciaux (oratores, notabiles et magnae auctoritatis
viri), munis des pleins pouvoirs, qui devraient y siéger. Ces délégués
devaient être élus par les personnages les plus respectables de leur pays. Les
résolutions de cette institution devaient cependant engager tous les États
membres comme si leurs chefs y assistaient.
La congrégation devait siéger en permanence tout en changeant le lieu
de son siège tous les cinq ans. Ce changement devait suivre un itinéraire
particulier. Pendant les cinq premières années, la congrégation devait se
tenir à Bâle, les cinq années suivantes elle devait déménager dans une ville
de France, les cinq années d’après en Italie, pour revenir enfin à Bâle.
Les participants de l’union s’engageaient donc à „envoyer dans la ville
de Bâle en Germanie ses représentants choisis parmi des hommes
remarquables et de grande valeur, munis des pouvoirs les plus étendus ...
Ils y siègeront en permanence les cinq années suivant immédiatement et
formeront, constitueront et représenteront, en notre nom ainsi qu’au nom
des autres membres et de ceux qui pourront le devenir, véritablement
corps, communauté et corporation. Le quinquennat de cette Assemblée à
Bâle une fois écoulé, la même Assemblée se tiendra pendant un deuxième
quinquennat sans intervalle ni interruption dans la ville de X. en France, et
pendant un troisième quinquennat dans la ville de X. en Italie; elle
observera les mêmes règles et les clauses qui auront été retenues pour
sages et appliquées précédemment à Bâle; de façon que de ville en ville et
d’un quinquennat à l’autre, un circuit soit formé jusqu’au jour où soit
l’Assemblée, soit sa majorité jugera qu’il convient de prendre d’autres
règlements et dispositions. L’Assemblée, en tant que telle, aura un seul
Conseil, en propre et spécial, un seul président, son père et son chef, tandis
que nous autres, les rois et les princes de la Chrétienté, en serons les
membres. Sur nous tous, sur nos sujets et sur ceux qui seraient admis par
la suite, ladite corporation exercera aussi juridiction tant gracieuse que
contentieuse et disposera du droit absolu et du droit mixte, selon les
dispositions qu’aura décrétées et fixées la même Assemblée ou sa
majorité.“49
Pour créer une volonté commune dans l’institution principale de
l’union, le rassemblement des États dans des groupes régionaux nommés
nationes était proposé. Dans l’article 19 figurait la natio (nation) française,
mais aussi les germanique, italique et éventuellement espagnole, chacune
49
The Universal Peace Organization, art. 16, pp. 108–109.
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45
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disposant d’une voix. „En outre, arrêtons et voulons que dans ladite
Assemblée une voix soit attribuée au roi de France ensemble avec les autres
rois et princes de la Gaule, la seconde voix aux rois et princes de la
Germanie et la troisième au Doge de Venise ensemble avec les princes et
Communes d’Italie. Si le roi de Castille et d’autres rois et princes de la
nation hispanique adhéraient à notre alliance, amitié et fraternité, il leur
sera semblablement accordé une voix dans notre Assemblée, corps et
corporation.“50 Le projet de Georges de Poděbrady et d’Antonio Marini était
probablement influencé par la pratique des conciles ecclésiastiques de la
première moitié du XVe siècle. Au sein de ces groupes régionaux et
linguistiques, chacun des souverains disposait d’une seule voix, quelle que
soit la taille de sa délégation.
On pourrait s’étonner de l’absence, dans l’article 19, de l’Angleterre, de
la Pologne, de la Bohême ou de la Hongrie. Il est possible que l’Angleterre
ait été comprise dans le bloc de la „Gallie“, la Bohême, la Pologne et la
Hongrie dans celui de la „Germanie“. Georges de Poděbrady espérait
probablement que le bloc de la „Germanie“ aurait son centre de gravité dans
les Pays Tchèques, comme jadis au temps de l’empereur Charles IV de
Luxembourg (1348–1378). D’ailleurs le mot „Germania“ n’avait pas ici la
signification d’„Allemagne“. C’était un terme géographique, plus général,
dont l’équivalent le plus pertinent, bien qu’anachronique peut-être, serait
aujourd’hui le terme d’ „Europe Centrale“.
Dans la procédure de vote c’était le principe majoritaire (maior pars)
qui devait prévaloir. Ce n’était que dans le cas d’égalité des voix que
s’appliquait aussi le principe de l’importance politique au sein des „nations“
(nationes). „...si des divergences d’opinions devaient se manifester sur une
question entre les délégués des rois et des princes d’une seule et même
nation, nous stipulons que le point de vue et le vote de la majorité seront
acquis, comme s’ils avaient reçu l’approbation unanime de cette nation; au
cas où il y aurait partage égal des suffrages, ce sont les voix des délégués
représentant des seigneurs plus haut placés en titres et en mérite qui
prévaudront.“51
Il est remarquable que les États membres soient, selon l’énoncé de
l’article 16, „incorporés“ dans l’organisation. L’adhésion de nouveaux
membres était d’ailleurs envisagée par l’article 12. Le congrès permanent des
délégués (congregatio, en français: assemblée) déciderait de l’admission en
obtenant du nouveau membre l’engagement de respecter les règles de
50
51
Ibid., p. 110.
Ibid.
46
Martin Nejedlý
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l’organisation. La même institution était chargée d’annoncer l’adhésion du
nouveau membre aux souverains ou aux gouvernements de tous les
membres existants.52
La conclusion du traité de la nouvelle organisation ou l’adhésion
ultérieure engageaient largement les États membres en faveur de la nouvelle
formation politique, de ses fonctions et de ses pouvoirs. Ce sont surtout les
questions de la déclaration de la guerre et de la conclusion de la paix qui
sont les plus frappantes. Mais la transmission des compétences devait aussi
avoir lieu dans le domaine des finances, des pouvoirs juridiques et de la
jurisprudence en général. Car l’organisation bénéficiait du droit d’édicter
des normes juridiques ayant force de loi générale.53
L’une des plus graves restrictions se trouve à l’article 22 (l’avantdernier). Les États membres devaient s’y engager à empêcher l’instauration
d’un gouvernement qui ne respecterait pas les règles de la Charte
constituante dans un des États membres. Le successeur d’un souverain
défunt ne devait pas être admis à régner sans avoir confirmé par écrit les
obligations de son État vis-à-vis de l’organisation. („...pour que la paix ainsi
que les précédentes dispositions soient inviolablement observées, nous
avons décidé et nous promettons, quand l’un de nous aura été appelé dans
la patrie céleste, de ne pas laisser l’un de ses héritiers ou successeurs
accéder au pouvoir et entrer en possession d’un royaume, d’une principauté ou d’un domaine aussi longtemps qu’il n’aura pas, avant toute
chose, pris l’engagement de respecter avec une fidélité inébranlable
l’ensemble des articles précédents ainsi que le suivant et chacun d’eux en
particulier, par des lettres patentes avec sceau pendant, comme garantie
en commun apportée à chacun de nous.“)54
Le fait que l’égalité devait régner parmi les États participants à
l’organisation est d’une importance primordiale. Il faut souligner, dans ce
contexte-là, que le projet ne comporte pas de statut particulier pour le roi de
Rome ou bien l’Empereur. Le souverain portant ce titre est inclus dans
l’ensemble des „princes de la Germanie“ („reges et principes Germanie“ en
latin; „En outre, arrêtons et voulons que dans ladite Assemblée une voix
soit attribuée au roi de France ensemble avec les autres rois et princes de la
Gaule, la seconde voix aux rois et princes de la Germanie et la troisième au
Doge de Venise ensemble avec les princes et communes d’Italie“).55
Ibid., p. 76.
VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 19.
54 The Universal Peace Organization, p. 111, texte original latin p. 79.
55 Ibid., p. 110, texte original latin p. 78.
52
53
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Le projet ne respectait donc pas les théories qui prévalaient jusque là
de la position et du pouvoir non seulement de l’empereur mais aussi du
pape, ni pour les privilèges honorifiques (cf. la position prioritaire lors de
l’énumration), ni pour les fonctions dans l’Union (cf. la présidence de
l’organisation, les fonctions juridiques ou arbitraires). La noblesse ecclésiastique n’était probablement plus prise en compte du tout. Sur ce point, on
peut constater l’influence du hussitisme tchèque (ou de la réforme, si l’on
préfère) sur l’ensemble du projet.
Certaines questions d’organisation n’étaient pas exposées en détail.
Par exemple, les clauses concernant le président de l’organisation, le conseil
des souverains (consilium) ou les structures administratives supérieures et
inférieures étaient traitées de façon très laconique, donc obscures. Il faut
toujours prendre en considération le fait qu’il s’agit d’un projet jamais
réalisé, ni même discuté en un lieu adéquat, comme ses auteurs l’avaient
envisagé. Cette assemblée présumée, c’est-à-dire la session des souverains
européens, qui aurait dû être convoquée par le roi de France Louis XI, aurait
pu encore améliorer et préciser le projet général.
La fonction du Conseil (consilium congregationis), qui est mentionnée
en deux endroits du projet, restait aussi sans aucune précision. Dans l’article
16, on parle de cette institution comme si ses membres (membra) étaient
tous les souverains des États membres en personne („L’Assemblée, en tant
que telle, aura un seul conseil, en propre et spécial, un seul président, N.,
son père et son chef, tandis que nous autres, les rois et les princes de la
Chrétienté, en serons les membres“).56 On peut en conclure que le conseil
n’aurait siégé que rarement et que sa fonction aurait été de pure cérémonie.
Cela s’accorde avec le fait que l’on n’évoquait le chef de toute l’organisation
que dans ce passage où il est désigné par les mots „président, père et chef ou
tête“ (praesidens, pater et caput). Même si ce n’est pas explicitement dit
dans le texte, les historiens sont d’avis que ce chef aurait dû être le roi de
France. C’est indirectement indiqué par les négociations préalables
d’Antonio Marini et les déclarations de protestation de l’ambassade tchèque
en France en 1464 mais aussi par l’énoncé de l’article 19. Car „Gallia“ y était
nommée en première place lors de l’énumération des participants et de la
formation des ensembles régionaux.
Le Conseil était encore une fois mentionné dans l’article 18 comme une
institution à laquelle il fallait verser des contributions. „De plus, pour
pouvoir faire face aux dépenses et aux frais indispensables et utiles pour le
maintien de la paix, l’exercice du pouvoir judiciaire, la désignation et
56
Ibid., p. 109.
48
Martin Nejedlý
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l’envoi des représentants et des messagers et pour tous les autres besoins,
chacun de nous fait promesse et prend engagement de percevoir, par ses
propres agents ou en son nom, à l’époque qu’aura fixée l’Assemblée ou sa
majorité, la dixième partie des dîmes ainsi que des gains et profits des trois
journées, comme déjà dit; puis d’envoyer et faire transporter les fonds sans
délai ni retard aux archives publiques, à la disposition du Conseil de
l’Assemblée et de ses caissiers.“57 Cette formulation nous donne à penser que
le conseil aurait dû avoir son secrétariat permanent à côté de la
congrégation.
On se trouve ici dans le domaine des spéculations, ce qui arrive
fatalement aux historiens qui veulent réfléchir plus en détail sur la position
et la fonction du président et du conseil ainsi que leur position par rapport à
la congrégation. La congrégation, en tant qu’institution permanente, devait
être composée des représentants des souverains, tandis que les souverains
mêmes devaient s’occuper de leur gouvernement dans leurs propres pays;
on peut supposer, par conséquent, que la congrégation aurait dû être
présidée par le délégué du pays auquel appartenait le président du conseil.
Une autre solution aurait été de faire présider la congrégation par le syndic,
aussi mentionné par le projet.
La seconde institution par son importance, prévue par la Charte, était
le tribunal international, désigné par les termes parlamentum seu
consistorium („le parlement ou le consistoire“, art. 3),58 parlamentum vel
consistorium („le parlement ou le consistoire“, art. 4),59 generale
consistorium („consistoire général“, art. 9)60 et parlamentum seu iudicium
(„Parlement ou cour“, art. 18).61 On pense en général que le mot
parlamentum (parlement) renvoie à la tradition des parlements judiciaires
français qui jouaient un rôle important dans les conflits entre le pouvoir
central en France et les tendances centrifuges de certains féodaux. Cette
institution a été probablement imposée dans le projet par Antonio Marini.
Enfin, il est dit dans les articles 9 et 10 que le tribunal de l’organisation
allait fonctionner au nom de toute la congrégation: omnium nostrorum et
congregationis nostrae nomine („au nom de nous tous et de notre
Assemblée“).62 Le „parlement ou consistoire“ déjà mentionné devait
s’occuper des dossiers en instance juridique de la nouvelle organisation:
Ibid.
Ibid., p. 104.
59 Ibid., p. 105.
60 Ibid., p. 106.
61 Ibid., p. 109.
62 Ibid., p. 106.
57
58
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„Sur nous tous, sur nos sujets et sur ceux qui seraient admis par la suite,
ladite corporation exercera aussi juridiction, tant gracieuse que
contentieuse et disposera du droit absolu et du droit mixte, selon les
dispositions qu’aura décrétées et fixées la même Assemblée ou sa
majorité.“63
On a supposé que les membres du tribunal seraient iudex et assessores
(„juge et assesseurs“), nommés par la congrégation. Le tribunal devait
s’occuper surtout du règlement pacifique des querelles soit entre les États
membres eux-mêmes, soit entre les États membres et ceux qui restaient hors
de l’organisation. Parallèlement (dans l’esprit de l’art. 16) le tribunal devait
disposer d’un pouvoir, large mais indéfini, sur les États membres et leurs
habitants en général pour le règlement de tous les litiges qui lui seraient
adressés par les parties.64
La création d’un tribunal international fut comprise comme une
première démarche vers l’instauration d’un nouveau droit universel (ce qui
résulte de la comparaison des art. 9–10 et 16). L’article 11 confirme aussi
cela; il prévoit pour le congrès des délégués (congrégation) la publication de
normes juridiques de valeur générale (statuta, decreta et ordinationes, donc
statuts, décrets et réglements). On y dit textuellement: „...au cas où de
nouvelles querelles et divergences venaient à s’élever entre nous, rois et
princes, et d’autres parties à notre pacte, que l’un et l’autre soient obligés et
tenus de comparaître et plaider dans les formes devant notre dite Cour, en
observant les statuts, décrets et règlements faits et établis par nos envoyés
et représentants ou par la majorité de l’Assemblée“.65
La nouvelle organisation ou union devait disposer de solides structures
administratives composées de charges supérieures et inférieures. Le
fonctionnaire désigné comme „sindicus“ (donc le syndic) aurait dû être à la
tête de cet appareil. En utilisant le vocabulaire d’aujourd’hui on peut dire
qu’il s’agissait à peu près du secrétaire général de l’organisation. Si l’on veut
recourir à une terminologie moins anachronique, on le nommera chancelier.
A ses côtés devait aussi se trouver un dignitaire désigné par le projet comme
le procurator fiscalis (donc procureur fiscal), qui devait occuper un poste
important dans l’organisation.66 Ce fonctionnaire devait probablement jouer
le rôle, plus ou moins, de gardien de la légalité dans le cadre de
l’organisation. Selon l’article 18, il avait le devoir et le droit d’exiger (avec le
Ibid., p. 109.
VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu krále Jiřího, p. 22.
65 The Universal Peace Organization, p. 29; VANĚČEK, Historický význam projektu
krále Jiřího, p. 29.
66 Ibid., p. 109.
63
64
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Martin Nejedlý
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syndic) les contributions des États membres à l’aide d’avertissements, ou de
plainte au tribunal ou, enfin, par exécution grâce à une sentence prononcée
au nom de l’organisation. „Pour pouvoir faire face aux dépenses et aux frais
indispensables et utiles pour le maintien de la paix, l’exercice du pouvoir
judiciaire, la désignation et l’envoi des représentants et des messagers et
pour tous les autres besoins, chacun de nous fait promesse et prend
engagement de percevoir, par ses propres agents ou en son nom, à l’époque
qu’aura fixée l’Assemblée ou sa majorité, la dixième partie des dîmes ainsi
que des gains et profits des trois journées, comme déjà dit; puis d’envoyer
et faire transporter les fonds sans délai ni retard aux archives publiques, à
la disposition du conseil de l’Assemblée et de ses caissiers. Faute de quoi, le
syndic ou le procureur fiscal de l’Assemblée a le droit et est tenu d’assigner
le débiteur devant le Parlement ou Cour pour recouvrer la créance par voie
de justice, ainsi que des indemnités, avec intérêts; en outre, il devra
prévenir les autres membres et nous inviter – conformément à la foi jurée
– à exiger et faire rentrer par une exécution militaire la somme due par le
débiteur et ses sujets, indemnités et intérêts compris; ces fonds seront
affectés, comme prévu, aux besoins communs de l’Assemblée.“67
Les charges supérieures et inférieures devaient, en règle générale,
soutenir l’action de l’organisation mondiale de la paix (union) et de ses
institutions principales, c’est-à-dire l’assemblée des délégués (congrégation),
le conseil des souverains (consilium) et le tribunal international. On
prévoyait aussi des fonctionnaires spéciaux pour la gestion du trésor et des
archives. En ce qui concerne l’administration, on trouve dans le projet un
énoncé assez remarquable (art. 17) qui prescrivait que les charges
supérieures (potiora officia) devaient toujours être occupées par les gens du
pays (dans la nation même) dans lequel la congrégation siégeait
temporairement. „Afin que les droits de chaque pays soient conservés
intacts, nous stipulons qu’on désignera pour les charges supérieures de
l’Assemblée, dans la nation même où l’Assemblée a son siège temporaire,
des fonctionnaires qui soient originaires de ce même pays et en
comprennent les moeurs et les usages.“68 On peut en conclure que l’appareil
de l’organisation se renouvellerait entièrement tout les cinq ans. Bien
entendu la nouvelle organisation aurait eu ses attributs, tels ses armoiries et
son sceau: „Enfin, elle aura en propre ses armes, son sceau, son trésor
commun, ses archives publiques, un syndic, un procureur fiscal, des
67
68
Ibid., pp. 109–110.
Ibid., p. 109.
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fonctionnaires, ainsi que tous les autres droits concernant et intéressant en
quelque manière une union conforme au droit et à la justice.“69
Pour financer les frais communs du fonctionnement de l’organisation,
parmi lesquels on mentionnait en premier lieu „le maintien de la paix“, les
États membres devaient, selon l’article 18, livrer au trésor de l’organisation
des contributions régulières. Leur montant était fixé d’une manière assez
étrange pour nous aujourd’hui. Tout en simplifiant, on peut dire que les
États devaient livrer un dixième de leurs revenus nationaux annuels.70
Des charges financières spéciales sur les États membres de l’organisation étaient prévues dans l’art. 4 au profit d’un membre qui était forcé
de se défendre par la guerre contre un quelconque ennemi. Dans ce cas, le
projet proposait des mesures très concrètes bien que formulées de façon
compliquée: „S’il arrivait que quelqu’un ou quelques-uns, ne faisant pas
partie de notre convention, charité et fraternité, fît la guerre ou entreprît
de la faire à l’un d’entre nous et cela sans molestations ou provocations de
notre côté ce qui n’est absolument pas à craindre, aussi longtemps que
durera cette amitié et charité, notre Assemblée prévue plus loin, au nom de
tous les signataires du pacte – même si l’allié attaqué ne nous a pas fait
appel – enverra à frais commun et solennellement, en vue d’aplanir le
différend et de ménager la paix, une délégation qui devra se transporter au
plus vite en un endroit commode aux deux parties. Et là, en présence des
parties en litige ou de leurs représentants munis des pleins pouvoirs, nos
délégués feront tout effort et diligence pour ramener paix et concorde entre
les adversaires, si possible par voie amicale, sinon ils les engageront à
choisir des arbitres ou à plaider devant la juridiction compétente ou devant
le Parlement ou Consistoire prévu ci-dessous. Si l’assaillant faisant défaut
en justice, paix et union ne peuvent pas être rétablies par l’un des moyens
susdits....“71
Ce principe général était appliqué concrètement, dans l’article 13, à la
situation de l’attaque des Turcs contre certains États chrétiens. Y était
ajoutée la proposition de leur donner – outre les contributions prévues dans
la situation normale – toutes les dîmes comme aide financière de la part de
tous les États membres.72
Ibid., p. 109. Le texte original latin: „Habeat denique propria arma, sigillum et archam
communem atque archivum publicum, sindicum, fiscalem, officiales et quecunque alia
iura ad licitum et iustum collegium quomodolibet pertinencia et spectancia, ibid., p. 77.
70 Ibid., p. 109.
71 Ibid., p. 105.
72 Ibid., pp. 107–108.
69
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Martin Nejedlý
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En plus du maintien de la paix, l’organisation se serait occupée
d’autres affaires communes d’ordre plus pratique en général. Il était prévu la
frappe et l’introduction d’une monnaie commune – communis moneta
(„nous décidons que sera fixé par une résolution commune de notre
Assemblée unanime ou de sa majorité … comment introduire une monnaie
unique pour l’armée afin que les soldats n’éprouvent pas de difficultés en
marche, en garnison ou à leur retour“).73 Ensuite le document réclamait
une régulation des prix alimentaires (victualia in competenti pretio) et la
fondation d’un réseau d’hébergement approprié (hospitia in civitatibus,
villis et aliis loci opportunis). Même si ces propositions ne concernent
formellement que des objectifs militaires, il est évident que leur impact est
plus général. Car si on réussissait à introduire une monnaie commune et des
prix uniques pour les aliments, on ne pourrait pas les limiter exclusivement
au but de la défense militaire.
Les négociations sur le projet en France en 1464 et leur échec
Le plan de Georges de Poděbrady différait des projets d’alliances
pacifiques médiévales précédentes non seulement par son élaboration
détaillée mais aussi par le fait qu’il était lié à une grande activité
diplomatique et promotionnelle, dont le but était la mise en pratique des
principes de la charte proposée.
En mai 1464, une ambassade munie des pleins pouvoirs des trois
souverains européens (le roi de Hongrie Matthias, le roi de Pologne Casimir
et le roi de Bohême Georges de Poděbrady) quittait Prague. Elle avait pour
but de demander au roi de France Louis XI de convoquer une assemblée
générale des princes européens, qui aurait justement pour tâche de débattre
du projet de paix du roi hussite.74 Heureusement pour les historiens et les
lecteurs d’aujourd’hui, elle comportait aussi dans ses rangs l’écuyer Jaroslav.
Il s’agissait d’un jeune homme curieux de tout, avide d’impressions
nouvelles et les consignant volontiers par écrit. La mission diplomatique
envoyée à la cour de Louis XI, et dont Jaroslav était membre, résultait des
négociations infructueuses avec la Curie romaine et d’un effort de recherche
de soutien international pour éloigner le danger d’une croisade contre le
Ibid., p. 108.
Pour apprendre plus sur ces négociations voir URBÁNEK, pp. 600–608, 755–764 et
VANĚČEK, Historical Significance, pp. 51–58.
73
74
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royaume „hérétique“.75 Georges de Poděbrady attendait beaucoup de Louis
XI et de sa cour. Il prenait en considération aussi bien son gallicanisme
politique envers la Curie que la place importante qu’occupait la France dans
le projet de Marini. D’après les plans du roi hussite, l’assemblée des États
présidée justement par le roi de France aurait joué le rôle d’arbitre entre les
membres de la ligue nouvellement fondée. Ainsi, le sort de ce projet
dépendait entièrement du résultat de cette mission. L’ambassade officielle
tchèque quitta Prague le 16 mai 1464.76
A la tête de l’ambassade figuraient deux personnages qui participaient
de manière cruciale à la diplomatie de Georges de Poděbrady. Le premier
était Albert (Albrecht) Kostka de Postupice, membre d’une célèbre famille
noble utraquiste qui s’était enrichie par la sécularisation des biens
ecclésiastiques lors de la révolution hussite.77 À ses côtés se trouvait Antoine
Marini de Grenoble.78 Le rôle d’ambassadeur officiel du roi tchèque ainsi
que le titre de chef formel de la mission fut confié à Albrecht, Marini
officiant comme ambassadeur du roi de Pologne et du roi de Hongrie.79 La
politique d’entente et de bonne volonté de Georges de Poděbrady était
justement illustrée par le fait qu’Albert, noble utraquiste tchèque et chef
formel de l’ambassade, se vit accompagné par Antoine Marini de Grenoble,
Les résultats de mes recherches sur le récit de l’écuyer Jaroslav paraîtront très
prochainement, cf. Promouvoir une alliance anti-turque, éviter une croisade antihussite: un noble tchèque en mission diplomatique. Le témoignage de l’écuyer Jaroslav
sur l’ambassade à Louis XI en 1464, in: M. NEJEDLÝ, J. SVÁTEK, La noblesse et la
croisade à la fin du Moyen Âge (France, Bourgogne et Bohême), Actes du colloque
international tenu à Prague les 26 et 27 octobre 2007, Toulouse 2008, sous presse. Voir
aussi Jak staří Čechové poznávali svět. Výbor ze starších českých cestopisů 14.-17.
století, choix des textes et des illustrations, introduction et explications de Zdeňka
TICHÁ, Praha 1984, p. 16; Josef MACEK, K zahraniční politice krále Jiřího, p. 27;
URBÁNEK, pp. 593–594.
76 ČORNEJ, BARTLOVÁ, p. 213 et sqq; URBÁNEK, pp. 597–599, id., Rudolf URBÁNEK,
České cesty na západ a nejstarší dva české cestopisy, in: Ve službách Jiříka krále. Deníky
panoše Jaroslava a Václava Šaška z Bířkova, éd. Rudolf URBÁNEK, Praha 1940, pp.
XVII–XVIII.
77 URBÁNEK, České cesty na západ, p. XVIV.
78 Outre la littérature déjà citée plus haut, voir, pour l’activité diplomatique de Marini à la
cour du duc de Bourgogne Philippe le Bon, les pages de J. PAVIOT, Les ducs de
Bourgogne, la croisade et l’Orient (fin XIVe siècle–XVe siècle), Paris 2003, pp. 161–162.
79 Pour les citations du Journal de l’écuyer Jaroslav, nous nous servirons de l’édition de
URBÁNEK, České cesty na západ, pp. 3–30.
75
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Martin Nejedlý
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catholique et français. Jaroslav, l’auteur du journal, était sans doute
tchèque.80
Les notes de Jaroslav, qui sont notre source principale sur le
déroulement des négociations de la mission tchèque auprès du roi de
France, ne nous donnent pas de réponse à l’une des questions essentielles:
l’ambassade a-t-elle soumis à Louis XI le projet officiel de l’organisation
pacifique des États chrétiens? Nous ne pouvons qu’en formuler
l’hypothèse.81 Jaroslav ne mentionne explicitement que la demande de
convoquer l’assemblée des souverains européens qui fut présentée par les
ambassadeurs du roi tchèque à Louis XI.82 En ce sens, l’ambassade du roi
hussite était probablement vouée à l’échec dès le départ. Nous savons
aujourd’hui que le 16 juin 1464, jour où l’ambassade entra dans la ville de
Reims que l’ écuyer Jaroslav contempla avec admiration, le pape Pie II
ordonna que le roi Georges, suspect d’hérésie, se présentât devant le
tribunal du pape. La raison en était le discours du roi hussite d’août 1462
dans lequel il se déclarait en faveur des compactats et aurait prétendu que la
communion sous les deux espèces était une condition du salut.83
Jaroslav sut décrire la phase décisive des délibérations avec un sens
certain de la gradation dramatique. À Abbeville, le chancelier de France et
l’évêque de Bayeux invitèrent les deux chefs de l’ambassade tchèque dans les
appartements du chancelier pour une délibération secrète. „Ils ne laissèrent
La monographie la plus récente sur l’écuyer Jaroslav accompagnée d‘une abondante
bibliographie est celle rédigée en polonais par Bohdan MALYSZ, Najstarsza czeska
relacja podréznicza. Poselstwo Jerzego z Podiebradów do Francji w roku 1464 w svietle
dziennika Jaroslawa, Teschen 2004. Pour de plus amples informations sur la source,
voir aussi la préface de Urbánek dans son édition České cesty na západ, pp. IX–XLVIII.
Les aspects de politique extérieure sont envisagés par URBÁNEK, Věk poděbradský,
spécialement pp. 555–765. Les notes de Jaroslav servent aussi de source dans la
monographie sur Georges de Poděbrady par l’historien américain, HEYMANN, pp. 367–
372. Outre l’édition qui nous sert de base pour cette étude, il en existe aussi deux
antérieures: l’édition originale de Palacký et la première édition intégrale de J.
KAKOUSEK, Deník českého poselstva ku králi francouzskému v r. 1464, in: Archiv
český, t. VII, Praha 1887, pp. 427–445. L’édition incomplète de Palacký servit de base
pour la traduction en anglais Diary of an Embassy from King George of Bohemia to
Louis XI of France in the Year of Grace 1464, éd. A. H. WRATISLAW, London 1871.
81 Déjà Victor Lucien Tapié s’étonnait qu’on ne puisse trouver dans les Archives
Nationales que l’acte du roi Georges conférant les pleins pouvoirs à Albert (Albrecht)
Kostka de Postupice pour sa mission auprès de Louis XI et le traité de renouvellement
d’alliance signé le 18 juillet 1464 à Dieppe. Victor L. TAPIÉ, Le projet pacifique de
Georges et la politique française, p. 112.
82 Le journal de Jaroslav ne fournit aucune mention sur les dessous éventuels des
pourparlers avec l’ambassade tchèque qui auraient pu concerner une candidature de
Louis XI au trône de l’Empire.
83 ČORNEJ, BARTLOVÁ, pp. 212–214.
80
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passer personne dans la chambre“ sauf Kostka et Marini.84 Or, Jaroslav
avec deux amis se tapirent „près d’une fenêtre“ et s’efforcèrent de saisir des
bribes de leur conversation bouillonnante et mouvementée. Leur entreprise
fut largement facilitée par les éclats de voix considérables, voire les cris, des
conseillers de Louis XI et des chefs de l’ambassade tchèque. Jaroslav
comprit que c’était l’assemblée des princes européens qui était le brandon de
la discorde. Les conseillers de Louis XI avancèrent que le roi tchèque n’était
pas mandaté pour entreprendre une telle initiative sans l’autorisation
particulière du Pape et de l’Empereur, étant donné que c’était de leur
compétence que relevaient de pareilles questions. Il nota avec indignation
que le chancelier, le patriarche de Jérusalem et un „certain maître“, par quoi
il entendait probablement Jean Balue, prononcèrent encore beaucoup de
„paroles narquoises et inutiles“.85
„Très fâché“, Marini n’hésita pas à insulter „d’une voix criante et
ardente“ Pie II en personne: „Ce pape est possédé du diable, il n’y a pas au
monde d’homme plus infâme et pire que lui, et vous voulez pourtant que
rien de bon ne se fasse sans son assentiment.“86 Ces mots semblèrent si
virulents au célèbre historien tchèque František Palacký, qu’il les supprima
de la première édition critique du journal de Jaroslav en 1827 par crainte de
la censure autrichienne. Son édition, qui servit de base à la traduction
anglaise de 1871, remplaça cette exclamation d’Antoine Marini par quelques
points de suspension.87 Ces quelques mots virulents illustrent très bien les
difficultés des pourparlers, qui ont finalement abouti à un traité d’amitié
entre les rois de France et de Bohême, mais qui sonnèrent le glas des plans
d’une assemblée générale des souverains européens et de leur ligue pour la
paix. Dans cette optique, la mission diplomatique dont Jaroslav nous
transmit des notes précieuses échoua. Le traité d’alliance avec la France ne
put nullement modifier la position intransigeante de la Curie romaine
envers la Bohême hussite.88 Avec le retour de France de l’ambassade finirent
de facto les tentatives de réalisation du projet d’union de paix conçu par
Georges de Poděbrady et par Antonio Marini. Les négociations à la cour de
Louis XI apportèrent du moins au roi hussite un traité d’amitié avec la
France et la reconnaissance de l’orthodoxie de la Bohême, confirmée par un
Jaroslav, p. 15.
Ibid., p. 16. Ce „maître“ est identifié à Balue par URBÁNEK, Věk poděbradský, p. 761,
note 246.
86 Jaroslav, p. 16 (traduction de TAPIÉ, Le projet pacifique, op.cit.)
87 Voir MALYSZ, p. 14; TAPIÉ, p. 113.
88 MACEK, Jiří z Poděbrad, p. 164.
84
85
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Martin Nejedlý
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acte spécial.89 L’ambassade tchèque revint à la fin du mois de juillet 1464,
sans encombre, mais avec des résultats mitigés. Marini n’était plus du
voyage. Ce globe-trotter et rêveur considérait les résultats des négociations
comme une défaite personnelle eu égard à ses projets de ligue des princes
chrétiens.90
Le plan de l’organisation générale de la paix et du parlement mondial
échoua donc, mais il survécut dans la postérité comme un legs et un appel. Il
n’est peut-être pas inutile de rappeler, dans ce contexte, un proverbe
tchèque attesté en 1465 et qui est encore, à mon avis, d’actualité: „Mieux
vaut négocier deux ans que de mener la guerre pendant deux semaines.“91
Le principe d’égalité entre les États dans le domaine du droit international,
sans considération de leur structure interne et de leur forme de
gouvernement, la procédure de règlement des conflits par la voie pacifique,
le rejet explicite de la guerre, la mise hors la loi de l’agresseur et le principe
de responsabilité collective – voilà les valeurs durables du projet. Le plan de
Georges de Poděbrady et d’Antonio Marini était plein d’idées utopiques qui
surpassaient de loin les basses querelles des féodaux de l’époque. Dans la
réalité du XVème siècle, le projet du roi tchèque et du diplomate français était
probablement irréalisable. N’est-il pas cependant un grand homme
politique, celui dont le regard dépasse le seuil des portes encombrées de
contingences, portes nécessairement étroites de son époque, pour s’élever
vers des perspectives d’avenir?
Comparer avec MACEK, K zahraniční politice krále Jiřího, pp. 19–48.
URBÁNEK, České cesty na západ, p. XVIII; JORGA, p. 457.
91 „Lépe jest dva roky jednati než 14 dní váleti“, voir aussi V. VANĚČEK, Le projet du roi
Georges sous l’aspect de l’ histoire du droit, in: Cultus pacis, p. 56.
89
90
The Emperor Maximilian I and the Possibility
of Personal Connection of Empire and Papacy1
Drahomír Suchánek
The end of 1511 could have brought a phenomenon very unique in the
history. The Masters of papal liturgical ceremonies Paris de Grassi and
Balthazar Nicolai came very close to solving the problem of how to hold a
papal coronation conveniently and according to all necessary requisites.
That is to say: the Catholic Church was a short remove from the moment
when the still ruling Roman Emperor could have become the head of the
Church, who was, moreover, still a layman without any degree of lower
clerical ordination. The said event did not finally take place; however, the
very possibility of such a project is a very interesting moment in the
beginnings of modern history. For a short while, a unique interplay of
various circumstances occurred, that more than ever strengthened the
possibility of symbolically rounding off the centuries-long clash of the
Church and secular powers by uniting both the highest posts of the Christian
society in one person of the Emperor Maximilian I. This study wants to
commemorate the hundred years that have passed since the publication of
the essential monograph by Aloys Schulte2 and thus to resume reflections
that thrilled the historical science above all in the 19th and in the beginning
of the 20th century.3 Even though most historians agreed on the authenticity
of well-preserved sources and on the necessity to interpret them in favor of
the project of Maximilian’s papal candidacy, with the exception of rejected
hypotheses by A. Jäger4 and H. Ulmann5 – motives of his actions were
somewhat left out. That is why the Emperor’s papal ambitions still remain
covered by a veil of an adventurous character of the “last knight“ and are to
This article has been published as a part of the research project MSM 0021620827 The
Czech Lands in the Midst of Europe in the Past and Today at the Faculty of Arts, Charles
University, Prague.
2 A. SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian I. als Kandidat für den päpstlichen Stuhl 1511,
Leipzig 1906.
3 For summary of literature compare A. NÄGLE, Hat Kaiser Maximilian I. im Jahre 1507
Papst werden wollen?. In: Historisches Jahrbuch 28 (1907), pp. 278–301.
4 A. JÄGER, Über Kaiser Maximilians I. Verhältnis zum Papsttum. (Sitzungsberichte der
Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften – philosophisch-historische Klasse 12), Wien
1854.
5 H. ULMANN, Kaiser Maximilians I. Absichten auf das Papsttum in den Jahren 1507–
1511, Stuttgart 1888.
1
58
Drahomír Suchánek
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document his affection for daring and almost fanciful plans. Nevertheless,
there is the question whether it is possible to content oneself with this
argumentation.
Political Context
The beginning of the second decade of the 16th century was under the
sign of a contest of European great powers for the Italian territory. In 1508,
the so-called League of Cambrai was established that united the Emperor of
the Holy Roman Empire Maximilian I, the French king Luis XII (as the
Duke of Milano) and the Aragon king Ferdinand I (as the King of Naples) in
a coalition with Pope Julius II.6 The joint target was the Republic of Venice
and the territories in the northern Apennine Peninsula under its rule.
According to agreements, the Emperor Maximilian laid claims to Padua,
Vicenza and Verona, which were to be allotted back to the empire as fiefs,
while Friaul and Treviso were to be connected to the Austrian hereditary
lands. The French king laid claim to the territory that had earlier pertained
to the Dukedom of Milano, and similarly, the king Ferdinand aspired to get
hold of the cities that were occupied by Venice in the territory of Naples.
Papal demands were directed towards the important cities in Romagna,
namely and above all Ravenna, Rimini, Imola, Cesena, Faenza and Cervia.7
An enormous military power and a vision of quick territorial gains supplied
the whole campaign with dynamics and the isolated Venice was not able to
oppose attacks from more directions. On May 14, 1509 Venice was defeated
by French army in the battle of Agnadello and the cooperating French and
imperial forces occupied a significant part of the demanded territories,
including the city of Padua, in three weeks.8 However, it was soon clear that
the individual coalition partners had ambitions that made them potential
H. WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian I. Das Reich, Österreich und Europa an der
Wende zur Neuzeit. Bd. 4., München 1981, pp. 29–32; H. WIESFLECKER, Eine
Denkschrift der Kaiserliche Kanzlei über die Politik und Kriegsführunder Heiligen Liga
von Cambrai von 1508–1512. In: Siedlung, Wirtschaft und Kultur im Ostalpenraum.
Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag von Fritz Popelka, F. Posch/H. Wiessner (ed.) Graz 1960,
pp. 23–27.
7 WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, IV., pp. 30–31.
8 M. v. WOLFF, Untersuchungen zur Venezianer Politik Kaiser Maximilian I. während
der Liga von Cambray mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Veronas, Innsbruck 1919, pp.
6–11; D. v. SCHÖNHERR, Der Krieg Kaiser Maximilian I. mit Venedig 1509. In: D. v.
SCHÖNHERR, Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. 2., Innsbruck 1902, pp. 30–31; N. BULST,
Ludwig XII. (1498–1514). In: Französische Könige und Kaiser der Neuzeit. Von Ludwig
XII. bis Napoleon III. (1498–1870), P. C. HARTMANN (ed.), München 1994, pp. 47 –49
etc.
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rivals. Above all on the part of Louis XII and Pope Julius II, it was possible
to expect extensive plans for future formation of Italian territory and
therefore also a real danger of a future conflict.
The worsening situation of Venice opened new possibilities mainly to
the ambitious and belligerent Pope Julius II.9 After a series of negotiations
with emissaries of the naval republic he enforced a large part of the demands
of the Holy See and he focused his attention on his existing partners from
the League of Cambrai.10 He believed that the situation was suitable for the
expulsion of all foreign powers from the Apennine Peninsula and for a
marked consolidation of the territory of the Church state. In the center of his
attention, there was mainly the French king, as the principal obstacle in the
connection of other territories in the northern Italy, as he governed – apart
from the Duchy of Milano – also a whole range of northern Italian cities
with Genova and Florence in the lead. But the Pope’s fears concerning the
French king were also of a different kind. The suspicious Julius II had a
permanent fear of possible ambitions of the grey eminence of the French
politics – Georges d’Amboise, the Archbishop and Cardinal of Rouen, whom
he blamed for attempts to remove him from his post and to occupy a post in
the Holy See.11 Even though the cardinal defended himself against these
accusations and referred to paranoia of the ageing Pope, Julius saw a direct
threat to himself in each new military campaign of the French king and he
used to reproach Luis for trying to make him his chaplain. From the
beginning of 1510, it was thus becoming more and more clear that the so-far
cooperation of the Pope and the French was ruined and the time of military
confrontation was drawing near.12
To achieve his Italian plans, the pope urgently needed to gain support
of other powers involved in the Italian space, especially Ferdinand, the king
As for the personality of the pope Julius II, see Ch. SHAW, Julius II., Praha 2001; C.
FUSERO, Giulio II., Milano 1965; L. PASTOR, Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang
des Mittelalters. Bd. 3/2, Freiburg im Breisgau/Rom 1956, pp. 659–1142; F. X.
SEPPELT, Geschichte der Päpste von der Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 20. Jahrhundert, 4.
Bd., München 1957, pp. 395–408.
10 See WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, IV., pp. 49–51; E. BREITNER, Maximilian I.
Der Traum von der Weltmonarchie, Bremen 1939, p. 315; SHAW, pp. 236–244.
11 BULST, pp. 48–49. As for the character of the cardinal d’Amboise, see Dictionnaire
d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastique, 2. Bd., A. BAUDRILLART (ed.), Paris 1924,
pp. 1060–1072.
12 Still in the half of 1509, the pope’s legate cardinal Francesco Alidosi negotiated an
agreement about the mutual defence of the territory in Italy and settlement of disputes
regarding ecclesiastical benefices. However, Julius’ sincerity can be successfully doubted,
as he immediately began to attack the agreed conditions and began to harshly criticize
the French politics.
9
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of Naples, and the Emperor Maximilian. In both cases, however, the result
was somewhat uncertain. Although Ferdinand posed as a loyal son of the
Catholic Church and outwardly he presented his devotion to the Holy See,
he did not have any illusions about the Pope himself and he very carefully
considered all negatives or positives that would follow from an anti-French
coalition.13 When he firstly received the Pope's proposal in February 1510, he
promptly pointed out at several essential conditions. First of all he appealed
to caution when formulating anti-French orientation of a possible alliance
and he rather preferred an agreement about protection of the Church that
would not explicitly breach the principles of the League of Cambrai. He also
conditioned his consent to such an alliance by further concessions, from
which the most important one was surely the allotment of the Kingdom of
Naples as a fief. The last significant condition concerned coalition partners.
Although Ferdinand performed very independent politics, he still recognized
the significance of deepening mutual contacts with the Emperor Maximilian
in many respects. Besides political reasons, dynastic interconnection and
their joint grandson Charles, on whom both rulers pinned their hopes,
played the primary role.14 Ferdinand thus insisted that even the Emperor
had to join the coalition.15
Julius II essentially welcomed such a request, as it was just the
Emperor Maximilian I, who was the main obstacle in the effort to achieve
isolation of France. The problem of the ambitious Emperor was a long-term
imbalance between great plans and limited possibilities for their
performance. He suffered by permanent lack of financial resources and
inability to follow through already initiated military operations.16 Thus,
Maximilian's participation in the League of Cambrai depended in many
ways on the cooperation with the French king. That is why his abilities of
maneuvering were very limited and the Emperor was naturally very careful
As for the politics of the king Ferdinand II, see R. KONETZKE, Die Außenpolitik König
Ferdinands des Katholischen von Spanien. In: Historische Zeitschrift 175 (1953), pp.
463–482. As for the character of the king Ferdinand see J. PÉREZ, Ferdinand und
Isabella. Spanien zur Zeit der katholischen Könige, München 1989.
14 As for this issues, see above all A. KOHLER, Die Doppelhochzeit von 1496/1497. In:
Hispania–Austria. Die Katholische Könige, Maximilian I. und die Anfänge der casa de
Austria in Spanien, A. KOHLER/F. EDELMAYER (ed.), Wien 1993, pp. 59–86; H.
WIESFLECKER, H., Maximilian I. und die habsburgisch-spanische Heirats- und
Bündnisverträge von 1495/96. In: Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Instituts für
Geschichtsforschung (further MIÖG) 67 (1959), pp. 1–52.
15 WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, IV., p. 72.
16 WIESFLECKER, H., Kaiser Maximilian I. Das Reich, Österreich und Europa an der
Wende zur Neuzeit. Bd. 5., München 1986, pp. 521–524, 565–568.
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with regard to cancelling the so-far working alliance with Luis XII.17 From
his point of view, the Pope could not offer anything more important than the
French king. On the contrary, the main problem now appeared to be the
gradually increasing cooperation of the Pope and Venice, against which the
Emperor directed the main part of his demands.18 That was the reason why
Ferdinand urged the pope just in this respect, as he was aware that without
termination of the rivalry between the empire and Venice, it would not be
possible to achieve a strong anti-French coalition. Julius wanted to
eliminate this problem and promised to take care of mediation between both
sides, but he did not manage to dispel their mutual mistrust.19
The pope’s alliance with Venice and beginnings of instigation of antiFrench moods elicited a quick response. The French clergy at the synod
in Tours under the leadership of the Cardinal d’Amboise proclaimed
independency of the Gallican Church.20 Simultaneously, the Emperor
Maximilian was solving complaints of the German church and did not
hesitate to use them in the demands against the claims of the papal court.21
Pope Julius was trying to alleviate the Emperor’s anger and in April 1511 in
the encampment in front of Bologna, he initiated a meeting with the
principal Maximilian’s negotiator in the issues of church – the Bishop
Matthäus Lang of Gurk.22 The Pope’s appeal to the Emperor to leave the
alliance with the French, however, was refused by Lang.23 An absolute
opposite occurred. Maximilian expressed his dissatisfaction with the Pope's
politics and supported the idea of summoning a reform council, in front of
BULST, pp. 47–49.
M. HOLLEGGER, Maximilian I. (1459–1519). Herrscher und Mensch einer Zeitwende,
Stuttgart 2005, pp. 197–198; WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, IV., pp. 53–63. As for
the issue of the conflict of the empire and Venice, the best is WOLFF, Untersuchungen.
19 HOLLEGGER, pp. 200–201.
20 As for the synod in Tours, see K. J. v. HEFELE/J. HERGENRÖTHER (ed.),
Conciliengeschichte VIII., Freiburg im Breisgau 1870, pp. 432–439.
21 H. ULMANN, Studie über den Plan Maximilians I. einer deutschen Kirchenreform im
Jahre 1510. In: Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 3 (1879), pp. 199–219. See also H.
WIESFLECKER, Maximilian und die Päpste seiner Zeit. In: RöHM 22 (1980), pp. 147–
165; H. WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian I. und die Kirche. In: Kirche und Staat in
Idee und Geschichte des Abendlandes. Festschrift Ferdinand Maas zum 70. Geburtstag,
W. Baum (ed.), Wien/München 1973, pp. 143–165.
22 For more about the bishop Lang, see I. FRIEDHUBER, Kaiser Maximilian I. und
Matthäus Lang. Ihr persönliches Verhältnis zueinander. In: Domus Austriae. Eine
Festgabe Hermann Wiesflecker zum 70. Geburtstag, W. HÖFLECHNER, H. J. MEZLERANDELBERG, O. PICKL (ed.), Graz 1983, pp. 125– 136; P. LANGERS, Kardinal
Matthäus Lang. Ein Staatsmann im Dienste Kaiser Maximilians I. In: MGSLK 46
(1906), pp. 437–517.
23 For negotiations between Julius II. and Lang, see WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian,
IV., pp. 77, 82– 85; SHAW, pp. 272–275.
17
18
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which even Julius should have confessed from his wrongdoings. This way,
he inclined towards the side of the group of rebellious cardinals, who
planned this church meeting for the beginning of September in Florentine
Pisa.24 Although it did not concern a majority part of the cardinal collegium,
the protection provided to the whole enterprise by the French king, and now
also by the Roman-German Emperor, did not portend anything good for the
Pope. Nevertheless, Julius proved a significant amount of determination in
this critical situation and he responded quickly and effectively. On June 28,
1511 he summoned his own council by the bull Sacrosanctae into the
Lateran Basilica in Rome. Moreover, he threatened apostates by the
harshest punishments.25 But first of all he expedited all previous
negotiations that were to achieve creation of a really broad anti-French
coalition.
Urgency of solving the whole dispute was also caused by the pope's
failures in the military field. In this area, the Pope had been active already
since the beginning of 1510, when he carried out several military actions
against French interests in Italy with the help of either Venice or Spain and
this way, he initiated the war conflict, which many people were afraid of.
Since June of that year he had made several unsuccessful attempts to expel
the French from Genova 26 and soon he focused his attention against Alfons
d’Este, the protégé of the French king, who ruled in Ferrara.27 On the Pope’s
part, it was quite an uncertain action, in which he risked a significant loss in
case of a defeat. Therefore his potential partners, above all Venice, had not
believed until the last moment that Julius would be willing to resign himself
to financial losses that would logically arise in case of a conflict from the
losses of receipts from French church benefices.28 All the more, the Pope had
to prove his determination and in spite of the dignity of his office and old
For the Council of Pisa, see P. LEHMANN, Das Pisaner Konzil von 1511, Breslau 1874;
J. M. DOUSSINAGUE, Fernando el Católico y el cisma de Pisa, Madrid 1946; W.
ULLMANN, Julius II and the Schismatic Cardinals. In: Studies in Church History 9
(1972), pp. 177–193; N. H. MINNICH, The healing of the Pisan schism (1511–1513). In:
AHC 16 (1984), pp. 59–192.
25 A. DENEFFE, Die Absicht des V. Laterankonzils. In: Schlolastik 8 (1933), pp. 359–
379; N. MINNICH, The Fifth Lateran Council (1512–1517). Studies on its Membership,
Diplomacy and Proposals for Reform, Aldershot 1993; E. GUGLIA, Studien zur
Geschichte des V. Lateranconcils. Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der
Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse 10 und 3, Wien 1899 und 1906; J.
GOÑI GAZTAMBIDE, España y el Concilo V de Letrán. In: AHC 6 (1974), pp. 154–222
etc.
26 SHAW, pp. 251–254.
27 Ibidem, pp. 256–261.
28 SHAW, p. 250.
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age, he had to be personally involved in the military operations. Especially
his courage and resilience in front of the fortified city of Mirandola in the
foul weather of January 1511 entered the history.29 But he could not prevent
the increasing military pressure of French forces and he was gradually
loosing positions. In May 1511, Bologna fell and the French occupied the
whole surroundings.30 Julius tried to negotiate fervently and to accomplish
the final subscription of alliance of all opponents of France in the so-called
Saint League. In the half of August 1511, however, there was a turning point.
On August 18, the Pope came down with fever and two days later, his
condition was severely worsened. He was not able to receive food, he lost
both sight and hearing and he repeatedly fell unconscious.31 In this critical
state of health, he also suffered depressions and it seemed that Julius lost
his will to live. The end appeared to be inevitable and almost none in his
surroundings believed that the health of the sixty-seven years old pope
would improve any more.32
Maximilian’s papal project
On the background of the above-described events at the turn of August
and September 1511, a plan began to be born, the background and real
intentions of which have remained somewhat mysterious today. We learn
about it more or less accidentally. Our information proceed from two
Emperor's letters reflecting the attitude of the Emperor Maximilian himself,
and further several pieces of dossiers and comments, that address the issue
only indirectly and originate from a third, fourth hand. The first thing
necessary to be mentioned is the two reminded letters. The addressee of the
first paper was Paul von Liechtenstein who defended interests of the
Emperor as an administrator of Innsbruck.33 It dates back to September 16,
1511 and is the only official source providing us with an insight into the
PASTOR, p. 793.
R. HONIG, Bologna e Giulio II, 1511–1513, Bologna 1904, pp. 40–45.
31 PASTOR, 3/2, pp. 822–829; SHAW, pp. 287–288.
32 What was characteristic for the mood in the papal court was the comment written
down by the master of papal ceremonies Paris de Grassi into his diary on the 24th August,
as he wanted to end the diary by the pope's death: „Credo finem posse imponi his diariis
et annalibus D. Julii nostri pontificis, duem dicunt ad mortem velle preparace, cum
saupte obstinatione nolit medicis obedire in aegritudine nec suae saluti consulere velle.“
See Das pontificat Julius’ II. Auszug aus dem Tagebuche des Grossceremoniars Paris de
Grassis. In: Beiträge zur politischen, kirchlichen und Cultur-Geschichte der sechs letzten
Jahrhunderte, 3. Bd., J. J. I. v. DÖLLINGER (ed.), Wien 1882, p. 411.
33 As for the personality of Liechtenstein, see WIESFLECKER, H., Kaiser Maximilian V.,
pp. 248–251.
29
30
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center of the very negotiations.34 The second one is the letter that the
Emperor wrote two days later to his daughter Margaret, the Governor of the
Netherlands.35 This one is not an official document, but a personal message,
that theoretically allows for a more free interpretation and therefore its
diction must be perceived with certain reservations.36
The letter to Liechtenstein includes Maximilian's instructions for this
close confidant of the Emperor who had arranged various financial projects
several times already. The marshal was charged with the task to negotiate
with the Emperor's primary creditor and banker Jacob Fugger in Augsburg a
provision of financial resources that would be subsequently used just for the
achievement of the Papal Tiara by the Emperor.37 In an entirely unconcealed
way, it follows from the instructions that this money was to be used to bribe
the cardinals in case of a potential conclave. The Emperor estimated the
needed amount was in the enormous height of 300 000 ducats. This amount
was to be delivered by Fugger directly to Rome, where it was to be available
for the Emperor's mediator Bishop Lang of Gurk. Maximilian offered four
chests of jewels and valuables of Austrian origin as a forfeit (that is a part of
the Habsburg and possibly not imperial property). Further a promise was
heard that some Fugger’s person would become a pope's treasurer and after
the successful takeover of the pope's office, a whole third of receipts of the
pope’s treasury would be apportioned to the creditor. In the conclusion of
the letter, Liechtenstein was asked to continue negotiating and inform the
Emperor about the results. The overall tone of the instructions is very
insistent at first sight and it really gives impression that Maximilian pinned
his hopes into this matter.38
The second letter to his daughter Margaret gives a rather different
view. Also here the Emperor counts on the forthcoming death of the ill pope
and expresses aspiration for the Holy See, nevertheless he approaches
certain corrections. Above all he abandons the thought of connecting the two
offices - imperial and papal – in one unity and on the contrary he expresses
For the text of the letter see SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, pp. 15-19.
For more about Margaret see U. TAMUSSINO, Margarete von Österreich, Diplomatin
der Renaissance, Graz 1995; E. WINKER, Margarete von Österreich. Grande Dame der
Renaissance, München 1966.
36 The text of the letter in A. J. G. LE GLAY (ed.), Corréspondence de l’empereur
Maximilien Ier et de Marguerite d’Autriche, sa fille, gouvernaute des Pays-Bas, de 1507
à 1519, Bd. 2., Paris 1839, No. 411, pp. 37–39.
37 See the letter from Maximilian to Liechtenstein, pp. 16–17.
38 See H. WIESFLECKER, Neue Beiträge zur Frage des Kaiser-Papstplanes Maximilians
I. im Jahre 1511. In: MIÖG 71 (1963), pp. 311-332. Here the authenticity of the letter is
proved again.
34
35
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his readiness to resign the imperial title in favor of his, in that time elevenyear-old, grandson Charles. Ferdinand of Aragon forced this change. With
respect to papacy the Pope's death would not be waited for anymore. The
Bishop of Gurk was to negotiate that Maximilian became a kind of coadjutor
of the papal throne instead of ill Julius with the right of succession.39 The
whole letter is rather relaxed and in certain way the Emperor might consider
it as a joke. Maximilian namely speaks about his gradually growing holiness
and adoration.40 However the following survived letters of Margaret show
the governor perceived her father's message seriously and looked upon the
whole project with worries.41
Although we have only two imperial documents available and
moreover only the letter to Margaret survived as original, there is a general
opinion in historical circles that the project has a factual background and
Maximilian was really determined to gain the Papal Tiara. Several others
prove these fact, though not so significant, sources.42 Considering available
information we have a picture of the Emperor who, under yet unclear
circumstances, conceived a plan to join the imperial and papal crowns in his
hands. He was ready to release significant financial resources, undergo
complicated negotiations aiming to gain the cardinal collegium, ensure the
minimum tolerance of decisive European powers and last but not least
resign eventually his imperial dignity he had longed for so much for years.
Thus we have to ask question what the reasons leading to such a radical step
were.
The first stage of our thoughts should be the thinking about the
theoretical feasibility of the project in the situation of the last four months of
1511. Maximilian would hardly put his energy and financial resources into a
business, which would be condemned beforehand. In his plans he had to ask
three basic questions: Would he be able to get necessary number of votes
within the cardinal collegium and overcome the legal problems of his
accession? Would he be able to persuade other European sovereigns about
his own candidacy? Would he be able to ensure sufficient finances to cover
his plan? If Maximilian had overcome the problems following from these
„Et envoyons demain monsieur de Gurce, évesque, à Rom devers le pape pour trouver
fachon que nous puyssons accorder avec ly de nous prenre pour ung coadjuteur...” See
the letter from Maximilian to Margaret, p. 37.
40 „...vous serés contraint de me adorer dont je me trouveré bien gloryoes.” Ibidem.
41 See SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, pp. 6–12.
42 The important notes see SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian; WIESFLECKER, Neue
Beiträge etc.
39
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three obstacles, the project was really feasible. On the other hand only a
single failure should negate everything and put it on a speculative level.
The enforcement of Maximilian’s candidacy in the cardinal collegium
was an immediate condition to gain the Papal Tiara. According to the rules
of canon law the two-third majority of votes from cardinals present in the
conclave was necessary for the election43, which was rather difficult in the
time when this body of the highest church dignitaries consisted of rather
antagonist groups. At the end of August 1511 39 cardinals formed the
electoral assembly and Maximilian would have had to persuade at least 26
out of them. The Emperor could rightly rely on the support from cardinals
who opposed the politics of Julius II and prepared their own council in Pisa.
Their leader, cardinal Sanseverino, even negotiated with Maximilian several
times and he was openly lobbying for him coming to Rome.44 Together with
French and Spanish part of collegium they formed strong lobby in favor of
the Emperor, counting at least nineteen votes.45 The rest of votes could have
been brought to Maximilian either by bribes46 or by political compromises.47
Therefore there is no doubt the conclave itself would not be an invincible
obstacle and with suitable approach the election could go through relatively
quickly and with no complications.
Even in the moment if Maximilian had succeeded to achieve the
necessary majority, there would still be another legal obstacle left. The above
mentioned election would be possible only when Julius II died. However
See Licet de vitanda (Alexander III, 1179) 1th canon of third lateran council. In: Dekrete
der ökumenischen Konzilien. Bd. 2, J. WOHLMUTH (ed.), Paderborn u. a. 2000, p. 211.
See the commentary of W. M. PLÖCHL, Geschichte des Kirchenrechts. Bd. 3,
Wien/München 1970, pp. 116–123.
44 PASTOR, 3/2, p. 828; SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, pp. 60–61; WIESFLECKER,
Kaiser Maximilian, IV., pp. 94–95.
45 The so-called „Pisa cardinals“ included Frenchmen Briçonnet and René de Prie,
Spanishmen Carvajala and Francesco Borgia, and finally Sanseverino. Philipp von
Luxemburg, d’Alambert, François de Clermont, Robert Challand and Génovian Niccolo
Fieschi and Carlo del Carretto da Finale were under French influence. Lodovico Borja,
Giacomo Serra, Francesco Remolino, Pietro Isvalies and Ximenez would probably vote
within the intentions of the Aragon king Ferdinand. The Emperor himself could rely on
votes of Matthäus Lang, in case he succeeded to confirm his appointment, and Adriano.
The Englishmen Bainbridge would probably also join Maximilian, and the Hungarian
Thomas Backóz may be also considered.
46 The curial cardinals Achille de Grassi, Antonio Ciocchi and Pietro Accolti could be
taken into account, as well as Ippolito d’Este and Sigismondo Gonzaga who were
following their own interests. The attitude of Florentine Giovanni de Medici and
Francesco Soderini, as well as Allessandro Farnese and Luigi d’Aragon were unsure.
47 If the election prolonged the situation could be taken as advantage by Venice that could
force Maximilian to peace negotiations. Only in this case he could count on votes by the
cardinals Marco Cornaro and Domenico Grimani.
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from the Emperor’s letter to his daughter Margaret we learn that Maximilian
did not give up his plans even in the moment when the Pope recovered a bit.
He presumed it would not be possible to take the papal throne immediately
but, expecting the forthcoming end of the ailing Pope, he could stay beside
him as an administrator and coadjutor of the Roman Church. However there
is a problem that ecclesiastical law did not count on any similar case and it
was rather disputable if such an approach would have been legal. The
particular legal regulation would have to be codified by the Pope himself,
which seems to be rather questionable considering Julius's self-confidence
and his resistance towards any infringements on papal rights. Another
possibility would be the enforcement of the legal standard by cardinals;
however the legal point of such a step would be easily impugn able. Of
course, it is a question if Maximilian fully realized such problems and if he
admitted it at all. He could be convinced these are minor details, which
cannot touch the essence of the matter. In this point of view there seems to
be no problem in the fact that the Emperor was a simple laic and as a socalled neophyte he would have to accept all necessary ordinations. 48 No
matter how doubtful the legal part of the project seems to be, we cannot
speak about any fundamental obstacle.
The necessity to gain the approval or at least tolerance of other
sovereigns is closely related to the above-mentioned thoughts. The problems
first occurred in the negotiations with cardinals because their decisions were
mostly reflecting the will of a place they came from and to which they were
connected. Despite in this point of view we see Maximilian’s situation as
highly favorable. In 1511 the Emperor found himself in the middle of
political disputes without being explicitly identified with any party. He still
acted as a French ally and he could expect the support of Louis XII.49 In case
of Ferdinand, the king of Naples, we are directly informed about mutual
Maximilian’s second wife Bianca Sforza died in December 1510 and thus he was not
tied with a marriage. Widowhood was theoreticaly no obstacle to accept the Papal
dignity.
49 Many facts indicate that Louis XII was informed about Maximilian’s plan and
supported him. The negotiations leads by Cardinal Sanseverino were most likely coordinated by French side.
48
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consultations.50 Thus Venice seems to be the only real problem as it might
be afraid that Maximilian as the Pope would approach the change of the
existing favourable papal policy. It is just a question if the Emperor chose a
way of certain compensations and reconciliation, or he kept the existing
style of confrontation. On the other hand his relationship with the Roman
nobility could be denoted as friendly and correct. Maximilian in his two
letters explicitly mentions the expected support from Romans.51 This started
at the meeting of the representatives of Colonna, Orsini, Savelli, Conti,
Anguillara and Cesarini families in Roman Aura Coeli where they promised
to forget all past malice and disunity and declared peace (Pax Romana).52
From a certain point of view it seems that the enforcement of a papal
candidate who would have legal relations to Rome was one of the goals of
this reconciliation. The Emperor was a protector of Rome from the title of
his function and could seem to be an acceptable candidate. This is what
Maximilian’s notes might mention when he declared that the Roman
nobility and people had united against French and Spanish and demanded a
pope according to what the Emperor and Empire like. Even unverified
information appeared that a Roman delegation was sent out to the Emperor
with this message.53 Generally it can be said that political circumstances
formed very good conditions for Maximilian’s papal candidacy.
The third area concerns the feasibility of the financial provision of the
project. The Emperor was not able to support all ongoing negotiations from
his own sources and therefore he urgently needed the assistance from Jacob
Fugger. Unfortunately we do not know how providently the banker
approached the matter. The requested loan probably did not take place in
R. KONETZKE, Die Außenpolitik König Ferdinands, pp. 472–475; P. KRENDL,
Spanische Gesandte berichten über Maximilian I., den Hof und das Reich. In: MIÖG 87
(1979), pp. 101–102, 112. The Spanish side did not doubt about the Emperor’s decision
and took it as a real fact. It is among others confirmed by the message of Spanish
Embassador in the Habsburg court Pedro de Urrey who announced to Madrid
Maximilian’s determination to gain the Papal Tiara even for the price of possible schizma
(„El emperador se resolvio que el no podia a ser papa sino noc cisma…“), see Fernando
el Católico y el cisma de Pisa, J. M. DOUSSINAGUE (ed.), Madrid 1947, No. 23, pp.
485–488
51 „...à ma poste et du l’ empire d’Alemaigne...“ See the letter from Maximilian to
Margaret, p. 39; “…die Ursiner, Colonenser und das populus Romanus gäntzlich
beschlossen seyn, und fürgenommen haben, keinen Papst, der Frantzösisch oder
Hispanisch sey oder durch diese gemacht werde, zu haben oder anzunehmen.“ See the
letter from Maximilian to Liechtenstein, p. 19.
52 SHAW, pp. 289–290; SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, pp. 33–34.
53 SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, p. 35.
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the end, which however may reflect the final development of the whole
situation. Fugger surely have his confidants directly in Rome and was very
well informed about the changes in Julius’s health condition and moods
related to the Emperor’s candidacy.54 Therefore he considered well his
possible financial support and soon he put it aside as out-of-date. The
question is how he perceived the project of Maximilian’s candidacy. In this
regard we assume his skepticism would not have to be too large. The
problems that Jacob Fugger encountered with imperial authorities always
considered mainly Maximilian’s abilities to pay off his debts. If he was to
release the large sum of 300 000 ducats, he must have been convinced
about the economic return of his investments. The Emperor himself surely
realized that and his orders, which are found in the instructions for
Liechtenstein, confirm that. Fugger had the promise of the forfeit of jewels
and particularly the vision of incomes from the papal treasury. In this
respect there is no doubt the volume of income of the papal state were by its
amount and regularity more secure than what the Emperor could have
guaranteed so far. It is just enough to mention the regular prebends and
many other fees. The size of the papal treasury in the moment of Julius II’s
death in February 1513, which is said to include more than 800 000 gold
ducats, may serve as an example. In the initial stage he therefore did not
have to perceive the Emperor’s plan negatively.
After this basic definition we can focus on the particular causes of
Maximilian’s efforts to gain the papal crown. According to the main aim we
can differentiate three main areas of interest, which he may be followed by
his acts. The first one focuses on material goals. Governing the highest
church post the Emperor would have the chance to influence widely the
Roman Church including the extant areas of proprietary legacies, fees and
taxes to the Roman Curia, granting privileges or appointments to ecclesiastical offices. In this way Maximilian would considerably recover the
imperial supervision over imperial church prelates and institutions.55 At the
same time he as the Pope could revive the mostly neglected old imperial
rights in Italy. As the head of the universal Roman Church he could not only
complete many ceasaropapist projects but also significantly enhance his
A. SCHULTE, Die Fugger in Rom, 1. Bd., Leipzig 1904. As for the personality of Jacob
Fugger see M. JANSEN, Jakob Fugger der Reiche, München 1910; G. PÖLNITZ, Jakob
Fugger. In: Jakob Fugger, Kaiser Maximilian und Augsburg 1459–1959, Augsburg 1959,
pp. 5–40.
55 On legal conditions in the Roman Church see A. NIEDERSTÄTTER, Jahrhundert der
Mitte, Wien 1996, pp. 306–309.
54
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financial situation and perform the so far unsuccessfully promoted plans.56
To certain extant this possibility is weakened by the agreement with
Ferdinand of Aragon about Maximilian resigning the imperial dignity in
favor of his grandson Charles. Because he was however under age and his
election could hit the resistance of prince electors, Maximilian could justly
presume he would keep both the offices in his hands for certain time period.
Already H. Ulmann saw the Emperor’s initiative as the effort to gain
the territory of the Ecclesiastical state.57 Although the hitherto research
doubted the immediate effort to secularize papal territories we cannot fully
suspend the idea that Maximilian could have aim to divide the spheres of
interest in Italy together with French and Naples sovereigns.58 The abovementioned promise to resign the imperial title could have reflected the
priority of family and dynasty interests. By this approach Maximilian would
significantly strengthen the Habsburg policy and he could really be content
only with his papal dignity in this stage. In this position as a head of the
Church he would still significantly support his grandson, facilitate his
imperial coronation, grant him many large privileges and finance the
imperial politics. Naturally a certain resistance of the cardinal collegium
should be taken into account. If this reason was really on the foreground of
the Emperor’s interest in the Papal Tiara, the cardinals must have realized
the danger. It would largely endanger the possibility of his election, or we
could assume any form of pre-elect capitulation. As sources are silent, we
move on a rather speculative level.
The second group of reasons should observe rather ideological
elements. It is necessary to mention the reform of the church in the first
place. Though Maximilian could not be labeled as a prototype of a holy
monarch perceiving primarily the reform of the church situation, he was
sympathetic to its situation. The fact that despite of the offers made by
Julius II he supported the Council of Pisa and that he made a stand for the
demands and complaints of the imperial church and last but not least that
he eventually listened to the first critiques of Martin Luther indicates his
interest in the church matters. 59 But still this reason appears to be
improbable. The connection of the papal candidacy with the project to
The thoughts of the Spanish ambassador Pedro de Urrea aimed in this direction;
however he saw the Bishop Lang and his effort to gain a cardinal hat and other benefits in
the background of the project. See the report from Urrea (11th September 1511). In:
Fernando el Católico, pp. 485–488.
57 ULMANN, H., Kaiser Maximilians I., pp. 47–50.
58 SCHULTE, A., Kaiser Maximilian, pp. 58–59.
59 See WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, IV., pp. 417, 626.
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establish a large anti Turkish coalition seams to be more realistic. There was
never a doubt about Maximilian's interest in this field. Even the French king
Louis XII was prepared to join the actions against the Turkish danger in this
stage.60 As for the king of Naples, we could also presume his understanding
for this matter – for his Mediterranean interests alone. This platform could
bring the ultimate compromise with Venice at the same time. The idea
corresponds with Maximilian's nature in all possible ways. He would act as a
chief and coordinator of all the actions and despite his presumed
Emperorship resignation he would preserve the position of a leader of all the
Christian forces.61 Underlying all those steps and in fact conditioning the
alliance of all Christians we could recognize yet another possible reason for
his papal candidacy. Maximilian could act as the one bringing peace to the
quarreled Italian region. In the situation where the northern Italy stood on
the doorstep of a definitive force measuring, the imperial Pope could be seen
as a real reconciling authority. In this context we could see his dealings with
the French and the Spanish king as well as the support he received from
Romans, calling him to their city.
The third plane of possible causes leads towards the reasons like
prestige and legitimacy. Maximilian was a man particular in questions
related to demonstrating his nobleness and dignity.62 He surely remembered
the complicated and in fact unsuccessful effort to be crowned the Emperor
in Rome in 1507–1508, when he finally had to settle only for the title of
Roman Emperor without the Pope's participation.63 It is not probably by
accident that we first encounter the idea of putting together the papal and
imperial crowns in 1507.64 The possibility that Maximilian embraced his
project for prestigious reasons could not be ruled out. According to the letter
sent to Lichtenstein, Maximilian counts on organizing a ceremonial imperial
coronation. Financial expenses of the whole project speak against it but it
could not be ruled out as one of the supporting factors. Especially assuming
that Maximilian’s effort had deeper ideological background. The beginning
SHAW, p. 246.
A. SCHULTE, Kaiser Maximilian, p. 52. See also E. GUGLIA, Die Türkenfrage auf dem
V. Lateranconcil. In: MIÖG 21 (1900), pp. 679–691.
62 See G. BENECKE, Maximilian I. (1459–1519) an analytical biography, London 1982,
pp. 94–111; WIESFLECKER, Kaiser Maximilian, V., pp. 380–409.
63 H. WIESFLECKER, Maximilians I. Kaiserproklamation zu Trient (4. Februar 1508).
Das Ereignis und seine Bedeutung. In: Österreich und Europa. Festgabe für Hugo
Hantsch zum 70. Geburtstag, Graz/Wien/Köln 1965, pp. 15–38; T. PERNTHALLER, Die
Bestrebungen Maximilians I. um die Römische Kaiserkrone und die Kaiserproklamation zu Trient im Jahre 1508, Graz 1962.
64 See above all NÄGLE, Hat Kaiser Maximilan I., pp. 49–59, 288–305.
60
61
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of the 16th century did not fully show the decline of the formerly
unimpugnable authority of the Pope and the imperial dignity. But there was
no doubt that the possibility to influence the Christian society was
decreasing. The Roman papacy faced growing critics and as a moral
authority was diminishing. The Emperor was also not able to defend his
priorities and he had to put up with frequent defeats at the imperial
congresses. A question is whether we should not see Maximilian’s project of
concentrating both positions to one man's hands as an attempt to preserve
and uplift the legitimacy of the power of the Christian society head. This
legitimacy element would have no chance in confrontation with ambitions
and self-confidence of other sovereigns. But as a platform for other projects
(such as the formerly mentioned anti Turkish quest, or the project of general
peace), it could be seen as realistic.
We can conclude that the idea of Maximilian's papal candidacy seen
from many different angles appears to be realistic and substantiated.
However it was difficult to achieve this goal for political of financial reasons,
there were many reasons for Maximilian I to make it happen. The sources do
not allow us to decide which one of the presented reasons is the main and
definitive one. The thought impeaching a large number of consequent causes
finally persuading the Emperor to take this unprecedented step is most
likely the one closest to the truth. All the effort was destined to fail in the
end because Pope Julius II once again showed his indomitability and
strength of his organism.65 Still the events of 1511 make an example of the
complexity of political affairs of the uprising modern age and are the
grounds to comprehend the history of renaissance papacy.
65
See SHAW, pp. 290–292.
The Madagascar Pirates in the Strategic Plans
of Swedish and Russian Diplomacy 1680–1730
Michal Wanner
Pirate – celui, qui en temps de paix, attaque
les navires pour les piller.
Cardinal Giulio Mazarini (1602–1661)
L’instruction pour les Gardes Riveraines
History tends to forget about unsuccessful projects and after an
interval sets them down to a marginal importance. This approach is not
justified every time. Many unsuccessful projects influenced people’s
thoughts and behaviour in a particular period, they had their economic
dimension, and last but not least, they left intellectual heritage behind that
was often realized many years later. This study is dedicated to attempts of
less developed countries in North and East Europe to use the Madagascar
pirates for penetrating into trade between Europe and Asia, controlled by
West European maritime powers until that time.
The Madagascar and Caribbean Pirates
The 1680s witnessed a great turning point of the pirate history. The
pirates active in the Caribbean up to this time started to abandon their
traditional territory. They looked for new territories offering richer loot. It
was caused because sources in the centre of their activities were exhausted
and they began losing support of local colonial officers and traders who
regarded it as unprofitable.
A part of pirates crossed the Isthmus of Panama and attacked the
unprotected loins of the Spanish Empire in America. But even these
opportunities were exhausted and pirates either returned back to the
Caribbean or undertook long voyage across the Pacific to the Spice Islands.
Their primary targets were galleons loaded with gold that headed from
Mexican Acapulco towards Manila on the Spanish Philippines. The first
recorded pirate ship, Nicholas, tried to catch up with a Manila galleon
during its slow voyage from Acapulco in 1684. The ship Cygnet tried to do
the same two years later. Both vessels did not succeed because crews were
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not ready for the long journey across the Pacific and suffered from scurvy.
Sailors found a base on Guam where they refreshed themselves before a
voyage to China and the Spice Islands. There the crews got separated and
then they looked for their own way to a destination independently. A part of
pirates found one of the routes to the Indian Ocean offering rich booty in the
form of spices, fabrics, tea and other oriental products. Piracy had become
global phenomenon for the first time.1
Cruising along the coast of West Africa, the second flood of buccaneers
that had left the Caribbean reached the Indian Ocean from the West. It
happened approximately at the same time. The first man who realized this
action was John Avery also known as Henry Every or Long Ben. There is not
too much we know about him before he appeared on the scene of history as a
captain of a pirate ship. An Englishman, Sir James Houblon, hired him to
attack Spanish colonies. But his crew revolted after long fruitless lurking at
the English and Spanish shores. Under the leadership of Avery they set out
for the coast of West Africa. The crew enlisted more men in Guinea and
attacked two Danish vessels near Prince Island. Then the ship Fancy
(formerly Charles) rounded the Cap of Good Hope, it replenished supplies
on Madagascar and made for the Comoro Islands. There the crew prepared a
large raid on vessels in the Red Sea. On 28th February 1695 Avery declared
that he had 150 men and a ship with 46 guns, but that he would not attack
ships under English flag. He supposed that the East India Company which
dominated all trade between England and lands lying eastwards from the
Cap of Good Hope would let him be, because he was going to assault only
ships of “Moors” and “country-ships”, that is private ships of servants of the
East India Companies trading in Asian ports. Avery’s ship was attacking
vessels of the Mughal Empire with pilgrims to Mecca. Soon four other ships
from the American colonies joined his squadron. The pirates visited Indian
ports and than decided to finish this enterprise. They sailed to Providence
Island, paid the Governor Nicholas Trott to protect them and for possibility
to land. Later, a part of pirates left for Carolina, another part went back to
England. Some of them were caught, but Avery became a legend.2
For the East India Companies that controlled Eurasian trade, as well
as for Asian merchants, pirates presented a problem. Unlike the situation in
both Americas, they were all interested in pirates eliminating, therefore it
was difficult for buccaneers to find refuge in Asian harbours. Only few
R. C. RITCHIE, Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates, Cambridge (Mass.),
London 1986, pp. 26, 83.
2 F. D. ARNOLD-FOSTER, The Madagascar Pirates, New York 1957, pp. 9–52.
1
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traders were interested in their spoils and even the Asian sovereigns took no
interest in their military power. The East India Companies perceived pirates
as enemies of the local trade and the King’s renegade subjects. In spite of
that the Indian Ocean appeared not to be only large but also a long-term
source of plunder. Pirates were looking for a stable base near the main
routes from the East to Europe. They found it on Madagascar and near the
Island of Saint Marie.
There were neither merchants or servants of the trade companies who
could have opposed the pirates on the island, which was undoubtedly a great
advantage, nor a strong united state which might have taken action against
them, but many ports and enough beef and rice, more over the local rulers
appreciated their military power. During the mutual fights, tribal leaders
employed the men who could handle guns and could train natives in this art.
Therefore the buccaneers became involved in local wars and were
remunerated for their services with slaves. Thanks to their knowledge of the
local conditions they became intermediaries in slave trade.3
Some of the pirates who settled in Madagascar made noteworthy
career. Among those well known was Abraham Samuel, who called himself
“Tolinor Rex”. He created a sort of mini state around a former French
fortress and had 300 armed men and a guard of buccaneers at his disposal.
He addresses himself as “The King Fort Dauphine, Tollanare, Farrave,
Fanquest and Fownzahira”. Buccaneers and merchants started to visit Fort
Dauphin to trade with King Samuel, who accepted their presents and
protected them during their stay in the port. Nevertheless Samuel preferred
trade with his old fellows, sometimes he even seized ships of other pirates.
We know that he ruled several years. The crew of a Dutch ship, who visited
Fort Dauphin in 1706, found out that he was no longer the sovereign of the
place. It is not clear if he was killed or whether he returned to sea.4
The ports of Madagascar concealed a lot of similar men, former slaves
or local leaders, who had available pirate armies that numbered up to 500
men. Therefore the history of Madagascar is inseparably connected with the
destiny of pirates such as David Williams, Thomas Tew, Misson and
Caracciolli, William Kidd, Thomas White, John Halsey, Samuel Burgess,
Nathaniel North, Robert England and other. These men created a unique
chapter of the Madagascar history however from the history of piracy point
H. THOMAS, The Slave Trade: The Story of Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440–1870, New
York 1997, p. 203.
4 RITCHIE, pp. 84–85.
3
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of view they represented only a smaller part of the pirates active in the
Indian Ocean.5
Operations against Pirates
The activities of pirates, especially those whose names were known
and who had become legends made the English East India Company angry.
That concerned especially William Kidd and John Avery. The Company
informed the English government about the pirates in July 1696, outlined
the steps against them, and required the proclamation aimed at Avery’s
arrest. The proclamation was issued but the reward of 500 pounds had to be
offered by the East India Company itself. Avery escaped thanks to his
money, only six of his men were arrested, but the court acquitted them. The
authority of the Company suffered serious damage.6
The East India Company needed an exemplarily punished one at least.
Therefore it bombarded the Secret Council, the Lord of Trade and the
Admiralty with items of information about necessity of the pirate “fortress”,
Saint Marie, liquidation. Few shabby shacks were described as fortress with
50 cannons, protected by 1500 pirates and 17 ships. The second line of the
Company’s attack was directed against the pirates support provided by the
citizens of the American colonies. The company defended its own import
interests there, because especially the Southern American colonies were an
important outlet of calico, spice, and tea, coffee and Chinese porcelain.7 The
Company tried to aroused an idea, that the main culprit of spreading piracy
is precisely this support: “Pirates, sea rovers and blades of fortune were
supplied with arms, liquor and other necessities by ships from the
American colonies that also marketed their booty and arranged for their
repatriation by contacting to carry them as passengers and put them
ashore between the Capes of Virginia and the east end of Long Island for
100 pieces of eight each.”8
Despite the relatively large engagement of American colonists in the
mentioned trade, the Company exaggerated the thing. But in the period of
global lobbying, it had no other possibility how to make government to act
H. DESCHAMPS, Les Pirates à Madagascar aux XVIIe et XVIIe siècles,2 Paris 1972,
pp. 7–216.
6 ARNOLD-FOSTER, p. 52.
7 A. WILD, The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600, New York 2000,
p. 144.
8 Quoted by P. EARLE, Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650–1775, London 1998, pp.
118–119.
5
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against pirates, but to persuade it. But the government made almost no
effort to annihilate piracy. The King sold a part of his fleet; another part was
left in docks so that the Dutch had to safeguard their ships even in the
English waters. Even municipalities got permission to pursue pirates, but
they had only few tools to realise it. The municipal courts hardly ever dealt
with causes beyond the borders of the country. In general, piracy was in
jurisdiction of The High Court of Admiralty, but many members of the jury
were tied to piracy, and The High Court of Admiralty litigated over the
power with civil courts. Moreover two witnesses were necessary to find
somebody guilty of piracy, and considering a number of deaths in the
tropical waters, along with strong solidarity among sailors it seemed almost
impossible. Thus as a real blow for piracy are considered changes in trade in
the 18th century.9
There were still a lot of pirates in Americas, West Africa and the Indian
Ocean. But these men began being more and more isolated from people who
had supported them in the past. Royal officers were against them, local
governments and merchant communities in colonies got into arguments
with them. There were changes even in North America. Charleston and the
ports in South Carolina were inclined towards them, because there was still
a large demand for rice and a growing market, but most of other ports
preferred secure legal trade. The more the colonial trade grew, the more the
danger of damage increased, that could have been caused by pirates. Traders
who purchased their goods, reoriented on local markets, and therefore a
certain tension grew among them and pirates. This effect is well documented
in New York. The loss of four East India Company’s ships that headed from
New York to Madagascar in 1698 subdued arguments in a merchant
community. It started to oppose pirates. The reaction of some pirates was
aggressive. For example John James made campaign in 1699 during which
he plundered the coast from North Carolina to New York.10
The other phenomenon influencing this event was a sharp fall in
salaries of sailors at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Wages of
sailors were high during the war and the navy, private ship owners as well as
fishermen fleet fought for them. This situation changed at the end of the
war. Demand for sailors fell rapidly and about 40,000 men were unemployed. In economic depression ship owners reduced wages, and in case of
revolts they often changed a complete crew. In this situation piracy was an
RITCHIE, pp. 140–141.
A. CALDER, Revolutionary Empire: The Rise of the English-speaking Empires from
the Fifteenth Century to the 1780s, London 1998, p. 269.
9
10
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alternative to starvation, but the pirates could choose too. A pirate
community also reacted to these trends. Many of the pirate crews started
refusing married men. Hostility towards the captains and former mate
sailors rose.
Captains were executed not only when they refused to give information
but also in case crewmen complained about their captain. Captive sailors,
who refused to join pirates, were often tortured and even executed. Just at
that time the bloody pirate flags were changed into symbols of death and
time passing, thus a motive of scull and crossbones appeared.11
Great opposition against pirates was formed and war started. It was
not in London. There was no great trial against pirates in The High Court of
Admiralty from 1701 to 1715, and there were only few of them from 1719 to
1725. The jurisdiction of this court was handed over to 11 vice-admiralties in
America, Africa and Asia. The navy and local communities launched a
manhunt after the pirates. Royal ships used sometimes even foreign flags,
for example French, to confuse enemies. Partial items of success were
recorded during this campaign; among them was the Royal Fortune pirate
ship capturing and destroying at the western shore of Africa, or liquidating
two pirates, Sted Bonnet and Edward Tech at the shores of South Carolina.
The governor Nicholson caught 100 pirates near the coast of Virginia. 26 of
them were hanged. The action near the coast of New England led to several
trials resulting in about 70 executed pirates. Britain emerged as the power,
able to make order in its Empire. Growing economy of the Empire did not
need the pirates and their booty.12
The Effort for European Protection
These actions caused an unexpected response of the pirates. They
decided to look for protection of European powers. They sent envoys to
several courts and sought for protection. Long and complicated negotiations
started. Pirates succeeded in pardon of Queen Ann, England, and the
permission to settle in the country. In exchange they had to pay 10 million
livres to the English Crown and to hand over an important part of their
naval forces. A hopeful start of negotiations was thwarted by the tragic
destiny of William Kidd.
The story of this man, known also as Captain Kidd (1645–1701),
belongs to the most typical in the history of the Madagascar pirates. This
11
12
W. MONDFELD, Das grosse Piratenbuch, München 1976, p. 244.
RITCHIE, p. 235.
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man was a loyal subject of the English King for many years. In 1691 the
Council of the province New York rewarded him 150 pounds for service he
performed during disturbances that broke out in a colony after the Glorious
Revolution in 1688, he also acquired high credit during operations against
the French in the Caribbean. In 1695 he came to London. He wanted to trade
with his sloop there. He was recommended to the Governor, Lord
Bellomont, as an able man, suitable for leadership of a campaign against the
pirates in eastern seas. Kidd equipped the ship Adventure at his own
expense and acquired authorization from the King for arresting pirates and
fighting against the French. He left for the sea from Plymouth in May 1696,
sailed through New York and he reached the shore of Madagascar a year
later. Instead of fighting against the pirates he went into partnership with
them and attacked ships in the Indian Ocean. Complaints about his activities
arrived at the English government in 1698–1699. Kidd abandoned board of
the Adventure and got to the shore of New England on board of a small
sloop. He wrote a letter to Lord Bellomont in which he tried to justify his
acts and sent him even part of his loot. In spite of that he was arrested in
July 1699, he was sent to England and put on trial because the widow of a
gunner, Moore, sued him for the murder of her husband. Although it was in
necessary defence against a mutineer, in fact he should have been acquitted
according to the valid naval law; he was found guilty and was hanged on 23rd
May 1701.13
Kidd’s trial had the fatal impact on discharging the negotiated treaty.
Pirates took a dislike to England and suspended all negotiations with it.
They approached other European powers. In 1712 they offered their service
to Louis XIV through a Flemish merchant, Godefroi de la Merveille, who had
“strong links with pirates”. Merveille argued for a quantity of pirate army
and their willingness to subordinate to the royal authority. He calculated
probably with continuing the French interest in their former colony in
Madagascar. But direct contacts with the pirates were not made. The French
government as well as the British one sought rather to reduce the pirate’s
power than to stabilisation. Good knowledge of the local situation cast
doubts on possibility of a real control of pirates.14 The interest of Madagascar
RITCHIE, pp. 206–227. Ritchie’s interpretation is based on detailed analysis of
Graham Brooks – G. BROOKS (ed.), Trial of Captain Kidd, Edinburgh, London 1930, pp.
43–48.
14 The mentioned plan was derived from the older one from 1701, core of which was an
idea of eliminating the Dutch from Cape Town and Batavia by the united forces of France
and Arabian pirates. The most Christian king rejected this plan because “Arabs are
enemies of Christians”. DESCHAMPS, p. 187.
13
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pirates moved to North European powers – Denmark and especially
Sweden. The engagement of both countries in the Indian Ocean was
smaller.15
Other negotiations with the Madagascar pirates had taken place before
those French ones and were initiated by two adventurers, whose real
connection with pirates was not proved. The first one was Josef Joumard,
who acted under the name Linange. He used unjustifiably the earldom and
the land earldom and according to requirements he acted as the Prince of
the Empire and Chabanais, the Duke of Angelpont, Madagascar, Ophir and
other places. In many ways, he was a remarkable man. It was not common
in France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to convert to Protestant
faith. Because of this, Joumard was arrested in Bastilla as a renegade. He
was set free in 1714 and he set out on an adventure journey abroad. He
learned about Madagascar in the Netherlands and it aroused his interest.
Already during his stay in the Netherlands he persuaded the Dutch, that he
had been elected as the King of Madagascar and that 100,000 pirates on this
island were waiting for his order. He offered the pirate treasure to the Dutch
in exchange for friendship and participation in a future trade company. But
Dutch merchants knew the situation in the Indian Ocean quite well and
therefore they recommended him to sell his tall stories somewhere else.
It is not clear when and where Linange met Marquis de Langalerie.
Langalerie was a real marquis, former brigadier, who had to depart France
after quarrels with Chamillard. He served in Germany, but he was
impeached and he was in danger of execution. At the same time he
repudiated Catholicism and for unclear reasons he became very resentful to
the Pope. Linange who boasted about dubious cousinage with Langalerie,
persuaded him of grandiose projects and both men became allies. Langalerie
The East India Company was in Denmark from 1616. It was not very successful and
survived only thanks to the support of Christian IV. Denmark had one base in Asia Tranquebar on Coromandel Coast of India. Its successor was founded by King Frederick
III in 1670. The company was successful in trade in the 1680s and the 1690s. But at the
start of the Great North War it suffered financial forfeiture and had to leave its colonies
in Bengal. It was liquidated after long crisis in 1729 (M. WANNER, Dánské
východoindické společnosti1616–1808, in: Historický obzor 1–2, 1996, pp. 2–5). The
Swedish General Trading Company made first contacts in the Orient in 1626. It was led
by a Dutch merchant, Willem Usselinx. This company did not exist long, because King
Gustav II Adolf sacrificed its capital and ships for war. It was closed down in 1633.
Attempts of Hamburg merchants to establish the East India Companies in the 1660s
were not also successful. (S. T. KJELLBERG, Svenska Ostindiska Compagniet, in:
Svenska Kulturbilder, III/1930, p. 68; KRETSCHMAR, Schwedische Handelskompanien
und Kolonisationsversuche im sechzehnten und siebzehnten Jahrhundert, in: Hansische
Geschichtsblätter, XVII/1911, p. 238).
15
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took part in the enterprise under a condition it would be connected with a
crusade against the Pope. He was an intellectual and needed an ideological
charge for the action.
The Ottoman Turks were better disposed for war against the Pope.
Both companions offered them relinquishment of one of the islands around
Madagascar with “20,000 brave men”. Langalerie assured the Ottoman
ambassador, Osman-Aga, that he had “authorisation of these people to set
out immediately after receiving passport of High Port with fleet of 60
armed ships to war and to use a greater part of their immense treasures”.16
Ottoman diplomats expressed vague approval, but the island as well
as the amazing pirate army remained a mere illusion. Linange and
Langalerie returned to Denmark in spring 1715. They requested territory
near Altona, where they could have built their troops, but they did not
receive any approval. Langalerie was arrested in Vienna in 1715 and died
there. At the same time all records about Linage-Joumard disappeared.17
Negotiations in Sweden
In the meantime the Madagascar pirates made contacts with the
sovereign courts in North Europe. They were fascinated especially by
Sweden and the military success of Charles XII. Sweden appeared like a
mighty protector, in spite of fact, that the Swedish had been defeated at
Poltava (1709), which was a start of descending from their great power
position. Primary contacts were made in 1713 when Charles XII was in the
Ottoman Empire. Therefore proposals were submitted to Count, Mauritz de
Vellingk, a royal adviser and the Governor of Bremen and Verden.18
The pirates offered the Swedish 500,000 pounds and 25 ships for formal
protection. It was in the situation, when the endless wars exhausted treasury
and caused a lack of means for defending the country. In spite of that
sufficient interest was not devoted to this offer, probably because the regent
government in Stockholm had to solve more important issues than the East
Indian Trade. The fact that the government in the Swedish absolute
monarchy did not want to reach decision in such sensitive question during
absence of the King in the country should be taken into account.19
Quoted by DESCHAMPS, p. 189.
Ibidem, p. 190.
18 A. TOUISSANT, Histoire de l’Ile Maurice, Paris 1971, pp. 31–32.
19 Ch. KONNINCKX, The First and Second Charters of the Swedish East India Company
1731–1766, Kortrijk 1980, p. 34.
16
17
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During the next year it seemed that the cause had been forgotten. But
a brigadier, Leutrum, initiated new interest in it, because he had discovered
a memorandum meant for the Danish King in the Netherlands. Its author
was a certain Huquetan, later promoted to the earldom as the Count de
Gyldensten. The memorandum had to stimulate Danish interest in the
protection of pirates. This document was probably created in cooperation
with the Dutch who kept contacts with Madagascar. It contained a record
about the situation of the pirates and exposé of the benefits for an European
nation, which would result from alliance with them. Apart from wealth and
naval power the record warned readers of the role of the pirates in the
Indian trade and of the opportunity of establishing a colony on Madagascar.
Huquetan offered to the Danish king half of a share of costs and using one
fifth of profit. Apart from it he declared: “Your Majesty could profit from
important sum, which I do not forget to submit to you.”20
Leutrum delivered the memorandum to the King at the beginning of
1718, in the time when the Swedish sovereign stayed in Lund in the province
Skåne. Charles XII considered the question worthy of attention and entrusted the matter to Georges Henri Goertz, the Baron von Schlitz, who was
charged with stabilisation of state budget. Goertz got enthusiastic about the
chimerical plan and agents of the Madagascar pirates were invited to
Sweden.
Negotiations passed in town Strömstad in province Bohuslän in June
1718. Two envoys came there. The first one was Gaspar Guillame Morgane –
his name in this form is mentioned in original documents written in French,
but we know he was English. Originally he was a commander of an English
man-of-war, but he was dismissed because of his sympathy to a pretender of
the English and Scottish throne, James Stuart. Another man was a certain
Jean Monery, who introduced himself as an ambassador of the pirates with
mandate to empower Morgan to negotiate with the Swedish king. Both
expressed their sincere wish that the pirates could finish their present style
of life and settle in the territory under the protection of the Swedish
sovereign. They knew very well, that they had never caused any detriment to
Sweden and therefore they were not afraid of the King’s retaliation. The
King accepted their proposal and emissaries promised that the pirate
community would express its gratitude by transferring the sum, higher than
20
Quoted by DESCHAMPS, p. 188.
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was offered to England, as well as an important number of ships, which
would strengthen the Swedish fleet.21
These offers met with positive response and the King really issued a
general pardon on 24 June 1718. He promised the pirates to determine a
proper place of their stay with a clear reservation, that they would relinquish
their pirate activities. He added that he did not want money, that he would
be satisfied, if pirates would invest a part of their wealth in public funds in
Sweden. They would use yields from these deposits as any other subjects of
His Majesty.22
At the same time both ambassadors submitted a proposal of
annexation of the Island of Saint Marie. This island was presented as a place
very suitable for trade with East Indies. They proposed to leave a sufficient
number of pirates there, “to erect the Swedish banner here” and to keep the
island under the sovereignty of His Majesty. The King accepted this
proposal. He appointed Morgane the Governor of Saint Marie and issued
him a document on the base of which he took Saint Marie over to Swedish
hands. Later, they should have established a colony on Madagascar.23
Both ambassadors provided costs for appointments and arming of
ships earmarked for the enterprise, because the Swedish state had no money
to realize it. They persuaded the King, that his demarche would be better
accepted in Madagascar providing that any of his royal officers would be also
members of the expedition. Therefore five Swedish emissaries became
members of the voyage. The formal leader of the delegation was Othon
Klinckowström, his assistant was Captain Mandel. Other members of
delegation should have got information about Madagascar, and should have
written record of possibilities of using it. Especially they had to research the
opportunity to sell Swedish commodities in the country, as well as general
conditions for trade and settlement.
Swedish envoys should have acted very carefully, not to sow the seeds
of doubts in the pirates, and if it had been possible, to get control of their
wealth. Nevertheless the pirates should have been assured that their
ownership would not be questioned, in the name of the King the pirates
Compare Declaration of both envoys issued in Strömstad on 25th June 1718 Reconnaissance et engagement remis au roi de Suède par les députés des pirates. This
document is quoted together with others in specialized edition of documents J. MACAU
(ed.), La Suède et Madagascar au debut du XVIIIeme siècle, Aix-en-Provence 1973, pp.
32–33.
22 This document has not been preserved, but it is referred to in minutes written in the
hall of the Chansellery from 11th March 1720, ibidem, pp. 43–44.
23 Declaration of 25th June 1718, ibidem, pp. 32–33.
21
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should have been promised the monopoly for Indian trade in Sweden, they
should have been allowed to establish their trade company with own
directors, which should have been independent of any court, ministry or
government; it should have been subjected only to the King alone. On the
contrary the King promised that he would nominate a special tribunal for
civil and criminal causes, which should have consisted of members of the
company and royal officers.
This was the main contain of the instruction given to Klinckowström
and his companions. Klinckowström and Mandel were the only ones who
knew the real aim of the journey; they were not allowed to inform other
delegates about it until the arrival to the Canaries. The secret character of
instructions was not unusual in the period when every European state
protected its own monopoly for trade with oriental products.24
As Morgane left Gothenburg on a French man-of-war, the negotiations
with the Swedish emissaries continued in France in June 1718. They
concerned issues connected with preparation of the expedition. Quarrels
between France and Spain obstructed equipping the ship in France. That is
why Morgane and his colleagues decided to go to Spain and to equip and to
arm the ship there. Just before their departure they received a message
about the death of Charles XII (30th November 1718).
This information stopped the whole enterprise for a while. Morgane
and Monery had no guarantee that a new government would fulfil promises
of its predecessor. They sought for acknowledgement of the documents
issued by Charles XII. Nevertheless Queen Ulrica-Eleonora was soon
informed about the importance of the expedition.25 The matter was
submitted to the Council of Kingdom (also Senate – Riksrâd) on 20th April
1719. Count Sparre backed the project, as he supposed, that the Kingdom
could have a large profit from it. The Council of Kingdom took another view
than advisers of Her Majesty, who wanted to keep promises of Charles XII.
Count Nicolas de Bonde declared: “That does not credit us to protect the
rabble of rogues and to affiliate with them.” Nonetheless he stated: “If we
can seize their welfare and be on good terms with them, because these
people are mostly rascals, it would be very nice affair.” Many members of
Voltaire’s precondition, that the main initiator of the negotiations with the pirates was
Goertz, whose aim was to acquire, by the means of this enterprise, money for expedition
to England aiming at enthrone Stuart pretender, has no sufficient evidence – F. A.
VOLTAIRE, Histoire de Charles XII. Roi de Suède, Divisée en huit livres, in: Oevres
completes de Voltaire avec de notes et une notice sur la vie de Voltaire, tome 4, Paris
1862, pp. 529–530.
25 Wachtmeister’s work – MACAU, p. 14.
24
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the Council were afraid of reaction of other European states, above all
England. Therefore they supported proposal, the Swedish minister of
foreign affairs “chased up the most secret and as discrete as possible way
point of view of the foreign courts to intended expedition and their view of
the pirate community”.26
The Council decided to inform the Secret Committee on 21st April. The
deputation of the Secret Committee announced that it did not see any
obstacle, on the base of which the previous decision should be revised. On
contrary they considered, that Her Majesty would make act advantageous
for motherland as well as other countries if the pirates would peacefully
subordinate. All doubts disappeared under the impact of this declaration. A
new pardon as well as a new patent for Morgan was issued. All these
documents were sent to France.27
But Morgane and Klinckowström had set out on a journey to Spain
before these documents were delivered. Morgane’s partners, who stayed in
Spain, sank into confusion because of the long delay. They were not sure of
the intention of the Swedish government and therefore commenced
negotiations with the Spanish Court. Morgane and Klinckowström then
returned to Paris. Mandel informed them, that Queen Ulrica Eleonora
acknowledged the pardon and gave Morgane the Governor’s patent.28
Morgane and his associates were satisfied with these documents; on
the other hand they were worried about the turning point in relation
between Sweden and England. They expressed their anxiety, whether a new
agreement of these countries would not annul the result of the declaration of
the protection of pirates. It was well known that a large part of the pirates
were English Jacobites or criminals and the English king would not hesitate
to ask for their extradition. Count Sparre, Swedish ambassador in Paris, was
afraid of pirates if they really did not support a pretender, James Stuart. He
warned the Queen that the project could be given to Jacobites and Baron
Goertz and could cause quarrel with the English king, George I. He was
Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Kingdom from 20th April 1719, ibidem, pp.
33–37.
27 Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Kingdom from 21st, 25th, 29th April and 5th
May 1719, ibidem. pp. 37–43.
28 Wachtmeister’s work, ibidem, p. 16.
26
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afraid of a revision of the English policy and the loss of English support of
Sweden.29
He informed the Queen also about news that the French general
controller of finances and director of the General Bank, John Law, intended
to take all pirates to the Mississippi and found a colony for them there.
Sparre stated that if these stories had any base, the mentioned banker could
give more importance and better protection to the pirates.30
It is quite probable that Law had certain intents regarding Madagascar. The idea of settling the pirates in the river basin of the Mississippi
corresponds well with other plans concerning this country, but Law’s
negotiations with pirates are not documented. Gedda, the secretary of the
Swedish embassy in Paris, wrote to the State Secretary Daniel Nicolas von
Höpken on 25th January that he thought Law had made agreement with the
pirates and had sent 18 ships. It is clear that Gedda could not have correct
information about the affair. The Company of Indies (Compagnie des Indes)
sent really 18 vessels to Pondichéry, Surat, China and Mocha in winter and
30 others to Louisiana, Guinea and Madagascar, but there was no reason to
presume these ships had been sent because of transfer of the pirates.31
The reasons presented by Sparre did not have any impact, which
Sparre had presumed. A common conference of the Council of Kingdom and
the State Council decided that no modification would be taken as concerns
Fear of the English reaction was indisputably justified. It sprang from the support,
which Sweden provided to Jacobites. This subsidy was reaction to participation of George
I as the kurfirst of Hannover in coalition against Sweden and above all Hanoverian
occupation of Bremen and Verden (1712), two Swedish strategic territories important
also from economic point of view territories in North. Importance of these territories
even increased after the loss of Eastern possessions. George I indicated he wanted to
retain mentioned territories or buy them for small sum. From 1715 he used British troops
in fight against Sweden and it was in disagreement with conditions which he had
accepted in his ascend to British throne. Therefore Swedish commenced negotiations
with the leader of Jacobites in France and Britain Atterbury and Oxford (1716–1717).
Jacobites demanded Sweden to raise army of 10 000 men for invasion to England at its
own expense. George I reacted to this situation by arresting Gyllenborg, a Swedish
ambassador in London. This breaking of diplomatic immunity gave British evidence of
the negotiations. The ambassador was deported. But the incident did not end by open
enmity. Swedish negotiations with Jacobites ended in 1717. After the death of Charles
XII, the Queen Ulrica Eleonora concluded peace in 1719. According to this treaty Sweden
surrendered territories of former bishoprics Bremen and Verden to Hannover in change
of the British diplomatic support. Swedish relations with Jacobites remained cordial even
in this period – D. SZECHI, The Jacobites, Britain and Europe 1688–1788, Manchester,
New York 1994, pp.104–107.
30 Wachtmeister’s work, MACAU, p. 17.
31 C. MANNING, Fortunes and Faire: The French in Asian Trade, 1719–48, Aldershot
1996, p. 27.
29
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this operation and stated that it would be realized as soon as possible.32 This
resolution was announced to Sparre, who immediately returned protective
documents back to Morgane. These positive news were poisoned by the
bankruptcy of the Law’s system. Morgan’s associates suffered considerable
losses. They were not able to arm the ship. Therefore they sent a currier to
the Swedish king, Friedrich with a letter describing their situation and
asking for help. They requested two armed frigates and 15 000 rixdals for
the expedition to Madagascar.33
A special commission for Madagascar was formed in Sweden. It was
composed of royal officers, including the state secretary, D. N. von Höpken,
and Admirals E. Taube and J. Ornfelt. Their duty was to find financial
sources for equipping the expedition and to tell the government their view of
the affair. The commission safeguarded two frigates in a port, Karlskrona,
and started to equip them. There were the frigates Jarramas and Fortuna,
later a third smaller ship was added. This fleet was subordinated to Captain
Ulrich. The fleet had to sail for Madagascar together with a ship armed by
Morgane and his companions. The equipment of the Swedish ship was late.
The ships should have headed first to Gothenburg and later to Île de Baste
near Morlaix, where they should have met Morgane’s vessels. In the
meanwhile Morgan’s associates hired all their ships and gathered them
under command of a Morgan’s nephew, Captain Galloway. But he was
accused of hiring soldiers for money of James Stuart. He succeeded to
defend himself in front of Lord Carteret. He was discharged and kept on his
journey to Morlaix, where he met Morgane. Afterwards he continued alone
to Cadiz whereas Morgane stayed in Morlaix waiting for news from Sweden
and the Swedish frigates.34
Ulrich reached Île de Baste near Morlaix with the frigate Jarramas
(other ships appeared later). He had two brave strong southeast wings and
could not sail to roadstead. He decided for an unexplainable act. In spite of
the instructions and without sending any message to Morgane he continued
to Cadiz, which he reached in October. Immediately after his arrival he sent
a message to Morgane. Delivering a letter from Cadiz to Morlaix took 25
days that time, so Ulrich could not have received the answer sooner than two
Minutes signed in the hall of the Chancellery on 11th March 1720, MACAU, pp. 43–45.
Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Kingdom from 25th May 1721, ibidem, pp.
45–46.
34 Wachtmeister’s work, ibidem, pp. 19–20.
32
33
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months. Morgane wrote him that he had set sail immediately after receiving
the letter, but his companions had not got any instruction until his arrival.35
In the meanwhile Ulrich sought to accelerate the departure to
Madagascar. He proposed the expedition of two vessels only, without
waiting for Morgane. Galloway and Colonel Seebach, who represented the
pirates, accepted this proposal, but another partner, certain Wogan,
opposed this decision. He reminded, that Morgane would not forget to
inform the Swedish Court, and that he expected the ship to come in one or
two days. Therefore the date of the departure was set on 11th February 1722.
When both Swedish ship anchored in Cadiz at the end of January, it
appeared that there was not enough of money for equipment. A Swedish
consul in the city had not succeeded in gathering money for it. That is why
Morgane decided to go to Madrid, where he had contacts in one merchant
house. He presumed on return in 12 days. He really returned with 2,500
ecus and it seemed that the backward expedition would continue.36
But Ulrich changed his mind two days before Morgan’s arrival.
Suddenly he was persuaded that the season suitable for rounding the Cap of
Good Hope was over and under the new conditions he was not willing to risk
the lives of the crew in the traps of sea. Therefore he decided to return to
Sweden. The members of expedition were staggered. Morgane reproached
him for saying nothing before his departure to Madrid despite the fact he
had known the date of his arrival. Morgane wanted to take over the
leadership of the expedition, but in vain. Ulrich ordered to return home.37
In the meanwhile the Swedish government planned the next steps in
the penetration of Eurasian trade. Naturally the return of the fleet aroused
surprise and indignation. The Council of Kingdom and the Commission for
Madagascar recommended the expedition should continue. They insisted on
immediate departure of the frigate, Jarramas, with a new captain. They
judged the behaviour of captain Ulrich as unpardonable. In their view his
acting had to be judged by the Military Council.38
Minutes of the meeting of the Council of the Kingdom from 20th June 1722, ibidem,
pp. 46–50.
36 Wachtmeister’s work, ibidem, pp. 19–20.
37 Ibidem, pp. 21–22.
38 Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Kingdom, 20th June 1722, ibidem, pp. 46–50.
This recommendation was acknowledged by the King, who ordered preparation of
departure of the frigate Jaramass. Ulrich was arrested and judged by Military Council.
35
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Russian Interlude
Stockholm’s negotiations with the pirates produced an unexpected reaction
of the main Swedish enemy – Russia. Tsar Peter I might have learnt about it
through secret ways of mentioned talks and understood the importance of a
strategic base on Madagascar for further Russian naval trade with India. The
establishment of a direct trade connection between Russia and India had
been Peter’s dream from his childhood. Already during his stay in
Amsterdam he had sent Prince Ivan Sachovsky and two other persons to
India. Unfortunately it is not known, whether he received any record from
these ambassadors. Nevertheless dispatching the expedition showed that
Peter thought of trade with India at that time. Russian ships could have set
sail from the White and the Azov Seas, because the Baltic Sea was still shut
for them.39
Peter probably did not know that the Swedish had accepted the
protection of the pirates after the death of Charles XII. He supposed that
Russia could offer better protection than collapsing Sweden. Therefore he
tried to snatch a potential booty away under the Swedish nose. It is also
possible that he decided only to complicate or to foil the talks in progress.
One way or another he decided to dispatch a small fleet of three frigates
under the command of ice-admiral Whilster to Madagascar.
There are only few records of this expedition. Diplomatic accreditation
for Admiral Whilster to the King of Madagascar from 9th November 1723 has
been preserved. It begins with formal words: “We, by the Grace of God Peter
I, Emperor and autocrat of all Russia to high valued king of the famous
island Madagascar.” The King of Madagascar was asked a friendly
reception of Whilster and accompanying officers and to let them stay on the
island. It was a necessary condition of mutual confidence and sending
envoys back with satisfactory answer. The Tsar and his state councillor,
Peter Tolstoy, signed this document.40
A question is who the King of Madagascar was. Peter knew geography
quite well, he was well travelled and had also means by which he could
quickly get information. There are no doubts about his good knowledge that
Madagascar was not under the rule of any native sovereigns. Probably he
Tsar’s interest in India and Far East was not caused by his curiosity. It was a part of his
imperial plans. There is an evidence on Peter’s intention to possess Persia, India and
China – M. ŠVANKMAJER, Petr I. Zrození impéria, Praha 1999, pp. 224–225.
40 K. E. BAER, von HELMERSEN, Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Russischen Reiches und
der angrenzenden Länder Asiens, 1872, Reprint Osnabrück 1969, p. 219.
39
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knew they would deal with the English or other Europeans. Whilster was
English and did not need an interpreter. Peter I could not address him in
another way. It was not possible to set out the Tsar’s vice-admiral to a fear
pirate.
Whistler obtained also an authorisation for himself, Captain Mjasny,
the first officer Koshelev and captains of the frigates issued on 3rd December
1723. This document states: “We, by the Grace of God etc. herewith state
that we have received record that high valued the King of the famous island
Madagascar had looked for protection of the died king of Sweden at once
time, and it was promised to him, but because of the death of this king, all
matter is adjourned, we have found good to send our vice admiral
Whilster, captain Mjasny and the first officer Koshelev to the high valued
king of Madagascar to advise him on our resolution if the mentioned king
tend to it, that it would be necessary to look for protection of other
European power, we would accept him to our protection with happy hart.
He alone can consider where the best opportunity to find protection in
present situation in Europe is. If this king decides for our protection, we
enable him with pleasure to live in our possessions, everywhere he would
like, and we do promise by our Tsar’s words, that we shall protect this king
and his people when they would come to our Empire, irrespective of
consequences, which would appear because of it.”41
This document shows that Peter did not know anything about
dispatching Swedish ships to Madagascar, if he had known it and concealed
his intention; he would not have written that Swedish postponed their
proposition. He wanted to enable the “sovereign” of Madagascar to choose
between Swedish and Russian protection.
Two other instructions have been preserved in the Archives of
Admiralty. Both were issued on 5th December 1723. The first one prescribes
Whilster: “To sail from Sankt Petersburg to Roger Wiek (today’s Vihterpalu
lath in Estonia) on frigate Krondeliwde, to meet frigates Amsterdam and
Halley there and with help of God to enter upon elected journey.” A
squadron should have sailed to the coast of Scotland and Ireland and
avoided the English Channel. They should have behaved discreetly, used a
foreign flag, and had not sailed in any harbour, only in necessary case, such
as repair; in that event, they should have left it as soon as possible. Whilster
should have struggled to convince the sovereign of Madagascar of his
journey to Russia. In that case he should have planned the sail so that they
could have returned to Archangelsk in summer, because the sea around the
41
Quoted ibidem, pp. 220–221.
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Kola peninsula is not frozen. If the king would not accept invitation and
confine himself to sending envoy, Whistler should have returned through
the Straits of Sund.
The other instruction prescribed to sail to India, in concrete terms to
Bengal, that a Russian ambassador should meet Great Mughal there, the
sovereign of the largest Indian state. They should have also discovered trade
opportunities and tried to establish trade with Russia. Apart from it the
expedition should have imported Indian wood, which should have been used
instead of ballast on frigates.42
Mutual relation between these two instructions is not known. The
second one probably fulfilled only a cover function or was an alternative in
case of failure of the Madagascar mission. Their mutual relation was
probably described verbally to the leaders.
Three frigates were secretly dispatched on the base of these instructions. Whilster really put to sea in December 1723, but immediately he
suffered serious accident so that he had to enter port in Reval (Tallin). He
sent a message to Sankt Petersburg and the Tsar blustered. General-admiral
Apraxin conveyed his anger to a commander of Reval harbours, von Hofft,
and made him obvious, that it was not possible to hesitate in dispatching
these ships. If the expedition had been postponed, he would have been put
on military trial. Von Hoff was charged with equipping the frigates without
Whilster’s participation. Mentioned repairs were probably carried out. An
indirect evidence of it is Tsar’s confirmation of Whilster as the commander
of the expedition.
Whilster was not enthusiastic about it. He emphasized conspicuously
the uselessness of his ships. He proposed replacing the frigates by a common
ship and one frigate, which he considered more durable. Immediately
afterward he obtained the order to cover the ships with resin boards, to
secure them better against storms. This order is from 1st February 1724, and
it is the last one. There are no other records on expedition. It is clear that the
expedition was not realized.43
It is known that Whilster took sail concentrated on training crews in
summer 1724. This could be done only on the base of Tsar’s order. It is a
question, why the Tsar cancelled expedition, in which he put his full hope.
The reasons of withdrawing the fleet were probably pieces of news from
Stockholm describing the steps of the Swedish government in the given
thing. Really, an undated and unsigned record describing the Swedish
42
43
Ibidem, pp. 222–225.
Ibidem, pp. 225–227.
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advancement has been preserved. This record had to correct Tsar’s views. It
highlighted that there was no King of Madagascar, although there were
rumours that this king was seeking protection in Europe. The record
contained information that the Swedish king issued any pardon. It could be
concluded from this that some lost Swedish had to be on Madagascar. There
were rumours that people, who sent the deputation to Sweden, lived in
republican regime and it would be necessary to prepare on it. These new
circumstances led probably the Tsar to reappraise and withdraw the
mentioned action.44
Madagascar and the Swedish East India Company
Morgane and his companions did not have enough money after the return of
Ulrich’s expedition and could not share the costs of the expedition.
Therefore Klinckowström had to start negotiations with other entrepreneurs
and remake all plan of the enterprise. He did it probably with approval of
the State Secretary, Daniel Nicholas von Höpken. These potential
shareholders proposed sending a frigate and hiring a crew. They accepted to
secure a ship in London or Amsterdam and to give 60,000 ecus to the
Swedish Crown for this purpose. They wanted the ship to be sent to India
sooner than they fulfil these obligations.
Although many details of the enterprise are not clear, the aim of the
entrepreneurs was establishment of the East India Company, a monopoly
trade company concentrated on trade with India and China. This item was
emphasized as condition sine qua non. A contract concluded with the
government did not include any reference to the way, how this document
would be given in compliance with the promises regarding the monopoly
trade with India given to the pirates. In spite of that the Madagascar
commission and the Council of Kingdom recommended they should send
out the frigate Jarramas. The ship under command of Captain Cronhjelm
should have returned to France. It should have been subordinated to the
command of a new captain nominated by the entrepreneurs there. But it was
too late to equip the ship that year. Shipping season was over. Afterwards
Klinckowström informed Morgane and his companions that they could join
as shareholders the East India Company, which would be founded in
Sweden in.45
44
45
Ibidem, pp. 228–229.
KONINCKX, pp. 35, 38.
The Madagascar Pirates in the Strategic Plans ...
93
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This promising development was thwarted by news from Madagascar.
The pirates allegedly dismissed their leaders and their community was
splitting into smaller and smaller fractions. Other insecurity appeared
concerning participation of the Crown in expenses of the new expedition to
Madagascar. The Secret Committee indicated that it would not agree with
any contract without detailed study and evidence that the pirates were still
in control of the island. At the same time it made obvious that it would back
the project only in case it would be financed from private sources. In the
context it expressed its approval to the establishment of the East India
Company. The Council of Kingdom also decided that the Crown would not
spend any other money because it was an issue of shareholders if they would
take the risk.46
The affair fell into oblivion next years. It was because of the change of
position of the Madagascar pirates. They continued their robbing up to 1721,
when the opposition of the trading companies achieved its zenith. Even the
French Company of Indies appended to English severe measures. A part of
the pirates met a great Portuguese ship and other Portuguese vessel
armoured with 30 cannons the same year. They had to retreat after a great
fight. They were pursued to Madagascar and compelled to burn up their
vessels. It meant the end of large naval aggressions. After they did not dare
to risk large attacks far from their base on Saint Marie. They were decimated
by unfavourable climate there. Therefore the governor of the French base on
Île de Bourbon (Reunion), Desforges-Boucher, relatively simply persuaded
23 pirates to settle peacefully on the island in November 1724. The last great
campaign against pirates took place in the 1730s.47
The idea of the expedition to Madagascar was drawn up again in 1726. Even
that time it remained in phase of concept. Godefroi de la Merveille
participated again in the plan, core of which consisted in the establishment
of the Swedish base on Madagascar. 60 000 florins and two armoured
frigates were necessary for realisation an idea according to his view. In spite
of the fact the Secret Council supported the plan, soon afterwards it
identified with other project. A certain Captain Spaak introduced himself at
the chairman of the Land Diet and declared his intention to realize an
expedition to Madagascar. Reputedly he had spent long time on the island
and knew it very well. He asked for one frigate with 40 cannons only, in
exchange he promised to return with 40 ships and thousand “barrels with
Minutes of the meeting of the Council of the Kingdom on 16th December 1723,
MACAU, pp. 50–51.
47 DESCHAMPS, pp. 184–185.
46
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gold”. Spaak stated he had been a prisoner of the pirates, who controlled the
coast of the whole island. They respected their King whose headquarters in
the city had called also Madagascar. This city was well fortified. He had no
detailed information about their fleet; he only knew that once they had been
able to arm 40 vessels. But he exactly knew that they held the Swedish king
in esteem and they had affection for the Swedish people.48
Despite the evident untrustworthy character of the project, the Secret
Committee accepted it. The delegation of the Secret Council suggested
establishment of the trade company that would take over costs of the
expedition. This company would ask the Crown for protection, and the same
document was given to Captain Ulrich in 1721. The Crown would obtain one
quarter of the profit; the rest money would remain in hands of shareholders.
The costs of the enterprise were estimated on 60 000 rixdals, so that the
obligation of 150 shares on 400 rixdals was presupposed.49
At the end doubts appeared in the Secret Council. The Swedish ambassador
in London, Nicholas Sparre, was asked for opinion. He stated that the
pirates were generally despised in England because they had not earned
their money in a correct way. He had doubts on information concerning the
number of ships, as he had no records of robbed ships in India last time.
Several members of the Secret Council insisted on deletion the enterprise
from the list of projects on the base of this record. But Nicholas von Höpken
pushed the plan vigorously. That was because several members of the Secret
Council wanted to participate in the project. 20 joint stocks were subscribed
in the Secret Council. Other investors were looked for, but only 141 joint
stocks were sold. The realization of the project stretched and most of the
shareholders lost their courage and withdrew their shares.50
All projects and speculations connected with the establishment of the colony
in Madagascar and settling the local pirates in Sweden did not succeed. In
spite of that they were not without impact on the future history of Sweden.
After several years, the attention paid to these questions aroused again large
appetite for oriental wealth, from which other countries profited. This
interest enabled establishment of the Swedish East India Company in 1731,
which existed up to 1813.51
Minutes of the Secret Committe of 16th November 1726, MACAU, pp. 54–56.
Minutes of the Secret Committe of 30th November 1726, ibidem, pp. 56–57.
50 Minutes of the Secret Committe of 6th December 1726, ibidem, pp. 57–58.
51 KONINCKX, p. 65.
48
49
Silesia in the Power Plans of European States
and Dynasties
Radek Fukala
When the Prussian King Frederick II and his army crossed the
Rubicon on 16 December 1740 and entered Silesian territory, no one
imagined that vast section of the lands of the Bohemian Crown would
become part of the Hohenzollern state for more than two centuries. Apart
from Pomerania, it was the most significant acquired province in the
framework of Brandenburg-Prussian expansive policy. The roots of the given
interest in Silesia, however, reached as far back as to Middle Ages. They
developed in an immensely promising and intensive way during the
Reformation and began to culminate on the background of the diplomatic
negotiations during the Thirty Year War. The Peace of Westphalia provided
many variations of territorial compensations and claims to the Brandenburg
electoral line of Hohenzollerns. At this occassion, Frederick William’s
cabinet first attempted to revise the Silesian issue, but the point that was
eventually given preference in the diplomatic game was Pomeranian
aspirations. After prolonged negotiations, the envoys in Münster succeeded
to annex part of Pomerania to the Brandenburg-Prussian state, and the
lands of the Great Elector thus gained the desired seafaring connection
between the Brandenburg base and the East-Prussian Duchy.1 Under these
conditions, let us ask the following questions: “Which preconditions had the
Prussian annexation in Silesia after the Thirty Year War? And, of what
significance was the Oder region in the international politics during the
period after the White Mountain battle?”
The country of Silesia (Śląsk in Polish, Schlesien in German and Silesia
in Latin) represents a significant historical unit in the framework of Central
Europe. In our present times, its major part resides within the boundaries of
Poland while its minor portions are in the Czech Republic. Until the end of
the Second World War, Silesia mostly belonged to Germany. In history,
Silesia – which represented a territory crucial to the reign and control over
the trade on the river Oder – became a subject of interest to both Polish and
Bohemian rulers as well as, later, of the Prussian Hohenzollern and Austrian
Habsburg policies. The wealth of Silesia is undoubted. This country, as a
Vgl. W. BEIN, Schlesien in der habsburgischen Politik. Ein Beitrag zur Entstehung
des Dualismus im Alten Reich. Sigmaringen 1993.
1
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very interesting and strategically significant historical Central-European
space, neighboured with Poland, Hungary, Brandenburg, Moravia, Bohemia
and the two Lusatias – and these neighbours were the agents of the political,
religious, cultural and economic relationships that determined the region’s
development. Some Polish historians compared Silesia with Alsatia and
Lotharingia and the geographic significance of the river Oder to the Rhine.
German scholars ascribed Silesia the historical role of a bridge between the
Carpathian region and the Roman territory.2 Let us only add that the
regional variety of the individual Silesian duchies not only turned these
territories into exposed centres of power policies but that it also made Silesia
one connecting links of Europe, which – in the course of the historical
development of the Bohemian lands as well as Prussia, Germany, the
Habsburg monarchy and, especially, Poland – demonstrably supplement the
mosaic of the European political, economic and cultural systems.
The following brief overview will try to analyse the significance of
Silesia in the strategic power policies of European states. The complex
network of the particular Central-European problems gradually bore several
separatist variants and political projects, aimed at incorporating Silesia
either to Poland, Brandenburg, Saxony, Hungary or the Bohemian state.
Most of the outlined solutions had dynastic subtexts in the Middle and early
modern ages. From a long-term perspective, the location of Wroclaw and its
economic, political, cultural and religious contacts, maintained with Bohemia
and Moravia as well as with other neighbours, played an undisputed positive
role. The business contacts of Wrocław helped draw the economy of the
Bohemian lands closer to the economic systems of other Western- and
Eastern-European states. Apart from the long-distant trade and economic
potential, a crucial role in this respect was played by the above-mentioned
ideological and religious trends.3
Vgl. K. BOBOWSKI, R. GŁADKIEWICZ, W. WRZESIŃSKI, Stan i potrzeby
śląskoznawczych badań humanistycznych. Warszawa, Wrocław 1990; M. BORÁK (ed.):
Slezsko v dějinách českého státu. Opava 1998; M. WEBER, C. RABE (edd.):
Silesiographia. Stand und Perspektiven der historischen Schlesienforschung. Festschrift
für Norbert Conrads zum 60. Geburtstag. Würzburg 1998.
3 In this aspect, the points of departure are the following syntheses and most substantial
essays: K. MALECZYŃSKI (ed.), Historia Śłąska, I/2. Do roku 1763. Wrocław,
Warszawa, Kraków 1961; H. AUBIN, Geschichte Schlesiens I (bis 1526). Breslau 1938, pp.
225–228; C. GRÜNHAGEN, Geschichte Schlesiens. Bd. 1: Bis zum Eintritt der
habsburgischen Herrschaft 1527. Gotha 1884; M. CZAPLIŃSKI (ed.), Historia Śłąska.
Wrocław 2002, pp. 77–117; W. KORTA, Historia Śłąska do 1763 roku. Warszawa 2003,
pp. 179–195; R. FUKALA, Slezsko. Neznámá země Koruny české. Knížecí a stavovské
Slezsko do roku 1740. České Budějovice 2007. .
2
Silesia in the Power Plans of European States and Dynasties
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Next to Bohemia itself, the complex of the Silesian duchies and small
territories seemed to be the most strategically significant support for the
Bohemian ruler from amongst the countries of the Crown. In the period
prior to the White Mountain, the duchies directly reignedby the Bohemian
king were the following: those of Wroclaw, Jawór, Świdnica and Żagań, and
later also Minsterberk (Ziębice), Opole and Racibórz. The Opava royal feoff
represented a specific issue, for we do not perceive it to be a typically
Silesian territory until the Thirty Years’ War. The feudal ties with the lands
of the Bohemian Crown were formally maintained by the representatives of
the ruling Silesian duchy families, with the Legnica-Brzeg Piast branch and
their relatives in the Cieszyn region occupying the most significant position.
Apart from the Upper and Lower Silesian Piasts, the descendants of King
George of Poděbrady and the members of imperial families – the Hohenzollerns
and Wettins, played an unmistakable religiously cultural and power-political
role. These dukes were not just the feoffs of the Bohemian king; they, very
often, followed their own lines of foreign policy, becoming especially
inclined towards the Polish-Lithuanian state and the imperial countries for
many of which, nevertheless, these emancipation dynastic strategies became
fatal.4
The multifaceted mosaic of local power groups on the political and
religious Silesian scene rather enhanced the sense of disintegration. An
effective connecting link in this respect became the feudal ties to the
Bohemian king and, also through him, ties to the Roman imperial
environment. The Wroclaw bishop who began to be appointed to the post of
supreme district administrator on a regular basis during the 16th century
played an increasingly important role. After the certain decline of Episcopal
power in the country, the prestige of the local Catholic clergy was uplifted by
Sebastian of Rostock (1664–1671), who ranked amongst the main instigators
of the extensive re-Catholization and who, after a long period of time, again
held the office of district administrator. The pungent problems of the
Wroclaw chapter in the period after the White Mountain were not only the
interventions of the Habsburg reign, but also the power influences of the
Polish clergy, and mainly of the Vasów royal court.
The policy of the Cracow cabinet represented a significant factor in
Central-European development, and its constant attempts at a restitution of
Silesian territory shall not be overlooked. Many Piast dukes and aristocrats
J. BAHLCKE, Regionalismus und Staatsintegration im Widerstreit: die Länder der
böhmischen Krone im ersten Jahrhundert der Habsburgerherrschaft, 1526–1619.
München 1994.
4
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in Silesia collaborated closely with the Polish court. The Habsburg reign in
the northern part of the Bohemian state had to face several confrontations
with Polish interests. During the estates’ upheaval, Polish Prince Charles
Ferdinand Vasa was appointed the coadjuctor to the Wroclaw Bishop in
1619. The Polish royal court thus safeguarded its prospective positions
aimed at territorial compensation in exchange for its support of the emperor
against the Bohemian Protestant estates. It was quite apparent in this case
that the covert dynastic Habsburg-Vasa treaty would eventually bring its
fruit to the Cracow cabinet. The arrival of the Vasa family to the prosperous
Opole and Racibórz regions turned into a political reality at the end of the
Thirty Years’ War. The emperor, pressurized by the military defeats and
political failures of the empire, forfeited this extensive Upper Silesian
territory to the Polish King Vladislav IV in exchange for a financial loan on
30 May 1645. The Vasa court as the regent of the Opole and Racibórz forfeit
took more than vehement steps.
As is usual in such cases, this new strategy soon had a corresponding
impact on Silesian-Polish relations. The especial furore arrived during the
war between Sweden and Poland. The Polish royal family and its court found
a long-term asylum in Glogów, i.e. a city owned by the Oppersdorf family.
The local sojourn of Queen Ludowica Maria Gonzaga-Nevers and her
consort, John Kazimierz Vasa, between 1655 and 1656, received great
response in Silesia. Vienna was losing patience and was going to finish with
the Polish administration in the Opole and Racibórz Duchy as soon as
possible – and indeed, the Upper Silesian forfeit again fell into the hands of
the Habsburg ruler in 1666.5 The Upper Silesian future was yet to see solely
one Polish king who would establish close ties with Habsburg power
interests. In the summer days of 1683, armies of John III Sobieski swept
through the country on their way to a Vienna besieged by the Turks. This
armed manifestation symbolically closed the period of existence of the
Polish state as an international power and at the same time terminated
Polish aspirations as to the Silesian issue.6
The webs of Hungarian relations towards Silesia are long-dated.
During the Jagiellonian era and the early Habsburg reign, the Hungarian
R. FUKALA, Mocensko-politická krize polsko-litevské unie za vlády Jana Kazimíra
Vasy v letech 1648 –1660. Otázky a problémy polské historiografie očima českého
historika. In: Per Saecula ad Tempora Nostra. Sborník prací k šedesátým narozeninám
prof. Jaroslava Pánka. Praha 2007, pp. 252–257.
6 J. LESZCYŃSKI, Władysław IV a Śląsk w latach 1644–1648. Wrocław 1969; Z.
LIBISZOWSKA, Królowa Ludwika Maria na Śląsku 1655–1656. Katowice 1986.
5
Silesia in the Power Plans of European States and Dynasties
99
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estates never ceased to claim Silesia and the Opava Duchy. But Hungary lost
international prestige with the expansion of the Ottoman powers, while
Transylvania patiently waited to see what the future had in store. In the preWhite Mountain period, Duchess Isabela, daughter of Sigismund I, received
the Opole and Racibórz (1552–1556) as a territorial compensation for herself
and her son, John of Zápole. She, however, soon had to surrender her rights.
Passing the given duchies onto Sigismund Báthory, brother of the Polish
king, in 1598 represented a very similar episode. The Silesian issue within
the Transylvanian politics was revived under the reign of Duke Gabriel
Bethlen. After the 1620 defeat of the Bohemian estates, the Viennese court
offered him the Opole and Racibórz regions as one of the compensations for
the Hungarian royal title. He also received the above-mentioned Upper
Silesian duchies – along with seven east-Hungarian royal provinces, the
restitution of rights and the amnesty. This strategic territory subsequently
served the anti-Habsburg forces and the Bohemian-Moravian estates’
emigration as a point of departure for their military campaigns. After the
collapse of the anti-Habsburg coalition and after the second Vienna peace
treaty in 1624, the Opole and Racibórz regions returned under direct
Habsburg administration. The Hungarian aristocracy and the Transylvanian
dukes expressed their interests in the Upper Silesian territory several times
more during the Thirty Years’ War, but the Habsburg cabinet strictly and
especially strictly rejected the suggestions of Duke George I Rákoczy of
1645.7
It was no secret that the Scandinavian kingdoms were also interested
in the economically strategic Silesian region. The two rivals, Denmark and
Sweden, wanted to control the traditional copper way leading from the
Upper-Hungarian mines to the mouth of the river Oder. This circumstance
contributed to the fact that the Danish military contingent set off to the
Silesian territory and, upon the initiative of Superintendent Joachim
Mitzlaff and Bohemian-Moravian exiles, built an important base in the
Opava region between 1626 and 1627. After the defeat of the DanishNorwegian King Christian IV, his decimated troops withdrew from the
Silesian field. Another wave of awakened interest in Silesia very soon came
J. POLIŠENSKÝ, Slezsko a válka třicetiletá. Česko-polský sborník vědeckých prací, I.
Praha 1955, pp. 311–334; W. CZAPLIŃSKI, Polska wobec początków wojny
trzydzestoletniej, Sobótka 15, 1960, pp. 449–477; W. CZAPLIŃSKI, Śląsk a Polska w
pierwszych latach wojny trzydziestoletniej 1618–1620, Sobótka 2, 1947, s. 141–181; K.
BARTKIEWICZ, Wojna trzydziestoletnia 1618–1648 na ziemiach nadodrzańskich.
Zielona Góra 1993; J. MAROŃ, Śląsk jako teatr działań wojennych w czasie wojny
trzydziestoletniej, Sobótka 47, 1992, pp. 313–321.
7
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from the side of Sweden, which opened another play on the battlefields of
the Thirty Years’ War. Bohemian émigrés in the Swedish service warned the
king and his chancellor of the preliminary capture of Silesia. Because
Gustavus II Adolphus paid attention to the Saxony elector first, he delayed
his own muster to Silesia and allowed his ally to develop actions against the
lands of the Bohemian Crown. The Swedish diplomacy became so
thoroughly orientated in the Central-European conditions in the course of
the next months that it realized the transit significance of Silesia as a
connecting link between the Swedish bases on the north of the continent and
the rebel Protestant circles in the Bohemian lands, Hungary and Austria.
The borderline with the traditional adversary – Polish-Lithuanian state –
spoke for the tactical occupation of the Silesian territory.8
After the formation of the Heilbronn union, Chancellor Axel
Oxenstierna invited Silesian Protestant politicians to enter the union of
imperial Protestant estates in 1634. The Silesian dukes and estates were
basically offered to leave the union of the lands of the Bohemian Crown and
to join the lieges of the Swedish state. Sweden did not eliminate the Silesian
regions, plundered and occupied by the units of the anti-Habsburg coalition,
from its plans even in the last stage of the Thirty Years’ War. Before the
peace talks began, Oxenstierna was asked to include the Silesian duchies
among the suggested annexed regions in the instruction of 15 October 1641.
Swedish diplomacy thus made Silesia a tool of pressure on Brandenburg and
Poland. It was out of question for Vladislav IV Vasa to let the Swedish
military garrisons in Silesia constantly threaten his country, as they did from
Prussia and the Livon region. Also Berlin feared Swedish expansionism;
Swedish bases on the Oder could have unforeseeable consequences from the
point of the future development of the Brandenburg-Prussian state for the
Hohenzollerns. During further negotiations, Swedish diplomacy yielded to
French pressure and, in Osnabrück, it definitely resigned from occupying
Silesia.
Silesia’s experience with Saxony was different. The Wettins have been
involved on the local political and religious stage since as early as the reign
of George of Poděbrady. Silesian dukes, especially those of Minsterberk and
Oleśnica, had family ties to the Dresden Lutheran court. An active role was
W. DZIĘGIEL, Utrata księstw opolskiego i raciborskiego przez Ludwikę Marię w r.
1666. Kraków 1936; J. LESCZYŃSKI, Zabiegi i przetargi wokół Śląska w czasie wojny
trzydziestoletniej, Sobótka 26, 1971, p. 523; H. PALM, J. KREBS (edd.), Acta Publica.
Verhandlungen und Correspondenzen der schlesischen Fürsten und Stände, 1618–1629,
I–VIII. Breslau 1865–1906; R. FUKALA, Dánský vpád do Slezska a rozklad opavské
stavovské společnosti, Slezský sborník 99, 2001, pp. 81–94.
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played by John George after the defeat of the Protestant estates at the White
Mountain, when his Dresden accord guaranteed the Silesians religious
freedom and at the same time amnesty for Silesian dukes and estates, except
the Krnów Hohenzollern. After forfeiting the two Lusatias, the electorate
Saxony became Silesia’s direct neighbour. No wonder the Dresden cabinet
resolutely protected its Silesian fellow-believers, since this was the only way
to continue in the Saxon trade with the Eastern-European cities. In 1631,
Silesia and Brandenburg integrated their Silesian Protestant allies into the
camp of the anti-Habsburg alliance. Soon after this diplomatic intermezzo,
Silesia again made a reversal in its policy and returned to the Viennese side.
In the framework of the Prague peace treaty, the Saxony elector was
validated to posses the Upper and Lower Lusatias; he, however, had to
withdraw from his Silesian aspirations. Although Saxony did not act so
vigorously in the Silesian issue at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the gain
of the Lusatian territory mainly shifted the policy of the Dresden court
towards the east. This orientation successfully climaxed with the SaxonPolish personal union on the threshold of the 18th century. This period also
witnessed the culminating efforts of August II aimed at gaining control over
Silesia, which represented a wedge between his two countries. However, as
soon as the Dresden elector became entangled in the northern war and was
defeated, his prospects of gaining yet another prey quickly faded away. The
process was accompanied by the decline of the Wettins’ prestige in Silesia.
For the Hohenzollern dukes, Silesia has always embodied a tempting
decoy. Although they were not especially welcomed there, they were certain
warrants of the emancipative Silesian policy, and moreover a counterweight
to the Habsburg power plans during the pre-White Mountain period. Since
the arrival of the Luxemburg dynasty, the members of the Hohenzollern
family undoubtedly acted in the region of Central-Europe as to provide the
accelerating momentum in the gaining of vital economic and political
contacts with Bohemian lands and German territorial states. Sigismund of
Luxemburg provided Friedrich VI of Hohenzollern for his arrival at the
Brandenburg Margraviate and gave him the Old and the New Marks as an
electorate feoff at the Council of Constance. Since then, the electors had
followed a permanent goal – to actively influence Central-European events.
The ambitious Margrave Albrecht Achilles first supported the Curia in its
fight against the Hussites, but later insensately joined the side of the
Bohemian king. His unrestrained zeal to penetrate into the Silesian region of
the lands of the Bohemian Crown made him accept the position of Silesian
supreme district administrator in 1439. The vision of profit was confirmed
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by many matrimonial ties, the most significant among them being the
marriage of Poděbrad’s son, Henry the Elder of Minsterberk, with Albrecht’s
daughter, Ursula of Brandenburg, and of Vladislas of Jagiello with the
twelve-year old elector’s daughter Barbara, Duches of Glogów.9
Other members of the Hohenzollern dynasty did not stay behind and
followed the steps of Albrecht Achilles. In the early modern period, the
Brandenburg margraves influenced the fragmented Silesia from two
directions: the Brandenburg-electorate line planned to take control of the
Lower Silesian territory from the Krosno region which they gained during
the fights for the Glogów patrimony, while the Ansbach-Franconian branch
tried to build their family enclave on the Upper Silesian territory; especially
in the Opole, Racibórz, Bytom and Bohumín regions and, last but not least,
in the Krnów region. The successful introductory move towards this game
launched by the Ansbach Hohenzollern margraves was to purchase the
Krnów Duchy with Głubczyce in 1524. The merit in this aspect belonged to
the unquestionably competent politician, George of Brandenburg-Ansbach,
called the Pious. This first Krnów Hohenzollern – grandson of Albrecht
Achilles and nephew of the Bohemian King Vladislas of Jagiello – achieved
considerable successes in supporting the Reformation during his reign
between 1524 and 1543. It was especially his marriage policy that helped to
establish close links among the Silesian Piasts, Poděbrads and Hohenzollerns. It was him who stood beyond the secularization of the Prussian
monastery territory, and he hence justly deserves an honorary position side
by side with his brother, Albrecht of Prussia, in the gallery of the
Hohenzollern family.10
The other Krnów Hohenzollern, Duke George Friedrich of BrandenburgAnsbach (who became duke of Prussia during his career), also displayed an
exceptional sense of boosting the economy in his Upper Silesian enclaves.
His initiative resulted in the establishment of a high-quality administrative
R. FUKALA, Role Jana Jiřího Krnovského ve stavovských hnutích. Opava 1997; H.
SCHULZ, Markgraf Johann Georg von Brandenburg-Jägerndorf. Generalfeldoberst.
Halle 1899; G. JAECKEL, Johann Georg II. Markgraf von Brandenburg, Herzog von
Jägerndorf 1577–1624, Jahrbuch für schlesische Kirchengeschichte 52, 1973, pp. 65–82;
53, 1974, pp. 57–95.
10 P. BAUMGART (ed.), Ständetum und Staatsbildung in Brandenburg-Preußen.
Ergebnisse einer internationalen Fachtagung (Veröffentlichungen der Historischen
Kommission zu Berlin, Bd. 54.). Berlin, New York 1983; O. BÜSCH (ed.), Handbuch der
preussischen Geschichte, Bd. 2: Das 19. Jahrhundert und Grosse Themen der Geschichte
Preussens. Berlin 1992; R. FUKALA, Hohenzollernové v evropské politice 16. století.
Mezi Ansbachem, Krnovem a Královcem 1523–1603. Praha 2005.
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system in the Krnów region and in stabilizing Protestantism in the country.
He succeeded in implementing centralizing and absolutist aspects against
not only the estates in the Prussian Duchy but also in Krnów. The childless
duke subsequently passed his Prussian and Silesian properties onto the
Hohenzollern electorate family, thus providing them a decent prerequisite
for entering the international political arena through his legacy. In harmony
with the particulars ensuing from the family contract, signed in Magdeburg
in 1599, the Brandenburg Elector Joachim Friedrich rendered the Krnów
Duchy with the Bytom and Bohumín forfeit domain to his younger son, John
George. His elder brother John Sigismund consequently came to hold both
the Brandenburg Margraviate and the Prussian Duchy, and the given
properties became the basis of Hohenzollern power after the Thirty Years’
War. The policy of the younger elector’s son, John George of Krnów, as a
Calvinist exponent in Silesia did not cease to support the anti-Habsburg
resistance. John was the chief commander of the Silesian armed forces and,
from the period after the Battle of White Mountain until his death in 1624,
his armies consistently fought the Habsburg dynasty. This anti-Habsburg
rebellious activity earned John George of Krnów the imperial anathema,
pronounced against him in 1621, and his Silesian estates were confiscated.
After the loss of the Opole and Racibórz regions in the mid-16th century, this
was yet another territorial loss in Silesia for the Hohenzollern family from
which its members could not reconcile.11
A similar stumbling block was the Hohenzollern-Piast compact about
mutual inheritance, signed between the Legnica-Brzeg Piasts and the
Brandenburg Hohenzollerns in Frankfurt am Oder in 1536. As early as in the
eve of the Schmalkald war, Ferdinand I took the advantage to declare the
given agreement invalid and illegitimate at the Wroclaw assembly, held on
18 May 1546. This step not only intensified the animosity between the
Habsburg dynasty and Silesian duchy opposition but also launched the
Habsburg-Hohenzollern power dualism in the Central-European political
arena. The consequence was long-lasting Habsburg efforts to eliminate the
Hohenzollern influence in the Oder region to the maximum extent and, on
the other hand, Hohenzollern reminiscences and speculations in the Silesian
issue.
The first opportunity offered itself to the Hohenzollerns during the
Wesphalian peace talks. The elector instructed his delegates to require the
R. FUKALA, Jan Jiří Krnovský. Stavovské povstání a zápas s Habsburky. České
Budějovice 2005.
11
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Radek Fukala
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restitution of the former Hohenzollern-controlled Silesian territories from
the emperor. It was the nearby Lower Silesian duchies of Glogów, Żagań,
Świdnica and Jawór that were especially at the centre of interest of Friedrich
Willem’s Berlin cabinet. The secret backstage deliberations moreover also
calculated with the Kłodzko, Krnów, Bohumín and Bytom regions. The
Habsburg side labelled the Hohenzollern proposals as unreal and
consistently refused them. The French side admitted this factual state of
matters and diverted the Brandenburg standpoint to the Pomeranian issue.
After the Thirty Years’ War, Vienna only recognized the Hohenzollern
possession of the Krosen Duchy and surrendered the Świebodzin
(Schwiebus) region in 1695 in order to oblige Berlin and soon win its favour.
12
The development of Silesian interior policy and economy after the dramatic
events of the Thirty Years’ War gave new direction to the Hohenzollern
ambitions. The wider comparative research of the power efforts of Poland,
Hungary, Sweden, Saxony, the Bohemian lands (or, respectively, the
Habsburg dynasty) and, especially, the Brandenburg-Prussian state revealed
both the progressive and regressive factors of the influence of the given
states in Silesia. It, at the same time underlined the fact that the reCatholization policy, the loss of the two Lusatias, the economic interests of
Wroclaw and the decline of Habsburg prestige substantially undermined the
integrative relations in the framework of the lands of the Bohemian Crown.
The process of excluding Silesia from the Bohemian state was, naturally,
long-termed, and the Prussian king in 1740 only took advantage of the
situation at hand. Hungary was weakened by the wars against the Turks and
the spasms of the estates’ uprisings. The aristocratic Rzeczpospolita, sideby-side with the Saxon dynasty of the Wettins, totally discredited themselves
on the international scene of the 18th-century. The death of Charles VI
eventually opened the Hohenzollerns way to aggression, and Prussia was to
become a European power by its very attainment of Silesia.
To the Habsburg-Hohenzollern power interest in Silesia, cf. esp., BEIN, pp. 99–132; cf.
also R. FUKALA, Die Rolle der Jägerndorfer Fürsten von Hohenzollern in der
frühneuzeitlichen Geschichte Schlesiens. Prague Papers on History of International
Relations, 2001, pp. 5–26.
12
Die russisch-württembergischen Beziehungen
unter Katharina der Großen1
František Stellner
Katharina die Große hatte von allen russischen Herrschern des 18.
Jahrhunderts die beste Ausgangsposition, die europäische Politik durch
dynastische Bindungen zu beeinflussen und die Position ihrer Familie unter
den wichtigsten europäischen Dynastien zu festigen. Sie ließ sich vor allem
von den dynastischen Bindungen und Traditionen Holstein-Gottorps und
Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttels inspirieren. Der führende Kenner E. Hübner
schrieb dazu: „Augenfällig, aber gerade im 18. Jahrhundert keineswegs
überraschend war die Aufmerksamkeit Katharinas für das dynastische
Beziehungsgeflecht, in das die hineinwuchs und das sie als Zarin lenkend
beeinflussen konnte. Dadurch, dass ihr diese Eingebundenheit bewusst
war, konnte sie rational und abwägend handeln. Unterstützung für
Angehörige der eigenen Dynastie gewährte sie, solange damit keine
Nachteileverbunden waren und – weitaus wichtiger – solange die
Interessen desjenigen Staates, über den sie regierte, gewahrt blieben. In
aller Regel fielen die Entscheidungen Katharinas zudem dergestalt aus,
dass sowohl Familienangehörige als auch das Russische Reich davon
profitieren konnten. Mit dieser bewussten Instrumentalisierung der
Dynastiepolitik hob sich die Zarin deutlich von ihren Vorgängern und
Vorgängerinnen auf dem russischen Thron ab. Elisabeths Entschluss, den
Eutiner Fürstbischof als Kronprinzen in Schweden wählen zu lassen, und
der geplante Feldzug Peters III. gegen Dänemark waren Aktionen, die in
den Augen Katharinas allzu dynastiebezogen waren und deshalb für sie
kein Vorbild abgeben konnten.“2
Zarin Katharina II. konnte in den sechziger und siebziger Jahren keine
vergleichbare dynastische Politik wie Maria Theresia betreiben, denn im
Gegensatz zur Kaiserin hatte sie nur einen Sohn. Es gab auch keine Nichten
und Neffen. Erst aus der zweiten Ehe ihres Sohns mit der Prinzessin von
Württemberg gingen viele Kinder hervor, außerdem hatte ihre Schwiegertochter
Dieser Text entstand an der Philosophischen Fakultät der Karlsuniversität in Prag im
Rahmen des Forschungsvorhabens MSM 0021620827 Die Böhmischen Länder inmitten
Europas in der Vergangenheit und heute.
2 Eckhard HÜBNER, Zwischen Stettin und Petersburg: Der Faktor Norddeutschland in
Leben und Politik Katharinas II., in: Katharina II., Russland und Europa. Beiträge zur
internationalen Forschung, hrsg. von Claus Scharf, Mainz 2001, S. 549–550.
1
106
František Stellner
______________________________________________________________
viele Verwandte, was eine Reihe politisch mehr oder weniger bedeutender
dynastischer Bindungen ermöglichte. Auch dank dessen konnte Katharina II. auf ihre dynastische Politik mit Befriedigung zurückblicken. Sie
wurde „Urmutter“ einer außerordentlich reichen und respektierten Herrscherfamilie. „Wenn ein Dichter sie im Kreise ihrer großartigen und
zahlreichen Familie sehen würde, könnte er sie für Juno unter den Göttern
halten,“ schrieb einer der Höflinge.3
Warum gelangten gerade deutsche Prinzessinnen und Prinzen auf den
russischen Thron? Der deutsche Historiker G. Herm schrieb dazu treffend:
„Halb Europa hielt es damals für angebracht, sich mit dem deutschen Adel
per Ehekontrakt zu verbinden. Zum einen möglicherweise deshalb, weil die
Mitglieder der Adelsrepublik ‘Heiliges Römisches Reich’ etwas Ähnliches
wie eine noch vom Nachruhm Karls des Großen besonnte Ur-Aristokratie
bildeten, zum anderen dürfte es damit zu tun gehabt haben, dass kein
anderes Land des Kontinents viele blaublütige Eheaspirantinnen und
Eheaspiranten hervorbrachte... weil man den deutschen Adelssprossen
nachsagte, sie passten sich klaglos und diszipliniert jeglicher Forderung
an, die ihre neue Heimat an sie stellte, würden fast über Nacht zu perfekten
Briten, Franzosen, Dänen oder Schweden. Eigenes Nationalbewusstsein sei
ihnen – von Ausnahmen abgesehen – völlig unbekannt.“4 Die Ebenbürtigkeit schrieb der Elite der europäischen Gesellschaften, den herrschenden Dynastien vor, sich eine Partnerin außerhalb des eigenen Landes zu
suchen. Die deutschen Reichsfürsten herrschten zwar oft in kleinen und
politisch unwichtigen Staaten, waren aber souveräne Herrscher.5
Die Studie beabsichtigt, die Gültigkeit der oben erwähnten Einschätzung der dynastischen Politik Katharinas II. am Beispiel eines der
wichtigsten mittleren deutschen Staaten, am Herzogtum von Württemberg,
zu überprüfen, deren Herrscherfamilien sich mit dem russischen Hof
verbanden. Sie konzentriert sich auf die Verkopplung der dynastischen
Politik mit der Festigung der Bündnisbeziehungen unter den Großmächten,
auf den Verlauf der Verhandlungen über die Heirat des Zarewitschs Paul
Charles François Philibert MASSON, Sekretnyje zapiski v Rossii vremeni carstvovanija
Jekateriny II i Pavla I. Nabljudenija francuza živšego pri dvore o pridvornych nravach,
demonstrirujuščie nezaurjadnuju nabljudatelnost i osvedomlennost avtora, ed.
Jekaterina E. Ljamina, Je. Je. Pasternak, Moskva 1996, S. 35.
4 Gerhard HERM, Deutschland-Russland. Tausend Jahre einer seltsamen Freundschaft,
Hamburg 1990, S. 116.
5 Walter DEMEL, Europäische Geschichte des 18. Jahrhunderts. Ständische Gesellschaft
und europäisches Mächtesystem im beschleunigten Wandel (1689/1700-1789/1800),
Stuttgart 2000, S. 50-51.
3
Die russisch-württembergischen Beziehungen...
107
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und darauf, in wie weit seine neuen Verwandten die Möglichkeit hatten, die
russische Innen- sowie Außenpolitik zu beeinflussen.6
Der erste Angehörige der württembergischen Dynastie, der mit dem
russischen Reich in Kontakt kam, war Prinz Maximilian Emanuel, Bruder
des später herrschenden Herzogs. Er diente in der schwedischen Armee und
fiel in russische Gefangenschaft, aus der er zwar bedingungslos entlassen
wurde, er starb jedoch auf dem Heimweg an Fieber.7 Ein ähnliches Schicksal
erwartete auch den preußischen General Prinz Friedrich Eugen im
Siebenjährigen Krieg.8 Im Gegensatz zu seinem Verwandten kehrte er aber
heil nach Hause zurück und ein paar Jahre später wurde er Schwiegervater
des Zarewitschs und Großvater zweier Zaren. Das erste Angebot Katharinas II., seine älteste, dreizehnjährige Tochter Sophie Dorothea nach St.
Petersburg zu schicken, wo sich der Zarewitsch eventuell für sie als Ehefrau
entscheiden konnte, lehnte er jedoch ab.9 Man entschied sich dann für die
Prinzessin von Hessen-Darmstadt, und das Leben im ruhigen Schloss nahm
seine gewohnten Bahnen.
Die Situation änderte sich jedoch rasch. 1776 schickte Friedrich II. sein
Bruder Heinrich, um über die Bündnisverlängerung mit Russland zu
verhandeln.10 Zufälligerweise starb die erste Ehefrau des Zarewitschs Paul
während seines Besuchs und die Zarin führte sogleich mit dem Gast ein
vertrauliches Gespräch über eine neue Heirat. Sie wünschte sich eine
hübsche, gebildete, zurückhaltende, taktvolle und bescheidene Schwiegertochter, die sich nicht in die Staatsangelegenheiten einmischen sollte.
Angesichts des bestehenden Bündnisses mit Preußen war es auch sehr
wünschenswert, dass sie mit dem preußischen König verwandt war und zum
Symbol der preußisch-russischen Freundschaft wurde.11 Die Zarin entschied
Anknüpfend an meine Studie: František STELLNER, Die dynastische Politik russisches
Imperium im 18. Jahrhundert, in: Prague Papers on History of International Relations 7,
2004, S. 33–55; František STELLNER, Die dynastische Politik in den russisch-deutschen
Beziehungen im 18. Jahrhundert, in: „Deutsch-russische Beziehungen. Politische,
wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Aspekte von der frühen Neuzeit bis zum 20. Jahrhundert“.
Beiträge der internationalen Konferenz in Prag vom 24.– 25. November 2005, hrsg. von
František Stellner unter Mitarbeit von František Bahenský und Radek Soběhart, Praha
2007, S. 31-51.
7 Robert K. MASSIE, Peter der Grosse. Sein Leben und seine Zeit, Frankfurt am Main
1997, S. 453.
8 Claus SCHARF, Katharina II., Deutschland und die Deutschen, Mainz 1996, S. 298–
299.
9 Hans-Martin MAURER, Das Haus Württemberg und Russland In: Zeitschrift für
Württembergische Landesgeschichte 48, 1989, S. 202–203.
10 Chester V. EASUM, Prinz Heinrich von Preussen. Bruder Friedrichs des Groβen,
Göttingen, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main 1958, S. 405.
11 MAURER, S. 203.
6
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František Stellner
______________________________________________________________
sich deswegen, auf die ursprüngliche Wahl zurückzukommen und Sophie
Dorothea zu berufen.12 Prinz Heinrich war begeistert und unterstützte sie
mit allen Mitteln in ihrer Entscheidung, seine Großnichte einzuladen.
Sophie Dorothea wurde 1759 in Stettin als Tochter eines nichtherrschenden Angehörigen der württembergischen Dynastie geboren, der als
Regimentskommandant in preußischen Diensten war.13 Er heiratete eine
Prinzessin von Brandenburg-Schwedt und führte einen bescheidenden, aber
kultivierten Hof, an dem beispielsweise Goethes Schwager, Jurist und
Schriftsteller, Johann Georg Schlosser als Erzieher tätig war. Nach dem
Ausscheiden aus dem preußischen Dienst lebte die Familie in der
burgundischen Grafschaft Mömpelgard im „Schnittpunkt“ der französischen, schweizerischen und deutschen Kultur.14
Während Prinz Heinrich die Prinzessin in St. Petersburg lobte und
gleichzeitig den leicht reizbaren und hysterischen Großfürsten in seiner
Trauer tröstete,15 ebnete sein Bruder Friedrich II. Wege im Reich. Dem
Verlobten der Prinzessin, Nachfolger von Hessen-Darmstadt Ludwig,
Bruder der eben verstorbenen Zarewitsch-Ehefrau, gab er sofort den Rat,
auf die Braut zu verzichten. Ludwig verließ ruhmlos die russischen Dienste,
weilte in Berlin und gab erst unter erheblichem Druck nach.16 Der dankbare
Großfürst gewährte ihm dann eine Rente, die Ludwig jedoch enttäuschte.17
Der König begab sich auch zum württembergischen Hof. Er musste die
Wolfgang STRIBRNY, Die Russlandpolitik Friedrichs des Grossen 1764–1786,
Würzburg 1966, S. 93; Robert STUPPERICH, Die zweite Reise des Prinzen Heinrich von
Preussen nach Petersburg, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 3, 1938, S. 589.
13 Katharina II. an Grimm, 29. 6. 1776. In: SBORNIK imperatorskago russkago
istoričeskago obščestva (SIRIO), S. Peterburg 1878, XXIII., No. 33, S. 50–51;
STUPPERICH, S. 580–600; EASUM, S. 403–417; STRIBRNY, S. 87-97.
14 SCHARF, S. 296-297.
15 Notiz Katharinas II., 15. 4. 1776, SIRIO, S. Peterburg 1880, XXVII., S. 78–79; Roderick
E. McGREW, Paul I of Russia, 1754–1801, Clarendon 1992, S. 95; EASUM, S. 408–409.
16 Ludwig an Friedrich II., 9. 5. 1776, SIRIO, S. Peterburg 1872, IX., S. 9-10. Ludwig an
die Herzogin von Württemberg, 11. 5. 1776, ebenda, S. 18-19. Friedrich II. an Heinrich
von Preußen, 12. 5. 1776, Politische Correspondenz Friedrichs des Grossen, bearb. von
Gustav Berthold VOLTZ u. a., Berlin 1920, Bd. 38, Nr. 24 729, S. 89–90.
17 Friedrich II. an Friederike Sophie Dorothea, 7. 5. 1776, Politische Correspondenz, Nr.
24 715, S. 74; Friedrich II. an Friederike Sophie Dorothea, 9. 5. 1776, ebenda, Nr. 24 720,
S. 79-80; Heinrich von Preuβen an Friedrich II., 27. 4. 1776, ebenda, Nr. 24 718, S. 76;
Heinrich an Friedrich II., 30. 4. 1776, ebenda, Nr. 24 726, S. 84; Friedrich II. an
Heinrich, 9. 5. 1776, ebenda, Nr. 24 718, 24 719, S. 77-79, Friedrich II. an Heinrich, 11. 5.
1776, ebenda, Nr. 24 726, 24 727, S. 84-86; EASUM, S. 409-410; STRIBRNY, S. 93–94;
Hans SCHUMANN, Gelehrte, Bauern und eine Zarentochter aus Württemberg, in:
Deutsch-russische Begegnungen im Zeitalter der Aufklärung (18. Jahrhundert).
Wanderausstellung durch Deutschland und Russland. Dokumentation, hrsg. von Lew
Kopelew, Karl-Heinz Korn, Rainer Sprung, Göttingen, Köln 1997, S. 234.
12
Die russisch-württembergischen Beziehungen...
109
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Brauteltern überzeugen, denn sie bangten um ihre Tochter und bezweifelten, dass sie auf eine so anspruchsvolle Rolle vorbereitet war. Schließlich
stimmten sie zu.
Dann stand den zwei jungen Menschen, die sich nie zuvor gesehen
hatten, nichts im Wege, sich zu treffen und zu versuchen Sympathien
füreinander zu finden. Ihr Treffen fand im Juni 1776 in Berlin statt.18 N. Graf
Panin machte den König rechtzeitig darauf aufmerksam, Zarewitsch sei ein
begeisterter Bewunderer aller Militärparaden und Übungen, so dass der
Gastgeber ihm ein solches Vergnügen mit vollen Händen gönnte.19 Auf die
beiden Verlobten machten die Tage in der preußischen Hauptstadt einen
unvergesslichen Eindruck. Sie erlebten sonnige Tage in lockerer „RokokoStimmung“ in Heinrichs Residenz im malerischen Rheinsberg und bewunderten den König im etwas düsteren Potsdam.20 Zarewitsch schrieb damals:
„Ich fand meine Braut so, wie ich mir sie in meinen Gedanken erträumen
konnte, hübsch, groß, schlank, freidenkerisch, klug und schlagfertig. Was
ihr Herz angeht, hat sie ein sehr empfindliches und weiches, wie ich in
verschieden Szenen mit ihren Verwandten merken konnte.“21 Über
Zarewitsch führte ein Diplomat an: „Berlin gefiel ihm sehr, wo er mit
seinem Geiz einen schlechten Eindruck hinterließ... Die Berliner Reise..
stärkte noch seine Eitelkeit... er machte den Eindruck eines ProvinzPflastertreters.“22
Im September 1776 traf die Prinzessin in der Hauptstadt ein, wo sie
auf ihre zukünftige Schwiegermutter einen hervorragenden Eindruck
machte. Die Zarin dachte ständig an den Widerwillen der russischen Elite
gegenüber den deutschen Prinzen, deshalb erlaubte sie den Brauteltern nur,
ihre Tochter bis nach Memel zu begleiten. Als Gegenleistung schickte sie
dem zukünftigen Schwiegervater ihres Sohnes einen Gutschein über 40 000
Rubel und zeichnete ihn mit dem St. Andreas-Orden aus.23 Ein französischer
Der König informierte die Herzogin über die Ankunft des Zarewitschs nach Berlin.
Friedrich II. an die Herzogin, 8. 6. 1776, SIRIO, IX., S. 34. Über die Abfahrt nach Berlin:
Katharina II. an Paul Petrowitsch, 14./25. 6. 1776, SIRIO, XXVII., S. 85.
19 McGREW, S. 60.
20 Martha LINDEMANN, Die Heiraten der Romanows und der deutschen Fürstenhäuser
im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert und ihre Bedeutung in der Bündnispolitik der Ostmächte,
Berlin, Bonn 1935, S. 46.
21 SCHUMANN, S. 234–235. vgl. Paul an Katharina II., 11./22. 7. 1776, SIRIO, XXVII., S.
98, Anm. 1.
22 Marie-Daniel Bourree de CORBERON, Iz zapisok In: Jekaterina. Put k vlasti, sost. M.
LAVRINOVIČ, A. LIBERMAN, Moskva 2003, S. 146, 148.
23 SCHARF, S. 304; David Mark GRIFFITHS, Russian Court Politics and the Question of
an Expansionist Foreign Policy under Catharine II, 1762-1783, PhD. dissertation,
Cornell University 1967, S. 51.
18
110
František Stellner
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Beobachter schilderte die erste Audienz bei der Zarin folgendermaßen:
„Gestern kam die Prinzessin von Württemberg. Sie kam auf die Zarin zu
und warf sich ihr zu Füßen. Dank der geschlossenen Tür blieb diese Szene
neugierigen Augen verborgen. Die Zarin war offensichtlich zufrieden... alle
sagen, sie sei sehr nett, aufmerksam, zahm und freundlich.“24
Einen Monat später wurde sie unter dem Namen Marie Fjodorowna
Ehefrau des Zarewitschs. Der britische Gesandter schrieb über sie: „Da der
Charakter der gegenwärtigen Großfürstin dem der verstorbenen geradezu
entgegengesetzt ist, so erscheint auch der Großfürst in einem ganz anderen
Lichte. Sie ist mild, sanft und von dem strengsten ehelichen Pflichtgefühl
durchdrungen. Er ist gesellig und heiter geworden und beginnt auch einen
eigenen Willen zu haben. Sie versucht, durch alle mögliche Gefälligkeit und
Aufmerksamkeit seine Zuneigung zu verdienen und er liebt sie sehr. Sie
sind gegenwärtig in sich selbst vollkommen glücklich.“25
Marie Fjodorowna hatte ein langes und ruhiges Leben, hinterließ
Pawlowsk als Andenken an ihren Geschmack – eine der zurzeit bestens
erhaltenen Residenzen der Zarenfamilie. Sie brachte neun Kinder zur Welt,
bereits 1777 den Nachfolger Alexander, ein Jahr später dann den zweiten
Sohn Konstantin, danach fünf Töchter und schließlich noch zwei Söhne,
Nikolaus und Michail. Sie sorgte für genug Erben in der Linie Katharinas,
sodass seit Ende der 1780er Jahren nicht mehr zu befürchten war, dass im
Todesfalle Pauls nach einer neuen Dynastie hätte gesucht werden müssen.
Nun sollen die dynastischen Verbindungen des russischen Herrschergeschlechts mit den in Mitteleuropa herrschenden Familien erwähnt
werden. Bis Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts traten vier Brüder und zwei Neffen
Marie Fjodorownas in den russischen Dienst und wurden mit hohen und
einflussreichen Posten betraut. Der älteste Bruder, Friedrich begleitete 1782
seine Schwester und ihren Ehemann während ihrer Italienreise, danach
wurde er Generalgouverneur und als Generalleutnant nahm er am Feldzug
gegen die Türken teil. Seinen Aufstieg beeinträchtigte eine Ehekrise, die in
häuslicher Gewalt gipfelte. Die unglückliche Prinzessin Augusta, mit
Spitznamen „Zelmire“, aus dem Haus Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel begab
sich schließlich 1786 unter den Schutz der Zarin, die Friedrich aus dem
CORBERON, S. 148.
Depesche von Harris an Lord Suffolk, 3./14. 10. 1778, James HARRIS, Tagebücher und
diplomatischer Briefwechsel seines Groβvaters James Harris, Earl von Malmesbury,
während seiner Missionen bei den Höfen von Berlin, Petersburg, dem Haag, Madrid
und Paris, hrsg. von Lord Malmesbury, I., Grimma und Leipzig 1852, S. 140. Vgl. Martin
KOVÁŘ, Velká Británie v éře Roberta Walpola. K vývoji britského státu a britské
společnosti v první polovině 18. století, Praha 2004.
24
25
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Dienst entließ. Von größerer Bedeutung als die Solidarität der Frauen war
der Verdacht, der Prinz hätte geheime Gespräche mit den Schweden geführt.
Friedrich verließ unfreiwillig den russischen Dienst, konnte nicht in den
Preußischen eintreten und lebte dann zurückgezogen.26
Masson betonte, dass der Prinz im Gegensatz zum Nachfolgerpaar eine
gewisse Hartnäckigkeit bewies und nicht zuließ, sich die eigenen Kinder von
der Zarin „wegnehmen“ zu lassen. Seine Frau ließ er ruhig in Russland, die
Kinder aber nahm er mit.27 Katharina kommentierte die Ehekrise in einem
Privatbrief, man könne zugeben, dass die Braunschweiger Familie in
Russland wirklich kein Glück hatte.28 Zwei Jahre später bestätigten sich ihre
Worte endgültig, als Augusta untreu wurde und einen schrecklichen Tod
infolge einer Fehlgeburt in ihrem „Asyl“ im Schloss Lohde (Koluvere) in
Estland starb, denn sie musste die Schwangerschaft verheimlichen und
weigerte sich, einen Arzt aufzusuchen. Nachdem Friedrich ein Jahr nach
dem Tod Katharinas der Großen den Thron in Württemberg bestiegen hatte,
nutzte er seine Beziehungen zum mächtigen Reich im Osten, erzwang sich
von Napoleon Bonaparte Zugeständnisse und behielt für bestimmte Zeit
eine gewisse Selbständigkeit. Er stieg zum König auf und erweiterte
wesentlich sein Staatsterritorium.29
Der zweite Bruder Marie Fjodorownas, Ludwig, wurde General und
Gouverneur St. Petersburgs. Seine Beziehung zur Zarin verschlechterte sich,
nachdem er eine Fürstin Czartoryski ohne ihre Zustimmung und die
Zustimmung seiner Eltern geheiratet und dadurch den Verdacht geweckt
hatte, die polnische Krone anzustreben. Die Zarin hielt die Heirat für eine
Intrige des preußischen Königs. Der Prinz verließ die preußische Armee,
1789 trat er in den polnischen Dienst ein, Ende Mai 1792 wehrte er sich als
Generalleutnant der litauischen Armee nicht gegen den russischen Angriff,
sondern lief sogar zum Feinde über. Er wurde als Verräter bezeichnet, der
polnische König entzog ihm alle Titel und seine Frau ließ sich von ihm
scheiden. Er kehrte nach Preußen zurück, wo er beschuldigt wurde, aus der
Alexander Vasiljevič CHRAPOVICKIJ, Pamjatnyja zapiski A. V. Chrapovickago, statssekretarja Imperatricy Jekateriny vtoroj, Moskva 1990, S. 18, 110; Alexander G.
BRÜCKNER, „Zelmira“. Epizod iz istorii carstvovanija imperatricy Jekateriny II (1782–
1788). In: Istoričeskij Vestnik 1890, 8, S. 277–303; 9, S. 551-572; Louis Philippe, comte
de SÉGUR, Zapiski o prebyvanii v Rossii v carstvovanie Jekateriny II, in: ROSSIJA
XVIII v. glazami inostrancev, podg. Ju. A. Limonov, Leningrad 1989, S. 400.
27 MASSON, S. 76, 183.
28 SCHARF, S. 335.
29 Sein Sohn Wilhelm I. heiratete die Großfürstin Katharina Pawlowna, der Enkelsohn
Karl I. Olga Nikolajewna, Tochter des Zaren Nikolaus I., und die Enkeltochter Charlotta
den Großfürst Michail Pawlowitsch.
26
112
František Stellner
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Kriegskasse gestohlen zu haben, um mindestens einige seiner zahlreichen
Schulden zu bezahlen. Später kehrte er nach Russland zurück und stellte
seine Position am dortigen Hof wieder her, nachdem seine zweite Frau
Henrietta zu einer der engsten Freundinnen der Ehefrau des Zaren
Alexanders I. geworden war.
Der dritte Bruder Marie Fjodorownas, Karl, der mit neunzehn Jahren
nach Russland kam, sammelte Kriegserfahrungen unter Fürst Potemkin im
russisch-türkischen Krieg. Er starb mit einundzwanzig Jahren als
Generaloberst und wurde in Cherson am Schwarzen Meer begraben. Der
vierte Bruder, Alexander, blieb am längsten im russischen Dienst. Er wurde
Gouverneur Weißrusslands, Generaldirektor von Straßen und Seewegen und
Mitglied der Akademie der Wissenschaften.30 Er leitete beispielsweise den
Bau der neuen Straße zwischen St. Petersburg und Moskau oder des Kanals
zwischen der Wolga und Norddwina. 1798 verstärkte er seine
Verwandtschaft mit dem Zarenhaus, indem er die Schwester der Ehefrau
des Großfürsten Konstantin, Antonie von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld, Tante
der britischen Königin Viktoria und Schwester des belgischen Königs
Leopold I. heiratete. Er wurde als größter Vielfrass seiner Zeit berühmt! Im
Kampf gegen Napoleon diente er als Generaloberst, während sein Bruder
Friedrich I. ein unfreiwilliger Verbündeter des französischen Kaisers war.
Als Letzter kam Prinz Eugen von Württemberg, geboren 1788, Sohn des
gleichnamigen Bruders der Großfürstin, unter Paul nach Russland.31 Es
tauchten Gerüchte auf, denen zufolge Paul I. ihn mit seiner Tochter
Katharina vermählen wollte und mit ihm „weitreichende Pläne“ hatte. Hatte
der Zar vielleicht vor, die Primogenitur abzuschaffen, seinen eventuellen
Schwiegersohn zu seinem Nachfolger zu bestimmen und seine Frau und
Söhne in verschiedenen Festungen gefangen zu halten? Oder verbreiteten
die Verschwörer nur solche Gerüchte, um die Gründe zu vermehren, sich
gegen einen legitimen Herrscher zu stellen? Höchstwahrscheinlich handelte
sich um ein Spiel der Verschwörer, um ein Mittel, den Großfürsten
Alexander zu zwingen sich der Verschwörung anzuschließen.32
MAURER, S. 204; John P. LeDONNE, Frontier Governors General 1772–1825, I. The
Western Frontier, in: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 47, 1999, H. 1, S. 74; Alexej
Vasiljevič ŠIŠOV, Znamenityje inostrancy na službe Rossii, Moskva 2001, S. 598–606.
31 Seine Nachkommen besuchten oft Náchod, denn sie verbanden sich mit dem Haus
Schaumburg-Lippe. Eugens Enkelsohn heiratete die Großfürstin Vera Konstantinowna,
was die fünfte und letzte Heirat zwischen der russischen und württembergischen
Dynastie war.
32 Natan Jakovlevič EJDELMAN, Gran vekov. Političeskaja borba v Rossii. Konec XVIIInačalo XIX stoletija, Moskva 1988, S. 491–493.
30
Die russisch-württembergischen Beziehungen...
113
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Mit der Schwiegermutter verband Marie Fjodorowna zwar ein
gemeinsamer Geburtsort, sie gehörten jedoch unterschiedlichen Kulturen
an. Während die französische Bildung und Kultur für Katharina II. von
ausschlaggebender Bedeutung blieben, gehörte Marie Fjodorowna bereits
dem „deutschen Jahrhundert“ an. Dies verband sie mit ihrem Mann, der
fließend Deutsch sprach, und den sein Erzieher, der Dichter Ludwig Heinrich Nicolay mit der deutschen Kultur bekannt machte. Als Paul volljährig
wurde, blieb Nicolay als sein persönlicher Sekretär und Bibliothekar seiner
Ehefrauen. Seine Karriere beendete er 1798 mit der Ernennung zum
Präsidenten der Akademie der Wissenschaften.33
Die russische Herrscherfamilie unterhielt intensive Beziehungen mit
ihren württembergischen Verwandten. Bisher hatte keine der angeheirateten Prinzessinnen solche Erfolge erreicht wie Marie Fjodorowna. Sie machte
sich auch die Tatsache zunutze, dass die württembergischen Prinzen
politisch nicht gefährlich waren, die Regierung Katharinas stabilisiert genug
war und sie es sich leisten konnte, viele deutsche Fürsten in ihre Dienste zu
berufen. Dass Marie Fjodorowna ihre Verwandten vorzog, bezeugt die
Tatsache, dass ihre Tochter Katharina, ihr Sohn Michail und ihre Enkeltochter Olga sich mit Württemberg durch Heirat verbanden.34 Die
dynastische Verbindung der russischen Dynastie mit den Verwandten des
preußischen Königs ergänzte die gegenseitig vorteilhafte gemeinsame
Politik. Während sich Joseph II. 1774 ganz direkt, aber noch erfolglos um
einen Freundschaftsvertrag zwischen Russland und dem Habsburgerreich
bemühte, schien Friedrichs Strategie, seine Reichspolitik gegen Wien durch
Familienbande zwischen kleineren deutschen Fürstenhäusern und dem
Zarenhaus zu sichern, mehr Erfolg zu haben, denn das preußisch-russische
Bündnis wurde 1777 um zehn Jahre verlängert.
Die dynastische Beziehung zwischen Russland und Württemberg
konnte jedoch später die Lockerung des preußisch-russischen Bündnisses
und der russischen Orientierung an den Hof in Wien nicht verhindern.35
Auch die preußisch-württembergischen Beziehungen wurden lockerer, die
jüngere Generation der württembergischen Dynastie orientierte sich nicht
Erik AMBURGER, Deutsche in Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Rußlands. Die
Familie Amburger in St. Petersburg 1770–1920, Wiesbaden 1986, S. 252; Edmund
HEIER, Ludwig Heinrich von Nicolay (1737–1820) as an Exponent of Neoclassicism, in:
German Studies Review, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Oct., 1983), S. 595–596.
34 LINDEMANN, S. 56-96; František STELLNER, Ursachen der russischen Neutralität
im preußisch-österreichischen Krieg 1866 In: Prague Papers on History of International
Relations 10, 2007, S. 129; Jürgen WALTER, Carl Eugen von Württemberg. Ein Herzog
und seine Untertanen. Biographie, Irdning 1987.
35 STRIBRNY, S. 94–95.
33
114
František Stellner
______________________________________________________________
mehr an den Hof in Berlin, sondern an den in St. Petersburg und Wien. Die
Prinzen, die in der preußischen Armee dienten, schieden aus und traten in
die russische Armee ein, wo sie keinen derart strengen Dienst ausüben
mussten und auch eine viel großzügigere materielle Belohnung erwarten
konnten.
Die Zarin knüpfte in manchem an die dynastische Politik Friedrichs
des Großen an, und in den achtziger Jahren konkurrierte sie insofern mit
ihm, als ihr Hof einen mächtigeren und lukrativeren Ort für viele Reichfürsten darstellte. Katharina II. traf ihre Entscheidungen selbständig nach
ihren eigenen, d.h. ausschließlich russischen Interessen und ließ in dieser
Hinsicht keinen fremden Einfluss zu. Bei übereinstimmenden Vorstellungen
begrüßte sie selbstverständlich die Mitwirkung anderer Höfe – insbesondere
des in Berlin und Wien. Friedrich II. bemühte sich nach dem Siebenjährigen
Krieg, das Bündnis mit Russland durch ein Verwandtschaftsgewebe zu
festigen. Gleichzeitig suchten kleinere deutsche Staaten nach einem
Gegenwert zum abnehmenden französischen Interesse an Reichsproblemen,
anders gesagt, Frankreich hatte nicht mehr genug Kraft, sich gegen eventuelle Änderungen im Reich zu wehren. Aus diesem Grund stieg die
Bedeutung der russischen Freundschaft. „Jedenfalls mehrten sich Stimmen,
die am beruhigenden Einfluss Russlands auf die Politik Wiens oder auf den
österreichisch-preußischen Dualismus interessiert waren, oder die sich von
Russland eine Garantie der Reichsverfassung erhofften.“36 In dieser
Hinsicht muss die Heiratspolitik als eine Bemühung, unmittelbaren Einfluss
in Mitteleuropa zu gewinnen, verstanden werden.
36
SCHARF, S. 274.
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich
towards the Treaty of Adrianople1
Miroslav Šedivý
The Treaty of Adrianople of September 14, 1829, is doubtless one of
the most important peace settlements in the history of the Eastern Question.
It ended the eighteen month long Russian-Ottoman war and it also became
an important turning point in the Greeks’ struggle for independence
although absolute freedom was not granted the Greeks until February of the
following year. The peace terms exposed the weakness of the Ottoman
Empire and considerably strengthened the Russian position in the Near
East. Perhaps no European diplomat was indifferent to the agreement, and
its conditions were discussed in a considerable number of European
capitals, in particular whether they were a coup de grace for Sultan
Mahmud II’s declining Empire or, on the contrary, evidence of Russian Tsar
Nicholas I’s moderation.
This debate was naturally held also in Vienna, where Emperor Francis
I and his loyal State Chancellor, Clemens Wenzel Lothar Nepomuk Prince
von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein-Ochsenhausen, were probably the
most involved observers of the conflict between Tsar Nicholas I and Sultan
Mahmud II. Regarding the immediate vicinity of Austria and the Ottoman
Empire, both men could not be indifferent to the fate of the latter. Some
historians regard the Austrian chancellor’s view of the peace conditions as
extremely negative.2 However, the reality is much more complicated and
Metternich’s attitude towards this document has not been entirely clarified
up to the present time. Therefore, this study has been written to shed light
on the problem and contribute to the research of the diplomatic relations
between the European Powers and the Ottoman Empire in the first half of
the 19th century.
For the correct analysis of Metternich’s attitude towards the RussianOttoman peace treaty, it is necessary to understand the circumstances under
which it was concluded. The strategic and from Constantinople not too
distant city of Adrianople was occupied by Russian forces on August 20,
This study has been published as a part of the GAUK research project number 257604,
Metternich and the Eastern Question 1829–1841, financed by Charles University,
Prague.
2 Alexander BITIS, Russia and the Eastern Question. Army, Government, and Society
1815–1833, Oxford, New York 2006, p. 361.
1
116
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
1829.3 Nothing could prevent Russian General Diebitsch’s army from
marching against the capital. Nevertheless, the situation of the tsar’s troops
was not as good as it appeared. Nobody in Vienna knew that they were
seriously afflicted by diseases and in reality unable to attack the metropolis
on the Bosporus. Moreover, the number of Russian soldiers was erroneously
estimated by the Austrian internuncio in Constantinople, Baron Franz
Ottenfels, at 60 0004 when in fact their number did not amount to half of
that.5
The sultan’s empire seemed to be teetering on the bank of collapse,
and only a promptly made peace settlement could save it. There was a
widespread concern in Vienna about a possible refusal of the Porte to end
the war and the consequent entry of the Russian army into Constantinople.6
Therefore, Metternich advised the sultan to make peace as quickly as
possible.7 In the interest of the settlement of the crisis also threatening
relations among the European countries, Metternich preferred considerably
unfavorable peace conditions for the Porte to the continuation of “a
situation that leaves Europe in a miserable uncertainty and that is too
dangerous for the future”.8 In short, according to the chancellor, Mahmud II
had no other option than to conclude peace.9
Owing to the sultan’s hopeless situation, none of his advisors dared to
advise him to refuse Diebitsch’s peace terms and thereby “produce a
catastrophe on the capital that could be pernicious for the existence of the
Ottoman throne”.10 When the representatives of the Great Powers also urged
Mahmud II to sign the peace treaty, the war was ended in Adrianople on
September 14, 1829, despite the fact that the sultan found the conditions
“exorbitant, onerous, humiliating and unacceptable”.11 The conditions
Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Plas, September 2, 1829, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv
in Vienna (henceforth: HHStA), Staatskanzlei (henceforth: StK), Preussen 132.
4 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 5, 1829, HHStA, Staatenabteilungen (henceforth: StA), Türkei VI, 38.
5 BITIS, p. 316.
6 Montmorency-Laval to Polignac, Vienna, September 16, 1829; Schwebel to Polignac,
Vienna, September 24, 1829, both Archives du Ministère des Affaires étrangères Paris
(henceforth: AEE), Correspondance Politique (henceforth: CP), Autriche 411.
7 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, September 16, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
8 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, September 8, 1829, Geheimes Staatsarchiv
Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (henceforth: GStA PK), HA III, Ministerium des
Auswärtigen I (henceforth: MdA I), Nr. 6013.
9 Metternich to Ottenfels, Plas, August 30, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
10 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 11, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38
11 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 10, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38.
3
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
117
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included some Russian territorial gains in the Caucasus (Poti, Anapa,
Akhaltsykh, Akhalkalaki and Atskhur) and the Danubian Delta: in other
words the islands in the St. George mouth with an important trade center,
Sulina; the restitution of six districts to Serbia according to the Bucharest
Treaty and the Akerman Convention; the autonomy for Greece; the free pass
for all Russian goods through the Straits; 1,5 million Dutch ducats as a trade
indemnity for the financial damage the Ottoman Porte had caused to the
Russian Empire from 1806 to 1828, and another 10 million Dutch ducats as
a war indemnity for the damages inflicted during the period 1828–1829. The
Principalities and Silistria were to be occupied until the indemnities were
paid.12
The second problem concerning the correct analysis of Metternich’s
reaction to the peace conditions is the way in which he was informed about
the conclusion of the Treaty of Adrianople. His first reactions cannot really
be considered as his definitive opinion because at first the Austrian
chancellor only reacted to the proposal of the convention, the details of
which he was informed about in Ottenfels’s despatch dated September 10,
1829. French historian Guillaume de Bertier de Sauvigny saw the reason for
Metternich’s shift in opinions precisely in the delay between the receipt of
the proposed peace settlement and its final form: in other words between
September 25 and 26 and the beginning of October.13 The problem
concerning Sauvigny’s opinion is that the plan and the definite peace terms
differed de facto only in the length of the occupation of the Danubian
Principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia: according to Ottenfels, Diebitsch
demanded 20 years,14 whereas in the final peace settlement the period was
reduced to 10 years. Initially, Metternich thought that the peace was made
upon the conditions mentioned by the internuncio,15 but though he already
M. S. ANDERSON, The Great Powers and the Near East 1774–1923, London 1970, pp.
33–35; BITIS, pp. 353–356; N. CIACHIR, The Adrianople Treaty (1829) and its
European Implications, in: Revue des études sud-est européennes 17, No. 4. (1979), pp.
706–707.
13 Guillaume de Bertier de SAUVIGNY, Metternich et la France après le congrès de
Vienne, tome III: Au temps de Charles X – 1824/1830, Paris 1970, p. 1313.
14 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 10, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38; See also the attached plan of the peace agreement conveyed by Reis Efendi to
Ottenfels in an undated despatch.
15 Schwebel to Polignac, Vienna, September 25, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
12
118
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
knew about the shorter occupation of the Principalities on September 26,16
his considerably negative attitude tempered only several days later. This
means that the receipt of the definite form of the peace treaty could not by
itself have changed Metternich’s scepticism and defeatism although it
probably contributed to it to a certain extent. The researched documents do
not offer a clear explanation why Metternich’s attitude towards the peace
settlement became significantly more conciliatory during the final days of
September. The most probable reason was the influence of his close friend
and collaborator, Friedrich von Gentz, who had viewed the conditions of the
Treaty of Adrianople more positively from the very beginning.17 The fact that
must be empasized is that it was in particular Metternich’s opinion of the
existence of the treaty, in other words the signing of it, which changed, not
his view on its conditions. Regarding these, his consternation undoubtedly
lessened and some condemnations were soon forgotten, but in general the
conditions were still considered burdensome.
In any case, on September 25 and 26, 1829, Metternich was definitely
shocked. He made no secret of his opinion that the peace conditions “seem
to threaten strongly not only the integrity but also the very existence of the
Ottoman Empire”.18 He wrote to the Austrian ambassador in London, Prince
Paul Esterházy, about irreparable damage and the uncertain future of the
sultan’s empire.19 He even declared in the presence of the French representative in Vienna: “The fall of the Ottoman Empire is inevitable and
imminent, it will cause the birth of a new political system in Europe, [and]
it will cause complications and incalculable consequences.”20 Even a
decennary occupation of the Principalities was too long and was “in fact
equivalent to the cession of those Provinces to Russia, and no one acquainted with her policy can alter himself to believe that after so long [an]
occupation she will consent to evacuate them”.21 Their almost absolute
independence and the emancipation from the sultan’s authority threatened
to make from the Principalities a second Crimea, that, at the time of
On Metternich’s knowledge of the decennary occupation on September 26 see Cowley
to Aberdeen, Vienna, September 26, 1829, The National Archives: Public Record Office in
London (henceforth: NA), Foreign Office (henceforth: FO) 120/105. However, it is
possible to find Metternich’s reaction on twenty years lasting occupation from the same
day. Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, September 26, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
17 BITIS, p. 361.
18 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, September 26, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA
I, Nr. 6013.
19 Metternich to Esterházy, Linz, September 21, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
20 Schwebel to Polignac, Vienna, September 25, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
21 Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, September 26, 1829, NA, FO 120/105.
16
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
119
________________________________________________________
Catherine II the Great’s reign, had obtained autonomy and was later
annexed by Russia. Concerning other conditions of the peace treaty, according to the chancellor, the incorporation of six districts into autonomous
Serbia and the entire fulfilment of the relevant articles of the Akerman
Convention changed this province into a de facto “independent and
powerful country because of the warlike spirit of its people”.22 The size of
the indemnities was a serious blow to Ottoman finances, and the condition
of the withdrawal of the Russian forces after the repayment of the
indemnities was considered in Vienna as highly injurious to the sultan’s
authority. Owing to the territorial gains in Asia, Russia became a factual
master of Ottoman Armenia and a moderator of Asia Minor. The cession of
the mouth of the Danube to Russia, as Metternich later added, was likewise
detrimental to Austria as well as to the Ottoman Empire, and he described it
as depriving the former of the navigation of the river.23 For the Danube
Monarchy, the islands were in no case only a tiny, unimportant strip of land
as some historians claim.24 The delineation of the frontiers of still
autonomous Greece according to the protocol of March 22, 1829, created a
new power in the Mediterranean allied with Russia. In short, on September
26, 1829, Metternich still considered the treaty as fatal to the independence
of the Ottoman Empire and as placing that empire at the mercy of Russia. In
his opinion, the sultan ceased to be the sovereign of an independent
empire.25
Therefore, the chancellor did not share Ottenfels’s regret about the fact
that Austria had been excluded from the peace talks and that the internuncio
had not been invited to the negotiations by the representatives of Great
Britain, France, Prussia or by the Ottoman dignitaries. On the contrary,
Metternich thanked “the heavens for the escape from the necessity to
cooperate in a work of destruction”.26 Nevertheless, he entirely agreed with
Ottenfels’s extensive analysis of the peace conditions.27 The internuncio
regarded the treaty as “the hardest, the most humiliating that had ever been
Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, September 26, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, October 17, 1829, NA, FO 120/104.
24 Alan PALMER, Metternich. Councillor of Europe, London 1972, p. 242; Alan SKED,
Metternich and Austria. An Evaluation, New York 2008, p. 84. Metternich’s negative
attitude towards the Russian annexation of the Danubian Delta did not later change.
25 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, September 26, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
26 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 10, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38; Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, September 26, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
27 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 17, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
22
23
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Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
dictated by a victor to a weak enemy”.28 Apart from the territorial losses in
Asia and the enormous indemnities imposed on the Porte, he considered as
rather problematic the clause obliging the Ottomans to ensure the free
navigation of commercial vessels through the Straits. Russia reserved the
right to consider every merest infraction of this obligation as an act of
hostility and a justified reason for the declaration of war. Any incident, no
important how insignificant, thus gave the tsar the authorization to open a
new campaign against Constantinople.29
Ottenfels naturally came out in particular against two clauses of the
agreement that directly touched the Austrian interests: the annexation of the
Danubian Delta with Sulina and the military occupation of the Principalities
until the repayment of the indemnities. The obligation to destroy several
fortresses on the right bank of the Danube and the recognition of the
autonomous status of both Principalities de facto deprived the Porte of these
lands and put them into Russian hands. Austria would lose its influence in
Moldavia and Wallachia. In short: The treaty ought to have serious
consequences for the Ottoman Empire and, even though the Moslem inhabitants seemed to be peaceful, the Greeks, the Armenians or the numerous
Slavs living within the empire obtained an incentive for an eventual battle
for complete independence. However, this did not concern the Serbs, the
Moldavians or the Wallachians, who, in Ottenfels’s opinion, had already in
reality obtained it. There was nothing that Metternich could add to these
views and he reacted only with these words: “The overview that you have
pithily and in detail outlined of the peace and its influence on the future
existence of the Porte and of its consequences is unfortunately only too
accurate.”30
In the course of September, Metternich talked with some sarcasm
about the moderation that the tsar had often proclaimed during the war and
his promise that he would not seize any territory in Europe. The chancellor
was sceptical at least about the first promise because the word “moderation”
had too wide an interpretation.31 He wrote to the Austrian envoy in Berlin,
Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 25, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38.
29 Though Metternich shared Ottenfels’s opinion of the article in a contract, he thought it
ought to be understood more as a threat than strictly literally. De Bray to Ludwig I von
Bayern, Vienna, October 22, 1829, Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv in München (henceforth: BHStA), Ministerium des königlichen Hauses und des Äußern (henceforth: MA),
Wien 2402.
30 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 17, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
31 Metternich to Ficquelmont, Plas, September 1, 1829, HHStA, StA, Russland III, 88;
Metternich to Apponyi, Vienna, September 17, 1829, HHStA, StA, Frankreich 271.
28
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
121
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Count Joseph von Trauttmannsdorff-Weinsberg, on September 10, 1829:
“Embarking on a large enterprise upon only a condition of confidence in
the moderation of one of the contractual parties is not formulating a
sensible policy, it is seeking an adventure. Moderation is always a relative
quality; its application is a matter of many variables, as well as of the
situations to which it can be applied. Founding a large and common
political enterprise upon a mere guaranty of moderation is like blowing in
the wind, it is gambling the future over a map, it is finally engaging in a
round in which the players are exposed to the highest probability of
losses.”32 Though Metternich expected that the peace conditions would be a
lethal poison that would give more years of life to the empire of the crescent
moon but that would finally deprive it of life and would lead to its
downfall,33 he did not presume that Russia would aspire to territorial gains
in the Continent.34 Considering the promises and the surprising seizure of
the Danubian Delta, the chancellor regarded the peace conditions as harsh.35
They did not comply with the hopes that had been nurtured in Vienna as a
consequence of the tsar’s moderate statements. Despite this fact, Metternich
could not and did not blame Nicholas I for taking advantage of the situation
for his own benefit.36
Metternich’s proclaimed antipathy towards the peace settlement
abated at the turn of September and October 1829. Even though he still
considered the situation within the Ottoman Empire to be serious, with
regard to the events accompanying the signing of the treaty he saw in the
Russian conditions a certain proof of moderation and he did not claim any
more that the Treaty of Adrianople was a blow to the Ottoman dominion in
Europe and that it would inevitably cause its fall.37 From Metternich’s
correspondence and talks with foreign diplomats, it is obvious that relief
that „a great disorder has been terminated“ replaced consternation.38 Now,
Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Plas, September 10, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132.
Montmorency-Laval to Polignac, Vienna, September 11, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
34 Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, September 8, 1829, NA, FO 120/105; Metternich to
Trauttmannsdorff, Plas, August 25, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132.
35 Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, September 24 and 26, 1829, NA, FO 120/105.
36 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, September 26, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA
I, Nr. 6013.
37 However, it is true that some sigh can be found also in Metternich’s correspondence
written during October 1829. For example, in his instructions for Ottenfels he talked
about the peace as “an unfortunate result”. Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 17,
1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
38 Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Vienna, September 29, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen
132.
32
33
122
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
he manifested his satisfaction39 and appreciated the restoration of peace that
finished not only the war but also the unhappy Greek affair that had been its
cause.40 The joy at the end of the conflict prevailed in Vienna, and, despite
the unconcealed concerns about the consequences that the peace treaty
could have for the Porte, the cabinet was well aware of the fact that the
sultan had not been able to obtain better conditions owing to the Porte’s
hopeless situation.41 The continuation of the war could be beneficial neither
to the Porte nor to Austria, and it could cause only a general conflagration
welcomed only by the enemies of the order. Therefore, Metternich did not
speak about the peace in such dark tones any more and presented it as “an
immense boon”.42 He did not think any more about “new political
combinations or a new system of alliances”43 and even though he did not
conceal that he wished that the Ottomans had not had to sign such a
disadvantageous treaty,44 he did not agree with British Prime Minister Duke
Wellington, who found its conditions as incompatible with the further
existence of the sultan’s Empire.45
In the first half of October, Metternich solved an almost philosophical
question as to whether the peace conditions should be generally considered
moderate or immoderate. How difficult the answer was is evident from
Metternich’s instructions to the Austrian ambassador in St. Petersburg,
Count Ludwig Ficquelmont: “It is essential to distinguish between two
questions: it is necessary to separate the question of the end of the RussianTurkish war and the question of influence that this [end] will have to have
on Europe from that of the peace conditions and their effects, both on the
respective positions of two reconciled Empires and on other European
countries. The first of these two matters, the end of the war, must be
included not only among the most fortunate events but also it must be
welcomed as conditio sine qua non; I do not say the triumph of the system
of conservation but rather a possibility that the system of political disorder
will be forced to postpone the triumph to which its adherents looked
De Bray to Ludwig I von Bayern, Vienna, October 22, 1829, BHStA, MA, Wien 2402.
Schwebel to Polignac, Vienna, October 1, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
41 Schwebel to Polignac, Vienna, October 10, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
42 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 2, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39;
Metternich to Ficquelmont, Vienna, October 5, 1839, HHStA, StA, Russland III, 88.
43 Schwebel to Polignac, Vienna, November 14, 1829, AAE, CP, Autriche 411.
44 Rayneval to Polignac, Vienna, January 25, 1830, AAE, CP, Autriche 412.
45 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 28, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188;
Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, October 27, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA I,
Nr. 6013.
39
40
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
123
________________________________________________________
forward.”46 In other words, for the situation in Europe the convention was
beneficial and thus moderate, but for the Ottoman Empire it was not so
moderate because “each of its stipulations ruins the rest of Ottoman
independence”.47 However, it was not the whole conclusion. A week later,
the chancellor declared in his instructions to Trauttmannsdorff: “The peace
has terminated the Russian-Turkish war. Its conditions are moderate or
ominous, depending on where the judge who must pronouce is located. It
has saved the Ottoman Empire from its inevitable perdition only to place
the existence of the empire in a precarious situation.”48 In short: The
conditions were moderate regarding the situation of the Porte at the
moment of concluding the peace, but immoderate regarding the consequences for its future.49
In the interest of the renewal of good relations with Russia that had
considerably deteriorated during the war, Metternich did not show his
disconcertion in the presence of the Russian ambassador in Vienna, D. P.
Tatishchev. Although in talks with the British ambassador, Lord Cowley, the
Austrian chancellor still talked about the peace as destructive for the Porte
as a power, and about the occupation of the Principalities as a perpetual
thorn in the side of Austria, he did not come out with any remonstrances
upon any article of the treaty50 and the Austrian official statements relating
to the peace were also rather reserved.51 With respect to the good relations
between Berlin and St. Petersburg, Metternich did not hesitate to assure the
Prussian envoy, Bogislaw Freiherr von Maltzahn, at the end of September
1829 that owing to the brilliant success of the tsar’s forces, the peace
conditions had to be regarded as moderate.52 The chancellor informed him
with the same caution of Ottenfels’s strong criticism of the peace conditions
as being the opinions of one Austrian diplomat and not the entire Austrian
cabinet.53 Emperor Francis I congratulated Nicholas I on the ending of the
war, but he did not express his opinion of the treaty. Tatishchev, who read
Francis I’s letter before its despatch, noticed that no remark about the tsar’s
moderation towards the Porte had been made and expressed his concern
Metternich to Ficquelmont, Vienna, October 5, 1839, HHStA, StA, Russland III, 88.
Ibid.
48 Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Vienna, October 12, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132.
49 Metternich to Ficquelmont, Vienna, October 5, 1839, HHStA, StK, Russland III, 88.
50 Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, October 4, 1829, NA, FO 120/104.
51 De Bray to Ludwig I von Bayern, Vienna, October 22, 1829, BHStA, MA, Wien 2402.
52 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, September 29, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA
I, Nr. 6013.
53 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, October 16, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA I,
Nr. 6013.
46
47
124
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
that this could be viewed with regret in St. Petersburg. Metternich replied:
“It is not necessary in a letter of mere congratulation upon the termination
of the war to comment on the conditions of the peace, and I think you may
be satisfied with our silence upon that text.”54 As it happened, the letter
came up to expectations and had favourable response in St. Petersburg.55
Metternich’s reaction to the Treaty of Adrianople was not only passive.
Though he could do nothing with the Russian seizure of the Danubian Delta,
at least he tried to hasten the Russian withdrawal from the Principalities.
According to the chancellor, the “deplorable duration”56 of their withdrawal
was the most dangerous result of the Russian-Ottoman war.57 Already in the
course of the summer of 1829, he was disquieted by some Russian plans for
the reform of the Principalities, for example by a planned election of a prince
and the creation of a local army. Such a reform could provoke the local
leaders’ struggle for independence and increase Russian influence.58 He was
also disconcerted by Russian General P. F. Zheltukhin’s proclamation
preceding the assembly of boyars. According to Metternich, the Russians
tried to create a political constitution for both lands,59 which was an entirely
justified concern.60
The only way to the earlier withdrawal of the Russian forces was a
quick repayment of the Ottoman indemnities. The treaty enabled such a
possibility, but the problem lay in the fact that the Porte was unable, after
many years of battles with the Greeks and the exhausting war with its
powerful northern neighbour, to obtain such an enormous amount.61 The
advantage of a faster repayment was thus only illusionary. Any European
power would have been able to solve such a complicated situation by a loan,
but the sultan had no similar opportunities in his country.62 Therefore,
Metternich started to deal with the possibility of acquiring for the Porte a
loan of 300 million francs to be provided by European bankers. Even though
Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, October 17, 1829, NA, FO 120/104.
Ficquelmont to Metternich, St. Petersburg, October 28, 1829, HHStA, StA, Russland
III, 86.
56 Metternich to Ficquelmont, Vienna, October 5, 1839, HHStA, StA, Russland III, 88.
57 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 2, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
58 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, July 13, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188;
Brockhausen to Frederick William III, Vienna, July 19, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA I,
Nr. 6013.
59 Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Vienna, August 4, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132,
with attached General Zheltukhin’s note to the Walachian Divan, June 21, 1829.
60 See BITIS, p. 442.
61 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 25, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38.
62 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 4, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
54
55
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
125
________________________________________________________
the chancellor was well aware of the difficulties accompanying such an
arrangement, he and his associate Gentz considered its execution to be of
considerable importance for Austrian interests.63 It is clearly evident not
only from Metternich’s correspondence but also from foreign diplomats’
reports how much he cared about the evacuation of the European part of the
Ottoman Empire.64
The first issue was to find financially strong enough bankers willing to
offer the loan. A considerable number of prominent bankers and capitalists
in Vienna expressed their willingness to consider the plan.65 The Parisian
bankers approached by Austrian Ambassador Count Anton Apponyi were
also prepared to offer the money, but they demanded an excessive rate of 20
percent interest as well as the guarantees of Great Britain, France and
Austria.66 Metternich understood the justice of the claim on the guarantees
and because, as he laconically declared, “the lenders are needed and they
demand guarantees”,67 he turned in this matter to the governments in
London and Paris.68 However, in London Duke Wellington as well as
Foreign Secretary Lord Aberdeen were opposed to the underwriting of
guarantees.69 Prince Esterházy met with the latter in the second half of
November 1829 to discuss with him the loan for the Porte. Aberdeen pointed
out the problems accompanying the execution of the plan and mentioned
the fact that Nicholas I had promised the reduction of indemnities.
Therefore, it would be premature to undertake anything until the tsar’s
decision was known. Though he would welcome the success of the plan, the
British cabinet could do nothing in the matter.70
French Premier Jules August Armand Marie Prince Polignac also
raised similar objections at the end of October 1829. He found the whole
scheme premature until the moment when the modifications of the peace
treaty were known. He also demured that the Porte would refuse the loan
because the payment of interests was incompatible with the religious canons
Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, October 9, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA I,
Nr. 6013.
64 Maltzahn to Frederick William III, Vienna, November 14, 1829, GStA PK, HA III, MdA
I, Nr. 6013.
65 Bartillat to Apponyi, undated, attached to Apponyi to Metternich, Paris, December 23,
1829, HHStA, StA, Frankreich 270.
66 Apponyi to Metternich, Paris, October 22, 1829, HHStA, StA, Frankreich 270.
67 Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Vienna, October 12, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132.
68 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 4, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
69 Esterházy to Metternich, London, October 12, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 186.
70 Esterházy to Metternich, London, November 27, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 186.
63
126
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
of Islam.71 Apponyi’s prediction that France would refuse to participate in
the plan proved to be true two days before Christmas Eve when Polignac
informed the Austrian ambassador about the French government’s definite
decision to abstain from any cooperation that could cause serious problems
to France. Moreover, Paris had formerly declined to participate in a loan for
Spanish King Ferdinand VII. The Spanish interests were naturally more
important for the Parisian cabinet than those of the Porte. Consequently,
Polignac saw no reason to grant Mahmud II something that had been
refused to Ferdinand VII.72
Metternich had to proceed alone. Despite this fact he won over the
members of the powerful Rothschilds family, in Vienna as well as in London,
to the plan. They were prepared to open negotiations on the condition of the
Russian consent.73 In this respect, Metternich obviously succeeded, probably
owing to the Prussian support.74 Regarding the riskiness of the plan, the
Rothschilds also found it necessary to obtain the guarantees of one or more
of the Great Powers. They naturally also expected guarantees on the part of
the Porte.75 However, even after the refusal of the Western powers, they
were still prepared to negotiate, even if not with much enthusiasm,76 but
they still insisted on the provision of the guarantees by the sultan. In
Ottenfels’s opinion, the silver and copper mines in Asia Minor and
construction timber could serve this purpose.77 According to Metternich, the
tributes from the Danubian Principalities, Serbia and still autonomous
Greece could be added. These revenues could be controlled by the powers.78
It was more difficult to persuade the Porte to accept the loan than to find
the lender. At the beginning of October, the internuncio had already been
charged with the investigation into the Ottoman financial state of affairs and
the assessment as to whether Mahmud II could not hasten the repayment.79
In the second half of October, Ottenfels was instructed to advise the sultan
Apponyi to Metternich, Paris, October 29, 1829, HHStA, StA, Frankreich 270.
Apponyi to Metternich, Paris, December 23, 1829, HHStA, StA, Frankreich 270.
73 Cowley to Aberdeen, Vienna, November 8, 1829, NA, FO 120/104; Metternich to
Ottenfels, Vienna, October 17, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
74 Metternich to Trauttmannsdorff, Vienna, October 12, 1829, HHStA, StK, Preussen 132.
The degree of the Prussian involvement in the affair and the Russian attitude must be
answered upon a thorough research of the archival correspondence housed in Berlin and
Moscow.
75 Esterházy to Metternich, London, November 27, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 186.
76 De Bray to Ludwig I von Bayern, Vienna, May 18, 1830, BHStA, MA, Wien 2403.
77 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 25, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI,
38.
78 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 28, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
79 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 2, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39.
71
72
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
127
________________________________________________________
to consider the acceptance of the loan if he did not find any other source of
income.80
Ottenfels described the situation of the Ottoman treasury in rather
dismal terms. In his opinion, the sultan would be unable to secure the
money needed for faster repayment of the debt. Moreover, Ottoman Foreign
Minister Pertev Efendi declared that the Porte was absolutely unable to
repay the indemnities in full. Nevertheless, at first, the Porte refused to
contemplate borrowing money and counted on the tsar’s generosity.81 This
attitude was probably caused by Pertev Efendi’s dislike of the loan. The
change did not occur until the accession of a new Foreign Minister, Mehmed
Hamid Bey, in the second half of January 1830.82
The aversion of the Porte caused delay in the opening of direct
negotiations with the Rothschilds, the negotiations preferred by Metternich
to make sure that the sultan was in good hands and would not fall victim to
speculators.83 Since Russia agreed to the offering of the loan, Metternich and
the Rothschilds agreed upon the sending of an agent of the banking house to
Constantinople who would learn the financial revenues of the Ottoman
Empire and the sources utilizable for the guarantees.84 Finally, Mr
Goldsmith was chosen.85 He arrived in the Ottoman capital on May 7, 1830,
and opened talks with Ottenfels’s full support. The internuncio was
instructed to persuade the Porte to conclude an agreement with the
Rothschilds86 and to draw the sultan’s attention to the fact that an eventual
contract would hasten the departure of the Russians from the occupied
provinces, which would be considerably advantageous for the Porte: it would
gain their tributes for its treasury.87
Goldsmith wanted to secure the loan by the production of the copper
mines in Asia Minor and the monopolies on the trade with silk and opium.
In this matter, Ottenfels was not very optimistic.88 This scepticism proved to
be well founded in July 1830 when the Porte officially refused to take a loan
Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, October 17, 1829, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 39; Cowley
to Aberdeen, Vienna, October 17, 1829, PRO, FO 120/104.
81 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, October 26 and November 10, 1829, HHStA,
StA, Türkei VI, 38
82 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, January 25 and March 10, 1830, HHStA, StA,
Türkei VI, 50.
83 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, October 28, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
84 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, April 10, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 51.
85 De Bray to Ludwig I von Bayern, Vienna, May 18, 1830, BHStA, MA, Wien 2403.
86 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, April 10, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 51.
87 Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, February 17, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 51.
88 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, May 10 and June 11, 1830, HHStA, StA,
Türkei VI, 50.
80
128
Miroslav Šedivý
______________________________________________________________
from the Rothschilds. The official reason for the rejection was an alleged
sufficient supply of money, which the sultan had at his disposal and planned
to use to cover the financial obligations towards Russia. Ottenfels regarded
this explanation as untrue because the sultan’s financial need was generally
well known. The internuncio saw the real reason for the refusal in “the sense
of impotence to offer a sufficient security or a guarantee to the House of
Rothschilds for covering the loan”.89
There are questions whether the delayed sending of Mr Goldsmith in
the spring of 1830 was caused only by Pertev Effendi’s attitude towards
borrowing money and whether the refusal was caused only by the abovementioned reasons or whether there was some impact of the Russo-Ottoman
negotiations in St. Petersburg about the moderation of some clauses of the
Treaty of Adrianople on both issues. The Porte had strived to achieve the
changes in the treaty since September 1829 when it decided to send its
negotiator Halil Pasha to the Russian capital.90 Though it is impossible to
offer a clear answer to these questions from the documents researched by
this essay’s author, it is possible to explain Metternich’s opinion of the tsar’s
moderate conduct towards the Ottoman Empire, in particular his promise to
decrease the war indemnities and not to occupy the Principalities for the
agreed period of 10 years.91 The first promise became reality on April 26,
1830, when Nicholas I reduced the war indemnities to 8 million ducats that
could, under certain circumstances, be reduced by another million. The
second promise of the earlier withdrawal was fulfilled in 1834 when the
Russians recalled all their troops from the Ottoman dominion in Europe.92
The Austrian chancellor viewed these concessions with scepticism
because according to him they did not result from the tsar’s generosity but
rather from necessity. The military occupation of the Principalities was a
burden for the local inhabitants and it was better for Russia not to burden
them and thus risk losing their allegiance.93 Regarding the amount imposed
on the Porte, it was considered to be unrealistic and unpayable. Consequently, Nicholas I did nothing other than demonstrate his recognition of
Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, July 26, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 50,
with an attached Mustafa Bey’s letter to Mr. Rothschild (to Vienna), Constantinople, July
11, 1830.
90 Ottenfels to Metternich, Constantinople, September 25 and October 26, 1829, HHStA,
StA, Türkei VI, 38.
91 Ficquelmont to Metternich, St. Petersburg, September 30 and October 28, 1829,
HHStA, StA, Russland III, 86.
92 BITIS, pp. 376–377.
93 Metternich to Esterházy, Vienna, November 15, 1829, HHStA, StA, England 188.
89
The Attitude of Chancellor Metternich...
129
________________________________________________________
these facts by his would-be generous gesture.94 Despite the reduction of the
indemnities, Metternich maintained a position that Mahmud II would still
have to pay too much and even if he had the money at his disposal, which
was precisely what the chancellor doubted, the repayment would still be a
burden for the Ottoman Empire, and this led Metternich to continue
supporting the idea of the loan until the sultan’s firm rejection of it in July
1830.95
In conclusion, the result of the Russian-Ottoman war strengthened the
tsar’s influence within the sultan’s empire, particularly in the Caucasus and
the Balkans. If the first territory had no importance for the Habsburg
Empire, the fate of the latter was crucial for Austrian interests. The Russian
annexation of Sulina and the several year long occupation of the
Principalities allowing the Russian reformative activities in Moldavia and
Wallachia were undoubtedly serious defeats for Metternich, who was well
aware of this. However, he welcomed the ending of the conflict and the
Greeks’ struggle for independence because he saw peace in the Levant as an
important prerequisite for general stability in Europe. The fact that hopes
for a stable future and the restoration of diplomatic ties between all
European Powers were not satisfied in the following months and years was
to be another painful blow to him.
94
95
Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, May 20, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 51.
Metternich to Ottenfels, Vienna, April 10, 1830, HHStA, StA, Türkei VI, 51.
Arthur Gobineau and Greece: A view
of a man of letters and diplomat
Ivo Budil
Arthur Gobineau1 (1816–1882) entered the history of Western political
thinking as one of the key founders of modern racial ideology. In addition to
Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Georges Vacher de Lapouge Gobineau
was often considered to be linked directly with the origin of Nazi racist
totalitarianism. However, some authors argued that in the light of the
character of Gobineau’s work such an evaluation was a considerable
simplification. For instance, Pierre-André Taguieff labelled Gobineau a
“pessimistic racist” in his book La Couleur et le sang, Doctrines racistes à la
française (1998), for Gobineau’s fatalistic philosophy of history differed
substantially from Gustav Le Bon’s activist ideology (an evolutionary and
socially Darwinist racist) and Georges Vacher de Lapouge (an eugenic
racist). Gobineau’s pessimistic fatalism reflects a belief in the unsustainability of civilised life as such as a consequence of racial interbreeding. This
contradicts the spirit of Hitler’s racist revolution striving for a radical
Arthur Gobineau is in most studies referred to as Arthur de Gobineau or even Comte
Arthur de Gobineau. In this way researchers are deceived by Gobineau’s own
mystification because this writer came from a middle-class family, was not of aristocratic
origin and was not entitled to use the title. The last will written by Gobineau’s grandgrand-father Pierre-Joseph, “conseiller du Roi honoraire en la cour des aides et finances
de Guyenne, demeurant à Bordeaux, rue Porte-Dijeaux, paroisse Puipaulin”, on 3 March
1769 is signed merely “Gobineau” without any title. His two children, Jean Gobineau and
Thibault-Joseph Gobineau, “conseiller du Roi au Parlament de Bordeaux”, did not have
an aristocratic form of their names, either. The birth certificate of Joseph-Arthur
Gobineau of Ville-d’Avray dated 20 October 1816 does not bear a title. Arthur Gobineau
first used it when he was dealing with formalities connected to his wedding in 1846 (Jean
BOISSEL, Gobineau, biographie, mythes et réalité, Paris 1993, p. 35). Arthur de
Gobineau first passed himself off as a “Comte” in 1853, when he held the position of first
secretary of the French embassy in Bern (BOISSEL, p. 36). Maxime du Camp wrote
in Souvenirs littéraires published in 1881 and 1882 in La Revue des Deux Mondes that
“Gobineau’s uncle was a grocer in Bordeaux. All Gobineau claims about his origin is a lie”
(Tout ce qui touche à l’origine de Gobineaux est faux; cit. BOISSEL, p. 34). He suffered
from “nobility obsession” (Il avait la folie de la noblesse; cit. BOISSEL, p. 34).
1
132
Ivo Budil
______________________________________________________________
reconstruction of society on the grounds of social Darwinism.2 Despite these
objections academic circles still hold the opinion expressed by Stephen Jay
Gould, who considers Arthur Gobineau “the father of modern scientific
racism“3 and “the most influential academic racist of the 19th century”.4
Taguieff’s remark that after Arthur Gobineau too automatically identified
1945 rejecting Gobineau with anti-fascism and the work became “the shame
of France” sparked off criticism.5 Fears of possible convergence between
studying Arthur Gobineau and the ideology of the New Right mean that in
the present socially and ethnically disturbed France interest in this author’s
literary legacy is on the ebb again. Not even attempts by A. B. Duff, Jean
Gaulmier and Jean Boissel,6 who intended to present Gobineau especially as
a remarkable representative of French Late Romanticism, one whom Jean
Mistler labelled “the greatest of the unknowns of the nineteenth century”,
were successful.7
This study is not intended to interpret Gobineau's main “racist“ work
Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (1853–1855), the reception of
which has so far been rather contradictory. I will try to show that the
historical pessimism, fatalism and conservatism, which are the key features
of the Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines as well as all of Gobineau’s
later works is not an inherent feature underlying Gobineau’s entire legacy.
The thinking of Gobineau, though perhaps always tending towards
aristocratic and romantic exclusiveness, underwent a certain development
and showed a certain degree of flexibility. This fact is best proved by
Charles Maurras, the founder and leader of French rightist movement Action française,
spoke about “incompetent Gobineau” (BOISSEL, p. 13), and, on the other hand, stressed
the merits of Fustel de Coulanges (Charles MAURRAS, Réflexions sur la révolution de
1789, Paris 1948, p. IV). Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a true representative of
pangermanism, considered Gobineau’s theories to be “disagreeable” and his philosophy
to be “unbearable” (BOISSEL, p. 13).
3 Stephen Jay GOULD, Jak neměřit člověka, Pravda a předsudky v dějinách hodnocení
lidské inteligence, Praha 1997, p. 368.
4 GOULD, p. 369.
5 http://www.geocities.com/demainlemonde/books/taguieff.htm, 16.1. 2008.
6 Etudes gobiniennes, a professional periodical published from 1966 to 1978 and founded
by A. B. Duff from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Jean Gaulmier, who worked at
University in Strasbourg for twenty years and published two studies on Gobineau (Le
Spectre de Gobineau, Paris 1965; Gobineau et sa fortune littéraire, Paris 1971). Jean
Boissel was the author of Gobineau polémiste (1967), Gobineau, l’Orient et l’Iran (1973),
Gobineau (1816–1882), Un Don Quichotte tragique (1981) and Gobineau, biographie,
mythe et réalité (1993) and the editor of three-volume comprehensive edition of
Gobineau’s works within Bibliothèque de la Pléiade (Gobineau, Oeuvres,1983, 1987,
Scaramouche, Essais sur l’inégalité des races humaines, Mademoiselle Irnois a
Nouvelles asiatiques).
7 “Plus grand méconnu du XIXe siècle” (BOISSEL, p. 18).
2
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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pointing at Gobineau's interpretation of a phenomenon which he was
interested in as a diplomat and man of letters: the struggle for Greek
independence at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Arthur Gobineau
was not an unbiased observer. He served in Athens from 1864 to 1868 as
French ambassador representing the imperial regime of Napoleon III. In
many respects, this was the climactic point of his diplomatic career. And
Gobineau devoted two important studies to the Greek issue as well as the
question of the East in the context of international relations. The first of
these, entitled Capodistrias, was published in 1841, i.e. when he was twentyfive and had to make his way with difficulty as a poor Parisian publicist,
while the other, Le Royaume des Hellènes, was published in 1878, after he
had resigned from his position as ambassador in Sweden.8
Ironically enough, Arthur Gobineau, a conservative opponent of the
French Revolution was born on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, 14
July 1816, in Ville-d’Avray on the outskirts of Paris.9 His father, Louis
Gobineau moved from Bordeaux to Paris with his wife, Madeleine, in July
1812. As a convinced royalist Louis helped the Polignac brothers, supporters
of the Bourbons, to escape. The role he played in the event was revealed and
he was imprisoned in Sainte-Pélagie, where he stayed until he was freed by
the allied forces, which arrived in Paris in March 1814.10 As soon as
Napoleon had returned from Elba Louis followed Louis XVIII into his exile
in Ghent. After the battle of Waterloo, Louis XVIII named him captain of the
second regiment of the Royal Guard, on 23 October 1815.11 However, his
family’s financial situation was still gloomy.12 Louis Gobineau was promoted
to the position of commander of the 27th Infantry Regiment and was sent
south to the Pyrenees on 4 December 1822 within preparations for the
invasion of Spain.13 Meanwhile Madeleine Gobineau, who possessed an
adventurous spirit, worked under a false name and would often break the
law, took little Arthur and his sisters Caroline and Suzanne to eastern
France. Then she hid in Baden and Switzerland with her lover. In Inzlingen,
near the spa of Lörrach fourteen-year old Arthur Gobineau learnt to speak
Treatise Capodistrias was published on 15 April in La Revue des Deux Mondes; Le
Royaume des Hellènes v Le Correspondant. Both studies included a foreword by Ludwig
SCHEMAN under the title of Deux Études sur la Grèce Moderne in 1905 (Paris).
9 In July 1867 Gobineau wrote to his sister Caroline: „Je suis né le 14 juillet, et on a pris la
Bastile en même temps. Ce qui prouve que les extrêmes se touchent“ (BOISSEL, p. 24).
10 BOISSEL, p. 43.
11 Ibidem, p. 44.
12 Ibidem.
13 Ibidem, p. 45.
8
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German well14 and in Biel, Switzerland, allegedly became engaged in the
study of Oriental languages, especially Persian, at the local grammar
school.15 Louis Gobineau was released from military service in June 1831
and settled in the Brittany harbour town of Lorient, where he took control
over the upbringing of his children.16
The eighteenth century saw proud vessels belonging to the Francebased La Compagnie des Indes depart from the harbour of Lorient, as is
indicated by its name, and thus make Colbert’s long-cherished vision of the
global domination of Louis XIV’s France come true, fighting the British
rivals for the legacy of the Indian realm of the Great Mughals. And it is
Lorient where Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperon, a legendary
Orientalist, boarded the Duc d’Aquitaine on 7 February 1755 to search for
relics of Zarathrustra’s teaching in Surat and involuntarily witnessed Robert
Clive putting an end to Joseph François Dupleix’s dream of “la domination
française dans l’Inde”.17
Arthur Gobineau, fascinated by the exotic East, had problems
maintaining discipline at the Lyceum. The head teacher of the school wrote
(falsely) about him that he must be “a son of one of the Chouans, the
country’s most notorious”.18 In June 1835 Arthur failed - perhaps much to
his own relief - the entrance exams at the military academy of Saint-Cyr.19
By the end of September 1835, at the age of nineteen, Arthur Gobineau took
a step which, as Balzac noted was made by twelve hundred young men per
year at that time: he left for Paris.20 His goal corresponded with the spirit of
the time – he wanted to win fame in the field of literature.21 He had fifty
francs in his pocket. 22
Ibidem, p. 48.
„De cette manière, les premières bases de ce qui devait être l’attrait de toute sa vie
étaient déjà posées et sa vocation d’orientaliste à peu près résolue“ (BOISSEL, p. 49).
Arthur de Gobineau’s early intelectual development, see Janine BUENZOD, La
Formation de la pensée de Gobineau, Paris 1967, and Jean BOISSEL, Gobineau, l’Orient
et l’Iran, Paris 1973.
16 BOISSEL, p. 50.
17 Ivo BUDIL, Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperron: Clash of Orientalists in the
Eighteenth Century India. Prague Papers on the History of International Relations 2007,
pp. 63–81.
18 BOISSEL, p. 51.
19 BOISSEL, p. 51.
20 Honoré de BALZAC, Ztracené iluse, Praha 1963, p. 176.
21 BOISSEL, p. 53. On 5 June 1836 Gobineau wrote to Caroline: „Je dois réussir ou
mourir“ (BOISSEL, p. 21).
22 René GUISE, Le poète malchanceux ou les débuts littéraires d’Arthur de Gobineau,
Études gobiniennes. 1966, 1, pp. 159–215, p. 164.
14
15
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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At the end of the eighteen-thirties and beginning of the eighteenforties Romanticism, which had been prophesized by Chateaubriand, Goethe
and Byron, was culminating. French literature dominated Victor Hugo,
Alfred de Vigny, Lamartine, Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, Alfred de
Musset, Honoré de Balzac and Théophile Gautier. This group was
surrounded by hundreds of “minor poets” (poetae minores), who toiled to
reach the peak of Mount Olympus.23
Gobineau worked in Compagnie française d’éclairage par le gaz,24
visited the Legitimist saloons (Madame de la Serre), wrote poetry, which he
showed to his alleged real father Armand de Maistre,25 translated from
German and Persian,26 compiled entries for the encyclopaedia,27 tried with
occasional success to break through in various literary papers (La Mode,
L’Echo de Jeune France, Le Populaire Royaliste) and together with Hercule
de Serre, Paul de Molènes, Henri Rolland de Villarceaux, Edmond de
Labrador and two other young writers established a group named Scelti or
Cousins d’Isis around 1840.
This introductory period of Gobineau’s development as a man of
letters was symbolically crowned on 22 October 1841, when he sent a more
extensive article about Capodistrias, a Greek politician, to the editors of the
prestigious periodical La Revue des Deux Mondes. The article was accepted
and published on 15 April 1841.28 This event was important for Gobineau. It
was the first time his name had appeared in the company of authors such as
Théophile Gautier, Philarète Charles, Sainte-Beuve, George Sand, Alphonse
de Lamartine and Edgar Quinet. Gobineau also introduced himself as a
surprisingly mature and educated political commentator. The study
anticipated his later diplomatic career.29
While he was preparing the study dealing with Capodistrias, Gobineau
was seriously considering the idea of establishing Revue de l’Orient with a
clearly set ideological and political programme, with the aid of Greek
ambassador John Colletis and the Cousins d’Isis. The programme was based
on the idea of resurrecting the Greek, Wallachian and Slavonic national
Maxime DU CAMP, Souvenirs littéraires III, La Revue des Deux Mondes. 1881, 46, pp.
481–515, p. 488.
24 GUISE, p. 165.
25 Ibidem, p. 168.
26 Ibidem, pp. 175–176.
27 L’Encyclopédie catholique or l’Encyclopédie du XIXe siècle (GUISE, p. 176).
28 The text on Capodistrias was together with Le Royaume des Hellènes, a more extensive
treatise, published in a book entitled Deux Études sur la Grèce Moderne in 1905 in
Librairie Plon, Paris.
29 Arthur de GOBINEAU, Deux Études sur la Grèce Moderne, Paris 1905.
23
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spirit, expelling the Turks, putting a stop to Russian expansionism and
freeing Eastern Christians.30 The first issue was supposed to come out on 15
April 1841; Gobineau had already written the Introduction and an article
titled Conspiration des Philorthodoxes en 1839.31 The founders of this
journal were, however short of money and the project collided with Revue
Oriental, a rival periodical, which Dr. Barrachin tried to publish in the first
half of 1841, though unsuccessfully.32 Gobineau did not deny his diplomatic
self and made sure beforehand that the Turkish ambassador would not raise
any significant objections to this idea! The representative of the Sultan did
not have to bother about the young writer's intentions, for the radical
periodical never came into existence.33
Why did Arthur Gobineau choose Count John Capodistrias (1776–
1831), a Greek politician? One who spent many years in Russian service only
to become the head of an independent Greece later on? Probably, becoming
acquainted with John Colettis, a Greek ambassador in Paris, played the key
role.34 This diplomat, who represented his country in France from 1835 to
1844 was former physician of the Ali Pasha of Yannina. He joined the
liberation movement and, being an illustrious fighter and cunning politician,
he was, like Sulla before, labelled “half lion and half fox”.35 In 1844, Otto I,
King of Greece authorised him to preside over the government, in which
position he remained until his death in 1847.36 Gobineau met Colletis in mid
1840 and the ambassador is likely to have been the key source of inspiration
and information for Gobineau's work on Capodistrias.37 Capodistrias was
not a forgotten figure in France in the early eighteen-forties. The topic was
still controversial. Sainte-Beuve noted that Gobineau’s article in Revue des
„Reconstituer les nationalités grecque, valaque, slave (...). Jeter les Turcs à la porte
(...). Paralyser les efforts de la Russie (...). Délivrer les chrétiens d’Orient“ (Jean-Hervé
DONNARD, Pour le centenaire de l’insurrection crétoise: Arthur de Gobineau et
Gustave Flourens, frères ennemis, Etudes gobiniennes, 1967, 2, pp. 185–220, p. 192).
31 GUISE, p. 190.
32 Arthur Gobineau wrote on 12 April 1841: „Notre revue de l’Orient va du reste fort mal,
et je crains qu’elle n’échoue; mais comment se désoler d’une chose qui était à sa
naissance et dont on ne pouvait prévoir si les résultats seraient bons ou mauvais. Si donc
elle périt, j’en suis d’avance tout consolé“ (GUISE, p. 190).
33 DONNARD, p. 192.
34 Ibidem, pp. 191–192.
35 Ibidem, p. 191.
36 Pavel HRADEČNÝ et al., Dějiny Řecka, Praha 2007, pp. 309–310.
37 DONNARD, p. 191. Gobineau also drew on previously published Capodistrias’s
correspondence and book Mémoires sur le comte J.-A. Capodistrias by André
Papadopoulo-Vrétos.
30
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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Deux Mondes aroused much “anger”.38 Capodistrias was highly esteemed by
French liberals; his helpfulness towards France at the Congress of Vienna as
well as his support for Louis XVIII’s liberal policy at the beginning of the
Restoration had not been forgotten.39 Gobineau, who was influenced by
Colletis, Capodistrias’s political rival, presented a controversial portrait of
this first ruler of independent Greece.
Count John Capodistrias was born in Corfu to an ancient aristocratic
family. His ancestors had moved there from Istria in the fourteenth century
and in 1471 they were entered in the “Golden book” of Ionian aristocracy.40
The Ionian isles had for centuries played the important role of a mediator
between the Balkan and Greek populations under the rule of the Ottoman
Empire and Italy. As they were under the control of Venice, they represented
the only remnant of Orthodox Greek civilization that maintained a direct
connection with the West. Therefore, it is not mere chance that a number of
influential figures, who participated in the political and cultural revival of
Greece came from the Ionian isles.
Between 1794 and 1797 Capodistrias studied medicine in Padua and in
1799 he became the head physician of a Turkish military hospital in Corfu.41
In 1797 the French, who had just sealed the fate of the Republic of Venice,
disembarked on the Ionian isles.42 They stayed for two years. Later Russians
and Turks, who on the grounds of a treaty of 21 March 1800 established the
United States of the Ionian Isles, substituted them.43 After concluding the
Treaty of Tilsit in July 1807 the French returned to the isles, though this
time they did not represent the Republic, but the Empire. Again, they were
unable to hold the isles for a long time, for they were driven away the fleet of
Great Britain, which safeguarded its control over the isles by a treaty dated
23 April 1814.44 A treaty dated 5 November 1815 signed by the four powers
In 1831 Revue Européenne published Sur la correspodance de M. Dutra, avec M.
Capo d’Istrias pour éclairer la polémique élevée à l’occasion des derniers événements de
Grèce; in 1837 André Papadopoulo Vretos published a paper on Capodistrias, which was
answered by Édouard Grasset in Souvenirs de Grèce (GUISE, p. 188).
39 Patricia Kennedy GRIMSTED, Capodistrias and a “New Order” for Restoration
Europe: The “Liberal Ideas” of a Russian Foreign Minister, 1814–1822, The Journal of
Modern History, 1968, 40(2), pp. 166–182, pp. 186–187.
40 C.W. CRAWLEY, John Capodistrias and the Greeks before 1821, Cambridge Historical
Journal, 1957, 8(2), pp. 162–182, pp. 165–166.
41 CRAWLEY, p. 166.
42 Ionian Islands were assigned to France under Article 5 of the Campo-Formio treaty.
43 CRAWLEY, p. 166; GOBINEAU, p. 8; HRADEČNÝ et al., p. 274.
44 CRAWLEY, p. 172; HRADEČNÝ et al., p. 275.
38
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in Paris then granted the United States of the Ionian Islands independence
under Great Britain’s protection.45
Meanwhile, John Capodistrias gained favour with Count George
Mocenigo, the Russian ambassador to Corfu,46 and became a member of the
local aristocratic government at the age of twenty-five.47 He considered
Russia or, to put it more precisely, the twelve thousand Russian soldiers
deployed on the islands48 to be the most suitable guarantee of the
independence of the Ionian isles, which had lost Venetian protection against
the Ottoman and French threat. He boarded one of the last ships to depart
from the islands and bound for St. Petersburg, where he entered the service
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 1809. Very likely, this is where
Capodistrias metamorphosed from an Ionian aristocrat into a Greek patriot.
As an expert on Balkan issues he was sent to Vienna, to Russian ambassador
Count Stackelberg in September 1811.49 The following year he was appointed
the director of the diplomatic Chancery at the headquarters of Prince
Stourdza in the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia occupied by
Russia.50 However, this service was interrupted by the Napoleonic Wars and
Capodistrias was assigned to General Barclay de Tolly.51 Prior to the Battle of
Leipzig, Tsar Alexander I, who entrusted him with a difficult mission in
Switzerland, received Capodistrias. This was the beginning of Capodistrias’s
nine-year career as a top European diplomat. Gobineau, who – as we will see
– was far from idealising Capodistrias, was convinced that he could be
compared only to Talleyrand.52
From 1813 to 1814 Capodistrias proved himself, first as an agent and
later as an ambassador in Switzerland, which earned him the Order of St.
Vladimir as well as participation in the Congress of Vienna amidst
Alexander's closest advisors.53 Having returned to St. Petersburg in January
1816 Capodistrias acted as a joint foreign secretary (beside Karl Robert
Nesselrode) and dealt with Balkan issues. In 1818 Alexander I and Capodistrias visited Odessa and Kishinev, where they met representatives from
CRAWLEY, p. 172. In 1863 Ionian Islands were associated to Greece.
CRAWLEY, p. 167.
47 GOBINEAU, p. 9.
48 Ibidem.
49 CRAWLEY, p. 169.
50 CRAWLEY, p. 170; GRIMSTED, p. 173.
51 GOBINEAU, p. 17.
52 „C’est, à côté de M. Talleyrand, le nom le plus essentiellement diplomatique des temps
modernes“ (GOBINEAU, p. 4).
53 GRIMSTED, pp. 173–174.
45
46
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Moldavia and Wallachia.54 Capodistrias, though holding a top diplomatic
position, had never neglected Greek interests; he supported the “Company
of the Friends of the Muses” (Philomuses), the mission of which was to boost
the development of the Greek educational system and to enable gifted young
Greeks to study in Western Europe.55 Capodistrias held the view that Tsar
Alexander I was to become a “true protector of the Greek people”.56 Patricia
Kennedy Grimsted highly esteemed Capodistrias’s attempt to make use of
his political position for the sake of the Ionian Isles and Greece.57 The liaison
between Capodistrias and secret circles preparing to overthrow the Ottoman
rule has however never been proved. At any rate, in 1817 he was visited by
Nicholas Gallatis of Ithaca in St. Petersburg and was offered leadership of
the Philikè Hetaíria.58 In January 1820, on the eve of the Greek uprising,
Capodistrias received the same offer from Emmanuel Xanthos, but he
refused it again; in the end Alexander Ypsilantis became the leader of the
Philikè Hetaíria in April 1820.59 The British government, which distrusted
Capodistrias, disapproved of his visit to the Ionian Isles. This visit took place
in 1819, allegedly under the pretence of poor health, shortly after High
Commissioner Sir Thomas Maitland decided to cede a mainland area around
the town of Plaga, which was under the administration of the isles, to the Ali
Pasha of Yanina for payment.60 The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs may
have been wrongly suspected of subversive intentions.61 Greek leaders are
likely to have exaggerated Capodistrias's participation in the preparation of
the rebellion in order to encourage a hesitating public. A member of Philikè
Hetaíria claimed that he had met Capodistrias in Warsaw and that sixty
thousand Russian troops were ready to march out and help Greek rebels.62
In fact Count John Capodistrias officially adopted a reserved attitude
towards the Greek uprising and Ypsilantis’ activities, although he favoured
Russia’s military intervention against Turkey.63 According to Patricia
Kennedy Grimsted, Alexander I’s unwillingness to breach the treaty with
CRAWLEY, p. 174.
Ibidem.
56 GRIMSTED, p. 174.
57 Ibidem, pp. 175–176.
58 Nicholas Gallatis was, however, so indiscrete that he was arrested by tsarist officials
and sent home. Eventually, members of Philikè Hetaíria themselves had him murdered
on Peloponnesus in November 1819 (CRAWLEY, p. 173).
59 CRAWLEY, pp. 180–181; HRADEČNÝ et al., p. 277; GOBINEAU, p. 33.
60 CRAWLEY, p. 173; GRIMSTED, p. 176; HRADEČNÝ et al., p. 276.
61 The members of Philikè Hetaíria were probably Viaro and Agostino Capodistrias,
John’s brothers living on Corfu; CRAWLEY, pp. 179–180; GOBINEAU, pp. 29–30.
62 CRAWLEY, p. 181.
63 GRIMSTED, p. 190.
54
55
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Turkey and support Greek rebellion was the main reason for Capodistrias's
resignation and departure into Swiss exile in the summer of 1822.64
The evaluation of Capodistrias as a Russian diplomat has never been
unequivocal. While he acted as a leading European diplomat, Metternich,
allegedly the „key opponent“, of sympathy for liberal radicalism, suspected
him.65 British diplomats regarded him as a ruthless campaigner of Russian
interests and stirrer of Greek nationalism (agent provocateur).66 Patricia
Kennedy Grimsted labelled Capodistrias a “progressive liberal”, whose
conception of the arrangement of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars on the
basis of national states and constitutional governance represented a liberalnational alternative to Metternich’s conservative international system of the
equilibrium of power.67 Notwithstanding the aforesaid, future development
verified Capodistrias’s thesis that national awareness aroused by the
Napoleonic Wars would become the basis of the modern state.68
Ibidem, p. 176.
In December 1819 Metternich wrote: “(Capodistrias) is not a bad man, but honestly
speaking, he is a complete and thorough fool, a perfect miracle of wrong-headedness. …
He lives in a world to which our minds are often transported by a bad nightmare”
(GRIMSTED, p. 166).
66 CRAWLEY, p. 163; Frederick von Genz thought that Capodistrias had fallen prey to a
dangerous illusion that might trigger off a revolution: “(Capodistrias) mistakenly believes
that the maintenance of order is compatible with the ascendancy of liberal ideas”
(GRIMSTED, p. 180).
67 GRIMSTED, pp. 176–178. Capodistrias defined the difference between his own and
Austrian approach in the following way: “The Emperor of Austria has always professed
the principles of absolute monarchy, Russia, on the other hand, has looked to the proper
mixture of liberty and constitutional rights, that affords a more enlarged and better basis
of government” (GRIMSTED, p. 183). Capodistrias at the same time condemned the
excesses of the French Revolution and in 1820 wrote on the heirs of its liberal legacy:
“These men, formed in the school of popular despotism during the French Revolution
and perfected in the art of overthrowing governments by the despotism of Bonaparte, are
working with fatal perseverance to regain the power which was taken from them by the
reestablishment of order in Europe” (GRIMSTED, pp. 179–180).
68 GRIMSTED, p. 181.
64
65
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Gobineau’s study, which in many respects repeats Colletis’s views, was
rather critical of Russian expansionism.69 On the other hand, Gobineau
divided Capodistrias’s career into two stages. He felt clearly positive about
the period when Capodistrias acted as the Russian Minister of Foreign
Affairs. It is surprising to hear Gobineau, who is considered to embody
conservatism and reactionary ideology, formulate views that criticise world
powers for not understanding the strength of the ideas of freedom that
emerged after the Napoleonic Wars.70 Their egoistic imperial ambitions
were destroying the remnants of European order.71 The only exception was,
as Gobineau held it, Russia, mainly thanks to Capodistrias’s statesmanlike
wisdom.72
Gobineau nonetheless did not doubt that after the Napoleonic Wars
the Greek uprising had been encouraged by Russia, which had intended to
destroy the Ottoman Empire and gain control over the entire area.73 The
first secret Greek associations preparing the uprising were inspired by the
radical ideas of the French Revolution.74 Around 1806 a much more
ambitious idea originated: the idea of the restoration of the “original” Great
Greece (Megali idea) including virtually the entire Aegean Region as well as
Epeiros, Thessalia, Macedonia, Thrace, Constantinople and the Anatolian
coast.75 John Colletis, an ardent advocate of this idea, said, that “there were
two great centres of Hellenism - Athens and Constantinople. Athens was
„Les Russes se faisaient démagogues, croyant y trouver plus de profit. Tel a toujours
été en Orient le système de cette dernière puissance: soutenir les mécontents, augmenter
sa clientèle, jeter la perturbation au sein du pays qu’elle veut attirer dans ses filets“
(GOBINEAU, p. 8). On the other hand Gobineau, presumably under Colletis’s influence,
stressed the unpopularity of Russia in Balkan: „La Russie, qui professe la même religion,
n’a pu obtenir que la haine des populations grecques. ... Dans le royaume hellène, son
parti, malgré tant d’intrigues et de violences récentes, est peu nombreux et isolé; dans les
principautés de Moldavie et de Valachie, son nom est exécré. ... En Servie, chaque jour
détruit le peu d’influence qui lui reste. ... Que devient donc la puissance prétendue de ce
prestige religieux? Sous le point de vue ecclésiastique, les Russes devraient, sans aucun
doute, relever de Constantinople; mais l’empereur a usurpé le pouvoir spirituel: les Grecs
ont sur eux l’avantage de l’ancien fidèle sur le néophyte; les Russes ne sont que des
convertis“ (GOBINEAU, pp. 15–16).
70 „Depuis la chute de Napoléon, les gouvernements n’avaient montré ni sagesse ni
prévoyance; leur avidité aveugle pouvait les rejeter dans les désastres auxquels ils
venaient d’échapper“ (GOBINEAU, p. 25).
71 „Ainsi se détruisait l’harmonie, dont le simulacre était important à conserver en face de
gouvernés tous les jours plus menaçants et plus forts“ (GOBINEAU, p. 26).
72 „En vain la Russie s’efforçait-elle de calmer cette fièvre d’usurpation; elle ne parvient
qu’à irriter la jalousie et la défiance du cabinet britannique“ (GOBINEAU, p. 26).
73 GOBINEAU, p. 28.
74 Ibidem, p. 11.
75 Ibidem.
69
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merely the capital of the kingdom; Constantinople was the great capital,
the joy and the hope of all Hellenes”.76 Gobineau appreciated this idea and
thought it “practical”.77 Given the fact that the Ottoman Empire was
unhealthy and incapable of reform, Gobineau held the view that the Greek
state was the only means of reining Russian expansion.78
Gobineau surmised that Capodistrias’s resignation from the position of
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs and departure to Geneva before the
Conference of Verona were acts of preparation for his future role as the
political leader of independent Greece.79 Then disillusionment came. The
uprising broke out too early and remained isolated.80 Although Western
Europe’s public opinion and Russian diplomacy forced powers to intervene
and push forward the idea of an independent Greek state (Elliniki politia),
they were unable to ensure its originally intended scope. The appointment of
Capodistrias as the first and temporary governor (kyvernetis) in April 1827
was, as Gobineau puts it, no surprise no matter how hard Capodistrias tried
to feign astonishment almost in the spirit of Richard III.81 Gobineau views
Capodistrias’s subsequent steps as a deliberate effort to enforce autocratic
power to the exclusion of other state administration bodies while not even
HRADEČNÝ, p. 309.
„Répéter que, sur aucun point de territoire conquis, les Turcs ne tiennent solidement
au sol ; que partout où ils se sont établis, principalement dans les pays chrétiens, ils n’ont
fait que se superposer en dominateurs barbares aux races soumises, c’est reproduire un
lieu commun cent fois répété, mais dont les conséquences immédiates, par rapport à la
Grèce, n’ont pas toujours été examinées avec une réflexion sévère et mûrie. Les Hellènes
n’avaient jamais pu voir dans les Ottomans que des étrangers oppresseurs, et le
gouvernement, n’exigeant de ses raīas que de l’argent, et les laissant, du reste,
administrer à peu près comme bon leur semblait le régime municipal qui s’était conservé
parmi eux, irritait et vivifiait sans cesse le besoin de l’indépendance. Si l’on réfléchit, en
outre, que toutes les lumières du pays se concentraient en eux; que l’industrie, la
navigation, le commerce intérieur et surtout extérieur, se trouvaient dans leurs mains;
que, sur les dix millions d’âmes qui peuplent la Turquie d’Europe, ils comptent pour sept
millions; qu’enfin dans les îles, dans la Morée, dans les montagnes, certaines portions de
la population gresque, telles que les Maīnotes, les Hydriotes, les Psariotes, les Souliotes,
n’ont jamais perdu une indépendance, pénible à conserver sans doute et souvent
attaquée, mais réelle, on cessera de répudier comme impraticable le plan des hétairistes;
on nous permettra de le constater ici pour la première fois dans toute son étendue“
(GOBINEAU, pp. 11–12).
78 „Vieux et corrompu, l’Etat turc n’est plus assez vigoureux pour être sauvé par des
réformes“ (GOBINEAU, p. 28).
79 GOBINEAU, pp. 39–40.
80 Ibidem, p. 40.
81 Ibidem, p. 42-43.
76
77
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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concealing his orientation towards Russia.82 It is not very difficult to see that
John Colletis, Capodistrias’s rival and a representative of the „French party“
in Greek political life influenced Gobineau’s interpretation. Colletis stood
out in combat during the civil war in November and December 1824, when
he contributed considerably to the defeat of the resistance movement in
Peloponnesus. His influence was reduced considerably by Capodistrias’s
arrival.83 Capodistrias cancelled the advisory assembly, panhellenium,84 and
the commanders of the Greek armed forces, Sir Richard Church and
Démétrius Ypsilantis, were made subordinate to his brother Count Augustin
Capodistrias, who had no military experience.85 Then a senate (gerusia) was
established consisting of twenty-seven members, none of whom was an
important leader from the war of liberation.86 Gobineau compared John
Capodistrias to Waldstein; he believed that the Count had been pursuing his
own goals, which he had considered to be more important than loyalty to
Russia and had attempted to gain absolute power.87
According to the London Protocol of 15 February, Prince Leopold, of
the German Saxe-Coburg dynasty, should have ruled the Greek kingdom.
Gobineau believed that the temporary ruler tried to prevent this.88
Capodistrias described the situation to the potential king in the gloomiest
colours he could and exaggerated the importance of the debate of the
terrestrial borders of the state. Leopold, who respected the opinion of a
statesman whom he had admired in the past, decided not to ascend to the
throne.89
„Il affirma que ce n’etait ni de la France, ni du cabinet britannique, qu’il fallait attendre
des secours réels, mais seulement de la généreuse et puissante Russie“ (GOBINEAU, p.
47).
83 GOBINEAU, pp. 45–46.
84 By a decree of 22 July 1829 (according to the old calendar).
85 GOBINEAU, p. 57.
86 Ibidem, p. 59.
87 „Aucune pièce écrite et signée ne prouve matériellement que Wallenstein ait aspiré à la
couronne de Bohême, et cependant personne ne doute de ce fait. Les démarches, les
inconséquences même de l’ambitieux général de l’empire déchirent le voile mystérieux
que des faits patents ne sont pas venus soulever. ... (Capodistrias) n’attire pas les Russes
dans le pays; il se sert d’eux, mais uniquement pour se soutenir, lui et les siens; il confie
les places à des étrangers, qui viennent de chez lui et qui sont à lui; élève ses deux frères
aux plus importantes fonctions de l’Etat, l’un commandant l’armée, l’autre chargé de
rendre la justice. Dès l’abord, il humilie et repousse loin du pouvoir les chefs dont il
devine l’influence. Il cherche à les rejeter en dehors de tout rôle politique, en leur
confiant des missions inférieures; il flatte les passions populaires, et, tout en concentrant
dans ses mains un pouvoir usurpé, il cherche à garder les façons d’un père du peuple“
(GOBINEAU, p. 62).
88 GOBINEAU, pp. 63–64.
89 Ibidem, p. 64.
82
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However, opposition politicians defied Capodistrias’s intrigues and
autocracy. These opponents included the leader of the “English party”,
Alexander Mavrokortado, who joined the armed resistance, and John
Colettic, who preferred political struggle.90 Capodistrias intervened in the
epicentres of unrest and, inter alia, had Petrobey Mavromichalis, the leader
of a powerful clan in Mani and Peloponnesus, arrested.91 The rebels
managed to seize the government’s naval arsenal on the isle of Poros in July
1831.92 Captains Lyons and Lalande, commanders of the British and French
fleets refused to intervene as they “had not come to serve the ambitions of a
single man, but to protect the freedom of the entire nation”.93 However,
Russian Admiral Petr Ivanovich Ricord supported Capodistrias and drove
the rebels away.
Constantine and George Mavromichalis, the brother and son of the
imprisoned Petrobey Mavromichalis, decided to imitate Harmodius and
Aristogeiton, the “tyrant slayers” who assassinated the tyrant Hipparchos in
514 BC.94 Both were outraged that Capodistrias had not kept his word and
had not freed their clan leader.95 On 9 October 1831, they went to St.
Spiridon's Church in Nauplius, where John Capodistrias would go to
morning mass. A moment later Capodistrias appeared, accompanied by two
bodyguards. When he saw Constantine and George, he hesitated, but kept
walking. Constantine shot twice at close range and George leapt towards the
president and thrust a dagger into his side. Capodistrias fell, fatally
wounded. In the following panic Constantine was shot dead, but George fled
and hid at the French Embassy. However, he surrendered and was executed
the following day.96
Such is Gobineau’s conclusion of the life of a man who began as
Talleyrand, proceeded as Waldstein and ended as Peisistratos. Gobineau
believed that Count John Capodistrias failed, for he did not understand the
importance of his mission. He should have rejected the antagonistic
aspirations of the Western powers, which understood nothing, and as a
leader of free citizens should have establish a revived Eastern empire in
Constantinople, on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, a state strong enough
to face the Russian threat. Had he succeeded, great minds like Titus Livius,
Ibidem, p. 65.
HRADEČNÝ, p. 297.
92 Ibidem.
93 GOBINEAU, p. 71.
94 Ibidem, pp. 75–76.
95 Ibidem, pp. 76–77.
96 GOBINEAU, pp. 77–81.
90
91
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Tacitus or Machiavelli would have been honoured to tell his story.97
Capodistrias, however, let the vision of provincial tyranny in Nauplius
corrupt his ideal. France, the guardian of small nations, should have been
interested in the Greek revolution, for it was a follow-up to France’s own
ambitions.98 This dream never materialised. The result was an internally
subverted and poor state with borders too difficult to protect. Russian
dominance over the area was but a matter of time.99
Although the text on Capodistrias published in La Revue des Deux
Mondes in April 1841 enjoyed a positive reception, Gobineau never
published in this prestigious periodical again, in spite of the fact that he
would write eight more articles dealing with “Eastern politics”.100 Maurice
Lange assumes that this was due to a personal controversy with the powerful
François Buloz, who established La Revue des Deux Mondes in 1829 and
managed it for forty years.101 There may have been reasons other than
ideology in the background of this quarrel. Gobineau at that time was taking
to conservative legitimism with pronounced anti-democratic opinions, but
this was not necessarily the reason, as Romanticists who published on the
pages of La Revue des Deux Mondes frequently shared similar views.
Gobineau was also ideologically flexible (as is manifested by his diplomatic
career). In late 1841 he strove to publish in the newly established journal La
Revue Indépendante, set up by left-wing writers such as the former SaintSimonist and socialist Pierre Leroux (who coined the term “socialism”),
George Sand and Louis Viardot.102 However, La Revue Indépendante, which
according to René Guise originated to a certain degree as a gesture of
defiance of “Buloz’s dictatorship” did not publish any articles by
Gobineau.103
After this failure Gobineau came together with the publishers of
l’Union Catholique, journal religieux politique in late 1841 and cooperated
with them until early 1843. Gobineau had by that time gained a reputation
as an expert on the Orient, but this was insufficient for him to maintain
Ibidem, p. 84.
Ibidem, p. 85.
99 Ibidem.
100 These were short studies on Afghanistan, Turkey, India, Wallachia and the law of Sir
Robert Peel. In 1842 they were published in Greek journal Journal de Smyrne (GUISE,
p. 191).
101 GUISE, p. 188. In addition François Buloz directed the Revue de Paris and in 1847
was 1848 was the administrator of Comédie-Française.
102 GUISE, p. 188.
103 Ibidem, p. 189.
97
98
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independent subsistence.104 His command of German enabled him to
expand his professional interests to Germany. At that time the attention of
the French was slowly turning to Germany as they anticipated that Germany
would become the rival who would ultimately shatter the dominance of
French civilization.
The period between 1842 and 1844 saw Gobineau abandoning political
journalism and taking to literary criticism.105 While he had perceived the
Orient solely through political and historical reflection, he contemplated
Germany through its literature. Gobineau was a merciless critic. However,
his verdicts have stood the test of time remarkably. On the one hand he
assailed authors such as Jules Janin and Gustave Planche with fierce words;
on the other hand he managed to recognise true greatness. Commenting on
Balzac in an era that failed to appreciate him duly he said that future
generations would probably recognise him as the very prototype of a
novelist.106 Gobineau wrote in La Revue Nouvelle that French had never
been as rich, varied, cheerful and emphatic as from Victor Hugo’s pen, as
clear and accurate as in works by Mérimé, as flaming and fair as in
Lamennais’s books or as capable of enthralling the ear as in the verses of
Lamartine. None of the previous epochs had born anything that could
withstand comparison with the persuasiveness of description in books by
George Sand.107 The above-mentioned authors favoured different political
camps and Gobineau thus proved that his critical opinion was ideologically
unbiased regardless of his own views.
At the turn of 1843 and 1844 Gobineau met the then Member of
Parliament and liberal political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, who became
interested in the young journalist and poet. Although Gobineau
disappointed him at least twice in the years to come, first by his willingness
to serve the regime of Louis Napoleon and then by publishing Essai sur
l’inégalité des races humaines, their correspondence showing mutual
respect did not end until de Tocqueville’s premature death.108
The late eighteen-forties eventually brought literary success to
Gobineau. His historical novels, published as newspaper serials enjoyed a
„Il n’y a d’ailleurs rien à dire sur l’Orient, en ce moment, tout cela fait que je n’y gagne
pas de quoi vivre!“ (7 October 1842, GUISE, p. 191).
105 GUISE, p. 201.
106 Ibidem, p. 206.
107 GUISE, pp. 204–205.
108 GUISE, p. 197.
104
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
147
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positive reception from readers.109 He did not renounce public activity.
Together with Louis de Kergolay he ran La Revue provinciale in 1848 and
1849 and advocated the policy of decentralisation.110
When de Tocqueville became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in June
1849, he chose Arthur Gobineau as director of his cabinet. After the fall of
the government General De La Hitte appointed Gobineau the secretary of
the French embassy in Berne, Switzerland, on 9 November 1849. A
diplomatic career altered Gobineau’s lifestyle and brought him financial
certainty. While staying in Switzerland, he began to work on his supreme
work, Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines.111 Next he moved to
Hanover, where he remained until 1851 as a temporary representative of the
French ambassador, and then he was appointed secretary at the embassy in
Frankfurt in 1854. He befriended Anton von Prokesch-Osten, an influential
Austrian diplomat and the then chairman of the German federal senate. He
also met Otto von Bismarck, a young representative from Prussia. In
December 1854 Gobineau became the first secretary of the French Embassy
in Persia; he remained in Teheran from June 1855 until January 1858. He
returned to Persia three years later as ambassador and remained there until
September 1863.
In 1864 Napoleon III appointed Gobineau to the position of French
ambassador in Greece, in court of the then nineteen-year-old King George I.112
This was a prestigious position as France was one of the world powers,
together with Great Britain and Russia, which looked after Greek
independence. Édouard Thouvenel, one of Gobineau’s predecessors became
the Minister of Foreign Affairs later on.113 It was not the first time Gobineau
had visited Greece. He stopped in Athens in 1858 on his way back from
Persia. He visited for the second time three years later on his way to
Teheran. He was fascinated by Greece.114 However, this positive impression
was in steep contrast with his standpoint adopted in Essai sur l’inégalité des
races humaines. According to Gobineau, primitive “Aryan Helens” settled in
Les aventures de Jean de la Tour Miracle surnommé le Prisonnier chanceux;
Mademoiselle Irnois; Nicolas Belavoir; Ternove.
110 BOISSEL, p. 101.
111 Arthur GOBINEAU, Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines, Paris 1967.
112 BOISSEL, pp. 174–175.
113 DONNARD, p. 193.
114 On 8 November 1861 wrote his daughter Diana: „C’est un pays charmant et qui vous
plairait beaucoup. Il n’y a pas l’ombre de fièvres ni d’aucune maladie. D’ailleurs rien n’est
si gai que d’avoir toujours une belle mer ouverte devant soi; à tous moments, des bateuax
à vapeur qui en deux jours vous portent à Trieste, en trois à Constantinople, en cinq à
Marseille“ (DONNARD, p. 193).
109
148
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the Aegean Region around 1541 BC.115 Their original aristocratic feudalism
faded as a result of their mingling with the Semite nations. Following a
temporary aristocratic period between 753 and 508 the country fell into an
epoch of “decadent patriotism and democracy”.116 Gobineau even regretted
the Greek victory over “Aryan” Persians.117
The four years he spent in Athens represented the climactic point in
Gobineau’s career and perhaps the happiest period of his life. He met Robert
Lytton, the secretary of the British embassy and son of well-known writer
Edward Bulwer-Lytton; however, relations with British ambassador Erskine
himself were rather reserved.118 In addition to his official responsibilities
Gobineau devoted much time to poetry and sculpture, accompanied Ernest
Renan on his journeys119 and met the Dragoumis sisters, Zoé and Marika,
who lived in the “oleander house” („la maison au laurier rose“) in Kladou
street in Athens. Ironically enough, they were the daughters of Nicolas
Dragoumis, a politician and former secretary of Capodistrias.120 Gobineau
corresponded with Zoé and Marika until the end of his life. On 8 April 1866
his daughter Diana wedded Baron Ove de Guldencrone, a Danish naval
officer and councillor of George I. The wedding took place on board La
Renommée, a French frigate.121 As compared to the early eighteen-forties,
Gobineau had sobered from his enthusiasm for Greek expansionism. Anton
von Prokesch-Osten, a conservative Austrian diplomat, had taken the place
of John Colletis, a romantic nationalist, in the role of Gobineau’s tutor.
Gobineau no longer believed that a revived Greek empire could check
Russian imperialism. This role had still to be played by Turkey.122
GOBINEAU, 1967, Livre 4, p. 476.
GOBINEAU, 1967, Livre 4, p. 477. Gobineau wrote on Greek patriotism: „Le mot patrie
couvrait en définitive une pure théorie. La patrie n’était pas de chair et d’os. Elle ne
parlait pas, elle ne marchait pas, elle ne commandait pas de vive voix, et, quand elle
rudoyait, on ne pouvait pas s’excuser parlant à sa personne. L’expérience de tous les
siècles a démontré qu’il n’est pire tyrannie que celle qui s’exerce au profit des fictions,
êtres de leur nature insensibles, impitoyables, et d’une impudence sans bornes dans leurs
prétensions. Pourquoi? C’est que les fictions, incapables de veiller elles-mêmes à leurs
intérêts, délèguent leurs pouvoirs à des mandataires. Ceux-ci, n’étant pas censés agir par
égoïsme, acquièrent le droit de commetre les plus grandes énormités. Ils sont toujours
innocents lorsqu’ils frappent au nom de l’idole dont ils se disent les prêtres“
(GOBINEAU, 1967, Livre 4, p. 462).
117 GOBINEAU, 1967, Livre 4, pp. 468–469.
118 BOISSEL, p. 179.
119 Ibidem, pp. 194–195.
120 Ibidem, pp. 185, 188–189.
121 Ibidem, p. 180.
122 Ibidem, p. 183.
115
116
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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March 1866 saw the arrival in Athens of twenty-eight-year-old Gustave
Flourens, son of the influential French physiologist Pierre-Jean-Marie
Flourens, on whose works Gobineau drew in his Essai sur l’inégalité des
races humaines.123 Pierre Flourens was an ardent republican, idealist and
champion of the “freedom of nations”. In the 1863–1864 academic years he
substituted for his father at Collège de France, on which occasion he
delivered fifteen lectures, the first of which was later published under the
title of Histoire de l’Homme.124 This is a standard racial interpretation of the
history of mankind strongly influenced by the works of Arthur Gobineau;
Flourens was convinced of the superiority of the Aryan race and the
harmfulness of miscegenation.125
The spring of 1866 saw the outbreak of an anti-Turkish revolt on
Crete.126 The rebels believed that Napoleon III, who enjoyed the reputation
of a protector of “nations’ rights”, would support their connection with
Greece (Enosis) in much the same way as he had enabled Italy to become
united.127 In February 1866 Gobineau received three Cretan emissaries; the
French ambassador however adopted a reserved attitude.128 France was at
that time in a difficult geopolitical situation. The adventurous expedition to
Mexico was a total fiasco and the approaching conflict between Austria and
Prussia was clearly an ill omen.129 Moreover, Great Britain openly advocated
the idea of preserving the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.130
DONNARD, p. 194.
Gustave FLOURENS, Histoire de l’Homme, Cours d’histoire naturelle des corps
organisés. Paris 1863.
125 „Ils s’appelaient eux-mêmes les Aryas, les hommes purs, et ils méritaient ce nom. C’est
d’eux que nous viennent nos idées les plus élevées, nos sentiments les plus nobles, nos
fidélités inébranlables, nos généreuses abnégations“ (FLOURENS, p. 7); „Or, de tous les
hommes, ce sont les Aryas qui ont les plus beaux fronts, les plus vastes et les plus
intelligents“ (FLOURENS, p. 10); „Les Aryas qui occupent l’Europe orientale s’appelent
Slaves. Il est une nation parmi eux qui a conservé toute la noblesse et caractère, toute la
beauté aryane. Ce sont les Polonais. Ils sont restés purs de tout mélange avec les jaunes,
les Mongols, et ils en ont préservé l’Europe. Autant le mélange entre peuples de même
race est bienfaisant, autant il est funeste entre peuples de races différentes“ (FLOURENS,
p. 20).
126 HRADEČNÝ, pp. 320–321.
127 DONNARD, p. 198.
128 Ibidem, p. 198.
129 Ibidem, pp. 198–199. French minister of foreign affairs, who had held the position of
ambassador in Istanbul, Marquis de Moustier said: „Si la Grèce continuait à encourager
les insurgés directement ou indirectement, elle aurait à en supporter toutes les
conséquences“ (DONNARD, p. 199).
130 HRADEČNÝ, p. 321.
123
124
150
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Gustave Flourens joined the Battle of Crete on the side of the rebels in
November 1866.131 In July 1867 he returned to France because his father had
fallen ill and publicized the idea of the “liberation of Crete”.132 In spring
1868 he reappeared in Athens and as a representative of Cretan resistance,
called for a union with Greece.133 On 17 May 1868 Arthur Gobineau, who
informed him that Great Britain, France and the Greek government did not
intend to support the Cretan rebels, who should attempt to find a method of
conciliation with the Ottoman Empire instead, received Flourens.134
Flourens published the French diplomat’s statement immediately afterwards. Greek leaders, who, observing the public opinion did not dissociate
themselves from the uprising, found such openness embarrassing. In
addition Flourens sought to be received by George I himself on 28 May 1868
but, by coincidence, was seized in the royal residence by Gobineau’s son-inlaw Ove de Guldencrone. Despite his protests he was taken on board ship
and sent to Marseille at the French ambassador’s command.135 What
followed was a press campaign condemning Gobineau’s behaviour. Flourens
received support from Victor Hugo in the daily La Tribune on 19 July
1868.136 This affair blemished Gobineau’s career as he was blamed for not
managing the situation. Although he kept his eye on diplomatic positions in
Germany and Istanbul, he was appointed to the position of French
ambassador to Brazil, which was considered tantamount to demotion.137
Gustave Flourens, as a consequence of his inability to restrain himself,
soon came to odds with his Greek allies. In 1871 he joined the Commune of
Paris and was appointed to the position of colonel of the revolutionary
troops. On 3 April 1871 he took part in the unsuccessful battle for the hill at
Meudon. After his men had deserted him, he was captured and a certain
captain Desmaret cleaved his head with sabre.138 Gobineau mentioned
Flourens’s death in his letter of 6 April 1871 to his daughter Diana.139
DONNARD, pp. 199–200.
Ibidem, p. 204.
133 „Je suis citoyen Crétois de la province de Kissamos. Et la Crète entière a voté son
annexion à la Grèce. J’ai donc le droit de parler en Grèce, avant d’aller mourir en Crète
pour l’hellénisme. J’userai de ce droit à l’heure indiquée“ (DONNARD, pp. 204–205).
134 DONNARD, pp. 206–207.
135 DONNARD, p. 185.
136 Ibidem, p. 209.
137 Ibidem, pp. 209–210.
138 Ibidem, p. 210.
139 Marie-Louise CONCASTY, Gobineau et sa fille Christine, Etudes gobiniennes, 1966, 1,
pp. 11–57, p. 21.
131
132
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
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Gobineau left Athens on 11 September 1868.140 He held the diplomatic
position in Rio de Janeiro for two years, the only bright side of which was
his friendship with Emperor Pedro II of Brazil.141 His request for another
term in Athens was rejected and Augustin Thiers appointed him French
ambassador to Sweden and Norway on 14 May 1872; he remained there until
1878. Although this was the period when Gobineau published his most
credited works142 he lived the rest of his life in disillusionment and unrest.
Disgusted by the republican regime he resigned,143 retired and settled in
Rome, where he dealt with sculpture in particular.
The rest of his life was influenced by his short, yet intense friendship
with Richard Wagner. Cosima Wagner, in 1881, labelled this French man of
letters a “hopeless castaway”, who “sought shelter in our harbour” in
Bayreuth.144 On 12 October 1882, Arthur Gobineau felt suddenly ill at the
station in Turin and was carried to the hotel, where he soon died.
Gobineau last visited Athens in October 1876, when he accompanied
Emperor Pedro II on his tour of Russia, Turkey and Greece.145 Deeply moved
by his return to a city where he had felt “in heaven on earth”, he decided to
write a new treatise on Greece.146 The result of this decision was Le
Royaume des Hellènes, published in 1878.147 It is an analysis of a great
illusion distorting the West’s view of Greece since the turn of the eighteenth
and nineteenth century. Chateaubriand and Byron believed that the struggle
for the liberation of Greece was to the benefit of the direct descendants of
Miltiades and Aristides.148 But that was a myth. Gobineau fostered the view
of Joseph de Maistre, Jakob-Philipp Fallmerayer149 and Anton von
BOISSEL, p. 199.
Ibidem, pp. 211–212.
142 Les Pléiades (1874), Renaissance, scènes historiques (1877) and Nouvelles asiatiques
(1876).
143 See Ce qui est arrivé à la France en 1870 and La Troisième République et ce qu’elle
vaut.
144 BOISSEL, p. 23.
145 Ibidem, pp. 268–270.
146 DONNARD, p. 211.
147 Article Le Royaume des Hellènes was published as a serial (10 May, 10 July, 25 August
and 10 November 1878) in Le Correspondant.
148 „Il fut convenu qu’il fallait trouver des Grecs, sauver des Grecs, parce que les Grecs
étaient les gens les plus tendrement héroïques et les plus élégamment patriotiques que
l’on pût rêver“ (GOBINEAU, 1905, p. 95).
149 BOISSEL, p. 193.
140
141
152
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Prokesch-Osten, who claimed that there was no racial continuity between
Ancient Greece and the modern population of the Aegean area.150
The Western powers, which had become wedged between the Scylla of
the Philhelen public opinion and the Charybdis of realistic efforts to
maintain the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, adopted improvised and
inconsistent solutions.151 The Modern Greek state was thus born from pure
illusion, despite reality and common sense. Yet the state managed to
survive.152 It appears that as soon as Gobineau saw the progress that the free
Greek society had made during the period of his absence, he acknowledged
the positive role of modernisation, which was in contradiction to his fatalism
and historical pessimism. In this way he approached the standpoint
embraced by Gustav Flourens, his late opponent.153 Like Flourens, Gobineau
too was impressed by statistical data. After 1860 the number of people
increased by 473 596, which means that the country population almost
„Il n’existe pas dans toute l’étendue de la Turquie d’Europe, pas plus que sur les côtes
de l’Asie Mineure, un seul homme qui puisse légitimement se croire descendu des
populations de la Grèce ancienne, et pour s’en étonner, il faut être de tempérament à
admettre qu’on trouverait en France, si l’on cherchait bien, des familles issues des
compagnons de Vercingétorix, et en Italie des neveux des Fabius, ce que personne n’a
jamais imaginé sérieusement. Encore, à la grande rigueur, serait-il non pas assurément
plus exact, mais plus plausible de prétendre qu’une population très ancienne a pu se
maintenir dans les régions les plus pauvres et les plus sauvages de l’Auvergne, même
depuis une antiquité, dans tous les cas, un peu plus courte. ... Il est bien connu que les
habitants de l’Attique sont Albanais, ceux du Péloponèse viennent de partout; la Grèce
est, à l’heure actuelle, peuplée d’une race mixte parlant le grec et l’albanaise, et dans le
sang de laquelle il entre quelque chose de celui des bandes différentes qui, depuis six à
sept cents ans, ont successivement et pour plus ou moins de temps gouverné le pays.
Mais les libéraux d’Europe voulaient absolument parler à Miltiade, à Phocion et à
Aristide. Ils ne s’adressaient qu’à eux dans leurs déclamations: ils ne consentaient à avoir
affaire qu’à eux; bon gré mal gré, il fallut qu’on les leur présentât. On n’y manqua pas et
la Révolution commença“ (GOBINEAU, 1905, pp. 110–111).
151 Ibidem, p. 191.
152 „Et, malgré tout, la Grèce vivait ! Elle vivait en manquant des éléments les plus
indispensables à la vie d’un Etat, absolument comme les Grecs eux-mêmes vivaient sans
pain, sans vêtements et sans abris!“ (GOBINEAU, 1905, p. 196).
153 Gustave Flourens said in 1868: „Et cependant, au milieu de cette situation impossible,
de banqueroute et de ruine, les Hellènes vivent! Même ils prospèrent“; „Du désert que
leur avaient laissé les hordes ennemis, désert de sable et de rochers, ils ont refait un pays
habitable, ils ont ensemencé les terres, planté des oliviers. Ils ont plus relevé de villes
anciennes, plus bâti de villes neuves, qu’aucun autre peuple d’Europe, sans excepter les
plus florissants, n’en a bâti dans le même espace de temps. ... Race forte et féconde, ils
ont rapidement augmenté de nombre. ... Née d’hier, leur marine marchande est déjà,
proportionnellement au chiffre de la population, plus nombreuse que celle de la France.
... Sobres, intelligents, actifs, ils transportent à meilleur marché qu’aucun autre peuple“
(DONNARD, p. 215).
150
Arthur Gobineau and Greece
153
________________________________________________________
doubled in the following half century.154 According to Gobineau this
indicated that Greece belonged to the group of countries with dynamic
population development, as well as Russia, Germany, the Scandinavian
countries and England as opposed to countries with stagnating populations,
including France, Italy, Spain and South American countries.155 Gobineau
also noticed that while there were 225 716 houses in Greece in 1861, there
were 312 519 houses in 1878. This meant that Greece was the only country in
the world in which the number of houses grew faster than the number of
people.156 Gobineau witnessed a similarly dynamic development in the areas
of agriculture, Greece’s main economic industry,157 and education.158
Arthur Gobineau and Gustave Flourens jointly believed that due to the
decadency of the Ottoman Empire the key threat to the autonomy of the
nations of South-East Europe was represented by Russia.159 Flourens
proposed the establishment of a confederation of emancipated Balkan nations following the Swiss or American example.160 Gobineau embraced the
older idea of a Greek empire that would take over the role of the Ottoman
Empire.161
There were very few countries as important to Arthur Gobineau, a
cosmopolitan thinker who did not feel wholly French, as Greece. In his
youth he fell under the influence of John Colettis and his idea of the
restoration of the Greek empire. Fascinated by the Greek struggle for
independence, Gobineau would often forget his conservative convictions and
shared liberal and nationalist visions. As an elderly man, he was so impressed by the Greek economic and social development that he unwittingly
acknowledged the benefits of the modern era. Gobineau’s departure from
Athens anticipated his long decline, closed by an exile’s death in Turin.
Gobineau’s relation to Greece was thus ambivalent.162 His own racial
doctrine, fascination with feudalism and aristocracy as well as contempt for
the “decadent” Athenian democracy, which was returned in the shape of the
chaotic and despotic French revolutionary regime, clashed with his
admiration for outstanding figures of Greek origin (John Colettis, John CaGOBINEAU, 1905, pp. 262–263.
Ibidem, p. 264.
156 GOBINEAU, 1905, p. 273.
157 Ibidem, pp. 275–284.
158 Ibidem, pp. 289–297.
159 DONNARD, p. 217; GOBINEAU, 1905, pp. 317–318.
160 DONNARD, pp. 217–218.
161 GOBINEAU, 1905, pp. 309–323; DONNARD, p. 219.
162 In 1868 Gobineau wrote: „Sans la Grèce, je n’aurais pas fait beaucoup de choses que
j’ai faites. La Grèce y est pour beaucoup“ (BOISSEL, p. 192).
154
155
154
Ivo Budil
______________________________________________________________
podistrias, sisters Zoé and Marika Dragoumis) and sympathy for the
contemporary Greek society building a modern state. Gobineau’s experience
of Greece involved permanent controversy between ideology and reality,
while reality prevailed. In Greece Gobineau managed to come to terms with
manifestations of modernity, nationalism and economic development.
Eliza Marian Butler showed in her book The Tyranny of Greece over
Germany how the specific reception of Hellenism fettered the German spirit
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.163 Arthur Gobineau, a French
diplomat and writer, who is now known especially as a pioneer of Aryan
ideology, was in a certain sense intellectually “liberated” by Greece and
forced sometimes to abandon his racial schemes and stereotypes and accept
the diversity and contradictions of real life.
163
Eliza Marian BUTLER, The tyranny of Greece over Germany, Cambridge 1935.
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed.
The Round Table Conference of 1887
Peter Skokan
In the year 1886 the British Liberal Party split over the Home Rule
question. The events of that year led to a crisis in the Liberal Party, which
lasted almost twenty years. Though it could appear, that the secession of
Liberal Unionists was definitive and irrevocable, it is necessary to say that it
was not. A chance for reunion of the Liberal Party was still alive. Therefore,
this article focuses on the most important attempt to reunify the Party, on
The Round Table Conference of 1887 and on a way to it.
Way to the Conference
The Liberal Party on the eve of 1886 contended with internal divergences of opinion on a field of its future politics. On one side was Joseph
Chamberlain, a Radical with democratic views, for whom “the recent Reform
Act marked the start of new era”1 On the other side stood Lord Hartington,
later eight Duke of Devonshire, a Whig with traditional attitudes. The
controversy between these two men culminated at the end of the summer
1885, when Chamberlain published the brochure Radical Programme,
which focused on social reforms, attempted to reform an old-style
Gladstonianism and attacked aristocracy.2 The situation became calm, to
certain extent, after an intervention of Gladstone himself. However, the next
events, which indicated, that Liberal government would focus on the Home
Rule question put a new strain into personal relations within the Party.
Hartington, in January 1886, refused to join a new Liberal Cabinet and
R. JAY, Joseph Chamberlain. A Political Study, Clarendon Press, London 1981, p. 96.
More to the conflict between Whigs and Radicals and to the Radical Programme
compare C. H. D. HOWARD, Joseph Chamberlain and „Unauthorised Programme“,
English Historical Review, Vol. 65, No. 257 (Oct. 1950), pp. 477–491; JAY, pp. 106–116;
G. R. SEARLE, The Liberal Party. Triumph and Disintegration, 1886–1929, London
1992, pp. 13–27; J. L. GARVIN, The Life of Joseph Chamberlain, Vol. 2., London 1933,
pp. 55–84; J. MORLEY, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 3., 1880– 1898,
London 1912, pp. 164–170; T. W. HEYCK, The Dimensions of British Radicalism. The
Case of Ireland, 1874–1895, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Chicago, London 1974,
pp. 169–170; M. WINSTANLEY, Gladstone and the Liberal Party, London 1992, p. 60;
To social background of the conflict compare S. WESTERMAN, Lloyd George und die
Irische Frage, 1880–1922. Liberaler Politiker im Übergang vom 19. zum 20.
Jahrhundert, Lit Verlag, Münster , Hamburg, London 2000, pp. 8– 25.
1
2
156
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
Chamberlain, after several conflicts with Gladstone, became President of the
Local Government Board. Nonetheless, different views on a solution of the
Home Rule question between Gladstone, Chamberlain and Hartington led to
a defeat of the Liberal Party and to secession of Whigs and even of some
Radicals. The Liberal government fell and new general elections took place.
In the summer 1886, after second general elections within seven
months, a new Unionist government aroused. Despite it was compounded of
Tories, Whigs supported it. On the other side, Chamberlainites were in a
quite complicated position. “Radical Joe” tended towards the new government mainly because the Chancellor of the Exchequer was Randolph
Churchill, one of few Radicals in Conservative lines. However, at the same
time he “was not prepared to do anything what would alienate the rank
and file of his Radical following”.3 His position was somewhere between a
direct support of the new Cabinet and a reunion of the Liberal Party. Despite
these facts, both former wings of the Liberal Party created, owing to
previous conflicts between Hartington and Chamberlain, quite a strange
alliance – Liberal Unionism. This expressed Arthur Hamilton Gordon when
he warned Lord Selborne, that Liberal Unionists had “no real chemical
union”.4
Nonetheless, Marques Salisbury was ready to accept a joint unionist
Cabinet, composed of Conservatives and Liberal Unionists. Even he offered
a premiership to Lord Hartington but the leader of the Whigs refused it.
Hartington knew very well what difficulties could arise if Whig would lead
Conservative majority in Parliament. Moreover, he was too experienced
politician to throw away a position he had; a position of a leader of the Party,
which was a decisive power in Westminster. Both sides, therefore, came to
an agreement that Liberal Unionists would support the Conservative
government without direct representation in it.5
The situation of Liberal Unionists was complicated. On one side, it
could appear that Whigs would merge with the Conservatives. However,
there was a considerable fear among them that they would lose identity.
From this misgiving rose their distrust to Lord Salisbury.6 On the other side,
a fusion of the Chamberlainites with the Conservatives was meanwhile
R. FRASIER, The Liberal Unionist Alliance: Chamberlain, Hartington and the
Conservatives, English Historical Review, Vol. 77, No 302. (Jan. 1962), p. 55.
4 G. D. PHILLIPS, The Whig Lords and Liberalism, 1886–1893, The Historical Journal,
Vol. 24, No. 1 (1981), p. 167.
5 E. J. FEUCHTWANGER, Gladstone, Macmillan Press, London 1989, p. 247.; FRASIER,
p. 58.; A. G. GARDINER, The Life of Sir William Harcourt, Vol. 2, London 1923, p. 4.
6 FRASIER, p. 58.
3
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
157
________________________________________________________
unimaginable.7 Beyond this, two other facts averted the coalescence of
Liberal Unionists and Conservatives.
First was a continuing sympathy of the Whigs to the Liberal Party.
Within the years 1886–1893 the Whig Lords voted nearly in 66 % cases in
the same way as voted the Liberal Party in the House of Commons.8
However, their mutual relationship tainted a crucial controversy – the
different attitudes to a solution of the Irish question. This lasted until 1891,
when the Liberal Party adopted the Newcastle Programme, which meant a
clear approximation to the radicalism and confirmed the Home Rule as a
most important point of the Liberal Party agenda. This alienated Whig Lords
too much and since this date any cooperation between them and the Liberal
Party was impossible.9
Second was a fact that an existence of the two Unionist political
parties, which were on opposite poles of the political though, gave certain
electoral advantage to Unionism. Liberal Unionism thus obtained votes from
people, who did not agree with Gladstone’s solution of the Irish question,
but who would never vote for the Conservatives.10
These two points suggesting enough that the cooperation between
Liberal Unionists and Conservatives was, at the turn of years 1886 and 1887,
limited. The platform, on which it worked, was determined by their similar
attitudes to the Home Rule question. In reality, it meant that any serious
political turbulence could destroy this alliance. First and the most serious
threat for the coalition appeared at the turn of years 1886 and 1887.
Anyway, a new session of Parliament took place. Struggles over the
Irish question continued when Charles Stewart Parnell proposed The Tenant
Relief Bill. The scheme had a full support of the Liberal Party but it was
defeated because of a resistance of the Unionists and because of liberal
inability to face up the split of the summer.11
Whilst in September 1886 was the most important political theme a
continuing struggle over the Irish question, the next month passed calmly.
One of the reasons was that an annual meeting of The National Liberal
Federation (NLF) in Leeds approached.12 Therefore, before such an important
GARDINER, p. 2.
PHILLIPS, pp. 167–173.
9 D. HAMMER, Liberal Politics in the Age of Gladstone and Rosebery. A Study in
Leadership and Policy, Oxford, pp. 124–185.
10 FRASER, pp. 53–78; M. PARTRIDGE, Gladstone, London and New York 2003, p. 211.
11 F. S. L. LYONS, Charles Stewart Parnell, London 1977, p. 360.
12 M. HURST, Joseph Chamberlain and Liberal Reunion. The Round Table Conference
of 1887, London, Toronto 1967, p. 62.
7
8
158
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
intraparty event, the Party desired to avoid any political problems, which
could shake her structures again. There was a considerable fear that a new
misunderstanding could threaten attempts of the Party to cope with loses of
the summer.
John Morley, a prominent Gladstonian and a convinced Home Ruler,
was to have been a chairman of the meeting. However, owing to Randolph
Churchill attacks, he resigned from this position and relinquished it to Sir
William Harcourt.13
The National Liberal Federation met on 3 November 1886. The most
important topics were determined by the events of last few months. The
conference confirmed the dominance of Gladstone’s solution of the Home
Rule question in the Liberal Party agenda.14 Even it was heard an optimistic
opinion that the Conservatives, in a relatively short time, would adopt it as
well. Harcourt himself said: “When the Liberal Party proposes some great
reform the Tories declared it is mischievous and dangerous, that its
authors are wicked and profligate men and so they go on, it may for ten
years, it may be for five years, or for six months, and then all of a sudden
they turn round and find that this measure was an excellent measure”.15 In
general, such a statement indeed contains a certain truth but the future
ought to show that, in this concrete case, the Conservatives would not
change their mind.
Nonetheless the NLF and the rank and file of the Party demonstrated a
desire for the reunion and a need for negotiations with the secessionists.
Even, it appeared an attack on Gladstone because he denied some items of
the Chamberlain’s Radical Programme.16 Thus, though Gladstone himself
had an indifferent attitude to the reunion, the NLF in its final memorandum
endorsed the principle. According to conviction of the NLF, the reunion
became acute; particularly, because of Churchill’s attacks on the Party and
because of his expression about “Tory democracy”, which caused that the
NLF felt that “the position of the Gladstonians as the true guardians of the
Liberal ideas” was threatened.17 This motion increased an appetite for a
grand-scale reform of the Liberal Party, which was entirely connected with
certain expectations of Gladstone’s retirement. In this situation,
Chamberlain and his Radical Programme offered some kind of alternative
GARDINER,, p. 10.
HEYCK, p. 182.
15 GARDINER, p. 11.
16 HURST, p. 71.
17 GARDINER, p. 11.
13
14
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
159
________________________________________________________
and reform. Therefore, his comeback to the Party was, to certain extent,
desired.
Nonetheless, owing to previous conflicts with Liberal Unionists, it was
clear enough that it was necessary to act carefully. First, who took the
initiative was Chamberlain’s friend, Sir William Vernon Harcourt. He, in
December 1886, invited Chamberlain and his right-hand man, Jesee
Collings, to his house with a promise that the Irish question would not be
mentioned. It was first contact between Chamberlain and the Liberal Party
after the defeat of the Home Rule Bill and after the consequent split of the
summer 1886. Though the meeting did not take place, closer communication endured. The reason why the session did not occur was an important
and unexpected change in the Cabinet, which altered the position of Liberal
Unionists in Parliament and even in government.18
Two days before Christmas the press announced a suppressive
resignation of Randolph Churchill, a Conservative Radical, from the position
of Chancellor of the Exchequer because of conflicts over next year’s budget.
The Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, reorganized the Cabinet and appointed
George Joachim Goschen in the front of the Exchequer. Moreover, Salisbury
for a second time offered the premiership to Hartington, but he denied it
wisely again.19
The important fact is that Goschen was a Liberal Unionist. The
political structure of the government altered and Liberal Unionists became a
direct part of the Cabinet. To some extent, it is possible to claim that this
event confirmed the split of the Liberal Party. However, there was one big
and important problem.
When Salisbury appointed Goschen, he strengthened only the right
wing of Liberal Unionists – the Whigs. He did not want to support the
radical element among Unionists, because Radicals could alienate the old
Tory aristocracy by their social reformism. He knew very well that such an
event would be disastrous for the Conservative Party. In addition, an
animosity between Radicals and aristocrats was already apparent enough
from the conflict over budget, which led to the mentioned Churchill’s
retirement. Thus, Chamberlain during a night lost both a position and a
natural ally in the government. It seemed that from this moment it would be
very difficult for him to carry any radical measure. Moreover, it appeared
that Radicals were in this government definitely pushed to political
periphery. This situation made a strong pressure on Chamberlain and it
18
19
Ibid., pp. 12–14.
MORLEY, p. 275.
160
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
threatened that he would be isolated. Hence, he at Birmingham made an
unexpected speech in which he suggested a need for the Liberal Party
reunion.
Now, a perfect opportunity appeared to fill up demands of the NLF
Conference of November 1887. However, there was an important faction of
MPs, who did not want to deal with secessionists. Though Gladstone was
one of them, he did not obstruct efforts for the reunion. Nonetheless, he
refused to participate at negotiations. His envoy there was to have been
John Morley, who had similar attitudes to the question as the leader of the
Liberal Party.20
Anyway, Harcourt was henceforth in a closest contact with Chamberlain. After a complicated exchange of letters between him and the leader of
the Radical Unionists and between leaders of the Liberal Party itself as well,
Chamberlain accepted proposed negotiations.21
Firstly, it was necessary to prepare for the conference. The radicals had
only one demand. They wanted the Liberal Party to leave the Gladstonian
Home Rule scheme. They were convinced that it would lead to a new Liberal
unity and to cooperation based on one common platform. Nevertheless, this
could be realized only if political and personal contradictions would be
overcome. This principle expressed Chamberlain’s slogan: “nobody wearing
a white shirt”. 22
Harcourt became a main mediator between Gladstone and Chamberlain. Therefore, on 31st December 1886, he showed Gladstone’s letter to
Chamberlain, in which the leader of the Liberal Party proposed some points
of the approaching conference: “(1) The Land question, (2) The Local
Government question and (3) what form of legislature could be safely
granted to Ireland.23 However, Chamberlain was not satisfied with these
suggestions and he expressed it in his political memoir. Firstly, he wrote that
he “had not proposed to discuss an Irish Legislature at all and secondly, he
insisted: “that the words ‘what form of legislature could be granted’ must
not be taken to imply that I thought any form of single legislature could
safely be conceded. At present the largest concession I was able to
contemplate was some form of Provincial Assemblies or Councils.24
GARDINER, p. 19.
HURST, pp. 120–143.
22 Ibid, p. 21.
23 J. A. CHAMBERLAIN, A Political Memoir, 1880–1892, ed. by C. H. D. HOWARD,
London 1953, p. 239. Chamberlain’s record from 31st December 1886.
24 Ibid., Chamberlain’s private objections to Gladstone’s letter.
20
21
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
161
________________________________________________________
Chamberlain henceforth rejected the Gladstonian solution of the Irish
question through The Home Rule Bill because he was convinced that such a
measure would endanger the Union itself. He wrote in his diary: “I did not
think that Ireland could be recognized as a Nation without conceding
Separation. Ireland was a Province – as a Nova Scotia was a province of
Canada and the cardinal difference between Mr. G. (Gladstone – P. S.) and
myself was that he had treated the question from the point of view of the
separate Nationality of Ireland, while I had regarded it from the point of
view of a State or Province.”25
From the mentioned quotations, it is clear enough that Chamberlain
returned to his Radical Programme, in which he had required a certain
degree of devolution of power to newly established local authorities as well.
According to the Programme, he, already in May 1885, tried to pass through
the Local Government Bill, which had been his definitive answer to Irish
demands for Home Rule and for self-government. It can be said, that it had
not been pro-Irish because it had proposed to set up new local authorities –
national councils - with broader competences not only for Ireland, but for
England, Scotland and Wales as well.26 Thus, the bill had proposed to adopt
certain Home Rule all-Round scheme based on some kind of limited
federalism. However, there was one important conditio sine qua non. Above
all, in any form it could not threaten the Union itself. Such a measure was in
a full coherence with his conviction “to give the widest possible selfgovernment to Ireland, which is consistent with the maintenance of the
integrity of the Empire”.27
The cardinal differences between Gladstone’s and Chamberlain
conception of Irish question seemed firstly impassable. However, a certain
shift in attitudes is considerable from Gladstone’s letters to Harcourt and
from Chamberlain’s letter to Lord Hartington. Gladstone wrote on 1 January
1887: “By a ‘modus vivendi’ I understand a partial agreement without
prejudice to what it beyond it supplying a plan for present action and
prompted by a desire that a wider accommodation may in due season be
found practicable“.28 One day later he wrote: “I should be very glad if any
means could be found for bringing about a free discussion of the points of
Ibid., p. 238; To Chamberlain’s interest in Canadian constitution compare R.
QUINAULT, Joseph Chamberlain: A Reassessment. In: T. R. GOURVISH, A. O’DAY, A.
(ed.), Later Vicorian Britain, 1867 –1900, London 1988, pp. 69–92, here 84–85.
26 GARVIN, pp. 3–30; JAY, pp. 103–106; PARTRIDGE, p. 196.
27 HOWARD, p. 480. Quoted from a preface of the brochure Radical Programme.
28 Gladstone to Harcourt on 1st January 1887. Chamberlain’s extract of the letter.
CHAMBERLAIN, p. 241.
25
162
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
difference, with a view to arriving to at some understanding for such
common action as may be consistent with our respective principles; or at
least of reducing to a minimum the divergences of opinion on the Irish
question in its several parts and branches.”29
Chamberlain obtained extracts of these two letters. Then, in a reply to
Harcourt, he expressed satisfaction over their content. Harcourt informed
Gladstone about it. Moreover, “Radical Joe” in a letter to Lord Hartington
repeated Gladstone’s words about “partial agreement without prejudice”
and he added that his expectations from the conference were: “1st whether
we can agree on other branches of the Irish question viz. the Land and
Local Government: and whether there is any ‘tertium quid’- any
alternative to an Irish Parliament on which we can also agree as good in
itself without requiring from either side any formal repudiation of
previously expressed opinions.”30
The Round Table
Similar attitudes of Gladstone and Chamberlain to the conference
declared certain will to reach an agreement with each other and to find a
third, half-way, solution of the Irish question, which would be acceptable for
both and which would reunite the Liberal Party. This fact allowed setting the
beginning of The Round Table Conference on 13 January 1887. In addition,
both sides agreed on participants of the conference. Joe Chamberlain and
George Otto Trevelyan represented Liberal Unionists and Lord Herschell,
John Morley and William Harcourt were delegates of the Liberal Party. 31
Gladstone himself did not attend the conference. His envoy at the
Round Table was John Morley, who had similar attitudes to the question as
the leader of The Party. Despite a fact that Gladstone declared certain will to
reach an agreement with Chamberlain, his personal conviction to the
possibility of the reunion of the Liberal Party remained indifferent. He even
uttered his scepticism in a letter to Harcourt, in which he doubted about
legitimacy of the approaching conference: “you three will represent in one
sense 280, and in a fuller sense 195 votes. They two will represent six or
eight? The 195 with firm ground under their feet; the six or eight (if they be
so many) floating in the air”.32 Moreover, this statement confirms his diary
Gladstone to Harcourt on 2nd January 1887. Chamberlain’s extract of the letter.
CHAMBERLAIN, p. 241.
30 Chamberlain to Lord Hartington on 4th January 1887. CHAMBERLAIN, p. 243.
31 HEYCK, p. 186; HURST, p. 202.
32 Gladstone to Harcourt on 7th January 1887. GARDINER, p. 26.
29
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
163
________________________________________________________
as well, where he even did not mention that the conference had begun at
all.33 Considering this, a question arise, whether his compromise correspondence before the conference was expression of his personal approach
and his real desire to reach the agreement and “modus vivendi” or whether
he just yielded the pressure of the NLF and the pressure of the whole Liberal
Party. His indifferent attitude to the reunion during the conference itself, his
absence at the Round Table and his role after an inglorious end of the
conference indicate that it was the later case.
Anyway, The Round Table Conference met on 13 January 1887 at
Harcourt’s house, Grafton Street 7. This first round of negotiations lasted
three hours and occurred in a cordial atmosphere. It seemed that everything
was on a good way. However, no concrete and serious agreement was
reached and therefore later discussion was postponed to the next noon.34
Main topics were the Land question, the Local government question and, of
course, the Home Rule question. Sir William Harcourt informed Gladstone
about the last, but most important, discussion: “We started with the
admitted basis that there (in Ireland – P. S.) should be a legislative body for
Ireland with an executive department upon it for purely Irish affairs.
Indeed the Leeds Resolution in principle was frankly adopted.”35 Moreover,
in a question of relationship between the Imperial and the Irish Parliament
Liberals yielded Chamberlain and agreed that a model for a new Irish
constitution would be the Canadian one and that “the powers of the
Provincial Legislatures” would serve “as an analogue for Irish Home
Rule.”36
Chamberlain, after first day, was not fully satisfied because “not a
word was said about a Parliament in Dublin and an Executive dependant
upon it.” However, in general, in his private memorandum from 13th
January, he appreciated an achieved progress. Moreover, he expressed an
approval to take The Leeds Resolution and The Canada Act of 1867 as a
basis for further discussion about the Irish problem.37
The next day filled up negotiations about a status and powers of the
Irish Constabulary, about appointment of judges and about Irish representation in Westminster. In the last problem a majority agreed that their
H. C.G. MATTHEW, (ed.), The Gladstone Diaries With Cabinet Minutes and Primeministerial Correspondence, Vol. 12, 1887–1891, Oxford 1994, p. 4. He mentions The
Round Table Conference later, but his notes about it are too brief.
34 GARVIN, p. 286.
35 Harcourt to Gladstone on 13th January 1887. GARDINER, p. 27.
36 Harcourt to Gladstone on 14th January 1887. GARDINER, p. 27.
37 CHAMBERLAIN, p. 249.
33
164
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
full representation in London would not be possible, but only John Morley
“desired to exclude them altogether”.38
The most difficult point of the conference – a question of a separate
legislative body for Ulster – was not set and was postponed for further
discussion. Despite this fact, these two days were considerable success. It
was reached an important consensus about the basis for the future Irish
legislative and possible differences in attitudes existed just in postponed
details. The majority of the Liberal Party and even Chamberlain himself
were satisfied with results.
Now, the conference was put off. During the recess, on 22nd January,
Chamberlain’s address at Hawick attracted the public opinion and, of
course, the Liberal Party as well. He did not show any desire to destroy
auspicious negotiations. A reaction to the speech came quickly. William
Harcourt gladly assured the Radical leader that Gladstone was disposed to
the idea of the reunion of the Liberal Party.39 However, Chamberlain’s next
speech, held on 29 January at Birmingham, did not have such an echo. The
reason why was simple. The Radical leader criticized Gladstonians to such
extent, that even Harcourt begun to doubt about further resumption of the
conference.40
Finally, Gladstone himself, in an explosive situation, recommended
continuing in negotiations. Therefore, the Liberal Party even did not
comment this Chamberlain’s address. Only John Morley, during his speech
at Newcastle, on 9 February, said some allusions on Radicals and their
policy. Chamberlain felt hurt and wrote to Harcourt: “You will not be
surprised to hear that the tone of the Morley’s speech at Newcastle is
personally most offensive to me. However, I do not intend to allow private
feeling to interfere with negotiations which have been dictated by
consideration of public policy, I shall say more on the subject either to you
or him, although I reserve my right to make a full public reply at the first
convenient opportunity.”41
However, a desire to negotiate was meanwhile stronger than misunderstandings. Thus, George Otto Trevelyan, who acted from an initiative of
Harcourt and Chamberlain as well, sent invitation letters for the second
round of the conference. This met on 14 February 1887 at Trevelyan’s house,
Grosvenor Crescent 8.42
Ibid, p. 250. Chamberlain’s private memorandum from 14th January 1887.
HURST, pp. 238–240.
40 GARDINER, p. 30.
41 Chamberlain to Harcourt on 10th February 1887. GARDINER, p. 32; GARVIN, p. 291.
42 HURST, p. 270.
38
39
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
165
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At the beginning of this second round of the conference, Chamberlain
and Morley quarrelled wildly over events of last days. Only an interference
of Harcourt calmed down the situation. He said: “When the ambassadors of
the contending powers meet it is the custom of the plenipotentiaries to
wear the favour of the opposing sovereigns.” 43 Then, a following dinner
took place in a quite good mood. Even, it seemed that in a short time it
would be possible to renew negotiations in a full extent. However, for such
optimism was to early.
The first impulse to another and much more serious quarrel between
the Liberal Party and Chamberlain gave Gladstone’s unfortunate open letter.
He accused Liberal Unionism of postponing Liberal reforms. A reply was
immediate. An editor of a nonconformist paper, The Baptist, F. H. Stockwell
asked Chamberlain to respond to these accusations.44
His article about the Welsh Disestablishment, published on 25
February 1887 in The Baptist, blamed Liberals that their legislative,
primarily focused on Ireland, neglected other parts of the United Kingdom.
He wrote: “Thirty-two millions people must go without much-needed
legislation because three million are disloyal, while nearly six-hundred
members of the Imperial Parliament will be reduced to forced inactivity
because some eighty delegates, representing the policy and receiving the
pay of the Chicago Convention are determined to obstruct all business until
their demands are conceded.”45
After these hard words even Harcourt himself lost his almost
inexhaustible patience and expressed his disappointment: “I cannot say
how much I regret all this. I feel that we are engaged in the work of
Sisyphus. As soon as we have with great labour rolled the stone up the hill,
you in an outburst of temper dash it down again to the bottom. You
complain of the bitterness displayed against you, but I wish sometimes you
would consider how much you do to provoke it, and I fear this last
performance will greatly aggravate the feeling against you”.46
Chamberlain recognized that after this exchange of opinions it would
be very hard to find mutual understanding. Therefore, he wrote to Harcourt
as to the main mediator between him and the Liberal Party: “I agree with
you that our task (to reunify the Party – P. S.) is almost impossible – there
GARDINER, p. 32.
CHAMBERLAIN, p. 252; HURST, p. 277.
45 HURST, pp. 286–287. He quoted The Baptist from 25th February 1887. See also
MORLEY, p. 278; GARVIN, p. 292.
46 Harcourt to Chamberlain on 25th February 1887. GARDINER, p. 34.
43
44
166
Peter Skokan
______________________________________________________________
is so much sensitiveness and feeling on both sides that the difficulties are
nearly insurmountable”.47
Gladstone, in his diaries, summed up the situation in the best way. He
indicated that the cup of patience overflowed and that a mutual disappointment and personal misunderstandings would not allow continuing
in the conference. He wrote in his private memorandum from 26 February
1887: “I think that much has been done by the conversations, and I am not
confident that a great deal more can be done now. At the same time if it is
desired by Mr Chamberlain I am quite willing to call my late colleagues
together, make know to them what has been reported to me, and learn
their views upon the question whether and how far we can carry on any
present communication with advantage beyond what has been already
done. I think they would join me in thanking Mr Chamberlain for having
promoted as well as shared in so much friendly intercourse”.48 This was
very kind but very clear judgement over the fate of the conference. It was
obvious that the negotiations collapsed and that nobody wanted to renew
the discussion about reunion of the Party. The Round Table Conference
never met again.
In the following months, Gladstone and Chamberlain accused each
other of failure of the conference. Both wanted to push their opponent to the
position of a culprit; to the situation, in which one of them would lose the
sympathies of public opinion. However, “Radical Joe” had a weaker position
than his opponent because of George Otto Trevelyan. This man was insofar
convinced that Chamberlain had destroyed the conference and that
negotiations had lead to positive result that he, in April 1887, left his friend
and colleague and rejoined the Liberal Party alone. Thus, already in byelections at Bridgeton in July 1887, he stood for a seat in Parliament as an
official candidate of the Liberal Party.49 Chamberlain accused the Liberal
Party that she used his article as pretence.50 In spite of it, he did not succeed
in freeing himself from a suspicion that the collapse of the negotiations was
his primary aim. The question was never solved, because new political topics
appeared and there was not enough space and desire to revive the lost
chance and to reunify the Liberal Party.
Chamberlain to Harcourt on 26th February 1887. GARDINER, p. 34.
Private memorandum from 26th February 1887. MATTHEW, p. 14. Compare with
Gladstone’s conversation with Harcourt, quoted in MORLEY, p. 278.
49 GARVIN, p. 294.
50 Ibid. pp. 37–38.
47
48
The Split of the Liberal Party Confirmed
167
________________________________________________________
Conclusion
The Round Table Conference of 1887 was the most serious attempt to
reunify the Liberal Party after the split over the Home Rule question in the
summer 1886. In spite of the big expectations and optimism, its results were
determined by previous political circumstances.
On one side, Chamberlain’s acceptance of the conference came out
from an uncertain position of the Radical Unionists in the new unionist
coalition. Moreover, the resignation of Randolph Churchill worsened his
uneasy position. Furthermore, the same event caused, that Whigs, partners
of the Radicals in the Liberal Unionist Party, joined the Conservative cabinet
directly and did not want to leave the new alliance, though it had some
limits. In addition, they openly refused any negotiations about any form of
Irish self-government. Ergo, a need for an immediate solution of a threat of
possible political isolation of Radical Unionists and certain disunity in the
Liberal Unionist Party itself were first obvious barriers for a successful end
of the conference.
On the other side, despite the fact that the common members of the
Liberal Party and the NLF desired a reunion, Gladstone himself did not
overcame his personal distaste to Chamberlain. Therefore, he just yielded
the pressure of the Party and accepted the need for the conference.
However, he had henceforth an indifferent attitude to the reunion what
confirmed his absence at the Round Table. Moreover, although Harcourt’s
endeavour, it became clear that personal misunderstandings and disappointments from the summer 1886 was still alive as it showed example of
complicated relation between Morley and Chamberlain.
The Round Table Conference of 1887 was thus condemned to failure.
Although some important agreements over the Irish question were reached,
it collapsed on personal relationships and on political circumstances. After
the fail of the Round Table Conference, the idea to reunify the Liberal Party
slowly sneaked away. In following period prevailed an opposite trend that
led to a fusion of Liberal Unionists with the Conservatives.
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager
Friedenskonferenz1
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
Russland entwickelte, wie bereits im Jahre 1899, auch im Zusammenhang mit der zweiten Haager Friedenskonferenz eine bedeutende Aktivität.
Der Grund dafür war klar und einfach – die Lage in Russland nach dem
verlorenen Krieg mit Japan und infolge der Revolution war höchst
ungünstig. Russland war nicht in der Lage, das Tempo der Rüstung anderen
Großmächte mitzuhalten. Fremde Beobachter hegten ernste Zweifel über die
Zukunft des Zarenreiches. So schrieb der damalige österreichische
Militärattaché in St. Petersburg Gottfried Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst: „Ich bin neugierig, wie sich die Duma entwickeln wird! Ich glaube
nach wie vor, daß die ganz große Débacle im Innern dieses unglücklichen
Reiches erst kommen wird und daß alles nur Vorspiel war. Von 1789–1793
waren auch nur 4 Jahre.“2
St. Petersburg legte den voraussichtlichen Teilnehmern an der Friedenskonferenz schon im April und Mai 1906 einen Programmentwurf vor.3
Mit der Absicht, Russland die günstigsten Ausgangsbedingungen zu
verschaffen, schlug der russische Außenminister Izvol’skij während seines
Besuchs in Berlin, Ende Oktober 1906, den Deutschen ein gemeinsames
1Diese
Studie ist ein Ergebnis von Forschungen im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts
MSM 0021620827 Die Tschechischen Länder inmitten Europas in der Vergangenheit
und heute, dessen Träger die Philosophische Fakultät der Karlsuniversität in Prag ist.
2 Gottfried Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst an Aehrenthal, Hietzing 18. 5. 1906.
Aehrenthalský rodinný archiv (weiter nur Familienarchiv Aehrenthal), Státní oblastní
archiv Litoměřice, pobočka Žitenice, Kt. 126.
3 Vgl. die Note Nr. 704, die der russische Botschafter in Berlin dem Staatssekretär
Tschirschky am 3. 4. 1906 vorlegte. Die Große Politik der Europäischen Kabinette 1871–
1914 (weiter nur GP), Bd. XXIII/1, Nr. 7802, hg. von Johannes LEPSIUS, Albrecht
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY und Friedrich THIMME, XXIII/1, Nr. 7828, S. 66–68.,
Quellenmaterial zur deutschen Beteiligung an der Konferenz vgl. GP, XXIII/1, 2. Zur
österreichischen Beteiligung vgl. näher Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv Wien (weiter nur
HHStA), Archiv des österreichischen Außenministeriums, Administrative Registratur
(weiter nur Ag. Reg.), Fach 60, Kt. 65, 66 (Vorbereitung zur zweiten Haager
Friedenskonferenz 1907), Kt. 67–74 (Die Zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz 1907). Näher
zur russischen Initiative und Vorbereitung der Konferenz vgl. The Hague Peace
Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and International Arbitration Reports and Documents.
Compiled and edited by Rosenne SHABTAI, The Hague 2001, S. 141–155. Vgl. auch Jost
DÜLFER, Regeln gegen den Krieg? Die Haagerfriedenskonferenzen von 1899 und 1907
in der internationalen Politik. Frankfurt/M. 1981, passim
170
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
______________________________________________________________
Vorgehen bei der Konferenz vor. Diese reagierten auf den Vorschlag zwar
positiv, behielten sich aber eine Erörterung einzelner Programmpunkte mit
den Verbündeten vor. Mit dieser Aufgabe wurde der Geheime Legationsrat
Dr. Johannes Kriege4 beauftragt.
Noch kurz vor seiner Ernennung stimmte der ehemalige Botschafter in
St. Petersburg und seit Oktober 1906 neue österreichisch-ungarische
Außenminister Aehrenthal5 dem Gedanken, dass die Mittelmächte ihr
Vorgehen auf der Konferenz mit Russland koordinieren sollten, zu. Er
schrieb schon am 23. August 1906 an Außenminister Gołuchowski: „Gelingt
es nicht, früher eine übereinstimmende Stellungnahme der Drei-KaiserMächte in der Abrüstungsfrage zu vereinbaren, kann die Haager
Konferenz nur mit einem diplomatischen Erfolg Englands über Deutschland oder mit einer höchst gefährlichen Zuspitzung der internationalen
Lage enden.“ Aehrenthals Brief endet mit den Worten: „Es scheint mir, daß
der übereinstimmenden Stellungnahme in der Abrüstungsfrage der
Abschluß eines förmlichen Bündnisvertrages der Drei-Kaiser-Mächte
vorangehen müsste“.6 Dieser Vorschlag des neuen Kurses der Außenpolitik
des Habsburgerreiches wurde in den politischen und diplomatischen
Kreisen der Monarchie nicht günstig aufgenommen. Schon am 3. September
1906 schrieb der wichtige Beamte am Ballhausplatz, Kajetan von Mérey, an
Aehrenthal, dass die Rückkehr zum Drei-Kaiser-Bündnis nicht der Realität
entspreche, weil der Zar und seine Minister nicht bereit seien, den
französischen Verbündenten zu verlassen.7 Die wesentlichen Erklärungen
sind im Privatbrief, den sein Vorgänger im Amt, Graf Gołuchowski,
Aehrenthal am 15. September 1906 schickte, zu finden. In diesem Brief
konstatiert Gołuchowski: „Für uns würde die Wiederherstellung des DreiKaiser-Bündnisses das Ende des Dreibundes und eine wesentliche
Änderung unseres Verhältnisses zu Italien bedeuten. Denn es unterliegt
keinem Zweifel, dass es dann den Werbungen Englands und Frankreichs
gelingen würde, Italien ganz auf ihre Seite zu bringen und zu bewegen, das
Dr. Kriege wirkte in der Rechtsabteilung des Auswärtigen Amtes.
Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal diente als Botschafter in St. Petersburg (1899–1906) und am
24. Oktober 1906 wurde Außenminister.
6 Privatschreiben Aehrenthal an Gołuchowski, St. Petersburg 23./10. 8. 1906 HHStA,
Politisches Archiv (weiter nur PA) I, Kt. 475. Geheimliasse XXXII. Vgl. auch Aus dem
Nachlass Aehrenthal. Briefe und Dokumente zur österreichisch-ungarischen
Aussenpolitik 1885–1906, Teil 1, hg. Solomon WANK unter Mitarbeit von Christine M.
GRAFINGER und Franz ADLGASSER. Quellen zur Geschichte des 19. und 20.
Jahrhunderts, hg. von Fritz FELLNER, Bd. 6, Graz 1994, Nr. 303, S. 393–394; S 394.
7 Mérey an Aehrenthal, 3. 9. 1906. HHStA, Nachlass Aehrenthal, Karton 3.
4
5
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz
171
________________________________________________________
wenig populäre Bündnis mit uns zu kündigen“.8 Gołuchowski stellt die klare
Frage: „Lassen es die gegenwärtigen Zustände in Rußland für geraten
erscheinen, mit demselben in ein festeres Verhältnis zu treten?“9 Seine
Antwort ist eindeutig: „Nach meiner Meinung ist die dortige Lage eine noch
gefährlichere, die Zerrüttung eine noch größere, als man dies schon nach
den äußeren Erscheinungen annehmen muß ... Die Fäulnis ist eine so tief
gehende ... Die bloße, rücksichtlose Repression kann wohl einen momentanen Stillstand bewirken; wenn aber mit derselben nicht die
einschneidendsten Reformen pari passu einhergehen, wird die revolutionäre Bewegung in einem gegebenen Momente mit umso größerer
elementarer Gewalt zum Ausbruche kommen.“10 Am Schluss lehnt er die
Vorschläge Aehrenthals zur Erneuerung des Drei-Kaiser-Bündnises ab:
„Unter diesen Umständen erschiene es mir zum mindesten verfrüht, dem
Gedanken eines Bündnisses mit einer Macht näher zu treten, die heute nach
außen aktionsunfähig ist und deren Zukunft in so hohem Grade und auf
lange hinaus unsicher und gefährdet erscheint.“11 Darüber hinaus wird
deutlich die Befürchtung, welche Folgen ein solcher Schritt haben könnte:
„Die Wiederherstellung des Drei-Kaiser-Bündnisses würde überall als ein
reaktionärer Bund behufs Stärkung oder Wiederaufrichtung der zarischen
Autokratie angesehen werden, und sowohl in Österreich-Ungarn als in
Deutschland würde diese Politik einen wahren Sturm aller radikalen und
revolutionären Elemente gegen sich entfesseln.“12
Unter diesen Umständen musste Aehrenthal vorsichtig sein. Er empfahl, wichtige Punkte mit Berlin vorher abzusprechen und „in Petersburg
gar nicht wissen zu lassen, dass wir uns bereits verständigt hätten“.13 In
diesem Licht betrachtet, wirkt seine gleichzeitige Anweisung an den Botschafter in St. Petersburg, Berchtold, Izvol’skij einen geheimen Austausch
über die Programmpunkte anzubieten, zumindest eigenartig.14
Am 24. Januar begannen in Wien die Gespräche, an denen außer den
offiziellen Bevollmächtigten Dr. Kriege und Baron Mérey auf deutscher Seite
Botschafter Wedel, auf österreichischer Seite Hofrat Weil und der bekannte
Privatschreiben Gołuchowskis an Aehrenthal, Wien,15. 9. 1906. Familienarchiv
Aehrenthal, K. 126.
9 Ebenda.
10 Ebenda.
11 Ebenda.
12 Ebenda.
13 Deutscher Botschafter Wedel an Auswärtiges Amt, Telegramm Nr. 6, 13. 1. 1907. GP,
XXIII/1, Nr. 7830, S. 102.
14 Telegram Aehrenthals an Berchtold, 13. 1. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 65.
8
172
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
______________________________________________________________
Politiker und Völkerrechtsexperte Prof. Heinrich Lammasch teilnahmen.15
Ein Schlüsselproblem während dieser vorbereitenden Gespräche bildete die
Abrüstungsfrage, welche die Briten während der Konferenz aufs Tapet
bringen wollten. „Aus dieser ganzen Haager Geschichte wird nie etwas
vernünftiges herauskommen, sobald man über einen gewissen Rahmen
hinausgeht, und Utopien wie die Abrüstungsfrage aufs Tapet bringt, die
einfach nicht einmal besprechbar sind,“ kommentierte Prinz HohenloheSchillingsfürst diesen Anlass.16 Berlin lehnte offiziell diese Initiative entscheiden ab. Die deutschen Diplomaten nahmen deshalb mit Befriedigung
zur Kenntnis, dass man in Wien „die Abrüstungsfrage als inakzeptabel
[betrachte] sowohl als Programmpunkt wie als Thema einer offiziellen, im
Protokoll zu vermerkenden außerprogrammatischen Diskussion“.17 Die
Bedingungen zur Erreichung dieses Ziels waren günstig, denn nach den
Informationen des deutschen Botschafters in St. Petersburg, Schoen,
betrachtete es der Zar als „ganz ausgeschlossen, dem Gedanken der Abrüstung, der neuerdings von England so eifrig in die öffentliche Diskussion
gebracht werde, näherzutreten“.18
Auch Aehrenthal versuchte in diesem Sinne zu wirken und betraute
den Botschaftsrat in St. Petersburg, Prinz Fürstenberg, damit, Russlands
Standpunkt zum britischen Abrüstungsvorschlag herausfinden.19 Der
russische Außenminister erklärte seine Zustimmung zum Standpunkt
Deutschlands und Österreich-Ungarns und ließ die Bereitschaft zu einem
gemeinsamen Vorgehen in dieser Frage erkennen. Seiner Meinung nach
musste nur noch entschieden werden, ob die Abrüstungsverhandlungen im
Vorfeld abzulehnen seien oder ob ein „Begräbnis erster Klasse“ erst auf der
Konferenz durchgeführt werden sollte. Die zweite Variante erschien ihm
günstiger, den die erwähnten Großmächte könnten sich dem eventuellen
Zuz Lammaschs Rolle während der zweiten Haager Friedenskonferenz vgl. Heinrich
Lammasch: Seine Aufzeichnungen, sein Wirken und seine Politik. Hg. von Marga
LAMMASCH und Hans SPERL, Wien 1922; VEROSTA, Stephan, Theorie und Realität
der Bündnissen. Heinrich Lammasch, Karl Renner und der Zweibund (1897–1914),
Wien 1971, S. 1–28.
16 Hohenlohe an Aehrenthal, St. Petersburg 24. 3. 1907, Familienarchiv Aehrenthal, Kt.
126.
17 Telegramm Wedels ans Auswärtige Amt, Nr. 38, 11. 2. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr. 7834, S.
108.
18 Schoen an Bülow, Nr. 31, 28. 1. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr. 7835, S. 109.
19 Weisung Aehrenthals an Fürstenberg, Nr. 13, 13. 2. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60,
Kt. 65.
15
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz
173
________________________________________________________
Vorwurf, sie würden eine edle Absicht durchkreuzen, entziehen.20 Die
Österreicher präferierten dagegen die Möglichkeit, die Abrüstungsfrage
schon im Vorfeld aus dem Programm der Konferenz zu streichen und waren
entschlossen, auch den russischen Experten und bekannten Fachmann für
Völkerrecht, Geheimrat Martens, der zu Gesprächen in Wien erwartet
wurde, dafür zu gewinnen. Für den Fall, dass Russland sich doch noch der
britischen Seite zuneigen sollte und die Abrüstungsfrage auf die Tagesordnung geriet, waren Deutschland und Österreich-Ungarn entschlossen,
während der Konferenz nicht an der Diskussion zu dieser Frage
teilzunehmen.
Am 2. März 1907 erörterte Martens dieses Problem mit Aehrenthal. Er
ließ zwar gelten, dass eine eventuelle Diskussion über die Abrüstung keinen
Sinn haben würde, war aber mit Rücksicht auf Großbritannien nicht geneigt,
sie vorher von der Tagesordnung zu streichen. Ein ähnliches Ergebnis
hatten auch seine Gespräche in Berlin. Auch Aehrenthals Vorschlag, die
Abrüstungsfrage auf einer separaten Konferenz der Großmächte zu behandeln, bedeutete keinen entscheidenden Fortschritt.
Die Haltung Italiens, wo Außenminister Tittoni aus Rücksicht auf das
Parlament und die öffentliche Meinung sich nicht traute, den britischen
Vorschlag bezüglich der Abrüstungsgespräche abzulehnen, bedeutete eine
Verkomplizierung der Sache. Am Ende entschieden sich Berlin und Wien,
fest auf der ursprünglichen ablehnenden Haltung zu verharren. Am 6. März
wurde Berchtold instruiert, Izvol’skij klarzumachen, dass Österreich-Ungarn
sich die Streichung der Abrüstungsfrage aus dem Konferenzprogramm
wünscht.21 Ähnliche Schritte unternahm auch der deutsche Botschafter
Schoen. Aber auch eine gemeinsame Audienz des österreichisch-ungarischen und deutschen Botschafters beim Zaren erbrachte keine eindeutige
Ablehnung des britischen Vorschlags durch Rußland. Nikolaus II. „versicherte beiden, er stehe auf der Seite Deutschlands und ÖsterreichUngarns, aber wenn der englische Vorschlag nicht ins Programm
aufgenommen werde, würde England wohl gar nicht an der Konferenz
Vgl. Telegramm Schoens an Auswärtiges Amt, Nr. 38, 11. 2. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr.
7843, s. 118. Streng vertrauliches Telegramm Fürstenbergs an Aehrenthal 14. 2. 1907.
HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 65.
21 Aehrenthal an Berchtold, Nr. 17793/7, 6. 3. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 65.
Zum Verhältnis Österreich-Ungarns zu Russland in dieser Zeit vgl. Instruktion
Berchtolds vom 6. 3. 1907. HHStA, PA, Allgemeines rot, Geheime Akten XXXVII, Kt.
483, Verhandlungen mit Rußland 1906–1912,.
20
174
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
______________________________________________________________
teilnehmen, und man würde Russland für ihr Scheitern verantwortlich
machen“.22
Für Russlands schwankende Haltung gibt es eine Erklärung: Izvol’skij
war entschlossen, die Außenpolitik des Zarenreichs auf eine Regelung der
Beziehungen zu Großbritannien hin auszurichten. Deshalb war auch sein
Bemühen verständlich, einer eindeutigen Ablehnung des britischen Vorschlags, besonders wenn dies in Zusammenarbeit mit Deutschland und
Österreich-Ungarn geschah, auszuweichen. Russland, dessen Marine größtenteils im Krieg mit Japan vernichtet worden war, konnte auf der anderen
Seite kein Interesse an einer Rüstungsbegrenzung haben. Deshalb begrüßte
der Zar auch begeistert Izvol’skijs Idee, die Abrüstungsfrage erst während
der Konferenz „zu begraben“.
Im Frühjahr 1907 wollte der österreichisch-ungarische Außenminister
offensichtlich keine weitgehende Verschlechterung im Verhältnis zu Russland zulassen und war nicht bereit, das Vorgehen der Habsburgermonarchie
einseitig den Interessen Berlins unterzuordnen. „Unsere & Russlands Politik
muss auf die Erfüllung des Gleichgewichtes in Europa abzielen,“ schrieb er
an Berchtold am 26. April nach St. Petersburg. „Dieses wird gegenwärtig
nicht von Deutschland bedroht, zumal Wien, St. Petersburg und Paris es in
der Hand haben, durch herzliche Beziehungen untereinander, ein etwaiges
Ueberwiegen des Roi de Prusse in die entsprechenden Schranken zu
weisen“. Im gleichen Brief konstatierte er: „Ich bin der Letzte, der pour le
Roi de Prusse arbeitet“.23
Von den beiden Mittelmächten zeigte Deutschland stellenweise die
verhältnismäßig nachgiebigere Haltung. Kaiser Wilhelm II. ließ die
Möglichkeit einer „akademischen Diskussion“ über die Rüstung zu, während
Aehrenthals Haltung unverändert ablehnend war. Was die Position der
Verbündeten betraf, brachte die Denkschrift, welche der deutsche Chargé
d’affaires in Wien, Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau, am 26. März 1907 Aehrenthal
überreichte, die Klarheit.24 Die Deutschen schlugen vor, den ursprünglichen
Entwurf Izvol’skijs, der keinerlei Programmpunkte zur Abrüstung umfasste,
unter der Voraussetzung zu akzeptieren, dass die Repräsentanten Russlands, Österreich-Ungarns und Deutschlands Anweisung ihrer Regierungen
Silke I. FISCHER, Die Beziehungen Österreich-Ungarns zu Deutschland in den ersten
Jahren der Ministerschaft Aehrenthals (1906–1906), Diss., Wien 1959, S. 33.
23 Brief Aehrenthals an Berchtold, Moravský zemský archiv Brno (Mährisches
Landesarchiv Brünn), Familienarchiv Berchtold, Fond G 138, Kt. 133, Inventareinheit
462/1.
24 Telegramm Brockdorff-Rantzaus an Auswärtiges Amt, Nr. 68, 26. 3. 1907. GP, XXIII/1,
Nr. 7890, S. 176. Text der deutschen Denkschrift, GP, Bd. XXIII/1, Nr. 7887, S. 168–171.
22
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz
175
________________________________________________________
bekämen, sich nicht an den Abrüstungsgesprächen zu beteiligen. Für St.
Petersburg bedeutete dies einen annehmbaren Ausgangspunkt und wurde
deshalb ebenfalls akzeptiert.25 In Berlin und Wien hegte man Befürchtungen
hinsichtlich eventueller Abrüstungsgespräche auf der Konferenz. Deshalb
beschäftigte die österreichischen und deutschen Diplomaten lange die
Frage, wie man gemeinsam mit Russland den Umstand, dass man sich das
Recht vorbehalte, nicht an solchen „unpraktischen Gesprächen“ teilzunehmen, ausdrücken könnte.26 Ergebnis der konzentrierten Bemühungen
der Mittelmächte war es schließlich, dass die Möglichkeit einer ernsthaften
Behandlung der Abrüstungsfrage schon im Vorfeld der eigentlichen
Konferenz verschwand.
Am Samstag, dem 15. Juni 1907 eröffnete der niederländische Außenminister Tets van Goudrian, der ehemalige Gesandte in Berlin, die zweite
Haager Friedenskonferenz, deren Verhandlungen bis zum 18. Oktober
dauerten. Den Vorsitz übernahm der russische Bevollmächtigte und
Botschafter in Paris, Aleksandr Ivanovič Nelidov.27
Während der Konferenzverhandlungen traten in den Beziehungen der
beiden Verbündeten stellenweise Disharmonien auf. Betrachten wir den
Verlauf der Konferenz unter dem Geschichtspunkt der Prioritäten und
gegenseitigen Beziehungen der Mittelmächte, so lässt sich konstatieren, dass
Österreich-Ungarn nur an einer wesentlich geringeren Zahl der erörterten
Themen Interesse hatte und die österreichische Delegation nicht besonders
gut auf die Verhandlungen vorbereitet war.28 Wenn sich die Österreicher
und Deutschen auch in der negativen Haltung zur Abrüstungsfrage einig
waren, so waren sie in der Frage der verbindlichen Unterordnung der
Entscheidungen des internationalen Schiedsgerichts unterschiedlicher
Auffassung. Mérey machte schon am Anfang der Konferenz den deutschen
Ersten Delegaten Marschall29 und Dr. Kriege mit Österreich-Ungarns
Telegramm Schoens an das Auswärtige Amt, Nr. 93, 27. 3. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr. 7892,
S. 178–179. Telegramm Berchtolds an Aehrenthal, Nr. 49, 27. 3. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg.,
Fach 60, Kt. 66,.
26 Silke I. FISCHER, S. 37–48.
27 Programm der Konferenz vgl. The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and
International Arbitration Reports and Documents, S. 147–149.
28 Auf den Umstand, dass die österreichisch-ungarische Delegation schlechter als die
Vertreter anderer Staaten zur Haager Konferenz gefahren war, hatte auch der erste
Delegierte Mérey ex post am 6. 11. 1907 in einem Privatbrief an Außenminister
Aehrenthal hingewiesen. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 72.
29 Adolf Hermann Marschall von Bieberstein war 1890–1897 Staatssekretär des
deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes, 1897–1912 deutscher Botschafter in Konstantinopel und
1912 kurze Zeit Botschafter in London. Die Bezeichnung „Erster Delegierter“ war eine
offizielle Bezeichnung für den Delegationsleiter.
25
176
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
______________________________________________________________
Standpunkt zu dieser Frage bekannt. Er konstatierte, die österreichische
Diplomatie sei nicht gewillt, einen eigenen Vorschlag vorzulegen und würde
einen Vertrag über einen verbindlichen Schiedsspruch unterschreiben, wenn
sichergestellt sei, dass die Signatarstaaten, falls der betreffende Streit ihre
vitalen Interessen und ihre Ehre berührte, nicht an den Schiedsspruch
gebunden seien. Die deutschen Vertreter schlossen die Möglichkeit einer
Unterordnung unter einen Schiedsspruch hingegen aus. Der österreichische
Standpunkt überraschte sie, denn er bedeutete die Abkehr Wiens von seiner
vormaligen Position.30 Der enttäuschte Marschall schrieb diesen Wandel
eindeutig dem österreichisch-ungarischen Außenminister Aehrenthal zu.31
Mérey empfahl Aehrenthal, dem deutschen Druck, trotz der entstandenen
Spannungen, nicht nachzugeben.32 Der amerikanische Vorschlag vom Juli
1907 bot in gewisser Weise einen Ausweg an. Unter der Prämisse, die
Angelegenheit berühre nicht ihre vitalen Interessen, die Unabhängigkeit,
Ehre und gegebenenfalls die Interessen dritter Staaten, sollten jene
Streitigkeiten, die nicht mit den geläufigen diplomatischen Mitteln gelöst
werden könnten, dem ständigen Schiedsgerichtshof in Haag zur Entscheidung vorgelegt werden. An diesem Punkt kam es zu einer Art
Rollenwechsel. Während Marschall andeutete, dass eine Einnahme in dieser
Form für Deutschland annehmbar sein müsste, lehnte Mérey den
amerikanischen Vorschlag ab. Die deutsche Delegation verspürte in Haag
eine immer stärkere Isolation, weshalb Dr. Kriege zu Beratungen nach
Berlin abreiste. Das Ergebnis war die erneute Ablehnung, sich dem Spruch
eines Schiedsgerichts unterzuordnen und die Unterstützung des amerikanischen Vorschlags der Einrichtung eines Ständigen Schiedsgerichtshofs.
Am 28. August trug Mérey im Probeausschuss einen österreichischen
Resolutionsentwurf vor, der sich eindeutig für die verbindliche Unterordnung unter ein Schiedsgericht aussprach,33 aber weiterhin den Gedanken
ablehnte, aus diesem eine feste Einrichtung zu machen. Bei den Abstimmungen im Probeausschuss erreichte weder der amerikanische noch
der österreichische Vorschlag die notwendige Unterstützung. Auch das
Quellenmaterial zur Behandlung der Schiedsgerichtsfrage auf der Konferenz vgl. GP,
Bd. XXIII/2,S. 323–346. Der Umstand, dass Österreich-Ungarn in der Frage des
Schiedsgerichts seine Meinung geändert hatte, kritisierte der deutsche Botschafter in
Wien, Wedel, in seinem Bericht an Bülow, Nr. 233, 26. 6. 1907. GP, XXIII/2, Nr. 7989, S.
325–326.
31 Telegramm Marschalls an Auswärtiges Amt, Nr. 3, 18. 6. 1907. GP, XXIII/2, Nr. 7988,
S. 324.
32 Bericht Méreys an Aehrenthal, Nr. 8 B, 9. 7. 1907, HHStA, Ad. Reg. Fach 60, Kt. 70.
33 Text der österreichisch-ungarischen Resolution vgl. Beilage zu Méreys Bericht an
Aehrenthal, Nr. 29 B, 6. 9. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 72.
30
Die Mittelmächte und die zweite Haager Friedenskonferenz
177
________________________________________________________
britisch-amerikanische Kompromissvorhaben hinsichtlich der Ernennung
der Richter hatte keinen Erfolg. Am 7. Oktober fand im Plenum die
Abstimmung über den amerikanischen Vorschlag statt. Obwohl sich die
österreichischen Delegierten erst unlängst für eine verbindliche Unterordnung unter ein Schiedsgericht ausgesprochen hatten, änderten sie nun
ihre Meinung, stimmten gemeinsam mit Deutschland und einigen anderen
Staaten dagegen, was angesichts des Einstimmigkeitsprinzips die Ablehnung
bedeutete. Die Abstimmung im Plenum über Méreys Vorlage fand am 10.
Oktober statt. Die britischen Vertreter wandten sich mit großer Schärfe
dagegen, und so wurde die österreichische Resolution trotz der Unterstützung Deutschlands, Italiens und Russlands abgelehnt.34 In Anbetracht
des französischen Drucks, überhaupt zu einem Abschluss in der Frage einer
verbindlichen Unterordnung unter ein Schiedsgericht zu kommen, wurde
am 11. Oktober ein vom Italiener Tornielli eingebrachter Resolutionsentwurf
verabschiedet. In diesem äußerten sich die Konferenzstaaten in dieser Frage
positiv, ohne sich formal jedoch auf irgendetwas festzulegen. Die Tatsache,
dass letztendlich nur eine allgemeine unverbindliche Deklaration angenommen worden war, kam in der ersten Linie den Deutschen, die von
Anfang an gegen die Pflicht zur Unterordnung unter ein Schiedsgericht
gewesen waren, entgegen. In seinem Abschlußbericht über die Konferenz
hob Marschall lobend hervor, dass „die Idee“ auf diese Weise durch die
Delegierten der Dreibundstaaten „in Form einer nichtsagenden Resolution
begraben wurde“.35 Letztlich waren auch die Österreicher zufrieden und
Mérey äußerte die Ansicht, dass Österreich-Ungarn sich nichts Besseres
hätte wünschen können.36
Was die im Vorfeld so viel diskutierte Abrüstungsfrage betraf, war sich
Russland mit den Mittelmächten zwar darin einig, sie nicht auf die Tagesordnung gelangen zu lassen, wollte sich bei Beginn der Konferenz aus
Rücksicht auf Frankreich und Großbritannien jedoch nicht grundsätzlich
ablehnend äußern. Das größere Verständnis für die komplizierte russische
Situation zeigte erstaunlicherweise der österreichisch-ungarische Außenminister Aehrenthal. Er bestand beispielweise nicht auf der Erwähnung der
grundsätzlichen österreichischen und deutschen Vorbehalte gegen die Behandlung der Abrüstungsfrage im Rundschreiben, mit dem Russland zur
Teilnahme an der Konferenz einlud. In der Frage einer eventuellen Behandlung
Der österreichische Resolutionsentwurf wurde 23:14 Stimmen abgelehnt. Vgl.
Telegramm Méreys an Aehrenthal, Nr. 28, 11. 10. 1907. HHStA, Ad. Reg., Fach 60, Kt. 74:
35 Marschall an Bülow, 10. 11. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr. 7965, S. 290–291.
36 Silke I. FISCHER, S. 55.
34
178
Aleš Skřivan, Sr.
______________________________________________________________
dieser Frage auf der Konferenz blieben die Standpunkte Wiens und Berlins
allerdings eindeutig ablehnend, wenn Aehrenthal es auch geschickter als die
Deutschen verstanden hatte, Druck auszuüben und es den österreichischen
Diplomaten manchmal gelang, den deutsche Standpunkt beeinflussen.
Wenn wir die Haltung der Verbündeten zur Frage der verbindlichen
Unterordnung unter einen Schiedsspruch betrachten, dann entsteht der
Eindruck, Mérey habe seinen ursprünglichen Standpunkt bald aufgegeben
und die österreichische Position der deutschen Meinung untergeordnet, was
ihm zum Beispiel Lammasch vorwarf.37 Auf österreichischer Seite war aber
auch eine gänzlich andere Einschätzung zu vernehmen. Der erfahrene
Diplomat Konstantin Dumba, später Gesandter in Stockholm und Botschafter in Washington, schätzte Mérey als fähigen Diplomaten, der auf der
Konferenz unzweifelhaft geschickt agiert habe.38 Im übrigen, behauptete
auch Marschall, dass der österreichische Vertreter seinen Standpunkt auf
der Grundlage eigener Bewertung geändert habe.39 Eine logische, wenn auch
kritisch zu hinterfragende Erklärung lieferte Mérey selbst. Nach einer
Erklärung wollte er Deutschland mit dieser Meinungsänderung eine Isolation auf der Konferenz ersparen. Der Kern des Problems lag, was Österreich betrifft, aber woanders. Dumba, in dessen III. Referat des Außenministeriums die Verantwortung für die Teilnahme and der Haager Konferenz
fiel, gab zu, dass weder Aehrenthal noch jemand anderer der „Konferenz die
nötige Aufmerksamkeit gewidmet hatten“. Österreich-Ungarn habe ein
„mangelndes Interesse“ an der Konferenz gezeigt, und so ließen sich seine
Vertreter, auch wenn die österreichische Diplomatie im Laufe der vorbereitenden Gespräche aktiver war, leicht von den Deutschen beeinflussen und
in den Schatten stellen.40
LAMMASCH, S. 52.
Konstantin DUMBA, Dreibund- und Ententepolitik in der Alten und Neuen Welt.
Leipzig, Wien, Zürich 1931, S. 251.
39 Diese Meinung enthält der Abschlußbericht Marschalls über die Konferenz an Bülow,
10. 11. 1907. GP, XXIII/1, Nr. 7965, S. 289–295.
40 Silke I. FISCHER, S. 58.
37
38
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
Roman Kodet
At the end of the year 1907 was focused the attention of European
Great Powers on the problem of Macedonian reforms. On the base of this
problem the two most interested Great Powers – Austria-Hungary and
Russia – created common agreement known as the Austro-Russian entente
and in the year 1903 signed Mürszteg Punctation. According to this treaty
these two rivals in the sphere of Eastern Question decided to cooperate in
preservation of the status quo on the Balkans. Their aim was to strengthen
the control of the Macedonian reforms.1 The cooperation of these two states
lasted with some problems for four years. But after the accession of new
foreign ministers in Vienna and St. Petersburg, their mutual relations
worsened.
On the 12th May 1906 Alexander Petrovich Izvolsky became a foreign
minister of tsarist Russia. He was convinced that his main task is to hinder
German hegemony in Europe.2 He was therefore determined to cooperate
closely with Western Powers, which corresponded with his liberal opinions.
On the contrary the new foreign minister of Austria-Hungary Baron Alois
Lexa von Aehrenthal, who had been in the years 1899–1906 an ambassador
in St. Petersburg, was known as a russophile and “was highly estimated in
high political circles in St. Petersburg and enjoyed favour and confidence of
the Tsar.”3 His conservative conviction led him to a persuasion that the best
way to secure the interests of Austria-Hungary is a close cooperation with
Russia. Already as an ambassador in St. Petersburg he wrote several
memorials to his superior Gołuchowski, whom he advocated the revival of
the Three Emperors Alliance.4 However his plan couldn’t be executed
because of Izvolsky’s unwillingness to closely cooperate with the Habsburg
monarchy.
Francis Roy BRIDGE, From Sadowa to Sarajevo. The Foreign policy of AustriaHungary 186 –1914, London, Boston 1972, p. 265.
2 W. M. CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal vor der bosnischen Annexionskrise,
Uppsala 1955, p. 73.
3 Berthold MOLDEN, Alois Graf Aehrenthal. Sechs Jahre äußere Politik ÖsterreichUngarns, Stuttgart, Berlin 1917, p. 17.
4 W. M. CARLGREN, Die Renaissance des Dreikaiserbundes. Ein Grosspolitischer Plan
Aehrenthals im Jahre 1906, Stockholm 1954, p. 16–17.
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The opportunity to establish closer relations between both empires
came in September 1907, when Izvolsky visited Vienna. Both ministers
discussed mainly the situation in Macedonia. They agreed, that Vienna and
St. Petersburg should press the Balkan states to stop their support of armed
bands in this region, because otherwise the Great Powers wouldn’t be able to
proceed with the reforms of administration in Macedonia based on the
national identity.
Nevertheless more important was Izvolsky’s probe with regard to
discover Aehrental’s attitude to Izvolsky’s main goal, which was nothing
lesser than the change of the status quo of the Straits of the Bosphorus and
the Dardanelles. In exchange for the Austro-Hungarian support he was
prepared to agree with Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and even the Sanjak of Novi Pazar.5 Aehrenthal answered quite
evasively, because the Bosnian question wasn’t in that time actual. The
meeting was successful, because Russian foreign minister promised
cooperation on the problem of reforms in Macedonia.6 This completely
suited Aehrenthal, who was notwithstanding worried, because Izvolsky’s
comments about the Straits meant, that Russia once again activated its
Balkan policy. From the messages from Constantinople it was simultaneously evident, that Izvolsky gives a free hand to ambassador Ivan Alexeevich Zinoviev, whose anti-Austrian attitude was well known and who
ostentatiously cooperated with British envoy O’Connor.7 Therefore despite
of assurances of Austro-Hungarian ambassador in Ottoman Empire
Pallavicini, that “today Russia plays in Constantinople a lesser part than
any other power,”8 Aehrenthal was suspicious of another Russian step. His
apprehensions were boosted up by the fact, that in this time the question of
the so-called Sanjak railway became acute.
Austria-Hungary gained the right to build this key railway, which aim
was to directly connect the Habsburg monarchy with Salonica, on the base
of the 25th article of the Treaty of Berlin. According to Austrian plans this
railway should connect the Bosnian city of Uvac with Turkish railway
network in Mitrovica.
The building of Austrian railway to Uvac protracted due to insufficient
financial funds, but after activation of Serbian project of Adriatic railway in
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 191.
Francis Roy BRIDGE, The Habsburg Monarchy among the Great powers, 1815–1918,
New York, Oxford, Munich 1990, p. 274..
7 CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 192.
8 Ibid., p. 187.
5
6
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
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1890,9 the works were hurried and in the year 1905 this ambitious project
was finished. “Only at this moment the connection of Bosnian with Turkish
railways – the building of connection Uvac-Mitrovica – became key for
Austro-Hungarian political and economic interests on the Balkans. The
Habsburg monarchy would gain direct connection with Constantinople –
so far part of the railway to Turkish capital led through Serbian territory.
Austria-Hungary could also connect itself with Greek railway net and the
building of this short highway would undoubtedly strengthened Austrian
positions on the Balkans. The project had support of military leaders in
Vienna, especially of the Chief of the General Staff Conrad von Hötzendorf.”10 The main problem of this plan lay in the response of the Great
Powers. The Fundamental weak point of Aehrenthal’s meeting with Izvolsky
lay in the fact, that the Sanjak railway project wasn’t mentioned. Vienna was
therefore afraid that this whole problem could destroy the Austro-Russian
entente.11
After relative successful discussion with Izvolsky Aehrenthal turned
his attention towards Constantinople, where he designed to put through the
Sanjak railway project. Simultaneously he knew, that the Mürzsteg program
embodies serious weaknesses, which can lead to the collapse of the entente.
Its main weak point was its clumsiness, which proved after the beginning of
the conference of ambassadors in Constantinople. Here the weakness of the
whole concert of the Great Powers showed itself. The ambassadors were only
slowly informed about the intentions of their governments and their
instructions were often outdated. Another important point was the fact, that
the ambassadors of Great Powers in Constantinople were universally strong
persons, who were convinced, that they are familiar with the present
situation more than their chiefs and governments. This led to their
ignorance of their directives and they played a lone hand.12 This fact gave
rise to their mutual antipathies, which consequently complicated the
conference.
Its new meeting was on the request of the British ambassador Nicolas
O’Connor postponed to the 26th of October. Until than O’Connor received
instructions to cooperate with Russian envoy Zinoviev with the aim to
enforce the most radical shape of the judicial reform in Macedonia. Against
Arthur J. MAY, Trans-Balkan Railway Schemes. Journal of Modern History 24 (1952),
p. 353.
10 Aleš SKŘIVAN, Císařská politika. Rakousko-Uhersko a Německo v evropské politice v
letech 1906–1914, Praha 1996, p. 41.
11 CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 190.
12 BRIDGE, The Habsburg Monarchy, p. 275.
9
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his proposals stood up German representative Kiderlen-Wächter, who
substituted absent German ambassador in Constantinople Marschall. At his
side stood quite surprisingly French ambassador Constans. By this chain of
events the conference lost its integrity and it can be claimed, that the
representatives of Austria-Hungary and Russia lost control of the situation.13
Standstill of the conference led Aehrenthal to advice Pallavicini to support
Zinoviev’s proposal, that the inspectors for Macedonia should be Christians
chosen by the Sultan from a list created by the Great Powers. This invoked
opposition from the side of Germans and British. At the meeting on the 4th
of December the ambassadors achieved only the agreement that the still
nonexistent project of the Great Powers will be presented to the Sultan as a
collective note. However Pallavicini judged the possibility of an agreement
quite pessimistic.14 He wrote his opinions to Aehrenthal on 11th December
and complained on Zinoviev who cooperated with O’Connor. Pallavicini
credited this Zinoviev’s activity to Izvolsky who along his opinion wasn't
interested in the continuation of the entente.
Aehrenthal estimated Pallavicini’s reports as exaggerated. In this
opinion he was reassured by Austro-Hungarian ambassador in St.
Petersburg Leopold Berchtold, whose messages revealed, that the RussoBritish rapprochement reached its climax and in the near future it would be
disturbed by Russian ambitions in the question of the Straits.15 Aehrenthal
was also cheered up by the concordant view with the Izvolsky on the
question of Macedonian gendarmery which didn’t conform with the views of
the British Foreign Secretary sir Edward Grey, who “faced with identical
replies from Vienna and St. Petersburg could only abandon his proposal”.16
The fact that Russia still stands at the side of Vienna led Aehrenthal to a
conviction, that he should exploit this support until Austria-Hungary can
still count with it.
In order to enforce the Austrian project Aehrenthal had to secure the
support of Germany. He gained an opportunity to this move when the
German ambassador Marschall went on the 14th of December from Berlin
back to Constantinople. At the beginning of their conversations he tried to
gain Germany for Austro-Hungarian policy in Macedonia. But Marschall
was evasive and only confined himself to a statement, that Germany
wouldn’t oppose the policy of entente powers. The second point of their
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 197.
Ibid., p. 198.
15 Ibid., p. 200.
16 BRIDGE, From Sadowa to Sarajevo, p. 296.
13
14
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
183
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discussion was the question of the Straits. It became quite obvious, that the
aim of Russian policy is to gain free passage through the Bosphorus and the
Dardanelles. This would lead according to Vienna and Berlin to the Russian
control of Constantinople. Despite of this fact the partners from the Dual
alliance took an expectant stand.
As the last point both statesmen discussed the question of the Sandjak
railway. Though the Germans already promised their support when
Aehrenthal visited Berlin in May 1907,17 Aehrenthal wanted to test the
firmness of German attitude and gain another assurance of German support.
He also hoped to gain Marschall personally, because German ambassador
had a very firm position following the support of the Emperor Wilhelm II
and during his long function in Constantinople he gained considerable
influence on the Sultan Abdülhamid.18 Therefore Aehrenthal outlined the
advantages of the project. The Austro-Hungarian minister claimed, that it
wouldn’t only safeguard the status quo on the Balkans, but also oppose the
Russo-Serbian project of the railway connection between the Danube and
the Adriatic, which would evade the territory of Austria-Hungary.19
Aehrenthal appealed on Marschall to back up the Austro-Hungarian project,
in order to stop this Serbian plan, which would seriously harm the interests
of Vienna. Despite he didn’t gain direct assurance of German assistance,
Aehrenthal hoped, that his arguments would eventually persuade Marschall.
So on the turn of the years 1907 and 1908 the Austro-Hungarian policy
focused its attention on the gain of the concession for the building of the
Sanjak railway. However Aehrenthal was aware of two dangers, which
loomed over the project. Firstly it was the mentioned Russo-Serbian plan of
the so-called Transversal railway and secondly the menace that Izwolsky
could get on with his designs in the question of the Straits. This would
endanger the whole position of Austria-Hungary on the Balkans and would
force Aehrenthal to the annexation of Bosnia a Herzegovina. Such step
would undoubtedly lead to a serious conflict with the Turks and the project
of the Sanjak railway would be ruined. Therefore Aehrenthal wanted to proceed as fast as possible and in this sense he sent instructions to Pallavicini.
The Austro-Hungarian ambassador in Constantinople was also a supporter
of the railway project, but he advised to be cautious and to wait till the Great
Powers present their collective note concerning the Macedonian reforms to
SKŘIVAN, p. 41.
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 203.
19 MAY, pp. 353–357.
17
18
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the Sultan.20 But Aehrenthal intended not to wait especially when the collective note wasn’t prepared and the conduct of the Great Powers prolonged
unbearably.
Therefore he sent Pallavicini on the 23th of December instructions
regarding the Austro-Hungarian project. Pallavicini had to arrange an
audience by the sultan Abdülhamid, where he should refer to traditionally
friendly relationship of the Habsburg Monarchy towards the Ottoman
Empire and simultaneously emphasize the economical advantages of the
Sanjak railway for both countries.21 Then Pallavicini had to meet the Grand
Vizier Ferid Paşa whom he had to pledge, that if Vienna gains the concession
for the Sanjak railway, Austria-Hungary would consult with the Ottoman
government the shifts of its military garrisons in the area of the Sanjak Novi
Pazar.22 Pallavicini should take these steps secretly, so the Russian ambassador Zinoviev, from whose side Aehrenthal suspected serious opposition,
wouldn’t discover them.
Still for the Austrian project the German support remained pivotal.
This problem was solved by Pallavicini, who on the 30th of December
informed Marschall about the presentation of Austro-Hungarian plans to
the sultan. Afterwards Marschall asked the State Secretary Wilhelm von
Schoen for instructions. Schoen answered immediately and wrote Marschall,
that he is “consentient with cautious support of Austro-Hungarian
proceeding in the railway question”. 23 Thereby the problem of German
support was solved.
Nevertheless there was a question of the reaction of the rest of the
Great Powers. Aehrenthal thought that he should at least generally inform
them. Berlin was informed about the démarche to the sultan by the AustroHungarian ambassador Szögyény. The task to acquire at least neutral
standpoint got the ambassadors in St. Petersburg and Rome. Therefore,
Berchtold and Lützow informed, on the 9th of January 1908, the governments of Russia and Italy. In conversations with Berchtold Izvolsky took a
reserved standpoint, which was correctly interpreted as an unwillingness of
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 207.
Solomon WANK, Aus dem Nachlaß Aehrenthal. Briefe und Dokumente zur österreichisch-ungarischen Innen- und Außenpolitik 1885–1912, Graz 1994, p. 566–568.
22 CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 208.
23 Die Große Politik der Europäischen Kabinette 1871–1914. Sammlung der diplomatischen Akten des Auswärtigen Amtes (further quoted as GP), hg. von Johannes LEPSIUS,
Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy und Friedrich THIMME, vol. 25, Berlin 1926, p. 295.
20
21
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
185
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the Russian foreign minister to become involved in this question.24 But
neither Izvolsky nor Italian foreign minister Tommaso Tittoni didn’t raise
objections against the Sanjak railway project. The western powers were
about the Sanjak railway informed only on 16th January 1908, which implies
that Aehrenthal considered their support as inferior.25
Meanwhile Pallavicini tried to secure the agreement in Constantinople.
He came near to this goal when he gained approval of the Grand Vizier. At
this activity he availed the fact, that simultaneously the conference about the
Macedonian reforms was in progress – the Turks anticipated helpful
attitude from the part of Austria-Hungary. The questions of the Sanjak
railway and the Macedonian reforms were therefore dangerously
interconnected in the time when the situation became dramatically acute.
The Ottoman government rejected a proposal of the Great Powers to
prolong the mandate of the reform authorities. This decision led to a serious
crisis of the conference in Constantinople. Pallavicini found himself in a
painful situation – he had to join the pressure of the Great Powers, but he
couldn’t took harder standpoint, otherwise he would endanger his main goal
– the railway project. But Aehrenthal was afraid of withdrawal of the Great
Powers, because it would only lead to a firmer resistance of Turkey to the
reform proposals. This situation of uncertainty in Constantinople was
superimposed by the antagonistic positions of the Great Powers.
In this complicated situation the Austro-Hungarian delegations
assembled. Here Aehrenthal made his memorable speech about the outlook
of Austria-Hungary on the international scene. “Aehrenthal tried in this
speech to rouse up the public opinion of Austria-Hungary from its out-andout pessimistic view of foreign policy and future of the Dual monarchy.”26
He started his speech by a survey of the political gains from the last year
whereas he focused his attention on the situation in Macedonia. Than he
passed over to the Sanjak railway. He claimed, that it “will be the shortest
way from central Europe to Egypt and India” and thanks to this AustriaHungary will “participate on the huge exchange of goods between Occident
and Orient via Constantinople and the Straits”.27 In order to calm down the
public Aehrental declared, that the monarchy doesn’t long for territorial
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 213. To the discussion about the Macedonian reforms between Berchtold and Izvolsky see WANK, Aus dem Nachlaß
Aehrenthal, p. 569–570.
25 CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 214.
26 Ibid., p. 218.
27 SKŘIVAN, p. 42.
24
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gains on the Balkans28 and that the building of the Sanjak railway pursue
only commercial aims and therefore does not oppose the entente with Russia, because its aim is to maintain status quo.29 Aehrenthals well balanced
speech had a good impact on the public and the Sanjak railway project
gained “great support of political and economical elites of both parts of the
Dual monarchy”.30
However the international reception was quite different. Especially in
Constantinople Aehrenthal’s exposé invoked inconsistent reactions. “That
sensational Austrian coup caused violent repercussions in unfriendly
foreign capitals and encouraged other countries to press their railway
plans upon the Porte.”31 Especially the Russians were highly outraged
whereas Russian press and the Duma reacted quite adversely. Izvolsky alone
was took unaware and realized that the consent of the Turks with the
Austrian project would minimalize the chances of the realization of the
Russo-Serbian plan of the Transversal railway. This should connect Serbia
with some of the Albanian or Montenegrin port by which this inland country
would gain access to the sea avoiding the territory of Austria-Hungary. At
current situation there was a menace, that the Turks will prefer the Austrian
project, which took into account a branch of the Sanjak railway to Serbia via
Bosnia. This would mean that the shortest way from Serbia to Western
Europe would continually lead through the territory of the Habsburg
monarchy, which would have a mean to control and restrict the expansive
policy of Serbia.
On the other hand Britain wasn’t anxious, because the Foreign Office
hoped that the whole matter could be exploit in destroying the entente. The
permanent undersecretary on the Foreign Office even claimed, that there
starts a diplomatic struggle between Austria-Hungary and Russia so the
Great Britain wouldn’t be bothered by Russia in Asia.32 Even, the British
press kept reserved standpoint, which was accentuated by the fact that The
Times didn’t mention, the Austrian project at all.33
In Constantinople there were mixed feelings. The expert on local
problems Marschall wrote to Berlin, that “Aehrenthal’s speech made the
most uncomfortable impression on the Porte and I don’’t doubt, that in the
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal vor der bosnischen Annexionskrise, p. 219.
BRIDGE, From Sadowa to Sarajevo, p. 298.
30 Milan HLAVAČKA, Marek PEČENKA, Trojspolek. Praha 1999, s. 202.
31 MAY, p. 357.
32 BRIDGE, The Habsburg Monarchy among the Great powers, p. 277.
33 Francis Roy BRIDGE, Great Britain and Austria-Hungary 1906-1914. London 1972, p.
80.
28
29
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
187
________________________________________________________
Palace it will receive the same reception”.34 Particularly Aehrenthal’s
references about the necessity of Macedonian reforms made a flustering
impression on the Turks. Despite of this the Ottoman government decided
on the 29th of January to give the concession for the building of the Sanjak
railway. Two days later the Sultan Abdülhamid himself gave his consent to
the project. The building of the railway connecting Uvac with Mitrovica
should be formally under Turkish control but in reality the specialists from
the Company of Oriental Railways would be in charge of the project.35 This
was a great success for Ballhauspatz and Pallavicini who secured the support
of Marschall. Even other diplomats in Constantinople honoured this. The
British ambassador O’Connor said: “It had never happened, that such an
irradé was enforced in such a short time”.36 This success was augmented by
the fact that it lasted Marschall alone to push ahead the project of the
Baghdad railway. But the Austrian feeling of triumph shouldn’t last for a
long time.
The approval of the project meant a serious estrangement of Vienna
and St. Petersburg. Particularly Russian nationalist circles were irritated and
Russian press started hateful campaign against Austria-Hungary. The
journal Novoe Vremya for example wrote, that the Austrian railway project
would culminate in germanisation of the Near East and demanded
compensations.37 Aehrenthal therefore sent instructions to Berchtold in
order to improve mutual relations. The Austrian ambassador visited
Izvolsky whom he told, that the Sanjak railway wouldn’t be pushed forward
at the expanse of the reforms in Macedonia and that Austria-Hungary
doesn’t plan an expansion in the direction on Thessaloniki. Despite some
positive achievements Berchtold jugged the situation as dangerous38 and on
the 5th of February he wrote Aehrenthal that “the entente can continue only
if the judicial reform is successful”.39
The approval of the Austrian project was publicly announced, on 4th
February, whereas on the next day another meeting of the ambassadors in
Constantinople was scheduled. But the conference ended in utter fiasco. The
ambassadors let themselves to persuade by the arguments of Marschall who
insisted, that the current collective note of the Great Powers is not
satisfactory and that the Porte is not prepared to accept such a document.
GP, vol. 25, p. 297.
CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 220.
36 Ibid., p. 220–221.
37 Ibid., p. 224.
38 WANK, Aus dem Nachlaß Aehrenthal, p. 576.
39 CARLGREN, Iswolsky und Aehrenthal, p. 233.
34
35
188
Roman Kodet
______________________________________________________________
This led to a rupture between the ambassadors and each of them estimated
the chance for an agreement as negligible. Even the representatives of the
entente powers weren’t able to take any effective steps. Therefore the
ambassadors of the Great Powers rejected to hand over the collective note to
the Porte.
This diplomatic exposure caused mutual allegation between the
ambassadors. Pallavicini charged especially O’Connor, who according to his
opinion, hold an unflexible and too radical stand. This led Aehrenthal to an
attempt to convince Izvolsky, that he should blame Great Britain not
Austria-Hungary.40 But Izvolsky temporarily lost his confidence in Vienna,
because Zinoviev wrote him, that Pallavicini sacrificed the conference in an
effort to achieve the acceptance of the Austrian railway project. O’Connor
supported Zinoviev’s point of view and Izvolsky assumed that he can not
credit Vienna in the case of Macedonia and therefore he wanted to “rally
himself ... to those powers who are sincerely desirous of reforms”.41 By this
the Russian minister undoubtedly meant Great Britain, because Russian ally
France observed to the whole thing quite reserved position.
Though its true that Pallavicini didn’t want to escalate the pressure on
the Turks and thus endanger the railway project, it is necessary to point out,
that O’Connor’s and Zinoviev’s accusations “didn’t correspond the reality”.42
It’s also necessary to underline that both London and St. Petersburg saw
German machination behind the whole crisis which lead them to harden
their resistance. Here negatively acted the assessment of the correspondent
of The Times in Vienna Henry Wickham Steed, who declared that behind the
whole problem stood Germany.43 Though Germany played an important
role, it must be said that the opinion that Austria-Hungary played in this
matter a role of a German satellite is completely incorrect.
Though St. Petersburg promised in April 1908 not to undermine the
Austrian project44 the Sanjak railway crisis meant significant disturbance of
Aehrenthal’s policy of cooperation with Russia. St. Petersburg started to
team up with London on its support it became evidently dependent. The
permanent undersecretary of Foreign Office sir Charles Hardinge was in this
time satisfied with the collapse of the Mürszteg program.45 However despite
of the failure of the common policy in Macedonia Aehrenthal still hoped to
BRIDGE, Great Britain and Austria-Hungary 1906–1914, p. 81.
BRIDGE, The Habsburg Monarchy, p. 277.
42 SKŘIVAN, p. 43.
43 BRIDGE, Great Britain and Austria-Hungary 1906-1914, p. 84.
44 SKŘIVAN, p. 44.
45 BRIDGE, From Sadowa to Sarajevo, p. 299.
40
41
The Sanjak Railway Crisis
189
________________________________________________________
continue with the partnership between Austria-Hungary and Russia. His
hopes rose after Izvolsky’s exposé in the Duma on the 17th of April 1908
where he defended the achievements of the cooperation with AustriaHungary.46 This gave Ahrenthal hope that despite of the estrangement
during the Sanjak railway crisis the Austro-Russian cooperation can
continue. As the months before the Bosnian crisis, which lead to the final
rupture of Austria-Hungary and Russia, had shown the hopes of the AustroHungarian foreign minister weren’t without foundation.
46
SKŘIVAN, p. 45.
Austro–Hungarian Export to China1
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
The position of China in Austro-Hungarian export
Austro-Hungarian export (in fact, the aggregate of foreign trade)
showed a long-term narrow territorial diversification with Germany clearly
constituting a dominating part in the Austro-Hungarian foreign trade.
Although in the long term perspective the share of Europe in AustroHungarian export declined, the significance of trade with non European
regions2 grew; outside Europe it were, for example, Turkey and the USA
which were among the few relatively important business partners of AustriaHungary. From the point of foreign trade, the Far East was a territory of
lesser relevance with which, in the long term, the Habsburg Monarchy
maintained only weak business links.3 From the basic statistics it is evident
at first sight that in the long term the weak position of China in the AustroHungarian foreign trade did not essentially change, and business contacts
between the Middle Kingdom and Austria-Hungary more or less stagnated
(similar to the trade between Austria-Hungary and Japan). Chiefly because
of its volume, the trade between Austria-Hungary and China could not yield
any considerable influence on the economies of these countries. Only a small
part of the total of Austro-Hungarian exporters engaged in trade with the
Far East. China was not the type of target territory that would attract the
attention of a particular industry, a particular production segment.4
For China, on the other hand, Austria-Hungary also meant a smalltime business partner. Compared to Austria-Hungary it was Great Britain,
The paper has been prepared as an output of the research project entitled AustroHungarian Export to China and its Position Within the Total Export of the Habsburg
Monarchy (the FIGA grant, Faculty of Economics and Public Administration, University
of Economics, Prague).
2 More see Jindřich CHYLÍK, Přehled vývoje světového obchodu, Praha 1948, p. 69.
3 Besides Russia, the only region geographically close to China with which AustriaHungary conducted a relatively significant trade in the beginning of the 20 century was
British India, and in the trade with British India Austria-Hungary regularly showed
passive balance. Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch für die im Reichsrathe
vertretenen Königreiche und Länder, herausgeben von der K. K. Statistischen CentralCommision, Wien 1902–1913, passim.
4 Georg-Ludwig HEISE, Beiträge zu den Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen ÖsterreichUngarn und China (1860 –1914), Dissertation, Geisteswissenschaftliche Fakultät der
Universität Wien, Wien 1999, p. 380
1
192
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
which, of all European countries, carried on the far largest trade with China,
maintaining, in the long term, the strongest political and economic position
in the Far East.5 In comparison with Austria-Hungary, the volumes of trade
between Germany and China were also obviously larger. In contrast to
Austria-Hungary, Germany ranked among the ten most significant business
partners of China before the First World War.6
After the Anglo-Chinese War, called the Opium Wars, in connection
with the gradual opening of China7 to foreign trade, China was perceived, at
least by many European businessmen who were engaged in the Far East, as
a highly prospective market, as a territory whose importance in the world
trade would grow fast. As it turned out later, the real development differed
from these rose-coloured visions considerably. In a certain respect, it was
the year 1869 which represented a breakthrough for Austria-Hungary’s
better chances to extend trade with China. On 17 November 1869 the Suez
Canal was opened, making shorter the sea passages connecting Trieste, the
most important port of the Habsburg Monarchy, with the Far East. Before
the opening of the Suez Canal, on 2 September 1869, representatives of
Austria-Hungary and China signed a treaty of friendship, trade and sailing
in Peking. The main goal of the document was to stimulate trade between
Austria-Hungary and China. Austria-Hungary also gradually extended the
institutional background inevitable for finding a possible way to the Chinese
market. Soon after the conclusion of the treaty, the Austro-Hungarian
consulate was established in Shanghai; the monarchy had yet another in
Hong Kong, and in 1896 the mission in Peking was turned into an embassy.8
For more details on trade between China and its most important business partners
(including the trade with Great Britain) before the First World War, see International
Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia and Oceania 1750 –1993, p. 586.
6 China, A Commercial and Industrial Handbook, United States Department of
Commerce, Washigton D.C. p. 52. For more detail on German-Chinese trade, see Uwe G.
FABRITZEK, Gelber Drache, schwarzer Adler, chapter II: Die Wirtschaftsbeziehungen
zwischen Deutschland und China bis 1914, München und Wien 1973, and Udo
RATENHOF, Die Chinapolitik des Deutschen Reiches 1871 bis 1945, Boppard am Rhein
1987, passim.
7 On the process of the opening of China, see Aleš SKŘIVAN, ml., První opiová válka a
otevírání Číny, In: Historický obzor, 17, No. 11/12, 2006, pp. 242–251. On relations of
China to other countries in the second half of the 19 century, see Hosea Ballou MORSE,
The International Relations of the Chinese Empire, Volume II, The period of submission
1861–93, London 1918.
8 For details on the consular activities, see Georg LEHNER: Beiträge zur Geschichte der
k.(u.)k. Konsularververtungen in China, Dissertation, Geisteswissenschaftliche Fakultät
der Universität Wien, Wien 1995.
5
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
193
________________________________________________________
The Austro-Hungarian Concession in Tianjin was an interesting, though
short-lived phenomenon.9
The given circumstances, however, did not help to sufficiently
accelerate the long-term slow and unwieldy development of economic links
between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Middle Kingdom. There were
several reasons for the small volume, and, therefore, also a relatively limited
significance of the Austro-Hungarian trade with China. Firstly, a
considerable geographical distance between both countries stood in the way
of a greater expansion of their mutual trade for a long time. Secondly,
neither Austria-Hungary not China could offer the other party any really
interesting and important commodity which could not be bought in another
country without much difficulty. To the contrary, to each traded commodity
there existed other, comparably beneficial alternative sources.
When looking into the stagnating trade between Austria-Hungary and
China, we also have to pay attention to the influence of the state on the
development of mutual commercial relations. On the side of China the
opportunities and willingness of the state to support and encourage mutual
trade were very small. The reasons for this fact lay in regular economic
problems of the Qing court, the image of Austria-Hungary as a remote
country which did not rank among the strongest world powers, unequal
agreements signed between China and other states, and controversial
relations between the Chinese and foreigners related to it. In the case of
Austria-Hungary the assessment of the state support of the trade with China
seems to be more difficult. Individual producers in the monarchy, for
example, had the opportunity to get information about the developments on
the Chinese market from the consular news10 quite regularly through
chambers of trade and commerce.11 There were, on the other hand,
comparatively few entrepreneurs in the Habsburg Monarchy, which made
real use of the information coming from the consular news, showed serious
interest in trading with the Far East, and were ready to bear all the
difficulties such business might often bring about. This lack of interest was
the result of a number of reasons. Besides the above given factors
Austro-Hungarian Concession was founded in 1902 after the locality in Tianjin was
taken over. It was situated by the Hai He River, close to the Grand Canal, and it stretched
on the territory of about one square kilometre. It was dissolved in 1917. On the
Concession, see more Georg LEHNER Beiträge, p. 427–435 a Günter HÖRTLER, Die
österreich-ungarische Konzession in Tianjin, Dissertation, Philosophishe Fakultät,
Universität Wien, Wien 1984.
10 On consular news, see more in LEHNER, Beiträge, pp. 407–459.
11 HEISE, p. 382.
9
194
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
complicating the Austro-Hungarian trade with China, a mention should be
made about the fact that a large part of Austro-Hungarian companies did
not feel the urge to expand their business activities (in commerce and
investment spheres) to faraway exotic regions, because, from the economic
point of view, some regions much nearer at hand were considered highly
attractive (e.g. the Balkans) and drew far more attention of the AustroHungarian businesses than China.12
The transport of goods to the Far East was a highly specific aspect of
the Austro-Hungarian export to China. Trieste, the most important port of
the monarchy, was the seat of the largest Austrian shipping company, the
Österreichischer Lloyd.13 The shipment of goods via Trieste and the employment of the services of Österreichischer Lloyd was a very problematic
matter in the long term. Trieste was facing the competition of important
European ports, Hamburg in particular. Österreichischer Lloyd did not
enjoy a good reputation because regularly it had considerable difficulties to
compete with the prices of the German Norddeutscher Lloyd and HAPAG;14
in addition, the Austrian contractor was generally considered less reliable.
Moreover, the transport of goods from Central Europe to the South, to
Trieste, was also quite tricky and in a number of cases inefficient. The above
problems, for example, contributed to the fact that a large part of the export
from the Bohemian lands was realised via Hamburg.15
Also, in the sphere of the development of transport to the Far East it
seemed that the Austrian Lloyd was almost always a step behind its main
competitors. In 1869 The Suez Canal was opened and the above agreement
between Austria-Hungary and China was signed in Peking.16 The Austrian
Lloyd, however, did not respond to the favourable conditions by extending
the transport to the Far East fast. It set up a regular connection for Hong
Kong only as late as 1881, and for Shanghai as late as 1892. After the
scheduled service to Shanghai was opened, its importance as a target
In this context it is worth mentionning that a large part of the Austro-Hungarian firms
was little interested in export and activities abroad in general.
13 Since 1872 Österreichisch-Ungarischer Lloyd, since 1891 Österreichischer Lloyd again.
14 In this connection it is of interest to compare the subsidies the companies received to
operate individual lines. For more details, see HEISE, Appendix II.
15 For more details, see Ivan JAKUBEC, Zdeněk JINDRA, Dějiny hospodářství českých
zemí, od počátku industrializace do konce habsburské monarchie, Praha 2006, pp. 299 a
312–313.
16 On sea transport and business contacts between Austria (Austria-Hungary) and the Far
East before the agreement was signed and the Suez Canal opened, see more in Johann
PFUNDER, Die Österreichische Handelsschiftfahrt im Ausland von 1850–1870,
Dissertation, Philosophische Fakultät, Universität Wien, Wien 1953, pp. 98–112.
12
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
195
________________________________________________________
destination increased at the expense of Hong Kong. In 1908 it was Shanghai
where almost three fourths of the total volume of goods transported by the
Austrian Lloyd to China was unloaded.17 The Austrian Lloyd was, among
other things, criticised for insufficient speed of the transport of goods to the
Far East because it took its ships six to seven weeks to reach China on the
average. Therefore, the introduction of an express route between Trieste and
Shanghai in 1912, which shortened the transport to approximately 30 days,
was considered a success. Because of the outbreak of the First World War,
however, the introduction of the express line came too late.18
Figure I: The proportion of China in Austro-Hungarian import
and export (percent)
1,6
1,4
1,2
1
Austro-Hungarian import
Austro-Hungarian export
0,8
0,6
0,4
0,2
0
1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914
Source: Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch für die im Reichsrathe vertretenen
Königreiche und Länder, herausgeben von der K.K. statistichen Central-Commision,
Wien, Einundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1902, Wien 1903, p. 243; Dreiundzwanzigster
Jahrgang 1904, Wien 1905, p. 254; Sechsundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1907, Wien 1908, p.
298; Neunundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1910, Wien 1911, 272; Dreissigster Jahrgang 1911,
Wien 1912, pp. 233 and 235; Einunddreissigster Jahrgang 1912, Wien 1913, p. 263;
Zweiunddreissigster Jahrgang 1913, Wien 1914, p. 233; Fünfunddreissigster Jahrgang
1916-1917, Wien 1918, p. 195.
HEISE, pp. 200–201.
The express line was operated by the ships Bohemia, Koeber, Afrika, and since 1914
also the Hungaria. See more in Chinyun LEE: Obchod mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou
před první světovou válkou, Historický obzor No. 1/2, 17, 2006, pp. 21–24. For general
information on Österreichischer Lloyd see Dieter WINKLER, Georg PAWLIK, Die
Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft Österreichischer Lloyd, 1836–1918, Graz 1986.
17
18
196
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
The unfavourable development of the Austro-Hungarian export to
China is documented in the basic statistics. In this spot, however, objective
obstacles, which considerably complicate a more precise analysis of the
Austro-Hungarian export to China, should be pointed out. Official AustroHungarian statistical surveys obviously do not include (and, understandably, even cannot include) all supplies, which in actually found their way to
the Chinese market. They obviously do not include, for example information
about some arms supplies. Monitoring supplies to the Chinese market is also
greatly complicated by frequently non-transparent re-export, when it is
impossible to determine precisely if it was the Chinese market where a
particular shipment was delivered in the end. Greater difficulties appear
when employing statistical surveys, which originated in China. For example,
statistical surveys made by the customs offices19 in individual Chinese
contracted ports took into consideration only the “nationality” of the ship
bringing the goods to China, or the country from which the supply was
transported disregarding the place where the goods was actually
manufactured. A logical result of this approach was the fact that, in a
number of cases, the goods produced in Austria-Hungary were recorded in
customs statistics as German, British or, for instance, Russian.20
As a matter of fact, the above factors also make it difficult to specify
the proportion of the Bohemian lands in Austro-Hungarian export. A more
precise quantification of this share seems to be a very difficult, almost
impossible task. The percentage of the Bohemian lands in the AustroHungarian export to China has, among other things, been dealt with by
Chinyun Lee and Ivana Bakešová. Bakešová says that the manufacturers
located in the Czech lands constituted about one quarter in the AustroHungarian export to China in 1913. Her conclusion is based on sources in
the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.21 In
these documents, however, it is not clear how the share has been arrived at,
The customs offices in treaty ports fell under the jurisdiction of the office of the
Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service (the Imperial Maritime Customs Service
until 1912, The Chinese Maritime Customs Service since 1912) headed by Inspector
General of Customs.
20 See more in, e.g. Returns of Trade (24th-61st issue), Trade Reports (18th-55th issue),
Inspectorate general of customs, Shanghai 1882–1919, passim.
21 Ivana BAKEŠOVÁ, Československo-Čína 1918–1949, no place of publication, 1997, pp.
79 and 92.
19
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
197
________________________________________________________
Table I: Trade of Austria-Hungary with China in 1899-1914
(value in thousands of crowns)
year
1899 1900 1901 1902
Export to China
987
1652 2072 2231
Import from China
5476
6314 5869 6196
Balance of trade
- 4489 - 4662 - 3797 - 3965
year
1903 1904 1905 1906
Export to China
4747 2399 6736 7808
Import from China
6563
7911 7622 10004
Balance of trade
- 1816 - 5512 - 886 - 2196
year
1907 1908 1909 1910
Export to China
4091 2934
2893 4823
Import from China 11798 9835 12390 14907
Balance of trade
- 7707 - 6901 - 9497 - 10084
year
1911
1912 1913 1914
Export to China
5192 6067 9425 31098
Import from China 18660 19108 13620 23343
Balance of trade
- 13468 - 13041 - 4195 7755
Source: Oesterreichisches Statistisches Handbuch für die im Reichsrathe vertretenen
Königreiche und Länder, herausgeben von der K.K. statistichen Central-Commision,
Wien, Einundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1902, Wien 1903 p. 241; Dreiundzwanzigster
Jahrgang 1904, Wien 1905, p. 252; Sechsundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1907, Wien 1908, p.
296; Neunundzwanzigster Jahrgang 1910, Wien 1911, p. 270; Dreissigster Jahrgang 1911,
Wien 1912, pp. 233 and 235; Einunddreissigster Jahrgang 1912, Wien 1913, p. 263;
Zweiunddreissigster Jahrgang 1913, Wien 1914, p. 233; Fünfunddreissigster Jahrgang
1916–1917, Wien 1918, p. 195.
and it is likely to be just a rough estimate.22 Chinyun Lee, in the main, came
to the conclusion that a precise quantification of the percentage of the
Bohermian Lands is not practicable. In her analysis she, more or less, starts
from the assumption that those industries (or particular companies) in the
The Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic (further only
AMFA), Praha, IVth section of national economy, boxes 846 and 844. The given case
should definitely call forth no doubts whatsoever about the correct use of the sources in
an otherwise very good work Československo-Čína 1918– 1949; it is mentioned here to
show how difficult it is to quantify the percentage of the Czech lands.
22
198
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
Bohemian lands which had a high proportion in the total performance of the
given industry in Austria-Hungary, or in the total export of the particular
commodity from Austria-Hungary, also had an adequate part in the AustroHungarian export to China. Further on she tries to illustrate the justification
of this assumption with particular examples of the export of individual
companies from the Czech lands to China.23 In general, we may claim that
the accessible sources yield a considerable share of the Czech lands in the
Austro-Hungarian export to China, although its precise quantification will
not be possible even in future.
According to official Austro-Hungarian statistics, in the years 19001913 the proportion of China in Austro-Hungarian export ranged below 0.5
percent24 and its part in Austro-Hungarian import did not even reach 1
percent in the given period. Not before 1914 did the share of China in
Austro-Hungarian export reach the “exceptional” 1.4 per cent (see Figure I).
In the period under discussion the Austro-Hungarian trade with China
regularly ended up in passive balance to the disadvantage of AustriaHungary. While the value of the Austro-Hungarian export to China slightly
fluctuated but remained at an approximately constant level, the import from
China to Austria-Hungary slightly grew, and so the trade deficit had
gradually gone on increasing up to 1913 (see Table I). Only the year 1914
resulted in favourable balance to the advantage of Austria-Hungary.25
The structure of commodities of the Austro-Hungarian export to China was
characterised by a narrow diversification typical, in the long term, especially
of the import from China to Austria-Hungary clearly dominated by tea
Chinyun LEE, Obchod mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou před první světovou válkou,
2006, pp. 21–31. On business contacts between the Czech lands and China, see
also Chinyun LEE, Obchod mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou na konci rakouského císařství.
In: Studia Orientalia Slovaca 6, 2005, pp. 65–92.
24 Countries of origin were given in official statistics regularly since as late as 1891; until
then only the transition port had been stated.
25Austro-Hungarian loans granted to the Chinese government in the last years before the
First World War were largely responsible for the visible changes in the total volume and
balance of trade with China
23
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
199
________________________________________________________
Table II: Selected items of Austro-Hungarian trade with China in
1911-1913 (value in thousands of crowns, percentage share)
1911
Import from China to AustriaHungary
tea
share in the total import of AustriaHungary from China
Export from Austria-Hungary to
China
enamel kitchenware, tinware
share in the total export from China to
Austria-Hungary
Guns and part of guns
share in the total export from China to
Austria-Hungary
1912
1913
18660
7294
19109
7856
13620
4375
39,09
41,11
32,12
5192
863
6067
1539
9424
2491
16,62
546
25,37
99
26,43
1152
10,52
1,63
12,22
Source: Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch für die im Reichsrathe vertretenen
Königreiche und Länder, herausgeben von der K. K. statistichen Central-Commision,
Dreiunddreissigster Jahrgang 1914, Wien 1916 pp. 252–253.
supplies. Besides tea, other agricultural commodities constituted the import
from China, above all. In the long-term sum total, the commodity group of
iron and products made of iron were the main part of the Austro-Hungarian
export to China; from the varied range of items, mention should be made of
especially enamel kitchenware, needles, guns and parts of guns. Furthermore, supplies to China regularly contained, for example, paper, glassware
and textile.26 Matches and soap are examples of products a relatively great
part of the overall export of which were bound for China for quite a long
time. In the early 1890s supplies of matches to China still participated in the
total Austro-Hungarian export of matches with about 15 percent. In the
Oesterreichisches statistisches Handbuch für die im Reichsrathe vertretenen
Königreiche und Länder, herausgeben von der K.K. statistichen Central-Commision,
Wien, passim. For selected items of the Austro-Hungarian trade with China in the last
years before the First World War, see Table II. Data on trade between Austria-Hungary
and China (e.g. commodity structure) can be found I the AMFA, Praha, IVth section of
national economy, box 846.
26
200
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
years to follow, however, the demand for the Austro-Hungarian matches
started to decrease rapidly, especially due to the growing Japanese
competition on the Chinese market.27 As far as the supplies of soap to China
are concerned, they participated in the total export of soap from AustriaHungary with roughly 14 per cent before the First World War.28 Here we
should point out the fact that the given commodities (matches and soap)
were not the cardinal items of the total Austro-Hungarian export. The
comparison of the trade between Austria-Hungary and China, and between
the Habsburg Monarchy and countries geographically close to China yields
some similar features but also some obvious differences. As it has already
been stated, besides Russia the only region geographically close to China
with which Austria-Hungary carried out quite significant trade since the
beginning of the 20th century was British India. Compared to China, it
regularly took a clearly higher share in the Austro-Hungarian foreign trade
until 1913. Among other things, British India was the second largest supplier
of cotton to the Habsburg Monarchy after the United States of America. On
the other hand, Austro-Hungarian supplies to British India consisted, first
of all, of sugar, textile, paper and ironware – their composition being
fundamentally very similar to the commodity structure of the AustroHungarian export to China and Japan. From the point of view of AustriaHungary a regularly passive balance was an obvious, long-term problem of
the trade with British India.29
The volume of the Austro-Hungarian trade with Japan was not, in the
long term, much different from the trade exchange realised by the Habsburg
Monarchy with China. Similarly to China, Japan ranked, without doubt,
among less important business partners of Austria-Hungary, and until 1913
its share in the Austro-Hungarian trade it hanged below one per cent limit.
In contrast to Chinese supplies to Austria-Hungary, clearly dominated by
tea, the Japanese export to the Habsburg monarchy was more diversified
with copper, textile products and rice being the main items. In the
comparison of the results of the balance of trade with China and British
HEISE, p. 155 and supplement I, p. ii. On export of matches, see more in Zdenko
JANICZEK, Denkschrift über die Lage der einheimischen Industrie und ihr Verhältniss
zum Export, Wien 1884, p. 2.
28 HEISE, p. 156 and supplement I, p. iv.
29 Magnus TESSNER, Der Außenhandel Österreich-Ungarns von 1867 bis 1913, Köln
1989, pp. 92 and 95.
27
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
201
________________________________________________________
India, active balance in trade with Japan in some years between 1899 and
1913 was quite an achievement for Austria-Hungary.30
The Skoda Works and arms supply to China
Arms supplies were a special, single chapter of the Austro-Hungarian
economic activities in China. The character of arms trade naturally differed
from the usual trade, and its monitoring is often very difficult, particularly
because of the fact that frequently the business transactions do not appear in
official statistics – whether the reason for their absence lied in the lack of
interest in presenting these transactions publicly or, for example, in the fact
that, from the point of view of foreign policy relations they were highly
controversial and sometimes meant de facto a breach of international
agreements. The Skoda Works in Pilsen, which were engaged in the Chinese
market the most, compared to all the companies in the Czech lands before
the First World War, played a decisive role in the Austro-Hungarian arms
supplies to China.
It follows from the available materials that Skoda Works began to deal
with arms transactions to China in 1899, i.e. at about the time when the
Boxer Rebellion was starting in Northern China, which, in the end, brought
much trouble and humiliation to the imperial court in Peking in what was
called the Boxer Protocol.31 In that year 1899 the Skoda Works succeeded in
concluding the contract for the supply of 37 mm calibre mountain guns and
57 mm calibre quick-firing guns.32 Another “Chinese deal” the of Skoda
Works occurred during the Russo-Japanese War, when in 1904 it delivered a
supply of machine-gun cartridges to China.
TESSNER, pp. 90–91 and 95. The comparison with Austro-Hungarian business
contacts with other regions neighbouring with China (French Indochina, Siam and
Korea) are not stetrd deliberately because of their small extent, which is also mostly the
main reason for their omission from the basic statistical surveys.
31 The Boxer Rebellion was suppressed by a common intervention of the troops of eight
countries in summer 1900. The Boxer Protocol was signed in September 1901, in which
China undertook, among other things, to pay foreigners indemnities. For more on the
Boxer Rebellion and the Austro-Hungarian participation in putting it down, see Georg
LEHNER, Monika LEHNER, Österreich-Ungarn und der „Boxeraufstand“ in China,
Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs, Sonderband 6, Wien 2002.
32 The available sources differ in how many pieces, and in what finish/version/make,
were, in fact, shipped to China under this contract. Cf. Čína 1912–1916 ROS., collection of
the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade, so far unprocessed, Archives of the
Skoda Pilsen, (further only ASP); František JANÁČEK, Největší zbrojovka monarchie,
1859–1918, Praha 1990, p. 345; Chinyun LEE, Obchod mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou
před první světovou válkou, pp. 28–29.
30
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Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
Reports of Austro-Hungarian diplomats from China mention the
increased interest of the Skoda Works in the Chinese market and state also
that, after the Russo-Japanese War, the Skoda Works ranked among the
Austro-Hungarian firms most active in China. It was the firm Arnhold,
Karberg & Co, which was charged with looking after the interests of Skoda
Works in China. It also follows from these reports that the Skoda Works
concentrated on the territory of northern China. The reports also refer to
negotiations about new orders for Skoda, which were held in Manchuria in
1907, for instance, about supplies to Heilongjiang.33 In this connection we
come across a description of a severe competition struggle over arms orders
in China while German Krupp and French Schneider were considered the
main Skoda Works competitors. Furthermore there are also rumours of
suspicion regarding the possible corruption accompanying the arms deals.34
In 1906 the Skoda Works won an order to deliver 3 machine-guns (8 mm
calibre) and two guns (47 mm and 37 calibres) including the ammunition in
China. Afterwards, in September 1910 the representatives of the firm
Arnhold, Karberg & Co and the governor of the Heilongjiang province signed
a contract for the supply of arms from SkodaWorks 885,271 marks worth.
The Skoda Works competed for this order with Krupp and is said to have got
it thanks to the fact that its offer was found more attractively priced by the
Chinese party than the offer of the German company.35 At that time a
Chinese delegation visited Pilsen, they met with Karel Skoda and saw the
Skoda’s firing range in Bolevec.36 In 1911 the Skoda Works supplied China
with arms stated in the above contract of September 1910; these included,
first of all, 18 field guns (L/29, 75 mm calibre)37 together with ammunition
and ammunition carriages. The ceremony of handing the guns over was held
LEHNER, Beiträge, pp. 448–449.
In greater detail, see LEHNER, Beiträge, pp. 447–450.
35 Further details on this deal, see Chinyun LEE, Obchod mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou
před první světovou válkou, pp. 29–30.
36 Data on when the visit took place unfortunately differ. According to some available
sources in took place in June 1910, according to others is was in 1911. Cf. e.g.
documentation accompanying the mountain guns. 75mm L/15 Gebirggeschütz, 75mm
gun for China, year 1913, collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade,
unprocessed so far, ASP; JANÁČEK, unmarked picture supplement placed after p. 310.
37 Detailed description of the guns with abundance of pictures is included in the
publication 75mm L/29 Feldgeschütz 6/510, China 1911, Skodawerke Actiengesellschaft
Pilsen, Pilsen 1914.
33
34
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
203
________________________________________________________
in Peking in December 1911, and apart from other distinguished people
Arthur von Rosthorn himself took part in it.38
At the turn of 1912, there was a revolution in China, which overthrew the
imperial regime. Under dramatic and also quite chaotic circumstances a
republic came into being. Due to the confused situation in China and
obvious instability of the new regime, the prospects of further transactions
with China immediately after the revolution were rather dim. Soon it turned
out, however, that the situation was more likely to be favourable for Skoda
Works. The Peking government showed an increased interest in arms from
Austria-Hungary39 and did not hesitate to accept credits allocated got the
realisation of arms purchases. Participating in these credits were, next to
Skoda Works, also other private firms, e.g. Cantiere Navale Triestino,40 and
Austrian banks, for example the Lower Austrian Discount Bank
(Niederösterreichische Escompt-Gesellschaft).41
A large part of the money was meant for the purchase of the arms from
the Skoda Works. The biggest loans were granted in 1913. In April 1913 the
Chinese government received a loan of 1,200,000 pounds to buy three
cruisers, each with a displacement of 1,800 tons. In April 1913 China was
granted another loan of 2,000,000 pounds, out of which 1,500,000 were for
the purchase of a cruiser with a displacement of 4,900 tons. The remaining
500,000 pounds were used to purchase field howitzers from the Skoda
Works (18 pieces of 10.5 cm calibre and 12 pieces of 15 cm calibre).42 Both
cruisers with a displacement of 1,800 tons and the bigger ones with a
Photodokumentation on handing the guns over, see Přejímka polních děl typu L/29 v
Pekinu (16. 12. 1911), collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade,
unprocessed so far, ASP.
39 A greater interest of the new Peking government in Austro-Hungarian arms and the
subsequent supplies were repeatedly presented in consular news as, in the main, a great
achievement in the struggle with German competition on the Chinese Market. See more
in Georg LEHNER, Beiträge, passim.
40 In 1912, Skoda Works became the majority owner of the firm Cantiere Navale
Triestino. Jiří NOVÁK, Válečné lodě pro Čínu, In: Historie a plastikové modelářství, No
5, volume 9, Praha 1999, p. 15.
41 For the list of the most important Austro-Hungarian loans granted to China, see Table
III. On loans, see details e.g. in Vladimír KARLICKÝ, Svět okřídleného šípu, Koncern
Škoda Plzeň 1918–1945, Plzeň 1999, pp. 77–79. On participation of other AustroHungarian subjects in trade with China, see also Heinrich BENEDIKT, Die
wirtschaftliche Entwicklung in der Franz-Joseph-Zeit, Wiener historische Studien, Band
IV, Wien 1958, pp. 170 –171.
42 A part of this supply was not eventually dispatched to China. Some howitzers from this
supply ended in the arsenal of the Austro-Hungarian army after the outbreak of the First
World War. Further see JANÁČEK, p. 346 and Vladimír KARLICKÝ, Československé
dělostřelecké zbraně, Praha 1975, p. 32.
38
204
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
displacement of 4,900 tons were to be built by the firm Cantiere Navale
Triestino, operating the new shipyards in Monfacone. The weaponry for the
ships was to be supplied by the Skoda Works – for example, 47mm and 37
mm calibre quick-firing guns.43 Besides the above orders, Other orders were
Table III: Austro-Hungarian loans granted to China
in the 1912-1916 period
loan effected on
29 January 1912
29 January 1912
1 March 1913
10 April 1913
10 April 1913
27 April 1914
9 June 1916
total (British
pounds)
300 000
450 000
300 000
1 200 000
2 000 000
500 000
1 233 000
Source: Čína 1912–1935 ROS, collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of
trade, unprocessed so far, ASP.
realised for China by the Skoda Works.44 In 1913 96 machine guns (7.9mm
calibre) were delivered from theSkoda Works to China. In March of that year
Skoda offered China 12 machine guns for riverboats at the total price of
87,354 marks;45 they were delivered to China in 1914. Negotiations about the
purchase of 75mm calibre mountain guns were also conducted.46
Very interesting circumstances accompanied the arms supply, which
was to be delivered to China, by the ship Bayern. The ship sailed from
Hamburg in summer 1914 and its task was to deliver weapons and other war
Detail on the weaponry of the ships, see Armierung eines Kreuzers von 1800 Tonnen
Deplacement für China a 37mm Schnellfeurkanone L/50, collection of the Managing
Director’s Office, section of trade, unprocessed so far, ASP. On war ships for China se
more details in NOVÁK, pp. 15–16.
44 Steelworks Poldina huť was another firm which profited from Austro-Hungarian loans
to China, though it was on a much smaller scale. See more in Čína 1913–1914 ROS.,
collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade, unprocessed so far, ASP.
45 Čína 1913–1914 ROS., collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade,
unprocessed so far, ASP.
46 Documentation to the mountain guns, see 75mm L/15 Gebirgsgeschütz, 75mm dělo
pro Čínu, rok 1913, collection of the Managing Director’s Office, section of trade,
unprocessed so far, ASP.
43
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
205
________________________________________________________
material made in the Skoda Works (field and mountain guns) and other
arms manufacturers to China. At the moment the ship was passing the
shores of Spain, the First World War broke out. Due to the new situation the
captain decided to avoid any risk and berth in neutral Italy, namely at
Naples. Under the given conditions it was quite a logical, but with regard to
the further development a rather unfortunate move. The arms manufacturers tried to get their goods back, but in vain. In the end, Italy joined the
Triple Entente in the First World War in May 1915 it was on war footing with
Austria-Hungary and in August 1916 with Germany. Consequently the arms
from the Bayern were confiscated and made part of the weaponry of the
Italian Army. After the was had ended, a conflict arose over the possible
replacement for the confiscated cargo between newly formed Czechoslovakia
and Italy which definitely ended in complex compensations as late as in the
1950s.47
Intensifying business contacts between China and Austria-Hungary in
the last years before the First World War, supported by newly effected loans,
influenced, to some extent, the statistical image of the trade between the
Habsburg Monarchy and China, which had, until then, been quite
unfavourable According to the official Austro-Hungarian statistics the trade
with China between 1912 and 1914 showed increases in percent (see Table I).
Here we should, however, emphasize the fact that these statistics, though
including some arms supplies, differ from the reality quite considerably. The
First World War naturally hit the trade between China and the Habsburg
Monarchy very much. Because of the war, the priorities of the Vienna
government changed and so did those of many firms. Some arms originally
intended for China ended up in the weaponry of the Austro-Hungarian
Army, others – as has already been indicated – in the hands of the enemy.
The situation in China was again very confused and for a long time it had not
been clear whether China would join the First World War. On the other
hand, economic links between the two countries had not been quite broken
off. In China negotiations about new orders for Austro-Hungarian firms
went on. In June 1916 the Chinese government managed to receive a fairly
On the whole case, see more details in JANÁČEK, pp. 347–348; Chinyun LEE, Obchod
mezi českými zeměmi a Čínou před první světovou válkou, p. 30; Čína – půjčky, bony,
výlohy, sig. 0055/0373, AŠP. The given list of Chinese deals of Skoda Works naturally
does not record – and even cannot do so – all orders for China. Next to arms, Skoda
Works tried to win recognition on the Chinese market also for non-military commodities
(e.g. engines, cranes and hydraulic presses). Further see BAKEŠOVÁ, p. 80.
47
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Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
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high Austro-Hungarian loan of 1,233,000 pounds even though it had
obvious problems paying off the old loans at that time.48
After a long hesitation and dramatic events on the political scene in
Peking, China declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary on 14 August
1917. At the same time it denounced all agreements with Germany and
Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Concession in Tianjin got under
the Chinese administration, the ships of the Austrian Lloyd at anchor in
Shanghai (Bohemia, Silesia and China) were confiscated, Austro-Hungarian
citizens were dismissed from employment with the Chinese Maritime
Customs Service, and the payments of indemnities to Austria-Hungary
stated in the Boxer Protocol were halted.49 The Chinese government
naturally did not continue to pay off the Austro-Hungarian loans, which
considerably hit also the Skoda Works.50
How should we assess the development of the Austro-Hungarian
export to China? To this question no unambiguous answer exists and
whatever assessment will always be rather uneasy. It is worth to mention
here the publication Die österreichische Industrie und der chinesische
Markt, which contains a lecture by the legation councillor of the Embassy in
Peking, Arthur von Rosthorn, delivered in March 1902. It is a brief, only
about twenty pages long, but cogent analysis of the existing development
and prospects of the Austro-Hungarian expansion to the Chinese market. In
his essentially pessimistic report, Arthur von Rosthorn strove to draw
attention to the obstacles that hindered the expansion of trade between
Austria-Hungary and China, and to define difficulties that were behind the
existing unfavourable outcomes of Austro-Hungarian trading activities in
China. In a limited space he managed to analyse a number of factors
affecting the penetration of Austro-Hungarian subjects on the Chinese
market, including the customs problems, bank payments, transport
problems and severe competition on the Chinese market. He also hints at
the poor reputation of the Austrian Lloyd and rather unsuccessful efforts of
this company to compete with Hamburg firms. Von Rosthorn also touches a
On the circumstances of effecting the loan, Čína 1913–1935 ROS., collection of the
Managing Director’s Office, section of trade, unprocessed so far, ASP.
49 HEISE, pp. 385–386.
50 After the First World War, Skoda Works had tried – not really successfully – to solve
the problem of unsettled Chinese debts for many years. In the Archives of Skoda Works
Pilsen an extensive material has been preserved dealing with the post-war talks about the
unsettled debts, e.g. Čína 1913–1914 ROS., and Čína 1912–1935 ROS., collection of the
Managing Director’s Office, section of trade, unprocessed so far, ASP. Further see
SKŘIVAN ml., Aleš, K otázce vývozu Zbrojovky Brno a Škodových závodů do Číny v
meziválečném období, Slovanský přehled 2/2006, pp. 194–195.
48
Austro–Hungarian Export to China
207
________________________________________________________
controversial question of whether it is reasonable for Austro-Hungarian
firms to penetrate to the remote Chinese market at all when territories
nearer at hand offer, in a way, similar business and investment opportunities (the Balkans, for example). He also ponders over a rather ambiguous
governmental support of the expansion to the Chinese market.51 Among
other things he mentions commodities with which Austria-Hungary is
believed to have had a chance to win recognition on the Chinese market in a
greater extent (e.g. sugar, beer, enamel kitchenware, cheap leather products,
paper).52
To find reasons as to why Austro-Hungarian trade with China did not
visibly enlarge is not easy either. In some respect, there was, to some extent,
a lack of a genius for business and willingness to risk in realising business
activities in so remote a territory. Occasionally, people speak about a wasted
opportunity to gain a firmer foothold on the Chinese market at the time
when it started to open to foreign trade more. Some historians, however,
dispute this theory53 and believe that the limited extent of the AustroHungarian trade with China was, in the main, determined by the above
objective circumstances, obstacles and indeed by the fact that neither China
nor Austria-Hungary were forced to develop a common trade. Other
explanations also appear; for example, a low capacity of the Chinese market
to absorb a greater number of industrial products in the long term, or the
low purchasing power of an average Chinese.54 In this context it is also often
pointed out that the supplies to China frequently contained goods not for the
Chinese but “only” for foreigners living in China. One of the obvious,
indisputable handicaps of the Austro-Hungarian export to China – e.g. in
comparison with the British export – were the very limited links to Chins
market, between particular Austro-Hungarian firms and customers in
China, and linked to this an important role of the brokers, foreign
representatives (e.g. British or German).
It is, however, necessary to assess the long-term small volume of the
trade between Austria-Hungary and China in a wider context; unsuccessful
efforts to enlarge the trade with China were, in a way, “only” part of the
general unsuccessful strategy to extend territorial diversification of the
Rosthorn, Arthur von: Die österreichische Industrie und der chinesische Markt, Wien
1902, p. 12.
52 Ibidem, p. 7.
53 For example, HEISE, pp. 380–386.
54 For example, TESSNER, p. 90. But this argument, for instance, does not explain the
differences between the Austro-Hungarian export and export of the more successful
European countries to China (e.g. Germany).
51
208
Aleš Skřivan, Jr.
______________________________________________________________
foreign trade. Before the turn of the 20th century, Austria-Hungary
managed to take several steps which were to lead to enlargement of the
territorial diversification of export, and indeed, the whole of the foreign
trade (for example, a greater expansion of the trade with the Balkans); these
efforts, however, led only to limited, short-term changes.
As it has already been indicated, the development of AustroHungarian export to China (in a wider conception of the whole trade with
China) cannot be taken to be a straightforward failure, though. Among other
things it cannot be determined whether the possible effort to penetrate the
Chinese market decisively would be a step in the right direction – especially
with regard to rather problematic reasons and also somewhat uncertain
outcomes of such a strategy.55
Table IV: Important agreements of Austria-Hungary with China
date treaty
concluded
2 Sept. 1869
7 Sept. 1901
29 Aug. 1902
27 Sept. 1905;
supplement
4 March 1912
Treaty
main purpose
Treaty of Friendship,
Trade and Sailing
basic modification of mutual
political and economic
relations
Boxer Protocol
specifying compensations for
(multilateral treaty)
damages inflicted during the
Boxer Rebellion
Shanghai Treaty
agreement about new Chinese
(multilateral treaty)
import tariff
Whangpoo Conservancy modification of terms of
Treaty
sailing along the Whangpoo,
(multilateral treaty)
Huangpu River connecting
Shanghai with the Yangtze
delta.
Note: By signing the Saint-Germain Peace Treaty (10 September 1919) Austria surrendered all its rights ensuing from the above treaties.
On the development of relations between Austria-Hungary and China, see more in e.g.
Georg LEHNER, Die Chinapolitik Österreich-Ungarns 1896–1917, Diplomarbeit,
Geisteswissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Wien, Wien 1992.
55
The Gallant Allies?
German-Irish Military Cooperation
Before and During the World War I1
Filip Nerad
Due to its convenient geographic position and due to its specific
relations to England (later Great Britain) Ireland has many times in history
been a part of the military calculation of the adversaries of London, who saw
it as a potential Achilles’ heel of the insular kingdom. The Irish card was a
part of the Spanish invasion plans in the early 17th century, plans of the
French king Louis XIV in 1689–1691 or the revolutionary France in the
1790s. So it was quite logical for the imperial Germany during the World
War I to try it as well, especially as the friction on the island, caused by the
growing call for Home Rule, almost spilled into an open conflict before the
war. However an active cooperation between Germany and the Irish
separatists in the years 1914–1918 was forming with difficulties and the
results only highlighted the different interests of a superpower and a small
nation.
The beginnings of the cooperation were connected with another
conflict on an opposite side of the world – the Boer War in the years 1899–
1902. The attempt of the London government to take control over two Boer
republics in South Africa, so rich in raw materials, brought together the
large Germany and Irish emigration in the USA; several hundreds of
volunteers from Germany and Ireland even actively took part in the war on
the side of the Boers against the British army.2 Although they failed to avert
the defeat and conquest by the British Empire, the strong anti-British
feelings of both emigrant ethnics in USA created a basis for the prospective
cooperation, which in January 1907 lead to signing of an agreement between
two emigrant organisations, the National German-American Alliance and
the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). Their main objective was to join
This study was written as a part of the project called ”Alliance or Opportunism? Analysis
of the German-Irish military cooperation during the World War I and its perception in
Great Britain“, financed by the Charles University in Prague, Philosophical Faculty, from
the funds of specific research.
2 See more in Filip NERAD, Búrská válka, Praha 2004, pp. 107 ff.
1
210
Filip Nerad
______________________________________________________________
forces against the US and UK convergence.3 AOH also promised, that in any
prospective conflict between Germany and Britain, the Irish will support the
German side.4
In September of the next year, the first attempt of a direct military
cooperation between the Irish nationalists and the German government
began. An alleged member of AOH D. O’Connell wrote a letter to the Foreign
Office (Auswärtiges Amt) in Berlin and offered intelligence information
about the situation in Ireland and Great Britain. The author claimed to have
a network of agents all over England and Scotland. In exchange the author
required help with realisation of “any project, which had been mutually
agreed upon”. Until then he asked the German government to consider him
a German agent on the isles and asked for an unspecified salary.5 The
foreign office’s Secretary of State, Bernard von Bülow, passed the letter to
the German Embassy in London with a note, that it is not to be answered. In
1911 O’Connell attempted another contact, but the German side did not react
either.6
At the same time the journal Irish Freedom published the first of a
series of articles describing the advantages of German-Irish cooperation.
Until the start of the World War I these articles were published
anonymously, only in 1914 they were published as a collection with the name
of the author on it. It was Sir Roger Casement, a renowned former British
diplomat, who later took active part in the nationalist organisations and
finally came to advocate independent Ireland.7 In his first article called The
Keeper of the Seas he claimed, that Ireland is the “keeper of the seas”, who
played the key role in the British naval hegemony. He believed, that “the
British Empire is founded not upon the British Bible or the British
Dreadnought, but upon Ireland”, because it “stands between Britain and
the greater seas of the west and blocks for her the highways of the ocean”.8
Ritschl to the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), 30 January 1907, Politisches Archiv
des Auswärtigen Amtes Berlin (henceforth quoted as PA AA), Vereinigte Staaten von
Nordamerika 10, Vol. 1, A 1657.
4 Alan J. WARD, Ireland and Anglo-American Relations 1899–1921, Toronto 1969, p.
28.
5 O’Connell to the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), 2 September 1908, PA AA, England
80, Vol., 10, A 14313.
6 Ibid., O’Connell to the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), 24 June 1911, Vol. 11, A 10058.
7 More about his persona and fate see in Filip NERAD, Sir Roger Casement – muž
mnoha tváří, Historický obzor 18, 2007, issue 1–2, pp. 2–19. During Casement’s stay in
the USA in 1914 these articles were published under the title The Crime against Europe.
Two years later this collection was published in Germany too, under the name Das
Verbrechen an Europa.
8 CASEMENT, Das Verbrechen, p. 23.
3
The Gallant Allies?
211
________________________________________________________
Only thanks to Ireland the British can rule the world oceans. According to
this, Germany, who was trying hard to match the British naval strength,
should first of all help to liberate the “keeper of the seas” to ensure free
cruise of the world oceans. Casement then used this theory of mutual benefit
of the German-Irish cooperation during all of his attempts to make Germany
to help the Irish.
Casement’s views received publicity in Germany thanks to the Prussian retired general of the cavalry, Friedrich von Bernhardi. In September
1913 in the Berliner journal Die Post this military writer, author of the
renowned book Deutschland und der nächste Krieg, encouraging war as a
necessity for political and cultural development of the German nation,9
published Casement’s article Irland, England und Deutschland. The author,
still anonymous at that time, promoted the perspectives of Ireland in case of
German victory over Britain. Bernardi commented on the article, in view of
potential military plans of Berlin, that for Germany “ist nicht ohne Interesse
zu wissen, daß, wenn es über kurz oder lang zum Kriege mit England
kommt, wir im feindlichen Lager selbst Verbündete haben, die unter
Umständen zum Handeln entschlossen sind, und jedenfalls eine schwere
Sorge für England bilden und vielleicht einen Teil der englischen Truppen
fesseln werden”. 10
In spite of the already quite tense relationship to Great Britain, this
article met a hostile reaction in the German press of that time, partially
perhaps initiated by the official circles. The article was discussed even in the
Imperial Diet and also the government circles could be heard to disagree
with it. The Undersecretary of State of the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt),
Arthur Zimmermann, in his letter to the chief of the sovereign’s military
cabinet General Lyncker, called the Bernhardi’s comments as ignorant and
sheer speculations and expressed worries, that such statements could even
Bernhardi also supported the idea to stir up a rising in India, Egypt and South Africa in
case of war on Britain. He does not mention Ireland in this context. (Friedrich von
BERNHARDI, Deutschland und der nächste Krieg, Berlin 1912, p. 165.)
10 Die Post, 18 September 1913, PA AA, Deutschland 121 Nr. 6, Vol. 2, A 19450. The
original text called Ireland, Germany and the Next War was published in July of the
same year in the Irish Review under the penname Shan van Vocht and it was a reaction
to the article by sir Arthur Conan Doyle Great Britain and the Next War, in which the
famous writer opposed the militant and nationalist opinions of the Bernhardi’s book.
This was the reason, why in August Casement contacted the general, whom he had not
known personally until then, and asked him to translate and publish his article in
Germany. At least this is how Casement explained it later to his German friend, Professor
Theodor Schiemann. Compare Casement to Schiemann, 14 November 1914, Geheimes
Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz Berlin, VI. HA, Nachlass Theodor Schiemann, Nr.
51.
9
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worsen the diplomatic relations with Great Britain.11 According to Lyncker
the German Emperor Wilhelm II did not agree with these opinions either
and said, that “der schriftstellerischen Tätigkeit des Generals von
Bernhardi, die schädlich wirken könne, näher getreten werden sollte”.12
One fact is clear from these reactions: Germany did not calculate with
military use of Ireland in case of a conflict with Britain at all. The operative
plans of the Naval General Staff and the Great General Staff, created since
the end of the 19th century, confirm it. They considered Ireland as
strategically inconvenient for the purposes of a war on Britain.13
The first notion of a possible landing in Ireland appeared in a study of the
German Naval Staff in 1898, which analysed the options of a GermanFrance-Russian alliance against Great Britain and which calculated with an
invasion to South England and the Irish coast done by French troops.14
However, the officers of the generality refused the idea of an Irish landing
due to the loyalty of most of the Irish to Britain and due to the failure of the
previous invasions to Britain in the past.15 Until the start of World War I the
German Navy was well aware of the strength of the British fleet. Admiral
Tirpitz was against an invasion on the Isles before Germany would gain
superiority over the North Sea, which did not happen till the outbreak of
World War I.16 As far as they considered landing in Britain, it was only in the
South-East England, which is the closest to the continent and at the same
time on the shortest route to London.17
They even did not plan to initiate an uprising in Ireland, which would
weaken the enemy and force him to withdraw a part of his forces off the war
field. In February 1914 the German War Ministry received a forty-four-page
study from the Legate Secretary of the Trade-and-Politics Department of the
Zimmermann to Lyncker, 5–9 October 1913, PA AA, Deutschland 121 Nr. 6, Vol. 2, zu A
19450/19510,
12 Ibid., Lyncker to Bethmann Holweg, 27 September 1913, A 19450.
13 Compare ibid., Das englische Expeditionkorps, 30 May 1912, Deutschland 121 Nr. 31
secr., Vol. 1, AS 905.
14 The relations between Britain and France were strained at that time especially due to
competition over the influence in Egypt due to the Fashoda incident. Also the open
attempts of London to control the Boer republics in South Africa called out negative
reactions of other powers. In this connection Berlin several times threatened London,
that it would form a continental alliance, which would include Germany, France and
Russia.
15 Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv Freiburg (henceforth quoted as BA-MA), RM 5/1610, Vol.
1.
16 Paul M. KENNEDY, The Development of German Naval Operation Plans against
England 1896–1914, English Historical Review 89, 1974, pp. 48–76.
17 BA-MA, RM 5/1610, Vol. 1, pp. 184–185.
11
The Gallant Allies?
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Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), Christian Jordan, which recommended
stirring an uprising in India, South Africa and especially in Ireland during
the “inevitable conflict” between Britain and Germany, because it would be
very damaging to Britain.18 The ministry thanked for the study at the end of
the war and returned it back.
However plans to stir up unrest in the enemy territory had had a long
tradition in the German military. Already in the 1870s and 1880s there
appeared ideas how to stir up a revolution in Poland, Finland or the people
of Caucasus in case of a war on Russia. Similar plans were conceived at the
turn of the century for Britain too – calculating with stirring up rebellions of
the British subjects in the Middle and Far East (especially in India and in
Egypt). While in case of Russia these plans were designed to destroy the
whole Tsar’s empire, the plans against Britain were “only” to strip it of its
colonies.19 However Ireland did not fit into this concept either. According to
Baron von Strumm from the General Staff, Berlin believed, that Britain
would remain neutral to the conflict on the Continent.20 Even the Secretary
of State of the German Foreign Office Gottlieb von Jagow told Rear Admiral
Behnke on 21 June 1914 that “falls es zum Kriege Dreibund gegen Zweibund
komme, werde England nicht mitmachen”.21
The reason for these statements was high crisis in Britain and Ireland
due to the Home Rule dispute that pushed Ireland on the brink of a civil
war.22 In April 1912 the liberal Asquith’s government presented to the House
Giessler to Jordan, 13 April 1918, PA AA, England 78, Vol. 98, A 16014.
Wolfgang HÜNSELER, Das Deutsche Kaiserreich und die irische Frage 1900–1914,
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Las Vegas 1978, p. 180; compare also Peter Graf
KIELMANSEGG, Deutschland und der Erste Weltkrieg, Stuttgart 1980, pp. 214–219.
20 Thomas HENNESSEY, Dividing Ireland. World War I and Partition, London, New
York 1998, p.134.
21 HÜNSELER, p. 255.
22 Some historians even believe that the Central Powers counted with the outbreak of a
conflict in Ireland, which would not let Britain to intervene to the course of events on the
Continent. And that is why they decided to unleash the war in the summer 1914. But it
seems hardly likely that it was so. Compare Felician PRILL, Ireland, Britain and
Germany 1871–1914. Problems of Nationalism and Religion in Nineteenth-Century
Europe, Dublin, London, New York 1975, pp. 131–133; HÜNSELER, pp. 250–263.
18
19
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of Commons an Irish Home Rule Bill.23 This resulted in very loud protests
from the Tories as well as from the representatives of the protestant Ulster
lead by Sir Edward Carson. They demanded that the union had to be
preserved, because they feared, that if the political powers were transferred
to Dublin, all power would be taken over by the representatives of the
Catholic majority represented by the Irish Parliamentary Party of John
Redmond. In January 1913 they established a paramilitary organisation
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which declared its readiness to prevent Irish
autonomy even by force. In the north of the island demonstrations started
against the Home Rule Bill and the armed Orangists even attacked the local
Catholic population.
The reaction of the nationalists to the formation and activities of the
UVF was to establish the troops of Irish Volunteers on 25 November 1913 in
Dublin. Their objective was to defend against the attempts of the unionists
to disrupt the process of creation of the Irish Home Rule. Over six months
they managed to enlist 130 000 men. Before the war the UVF had circa 85
000 armed men led by experienced officers of the British army.24
In 1914 the tensions in Ireland reached a peak. The Homer Rule Bill
was discussed in the parliament for the third time and the House of Lords
could no longer block it according to the 1911 Parliament Act. The unionists
of Ulster started to prepare an armed uprising against the Home Rule. The
Ulster Unionist Council, the highest organisation of the North-Ireland
Protestants, was authorised to declare an interim government after the
Home Rule is passed, and take control over the nine counties of the province.
In April 1914 major Frederick Crawford purchased from a German
arms dealer Bruno Spiro in Berlin 25 000 Mauser rifles and Mannlicher
rifles for the UVF as well as three million pieces of ammunition and on the
night of 24–25 April he brought it to the coast of Northern Ireland at the
The content of this third version of the bill was based on the plan, which had been
unsuccessfully proposed in 1893 by the liberal PM William Gladstone. The Irish
government, appointed by Lord Lieutenant, a two-chamber parliament (elected House of
Commons with 164 MPs and a Senate composed of 40 senators appointed by Lord
Lieutenant) were to control the internal issues of Ireland, while the questions of the
Crown, army, navy, declaration of war, conclusion of peace and international treaties and
some taxes were to remain the competence of the parliament of London. Ireland would
have 42 MPs in Westminster. The London parliament would also have the right to cancel
any act passed by the Irish parliament. Apart from this safety mechanism the rights of
the protestant minority were safeguarded also by the ban to pass any laws, which would
disadvantage one of the religions or would impose discrimination due to faith.
24 The British Army was a traditional stronghold of the Unionists. A lot of the officers,
including the highest commanders, sympathised with the Ulster resistance to the Home
Rule and some of them were directly involved in the UVF activities.
23
The Gallant Allies?
215
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towns of Bangor, Donaghadee and Larne, near Belfast.25 The German
authorities knew about the activities of Mr Crawford, who acted in Hamburg
under the alias of John Washington Graham, an American, and tolerated
them.26 The growing friction on the isles was good news for Berlin, because
it meant that in case of a war on the Continent, London would remain
neutral.
British government feared most the possible cooperation between the
Ulster Unionists and the Germans – in view of the statements of the Ulster
leaders and the meeting of Carson with Wilhelm II in August 1913 in Bad
Homburg.27 The enemies of the Irish Home Rule indeed used the “German
scarecrow” as the means of pressure on the Asquith’s government to make it
quit the idea of the autonomy. In November 1913 they issued a declaration,
that they “have the offer of aid from a powerful continental monarch who,
if Home Rule is forced on the Protestants of Ireland, is prepared to send an
army sufficient to release England of any further trouble in Ireland by
attacking it to his dominion”. They even threatened, that if the king signs
the act, “the Protestants of Ireland will welcome this continental deliverer
More see Frederick Hugh CRAWFORD, Guns for Ulster, Belfast 1947. Already since
1911 news appeared in the German press about transports of weapons to Ireland for the
Ulster Unionists, some of them allegedly from Germany. Compare Staatsarchiv
Hamburg, Politische Polizei 331–3, Sk 158–19, Waffen- und Munizionsschmuggel nach
Irland für die Ulsterfreiwilligen. The same information had the British police too. See
National Archives London (henceforth quoted as NA), CO 904/28/2. By the way,
Crawford himself wrote that he had started his activities already in 1906–1907, i.e. long
before the Home Rule disputes. (CRAWFORD, p. 16.)
26 PA AA, Staats- und Völkerrecht, Vol. 10, A 6504, 30 March 1914. From 4 December
1913 it was forbidden to transport any military material to Ireland. The ban was the
British government’s reaction to formation of the Irish Volunteers.
27 Carson was a member of the English-German committee, which was to improve the
relations between the two countries, and he went to Germany regularly for holidays or to
spa for recreation. In 1911 and 1912 he visited Baden-Baden, in 1912 and 1913 he was a
guest at Bad Homburg. Little is known about the content of his meeting with the
Emperor. According to the British historian Montgomery Hyde Wilhelm II repeatedly
tried to change the topic and speak about the Northern Ireland issues, but Carson
allegedly tried to avoid this theme. (H. Montgomery HYDE, Carson, London 1974, p.
337.)
25
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as their forefathers under similar circumstances did once before”.28 Plans
with the same warning appeared in Belfast in the autumn 1912. In fact, no
such offer ever came, and Berlin knew, that the high British army officials
supporting the Ulster rebellion are in favour of cooperation with the
French.29 The British government did not take these threats seriously
either.30
Yet, Asquith’s cabinet was under a great pressure from the Unionists.
It tried to scale it down through a concession in the bill, so the counties with
the majority of protestant population would be excluded from its validity for
six years. However Carson considered it only as a “sentence of death with a
stay of execution for six years”.31 The only autonomy acceptable for the
Unionists was no autonomy at all. But in the camp of the nationalists, the
government concessions raised fears, how far Asquith would go to please the
Unionists. Redmond’s Parliamentary Party – in exchange for a promise that
no more changes would occur – supported the moderate course of the
cabinet. However the Irish nationalists demanded Home Rule in the original
form. Their uncertainty was increasing also because of the attitude of
government to the import of weapons for the UVF or to the “Curragh
mutiny”.32 The leaders of the Irish Volunteers were slowly losing hope in any
help from London against the protestant minority and started preparations
to enforce their legitimate demands by their own force.
To be able to face the well-equipped and well-trained UVF troops,33
the Irish Volunteers needed to get real weapons, because so far they had
Dorothy MACARDLE, The Irish Republic. A Documented Chronicle of the Anglo-Irish
Conflict and the Partitioning of Ireland, with Detailed Account of the Period 1916–1923,
New York, Toronto 1965, p. 90. The authors refer to the invasion of the General
Stadtholder William III of Orange in 1688. The dethroned English king Jacob II landed
in Ireland the next year and with the help of the local Catholics he tried to get his throne
back. However the Wilhelm’s army supported by the Protestants defeated him in 1690. A
number of manifests of the Ulster Unionists, in which they preferred the rule of the
German over the Irish Protestants, alluded to the similarity of the William’s name and
the name of the German Emperor.
29 PRILL, p. 134.
30 HÜNSELER, p. 204–205.
31 Robert KEE, The Green Flag. A History of Irish Nationalism, London 2000, p. 483.
32 In March 1914 sixty officers of the troop in Curragh refused to obey the order to
reinforce the guarding of the barracks, because they understood it as the first step to
using the army for an attack on Ulster. Under the pressure of the Conservatives, the
government did not punish this breach of obedience (only the Secretary of State for War
Seely and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Lord French were forced to resign) and
did nothing against the import of weapons for the UVF, though it was a violation of the
ban of December 1913.
33 After the shipment of weapons from Germany the UVF had roughly 40 000 rifles and
several machine guns. (HÜNSELER, p. 234.)
28
The Gallant Allies?
217
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been training with wooden rifle dummies only. Casement, who was the
treasurer of the Irish Volunteers and was in charge of the recruiting
campaign, took care of the weapon supply. In May 1914 he initiated
establishment of a committee for acquisition of weapons for the Irish
Volunteers and the members of the committee became a narrow group of
people, who sympathised with the Home Rule.34 Mostly from their own
sources they collected 1500 pounds for which Darrell Figgis and Erskine
Childers tried to buy weapons in the Liege in Belgium in July. Due to their
limited budget, they could not afford enough however, so they moved to
Hamburg, where the Magnus brothers, the local arms dealers, sold them
1500 old Mauser rifles and 45 000 cartridges. On 26 July, two days before
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the Erskin Childers’ private yacht
Asgard transported one part of the shipment from Hamburg to the Howth
harbour near Dublin.35 On the day when Germany declared war on Russia,
on 1 August, another private boat, the Chotah, brought the rest of the cargo
in the Kilcoole harbour in the Wicklow County, south of the Irish capital.
Not only the highest circles of Germany did not plan to use Ireland in a
prospective conflict with Britain, but the “Emerald Isle” also failed to figure
among the military targets listed in the individual programmes, which were
prepared in Germany once the conflict started.36 An exception was the wellknown project of so called Mitteleuropa, which proposed granting
“freedom” to Scotland and Ireland once England is defeated. At the end of
1914 the army HQ received a study by the chairman of the Alldeutscher
Verband Heinrich Claß. He recommended decreasing the area of Great
Britain after its defeat to England and Scotland only, while Ireland should
become an independent republic. His requirement of independence for the
Irish was not motivated by any sympathy for the nationalist wishes of the
Apart from Casement it included also his close friend Alice Stopford Green, widow
after the deceased British historian J. R. Green, the couple Mary and Erskine Childer, the
journalist Darrell Figgis, a cousin of the British ambassador in USA Mary Spring Rice or
her cousins Connor and Hugh O’Brien.
35 See more in F. X. MARTIN (ed.), The Howth Gun-Running and the Kilcoole GunRunning 1914. Recollections and Documents, Dublin 1967. In the centre of Dublin – in
the Bachelor’s Walk – part of the men importing the weapons from Howth met the King’s
Own Scottish Borderers who wanted to confiscate their rifles. The result was three Irish
dead on the spot and one wounded who died later in a hospital, another 38 members of
the Irish Volunteers were wounded. The shooting at the Bachelor’s Walk confirmed the
belief of the radical nationalists, that the British are using double standards to them and
the Ulster Protestants, because a day before they let 5000 UVF members march through
Belfast with rifles imported from Germany and did not react at all.
36 Compare Fritz FISCHER, Griff nach der Weltmacht. Die Kriegszielpolitik des
kaiserlichen Deutschland 1914/18, Düsseldorf 2004, pp. 208 ff, 258 ff, 289 ff.
34
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people of the Island, but purely as a way to cripple the might of Britain.37
Paul Becker proposed even larger conquest in Great Britain. At the
beginning of the war this war invalid designed two maps of Europe showing,
what the continent should look like after the defeat of the Entente Powers
and the victory of the Central Powers. In the second option Germany was
supposed to conquer large territories from the enemy. England was to be
limited to Cornwall and the Plymouth harbour only, whereas the rest of its
land up to the Scotland border would become a German protectorate.
Ireland and Scotland were to become independent kingdoms.38 In reality
however the British navy blocked the German fleet from the very start of the
war and avoided any decisive battle, in which the German Navy could try to
break through the British superiority in the North Sea and possibly attack
the British Isles. Ireland was excluded even from the plans of the German
Admiralty concerning the naval blockade of Britain. According to the author
of this plan, corvette captain Schlubach, the population of the “Green Isle”
was too thin and there was not enough important trade centres. The only
exceptions were Dublin and Belfast, which should be included in the
blockade of the British harbours at the Irish Sea.39 In view of the strength of
the British fleet this plan was hardly feasible. Germany even did not have
enough submarines to realise it.40
In spite of all this, before the war the British representatives in Ireland
were afraid of a German invasion in case of a Germany-Britain conflict. In
the autumn 1914 the Undersecretary of State for Ireland Sir Matthew
Nathan met the British Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener. The
renowned general, famous thanks to his victory in Sudan and in the Boer
War, counted with this option too and believed that if the German attempt
Hans-Dieter KLUGE, Irland in der deutschen Geschichtswissenschaft. Politik und
Propaganda vor 1914 und im Ersten Weltkrieg, Frankfurt am Main 1985, p. 112.
38 Becker to the Foreign Office, 21 November 1914, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 2, A
31825.
39 BA-MA, RM 3/27, Blockade der englischen Inseln, 25 October 1914.
40 At the beginning of the war Germany had 28 U-Boats; however four of them (U 1-U 4)
were primitive technology and were used for training only. Part of the others (U 5-U 28)
had not-quite-reliable oil engines, while the newer types had diesel engines already. At
that time Britain had 78 submarines, France 55 and Russia 28. On 4 February, when
Germany declared the submarine warfare, there were 21 submarines in the North Sea
(FISCHER, p. 241; KIELMANSEGG, p. 134.). According to the unofficial pre-ware plans a
complete blockade of the British Isles would require at least 222 U-boats. (V. E.
TARRANT, Ponorky útočí. Ofenziva německých ponorek 1914–1945, Praha 1998, p. 16;
KLUGE, p. 111.)
37
The Gallant Allies?
219
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the invasion; they will do so in the North-West coast of Ireland. In such case
he believed, a division made of the Ulstermen would stop the invasion.41
Anyway, the Germans did not think about an invasion to Ireland at
that time. The sea around Ireland witnessed only a commerce raiding of the
German submarines, which tried to cripple the British sea routes, deprive
Britain of food supplies and force it to capitulate. The U-boats operated
especially south of the Irish coast, because there passed the routes to the
western harbours and to the South England and Queenstown (now Cobh),
the main base of the British fleet in Ireland. This area witnessed also sinking
of the British trans-oceanic steamboats Lusitania (7 May 1915) and Arabic
(19 August 1915), on which also many citizens of neutral countries drowned,
especially Americans. These incidents lead to a significant worsening of the
diplomatic relations between the German Empire and the United States and
it was one of the reasons, why USA entered the World War I.
The war changed the situation in Ireland too. Great Britain, its
colonies and dominions, including Ireland, entered the war on 4 August. The
call of the British army for volunteers was heard especially by the UVF
members, who in September 1914 formed the 36th division (“Ulster
Division”), which was joined by 27 412 men during the first year. On 18
September the British king George V signed the Home Rule Act, at the same
time however another act postponed the validity of Home Rule by twelve
months or until the end of war, whichever comes first.42 Redmond, who was
looking forward to the title of an Irish Prime Minister, offered the London
government his Irish Volunteers lead by his people, to defend the island and
later also to serve in the British Army.43 He believed, that if he shows loyalty
in the times, when Britain struggles for survival, it would break the
resistance of the Unionists against the autonomy of the whole Ireland. Yet,
Asquith as well as Lord Kitchener refused his offer. What is more, this
Leon Ó BROIN, Dublin Castle and the 1916 Rising, New York 1971, pp. 26–27.
In September 1915 the validity of the act was postponed for another six months. In late
1916 nobody believed, that the conflict could end soon, so the validity of the act was
postponed “after the war”.
43 With more than 180 000 members this organisation represented an important element
of the Irish political scene. However the Parliamentary Party had no control over it. This
is why Redmond made effort to get his people into the Provisional Committee, a 25member governing body of the Irish Volunteers, to oversee its activities. The moderate
members like the president Éoin MacNéill, Casement and most of the committee
members gave in to the Redmond’s pressure, so as to prevent splitting of the
organisation. On 16 June 1914 the committee co-opted 25 new members proposed by the
leader of the Parliamentary Party. Nine radicals voted against, among others Thomas
Clarke, Patrick Pearse, Sean MacDermott and others, mostly future leaders or
participants of the Easter Rising in Dublin.
41
42
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gesture of the “Judas of Ireland” – as the leader of the Irish trade unions
James Larkin labelled Redmond – divided the Irish public. Most of the Irish
and the Irish Volunteers members backed Redmond. On the other hand the
radicals refused taking part in a war on Germany, because Ireland had no
quarrel with the German emperor and no reasons to fight against the
Germans. This dispute caused that the organisation split into two parts.
Redmond’s supporters called themselves the Irish National Volunteers
(INV) and were ready to help Britain with the war on Germany. At the
beginning of the conflict 175 000 former Irish Volunteers entered this
organisation. Their number gradually lowered, as their members left for the
British Army. By the autumn 1915 around 27 000 enrolled the army as
volunteers.44 The remaining 13 500 members of the Irish Volunteers
remained faithful to its president Éoin MacNéill and kept their original
name.
Some of the radicals did not only want to keep Ireland out of the war.
Shortly after the beginning of the war the representative of the Irish
Volunteers met with members of the secret separatist club Irish Republican
Brotherhood (IRB)45 and they agreed to use the conflict in the Continent to
free from the British rule. Their credo was “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s
opportunity”. Also the Clan na Gael organisation agreed with the plan. It
was an association of the Irish emigrants to the USA and it promised
financial support to the prepared uprising. Sir Roger Casement was to
function as a liaison. Since 20 July he was in New York and did his best to
persuade the leader of the Clan na Gael John Devoy to finance the purchase
of weapons for the Irish Volunteer because with the 1500 old Mauser Rifles
At first Redmond hoped that the INV members, just like the Ulstermen, would form
own troops within the British Army, with their own command. But Kitchener – although
he came from the Catholic part of Ireland – did not trust the Irish, so the Irish Catholic
soldiers were dispersed into many troops under British command. Many of them were in
the 10th and 16th division, which is why they were called Irish Divisions. Until autumn
1915 more than 132 000 Irish - 79 511 Catholic and 52 943 Protestant - volunteers
enlisted the British Army (KEE, p. 525.)
45 It was established in 1858 with the objective to achieve independence of Ireland, even
with the use of force. It acted as a branch of the American Fenian Brotherhood and it
closely cooperated also with its successor, Clan na Gael. At the beginning of the World
War I the activities of the IRB were weakened due to the success and the overall national
support to the Home Rule movement. The managing body of the IRB was a three-person
Supreme Council. In 1913–1915 the leadership was taken over by a new generation of
Irish nationalists. The president became Denis McCullough, the secretary was a young
publisher of the journal Irish Freedom Sean MacDermott and the treasurer was Thomas
Clarke, who was also the liaison between IRB and the Clan na Gael.
44
The Gallant Allies?
221
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imported from Germany they could not compete with the strength of the
UVF.
Casement was also in favour of the anti-British rising, but he was
aware, that the success is impossible without sufficient weaponry and
trained men. The limited financial sources of the American organisation and
the neutral policy of USA made it impossible to get sufficient military
equipment and instructors from beyond the ocean. However the war on the
Continent opened the possibility to realise the plans about cooperation with
Germany. This is why Casement decided to get military support from Berlin.
We still do not know when it happened. In his memoirs Devoy says, that
Casement informed him for the first time about this intention on 2 August,
two days before Britain entered the war, but he believed, that the plan had
been much older.46
The first contact between both sides took place on 9 August in New
York, where Casement met the German military attaché Captain Franz von
Papen. During this introductory meeting the Irishman explained to the
future German Chancellor his plan to import military supplies and officers
from Germany to train and prepare the Irish for an uprising, which would
force the British army to withdraw a part of its troops from the Continent.
According to Papen’s report to Berlin, they spoke about 50 000 rifles.47 In
late August Casement also met the German ambassador Count Johann
Heinrich von Bernstorff. According to Devoy’s memoirs, the ambassador
“listened attentively and with evident sympathy, asked many questions, so
as to be sure he fully understood our position, and he promised to send our
application to Berlin”.48
Already three days earlier, on 25 August, Casement sent to the capital
of Germany a declaration of the American Irishmen for the Emperor
Wilhelm II. In the paper the Irish expressed their support to the fighting
Germans and asked the German sovereign to make liberation of Ireland one
of the objectives of the Central Powers. “Thousands of Irishmen are
prepared to do their part to aid the German cause, for they recognize that
it is their own … We beg Your Majesty to reflect that an Ireland freed by
German victory over Britain becomes the sure gage of a free ocean for all
who traverse the seas … We pray for that triumph for Germany; and we
pray with it Your Majesty may have power, wisdom and strength of
purpose to impose a lasting peace upon the seas by effecting the
John DEVOY, Recollections of an Irish Rebel, Shannon 1969, pp. 417 ff.
Papen to the Foreign Office, 9 August 1914, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 1, A 18717.
48 DEVOY, p. 403.
46
47
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independence of Ireland and securing its recognition as a fixed condition of
the terms of final settlement between the great maritime Powers.”49
Since early October Casement’s departure to Europe was being
prepared in cooperation with the German embassy. On 13 October
Bernstorff sent the promised recommendations to Berlin to Chancellor
Bethmann Hollweg, that the imperial government should help the
Irishman.50 Two days later Casement embarked a trans-oceanic steamboat
Oscar II under the alias James E. Landy, an American. Aboard this ship he
travelled to Christiania (now Oslo), from where he took a train via Denmark
to Germany. He reached Berlin on 31 October.
Before the journey he set up several objectives to achieve in Germany.
He wanted the German government and public to approve and support the
Irish separatism. He hoped to persuade the German government to approve
formation of a volunteer troop composed of British prisoners-of-war of Irish
origin. This Irish Brigade,51 which he thought should have at least 200 men,
would then be transported to Ireland along with a shipment of weaponry,
ammunition and a group of German officers to support the planned antiBritish rising.
Briefly after his arrival Casement (who acted under the name “Mr
Hammond” at first52) addressed to the German Chancellor a memorandum,
in which he urged Bethmann Hollweg to form a military unit composed of
POWs of Irish nationality and Catholic faith.53 Five days later the Secretary
of State Jagow informed his right hand Arthur Zimmermann, that the Chief
of the German General Staff, general Erich von Falkenhayn approved the
Ibid., pp. 405–406. The German Emperor reacted to the letter in an instruction for the
Foreign Office asking, “daß dafür auf diplomatischen Wege gedankt werde”. (Karin
WOLF, Sir Roger Casement und die deutsch-irischen Beziehungen, Berlin 1972, p. 23.)
50 Bernstorff to Bethmann Hollweg, 13 October 1914, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 1,
AS 2452.
51 The name was probably inspired by the eponymous Irish volunteer unit, which fought
on the side of the Boers in the British-Boer War in 1899–1902.
52 National Library of Ireland (henceforth quoted as NLI), Casement Papers, Ms
13,084/1.
53 Memorandum by Roger Casement German intentions toward Ireland and Irish
Soldiers prisoners in Germany, 2 November 1914, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 1, AS
2461.
49
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223
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Irish Legion and ordered to start collecting the Irish POWs.54 They were to
be collected in the prisoner camp at the town Limburg an der Lahn, near
Frankfurt am Main. The troop was in the jurisdiction of three institutions.
The political and propagandist exploitation was a job for the Foreign Office
(Auswärtiges Amt), while the Prussian Ministry of War was supposed to
organise it. The military issues were handled by the Department IIIb
(intelligence) of the Reserve General Staff, which was headed by lieutenant
in reserve Rudolf Nadolny. He also acted as a liaison officer for the Irish
Brigade.
Already before the Irish POWs were assembled in Limburg, the press
published a declaration of the German government, according to which
Berlin actually approved the Irish call for independence as legitimate. The
document was signed by the Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg, though written
by Casement, and it declared, that “Deutschland nur Wünsche für die
Wohlfahrt des irischen Volkes, seines Landes und seiner Einrichtungen
hegt. Die Kaiserliche Regierung erklärt in aller Form, daß Deutschland
niemals mir der Absicht einer Eroberung oder der Vernichtung
irgendwelcher irischer Einrichtungen in Irland einfallen würde, … dem
Deutschland nur nationale Wohlfahrt und nationale Freiheit wünscht”.55
Less than one month from the arrival to Germany, Casement achieved
one of his main objectives, which however did not guarantee any long-term
support to the Irish ambitions. The more important task was still ahead – to
build a strong volunteer unit. According to Zimmermann they selected 2486
men of Irish nationality and Catholic faith from the British prisoners-of-war
and these were to be moved to Limburg.56 When Casement got there on 4
December, there was still only a fragment of this number of men. First he
informed a group of Irish non-commissioned officers about his plans.
However, only two of them decided to join the Brigade.57
Ibid., Jagow to Zimmermann, 7 November 1914, AS 2536. The chief of the German
diplomacy was sceptical to the Casement’s project from the very beginning. In a letter to
Zimmermann he wrote: “Der militätische Nutzen [of the Irish Brigade – note by F. N.]
würde gering, vielleicht sogar Negativer Natur sein,... Es würde aber genügen, dass die
Bereitwilligkeit der irischen Gefangenen bekannt wird, an unserer Seite gegen England
zu fechten.” The German government thus calculated to use the brigade not in a battle,
but only for propaganda to make British recruitment in Ireland more difficult.
55 Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 20 November 1914.
56 Zimmermann to Jagow, 17 December 1914, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 3, AS 2957.
57 About the detailed reasons of the failure of Casement’s conscription campaign in
Limburg see Filip NERAD, The Irish Brigade in Germany, 1914–1918, Prague Papers on
the History of International Relations, 2006, pp. 188–189.
54
224
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After this failure Casement tried to put the Irish Brigade on a legal
basis. On 18 December he had an audience with the Chancellor. He managed
to persuade the sceptical Bethmann Hollweg, that this project could bring a
success. Five days later Casement sent to Zimmermann a text of an IrishGerman Treaty, which he conceived. It was discussed in the government and
on 28 December they signed it. The German party had only one condition –
that it would be published only after this military troop had been
successfully commissioned.
In the ten points of the document the German government undertook
to provide moral and material support to formation of the Irish Brigade,
which would be intended “to fight solely in the cause of Ireland”, under an
own flag, in own uniforms and under the leadership of its own officers. Until
the officers are obtained (they counted with people from Ireland or USA) it
was to be lead by the German officers, but during this time it could not be
used in any military action. Its clothing, food and armament were to be
donated by the German side, but no member of the Brigade was allowed to
take money from the Germans. The German government undertook to
transport the trained and fully equipped Brigade to Ireland with an “efficient
military support and with an ample supply of arms and ammunition”. If it
should prove impossible to transport the Brigade to Ireland, it was to be
transported to the Middle East, where it would “assist the Egyptian People
to recover their freedom by driving the British out of Egypt”. The last
article of the treaty contained a German promise to acknowledge
independent Ireland and to support its government internationally, if the
British rule over the island is terminated.58
On 5 January 1915 Casement made his second attempt to acquire crew
for the Brigade. But again, the Irish prisoners of war showed little interests
and he had to face even hostile reactions. Some men asked him shouting,
how much bribes does he get from the Germans for this dirty work.
Although he finally managed to get fifty men for his brigade, it was far less
than he had hoped. After his failure, Casement abandoned plans for any
further recruitment. The project of the Irish Brigade was silently abandoned
also by the German government, who regarded the Brigade composed of
mere 55 Irishmen as quite useless from the propagandist point of view. Also
the leaders of the land forces quite lost any interest in the Irish plans.
Nadolny informed Casement quite frankly, that under these conditions the
Brigade is useless for the German government.
Original of the treaty see in PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 3, AS 3053; its copies are
in NLI, Bulmer Hobson Papers, Ms 13,160/1; ibid., Casement Papers, Ms 13,085/vii.
58
The Gallant Allies?
225
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While in Berlin Casement made these vain efforts to ensure German
support for the uprising, in Ireland the preparations were underway. It was
organised by a small group of separatists from the Military Council of the
Irish Republican Brotherhood. They were lead by Patrick Pearse, a writer
and a headmaster of a bilingual Irish-English school in Dublin. Also other
young poets were members – Joseph Plunkett and Éamonn Ceant along
with two members of the Supreme Council of IRB Thomas Clark and Sean
MacDermott. Later they co-opted also the poet and playwright Thomas
MacDonagh and the leader of the Irish socialists and the leader of trade
unions James Connolly. The seven men organised the preparations for the
uprising alone. The only communication of the conspirators went on the line
IRB Military Council – Revolutionary Directory of the Clan na Gael, which
provide the finances. Nobody else knew anything. The organiser wanted to
avoid the mistakes of the previous anti-British rebellions, which always
failed, because someone leaked information. Each member of the council
had also an important position in the structures of the IRB and the Irish
Volunteers – and Connolly was in the militia of the trade unions, the Irish
Citizen Army (ICA) –, so they could easily control and influence the
activities in the military units of the nationalist groups.
The only direct contact between the organisers and the Germans took
place in late spring 1915. One of the members of the IRB Military Council,
Joseph Plunkett,59 came to Berlin to negotiate with the representatives of
the German army about supplies of weaponry for the rebels. It resulted in a
promise of an undefined quantity of weapons and ammunition.60 However
the Irish rebels hoped that German army would assault Ireland directly. It is
clear from the thirty-two-page study written by Plunkett and Casement
during their stay in Germany.
The study analyses the distribution of forces in the island in March
1915. According to the authors (this part must have been written by
Since childhood Plunkett suffered from breathing problems and already before the war
he regularly travelled to convalescence stays abroad. This is why the British officials were
not suspicious, when he left Ireland. He travelled to Germany via Spain, Italy and
Switzerland where he acted under the alias “Mr. Malcolm”. He got to Berlin in late April
and stayed there under the alias Johann Peter. (NLI, J. M. Plunkett Papers, Ms 10,999/i.)
or Johann Peters. This name was e. g. written on his permit to Limburg camp (NLI, J. M.
Plunkett Papers, Ms 10,999/xi.).
60 Plunkett was supposed to get it in a meeting with the German Chancellor. (Donagh
MacDONAGH, Plunkett and MacDonagh, in: Leaders and Men of the Easter Rising:
Dublin 1916, ed. F. X. MARTIN, London 1967, p. 170.) However there is no record of the
Plunkett’s meeting with Bethmann Hollweg and the chancellor does not mention it in his
memoirs either. Compare Theobald von BETHMANN HOLLWEG, Betrachtungen zum
Weltkrieg, Hrsg. Jost DÜLFFER, 2 vol., Essen 1989.
59
226
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Plunkett, who knew details about the situation in Ireland, unlike Casement)
there were 37 000 British soldiers and 12 000 members of RIC (Royal Irish
Constabulary) in Ireland at that time. The core of the British army was in
Dublin and its vicinity and also in the triangle in the south of the country
among the towns of Cork, Mallow and Fermoy. In Ulster in the north, the
concentration of the military was far thinner. Heavy artillery was only in
Lough Swilly, Belfast Lough and “maybe” in Killiney in Dublin County. The
authors pointed out that “British forces in Ireland are not an army nor even
a garrison at present. They are a number of small-scattered garrisons and
many large training camps. They are not equipped for the occupation of
the country much less to resist invasion. Those units that are intended for
immediate service receive their equipment, munitions and stores in
England when they leave Ireland on their way to the front”. 61
Plunkett and Casement proposed an invasion of 12 000 German
soldiers, who would enter the country on sea through the unfortified estuary
of the Shannon River and land at Limerick in the west of the island, which
they thought would be defended only by few Brits. The Germans should
bring weapons for 40 000 Irish Volunteers. After the successful landing they
would form a mixed German-Irish unit, which would be lead by experienced
German officers, who would plan the military operations. To make the
advance of this army easier, the Irish Volunteers were to severe the
infrastructures of strategic importance for the British Army and to occupy
Dublin due to “the arrest of British officials and military officers, the
placing of a guard over the banks and British commercial interests and if
possible the installation of a military Governor”.62
Limerick was chosen as the landing point, because it was relatively
easily accessible, it had a railway connection to the east and south of the
country and was surrounded with mountains from all sides, which would
not allow the British to use cavalry – it is a landscape suitable for a partisan
war. It is also only 100 km far from Athlone, a town in the very heart of the
island, where there was the core of the British artillery in the island and the
conquest of which could be a decisive strategic victory for the rebels. It was
the attack to the Northeast towards Athone, where the mixed German-Irish
army campaign was supposed to start. Because there were only few British
forces (some 900 soldiers and three artillery batteries at the most), Plunkett
calculated that the town and the nearby Shannon River Bridge could be
Nadolny to the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), 8 June 1915, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k
secr., Vol. 9, A 18292; also NLI, Casement Papers, Ms 13,085/5.
62 Ibid.
61
The Gallant Allies?
227
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conquered fast. The rebels would thus cut off the west-Irish province
Connacht and could advance to the north to Sligo and to the east to Dublin.
Around the capital city they expected the meet main British resistance, as
also the enemy troops from the South of the Island would gather there.
The authors calculated also with the support of the local population.
They wrote that especially the people of the West Irish counties Kerry,
Galway and Mayo had a friendly attitude to Germany. However the authors
admitted that the Irish support to Germany “springs not from knowledge of
the Germans, but from knowledge of the English”.63 In spite of that they
believed, that the Irish would come to like the Germans more, as soon as
Berlin announces public support to the Irish national independence and
once the German Army lands on the Irish coast. As soon as the West Ireland
is occupied, the Germans could establish their Atlantic naval bases there in
the deep Irish bays, “where the biggest battleships in the world can ride at
anchor”.64 Also the strategic naval port Lough Swilly in the Northern Ireland
could be conquered likely, because only weak land forces supposedly
guarded it.
Anyway, the German army maintained its sceptical attitude to these
proposals, because its command – or at least part of it – regarded the
cooperation with Irishmen after the failure of the Irish Brigade project as
worthless. On 20 June when Plunkett was leaving Berlin, Casement sent him
a copy of the German-Irish Treaty of 28 December 1914 and an order for the
rebellion leaders not to launch the uprising without German help.
The Irish asked for this aid in the autumn 1915. On 6 October Georg
von Skal, who worked with the German propagandist bureau in New York,
sent to Berlin Devoy’s plea for an urgent shipment of a small quantity of
weapons, which the Clan na Gael leader proposed to transport by
submarines to the Finet Bay (sic) near the town Tralee in the Kerry County
in the South-West of Ireland.65 Nadolny, who was just appointed as a chief
of the newly established political department of the General Staff, sent the
application to the navy HQ for assessment.66 In late November the Chief of
the High Seas Fleet Admiral Hugo von Pohl informed the Naval Staff, that
the use of submarines for transport of weaponry to this area is inconvenient
due to navigational reasons. Instead he suggested using a fishing steamboat
Ibid.
Ibid.
65 Skal to the Foreign Office, 6 October 1915, BA-MA, RM 5/4751. The application was
related to the current discussion in Britain about the mandatory conscriptions to the
British Army, which the Irish nationalists opposed heavily.
66 Nadolny to Heydel, 8 November 1915, BA-MA, RM 8/4751.
63
64
228
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of an English design.67 The acting Chief of the Naval Staff rejected even this
option.68
Plans of the Irish uprising were finalised in January 1916. It was
planned to start in Dublin on the Easter Sunday 23 April and then the Irish
Volunteer organisations throughout the island were to join it. The Clan na
Gael was informed about the final version on 5 February. Five days later
Devoy asked Berlin again for a supply of ammunition, weapons and
explosives, via the ambassador Bernstorff. The plea was then specified for
“25 to 50 thousand rifles with a proportionate number of machine guns
and field artillery and a few superior officers”.69 This all was to be
transported to Ireland with submarines via the northern passage to Limerick
in West Ireland between 20–23 April. According to the estimates of the
rebels there were circa 30 000 soldiers of the British army in the island plus
10 000 policemen. There were roughly 40 000 Irish Volunteers70 who had
approximately 10 000 various weapons, especially the Lee-Enfield rifles.71
They had circa 200 cartridges for each of them. The organisers of the
rebellion counted, that also most of the cca 50 000 Redmond’s National
Volunteers would join the rebellion. If Berlin sent 100 000 rifles, Devoy
thought that Ireland would certainly find enough people to use them to bind
up to half a million of British soldiers. Landing of the German troops, which
Plunkett and Casement were talking about, was not mentioned any more.
And yet the German side was still sceptical to providing military help
to the Irish. Nadolny even asked the Naval Staff, whether they could not
support the Irish rebellion “vielleicht durch irgend eine andere Maßnahme
als die Zuführung von Waffen durch U-Boote”.72 The German Supreme
Ibid., Pohl to Behnke, 27 November 1915. Admiral Pohl, who was one of the top
advocates of the submarine warfare, was in years 1913–1915 the Chief of the German
Naval Staff. In February 1915 he was appointed the Chief of the High Seas Fleet.
68 See note of captain Heydel - ibid.
69 Bernstorff to the Foreign Office, 16 February 1916, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 11,
AS 873. German excerpt in BA-MA, RM 5/4751, Vorschläge des irischen revolutionären
Direktoriums in Amerika vom 16. 2. 1916. According to Devoy one of the pondered
options was to import the military supplies by submarines directly to the Dublin harbour.
But a transport of such quantity of material would require larger U-boats, which could
take also enough fuel and food for the whole journey along the west coast of Norway and
then along the north Scotland to the Irish Sea and back. But no such big submarine could
get to the Dublin Bay underwater. (DEVOY, p. 460.)
70 This number was probably much lower in fact. The exact quantity is not known, but
according to conservative estimates the Irish Volunteers had 11 000 to 13 000 men at
that time. (HENNESSEY, p. 103.)
71 RIC estimated at the same time that the Irish Volunteers had only one third of the
number. (NA, CO 904/99, Activity of Political and Secret Societies, 14 February 1916.)
72 Nadolny to Heydel, 22 February 1916, BA-MA, RM 5/4751.
67
The Gallant Allies?
229
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Army Command (Oberste Heeresleitung – OHL) and the War Ministry
finally approved the supply of 20 000 rifles, ten machine guns and five
million ammo,73 which – according to the Naval Staff – could be shipped to
Ireland in two or three fishing steam-boats.74 A changed attitude to the Irish
rebellion is evident also in the meeting of the General Staff on 17 March
1916. There were present also representatives of the Naval Staff, the
Imperial Navy, the High Seas Fleet Command and others. The participants
came to an agreement, that the uprising is feasible under the present
conditions and has some chance to succeed. Even if the British army
suppresses the rebellion, it would have a great moral influence on the Irish
and it would keep the British troops off the Continent for some time.75 But
Plunkett’s visit was useful, because it persuaded the top of the German
military that even after the failure of the Irish Brigade project the
cooperation with the Irish could still go on.76
On the recommendation of the leaders of the rebellion, the location for
landing of the contraband was changed from Limerick to port Fenit (sic),
which is a little more to the south in the Tralee Bay in the Kerry County.
Nadolny informed the Foreign Office about the agreement between OHL
and the Naval Staff and the Foreign Office sent it immediately to the
ambassador Bernstorff in Washington, who was to inform Devoy.77 The
leader of the Clan na Gael accepted the offer even without consulting Dublin.
On 23 March Berlin sent to Washington a specification, that instead of three
fishing boats the transport would be done on one merchant steamboat with
carrying capacity of 1400 tons.78
At that time Casement was in a sanatorium near Munich, recovering
from a nervous breakdown. When the good news about German help
reached him via the Irish Brigade commander, Captain Robert Monteith, he
resumed his activities again, in spite of persisting health problems. He still
considered German aid as the key factor for the success of the rising, but the
Ibid., Nadolny to Heydel, 6 March 1916.
Ibid., Naval Staff to the General Staff, 28 February 1916.
75 BA-MA, RM 5/4751.
76 Andrea KRATZ, Die Mission Joseph Mary Plunketts im Deutschen Reich 1915 und ihre
Bedeutung für den Osteraufstand 1916, Historische Mittelungen der Ranke-Gesellschaft,
8, 1995, p. 215.
77 Nadolny to the Foreign Office, 1 March 1916, BA-MA, RM 5/4751; also PA AA,
Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 11, AS 787.
78 The German command must have counted with this change at least since the sending
of the first telegram in early March. The chief of the Irish Brigade, Captain Robert
Monteith wrote in his memoirs, that he learned about the scope of the German aid on the
meeting of the General Staff in Berlin on 1 March and already then it was spoken about
one steam boat. (Robert MONTEITH, Casement’s Last Adventure, Chicago 1932, p. 134.)
73
74
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supply of mere 20 000 guns was, in his opinion, absolutely insufficient. It
was also not accompanied with any officers, who could help with training
and command of the rebel operations. He believed that starting a rebellion
under such conditions would be a disaster and he decided to do his best to
stop this half-baked rebellion at any cost.
He used the need to make preparations for the landing as an excuse
and asked the Navy Staff to transport him to Dublin in a submarine with two
Irish Brigade members even before the military supplies are shipped.79
However the navy HQ as well as the General Staff refused.80
When Casement saw, that he would not get an own transport, he tried
to send an emissary to stop the rebellion. He persuaded the Chief of the
Department N of the Navy Staff, Captain Walther Isendahl81 – without
informing the army leaders – to smuggle an Irish Brigade member John
McGoey to Denmark, allegedly to prepare conditions for landing of the
contraband in Fenit. In fact McGoey was ordered to go to Dublin and to give
to the IRB leaders Casement’s warning that the German military aid is not
big enough to ensure success of the revolt, so the rising needs to be called
off. However McGoey never reached the Irish capital city and since 19
March, when he left German territory, there has been no trace of him.82
According to Casement this episode lead to a sharp exchange of views
between himself and Nadolny, during which the German officer allegedly
revealed the true attitude of Berlin towards the Irish aspirations. During the
meeting of 30 March Nadolny criticised Casement for not informing him
about the plan to send McGoey to Ireland. And the Irish envoy felt offended,
that German army offered to the rebels only a fraction of what Devoy asked
for. Especially he was worried, that Germany sends no officers to Ireland.
The Chief of the Political Section of the General Staff allegedly said to
Casement openly in the end, that the German side has no interest in the fate
Casement to the Naval Staff, 7 March 1916, BA-MA, RM 5/4751.
Ibid., 18 March 1916. The protocol about the yesterday’s discussion at the General Staff
on the military aid to Ireland includes a note: “Sir Roger Casement würde am liebsten
mit U-Boot vorher nach Irland fahren. Dies wird ihm ausgeredet.” Also Devoy was
against his departure from Germany, because he wanted to keep the defeatist envoy out
of Ireland as long as possible. He kept sending letters to Berlin, in which the insisted, that
Casement has full support of the American Irish and that he should stay in Germany
“until such time as the Provisional Government (set up during the rising by the members
of the IRB Military Council – note by F.N.) may decide otherwise”. (Devoy’s Post Bag
1871–1928, eds. William O’BRIEN, Desmond RYAN, Vol. II, Dublin 1953, p. 487.)
81 This department was in charge of espionage, contra-espionage and agents abroad.
82 The historians suppose that he was probably captured by the British and then
executed. Compare Reinhard R. DOERRIES, Die Mission Sir Roger Casements im
Deutschen Reich 1914–1916, Historische Zeitschrift 222, 1976, p. 615.
79
80
The Gallant Allies?
231
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of Ireland and it sends the weapons only because it hopes to weaken the
British army. And this is why it insists on realisation of the uprising. ”No
revolution, no rifles,“ said Nadolny frankly according to Casement’s diary.83
Also the telegram of Plunkett’s father to Casement, sent from Bern on
5 April via the German envoy Romberg, shows, that the organisers of the
rising were interested in German officers. Count George Plunkett – an
influential persona of the Irish political scene, who was in the command of
the Irish Volunteers – confirmed in it the date of the rebellion on the Easter
Sunday 23 April and insisted, that the weapons must not come to Tralee
later than on the Easter Monday evening. At the same time he urged the
German envoy that German officers are “absolutely necessary for voluntary
forces“ and that German submarine is “necessary for Dublin harbour“.84
But Nadolny said no.85 Yet before leaving for Vatican, where he was heading
from Switzerland, Plunkett asked Casement to intervene at the German
government in favour of this plea. “The effect of the presence of German
officers, and of a German submarine (which otherwise might not seem so
important) in Irish waters, assisting us, would be very great. I may add
that the Supreme Council of the Irish Volunteers desire to associate
Germany, in this marked way, with liberation of Ireland.”86
But the second letter missed the addressee. On 7 April, after repeated
requests the German Naval Staff an approval to move to Ireland granted
Casement. The German authorities changed their opinion after the
intervention of Jakob Noeggerath. This American of German origin, who
acted in USA as a German agent during the war and was in charge of
contacts with the Irish emigrants, thought it necessary to prepare situation
for landing of weapons in Ireland and he recommended sending there
someone, who knows the situation there. In case of Casement he
discouraged from transporting him in the same ship as the contraband,
because, if the British caught the ship, the enemy would capture a very
Ibid, p. 616; Jeffrey DUDGEON, Roger Casement. The Black Diaries, with a Study of
his Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life, Belfast 2002, p. 452.
84 Romberg to the Foreign Office, 5 April 1916, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 11, AS
1253.
85 Ibid, Nadolny to the Foreign Office, 6 April 1916, AS 1261.
86 Ibid, Plunkett to Casement, 11 April 1914, AS 1311. Even on 17 April Devoy asked
Berlin, whether the submarine gets to the Dublin harbour and if not, whether they intend
to block the harbour or if possible the Limerick port too. “Landundg einer wenn auch
noch so kleinen Truppenmacht dringend erwünscht ferner anregen gleichzeitige starke
kriegerische Demonstration durch Luftschiffe und zur See.” (Ibid, German Legation
Stockholm to the Foreign Office, 20 April 1916, AS 1399.)
83
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important person. So he suggested using a submarine for Casement’s
transport to Ireland, just like Casement wanted.87
Meanwhile in Lübeck 20 000 rifles – confiscated from the Russian
POWs – and ammunition were loaded on the steamboat Libau, which took
off on 9 April to the shore of Ireland under the alias of a Norwegian trade
ship Aud. The ship was originally called Castro and belonged to the British
Wilson Co. from Hull. At the beginning of the war the Germans captured it
and renamed to Libau. On 21 March its captain was appointed the naval
lieutenant in reserve Karl Spindler and the crew was set at 22 men. The
weapons and ammunition were masked under the cargo of pit props, metalsheet bathtubs, wooden doors, windowsills and other goods. If inspected by
the British ships, the crew was supposed to present as Norwegian sailors
taking the cargo to Cardiff and to Italy.
From Lübeck the steamboat sailed through Kattegat and Skagerrak to
the North Sea and then along the Norweigan coast to the Northern Polar
Circle, where it turned and headed west of the Faer Islands and around the
Rockall Island to the agreed place in the Tralee Bay.
Meanwhile, Casement and two members of the Irish Brigade, Captain
Monteith and Daniel Bailey (in Germany he acted under the alias Julian
Beverley), set off from Berlin to Wilhelmshaven, where they embarked on
the submarine U 20 on 12 April. This sub commanded by Captain Walter
Schwieger, which a year earlier had sunk the Lusitania, was to transport the
three Irishmen to the Tralee Bay and at the Inishtooskert island they were to
move to the ship Libau/Aud.88 Casement intended to get to Dublin as fast as
possible, contact MacNéill and persuade him to stop the uprising. He had no
idea, that the president of the Irish Volunteers knew nothing of the plans of
Pears and Co. and learned about the date of the rebellion only very shortly
before its launch.
But the events took a brand new heading. On the turn of March and
April the Military Council of the IRB decided to reschedule the uprising to
Monday 24 April. The Clan na Gael were informed about the change on 14
April with a note, that the weapons from Germany must not get to Fenit
before Sunday 23 April. Berlin got the new instructions only on 18 April,
when the steamboat with the military cargo had been on route for nine days
already. Since the steam boat had no wireless telegraph and could not be
informed about the changed plans, it reached the agreed location according
to the original agreement on 20 April between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Captain
87Ibid,
88
Noeggerath to Zimmermann, 30 March 1916, AS 1152.
Order for U 20, 10 April 1916, BA-MA, RM 5/4751.
The Gallant Allies?
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Spindler was transmitting signals to the coast in vain. No reply. The sub,
which was supposed to bring Casement, did not turn up either. After circa
twelve hours of waiting, he turned the ship and set off for a return journey,
with the weapons still on board. On 21 April the ship was caught by British
cruisers, which ordered him to accompany them to Queenstown. In fear the
weapons could get into the hands of the British, Captain Spindler sunk his
own ship shortly before entering the harbour.89
U 20 had a malfunction on the second day of its journey.90
So Captain Schwieger headed to Helgoland, where the Irish passengers
moved to a replacement submarine U 19. Its commander, Captain Raimund
Weisbach, managed to reach the agreed location only several hours after
Libau/Aud – according to the ship diary it was 10:30 p.m. –, but it was so
dark, that they did not see the nearby Spindler’s steam-boat, which was only
hundreds of meters away. On 21 April at 2:15 a.m. he put the three Irishmen
in a boat and the ship returned back to the base.91
The Libau/Aud capture was not just a bad luck, because the British
were informed about the planned transport of weapons from Germany to
Ireland in advance.92 On 18 March 1916 the agents of the American
intelligence service made a raid on the German office in New York. The
bureau on Wall Street provided various propagandist and espionage
activities for Germany. The office also served as a contact point for German
agents and for representatives of the nationalist groups from Ireland and
India, which were supported by Berlin. But it was not an official part of the
German embassy, so it was not protected under the ex-territoriality
principle and its staff did not have diplomatic immunity. The confiscated
More about the journey of Aud see in Karl SPINDLER, The Mystery of the Casement
Ship, Berlin 1931, pp. 10–155; John de Courcy IRELAND, The Sea and the Easter Rising,
Dublin 1966, pp. 9–26.
90 A review at Helgoland revealed that the actuating lever of the rudder axle broke down.
This is why the sub could not continue in this journey. (BA-MA, RM 97/579,
Kriegstagebuch U 20, s. 60.)
91 Ibid, RM 97/555, Kriegstagebuch U 19, p. 6. For fear someone could hear the U-boat’s
engine, captain Weisbach stopped three kilometres from the shore and the Irish had to
cross the rest of the stormy sea in a boat. After two hours of exhausting rowing, in the
early morning, they landed on the Banna Strand beach not far from Fenit. The exhausted
Casement was unable to proceed in the journey. He sent his fellows to contact members
of the Irish Volunteers nearby. At 1:30 p.m. he was discovered and arrested by a police
patrol near the beach. More about the mission of U 19 see in Owen Dudley EDWARDS,
Captain Raimund Weisbach’s Narrative of Casement’s Last Voyage to Ireland, in: 1916:
The Easter Rising, eds. Owen Dudley EDWARDS, Fergus PYLE, London 1968, pp. 116–
118; IRELAND, pp. 27–35.
92 It is confirmed also by the memoirs of the former officers of the British Admiralty.
Compare IRELAND, p. 18.
89
234
Filip Nerad
______________________________________________________________
documents included the correspondence between Berlin and Washington
concerning the German aid to the uprising in Ireland. The American
government sent this information to London.93 According to some historians
the British had already known about the planned rebellion, even without the
American info, because in early 1915 the British naval intelligence service
cracked the code, which encoded the letters exchanged between Washington
and Berlin.94
However in view of the later development, this American service was
rather a disservice. When the British captured the shipment of arms for the
rebels and apprehended Casement, whom they considered to be the key
person of the rebellion in view of close contacts with the enemy, and when
Éoin MacNéill publicly in press called off all actions of the Irish Volunteers
during the Easter, the British started to believe, that the uprising will not
take place during the holidays and that no special measures are needed any
more. The Chief Commander of the British Army in Ireland, General Friend,
quietly left for England, the policemen and soldiers of Dublin attended the
annual horseracing and the clerks of the Dublin Castle (the HQ of the British
administration in Ireland) enjoyed a day off with their families. Thus the
outbreak of the rebellion on 24 April in Dublin found the British officials
and army quite unprepared.
On this day, around noon, a group of militants entered the General
Post Office in Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) and seized it. The
leader of the group, Patrick Pearse, then read for the surprised passers-by a
memorandum of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic, signed
by him, as the republic’s President and Chief Commander along with six
colleagues from the IRB Military Council. The rebels explained the uprising
by the oppression suffered under the British rule, they promised religious
and civil liberties to the citizens of the new republic, as well as equal rights
and opportunities, and they announced, they have the support of the Irish
emigrants in the USA and ”the gallant allies in Europe“.95 They had the
Germans in mind of course, thought they knew by the time already, that the
On 20 April the German navy sent a warning to all the submarines that the plan has
been uncovered and that Libau must be told to turn back. But no ship received the
message. (IRELAND, p. 43; SPINDLER, p. 106.)
94 KEE, p. 537; Angus MITCHELL, Casement, London 2003, p. 114.
95 Irish Historical Documents 1172–1922, eds. Edmund CURTIS, R. B. McDOWELL,
London 1943, pp. 317–318.
93
The Gallant Allies?
235
________________________________________________________
shipment of ammunition and weapons from Germany did not came.96 Yet
they decided to start up the unrest, because they hoped to spark up rebellion
in other parts of the country by their “bloody sacrifice”.
At the same time when Pearse and Co. seized the GPO and established
their headquarters there, another circa 1200 men and women from the Irish
Volunteers and the ICA captured other strategic points in the centre of
Dublin. Their objective was to paralyse the centre of Ireland and to occupy
the British army of the island until the Irish Volunteers in other parts of
Ireland start fighting too. However because of the constant changes of the
starting day of the rebellion and due to contradicting orders sent from the
leaders of the uprising on the eve of the events, the other regions did not
joint the rebellion. Most of the Irish nation even did not approve of the
rising at that time, because they believed, that after the war the British
government would keep its word and grant autonomy to the whole island.
The British Army lead by General Maxwell had an overwhelming
superiority, so it encircled the rebels in the centre of Dublin and by 30 April
it forced them to capitulate.97
Immediately after the suppression of the Dublin unrest, the Clan na
Gael contacted Berlin with a new plea for help with preparation of another
uprising in Ireland.98 Zimmermann forwarded the application to Nadolny,
who consulted it with the German command and in early June he
recommended continuing the cooperation. “Grundsätzlich [we are] zu
weiterer Unterstützung der Iren durchaus bereit. Bitte um baldige Angabe
über Art, Zeitpunkt und Umfang gewünschter Hülfe.”99 The German army
was quite slow to answer, because it was uncertain about the fate of the
shipment of weapons on Libau/Aud; some reports even claimed that the
weapons finally got into the hands of the separatists.100 Only Captain
However in the end Germany provided military support to the rebels after all.
According to the previous agreement the German airships bombarded the east coast of
England during the night from 24 to 25 April. Originally they intended to attack London,
but due to bad weather they hit only Norwich and Cambridge. At the same time, in the
morning of 25 April German cruisers bombarded the east England ports Lowestoft and
Yarmouth. More see in Marine Archiv (Hrsg.), Der Krieg zur See 1914–1918. Der Krieg
in der Nordsee, Vol. 5, Berlin 1925, pp. 140–148; IRELAND, pp. 36–37.
97 On 2 May special military tribunals were set up in Dublin, which sentenced 90 rebels to
death. Fifteen of then were really executed, the rest were then reclassified to life sentence.
The list of all the sentenced rebels and their punishment see in Breandán MAC GIOLLA
CHOILLE (ed.), Intelligence Notes 1913–1916. Dublin 1966, pp. 258–267.
98 Bernstorff to the Foreign Office, 6 May 1916, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 12. A
15049.
99 Nadolny to the Foreign Office, 11 June 1916, BA-MA, RM 5/4757.
100 Ibid., Chief of the Naval Staff, 26 May 1916, RM 5/4751.
96
236
Filip Nerad
______________________________________________________________
Spindler in a letter he wrote in early June to his father from the British
prisoner camp confirmed the sinking of the steamboat with the cargo. Old
Mr. Spindler forwarded his son’s letter to the Imperial Navy Office.101
The American Irish specified their requests three months later. They
asked for “a sufficient military force to cover the landing… [and] as large a
quantity of arms, munitions and equipment” as much the German
government believes it can transport to Ireland.102 According to their – quite
unrealistic – estimates the rebellion could be joined by up to 250 000 men.
The Naval Staff considered landing of soldiers and weapons in Ireland as
feasible under certain conditions and proposed two variants of how to do it.
Both the variants counted with steamboats as means of transport. In the
first option the cargo and the troops were to be transported in a single boat
to one port; Galway in West Ireland was selected as the most convenient
place. The benefit of this plan was, that it could be realised with a single
steamboat. The second option counted with a transport in two steamboats to
two different Irish ports – Galway and Tralee. The benefit of this plan was,
according to the staff officers, that during the landing there would be less
Irish in one place and the British security counter measures would be more
difficult, because they could not know how much arms and soldiers to
expect.103
However OHL, namely General Ludendorff, refused to provide
soldiers for the expedition troops and offered “only” 60 000 rifles, 20
machine guns and 12 million ammunition. The staff preferred the variant
with two steamboats, which were to transport the arms to Galway and Tralee
between 21 and 26 February 1917 or a month later.104 The Naval Staff even
provided four submarines, which were to accompany the shipment.105 But
on 16 January Count Bernstorrf informed Berlin that the Irish ask to
postpone the transport until it could be accompanied with a sufficient
number of the German soldiers.106 The General Staff turned such request
down, so Hauptmann Hünsel, who replaced Nadolny in July 1916 as the
Chief of the Political Department of the Staff, informed the Admiralty that
Ibid., Hubert Spindler to the Imperial Naval Office, 4 June 1916.
Ibid., Bernstorff to the Foreign Office, 8 September 1916, RM 5/4757.
103 Ibid., Naval Staff to the Political Department of the General Staff, 9 December 1916.
104 Ibid., Naval Staff to the Political Department of the General Staff, 23 December 1916.
105 Ibid., Naval Staff to the Naval Corps, 12 January 1917.
106 Bernstorff to the Foreign Office, 16 January 1917, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 13.
AS 304.
101
102
The Gallant Allies?
237
________________________________________________________
the “Aufgabe P”, as the transport of weaponry to Ireland was called, is
cancelled definitively.107
The “Aufgabe P” was the last specific attempt for a military
cooperation between the Germans and the Irish during the World War I. In
October of the same year alleged organisers of an Irish uprising planned for
November contacted Berlin via the envoy Romberg with a plea for help.108
The Naval Staff discussed this request and asked Romberg to provide more
information, but Berlin made nothing more to realise the help. In the spring
of the next year the German Staff tried to use the growing tensions in
Ireland due to the plans of the British government to increase the mandatory conscriptions, and tried to revive the contacts with the separatists, who
formed the Sinn Féin party. In April the Germans transported to Ireland a
member of the Irish Brigade Joseph Dowling, but the police apprehended
him shortly after the landing. The British government used this episode as
an excuse to imprison seventy Irish nationalists, who were accused of
preparation of a “German plot”. After the failure of the Dowling’s mission,
General Ludendorff himself ordered to stop sending any more agents to
Ireland.109
Hülsen to the Naval Staff, 21 February 1917, BA-MA, RM 5/4757.
Ibid., Romberg to the Foreign Office, 15 October 1917, RM 5/4751.
109 Berckheim to the Foreign Office, 9 June 1918, PA AA, Weltkrieg 11k secr., Vol. 13, AS
2620.
107
108
Soziale Zusammenhänge im Krieg
zwischen Österreich-Ungarn und den Vereinigten
Staaten von Amerika in den Jahren 1917–19181
Václav Horčička
Der Erste Weltkrieg veränderte nicht nur das Schicksal der Völker
Europas, ja sogar der ganzen Welt, sondern stellte auch einen Einschnitt in
das Leben Einzelner dar. Während das Ausmaß des Leidens, das dieser
Krieg allen beteiligten Ländern und ihren Einwohnern brachte, alle bis
dahin bekannten Grenzen überschritt, lebten die Vereinigten Staaten bis
zum Frühjahr 1917 in relativer Ruhe und in Wohlstand. Erst im April 1917
griff dieses Land in entscheidender Weise in den Konflikt ein, der es bis
dahin scheinbar nicht betroffen hatte.
Als Hauptfeind betrachteten die Amerikaner das kaiserliche Deutschland, das von allen Staaten des Viererbundes über das größte Kriegs- und
Wirtschaftspotential verfügte. Als weniger gefährlich wurde in Washington
Österreich-Ungarn eingestuft. Der Präsident der USA, Woodrow Wilson,
war lange nicht bereit, die Hoffnung auf einen separaten Frieden mit der
Donaumonarchie aufzugeben, deshalb lehnte er es auch bis zum Herbst 1917
ab, dieser den Krieg zu erklären. Erst die dramatischen Ereignisse auf dem
italienischen Schlachtfeld, wo die österreichisch-ungarischen Einheiten
siegreich voranschritten und die Italiener vom Fluss Isonzo bis hinter den
Piave trieben, bewegten die Vereinigten Staaten zu einer Änderung ihrer
Meinung. Anfang Dezember 1917 verkündete Wilson beiden Kammern des
Parlaments, der Krieg mit dem Habsburgerreich sei unvermeidbar.
Der kriegerische Konflikt hatte natürlich auch jenseits der sogenannten großen Politik Auswirkungen. Obwohl beide Länder fern
voneinander lagen und wirtschaftlich relativ wenig verbunden waren, betraf
doch der Krieg eine nicht geringe Anzahl von Personen. Er betraf in erster
Linie das Schicksal derjenigen Einwohner der Vereinigten Staaten und in
geringerem Maße auch Österreich-Ungarns, die über die Staatsangehörigkeit des jeweils anderen Staates verfügten, beziehungsweise noch nicht
die Bedingungen zur Einbürgerung erfüllten oder diese gar nicht beantragt
hatten. Nach den Angaben, die das österreichisch-ungarische AußenministeDiese Studie ist ein Ergebnis von Forschungen im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts
MSM 0021620827 Die Tschechischen Länder inmitten Europas in der Vergangenheit
und heute, dessen Träger die Philosophische Fakultät der Karlsuniversität ist.
1
Václav Horčička
240
______________________________________________________________
rium zur Verfügung hatte, lebten zu Beginn 1918 in Cisleithanien und in
Bosnien-Herzegowina etwa 1350, in Ungarn ungefähr 650 amerikanische
Staatsbürger.2 Die Zahl der nicht eingebürgerten Einwohner der USA
österreichisch-ungarischer Herkunft schätzten österreichisch-ungarische
Quellen im Jahre 1917 auf eine Million.3 Diese Zahl kam der tatsächlichen
wohl recht nahe. Allein im Jahre 1913 übersiedelten etwa 300 000 Auswanderer aus dem Gebiet der Monarchie in die USA.4 Da das Einbürgerungsgesetz aus dem Jahre 1906 einen mindestens fünfjährigen ununterbrochenen Aufenthalt im Lande zur Bedingung für die Erteilung der
Staatsbürgerschaft hatte, haben Personen, die in den Jahren 1912 bis 1914 in
die USA auswanderten, im vorletzten Kriegsjahr die amerikanische
Staatsbürgerschaft noch gar nicht erlangen können.
Es ist von nicht geringem Interesse, dass Wien noch Mitte 1917 mit
einer massiven Rückkehr dieser Menschen in die Heimat nach dem Krieg
gerechnet hat. Auf einer Besprechung mit den ehemaligen Konsuln in den
USA, die kurz zuvor nach Hause zurückgekehrt waren, wurde in Anwesenheit der Vertreter des Kriegsministers, beider Ministerpräsidenten und
beider Innen-, Finanz-, Handels- und Justizminister konstatiert, dass in
allen Zentren österreichisch-ungarischer Auswanderer ohne Ausnahme
„eine deutliche und weit verbreitete Tendenz zur Rückkehr“ festzustellen sei.
Die einzige Ausnahme bildeten anscheinend die Tschechen, die vor dem
Krieg dazu neigten, „mit dem Betreten des amerikanischen Bodens ein für
allemal die Brücke zur alten Heimat hinter sich abzubrechen“. Jetzt jedoch
traten einige von ihnen aktiv gegen die Monarchie auf. Interesse an einer
Rückkehr wurde unter den einzelnen Nationalitäten in folgender Reihenfolge angegeben: Magyaren, katholische Südslawen, Polen, Ruthenen, Slowaken, Deutsche, Rumänen aus dem Banat, und am Ende Italiener. Es
handelte sich hierbei nicht nur um leere Worte. Den Konsuln zufolge löste
eine Reihe von Personen bereits ihre Konten auf, verkaufte ihre Häuser und
anderes. Allein im Falle der Magyaren rechnete man mit einer Rückkehr von
300 000 Auswanderern. Es war klar, dass die Rückwanderung einer solch
großen Personenzahl sehr sorgfältig vorbereitet sein wollte. Man zog
Anonym, 26. 1. 1918, No. fehlt, Haus,- Hof,- und Staatsarchiv (weiter HHStA),
Politisches Archiv (weiter PA), Administrative Registratur (weiter AR), Fach 36, Kt. 608
Dep. 11 47 (weiter F 36/608) und Ungarisches Innenminist., Außenmin., 8. 6. 1918, No.
7017/Eln I/ szám, HHStA, PA, AR, Fach 36, Kt. 607 Dep. 11 47 (weiter F 36/607).
3 Telegraphen-Korrespondenzbureau Außenminist.., 7. 12. 1917, No. fehlt, HHStA, PA,
AR, Kt. F36/607.
4 Josef POLIŠENSKÝ, Češi a Amerika. Úvod do studia dějin vystěhovalectví do Ameriky,
díl II., Praha 1996, s. 82.
2
Soziale Zusammenhänge im Krieg zwischen Österreich-Ungarn und USA... 241
________________________________________________________
beispielsweise eine Amnestie für Kriegsverbrechen (Desertion) oder für die
unberechtigte Annahme einer fremden Staatsbürgerschaft usw. in Erwägung.5
Aus den genannten Zahlen ist auf den ersten Blick ersichtlich, dass es
hauptsächlich die Vereinigten Staaten waren, die ihre Beziehung zu den
„feindlichen Ausländern“ regeln mussten. Das Problem hatte eine formale
und eine praktische Seite. Im ersten Falle wurden alle Verhandlungen mit
aus dem Feindesland kommenden Personen hauptsächlich durch das Gesetz
über den Handel mit dem Feind (engl. Trading with the Enemy Act) vom 6.
Oktober 1917 geregelt, das feindliche Ausländer kategorisierte und ihnen
bestimmte Beschränkungen auferlegte. Es ging hierbei nicht nur um den
Handel mit dem Feind, sondern auch um die Ausübung von Rechten im
Zusammenhang mit Eigentum, der Möglichkeit zu unternehmerischer Tätigkeit auf dem Gebiet der USA usw. Der Präsident hatte zwar das Recht, jeder
Person eine Ausnahme zuzugestehen, theoretisch jedoch galt, dass das
Eigentum des Feindes in die Verwaltung durch einen gesonderten Beamten
zu überführen war (der sogenannte alien property custodian – Verwalter
fremden Eigentums). Dieses Gesetz bezog sich auch auf die österreichischungarischen Untertanen, da deren Heimatland Verbündeter von Deutschland war. Der österreichisch-ungarische Außenminister, Graf Ottokar
Czernin, protestierte zwar seit November 1917 gegen dieses Gesetz, die USA
jedoch erklärten kurz danach Österreich-Ungarn den Krieg, sodass über die
Gültigkeit dieses Gesetzes kein Zweifel mehr aufkommen konnte.6
Gewisse Probleme betreffs der Stellung der österreichisch-ungarischen
Bewohner der USA gab es jedoch bereits vor der Annahme des Gesetzes.
Czernin war sich des Risikos ihres Aufenthaltes in Übersee wohl bewusst,
daher versuchte er kurz vor dem Abbruch der diplomatischen Beziehungen
den amerikanischen chargé d’affaires in Wien, Joseph Grew, zur Unterzeichnung eines Vertrags zu bewegen, der den Amerikanern eine sichere Ausreise
aus dem Land garantieren (im Falle seiner Landsleute war das wegen der
britischen Blockade technisch nicht möglich) und den Bürgern beider
Länder dann auch weiterhin die Ausübung ihrer ursprünglichen Arbeit
ermöglichen sollte.7 Grew jedoch lehnte die Unterzeichnung eines solchen
Vertrages ohne Autorisierung aus Washington ab und Czernin versuchte, sie
im letzten Moment durch Vermittlung des designierten österreichisch-
Aufzeichnung, 15. 6. 1917, No. fehlt, HHStA, PA, AR, Kt. F 36/607.
Czernin an Hadik, 3. 11. 1917, No. fehlt, HHStA, PA, Kt. 898 P. A. I.
7 Penfield an Lansing, 7. 4. 1917, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United
States (weiter FRUS) 1918, Supplement 2 (weiter Suppl.), Washington D. C. 1969, S.
244–245
5
6
Václav Horčička
242
______________________________________________________________
ungarischen Botschafters in den USA, Graf Adam Tarnowski, direkt in der
amerikanischen Hauptstadt auszuhandeln.8
Das amerikanische Außenministerium ließ Czernin Mitte April über
die Schweiz ausrichten, dass es die Vereinbarung annehme, ersuchte jedoch
um eine Verlängerung der Frist für die freie Abreise der amerikanischen
Bürger.9 Wien nahm diese Änderung an.10 Die österreichisch-ungarischen
Behörden nahmen gegenüber den Amerikanern, die auf dem Gebiet der
Monarchie geblieben waren, eine großzügige Haltung ein. Grew versicherte
im Juni 1917 aus seiner neuen Wirkungsstätte, dem Außenministerium,
einem beunruhigtem Fragesteller, dass „die Bewegung der Amerikaner auf
österreichischem Staatsgebiet in keiner Weise beschränkt wurde und dass
ihnen in diesem Land keinerlei Gefahr seitens der österreichischen
Regierung droht“ (“no restrictions have been placed upon the movements of
Americans in Austria, and no danger threatens them in that country by
reason of any action of the Austrian Government”)11
Etwas anders sah die Situation in den Vereinigten Staaten aus. Die
österreichisch-ungarischen Behörden zeigten hauptsächlich Interesse
hinsichtlich eines eventuellen Eintritts ihrer Landsleute in die amerikanische Armee. Im Oktober 1917 hatten sie sogar die Besorgnis, die USA
könnten fremde Staatsangehörige zur Einrückung zwingen oder eventuell
Verweigerer aus dem Land ausweisen.12 Aber die Realität war nicht so
dramatisch. Die amerikanischen Behörden wurden zwar mit Anträgen auf
Erlaubnis zum Eintritt in die Armee überhäuft, nahmen dazu jedoch einen
ablehnenden Standpunkt ein. In der Antwort auf ein offizielles Ersuchen des
rumänischen Außenministers teilte das amerikanische Kriegsministerium
mit, dass dies in Friedenszeiten nicht möglich sei. Die Vereinigten Staaten
befanden sich zu diesem Zeitpunkt nämlich noch nicht im Krieg mit
Österreich-Ungarn. Kriegsminister Nelson S. Baker räumte ein, dass man
dies nur im Falle des Ausbruchs einer Feindschaft zwischen beiden Ländern
in Erwägung ziehen könne. Gleichwohl wäre es auch so „nicht konsistent mit
dem Geist unserer Gesetze und im Widerspruch zu unserer nationalen
Sicherheit“ (“it would be highly inconsistent with the spirit of our laws and
Grew, letters, Eintrag zum Datum 26. 2. 1917, Harvard University Library (weiter HUL),
Joseph Clark Grew Papers, Vol. I; Czernin an Hadik (Tarnowski), 15. 4. 1917, No. 139,
HHStA, PA, Kt. 898 P. A. I.
9 Lansing an Stovall, 16. 4. 1917, FRUS 1918, Suppl. 2, s. 245.
10 Stovall an Lansing, 15. 5. 1917, FRUS 1918, Suppl. 2, s. 249.
11 Grew an A. Bragg, 7. 6. 1917, No. fehlt, HUL, Joseph Clark Grew Papers, Vol. I.
12 AOK Nachrichtenabteilung, Auszug aus den vertraulichen Nachrichten bis 10. Oktober
1917, No. Evb. Nr. 20/84 res., HHStA, PA, Kt. 898 P. A. I.
8
Soziale Zusammenhänge im Krieg zwischen Österreich-Ungarn und USA... 243
________________________________________________________
in disregard of our national safety“)13 Diese ablehnende Haltung hielt er
jedoch administrativ nicht lange aufrecht. Bereits im Oktober 1917 erlaubten
die Vereinigten Staaten auf ihrem Staatsgebiet die Rekrutierung von
polnischen Freiwilligen für die Nationalarmee in Frankreich.
Im Lichte der abgelehnten Anträge österreichisch-ungarischer Untertanen verschiedener Nationalitäten auf Eintritt in die amerikanische Armee
ist es paradox, dass es die Entente kurz nach Kriegseintritt der USA
ablehnte, im Rahmen der Mission des Amerikanischen Roten Kreuzes in
Europa bereits eingebürgerte Freiwillige deutscher, österreichischungarischer und türkischer Abstammung anzunehmen. Die Vereinigten
Staaten nahmen dies zur Kenntnis und der amerikanische Außenminister
Robert Lansing gab am 28. Juni 1917 eine Erklärung heraus, in der er diese
Freiwilligen beruhigte, ihre Loyalität gegenüber dem neuen Vaterland werde
keinesfalls bezweifelt14. Auf anderen Gebieten betraf der amerikanischdeutsche Krieg die nicht eingebürgerten Landsleute jedoch im Prinzip nicht.
Es wurde ihnen sogar erlaubt, auf amerikanischen Handelsschiffen, die ins
Ausland fuhren, zu dienen. Lansing informierte die amerikanische Vertretung in Buenos Aires, mit diesen Personen sei zu verfahren „wie mit dem
Seemann eines Staates, der nicht mit unserem Land im Krieg ist“ (“as are
the seamen of any other nation with which this country is not at war”).15
Die Situation änderte sich erst durch die Kriegserklärung an
Österreich-Ungarn. In der offiziellen Kriegserklärung, die der Präsident am
11. Dezember 1917 unterzeichnete, kam der Stellung der österreichischungarischen Untertanen auf amerikanischem Boden große Aufmerksamkeit
zu. Sie wurden aufgefordert, sich jeglicher feindlicher Aktivitäten zu
enthalten. Außerdem wurde ihnen versprochen, dass sie bei Einhaltung der
Gesetze in ihrer bisherigen Lebensführung fortfahren und ihrer derzeitigen
Arbeit weiter nachgehen können. Allerdings durften sie nicht ohne Genehmigung ausreisen oder umgekehrt auch ins Land einreisen. Personen, denen
gegenüber ein begründeter Verdacht der Unterstützung des Feindes oder
der Absicht, dies zu tun bzw. des Verstoßes gegen Gesetze bestand, sowie
diejenigen, die „eine große Gefahr für den öffentlichen Frieden und die
Sicherheit sein könnten“ (“who may be at large to the danger of the public
peace or safety”) durften festgehalten und inhaftiert werden, und zwar im
Baker an Lansing, 26. 5. 1917, No. A. G. 2598637, National Archives, College Park,
Maryland (weiter NA), Record Group 59 (weiter RG 59), Microcopy 367, Reel 41.
14 For the Press, 28. 6. 1918, Library of Congress (weiter LC), The Papers of Robert
Lansing, Vol. 28.
15 Lansing an den Gesandten in Buenos Aires, 1. 9. 1917, No. fehlt, NA, RG 59, Microcopy
367, Reel 49.
13
Václav Horčička
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Gefängnis, Militärlager u.ä.16 Die Beschäftigungsgarantie bestand natürlich
nicht unbeschränkt. „Eine Reihe von Personen mit Verbindung zu Österreich-Ungarn“ musste verschiedene Positionen im Staatsdienst verlassen.
Darunter befand sich beispielsweise der hochgestellte Beamte des Amtes für
Kriegshandel (engl. War Trade Board) Charles Short. An seiner Loyalität
gab es zwar keinen Zweifel, aber er hatte Gräfin Camilla Hoyos17 zur Frau.
Die Entscheidung des Präsidenten ermöglichte es, „mit gewissem
Wohlwollen mit denjenigen österreichisch-ungarischen Untertanen zu
verfahren, die in Wirklichkeit nicht mit den Mittelmächten sympathisieren“
(“to treat with a degree of leniency those subjects of Austria-Hungary who
are not in fact sympathetic with the Central Powers”).18 Der Verwalter des
Eigentums von Ausländern versicherte, „die Kriegserklärung ändert nichts
am Status der sich in diesem Land (den USA – Anmerkung V.H.)
aufhaltenden österreichisch-ungarischen Einwohner“ (“Declaration of war
with Austria-Hungary will not change the status of citizens or subjects of
Austria-Hungary resident in this country”). Sie wurden weder als „Feinde“
betrachtet noch drohte ihnen Schaden an ihrem Eigentum (z.B. Beschlagnahmung ihrer Ersparnisse) oder Ähnliches. Restriktionen sollten sich nur
auf Personen beziehen, die sich auf feindlichem Territorium befanden.19
Hunderttausenden antiösterreichisch denkenden Auswanderern
wurde jedoch entgegengekommen, gleichzeitig bestätigte damit Wilson
seine Bereitschaft, mit Österreich-Ungarn besser zu verfahren als mit
Deutschland. Diese Tatsache zeigte sich alsbald in der Praxis. Nicht
eingebürgerte Landsleute mussten sich im Unterschied zu Deutschen nicht
polizeilich melden und wurden auch nicht aus so genannten Kriegszonen
ausgewiesen.20 Das Finanzministerium empfahl in Übereinstimmung mit
dieser Politik, loyalen österreichisch-ungarischen Seeleuten, die sonst nach
einer Kriegserklärung aufgrund einiger Bestimmungen des Spionagegesetzes (engl. Espionage Act) vom 15. Juni 1917 nicht auf amerikanischen
Fischfangschiffen arbeiten dürften, eine Sondergenehmigung zu erteilen.21
Im Repräsentantenhaus wurde am 23. Januar 1918 ein Gesetzesentwurf
vorgelegt, auf dessen Grundlage einige österreichisch-ungarische und
A Proclamation. By the President of the United States of America. Existence of War–
Austro-Hungarian Empire, 11. 12. 1918, No. 1417, Anhang zur Depesche Ekengrens an
Czernin, 20. 12. 1917, No. 2742, HHStA, PA, Kt. 898 P. A. I.
17 Phillips, Eintrag im Tagebuch, 3. 1. 1918, HUL, William Phillips Papers, Box 1.
18 Phillips, Eintrag im Tagebuch, 12. 12. 1917, HUL, William Phillips Papers, Box 1.
19 Erklärung des Verwalters fremden Eigentums, 10. 12. 1917, FRUS 1918, Suppl. 2, s. 271.
20 Ekengren an k. und k. Außenminist., 6. 3. 1918, No. 1169, HHStA, PA, AR, Kt. F
36/607.
21 Rowe an Lansing, 26. 1. 1918, No. fehlt, NA, RG 59, Microcopy 367, Reel 352.
16
Soziale Zusammenhänge im Krieg zwischen Österreich-Ungarn und USA... 245
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deutsche (hier nur Einwanderer aus Elsass-Lothringen) Untergebene vom
Status feindlicher Ausländer befreit werden konnten. Außerdem sollte der
Präsident das Recht bekommen, Angehörige der bewaffneten Kräfte
einzubürgern. Kriegsminister Baker änderte zwar seine frühere Haltung und
nahm eine positive Haltung zu diesem Entwurf ein, dagegen sprachen sich
jedoch das Justizministerium und das Außenministerium aus. Justizminister Thomas W. Gregory erhob den Einwand, die österreichischungarischen Untertanen seien aufgrund der Entscheidung des Präsidenten
keinerlei Beschränkungen unterworfen, mit Ausnahme von Reisen ins
Ausland. Er warnte auch davor, dass die Einbürgerung von Soldaten ein
echtes Sicherheitsrisiko darstellen und die Arbeit der Geheimdienste
komplizierter machen könnte.22 Lansing schloss sich dieser Kritik an. Er
betonte, der Feind, und besonders Österreich-Ungarn, verfolge solcherlei
Bemühungen mit Beunruhigung, was sich „wahrscheinlich in bestimmtem
Maße in den gegenwärtigen Ausreisebeschränkungen aus diesem Kaiserreich, die Amerikanern auferlegt werden, zum Ausdruck kommen kann“23 In
Wirklichkeit handelte es sich seitens Österreich-Ungarns um eine vorbeugende Maßnahme, die solange gelten sollte, bis der Status der eigenen
Untertanen in den USA geregelt ist. Dem Grenzübergang in die Schweiz,
Feldkirch, war am 11. Dezember 1917 der Befehl erteilt worden, amerikanischen Staatsbürgern keine Ausreiseerlaubnis zu erteilen.24
Die Unsicherheit war jedoch nicht von langer Dauer. Schnell zeigte es
sich, dass die USA gegenüber den österreichisch-ungarischen Landsleuten
Nachsicht walten ließen. Die Schweden informierten Wien über die
Aufenthaltsbedingungen der Landsleute schon am 7. Januar 1918.25 Der
Ballhausplatz (das Außenministerium) fragte über Stockholm sofort zurück,
ob sich das Gesetz über den Handel mit dem Feind auch auf österreichischungarische Untergebene beziehe.26 Theoretisch galt das wohl, die Praxis sah
aber anders aus. Man muss in Betrachtung ziehen, dass der Präsident oder
ein von ihm bevollmächtigter Beamter für einen jeden eine Ausnahme
machen konnten. Es tat nichts zur Sache, dass das oben genannte, von
Gregory und Lansing kritisierte Gesetz über die Befreiung vom Status eines
feindlichen Ausländers nicht angenommen wurde. Lansings Stellvertreter,
J. L. O’Brian, Memorandum to the Attorney General, 24. 1. 1918, No. fehlt, LC, The
Papers of Robert Lansing, Vol. 33.
23 Lansing an Gregory, 30. 1. 1918, No. fehlt, LC, Papers of Robert Lansing, Vol. 34.
24 Czernin an das ungarische Innenminist., 11. 12. 1917, No. Z. 117251/11, HHStA, PA, AR,
Kt. F 36/607.
25 Hadik an Czernin, 7. 1. 1918, No. 1/P. E., HHStA, PA, AR, Kt. F 36/607.
26 Czernin an Hadik, 9. 1. 1918, No. Z. 121241/7, HHStA, PA, Kt. F 36/607
22
Václav Horčička
246
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Alvey A. Adee, gab Anfang April 1918 an, mit Ausnahme einer geringen Zahl
Internierter seien die österreichisch-ungarischen Untertanen nicht in die
Kategorie „feindliche Ausländer“ eingeordnet worden.27 Am 9. Mai 1918
wurde jedoch das Gesetz angenommen, das dem Präsidenten die Einbürgerung von Soldaten ermöglichte.
Deshalb ergriff Österreich-Ungarn nur sehr milde Vergeltungsmaßnahmen: Bürger der USA mussten sich nun polizeilich registrieren
lassen, konnten bei Notwendigkeit interniert werden und ihre Ausreise aus
dem Land unterlag einer Genehmigung.28 Es gab aber nicht viele solcher
Fälle. Im Internierungslager befanden sich Ende Mai 1918 im gesamten
Cisleithanien lediglich 6 Amerikaner. Dabei handelte es sich um kürzlich
eingebürgerte Polen.29 Amerikanischen Staatsbürgern wurde die Ausreise in
die neutrale Schweiz in der Regel ohne Verzögerungen erlaubt. Im Zeitraum
von Januar bis April 1918 ersuchten in Ungarn nur 6 Personen um eine
solche Genehmigung, die allen von den Behörden erteilt wurde.30
Zufriedenstellend war auch die Situation in den USA. Mit den
österreichischen und ungarischen Staatsangehörigen wurde im Prinzip
nachsichtig verfahren, in Anbetracht ihrer Anzahl waren Internierungen nur
ein nebensächliches Problem. Am Ende des ersten Halbjahres 1918
befanden sich in vier der Armee der Vereinigten Staaten unterstehenden
Internierungslagern insgesamt 185 Personen. Das größte Lager war Fort
Oglethorpe in Georgia, in dem sich 121 Internierte befanden, gefolgt von
Fort Douglas in Utah mit 60 Landsleuten.31
Der Ballhausplatz respektierte diese Tatsache und lehnte deshalb im
Sommer 1918 auch einen Vorschlag auf pauschale Internierung amerikanischer Staatsbürger ab. Es sollte in der bisherigen Praxis fortgefahren
werden, d.h. es wurden nur Einzelpersonen interniert und auch dies nur in
ernsthaften Fällen. Die Position des Außenministeriums wurde auch durch
Adee I. Rocicovi (Chicago), No. fehlt, 10. 4. 1918, NA, RG 59, Microcopy 367, Reel 353.
Vgl. auch Wilson, Erklärung, 5. 2. 1918, FRUS 1918, Suppl. 2, s. 284–285. Das Gesetz
über Handel mit dem Feind wurde im F