Russia's Military Mobilization: Lessons from 1914
Russia's resurgent imperial identity
Russia will invade Ukraine, according to US President Joe Biden.1 Russia has mobilized sizable military forces near the Ukrainian border, possibly forewarning of an imminent invasion. Many people are wondering, why would Russia invade Ukraine.2 Fortunately, history offers insight. On July 21, 1914, Russian Tsar Nicholas II proclaimed general mobilization, arguably the most “decisive” link that caused World War I.3 While a world war stemming from Russia’s current mobilization is highly unlikely, the factors that influenced Russia’s 1914 mobilization are influencing its mobilization today: Russia’s identity as a resurgent imperial power; Russia’s desired position as a great power; and Russia’s interests to protect its Slavic people, respected reputation, and peripheral influence.
Identity: Resurgent Imperial Power
Identity is the state’s perception of itself. International relations scholar Alexander Wendt defines identities as “relatively stable, role-specific understandings and expectations about self.”4 Identities have corresponding interests, which drive state behavior.5 For instance, a state with the identity of a great power will seek and protect great power interests, while states with other identities seek and protect other interests.6 Identities vary in salience—that is, a state’s willingness to sacrifice for its interests.7 The more salient a state’s identity is, the more attached a state is to its interests.8 Identity salience largely depends on “historical, cultural, political, and social context.”9
The salience of state identity influences war initiation.10 International relations scholar Richard Hermann finds the more salient an identity is, the more emotions “release the observer from normative restrictions and license actions.”11 Such abnormal actions include war initiation.12 Before World War I, Russia’s identity was as a resurgent imperial power—and it was salient. Russia—including the tsar, officials, and public—and foreign powers believed Russia was a resurgent imperial power; thus, Russia’s identity was very salient.13 The context of this salient identity was three chapters of Russia’s recent past: the glory of imperial expansion, the humiliation of the Russo-Japanese War and tension of First Russian Revolution, and the resurgence of pan-Slavic sentiment and Russian military rearmament.
First, Russia experienced the glory of imperial expansion. In 1721, Peter I established the Russian Empire, eventually transforming it into a great power.14 Then in the 1870s and 1880s, pan-Slavic nationalists in Russia sought a return to this glorious past. They believed “the aim of Russian policy should be to spread Russian influence to the [Black Sea] Straits and to exercise the role of protector of the Christian Slavs.”15 Indeed, by the early 1900s, the Russian empire stretched from “the Baltic to the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Black Sea.”16 Consequently, Russia’s imperial identity was historically-grounded and salient.
Then, however, Russia experienced the humiliation of the Russo-Japanese War and tension of the First Russian Revolution.17 Russia’s territorial ambitions led its military to East Asia, which resulted in a “humiliating” defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05).18 In the conflict’s wake, the Russian people doubted the Russian state’s ability to uphold its imperial identity.19 In Moscow and St. Petersburg, protests and strikes unfolded that were “directly connected with the failures in the Far East.”20 Eventually, these events became known as the First Russian Revolution. In response, the tsar agreed to limited political reforms, which decreased the tsar’s power and increased pressure on the monarchy.21
Lastly, Russia experienced a resurgence of pan-Slavic sentiment and Russian military rearmament. In 1908, Russian leaders sought redress for “their humiliation in the Far East by gains in the Balkans.”22 But in the Balkans, Russia suffered more embarrassment. Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Russia’s ally Serbia sought to control. Instead of supporting Serbia’s territorial claims, Russia capitulated to military and diplomatic threats from Austria-Hungary and Germany.23 Subsequently, pan-Slavic nationalists in the newly-established Russian Duma pressed for a foreign policy of “prestige and nationalism.”24 Thus, a return to imperial glory became critical for the tsar’s survival, and Russia rapidly rearmed.25 In July 1914, the German imperial chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg said, “[T]he secret intelligence gives a shattering picture….The military might of Russia is growing fast....The future belongs to Russia, which is growing and growing and is becoming an ever increasing nightmare to us.”26 Russia now considered itself a resurgent imperial power.
Desired Position: Great Power
Position is external actors’ perception of a state. State positions are socially constructed rights and duties that bound what behavior is acceptable in an international system.27 Psychologists Rom Harré and Fathali Moghaddam note that a position “implicitly limits how much of what is logically possible for a given person [read ‘state’] to say and do.”28 Importantly, while self-perception largely constructs identity, others’ perceptions largely construct position; therefore, states seek to place themselves into positions most accommodating to their identities.29 In short, a state acts to align its position with its identity.30 Therefore, with Russia’s resurgent imperial identity domestically, Russia sought a great power position internationally.
Key international actors play an important role determining positions. Key international actors accepted Russia’s great power position—except for Germany and Austria-Hungary. When a state rejects another state’s desired position, the rejected state becomes more emotional and hence more prone to behave irrationally.31 In fact, the rejected state may seek to secure its desired position through war initiation.32 As a consequence of this position rejection, Russia assumed an adversarial position toward Germany and Austria-Hungary, and vice versa.33 And as states assume increasingly adversarial positions, they move “further apart, with the ultimate goals of thwarting, blocking, or even destroying the other.”34
Russia’s—particularly the tsar’s—adversarial positioning toward Germany and Austria-Hungary was evident. The tsar’s mother Marie, father Alexander III, and tutor Konstantin Pobedonostsev fostered a hatred for Germany and Austria-Hungary in the future tsar.35 Later—and increasing the tsar’s hatred even more—the tsar himself conceded to German and Austro-Hungarian pressure in the Bosnian Crisis (1908–09).36 He warned that “we won’t forget” the humiliation,37 adding, “The Austrians should be forgiven nothing. They must be made to pay for everything.”38 Similarly, key Russian military leaders, like Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich and General Nikolai Yanushkevich, were prominent anti-Germans.39 Thus, Russian leaders had an adversarial position versus Germany and Austria-Hungary.
The Russian media and public expressed similar disdain for Germany and Austria-Hungary. In December 1912, Novoe Vremya, a Russian ruling class newspaper, said that peace with Germany and Austria-Hungary was “not only ignominious but also dangerous.”40 Throughout 1914, the Russian media increasingly criticized Germany and Austria-Hungary.41 According to Paul Robinson, the Russian press and Duma “reinforced the view of the Council of Ministers that Russia could no longer yield to Austro-Hungarian or German demands in the way it had done so in previous diplomatic crises.”42 The Russian public also sought to establish Russia’s great power position and confront Germany and Austria-Hungary, even if confrontation risked total European war.43
Interests: Slavic People, Respected Reputation, Peripheral Influence
Interests are domains and regions necessary for a state’s identity and desired position. States interact with key actors—that is, those actors most influencing their state position—to protect and advance their interests. States have secure interests when state position aligns with state identity. The importance of interests vary, but they are generally categorized as vital, important, and peripheral.44 Notably, damage or loss of vital interests fundamentally threaten state identity and position. Therefore, as Samuel Huntington notes, states will expend “blood and treasure” (i.e., initiate war) to defend vital interests.45 For Russia in 1914, its vital interests were its Slavic people, respected reputation, and peripheral influence, and Russia was willing to protect these interests through war.
Russia wanted to protect its Slavic people—both their safety and unity.46 Since the 1880s, Russia had pursued an aggressive “russification” policy to promote a Slavic lifestyle, like Russian Orthodoxy, in Russia’s western borderlands.47 Additionally, the tsar’s childhood tutor and advisor Pobedonostsev inculcated in the Russian leader the tsar’s role as the pan-Slavic leader.48 In December 1913, Novoe Vremya, further echoed the Russian interest to protect the Slavic people: “The chief object of our foreign policy should from now on be to break that tightening Teutonic ring around us which threatens Russia and the whole of Slavdom with fatal consequences.”49
Russia’s interest to protect the Slavic people was so salient that external actors noted this interest. For example, Count István Tisza, the Hungarian prime minister, believed Russia would likely intervene “in the Balkans to defend her fellow Slavs and Orthodox believers in Serbia,” even if it caused “a world war.”50 The British ambassador to France agreed: “If the Emperor of Russia adheres to the absurd and obsolete claim that she is protectress of all Slav states, however bad their conduct, war is probable.”51 Similarly, the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Russia believed that if Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia, Russia would intervene.52 Indeed, Russia was willing to initiate war to defend its Slavic people.
Russia wanted to protect its respected reputation. Wendt asserts that states “desire to preserve” their “organizational apparatus of governance”53; likewise, the tsar sought to preserve the monarchy, which required upholding Russia’s respected reputation.54 Domestically, in Russian ruling circles, pan-Slavic nationalists acquired increasing power, and they demanded an expansionist foreign policy that garnered international respect.55 In fact, before World War I, Russian ministers warned the tsar that if he backed down against Austria-Hungary, “Russia would never forgive the sovereign.”56 They further advised the tsar that “unless he yielded to popular demands and unsheathed the sword on Serbia’s behalf, [he] would run the risk of revolution and perhaps loss of his throne.”57
Given domestic pressure, the tsar and his advisors were concerned about Russia’s reputation internationally.58 The tsar sought to protect his regime by protecting Russia’s international prestige. The tsar’s advisors also sought to affirm Russia’s international reputation, and they warned the tsar of the consequences of a damaged Russian reputation.59 For instance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov said that Germany “has looked upon our concessions as so many proofs of our weakness,”60 thus, he was “concerned at the possible loss of Russia’s status as a great power.”61 Consequently, Russia was willing to initiate war to defend its respected reputation.62
Russia wanted to protect its peripheral influence. Specifically, Russia sought to maintain its influence in the Balkans, which granted leverage over the Turkish Straits and Ottoman Empire.63 According to international relations scholar Jack S. Levy, “Russian decision-makers believed that their strategic and economic interests in the Turkish Straits depended on maintaining Serbia and Romania as buffer states.”64 They hoped leverage over the Turkish Straits would enable unimpeded Russian naval transit into the Mediterranean Sea, a key sphere of influence.65 Russia also wanted to maintain leverage over the Ottoman Empire, which Russian leaders feared may give Germany control of the Turkish Straits.66 Therefore, Russian peripheral influence in the Balkans and hence the Turkish Straits had geostrategic significance.
Russian leaders also feared that failure to support Serbia would erode Russia’s influence in the Balkans.67 This loss of influence would weaken Russia’s favorable diplomatic relations in the region.68 However, Russia’s peripheral influence in the Balkans also held symbolic value. The tsar’s childhood tutor Pobedonostsev, who greatly influenced the tsar, “taught Nicholas to consider Russia as the third Rome and to consider the need of expanding the Russian Empire so that it extended from the Balkans to the China Sea.”69 Thus, in addition to geostrategic significance, Russia’s peripheral influence in the Balkans held symbolic significance. And Russia was willing to initiate war to defend its peripheral influence.
The Steps to War
As the July Crisis unfolded in 1914, Russia’s decision was settled if Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia: Russia would mobilize for war. On July 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov told the British ambassador to Russia that “anything in the shape of an Austrian ultimatum at Belgrade [the capital of Serbia] could not leave Russia indifferent, and she might be forced to take some precautionary military measures.”70 On July 23, Serbia indeed received an ultimatum from Austria-Hungary, which if unsatisfied would cause an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war.71 The terms, of course, were unacceptable to Serbia; they would undermine the sovereignty of the Serbian government. Russia knew continental war was now inevitable.
On July 24, after hearing Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia, Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov told the Austro-Hungarian ambassador, “Vous mettez le feu à l’Europe!” (“You have set fire to Europe!”).72 The regent of Serbia then wrote to the tsar: “We cannot defend ourselves. Therefore we pray Your Majesty to lend help as soon as possible. Your Majesty has given so many proofs of your previous good will and we confidently hope that this appeal will find an echo in your generous Slav heart.”73 Again, Russia’s decision was already settled: Russia had to defend Serbia to protect its identity as a resurgent imperial power, desired position as a great power, and vital interests of its Slavic people, respected reputation, and peripheral influence.
The tsar’s advisory body, the Council of Ministers, discussed the impact of Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum on Russia’s desired position. The advisory chairman said, “[T]he only hope of influencing Germany was to show them, by making a firm stand, that we had come to the end of the concessions we were prepared to make.”74 On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and on July 29, the tsar wrote to Austria-Hungary’s patron, Germany’s Wilhelm II: “An ignoble war has been declared upon a weak country. The indignation in Russia, shared fully by me, is enormous. I foresee that I will succumb very soon to the pressure put upon me and will be compelled to take extreme measures which will lead to war.”75
Other European states urged Russia to avoid mobilization, which would undoubtedly cause a European war. The British ambassador to Russia told Sazonov that “if Russia mobilised, Germany would not remain content with mere mobilisation, or give Russia time to carry out hers, but would probably declare war at once.”76 But as Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov noted, Russia would be “second place among powers” if it failed to mobilize after Austria-Hungary’s war declaration on Serbia.77 Therefore, to protect Russia’s identity, position, and interests, Russia’s only choice was mobilization. On July 31, 1914, the tsar proclaimed general mobilization.78 And Europe would indeed be set on fire.
1914 vs. Today
In 1914, Russia mobilized despite being unprepared for war.79 Russian leaders sought to delay any conflict to at least 1916–17.80 As Russian War Minister Vladimir Sukhomlinov said just days before the outbreak of war, “[E]ven with the support of France, we would find ourselves until 1917, and perhaps even until 1918, in a position of indisputable inferiority with respect to the combined forces of Germany and Austria. Consequently, we should do everything in our power to avoid war.”81 Yet, Russia mobilized. And when war unfolded, Russia “could not provide rifles for the majority of the soldiers who were sent to fight and lacked sufficient artillery shells.”82 Today, Russia is ready for war.
In 1914, Russia mobilized despite risks of continental war. Russia mobilized while knowing Austro-Hungarian forces in Serbia would pose little threat to Russia83 and continental war would likely follow Russian mobilization.84 Still, in February 1914—five months before World War I’s start—Russia’s Council of Ministers compiled their foreign policy views, asserting Russia’s need to defend Serbia against Austria-Hungary and the likelihood that this intervention would cause a broader European war.85 Russian leaders agreed to intervene directly in an Austro-Serbian conflict, as they eventually did.86 Today, given Ukraine’s lack of alliances, Russia faces no risk of continental war.
Why War Will Start
On July 22, 1914, a Russian diplomat in Serbia told his Austro-Hungarian counterpart: “We know when and why a war starts but never where it stops.”87 World War I started on July 31, 1914, when the tsar ordered general mobilization due to Russia’s identity as a resurgent imperial power, desired position as a great power, and interests of its Slavic people, respected reputation, and peripheral influence. As Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine revealed, Russia’s resurgent imperial identity is back.88 And as Russia’s mobilization today shows, Russia’s resurgent imperial identity is salient. Will this identity manifest as a Russian invasion of Ukraine? If Russia’s 1914 mobilization offers insight, it will.
David E. Sanger, “Biden Predicts Putin Will Order Ukraine Invasion, But ‘Will Regret Having Done It’,” New York Times, January 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/us/politics/biden-putin-russia-ukraine.html.
Rory Sullivan, “Why Would Russia Invade Ukraine?” The Independent, January 20, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-ukraine-invasion-vladimir-putin-b1997027.html; Aleksandar Matovski, “Why Would Putin Invade Ukraine?” Washington Post, January 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/16/why-would-putin-invade-ukraine/; Joshua Yaffa, “Why Is Russia Threatening to Invade Ukraine,” The New Yorker, December 16, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-is-russia-threatening-to-invade-ukraine.
Jack S. Levy, “Preferences, Constraints, and Choices in July 1914,” International Security 15, no. 3 (Winter 1990–91): 180, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2538910. Other scholars also assess Russia’s general mobilization as the decisive cause of World War I. See L. C. F. Turner, “The Russian Mobilization in 1914,” Journal of Contemporary History 3, no. 1 (January 1968): 65, https://www.jstor.org/stable/259967; Alfred von Wegerer, “The Russian Mobilization of 1914,” Political Science Quarterly 43, no. 2 (June 1928): 210, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2143301.
Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization 46, no. 2 (Spring 1992): 397, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2706858.
Alexander E. Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 224.
Ted Hopf, “The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory,” International Security 23, no. 1 (Summer, 1998): 175.
Wendt, “Anarchy,” 398.
Wendt, “Anarchy,” 411.
Hopf, “Promise of Constructivism,” 176.
Hopf, “Promise of Constructivism,” 175.
Richard K. Herrmann, “How Attachments to the Nation Shape Beliefs About the World: A Theory of Motivated
Reasoning,” International Organization 71, no. S1 (2017): S61, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818316000382.
Herrmann, “How Attachments,” S61.
James Joll and Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War, 3rd ed. (London: Pearson Longman, 2007), 105. The tsar held ultimate decision-making authority: “all decisions ultimately rested with the tsar.”
Donald Ostrowski, “The End of Muscovy: The Case for Circa 1800,” Slavic Review 69, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 426, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25677106; Russell E. Martin, “The Petrine Divide and the Periodization of Early Modern Russian History,” Slavic Review 69, no. 2 (Summer 2010), 411, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25677105.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 162.
Krishnan Kumar, “The Russian and Soviet Empires,” in Visions of Empire: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017), 231, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvc773dq.9.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 70; Joe D. Hagan, “Does Decision Making Matter? Systemic Assumptions vs. Historical Reality in International Relations Theory,” International Studies Review 3, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 19, https://www.jstor.org/stable/3186564.
Levy, “Preferences,” 157.
Ian F. W. Beckett, “Path to Revolution: The Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, 15 March 1917,” in The Making of the First World War (London: Yale University Press), 145, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bpn0.15.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 155. See also Beckett, “Path to Revolution,” 145.
Beckett, “Path to Revolution,” 145; Joll and Martel, Origins, 155.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 70.
J. F. Hutchinson, “The Octobrists and the Future of Imperial Russia as a Great Power,” The Slavonic and East European Review 50, no. 119 (April 1972): 224–25, https://www.jstor.org/stable/4206527.
Hagan, “Does Decision Making Matter?” 19.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 164.
William C. Wohlforth, “The Perception of Power: Russia in the Pre-1914 Balance,” World Politics 39, no. 3 (April 1987): 362, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2010224.
Fathali M. Moghaddam, Cristina Novoa, and Zachary Warren, “Duties and Rights,” in The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology, ed. Jaan Valsiner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 810.
Rom Harré and Fathali M. Moghaddam, The Self and Others: Positioning Individuals and Groups in Personal, Political, and Cultural Contexts (London: Praeger, 2003), 5.
Rom Harré, Fathali M. Moghaddam, Tracey Pilkerton Cairnie, Daniel Rothbart, and Steven R. Sabat, “Recent Advances in Positioning Theory,” Theory & Psychology 19, no. 1 (2009): 10–12; Fathali M. Moghaddam, “Interobjectivity: The Collective Roots of Individual Consciousness and Social Identity,” in Individuality and the Group: Advances in Social Identity, eds. Tom Postmes and Jolanda Jetten (London: Sage, 2006), 170–71; Rom Harré and Fathali M. Moghaddam, The Self and Others, 5.
Zachary Warren and Fathali M. Moghaddam, “Positioning Theory and Social Justice,” in The Oxford Handbook of Social Psychology and Social Justice, ed. Phillip L. Hammack (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 328; Winnifred R. Louis, “Intergroup Positioning and Power,” in Global Conflict Resolution Through Positioning Analysis, eds. Fathali M. Moghaddam, Rom Harré, and Naomi Lee (New York: Springer, 2008), 21–40.
Harré, Moghaddam, Cairnie, Rothbart, and Sabat, “Recent Advances,” 15.
Harré, Moghaddam, Cairnie, Rothbart, and Sabat, “Recent Advances,” 10.
Fathali M. Moghaddam, “Mutual Radicalization,” in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior, 2nd ed., ed. Fathali M. Moghaddam (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2017), 509.
Moghaddam, “Mutual Radicalization,” 509
Kent de Price, “Diary of Nicholas II, 1917-1918, an Annotated Translation,” Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers (1966): 9, https://scholarworks.umt.edu/etd/2065
Margaret MacMillan, “1914 and 2014: Should We Be Worried?” International Affairs 90, no. 1 (January 2014): 65, https://www.jstor.org/stable/24538252.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 14.
Quoted in I. V. Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy February-June 1914,” Journal of Contemporary History 1, no. 3, (July 1966): 104, https://www.jstor.org/stable/259937.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 103; Paul Robinson, “Supreme Commander, Summer 1914” in Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich: Supreme Commander of the Russian Army (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, April 2014), 130–41, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctv177tdfd.16. Georgii Shavelskii, head chaplain of the Russian army, said, “the Grand Duke was undoubtedly a supporter of war against the Germans, which he considered inevitable and necessary for Russia.”
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 105.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 97.
Robinson, “Supreme Commander,” 146.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 97, 99.
The Commission on America’s National Interests, “America’s National Interests,” July 2000, 5–8, https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/files/publication/amernatinter.pdf.
Samuel Huntington, “Erosion of American National Interests,” Foreign Affairs 76, no. 5 (September/October 1997): 35, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1997-09-01/erosion-american-national-interests.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 282.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 281–82.
de Price, “Diary of Nicholas II,” 13, 26.
Novoe Vremya, December 23, 1913, as quoted in Bestuzhev, 100.
Bryan Cartledge, “The Dual Monarchy Stumbles into War 28 July 1914: Austria-Hungary Declares War on Serbia,” in Alan Sharp, ed., 28 June: Sarajevo 1914 - Versailles 1919: The War and Peace That Made the Modern World (London: Haus Publishing, 2014), 34, 40, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1hfr2x4.6.
Quoted in Keith Hamilton, Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador (Woodbridge: Royal Historical Society, 1990), 321.
Cartledge, “Dual Monarchy Stumbles,” 38.
Wendt, “Anarchy,” 402.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 163.
Hagan, “Does Decision Making Matter?” 20, 30; Joll and Martel, Origins, 162–63; Ja Ian Chong and Todd H. Hall, “The Lessons of 1914 for East Asia Today: Missing the Trees for the Forest,” International Security 39, no. 1 (Summer 2014): 29, https://www.jstor.org/stable/24480543.
S. D. Sazonov quoted in Chong and Hall, “Lessons of 1914,” 29.
S. D. Sazonov quoted in Chong and Hall, “Lessons of 1914,” 29.
MacMillan, “1914 and 2014,” 69.
MacMillan, “1914 and 2014,” 70.
Robinson, “Supreme Commander,” 131.
Beckett, “Path to Revolution,” 145.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 81.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 67, 69, 164, 291. See also Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Levy, “Preferences,” 157.
Boris Toucas, “The Geostrategic Importance of the Black Sea Region: A Brief History,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 2, 2017, https://www.csis.org/analysis/geostrategic-importance-black-sea-region-brief-history.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 98.
Levy, “Preferences,” 157.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 81.
de Price, “Diary of Nicholas II,” 13.
G. P. Gooch and H. Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, vol. 11, no. 60 (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1926), 47.
Leopold Berchtold, “The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia (English Translation),” dated July 22, 1914, delivered July 23, 1914, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Austro-Hungarian_Ultimatum_to_Serbia_(English_translation).
Oesterreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik von der Bosnischen Krise 1908 bis zum Kriegsausbrach 1914: diplomatische Aktenstücke des Österreichisch-Ungarischen Ministeriums des Äussern, vol. viii, no. 10616 (Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag für Unterricht, Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1930), 646.
Quoted in Luigi Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914, vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), 350.
Wohlforth, “The Perception of Power,” 368.
Graham Allison, “How Nicky and Willy Could Have Prevented World War I,” Washington Post, July 25, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-nicky-and-willy-could-have-prevented-world-war-i/2014/07/25/192165ca-1275-11e4-98ee-daea85133bc9_story.html.
Gooch and Temperley, British Documents, vol. 11, no. 125.
S. D. Sazonov, quoted in D.C.B. Lieven, Russia and the Origins of the First World War (New York: St. Martin's, 1983), 141–47.
Joll and Martel, Origins, 28.
David Potter, “‘War Guilt,’ ‘National Character,’ ‘Inevitable Forces,’ and the Problematic Historiography of ‘Unnecessary Wars’,” in Victor Caston and Silke-Maria Weineck, eds., Our Ancient Wars: Rethinking War through the Classics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press), 84, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3998/mpub.7652595.6.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 107.
Wohlforth, “The Perception of Power,” 368.
Potter, “‘War Guilt,’” 84.
von Wegerer, “Russian Mobilization,” 207–09; Turner, “Russian Mobilization,” 68–69.
von Wegerer, “Russian Mobilization,” 210; George Kennan, The Fateful Alliance: France, Russia, and the Coming of the First World War (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 264; Turner, “Russian Mobilization,”65; Maurice Paléologue, “Chapter II: July 24-August 2, 1914” in An Ambassador’s Memoirs 1, accessed June 2, 2021, https://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/memoir/FrAmbRus/pal1-02.htm. Russian leaders understood the significance of mobilization. In 1892, the chief of the Russian general staff advised the prime minister, “The undertaking of mobilization can no longer be considered as a peaceful act; on the contrary, it represents the most decisive act of war.” Similarly, Vladimir Kokovtsov, the Russian prime minister, told Russia ministers and military leaders in 1912, “No matter what we call the projected measures, a mobilization remained a mobilization, to be countered by our adversaries with actual war.” The tsar also understood the significance of mobilization. When contemplating mobilization, the tsar told his foreign minister, Sergey Sazonov, “Just think of the responsibility you’re advising me to assume! Remember it’s a question of sending thousands and thousands of men to their death!”
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 107.
Bestuzhev, “Russian Foreign Policy,” 107.
Oesterreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik, vol. viii, no. 10688, 646.
Pavlo Klimkin, Volodymyr Ivanov, and Andreas Umland, “Putin’s New Constitution Spells Out Modern Russia’s Imperial Ambitions,” Atlantic Council, September 10, 2020, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/putins-new-constitution-spells-out-modern-russias-imperial-ambitions/.