will lose no fewer than two million men in war, and will place in the field not fewer than five million. No matter how peaceful and purely defensive her attitude may be, she will be forced into war along her endless borders by the conflict with other national interests and the age-long unsatisfied necessity of her population to reach the sea.
Russia will furnish in this century the advance guard of an inevitable conflict between the white and yellow races. For within a hundred years there must be a great struggle in Asia between the Christian and non-Christian nations. To prepare for this, an understanding between Russia and England is essential for humanity. Kuropatkin deals with this necessity at length; and the future relations of Russia with Japan and China are treated with an impressive grasp.
His exposition of the sensitive and dangerous situation on the Empire’s western border contains matters of consequence to the whole world. The relations he discloses, between Russia, on the one hand, and Austria and Germany on the other, are important in the extreme. Within a fortnight these two latter countries could throw two million men across the Russian frontier, and a war would result much more colossal than that just finished with Japan.
KUROPATKIN’S FORTY YEARS OF SERVICE
General Kuropatkin has had an education and a career which eminently qualify him as a judge and critic of the Russian nation. For forty years, as an active member of its military establishment, he has watched its development, from the viewpoint of important posts in St. Petersburg, Turkey, Central Asia, and the far East.
Kuropatkin was born in 1848 and was educated in the Palovski Military School and the Nikolaiefski Academy of the general staff in St. Petersburg. From there he went at once into the army, and, at the early age of twenty, took part in the march of the Russian expeditionary force to the central Asian city of Samarkand. He won 366 distinction in the long and difficult march of General Skobeleff’s army to Khokand. In 1875 he acted as Russia’s diplomatic agent in Chitral, and a year or two later he headed an embassy to Kashgar and concluded a treaty with Yakub Bek.
When the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1877, he became General Skobeleff’s chief of staff and took part in the battle of Loftcha and in many of the attacks on Plevna. While forcing the passage of the Balkans with Skobeleff’s army, on the 25th of December, 1877 (O.S.), he was so severely wounded that he had to leave the theater of war and return to St. Petersburg. There, as soon as he recovered, he was put in charge of the Asiatic Department of the Russian General Staff, and, at the same time, was made adjunct-professor of military statistics in the Nikolaiefski Military Academy. In 1879 the rank of General was conferred upon him and he was appointed to command the Turkestan rifle brigade in Central Asia. In 1880 he led a Russian expeditionary force to Kuldja, and when the trouble with the Chinese there had been adjusted, he was ordered to organize and equip a special force in the Amu Daria district and march to the assistance of General Skobeleff in the Akhal-Tekhinski oasis. After conducting this force across seven hundred versts of nearly waterless desert, he joined General Skobeleff in front of the Turkoman fortress of Geok Tepe, and in the assault upon that famous stronghold, a few weeks later, he led the principal storming column. After the Turkomen had been subdued, he returned to European Russia, and during the next eight years served on the General Staff in St. Petersburg, where he was entrusted with important strategic work. In 1890 he was made Lieutenant-General and was sent to govern the trans-Caspian region and to command the troops there stationed.
He occupied this position six or eight years, and then, shortly after his return to St. Petersburg, was appointed Minister of War. In 1902, while still holding the war portfolio, he was promoted to Adjutant-General; in 1903 he visited Japan and made the acquaintance of its political and military leaders; and in 1904, when hostilities began in the Far East, he took command of the Russian armies in Manchuria under the general direction of Viceroy Alexeieff. Besides, he has written and published three important books.
No man perhaps, is better equipped, by education and experience, to explain Russia’s plans and movements in Asia; to tell the true story of the Japanese war. And probably never, at least in this generation, has an international matter of this magnitude been treated with such frankness by a person so thoroughly and eminently qualified to discuss it.
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
In the autumn of 1867 my family went to Wiesbaden, where my wife was to spend some time on account of her health, and I joined them there about Christmas time for a few weeks. Great changes had taken place in Germany since that dark December night in 1861 when I rushed through the country from the Belgian frontier to Hamburg on my way from Spain to America. The period of stupid reaction after the collapse of the revolutionary movements of 1848 was over. King Frederick William IV. of Prussia, who had been so deeply convinced and arduous an upholder of the divine right of kings, had died a helpless lunatic. King William I., afterwards Emperor William I., his brother and successor, also a believer in that divine right, but not to the extent of believing as well in the divine inspiration of kings—in other words, a man of good sense and capable of recognizing the superior ability of others—had found in Bismarck a minister of commanding genius. The sweeping victory of Prussia over Austria in 1866 had resulted in the establishment of the North German Confederacy under Prussian hegemony, which was considered a stepping-stone to the unification of all Germany as a constitutional empire. Several of the revolutionists of 1848 now sat in the Reichstag of the North German Confederacy, and one of the ablest of them, Lothar Bucher, was Bismarck’s confidential counsellor. The nation was elated with hope, and there was a liberal wind blowing even in the sphere of the government.
I did not doubt that under these circumstances I might venture into Germany without danger of being seriously molested; yet, as my personal case was technically not covered by any of the several amnesties which had been proclaimed in Prussia from time to time, I thought that some subordinate officer, either construing his duty with the strictness of a thorough Prussian, or wishing to distinguish himself by a conspicuous display of official watchfulness, might give me annoyance. I did not, indeed, entertain the slightest apprehension as to my safety, but I might have become involved in sensational proceedings, which would have been extremely distasteful to me, as well as unwelcome to the government. I therefore wrote to Mr. George Bancroft, the American Minister at Berlin, requesting him if possible to inform himself privately whether the Prussian government had any objection to my visiting Germany for a few weeks, and to let me have his answer at Bremerhaven upon the arrival there of the steamer on which I had taken passage. My intention was, in case the answer were unfavorable, to sail at once from Bremen to England and to meet my family there. Mr. Bancroft very kindly complied with my request, and assured me in his letter which I found at Bremerhaven that the Prussian government not only had no objection to my visiting Germany, but that I should be welcome.
After having spent Christmas with my family in Wiesbaden, I went to Berlin. I wrote a note to Lothar Bucher, whom I had last seen sixteen 368