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The Great War
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Russia - Getting Too Strong for Germany
Norman Stone
"Betmann Holveig, who was the German Chancellor, went to Russian at the turn of 1911-1912, and he was taken round some of the big factories in the St. Petersburg region.

"German investors were following events, because they were closely involved. A lot of the German electrical combines, for instance AEG, had established themselves in Moscow, and they knew perfectly well what was happening in the mines of the Ukraine with all those raw materials. They could see the railway snaking around the place, and they knew that Russia was becoming a super-power. They all said it.

"Betmann Holveig said, on the eighth of July 1914, to his private secretary: 'Russia grows and grows, and preys upon us like a nightmare.'

"The Germans, in a way, were absolutely right in 1914, when they said: 'If we challenge Russia later, we'll be beaten. Even if it's 1917, we'll be beaten. But, we've just got a chance to beat them in 1914, so let's do it now.' That calculation's going on in the Germans' brains.

"Maybe the Kaiser, at the end of July 1914, said: 'We'll stop it. We've made a mistake.' But by then, it's too late. And, pretty well every competent observer in Germany said: 'The Russians are getting too strong. They've got their alliance with the French. They'll crack us like a nut when the time comes. Because by 1917, they will be fielding so many divisions against us in the East, that we haven't a ghost of a chance of concentrating our Army against the French. We'll be cracked. So, better now than later.' Now, of course, after the war was over, these docents vanished."

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