Courtesy Reuters

Russia and the War

DIE INTERNATIONALEN BEZIEHUNGEN IM ZEITALTER DES IMPERIALISMUS. DOKUMENTE AUS DEN ARCHIVEN DER ZARISCHEN UND DER PROVISORISCHEN REGIERUNG, 1878-1917. Reihe I: Das Jahr 1914 bis zum Kriegsausbruch. (International Relations in the Epoch of Imperialism. Documents from the Archives of the Tsarist and Provisional Governments, 1878-1917. Series One: The Year 1914 up to the Outbreak of War.) Authorized German edition, edited by Otto Hoetzsch for the Deutsche Gesellschaft zum Studium Osteuropas. Berlin: Hobbing, 1931-1934, 5 vols., M. 42 per vol.[i]

Within a month after the revolution of November 1917 the Soviet Government electrified the world and embarrassed the Allied Governments by publishing the "secret treaties" which the latter had concluded with the Tsarist régime. Since that time the German, British, French and Austrian Governments have opened their archives for the period before 1914, and the American Government has published its papers for the years 1914-1918; similar collections have also been announced by the Italian and Jugoslav (Serbian) Governments. Never before has it been possible, within so short a time after the conclusion of a great war, for historians to examine in such detail the circumstances which led up to it. Nevertheless there are still many gaps in the evidence, and the publication of the Russian documents is most welcome.

The original commission set up by the Soviet Government consisted of seven members -- Professor M. N. Pokrovsky, perhaps the most distinguished Soviet historian, four other historians, and two Soviet diplomatists; since Pokrovsky's death in 1932, Y. A. Bersin has served as chairman. There is no indication that the commission or the editors of the several volumes have allowed their political sentiments to affect their historical scholarship, for the footnotes are rigidly factual and explanatory. Technically, too, the editing is excellent. The particular archive from which each document is taken is indicated (all pertinent archives have been drawn upon, not merely those of the foreign office); the Tsar's special mark is prefixed to the documents seen by him, and his comments are reproduced; the documents are printed as found, evident

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