Witte’s vision of United Europe - Alliance of Russia, Germany and France

The bulwark of Peace according to Finance Minister Witte

In 1895, Witte, together with the Foreign Minister of France, Gabriel Hanotaux, brought together a coalition of Russian, Germany and France, which prevented the takeover of the Liaontung Peninsula by the Japanese. Japan, confronted with this show of unity, agreed to negotiate a treaty with China instead of annexing this Chinese territory. Through the collaboration of Witte and Hanotaux and with the help of French capital, China was provided with a major loan which it used to pay, among other things, the indemnities to Japan which had been caused by the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. Russia signed a mutual defense treaty with China, which improved the conditions to build the Manchurian part of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The Continental League, as Witte called it, had prevented the annexation of a part of China, and Witte wanted to make it a permanent bloc against the manipulation of Great Britain, Altogether, he said, “our statesmen must realize the necessity of a Central European bloc, consisting of Russia, Germany, and France. That would be the bulwark of peace, because nobody would be able to violate it.”

In an 1897 discussion on tariff policy, Witte briefed Kaiser Wilhelm (the Emperor of Germany) on his vision of war-avoidance:

“Imagine, Your Majesty, the European countries united in one entity, one that does not waste vast sums of money, resources, blood and labor on rivalry among themselves, no longer compelled to maintain armies for wars among themselves, no longer forming an armed camp, as is the case now, with each fearing the neighbor. If that were done, Europe would be, much richer, much stronger, more civilized, not going downhill under weight of mutual hatred, rivalry, and war. The first step toward attaining this goal would be the formation of an alliance of Russia, Germany and France. Once this were done, the other countries of the European continent would join the alliance. As a consequence, Europe would be freed of the burden created by existing rivalries: Europe would be mighty, would be able to maintain a dominant position for a long time.” (Schiller Institute, Washington DC 2004)

Achievements in the area of diplomacy and foreign affairs - and his political devise

  • Great diplomatic success as a chief plenipotentiary in peace negotiations with Japan in Portsmouth, United States of America (1905).
  • Good relations with foreign governments guaranteed the income of credits and investments for industrialization.
  • Search of new markets for Russian commodities in Asia.
  • Construction of the Chinese East railroad, creating “ free economic zones” was meant to facilitate the penetration into the market.

Chancellor of Germany Otto von Bismarck

Even chancellor Otto von Bismarck was impressed of Witte’ s personality, which surprised Witte very much and he described in his memoirs following incident (p. 186) “ ...the well-known German writer Maximilian Harden, whom I mentioned earlier, came to Petersburg to become acquainted with me. He told me that Bismarck, who was well disposed toward him, had urged him to see me because in the former chancellor’s opinion no one in the last few years has shown “such strength of character and the will to achieve what he seeks” as I and, moreover, predicted that I would “have a tremendous political career” . (Memoirs, p. 186, Professor Sidney Harcave)

Referring to the Shiller Institute:

The Schiller Institute, Bad Schwalbach Conference “How to Reconstruct a Bankrupt World”, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, The Eurasian Land-Bridge Concept, The Answer to the Strategic Crisis, 21-23.3.2003, Washington DC, pp. 6, 9, 10, 11, 16.