EMPIRE OF GRAVES
PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE (1914)
His Majesty, King George V:
When Queen Victoria died in 1901, George's father ascended the throne. A reign that proved rather short-lived for the longest-serving heir-apparent in British history; ruling for only 9 years, before passing the throne to George V in 1910.
During his reign, George V has seen the rise of anarchism, socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, women’s rights, and the Indian independence movement, all of which has radically changed the political landscape.
King George V shares striking resemblance to his cousin: Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia.
Prime Minister, H.H Asquith:
in 1908, Prime Minister Campbell-Bannerman resigned—dying only days later—and Labour politician Asquith took over the position. He appointed David Lloyd George to the Exchequer and made Winston Churchill president of the Board of Trade.
In order to finance ambitious welfare legislation and the building up of the Royal Navy to counter the perceived threat from Germany, they introduced a radical budget called the 'People's Budget' in 1909.
The House of Lords rejected it and Asquith announced a plan to limit their power. The resulting Parliament Act, passed in August 1911, ended the Lords' veto over financial legislation passed by the House of Commons.
In 1912, Asquith renewed attempts to introduce home rule in Ireland, provoking fierce opposition from the Conservative party. In early 1914, the conflict in Ireland nearly led to civil war.
Foreign Secretary, Edward Grey:
Grey was the eldest of seven children. After the early death of his father, Edward was raised under the influence of his grandfather, prominent politician George Grey on the family estate in Northumberland.
He was duly elected as a liberal party candidate in 1885 and, at 23, became the youngest MP in the new House of Commons. When Campbell-Bannerman formed a government in 1905 Grey was appointed Foreign Secretary.
Grey’s period in office has been marked by the management of international crises and of rivalries in great power relations, such as the naval race with Germany. In cabinet, he defended increased estimates for the navy. He consolidated his predecessor’s entente with France and in 1907 secured an agreement with Russia, settling colonial disputes in Africa and Asia respectively.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George:
A Liberal politician of advanced views. His father died when he was young and his mother took him to Wales to be raised by his uncle. David Lloyd George acquired his vivid speaking style from Welsh churchgoing and his radicalism from his uncle who oversaw his education.
He earned notoriety throughout Britain when he publicly opposed the Second Boer War, and acquiring a reputation as a social reformer through his work as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Lloyd George's 1909 budget was called the 'People's Budget' since it provided for social insurance. The budget was rejected by the House of Lords. This, in turn, led to the Parliament Act of 1911, by which the Lords lost their power of veto financial legations.
At the start of 1914, David Lloyd George was a staunch pacifist.
First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill:
From a young age, Winston Churchill displayed the traits of his father, a British statesman from an established English family, and his mother, an independent-minded New York socialite.
He graduated from the Sandhurst military academy and embarked upon a dizzying army career. He served in India, and Sudan, reported news from Cuba, and South Africa. Where he was captured by the Boers, and completed a daring escape.
Now a war hero, government posts came to Churchill almost automatically. Unconvinced that the Conservative Party was committed to social justice, he “crossed the floor” to the Liberal Party. There he introduced several important social reforms, also assisting in the passing of the infamous 'People's Budget'.
In 1911, Churchill was named First Lord of the Admiralty. He helped modernize the British Navy. He was one of the first to promote military aircraft and set up the Royal Navy Air Service. He was so enthusiastic about aviation that he took flying lessons to understand firsthand its military potential.
Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Charles W. H. Douglas:
Born in South Africa and educated privately, Douglas was commissioned as an ensign in the 92nd Highlanders in 1869.
He served in the Second Afghan War, the Suakin Expedition, the First Boer War, and Second Boer War, and has been Mentioned several times In Dispatches.
In 1909, Douglas was made general officer commanding-in-chief, southern command. Having been promoted lieutenant-general in 1905, he was made a full general in 1910.
In 1912, he was appointed inspector-general, home forces, and proved so conscientious that his staff tours are regarded as models of their kind. Naturally shy and reserved, Douglas gives the impression of being a hard man who can be abrupt and overbearing to subordinates. Yet he has a unique knowledge of the details of all army matters, and so his appointment as chief of the Imperial General Staff after Sir John French's resignation in 1914 was widely acclaimed.
Lately, Douglas, has not been in the best of health.
Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener:
Born in Ireland, and educated at the Royal Military Academy, London. Kitchener joined in the Royal Engineers in 1871.
In 1890 he became commander in chief of the Egyptian army. Fluent in Arabic, Kitchener preferred the company of the Egyptians over the British. He began the reconquest of Sudan in 1896, culminating in the Battle of Omdurman and the reoccupation of Khartoum in 1898. He was then made governor of Sudan, having become a national hero.
In 1900, Kitchener was appointed chief of staff to Lord Roberts, British commander in the Boer War. When Roberts returned to England, Kitchener was left to deal with continuing Boer resistance. His ruthless measures—including the use of camps to imprison civilians—were much criticised.
Kitchener was promoted to the highest Army rank: Field marshal, in 1909, and in 1911, he became the proconsul of Egypt, serving there and in the Sudan.
President Raymond Poincaré:
Conservative leader, committed to political and social stability. Born in Meuse, Raymond Poincaré was the son of a deeply religious mother and a distinguished civil servant.
Educated at the University of Paris, he became the youngest lawyer in France. He successfully defended Jules Verne in a libel suit. At the age of 26, he became the youngest to be elected to the Chamber of Deputies.
In 1902, he co-founded the Democratic Republican Alliance—the most important centre-right party—, before becoming Prime Minister in 1912.
He attempts to wield influence from what is normally a figurehead role, being noted for his strongly anti-German attitudes, visiting Russia several times to repair Franco-Russian relations, which has become strained.
Poincaré is noted for his lifelong feud with Georges Clemenceau.
Prime Minister, René Viviani:
René Viviani was born in Algeria to a family of Italian immigrants. At an early age he associated himself with the Socialist party, soon becoming one of its most brilliant orators and prominent leaders. When the party was reorganized in 1904, Viviani, stayed outside, and thenceforth called himself an Independent Socialist.
In the spring of 1914 an exceptionally radical chamber was elected, and for a while it seemed that they would not be able to agree upon any one for Premier, but finally, he was appointed Prime Minister, by President Poincaré. He received a vote of confidence of 370 to 137.
He seeks to protect the rights of socialists and trade union workers.
Former-Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau:
His mother was Protestant; his father was an atheist. After his studies in the Lycée, he went to Paris to study medicine. In 1876, He stood for the Chamber of Deputies, joining the far left. His energy and mordant eloquence speedily made him the leader of the radical section.
In 1898, Clemenceau published Émile Zola's letter on the front page of his newspaper. Which would become a famous part of the Dreyfus Affair. In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus.
In 1906, the ministry fell as a result of civil disturbances. The new government led by Sarrien appointed Clemenceau as Minister of the Interior in the cabinet. He proved to be a tough leader, ordering the military against the miner’s strikers in Pas de Calais. When the Sarrien ministry then resigned in October, Clemenceau became Prime Minister.
During his office, he led the development of a new Entente cordiale with Britain, which gave France a successful role in European politics.
He was defeated in 1909 in a discussion in the Chamber of Deputies on the state of the navy, Refusing to respond to technical questions, Clemenceau resigned.
Commander-in-Chief, General Joseph Joffre:
Born in Rivesaltes, near the Spanish frontier, Joffre graduating from the École Polytechnique. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, he fought in the defense of Paris. Commissioned in the military engineers, he’s served mainly in colonial postings in Indochina, West Africa, and Madagascar.
In 1903, he returned to France from Madagascar to command the Thirteenth Brigade. 8 years later he was appointed chief of the French general staff, and thereby commander-in-chief in the event of war.
His limited command experience and the fact that he had never attended the École de guerre (School of war), virtually required for those who aspired to senior rank, made Joffre a surprise choice for commander in chief in 1911. He owed his promotion to his proven organizational abilities and the fact that his main rivals were eliminated for reasons of age or political opinions.
His Imperial Majesty, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia:
Nicholas was born in the Saint Petersburg, the eldest child of loving parents; Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia.
When his father died young an unprepared Nicholas became Tsar of Russia. He took the crown in 1896 and continued many of his father's conservative policies, including an alliance with France.
Determined to expand his empire in Asia, his efforts provoked Japan who attacked Russia in 1904. The Russian Baltic fleet was annihilated, the army was defeated and Nicholas was forced into peace negotiations.
In 1905, thousands of poor and starving workers organized a march to the Tsar's palace. As the marchers peacefully advanced, soldiers from the army stood guard and tried to block the bridge approaching the palace. The soldiers then fired into the crowd.
In the wake, the Russian people began to revolt against the Tsar's government. Forcing him to create a new government with an elected legislature, called the Duma.
Prime Minister, Ivan Goremykin:
Ivan Goremykin was born in 1839 into a noble family. A Russian lawyer with extreme conservative political views, Goremykin is a loyal supporter of Nicholas II and the autocracy.
He served as interior minister from 1895-99, showing little initiative in any of his posts, preferring inaction or delay on most policy matters, until he was forced out of office.
In April 1906, Nicholas II briefly appointed him chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister). The Tsar viewed Goremykin as a loyal functionary who would support the throne in dealings with the newly created state Duma. Having served his purpose, Goremykin was then dismissed.
In 1914, Goremykin is 74 and generally thought to be senile, Nicholas reappointed him chairman of the Council of Ministers, in which he obediently follows the orders of the Tsar.
His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Franz Joseph I:
Since his uncle, Emperor Ferdinand I was childless, Franz Joseph was groomed as heir-presumptive. his childhood was brief—at age 13 he had already taken up the position of colonel in the Austrian army, for which he fought on the Italian front. Before becoming Emperor at the early age of 18.
Austria lost the Second Italian War, and then the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, a defeat that helped trigger the Empire’s downfall. This resulted in the Emperor and Hungary forming a state of dualism, leaving Hungary’s internal issues to itself, and transforming the Austrian Empire into Austria-Hungary.
Having been pushed out of Italy and Germany, Austria-Hungary became increasingly active in the Balkans. This policy, however, placed them on a direct collision course with Russia, forcing them to seek support in Germany.
Franz Joseph has suffered numerous personal tragedies: The execution of his brother, the Emperor of Mexico, the suicide of his only son and heir, and the assassination of his wife.
His Imperial Highness, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (DECEASED):
Franz Ferdinand was born in Graz, Austria, the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria—the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
In 1889, Franz Ferdinand's life changed dramatically. His cousin Crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide at his hunting lodge in Mayerling. This left Franz Ferdinand's father, Karl Ludwig, as first in line to the throne. Karl Ludwig then died of typhoid fever a few years later. Henceforth, Franz Ferdinand was groomed to succeed the throne.
Franz Joseph I had little affection for his nephew, Franz Ferdinand, disapproving of the man himself, and of his marriage, which he considered below Ferdinand's rank.
On Sunday, 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Foreign Minister, Leopold Berchtold:
Born in Vienna on 1863 into a wealthy noble family. Count Berchtold is of wealthy means, owning tracts of land in Hungary and Moldavia; he is reputed to be one of Austria-Hungary's richest men.
In 1906, Berchtold was appointed as Ambassador to Russia. He served with distinction for five years in St. Petersburg and experienced Russia's distrust and fear of Vienna.
He held this post until 1911, when he became foreign minister. Berchtold has tried to maintain good relations with the Russian government, but the growing rivalry between the two powers over the Balkans undermines his efforts. Initially he looked for a peaceful solutions. But the growing aggressiveness of South Slav separatists, and Russia's increased efforts to eliminate Austria-Hungary's influence from the Balkans has forced him to reconsider his position and to listen more attentively to Conrad von Hötzendorf.
Chief of the General Staff, Field Marshall Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf:
Conrad was born in Vienna, to an Austrian officers' family.
After graduating from the military academy in 1876, he transferred to the General Staff Corps of the Austro-Hungarian Army.
By the time of his appointment as Chief of Staff for the Armed Might of Austria-Hungary at the suggestion of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in 1906, Conrad had established a reputation as a teacher and writer. Like other Austro-Hungarian officers of his generation, at the start of 1914, he had little direct combat experience, but had studied and written extensively about theory and tactics.
For years he has repeatedly called for preemptive war against Serbia to rescue the multiethnic Habsburg Empire, which, he believes, is nearing disintegration.
His Imperial Majesty, Kaiser Wilhelm II:
Born near Berlin in 1859, to Frederick III and Victoria, Queen Victoria of England's eldest daughter. Wilhelm was the Queen’s first grandchild and was genuinely fond of her; in fact, he was holding her in his arms when she died.
He was an intelligent child, but also possessed a violent temper. A difficult birth left him with a withered arm, which he always tried to conceal.
In 1888, the Year of Three Emperors, His grandfather and father both died, making Wilhelm emperor. He dismissed the country's famous chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 before launching Germany on a bellicose "New Course" to cement its status as a respected world power. This alienated Britain with its naval build-up and a policy of aggressive colonial expansion.
Wilhelm's most damaging personal blunder cost him much prestige, when he in a tactless interview with the Daily Telegraph, claimed that the Germans didn't like the British.
Germany is now surrounded by potential enemies.
Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg:
Born in 1856 to a Prussian political banking family, Bethmann Hollweg studied law before entering the civil service.
From 1905 to 1907 he served as Prussia’s Minister of Interior and took over a similar role for the whole of Germany in 1907—a post he held until 1909 when he was appointed Chancellor of Germany.
Bethmann-Hollweg is a loyal supporter of Wilhelm II and an experienced bureaucrat. However, he finds it difficult to control the admirals and generals who seemed to dominate the political scene.
Chief of the German General Staff, General Helmuth von Moltke the Younger:
von Moltke, born in 1848, was named after his uncle, renowned Prussian general von Moltke the Elder, a hero of the Unification of Germany.
He started his military career in 1869 and took part in the Franco-Prussian War between 1870-71.
Moltke rose rapidly in the German army, becoming adjutant in 1882 to his uncle and namesake, who was chief of the General Staff. On the death of his uncle, Moltke became aide-de-camp to Kaiser Wilhem II, thus becoming part of the Emperor's inner circle.
The personal friendship to the emperor, coupled with his great name, elevated him to offices for which he is completely unqualified. In 1903 Moltke became quartermaster general; three years later he succeeded Alfred von Schlieffen as chief of the General Staff.
Prussian Minister of War, General Erich von Falkenhayn:
Falkenhayn comes from a West-Prussian Junker family, where the military plays a dominant role. He entered cadet school at the young age of 11.
Having joined the army early Falkenhayn served as a military instructor to the Chinese army in 1899, where he remained until 1903. During the Chinese Boxer Rebellion he was a member of the German General staff, seeing action when the Allies marched to relieve besieged Peking.
Upon his return to Germany, Falkenhayn continued to serve on the German General staff, and was appointed Prussian Minister of War in 1913. In this role he and Helmuth von Moltke, frequently clash.
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE:
His Imperial Majesty, Sultan Mehmed V:
Mehmed V has lived a secluded life in the Topkapı Palace in Constantinople. For nine years he was in solitary confinement. During that time he studied poetry and is an acclaimed poet.
Mehmed Reşad became Sultan after his brother was forced to abdicate in 1909 after the Young Turk Revolution—which restored the Ottoman Constitution and Parliament. He is largely a figurehead with no real political power as a consequence. Especially after the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état—which brought power to the Three Pashas.
His reign has been marked by the cession of North African territories and the Dodecanese Islands, in the Italo-Turkish War, and the loss of almost all of the Empire's European territories west of Constantinople in the two Balkan Wars.
Minister of war, General Ismail Enver Pasha
On 1881 Enver Pasha was born of a Turkish father, and an Albanian mother. Joining the military, he was posted to Salonika, where he joined a secret antigovernment group.
In 1908, Enver, was one of three leaders of the Young Turk movement that rebelled against the Ottoman Sultan, joining General Şevket’s 'Army of Deliverance' in marching upon Constantinople. Forcing the Sultan to restore the constitution and abdicate.
The Young Turks established a government under Şevket but were nearly overthrown in 1909. Enver participated in both movements before returning to Berlin, where he had been serving as military attaché. He was awed by Prussian militarism and left in 1911 to join in the Turkish defense in Libya against the Italians.
Back in Constantinople, Enver lead the coup d’état of 1913, bringing full power to the Young Turks. A major purge followed, with Enver dismissing over 1,200 officers in one day alone. In early 1914, he made himself minister of war, a strategic position from which he enjoys immense power.
His Majesty, King Victor Emmanuel III:
Victor Emmanuel is the only child of Umberto I, King of Italy. On 29 July 1900, at age thirty, he ascended the throne following his father’s assassination. His early years showed evidence that he is a man committed to constitutional government.
Victor Emmanuel plays an important role in military affairs and foreign politics. He supported the campaign in Libya in 1911 and, despite reassuring Berlin and Vienna of Rome’s commitment to their Triple Alliance, he’s promoting a gradual reconciliation with the powers of the Entente.
The Italian monarch has a personal antipathy for Wilhelm II, and he does not trust the Austro-Hungarians either, feeling treated more like a client than an ally.
Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra:
Born in Troia to a wealthy family, he graduated from the University of Naples in 1875 and became instructor and later professor of administrative law at the University of Rome.
As a conservative, he rose to become minister of agriculture in 1899 and finance minister in 1906, before taking office as Prime Minister in the spring of 1914, in the wake of a political crisis and with shortages that was caused by the Turkish war of 1911-12.
Salandra is seen by many as merely a stop-gap premier.