I have started my reading of The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman today. I hadn't planned on starting this yet, but don't want to fall too far behind the group I am reading it with. This post sums up the first chapter of the book, titled "A Funeral".
King Edward VII of England spent his time prior to taking the throne in 1901 schmoozing his way around the world. He was known as a playboy prince, much to the dislike of his mother, Queen Victoria. His time attending various political functions seems to have allowed him to become a well liked figure and even allowed him to turn the tides of people against him to his favor. When he visited France in 1903 he entered the city under a silence with derogatory remarks thrown his way. When he left they were chanting "Vive notre roi!" (Long live our king).
Edward was known as the "Uncle of England", as he was related to almost every other European monarch in some fashion. William II, Germany's Emporer, was his nephew and bitterly disliked Edward VII. William felt Berlin [Germany] was unfairly looked over by world as nobody would make official visits to the city and everyone would flock to Paris. He viewed Edward as his bane, "he is Satan." (p 2)
Edward worked to form an alliance between Russia, France and the Great Britian in 1907 at the Anglo-Russian Convention. This was to ease tensions between the three regarding the struggle for power over land in Persia and Central Asia. Further exasperating William's feeling of being over-run, encircled and disrespected. There is great debate as to the level of importance this treaty caused in the start of World War I. The poster to the right shows how Russia ultimately felt, represented by the lady in the center holding the Orthodox Cross. While, Marianne (French national emblem) on the left and Britannia (female personification of the island) on the right look up to Mother Russia. They each hold one of the symbols of faith (cross), hope (anchor) and heart (charity). The background depicts a battle scene.