The future King Edward VII with HM Queen Victoria
[laptop-built, view on narrow browser window]

[l. the Prince of Wales, c. HM Queen Victoria, r. the Prince's wife Alexandra]
"Suddenly, there's an outburst of cheering wherever he [King Edward VII] goes. There's a sort of a real sense that he's one of them.

"You need to remember that no English politician spoke French like that. None of them knew Paris like that. And that is critically important in causing a huge change in French opinion."
Jane Ridley, biographer, King Edward VII.

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References
Page 2: Foreign Secretary Edward Grey: Balkans Crisis Arbitration 1903-1914
1914: A general willingness to believe "war was something that was not going to happen in Europe."
Page 3: "Caught Looking": Physical Working Models
of European/British Response to June 28-July 1914 Crisis

Historians on Causes of World War I
Foreign Secretary Edward Grey: Delayed Telegrams June-July 1914
Foreign Secretary Edward Grey on the June 28-July 1914 Crisis
Winston Churchill on the June 28-July 1914 Crisis
June 28-July 1914: The Tactic of Timidity
Ambiguous Defensive/Offensive Military Preparations
June 29th-July 1914, Wagons-Lits to the French Riviera
Switzerland: Europe's Strongest Neutral Armed-Power and the June 28-July 1914 Balkans Crisis

Post-WWI:
July 16, 1945: Trinity
Effects of Atomic Detonations: Hiroshima, Nagasaki
Japan: Feasibility of Atomic Demonstration-Test in 1945
USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress


In 1903, all by himself, from deep inside the capitol of a notoriously unfriendly country, a consummately unflappable British King re-invented the diplomatic arts so suddenly as to leave everyone agog. At 19:45-22:26:

"Britain need allies. Finding them wasn't going to be easy. The recent war in South Africa against the Boers had made Britain highly unpopular in Europe. But the King had a plan. In May 1903, he set out on a mission of diplomacy to one of the favorite haunts of his youth: Paris.

"Bertie [King Edward VII] didn't tell them his plans. He makes this completely secret agenda. He didn't even tell his [foreign] secretaries. And when the royal train arrives, and Bertie gets out at the station, he's met with incredibly hostile French crowds.

"Bertie turns up in Paris, a place where the British are incredibly unpopular at the time. And when he arrives, he is booed. There are newspaper editorials saying 'Go back to England', and basically listing every English insult since...the burning of Joan of Arc.

"Faced with a French mob, the English King's love of Parisian culture and women was about to pay dividends.

"He goes to the theatre. And the audience in the theatre is incredibly sort of unfriendly and sullen. And to the dismay of the French police, the King insists during the...interval of going into the foyer. And he spots an actress. And he goes up to her. And kisses her hand. And says 'Mademoiselle, when I last saw you in London you were superb.'

"Edward really does have sort of the magic touch. Immediately the kind of rumor mill in Paris puts this out he had been incredibly charming to this famous actress. The next day he walks out into the crowd. He shakes hands. He says he loves Paris. He looks happy. He charms the pants off the French. The mood changes like [snaps fingers] this...it just flips.

"Suddenly, there's an outburst of cheering wherever he goes. There's a sort of a real sense that he's one of them. You need to remember that no English politician spoke French like that. None of them knew Paris like that. And that is critically important in causing a huge change in French opinion.


[King Edward VII reviews French regimental flags at Vinecennes, France, 1903]

"The King's weakness for French wine, woman & song had helped pave the way for a crucial strategic alliance with the old enemy." [italics added]

That has to be one of the most successful diplomatic turnarounds of all-time - inside perhaps 24 hours turning a sworn ancient enemy 180 degrees into a cheering mass of fans. France and Britain had been at each other's throats for centuries. How could this have happened so suddenly? Was this not precisely what Europe/Britain needed before June 28, 1914 showed up?

(King Edward VII's brilliant success in turning one of Britain's longest-running and most hostile enemies into a cheering nation of fans - unfortunately, this is exactly what Foreign Secretary Edward Grey could never do even if he had a million years to do it. Most regrettably, the foreign secretary was not a fan of traveling anywhere in Europe).

The biographer of King Edward VII, Jane Ridley, strikes the singular most important point:

"You need to remember that no English politician spoke French like that. None of them knew Paris like that. And that is critically important in causing a huge change in French opinion."

This absolutely key fact of HM King Edward VII's staggeringly successful 180--degree-diplomatic-turnaround in Paris would rise to literally stratospheric importance beginning June 28-July 1914, when what was desperately needed more than anything else was the exact same thing: an equally huge change in opinion in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia & France (and possibly Britain).

King Edward VII - Part 2, Jun 1, 2011.
Biographers Jane Ridley, Miranda Carter, et. al. at 19:45-22:26.

See also: Bertie: A Life of Edward VII: Jane Ridley, 2012, at 376-394.

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July 2019 - 2020