Tsar appoints himself commander-in-chief

Letter from General Hanbury-Williams to the war secretary Lord Kitchener on Tsar Nicholas II's decision to appoint himself commander-in-chief of the Russian army, 30 August 1915.

Following the disastrous retreat of the Russian army on the Eastern Front during the spring and summer of 1915, Nicholas II sacked his uncle Grand Duke Nicholas and appointed himself commander-in-chief of the Russian army. In this letter from General Hanbury-Williams, the British military representative at Russian army headquarters, the tsar's decision is characterised as 'a grave error of judgement'. The Grand Duke's peremptory demotion to the governorship of the Caucasus is compared with the removal of Lord Roberts from his post as commander-in-chief of the British army in 1904.
P-RO 30/57/67 (30 Aug 1915)

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