A letter to the editor from the 8 August 1914 Spectator, from Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer:

‘Sir, – A septuagenarian may perhaps profitably remind his countrymen of events which happened some fifty years ago, and of which the present generation may possibly be unmindful. In 1866 Napoleon III. allowed himself to be lulled into security by Prussian assurances, and stood aside whilst Austria was crushed at Sadowa. He paid dearly for his neglect four years later at Sedan. Had we declined to stand by the gallant French nation in the present emergency, not only should we have rightly incurred the scorn and derision of the civilised world, but infallibly, should the Germans have succeeded in crushing the French and the Russians, they would have endeavoured to prepare a Sedan for us before the lapse of many years. The analogy appears to me to be striking. – I am, Sir, &c,
36 Wimpole Street, W.’

Tags: Napoleon, Russia, The Spectator at war, World War One