I am not afraid of responsibility at all, I don’t have personal goals and I don’t seek fame; I have only one goal, which I want to achieve with all my soul – to save Russia from collapse, which will be unavoidable should we lose the war... I have a deep-rooted belief that we will be victorious and we will emerge from this titanic war with honour... Everything will be fine... I think.
Strictly speaking, everything has remained the same as it was during the reign of Nicholas II, only then it was one weak leader doing as Rasputin ordered, whereas now there are several incompetents following the orders of the Council of Workers’ and Solders’ Deputies. See more
The only significant difference is that the fate of Russia was once determined by one scoundrel, Rasputin; now it is determined by hundreds of them – “dogs and predatory deputies”.
At lunch in the Army Staff we had a visit from a revolutionary doctor, who, on account of his political opinions, had been promoted from the post of junior doctor in a hospital to be P.M.O. of the whole front. He spoke of Lenin as of a "clean-minded idealist". See more
We all attacked him on the question of discipline and the folly of abolishing the death penalty. He was a simple idealist with no practical acquaintance with the every-day routine of the control of troops, many of whom are naturally cowards, in action. He quoted with pride, as an example of his method of appealing to the better feelings of the men, one of his orders, which ended: "I demand, I beg, I hope that this order will be carried out". Damned ass!
The G.R.E. of the front, General Velichko, came to supper. He told an anecdote to illustrate the difficulty of getting money out of the Government. A lieutenant-colonel spent Rs.7.50 of his own money and claimed refund from Government. The correspondence continued for eight years. The officer retired, but being a man of strong principle, still continued to agitate. At last he took to his death-bed, and when he was already unconscious a letter came to say that he was "the creditor of Government for Rs.7.50". The decision came too late to afford the dying man any pleasure, but the widow, imagining the formula to which she was unaccustomed to be some tardy recognition by Government of her husband’s life-work, wrote on his tombstone: "Here rest the ashes of Lieutenant-Colonel, Creditor of the Russian Government".
Up to this we only had two clay walls to look at. But now our interminable and tropical walk was lightened by the sight of a British aeroplane sailing overhead. Numerous shrapnel bursts were all around it, but she floated on serenely, a thing of delicate beauty against the blue background. See more
Now another passed—and yet another. All the morning we saw them circling and swooping, and never a sign of a Boche. They told me it was nearly always so—that we held the air, and that the Boche intruder, save at early morning, was a rare bird. "We have never met a British aeroplane which was not ready to fight," said a captured German aviator. There was a fine, stern courtesy between the airmen on either side, each dropping notes into the other's aerodromes to tell the fate of missing officers. Had the whole war been fought by the Germans as their airmen conducted it (I do not speak, of course, of the Zeppelin murderers), a peace would eventually have been more easily arranged.