The state was falling apart like a handful of clay. The provinces were not responding to Petrograd’s orders, and no one knew on what they were living and what calamities were there daily occurring. The Army was rapidly melting away at the front. The thunderous collapse of the old regime increased until it reached a deafening roar. The idyllic optimism of the first days of the revolution has passed. Entire worlds have cracked and fallen apart.
We seriously discussed one of Cocteau’s proposals – a ballet that incorporated elements of a circus and a music hall. We decided to set up one of the stages in front of a circus tent and to cast acrobats, ropewalkers and magicians, as well as to merge choreographic forms with elements of jazz and a cinematic touch. See more
Picasso was delighted by the idea and proposed to make costumes in a cubist style – cubism was booming back then. He quickly produced several rough drafts. The most astonishing ones featured Picasso depicting a french and an american manager as billboards, showcasing the vulgarity of businessmen and of a particular form of showbusiness. For the Americans he came up with a collage – a skyscraper, a mosaic made out of faces, and a prominent inscription which read ‘Parade’; this later became the name of the play.
The circus theme lit our imaginations from the very beginning. For the front curtain he came up with a magnificent picture, which fully conveyed the charm and camaraderie of circus life – it featured ropewalkers and a flying horse with a ballerina standing on its back. He was very concerned about that stage curtain, and while the assistants worked on it with large brushes, Picasso himself carefully painted the smaller details with a tiny toothbrush.
Tasks for the Chairman of the Earth:
The time tabling of the capitals. The transformation of weights and letters. The foretelling of the future. The measuring of work by the beat of the human heart. The death of all languages that resemble the bird’s claw (an unnecessary hangover from antiquity, the claw of times past). Man as a point in space and time.
Milyukov remarked to me this morning with a wry face: "You socialists aren't exactly making my task easier!"
Then he told me that Kerensky had boasted to the Soviet of having converted everyone, not excepting Albert Thomas, to his own views, and already thinks himself sole director in matters of foreign policy. See more
"Have you heard of the trick he's just played me?" he added. "He has got the press to announce, in the form of an official ' communiqué, that the Provisional Government is drafting a note to the Allied Powers, stating in clear and unmistakable language its views on war aims. So it was through the papers that I, the Foreign Minister, first heard of this alleged decision of the Provisional Government. That's the way I'm treated! They are obviously trying to force my hand. I shall bring the matter up before the Council of Ministers to-night!"
I made the best excuses I could for the behaviour of the socialist deputies and said that they were inspired solely by the idea of smoothing away difficulties.
An hour later I rejoined Albert Thomas at the Embassy and found Kokovtsov who had come for lunch. As on the previous evening, Thomas regaled us on anecdotes from the turbulent period of his political past. But his memories of the incidents he talked about were even more detailed and challenging. He not only tried to avoid the appearance of disowning his past actions but tried to demonstrate that, although he is now a minister of the Government of the Republic, it is as a representative of the Socialist Party. Kokovtsov, who is always politeness itself, took little pleasure in these stories which revolted his instinctive feeling for order and discipline and his reverence for tradition and the hierarchical constitution of society.
After they left me, I thought over the new line which, it is becoming increasingly clear, Albert Thomas means his mission to take, and I decided to send Ribot the following telegram:
If, as I very much fear, the Russian Government asks us to revise our previous agreements about peace terms, it is my opinion that we must not hesitate to tell them that we stand firmly by those agreements and insist once more on our determination to continue the war to full and final victory.
If we do not refuse to enter into the negotiations into which the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, and M. Kerensky himself, hope to inveigle us, the consequences may well be irreparable.
The first effect would be to undermine all confidence in those members of the Provisional Government such as Prince Lvov, M. Gutchkov, M. Miliukov, M. Shingarev, etc., who are struggling so heroically to revive Russian patriotism and save the Alliance. We should also paralyse the forces in the rest of the country and the army which have not yet been contaminated by pacifist propaganda. These forces are very slow in reacting against the despotic preponderance of Petrograd because they are ill-organized and scattered, but they are none the less a reserve of national energy which may have an enormous influence on the course of the war.
The determined attitude which I am taking the liberty of recommending to you admittedly involves some risk, in the last resort, of the rupture of the Alliance. But, however serious that eventuality may be, I prefer it to the consequences of the doubtful negotiations which, so I am informed, the Socialist Party is preparing to propose to us. The fact is that, even supposing we had to continue the war without Russia's help, we should be in a position to make our victory yield us a harvest of highly profitable advantages at the expense of our defaulting ally. That prospect is already very seriously agitating a large number of Russian patriots. And if we take the opposite course, I am apprehensive that the Petrograd Soviet will promptly assume control of affairs and, with the complicity of the pacifists of all nations, force a general peace upon us.
Before despatching this telegram, I thought it my duty to read it to Albert Thomas, so I went to see him before dinner at the Hôtel de l'Europe.
He listened, but without surprise as he knows what my views are; but no sooner had I begun than a hard and uncompromising look came into his eyes. When I had finished, he remarked in snappy tones:
"I entirely disagree with you. Are you absolutely set on sending this telegram?"
"Yes; I've thought over it very carefully."
"All right! Send it! But it will be your last!"
I told him that until I was officially relieved of my post it was my duty to supply the Government with information. All that I could do not to impede his mission was to refrain from any kind of action. I added:
"I am sure that the course you are taking is wrong. So when we are talking as man to man, I try to convince you of the mistake and tell you everything that is in my mind. But in conversation with third parties, I assure you I always endeavour to present your views in the best possible light."
"I know you do, and I'm very grateful for it."
As we were separating, he pointed to some books on his table which included some volumes of poems by Alfred de Vigny:
"Those books, he said, are my regular travelling companions. You see what good taste I have."
We parted with a friendly handshake.
During the night it got cold, down to 3 degrees above frost; and the day became cold and unpleasant with a wind. I took a walk for an hour with Dolgorukov, as every morning. During the day I took a walk with Tatiana and Alix's staff but without Alix. Until dinner I read, and in the evening I read aloud to the children until 11 o'clock.
The Liberal Government in Russia is visibly threatened by a formidable counter-revolutionary unrest, which has not yet mobilized into a movement but is being skillfully marshaled by German agents. Many of these agents are Russian Socialists who act with full knowledge of what they are doing and who is to benefit. Alone they could do nothing but they have the advantage of a real background. It is a background of ignorance, it is true, but none of less to be reckoned with all that. See more
The counter-revolutionary feeling does not seem as yet to have any ingredient of royalism. Neither is is socialistic in its most menacing manifestations, for, busy as socialism is, it has not made enough headway among the immense masses of Russia to impregnate their thoughts. It is agrarian. The landless rustics seem only now to have learned that there has been a revolution, and they interpret this as meaning that the time has come when seven halfpenny loaves shall be sold for a penny, when the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops, when it shall be a felony to drink small beer, and when all the realm shall be in common. Accordingly, in some parts of Russia, they are taking possession of the land and driving the landlords out. Their leaders strive to control them.[...]
The army, which has been the mainstay of the revolution, has been trusted so far, and if it were left to itself it could be counted upon. Here is where German agents are at work. By spreading false reports they seek to confuse the understanding of the soldiers. One particularly ingenious German trick, employed by the native Russian agents of Germany who masquerade as Socialists, has been to tell the soldiers that the land was being divided and that they would lose their share if they did not go home at once. [...]
If the German agents and the Socialists and agrarian agitators can produce a new revolution, they will bring about the wreck of Russia’s hope of liberty. The first result will be anarchy, in which each party will struggle for the control of the Government, each in its turn be overthrown, and out of chaos will come the Man on Horseback. He may be a Romanoff or a new Napoleon, or simply a Huerta, but whatever he is, he will not come at once, not until the land has been exhausted by anarchy and civil war. It is for this the whole force of spies, traitors, and tempters whom Germany has poured into Russia are working with feverish haste. They have for their field a country most of whose population is simple-minded and stirred by the memory of ancient oppression which they are likely to attribute not alone to autocracy, but government of any kind.
This is the mighty disaster which the broad-minded Liberals now in control in Russia are working with might and main to avert. The hearts of all lovers of liberty will go out to them, and this country will give them its help in whatever form it may be most needed. The destruction of Russia’s new-found liberty would be a calamity to the human race.
In Petrograd the output of the month March 13th to April 13th showed signs of falling by from one-third to two-thirds of the output of February. If factories