Peace Palace

Call of the Tsar

On 24 August 1898, at the weekly Foreign Ministry reception in St Petersburg, the ambassadors of major countries and ministers were presented with a written decree from the Russian Court. In the decree, the tsar invited governments to attend an international conference on peace and disarmament. The tsar believed that this conference would promote the prosperity and progress of mankind. The governments needed to come closer together because the hostility and division that prevailed at the time was not helping mutual understanding.

At first, his appeal was met with a great deal of disbelief. After all, Nicholas II, like other European leaders, was actually working to build up his military power. It was only after the United States responded positively that the Russian initiative gained momentum. At Russia’s request, The Hague was chosen as the venue for this first peace conference.

At the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899, 26 countries met to discuss disarmament and the possibility of international justice, which led to the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.