The First World War and its aftermath changed the world forever. The Rothschild family, who through their businesses and marriages had helped to create 'modern' Europe were deeply affected by the crisis facing the world.
Like royalty, the Rothschilds were forced to abjure family solidarity and to give their loyalty to the countries of their adoption (England, France, Austria and Germany). The family branches in London, Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt did what they could to support the war effort.
Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) wrote to his cousins in France shortly after War was declared on July 28th:
4th Aug 1914
My dear Cousins,
I hope that our letter of yesterday reached you safely and needless to say that I hope that these lines also will reach their destination...in the meanwhile we have not had the pleasure of hearing from you and we hope that the explanation is that you have not had anything very particular to communicate to us – as regards business as we wrote to you yesterday the Banks will not open before next Friday and such being the case there will be plenty of time to discuss the various financial suggestions which have been put forward, the Stock Exchange being also closed, but in this case until further notice there is in reality nothing to be said about business in any shape or form whatsoever so I am afraid that until the end of the week we shall not be in a position to tell you exactlywhat is taking place either as regards the moratorium so much desired by the Bankers, nor the issue of small notes which the Bankers are claiming for and which they say would materially aid the present situation. As regards military news of importance there is no doubt that the Germans have invaded Belgian territory and as that is an act which England could never tolerate the English Government will no doubt inform the German Government to that effect either to-night or tomorrow. I am happy to say that Charlie and his family arrived quite safely yesterday afternoon from the Continent and I am also very pleased to tell you that Marie crossed from Ostend to-day and will be here very shortly. Leo’s three boys who are in the Yeomanry have been called upon to form their regiment so you see my dear Cousins, with us as with you, everyone is called upon to do his duty and in this very painful episode it is at all costs satisfactory to know that you and ourselves are standing shoulder to shoulder.
Always yours with affection,
Read more about their activities of The Rothschild family during the war here...