Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Final Chapter => Topic started by: NicolasG on April 08, 2016, 03:54:37 PM

Title: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 08, 2016, 03:54:37 PM
Hello,

This is my first post and I am afraid that my English is not better than the Grand Duchesses' when they were 7. Nicolas is my real (family) name, not any kind of tribute to the Tsar.

I have finished reading "Ekaterinburg", by Helen Rappaport and what I found most interesting in the book was the attempts to save the Imperial families done by the European royal families (most of them, their relatives). Whereas the British monarch George V (Nicholas II's cousin who looked like his twin brother) does not play a very honourable role, King Alfonso XIII of Spain (a remote relative through his wife, Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg, a cousin of Empress Alexandra's) made any possible effort, up to offer to send a ship of the Spanish Navy to collect Nicholas II and his family and asylum in Spain (this does not appear in Helen Rappaport's book, it is from a Spanish article), in the middle of a World War, with European waters filled with mines and German submarines which sunk neutral ships. And with a lot of revolutionary agitation and violence going on in Spain (George V supposedly withdrew his offer of asylum to the Imperial family because of the opposition of the "public opinion", that is, a handful of angry articles in the press).

Victoria, Alexandra's eldest sister, Louis of Battenberg (then Mountbatten)'s wife, aknowledged the generosity of the Spanish King:

[This is my translation from the Spanish translation of the English original, so I suppose it sounds a bit weird

"Dear Alfonso,
Now that there is unfortunately nothing to hope for my dear sister and his children [The bolshevists had initially acknowledged the murder of the Tsar, but they have said that the Empress and her children were alive in this life, now that it is clear that death has liberated them from further suffering, passing from the cruel hands of men to those of Fair and Generous God, I fell that I must send you some lines to heartfeltly thank you for everything you have tried to do to save them from their enemies.
The King that had a more direct influence on the revolutionary government in Russia [the Provisional Government, after the February Revolution, the King who had met my sister when she was a child, the King who had the same blood in his veins, I am afraid that he abandoned her in her hour of need, whereas you, to whom in comparison she and her family were strangers, strived to help them. I will never forget the gratitude I owe you for that."

Does anyone has more information about any other attempts (the Danish royal family, the Vatican. They are mentioned in Rappaport's book) to save the Imperial family?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 09, 2016, 04:30:24 AM
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 09, 2016, 05:52:53 AM
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.

1. " a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy ." "Despots", nice word. Wilson's war "to make the world safe for democracy" ended up with a string of dictatorships springing up in Europe: the Soviet Union, Italy, Poland, Hungary and finally Germany. Anyway, regarding the "radicalized population".  Spain in 1917 suffered a wave of revolutionary violence, strikes and anarchist murders unlike anything that has happened in Britain in the last 100 years, since the Luddite movement. And King Alfonso XIII of Spain offered asylum to the Imperial family (without asking them to pay for their stay in advance).

2. "Nicholas II had a German wife". George V had a German father-in-law and a German grandfather. He belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He started WWI with a German prince, Louis of Battenberg, as the head of the Royal Navy (First Sea Lord).

3. "Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public." The Provisional Government offered to pay their expenses. Anyway, they would only have to "unfreeze" some of the assets the Romanovs owned in Russia and that would be enough to support the kind of simple life that they would have led in Britain.

4. " England wasn't the only option". When Alfonso XIII started their efforts to save the Imperial family he was told that Britain was already in charge of them. We know the result. England was the logical option, as a Monarchy and an ally.

5. "Self-preservation kicked in". If I had been in George V's shoes I might have done the same (I hope not), but a king is supposed to have the task to be an example, as an officer who leads infantry men into battle. King Alfonso XIII of Spain behaved himself as a real gentleman, as anything that a king should be. George V didn't. That was Victoria Mountbatten's (Alexandra eldest sister) assesment and I think it is right.

 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 09, 2016, 10:46:27 AM
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.

1. " a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy ." "Despots", nice word. Wilson's war "to make the world safe for democracy" ended up with a string of dictatorships springing up in Europe: the Soviet Union, Italy, Poland, Hungary and finally Germany. Anyway, regarding the "radicalized population".  Spain in 1917 suffered a wave of revolutionary violence, strikes and anarchist murders unlike anything that has happened in Britain in the last 100 years, since the Luddite movement. And King Alfonso XIII of Spain offered asylum to the Imperial family (without asking them to pay for their stay in advance).

The short term effects were that many countries DID become democracies and achieved national self-determination post war , or enacted progressive legislation (Britain) . The rise in dictatorships in the 20's and 30's were caused by many different factors  - the financial crash , inept governments , nationalism , scapegoating . It doesn't alter the fact that millions wanted social change and democracy after the experiences and effects  of war . That yearning , as well as the fall of the Royal Houses of Europe, gave them the opportunity to create it. What happened later isn't that relevant to this fundamental truth.

2. "Nicholas II had a German wife". George V had a German father-in-law and a German grandfather. He belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He started WWI with a German prince, Louis of Battenberg, as the head of the Royal Navy (First Sea Lord).

Yes and more than that , George V had a German wife just like Nicholas II . George , as part of a campaign to distance himself from his substantial links to Germany , changed the name of the house of Saxe Coburg Gotha to Windsor , and removed some German dynastic flags from St Georges Chapel . This happened during the war . Anti-German feeling in Britain was running incredibly high for obvious reasons and George was eager to appease the public and make the Royal Family 'more British sounding' . The Battenbergs changed their name to Mountbatten for the same reasons .

3. "Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public." The Provisional Government offered to pay their expenses. Anyway, they would only have to "unfreeze" some of the assets the Romanovs owned in Russia and that would be enough to support the kind of simple life that they would have led in Britain.

 Resistance to the idea of receiving the Romanovs was political first ( by a wide margin) , financial second.

4. " England wasn't the only option". When Alfonso XIII started their efforts to save the Imperial family he was told that Britain was already in charge of them. We know the result. England was the logical option, as a Monarchy and an ally.

Still , England wasn't the only option , many others were floated , some far more practical .  England was likely the desired one after they realised staying in Russia , namely Livadia , was not going to happen. Agreeing to transfer the family from Petrograd to England during war and revolution is easier said than done, even if George had agreed to accept them. The children being seriously ill scuppered any chances of a speedy escape abroad anyway .

5. "Self-preservation kicked in". If I had been in George V's shoes I might have done the same (I hope not), but a king is supposed to have the task to be an example, as an officer who leads infantry men into battle. King Alfonso XIII of Spain behaved himself as a real gentleman, as anything that a king should be. George V didn't. That was Victoria Mountbatten's (Alexandra eldest sister) assesment and I think it is right.

People don't always act bravely , nor can they accurately predict the consequences of their decisions . Nicky and Alix certainly couldn't , and George was no different.

 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 09, 2016, 10:48:23 AM
Messed that post up but you get the general idea  ;)
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 09, 2016, 03:38:24 PM
You used the word "despots" to describe the rulers of several countries before WWI. I replied that real despotism appeared in Europe after WWI, the war which was going to be the end of all war and make the world safe for democracy. An Imperial Germany (I mean the Hohenzollern one, the racist-pagan Hitlerite pseudo-Third Empire does not count) might be coarse and militaristic, but it would have never committed the Holocaust. An Imperial Russia might be autocratic, but it would have never created the GULAG or deliberately starved millions to death.

Ideas do not exist in vacuum, in some kind of sterile, pure environment. Ideas have real consequences.

AI "I support national self-determination."

ER "Oh, you want to see neighbours who lived peacefully in the same country at each other's throat."

AI  "Of course not, I am against nationalism."

ER "So what are you going to do to avoid it?"

AI "I don't know"

Regarding George V. "All attempts were bound to fail" sounds like a lame excuse when no serious attempt was made. George V decided to appease the gutter press that appeals to the lower instincts of the crowd. He washed his hands. He decided that a minimal risk for himself was far more important than a huge risk for Nicholas II and his family, 5 women and a teenager who was seriously ill. The same George V who signed the letters that he adressed to Nicholas II with the formula "your most devoted cousin and friend". If his role in the Romanov tragedy was hidden during decades and Lloyd George had to take the blame, there's a reason.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 09, 2016, 03:40:14 PM
In my previous post AI stands for "American Idealist" and ER for "European Realist".
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on April 09, 2016, 06:29:54 PM
In April 1919 there was another British attempt to save the surviving members of the Russian Imperial Family.  That time it was successful,

See http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/marlborough.html .
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on April 09, 2016, 07:42:47 PM
For a more complete list of survivors of the Imperial Family and how they escaped from Russia you might be interested in
http://www.angelfire.com/pa/ImperialRussian/royalty/russia/survivor.html
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 10, 2016, 04:56:04 AM
You used the word "despots" to describe the rulers of several countries before WWI. I replied that real despotism appeared in Europe after WWI, the war which was going to be the end of all war and make the world safe for democracy. An Imperial Germany (I mean the Hohenzollern one, the racist-pagan Hitlerite pseudo-Third Empire does not count) might be coarse and militaristic, but it would have never committed the Holocaust. An Imperial Russia might be autocratic, but it would have never created the GULAG or deliberately starved millions to death.

Ideas do not exist in vacuum, in some kind of sterile, pure environment. Ideas have real consequences.

AI "I support national self-determination."

ER "Oh, you want to see neighbours who lived peacefully in the same country at each other's throat."

AI  "Of course not, I am against nationalism."

ER "So what are you going to do to avoid it?"

AI "I don't know"

Regarding George V. "All attempts were bound to fail" sounds like a lame excuse when no serious attempt was made. George V decided to appease the gutter press that appeals to the lower instincts of the crowd. He washed his hands. He decided that a minimal risk for himself was far more important than a huge risk for Nicholas II and his family, 5 women and a teenager who was seriously ill. The same George V who signed the letters that he adressed to Nicholas II with the formula "your most devoted cousin and friend". If his role in the Romanov tragedy was hidden during decades and Lloyd George had to take the blame, there's a reason.

Despotism by definition doesn't neccessarily mean oppression and violence  . The Tsarist regime went way beyond mere despotism. If you are absolute ruler and also head of the national religion , and shut down democratic institutions , then you resemble a medieval tyrant  . Add the Black Hundreds , pogroms, exile of political opponents , no free press .... Nicholas was on the wrong side of history, as was Franz Josef and the Kaiser. Nicholas was given ample warning of Russia's demands for change - the 1905 revolution , which not by coincidence , followed a disastrous war.

On Germany ; Kaiser Wilhelm was an unrestrained anti-semite , at least he was later in life ; his letters are full of paranoid ramblings on the subject . You say ideas do not exist in a vacuum - very true. The holocaust didn't happen in a vacuum either - most of the people who committed those crimes came out of the former German Empire and former Tsarist Russian Empire (Balts , Ukrainians etc) where anti-semitism flourished , and we all know pogroms happened under Nicholas. A long tradition of such violence and prejudice existed before WW2.

Regarding Russia ,what followed the Tsar was indeed far worse . Russia exchanged one tyrant for another , but that was not the democratic will of the people, nor did it happen overnight without an almighty struggle through civil war. Not being as bad as Bolshevik rule is not a reasonable defence of Tsarist Russia.

I repeat that many countries DID make the transition to functioning democracies after WW1 , and many that were already democratic enacted social legislation post-War. The fact that some countries later descended into fascism had little to do with democratic procedures ; tyrants gained power through civil war  and political manouevering in the face of economic woes and fear of communism , not usually by democratic means . Hitler didn't even have half the popular vote in 1933 when he was basically handed power by a conservative political clique.

I don't defend George V.  I understand his reasons for rejecting the Tsar - I don't claim he was right to do so.

And I absolutely support the right to national self determination, but I find nationalism extremely tiresome . Big difference.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 10, 2016, 10:03:57 AM
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

If you allow me an aside, I find again in your last post the same kind of language and cliches that I would expect from a liberal American professor.

"Medieval tyrant" - somehow the age of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Louis of France, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary [I'm still waiting for the president of a republic or the first lady who washes the feet of beggars or kisses the sores of lepers, Chartres Cathedral, Giotto, Dante, Le Morte d'Arthur... is a synonym of darkness, whereas the 20th century, the century of Holodomor, Auschwitz, the GULAG, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the killing fields of Cambodia... is a bright century of progress.

"Nicholas was of the wrong side of history, as was Franz Josef and the Kaiser". I like your historical determinism: everything that happened was bound to happen, History is a stream that flows in a certain direction and you cannot oppose it. Kind of marxism or Fukuyama-style liberalism.

Regarding antisemitism and pogroms. If I said that Woodrow Wilson or FDR tolerated or promoted the lynching of blacks in the Southern States of the USA or the Ku Kux Klan, you would correctly reply that's slander because there is no base to make that claim. And Wilson and FDR were presidents when those crimes took places. And the governors of the States where those crimes took place (and where discriminatory- racist laws against blacks were enforced) belonged to the same political party of Wilson and FDR. But somehow when we discuss the tsarist regime we can allow us to use different standards, can't we?

In a letter to Kostantin Romanov (14.09.1912), Nicholas II writes that he shares the opinion of the Holy Synod that KR's play The King of Judea cannot be publicly staged because the theme (Christ's Passion) might provoke pogroms. That is not the behaviour of a hatemonger.

The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

As I have said the situation was unfair and probably laws against Jews would have been done away with or at least ameliorated if Nicholas II had not had to contend with a revolutionary movement, a World War and irresponsible Duma politicians.

A letter of Alexandra to Nicholas dated 7.04.1916 (emphasis is mine):

"I send you the petition of one of Aunt Olga's wounded men. He is a Jew. Has lived since 10 years in America. He was wounded and lost his left arm on the Carpathians. The wound has healed well, but he suffers fearfully morally as in August he must leave, and loses the right of living in either the capital or other big town. He is living in town only on the strength of a special permit, which a previous minister of the Interior gave him for one year. And he find work in a big town.

His English is wondefully good. I read a letter of his to little Vera's English governess and Aunt Olga says he is a man with good education, so to speak. 10 years ago he left for the United States to find the opportunity to become a useful member of human society to the fullest extend of his capacities, as here it is difficult for a Jew who is always hampered by legislative restrictions. Tho' in America, he never forgot Russia and suffered much from homesickness and the moment the war broke out he flew here to enlist as soldier to defend his country.

Now that he lost his arm seving in our amy, got the St George Medal, he longs to remain here and have the right to live wherever he pleases in Russia, a right the Jews don't possess. As soon as discharged from the army, as a criplle, he find things have remained the same as before, and his headlong rush home to fight, and loss of his arm has brought him no gain. One sees the bitterness, and I fully grasp it - surely such a man ought to be treated the same as any other soldier who received such a wound. He was not obligued to fly over here at once. Tho' he is a Jew, one would like him to be justly treated and not different t the others with similar losses of limb.

With his knowledge of English and learning he could easier gain his bread in a big town of course; and one ought not let him become more bitter and feel the cruelty of his old country. To me it seems hard upon all - it's so cruel to my mind. The bad ones can be severely punished. Can you tell me what decision you write on the petition; as aunt Olga wanted to know."

Nicky to Alix - 7 April

"I wrote on the petition of the wounded jew from America - to allow living in any place of Russia and sent it to Sturmer."

The role of the Tsar in the ROC:

Unless you belong to the ROC (I think you don't), that's not a matter you have a say on. I am a Catholic and I can tell you how irritating is to read how people who aren't Catholic, or Christian or believe in God decide what the Pope must do or what beliefs we Catholics have to dispose of in order to become acceptable to their eyes.

The democratic institutions being shut down

Can you point one? Do you mean the Duma? Who did represent there the peasants, 80% of Russian population? The terrorist Socialist-Revolutionaries? The marxist revolutionaries who thought that they were "petty bourgeoisie"? The liberal Constitutional Democrats (who kept a friendly attitude towards revolutionary terrorism)? The Octobrists, the party of industrialists and members of the liberal professions leaded by Gukchov, the man who had no qualms about associating himself with a blackmailer to get Alexandra's "Rasputin letters"?

Did they behave in a responsible way during the war or indeed before the war? Did they behave in a honourable way when they asked (and got) the head of Myasoyedov (a kind of Russian Dreyfuss Affair), an innocent man who was accused of being a spy for the Germans and executed because he belonged to the corps of gendarmes that liberals hated?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Rodney_G. on April 10, 2016, 05:23:38 PM
To return this topic  more to its original point: When was Alfonso XIII thought to have made efforts to have  the IF brought to Spain? My understanding is that it was very, very late,well past the point of having any chance of success.
There was a column in the NY Times in the days after Nicholas was reported executed.I can't remember the details (possibly inaccurate in any case) but it suggested Alfonso was seeking asylum for the IF well after the Feb Revolution, and even as late as  1918--which of course was impossible.
Does anyone know more of the specifics of Alfonso's offer? In any case, it DOES seem to be really heartfelt and possibly against his self interest. i.e., very risky.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 11, 2016, 04:14:58 AM
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

If you allow me an aside, I find again in your last post the same kind of language and cliches that I would expect from a liberal American professor.

"Medieval tyrant" - somehow the age of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Louis of France, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary [I'm still waiting for the president of a republic or the first lady who washes the feet of beggars or kisses the sores of lepers, Chartres Cathedral, Giotto, Dante, Le Morte d'Arthur... is a synonym of darkness, whereas the 20th century, the century of Holodomor, Auschwitz, the GULAG, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the killing fields of Cambodia... is a bright century of progress.

"Nicholas was of the wrong side of history, as was Franz Josef and the Kaiser". I like your historical determinism: everything that happened was bound to happen, History is a stream that flows in a certain direction and you cannot oppose it. Kind of marxism or Fukuyama-style liberalism.

Regarding antisemitism and pogroms. If I said that Woodrow Wilson or FDR tolerated or promoted the lynching of blacks in the Southern States of the USA or the Ku Kux Klan, you would correctly reply that's slander because there is no base to make that claim. And Wilson and FDR were presidents when those crimes took places. And the governors of the States where those crimes took place (and where discriminatory- racist laws against blacks were enforced) belonged to the same political party of Wilson and FDR. But somehow when we discuss the tsarist regime we can allow us to use different standards, can't we?

In a letter to Kostantin Romanov (14.09.1912), Nicholas II writes that he shares the opinion of the Holy Synod that KR's play The King of Judea cannot be publicly staged because the theme (Christ's Passion) might provoke pogroms. That is not the behaviour of a hatemonger.

The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

As I have said the situation was unfair and probably laws against Jews would have been done away with or at least ameliorated if Nicholas II had not had to contend with a revolutionary movement, a World War and irresponsible Duma politicians.

A letter of Alexandra to Nicholas dated 7.04.1916 (emphasis is mine):

"I send you the petition of one of Aunt Olga's wounded men. He is a Jew. Has lived since 10 years in America. He was wounded and lost his left arm on the Carpathians. The wound has healed well, but he suffers fearfully morally as in August he must leave, and loses the right of living in either the capital or other big town. He is living in town only on the strength of a special permit, which a previous minister of the Interior gave him for one year. And he find work in a big town.

His English is wondefully good. I read a letter of his to little Vera's English governess and Aunt Olga says he is a man with good education, so to speak. 10 years ago he left for the United States to find the opportunity to become a useful member of human society to the fullest extend of his capacities, as here it is difficult for a Jew who is always hampered by legislative restrictions. Tho' in America, he never forgot Russia and suffered much from homesickness and the moment the war broke out he flew here to enlist as soldier to defend his country.

Now that he lost his arm seving in our amy, got the St George Medal, he longs to remain here and have the right to live wherever he pleases in Russia, a right the Jews don't possess. As soon as discharged from the army, as a criplle, he find things have remained the same as before, and his headlong rush home to fight, and loss of his arm has brought him no gain. One sees the bitterness, and I fully grasp it - surely such a man ought to be treated the same as any other soldier who received such a wound.



I was expecting such a response. It is a little rich to talk about cliche's , spurious claims , etc when you are seemingly only able to 'debate' by quote mining. Throughout this thread you have repeatedly ignored my opinions (some of which are not just opinion but fact)  and turned the thread back to your own agenda , which is seemingly to be the chief apologist for Tsarism. To turn things around, I would say you are certainly not a liberal American Professor,  as you resort to insults when someone offers an opinion ( a spurious one of course)  that differs from your own.  It's beyond the pale and I have no patience left. So I will keep this very brief before abandoning this dogma-filled thread that seemingly has now nothing to do with George V .

1 - where did I say the Tsarist regime was a forerunner for the holocaust ? Nowhere . I said anti-semitism had a long history in Europe and didn't happen out of a clear blue sky.

2- where did i say Europe after WW1 became a shining beacon for democracy and lived happily ever after ? Nowhere.

3- spurious claims , democracy , jews etc ? Not sure why it is hard to understand that some people might think Tsarism to have been anachronistic and barbarous and wanted to get rid of it.

4- I am not entitled to an opinion on the ROC ? It seems you have more in common with tyrants than I first imagined.

5- George pandered to the 'lower instincts of the crowd' ? See previous responses  3 and 4 .

6- Yes Nicholas II and Alix made the same mistakes as  autocrats/tyrants/despots etc have done since time immemorial . When threatened , instead of making concessions and compromises, they doubled down . And were subsequently dumbfounded when their world collapsed . Where did we go wrong ? How could this have happened? What did Ileana Ceausescu say when she and her husband were led away to their executions ? '' But I was like a mother to you''.


Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 11, 2016, 04:45:49 AM
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

If you allow me an aside, I find again in your last post the same kind of language and cliches that I would expect from a liberal American professor.

"Medieval tyrant" - somehow the age of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Louis of France, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary [I'm still waiting for the president of a republic or the first lady who washes the feet of beggars or kisses the sores of lepers, Chartres Cathedral, Giotto, Dante, Le Morte d'Arthur... is a synonym of darkness, whereas the 20th century, the century of Holodomor, Auschwitz, the GULAG, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the killing fields of Cambodia... is a bright century of progress.

"Nicholas was of the wrong side of history, as was Franz Josef and the Kaiser". I like your historical determinism: everything that happened was bound to happen, History is a stream that flows in a certain direction and you cannot oppose it. Kind of marxism or Fukuyama-style liberalism.

Regarding antisemitism and pogroms. If I said that Woodrow Wilson or FDR tolerated or promoted the lynching of blacks in the Southern States of the USA or the Ku Kux Klan, you would correctly reply that's slander because there is no base to make that claim. And Wilson and FDR were presidents when those crimes took places. And the governors of the States where those crimes took place (and where discriminatory- racist laws against blacks were enforced) belonged to the same political party of Wilson and FDR. But somehow when we discuss the tsarist regime we can allow us to use different standards, can't we?

In a letter to Kostantin Romanov (14.09.1912), Nicholas II writes that he shares the opinion of the Holy Synod that KR's play The King of Judea cannot be publicly staged because the theme (Christ's Passion) might provoke pogroms. That is not the behaviour of a hatemonger.

The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

As I have said the situation was unfair and probably laws against Jews would have been done away with or at least ameliorated if Nicholas II had not had to contend with a revolutionary movement, a World War and irresponsible Duma politicians.

A letter of Alexandra to Nicholas dated 7.04.1916 (emphasis is mine):

"I send you the petition of one of Aunt Olga's wounded men. He is a Jew. Has lived since 10 years in America. He was wounded and lost his left arm on the Carpathians. The wound has healed well, but he suffers fearfully morally as in August he must leave, and loses the right of living in either the capital or other big town. He is living in town only on the strength of a special permit, which a previous minister of the Interior gave him for one year. And he find work in a big town.

His English is wondefully good. I read a letter of his to little Vera's English governess and Aunt Olga says he is a man with good education, so to speak. 10 years ago he left for the United States to find the opportunity to become a useful member of human society to the fullest extend of his capacities, as here it is difficult for a Jew who is always hampered by legislative restrictions. Tho' in America, he never forgot Russia and suffered much from homesickness and the moment the war broke out he flew here to enlist as soldier to defend his country.

Now that he lost his arm seving in our amy, got the St George Medal, he longs to remain here and have the right to live wherever he pleases in Russia, a right the Jews don't possess. As soon as discharged from the army, as a criplle, he find things have remained the same as before, and his headlong rush home to fight, and loss of his arm has brought him no gain. One sees the bitterness, and I fully grasp it - surely such a man ought to be treated the same as any other soldier who received such a wound.



I was expecting such a response. It is a little rich to talk about cliche's , spurious claims , etc when you are seemingly only able to 'debate' by quote mining. Throughout this thread you have repeatedly ignored my opinions (some of which are not just opinion but fact)  and turned the thread back to your own agenda , which is seemingly to be the chief apologist for Tsarism. To turn things around, I would say you are certainly not a liberal American Professor,  as you resort to insults when someone offers an opinion ( a spurious one of course)  that differs from your own.  It's beyond the pale and I have no patience left. So I will keep this very brief before abandoning this dogma-filled thread that seemingly has now nothing to do with George V .

1 - where did I say the Tsarist regime was a forerunner for the holocaust ? Nowhere . I said anti-semitism had a long history in Europe and didn't happen out of a clear blue sky.

2- where did i say Europe after WW1 became a shining beacon for democracy and lived happily ever after ? Nowhere.

3- spurious claims , democracy , jews etc ? Not sure why it is hard to understand that some people might think Tsarism to have been anachronistic and barbarous and wanted to get rid of it.

4- I am not entitled to an opinion on the ROC ? It seems you have more in common with tyrants than I first imagined.

5- George pandered to the 'lower instincts of the crowd' ? See previous responses  3 and 4 .

6- Yes Nicholas II and Alix made the same mistakes as  autocrats/tyrants/despots etc have done since time immemorial . When threatened , instead of making concessions and compromises, they doubled down . And were subsequently dumbfounded when their world collapsed . Where did we go wrong ? How could this have happened? What did Ileana Ceausescu say when she and her husband were led away to their executions ? '' But I was like a mother to you''.




So now you are comparing Nicholas and Alexandra to Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. Nice to see how you "stick to facts". That's certainly the end of our discussion.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 11, 2016, 05:18:56 AM
To return this topic  more to its original point: When was Alfonso XIII thought to have made efforts to have  the IF brought to Spain? My understanding is that it was very, very late,well past the point of having any chance of success.
There was a column in the NY Times in the days after Nicholas was reported executed.I can't remember the details (possibly inaccurate in any case) but it suggested Alfonso was seeking asylum for the IF well after the Feb Revolution, and even as late as  1918--which of course was impossible.
Does anyone know more of the specifics of Alfonso's offer? In any case, it DOES seem to be really heartfelt and possibly against his self interest. i.e., very risky.

According to the source I quoted from, very early. The source is an article that appeared in a Spanish newspapers with extracts from a book called "Alfonso XIII y la Guerra de 1914". (I have yet to find and read it). I will translate the relevant part of the article:

"Don Alfonso XIII had dinner in Lausanne at Princess Gorchakova's with Monsieur Gilliard, former tutor of the tsesarevich and the Grand Duchesses. When Gilliard asked the Spanish king what his attempts to save the Imperial family had beem, Don Alfonso answered with these words:

"I tried to do even the impossible. With no result, unfortunately. I begged my Government, after the revolution of october 1917 [I think that's a mistake, he means March 1917, that they tried to reach an agreement with the British one to organize, with the permission of the Provisional Government, the departure of the tsar and his family towards Finland and Sweden. Anxious for the delay in the negotiations, I wrote a personal letter to the King of England, the tsar's first cousin, begging him to make use of his authority over his government to avoid a disaster. When I saw that time kept running and danger kept increasing, I wrote to the kings of Sweden and Norway, offering to send a ship of the Spanish Navy to any Northern port, to collect the tsar and his family. This proposal was forwarded to Kerensky's government, but everything was then more difficult because Nicholas II and his family had been sent to Siberia."

As it is obvious, Alfonso XIII  (or the author) makes a mistakes when he mentions "the revolution of october" (the bolshevist coup) because afterwards he talks about "the Provisional government", "Kerensky's government" and "Nicholas II and his family being sent to Siberia". The picture as I see it:

1. Shortly after Nicholas II' abdication (spring 1917) the Spanish King tries to coordinate efforts with the British government to secure the safe passage of Nicholas II and his family abroad.

2. The British government replies "Thank you very much, but your help is not needed. Everything is under control."

3. Alfonso XIII continues his humanitarian work towards POWs and waits for the British government to do something.

4. Alfonso XIII starts to get anxious and writes a letter to George V. Of course, George V does not tell him that he has told his ambassador to withdraw the offer of asylum to the Imperial family. Instead, he sends some kind of reassuring reply, telling that efforts are being made.

5. Alfonso XIII starts to understand the situation and decides to bypass the British government and seeks the help of other neutral countries (Norway and Sweden). But the tsar and his family have already been sent to Siberia and shortly afterwards the bolshevists take power. 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: edubs31 on April 12, 2016, 11:39:59 AM
Sorry to see our first good general history discussion in quite a while got testy so quickly. Allow me to cherry pick from some of your comments...

Quote
This is my first post and I am afraid that my English is not better than the Grand Duchesses' when they were 7. Nicolas is my real (family) name, not any kind of tribute to the Tsar.

Reading through the rest of your posts I find this rather hard to believe :-)

Question: Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

Quote
You say ideas do not exist in a vacuum - very true. The holocaust didn't happen in a vacuum either - most of the people who committed those crimes came out of the former German Empire and former Tsarist Russian Empire (Balts , Ukrainians etc) where anti-semitism flourished , and we all know pogroms happened under Nicholas. A long tradition of such violence and prejudice existed before WW2.

Indeed. Antisemitism more than any other system of "social reorganization" throughout history has, sadly, united the masses. You are monarchist, I am a socialist...he is a Nazi and she is a Communist. But what can we all agree on? We hate the Jews and will feel better about our own plight by scapegoating them.

Quote
Regarding Russia ,what followed the Tsar was indeed far worse . Russia exchanged one tyrant for another , but that was not the democratic will of the people, nor did it happen overnight without an almighty struggle through civil war. Not being as bad as Bolshevik rule is not a reasonable defence of Tsarist Russia.

I repeat that many countries DID make the transition to functioning democracies after WW1 , and many that were already democratic enacted social legislation post-War. The fact that some countries later descended into fascism had little to do with democratic procedures ; tyrants gained power through civil war  and political manouevering in the face of economic woes and fear of communism , not usually by democratic means . Hitler didn't even have half the popular vote in 1933 when he was basically handed power by a conservative political clique.

All good points as well. Suggesting the rise of Bolshevism and Lenin was the will of the will of the people would of course be incorrect. Some of the people for certain. But the overthrow of the Tsarist regime and the resulting Kerensky led (and ill-fated) Provisional Government was to Bolshevism what Donald Trump - since I see we're drawing American political parallels - is to conservatism. Being a Republican doesn't make you a Trump supporter anymore than being a socialist made you a Leninite. Not to mention the overwhelming majority of those from the other side of the social/political divide who opposed them (i.e. Trump's 35-40% wall the media keeps touting).

Quote
Regarding antisemitism and pogroms. If I said that Woodrow Wilson or FDR tolerated or promoted the lynching of blacks in the Southern States of the USA or the Ku Kux Klan, you would correctly reply that's slander because there is no base to make that claim. And Wilson and FDR were presidents when those crimes took places. And the governors of the States where those crimes took place (and where discriminatory- racist laws against blacks were enforced) belonged to the same political party of Wilson and FDR. But somehow when we discuss the tsarist regime we can allow us to use different standards, can't we?

Well Lochlanach didn't take the bait but I will...

Obviously we're in danger of veering far off topic here. But to me this is relevant only to the extent that the Democratic Party of the United States in the 20th century certainly evolved more rapidly than monarchist rule in Russia did in the 19th-20th century. And so did the GOP for that matter. Wilson has an extremely complicated legacy that merits its own separate discussion on here. FDR on the other hand attempted to purge many of those Southern Dixiecrats from his party, and the Democratic Party in general was going through a major transitional period during the middle-20th century. I'm not trying to make excuses just for the sake of doing so...there is plenty of blood on the hands of the Left. But suggesting the Democratic Party of the 1960s and beyond, starting with Kennedy/Johnson and up through Obama is the same as the one born out of Andrew Jackson and led by William Jennings Bryan (a man who fought Clarence Darrow on the topic of evolution in the 20s. A scientific theory that is now almost universally accepted by liberals much more so than conservatives) in the early-20th century is ludicrous!

Quote
The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

Interesting but here's a question...When Jewish stores were targeted and destroyed during these pogroms is there any way to make the distinction between it being hatred of their religion only and not hatred of their race & culture (as if there's much difference in the first place)? Traditionally anger towards Jews takes on two or three aspects, often simultaneously. On one hand they aren't Christian, and furthermore they support a religion accused of contributing to suffering and death of the Christian messiah. On the other hand they are associated with wealth (as a material means) and radical liberalism (as a political means). People with traditional social values are naturally leery of those living next to them who are far more radical and progressive. And then those without money are resentful towards those who are well off and living in the same communities. A socialist Jewish merchant is a triple whammy when talking about Tsarist Russia or Nazi Germany. So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on April 13, 2016, 05:52:56 AM
Quote
Sorry to see our first good general history discussion in quite a while

Indeed, I miss those discussions.  There were a lot of them when I joined this board, six years ago (had it really been that long).  I enjoyed taking part in those discussions. 

However, those discussions seem to have, for the most part, stopped in recent years.  Of course, many of the people who started and encouraged said discussions are no longer here.

For the past few years, my activities here have mostly been confined to the Having Fun thread, but I wouldn't mind seeing history discussions start up again.


Quote
So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?

Seems the pogroms were about "putting the Jews in their place".  The Holocaust, on the other hand, was about wiping them off the face of the Earth. 

IMO, Nicholas and Alexandra would have been horrified had they witness Hitler's atrocities.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on April 13, 2016, 10:36:10 AM
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

If you allow me an aside, I find again in your last post the same kind of language and cliches that I would expect from a liberal American professor.

"Medieval tyrant" - somehow the age of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Louis of France, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary [I'm still waiting for the president of a republic or the first lady who washes the feet of beggars or kisses the sores of lepers, Chartres Cathedral, Giotto, Dante, Le Morte d'Arthur... is a synonym of darkness, whereas the 20th century, the century of Holodomor, Auschwitz, the GULAG, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the killing fields of Cambodia... is a bright century of progress.

"Nicholas was of the wrong side of history, as was Franz Josef and the Kaiser". I like your historical determinism: everything that happened was bound to happen, History is a stream that flows in a certain direction and you cannot oppose it. Kind of marxism or Fukuyama-style liberalism.

Regarding antisemitism and pogroms. If I said that Woodrow Wilson or FDR tolerated or promoted the lynching of blacks in the Southern States of the USA or the Ku Kux Klan, you would correctly reply that's slander because there is no base to make that claim. And Wilson and FDR were presidents when those crimes took places. And the governors of the States where those crimes took place (and where discriminatory- racist laws against blacks were enforced) belonged to the same political party of Wilson and FDR. But somehow when we discuss the tsarist regime we can allow us to use different standards, can't we?

In a letter to Kostantin Romanov (14.09.1912), Nicholas II writes that he shares the opinion of the Holy Synod that KR's play The King of Judea cannot be publicly staged because the theme (Christ's Passion) might provoke pogroms. That is not the behaviour of a hatemonger.

The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

As I have said the situation was unfair and probably laws against Jews would have been done away with or at least ameliorated if Nicholas II had not had to contend with a revolutionary movement, a World War and irresponsible Duma politicians.

A letter of Alexandra to Nicholas dated 7.04.1916 (emphasis is mine):

"I send you the petition of one of Aunt Olga's wounded men. He is a Jew. Has lived since 10 years in America. He was wounded and lost his left arm on the Carpathians. The wound has healed well, but he suffers fearfully morally as in August he must leave, and loses the right of living in either the capital or other big town. He is living in town only on the strength of a special permit, which a previous minister of the Interior gave him for one year. And he find work in a big town.

His English is wondefully good. I read a letter of his to little Vera's English governess and Aunt Olga says he is a man with good education, so to speak. 10 years ago he left for the United States to find the opportunity to become a useful member of human society to the fullest extend of his capacities, as here it is difficult for a Jew who is always hampered by legislative restrictions. Tho' in America, he never forgot Russia and suffered much from homesickness and the moment the war broke out he flew here to enlist as soldier to defend his country.

Now that he lost his arm seving in our amy, got the St George Medal, he longs to remain here and have the right to live wherever he pleases in Russia, a right the Jews don't possess. As soon as discharged from the army, as a criplle, he find things have remained the same as before, and his headlong rush home to fight, and loss of his arm has brought him no gain. One sees the bitterness, and I fully grasp it - surely such a man ought to be treated the same as any other soldier who received such a wound.



I was expecting such a response. It is a little rich to talk about cliche's , spurious claims , etc when you are seemingly only able to 'debate' by quote mining. Throughout this thread you have repeatedly ignored my opinions (some of which are not just opinion but fact)  and turned the thread back to your own agenda , which is seemingly to be the chief apologist for Tsarism. To turn things around, I would say you are certainly not a liberal American Professor,  as you resort to insults when someone offers an opinion ( a spurious one of course)  that differs from your own.  It's beyond the pale and I have no patience left. So I will keep this very brief before abandoning this dogma-filled thread that seemingly has now nothing to do with George V .

1 - where did I say the Tsarist regime was a forerunner for the holocaust ? Nowhere . I said anti-semitism had a long history in Europe and didn't happen out of a clear blue sky.

2- where did i say Europe after WW1 became a shining beacon for democracy and lived happily ever after ? Nowhere.

3- spurious claims , democracy , jews etc ? Not sure why it is hard to understand that some people might think Tsarism to have been anachronistic and barbarous and wanted to get rid of it.

4- I am not entitled to an opinion on the ROC ? It seems you have more in common with tyrants than I first imagined.

5- George pandered to the 'lower instincts of the crowd' ? See previous responses  3 and 4 .

6- Yes Nicholas II and Alix made the same mistakes as  autocrats/tyrants/despots etc have done since time immemorial . When threatened , instead of making concessions and compromises, they doubled down . And were subsequently dumbfounded when their world collapsed . Where did we go wrong ? How could this have happened? What did Ileana Ceausescu say when she and her husband were led away to their executions ? '' But I was like a mother to you''.




So now you are comparing Nicholas and Alexandra to Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. Nice to see how you "stick to facts". That's certainly the end of our discussion.

Going back on my word (like George V ?)  but it is allowed .....
 I  did not directly compare N and A to the Ceausescu's , but merely used the Romanians as a good example of a fallen, autocratic couple who were shocked that the corrosive effects of their policies on  'the people' should provoke such an extreme response of revolt and execution.
 And I  have never claimed  to 'stick to facts ' , only that SOME of what I wrote was not just my own opinion but fact.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 13, 2016, 12:22:04 PM
Quote
The Jews suffered discriminatory laws, which forbade them to live beyond the Pale of Settlement, certain professions and set quotes to access to university. Certainly unfair, but it was religious, not racially-motivated discrimination. A Jew who became Orthodox was accepted immediately as a Russian, exactly with the same rights (a possibility that a black man in Alabama or in British-administered South Africa didn't have). The tsarist regime was no forerunner of Hitler's Holocaust.

Quote
Interesting but here's a question...When Jewish stores were targeted and destroyed during these pogroms is there any way to make the distinction between it being hatred of their religion only and not hatred of their race & culture (as if there's much difference in the first place)? Traditionally anger towards Jews takes on two or three aspects, often simultaneously. On one hand they aren't Christian, and furthermore they support a religion accused of contributing to suffering and death of the Christian messiah. On the other hand they are associated with wealth (as a material means) and radical liberalism (as a political means). People with traditional social values are naturally leery of those living next to them who are far more radical and progressive. And then those without money are resentful towards those who are well off and living in the same communities. A socialist Jewish merchant is a triple whammy when talking about Tsarist Russia or Nazi Germany. So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?

You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.

I will use again the Southern states comparison. If two black men were lynched in a small town in Alabama in 1933, we can agree that it would be unfair to accuse FDR of complicity in that crime. We may or may not criticize FDR's reliance during the electoral campaign on men who, as governors of those Southern states, enforced segregation. But we cannot establish a direct link between 2 murders committed by a rabble in Alabama and the White House, we cannot suggest that somehow that was a state-sponsored crime. That would not be fair.

And let's get back to the laws of Imperial Russia. From the letter that Alexandra wrote to Nicholas in 1916 about the Jewish soldier who lost an arm that I have posted above, it's clear that the Empress thought that those laws were unfair. And eventually they would have done away with.

I will quote from a letter of Sandro (the tsar's brother-in law) to his brother Nikolai Mikhailovich (17.02.1914):

"In my conversation with A and N, I also touched on two subjects, which have been raised by Protopopov, the expropiation of landowners' land in favour of the peasants and equal rights for the Jews. It's typical that Alix did not voice any protest on these questions, while he objected to the first and then appeared confused about the second, replying that it was equality only in the sense of a widening of the Pale of Settlement; I protested as strongly as I could, saying that concessions or new rights for the Jews were unthinkable, that we could not afford to be merciful to a race which the Russian people hate even more now because of their negative attitude towards the war and outright treason; it was noticeable that Alix didn't protest, obviously such projects do exist."

Since the end of the Americal Civil War and the abolition of slavery till mid 1960s, it took a century (100 years, that's more than the average lifespan) to do away with segregation. I would not call that a fast process. And lot of people in the Southern states were against any change (just exactly as many people in Russia were against equal rights for the Jews) and resistance had to be overcome.

I am just asking to measure the tsarist government with the same standard.  
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Превед on April 13, 2016, 01:53:40 PM
You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.  

Good points, but don't forget that the Tsarist government, like any repressive regime, such as also the Soviet Union, never spoke with one tongue or acted with both hands together: The secret police, as a state within the state, developed and acted out agendas that could be besides or even contrary to official government policy.  If you also count the Orthodox Church as a state organ, you have another state instution that in its teachings and messages to the people often was at odds with the official government line.

This can very well apply to pogroms.

BTW, just to prove that I'm not that anti-Tsarist, I don't see what all the great fuss about Jews not being able to live outside the Pale of Settlement was about. Rather it seems to me to imply that "the Jewish nation in the Pale of Settlement" was in a sort of personal union with the Russian Empire, just like the Empire was with regard to the Grand Duchy of Finland, where I'm sure not every Russian was allowed to settle freely.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 14, 2016, 11:16:39 AM
You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.  

Good points, but don't forget that the Tsarist government, like any repressive regime, such as also the Soviet Union, never spoke with one tongue or acted with both hands together: The secret police, as a state within the state, developed and acted out agendas that could be besides or even contrary to official government policy.  If you also count the Orthodox Church as a state organ, you have another state instution that in its teachings and messages to the people often was at odds with the official government line.

This can very well apply to pogroms.


BTW, just to prove that I'm not that anti-Tsarist, I don't see what all the great fuss about Jews not being able to live outside the Pale of Settlement was about. Rather it seems to me to imply that "the Jewish nation in the Pale of Settlement" was in a sort of personal union with the Russian Empire, just like the Empire was with regard to the Grand Duchy of Finland, where I'm sure not every Russian was allowed to settle freely.

This thread has gone completely astray from the original topic...

Anyway, regarding the ROC and secret police (Okhrana) role in pogroms. Let's see two versions of a progrom that took place in Kishinev on 4 April 1903.

A - "Forty-five Jews were murdered, some six hundred injured, and more that thirteen hundred homes and shops looted and destroyed before ordered in troops to halt the carnage." (Bruce W. Lincoln, In was's dark shadow)

B - "Some fifty Jews were killed, many more injured, and a great deal of Jewish property looted and destroyed" (Richard Pipes, "The Russian Revolution)

A - "According to Count Sergei Witte, who played such a prominent role in Russian affairs between 1891 and 1906, "the immense pogrom in Kishinev was directly organized by Plehve (Minister of Interior)" (BWL)
Lincoln forgets to mention that Witte hated Plehve, and that it was Witte who falsely attributed Plehve the often-quoted words about "A small victorious war" regarding the Russo-Japanese war.

B - "Although no evidence has ever come to light that he (Plehve) had instigated the Kishinev progrom, his well known anti-Jewish sentiments, as well as his tolerance of anti-Semitic publications, encouraged the authorities of Bessarabia to believe that he would not object to a pogrom. Hence they did nothing to prevent one and nothing to stop it after it had broken out." (RP)

So, RP's argument seems to be that if a mob murders Jews in Kishinev and local authorities are slow to react, the Minister of Interior is somehow guilty because he harboured anti-Jewish sentiments. But disliking a person is not the same that wanting that person murdered.

A - "Michael Davitt, a native of Dalkey in Ireland and a correspondent for the Hearst newspapers in America, tried to separate fact from fiction when he visited Kishinev in May (...) A devout Catholic who hesitated to think ill of the lords of the Church, Davitt was appaled to learn from Jewish and Christian sources that the Bishop of Kishinev actually had blessed a crowd of pogromist as he passed them in the street, while not far away the mob was raping sixteen women and girls they had found cowering in the loft of a small house at 13 Aziatskii Alley (...)" (BWL)
" Father Ioann of Krondtadt, a priest renowned for his holiness and piety throughout Russia, announce that he had concluded that "the Jews themselves were the cause of those disorders, the wounds inflicted, and the murder committed", and that, despite the overwhelming contrary evidence, it was "the Christians who suffered in the end" (BWL, his source is a book that Davitt published in 1903)

B - Richard Pipes does not mention either the Bishop of Kishinev or father Ioann of Kronstadt regarding the Kishinev pogrom.

Lots of issues in BWL's version:

1. "The Hearst newspapers". That is, the yellow press. It was Hearst who created it. Before the start of the American-Spanish War in 1898, Hearst newspapers carried false stories about lascivious Spanish coast guards boarding passenger ships and undressing American ladies, with the pretext of looking for letters smuggled to the Cuban insurgents. Truth was never a priority for them.

2. "Michael Davitt, a native of Dalkey in Ireland...   A devout Catholic who hesitated to think ill of the lords of the Church". BWL is being disingenuous here. He knows that Davitt's evidence is shaky and tries to reinforce it.
As a Catholic in 1903, Davitt would never see a ROC bishop as a "lord of the Church". The Church for him was the (Roman) Catholic Church. ROC bishops were schismatics. And, as an Irishman, he would compare the situation of the Catholic Poles in the Russian Empire to that of the Catholic Irish in the British Empire. We shouldn't expect in him much sympathy for either the tsarist authorities or the ROC.

3. "He visited Kishinev in May". A month after the events.

4. "from Jewish and Christian sources". As I don't think very likely that Davitt learned either Russian or yiddish in Dalkey, Ireland, his "Jewish and Christian sources" was limited to one: his interpreter-fixer.

To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Превед on April 14, 2016, 03:48:59 PM
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: edubs31 on April 15, 2016, 06:03:15 AM
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.

Bingo! Though I suppose NicholasG already drew a parallel to this as well in mentioning the yellow journalism that precipitated America's involvement in the Spanish American War. Was President William McKinley any less succeptible to the fabrications of a William Randolph Hearst and the war mongering of (then) Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt as Nicholas II was to the distortions or outright lies of a Plehve, or Pobedonostev, his Ministers, Secret Police, the Zemstvos, etc.?

Also, and in a last attempt to steer us back on topic, I'll repeat my question from above...

Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on April 15, 2016, 07:12:22 AM
Quote
Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

Might have been a little hard, considering  that Britain and Germany were still at war at that point.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 15, 2016, 08:09:27 AM
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.

What I am saying is that, in a huge Empire as the tsarist one, neither the tsar nor the government in Sankt Peterburg can be held accountable for the behaviour of any official in a provincial backwater, and even less for the crimes of a mob. The British government at the time had more control about what happened in Birmingham that in county Kerry, Ireland or Kerala, India and we cannot infer that it was not fit to govern. For some reason (ideological, I will dare say) most historians seem to think that if the tsar had handed the government to the liberal members of the Duma (Miliukov, Guchkov), revolution could have been averted and Russia been spared the suffering that it experienced under the bolshevists. But they (Miliukov, Guchkov) presided, as ministers in the Provisional government, over the total collapse of both Russian economy and war effort and showed themselves incapable of withstanding the pressure of the revolutionaries even a few months.

Regarding the Protocols, it is asummed, as a self-evident fact, that the Okhrana, the tsarist secret police, was responsible of this forgery. But it could have been produced by anyone. The only "evidence" connecting the Okhrana to the Protocols is a statement by the Countess of Radziwill and she doesn't seem either a reliable source or a person anyone would entrust a secret.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 15, 2016, 08:21:59 AM
Quote
Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

Might have been a little hard, considering  that Britain and Germany were still at war at that point.

Exactly, and agreement between Germany and Britain would have been impossible. The British government had two options to save the Imperial family:

1. Make themselves a determined effort, pressure the Provisional Government and do not pay attention to the puny opposition in Britain.

2. Encourage neutral countries (Spain, Norway, Sweden) to take the leading role, with their assistance. Spain seemed a good option: the King Alfonso XIII had expressed for the first moment his intention to help and had always kept a strict neutrality in the war (he had an Austrian mother and a British wife).

Unfortunately, the British government did neither.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on April 16, 2016, 05:49:18 AM
The fate of the deposed Tsar and his family was not really anything do with the British government. The people involved were not British Nationals. 
About the only thing that Britain and Russia had in common was their opposition to Germany and its allies and as the Provisional Government of Russia had decided to continue the war with Germany what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on April 16, 2016, 07:39:17 AM
It was totally impossible for the British and German Governments to negotiate at that time. With the recent resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, anti-German feeling in Britain was running extremely high. Without an agreement for safe passage with Germany through the Baltic, the only feasible route out of Russia would be either by sea from Murmansk, or through Finland and Sweden to Norway. Even the, the sea voyages would be chancy (look what happened to Lord Kitchener en route to Murmansk!

Oh, I forgot the possibility of going eastwards via the Trans-Siberian railway, or south to Persia and then India. Both very chancy, given the Provisional Government's shaky control of the country.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 16, 2016, 01:56:43 PM
what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Some intangible things, as honour and dignity, earned behaving like a gentleman rescuing a former ally instead of behaving like a scoundrel abandoning him to his fate.

In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.
 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 16, 2016, 02:05:48 PM
It was totally impossible for the British and German Governments to negotiate at that time. With the recent resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, anti-German feeling in Britain was running extremely high. Without an agreement for safe passage with Germany through the Baltic, the only feasible route out of Russia would be either by sea from Murmansk, or through Finland and Sweden to Norway. Even the, the sea voyages would be chancy (look what happened to Lord Kitchener en route to Murmansk!

There was an agreement. From Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra:

"(We) enquired of Sir George Buchanan [British ambassador] as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family," said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles. Sir George Buchananan and ourselves were impatiently awaiting a reply from London. I do not remember whether it was late in June or early in July (1917) when the British ambassador called, greatly distressed... With tears in his eyes, scarcely able to control his emotions, Sir George informed... (us) of the British government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. I cannot quote the exact text of the letter... But I can say definitely that this refusal was due exclusively to considerations of internal British politics."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on April 16, 2016, 02:23:14 PM
Quote
In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.

And thing would have been much better off in the long run.  Had Germany won the war, there would have been no war reparations, and no "stabbed in the back" feelings. 

Adolf Hitler would never come to power, as the conditions that permitted his rise to power would not exist.  No Hitler, no Nazi Party, no Holocaust.  Millions of people would not have died, Anne Frank would have lived to a ripe old age.

This would mean that there would be no World War II, not in Europe at least  (Japan is another matter, though).

Had the war ended in 1915, with Russia at peace again, the wind would have been taken out of Lenin's sail.  The horror story called the Soviet Union would not have happened, and millions of people would not have perished in that horror story.  No USSR, no Cold War, no Korean War, no Vietnam War, no invasion of Afghanistan, which led the U.S. to arm the rebels, which would lead to the rise of Al Quaida. 

One has to wonder what our world would be like if the scenario I laid out had happened.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on April 16, 2016, 02:53:40 PM
what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Some intangible things, as honour and dignity, earned behaving like a gentleman rescuing a former ally instead of behaving like a scoundrel abandoning him to his fate.

In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.
 


Britain's alliance was with Russia, not Nicholas ll and his family.  Russia continued to be an ally of Britain while it stayed in the war against Germany regardless of the whether Tsar was the Russian head of state. The fate of the former Tsar was no more the responsibility of Britain than was the Russian population as a whole.

Germany also contacted the Western Allies through France from late 1914 through 1916 with an offer of a separate peace. The consequences of a separate would have been as serious for Russia they would have been for France and Britain. The war was won by the sacrifices made British, French and Russian people. The USA had virtually nothing to do with it.


 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 16, 2016, 04:16:53 PM
what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Some intangible things, as honour and dignity, earned behaving like a gentleman rescuing a former ally instead of behaving like a scoundrel abandoning him to his fate.

In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.
 


Britain's alliance was with Russia, not Nicholas ll and his family.  Russia continued to be an ally of Britain while it stayed in the war against Germany regardless of the whether Tsar was the Russian head of state. The fate of the former Tsar was no more the responsibility of Britain than was the Russian population as a whole.

Germany also contacted the Western Allies through France from late 1914 through 1916 with an offer of a separate peace. The consequences of a separate would have been as serious for Russia they would have been for France and Britain. The war was won by the sacrifices made British, French and Russian people. The USA had virtually nothing to do with it.


 

Britain's alliance was with the Head of the Russian Empire, the Tsar Nicholas II. Who is "Russia"? Was the Duma (that bunch of useful idiots, terrorists and revolutionaries) Russia? Was there a referendum, so that the peasants of Vinnytsia or Tambov could decide if they prefered an alliance with the French Republic or with the German Empire?

If you cannot see yourself that abandoning the tsar and his family to their tragic fate was a shameful, comtemptible, ignominious deed, I cannot explain it to you. Maybe someone imbued with the spirit of what Wilson called the "age of the common man" and Evelyn Waugh "the age of Hooper" cannot understand concepts such as honour, loyalty or duty.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 16, 2016, 04:30:54 PM
Quote
In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.

And thing would have been much better off in the long run.  Had Germany won the war, there would have been no war reparations, and no "stabbed in the back" feelings. 

Adolf Hitler would never come to power, as the conditions that permitted his rise to power would not exist.  No Hitler, no Nazi Party, no Holocaust.  Millions of people would not have died, Anne Frank would have lived to a ripe old age.

This would mean that there would be no World War II, not in Europe at least  (Japan is another matter, though).

Had the war ended in 1915, with Russia at peace again, the wind would have been taken out of Lenin's sail.  The horror story called the Soviet Union would not have happened, and millions of people would not have perished in that horror story.  No USSR, no Cold War, no Korean War, no Vietnam War, no invasion of Afghanistan, which led the U.S. to arm the rebels, which would lead to the rise of Al Quaida. 

One has to wonder what our world would be like if the scenario I laid out had happened.

I have a much better alternative: WWI does not take place. The Russians let Serbia "get the punishment they deserve" (Witte's words. He was not the nicest man, but this time he was right). Austria occupies Serbia in a short campaign (the third war in the Balkans in three years). Apis, the man who was at the same time the terrorist leader of the Black Hand who organized the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife (and in 1903 had organized the murder of the King and Queen of Serbia) and Chief of Intellenge of the Serbian army, is hanged. Other members of the Black Hand are shot.

No WWI, no Hitler, Lenin dies in Zürich completely forgotten, no Russian Civil War, no Cheka, no Volga famine, no Stalin, no Holodomor, no GULAG, no WWII, no Holocaust, no Korea war, no Mao, no killing fields in Cambodia, no North Korea, no wars in Yugoslavia....

Thinking about it does not make me feel much sympathy for the Serbians.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on April 16, 2016, 09:06:36 PM
Quote
Britain's alliance was with the Head of the Russian Empire, the Tsar Nicholas II. Who is "Russia"?

Not so. Alliances and treaties are made between countries, as sovereign states, not between heads of state. Alliances might be negotiated by heads of state, but they are specifically designed to ensure continuity of the alliance or treaty if the head of state dies, or a government changes. International law requires that treaty obligations be fulfilled by later governments. It doesn't always work out that way in practice, but that is how and why states enter into agreements.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on April 17, 2016, 01:33:02 AM
Mage 29

How reliable is Kerensky on this point? Obviously, he had reason to blame someone else for the failure to protect Nicholas and family. My understanding, from elsewhere, is that the Germans offered safe conduct to a warship but the British refused.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on April 17, 2016, 07:53:37 AM
Quote
he Russians let Serbia "get the punishment they deserve" (Witte's words. He was not the nicest man, but this time he was right). Austria occupies Serbia in a short campaign (the third war in the Balkans in three years). Apis, the man who was at the same time the terrorist leader of the Black Hand who organized the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife (and in 1903 had organized the murder of the King and Queen of Serbia) and Chief of Intellenge of the Serbian army, is hanged. Other members of the Black Hand are shot.

No WWI, no Hitler, Lenin dies in Zürich completely forgotten, no Russian Civil War, no Cheka, no Volga famine, no Stalin, no Holodomor, no GULAG, no WWII, no Holocaust, no Korea war, no Mao, no killing fields in Cambodia, no North Korea, no wars in Yugoslavia....

Thinking about it does not make me feel much sympathy for the Serbians.

Who would have thought that a pipsqueak country like Serbia could have caused so much trouble that would rack up a butcher's bill that, a century later, the world is still paying.

Many of the problems were having now can be traced back to the world that emerged in 1918.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on April 17, 2016, 08:24:17 AM
what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Some intangible things, as honour and dignity, earned behaving like a gentleman rescuing a former ally instead of behaving like a scoundrel abandoning him to his fate.

In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.
 


Britain's alliance was with Russia, not Nicholas ll and his family.  Russia continued to be an ally of Britain while it stayed in the war against Germany regardless of the whether Tsar was the Russian head of state. The fate of the former Tsar was no more the responsibility of Britain than was the Russian population as a whole.

Germany also contacted the Western Allies through France from late 1914 through 1916 with an offer of a separate peace. The consequences of a separate would have been as serious for Russia they would have been for France and Britain. The war was won by the sacrifices made British, French and Russian people. The USA had virtually nothing to do with it.


 

Britain's alliance was with the Head of the Russian Empire, the Tsar Nicholas II. Who is "Russia"? Was the Duma (that bunch of useful idiots, terrorists and revolutionaries) Russia? Was there a referendum, so that the peasants of Vinnytsia or Tambov could decide if they prefered an alliance with the French Republic or with the German Empire?

If you cannot see yourself that abandoning the tsar and his family to their tragic fate was a shameful, comtemptible, ignominious deed, I cannot explain it to you. Maybe someone imbued with the spirit of what Wilson called the "age of the common man" and Evelyn Waugh "the age of Hooper" cannot understand concepts such as honour, loyalty or duty.

As far as honour is concerned, why was the Tsar and his family any more the responsibility of the British Government than any other Russian people who had British relatives? The British Government's loyalty and duty belonged first of all to the people of Britain and the British Empire including their armed forces - seven of my great uncles among them, four of whom were killed.  

  



Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 17, 2016, 11:45:05 AM

As far as honour is concerned, why was the Tsar and his family any more the responsibility of the British Government than any other Russian people who had British relatives? The British Government's loyalty and duty belonged first of all to the people of Britain and the British Empire including their armed forces - seven of my great uncles among them, four of whom were killed.  
  

First of all, because from the very same moment of the Tsar's abdication is was clear that his life was in danger if he stayed in Russia. The same can not be said about other Russian people with British relatives, at least till the bolshevist coup of November 1917.

Regarding the duty of the British government to their armed forces: Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, hailed the "February revolution", which was a military mutiny, as "the greatest service which they [the Russian people] have yet made to the cause for which the Allied people have been fighting since August 1914". In fact, the revolution meant the end of any effective contribution by Russia to the Allied war effort and it was the British Tommies who suffered the consequences of it.

"The temporary breakdown of the French fighting power was not the worst of the troubles which together crippled the Entente offensive in 1917. The collapse, first partial and then complete, of Russia was a loss which even the entry of America into the war could not possibly compensate for many months, and before the balance was restored the Western Allies were to be perilously near the brink of defeat". B. H. Liddell Hart, "History of the First World War".

It was the collapse of the Eastern Front what allowed the Germans to mass men and artillery for their offensive in March 1918, which smashed a British section of the front.

"At 4:30 AM, on March 21 1918, the sudden crash of some 4,000 German guns heralded the breaking of a storm which, in grandeur of scale, of awe, of destruction, surpassed any other in the World War. By nightfall a German flood had inundated forty miles of the British front; a week later it had reached the outskirsts of Amiens; and in the ensuing weeks the Allied cause itself was almost submerged." In two week the British army suffered 160,000 casualties: 22,000 killed, 75,000 prisoners and 65,000 wounded.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 17, 2016, 12:13:15 PM
Quote
Britain's alliance was with the Head of the Russian Empire, the Tsar Nicholas II. Who is "Russia"?

Not so. Alliances and treaties are made between countries, as sovereign states, not between heads of state. Alliances might be negotiated by heads of state, but they are specifically designed to ensure continuity of the alliance or treaty if the head of state dies, or a government changes. International law requires that treaty obligations be fulfilled by later governments. It doesn't always work out that way in practice, but that is how and why states enter into agreements.

That may be perfectly true if we were talking about a normal succession. For example: Nicholas II dies of a heart attack, Alexei is crowned Tsar and a Great Duke is appointed regent. That was not what happened. In 1917 there was a Imperial government with whom Britain had concluded an alliance. Let's call it "Russia 1". It was followed by a Provisional Government (Russia 2) who took power after a military mutiny. And then this Provisional Government was replaced after an armed coup by Lenin and his acolytes (Russia 3).

Was the alliance with Russia 1 still in force with Russia 3? That is, if the bolshevists had kept the trenches manned and had fired sporadically some shells towards the Germans while they butchered their own population (peasants, monarchists, bourgeois, priests), should the Western Allies have kept their part of the agreement?

And what about "Russia 2"?  Was everything in order from the legal point of view with it, had it proper credentials? The members of the Provisional Government were not so sure. They called themselves at the beginning "Provisional Committee of Duma Members for the Restoration of Order in the Capital and the Establishment of Relations with Individuals and Institutions". A very long name, but no "government" in it. Because its members knew that they lacked legitimacy for that (besides control over the situation and capacity to withstand the revolutionary wave). The Provisional Government came in the wake of a military mutiny. The abdication of Grand Duke Michael was obtained almost at gunpoint.   
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 17, 2016, 01:46:20 PM
Mage 29

How reliable is Kerensky on this point? Obviously, he had reason to blame someone else for the failure to protect Nicholas and family. My understanding, from elsewhere, is that the Germans offered safe conduct to a warship but the British refused.

Ann


I will post again what Kerensky wrote, for the benefit of other readers:


"(We) enquired of Sir George Buchanan [British ambassador] as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family," said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles. Sir George Buchananan and ourselves were impatiently awaiting a reply from London. I do not remember whether it was late in June or early in July (1917) when the British ambassador called, greatly distressed... With tears in his eyes, scarcely able to control his emotions, Sir George informed... (us) of the British government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. I cannot quote the exact text of the letter... But I can say definitely that this refusal was due exclusively to considerations of internal British politics."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 17, 2016, 01:47:00 PM
I believe that Kerensky told the truth on this point.

1. It fits with what we know from other sources.


Lord Stamfordham (George V's secretary) wrote on the 9th of March 1917: "I saw the Prime Minister (Lloyd George) this morning. He had not seen Sir George Buchanan's (British ambassador in Russia) telegram received last evening reporting his conversation with Mr Miliukov (new Foreign Minister), in which the latter urged the earliest possible departure of the Emperor from Russia, and suggested that the King and the British government should offer His Imperial Majesty an asylum in this country (...) No doubt the present Russian Government are anxious as to the safety of the Emperor and the Empress, and for that reason wish to expedite their departure."

King George V, Diary - 11 March : "Michael (Grand Duke, Miche-Miche) came to see me and we discussed the idea of poor Nicky coming to England."

Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) - 17 March: "The King has been thinking much about the Government's proposal that the Emperor Nicholas and his Family should come to England. As you are doubtless aware the King has a strong personal friendship for the Emperor, and therefore would be glad to do anything to help him in this crisis. But his Majesty cannot help doubting, not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on general grounds of expediency, whether it is advisable that the Imperial Family should take up their residence in this country."

A. J. Balfour to Lord Stamfordham - 20 March- Foreign Office, London: "His Majesty's Ministers quite realize the difficulties to which you refer in your letter, but they do not think, unless the position changes, that it is now possible to withdraw the invitation which has been sent, and they therefore trust that the King will consent to adhere to the original invitation, which was sent on the advice of His Majesty's Ministers."

Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour - 24 March - Windsor Castle: "Every day the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and the Empress of Russia coming to this country. His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in Clubs but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal (...) The King desires me to ask you whether after consulting the Prime Minister, Sir George Buchanan should not be communicated with a view to approaching the Russian Government to make some other plan for the future residence of Their Imperial Majesties?"

Same day - "The King wishes me to write again on the subject of my letter of this morning. He must beg you to represent to the Prime Minister that from all he hears and reads in the Press, the residence in this country of the Ex-Emperor and Empress would be strongly resented by the public, and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and Queen from whom it is already generally supposed the invitation has emanated.
Buchanan ought tio be instructed to tell Milyukov that the opposition to the Emperor and the Empress coming here is so strong that we must be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian Government's proposal."

Lord Stamfordham, note of meeting - 28 March - Windsor Castle: "I saw the Prime Minister (Lloyd George) at 10 Downing Street, and tried to impress upon him the King's strong opinion that the Emperor and Empress of Russia should not come to this country, and that the Government ought to inform Monsieur Miliukov that since they had agreed to his proposal that Their Imperial Majesties should take up their residence in this country public opinion here had become so stoutly opposed to the idea that His Majesty's Government must withdraw the consent previously given.
(...) I afterwards saw Mr Balfour and called attention to a telegram which I had just seen from Sir George Buchanan, who in his conversation with Monsieur Miliukov evidently took it for granted that the Emperor and Empress were coming to England, and that it was only question of delay with regard to certain matters that had not been cleared up, which prevented an early start.
I told Mr Balfour that after what the King had written to him His Majesty expected that Sir George Buchanan would by now have been informed that the whole question was being reconsidered, and that our previous Agreement could no longer be held as binding. Mr Balfour said that he would draft a telegram to Sir George Buchanan this afternoon and send it to the Prime Minister for his approval."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 17, 2016, 01:47:45 PM
This correspondence shows that:

1. The Russian Provisional government asked Britain to give asylum to the Tsar and his family.
2. The British government initially accepted and passed this information to their Ambassador, Mr Buchanan.
3. The King, George V, got nervous about a couple of articles and some angry letters, and decided to go back on his word.

Nothing of that contradicts what Kerenky wrote. The problem are the dates. The letters are dated March 1917 and Kerensky wrote that he knew about the British refusal to give asylum to the Imperial Family in late June-early July. But I will return to that later.

2. Kerensky had no reason to shift the blame from the German Government to the British one. When he says that the German government agreed to give safe passage to the ship carrying the Imperial Family, I cannot think why he would lie to shield the Kaiser.

3. Kerensky mentions people who could refute his version, if it were a fabrication Scavenius, the Danish Minister, died in 1962. Kerensky published his book in 1935.

4. It makes sense from the logical point of view The Imperial Family were kept in Tsarkoe Selo waiting for the chance to take them to Murmansk to embark towards Britain. In order to do that, an agreement for safe passage to make sure that no German U-Boot sank the ship had to be obtained through the mediation of a neutral government. Once that Kerensky knew about the withdrawal of the asylum offer in Britain, he decided to send the Imperial family to a more secluded place where they would be safer, further from Petrogado, a revolutionary hotspot.

Count Benckendorff, Memoirs: "On Sunday, the 11th July, at 11 o'clock in the morning, Kerensky came to the Emperor that the situation in town had become alarming and he thought it would be more prudent for His Majetu and his family to leave, and to settle in the interior of the country."


The problem of the dates: Kerensky mention that Buchanan, the British ambassador, had "tears in his eyes" and was "scarcely able to control his emotions", when he informed him in late June- early July of the British government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. But we know that Balfour, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, must have sent him a telegram to let him know about it at the end of March, almost three months before.

A possible explanation is that the telegram that Buchanan received was worded vaguely, in order not to close completely the possibility. The Provisional Government must have continued to believed that it was possible to send the Imperial Family to Britain after all (and Alfonso XIII of Spain continued to believe that Britain was doing something to save the Tsar and His family). Buchanan and Kerensky's reaction would prove that the refusal was unexpected.  
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on April 17, 2016, 04:02:56 PM

As far as honour is concerned, why was the Tsar and his family any more the responsibility of the British Government than any other Russian people who had British relatives? The British Government's loyalty and duty belonged first of all to the people of Britain and the British Empire including their armed forces - seven of my great uncles among them, four of whom were killed.  
  

First of all, because from the very same moment of the Tsar's abdication is was clear that his life was in danger if he stayed in Russia. The same can not be said about other Russian people with British relatives, at least till the bolshevist coup of November 1917.

Regarding the duty of the British government to their armed forces: Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, hailed the "February revolution", which was a military mutiny, as "the greatest service which they [the Russian people] have yet made to the cause for which the Allied people have been fighting since August 1914". In fact, the revolution meant the end of any effective contribution by Russia to the Allied war effort and it was the British Tommies who suffered the consequences of it.

"The temporary breakdown of the French fighting power was not the worst of the troubles which together crippled the Entente offensive in 1917. The collapse, first partial and then complete, of Russia was a loss which even the entry of America into the war could not possibly compensate for many months, and before the balance was restored the Western Allies were to be perilously near the brink of defeat". B. H. Liddell Hart, "History of the First World War".

It was the collapse of the Eastern Front what allowed the Germans to mass men and artillery for their offensive in March 1918, which smashed a British section of the front.

"At 4:30 AM, on March 21 1918, the sudden crash of some 4,000 German guns heralded the breaking of a storm which, in grandeur of scale, of awe, of destruction, surpassed any other in the World War. By nightfall a German flood had inundated forty miles of the British front; a week later it had reached the outskirsts of Amiens; and in the ensuing weeks the Allied cause itself was almost submerged." In two week the British army suffered 160,000 casualties: 22,000 killed, 75,000 prisoners and 65,000 wounded.
Whether the Tsar's life was in danger or not does not change the fact that he and his family were Russian and therefore Britain was not obligated to offer help.
However subsequent events turned out, given that the new Russian Government had pledged to continue the war against Germany, then Britain's recognition that the Provisional Government would be representing Russia was a reasonable decision on its part. 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on April 23, 2016, 06:15:02 PM
I have some comments on this subject:

KGV the Feb/mar 1917 probably shocked him somewhat. There was trouble on the English home front . He was being even accused of disloyalty. There friends of his that did warn him letting Nicholas and Alexandra England was a bad idea. Note he changed his family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor later this year.

If Alfonso XIII wanted to get the IF out of Russia one wonders why he didn't send a message to the Provisional government saying he would take them?

As for Kerensky if he really wanted to get the IF out of Russia why didn't he start asking around?

Looking at the situation in Russia in the summer of 1917 I don't think it was possible for anyone to get the IF out of Russia. here's why:

The Provisional goverment's hold on power was  very weak. Kerensky and I would say more than a few others were extremely paranoid the military would seize power in a coup. The main reason Kerensky sent the IF to Tobolsk was he knew there any attempt to rescue the IF would be extremely difficult if not impossible. It should be also pointed out Kerensky in 1917 was still looking for evidence to discredit the IF that they were selling out Russia to the Germans. He never found any.
Then there is the Petrograd Soviet they want to jail Nicholas and Alexandra and don't want them to leave the country fearing it will make it easier for them to make a comeback.
Then there are the Military men and Intelligence men who don't want Nicholas to leave because he knows state secrets.
Adding to the problem are the hyper alert guards around the Alexander Palace. Getting them out is going to be very difficult to put it mildly even with the help of the Provisional government. Then you have to get them out of Russia which may be impossible even again with the help of the Provisional government.

It looks like everyone is caught between a rock and a hard place. to put it mildly.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on April 28, 2016, 07:27:22 AM
Quote
It should be also pointed out Kerensky in 1917 was still looking for evidence to discredit the IF that they were selling out Russia to the Germans. He never found any.

Because there was nothing to find.  The IF was loyal to Russia all the way. 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: edubs31 on April 28, 2016, 12:54:54 PM
Quote
It should be also pointed out Kerensky in 1917 was still looking for evidence to discredit the IF that they were selling out Russia to the Germans. He never found any.

Because there was nothing to find.  The IF was loyal to Russia all the way. 

Yes but ones enemies can always find a way to spin the narrative and make something either harmless or entirely unrelated an example of ones disloyalty and/or incompetence. They had the symbol of Rasputin and prominent members of the imperial with German blood...what more does a good salesperson need?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 29, 2016, 05:55:42 PM

If Alfonso XIII wanted to get the IF out of Russia one wonders why he didn't send a message to the Provisional government saying he would take them?


1. First, Alfonso XIII thought that they had been offered asylum in Britain.

2. When he discovered that was not the case (rather, that George V had gone back on his word) he did, but it was to late because the Imperial Family had already been sent to Siberia.

The sequence of events (I'm following Carlos Seco Serrano's book Alfonso XIII:

1. The British Ambassador in Madrid,Hardinge, told the Spanish king that George V had offered asylum to the Imperial Family. That must have been at the end of March 1917 (after March 20).

2. Alfonso XIII received the new ambassador of the Provisional Government, Neklyudov, when he arrived in Madrid at the end of May 1917: "In your speech you have kindly mentioned my help to the Russian prisoner of wars. Now let me express my deep interest in other prisioners. I mean the Tsar Nicholas and his family. I beg you forward your government my request that they be freed". My guess is that at that time neither the Russian ambassador nor Alfonso XIII (100% certain regarding the king) knew that the Imperial Family had been refused asylum in Britain. If the Russian ambassador did, he did not tell the king.

3. The Imperial Family was sent to Siberia (31 July 1917).

4. Alfonso XIII tried again to make the British do something. "Again Spain tried to "move" London to act regarding the august prisoners, proposing again the joint mediation of George V and Don Alfonso. Merry del Val, our ambassador, informed crudely to the Spanish Court that, while the British Royal Family was certainly worried for the Empress Dagmar (Marie), about whose fate nothing was known, on the other hand expressed their indifference towards Nicholas II's wife, Alix of Hesse. "The opinion about the latter (Alix) is very negative, in the palace as well as in the public opinion as a whole. She is seen as a conscious or unconcious German agent and as the main responsible for the revolution, for the bad advice she provided his husband, whom she completely controlled, avoiding that he granted the concessions that would have saved the throne... I have to add that this strong resentment against the Empress Alice exclude any possibility of her residing in the United Kingdom."

6. Bolshevik coup (7 November 1917). Kerensky goes into hiding.

7. Alfonso XIII asked the Norwegian and Swedish governments to try to get the release of the Imperial family from the Soviets, whereas he would send a ship of the Spanish Navy to any harbour of their countries to collect the the tsar and his family and bring them to Spain.

8. Brest-Litovsk treaty between the bolshevists and Germany (march 1918).

9. Nicholas II and his family are murdered in Ekaterinburg (17 July 1918)

7. Gomez Contreras, Spanish commercial attaché in Petrogado (the last Spanish diplomat to remain in the Soviet Union) received on 22 August 1918 orders to talk with the Soviets about the release of the Imperial Family (the orders had been cursed in July, but did not reach him till that date). Gomez Contreras went with the Dutch ambassador to Moscow, where they had two meetings with Chicherin, the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs. Chicherin said that the Empress and the children were alive.

8. In November 1918 Gomez Contreras had to run away, crossing the Finnish border. He was murdered by the Communists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.


That is more or less the reconstruction I have made from 2 articles and a biography of Alfonso XIII I am reading. I'm afraid that is not 100% accurate regarding the dates, but I think that it shows that Alfonso XIII did everything that he could have done to save the Imperial Family, something that cannot be said about George V or Wilhem II.

Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on April 29, 2016, 08:13:38 PM
Quote
Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   

I find this very odd. My copy of 'The File on the Tsar', 1976, by Anthony Summers & Tom Mangold, does not appear to refer to Alfonso at all. His name does not appear in the Index, and the five chapters in the Section entitled Five: Cousins, and devoted to various possible rescue attempts of the Imperial Family, make no mention of King Alfonso, or Spain.

Those chapter headings are as follows:
19. King George Slams the Door.
20. The Jonas Lied Affair.
21. The Yakovlev Mission.
22. The German Connection.
23. Moscow Barters with Berlin.

The book was published in 1976, well before the true fate of the IF was known, and there is a great deal of speculation about what actually happened, some very accurate, some not. However there is a lot of original research here, and the story as related is still relevant today.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on April 30, 2016, 06:31:39 AM
Quote
Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   

I find this very odd. My copy of 'The File on the Tsar', 1976, by Anthony Summers & Tom Mangold, does not appear to refer to Alfonso at all. His name does not appear in the Index, and the five chapters in the Section entitled Five: Cousins, and devoted to various possible rescue attempts of the Imperial Family, make no mention of King Alfonso, or Spain.


Maybe you should allow for the existence of different editions. The Spanish version of Summers and Mangold's book, published in 1978 with the title El Expediente sobre el Zar (Plaza y Janés) has an extra chapter about King Alfonso XIII and the Russian Imperial Family.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on April 30, 2016, 06:54:43 PM
Quote
Maybe you should allow for the existence of different editions. The Spanish version of Summers and Mangold's book, published in 1978 with the title El Expediente sobre el Zar (Plaza y Janés) has an extra chapter about King Alfonso XIII and the Russian Imperial Family.

Thank you NicholasG, that is interesting. I have a paperback English version of 'The File on the Tsar' and there must have been a later edition translated into Spanish. There may have been later English editions as well, of course, which included a chapter on King Alfonso's efforts to rescue the IF.  Does anyone know?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 02, 2016, 05:42:09 PM
Alexandra in 1917-18 was one really hated/despised/distrusted woman many people thought she was pro-German or was selling out Russia to the Germans or is blamed for the revolution and also gets accused of having an affair with Rasputin. in reality none of this is true, but this is what everyone believed back then. Nicholas was the man who ran the government on a day to day basis. Alexandra had little to do with this.

The book "The Russian Revolution" R Pipes points out that it later became British policy not to allow any member of the Russian imperial family except the DE Maria Fed on their soil while the war was on. It also points out GD Michael A was refused permission to go to England.

As for the Kishinev pogrom the Book "Easter in Kishinev" which deals with incident points while some Russian officials ect were anti-Semtic others weren't and incompetence had as much to do with the Pogrom as Anti-semtism. To which one might add a murder that was reported as a Jewish ritual murder which the government said it wasn't but the public didn't believe them and the fact that this area and the rest of the Russian empire was one big economic, social, political ect mess on the verge of a explosion.

The book Pogrom: Anti-Jewish violence in Modern Russian History also deals with Pogroms and their causes.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 02, 2016, 06:00:10 PM
I must add the book "Easter In Kishinev" has on the Bishop of Kishinev blessing the Pogromists. This happened early in the Pogrom and the book points out he and many other officials didn't realize what was going on.

One must point out while many Russian disliked or hated Jews they hated pogroms even worse. Many officials ect. often did about everything in their power to stop them. Officials did get fired as in Kishinev if they didn't take action. Sometimes it took a "nastygram" from St Petersburg to get them to take action.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 10, 2016, 06:54:14 PM
I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins. The problem is now how to get them out of the country. if they want to get to Murmansk they can only get there by train and the moment the Petrograd Soviet hears the IF has escaped they will all trains stopped and searched. Hiding eight people  is going to be impossible and there is no way to disguise them. As for going by vehicle there are other problems: first is the Petrograd Soviet that will set up road blocks and check all travelers. Second the only country they can get to is Sweden which during WW I is pro-German. The IF might be nervous about going there. Third any long distance vehicle trip is going to be very difficult if not impossible. The roads are all dirt outside the cities which turn to mud during the thaw. So the vehicles better have 4 wheel drive and somebody better bring ropes and chains to pull them out because they are going to get stuck. Also note there are few gas stations around back then anywhere in the world. so someone either has to take lots of spare fuel or have supplies of fuel cached along the way. Then when if they somehow managed to get to the Russian-Swedish border there are no bridges across the river except one foot bridge. There are also lots of alert guards. A British General back then said a torpedo boat could take the IF to safety. Problem one the Baltic ice didn't melt until June in 1917. Add to this where are you going to find a torpedo boat and a reliable crew. Also when the alert is given the Petrograd Soviet will send every ship and plane they can get their hands on after IF which has a long way to go down the Gulf of Finnland then across the Baltic to Sweden which is pro-German. One would also like to add there are more than a few minefields in these waters along with more than a few drifting mines. So you can see an escape from TS may be impossible to pull off and if caught by the Petrograd Soviet the whole IF are going to find themselves in jail.
 Another problem for the escape may be the IF may not want to go. They are thinking based on letters that they are either going to be going into exile to England or may be sent to live with the rest of their relatives in the Crimea. somehow I don't think these people are going to grab a couple of bags on short notice and hop into a car and run for it at this time. Finally anyone planning an escape doesn't have that much time to plan one since Kerensky tells the IF on 11/24 July 1917 they are to be evacuated.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on May 10, 2016, 07:11:53 PM
Quote
I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins.

They would be more likely to succeed if they could find a local safe house and wait for the White Army to retake Ekaterinberg. In the event, that happened just days after the massacre and if they had timed it right it was a real possibility. But that is in hindsight, of course.

OOps, I see you are talking about their possible escape from Tsarskoe-Selo. But that is on the understanding that they were desperate to escape at that period. I don't think desperation would have set in until much later.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Ally Kumari on May 11, 2016, 09:41:19 AM
I never knew this, but apparently Victoria of Milford-Haven offered to take care of the three younger Grand Duchesses, if not all the children/whole family.

When the Tsarina’s sister Victoria–the Marchioness of Milford Haven–heard that the Tsar had left for Ekaterinburg, she wrote a letter to Arthur Balfour, then Foreign Secretary, asking if it would be possible for at least three of the Tsar’s children to be brought to England and placed in her custody. ‘I quite realize that the boy is a political asset which no party in Russia would allow to be taken out of its hands, but the girls (except perhaps the eldest) can be of no value or importance,’ she said. ‘I and my husband would willingly keep them here in quiet obscurity.’ She received a reply that the difficulties in the way of such a proposal were ‘almost insuperable.’


From Princess Marina, Her Life and Times, by Stella King.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on May 11, 2016, 10:29:51 AM
James's points make perfect sense.

I would add that motor vehicles at that time were far from reliable, and frequently broke down unless thoroughly maintained, particularly when faced with poor road services and bad weather (as you would get in Russia in the spring thaw).

Another major problem is that the family were not prepared to be split up. If they were, then two of the girls might have a reasonable chance if they wore their nurses' uniforms and set off with Dr Botkin. Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexei were all only too recognisable; Alexandra wasn't very mobile, and throughout the Ekaterinburg period Alexei was unable to walk. Of course, in that scenario, the rest of the family would have to conceal the departure of three of their number for as long as possible.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 11, 2016, 04:47:31 PM
I have read when the IF left Tsarskoe selo for the last time the children were asked if they wanted to go to live with their grandmother in the Crimea or stay at TS. They decided to stay with their parents. At Tobolsk Nicholas got a message to some loyalists that he did not the family to split up during an escape.

One problem with the IF and any sort of escape. Their pictures were printed everywhere pre-1917 and many people had seen them in real life. So trying to disguise them probably is just not going to work.

Serge Witte's besides hating Plehve also had an ax to grind against Nicholas. This does show in his memoirs.

Gukchov had a meeting with Nicholas that didn't go down all that well and from what I have read about him he was not a very likeable man. Hence his efforts to smear Rasputin and Alexandra.

Comparing the Ceausescus to Nicholas and Alexandra is insulting to Nicholas and Alexandra. the Ceausescus tried to turn Rumania into a eastern European version of North Korea. I believe they required typewriters to be registered! I don't think Nicholas and Alexandra would even think of doing this to Russia and would probably have been shocked by a country run like North Korea.

I have some notes from the book "The Netherlands and WW I" The Dutch Envoy to Russia W.J. Oudendojk did ask the Soviets about AOTMA on 1 September 1918 and was told they were okay. He did manage to get the cheka to release a number of British and French people jailed by them and was decorated by the British government for this.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on May 12, 2016, 02:26:10 AM
Bear in mind that in the Tsarskoye-Selo period, the girls and Alexei had just had their heads shaved.

It didn't make a huge difference to Alexei's appearance, since he had short hair anyway, but it did to the girls'. Russian nurses' uniforms had nun-like headdresses, which could work quite well as a disguise, and the story could be that the girls had had their heads shaved while nursing typhus patients.

But, of course, it never happened.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on May 12, 2016, 08:47:25 AM
I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins. The problem is now how to get them out of the country. if they want to get to Murmansk they can only get there by train and the moment the Petrograd Soviet hears the IF has escaped they will all trains stopped and searched.

I think that you are oversetimating both the efficiency and the "loyalty" of the revolutionaries controlled by the Petrograd soviet. Russia after the February revolution was not Stalin's Soviet Union, it did not have an all-embracing repressive machinery. With the Provisional government agreement and before the Imperial family were sent to Siberia a man with 20,000 gold roubles could have taken them out of the country by train, boat, car or sledge.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 17, 2016, 03:45:56 PM
One problem in bribing people to get the IF out. Yes it could be possible but many of the Petrograd Soviet and other revolutionaries were so fanatical that bribing them wouldn't work. You also have to remember these people are paranoid that if Nicholas and family get out of the country they are going to try and make a comeback and the revolutionaries are going to end up being shot, hung or jailed.

Pre WW I if you owned a motor vehicle you press much had to be a mechanic as well.

for more information on Russian roads go to archive.org:
DA 20-242 German Armored Traffic Control During the Russian Campaign
DA 20-290 Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign

Lets just say Russian roads leave a lot to be desired.

As Ann pointed out in a above post Alexandra can barely walk on most days. So Nicholas or someone else will have to carry her everywhere. She can ride in a vehicle as in her final trip.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 18, 2016, 02:10:58 PM
One of the events that influenced a number of Russians during the 1917 period was the French revolution. Many of the Petrograd Soviet and others including possibly Kerensky were thinking if the IF the IF tried to get away they would have a situation like Louis XVI and family and their flight to Varennes who instead of getting caught get away and come back at the head of an army.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on May 18, 2016, 07:26:40 PM
And like the French Revolution, Russia would have a Robespierre. 

Lenin, come on down!
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Tatyana on May 18, 2016, 07:34:52 PM
I have heard it said that between March and August 1917, it would have been impossible to transport the Imperial family by train to Murmansk or Archangel because the revolutionaries controlled some or all of the rail lines.
Is this true?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on May 19, 2016, 02:02:11 PM
Yes the Petrograd Soviet controlled the railroads in Russia at this time. One also must point out that wartime inflation and shortages radicalized the railroad workers. Another event the influenced the Russian revolutionaries of 1917 was the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1817 by the French army.  I would say that there were many revolutionaries including Kerensky who were worried that something like this might happen to them.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on May 19, 2016, 11:57:10 PM
Mage 60

We should also bear in mind that anyone who accepts a bribe is inherently untrustworthy. All too often someone takes a bribe and then goes to his masters. A trap is then laid.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on May 20, 2016, 07:08:44 AM
As Admiral Ackbar said:  It's a trap!
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: mcdnab on May 20, 2016, 09:47:50 AM
I have responded to this kind of discussion before so apologies for any repetition.
It is useful to remember that Nicholas II and his wife made little real effort themselves to leave Russia and showed little desire to do so - worse, in my opinion, is that they refused offers to take the children out of the country via Finland in the granted brief window it might have been possible. We know that Nicholas II was warned not to return to the capital after his abdication and to travel abroad immediately for example.
It is also worth noting that the reality was that the Provisional Government also did very little to aid in the family leaving Russia or to make efforts to find a solution of what to do with the former Emperor.

The British offer of asylum was made by the UK Government of Lloyd George AT THE REQUEST of the Provisional Government. Lloyd George believed that he was acting in the best interests of the allies. It is important to note that the British Government was not acting out of loyalty to a former ally (the Emperor) but trying to appease and help the Russian provisional government.
Most allied governments welcomed the Czar's abdication - his poor credentials to the "liberal" governments of Western Europe as a "despot" had been compounded as he failed to control his rapidly collapsing government. Ironically the Republican French press was kinder to him after his fall than the British.
Britain was fiercely anti Russian throughout the 19th Century - despite the personal family ties between the two royal families - British politicians had a notoriously anti russian streak - mainly because Russia was seen as a threat to British interests in the Eastern Med and to her Indian Empire and many welcomed the collapse of the Russian Empire because it removed a stumbling block to Britain's imperial interests. That made the offer of sanctuary politically even more sensitive.

Also whilst George's personal relationship with his Russian cousins was good even he however was less tolerant of the Empress recording in his diary that she had been "very foolish".

In 1917 George V was facing a press and left wing politicians that widely welcomed his cousin's abdication - the Labour Party and the trade unions were celebrating the fall of "bloody Nicholas" and his "german Empress" and were protesting at any offer of asylum - in fact the Coalition Government had to deny that any offer had been made in Parliament.  The timing was appalling for George on a personal level - he and his government were aware that events in Russia had given hope to numerous groups in the UK who wanted to see more radical change in British political and social life. Because the British Throne is always seen as relatively safe we tend to assume that George might have worried unnecessarily about the threat to his own position of being too closely linked to his cousin but he had to do so and to not do so would have been a dereliction of his Coronation Oath.

Kerensky's own comments on the offer made in exile have always had the air of a man equally keen to absolve himself of any guilt for their ultimate fate preferring instead to blame Lloyd George.

The key for me is that the Provisional Government failed to act to facilitate the family leaving Russia before the British offer began to wither on the vine and was withdrawn. If Kerensky was so desperate to save them then why not request asylum from Sweden or Denmark - both neutral - and much easier to get to during war conditions. If he'd been that desperate he could have sent them to Finland where they could have easily crossed into Sweden.

Here's the communication between official channels:
18 March 1917 Asylum for Imperial Family in enquiry to British Government from the Russian Foreign Minister
21 March 1917 Kings telegram offering asylum
22 March 1917 War cabinet approval of offer is confirmed
23 March 1917  Telegram concerning the provisional invitation to the Tsar to come to England
24 March 1917  Telegram concerning request to Russian government to give Tsar safe conduct for departure to England
26th March 1917 Foreign Office learnt that  King's telegram not delivered to Tsar through fear of misinterpretation
28th March 1917 Thanks conveyed from Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs at being asked to cancel King's telegram

Letters from the King's private secretary expressing concern at the invitation begin at the end of March by the 17th April he was expressing a strong view the invitation to the Czar not be taken up, by the 22nd of April there is relief from the King that the matter has been dropped.
Lets also remember that the Provisional Government were under pressure to keep Nicholas in Russia as Maurice Paleologue noted in his diary..
Saturday, March 24, 1917.
The Soviet has heard that the King of England is offering the Emperor and Empress the hospitality of British territory. At the bidding of the "Maximalists" the Provisional Government has had to pledge its word to keep the fallen sovereigns in Russia. The Soviet has gone further and appointed a commissary to "supervise the detention of the imperial family."
The Soviet had also criticised the government for not detaining the Dowager Empress and others.

The Czar's family went to the Urals in August 1917 on Kerensky's orders to try and ensure their safety (or so he always maintained) - of course in April and May 1918 they were moved to Ekaterinburg where they were killed in the July.  

George V was a constitutional or more correctly a parliamentary monarch (something incidentally derided by both his autocratic cousins Nicholas II and William II).  He decided in 1917 without the benefit of hindsight to stick to his own coronation oath and put the safety of his own country and own throne before personal and family considerations.  Its that decision that lead him in the same year to reject his german names and titles and also more reluctantly to sign the Titles Deprivation Act which he personally wasn't that happy about and the effect it had on other cousins who before the war he had a warm relationship with.

I don't really think people fully appreciate what a disaster for George V intervening to bring his cousin to England might have been. The last state visit by a British Monarch to Russia was Edward VII's in 1908 when he hosted the Imperial Family on the royal yacht. Ramsey MacDonald, labour leader at the time and a future PM, called the Tsar a common murder and accussed the King of hobnobbing with a blood stained killer. That view was common not just on the left but in the Liberal Party as well. George V had pretty good instincts when he got cold feet about the offer.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on May 20, 2016, 05:11:43 PM

In 1917 George V was facing a press and left wing politicians that widely welcomed his cousin's abdication - the Labour Party and the trade unions were celebrating the fall of "bloody Nicholas" and his "german Empress" and were protesting at any offer of asylum - in fact the Coalition Government had to deny that any offer had been made in Parliament.  The timing was appalling for George on a personal level - he and his government were aware that events in Russia had given hope to numerous groups in the UK who wanted to see more radical change in British political and social life. Because the British Throne is always seen as relatively safe we tend to assume that George might have worried unnecessarily about the threat to his own position of being too closely linked to his cousin but he had to do so and to not do so would have been a dereliction of his Coronation Oath.


I don't really think people fully appreciate what a disaster for George V intervening to bring his cousin to England might have been. The last state visit by a British Monarch to Russia was Edward VII's in 1908 when he hosted the Imperial Family on the royal yacht. Ramsey MacDonald, labour leader at the time and a future PM, called the Tsar a common murder and accussed the King of hobnobbing with a blood stained killer. That view was common not just on the left but in the Liberal Party as well. George V had pretty good instincts when he got cold feet about the offer.


Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

Britain:

Lord Stamfordham (George V's private secretary) to A.J. Balfour (Foreign Secretary), 24 March 1917

"Every day the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and the Empress of Russia coming to this country.
His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, known or unknown to him, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in Clubs but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal."

Same day

"I would particularly call to attention to an article in last Thursday's Justice by Hyndman who condemns the invitation, and implies that it has come from Their Majesties. And Hyndman is the person that Mr Henderson told the King he wished to send to Russia as one of the representatives of our Socialist in this country!"
 
The idea that the authors of the handful of angry letters that George V got, members of London clubs, the Labour MPs (MacDonald, Henderson,Hyndman), readers of Justice and probably nuts form the Speakers' Corner would have stormed Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament if the Russian Imperial Family had been offered asylum in Britain is ridiculous. Now, with the benefit of hindsight and in 1917, without it.

Spain

1. King Alfonso XIII survived 5 assesination attempts (real attempts with bullets being shot, bombs going off and people being killed around). In 1913 he survived by charging on his horse against the would-be assasin. His horse was wounded in the neck by a bullet.

2. The Spanish Prime Minister, José Canalejas, was murdered by an anarchist in November 1912. (Another Prime Minister, Eduardo Dato, would be murdered in 1921, during a terrorist campaign worse than anything that the IRA has launched against Britain).

3. In July 1909 revolutionary violence spread across Barcelona, then the biggest city in Spain, during what was known as the "tragic week". Barricades were raised, churches and convents were burned, more than 160 people died.

4. And finally, to top it all, a General Revolutionary Strike in August 1917, planned from the previous year.

And it was Alfonso XIII, who had to battle real revolutionary violence, not angry letters, who made a real effort to save Nicholas II and his family. Maybe because he thought more about the fate of a innocent, helpless family than about his role as a constitutional monarch, etc., etc. I admire him the more for that.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on May 20, 2016, 06:50:02 PM
Quote
Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

You might also mention that Britain was fighting for its existence in a World War, while Spain remained comfortably neutral. Britain was a constitutional monarchy, and it remains so to this day, largely because George V actually listened to what the people were saying. Spain was a centralized monarchy under Alfonso, and he apparently did not listen to what his people were saying as he was forced to abdicate in 1931, when Spain became a republic.

George V put the needs of his country before personal considerations, so his family still retains their position and the respect of the people. Alfonso put personal and family considerations first, and lost out. Noble but stupid.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on May 21, 2016, 05:00:24 AM
Quote
Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

You might also mention that Britain was fighting for its existence in a World War, while Spain remained comfortably neutral. Britain was a constitutional monarchy, and it remains so to this day, largely because George V actually listened to what the people were saying. Spain was a centralized monarchy under Alfonso, and he apparently did not listen to what his people were saying as he was forced to abdicate in 1931, when Spain became a republic.

George V put the needs of his country before personal considerations, so his family still retains their position and the respect of the people. Alfonso put personal and family considerations first, and lost out. Noble but stupid.

Not so "comfortably". With Spanish merchant ships frequently sunk by German submarines, the King Alfonso XIII offered to send a ship of the Spanish Navy to collect the Imperial Family from any northern port. If the ship had been sunk, either by the mistake of a submarine commander or by a mine carried by the current, Spain might have been dragged into WWI. And taking part in WWI would have been much more dangerous for Spain than for Britain (which was not fighting for its existence, Wilhem II was not Hitler), as a less stable country. The little colonial war in Marocco had already shaken the country in 1909.

And, according to historian Carlos Seco Serrano, the "opposition" (Republicans, socialists and anarchists) planned "to do a Petrograd" in 1917: overthrowing the monarchy with a revolutionary general strike and joining WWI on the side of the Entente in exchange for international recognition. They tried, but fortunately they failed. So the risk was huge.

If George V took a wise, sensible, honourable decision, based on the best interest of the British people, why did Lloyd George have to take the blame and shield him? Why was Sir George Buchanan (British ambassador in Petrograd) muzzled and had to hide the truth in his memoirs to keep his pension?

"Nevertheless, it came as something of a shock when at the end of March (OS) Britain informed the Provisional Government that she was withdrawing her invitation to the ex-Tsar. It was believed then and for a long time afterward that it was Prime Minister Lloyd George who had dissuaded George V from following his generous impulses. Lloyd George himself liked to perpetuate this impression. But it has since become known that he did so to protect the King, who had vetoed the earlier decision for fear that it would embarrass the Crown and irritate Labor MPs, who were "expressing adverse opinions to the proposal." The King's role in this dishonorable action was kept in strict secrecy: instructions went out "to keep an eye on anything that may be put into the War Cabinet minutes likely to hurt the King's feelings."

Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 1990, p. 336.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on May 21, 2016, 05:05:29 AM
"By 16 April, such was the King's heightened state of anxiety that Stamfordham was obliged to send a second letter to Balfour, categorically stating that the arrival of Nicholas and Alexandra in Britain "would be strongly resented by the public and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and Queen". Lloyd George was obliged to concede. His sympathies as a Liberal on the left of the party had all along been with the Revolution but nevertheless he would have supported the offer of asylum to the Romanovs had the King insisted. Yet for years afterwards both Lloyd George and Ambassador Buchanan would be vilified for their supposed failure to effect the Romanov family's rescue. Buchanan was made to fall on his sword on his memoirs and cover-up the truth of the British government's failure to act, on pain of losing his pension. Bound by the Official Secrets Act, he could not reveal the truth of diplomatic moves at the time but had to go along with the official line that a handful of left-wing extremists in government, including Prime Minister Lloyd George, had pressurised the King into relenting (...)
Official records, however, do not back up the accusations that Lloyd George was directly instrumental in preventing the Romanov from coming to England. Indeeed, he too came under pressure when writing his War Memoirs in 1934 to cover up the King's ignominious abandonment of the Tsar, by scrapping an entire chapter on the discussion over the asylum offer, substituting a brief comment to the effect that it was the provisional government that had scuppered the Romanovs' chances of leaving Russia by placing obstacles in the way of effecting this."

Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, 2008, pp. 151-152 

But I agree that Alfonso XIII and George V were completely different kings.

Alfonso XIII embodied the finest tradition of monarchy and was above all a gentleman.

George V was a king for the "age of Hooper".
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Royal Bloodline Descent on May 21, 2016, 12:57:50 PM
Hello,


Nicholas

I have read your information provided also noted the bloodline connection  to George V who was a cousin to Czar Nicholas 11 as you well know.  If you may be interested to see what other king who was a cousin to the Nicholas 11 and a problem for the Czar sharing the same ancestor  bloodline then is still been shared today by a few present day royals.

Royal Bloodline Descent           on Face book



This is my first post and I am afraid that my English is not better than the Grand Duchesses' when they were 7. Nicolas is my real (family) name, not any kind of tribute to the Tsar.

I have finished reading "Ekaterinburg", by Helen Rappaport and what I found most interesting in the book was the attempts to save the Imperial families done by the European royal families (most of them, their relatives). Whereas the British monarch George V (Nicholas II's cousin who looked like his twin brother) does not play a very honourable role, King Alfonso XIII of Spain (a remote relative through his wife, Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg, a cousin of Empress Alexandra's) made any possible effort, up to offer to send a ship of the Spanish Navy to collect Nicholas II and his family and asylum in Spain (this does not appear in Helen Rappaport's book, it is from a Spanish article), in the middle of a World War, with European waters filled with mines and German submarines which sunk neutral ships. And with a lot of revolutionary agitation and violence going on in Spain (George V supposedly withdrew his offer of asylum to the Imperial family because of the opposition of the "public opinion", that is, a handful of angry articles in the press).

Victoria, Alexandra's eldest sister, Louis of Battenberg (then Mountbatten)'s wife, aknowledged the generosity of the Spanish King:

[This is my translation from the Spanish translation of the English original, so I suppose it sounds a bit weird

"Dear Alfonso,
Now that there is unfortunately nothing to hope for my dear sister and his children [The bolshevists had initially acknowledged the murder of the Tsar, but they have said that the Empress and her children were alive in this life, now that it is clear that death has liberated them from further suffering, passing from the cruel hands of men to those of Fair and Generous God, I fell that I must send you some lines to heartfeltly thank you for everything you have tried to do to save them from their enemies.
The King that had a more direct influence on the revolutionary government in Russia [the Provisional Government, after the February Revolution, the King who had met my sister when she was a child, the King who had the same blood in his veins, I am afraid that he abandoned her in her hour of need, whereas you, to whom in comparison she and her family were strangers, strived to help them. I will never forget the gratitude I owe you for that."

Does anyone has more information about any other attempts (the Danish royal family, the Vatican. They are mentioned in Rappaport's book) to save the Imperial family?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Richard P on June 01, 2016, 09:21:21 AM
I think by the time Alfonso the XIII became involved in rescuing the Tsar and his family it was unfortunately too late. It is true that he was facing revolutionary conditions in Spain but if we judge the social conditions most of the people were living under they were pretty desperate. At the time Spain was a relatively poor country and I am not sure what Alfonso did to improve the situation.

One of the best chances arose with Vasily Yakolev who I believe would have taken the family to freedom in the belief that there was enough money to be gained by him for all his revolutionary credentials. He decided that he could not escape with them nor even follow his nominal orders to take the family to Moscow because of the forces raised against him. I am not sure how far at the time he was to the nearest white forces.

At the time of the UK's offer of refuge there were a number of hurdles if the Provisional Government had wanted to quickly move the Tsar. Were the family willing to leave? The Provisional Government were not like I understand a Government i.e. in control. The Soviet controlled much of the real power, after order no 1 the military was not reliable, and transport was under the control of the Soviets. This would have made the journey extremely difficult.

All I have read of Kerensky is that apart from being vain and addicted to stimulants was that he was a social democrat with an aversion to the death penalty, so I do not think he wished the family harm. He could have done more to save them but from his perspective it would have weakened his Government against the soviet.

King George's actions were those of someone who wanted to save his throne in the middle of a most destructive war that had let loose forces of social upheval on an unprecedented scale.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on June 03, 2016, 02:28:14 PM
Yakovlev arrived at Tobolsk on 22 April 1918. He was a close friend of Sverdlov and was reguarded as a reliable Bolshevik which is why he was given this job. His movements of the NAM group and the attempted detour to Omsk where all done on orders from Moscow. The Czech legion revolt which started the Civil war in Siberia didn't really get going until right after OTAA arrived in Ekaterinberg. So there was no where for him to take the IF even if he wanted to do so and at this time he was still a loyal Bolshevik.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on June 03, 2016, 05:17:05 PM
reply #64 typo it should be Paris commune in 1871 not 1817
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Andrei Beanov on July 22, 2016, 03:15:08 AM
There was an early offer from George V via the Ambassador which was rejected by Nicholas whilst they were still under house arrest at AP.
If you read the families letters it seems they were their own worst enemies in regards to being rescued.
The letter from Ernst to Alix is interesting as is her response.

The bottom line is --- they could have been rescued IF they hadn't been so stubborn................but after they moved from Tobolsk to Yekaturinburg it was nigh on impossible.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on July 24, 2016, 02:03:43 PM
Britain and Spain in 1917 did not compare. 

Britain was involved in a world war which cost it 1700 casualties per day. A war that was ruinous for its finances and which might have been lost.  The government had had to contend with an uprising in Ireland in the previous year and in 1917 had seen parts of the French Army mutiny and revolution in Russia.

Why should it have involved itself with the internal politics of Russia -whose government was committed to continuing the war?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on July 30, 2016, 08:08:14 AM
There was an early offer from George V via the Ambassador which was rejected by Nicholas whilst they were still under house arrest at AP.
If you read the families letters it seems they were their own worst enemies in regards to being rescued.
The letter from Ernst to Alix is interesting as is her response.

The bottom line is --- they could have been rescued IF they hadn't been so stubborn................but after they moved from Tobolsk to Yekaturinburg it was nigh on impossible.


It would be easier for everyone if you provided a link or quoted the relevant paragraphs when you mention a letter.

HOWEVER, that's what I have to say about it.

1. General Kornilov told Alix on March 21 1917 that they were being taken to Murmansk, and from there to Britain in a British warship. Alix did not seem to have opposed the idea, on the contrary she felt relieved to hear it.

"On the morning of March 21, General Kornilov returned to the palace. His mission this time was to place Alexandra Fedorovna under arrest. The Empress, dressed in her white nurse's uniform, received him in the green drawing room. Apprised of his mission, she stood icily silent and did not hold out her hand to receive him. Kornilov carefully explained that the arrest was purely precautionary, designed to safeguard her and her children from the excesses of the Soviet and the revolutionary soldiery. Her husband, he said, had been arrested at Mogilev and would be returned to Tsarkoe Selo the following day. As soon as the children's health permitted, he declared, the Provisional Government intended to send the entire family to Murmansk, where a British cruiser would be waiting to take them to England. Kornilov's reassuring words overcame Alexandra's reserve. Half an hour later, an aide returned to find the Empress and the General sitting together at a small table. She was weeping and there were tears in his eyes. When she rose to say goodbye, she held out both her hands."

Nicholas and Alexandra, Robert K. Massie

2. As regards any entry in the diary or comment that Alix could have made after the revolution about they wanting to stay in Russia, come what may, it cannot be taken as face-value. There's no way that she wanted that their children be exposed to the risk and the humiliations of hostile revolutionary guards instead of being free in Britain. Acceptance of God's will, resignation, feel of duty etc... may have coloured her comments but if they have been explained the risks and offered the choice they would have never refused to go to Britain or to any other country where they could be safe, or at least, to send their children there.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on July 30, 2016, 08:48:26 AM
Britain and Spain in 1917 did not compare.  

Britain was involved in a world war which cost it 1700 casualties per day. A war that was ruinous for its finances and which might have been lost.  The government had had to contend with an uprising in Ireland in the previous year and in 1917 had seen parts of the French Army mutiny and revolution in Russia.

Why should it have involved itself with the internal politics of Russia -whose government was committed to continuing the war?


OK. How woud have the offer of asylum to the Imperial family affected the war effort? Would have the trade unions started a strike at the munitions industry? Maybe the coal miners? A general mutiny in the army? Or would a revolutionary mob have stormed Westminster Palace and the House of Parliament?

The answer is: in no way. There would have been some angry articles in the radical press, maybe some small meetings or demonstrations and everything would have been forgotten in two weeks, once the Imperial Family settled for a quiet family life away from public attention.

Britain was involved in a world war, Spain was a neutral country. True. But the risk of revolution was much higher in Spain than in Britain. Alfonso XIII, the Spanish king, had survived three assesination attempts by 1917 (when he was 30). Canalejas, the Prime Minister, had been murdered by an anarchist in 1912. Dato, another prime minister, would be murdered in 1921 (How many PM were murdered in Britain during the XX century?). There had been a mutiny in Barcelona in 1909 which left more than 100 casualties. There was a revolutionary general strike in Spain in August 1917, organised by the Socialist Party. Anarchist violence and murders were almost a daily occurence...

Whereas in Britain all was quiet on the labour front. There was a special intelligence service headed by Basil Thompson of the Special Branch of Scotland Yard, who made weekly reports to the Cabinet on the labour situation throughout the country. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, was no friend of Nicholas II. He could have vetoed the asylum of the Imperial Family if he thought that their coming to Britain supposed a risk for the safety of the country. He didn't. It was the King (a constitutional King, as some here have remarked) who overruled the decision of his Prime Minister. The Easter Rising had nothing to do with revolutionary socialism, as neither the mutiny in France had (which had not yet happenned, so it could not have influence George V's decision). Nor did George V or his secretary, Lord Stramfordham, claim that there was an imminent risk if the Imperial Family were admitted to the UK: "all sort of difficulties", "it will be akward for Our Royal Family", "compromise the position of the King and the Queen", "serious embarassment".

George V was not thinking in terms of revolution and mutiny. As Kenneth Rose, George V's biographer, wrote: "The King feared for his popularity". And that's the reason he abandoned the Russian Imperial Family to their fate.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 02, 2016, 07:33:01 AM
Quote
It was the King (a constitutional King, as some here have remarked) who overruled the decision of his Prime Minister.

The King had no power to effect Government decisions.  Couldn't the British Government have just pushed ahead anyway? 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 02, 2016, 11:19:19 AM
The Government could have done, but there was a strong sense at that time that they should avoid embarrassing the King, as can be seen in the whole saga of the Titles Deprivation Act.

Ultimately, the Government had other priorities at a time when the war was going badly for the Allies.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Ellie on August 03, 2016, 02:19:36 AM
It's MHO that one of the foremost duties of a consititutional monarch, as George V was, is to set a moral example to his nation. It is thus also my opinion that George V, by refusing to give aid to his kin,  initiated the British Royal family's descent to its present insignificance.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 03, 2016, 07:02:07 AM
I guess that, in hindsight, no one at the time knew what would happen to NAOTMAA.  At that point, the Bolsheviks had not yet taken power.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 04, 2016, 07:46:25 AM
The King HAD power to affect the government decisions.

In theory, Lloyd George might have ignored the letters he got from the King's secretary, Lord Stamfordham. In practice, he wouldn't. Lloyd George had been Prime Minister for less than three months, heading a coallition of liberals (his party) and conservatives. He had expressed clearly his dislike of Russian autocracy, but he didn't have strong feelings against Nicholas Romanov as a private person. If the King had not intervened, he would not have rejected the Russian Provisional Government request to offer asylum to the Imperial Family.

The King was the Commander in Chief of the Army. He was the one who appointed Prime Ministers. He created peers that could delay (before the reform of 1911, veto) in the House of Lords any legislation passed in the House of Commons. In 1917 choosing a path of direct confrontation with the King was political suicide. A king had not been overthrown in Britain since 1689. On the other hand, the fall of a government was not uncommon.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 04, 2016, 08:10:34 AM
I guess that, in hindsight, no one at the time knew what would happen to NAOTMAA.  At that point, the Bolsheviks had not yet taken power.

No one at the time knew what would happen if we mean Ekaterinburg and the murder in Ipatiev House. Everyone with a little of information knew that situation in Russia was very dangerous for the Imperial Family.

Milyukov, the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Provisional Government, knew it and that's the reason he asked the British to grant the Imperial Family asylum.

In 1905-1906 the revolution had provoked much bloodshed in the Russian Empire (including the assesination of Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich, Nicholas II's uncle) before being supressed. In March 1917 sailors had massacred their officers in the naval base of Kronstadt, just 20 miles from Petrograd.

And there's the precedent of the French revolution. A distant observer, Léon Bloy, a French writer, wrote in his diary:

"18 March 1917 - The tsar Michael proclaims full popular soverignty. Popular sovereignty in Russia! In 1789, the Terror (in France) came after three years. The Russians will go much faster."

And "20 May 1917 - Some Kerensky, War Minister in Russia, has proclaimed that "The fatherland is in danger", a form which was to be expected, being their revolution a copy of ours. Yesterday it was 1789; today, it is 1792; without Valmy and Jemmapes, tomorrow will be 1793."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 04, 2016, 02:42:59 PM
Britain incurred an average of 1,700 casualties per day during the First World War. Dealing with the war the British government's first priority.  Nicholas Romanov and his family were foreign nationals living in a country that was pledged to carry on with the war on the side of Britain and France.  His abdication made no difference to Russia's commitment to the war and seems to have been well received by most of the British Press with even the right-wing Daily Mail welcoming that event.  Where was the incentive for the British government risk bringing the Romanovs to Britain at that time?

Any request by the Romanov family for asylum in Britain should have been assessed alongside other requests for asylum by foreign nationals such as Belgian refugees and so on. Had they arrived in Britain then hopefully they would have been housed by their relatives and financed any costs that their time in Britain incurred from their personal financial assets or by paid employment.  There were plenty of jobs that needed doing at time. No British lives should have been risked in any rescue attempt.

The sad fate of the Romanovs was down to the Russian people, their government(s) and the former Tsar.  The British government was not to blame, nor was King George Fifth.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 06, 2016, 06:22:56 AM
Britain incurred an average of 1,700 casualties per day during the First World War. Dealing with the war the British government's first priority.  Nicholas Romanov and his family were foreign nationals living in a country that was pledged to carry on with the war on the side of Britain and France.  His abdication made no difference to Russia's commitment to the war and seems to have been well received by most of the British Press with even the right-wing Daily Mail welcoming that event.  Where was the incentive for the British government risk bringing the Romanovs to Britain at that time?

Any request by the Romanov family for asylum in Britain should have been assessed alongside other requests for asylum by foreign nationals such as Belgian refugees and so on. Had they arrived in Britain then hopefully they would have been housed by their relatives and financed any costs that their time in Britain incurred from their personal financial assets or by paid employment.  There were plenty of jobs that needed doing at time. No British lives should have been risked in any rescue attempt.

The sad fate of the Romanovs was down to the Russian people, their government(s) and the former Tsar.  The British government was not to blame, nor was King George Fifth.


You have already posted that or something similar previously. A much more possitive contribution to the debate would be to try to answer the question I made:

"In which way would have the asylum of the Imperial Family in Britain affected the British war effort?" Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, thought it wouldn't and therefore he initially accepted the Russian request.

Now, I am going to reply to some of the points of your post.

1. Obligation.

First, King George V was Nicholas' first cousin, he addressed him in his letters as "Nicky". Now he and his family were in a very dangerous situation. That's moral obligation.

Secondly, the request to offer asylum to the Imperial Family came from Milyukov, the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Russian Provisional Government, an ally. If the British were to reject it, they should provide a much better reason that "the King will suffer embarassment".

2. Money.

Not a very elegant matter to discuss, specially taking into account that the modest requirements of the Imperial Family in exile would not have exceeded the household budget of an upper-middle class British family. But anyway, Lord Stamfordham, George V's secretary, raised it. The Russians (that is, the Russian Provisional Government), probably thinking that there was something in Napoleon's dictum that "Britain is a nation of shopkeepers", replied that they would cover the expenses of the Imperial Family in Britain.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 06, 2016, 07:10:53 AM
I honestly don't see an issue here.  Yes, some left wing papers might whine, but that would be about it.  Lloyd George had nothing to worry about.  I wonder if, has his party had a majority in Parliament, and therefore safe from no confidence votes, would he have gone ahead with it.

We'll never know, of course.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 06, 2016, 07:58:39 AM
We also need to consider the practicalities of getting the Romanovs to Britain.

The best route in my view would either have been by Royal Navy warship from Murmansk, or by train to Norway via Finland and Sweden, followed by passage by warship. Either of these would have avoided the invidious issue of relying on a safe conduct through the Baltic - very unpopular with the British public. Alternatively, train to Persia, where there were both British and Russian troops. The family could then have seen out the war well out of the way in India or Egypt.

Were any of the Scandinavian governments ever approached to provide asylum? Haakon VII of Norway and Christian X of Denmark were both Nicholas's first cousins, all three countries were neutral, and far easier to get to than Britain.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on August 06, 2016, 04:13:11 PM
I would rule the Persian route out. The country was to put it mildly a "Failed State" there were no railroads to speak of in the country at this time. Add to this while the Russian army in the area was in slightly better shape than the rest of the Russian army this area even pre-war was a very lawless region getting them out through there would be extremely difficult if not impossible.

The Murmansk route was probably the best way out. If it had been tried in the summer of 1917 instead of going to Tobolsk with help from the British they might have been able to pull it off with some luck if they can get past Petrograd.

The Swedish route Sweden was pro-German during WW I. I don't think the Russians or the other Allies trusted them. Also the Tsar knows state secrets they can't risk him falling into enemy hands.

The Siberian route instead of taking the IF to Tobolsk the Provisional Government and the Allies decide to take the IF to Vladivostok and out of the country. This is one very long trip in a country in chaos with lots of people who would do anything to stop IF from leaving the country so the Tsar can lead a "Counter-revolution". This may be the second best route out after the Murmansk route. If everyone thinks the red cross train the IF is traveling on is really a red cross train they might be able to sneak through. If they run in to trouble and someone tries to stop them you wonder how reliable the guard force would be.

Then there is the Kerensky problem he and I would say other members of the Provisional Government are paranoid that if Nicholas get out of the country he will lead a counter-revolution against them.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on August 06, 2016, 07:41:12 PM
When King George V sent HMS Middlesex to rescue some of the surviving members of the Russian Imperial family in 1919 its access was through the Black Sea, but of course that route was closed to British ships until the end of WW1, after the defeat of Turkey.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 07, 2016, 02:11:31 AM
The Cantacuzenes sent their three teenage children to America via the Trans-Siberian in the summer of 1917 without problems (escorted by their tutor). However, they were fairly 'ordinary' people travelling by ordinary train. It would have been much more difficult to organise a safe passage for Nicholas and family, though, of course, they got to Tobolsk without problems.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 07, 2016, 07:21:58 AM
I suppose they could have tried to head east, maybe try and reach China. 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 07, 2016, 08:10:22 AM
Britain had had to deal with civil disturbances in Ireland in 1916 and then 1917 saw unrestricted U-boat warfare, the beginnings of rationing, air raids on London, mutinies amongst troops in France and Britain’s armed forces were incurring an average 1,700 casualties per day. Abroad, French troops were mutinying and the Russian Revolution had taken place.  It seems that the general state of affairs in Britain and abroad led to King George V, a constitutional monarch to change the name of the Royal House to Windsor by proclamation on 17th July 1917. Hardly a decision to be taken lightly and it can really only be seen as a decision taken someone who was concerned about his own position.

Nicholas Romanov was a former head of state whose overthrow had seemed in Britain to have been welcomed in his home country. He would have brought little expertise to the British war effort and his presence in Britain would have had no bearing on Russia’s commitment to the war as the new government in Russia was pledged to continue the struggle.  I do not think that there was any indication that his life, or his family’s lives were in immediate danger – certainly not from enemy action. Where was an obligation to house the Romanovs in Britain?

There was no case for risking British lives to bring the Romanovs to Britain.  If the Romanovs had arrived at a point of entry into Great Britain then they could have applied for residency – as any other aliens could.  At that point, the fact that they had relatives in this country and that they were probably able to pay their way would probably have counted in their favour.  Surely, their case should have been assessed on same basis as any applicant. Or perhaps people think that the Romanovs should have been treated differently to Belgian and French orphans or anyone other Russian with relatives in this Britain?

No one knew then, or knows now, if the presence of the Romanov’s in Britain would have had a detrimental effect on the state the country. Given the situation in 1917, the King’s attitude was reasonable.  Whatever motives influenced government decisions at the time, with the benefit of hindsight the government’s decision not to bring the Romanovs to Britain was correct as the stability of the country was not put at risk and British lives were not endangered in such an undertaking.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 09, 2016, 01:11:50 PM
Britain had had to deal with civil disturbances in Ireland in 1916 and then 1917 saw unrestricted U-boat warfare, the beginnings of rationing, air raids on London, mutinies amongst troops in France and Britain’s armed forces were incurring an average 1,700 casualties per day. Abroad, French troops were mutinying and the Russian Revolution had taken place.  It seems that the general state of affairs in Britain and abroad led to King George V, a constitutional monarch to change the name of the Royal House to Windsor by proclamation on 17th July 1917. Hardly a decision to be taken lightly and it can really only be seen as a decision taken someone who was concerned about his own position.

Nicholas Romanov was a former head of state whose overthrow had seemed in Britain to have been welcomed in his home country. He would have brought little expertise to the British war effort and his presence in Britain would have had no bearing on Russia’s commitment to the war as the new government in Russia was pledged to continue the struggle.  I do not think that there was any indication that his life, or his family’s lives were in immediate danger – certainly not from enemy action. Where was an obligation to house the Romanovs in Britain?

There was no case for risking British lives to bring the Romanovs to Britain.  If the Romanovs had arrived at a point of entry into Great Britain then they could have applied for residency – as any other aliens could.  At that point, the fact that they had relatives in this country and that they were probably able to pay their way would probably have counted in their favour.  Surely, their case should have been assessed on same basis as any applicant. Or perhaps people think that the Romanovs should have been treated differently to Belgian and French orphans or anyone other Russian with relatives in this Britain?

No one knew then, or knows now, if the presence of the Romanov’s in Britain would have had a detrimental effect on the state the country. Given the situation in 1917, the King’s attitude was reasonable.  Whatever motives influenced government decisions at the time, with the benefit of hindsight the government’s decision not to bring the Romanovs to Britain was correct as the stability of the country was not put at risk and British lives were not endangered in such an undertaking.


First you mention a lot of issues that have no relation to the Imperial Family or Russia (how their arrival to Britain would have encouraged Sinn Feiners or Unionists?), then you say that it is not possible to know if their presence in Britain would have affected the situation in any way and finally you haste to the conclusion that George V's decision to abandon them to their fate was right because that way the country was not put at risk. Frankly, I think your logic is quite faulty.

There is only one way in which the presence of the Imperial Family could have supposed a risk: the existence of a powerful socialist-revolutionary movement bent on overthrowing the monarchy, who could take the issue for propaganda purposes. There was no such thing in Britain. There was such thing in Spain, and the Spanish King (not a relative of them) tried to save the Imperial Family offering them asylum.

Lastly, your proposal about how thing should have been done is plainly ridiculous. According to you, Nicholas II should have taken the 15:00 British Airways flight to Heathrow, stand in the queue at passport control, tell that he and his family wanted to apply for "political refugee" status and fill in the forms like everyone else.

Honestly, I don't know if you are British and this is a case of "my country and my king, right or wrong", but you are being "more Papist than the Pope". Kenneth Rose wrote a semi-official biography of George V which tries to be a sympathetic portrait of a not very likable man and he does not provide so many excuses. In order to explain the lack of remorse in George V after the murder of the Imperial Family he made up a wild theory that George V might have encouraged the British Secret Service to rescue Nicholas II and his family by bribery or force but he has to admit that "all this is mere conjecture" and "no evidence exists".
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 10, 2016, 03:51:51 AM
What I think Horock means in the first paragraph is that Britain had other and much more pressing priorities in 1917, including strife in Ireland.

You may not find George V a likeable person. However, a successful monarch needs to put the interests of his country and monarchy above all else.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: mcdnab on August 10, 2016, 05:08:57 AM
Just a few more thoughts:

Though I suspect that all sides will never really agree.

I would say one thing that I think we should all really accept - Nicholas II was the arbiter of his own fate and as the situation worsened he failed to listen or to act on the advice of some of those closest to him in order to save his country and his dynasty from the abyss.

Of course the ultimate responsibility for his death lies with the men who killed him and his fellow countrymen who allowed it to happen and blaming George V won't change it - it also seems rather unfair given the long list of other reigning relatives who escape criticism despite doing nothing much either.

Nicholas II was a nice chap called to do a job he wasn't really suited for made worse by his choice of wife.

To respond to this:

"It's MHO that one of the foremost duties of a consititutional monarch, as George V was, is to set a moral example to his nation. It is thus also my opinion that George V, by refusing to give aid to his kin,  initiated the British Royal family's descent to its present insignificance."

No the duty of a constitutional monarch is to preserve the constitution, the state and its institutions - to do your duty and to uphold your coronation oath and to serve your country to the best of your abilities - the morality comes from doing that well.
Unlike many of his own family and many of his foreign royal relations he actually proved himself pretty capable of getting on with most of his government ministers of all political persuasions despite some of their views and opinions being anathema to a staunch traditionalist like George. George V did give a great deal of aid to many of those relations that lost out in the aftermath of the First World War including financial support to the exiled Queen of Spain and to the mother and sister of Nicholas II for example (all of which continued long after his death).

It is probably true that had he taken in the Romanovs it was unlikely he would have been toppled in some socialist revolution - but it might have dented his popularity or more importantly the popularity of the institution that is the British Monarchy.
And maintaining that wasn't about his vanity it was about surviving as a constitutional monarch during a war that was going badly against countries that were ruled by your close relatives - if you are not seen as doing a good job, caring for your subjects etc when you have virtually no political power people will of course ask what is the point of them or are they really on our side.
Duty to the state, to the monarchy, before his personal feelings was his mantra if you like and the reason why his wife found their son's decision to abdicate to pursue his personal desires completely shocking.

The moral monarchy idea is a bit of a 19th/ 20th century myth based largely on the rather dull and respectable family life of Victoria, George V and his second son George VI as compared to the rather more flashy lifestyles of Edward VII and Edward VIII - it is also in part an inherited approach based on Prince Albert's view that the monarchy's best chances of survival were a) exporting British liberalism and ideas through the marriages of his daughters especially that of the Princess Royal (which of course failed) and b) Respectability, a happy family life (whether real or not) aping the so-called respectable behaviour of the growing British middle class in contrast to the rather more louche behaviour of the aristocracy.

George's morality effectively meant he was faithful to his wife and led a rather quiet private life - that is what he was admired for by many of his subjects.

How a decision he made that was largely hidden from the public for decades could have prompted his family and descendants "decline into insignificance" is rather beyond me and of course ignores the fact that his son George VI and his consort gave incredible leadership (in his case at great personal cost) throughout their lives and that his granddaughter remains highly regarded and hugely popular. If anything George V was the man that prompted the monarchy to adapt in order to survive in a changing world.

He changed his mind based on his own (and more importantly Stamfordham's) assessment of the situation and even if he had not changed his mind the chances of the family actually getting out of Russia (given the situation facing the provisional government) was still pretty remote and again I would remind everyone that the existing documentation is pretty clear that the King's cold feet were pretty much matched by the cold feet of the provisional government.

A final point - George V's post-death reputation has suffered by and large because we now all know that in private he was an extremely difficult individual in terms of his relationship with his sons, he was a bit of a domestic tyrant, very badly educated and rigid in his opinions and views - in private not I suspect a very likable man and therefore an easy target for blame. His public reputation however was pretty good because he was seen as a "good" King.

Did he show any remorse or regret it - well publicly there is little to state either way though I am sure privately he may have been as upset at what happened as we know his mother and sister were we simply can't know - but ultimately Nicholas II was not his responsibility and I am sure he could justify his decision to him self.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 10, 2016, 07:08:22 AM
I guess we'll never really know the answer.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 10, 2016, 08:03:26 AM
Some issues:

1. "Constitutionality". It's becoming a kind of mantra in this thread. We have to accept that George V could not have behaved otherwise because "he was a constitutional monarch".

Let's check the facts:

There's a government in Russia that has been recognized by Britain and that is an ally in the ongoing war. A representative of that government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Milyukov, officialy requests Britain to grant asylum to the Imperial Family. The Prime Minister, the head of the Cabinet, which has most information about the situation in Britain, decides to comply with that request of an ally. And then, the Constitutional Monarch George V panicks, and based in some letters that he has received, intervenes to block the whole matter via an informal contact through his secretary with Foreign Secretary Balfour.

Is that what a Constitutional Monarch is supposed to do? Block political decisions taken by a Prime Minister? Bypass the whole political system? Lobby Cabinet ministers in his favour? I am not an expert, but I think that isn't very constitutional.

2. "It would have dented his popularity or the popularity of the institution that is the British Monarchy". If a Monarch is called to do something callous (abandoning a close relative he called his friend fell in extremely dangerous circumstances), there's something very wrong with the system. Maybe he should challenge the system or give up his crown, pack his things and settle in Madeira or other island with a good climate.

3. "The chances of the Imperial family actually getting out of Russia were still pretty remote". That's a bogus argument.

A man is involved in a car crash in a small town and taken to the local hospital with very serious injuries. The only surgeon available refuses to operate him. The wounded man is put again in the ambulance and taken to a further hospital. He dies on the way. The autopsy determines that his chances of survival if he had been operated were small, around 5%. Even so, would the surgeon who refused to operate him get off scot-free? Wouldn't he incur at least moral censure?

And now, let's return to the Russian Imperial Family and George V. Maybe all of them could have been saved. Maybe only the children could have been saved. Maybe the Grand Duchesses (but not Alexey) could have been saved. I am not going to assign probabilities to each of those scenarios. You can make the chances as low as you want. The fact is that George V DID think that there was a real chance of taking them out of Russia to safety in Britain. That is why he acted to block it. If he had thought that was something purely hipotetical that would never materialized he would not have panicked.

"What does remain certain is that the King, by persuading his Government to withdraw their original offer of asylum, deprived the Imperial family of their best, perhaps their only, means of escape." Kenneth Rose, King George V
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 10, 2016, 08:05:35 AM
Some issues:

1. "Constitutionality". It's becoming a kind of mantra in this thread. We have to accept that George V could not have behaved otherwise because "he was a constitutional monarch".

Let's check the facts:

There's a government in Russia that has been recognized by Britain and that is an ally in the ongoing war. A representative of that government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Milyukov, officialy requests Britain to grant asylum to the Imperial Family. The Prime Minister, the head of the Cabinet, which has most information about the situation in Britain, decides to comply with that request of an ally. And then, the Constitutional Monarch George V panicks, and based in some letters that he has received, intervenes to block the whole matter via an informal contact through his secretary with Foreign Secretary Balfour.

Is that what a Constitutional Monarch is supposed to do? Block political decisions taken by a Prime Minister? Bypass the whole political system? Lobby Cabinet ministers in his favour? I am not an expert, but I think that isn't very constitutional.

2. "It would have dented his popularity or the popularity of the institution that is the British Monarchy". If a Monarch is called to do something callous (abandoning a close relative he called his friend fell in extremely dangerous circumstances) to keep being popular, there's something very wrong with the system. Maybe he should challenge the system or give up his crown, pack his things and settle in Madeira or other island with a good climate.

3. "The chances of the Imperial family actually getting out of Russia were still pretty remote". That's a bogus argument.

A man is involved in a car crash in a small town and taken to the local hospital with very serious injuries. The only surgeon available refuses to operate him. The wounded man is put again in the ambulance and taken to a further hospital. He dies on the way. The autopsy determines that his chances of survival if he had been operated were small, around 5%. Even so, would the surgeon who refused to operate him get off scot-free? Wouldn't he incur at least moral censure?

And now, let's return to the Russian Imperial Family and George V. Maybe all of them could have been saved. Maybe only the children could have been saved. Maybe the Grand Duchesses (but not Alexey) could have been saved. I am not going to assign probabilities to each of those scenarios. You can make the chances as low as you want. The fact is that George V DID think that there was a real chance of taking them out of Russia to safety in Britain. That is why he acted to block it. If he had thought that was something purely hipotetical that would never materialized he would not have panicked.

"What does remain certain is that the King, by persuading his Government to withdraw their original offer of asylum, deprived the Imperial family of their best, perhaps their only, means of escape." Kenneth Rose, King George V

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Lochlanach on August 11, 2016, 08:59:15 AM
Some issues:

1. "Constitutionality". It's becoming a kind of mantra in this thread. We have to accept that George V could not have behaved otherwise because "he was a constitutional monarch".

Let's check the facts:

There's a government in Russia that has been recognized by Britain and that is an ally in the ongoing war. A representative of that government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Milyukov, officialy requests Britain to grant asylum to the Imperial Family. The Prime Minister, the head of the Cabinet, which has most information about the situation in Britain, decides to comply with that request of an ally. And then, the Constitutional Monarch George V panicks, and based in some letters that he has received, intervenes to block the whole matter via an informal contact through his secretary with Foreign Secretary Balfour.

Is that what a Constitutional Monarch is supposed to do? Block political decisions taken by a Prime Minister? Bypass the whole political system? Lobby Cabinet ministers in his favour? I am not an expert, but I think that isn't very constitutional.

2. "It would have dented his popularity or the popularity of the institution that is the British Monarchy". If a Monarch is called to do something callous (abandoning a close relative he called his friend fell in extremely dangerous circumstances), there's something very wrong with the system. Maybe he should challenge the system or give up his crown, pack his things and settle in Madeira or other island with a good climate.

3. "The chances of the Imperial family actually getting out of Russia were still pretty remote". That's a bogus argument.

A man is involved in a car crash in a small town and taken to the local hospital with very serious injuries. The only surgeon available refuses to operate him. The wounded man is put again in the ambulance and taken to a further hospital. He dies on the way. The autopsy determines that his chances of survival if he had been operated were small, around 5%. Even so, would the surgeon who refused to operate him get off scot-free? Wouldn't he incur at least moral censure?

And now, let's return to the Russian Imperial Family and George V. Maybe all of them could have been saved. Maybe only the children could have been saved. Maybe the Grand Duchesses (but not Alexey) could have been saved. I am not going to assign probabilities to each of those scenarios. You can make the chances as low as you want. The fact is that George V DID think that there was a real chance of taking them out of Russia to safety in Britain. That is why he acted to block it. If he had thought that was something purely hipotetical that would never materialized he would not have panicked.

"What does remain certain is that the King, by persuading his Government to withdraw their original offer of asylum, deprived the Imperial family of their best, perhaps their only, means of escape." Kenneth Rose, King George V


'George V.. Constitutional monarch...bypassing the political system... Lobbying ministers... maybe he should challenge the system or give up his crown , and settle in a remote place like Madeira' -- a forerunner of Charles III perhaps?

'George panicked..'   he  'bottled it'  as we say in England  ; and at that point in 1917 becoming accustomed to taking on slightly alarmist , paranoid advice from ultra-conservatives determined to save the monarchy from PR disasters during wartime by offering platitudes such as this to the 'working classes'  no matter how slight the threat of trouble. George it seems took little persuading ,and it appears , cleansed himself of any guilt or responsibility too - as we are wont to do when faced with unwelcome facts.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 12, 2016, 04:00:10 PM
mcdnab (Reply 97) pretty much wrapped things up in his excellent post.

I would merely add that according to Lloyd George, Britain's offer of asylum was never actually withdrawn and that according to the British Ambassador to Russia, Buchanan the Russian Government ‘were masters in their house.’ Perhaps other people might have evidence as whether this was so?

NicolasG. 
Yes, I am British.  "my country and my king, right or wrong" has nothing to do with it.
Both of my grandfathers were on the Western Front and both told me horror stories of events at that time.  One lost two out of three brothers and the other lost two out four brothers, all, all of them due to enemy action.  There are doubtless thousands upon thousands of families in Britain that endured worse than that. What was happening on the Western Front and the other theatres of war was far, far more important than the fate of the former Tsar. If any judgement was made that the Tsar's presence in Britain might in any way hinder the war effort then so be it.

If you can come on here with reliable evidence that George V acted unconstitutionally then let us see it. If you have any reliable evidence that George V blocked a British Government decision then let us see it.  If you have any reliable evidence that George V 'panicked' then let us see it.

All clear now?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on August 12, 2016, 08:57:24 PM
In wartime Britain in 1917 the level of animosity against the Germans was incredibly great. The royal family was under great pressure to change their name to sound more British, and as Empress Alexander was seen as a German Princess (of Hesse) rather than as George V's cousin, she would not have been welcome in Britain. Her sister, Princess Victoria, was living in Britain and was married to Prince Louis of Battenberg. He was forced to change his name to Mountbatten, they both lost their titles as Royal Highness, and Louis also lost his job as a senior British naval officer. The taint of 'being German' was far more important to the British public than the fact that Nicholas and Alexandra were George V's cousins.

Also, in 1917  the ultimate fate of the Romanovs was not a forgone conclusion. The Tsar had abdicated and there had been a change of government, but it took a further Bolshevik Revolution and the fall of the Provisional Government to seal their fate. It may seem obvious to us now, in hindsight, but it was certainly not obvious then. When the remnants of the Russian Royal Family were seen to be in danger in 1919 George V did not hesitate to order British naval ships to the Black Sea to rescue them. He might have dithered in 1917 but by 1919 the situation had changed and he did not wait for government approval but ordered the ships to sail himself.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 08:37:18 AM
mcdnab (Reply 97) pretty much wrapped things up in his excellent post.

I would merely add that according to Lloyd George, Britain's offer of asylum was never actually withdrawn and that according to the British Ambassador to Russia, Buchanan the Russian Government ‘were masters in their house.’ Perhaps other people might have evidence as whether this was so?

NicolasG. 
Yes, I am British.  "my country and my king, right or wrong" has nothing to do with it.
Both of my grandfathers were on the Western Front and both told me horror stories of events at that time.  One lost two out of three brothers and the other lost two out four brothers, all, all of them due to enemy action.  There are doubtless thousands upon thousands of families in Britain that endured worse than that. What was happening on the Western Front and the other theatres of war was far, far more important than the fate of the former Tsar. If any judgement was made that the Tsar's presence in Britain might in any way hinder the war effort then so be it.

If you can come on here with reliable evidence that George V acted unconstitutionally then let us see it. If you have any reliable evidence that George V blocked a British Government decision then let us see it.  If you have any reliable evidence that George V 'panicked' then let us see it.

All clear now?


All clear. I DO have reliable evidence for you to see it. It can be found in books widely available.

First, the historians:

Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution, Collins Harvill, 1990, p. 336

"... it came as something of a shock when at the end of March (OS) Britain informed the Provisional Government that she was withdrawing her invitation to the ex-Tsar. It was believed then and for a long time afterward that it was Prime Minister David Lloyd George who had dissuaded George V from following his generous impulses. Lloyd George himself liked to perpetuate this impression. But it has since become known that he did so to protect the King, who had vetoed the earlier decision for fear that it would embarrass the Crown and irritate Labor MPs. who were "expressing adverse opinions to the proposal. The King's role in this dishonourable action was kept in strict secrecy: instructions went out "to keep an eye on anything that may be put into the War Cabinet minutes likely to hurt the King's feelings."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 08:52:55 AM
Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, Hutchinson 2008, p 150-152

"...the King's anxiety levels rocketed about his promise of asylum to the Imperial Family... By 16 April, such was the King's heightened state of anxiety that Stamfordham [the King's secretary] was obliged to send a second letter to Balfour, categorically stating that the arrival of Nicholas and Alexandra in Britain "would be strongly resented by the public and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and the Queen". Lloyd George was obliged t concede. His sympathies as a Liberal on the left of the party had all along been with the Revolution [February Revolution] but nevertheless he would have supported the offer of asylum to the Romanovs had the King insisted. Yet for years afterwards both Lloyd George and the Ambassador Buchanan would be vilified for their supposed failure to effect the Romanov family's rescue. Buchanan was made to fall on his sword in his memoirs and cover up the truth of the British government's failure to act, on pain of losing his pension. Bound by the Official Secrets Act, he could not reveal the truth of diplomatic moves at the time but had to go along with the official line that a handful of left-wing extremists in government, including Prime Minister Lloyd George, had pressurised the King into relentiing...

Official records, however, do not back up the accusations that Lloyd George was directly instrumental in preventing the Romanovs from coming to England. Indeed, he too come under pressure when writing his War Memoirs in 1934 to cover up the King's ignominious abandonment of the Tsar, by scrapping an entire chapter on the discussions over the asylum offer, substituting a brief comment on the effect that it was the provisional government that had scuppered the Romanovs' chances of leaving Russia by placing obstacles in the way of effecting this."
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 09:26:12 AM
Now, the actual documents. Source: A lifelong passion, Maylunas and Mironenko, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1996 and King George V, Kenneth Rose, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983

Lord Stamfordham (Private Secretary to King George V), note of meeting, 9 March, Buckingham Palace

"I saw the Prime Minister this morning. He had not seen Sir George Buchanan's telegram received last evening reporting his conversation with Mr Miliukov [new Foreign Minister], in which the latter urged the earliest possible departure of the Emperor from Russia, and suggested that the King and British Government should offer His Imperial Majesty an asylum in this country.

I pointed out to Mr Lloyd George that naturally the King would wish to be consulted before his Government gave a definite reply to this suggestion. ...

Lord Hardinge then joined us, and later Mr Bonar Law... it was generally agreed that the proposal that we should receive the Emperor in this country (having come from the Russian Government which we are endeavouring with all our powers to support) could not be refused....

Lord Hardinge undertook to draft an official telegram to Sir George Buchanan to the effect that the King and His Majesty's Government would be prepared to give effect to Monsieur Miliukov's request that the Emperor and his family should be received in this country."


King George V, Diary - 11 March

"Michael [Grand Duke, Miche-Miche] came to see me and we discussed the idea of poor Nicky coming to England."


Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour [Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs]  - 17 March

My dear Balfour,

The King has been thinking much about the Government's proposal that the Emperor Nicholas and his Family should come to England.
As you are doubtless aware the King has a strong personal friendship for the Emperor, and therefore would be glad to do anything to help him in this crisis. But His Majesty cannot help doubting, not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on general grounds of expediency, whether it is advisable that the Imperial Family should take up their residence in this country.
The King would be glad if you could consult the Prime Minister, as His Majesty understand no definite decision has yet been come to on the subject by the Russian Government"


A. J. Balfour to Lord Stamfordham - 20 March - Foreign Office, London

My dear Stamfordham,

Many thanks for your letter of March 17....

The question was therefore reconsidered by the Prime Minister, Lord Hardinge, and yourself, and it was decided that Sir G. Buchanan should be told that His Majesty's Government thought if preferable, the initiative having come from the Russian Government, that the Imperal family should come to England. M. Milyukov was informed accordingly, but the Russian Government have as yet come to no decision.
His Majesty Ministers quite realize the difficulties to which you refer in your letter, but they do not think, unless the position changes, that is now possible to withdraw the invitation which has been sent, and they therefore trust that the King will consent to adhere to the original invitation, which was sent on the advice of His Majesty's Ministers".

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 09:47:53 AM
Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour - 21 March - Buckingham Palace

My dear Balfour,

I have received and laid before the King your letter on the 2nd. inst. respecting the proposal that the Emperor Nicholas and his family should come to England.
As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regard the matter as settled, unless the Russian Government should come to any fresh decision on the subject.

Nicholas II, Diary, 23 March - Tsarkoe Selo

"I looked through my books and things, and started to put aside everything that I want to take with me, if we have to go to England.

Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour - 24 March - Windsor Castle

My dear Balfour,

Every day the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and Empress coming to this country.

His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, known and unknown to him, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in Clubs but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal.
As you know, from the first the King has thought the presence of the Imperial Family (especially of the Empress) in this country would raise all sorts of difficulties, and I feel sure that you appreciate how awkward it will be for our Royal Family who are closely connected both with the Emperor and Empress.
You probably also are aware that the subject has become more or less public property, and that people are either assuming that it has been initiated by the King, or deprecating the very unfair position in which His Majesty will be placed if the arrangement is carried out.
The King desires me to ask you whether after consulting the Prime Minister, Sir George Buchanan should not be communicated with a view to approaching the Russian Government to make some other plan for the future residence of Their Imperial Majesties?

Same day,
My dear Balfour,
The King wishes me to write again on the subject of my letter of this morning.
He must beg you to represent to the Prime Minister that from all he hears and reads in the Press, the residence in this Country of the Ex-Emperor and Empress would be strongly resented by the public, and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and Queen from whom it is already generally supposed the invitation has emanated.
I would particularly call your attention to an article in last Thursday's Justice by Hyndman who condemns the invitation, and implies that it has come from Their Majesties. And Hyndman is the person that Mr Henderson told the King he wished to send to Russia as one of the representatives of our Socialist in this Country!
Buchanan ought to be instructed to tell Milyukov that we must be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian Government proposal.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 10:01:11 AM
Lord Stamfordham, note of meeting - 28 March - Windsor Castle

I saw the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and tried to impress upon him the King's strong opinion that the Emperor and Empress of Russia should not come to this country, and that the Government ought to inform Monsier Miliukov that since they had agreed to his proposal that their Imperial Majesties should take up their residence in this country public opinion here had become so stoutly opposed to the idea that His Majesty's Government must withdraw the consent previously given...

I afterwards saw Mr Balfour and called attention to a telegram which I had just seen from Sir George Buchanan, who in his conversation with Monsieur Miliukov evidently took it for granted that the Emperor and Empress were coming to England, and that it was a question of delay with regard to certain matters that had not been cleared up, which prevented an early start.
I told Mr Balfour that after what the King had written to him His Majesty expected that Sir George Buchanan would by now have been informed that the whole question was being reconsidered, and that our previous Agreement could no longer be held as binding. Mr Balfour said that he would draft a telegram to Sir George Buchanan this afternoon and send it to the Prime Minister for his approval.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 10:20:55 AM
I think that the previous posts prove beyong doubt that:

1. The Russian Provisional Government, through the Foreign Minister Miliukov, requested its ally, Britain, to grant asylum to the Russian Imperial Family.

2. The British Government agreed to grant them asylum and let the Russian Provisional Government know their decision.

3. Shortly afterwards George V, as a consequence of the advice of his secretary, Lord Stamfordham, some articles in the press and some letters he had received, decided to block the arrival of the Russian Imperial in Britain, already decided by his government.

4. George V really panicked, asking his secretary Lord Stamfordham to send two letters on the very same day to David Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, before he had had time to reply to the first one.

5. Meanwhile, the Russian Provisional Government kept thinking all the time that the Russian Imperial Family would go to Britain, that the matter was settled (as George V said on 21 March, before changing his mind and going back on his word) and they let the Imperial Family know (entry on Nicholas II's diary, 23 March)

6. Nowhere did Lord Stamforham or George V mention or suggest that the presence of the Russian Imperial Family in Britain would be a safety risk for the country or would affect the British war effort. These are excuses made up by apologists after the fact. They talk about "the position of the King and the Queen", "embarassment"... that is, erosion of the popularity of the British monarchy, not revolution, mutiny and civil war.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 13, 2016, 03:02:56 PM
NicholaG
You have not supplied evidence that George V acted unconstitutionally.  The records of meetings and correspondence between the government and King make this clear.
A reliable account of George V' life and times would state this if this had occurred. Is there such an account?

You have not supplied evidence that George V blocked any government decision. Nowhere is such wording such as 'forbid' or 'not allow' used.
A reliable account of George V' life and times would state this if this had occurred. Is there such an account?

You have not supplied evidence that George V panicked. You have merely offered an opinion. The despatch of two letters on the same day to the Government regarding the Romanovs
showed that the King saw this as a serious matter. Why should such an act indicate panic? 

Even with hindsight, King George V was right to act as he did.  He seems to have reasoned that the interests of his country and his family in Britain were best served by the Romanovs not coming to live in Britain and if so, he was right to do so. Given the circumstances at that time it was a reasonable decision.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 13, 2016, 04:38:22 PM
NicholaG
Even with hindsight, King George V was right to act as he did.  He seems to have reasoned that the interests of his country and his family in Britain were best served by the Romanovs not coming to live in Britain and if so, he was right to do so. Given the circumstances at that time it was a reasonable decision.

You know, I agree. The decision was not only reasonable, it was praiseworthy. Other person might have succumbed to the temptation to help the Russian Imperial Family: revolutionaries running amok in Russia, a first cousin, five children, empathy, professional solidarity among monarchs.... that kind of things. George V, instead, like a titan, remained unmoved and steadfastly opposed offering them asylum in Britain. That way he saved something much more valuable than several lives: his approval rating.

What I don't understand is why the British Crown decided to cover up the whole matter, muzzling the ambassador Buchanan and censoring Lloyd George's Memoirs, as if George V had done something dishonourable (he hadn't, of course!). They should have given the maximum of publicity to the King's unselfish behaviour. Poets should have dedicated him odes and the story should have been included in schoolchildren's textbooks, as an example of high moral values.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 15, 2016, 01:05:38 AM
Even if agreement had been reached for the Tsar and his family to travel to Britain there might have been a number of difficulties in such a journey.  A journey by sea, through the Baltic could only really have been attempted by agreement with the German government.  A deal between Britain, Germany and Russia during what was then the most terrible war in history to facilitate the travel of a former head of state who was related to the heads of state in Germany and Britain. What would have happened if word of such a deal at that time had got out can only be guessed at.  If Britain had sent a ship to fetch the Romanovs, such an act might have caused further problems. A C Class Cruiser with a complement of 350 plus, even with the benefit of being safe passage by the enemy might still have encountered difficulties. One such possibility would have been if the ship had hit a stay mine in the Baltic and sank with some or all of the people on board drowned. If word had got out about the ship's mission and its fate then the Government would have been open to the charge of sacrificing British lives to transport the King's foreign relatives. Doubtless there were other potential difficulties and hazards that such a voyage might have encountered.

NicholasG.
You might have done better to properly consider other aspects of this subject besides than your own opinion before having to resort to making an attempt at sarcasm.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 15, 2016, 05:05:08 AM
The Kaiser could have secretly told his Navy to not sink the ship.  He still cared for his Russian relatives. 

Mind you, this is all speculation. 
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 15, 2016, 07:47:47 AM
I agree with both the latest points, but Tim needs to bear in mind that the Baltic was heavily mined in that period, and sea mines do quite frequently break free from their moorings. Instructions from the Kaiser not to sink the ship would therefore not have been enough.

A voyage from Murmansk would have been possible, but, of course, the journey there would have been much longer and more complicated than that to Kronstadt.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 15, 2016, 08:52:05 AM
Even if agreement had been reached for the Tsar and his family to travel to Britain there might have been a number of difficulties in such a journey.  A journey by sea, through the Baltic could only really have been attempted by agreement with the German government.  A deal between Britain, Germany and Russia during what was then the most terrible war in history to facilitate the travel of a former head of state who was related to the heads of state in Germany and Britain. What would have happened if word of such a deal at that time had got out can only be guessed at.  If Britain had sent a ship to fetch the Romanovs, such an act might have caused further problems. A C Class Cruiser with a complement of 350 plus, even with the benefit of being safe passage by the enemy might still have encountered difficulties. One such possibility would have been if the ship had hit a stay mine in the Baltic and sank with some or all of the people on board drowned. If word had got out about the ship's mission and its fate then the Government would have been open to the charge of sacrificing British lives to transport the King's foreign relatives. Doubtless there were other potential difficulties and hazards that such a voyage might have encountered.

NicholasG.
You might have done better to properly consider other aspects of this subject besides than your own opinion before having to resort to making an attempt at sarcasm.

So we have reached the conclussion that, after all, taking the Russian Imperial Family to Britain was impossible. Therefore the British Prime Minister, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Foreign Minister, Kerensky... , while a world war was going on, wasted their time with meetings, telegrams, discussions of something that obviously would never happen. And George V wouldn't have had to get anxious: he could have kept doing whatever a king is supposed to do during a war instead of continually pushing his secretary, Lord Stamfordham, to keep pestering the British government so they withdraw the offer of asylum. There are two possibilities: they were very stupid or they thought that it could be done.

And it could be done. "How could countries fighting a war reach an agreement to provide safe passage to a ship? What a scandal!". Well, it happened all the time: hospital ships, repatriation of interned civilians... Officers belonging to neutral countries, like Spain, were on board to check that the ships were not carrying military supplies. Not only might it have happen: according to Kerensky, it WOULD have happen, were it not for Britain going back on its word.

"Once again, the Russian government approached England on the matter of asylum.

"We enquired of Sir George Buchanan as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family", said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles. Sir George Buchanan and ourselves were impatiently awaiting a reply from London. I do not remember exactly whether it was in June or early July when the British ambassador called, greatly distressed... With tears in his eyes, scarcely able to control his emotions, Sir George informed[us]... of the British Government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. I cannot quote the exact text of the letter... But I can say definitely that this refusal was due to considerations of internal British politics."

Nicholas and Alexandra, Robert K. Massie, World Books, London, 1969, p. 447-448 (chapter 31)
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 15, 2016, 09:32:12 AM
I agree with both the latest points, but Tim needs to bear in mind that the Baltic was heavily mined in that period, and sea mines do quite frequently break free from their moorings. Instructions from the Kaiser not to sink the ship would therefore not have been enough.

A voyage from Murmansk would have been possible, but, of course, the journey there would have been much longer and more complicated than that to Kronstadt.

Ann

If there is a place in Russia where the Provisional Government did not want to take the Imperial Family, that is Kronstadt. The sailors in Kronstadt were the most violent revolutionaries: they massacred their officers during the February Revolution, supported the bolshevists and after the October Revolution were used to "spread class war", that is, looting, murder and rape. Finally they got their wages: they mutinied against the bolshevists in 1921 and were shot or sent to concentration camps.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 15, 2016, 10:28:54 AM
Thanks for the reminder about Kronstadt, which obviously reinforces my point that there were major practical difficulties in trying to get the Imperial Family to Britain.

The Germans reimposed unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917, and attacked neutral merchant ships as well as those belonging to belligerents. Hospital ships were supposed to be protected by the Geneva Convention, but there are several incidents where they were attacked and sunk. Probably the most notorious is HMHS Llandovery Castle, torpedoed off Southern Ireland on 27 June 1918 and the subject of one of the few post-WW1 war crimes trials.

As Tim reminds us, anti-German feeling in Britain ran extremely high during the war, so secret negotiations for safe conducts for a former monarch who was anyway unpopular in this country would be a chancy business, politically speaking.

We need to consider how reliable Kerensky's account of discussions is.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 15, 2016, 04:49:46 PM
Even if agreement had been reached for the Tsar and his family to travel to Britain there might have been a number of difficulties in such a journey.  A journey by sea, through the Baltic could only really have been attempted by agreement with the German government.  A deal between Britain, Germany and Russia during what was then the most terrible war in history to facilitate the travel of a former head of state who was related to the heads of state in Germany and Britain. What would have happened if word of such a deal at that time had got out can only be guessed at.  If Britain had sent a ship to fetch the Romanovs, such an act might have caused further problems. A C Class Cruiser with a complement of 350 plus, even with the benefit of being safe passage by the enemy might still have encountered difficulties. One such possibility would have been if the ship had hit a stay mine in the Baltic and sank with some or all of the people on board drowned. If word had got out about the ship's mission and its fate then the Government would have been open to the charge of sacrificing British lives to transport the King's foreign relatives. Doubtless there were other potential difficulties and hazards that such a voyage might have encountered.

NicholasG.
You might have done better to properly consider other aspects of this subject besides than your own opinion before having to resort to making an attempt at sarcasm.

So we have reached the conclussion that, after all, taking the Russian Imperial Family to Britain was impossible. Therefore the British Prime Minister, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Foreign Minister, Kerensky... , while a world war was going on, wasted their time with meetings, telegrams, discussions of something that obviously would never happen. And George V wouldn't have had to get anxious: he could have kept doing whatever a king is supposed to do during a war instead of continually pushing his secretary, Lord Stamfordham, to keep pestering the British government so they withdraw the offer of asylum. There are two possibilities: they were very stupid or they thought that it could be done.

And it could be done. "How could countries fighting a war reach an agreement to provide safe passage to a ship? What a scandal!". Well, it happened all the time: hospital ships, repatriation of interned civilians... Officers belonging to neutral countries, like Spain, were on board to check that the ships were not carrying military supplies. Not only might it have happen: according to Kerensky, it WOULD have happen, were it not for Britain going back on its word.

"Once again, the Russian government approached England on the matter of asylum.

"We enquired of Sir George Buchanan as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family", said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles. Sir George Buchanan and ourselves were impatiently awaiting a reply from London. I do not remember exactly whether it was in June or early July when the British ambassador called, greatly distressed... With tears in his eyes, scarcely able to control his emotions, Sir George informed[us]... of the British Government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. I cannot quote the exact text of the letter... But I can say definitely that this refusal was due to considerations of internal British politics."

Nicholas and Alexandra, Robert K. Massie, World Books, London, 1969, p. 447-448 (chapter 31)


You may have reached a conclusion. I have not. All I did was to point out one of the difficulties the Royal Navy might have encountered in fetching the Romanovs from Petrograd to Britain by sea and how that might have impacted on the political situation in Britain.

The latest post by Kalafrana sums this up very well.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: DNAgenie on August 15, 2016, 06:36:31 PM
Quote
"We enquired of Sir George Buchanan as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family", said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles.

Clearly it was in the German interest to get the Tsar out of Russia. Nicholas II was committed to continuing the war against Germany and if he was no longer on the scene in his home country he would have less influence on Russian political decisions. One of the reasons that Nicholas refused the German offer to rescue his family from Tobolsk was his fear that it would be conditional on his undertaking to support the Brest-Litovsk agreement, to which he was implacably opposed.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 16, 2016, 03:51:07 AM
Thanks for the reminder about Kronstadt, which obviously reinforces my point that there were major practical difficulties in trying to get the Imperial Family to Britain.

The Germans reimposed unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917, and attacked neutral merchant ships as well as those belonging to belligerents. Hospital ships were supposed to be protected by the Geneva Convention, but there are several incidents where they were attacked and sunk. Probably the most notorious is HMHS Llandovery Castle, torpedoed off Southern Ireland on 27 June 1918 and the subject of one of the few post-WW1 war crimes trials.

As Tim reminds us, anti-German feeling in Britain ran extremely high during the war, so secret negotiations for safe conducts for a former monarch who was anyway unpopular in this country would be a chancy business, politically speaking.

We need to consider how reliable Kerensky's account of discussions is.

Ann

The submarine warfare is the reason an agreement for safe passage of the ship carrying the Imperial Family was reached. In this case, the Germans would have carried out their part of the agreement.

Secret negotiations are, by definition, secret. That was before Wikileaks.

Kerensky told the truth. Massie quotes from a book published in 1935, The murder of the Romanovs, by Captain Paul Bulygin and Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky clearly states that is was the Danish Minister Scavenius who negotiated with the Germans to obtain safe passage. If he just made the whole story up to exonerate himself from guilt, Scavenius could easily have refuted it: he died in 1962. So could Milyukov, who died in 1943.
A possible explanation is that memory played a trick on him and all that happened earlier than he says, at the end of March - beginning of April 1917. But that is not very likely. At that time Kerensky was Minister of Justice in the Provisional Government, after May he was Minister of War and de facto head of government. So he should have remembered if what he reports (Buchanan calling to tell them in tears that the British government had withdrawn the offer of asylum) happened before or after May 1917. He says it happened after May: June or early July.

If what Kerensky wrote is true, that means that the British government not only went back on their previous promise of asylum, but also neglected to inform the Russian Provisional Government about it at the proper time. So the Russians kept thinking that, after all, Nicholas II and his family could be sent to Britain when the internal situation in Russia made it possible.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 16, 2016, 05:07:33 AM
Quote
the Baltic was heavily mined in that period, and sea mines do quite frequently break free from their moorings

Wasn't it one of those that killed Kitchener when his ship was sunk in 1916?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 16, 2016, 10:24:24 AM
Quote
the Baltic was heavily mined in that period, and sea mines do quite frequently break free from their moorings

Wasn't it one of those that killed Kitchener when his ship was sunk in 1916?

Yes it was. Kitchener was on board HMS Hampshire.  The Royal Navy lost three Cruisers, one Monitor, 24 Destroyers and another vessels to mine during the First World War.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 17, 2016, 05:01:55 AM
Yeah, those mines could be dangerous.

Even if a deal could have been worked out to bring Nicky and his family to Britain, those mines would have been a problem.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 17, 2016, 01:04:51 PM
Yeah, those mines could be dangerous.

Even if a deal could have been worked out to bring Nicky and his family to Britain, those mines would have been a problem.

It might also be possible to identify other potential problems for an RN warship arriving at Petrograd.  A ship heading to the City itself would have had to pass the Russian Navy headquarters at Kronstadt. What if the ship had been damaged by hostile action by elements of the Russian Navy opposed to the Romanovs leaving Russia? If a RN warship had arrived safely at Petrograd and the Russian government had been unable to deliver the Romanovs, would a German offer of safe passage have still have held good if the ship was returning to Britain without the former Tsar and his family on board?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 17, 2016, 01:15:24 PM
All good points.

The mine which sank HMS Hampshire was one of a single string laid on the west side of the main Orkney island (Mainland).

Early in 1915, the British and French fleets attempting to force the Dardanelles lost no fewer than three battleships to a single string of mines.

Even avoiding your own minefields was a problem, and highly dependent on accurate charting.

Ann   
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 18, 2016, 06:42:49 AM
1. The issue of difficulties of the sea voyage was raised from the first moment, by George V himself:

Lord Stamfordham, note of meeting - 9 March - Buckingham Palace
"I pointed out the King's apprehensions entailed in the sea voyage from Romanov (first name of Murmansk: Romanov na Murmane)."

Lord Stamfordham to A.J. Balfour - 17 March
"His Majesty cannot help doubting, not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on general grounds of expediency...."

The letter gives him away. What George V feared was not the Russian Imperial Family sinking with the ship and all hands in the North Sea. What he feared was they arriving safely in Britain. When the British government (who could and surely did consult the First Sea Lord, Sir John Jellicoe, about the matter) insisted in keeping their promise to the Russian Provisional Government, the strategy changed and Lord Stamfordham focused in the political consequences for the monarchy.

2. Kronstadt / Dardanelles.

Nobody at the time considered using Kronstadt as point of departure. The sailors of Kronstadt were a mutinous lot who had killed their officers and the sea voyage from Petrograd would involve passing by the German coast and going through the rattrap of the Danish Straits. The Imperial Family had to be picked up in Murmansk (Romanov na Murmane), on the Barents Sea (not the Baltic).

Dardanelles: It is not the right comparison. The whole Gallipoli operation was akin to storming a castle during the Middle Ages. The Turks, under German command, were waiting for the Brits and laid all the mines they could. Murmansk, on the other hand, was a harbour in an ally country, where British ships arrived frequently.

3. Murmansk (Romanov na Murmane)

Murmansk was one of the three ports used by the Allies to supply Russia with munitions during the war. The other two were Vladivostok, in the Far East and Archangel, on the White Sea. How busy were this ports? Norman Stone tell us in his book The Easter Front 1914-1917:

"There remained the ports of northern Russia, particularly Archangel, at the mouth of the river Dvina... As millions of tons of goods arrived in Archangel, the port became a scene of chaos. There were not enough wharved, warehouses, electric facilities, or even rails along which the boxes could be wheeled through the rudimentary streets of the town. The railway itself, with its capacity of twelve small train daily, could manage only a fifth of the minimum requeriment, 500 waggons...
This was still not enough - the more so as the blockage of Archangel was such that "mountains" of goods already existed to be transferred by rail at the turn of 1915-16. The government thought of developing an ice-free port: the Catherine Harbour at Alexandrovsk, subsequently known as Murmansk, offered reasonable possibilities for navigation all the year round, and the government picked up pre-war pland for construction of a railway between it and Petrozavodsk, on the way to the capital... Meanwhile, huge quantities of material built up both at Murmansk and Archangel: at Murmansk alone, 100,000 tons by March 1917...."

These "mountains of goods", "huge quantities of material" have arrived in British ships that followed the same route that the Imperial Family should have done in their way to Britain. They carried millions of tons of material, braving German submarines and mines. Those two dangers were not of the same order of magnitute. Sailors would have tell that they feared foremost submarines. The treath of submarines for the Imperial Family was done away with by the agreement with Wilhelm II. So it remained the secondary dangers of mines.

How big was the danger? I don't have statistics, but I would bet than less than 1% of the voyages between Britain and Murmansk (and back) ended with the ship sunk by a mine.

The "dangers of the sea voyage" were an excuse, a smoke-screen for the real worries (political) of George V and are now used by some posters as an excuse or a smoke-screen for his dishonourable behaviour towards his relatives, the Russian Imperial Family.


Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 18, 2016, 07:16:35 AM
Quote
The mine which sank HMS Hampshire was one of a single string laid on the west side of the main Orkney island (Mainland).

They never recovered the remains, did they.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on August 18, 2016, 08:06:42 AM
Kitchener's body was never found, nor were those of most of the crew. Presumably they are still in the wreck, which, regrettably, has been raided by treasure hunters.

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 18, 2016, 02:37:37 PM
Using bold type to try to change the emphasis in a quote does fool anyone.

 "His Majesty cannot help doubting, not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on general grounds of expediency...."  Clearly shows that King George V had doubts about an attempt to bring the Romanovs to both on the grounds of the dangers involved in the journey and other considerations.

Petrograd or Romanov-on-Murman presented many of the same problems as a place of embarkation for the Romanovs. To ensure that a ship was not torpedoed meant doing a deal with the enemy - the Germans. The danger of mines, though greatly reduced if Romanov-on-Murman was used, still existed.  Again, If a RN warship had arrived safely at Romanov-on-Murman and the Russian government had been unable to deliver the Romanovs, would a German offer of safe passage have still have held good if the ship was returning to Britain without the former Tsar and his family on board?

On a slightly different note: What were the chances of the Romanovs being able to reach Romanov-on-Murman? In March / April 1917?  Were they safer on such a journey or at the Alexander Palace?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 19, 2016, 04:56:32 AM
Using bold type to try to change the emphasis in a quote does fool anyone.

 "His Majesty cannot help doubting, not only on account of the dangers of the voyage, but on general grounds of expediency...."  Clearly shows that King George V had doubts about an attempt to bring the Romanovs to both on the grounds of the dangers involved in the journey and other considerations.

Petrograd or Romanov-on-Murman presented many of the same problems as a place of embarkation for the Romanovs. To ensure that a ship was not torpedoed meant doing a deal with the enemy - the Germans. The danger of mines, though greatly reduced if Romanov-on-Murman was used, still existed.  Again, If a RN warship had arrived safely at Romanov-on-Murman and the Russian government had been unable to deliver the Romanovs, would a German offer of safe passage have still have held good if the ship was returning to Britain without the former Tsar and his family on board?

On a slightly different note: What were the chances of the Romanovs being able to reach Romanov-on-Murman? In March / April 1917?  Were they safer on such a journey or at the Alexander Palace?

If you don't like bold type, you can read the letters and notes of meeting I posted before (I am not going to post them again). At the beginning George V's (and his secretary's Lord Stamfordham) strategy was to bunch as many problems as he could: the "dangers of the voyage", the sustenance of the Imperial Family in Britain, "general grounds of expediency". The aim was to create a case against the Russian Imperial Family coming to Britain. The government replied clearly that they had already replied positively to the request of the Russian Provisional Government and therefore they could not go back on their word (20 March 1917). And then it is when the political complications for the king (the only real worry of George V and Stamfordham) come to fore and the "dangers of the voyage" disappear completely from the correspondence. The logical inference is that mentioning them was useful at the beginning, when they might have helped reject the request and at the same time "save face". When it was obvious that that strategy had failed, it was discarded: on 24 March it was all about "letters from people in all classes of life... expressing adverse opinions to the proposal" and "the article in last Thursday's Justice by Hyndman who condems the invitation, and implies that it has come from their Majesties". No word about mines or submarines. Hyndman was one of the leaders of the Independent Labour Party, a small splinter of the Labour Party and Justice was a publication with small circulation and even less influence.

The "oh, so horrendous" deal with the enemy was done, with the mediation of the Danish minister Scavenius, as Kerensky let us know. German submarines would not attack the ship carrying the Imperial Family. That meant that the family would follow the same route that hundreds of British ships had used to sucessfullly deliver MILLIONS OF TONS of munitions to Russia. Those ships had had to face both submarines and mines and mines were the lesser danger.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 20, 2016, 07:03:18 AM
Quote
Kitchener's body was never found, nor were those of most of the crew. Presumably they are still in the wreck, which, regrettably, has been raided by treasure hunters.

The same kind of people who loot ships deemed memorials.  Those ships are off limits. 

For example, you can't sell anything you salvage from the Titanic, if I understand the law correctly.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on August 21, 2016, 07:01:37 PM
Sunk warships are both war graves and property of the nation they belong to. The people who looted the HMS Hampshire and many other ships are salvagers not treasure hunters. This looting is a problem in some parts of the world.

Ann is right about mines there were tens of thousands of them laid in the Baltic alone during WW I and they were a big problem even post WW I in European waters. As I pointed out before the ice in the Baltic did not melt until June 1917. One also must point out that the Russian Imperial navy after the February/march 1917 revolution was a Mutinous mob. While the navy did some minelaying in 1917. I don't know how much minesweeping they did. Add to this getting a RN ship in and out of the Baltic was impossible during WW I. Some submarines did it in the early war period, but no surface ships did. In 1916 it was impossible for even HM submarines to get into the Baltic via Denmark. It would seem the least worst way to get the IF out of Russia in 1917 would be through Murmansk even then I don't know if it would work. There are just too many people besides Kerensky who are afraid that if Nicholas got out he would be plotting a return. Which we know he wouldn't but that's what the revolutionaries believed.
 If the IF did get to Murmansk they should be in the clear. There were RN minesweepers there to sweep the mines. There would have been a British cruiser to pick them up and getting them to England after that with a German offer of safe conduct should have been fairly easy. I should also point out that going to and from Murmansk and Archangel during WW I was almost as hazardous for merchant ships as it was during WW I, but a cruiser should have been fast enough and if escorted by destroyers protected enough to be safe from U-boats.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 22, 2016, 05:27:12 AM
Quote
Sunk warships are both war graves and property of the nation they belong to. The people who looted the HMS Hampshire and many other ships are salvagers not treasure hunters. This looting is a problem in some parts of the world.

I think that ships seemed memorials should be left alone.  Going through them is like digging up someones grave and stealing whatever valuables were buried with the bodies, IMO.


Quote
There are just too many people besides Kerensky who are afraid that if Nicholas got out he would be plotting a return.

That was the sad irony of the whole situation.  Even if it were possible, Nicky probably would not have wanted the throne back.  After he abdicated, a great burden was lifted off his shoulders.  The Herculean task of running the Russian Empire was no longer his problem.  He probably would have been content to just live comfortably in retirement somewhere.

Alix might have been content too.  Perhaps her health would have improved once the stress of autocracy was removed.

Although Alexei would always have a tough life, OTMAA were young enough to make the adjustment too. 

Of course, we'll never know for sure, this is just my personal opinion. 

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 22, 2016, 01:07:48 PM
I cannot see how anyone can use terms like ‘bunch as many problems’ and ‘strategy’ in describing correspondence of nearly 100 years ago and then state unqualified conclusions that are really conjecture.

What is clear is that the Kings views were made known to the government in a series of notes and letters.  People on this forum have noted many possible problems that might have been encountered in allowing the Romanovs to come to Britain.  No one knows if the government and the monarch had taken account of any or all of these problems in reaching their decisions but given what is known of the circumstances at that time but in my opinion the King was right express the views that he did.  For me he put the interests of the monarchy and the country first (the two things were partly caught up with each other) and in doing so he acted correctly.

When was the deal done with the enemy regarding the Romanovs' travel arrangements?  An offer of safe passage was made by the enemy which was passed on to the Russian government by a Danish politician. For a deal to be done, the British government had to agree as well.  Is this documented?  Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives. 

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 23, 2016, 07:27:54 AM
Quote
Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives. 

That's why a deal with Germany would have to be made first (through a  neutral third power), so Germany would not attack the ship transporting the IF to Britain. 

This could have happened.  This wasn't Hitler's Germany, after all.  The Kaiser did have some honour in him, after all.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 23, 2016, 08:42:32 AM
I cannot see how anyone can use terms like ‘bunch as many problems’ and ‘strategy’ in describing correspondence of nearly 100 years ago and then state unqualified conclusions that are really conjecture.

What is clear is that the Kings views were made known to the government in a series of notes and letters.  People on this forum have noted many possible problems that might have been encountered in allowing the Romanovs to come to Britain.  No one knows if the government and the monarch had taken account of any or all of these problems in reaching their decisions but given what is known of the circumstances at that time but in my opinion the King was right express the views that he did.  For me he put the interests of the monarchy and the country first (the two things were partly caught up with each other) and in doing so he acted correctly.

When was the deal done with the enemy regarding the Romanovs' travel arrangements?  An offer of safe passage was made by the enemy which was passed on to the Russian government by a Danish politician. For a deal to be done, the British government had to agree as well.  Is this documented?  Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives.  



"Conjectures" is the business of historians, because usually kings, statesmen, dictators, revolutionaries.... don't keep a diary where they explain the reasons behind every decision they take. These "conjectures" can be valid guess or wild speculations, depending on how they fit with the information available.

An example of wild speculation: Nicholas II, who looked like George V's twin brother, wanted to replace him as the King of Great Britain and have him imprisoned in a dungeon, as in Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda". There's nothing to support it. In fact, it is something that I have just made up.

An example of valid guess: George V panicked. That's the conclusion a historian, Helen Rappaport, reaches in her book Ekaterinburg. Why? She analyses the information available:

1. 9 March 1917: The British government gave their agreement to the Russian provisional government's proposal to offer asylum in Britain to the Russian Imperial Family.

2. 17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain.

3. 20 March 1917: Balfour replied that they cannot go back on their word. The deal is done and cannot be reversed.

4. 21 March 1917: Stamfordham sent Balfour a letter giving the King final assent: "As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regards the matter as settled."

5. 24 March 1917: Stamfordham, following the King's order, started a campaign (2 letters that day, meetings with Lloyd George and Balfour) to stop the arrival of the Russian Imperial Family to Britain, after giving his agreement to it twice: 9 March and 21 March.

How to explain that complete volte-face? Why would George V go back on his word given TWICE? The most logical explanation, one that fits with all the information we have, is that he panicked.

Of course, you would not believe it, unless we can present an entry is George V's diary stating literally: "I panicked". Well, in 99,9% of the cases historians lack that kind of evidence. If you think that any conclusion that is not based in that kind of evidence is not valid, forget about history (and journalism, and politics).

And now, why should you keep posting about mines, submarines and deals with Germany, if you have already reached the conclusion that George V's decision was right?
If what George V did was the right thing to do, why should you look for excuses?

George V had already succeeded in having the Government reject the request that they had initiallt granted: Nicholas II and his family would not come to Britain. The door was closed, the drawbridge was raised for them. What does it matter how many mines or how many German submarines were between Russia and Britain, if the Russian Imperial Family would not be allowed to travel there? We might as well discuss the possibility of them settling in the Moon.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 23, 2016, 10:34:21 AM
I cannot see how anyone can use terms like ‘bunch as many problems’ and ‘strategy’ in describing correspondence of nearly 100 years ago and then state unqualified conclusions that are really conjecture.

What is clear is that the Kings views were made known to the government in a series of notes and letters.  People on this forum have noted many possible problems that might have been encountered in allowing the Romanovs to come to Britain.  No one knows if the government and the monarch had taken account of any or all of these problems in reaching their decisions but given what is known of the circumstances at that time but in my opinion the King was right express the views that he did.  For me he put the interests of the monarchy and the country first (the two things were partly caught up with each other) and in doing so he acted correctly.

When was the deal done with the enemy regarding the Romanovs' travel arrangements?  An offer of safe passage was made by the enemy which was passed on to the Russian government by a Danish politician. For a deal to be done, the British government had to agree as well.  Is this documented?  Risking British lives to transport vital military equipment to an ally was different to risking British lives to transport the King’s foreign relatives.  



"Conjectures" is the business of historians, because usually kings, statesmen, dictators, revolutionaries.... don't keep a diary where they explain the reasons behind every decision they take. These "conjectures" can be valid guess or wild speculations, depending on how they fit with the information available.

An example of wild speculation: Nicholas II, who looked like George V's twin brother, wanted to replace him as the King of Great Britain and have him imprisoned in a dungeon, as in Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda". There's nothing to support it. In fact, it is something that I have just made up.

An example of valid guess: George V panicked. That's the conclusion a historian, Helen Rappaport, reaches in her book Ekaterinburg. Why? She analyses the information available:

1. 9 March 1917: The British government gave their agreement to the Russian provisional government's proposal to offer asylum in Britain to the Russian Imperial Family.

2. 17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain.

3. 20 March 1917: Balfour replied that they cannot go back on their word. The deal is done and cannot be reversed.

4. 21 March 1917: Stamfordham sent Balfour a letter giving the King final assent: "As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regards the matter as settled."

5. 24 March 1917: Stamfordham, following the King's order, started a campaign (2 letters that day, meetings with Lloyd George and Balfour) to stop the arrival of the Russian Imperial Family to Britain, after giving his agreement to it twice: 9 March and 21 March.

How to explain that complete volte-face? Why would George V go back on his word given TWICE? The most logical explanation, one that fits with all the information we have, is that he panicked.

Of course, you would not believe it, unless we can present an entry is George V's diary stating literally: "I panicked". Well, in 99,9% of the cases historians lack that kind of evidence. If you think that any conclusion that is not based in that kind of evidence is not valid, forget about history (and journalism, and politics).

And now, why should you keep posting about mines, submarines and deals with Germany, if you have already reached the conclusion that George V's decision was right?
If what George V did was the right thing to do, why should you look for excuses?

George V had already succeeded in having the Government reject the request that they had initiallt granted: Nicholas II and his family would not come to Britain. The door was closed, the drawbridge was raised for them. What does it matter how many mines or how many German submarines were between Russia and Britain, if the Russian Imperial Family would not be allowed to travel there? We might as well discuss the possibility of them settling in the Moon.

The ‘Prisoner of Zenda’ about sums this up.

The government gives its approval to a request for the Romanovs to be allowed to reside in Great Britain.  As far as I can see this was an approval in principal. If any of the practical details of the matter- the journey and the living arrangements in Britain had been worked out and documented, where are those details?

Eight days later, the King informed the government of his misgivings regarding this matter.  I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here.

Four days later, acting constitutionally (not unconstitutionally as previously claimed on this forum) the king gives the royal assent to the government’s decision. As he had to give that assent I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here.

Over the next four days the King continues to express his misgivings regarding the matter of the Romanovs coming to Britain, having fulfilled his constitutional duty in approving this matter. I cannot see a ‘volte-face’ here. I cannot see how by continuing to express his misgivings, the King can be said to have a ‘panicked’.
 
Where in this series of events has King George V gone back on his word?

Speculation regarding the possible political problems that might have been caused by the Romanovs living in Britain is reasonable, as is speculation regarding the dangers involved in their journey and the political consequences that might have ensued had something gone wrong during that journey.

How ridiculous can this get?  An opinion is expressed regarding the King’s conduct, reasons are given for forming that opinion and these are described as ‘excuses’.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 23, 2016, 03:51:10 PM

  
Where in this series of events has King George V gone back on his word?



1. On March 9 1917 Mr Lloyd George (Prime Minister), Mr Bonar Law (Chancellor of Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons) and Lord Hardinge (Undersecretary at the Foreign Office), with Lord Stamforham, the King's secretary as representative of George V AGREED to offer asylum to the Russian Imperial Family in Britain:

Lord Stamforham: "It was generally agreed that the proposal that we should receive the Emperor in this country (having come from the Russian Provisional Government which we are endeavouring with all our powers to support) could not be refused... Lord Hardinge undertook to draft an official telegram to Sir George Buchanan to the effect that the King and His Majesty's Government would be prepared to give effect to Monsieur Miliukov's request that the Emperor and his family should be received in this country."

2. On March 21 1917, Lord Stamforham, writing to David Balfour on behalf of George V, confirmed the King's acceptance of the offer:

"As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regard the matter as settled, unless the Russian Government should come to any fresh decision on the subject."

3. On March 24 1917, Lord Stamforham, writing again to David Balfour:

"The King wishes me to write again on the subject of my letter of this morning... Buchanan ought to be instructed to tell Milyukov that the opposition to the Emperor and the Empress coming here is so strong that we must be allowed to withdraw from the consent previously given to the Russian Government's proposal."

Isn't that "going back on his word"? Isn't that "a complete volte-face"?

If you cannot see it, it's time to go to your optometrist for an eye exam.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on August 23, 2016, 08:50:36 PM
I would like to point out again the overthrow of the Tsar really shocked a number of royal families. I would say it shocked George V badly. I must also point out again that in 1917 he was being accused of disloyalty and being non-English hence the name change to Windsor.

a while back someone mentioned that the IF should try and get away through China. The only way to do this was to travel along way passed Omsk to where the Trans-Siberian railroad branches off into China then the rail line goes to either Port Arthur or Vladivostok. This is the Buxhoeveden took out of Russia in the book "Left Behind"

As for an escape from Tobolsk the book "Former people" mentions a number of nobles who planned to save the IF, but they gave it up as being too difficult.

Another problem with planning a escape from Tobolsk is the IF may not get much help from the local ROC. Because the local head was Bishop Hermogen . The same Bishop Hermogen who attacked Rasputin and was punished by Nicholas for his actions. Hermogen from what I have read had a reputation for being extremely quarrelsome and being a rabid anti-Semite. He is arrested by the Reds in the spring of 1918 and is taken to the Tobol river where a rope tied to a large rock was put around his neck then the rock was tossed in the river from a boat.

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 25, 2016, 07:30:21 AM
Someone needed to remind George V of the English Civil War, in which ultimately decided that Parliament, not the Monarch, was in charge. 

If the British Government wanted to invite the Russian IF to Britain, they could have done so whether Georgie Boy liked it or not.   Unlike Russia, Britain was not an Autocracy.  The King could advise, he could suggest, but he had no power to interfere with Government.

Perhaps if Lloyd George had a solid majority in Parliament, he could have gone ahead and invited the IF in without worrying about others bringing his government down (which happens in Coalition Governments).
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 25, 2016, 12:02:30 PM
Right. We have already established that George V did not act unconstitutionally, that he did not block any government decision and that the matter of whether he panicked is purely a matter of opinion.

I do not know how things worked in Spain in 1917 (or how it works with the monarchy in post Franco Spain), but in Great Britain in 1917, as now, the monarch cannot overturn any lawful government decision and the monarch has to approve what the government decides to do. Were the monarch to defy the elected government then that government of the day would resign and the opposition would refuse to form a new government. 

The Monarchy gets the Civil List, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and so but as far as the normal business of government is concerned, the monarchy is utterly powerless. Who knows, perhaps that is why anyone can read the Court Circular to find out what the Queen is doing but has to look on the Alexander Palace Time Machine to find out about what the Tsar was doing. If non Britons on here have romantic visions of the monarch then or now deciding this or that on behalf of the country then sorry, that did not, and does not happen.

The only aspect of the episode regarding the former Tsar's possible exile in Britain that made it in any way different to normal government business was that the Romanovs were related to the King – hence the exchanges of correspondence and the meetings.

As far as the King was concerned, he seems to have had reservations about the Tsar coming to Britain but accepted the decision of the government.  The following, copied from previous posts should about cover things:
'17 March 1917: Lord Stamfordham, the King's secretary, wrote to Balfour, Secretary of State for Foreing Affairs, expressing the King's misgivings about the Russian Imperial Family arriving in Britain. '
'21 March 1917:"As His Majesty's Ministers are still anxious that the King should adhere to the original invitation sent on their advice His Majesty must regard the matter as settled” '.

As far as the government of the day was concerned, I can only guess that of its 10 most pressing matters at that time, the fate of the former Tsar was about number 25.

I thought this thread was bad until I looked at a thread on this forum regarding the lunatic idea that George V was bribed.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 26, 2016, 07:08:13 AM
Right. We have already established that George V did not act unconstitutionally, that he did not block any government decision and that the matter of whether he panicked is purely a matter of opinion.

Who are you including in that "We"?

In order for a debate to take place, a minimum of intellectual honesty is needed. You have not shown any. In your last post you wrote that "He (George V) accepted the decision of the government". He did, indeed, twice: on March 9 and March 21. And then, on March 24 he changed his mind, went back on his word and pressed the British government to go back on theirs. You deliberately left out the final part of the story. That kind of crass manipulation would not fool a five-year old child.

So from now on I am not going to waste my time replying to any of your posts. Have a nice day.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 26, 2016, 07:29:22 AM
What four historians have to say about George V's role in the withdrawal of the offer of asylum for the Russian Imperial Family.

"What does remain certain is that the King, by persuading his Government to withdraw their original offer of asylum, deprived the Imperial Family of their best, perhaps the only, means of escape".

King George V, Kenneth Rose, 1983

"It was believed then and for a long time afterward that it was the Prime Minister David Lloyd George who had dissuaded George V from following his generous impulses. Lloyd George himself liked to perpetuate this impression. But it has since become known that he did so to protect the King, who had vetoed the earlier decision for fear that it would embarrass the Crown and irritate Labor MPs who were "expressing adverse opinions to the proposal." The King's role in this dishonourable action was kept in strict secrecy..."

The Russian Revolution, Richard Pipes, 1990

"To his honour, the Kadet leader, Miyukov, now Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government, requested that the British government offer Nicholas II and his family asylum in England. Initially the British felt constrained to agree. Very quickly came second thoughts and it was the King, and old personal friend of his Russian first cousin, who took the lead in closing off the possibility of asylum."

Nicholas II, Dominic Lieven, 1993

"And so, on 10 April, at the King's insistence, a telegram had arrived at the British embassy in Petrograd fron Lloyd George's government advising that it was no longer deemed wise for the Imperial Family to come to England...Official records, however, do not back up the accusations that Lloyd George was directly instrumental in preventing the Romanovs from coming to England. Indeed, he too came under pressure when writing his War Memoirs in 1934 to cover up the King's ignominious abandonment of the Tsar, by scrapping an entire chapter on the discussions over the asylum offer..."

Ekaterinburg, Helen Rappaport, 2008
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Horock on August 26, 2016, 01:17:40 PM
Is there a contemporary document that shows that George V urged the government to accept the Russian government's request for the Romanovs' to be able to live in Britain before the government decided to agree to that request?

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on August 29, 2016, 06:36:28 PM
One person who should have been at the center of all escape plans is Colonel Kobylinsky commander of the Guard force ay TS and later Tobolsk. The only account I have found of him being used is in the book "The Real Romanovs" which has him recruiting a small detachment of loyal men to aid in a escape. he planned to flee northward to Obdorsk a settlement in the Artic circle and hold up until a ship arrives. The book points out Kobylinski needed money to do this but the monarchist supporters refused to give him any since they heard rumors he spoke disparagingly of OTMA. This looks like the least worst of the bad options of getting the IF out of Russia after escaping form Tobolsk. While I don't reguard this source as not that great.
 On Kobylisky he may have been a fine man , but he did have some problems. He mentions being wounded having shell shock what we would now call PTSD Kidney trouble and was unfit for frontline service. This was why he was in Petrograd at the start of the Revolution. In reading his testimony in last days of the Romanovs by George telberg online at archive.org This man acts like he is falling apart mentally. This is the book "Nicholas and Alexandra" as well.  One wonders how good of an leader he would have been if he had taken charge of the escape.
 On the plus side for the IF if they had escaped and had gone north into the artic there may be someone to rescue them. In the book "File on the Tsar" there is a chapter the Jonas lied Affair about a planned artic rescue operation. King George v and others knew about it approved of it and backed it, but the PM Lloyd George vetoed it. This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I. it should also be point out that on 21 march 1918 Operation Michael AKA the Kaiserschalacht began this was the first of the great 1918 German offensives that was supposed to win the war for Germany. For awhile it looked like they might succeed. So saving the IF was put on the backburner. The night the IF was murdered 16/17 july 1918 is the same date were the last of the great German offensives were called off.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: TimM on August 30, 2016, 07:16:19 AM
Quote
This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I.

That's how Lenin won, his big  promise was peace.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: NicolasG on August 30, 2016, 08:07:41 AM
On the plus side for the IF if they had escaped and had gone north into the artic there may be someone to rescue them. In the book "File on the Tsar" there is a chapter the Jonas lied Affair about a planned artic rescue operation. King George v and others knew about it approved of it and backed it, but the PM Lloyd George vetoed it. This is because in the spring of 1918 the British French and US goverments were doing everything they could to keep Russia in WW I. it should also be point out that on 21 march 1918 Operation Michael AKA the Kaiserschalacht began this was the first of the great 1918 German offensives that was supposed to win the war for Germany. For awhile it looked like they might succeed. So saving the IF was put on the backburner. The night the IF was murdered 16/17 july 1918 is the same date were the last of the great German offensives were called off.

I am very sceptical about those "the Scarlet Pimpernel / James Bond" plans to rescue the Russian Imperial Family from Siberia. Certainly there were people in Russia who wanted to save them and devised ineffective plans, but I do not think that any of those plans had any kind of support from foreign governments. I do not think it is very likely that the very same man, George V, who panicked at the request of an ally government to collect the Imperial Family in Murmansk and take them to Britain might be involved in something much more dangerous and more likely to fail.

Regarding Lloyd George's veto, the "File on the Tsar" was written before Kenneth Rose published his biography of George V and at that time, following Buchanan's memoirs, Lloyd George was still the villain who had opposed granting asylum to the Russian Imperial Family.

Kenneth Rose tries to explain George V's lack of remorse after the murder of the Imperial Family was known by making up a theory he might have been involved in some kind of rescue attempts:

"Having belatedly realized the danger to which their cousins were now exposed, he may have instigated or at least encouraged the British Secret Service to rescue them by bribery or force. The planning of such a scheme, although in the end it came to nothing, would have taken the will for the deed, stilled the King's uneasy conscience and enabled him to recall his conduct towards the Tsar without guilt.
All this is mere conjecture. No evidence exists to link the King with those abortive plans known to have been made for the rescue of their ex-ruler...
It is a tenous theory, yet not implausible."

Kenneth Rose, King George V, p. 216-217

Helen Rappaport also mentions some British attempts, but they do not seem serious.

"As late as March 1918 a Hudson's Bay trouble-shooter called Henry Armistead, who also worked for the British secret service and whose family were well-known traders in Riga, was said to gave set up a Romanov rescue bid in collaboration with a Norwegian Arctic shipping merchant, Jonas Lied, aimed at getting the family out of Tobolsk, via the River Enisei in Siberia to Murmansk... The rescue plan he had mooted, using British agents and local Russian monarchists officers, had foundered because the British government would not stump up the money to fund it, but also because the Ipatiev House proved utterly impregnable and Alley's associates in Ekaterinburg too closely watched by the local Cheka."
Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, p.153-154

The author does not state the source of this information, but it is probably Mangold and Summer's The file on the Tsar, included in the bibliography. So everything is based on that book.

How it looks like: someone came to the British Secret Service saying that he had an idea to rescue the Imperial Family. They noted it down, checked it with their agents in Russia (there was some kind of British consul in Ekaterinburg), saw that it was very difficult and that was it. Probably neither Lloyd George nor the King had any influence in vetoing it.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on October 11, 2017, 02:29:11 PM
This is from the book "Last Hope Island" King Haakon VII of Norway "...had offered to send a warship to rescue his first cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, and the tsar's wife and children after Nicholas was dethroned in 1917. King George v, Haakon's brother-in-law and another first cousin of Nicholas's, had told the Norwegian king not to bother, that he would send a ship for the Russian royal family himself. The British vessel, however, had not been dispatched, and Haakon had reportedly never forgiven his brother-in-law for abandoning Nicholas and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918."

Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: GDSophie on October 11, 2017, 09:06:49 PM
This is from the book "Last Hope Island" King Haakon VII of Norway "...had offered to send a warship to rescue his first cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, and the tsar's wife and children after Nicholas was dethroned in 1917. King George v, Haakon's brother-in-law and another first cousin of Nicholas's, had told the Norwegian king not to bother, that he would send a ship for the Russian royal family himself. The British vessel, however, had not been dispatched, and Haakon had reportedly never forgiven his brother-in-law for abandoning Nicholas and his family, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918."



King Haakon VII of Norway and Alfonso of Spain tried rescuing them it seems then. George V should have told Haakon VII they changed their minds so Haakon could have stepped in. Even Prince Phillip was/is reportedly angry about his Russian cousins murders, rightfully so, and how George pulled out from rescuing them.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on October 12, 2017, 02:38:03 AM
Interesting about Haakon. I wonder why he proposed to send a warship rather than offer to receive the family at the Norwegian border (Norway has a land frontier with Russia - did it then?). Perhaps the reason was that the  transport arrangements would be simpler - as a neutral a Norwegian ship could go to Kronstadt, from which it was a short road journey to Tsarskoye-Selo. The border area between Russia and Norway is pretty remote, and would have been more remote then - when Murmansk was connected to St Petersburg by only a single-track railway.

These are just musings - I've probably answered my own question.

Obviously, it would have been far easier to get the family to Norway than to Spain, in purely practical terms. Going to Spain would have meant either a long and circuitous voyage through U-boat waters, plus minefields,  or a land journey crossing enemy territory (which Nicholas is unlikely to have agreed to).

Ann
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Превед on October 13, 2017, 05:15:04 AM
Interesting about Haakon. I wonder why he proposed to send a warship rather than offer to receive the family at the Norwegian border (Norway has a land frontier with Russia - did it then?).

Norway did share a 196 km long border with the Russian Empire, but with no railway and hardly any road crossings. (I doubt there were roads at all on the Russian side leading to the then border crossing at Skafferhullet / Skafferholet between Borisoglebskiy on the Russian side and Kirkenes on the Norwegian side, a little to the west of the present border crossing at Storskog. Much of the border is in rivers and lakes and there was no effective border control untill after WW2.) Probably impenetrable with a motor vehicle in the snowy, rainy and thawing seasons. Sleighs (with horses or reindeers) could be an option during winter. Trains or roads through Finland or boat from Romanov-na-Murmane (now: Murmansk) to Norway would be more practical options.

From 1920 to WW2 Norway and the Soviet Union did not share a border, because the Pechenga area was Finnish. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway%E2%80%93Russia_border (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway%E2%80%93Russia_border). BTW a unique pidgin language, Russenorsk (Russo-Norwegian), unique in giving equal status to the two source languages, was the result of nearly two centuries of trading across this border.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on October 13, 2017, 06:45:53 PM
Based on accounts I have read of combat in the Artic in WW II the roads from Murmansk to Norway are few and not very good too put it mildly. Summertime it would be hard going even on horseback forget about motor vehicles. Winter time horse drawn sleighs are  the only way to go. A Norwegian ship could have picked up the IF at Murmansk and taken them to a Port in Norway with few problems. The problem is getting the IF to Murmansk. There is no way the Petrograd Soviet or the Provisional government would let that happen.
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: Kalafrana on October 14, 2017, 02:13:59 AM
That is pretty much what I thought.

Kronstadt would be better than Murmansk in terms of getting the family to the ship, but the Baltic Fleet was very militant, and their Soviet would doubtless put two and two together if a Norwegian warship appeared.

Geographically, was it possible to get from Tsarskoye Selo to Kronstadt without going through St Petersburg?
Title: Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on October 21, 2017, 09:20:10 PM
Getting from TS to Kronstadt without going via Petrograd would be no problem TS is to the south and Kronstadt is to the West of Petrograd. If you find a map of the area there are a number of roads you could take to the coast and take ship to Kronstadt.