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Messages - James1941

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Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 19, 2007, 10:18:37 PM »
I am not sure how one would classify this movement but I believe that Pugachev's Revolt in the late 1780s was a significant event in the litnany of peasant revolts. It scared the bejeebers out of Catherine and the nobles, and she ordered extraordinary measures to put it down. Was it a true revloutionary movement?

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 19, 2007, 10:04:58 PM »
There were many points where the shootings occurred, and some points where no shootings occurred.
Father Gapon was at the head of the main group of marchers coming in from the southwestern part of the city, and was met by the police and soldiers at the Narva Arch. Gapon was taken away from this scene and does not appear to have had any further part in the days events.
Other groups came in from the islands where most of the workers lived to the north of the city, and had to cross the Neva bridges.
Others came from the southeast.
All hoped to converge on the square in front of the Winter Palace. The government wanted to prevent that so police and soldiers were stationed at various check points to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the city center. This is where the first shootings took place.
Many of the demonstrators avoided the checkpoints by taking side streets and other avenues, so that a large crowd, in dubs and drabs, began to congregate in the Alexandrovski Gardens to the west of the Winter Palace. This is where another round of shooting took place. Many of those killed or injured seemed to have been just curious onlookers. A tragedy is that a large number of young boys and students had climbed into the trees of the garden to get a better view. For some reason the troops fired into the trees and many of the boys were killed or bady injured.
From that point on the demonstrators marched on the Nevsky Prospekt, and all over the city. One group went into the Kazan Cathedral and dragged the benches out into the street to form a barricade. The troops arrived, the crowd melted away, and the workers in the cathedral went out and dragged the benches back in again. There was, as word of the shootings spread, mobs who broke windows and even damaged cars and other property, many of these were simply hooligans who first looted the liquor stores--typical of any such rioting. It would seem there were only a few acts of arson, none on the scale of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles. There were stories of groups of men and women finding an officer and demanding they hand over their swords. Some were roughed up but none killed. One elderly colonel was set upon by a group who demanded he take off his coat and surrender his sword. When he had handed over his sword, they politely helped him back on with his coat and let him go. On the whole these mobs were unorganized. leaderless, with no clear aims or direction. By the next day quiet had pretty much returned.
I tried to find a city map that indicated where the major incidents had occurred but was unable to do so. Perhaps some one could publish one here as a help to all of us, someone more technically talented than I am.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 19, 2007, 07:40:27 PM »

From  The Road to Bloody Sunday    by Walter Sablinsky:

The scene is at the Troitskaia Square.

The approach of this enormous crowd alarmed the commander on the square. Having failed to disperse the considerably smaller group from the Vyborg Branch, he was now faced with a massive crowd supposedly led by Gapon [He wasn't there}. He immediately ordered the Pavlovskii Guards to form a line facing the oncoming crowd and kept a company of Grenadier Guards behind in reserve. As the soldiers stood with their rifles poised, a police officer approached the crowd and ordered the marchers to halt. He repeated the order three times, warning that the troops would open fire if the crowd refused to stop. Some of the workers began to argue with him, saying they were unarmed and meant no harm. A few unbuttoned their coats to show no arms were hidden, and baring their chests, shouted: "Then shoot, if you want to." Meanwhile the back rows of marchers continued to press forward, relentlessly driving those in front toward the troops. As one witness explained: "We could not have stopped even if we wanted to because the back rows could not see what was happening ahead and pressed on the front ranks."
According to the testimonies of survivors, the crowd halted at the police officer's command, and several of the march leaders fell on their knees before him, opening their coats and turning out their pockets to show they were unarmed. The officer walked over to one of them and took a piece of paper from his hands, probably a copy of the petition. Meanwhile a bugle call sounded. The crowd apparently thought the police officer moved aside, out of the line of fire to let them pass. Those who were talking with him followed, still pleading and the crowd surged after them. Just then the first volley was fired. Stunned, the crowd stopped. Most of the marchers did not understand what was happening. At first they thought the shots were blanks, but two more volleys cut through their tight ranks, and with cries of pain and horror the crowd began to scatter in panic. The uhlans charged after the terrified demonstrators, swinging their sabres ruthlessly
Official figures put the number of killed and wounded on Troitskaia Square at forty. Witnesses who helped to gather up the dead and wounded claimed forty eight were killed and about one hundred wounded. They carried the victims to nearby Peter-Paul Hospital. Among the casualties were many spectators, members of the propertied classes, intelligentsia, women and children. Few of the survivors of the shooting on Troitskaia Square reached the Winter Palace where another bloody drama was unfolding."

The military put the crowd size at over 20,000. The Okhrana estimated it at 4,000. The Interior Ministry reported it at 3,000. The Pavlovskii Regiment numbered three companies of only 120 riflemen.

I have made it plain on this forum that I am not one of Alexandra's (Alix) fans. So I will get that out at the start.
I have always wondered about why Alix chose to announce her decision to marry Nicholas when she did. She had resisted him for several years, to the point that I think even he had begun to give up hope. Her grandmother was against the marriage, her father was against the marriage, etc. She had declared out loud that she would not change her religion just to marry Nicholas. Then, boom, during the wedding celebrations for Ernst and Ducky she makes the grand announcemnt that she has overcome all her doubts and has accepted his proposal. In doing so she completely overshadows the marriage as now all anyone can talk about is this wonderful news.
Did she do it intentionally to get the attention shifted to herself? A good question for debate, or at least discussion.
Did she do it unintentionally but subconsciously because she was jealous of Ducky and Ernst? Maybe.
In any case it was terrible rude of her, and, IMHO, very inconsiderate. She could have waited until the festivities were over, then made her big announcement and still gotten the sensation that happened. If I had been Ducky I would have been rather put out at her new sister- in-law at stealing her big day.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 19, 2007, 04:13:02 PM »
Elizabeth, I read every one of your posts, then go back and read it again. If I, and I would imagine this is true of other posters, don't respond to some of these excellent posts it is because you have stated the case so cogently and so well that anything I might add would be poor indeed, and superfluous. Be assured if I think I can bolster your post I will try, and if I disagree I will. I read all of tsaria, Alixz, Louis-Charles, Tsarfans, and AGRBears, and I hope you will read mine, and fire back at me if you think I am full of it. I was not criticizing your replies to Bear or anyone. That is not my place. Please don't take what I wrote to Bear in sincerity as being a potshot at you or any of the others.

Thanks, Louis_Charles. That is one of my all time favorite plays (and movie). In the end despite all the verbal bloodshed no one is really injured, just bruised a little. A lot like this forum.

Well put. I can accept this. As with all human stories it is neither black nor white but all shades of gray.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 19, 2007, 02:29:44 PM »
I don't always, well, most of the time, agree with what you say, Bear, but it is always interesting. I really enjoy debating with you, so keep the posts coming. And you are always civil to everyone, so good on you.
If I ever become uncivil to you, rap me over the knuckles once or twice. My mother taught me better.

I sincerely hope that your mother's condition has greatly improved. I too had a father with Alz disease so I can sympathize with how much it takes to be a care giver.

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Alexander III
« on: February 19, 2007, 02:15:58 PM »
I can't help but think of the contrast between the two brother-in-laws on their treatment of their heirs. When Edward VII became king he ordered a second desk installed beside his own in all the royal homes (Sandringham, Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Balmoral). Here he installed his son George and the two of them spent hours a day discussing events, pouring over state papers, and learning the job. He also insisted George serve on Royal Commissions, attend sessions of the House of Lords, and talk to the various ministers and officials of the British government, and receive a full briefing on all topics.
I admit I am not fully researched on how Alexander III treated Nicholas other than his outburst on the suggestion that he be given more responsibilty---something on the order of 'have you ever tried to have a serious conversation with him. He is a boy" or something like that. I am not sure if he ever shared state papers with Nicholas, certainly not on a continuing basis. I think Nicholas served on the Trans-Siberian commission but I am not sure if he served on any other. I think he attended the State Council on occassion but complained he was bored stiff (probably we all would be). I do know his tearful cri de couer to his cousin that he didn't even know how to talk to ministers when he suddenly became emperor. I am willing to be tutored here, but I think the difference is interesting.

The Final Chapter / Re: Would ANY country have offered sanctuary?
« on: February 19, 2007, 12:10:18 PM »
I would disagree to some extent. If Wilhelm had been in Berlin instead of hiding out at Spa he might well have been able to negoiate a transfer of his power to the Reichstag and thus insured a continuation of the monarchy under one of his grandsons. The Allies' conditions only applied to him personally, and his son, Little Willy. Whether the monarchy would have survived is an interesting question. And, I think Wilhelm could have remained in Germany without any harm coming to him, so long as he agreed to certain conditions such as not engaging in politics, etc. After all, not one single German royal suffered any physical attack during the short period of instability that followed until the Weimar Republic was set up. All of his children stayed in Germany and continued to live there until their deaths. Even the Crown Prince came home after a short exile. Wilhelm could have also but he refused unless he came back as King and Emperor, so the conditions were of his own doing, not the German governments. Many German royals retained their property, or were able to negoiate legal settlements on compensation, and continued to be a part of German society right up to this day. This makes an interesting contrast between German sentiment to their former royal houses and the Russian sentiment (keeping in mind that the Bolshevik take over had very much to do with that) towards their former royals.
And I will maintain that if Nicholas 'arrest' was pretty much symbolic while he was at Stavka. If he had tried to negoiate with the new government, using any number of former officials and army officers who still had some sympathy for him (I am amazed at how good Beneckendorf was at getting money and property out of the government for the family) he could have probably gotten the family brought to him there and then taken to place where they would not have been in the hands of the Soviet in Petrograd. After all, many of the imperial family moved about freely in Russia right up to the Bolshevik coup. The Dowager Empress was able to travel on her own train to Mogilev to see Nicholas. I think that honorable generals like Brusilov and Kornilov and Ivanov would have been willing to stand up for Nicholas in this matter. They weren't bloodthirsty men. I can understand Nicholas' anxiety about his family but in this case he showed little in the way of farsighted thinking. Maybe he just recieved bad advice from his entourage. Wilhelm got good advice and his entourage facilitated his move into Holland. In any case it is a great pity.

The Final Chapter / Re: Did Nicholas have to abdicate?
« on: February 19, 2007, 11:48:14 AM »
Thank you, tsaria. I also look forward to a discussion of this topic.
I must confess my complete ignorance. Would you be so kind as to digress on a further explanation of Valerianka. It sounds intriguing.

French Royals / Re: Queen Marie Antoinette
« on: February 19, 2007, 11:40:52 AM »
One reason that little Louis Charles was treated so much differently than his sister might have been due to the rumors about his parentage. Madame Royale was undoubtedly the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She was indeed a Child of France. There were many however who were willing to believe that Louis Charles was illegitmate, the result of a love affair between Marie Antoinette and Axel Fersen. Thus he was only half royal. Even his own uncle, Louis XVIII seemed to be strangely unresponsive to this boy. When he returned as king he made a great show of exhuming the remains of his brother and sister-in-law and burying them in the royal crypt at St. Denis. But, although the site of the grave was well known, he made no effort to exhume his nephew's body and rebury it.
I am not sure the dates match about Fersen's access to the queen and the birth of the boy. I would have to do some research on it. The DNA tests on the boy's heart proved he was indeed the son of Marie Antoinette but I don't think any test were done to establish paternity. Another missed opportunity.

The Stuarts of Scotland / Re: why is Mary, Queen of Scots seen as tragic?
« on: February 19, 2007, 11:17:42 AM »
But does that mean he deserved his death? The point I was making is that Queen Mary's death was termed "so unfair." Darnley's death, regardless of his personal characteristics, was "so unfair" also. And, if you use these terms of reference then Mary made her bed also so there was nothing unfair about her death, or tragic, just regretable. Besides her death has sparked a whole industry that was profitable, and still is, for artists, playwrights and authors. I think she would have enjoyed that.

Rulers Prior to Nicholas II / Re: Alexander III
« on: February 19, 2007, 10:59:30 AM »
The Daily Mail is a British newspaper of the type often referred to as a "tabloid." It delights in provocative headlines reporting the pecadilloes of the royals. Yet it can hit the truth every now and then.

The Final Chapter / Re: Did Nicholas have to abdicate?
« on: February 19, 2007, 10:45:06 AM »
The question was about the state of his health during the last few months and weeks before the crisis of the revolution. Nicholas use of an addictive and harmful drug is relevant to that question, no matter how common the practice was. I am quite familiar with medical practices of that time and just because mother's dosed their babies with laudanum on ignorant doctor's orders doesn't mean it was a healthy practice.
 What must be investigated is how often he used it and how much, and whether he became dependent on it. I do not accuse him of being a cocaine addict, but there is the possibility his health directly affected his mental state, which had bearing on why he acted as he did.
 And the question is what was in those brews that he was getting from Badmaiev?
They may have indeed been harmless, even helpful herbal remedies, and then again they may have have been herbs or plants that had a deleterious effect on Nicholas. Many observers commented on the tsar's health and state of listlessness and depression. It is an area that merits serious consideration, not dismissal out of hand.

French Royals / Re: Queen Marie Antoinette
« on: February 19, 2007, 02:05:52 AM »
When she became Queen in 1774 she was given a "state" entry into Paris. As she stood on the balcony of the Tuilleries Palace the garden and Louis XV Square were black with peole cheering her name to the heavens. The mayor of Paris (I think it was) remarked to her that today all Paris were her slaves. One has to ask why just eighteen years later she had to flee from that same palace with the same people howling for her death.
I would submit for consideration that Alexandra's children had it realatively easy in Ekaterinburg compared to what Marie Antoinette's children suffered. None of them were taken away from their mother, beaten on whim, made to learn filthy language to refer to their parents, or testify in court that their mother had sexually abused them, had to be walled up in a room to rot in their own filth and die from neglect of their medical condition. None of them spent years in a cell, alone, wondering what had happened to their parents, not knowing what was going to happen to them being the interest of unknown men who came to inspect them on unannounced occasion. No, getting three good meals a day, being allowed to exercise in the garden, having five  servants and a doctor to wait on them,  having the company of their parents, and being allowed to have mass said for them, no , that was a picnic compared to the French royal children.

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