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Messages - NicolasG

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121
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.

122
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.  

123
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. 

124
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.

125
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?

126
In my previous post AI stands for "American Idealist" and ER for "European Realist".

127
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.

128
Imperial Russian History / Re: Was the Tsar loved after 1905?
« on: April 09, 2016, 06:10:40 AM »
Nicholas II's main flaw was his stubborn believe in the Autocracy, a system that simply no longer worked.  Had he become a Constitutional Monarch, he might have avoided his horrible ending.

If only  I were paid one dollar evey time I see that claim made. OK, Nicholas II chooses to go ahead with constitutional Monarchy, a liberal parlamentary system and the rest of it. Who should have taken the lead in that new Russia? It would have looked very much like the Provisional government after March 1917.

Have you read anything about those Duma characters? The Constitutional-Democrats and their support of terrorism, Guchkov publishing the "Rasputin letters" of Alexandra, the corruption in the War Committees, the Myasoedov affair (the lynching of an inocent man)... Do they look like reliable statesmen? 

129
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.

 

130
Imperial Russian History / Re: Safer to be an Empress?
« on: April 09, 2016, 05:21:04 AM »
The "Great Revolution" with its genocide was the left's response to the right's "Great War" (WW1) with its noble aims and multicidal results. Both projects great follies. Both Nicholas II and Lenin should have been shot together for their crimes.

Well, I'm just a new member here, but this is not the "Occupy Wall Street" forum, so I do not suppose that you will find much simpathy for your views. If the blame for World War I had to be pin on someone, it would have to be on Serbia, which was what nowadays is called a "rogue state". We know how reluctantly Nicholas II gave the order for mobilization. People who write here have read enough about the Romanovs to know that Nicholas II was a loving husband and father, the gentlest of men, deeply religious and a patriot who strived to do what he considered best for his country (that was the reason why he abdicated in March 1917, whereas he might have tried to supress by force what was a military mutiny in war time). So I do not believe that many of the members of this forum think of him as a "criminal that should have been shot". 

On the other hand, Lenin, who had already welcomed the 1891-92 famine in Russia and had refused to take part in relief activity to help the starving peasants (He even asked to have his rent on the farming land paid in time and in full. Lenin was a landowner) was hoping for a war that gave him the chance to launch his bloody revolution. Lenin wrote to Gorky in 1913: "War between Austria and Russia would be a very useful thing for the revolution (in the whole of eastern Europe), but it's scarcely likely that Franz Joseph [the Hapsburg Emperor] and Nicolasha [Nicholas II] would grant us this pleasure." So, a year before WWI broke up Lenin was hoping for European carnage that gave him and his supporters the possibility of killing even more people.

131
Imperial Russian History / Re: Safer to be an Empress?
« on: April 08, 2016, 04:29:58 PM »
The modern revolutionary wanted (and wants) to change the poor existing nature of society/humanity often (or always) through forced "enlightenment." The loftiest of goals. There are, for me, very few true "Revolutions." The French and Russian being the greatest and truest.

The loftiest of words, the most horrible and brutal of deeds. I suppose that when you describe the French and Russian as the "greatest" revolutions, what you mean is that they shed the greatest ammount of blood.

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October Ten Days that shook the World on the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power 1927 silent.


The Soviet film version of a propaganda book by an American Communist. Communist propaganda squared. Why should anyone torture himself and waste one hour and a half of his life with it?

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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?

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