Author Topic: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?  (Read 207982 times)

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #90 on: September 03, 2010, 12:10:05 PM »
Well it is a hypothetical solution.  Who knows what would have happened.  In my mind the Germans would have been exhausted and depleted by about 1916 and might have used its submarines at that time to torpedo American freighters supplying the allies.  there may not have been trench warfare and possibly different methods of miltary machinery than were invented for the first world war could have been invented. But it is hypothetical so who knows but at least Nicholas couldnt have been blamed for making the first move and then a disasterous followup.

"Nicholas couldn't have been blamed for making the first move?" Are you serious, I mean only Western historians looking back on the event at the vantage point of fifty or more years would possibly even think so. At the time and for long afterwards NII would very much have been blamed for all this and much more, and for all of its unintended consequences. Including the western part of the Russian empire becoming a mere German province.

I think this stuff about there "may not have been trench warfare and possibly different methods of military machinery than there were invented for the first world war could have been invented" is only so much fantasy. I mean, the fact of the matter is that none of these methods and none of this machinery were ever invented during World War I. None of these things were ever invented, because at the time they couldn't be invented. Be honest, Germany was up against the wall in 1917, and if the Germans could have come up with some magical new "military machinery" to win this horrible war then they damned well would have, you can be sure.
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #91 on: September 03, 2010, 12:24:54 PM »
Well Elizabeth thanks for the history lesson.  I prefer the term hypothetical and weapons are developed to fit the situation.  When the Germans were running out of natural components for explosives, their chemists developed artificial components.  Tanks were developed to deal with trenches.  So what makes you a military genius?  Have you studied military history?  This thread is about what Nicholas could have done to preserve the throne and that embodies the actual and the hypothetical in case you didn't understand that.  So some of us will verge into the hypothetical.  Fantasy is an extremely pejorative term.  If you like, I have extended enough a vocabulary to start choosing the same types of adjectives to start adjudicating some of your posts which are even more into fantasy land.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #92 on: September 03, 2010, 03:09:49 PM »
Alixz:

...[in part]...
 Constantinople - had guerrilla warfare even been invented before 1914?  Weren't the armies still studying Napoleon and Julius Caesar and trying to move about in squares and cavalry charges?  I think they would have thought it dishonorable to fight a guerrilla war in 1914.

The Russians soldiers broke into guerrillla groups and did the "hit" and "run" attacks toward  Napoleon's troops, who were retreating from Moscow in 1812, when an early winter snow began.

The old Russian generals were aware of this history.  The problem was,  many of the old generals hadn't a clue about modern warfare, which Krupp's Germany was inventing every day, or so it seemed.  When Nicholas II was visiting his generals early in the war,  he tried to explain to one of the old generals that he could not send horse soldiers toward a machine gun.  The old general, who thought he knew better, sent his men toward the machine guns   and his men were slaughtered.

p. 161 of Marc Ferro's NICHOLAS II, THE LAST OF THE TSARS:  Nicholas II>>...had allowed his generals to invite Guchkov and the members of the Duma's War Committe to visit the front, in order that they might help with the supply of munitions.  'This interference can become very dangerous,' Sukhomlinov explained.  Nevertheless, the Tsar had agreed to the consitution of the committe in question, with a vew of improving supply situations, and had dismissed N. Maklakov, the Minister of the Interior who had hindered this co-operation.<<

Figes' THE PEOPLE TRAGEDY p. 269-270:

>>It seems there were two reasons (both equally flawed) for Nicholas's decision-- and it was his decision-- to assume the command of the army.<<

>>Second, the tsar had hoped that by placing himself at the head of the army, he might help to restore its morale:  if the soldiers would not fight for "Russia", then perhaps they would fight for him.  But Nicholas II had no experience of military command and although the important decisions were all taken by his new Chief of Staff, General M. V. Alexeev, who was a gifted strategist, the Tsar's presence had a bad effect overall on morale.  For, in the words of Brusilov, 'Everyone knew that Nicholas II understood next to nothing about military matters..."<<

Was that really true?

Figes goes on to say:  >>...although the word "Tsar" still had a magical power over the troops,  he utterly lacked the charisma to bring that magic to life.  Faced with a group of soldiers,  he was nervous and did not know what to say.<<

Because Nicholas II had displaced the favorite uncle Grand Duke Nikolai Nickolaiovich,  there was a lot of  grumbles and mumbles.  And, a lot of this has been recorded by historians, who generally don't know very much about the situation in which Nikolai had placed his troops.  Nicholas II had pulled Nikolai out in order for him to "save face" since the Germans had pushed him back 200 miles...  [p. 168 Marc Ferro's NICHOLAS II, THE LAST OF THE TSARS]. And, how could Nicholas II known that good old Chief of Staff Gen. Alexeev was plotting against his own Tsar by replacing him with Nikolai,  who, by the way,  declined, and, quickly loped off to his new position in the war against Germany.  

And, it was true,  it was the new Chief of Staff  Alexeev who was running the show so when things went badly  who was really to blame?  And,  isn't it interesting that  Alexeev was to be called the 'father of the Whites', who wasn't interested in ex-Emp. Nicholas II, as their leader?

Richard S. Wortman's  SCENARIOS OF POWER p. 403 tells us using his sourse, a four-volume book TSAR EMPEROR NICHOLAS ALEXANDROVICH WITH THE ACTIVE ARMY  by Major-General D.N. Dubernskii accounts:

>>Volume I covers Nicholas's visits to headquarters and the front in September and Oct 1914.  The author points out that although Nicholas Nikolaevich was commander in chief, the tsar watched closely over the conduct of war.<<

He talks about Nicholas II visits not just to the headquarters but he walked into the trenches and talked to his soldiers.

Nicholas II set up hospitals tents filled with doctors and nurses near the front.  And, there are actual records of what was said by Nicholas II who doesn't seem to be a mumbling bumbling idiot.

Nicholas II traveled for a month going down the entire line of the war front...

Here is something that proves Nicholas II's devotion to his God whom he believed had  placed him as Emp., and, at that time, Commander-in-Chief:

p. 407:

>>In the fall of 1915, Russian armies replused the enemy's offensive in the west.  Dubenskii wrote  "The Russian Emperor, according to the ancient belief of the orthodox people, the Anointed of God, the All-Russian Autocrat, taking the sword into His hands, halted the enemy invasion."  The Brusilov offensive of 1916 penetrated into Austria, the russian army moved forward elsewhere on the front.  To Nicholas, these successes indicated divine intervention.  He had the icon of the Vladimir mother of God brought from Moscow to headquarters. "I am convinced that its blessing will be of great help to us."  On May 28, 1916, the troops carried the icons along the streets of Mogilev.  This reminded him of Borodino.<<

NICHOLAS II, THE LAST TSAR OF RUSSIA by Marc Ferro p. 168 tells us what NIcholas II did when he sat in front of his 16 minimsters:
>>And the Tsar said to them: 'An order has been given me from on high... I well remember how, when I stood before the great icon of Our Lord in our chapel at Tsarskoe Selo, an inner voice called on me to take the supreme command and to inform the Grand Duke, independently of all that had been said to me by our Friend [that is Rasputin].'<<  Nicholas II then stood and relieved the 16 ministers of their duties.  He was going to be the Commander-in-Chief and that was his final words to them.


Over on page 405:
>>Nicholas, Goremykin told the Council of Minister, never forgave himself for failing to take command during the Russo-Japanese war...<<
>>According to Dubenskii, the news that the tsar was joining the army awakened rejoicing in Russia.<<

Well,  he was, now, in charge....  Or rather,  Gen. Alexeev was in charge.  

As far as I'm concern, it was the popular  Gen. Alexeev who should share a lot of the blame for what was to follow, because, it was    Alexeev who was the "chauffeur", who didn't know how to drive to victory with his Tsar, but was consumed my the idea of over throwing the Tsar....  

[ Chaufffeur  is in reference to an article written in 1915 by V. Maklakov titled A TRAGIC SITUATION: THE MAD CHAUFFEUR, which was a parable about Nicholas II being the chauffeur who didn't know how to drive who refuses to give up the wheel to someone who does know how to drive.]  

AGRBear


« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 03:19:03 PM by AGRBear »
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #93 on: September 03, 2010, 03:37:44 PM »
Interesting post.  Considering Nicholas' legendary indecisiveness, i wonder what convinced him to place himself over Generals who at least could make decisions.  He should have listened to Count Witte who wanted to stay out of the war.  I think Count Witte would understand what I said above and would know how to rally Russia around this strategy.  It is a shame he died so early, he would have been an  improvement over Kerensky.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #94 on: September 03, 2010, 07:05:17 PM »
Figes tells us in A PEOPLE'S TRAGEDY  Gen. Aleveev and  Kornilov are given the credit for being  "founders" of the Whites.



I wasn't sure if I should talk about him here or over on the new thread about "But was the revolution inevitable".

Gen. Alexeev was the last chief of staff in the imperial army.  Here are a few bites and pieces Figes wrote about him:

p. 169 "The Commander-in-Chief...Admiral Alexeev knew almost nothing about the art of war.  Afraid of horses, he had to suffer the indignity of inspecting his cavalary on foot.  Alexeev's promotion had been largely due to the patronage of the Grand Duke Alexis, whom he once rescued from the French police..."

...[in part]...

AGRBear

Was it was GD Alexis who  suggested to Nicholas II that he take Alexeev as his new Chief of Staff?

I think Nicholas II should never have turned for help  from any of his Romanov relatives when it came to the war with Germany?

AGRBear

« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 07:10:10 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #95 on: September 03, 2010, 08:11:52 PM »
Well Elizabeth thanks for the history lesson.  I prefer the term hypothetical and weapons are developed to fit the situation.  When the Germans were running out of natural components for explosives, their chemists developed artificial components.  Tanks were developed to deal with trenches.  So what makes you a military genius?  Have you studied military history?  This thread is about what Nicholas could have done to preserve the throne and that embodies the actual and the hypothetical in case you didn't understand that.  So some of us will verge into the hypothetical.  Fantasy is an extremely pejorative term.  If you like, I have extended enough a vocabulary to start choosing the same types of adjectives to start adjudicating some of your posts which are even more into fantasy land.

I don't think "fantasy is an extremely pejorative term" since I've used that very same term, "fantasy," referring to myself, repeatedly in my previous posts! Actually, I am all in favor of fantasy scenarios that would have some form of constitutional government in Russia (monarchical or otherwise) surviving World War I. But I expect these scenarios to be as realistic as possible. And so far your scenarios are every bit as disappointing as my own. I confess I can't come up with a way for Russia to survive World War I intact as a constitutional monarchy, and, it seems to me, neither can you. There has to be some other scenario that would work - or will we just be forced to admit that imperial Russia was doomed in August 1914? Surely not!

N.B. If you find "hypothetical" a more user friendly term than "fantasy" then I will use that term. But I think frankly that once history is done, it's done, and any kind of revisionism is, in fact, pure fantasy. Not necessarily less worthwhile for all that, because it's still an amusing and often stimulating intellectual exercise.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 08:19:13 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #96 on: September 03, 2010, 09:06:18 PM »
Well, it's hard to say what could or may have happened.   If Russia had not been so ill prepared for the war, things might have gone differently.  If they had won a quick and decisive victory early on, the revolution may not have happened.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 11:38:10 PM by Alixz »
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #97 on: September 03, 2010, 11:51:27 PM »
Whether we call it fantasy or hypothetical it is still very interesting to try to out think those who were there.

It seems to me that war develops a life of its own and it has its own needs which are met by those who want either to continue the conflict or to end it.

Various new and more deadly weapons are developed with each succeeding war.

The Gatling Gun came out of the American Civil War.  Mustard gas and tanks and refined air planes came out of The Great War.  Heavy water experiments and rocket power and atomic bombs came out of World War II.   With each new conflict and confrontation new weapons are created to meet or to try to over come them.  It is still going on today.

However, I also think that if every current modern weapon disappeared from the battle field tomorrow the soldiers would simply pick up the nearest rock or stick and continue on fighting until the last man standing.

No matter what Nicholas did or didn't do during his reign, the only way to preserve the Imperial Throne would have had to have begun (as I said earlier) almost on the day he ascended the throne in 1984.

I believe that Massie says (and I am probably misquoting him) that "it was with special care that fate chose Nicholas Alexandrovich to be the last Tsar of Russia".  Nicholas was a true fatalist and he himself believed that "all was God's will".  There was probably nothing that could have been done (outside of curing the nephritis that killed Alexander III) that could have preserved the imperial throne in Russia.

And maybe not even that would have helped.

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #98 on: September 04, 2010, 12:00:20 AM »
Quote
However, I also think that if every current modern weapon disappeared from the battle field tomorrow the soldiers would simply pick up the nearest rock or stick and continue on fighting until the last man standing.

Didn't Albert Einstein say something along the lines of he didn't know what weapons would be used in World War III, but he knew what would be used in World War IV, namely bows and arrows.  That is assuming, humanity survived WWIII at all.
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #99 on: September 04, 2010, 12:17:39 AM »
Well Russia had capable scientists in spite of Alexander lll's best efforts to close down the univeristies' science faculties, which he saw as nurseries for producing revolutionaries.  Most of the large industrial corporations in Russia before the war were foreign so there was no impetus for Russia to develop or research and develop new products or techniques and this came back to haunt her in the First World War.

Yes technology is changing fast.  The fighter jets that are being developed now may be the last jets that actually require pilots.  The next generation could be supersonic drone fighters. 

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #100 on: September 04, 2010, 12:48:23 AM »
Computer controlled war machines.

*Terminator theme starts to play in my head*
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 12:50:07 AM by TimM »
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #101 on: September 04, 2010, 01:45:07 AM »
Well the F35 by Lockheed Martin is as much a reconnaissance plane as an attack aircraft.  The generation after this plane is forecast to be pilotless and controlled from remote locatiions.

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #102 on: September 04, 2010, 10:32:37 AM »
I don't think it is a great idea to dehumanize war with pilot-less planes - etc.  We may think it saves lives, but all it does is remove the soldiers and their commanders from having to look into the eye of the man you are going to kill.

Once we don't have to face what we are doing to one another there is no remorse or guilt.  That is why war used to be glorified until Vietnam came into our living rooms.  Only the troops saw the destruction and devastation and those at home never knew how horrible it was.  They only thought they did.

The video games that the kids play now are leading us to that end.  Games such as War Hawk and those of that kind encourage young people to fight like real soldiers and yet there is no consequence to killing your enemy or even your own team mate unless you get kicked out of the server.

But getting kicked off the server is temporary and you can back in the "game" tomorrow.

I have often wondered if the Japanese, who are so good a perfecting these games, are teaching our children to kill without consequence and therefore getting them ready for the next World War.  A war that no one will win.

This is so off topic, but there is a voice module to these games and you can hear the players as they curse and demean each other for not killing enough or the way that others want them to.  It is disgusting because, even though these games are not meant for young children, parents are not supervising and young children are in the server every night.

I know this because my 24 year old plays this game.  He seems to know the difference between reality and gaming, but then we have been working on that since the day he began playing Super Mario Brothers and "bonking Kupas on the head" while avoiding poisonous mushrooms.

I know that there are posters here who have family who serve in the "real" military.  I wonder how they feel about war video gaming.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #103 on: September 04, 2010, 11:34:00 AM »
Well, also very OT but I think the real problem, Alix, is that the majority of young men and boys have always liked war. They like the idea (the hypothetical, the fantasy) of war and destruction and blowing things up. This is not an original observation, obviously. It's been made over and over again by virtually everybody since the dawn of recorded history. And needless to say, the current Hollywood film industry is very dependent on this particular age and sex demographic, otherwise we wouldn't be subjected to so many bad action movies with incredible special effects costing tens of millions of dollars.

There is something biological in all this, much as I hate to say it. I'll never forget the family confabs that took place over my little nephew's desire to own a toy sword (he was what, four years old?). This was utterly shocking to his poor parents, who thought that if you raised a male child in an utterly pacific and pacifist environment then he would necessarily turn out to be utterly pacific and pacifist. Such was not the case... and it only got worse. When he was five, he wanted a water pistol. Another family confab. Of course he eventually got one because he is the apple of his parents' eyes and they can deny him nothing, if truth be told. He is now almost 11 years old and his favorite hobby is martial arts and his favorite movies are about ancient Rome, especially Gladiator - which he saw illegally at a friend's house, of course, because he's not allowed to watch television in his actual home.

Unfortunately, I think that, like poverty, war will always be with us. It's part of our biological programming, part and parcel of the human condition.
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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #104 on: September 04, 2010, 04:08:53 PM »
Well the effectiveness of drones is what is driving that technology.  The ultimate goal of war is to maximise your enemy's damage and minimize your own.  Nuclear weapons are a case in point where the damage is so high they actually inhibit countries from going to war.  Pilot jet fighters mean that there is only materiel damage and not human damage on one side and heavy damage on the other side, as in the case of cruise missiles.  As well, the technological gap also provides a deterrant to some degree.  We are really on the edge of something that noone from the 20th century can fully comprehend.