Author Topic: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917  (Read 88441 times)

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Offline griffh

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Taking Janet Ashton's suggestion, I have decided to start a thread on the Empress's war relief work.

Having just published the first of my articles in Royalty Digest Quarterly, I thought this thread could also serve as a place where individuals could share their views of the articles.

Having just returned from England I am a still catching up a bit but all the same I wanted to establish the thread.

 

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 01:52:38 PM »
Start 'er up, griffh!

Rodney G.

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2014, 08:47:56 AM »
Start 'er up, griffh!



Thanks Rodney, lets get going. 

As we all know, though there are several important books in Russia on the Empress's war relief work, she remains at the center of a heated political debate, that has continued to rage for a century, over the role she played during the First World War.

This ongoing debate has all but obliterated the impressive record of her war-relief work. 

Hopefully my book will document the Empress’s accomplishments which have been frequently misrepresented, marginalized, or falsely attributed to others, if not written out of the historic record altogether.   

While it is not my intention to enter into the ideological debate over the Empress's relation with Rasputin and her political views, I do discuss these topics but from the perspective of her humanitarian ethos and ethics.  In fact, it is interesting that her positive views of politicians, that are not favored by scholars and historians, were often formed by their support for war relief work in general and her war relief work in particular.     


This research involves gaining an accurate understanding of her response to the war she fought so hard to avoid, her immediate response once the die was cast, the network of war-supply centers (skladi) she developed, the hospitals she brought under her supervision, her fleet of hospital and supply trains, her ambulance squads in Russia and France, and her refugee relief work as well as her work for the betterment of both Russian and German POWs, as well as a review of her early humanitarian labors, and the work she accomplished during the Russo-Japanese war and her. 

It is an impressive record by any standard. 

Because Alix's humanitarian efforts have been, in large part (especially in the beginning of the reign), considered insignificant, this assumption has obliterated Alix's continuous efforts to help improve conditions for a generation of Russians, and thereby creating a false picture of her character. During times of personal and political challenges, she almost always depicted as an emotional wreck confined to her bed or chaise. And while this depiction is not inaccurate, it is not the complete truth because she was always in the middle of working out some new scheme to improve the well being of her people, whilst laying on her chaise or tucked in her bed. That is the part that is missing from almost every biography of her.   

So it is my intention to give a fuller picture of her character by researching her war relief work, as well as depicting some of her earlier accomplishments which have never been published.


 



 

An investigation of the timing, scope, and extent of the Empress’s war relief activities will reveal a long forgotten fact: Alexandra had achieved broad popularity in war relief circles by the Spring of 1915.  Though this article does not discuss in full the Empress’s political views or her relationship with Rasputin, it does review other factors that eroded Alexandra’s hard won popularity and caused it to disappear completely by the time she was placed under house arrest on March 8, 1917.     

Offline edubs31

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 01:27:12 PM »
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An investigation of the timing, scope, and extent of the Empress’s war relief activities will reveal a long forgotten fact: Alexandra had achieved broad popularity in war relief circles by the Spring of 1915.  Though this article does not discuss in full the Empress’s political views or her relationship with Rasputin, it does review other factors that eroded Alexandra’s hard won popularity and caused it to disappear completely by the time she was placed under house arrest on March 8, 1917.

I'll be interested in hearing more about this. I'm guessing those war relief circles were rather small, otherwise it seems odd that whatever popularity she might have achieved with the broader masses would have eroded so quickly and so completely.

Perhaps your book addresses this question, but what level of PR did the Empress attach to the nursing duties of herself and her daughters. We've seen a number photos, many of which seem to have been designed for public consumption, but we seem to see less of Alexandra, with Olga & Tatiana playing the starring role. Was this by design or was it something of an oversight? If the latter, while I admire her humble diligence in getting the job done each day and avoiding excess fanfare, it would have been wise for her to have made a bigger deal (in terms of selling herself to the people...something she always struggled to accomplish) of her nursing.

Lastly does your research uncover anything new about Olga & Tatiana's experience with nursing and their relationship with their mother in this regard?
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Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 12:37:51 PM »
Quote
An investigation of the timing, scope, and extent of the Empress’s war relief activities will reveal a long forgotten fact: Alexandra had achieved broad popularity in war relief circles by the Spring of 1915.  Though this article does not discuss in full the Empress’s political views or her relationship with Rasputin, it does review other factors that eroded Alexandra’s hard won popularity and caused it to disappear completely by the time she was placed under house arrest on March 8, 1917.

I'll be interested in hearing more about this. I'm guessing those war relief circles were rather small, otherwise it seems odd that whatever popularity she might have achieved with the broader masses would have eroded so quickly and so completely.

Perhaps your book addresses this question, but what level of PR did the Empress attach to the nursing duties of herself and her daughters. We've seen a number photos, many of which seem to have been designed for public consumption, but we seem to see less of Alexandra, with Olga & Tatiana playing the starring role. Was this by design or was it something of an oversight? If the latter, while I admire her humble diligence in getting the job done each day and avoiding excess fanfare, it would have been wise for her to have made a bigger deal (in terms of selling herself to the people...something she always struggled to accomplish) of her nursing.

Lastly does your research uncover anything new about Olga & Tatiana's experience with nursing and their relationship with their mother in this regard?

Thank you edubs31 for those great questions. If I can start with your last question, first I think you will find a ton of new, never before published research on Olga and Tatiana's war relief work in Helen Rappaport's masterful study on the Empress's daughters, Four Sisters (British title) March 2014 (the American publication is coming out in a few days). Of the two girls, Tatiana appears to have inherited her grandmother, Princess Alice's amazing organizational skills which were also so apparent in the Empress and her sister Ellla.  The description of Princess Alice's abilities in Florence Nightingale's letters (Nightingale mentored Princess Alice's development of her humanitarian institutes) are almost identical to descriptions of both Alix and Ella's abilities. I think that ultimately all three generations owe a great deal to the Prince Consort, Albert who really was so dedicated to improving the well-being of Britain's people.  

You know I forgot how much I owe this discussion forum as it is questions like yours, that are so very helpful to me in formulating responses.  

Such a wonderful first question that involves so much new research that I don't know quite how to answer it without giving away my upcoming June 2014 RDQ article.  But I can say that the Empress's personal ministry or nursing, which had the greatest importance to her as a Christian follower of her Master, and which dominates her correspondence, actually represented the smallest part of her war relief work. Until one learns of the scope of her war relief agencies and their continual development during the war, one has a very lopsided sense of her war work.  Of course this false view was encouraged by her critics such as her husband's young cousin Maria Palvovna the younger and others. However, the contemporary press and periodicals both in Russia and Allied and Neutral countries were continually reporting on the broader work of the Empress.  In fact by 1916, as accusations of treason continued to erode her standing in Russia causing coverage of her work to fall off, the Allied and Neutral press continued to follow her accomplishments.  

I will try and answer everything I can at this time.  Hopefully as the articles continue to be published I will be able to answer questions more fully.  

I hope that is helpful...and thanks again for such great questions....    

 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 12:44:38 PM by griffh »

Offline edubs31

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 11:50:35 PM »
Well I'm certainly flattered by your compliments on my questions. I very much look forward to reading your material and surely returning the favor :-)

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Thank you edubs31 for those great questions. If I can start with your last question, first I think you will find a ton of new, never before published research on Olga and Tatiana's war relief work in Helen Rappaport's masterful study on the Empress's daughters, Four Sisters (British title) March 2014 (the American publication is coming out in a few days).

I'm looking forward to reading that as well.

Quote
Of the two girls, Tatiana appears to have inherited her grandmother, Princess Alice's amazing organizational skills which were also so apparent in the Empress and her sister Ellla.  The description of Princess Alice's abilities in Florence Nightingale's letters (Nightingale mentored Princess Alice's development of her humanitarian institutes) are almost identical to descriptions of both Alix and Ella's abilities. I think that ultimately all three generations owe a great deal to the Prince Consort, Albert who really was so dedicated to improving the well-being of Britain's people. 

Sounds impressive. And coming from the mother of modern nursing herself. I'll bet she'd have been proud of young Tatiana's aptitude and dedication to her profession, especially given her royalty status. On the other hand I've always had mixed opinions on Alexandra's decision to thrust her eldest daughters into that role. I suppose it wasn't logical to expect Olga, even with her clearly more temperamental and less suited personality, to sit on the sidelines while her younger sister leapt at the opportunity. But while I admire the Empress for her dedication to nursing and the sense of duty she instilled in her daughters, it was obviously something of miscalculation to believe that each of them were going to warm to the role. Tatiana was a natural but Olga was not - her intellectual curiosity blending together with a more sensitive and emotionally fragile personality. It seems strange to me that Alexandra would just assume each of her daughters, specifically her eldest two, would simply rise to the occasion just because of their good hearts, sensitivity, dedication, and familiarity with officers. She also must have realized that her daughters were not ordinary girls with regular everyday experiences that otherwise might better prepare one for tragedy, suffering, and the horrors of war (in as much as one can be prepared for it).

I'm hoping the information found in your research (and Helen Rappaport's book) will help sway me more towards a decidedly positive view of not only the Empress's nursing accomplishments, but her motives on issues that surrounded it.

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Such a wonderful first question that involves so much new research that I don't know quite how to answer it without giving away my upcoming June 2014 RDQ article.

Oh no worries. I'm glad I was able to strike a chord there but I would be just as happy to read about it in its intended published form. June is right around the corner!

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But I can say that the Empress's personal ministry or nursing, which had the greatest importance to her as a Christian follower of her Master, and which dominates her correspondence, actually represented the smallest part of her war relief work. Until one learns of the scope of her war relief agencies and their continual development during the war, one has a very lopsided sense of her war work.

Interesting!

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Of course this false view was encouraged by her critics such as her husband's young cousin Maria Palvovna the younger and others.

How much better things might have been for Alexandra, in life and death, were it not for the existence of those named "Maria Pavlovna" (be they younger or elder)!

Quote
However, the contemporary press and periodicals both in Russia and Allied and Neutral countries were continually reporting on the broader work of the Empress.  In fact by 1916, as accusations of treason continued to erode her standing in Russia causing coverage of her work to fall off, the Allied and Neutral press continued to follow her accomplishments.

It seems no one fully grasped the calamitous situation facing Russia. Not even the revolutionaries themselves could have predicted what took place in March, 1917 and certainly no one in the foreign press imagined and end of the Tsar and Empress's reign in a few short months, as of 1916. How fascinating it all is. The same woman who seemingly went out of her way not to endear herself to the Russian people and elevate her PR status over the course of a 23-year reign was being praised by the foreign press for her philanthropic duties at a time when her Empire was rapidly deteriorating.

Not to take away from her accomplishments, but how much of this positive press you speak was an attempt to portray Russia (and specifically it's leaders) as loyal allies to the war cause rather than them being all that impressed and interested in her nursing? In other words, was it a form of propaganda designed to speak highly of the imperial family and convince their own readers to have faith in the Russian alliance and the broader war effort? Nursing and pretty pictures of the Empress's daughters simply being the lone positive the press could focus on during such a messy and troubling situation. I hate to sound overly cynical but naturally I'm curious.

Quote
I will try and answer everything I can at this time.  Hopefully as the articles continue to be published I will be able to answer questions more fully. 

I hope that is helpful...and thanks again for such great questions....

My pleasure, and thank you equally for your responses and for sharing your wisdom on the subject :-)
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 12:04:06 PM »
OH gosh, edubs31 I have been trying to isolate your quotes, as you did mine, but I can't seen to catch on how to do this and have been trying everything I could think of over the past few days...alas I will have to simply copy out your remarks...


[quote...On the other hand I've always had mixed opinions on Alexandra's decision to thrust her eldest daughters into that role. I suppose it wasn't logical to expect Olga, even with her clearly more temperamental and less suited personality, to sit on the sidelines while her younger sister leapt at the opportunity. But while I admire the Empress for her dedication to nursing and the sense of duty she instilled in her daughters, it was obviously something of miscalculation to believe that each of them were going to warm to the role. Tatiana was a natural but Olga was not - her intellectual curiosity blending together with a more sensitive and emotionally fragile personality. It seems strange to me that Alexandra would just assume each of her daughters, specifically her eldest two, would simply rise to the occasion just because of their good hearts, sensitivity, dedication, and familiarity with officers. She also must have realized that her daughters were not ordinary girls with regular everyday experiences that otherwise might better prepare one for tragedy, suffering, and the horrors of war (in as much as one can be prepared for it)...I'm hoping the information found in your research (and Helen Rappaport's book) will help sway me more towards a decidedly positive view of not only the Empress's nursing accomplishments, but her motives on issues that surrounded it.]

To be honest, I think that Helen shares many of your concerns about the Empress, and is certainly in agreement with your view of the differing characters of Alix's older daughters.

We need to separate the girls war relief work in two; their official roles and their personal nursing ministry.  Nicholas appointed Tatiana as head (under the sanction of her mother) of her own Refugee Relief Committee. And though the formality of the meetings bored Tatiana, she carefully read reports and, working with her mother, the committee worked effectively to relieve the Refugee crisis. In 1916 a book was published about Tatiana's committee that listed its important accomplishments. As well, the Provisional Government kept the committee intact after the Feb. revolution.

Helen's book contains a ton of information on Tatiania's committee as well that I know will interest everyone.

In terms of Tatiana's personal nursing ministry, she displayed the same abilities as her mother; calmness and clarity in emergencies; a steady hand and warm demeanor; and a retentive memory. It was Tatiana whose skill set allowed her to stand in for her mother during operations and amputations. 

In terms of Olga, Alexandra took into account Olga's "dreamy" Russian nature and made her one of the two vice-presidents of the HIH Supreme Council which consisted of Olga arriving at the Winter Palace every Weds afternoon to collect funds and gifts for her mother's Supreme Council. To Alix' credit, when she realized that Olga was in a state of emotional and physical collapse, she made sure that Olga remain in bed until she was had fully regained her strength and never allowed Olga to return to heavy nursing cases. These were lessons that royal and aristocratic mothers were learning together all over Europe; and we see this in Downton Abbey as well.

Again Helen has filled her book with such a penetrating portrait of Olga...


 

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 12:04:30 PM »
[quote: It seems no one fully grasped the calamitous situation facing Russia. Not even the revolutionaries themselves could have predicted what took place in March, 1917 and certainly no one in the foreign press imagined and end of the Tsar and Empress's reign in a few short months, as of 1916. How fascinating it all is. The same woman who seemingly went out of her way not to endear herself to the Russian people and elevate her PR status over the course of a 23-year reign was being praised by the foreign press for her philanthropic duties at a time when her Empire was rapidly deteriorating.

Not to take away from her accomplishments, but how much of this positive press you speak was an attempt to portray Russia (and specifically it's leaders) as loyal allies to the war cause rather than them being all that impressed and interested in her nursing? In other words, was it a form of propaganda designed to speak highly of the imperial family and convince their own readers to have faith in the Russian alliance and the broader war effort? Nursing and pretty pictures of the Empress's daughters simply being the lone positive the press could focus on during such a messy and troubling situation. I hate to sound overly cynical but naturally I'm curious.]

Wow!!!! This is a topic that is so pregnant with new research!!!  Yes I am sure that much of the coverage in the Allied and Neutral press was wartime propaganda, however there seems to have been a genuine respect that circled the world's press (it is hard to remember that this was our first global war) when it was learned that Alix and her two older daughters were taking the rigorous the Russian Red Cross nurse's training (on floor as well as classroom) from a renowned female doctor [Princess Vera Ignatievna Gedroits] who treated them as she did other nursing students. The egalitarian and feminist overtones caught the imagination of the "modern" women, and whether or not the Empress intended to transmit such a progressive image of herself and her daughters, it made a lasting impression and had a genuine appeal in the press.  I am trying to share ideas without giving away too much...so hard!!!! 

One of the issues that I cover in my forth article, in some detail, is a review of the philanthropic work that Alix accomplished for the Russian nation from the beginning of her husband's reign and which has been written out of the historic record in the West, though it is receiving mention in Russia lately... 

I hope in my book, as I can't seem to manage it in my articles, to discuss the use of "presumptive guilt" that undermined the integrity of both conservative and liberal statesmen who prided themselves of their enlightened civic views. When one reviews the dialogue of liberal scholars that have dominated discourse on the Russian revolution over the last 100 years, one forgets that the majority of these historians formed their theories on notions that no longer hold up under the investigation of archival sources.  While scholars and historians over the past fifteen years, who were educated under the same liberal regime, have come up with startling and dramatically differing theories.

A case in point is Jane Burbank who researched the Russian peasant and court reform.  She says: "The notion that peasants had a legal culture did not enter into theories of Russian society produced by intellectuals and activists in the revolutionary years.  Only the National Bolsheviks saw a statist potential in the population; they suggested that Russian people, though primitive and crude, nonetheless wanted to belong to a great power and would respect a brutish, imperialist Russian government.  Most intellectuals in most parties were terrified of the peasant anarchism that elites had come to believe in long before 1917.  Even the violent an organized campaigns of peasants against the Bolsheviks were seen then not as civil war or a demand for a different kind of state but as a rebellion against all authority.  That is what elites feared most.

Was this peasant anarchism a real threat or just a nightmare rising from subconscious and conscious anxieties of leaders and would-be leaders of the Russian polity?  As I proceeded with my research, I found my own sixties’ romance with peasant anarchism and collectivism under siege.  Not only were peasants in court, they were there as plaintiffs, seeking justice from the state’s representatives on the bench.  And they were not a “they.”  Court records revealed individuals with a variety of notions of how to live, in a profusion of conflicts with their neighbors, families, and business partners.  These individuals were not content with custom; they had to have the law.

When I first presented my research—once with a title, “Law without the State?” where my residual suspicions are visible—I used the abstraction “peasant legal culture” to describe what I had encountered in the archives.  The concept was regarded as oxymoronic or anathema or both.  I found myself forced to clarify my assumptions against fixed ideas about “the peasants” and their beliefs.  Hardest to shake were the interlocking notions that he collective peasantry had a collective mentality and that this mentality was anti-state. 
[Jane Burbank, Russian Peasants Go To Court (Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2004) p. xiv.]

Well again, I am so grateful for your gracious restraint and tolerance, edubs31, as it allows us to discuss varying views of Alexandra things becoming over-heated as they so often seen to.

     


   

Offline Helen

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2014, 11:01:28 AM »
Griff, Congratulations on your first article in RDQ!   
I'm looking forward to reading Part II and am sure that the complete series of your articles will be most informative. It's most certainly a subject I've wanted to read more about in detail for years.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2014, 11:30:37 AM »
Griff, Congratulations on your first article in RDQ!   
I'm looking forward to reading Part II and am sure that the complete series of your articles will be most informative. It's most certainly a subject I've wanted to read more about in detail for years.

Hey thanks so much Petra!!!

For my part, just to say, it is a thrill for me to see how your book of correspondence between Alix and her brother and sister-in-law is becoming a standard source for Romanov scholars: Joe Fuhrmann's Rasputin: The Untold Story (2013); Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters (2014), to mention a few...  Congrats!!!

I have used your book in my first article as well as almost every article I have written...and of course in my book!!! 

Just to say I finally figured out how to isolate quotes by copying and highlighting them and then hitting the "quote" tab....hurray...

Thanks again Petra.....

 

Offline Helen

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2014, 09:51:40 AM »
For my part, just to say, it is a thrill for me to see how your book of correspondence between Alix and her brother and sister-in-law is becoming a standard source for Romanov scholars: Joe Fuhrmann's Rasputin: The Untold Story (2013); Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters (2014), to mention a few...
I haven't finished reading my copy of Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters  yet - due to overtime - but have enjoyed it so far and noticed the references to my book. It's great to know that it has been a useful  source, and so will your book be, once it's published.

I have used your book in my first article as well as almost every article I have written...and of course in my book!!! 
Thank you very much! :)
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2014, 09:26:12 AM »
For my part, just to say, it is a thrill for me to see how your book of correspondence between Alix and her brother and sister-in-law is becoming a standard source for Romanov scholars: Joe Fuhrmann's Rasputin: The Untold Story (2013); Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters (2014), to mention a few...
I haven't finished reading my copy of Helen Rappaport's Four Sisters  yet - due to overtime - but have enjoyed it so far and noticed the references to my book. It's great to know that it has been a useful  source, and so will your book be, once it's published.

I have used your book in my first article as well as almost every article I have written...and of course in my book!!! 
Thank you very much! :)


I am as thrilled as you!!! 


I think I may have started my thread a bit prematurely and it might have been better to have waited until all of my articles are published.  I realized that I cannot really engage discussion if I keep saying that I can't reply to questions without giving away the material in my articles. 

But I am grateful that my first article, which focuses exclusively on Germany's declaration of war on Russia and the Empress's response, helps to clear up a great deal of confusion about Alexandra's response to the sudden declaration of war.

While I have agreed that Alix did everything she could to avoid war, I have focused on with the help she gave her husband by deciphering a series of 11th hour telegrams from the Kaiser the week before Germany declared war on Russia. I was able to give the exact information on each telegram, whether or not it was coded, when it left Berlin; calculating the 1 hr difference in time zones, I was able to establish the Russian hour the telegrams arrived in Peterhof; and vise versa. This was especially helpful with the final telegram from Wilhelm which the Tsar received at 2am on Sunday morning (July 20, 1914 o.s.) 6 hours after Germany and Russia were at war. This telegram transformed Alix's view of the war she had fought so hard to avoid.

After the emotional transformation she underwent, reading Kaiser Wilhelm's absurd and final telegram that Niki showed her, 2am Sunday morning, it is no wonder during the Declaration of War ceremony Sunday afternoon, that those present in the Winter Palace noted her warmth and compassion which was so uncharacteristic of her former court appearances.

Hopefully my research will uproot fantasies, such as one historian has described Alexandra, standing on the balcony of the Winter Palace's Military Hall in a complete state of utter disrepair, hysterically clutching Rasputin's letter warning against the danger of war in her hand. 

Again, while it is true that the war struck Alix with terrible premonitions of suffering mankind would experience, hopefully, I was able to present her as having rallied her strength within hours of learning that Germany had declared war on Russia.

I also felt it was vitally important to expose Anna's recent fall from favor after her outrageous behavior in the Crimea in the Spring of 1914, behavior that was so offensive that Olga N. took Anna to task, demanding an explanation of the "part she was playing." The unrepentant Anna, realizing her fall from grace was complete, reacted by spreading slanderous stories about Alix and Niki and tried to manipulate some of the officers of the Imperial yacht to side with her.  This lead both Olga N. and her sister Tatiana to encourage their mother to distance herself from Anna for good. And though we have no indication in Anna's autobiographies, she had remained persona non grata in July 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia.

I felt this was very important, given Anna's silence. Though I didn't include the research about Rasputin, who had been sent packing by the Tsar just days before the Romanian Royal family arrived to discuss the possibility of a dynastic marriage, I will cover this information in my book as it gives context to Rasputin's sudden and unwanted presence in the Crimea in 1914 which the Tsar's head of security, Spiridovich thought Anna had arranged. 

Well anyway, hopefully when the June article is published there will be more to discuss.... 


 

   

Offline wakas

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2014, 09:57:58 AM »
Too bad your articles aren't published in France! So I am not able to read them!

Quote
I also felt it was vitally important to expose Anna's recent fall from favor after her outrageous behavior in the Crimea in the Spring of 1914, behavior that was so offensive that Olga N. took Anna to task, demanding an explanation of the "part she was playing." The unrepentant Anna, realizing her fall from grace was complete, reacted by spreading slanderous stories about Alix and Niki and tried to manipulate some of the officers of the Imperial yacht to side with her.  This lead both Olga N. and her sister Tatiana to encourage their mother to distance herself from Anna for good. And though we have no indication in Anna's autobiographies, she had remained persona non grata in July 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia.
I remember that Nicholas II, according to Anna, seemed to enjoy her company a lot "in the early part of 1914", and so "the Empress became mortally jealous". Are you talking about that incident?
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And though we have no indication in Anna's autobiographies, she had remained persona non grata in July 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia.
I didn't know that. I thought Alix and her were reconciled at this time. That's very interesting, thank you very much for the info.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2014, 10:57:06 AM »
I too am wondering what was Anna Vyrubova's 'outrageous behaviour' in the Crimea. It must have been pretty bad if Olga took her to task about it!

Ann

Offline griffh

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Re: Empress Alexandra's War Relief Work July 1914 - February 1917
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 02:13:46 PM »
Too bad your articles aren't published in France! So I am not able to read them!

I am sorry too wakas! But you can order the March 2014 Royalty Digest Quarterly which has my first article from the a bookstore in the Hague.   http://www.hoogstraten.nl/theshop/index.php   

Just to say, Gerard Gorokhoff and Andrei Korliakov's Les Corps Expenditionnarie Russe: 1916-1918 mention, for the first time included information about Alix's ambulance corps in France, which might be of interest to you if you do not already know   

I remember that Nicholas II, according to Anna, seemed to enjoy her company a lot "in the early part of 1914", and so "the Empress became mortally jealous". Are you talking about that incident?

Yes I am. Anna's account is typical of her self-absorbed point of view. Her actions did not just include her outrageous flirting with Nicholas.  They included Anna undressing at the window of her Livadia suite, which looked out to officers on duty at one of the sentry posts.  I think Anna was acting out a great many emotions. Nicholas had banished Rasputin to his home and Alix had given him a large financial settlement. This had to negatively impacted Anna's position at Court.  As well until 1913-1914 Anna could perceive herself as an "older sister," but as Helen Rappaport argues, by 1913-1914 the international press was continually reporting on the possible marriage of both girls to any number of European royals. Even Conde Nast's newly published Vanity Fair ran a full page article on the subject.  I think with the loss of Rasputin, which would have made her redundant, Anna feared that she was slipping into the role of the children's "spinster aunt." Certainly all this attention give Olga and Tatiana must have brought up bitter memories of her failed marriage. I think Anna's need for attention played a large part in her actions and I think that Alix tried her best to make allowances for a woman she clearly took pity on. But I don't believe a rapport was achieved between the women until Anna and her parents started to receive death threats in 1916.