Author Topic: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?  (Read 25396 times)

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Offline NicolasG

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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?

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 04:30:24 AM »
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 05:52:53 AM »
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 10:46:27 AM »
The most important aspect of the whole issue of rescue is - there was a war going on . A total war no less , and one which had unleashed , or was in the process of unleashing , a radicalized population across much of Europe that had had enough of being ruled by despots and wanted some social justice and democracy .The War only served to speed up social change - the very opposite of what was intended by monarchs and leaders upon its declaration.   Britain wasn't immune from such forces (see the raft of new laws and legislation after the war ended) . And Nicholas was not as popular in Britain as you might think - plus he had a German wife . Paying for their upkeep during, and after, a terrible war, would not go down at all well with the public. The British monarchy was already trying to distance itself from its German roots by changing its name.
And logistically it was a headache to get the Tsar and his family out of Tsarskoe Selo - and the more time he spent there the less amenable the idea of letting him leave Russia became. England wasn't the only option but everyone seems to concentrate on this apparent 'family betrayal'.
Self-preservation kicked in and George passed the problem of the Tsar onto others. Dishonourable perhaps , but understandable in the context of his own , and Britains , predicament in 1917.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 10:48:23 AM »
Messed that post up but you get the general idea  ;)

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 03:38:24 PM »
You used the word "despots" to describe the rulers of several countries before WWI. I replied that real despotism appeared in Europe after WWI, the war which was going to be the end of all war and make the world safe for democracy. An Imperial Germany (I mean the Hohenzollern one, the racist-pagan Hitlerite pseudo-Third Empire does not count) might be coarse and militaristic, but it would have never committed the Holocaust. An Imperial Russia might be autocratic, but it would have never created the GULAG or deliberately starved millions to death.

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

AI "I support national self-determination."

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

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

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

AI "I don't know"

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

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 03:40:14 PM »
In my previous post AI stands for "American Idealist" and ER for "European Realist".

Online DNAgenie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 06:29:54 PM »
In April 1919 there was another British attempt to save the surviving members of the Russian Imperial Family.  That time it was successful,

See http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/marlborough.html .

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2016, 07:42:47 PM »
For a more complete list of survivors of the Imperial Family and how they escaped from Russia you might be interested in
http://www.angelfire.com/pa/ImperialRussian/royalty/russia/survivor.html

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 04:56:04 AM »
You used the word "despots" to describe the rulers of several countries before WWI. I replied that real despotism appeared in Europe after WWI, the war which was going to be the end of all war and make the world safe for democracy. An Imperial Germany (I mean the Hohenzollern one, the racist-pagan Hitlerite pseudo-Third Empire does not count) might be coarse and militaristic, but it would have never committed the Holocaust. An Imperial Russia might be autocratic, but it would have never created the GULAG or deliberately starved millions to death.

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

AI "I support national self-determination."

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

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

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

AI "I don't know"

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I absolutely support the right to national self determination, but I find nationalism extremely tiresome . Big difference.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 10:03:57 AM »
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicky to Alix - 7 April

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

The role of the Tsar in the ROC:

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

The democratic institutions being shut down

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

Did they behave in a responsible way during the war or indeed before the war? Did they behave in a honourable way when they asked (and got) the head of Myasoyedov (a kind of Russian Dreyfuss Affair), an innocent man who was accused of being a spy for the Germans and executed because he belonged to the corps of gendarmes that liberals hated?

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2016, 05:23:38 PM »
To return this topic  more to its original point: When was Alfonso XIII thought to have made efforts to have  the IF brought to Spain? My understanding is that it was very, very late,well past the point of having any chance of success.
There was a column in the NY Times in the days after Nicholas was reported executed.I can't remember the details (possibly inaccurate in any case) but it suggested Alfonso was seeking asylum for the IF well after the Feb Revolution, and even as late as  1918--which of course was impossible.
Does anyone know more of the specifics of Alfonso's offer? In any case, it DOES seem to be really heartfelt and possibly against his self interest. i.e., very risky.
Rodney G.

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2016, 04:14:58 AM »
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2016, 04:45:49 AM »
Well, you mention lots of issues, I'll try to reply, but I don't promise that it will be brief: throwing spurious claims requires fewer words than refuting them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 05:18:56 AM »
To return this topic  more to its original point: When was Alfonso XIII thought to have made efforts to have  the IF brought to Spain? My understanding is that it was very, very late,well past the point of having any chance of success.
There was a column in the NY Times in the days after Nicholas was reported executed.I can't remember the details (possibly inaccurate in any case) but it suggested Alfonso was seeking asylum for the IF well after the Feb Revolution, and even as late as  1918--which of course was impossible.
Does anyone know more of the specifics of Alfonso's offer? In any case, it DOES seem to be really heartfelt and possibly against his self interest. i.e., very risky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Alfonso XIII starts to understand the situation and decides to bypass the British government and seeks the help of other neutral countries (Norway and Sweden). But the tsar and his family have already been sent to Siberia and shortly afterwards the bolshevists take power.