Author Topic: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?  (Read 23238 times)

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Offline edubs31

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2016, 11:39:59 AM »
Sorry to see our first good general history discussion in quite a while got testy so quickly. Allow me to cherry pick from some of your comments...

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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.

Reading through the rest of your posts I find this rather hard to believe :-)

Question: Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

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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.

Indeed. Antisemitism more than any other system of "social reorganization" throughout history has, sadly, united the masses. You are monarchist, I am a socialist...he is a Nazi and she is a Communist. But what can we all agree on? We hate the Jews and will feel better about our own plight by scapegoating them.

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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.

All good points as well. Suggesting the rise of Bolshevism and Lenin was the will of the will of the people would of course be incorrect. Some of the people for certain. But the overthrow of the Tsarist regime and the resulting Kerensky led (and ill-fated) Provisional Government was to Bolshevism what Donald Trump - since I see we're drawing American political parallels - is to conservatism. Being a Republican doesn't make you a Trump supporter anymore than being a socialist made you a Leninite. Not to mention the overwhelming majority of those from the other side of the social/political divide who opposed them (i.e. Trump's 35-40% wall the media keeps touting).

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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?

Well Lochlanach didn't take the bait but I will...

Obviously we're in danger of veering far off topic here. But to me this is relevant only to the extent that the Democratic Party of the United States in the 20th century certainly evolved more rapidly than monarchist rule in Russia did in the 19th-20th century. And so did the GOP for that matter. Wilson has an extremely complicated legacy that merits its own separate discussion on here. FDR on the other hand attempted to purge many of those Southern Dixiecrats from his party, and the Democratic Party in general was going through a major transitional period during the middle-20th century. I'm not trying to make excuses just for the sake of doing so...there is plenty of blood on the hands of the Left. But suggesting the Democratic Party of the 1960s and beyond, starting with Kennedy/Johnson and up through Obama is the same as the one born out of Andrew Jackson and led by William Jennings Bryan (a man who fought Clarence Darrow on the topic of evolution in the 20s. A scientific theory that is now almost universally accepted by liberals much more so than conservatives) in the early-20th century is ludicrous!

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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.

Interesting but here's a question...When Jewish stores were targeted and destroyed during these pogroms is there any way to make the distinction between it being hatred of their religion only and not hatred of their race & culture (as if there's much difference in the first place)? Traditionally anger towards Jews takes on two or three aspects, often simultaneously. On one hand they aren't Christian, and furthermore they support a religion accused of contributing to suffering and death of the Christian messiah. On the other hand they are associated with wealth (as a material means) and radical liberalism (as a political means). People with traditional social values are naturally leery of those living next to them who are far more radical and progressive. And then those without money are resentful towards those who are well off and living in the same communities. A socialist Jewish merchant is a triple whammy when talking about Tsarist Russia or Nazi Germany. So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2016, 05:52:56 AM »
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Sorry to see our first good general history discussion in quite a while

Indeed, I miss those discussions.  There were a lot of them when I joined this board, six years ago (had it really been that long).  I enjoyed taking part in those discussions. 

However, those discussions seem to have, for the most part, stopped in recent years.  Of course, many of the people who started and encouraged said discussions are no longer here.

For the past few years, my activities here have mostly been confined to the Having Fun thread, but I wouldn't mind seeing history discussions start up again.


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So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?

Seems the pogroms were about "putting the Jews in their place".  The Holocaust, on the other hand, was about wiping them off the face of the Earth. 

IMO, Nicholas and Alexandra would have been horrified had they witness Hitler's atrocities.

Offline Lochlanach

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2016, 10:36:10 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.

Going back on my word (like George V ?)  but it is allowed .....
 I  did not directly compare N and A to the Ceausescu's , but merely used the Romanians as a good example of a fallen, autocratic couple who were shocked that the corrosive effects of their policies on  'the people' should provoke such an extreme response of revolt and execution.
 And I  have never claimed  to 'stick to facts ' , only that SOME of what I wrote was not just my own opinion but fact.


Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2016, 12:22:04 PM »
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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.

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Interesting but here's a question...When Jewish stores were targeted and destroyed during these pogroms is there any way to make the distinction between it being hatred of their religion only and not hatred of their race & culture (as if there's much difference in the first place)? Traditionally anger towards Jews takes on two or three aspects, often simultaneously. On one hand they aren't Christian, and furthermore they support a religion accused of contributing to suffering and death of the Christian messiah. On the other hand they are associated with wealth (as a material means) and radical liberalism (as a political means). People with traditional social values are naturally leery of those living next to them who are far more radical and progressive. And then those without money are resentful towards those who are well off and living in the same communities. A socialist Jewish merchant is a triple whammy when talking about Tsarist Russia or Nazi Germany. So again I ask, was there really a difference in how Jews were viewed in terms of the Russian Pograms and the German Holocaust?

You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.

I will use again the Southern states comparison. If two black men were lynched in a small town in Alabama in 1933, we can agree that it would be unfair to accuse FDR of complicity in that crime. We may or may not criticize FDR's reliance during the electoral campaign on men who, as governors of those Southern states, enforced segregation. But we cannot establish a direct link between 2 murders committed by a rabble in Alabama and the White House, we cannot suggest that somehow that was a state-sponsored crime. That would not be fair.

And let's get back to the laws of Imperial Russia. From the letter that Alexandra wrote to Nicholas in 1916 about the Jewish soldier who lost an arm that I have posted above, it's clear that the Empress thought that those laws were unfair. And eventually they would have done away with.

I will quote from a letter of Sandro (the tsar's brother-in law) to his brother Nikolai Mikhailovich (17.02.1914):

"In my conversation with A and N, I also touched on two subjects, which have been raised by Protopopov, the expropiation of landowners' land in favour of the peasants and equal rights for the Jews. It's typical that Alix did not voice any protest on these questions, while he objected to the first and then appeared confused about the second, replying that it was equality only in the sense of a widening of the Pale of Settlement; I protested as strongly as I could, saying that concessions or new rights for the Jews were unthinkable, that we could not afford to be merciful to a race which the Russian people hate even more now because of their negative attitude towards the war and outright treason; it was noticeable that Alix didn't protest, obviously such projects do exist."

Since the end of the Americal Civil War and the abolition of slavery till mid 1960s, it took a century (100 years, that's more than the average lifespan) to do away with segregation. I would not call that a fast process. And lot of people in the Southern states were against any change (just exactly as many people in Russia were against equal rights for the Jews) and resistance had to be overcome.

I am just asking to measure the tsarist government with the same standard.  
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 12:24:17 PM by NicolasG »

Offline Превед

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2016, 01:53:40 PM »
You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.  

Good points, but don't forget that the Tsarist government, like any repressive regime, such as also the Soviet Union, never spoke with one tongue or acted with both hands together: The secret police, as a state within the state, developed and acted out agendas that could be besides or even contrary to official government policy.  If you also count the Orthodox Church as a state organ, you have another state instution that in its teachings and messages to the people often was at odds with the official government line.

This can very well apply to pogroms.

BTW, just to prove that I'm not that anti-Tsarist, I don't see what all the great fuss about Jews not being able to live outside the Pale of Settlement was about. Rather it seems to me to imply that "the Jewish nation in the Pale of Settlement" was in a sort of personal union with the Russian Empire, just like the Empire was with regard to the Grand Duchy of Finland, where I'm sure not every Russian was allowed to settle freely.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 02:04:22 PM by Превед »
Березы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и березы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2016, 11:16:39 AM »
You have proved my point. You have done exactly what most historians do: mix up two completely different levels: 1. the tsarist government and the Law of Imperial Russia and 2. the mob. The tsarist government established discriminatory laws against Jews (quotes for university education, restrictions regarding where they could live, etc.) but it did NOT tolerate or promote pogroms. These discrimatory laws were based on religious considerations, not racist ones: as soon as a Jew became Christian, he would become free of all those restrictions.  

Good points, but don't forget that the Tsarist government, like any repressive regime, such as also the Soviet Union, never spoke with one tongue or acted with both hands together: The secret police, as a state within the state, developed and acted out agendas that could be besides or even contrary to official government policy.  If you also count the Orthodox Church as a state organ, you have another state instution that in its teachings and messages to the people often was at odds with the official government line.

This can very well apply to pogroms.


BTW, just to prove that I'm not that anti-Tsarist, I don't see what all the great fuss about Jews not being able to live outside the Pale of Settlement was about. Rather it seems to me to imply that "the Jewish nation in the Pale of Settlement" was in a sort of personal union with the Russian Empire, just like the Empire was with regard to the Grand Duchy of Finland, where I'm sure not every Russian was allowed to settle freely.

This thread has gone completely astray from the original topic...

Anyway, regarding the ROC and secret police (Okhrana) role in pogroms. Let's see two versions of a progrom that took place in Kishinev on 4 April 1903.

A - "Forty-five Jews were murdered, some six hundred injured, and more that thirteen hundred homes and shops looted and destroyed before ordered in troops to halt the carnage." (Bruce W. Lincoln, In was's dark shadow)

B - "Some fifty Jews were killed, many more injured, and a great deal of Jewish property looted and destroyed" (Richard Pipes, "The Russian Revolution)

A - "According to Count Sergei Witte, who played such a prominent role in Russian affairs between 1891 and 1906, "the immense pogrom in Kishinev was directly organized by Plehve (Minister of Interior)" (BWL)
Lincoln forgets to mention that Witte hated Plehve, and that it was Witte who falsely attributed Plehve the often-quoted words about "A small victorious war" regarding the Russo-Japanese war.

B - "Although no evidence has ever come to light that he (Plehve) had instigated the Kishinev progrom, his well known anti-Jewish sentiments, as well as his tolerance of anti-Semitic publications, encouraged the authorities of Bessarabia to believe that he would not object to a pogrom. Hence they did nothing to prevent one and nothing to stop it after it had broken out." (RP)

So, RP's argument seems to be that if a mob murders Jews in Kishinev and local authorities are slow to react, the Minister of Interior is somehow guilty because he harboured anti-Jewish sentiments. But disliking a person is not the same that wanting that person murdered.

A - "Michael Davitt, a native of Dalkey in Ireland and a correspondent for the Hearst newspapers in America, tried to separate fact from fiction when he visited Kishinev in May (...) A devout Catholic who hesitated to think ill of the lords of the Church, Davitt was appaled to learn from Jewish and Christian sources that the Bishop of Kishinev actually had blessed a crowd of pogromist as he passed them in the street, while not far away the mob was raping sixteen women and girls they had found cowering in the loft of a small house at 13 Aziatskii Alley (...)" (BWL)
" Father Ioann of Krondtadt, a priest renowned for his holiness and piety throughout Russia, announce that he had concluded that "the Jews themselves were the cause of those disorders, the wounds inflicted, and the murder committed", and that, despite the overwhelming contrary evidence, it was "the Christians who suffered in the end" (BWL, his source is a book that Davitt published in 1903)

B - Richard Pipes does not mention either the Bishop of Kishinev or father Ioann of Kronstadt regarding the Kishinev pogrom.

Lots of issues in BWL's version:

1. "The Hearst newspapers". That is, the yellow press. It was Hearst who created it. Before the start of the American-Spanish War in 1898, Hearst newspapers carried false stories about lascivious Spanish coast guards boarding passenger ships and undressing American ladies, with the pretext of looking for letters smuggled to the Cuban insurgents. Truth was never a priority for them.

2. "Michael Davitt, a native of Dalkey in Ireland...   A devout Catholic who hesitated to think ill of the lords of the Church". BWL is being disingenuous here. He knows that Davitt's evidence is shaky and tries to reinforce it.
As a Catholic in 1903, Davitt would never see a ROC bishop as a "lord of the Church". The Church for him was the (Roman) Catholic Church. ROC bishops were schismatics. And, as an Irishman, he would compare the situation of the Catholic Poles in the Russian Empire to that of the Catholic Irish in the British Empire. We shouldn't expect in him much sympathy for either the tsarist authorities or the ROC.

3. "He visited Kishinev in May". A month after the events.

4. "from Jewish and Christian sources". As I don't think very likely that Davitt learned either Russian or yiddish in Dalkey, Ireland, his "Jewish and Christian sources" was limited to one: his interpreter-fixer.

To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Offline Превед

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2016, 03:48:59 PM »
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.
Березы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и березы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2016, 06:03:15 AM »
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.

Bingo! Though I suppose NicholasG already drew a parallel to this as well in mentioning the yellow journalism that precipitated America's involvement in the Spanish American War. Was President William McKinley any less succeptible to the fabrications of a William Randolph Hearst and the war mongering of (then) Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt as Nicholas II was to the distortions or outright lies of a Plehve, or Pobedonostev, his Ministers, Secret Police, the Zemstvos, etc.?

Also, and in a last attempt to steer us back on topic, I'll repeat my question from above...

Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2016, 07:12:22 AM »
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Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

Might have been a little hard, considering  that Britain and Germany were still at war at that point.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2016, 08:09:27 AM »
To sum it up: antisemitism existed in the Russian Empire (as it existed afterwards in the Soviet Union and it exists today in Russia), mid-level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye to the activities of the Black Hundreds or even cooperated with them (as mid level or local authorities may have turned a blind eye or even cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan in the South) but any attempt to implicate the tsarist regime (the tsar, the tsaritsa, the Minister of Interior, the Director of the Okhrana) or the hierarchy of the ROC in the organization of or connivance with pogroms, that is, the murder, rape and robbery of subjects of the Russian Empire, is plain smear.

Are you suggesting that the Tsarist government didn't have enough control with lower authorities? That it was too ineffective to be fit to govern?
I would agree that despite its authoritarian nature, the Tsarist state's labyrinthine form was a huge challenge. The best proof is that NII did not realize that the Protocols of the Elders of Sion were written by his own secret police.

What I am saying is that, in a huge Empire as the tsarist one, neither the tsar nor the government in Sankt Peterburg can be held accountable for the behaviour of any official in a provincial backwater, and even less for the crimes of a mob. The British government at the time had more control about what happened in Birmingham that in county Kerry, Ireland or Kerala, India and we cannot infer that it was not fit to govern. For some reason (ideological, I will dare say) most historians seem to think that if the tsar had handed the government to the liberal members of the Duma (Miliukov, Guchkov), revolution could have been averted and Russia been spared the suffering that it experienced under the bolshevists. But they (Miliukov, Guchkov) presided, as ministers in the Provisional government, over the total collapse of both Russian economy and war effort and showed themselves incapable of withstanding the pressure of the revolutionaries even a few months.

Regarding the Protocols, it is asummed, as a self-evident fact, that the Okhrana, the tsarist secret police, was responsible of this forgery. But it could have been produced by anyone. The only "evidence" connecting the Okhrana to the Protocols is a statement by the Countess of Radziwill and she doesn't seem either a reliable source or a person anyone would entrust a secret.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 08:23:28 AM by NicolasG »

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2016, 08:21:59 AM »
Quote
Perhaps I need a refresher. But to what extent - if any - did George V and Lloyd George attempt to correspond with German officials regarding the possible rescue of the imperial family? Naturally this would have been difficult to keep private but since the Germans clearly had the ear of the Bolsheviks could they not also have been used as an intermediary for the British offering asylum to the deposed royals? Seems to me that if King George had chosen to take an extraordinary measures in rescuing his royal relatives that somehow someway a solid line of communication (Britain-Germany-Russia) could have been established, even as late as spring-1918.

Might have been a little hard, considering  that Britain and Germany were still at war at that point.

Exactly, and agreement between Germany and Britain would have been impossible. The British government had two options to save the Imperial family:

1. Make themselves a determined effort, pressure the Provisional Government and do not pay attention to the puny opposition in Britain.

2. Encourage neutral countries (Spain, Norway, Sweden) to take the leading role, with their assistance. Spain seemed a good option: the King Alfonso XIII had expressed for the first moment his intention to help and had always kept a strict neutrality in the war (he had an Austrian mother and a British wife).

Unfortunately, the British government did neither.

Offline Horock

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2016, 05:49:18 AM »
The fate of the deposed Tsar and his family was not really anything do with the British government. The people involved were not British Nationals. 
About the only thing that Britain and Russia had in common was their opposition to Germany and its allies and as the Provisional Government of Russia had decided to continue the war with Germany what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2016, 07:39:17 AM »
It was totally impossible for the British and German Governments to negotiate at that time. With the recent resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, anti-German feeling in Britain was running extremely high. Without an agreement for safe passage with Germany through the Baltic, the only feasible route out of Russia would be either by sea from Murmansk, or through Finland and Sweden to Norway. Even the, the sea voyages would be chancy (look what happened to Lord Kitchener en route to Murmansk!

Oh, I forgot the possibility of going eastwards via the Trans-Siberian railway, or south to Persia and then India. Both very chancy, given the Provisional Government's shaky control of the country.

Ann

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2016, 01:56:43 PM »
what would the British Government have gained by trying to take the Tsar and his family out of Russia?

Some intangible things, as honour and dignity, earned behaving like a gentleman rescuing a former ally instead of behaving like a scoundrel abandoning him to his fate.

In 1915 Nicholas II could have signed a separate peace with the Germans. In fact the Germans contacted the Russians with a proposal in May 1915.

"Milan, May 29 (1915) - Via Paris - Sergius Sazonoff, Russian foreign minister, interviewed by a correspondent of the Socola, is quoted as saying it was true Austria and Germany attempted to conclude a separate peace with Russia, but that such a thing was impossible.
"All the allies are entirely in accord," M. Sazonoff continued. "Consequently the war will continue until it is possible to conclude a really lasting peace. It will be a long, hard war, as the enemy is still strong."

With Russia out of the war in 1915 and the British without the new, Kitchener's army, without tanks and above all, without the Americans, it's easy to predict the result: Germany would have simply smashed France and won the war. Nicholas II kept his word and did his part of the deal. France and Britain didn't.
 

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2016, 02:05:48 PM »
It was totally impossible for the British and German Governments to negotiate at that time. With the recent resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, anti-German feeling in Britain was running extremely high. Without an agreement for safe passage with Germany through the Baltic, the only feasible route out of Russia would be either by sea from Murmansk, or through Finland and Sweden to Norway. Even the, the sea voyages would be chancy (look what happened to Lord Kitchener en route to Murmansk!

There was an agreement. From Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra:

"(We) enquired of Sir George Buchanan [British ambassador] as to when a cruiser could be sent to take on board the deposed ruler and his family," said Kerensky. "Simultaneously, a promise was obtained from the German government through the medium of the Danish minister, Skavenius, that German submarines would not attack the particular warships which carried the Royal exiles. Sir George Buchananan and ourselves were impatiently awaiting a reply from London. I do not remember whether it was late in June or early in July (1917) when the British ambassador called, greatly distressed... With tears in his eyes, scarcely able to control his emotions, Sir George informed... (us) of the British government's final refusal to give refuge to the former Emperor of Russia. I cannot quote the exact text of the letter... But I can say definitely that this refusal was due exclusively to considerations of internal British politics."