Author Topic: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?  (Read 33876 times)

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Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2016, 07:27:22 AM »
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It should be also pointed out Kerensky in 1917 was still looking for evidence to discredit the IF that they were selling out Russia to the Germans. He never found any.

Because there was nothing to find.  The IF was loyal to Russia all the way. 
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2016, 12:54:54 PM »
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It should be also pointed out Kerensky in 1917 was still looking for evidence to discredit the IF that they were selling out Russia to the Germans. He never found any.

Because there was nothing to find.  The IF was loyal to Russia all the way. 

Yes but ones enemies can always find a way to spin the narrative and make something either harmless or entirely unrelated an example of ones disloyalty and/or incompetence. They had the symbol of Rasputin and prominent members of the imperial with German blood...what more does a good salesperson need?
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2016, 05:55:42 PM »

If Alfonso XIII wanted to get the IF out of Russia one wonders why he didn't send a message to the Provisional government saying he would take them?


1. First, Alfonso XIII thought that they had been offered asylum in Britain.

2. When he discovered that was not the case (rather, that George V had gone back on his word) he did, but it was to late because the Imperial Family had already been sent to Siberia.

The sequence of events (I'm following Carlos Seco Serrano's book Alfonso XIII:

1. The British Ambassador in Madrid,Hardinge, told the Spanish king that George V had offered asylum to the Imperial Family. That must have been at the end of March 1917 (after March 20).

2. Alfonso XIII received the new ambassador of the Provisional Government, Neklyudov, when he arrived in Madrid at the end of May 1917: "In your speech you have kindly mentioned my help to the Russian prisoner of wars. Now let me express my deep interest in other prisioners. I mean the Tsar Nicholas and his family. I beg you forward your government my request that they be freed". My guess is that at that time neither the Russian ambassador nor Alfonso XIII (100% certain regarding the king) knew that the Imperial Family had been refused asylum in Britain. If the Russian ambassador did, he did not tell the king.

3. The Imperial Family was sent to Siberia (31 July 1917).

4. Alfonso XIII tried again to make the British do something. "Again Spain tried to "move" London to act regarding the august prisoners, proposing again the joint mediation of George V and Don Alfonso. Merry del Val, our ambassador, informed crudely to the Spanish Court that, while the British Royal Family was certainly worried for the Empress Dagmar (Marie), about whose fate nothing was known, on the other hand expressed their indifference towards Nicholas II's wife, Alix of Hesse. "The opinion about the latter (Alix) is very negative, in the palace as well as in the public opinion as a whole. She is seen as a conscious or unconcious German agent and as the main responsible for the revolution, for the bad advice she provided his husband, whom she completely controlled, avoiding that he granted the concessions that would have saved the throne... I have to add that this strong resentment against the Empress Alice exclude any possibility of her residing in the United Kingdom."

6. Bolshevik coup (7 November 1917). Kerensky goes into hiding.

7. Alfonso XIII asked the Norwegian and Swedish governments to try to get the release of the Imperial family from the Soviets, whereas he would send a ship of the Spanish Navy to any harbour of their countries to collect the the tsar and his family and bring them to Spain.

8. Brest-Litovsk treaty between the bolshevists and Germany (march 1918).

9. Nicholas II and his family are murdered in Ekaterinburg (17 July 1918)

7. Gomez Contreras, Spanish commercial attaché in Petrogado (the last Spanish diplomat to remain in the Soviet Union) received on 22 August 1918 orders to talk with the Soviets about the release of the Imperial Family (the orders had been cursed in July, but did not reach him till that date). Gomez Contreras went with the Dutch ambassador to Moscow, where they had two meetings with Chicherin, the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs. Chicherin said that the Empress and the children were alive.

8. In November 1918 Gomez Contreras had to run away, crossing the Finnish border. He was murdered by the Communists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.


That is more or less the reconstruction I have made from 2 articles and a biography of Alfonso XIII I am reading. I'm afraid that is not 100% accurate regarding the dates, but I think that it shows that Alfonso XIII did everything that he could have done to save the Imperial Family, something that cannot be said about George V or Wilhem II.

Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2016, 08:13:38 PM »
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Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   

I find this very odd. My copy of 'The File on the Tsar', 1976, by Anthony Summers & Tom Mangold, does not appear to refer to Alfonso at all. His name does not appear in the Index, and the five chapters in the Section entitled Five: Cousins, and devoted to various possible rescue attempts of the Imperial Family, make no mention of King Alfonso, or Spain.

Those chapter headings are as follows:
19. King George Slams the Door.
20. The Jonas Lied Affair.
21. The Yakovlev Mission.
22. The German Connection.
23. Moscow Barters with Berlin.

The book was published in 1976, well before the true fate of the IF was known, and there is a great deal of speculation about what actually happened, some very accurate, some not. However there is a lot of original research here, and the story as related is still relevant today.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2016, 06:31:39 AM »
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Carlos Seco Serrano in his biography quotes from a book by Summer and Mangold "The file on the Tsar": "The most faithful and unfatigable friend that the Romanovs had during the despairing months of their captivity was the Spanish King Alfonso XIII".   

I find this very odd. My copy of 'The File on the Tsar', 1976, by Anthony Summers & Tom Mangold, does not appear to refer to Alfonso at all. His name does not appear in the Index, and the five chapters in the Section entitled Five: Cousins, and devoted to various possible rescue attempts of the Imperial Family, make no mention of King Alfonso, or Spain.


Maybe you should allow for the existence of different editions. The Spanish version of Summers and Mangold's book, published in 1978 with the title El Expediente sobre el Zar (Plaza y Janés) has an extra chapter about King Alfonso XIII and the Russian Imperial Family.

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2016, 06:54:43 PM »
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Maybe you should allow for the existence of different editions. The Spanish version of Summers and Mangold's book, published in 1978 with the title El Expediente sobre el Zar (Plaza y Janés) has an extra chapter about King Alfonso XIII and the Russian Imperial Family.

Thank you NicholasG, that is interesting. I have a paperback English version of 'The File on the Tsar' and there must have been a later edition translated into Spanish. There may have been later English editions as well, of course, which included a chapter on King Alfonso's efforts to rescue the IF.  Does anyone know?

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2016, 05:42:09 PM »
Alexandra in 1917-18 was one really hated/despised/distrusted woman many people thought she was pro-German or was selling out Russia to the Germans or is blamed for the revolution and also gets accused of having an affair with Rasputin. in reality none of this is true, but this is what everyone believed back then. Nicholas was the man who ran the government on a day to day basis. Alexandra had little to do with this.

The book "The Russian Revolution" R Pipes points out that it later became British policy not to allow any member of the Russian imperial family except the DE Maria Fed on their soil while the war was on. It also points out GD Michael A was refused permission to go to England.

As for the Kishinev pogrom the Book "Easter in Kishinev" which deals with incident points while some Russian officials ect were anti-Semtic others weren't and incompetence had as much to do with the Pogrom as Anti-semtism. To which one might add a murder that was reported as a Jewish ritual murder which the government said it wasn't but the public didn't believe them and the fact that this area and the rest of the Russian empire was one big economic, social, political ect mess on the verge of a explosion.

The book Pogrom: Anti-Jewish violence in Modern Russian History also deals with Pogroms and their causes.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2016, 06:00:10 PM »
I must add the book "Easter In Kishinev" has on the Bishop of Kishinev blessing the Pogromists. This happened early in the Pogrom and the book points out he and many other officials didn't realize what was going on.

One must point out while many Russian disliked or hated Jews they hated pogroms even worse. Many officials ect. often did about everything in their power to stop them. Officials did get fired as in Kishinev if they didn't take action. Sometimes it took a "nastygram" from St Petersburg to get them to take action.


Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2016, 06:54:14 PM »
I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins. The problem is now how to get them out of the country. if they want to get to Murmansk they can only get there by train and the moment the Petrograd Soviet hears the IF has escaped they will all trains stopped and searched. Hiding eight people  is going to be impossible and there is no way to disguise them. As for going by vehicle there are other problems: first is the Petrograd Soviet that will set up road blocks and check all travelers. Second the only country they can get to is Sweden which during WW I is pro-German. The IF might be nervous about going there. Third any long distance vehicle trip is going to be very difficult if not impossible. The roads are all dirt outside the cities which turn to mud during the thaw. So the vehicles better have 4 wheel drive and somebody better bring ropes and chains to pull them out because they are going to get stuck. Also note there are few gas stations around back then anywhere in the world. so someone either has to take lots of spare fuel or have supplies of fuel cached along the way. Then when if they somehow managed to get to the Russian-Swedish border there are no bridges across the river except one foot bridge. There are also lots of alert guards. A British General back then said a torpedo boat could take the IF to safety. Problem one the Baltic ice didn't melt until June in 1917. Add to this where are you going to find a torpedo boat and a reliable crew. Also when the alert is given the Petrograd Soviet will send every ship and plane they can get their hands on after IF which has a long way to go down the Gulf of Finnland then across the Baltic to Sweden which is pro-German. One would also like to add there are more than a few minefields in these waters along with more than a few drifting mines. So you can see an escape from TS may be impossible to pull off and if caught by the Petrograd Soviet the whole IF are going to find themselves in jail.
 Another problem for the escape may be the IF may not want to go. They are thinking based on letters that they are either going to be going into exile to England or may be sent to live with the rest of their relatives in the Crimea. somehow I don't think these people are going to grab a couple of bags on short notice and hop into a car and run for it at this time. Finally anyone planning an escape doesn't have that much time to plan one since Kerensky tells the IF on 11/24 July 1917 they are to be evacuated.

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2016, 07:11:53 PM »
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I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins.

They would be more likely to succeed if they could find a local safe house and wait for the White Army to retake Ekaterinberg. In the event, that happened just days after the massacre and if they had timed it right it was a real possibility. But that is in hindsight, of course.

OOps, I see you are talking about their possible escape from Tsarskoe-Selo. But that is on the understanding that they were desperate to escape at that period. I don't think desperation would have set in until much later.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 07:25:30 PM by DNAgenie »

Offline Ally Kumari

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #55 on: May 11, 2016, 09:41:19 AM »
I never knew this, but apparently Victoria of Milford-Haven offered to take care of the three younger Grand Duchesses, if not all the children/whole family.

When the Tsarina’s sister Victoria–the Marchioness of Milford Haven–heard that the Tsar had left for Ekaterinburg, she wrote a letter to Arthur Balfour, then Foreign Secretary, asking if it would be possible for at least three of the Tsar’s children to be brought to England and placed in her custody. ‘I quite realize that the boy is a political asset which no party in Russia would allow to be taken out of its hands, but the girls (except perhaps the eldest) can be of no value or importance,’ she said. ‘I and my husband would willingly keep them here in quiet obscurity.’ She received a reply that the difficulties in the way of such a proposal were ‘almost insuperable.’


From Princess Marina, Her Life and Times, by Stella King.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2016, 10:29:51 AM »
James's points make perfect sense.

I would add that motor vehicles at that time were far from reliable, and frequently broke down unless thoroughly maintained, particularly when faced with poor road services and bad weather (as you would get in Russia in the spring thaw).

Another major problem is that the family were not prepared to be split up. If they were, then two of the girls might have a reasonable chance if they wore their nurses' uniforms and set off with Dr Botkin. Nicholas, Alexandra and Alexei were all only too recognisable; Alexandra wasn't very mobile, and throughout the Ekaterinburg period Alexei was unable to walk. Of course, in that scenario, the rest of the family would have to conceal the departure of three of their number for as long as possible.

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2016, 04:47:31 PM »
I have read when the IF left Tsarskoe selo for the last time the children were asked if they wanted to go to live with their grandmother in the Crimea or stay at TS. They decided to stay with their parents. At Tobolsk Nicholas got a message to some loyalists that he did not the family to split up during an escape.

One problem with the IF and any sort of escape. Their pictures were printed everywhere pre-1917 and many people had seen them in real life. So trying to disguise them probably is just not going to work.

Serge Witte's besides hating Plehve also had an ax to grind against Nicholas. This does show in his memoirs.

Gukchov had a meeting with Nicholas that didn't go down all that well and from what I have read about him he was not a very likeable man. Hence his efforts to smear Rasputin and Alexandra.

Comparing the Ceausescus to Nicholas and Alexandra is insulting to Nicholas and Alexandra. the Ceausescus tried to turn Rumania into a eastern European version of North Korea. I believe they required typewriters to be registered! I don't think Nicholas and Alexandra would even think of doing this to Russia and would probably have been shocked by a country run like North Korea.

I have some notes from the book "The Netherlands and WW I" The Dutch Envoy to Russia W.J. Oudendojk did ask the Soviets about AOTMA on 1 September 1918 and was told they were okay. He did manage to get the cheka to release a number of British and French people jailed by them and was decorated by the British government for this.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2016, 02:26:10 AM »
Bear in mind that in the Tsarskoye-Selo period, the girls and Alexei had just had their heads shaved.

It didn't make a huge difference to Alexei's appearance, since he had short hair anyway, but it did to the girls'. Russian nurses' uniforms had nun-like headdresses, which could work quite well as a disguise, and the story could be that the girls had had their heads shaved while nursing typhus patients.

But, of course, it never happened.

Ann

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2016, 08:47:25 AM »
I am going to discuss the escape from TS by the IF and why it may have been impossible even with help from the Provisional government and the Allies:

One night NAOTMAA and Dr Botkin slip out of the Palace into a couple of waiting vehicles and their escape begins. The problem is now how to get them out of the country. if they want to get to Murmansk they can only get there by train and the moment the Petrograd Soviet hears the IF has escaped they will all trains stopped and searched.

I think that you are oversetimating both the efficiency and the "loyalty" of the revolutionaries controlled by the Petrograd soviet. Russia after the February revolution was not Stalin's Soviet Union, it did not have an all-embracing repressive machinery. With the Provisional government agreement and before the Imperial family were sent to Siberia a man with 20,000 gold roubles could have taken them out of the country by train, boat, car or sledge.