Author Topic: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?  (Read 33870 times)

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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2016, 03:45:56 PM »
One problem in bribing people to get the IF out. Yes it could be possible but many of the Petrograd Soviet and other revolutionaries were so fanatical that bribing them wouldn't work. You also have to remember these people are paranoid that if Nicholas and family get out of the country they are going to try and make a comeback and the revolutionaries are going to end up being shot, hung or jailed.

Pre WW I if you owned a motor vehicle you press much had to be a mechanic as well.

for more information on Russian roads go to archive.org:
DA 20-242 German Armored Traffic Control During the Russian Campaign
DA 20-290 Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign

Lets just say Russian roads leave a lot to be desired.

As Ann pointed out in a above post Alexandra can barely walk on most days. So Nicholas or someone else will have to carry her everywhere. She can ride in a vehicle as in her final trip.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2016, 02:10:58 PM »
One of the events that influenced a number of Russians during the 1917 period was the French revolution. Many of the Petrograd Soviet and others including possibly Kerensky were thinking if the IF the IF tried to get away they would have a situation like Louis XVI and family and their flight to Varennes who instead of getting caught get away and come back at the head of an army.

Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #62 on: May 18, 2016, 07:26:40 PM »
And like the French Revolution, Russia would have a Robespierre. 

Lenin, come on down!
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Offline Tatyana

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #63 on: May 18, 2016, 07:34:52 PM »
I have heard it said that between March and August 1917, it would have been impossible to transport the Imperial family by train to Murmansk or Archangel because the revolutionaries controlled some or all of the rail lines.
Is this true?

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #64 on: May 19, 2016, 02:02:11 PM »
Yes the Petrograd Soviet controlled the railroads in Russia at this time. One also must point out that wartime inflation and shortages radicalized the railroad workers. Another event the influenced the Russian revolutionaries of 1917 was the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1817 by the French army.  I would say that there were many revolutionaries including Kerensky who were worried that something like this might happen to them.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2016, 11:57:10 PM »
Mage 60

We should also bear in mind that anyone who accepts a bribe is inherently untrustworthy. All too often someone takes a bribe and then goes to his masters. A trap is then laid.

Ann

Offline TimM

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #66 on: May 20, 2016, 07:08:44 AM »
As Admiral Ackbar said:  It's a trap!
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Offline mcdnab

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #67 on: May 20, 2016, 09:47:50 AM »
I have responded to this kind of discussion before so apologies for any repetition.
It is useful to remember that Nicholas II and his wife made little real effort themselves to leave Russia and showed little desire to do so - worse, in my opinion, is that they refused offers to take the children out of the country via Finland in the granted brief window it might have been possible. We know that Nicholas II was warned not to return to the capital after his abdication and to travel abroad immediately for example.
It is also worth noting that the reality was that the Provisional Government also did very little to aid in the family leaving Russia or to make efforts to find a solution of what to do with the former Emperor.

The British offer of asylum was made by the UK Government of Lloyd George AT THE REQUEST of the Provisional Government. Lloyd George believed that he was acting in the best interests of the allies. It is important to note that the British Government was not acting out of loyalty to a former ally (the Emperor) but trying to appease and help the Russian provisional government.
Most allied governments welcomed the Czar's abdication - his poor credentials to the "liberal" governments of Western Europe as a "despot" had been compounded as he failed to control his rapidly collapsing government. Ironically the Republican French press was kinder to him after his fall than the British.
Britain was fiercely anti Russian throughout the 19th Century - despite the personal family ties between the two royal families - British politicians had a notoriously anti russian streak - mainly because Russia was seen as a threat to British interests in the Eastern Med and to her Indian Empire and many welcomed the collapse of the Russian Empire because it removed a stumbling block to Britain's imperial interests. That made the offer of sanctuary politically even more sensitive.

Also whilst George's personal relationship with his Russian cousins was good even he however was less tolerant of the Empress recording in his diary that she had been "very foolish".

In 1917 George V was facing a press and left wing politicians that widely welcomed his cousin's abdication - the Labour Party and the trade unions were celebrating the fall of "bloody Nicholas" and his "german Empress" and were protesting at any offer of asylum - in fact the Coalition Government had to deny that any offer had been made in Parliament.  The timing was appalling for George on a personal level - he and his government were aware that events in Russia had given hope to numerous groups in the UK who wanted to see more radical change in British political and social life. Because the British Throne is always seen as relatively safe we tend to assume that George might have worried unnecessarily about the threat to his own position of being too closely linked to his cousin but he had to do so and to not do so would have been a dereliction of his Coronation Oath.

Kerensky's own comments on the offer made in exile have always had the air of a man equally keen to absolve himself of any guilt for their ultimate fate preferring instead to blame Lloyd George.

The key for me is that the Provisional Government failed to act to facilitate the family leaving Russia before the British offer began to wither on the vine and was withdrawn. If Kerensky was so desperate to save them then why not request asylum from Sweden or Denmark - both neutral - and much easier to get to during war conditions. If he'd been that desperate he could have sent them to Finland where they could have easily crossed into Sweden.

Here's the communication between official channels:
18 March 1917 Asylum for Imperial Family in enquiry to British Government from the Russian Foreign Minister
21 March 1917 Kings telegram offering asylum
22 March 1917 War cabinet approval of offer is confirmed
23 March 1917  Telegram concerning the provisional invitation to the Tsar to come to England
24 March 1917  Telegram concerning request to Russian government to give Tsar safe conduct for departure to England
26th March 1917 Foreign Office learnt that  King's telegram not delivered to Tsar through fear of misinterpretation
28th March 1917 Thanks conveyed from Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs at being asked to cancel King's telegram

Letters from the King's private secretary expressing concern at the invitation begin at the end of March by the 17th April he was expressing a strong view the invitation to the Czar not be taken up, by the 22nd of April there is relief from the King that the matter has been dropped.
Lets also remember that the Provisional Government were under pressure to keep Nicholas in Russia as Maurice Paleologue noted in his diary..
Saturday, March 24, 1917.
The Soviet has heard that the King of England is offering the Emperor and Empress the hospitality of British territory. At the bidding of the "Maximalists" the Provisional Government has had to pledge its word to keep the fallen sovereigns in Russia. The Soviet has gone further and appointed a commissary to "supervise the detention of the imperial family."
The Soviet had also criticised the government for not detaining the Dowager Empress and others.

The Czar's family went to the Urals in August 1917 on Kerensky's orders to try and ensure their safety (or so he always maintained) - of course in April and May 1918 they were moved to Ekaterinburg where they were killed in the July.  

George V was a constitutional or more correctly a parliamentary monarch (something incidentally derided by both his autocratic cousins Nicholas II and William II).  He decided in 1917 without the benefit of hindsight to stick to his own coronation oath and put the safety of his own country and own throne before personal and family considerations.  Its that decision that lead him in the same year to reject his german names and titles and also more reluctantly to sign the Titles Deprivation Act which he personally wasn't that happy about and the effect it had on other cousins who before the war he had a warm relationship with.

I don't really think people fully appreciate what a disaster for George V intervening to bring his cousin to England might have been. The last state visit by a British Monarch to Russia was Edward VII's in 1908 when he hosted the Imperial Family on the royal yacht. Ramsey MacDonald, labour leader at the time and a future PM, called the Tsar a common murder and accussed the King of hobnobbing with a blood stained killer. That view was common not just on the left but in the Liberal Party as well. George V had pretty good instincts when he got cold feet about the offer.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #68 on: May 20, 2016, 05:11:43 PM »

In 1917 George V was facing a press and left wing politicians that widely welcomed his cousin's abdication - the Labour Party and the trade unions were celebrating the fall of "bloody Nicholas" and his "german Empress" and were protesting at any offer of asylum - in fact the Coalition Government had to deny that any offer had been made in Parliament.  The timing was appalling for George on a personal level - he and his government were aware that events in Russia had given hope to numerous groups in the UK who wanted to see more radical change in British political and social life. Because the British Throne is always seen as relatively safe we tend to assume that George might have worried unnecessarily about the threat to his own position of being too closely linked to his cousin but he had to do so and to not do so would have been a dereliction of his Coronation Oath.


I don't really think people fully appreciate what a disaster for George V intervening to bring his cousin to England might have been. The last state visit by a British Monarch to Russia was Edward VII's in 1908 when he hosted the Imperial Family on the royal yacht. Ramsey MacDonald, labour leader at the time and a future PM, called the Tsar a common murder and accussed the King of hobnobbing with a blood stained killer. That view was common not just on the left but in the Liberal Party as well. George V had pretty good instincts when he got cold feet about the offer.


Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

Britain:

Lord Stamfordham (George V's private secretary) to A.J. Balfour (Foreign Secretary), 24 March 1917

"Every day the King is becoming more concerned about the question of the Emperor and the Empress of Russia coming to this country.
His Majesty receives letters from people in all classes of life, known or unknown to him, saying how much the matter is being discussed, not only in Clubs but by working men, and that Labour Members in the House of Commons are expressing adverse opinions to the proposal."

Same day

"I would particularly call to attention to an article in last Thursday's Justice by Hyndman who condemns the invitation, and implies that it has come from Their Majesties. And Hyndman is the person that Mr Henderson told the King he wished to send to Russia as one of the representatives of our Socialist in this country!"
 
The idea that the authors of the handful of angry letters that George V got, members of London clubs, the Labour MPs (MacDonald, Henderson,Hyndman), readers of Justice and probably nuts form the Speakers' Corner would have stormed Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament if the Russian Imperial Family had been offered asylum in Britain is ridiculous. Now, with the benefit of hindsight and in 1917, without it.

Spain

1. King Alfonso XIII survived 5 assesination attempts (real attempts with bullets being shot, bombs going off and people being killed around). In 1913 he survived by charging on his horse against the would-be assasin. His horse was wounded in the neck by a bullet.

2. The Spanish Prime Minister, Josť Canalejas, was murdered by an anarchist in November 1912. (Another Prime Minister, Eduardo Dato, would be murdered in 1921, during a terrorist campaign worse than anything that the IRA has launched against Britain).

3. In July 1909 revolutionary violence spread across Barcelona, then the biggest city in Spain, during what was known as the "tragic week". Barricades were raised, churches and convents were burned, more than 160 people died.

4. And finally, to top it all, a General Revolutionary Strike in August 1917, planned from the previous year.

And it was Alfonso XIII, who had to battle real revolutionary violence, not angry letters, who made a real effort to save Nicholas II and his family. Maybe because he thought more about the fate of a innocent, helpless family than about his role as a constitutional monarch, etc., etc. I admire him the more for that.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 05:13:16 PM by NicolasG »

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2016, 06:50:02 PM »
Quote
Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

You might also mention that Britain was fighting for its existence in a World War, while Spain remained comfortably neutral. Britain was a constitutional monarchy, and it remains so to this day, largely because George V actually listened to what the people were saying. Spain was a centralized monarchy under Alfonso, and he apparently did not listen to what his people were saying as he was forced to abdicate in 1931, when Spain became a republic.

George V put the needs of his country before personal considerations, so his family still retains their position and the respect of the people. Alfonso put personal and family considerations first, and lost out. Noble but stupid.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #70 on: May 21, 2016, 05:00:24 AM »
Quote
Everything needs perspective. I have compared the George V's behaviour with Alfonso XIII's. Now I am going to compare the situation in Britain and Spain in 1917.

You might also mention that Britain was fighting for its existence in a World War, while Spain remained comfortably neutral. Britain was a constitutional monarchy, and it remains so to this day, largely because George V actually listened to what the people were saying. Spain was a centralized monarchy under Alfonso, and he apparently did not listen to what his people were saying as he was forced to abdicate in 1931, when Spain became a republic.

George V put the needs of his country before personal considerations, so his family still retains their position and the respect of the people. Alfonso put personal and family considerations first, and lost out. Noble but stupid.

Not so "comfortably". With Spanish merchant ships frequently sunk by German submarines, the King Alfonso XIII offered to send a ship of the Spanish Navy to collect the Imperial Family from any northern port. If the ship had been sunk, either by the mistake of a submarine commander or by a mine carried by the current, Spain might have been dragged into WWI. And taking part in WWI would have been much more dangerous for Spain than for Britain (which was not fighting for its existence, Wilhem II was not Hitler), as a less stable country. The little colonial war in Marocco had already shaken the country in 1909.

And, according to historian Carlos Seco Serrano, the "opposition" (Republicans, socialists and anarchists) planned "to do a Petrograd" in 1917: overthrowing the monarchy with a revolutionary general strike and joining WWI on the side of the Entente in exchange for international recognition. They tried, but fortunately they failed. So the risk was huge.

If George V took a wise, sensible, honourable decision, based on the best interest of the British people, why did Lloyd George have to take the blame and shield him? Why was Sir George Buchanan (British ambassador in Petrograd) muzzled and had to hide the truth in his memoirs to keep his pension?

"Nevertheless, it came as something of a shock when at the end of March (OS) Britain informed the Provisional Government that she was withdrawing her invitation to the ex-Tsar. It was believed then and for a long time afterward that it was Prime Minister Lloyd George who had dissuaded George V from following his generous impulses. Lloyd George himself liked to perpetuate this impression. But it has since become known that he did so to protect the King, who had vetoed the earlier decision for fear that it would embarrass the Crown and irritate Labor MPs, who were "expressing adverse opinions to the proposal." The King's role in this dishonorable action was kept in strict secrecy: instructions went out "to keep an eye on anything that may be put into the War Cabinet minutes likely to hurt the King's feelings."

Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 1990, p. 336.

Offline NicolasG

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #71 on: May 21, 2016, 05:05:29 AM »
"By 16 April, such was the King's heightened state of anxiety that Stamfordham was obliged to send a second letter to Balfour, categorically stating that the arrival of Nicholas and Alexandra in Britain "would be strongly resented by the public and would undoubtedly compromise the position of the King and Queen". Lloyd George was obliged to concede. His sympathies as a Liberal on the left of the party had all along been with the Revolution but nevertheless he would have supported the offer of asylum to the Romanovs had the King insisted. Yet for years afterwards both Lloyd George and Ambassador Buchanan would be vilified for their supposed failure to effect the Romanov family's rescue. Buchanan was made to fall on his sword on his memoirs and cover-up the truth of the British government's failure to act, on pain of losing his pension. Bound by the Official Secrets Act, he could not reveal the truth of diplomatic moves at the time but had to go along with the official line that a handful of left-wing extremists in government, including Prime Minister Lloyd George, had pressurised the King into relenting (...)
Official records, however, do not back up the accusations that Lloyd George was directly instrumental in preventing the Romanov from coming to England. Indeeed, he too came under pressure when writing his War Memoirs in 1934 to cover up the King's ignominious abandonment of the Tsar, by scrapping an entire chapter on the discussion over the asylum offer, substituting a brief comment to the effect that it was the provisional government that had scuppered the Romanovs' chances of leaving Russia by placing obstacles in the way of effecting this."

Helen Rappaport, Ekaterinburg, 2008, pp. 151-152 

But I agree that Alfonso XIII and George V were completely different kings.

Alfonso XIII embodied the finest tradition of monarchy and was above all a gentleman.

George V was a king for the "age of Hooper".

Offline Royal Bloodline Descent

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #72 on: May 21, 2016, 12:57:50 PM »
Hello,


Nicholas

I have read your information provided also noted the bloodline connection  to George V who was a cousin to Czar Nicholas 11 as you well know.  If you may be interested to see what other king who was a cousin to the Nicholas 11 and a problem for the Czar sharing the same ancestor  bloodline then is still been shared today by a few present day royals.

Royal Bloodline Descent           on Face book



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 Richard P

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #73 on: June 01, 2016, 09:21:21 AM »
I think by the time Alfonso the XIII became involved in rescuing the Tsar and his family it was unfortunately too late. It is true that he was facing revolutionary conditions in Spain but if we judge the social conditions most of the people were living under they were pretty desperate. At the time Spain was a relatively poor country and I am not sure what Alfonso did to improve the situation.

One of the best chances arose with Vasily Yakolev who I believe would have taken the family to freedom in the belief that there was enough money to be gained by him for all his revolutionary credentials. He decided that he could not escape with them nor even follow his nominal orders to take the family to Moscow because of the forces raised against him. I am not sure how far at the time he was to the nearest white forces.

At the time of the UK's offer of refuge there were a number of hurdles if the Provisional Government had wanted to quickly move the Tsar. Were the family willing to leave? The Provisional Government were not like I understand a Government i.e. in control. The Soviet controlled much of the real power, after order no 1 the military was not reliable, and transport was under the control of the Soviets. This would have made the journey extremely difficult.

All I have read of Kerensky is that apart from being vain and addicted to stimulants was that he was a social democrat with an aversion to the death penalty, so I do not think he wished the family harm. He could have done more to save them but from his perspective it would have weakened his Government against the soviet.

King George's actions were those of someone who wanted to save his throne in the middle of a most destructive war that had let loose forces of social upheval on an unprecedented scale.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Attempts of European royal families to save the Imperial family?
« Reply #74 on: June 03, 2016, 02:28:14 PM »
Yakovlev arrived at Tobolsk on 22 April 1918. He was a close friend of Sverdlov and was reguarded as a reliable Bolshevik which is why he was given this job. His movements of the NAM group and the attempted detour to Omsk where all done on orders from Moscow. The Czech legion revolt which started the Civil war in Siberia didn't really get going until right after OTAA arrived in Ekaterinberg. So there was no where for him to take the IF even if he wanted to do so and at this time he was still a loyal Bolshevik.