Author Topic: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times  (Read 7169 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« on: April 19, 2007, 06:44:46 PM »



   First, I wasn't sure what board to post this on since it concerns material that could go on a number of different boards.I think this is the best place though. And for this reason I ask the Mod to be tolerant of off topics because I may go in numerous directions.

After years of Romanov reading  I'm going back to some early sources, in this case the NYTimes of July-Aug. 1918. M y library has the Times on microfilm back to forever and I dove right in.
 
I hit the Motherlode but the motherlode of what I'm not sure. The world was sure different as viewed from New York 1918.The news was dominated by the War in a way it's hard to appreciate now.Headlines were 54 font (I think) 3 big rows of the Battle in France. Every day, as you would expect.The US was united against the Hun and the press was leading the charge. Europe,
Atlantic, Homefront, everywhere.

 July17: Fierce Fighting On Marne. Londoners Cheer American Feat
 Inside pages: Feature Of Current Events Magazine :The Chaos in Russia;Ignatieff says "little to fear from Bolsheviks against Allied expedition." Railroads in chaos, people leaving cities for food.
 But daily life went on.  NY Yankees lose Doubleheader. Apt. for rent at Grafton Hotel , Washington , D.C. $2 a night American plan, 5$ a night European plan.
 My words: Imperial Family murdered at Ekaterinburg, no press mention.

To be continued
Rodney G.

Offline Georgiy

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2022
  • Slava v vyshnikh Bogu
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 09:16:59 PM »
You'd need to look a few days after the murder for any report of it, I would imagine.

TheAce1918

  • Guest
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 01:19:14 AM »
You'd need to look a few days after the murder for any report of it, I would imagine.

Also, considering the lack of efficient intelligence/communications from both sides of the Russian Civil War, as well as international speculation and pirating...know one would know for sure for quite some time.

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13040
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 09:15:03 AM »
First reports of the Czar's murder surfaced in the New York Times on July 21.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 02:56:22 PM »


  Thanks for the replies especially granduchessella who has inadvertently stolen my thunder. Actually I wasn't finished but faced a computer shutdown. I had hoped to give  a day-by day approach to the news but that's not as practical as I'd thought. I especially wanted to give a sense of the public consciousness of New York and the US public mood vis a vis war news and news or lack thereof from Russia.
  In the Times July18-20 there was no Romanov mention  but there was the following. of some interest. July 18: Cholera in St Petersburg, Saratov. Miliukov and Nabokov Ukraine Kadets have gone over to Germans("Unverified cable to Lausanne") Kolchak and Semenoff forcing Bolsheviks out of Moscow To Kazan (!) Rest of Cadets still pro-Allies. July 20 Reds avenge Mirbach ; 13 SR's put to death .
  Of some  minor historical, social, or cultural interest, we note Times readers would have found: "Women's tub sheets at $2.75; American Negroes ask to take over part of the line under attack; prohibition amendment criticized as huge loss of tax revenue;
Also, Sir A. Conan Doyle's new bookon Spititualism-can read it in a few hours, $.89 at Miller's . Kaiser and Kaiserin have flu; Kaiserin weeps for wounded.; Ocean liner Carpathia cut in half; Rudyard Kipling tells Americans Russia must have a change of heart. And yes, " A Tax On Servants" Gertrude Atherton's suggestion discussed by Mistress and Maid[the dreaded 'servant problem] which would absorb NY Times readers for weeks.
 Not to mention "Airman Startles Bathers, forced to land in their midst at Long Beach."
Sorry to run on but I'm really struck by what the "Paper of Record" thinks, probably rightly, that its readers want to know about. It wasn't a tabloid but there are eerie similarities to our own modern junk and celebrity-mad media. More on this eventually.
Rodney G.

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13040
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 07:06:04 PM »
I didn't want to steal your thunder or change how you wanted to frame the subject. Sorry.  I've removed the 4 posts.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2007, 12:31:36 PM »


 Granduchessella, not a problem; you found some items I missed
 
 Continuing,
   
 July21:  Amid the continuing heat wave, Times readers turn to their morning paper over coffee. They read in the usual large headlines "Germans Pushed Back, Allies Gain Three Miles, Now Hold 20,000 Prisoners" They also see, as one of three lead stories ,"Ex-Czar Killed By Order Of Ural Soviet, Nicholas Shot On July 16When  It Was Feared  That Czechoslovaks Might Seize Him,Wife And Heir In Security"
Then three subheads: "Prisoners Papers Seized, Bolshevik Governent Approves Act, Alleging Plot for a Counter -revolution. Emperor's Diary and Letters From Rasputin to Be Made Public"
       
The actual story then repeats these claims almost verbatim. And then a third time in the form of the Soviet Central Executive Committee announcement we're all familiar with.This indeed verbatim.
The preceding was "according to a Russian announcement by wireless." Only at the end of the story does the Times contribute on its own. The Times' lone original input is basically a reference to atleast four earlier rumors of the ex-Czar's execution Just sort of thrown out there for our consideration. The article ends "no question yesterday's dispatch is authentic, because it's in the form of a Russian wireless, and all Russian wireless plants are controlled by Bolsheviks,. ...appears an official version of the death of the former Emperor."  Well I guess we know the real truth now.

To editorialize, and rant: This is appalling. Let me acknowledge the reality of information and news gathering out of Russia at this time.Russia was in full-blown civil war, especially the Ural-Siberian areas. Communications were atrocious.Even the best Western newspapers had no correspondents there.Government consular offices were little better. The Bolsviks controlled everything in their areas. In other words , no real news. What passed for "news" were more or less official Soviet announcements relayed from Moscow to cities like Amsterdam ,Stockholm, or sone compliant German press source (often Berliner Lokal Anzeiger). Thence to London and New York.

 The NY Times had no clue, no reliable first-hand witnesses, no proof whatsoever of Nicholas' murder. They lamely passed along a Bolshevik press release, possibly written by Sverdlov or Beloborodov. This verbatim on the front page of the Sunday paper.
The Times was arguably the most prestigious and authoritative paper in the US at that time,and since.
This is pathetic and grossly irresponsible. Incredibly, the next few weeks would see even worse "journalism" printed in what the the Times boasted of as "The Paper Of Record".
 This story was only one of very many over the years, decades of Nicholas' reign that contributed to the public image of him and the Imperial Family. Newspapers were by far the greatest source of world opinion formation and in the mind of the public historical truth. There were worse newspapers than the Times by far but one has to really regret its irresponsibility.
Rodney G.

Offline clockworkgirl21

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2667
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2007, 02:53:43 PM »
Didn't they lie about killing Alexandra and the children? I thoght everyone was told Nicholas was dead, and his wife and children were in England. Some important people knew the truth, of course. But the general public thought only Nicholas had been murdered.  ???

Offline azrael7171918

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 173
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2007, 10:55:05 AM »
 They lied and said Alexandra and the heir were in a safe place there was no reference to the Girls.  In fact Germany asked after them and was told by the new representative from Russia that he knew nothing. It seems Lenin and the crowd in Moscow figured what he didn't know he couldn't lie about.

azrael

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13040
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2007, 10:33:29 PM »
There were some reports early on that Alexei had died, that Alexandra had died and even that the entire family had perished. There were also reports saying the Czar was safe, the family was safe, etc...
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2007, 11:48:10 AM »


Sorry for the timing lapses in my posts. Limited computer  access and one of my own screwups have caused the discontinuity.
More NYTimes coverage of the Romanov murders and other strange reports out of Russia. I'd like to retract my statement that the Times was not a tabloid. At least in its Russian reportage, it was little better than one.

July 23: From London: "English Pity For Ex-Czar" This is a simple account of Btitish press  reaction to Nicholas' murder. It mentions strong condemnation of the crime and the standard references to his weakness and praise for the Hague Peace Conference. The story did manage two quotes from British papers. The Daily Telegraph: "His worst fault was instability of mind(!) and lack of moral resolution."  The Daily Mail: "He was a poor little Czar . His life and death were alike pitiful"

July25: "Former Czar's Son Dead. Succumbed to exposure soon after father was executed, it is said. Thesingle sentence story repeats that almost word for word (a common and pointless habit of Times' style). Or so "says a dispatch from Moscow to the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger".

Who makes this stuff up? Did the Times expect its readers to believe this,to accept it at face value? A strange image forms. His father murdered because he was a Romanov Czar, Alexei,now himself a sort of Czar-in -waiting, and now the most obvious target for Bolshevik destruction, strolls out of Ipatiev  House. Yurovsky, Ermakov, and a dozen Chekist killers wave goodbye or perhaps the wily crippled 13 year old boy  slips past the outer guard and two tall fences. He then limps out of town to a nearby woods and dies from exposure  after several warm summer days and nights.His body is then miraculously discovered. The Ural Cheka, though they let the ex-heir get away briefly, dutifully reports the news to Moscow and the world press
Oh, wait a minute. The Bolshevik Central Commitee had already issued an official anouncement that the ex-Czarina and heir were "sent to a place of safety." That's awkward.

 July27, p.4: "Denies Ex-Czarina's Plea, Lenine Refuses to Let Her Go To Sweden to Enter a Convent"
     "A Moscow telegram says fomer Empress has asked Lenine Government to  grant her permission to enter a convent in Sweden and take with her her daughters. The dispatch says pemission has been withheld for the time being."
  Sweden?  You can't say the Bolsheviks don't have imagination and persistence. A new Romanov rumor a day. I guess also that "for the time being" means pending the Romanov women's resurrection.
Rodney G.

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2007, 12:54:27 PM »


Same day: In a story printed two inches from the above: "Ex-Grand Dukes Carried Off, Russian Band Seizes Four in Their Residence at Ekaterinburg"
   "The Ekaterinburg Regional Soviet announces the band broke into their residence and carried off former Grand Dukes Igor , Constantine, and Ivan Constantinovitch and Serge Michaelovitch"

  How convenient for 'the band' that the four ex-Grand Dukes, grown men, all wealthy, one married with two children, were all living together in the famous, luxurious, Constantinovitch-Michaelovitch (!) 'residence' in Ekaterinburg. I wonder if it was near that other Romanov residence there, Ipatiev House? They must have visited often. I guess Vladimir, Ella, sister Barbara, and Remez were away visiting the Alapayevsk residence that day.
   The last paragraph, despite being drawn from a royal genealogy book, mangles the family relationships. First cousins become uncles,a second cousin becomes a first, and Ivan (Ioann) gets lost altogether, "There are no records of an Ivan Constantinovich." The Constantine Grand Dukes are, of course, princes, not GD's. Good fact-checkers must be hard to find in wartime.

  July 28, sect. 6, p.5 :" Ex-Czar's Family Safe" "The family of Nicholas Romanoff, former Russian Emperor, is safe in a Siberian monastery at Abalak, according to a Central News dispatch from Amsterdam. The town is on the Irtish Riverand is a noted place  of pilgrimage."  Well, if a Swedish convent can't be reached, why not a Russian Orthodox monastery, where five women would be welcomed by the monks.
   Last paragraph: "The report seems to dispose of the "rumor" that Grand Duke Alexis had died of exposure following execution of his father."  Oops, never mind. But at least the Times admits their earlier 'report' was merely a rumor.

Aug.1:  "Ex-Czar in Collapse as He Faced Death, Berlin Paper says that, unable to stand before firing squad,he was  propped up"

   This is a purported acount of Nicholas' last two hours. It's quite detailed and a complete fiction, as we now know,and should have known then. Luckily, we have it from the highly authoritative and ever-dependable Berlin daily, the Lokal-Anzeiger, which in turn received it from "a high Russian personage".
 Briefly, the story says Nicholas was woken at 5 am , told to dress, led by an escort of seven men to a room where he was read the death sentence, to occur in two hours. Back in his room, Nicholas collapsed in a chair, asked for a priest, wrote several letters. When death squad came  he couldn't rise from his chair, needing help from two men to stand up. He fell down the staircase on way to death chamber. There, since he couldn't stand without support, he wa propped against a post. And shot dead.
 Significantly, this tale was repeated as a major part of a truly vicious letter to the Times editor soon after.
.
Rodney G.

Offline Rodney_G.

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • an angel .....and the best of them
    • View Profile
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2007, 01:56:39 PM »

   July 22:  In a small box of print just beneath the War in France headlines : "Estates of Murdered Czar Declared Forfeit to Soviets" The story states that all property of the former Emperor, his wife, and mother ,as well as of all other Romanovs is forfeited to the Russian Republic (Republic?) , according to Bolshevik Government decree. Simple enough, but then,
    "In reporting the death of the former Emperor, the Moscow Rjedneta(sp.?) says ' By order of the Revolutionary Council  of the People, the bloody Czarhas happily died.  Vive the red terror"
  Times readers must have greatly appreciated this important and informative little comment on the front page.

  Aug. 5 :     "Grand Dukes' Murder Again Reported "  "Three Russian Grand Dukes, one of whom 'seems to be' Nicholas Nicholaievich.... have been executed by the Bolsheviks", according to the usual sources.
    This story is nearly incomprehensible. Two Grand Dukes are unnamed. Nick-Nick "seems to be" one. Nick- Nick  is "reported' arrested on June 3, 1917 in Tiflis; also reported dead "early in present year". These reports, however, "not confirmed and later denied by reports from Russia." Then the Grand Duke is reported re-arrested in Moscow(!) ,July 14.
The story ends by reporting almost verbatim the late July Amsterdam dispatch about the seizure at Ekaterinburg (sic) of the  three Constantine GD's and Serge Michailevich.

   Could the typical Times reader figure out which three , if any, of the possibly seven ex-Grand Dukes were executed, where, when? 

  These are only a few of the Times' Romanov murder reports. There were many others, similarly false and misleading. And I stopped at Aug.5 for lack of time and Forum space. I know these tales continued to appear in following days.
 I knew beforehand that the truth about Ipatiev House and Alapayevsk was hard to come by in the West  (and Russia itself)  but these stories and many more not mentoned were stunning. Virtually every one originated with an authorized Bolshevik release by cable or telegram. Most were relayed through three European newspapers . Many virtually admitted the stories were rumors.
  Though you may be sceptical, I didn't start out to bash the NY Times, though I have, and they deserve it. The Times undoubtedly was one of the better papers of that time. Newspapers thrived at that time and were often openly partisan and sensationalist.
  My larger point: The regrettable effect of such press coverage was that virtually the entire world, our own great- and grandparents included, thought they were learning the truth, the facts, about Nicholas and Alexandra, the children, and the other Romanovs lost in the massacres.
  We AP members, newbies or serious researchers, are even now trying to unlearn and dispel the falsities and inaccuracies of that woeful contemporary reporting.
Rodney G.

Offline Annie

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4756
    • View Profile
    • Anna Anderson Exposed!
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2007, 09:15:59 AM »
Quote
We AP members, newbies or serious researchers, are even now trying to unlearn and dispel the falsities and inaccuracies of that woeful contemporary reporting.

Wow, I had no idea until I read this thread there were so MANY different bogus reports! No wonder the 'survivor' rumors were able to be fueled by these inaccuracies.

Someone once posted an actual picture of the story from the NY Times with the date on it, does anyone have this please?

Alixz

  • Guest
Re: Romanov murders as reported in NY Times
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2007, 10:09:27 AM »
It would seem, to paraphrase Mark Twain, "that the rumors of the deaths of some of the Imperial Family were greatly exaggerated."   8)

I don't think you can blame the Times.  Communication between countries was very slow and best and non existent at its worst.  The civil war in Russia must have made getting any kind of information correctly dispatched near impossible.

This was not a time when correspondents were "embedded" with the military, I don't think that anyone had even considered something like that until the first Gulf War and reporters followed the armies at their own risk.  They were considered a nuisance to the fighting generals probably up until World War II.

As with information that is collected now, the Times probably had a ticker (our current computers and satellites) and took whatever looked official from it and from other papers which were closer to the action.  And how could they confirm any of the information?  They would have to wait another space of days to get the confirmation and then the time slot for the publication would be gone.  And there was fierce competition among five or six papers in New City alone.

Also, newspapers had a more "florid" and less "direct" style of reporting in the early 20th century.

I do agree though that all of the misleading information that everyone assumed was fact at the time has brought all of us, newbie and experienced researcher alike, into a twilight zone of self interpretation.  But I don't think that the Times was intentionally trying to spread disinformation (another word they would never have heard of) or confuse its readers.

The Times was just trying to get out the news and sell papers.