Author Topic: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton  (Read 28857 times)

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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #45 on: July 29, 2016, 07:28:45 AM »
The German delegation was enormous, the Austrian comprised only the ambassador. Was the Austrian delegation cut right down because of the death of Archduke Karl Ludwig?

Ann

Offline Ortino

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2016, 10:48:08 AM »
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It was a pivotal moment in Russian history: every move Nicholas II made after 1896, every effort to deal with the problems the empire faced, was viewed through the lens of his response to Khodynka.  In turning triumph to disaster, the last Tsar unwittingly sowed the seeds of revolution.

As I said, Nicholas never really wanted to be Tsar.  Also, his father, never properly prepared him.  Of course, Alexander III never thought he'd die so young (he was 49, my age), so he no doubt thought he'd have lots of time to get Nicholas ready.

The same could be said for Alexandra.  Her predecessor, MF, lived in Russia for nearly twenty years before AIII became Tsar, so she had plenty of time to prepare.  Alexandra, on the other hand, was just thrown into the fray from Day One.  

If Nicholas and Alexandra had been better prepared, one has to wonder if they would have handled things better in the wake of Khodynka and, perhaps their reign would have been much more successful.

Alas, we'll never know.


Things may have been better if they had more time to prepare. However, personality played a enormous role in their downfall. As you pointed out, Nicholas had little desire to be Tsar and Alexandra certainly had little interest in assuming the role that was expected of her. They tried to live like a simple, ordinary, bourgeois family, which they obviously were not. Alexander III and MF attempted something similar, but counterbalanced it by staying involved in the going-ons in St. Petersburg. MF had a huge advantage over Alexandra in that she was partook in the parties, gossip, fashions, etc. If Nicholas II and Alexandra had kept the support of the aristocracy, their future might have been rather different.


« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 10:50:33 AM by Ortino »

Offline Maria Sisi

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2016, 03:17:28 PM »
I think the whole "Alexander III didn't properly prepare his son to rule" thing is widely overstated. An attempt to shift the blame and excuse all the stupid decisions he made, on his own, during the course of his reign. True some things could have been done better, but that's true with everything. Nicholas had a brilliant education. And his father did put him on government committees but from what I have read he didn't show feeling there except being bored. He thought his father would live long so he put it off and nobody pushed him into it and let him be. His personality combined with, the great change of the era he lived in, and the personality of Russia itself is what led to his failure. Some blame goes to his parents but not the amount people lay on them.

Its hard to point to a era of Russian history where Nicholas, as he was, would have ended up successful because its history is such a roller-coaster. The only one I can think of is if he had been Catherine the Great's son instead of Paul even though the waves of the French Revolution had shaken everyone. Russia was probably at its most stable and a lot like Nicholas had envisioned it. The way he had envisioned it was completely outdated by 1894.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 03:19:14 PM by Maria Sisi »

Offline Greg_King

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2016, 09:01:24 PM »
Yes.  Karl Ludwig was supposed to have come with a retinue, but his premature death led Austria-Hungary to charge their ambassador with all representational duties in Moscow.

The German delegation was enormous, the Austrian comprised only the ambassador. Was the Austrian delegation cut right down because of the death of Archduke Karl Ludwig?

Ann

Offline TimM

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #49 on: July 30, 2016, 07:33:01 AM »
I guess it was common for a lot of movers and shakers to attend event like that.
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Offline NicolasG

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2016, 10:15:59 AM »
I think the whole "Alexander III didn't properly prepare his son to rule" thing is widely overstated. An attempt to shift the blame and excuse all the stupid decisions he made, on his own, during the course of his reign. True some things could have been done better, but that's true with everything. Nicholas had a brilliant education. And his father did put him on government committees but from what I have read he didn't show feeling there except being bored. He thought his father would live long so he put it off and nobody pushed him into it and let him be. His personality combined with, the great change of the era he lived in, and the personality of Russia itself is what led to his failure. Some blame goes to his parents but not the amount people lay on them.

Its hard to point to a era of Russian history where Nicholas, as he was, would have ended up successful because its history is such a roller-coaster. The only one I can think of is if he had been Catherine the Great's son instead of Paul even though the waves of the French Revolution had shaken everyone. Russia was probably at its most stable and a lot like Nicholas had envisioned it. The way he had envisioned it was completely outdated by 1894.

Would you care to elaborate what you mean by "all the stupid decisions he made"? The fact is that 100 years afterwards, historians do not agree about what his mistakes were or what he should have done to avert revolution. "Reform and modernization" is a bit lazy. Dominic Lieven writes in his biography that Nicholas II's biggest mistake was his "forward policy" in the Far Eastern that led to war with Japan. Surely not the first thing that comes usually to mind. And even in that case Nicholas II did not want to provoke a war, it was rather a "miscalculation".

In fact, the "mistake" that proved to be fatal was his agreement to mobilize that led to the German declaration of war, and it was a decision forced by his own ministers, the press and the liberal members of the Duma.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2016, 01:51:56 AM »
Karl Ludwig died on 7/19 May at Schonbrunn. He died from typhoid after incautiously drinking from the Jordan on a visit to the Holy Land. Presumably, if he hadn't died, another Archduke would have taken his place. His elder son, Franz Ferdinand was at that time recovering from TB and in fragile health, so the next in line would have been Ottoman, father of the Emperor Karl.

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Offline TimM

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2016, 07:52:51 AM »
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His elder son, Franz Ferdinand was at that time recovering from TB and in fragile health

He recovered from that, then came Sarajevo...
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2016, 05:14:44 PM »
Last part of our list of official guests: - https://coronationofnicholasii.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/principle-guests-at-the-coronation-part-3/

Some of them were representing countries or territories which were not really independent states at all but were part of the Russian or British empires. They came along to demonstrate the vast reach of these nations. Tourists loved them; their clothes were very flamboyant and they brought some conscious exoticism to the ceremony and helped to give the impression of vast global power.

As you can imagine, there was even quite a bit of diplomatic manoeuvring at the coronation, with inescapable discussion over borders and areas of tension. Korea, Japan, China - all these countries were embroiled in complex situations with Russia which would have repercussions in the near future, and when their representatives came into contact with each other the mood was rather tense. China's ambassador was a very entertaining figure who features a lot in our book.
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Offline Превед

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2016, 05:41:27 PM »
Last part of our list of official guests: - https://coronationofnicholasii.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/principle-guests-at-the-coronation-part-3/

Some of them were representing countries or territories which were not really independent states at all [...]

As you can imagine, there was even quite a bit of diplomatic manoeuvring at the coronation, with inescapable discussion [...]

In that vein:
Sweden AND NORWAY
Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden AND NORWAY
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden AND NORWAY


We Norwegians bordered Russia itself, the Swedes just bordered the Grand Duchy of Finland (which, being a former Swedish dominion with Swedish as an official language, wasn't real Russian :-)

« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 05:56:42 PM by Превед »
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #55 on: August 02, 2016, 01:31:48 AM »
Generally speaking, it seems to have been Crown Princes who attended. Interesting therefore that the Duke and Duchess of Connaught represented Britain rather than the Prince and Princess of Wales, the more so as Alexandra was Nicholas's aunt. Of course, both the Prince of Wales and Duke of Connaught were AF's uncles.

Any indications as to why the Connaughts went? They seem to have done most of the long-distance visits.

Ann

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #56 on: August 02, 2016, 03:19:28 AM »
Generally speaking, it seems to have been Crown Princes who attended. Interesting therefore that the Duke and Duchess of Connaught represented Britain rather than the Prince and Princess of Wales, the more so as Alexandra was Nicholas's aunt. Of course, both the Prince of Wales and Duke of Connaught were AF's uncles.

Any indications as to why the Connaughts went? They seem to have done most of the long-distance visits.

Ann

George, Duke of York was actually expecting to go - and was pretty unhappy when he discovered that it would be the Connaughts. I suppose the Connaughts were chosen because Arthur was the most senior son of the Queen available, and experienced at representative duties - I'm not sure why the Prince of Wales wasn't chosen; I suspect everyone felt he'd be a security headache. Of course, he'd been to Russia not too long ago for the funeral of Alexander III.
Alfred wasn't technically available, of course, because he was there as Duke of Coburg, representing himself.
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2016, 03:40:03 AM »
I should add, a propos all these official guests, that some of the most interesting commentators and characters aren't mentioned in the list, because they came in  different capacities. The journalist Richard Harding Davis, the translator and radical Aylmer Maude, a young Russian factory worker named Senka Kanatchikov, and a whole bunch of tourists from the US and the UK are among our favourite protagonists, and over the next few days we'll put up some extracts from the start of each chapter of the book, so you can get a flavour of some of the people who appear and of our style of writing. (we are doing this partly because we've had some questions from readers about how it differs from the other book on the coronation, and we think this will help demonstrate the differences. Ours is narrative history).
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 03:58:47 AM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
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Ye are many; they are few.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #58 on: August 02, 2016, 07:04:16 AM »
Janet

Thanks for your answer. I'd wondered about the Duke of York.

I notice Ferdinand of Bulgaria went in person. He seems to have been a man who liked a spectacle, and, of cours, his heir, Boris, was a little young to go to Russia with a suite!

Ann

Offline TimM

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Re: A Life for the Tsar King/Ashton
« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2016, 07:28:27 AM »
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I'm not sure why the Prince of Wales wasn't chosen; I suspect everyone felt he'd be a security headache. Of course, he'd been to Russia not too long ago for the funeral of Alexander III.

The future Edward VI, right?
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