Author Topic: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?  (Read 166102 times)

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Offline Ming

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2005, 06:51:47 PM »
Very interesting comments.

This sort of reminds me of something I've recently come to understand about America's Civil War. Being a "Yankee" from Minnesota, who at one time lived in Texas, I was surprised that so many in the South really DID seem to "still be fighting the war."

Of course I understand that they lost so much...loved ones, property, a whole lifestyle, etc. changed forever.

But I've been reading a book...a journal, really...written by a woman during the last days of the Civil War, as she watched Richmond burning and realized that not only was the war over, but that they--the South--had lost.  AND, from what this woman had written, the devastating thing about it all was that all the deaths, the suffering, the sacrifice, etc., had been lost IN VAIN.  FOR NOTHING!  This was the attitude of so many at that time.

Now THAT'S something that I CAN understand.  The South lost almost everything, in exchange for NOTHING...and, of course, those who did survive the war never did regain their previous lives.

So I'm wondering if that sort of thing is like what happened with the Russian Revolution.  People made great sacrifices, and awful things DID happen...YET, as was mentioned before, the lives of the majority of the people had not improved much, if at all...and in some cases became much, much worse.

I'm thinking that THAT is the hardest thing to deal with.

Of course, we are all disillusioned with our governments about one point or another...but in the cases of the Civil War and the Russian Revolution, the cost was far too great and positively affected far too few people.

Which begs the next question:  was it worth it?

bluetoria

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2005, 06:00:35 AM »
Hi Ming!  :)

I think it is the same after every war & every revolution. People start out with high ideals of creating a better, fairer world but, failing to learn from experience, go on thinking these things can be achieved through violence.
The French Revolution gave way to the time of terror. In the First World War soldiers believed they were ending all wars & Britain was promised afterwards a 'land fit for heroes to live in.' What really happened? Massive unemployment, a generation that had lost its way & ultimately the next world war.

No, I certainly do not believe that the Russian revolution was 'worth it' especially when you ask yourself, "Who was the real tyrant? A gentle Tsar who was born into a position that he did not want; or an ambitious self-seeking despot like Lenin or Stalin?"
Sadly, it seems to me, that such people who have great ambition for themselves are able to prey on the idealism of many younger people & the frustration & disillusionment of older people & persuade them into thinking that the killing & dying is worthwhile in creating a better world.

How many more wars throughout the world will it take for people to realize that this is never the case?

This doesn't mean, of course, that it would be right to stand by and allow injustice to continue - but there are less violent methods, such as those adopted by Gandhi whose hunger stike changed a nation & prevented violence. Or Pope John Paul II, whose refusal to bow down to the oppression in Poland, brought about a bloodless revolution. But then, these - & many others like them - were not self-seeking ambitious men but rather ones who truly had the good of the people at heart.

Just my opinion!  :)    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bluetoria »

Offline ilyala

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2005, 08:08:25 AM »
i'm throwing in my two cents here...

no revolution happens because of one person. not even if that person is the ruler of the country. there are bad kings who get away with being bad kings because the country generally is doing good, even if it's going worse than it was before that specific bad king. (louis xv of france lived for a long time, ruled for most of his life and although people complained, they didn't rebell... and if anyone was a bad king that was him  :P).

but if we have a bad king in a bad time then we have rebellion. a good king in bad times can do things better or just leave the impression of doing things better, but some things cannot be delayed. i don't think an autocratic regime could last in the 20th century. some sort of change was supposed to happen in russia. the fact that people wanted change is not nicholas' fault. at some point some sort of revolution would have happened. the way it happened, though, is partly his fault.

a reasonably good king i think would have realized that constitutional monarchy is the only monarchy to survive in such times and would have tried to ease into it, convincing the people that he's listening to them, all the while still holding on to the power. it takes a lot of shrewdness to do such things, true, and probably most people would have failed at such a task. nicholas not only did not do that, he also made things worse by allowing guys like rasputin to have power.

basically what i'm saying is he probably would have been dethroned anyway. cause he didn't have the ability to do all the changes that i think were necessary in order for monarchy to survive. but maybe had he been just a tad more diplomatic, he and his family would have survived.
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Offline foreignhalf

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2005, 10:14:57 PM »
I believe Nicholas was to blame because he allowed Russia to become embroiled in WWI.  The war strained Russia to the breaking point.  The railroads were not large enough to handle military and civilian needs.  St. Petersburg imported its coal from England which was cut off by the German blockade.  So the coal had to come from the Donets Basin in Russia by railroad thus using more railroad cars than usual.  Nicholas imposed prohibition of liquor during WWI.  The sale of liquor had been the greatest source of revenue for the government.  Russia could neither export nor import goods except through the port of Archangel which is frozen 6 month of the year or by the 7000 mile long Trans Siberian railroad.  Nicholas and most of his ministers did not consider these factors before enering WWI.  Russia was facing the best equipped army in the world -- Germany.  Nicholas was not responsible for making Russians before the war.  In  fact Russia was developing economically.  Standards of living were rising.  St. Petersburg was going to spend 600 million rubles on  workers' housing, parks, schools, water treatment.  The national gov't. was going to build 15 new universities more than doubling the number in existence.  The war cancelled these projects.  

bluetoria

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #49 on: July 20, 2005, 08:53:15 AM »
Hello foreignhalf, welcome to the forum  :).


Quote
I believe Nicholas was to blame because he allowed Russia to become embroiled in WWI.   


Do you think Nicholas really had an alternative? He had done everything in his power to persuade the Serbians to accept as many of the Austrians' extreme demands as they could. When the Austraina refused to accept Serbia's eagerness to negotiate, Nicholas knew he had a duty to defend his smaller ally. I think that even when he mobilized the troops, he believed that Austria & Germany would not actually declare war. Once Germany did declare war on Russia, Nicholas had no alternative but to commit his armies.

Finelly

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #50 on: July 20, 2005, 09:19:52 AM »
Was Nicky to blame?  Sure.  Was he the only person to blame?  No.  Were only PEOPLE to blame?  No.  The times they were a'changing.  Economics, military, and other issues played huge roles in the entire mess.

Offline elfwine

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2005, 01:00:53 PM »
I really doubt that anyone actually thinks that it was entirely and completely Nicholas' FAULT that there was a revolution however we ought to admit that he ignored countless requests for changes in the government/for increasing the freedom of the press/for basic civil rights to be recognised/ for factories to be regulated...etc.
He did nothing.
He could have done something but he waffled and waivered and in the end - did nothing.
In an autocratic state the Tsar is an Absolute Monarch but he seemed unwilling to take this responsibility very seriously -"It was all Gods will" ...
Then I guess if you accept that then God wanted him to be responsible for the Revolution!
So if not Nicholas - is GOD then to blame?
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #52 on: July 22, 2005, 04:15:06 PM »
Quote
So if not Nicholas - is GOD then to blame?


Interesting question.

In a way, Alexandra thought so.  In letters she wrote from captivity, she characterized the revolution as a trial God was putting them through to prepare them for life eternal.

From one perspective, it is an admirable way to deal nobly with crushing adversity.  From another, the hubris is almost unimaginable.  With Russia in chaos, it was still all about Nicholas and his family in her eyes.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Finelly

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #53 on: July 22, 2005, 09:04:49 PM »
Yes, well, Alexandra was hardly a role model in the humbleness dept!  She was a fanatic about that issue.......and Nicholas, being so passive, really didn't do more than accept her word.....

Offline lexi4

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #54 on: July 22, 2005, 09:37:25 PM »
As he did with so many other things....just took Alexandra's word I mean.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow ---- What a ride!!!"

rskkiya

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2005, 10:56:30 AM »
Here is a paradox-
    Nicholas was an extreamly passive individual. He felt that God willed him to be Tsar...therefore he was responsible for all actions and decisions - yet he constantly stated that everything was in God's hands... :-/
Was Nicholas to blame? Yes
Unless he wanted to blame God...

Finelly

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2005, 10:52:22 PM »
Wow, I never thought of it that way, but you're right.

bluetoria

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2005, 05:19:24 AM »
Quote
Here is a paradox-
     Nicholas was an extreamly passive individual. He felt that God willed him to be Tsar...therefore he was responsible for all actions and decisions - yet he constantly stated that everything was in God's hands... :-/
Was Nicholas to blame? Yes
Unless he wanted to blame God...


I don't think is quite how Nicholas would have seen it. Yes, he believed that he was called by God to be Tsar and he accepted the responsibility although it was contrary to his nature to be an autocrat. This doesn't mean that he saw himself as a mere puppet in God's hands, rather that he had been 'called' to a particular way of life.
When he spoke of everything being in God's hands, I believe he was referring not to the temporal events, but rather on a more spiritual level. It was not that he believed God willed any evil or turmoil or revolution, but rather that within that situation he knew God would take care of him (as in his soul).
To draw a modern parallel: Christians would not view terrorism as God's will, but can believe that even amid such turmoil, God is present and continues to care for people. It is a question of viewing events not from the immediate horror, but from the view of eternity - which is, of course, extremely difficult to explain!!

And no, I don't think Nicholas was to blame. I think the war was to blame...and whose fault was the war??  :-/ Probably everyone's!

rskkiya

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2005, 09:16:45 AM »
I will agree that the war made a chaotic situation much worse, but I cannot accept the notion that 'the war' was the real problem - there would have been a revolutionary movement  in 1913 or 1920 - even if there had been no war (WWI) at all!
The situation in 1905 has not been forgotten.  


Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Nicholas II was Unprepared to Rule. Why?
« Reply #59 on: July 26, 2005, 10:17:40 AM »
There is an interesting article on the main Alexander Palace website that some of you have probably read.  It was written in October 1904 and contains a fascinating glimpse of how the Romanovs were viewed by many in their own time.

In recounting the string of assassinations and coups that had rocked the dynasty throughout its history, the writer noted that, "Assassination, it must be remembered, was then and is still the only effective way of voicing political opposition in Russia."

In my view, WWI was a catalyst that only moved up the timing of an event that was inevitable.  Russia could not play on the world stage of the 20th century with an autocratic system that derived its direction more from family, palace, and ministerial politics than from the will of the people manifested in some institutional form.

The 20th century was to be the domain of industrial societies, not agragrian ones, and every society that tried to industrialize under autocratic (or totalitarian) regimes produced a horrific result of one kind or another.

The stage was set for a tragedy when Alexander III turned away from his father's tentative reform policies.  Nicholas had one last, clear warning to change the playbill in 1905.  By going on with the play his father scripted, he -- more than any other individual -- brought on the disaster.