Author Topic: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?  (Read 43839 times)

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Offline JStorey

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #105 on: May 03, 2009, 05:30:53 PM »
All right, if it was honorable in the abstract to remain in the war, how would you - if you were the leader of Russia at that time - have ended it?  You couldn't have said, "Okay!  That's it, we're done fighting!  War over!"  No.  You would have had to surrender, just as Lenin did, to extreme concessions.  You would have abandoned all financial support from the Allies, and you would have been left with a country in even more disarray then it was already, which was - as we all know - a complete mess. 

While the Bush/Nicholas II comparisons are tempting (their respective nation's early war jingoism, perhaps being the common theme between them) I think its ultimately apples and oranges.  Nicholas, for instance, could read.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #106 on: May 03, 2009, 05:47:47 PM »
All right, if it was honorable in the abstract to remain in the war, how would you - if you were the leader of Russia at that time - have ended it?  You couldn't have said, "Okay!  That's it, we're done fighting!  War over!"  No.  You would have had to surrender, just as Lenin did, to extreme concessions.  You would have abandoned all financial support from the Allies, and you would have been left with a country in even more disarray then it was already, which was - as we all know - a complete mess. 

Yeah, but that's precisely my point, J. They couldn't have surrendered because they had an in-built sense of honor. NII and Kerensky ascribed to the humanist ideals of the nineteenth century. They were not post-human, as Lenin and his cohorts so demonstrably were.

While the Bush/Nicholas II comparisons are tempting (their respective nation's early war jingoism, perhaps being the common theme between them) I think its ultimately apples and oranges.  Nicholas, for instance, could read.

Did you know that Bush got higher scores on his SATs than Al Gore did? The man is not any more stupid than Gore is or Nicholas II was. On the other hand, unlike NII, Bush Jr. obviously has some kind of speech impediment or learning disability - that's clear enough from the way he often stumbles over the most commonly used verbal expressions.

Which is not to say that either Bush Jr. or Nicholas II were the brightest bulbs on the planet. People often cite Nicholas's knowledge of foreign languages as a gauge of his intelligence. But the ability to learn and speak foreign languages is not necessarily correlated to high intelligence - as far as I know, it's more often correlated to musical talent (or sometimes, a gift for mathematics, which apparently NII did not possess). NII was probably better educated than Bush - but did that make him more intelligent? I sincerely doubt it. One has only to read his correspondence and the memoirs of his staff to realize that he lacked any kind of imagination or intellectual curiosity. But then, one could be speaking of George W. in the same breath...
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 05:50:10 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline JStorey

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #107 on: May 03, 2009, 07:03:40 PM »
You get a few hundred points on the SAT just for signing your name.  Okay, admittedly Bush went to Yale but that's because we have a little something in our representative democracy called nepotism, quite alive and well - I think Bush knows that more than anyone. 

But he's good at dodging a shoe.

Back to the question.  Absent of their "in-built sense of honor" and 19th century humanist ideals (I don't think I've ever heard NII and Kerensky used in the same sentence when it comes to human ideals, but anyhow), how could they have realistically and pragmatically overcome their "unwavering obstinacy" and ended the war?

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #108 on: May 04, 2009, 09:40:09 AM »
Not to get too far off topic as this is the Russian Revolution Forum, but intelligence is not a indication of how much you know.  Education is the factor that contributes to how much you know.  Intelligence is the ability to learn, isn't it?

But I get confused over IQ tests which are really a test of how much you have learned to a certain predetermined point in you life and so therefore are an indicator of a) how much you have learned; b) your ability to learn (and/or memorize); c) how much you have paid attention (and/or slept through class).

Was Nicholas intelligent?  Or more importantly, did he have the ability to extrapolate?

Rote learning means nothing in the long run.  It is the ability to take what you have memorized and put it to good use and to extrapolate that is important.

That is why some people are "book smart, but life stupid".  Perhaps that is a good description of both W and Nicholas II.

Offline JStorey

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #109 on: May 04, 2009, 11:52:40 AM »
Within a few posts the topic has degraded from the Russian revolution into a discussion over Bush's intelligence. 

Offline RichC

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #110 on: May 04, 2009, 12:41:08 PM »

Although I have to reiterate that I agree with the moderators here that Russia was a lost cause by 1917. I tend to believe that even if Nicholas had been a far-sighted, wise, politically shrewd and adaptive leader (pragmatic as opposed to ideological in other words), he still would have lost the throne, just as Kerensky, even if he had been smarter, would have forfeited the provisional government to the Bolsheviks. Because both of them were men with an old-fashioned sense of honor and would have under any and all imagined circumstances have insisted that Russia continue fighting World War I in support of its allies Britain and France. Which was bad policy for Russia, however honorable in the abstract. I repeat, Russia could not withstand the pressure of this ongoing drain on its resources, in large part because longstanding problems which at the very least dated back to the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855) had not yet been resolved (the peasant question, industrialization, the administration of the empire, etc.).

Hello All,

Since when was Nicholas II known as a man of his word?  Witte, who knew Nicholas very well, certainly would not have described him as such.  I have often thought of Nicholas II as more capricious than honest.  And for me, capriciousness is another sign of intellectual weakness. 

I believe that Tsarist Russia would have made a separate peace with Germany and Austria if doing so would have left her territorial integrity intact.  They would have left Britain and France to their own devices, especially after the United States entered the war.  Isn't there evidence that Britain and France were worried about this very thing happening anyway?  Weren't they worried about the Tsar's strength of commitment to the war?

As far as the inevitability of the Revolution, I'm one of those who doesn't think it was pre-ordained.  In some ways World War I was far worse than World War II because of what happened afterwards.  If World War I had never happened who knows how different the world would be today.  No Nazi Germany, no Russian Revolution; just imagine!

Alixz

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Re: The Russian Revolution - Causes and/or Prevention?
« Reply #111 on: May 04, 2009, 01:48:41 PM »
Maybe no Russian Revolution, but the Treaty of Versailles is, to me, what was the cause of WWII.

So I suppose if there was no WWI and no Treaty, then no Nazi Germany.  I wonder how Wilhelm II would have fared as Emperor in the 20th century?

In a way, Nicholas's refusal to leave his allies in the "lurch" is one of the causes of the Revolution.  He was still a product of the "death before dishonor" generation.