Author Topic: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #1  (Read 225402 times)

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Silja

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #375 on: April 19, 2005, 05:18:09 PM »
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 there was at least a state reason for hurrying the construction of the city.



But there is ALWAYS a [state] reason for all the dreadful deeds committed by all kinds of historical figures. If you argue by justifying the means by the end you'll get into deep trouble. You may justify ANYTHING by this according to what YOU consider is best for the state.

Certainly the Latin American military regimes had very good "state reasons" for torturing and annihilating all these people. Just one example.

bluetoria

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #376 on: April 19, 2005, 05:34:18 PM »
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But there is ALWAYS a [state] reason for all the dreadful deeds committed by all kinds of historical figures. If you argue by justifying the means by the end you'll get into deep trouble. You may justify ANYTHING by this according to what YOU consider is best for the state.



Absolutely, Silja!
Any tyrant, even Hitler, could have used that excuse.  And how often have tyrants equated the state with themselves...hence '"It is best for the state" is an excuse for, "It is best for me."

Silja

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #377 on: April 19, 2005, 05:47:05 PM »
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The paradox is that Nicholas was too weak to be tsar and too weak not to be.

.


Certainly Nicholas would have done well to renounce the throne, but he didn't do so because he was too weak but because he was too conscientious.
It has been mentioned before so many times, but it remains a fact that Nicholas's idea of tsardom was that you cannot abdicate a throne given to you by God.
It was a terribly naive perspective, especially in Russia, where it had long become  common practice to usurp the crown  ;D, but it was something Nicholas absolutely believed in.
So in this case it was indeed his deep conviction, or if you want to call it so, his intellectual limitation, but not his weakness, that made him accept and then hold to his office. He considered it his duty.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Silja »

Offline RichC

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #378 on: April 19, 2005, 07:19:16 PM »
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But there is ALWAYS a [state] reason for all the dreadful deeds committed by all kinds of historical figures. If you argue by justifying the means by the end you'll get into deep trouble. You may justify ANYTHING by this according to what YOU consider is best for the state.

Certainly the Latin American military regimes had very good "state reasons" for torturing and annihilating all these people. Just one example.



Yes, there's always a state reason from the perspective of the ruling despot, dictator, general secretary, ect., but not from the perspective of a historian.  That's how I read Tsarfan's post.  For example, *some* historians believe there was no "state reason" for carrying out the Oprichnina -- that there was no "method in the madness".  It was all just plain madness.

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Actually, Elisabeth, you're probably right that he had the makings of a serial killer embedded deep within his psyche.  As as child he enjoyed throwing cats and dogs off a bell tower to see them screech in horror.  I've always been fascinated how often the torture of animals has been an early indicator of psychopathic tendencies.


In his youth he also ordered his kennel keepers to kill the boyarin Andrei Mikhailovich Shuiskii.  This is also sited as an example of his early insanity.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by RichC »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #379 on: April 19, 2005, 07:52:20 PM »
The fact that someone dies does not, in and of itself, make an act for reasons of state good or bad.  If the prospect of deaths makes all state acts bad, then it would have been bad for the U.S. to declare war on Germany and Japan in 1941.  It would have been bad to undertake the numerous public works projects (bridges, buildings, dams, highways) that have claimed the lives of innumerable construction workers over the years.  

I did not say Peter made the "right" choice in sacrificing lives to build St. Petersburg.  I said he made the choice for reasons of state.  I was merely trying to point out that Peter's decision was to accept deaths as a price for securing his stake in newly-conquered lands, not to cause those deaths gratuitously.  

Whether anyone thinks it was a morally justified choice is a matter of personal opinion which I am not competent to argue.  What's an acceptable number of lives to pay for having an interstate highway system?  Or to defeat a Hitler?  I don't know.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Crimson_Snow

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #380 on: April 19, 2005, 08:37:43 PM »

Why oh why does everyone want to throw poor old Nicholas under the bus. Hasn't he suffered enough. Even Job was restored to grace after a period of time.

If we must stone someone- how abot Nicholas' father. He is just as much too blame for Russia's misfortunes.

To but it simply, Nicholas was the by-product of his father's indecision to teach him the family business. He had many opportunities to do so but didn't.

And Russia paid the heavy price.

On this day of days when white smoke pours from chimneys, let me remind you of one of Nicholas' fine traits. He was deeply religious.






Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #381 on: April 19, 2005, 08:43:22 PM »
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In his youth he also ordered his kennel keepers to kill the boyarin Andrei Mikhailovich Shuiskii.  This is also sited as an example of his early insanity.


I agree that Ivan IV carried the seeds of insanity through perhaps all of his life.  However, what seem horrid acts to us today have to be read in the context of their times and the issues of the day.  The boyars had collaborated in the palace coups and murders of his childhood.  And they were still at their intrigues in the early years of Ivan's reign.  The murder of Shuiskii orginated in a dinner hosted by Ivan at the age of 13.  Ivan had gotten word of a possible boyar coup in the making, and he announced at dinner that he intended to make clear his intolerance for these cabals once and for all by killing one of the guests as proof of his resolve.  His choice fell on Shuiskii, upon whom Ivan had his hunting dogs released.  In the context of the times, the means of death was certainly a warning signal of a disturbed psyche . . . but the execution itself was not.

Now, please, folks . . . don't interpret this as my sanctioning the dismembering of one's dinner guests.  I am trying only to point out that context matters when assessing people through the lens of history.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #382 on: April 19, 2005, 08:55:00 PM »
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On this day of days when white smoke pours from chimneys, let me remind you of one of Nicholas' fine traits. He was deeply religious.


This fine religious sentiment nevertheless permitted him to finance the publication and distribution of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," in full knowledge that it was a hate-filled, incendiary forgery.  (It was also found among the books the family took to Tobolsk for the grand duchesses to read.)  And it allowed him to overlook some pogroms and sanction others.  White smoke signifies different things to different people.

By the way . . . I'm not Jewish.  I'm just not an admirer of religion as a justification for hatred and exclusion.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

rskkiya

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #383 on: April 19, 2005, 09:12:53 PM »
Tsarfan
Spascibah balshoyu!
You have made some wonderful and insiteful comments before this one, but I must utterly and wholeheartedly agree with your last remark!

BRAVO
rskkiya

Crimson_Snow

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #384 on: April 19, 2005, 09:29:17 PM »


True.

White is sometimes mistaken for black. As often as black is mistaken for white. It is a murky world.

And I am wise enough never to discuss religion or politics. Two topics to close to one's own heart. But my post was not meant to anger anyone. Just to stroke the fires so to speak. I believe tsar Nicholas is greatly misunderstood figure in history. He was many things. Some bad and perheps some good.

"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"-WORLD CONQUEST THROUGH WORLD JEWISH GOVERNMENT.

Got it. I had to look it up. Just what I thought though. Hate book. I'm not for them but at the period of time many people, especially those strong in the Christian faith like Nicholas or even Henry Ford.


I can't explain it. When I read the Bible it tells me to love thy neighbor.

lexi4

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #385 on: April 19, 2005, 10:15:18 PM »
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You've got me there, Elisabeth.  I really have reached a low ebb when I'm using Alexandra's views to make a point about anything.  As Botkin told his daughter shortly before the revolution, as a medical practitioner he could "no longer certify the Empress as entirely normal."


That is very interesting, I was unaware of that. Could you tell me where to find it? Thank you.

lexi4

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #386 on: April 19, 2005, 10:20:05 PM »
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Granted, there were negative parental influences on Nicholas.  But such influences can produce strength of character and a determination to prove oneself as well as weakness.  A lot depends on the raw material.


I agree, but at some point we all have to stand up and take responsibility for our own lives. In some ways, Nicholas was ever the victim.

olga

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #387 on: April 19, 2005, 10:49:45 PM »
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On this day of days when white smoke pours from chimneys, let me remind you of one of Nicholas' fine traits. He was deeply religious.


Just to let you know Crimson, not everybody here holds religion as high as you do.

lexi4

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #388 on: April 20, 2005, 12:32:24 AM »
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If we must stone someone- how abot Nicholas' father. He is just as much too blame for Russia's misfortunes.
 


And the actions of Nicholas's father were in part, reactions to the actions of his father.

bluetoria

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Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad
« Reply #389 on: April 20, 2005, 05:44:24 AM »
Hello Crimson Snow welcome to the forum.  :)

The point that you make about Nicholas's devotion to his religion is, I think, very valid because, whether or not his decisions can be seen as justified in retrospect, he did not flinch from his faith even when faced with what must have been a devastation of all he believed in.

This leads on to another point which I have asked before.
What EXACTLY is meant by Nicholas' weakness?

There are many aspects of his character which show strength:
1. He had the sttrength of character to adhere to his faith in spite of his circumstances.
2. He had the strength of character to remain faithful to his wife - in spite of many opportunities to be unfaithful.
3. Physically he was a strong man, who exercised regularly.
4. He had the strength & stamina to work for long hours, often until very late at night, alone in his study.
5. He had the strength to stand up to his ministers when he decided to take charge of the army during WWI.
6. He had the strength to stand up to de Witte in the Russo-Japanese War.
7. He had the strength to stand up to Cousin Willy's threats at the outbreak of WWI.
8. He had the strength to accept his role as Tsar - even though it was not what he personally wanted.
9. He had the strength to maintain his belief in the divinely appointed role of the Tsar - again even though it would have been easier for him to abdicate sooner.
10. As a small boy he saw his grandfather dying after having been blown to pieces - & there is little reference to this in his later life.
11. He suffered terribly at the sight of his sick son, yet continued outwardly stoically as though nothing untoward was happening shows incredible self-control & strength of character.


These things may not (with the benefit of hindsight) always be to his credit nor were his beliefs always what we would regard today as reasonable. Nevertheless, HE believed them and had the strength to adhere to them.

Therefore I wonder again what EXACTLY is meant by weakness?
That he didn't do what people wanted him to do  (is that weakness) ?
That he would not listen to the advice of other members of his family (is that weakness) ?
That he was concerned enough about his wife's psychological health & his son's physical health to allow her to keep Rasputin (is that weakness) ?
That he enjoyed being at home with his family (is that weakness) ?
That he wept at his father's death & found the prospect of taking on so difficult a role? (is that weakness) ?

Who can say what is meant by Nicholas' weakness?