Author Topic: Nicholas and his father  (Read 16074 times)

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Offline Cody

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Nicholas and his father
« on: January 18, 2010, 03:43:58 PM »
Hey, everyone,

I have been wanting to verify a reference that Count Witte made in regards to Nicholas II, when he was still tsarevich.
The story, that most of you have probably heard, is that Witte suggested to Alexander III about having Nicholas on the committee to help build the Trans-Siberian railway, and Alexander III said: "What do you even know the tsarevich?"
I have thought that this quote was in Count Witte's memoirs, but I have been unable to find it there.  I am wondering if someone can tell me the source of the quote--regardless of whether or not you agree with Alexander III or Count Witte?

Thanks,

Cody
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Alixz

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 09:31:29 AM »
All I have is a cryptic entry from the "NOTES" section of Nicholas and Alexandra    by Robert Massie.

In the hard cover edition on page 542 the note reads:


 "What, but you know the Tsarevich?" : Quoted in an introductory passage in N's Diary, 45. 

This doesn't say much and indicates that the quote came from Nicholas's Diary.  That would seem strange to me. 

But that is what I have.

Offline Sergei Witte

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2010, 12:50:03 AM »
I have thought that this quote was in Count Witte's memoirs, but I have been unable to find it there.  I am wondering if someone can tell me the source of the quote--regardless of whether or not you agree with Alexander III or Count Witte?


See page 125 of Count Wittes memoirs by Sidney Harcave. The emperor asked Witte if he ever spoke to the Tsarevich. Witte said that he never had the pleasure. The emperor replied: "He is nothing but a boy, whose judgments are childish".

Alixz

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2010, 10:33:43 AM »
Oh, I know.  I was just trying to give a source note.

Actually, Massie quotes the whole thing in his book, but that is what he says his source is and I found it to be cryptic and not a clear route to a source at all.

Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2010, 03:36:38 PM »
From what I read in Greg and Penny's book, Fate Of The Romanov's, I would not nominate Alexander III as Father Of The Year.  He was horrible to Nicky as a child.   He even said to him once:  "You are a little girlie!"

Poor Nicky, the guy just couldn't catch  a break.
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Lady Nikolaievna

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 04:44:57 PM »
Really, TimM? I know he wasn't a very warm father, as Nicky were, but I didn't know he called Nicky a girlie.  :o
Do you have any sources?

Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 08:08:12 PM »
Fate Of The Romanov's by Greg King and Penny Wilson.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

Lady Nikolaievna

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 08:14:43 PM »
Thank you very much  :D
I'm dying to read this but I can't find it in my country...  :(

Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 03:35:19 PM »
Can you send away for it internationally?
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Alixz

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 06:12:31 PM »
For any and all books you can just Google it.  Amazon may still have it, but if it too far out of print, just type  "out of print books" in Google and you will get a whole list of companies that specialize in hard to find and out of print books from all over the world.

I have bought books from Australia, South Africa, European countries as well as the USA.

Offline Clemence

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2012, 10:10:11 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN7IzV4eTQE

It's cut in the end but I think you can immagine the rest of what Alexander III said ...

What I'd like to know is if Nicholas was the favorite child or granchild of somebody, and I believe he wasn't! Maybe this was one of the reasons why he was so badly attached to his wife later on?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 10:14:02 AM by Clemence »
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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »

Great clip Clemence!

Its filmed in the entrance hall of Holkham Hall in Norfolk, England. Its does a good stand in for St Petersburg though, not sure about the actor playing Alexander III, he looked more like Grand Duke Nicholas to me.

There's a great deal of evidence that Nicholas II was very close to his mother and his siblings, especially Grand Duke George. Maybe the need for secrecy about the Tsarevitch's health made him more insular and turn to his wife so much for support later.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 07:13:48 AM »
As to Alexander III's treatment of Nicholas, I think we have to bear in mind that even today parents tend to have far greater expectations of their first-borns than their later children, and impose higher standards of discipline etc on them. This was only magnified when there were inheritances involved. There also used to be big expectations of the eldest son even if he wasn't the first-born. This was only magnified when there were inheritances involved. This seems to have been taken to extremes with many 19th century royal fathers - look at Prince Albert and Edward VII. The weight of expectations on Wilhelm II came mainly from his mother, but boy, did she make up for his father's relatively laissez-faire attitude! Archduke Rudolf had a very strict upbringing, and he and his father don't seem to have established any form of rapport at all.

In this context, Alexander's attitude to Nicholas was typical of the time - he saw Nicholas as a disappointment, the more so as Nicholas was going to be the next ruler. Contrast his relations with Mikhail and Olga, with whom he was able to relax and have fun.

Ann

Offline edubs31

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2012, 07:52:01 AM »
Yeah it's seems like the only time Nicky really asserted himself during the life of his father was when courting Alix. Neither of his parents were thrilled at the prospect of her becoming his wife and eventual Empress. But Nicholas was determined and won over their disapproval. Alexander acquiesced and died less than seven months later...
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Naslednik

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Re: Nicholas and his father
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2012, 10:31:29 PM »
I ask this question innocently: where is the proof that Alexander III was disappointed in Nicholas?  This is the generally accepted view, and yet it seems as if I've seen little proof.

I don't accept Witte's testimony because when you look at the entirety of his Memoirs you see what baggage Witte had in his relationship with Nicholas (well, his wife, actually).  So his perspective seems questionable.  Witte does talk about how extremely animated and wild Nicky and Gyorgy were as boys (he watched them at a train station) which speaks well of the boys' lack of fear for their father's potential reprisals.