Author Topic: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?  (Read 232345 times)

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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2010, 03:06:27 PM »
One of the contributing factors that noone really speaks about is Russia's victory in the Russian Turkish wars in 1877.  As well after their defeat in Korea in the Russo Japanese war, Nicholas decided to become more involved in the Balkans in the hope of getting access to a warm water port (Constantinople).

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2010, 03:23:26 PM »
One of the contributing factors that noone really speaks about is Russia's victory in the Russian Turkish wars in 1877.  As well after their defeat in Korea in the Russo Japanese war, Nicholas decided to become more involved in the Balkans in the hope of getting access to a warm water port (Constantinople).

Thanks for the information. I hadn't thought of this, and no one's brought it to my attention before.

It seems to me a warm water port is something any tsar (and/or dictator) worth his salt would aspire to. So I'm still not convinced that World War I was avoidable for Russia, (geo)politically speaking (of course it was avoidable practically speaking, but then at the most basic level almost anything is avoidable).

In terms of Russia's readiness or willingness to go to war, I think one also has to take into account the rise of the Pan-Slavist movement among educated Russians (to this day, Russian public opinion views Serbia and for that matter most of the Balkans as naturally part of the Russian sphere of interest/influence, hence Russian anger at the NATO bombing of Kosovo). Also, Russian nationalism in general was very strong at the turn of the century. As for that matter was German nationalism, Serbian nationalism, Hungarian nationalism, Polish nationalism, and so on and so forth. Nationalism was in fact a powerful political force all across Central and Eastern Europe before and after the first world war.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 03:25:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2010, 03:33:09 PM »
There was an incident prior to 1914 when Russia did not support Serbia and it had its wings clipped.  So there was a lot of anger when Austro Hungary decided to further infringe Serbia's autonomy follwing the assassination of the Austrian crown prince.  That was one of the reasons why Russians were beying for blood.

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #63 on: September 01, 2010, 03:53:06 PM »
Yeah, they wanted blood, they got blood.  *shakes heads*
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #64 on: September 01, 2010, 04:04:35 PM »
They had an army of 1,000,000 but they forgot about technology.

Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #65 on: September 01, 2010, 07:44:09 PM »
They also forgot about supply lines.  They should have learned from Napoleon when it came to that, but if they did, they forgot about it 100 years later.

The Eastern Front was huge and the supply lines were long and very much out of date.

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #66 on: September 01, 2010, 08:02:06 PM »
Quote
They should have learned from Napoleon when it came to that, but if they did, they forgot about it 100 years later.

Hitler would make that same mistake in 1941.
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Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #67 on: September 01, 2010, 08:10:16 PM »
I remember reading that Russia depended on the vastness of her lands to help in the fighting off of any invaders as if the land itself was a "fifth column".    But World War I was different in what another poster already said.

Technology.  Russia was desperately behind the rest of Europe.

And then there was the lack of organization of the movement of troop trains and hospital trains and the freight trains which would have been carrying those needed supplies.

In WWI the whole supply line thing was working in reverse against the Russians as it had worked against Napoleon and as you said Hitler in 1941.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #68 on: September 01, 2010, 08:28:48 PM »
All of you are just driving more nails into the coffin of my revisionist fantasies.

Okay, so we're all agreed that there's no way a monarchical or even a moderately democratic Russia could have emerged from the debacle of World War I?
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #69 on: September 02, 2010, 03:38:17 AM »
Well supply lines are logistics and logistics depend on technology.  Kaiser Wilhelm once studied Barnum and Bailey's Circus when it came to Germany and studied the speed of loading and unloading of railway carriages and applied this to his army.

I think if the right leader had been available, then Russia may have been transmogrified into a democracy.  The last possible leader that I know of who had the skills to accomplish that was Count Witte and he died in 1915.  By the way, Witte advised the Tsar to stay out of the conflict.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2010, 06:09:55 AM »
'There was an incident prior to 1914 when Russia did not support Serbia and it had its wings clipped.'

Was this the Austrian takeover of Bosnia Herzegovina in 1908?

We also need to remember that Russia in 1914 had treaty obligations towards France and it would have been politically disastrous at an international level to renege on them.

Ann

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2010, 06:27:57 AM »
I am not sure but I definitely remember one incident where Russians were annoyed that their government did not support their slavic brothers.

Well it is highly unlikely that Austro Hungary would have attacked France and Germany was not prepared to take on France directly as they knew that France had treaties with a number of other countries, including Britain.  I am not sure whether a war would have taken place had Russia not mobilized but it may have been the case.

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #72 on: September 02, 2010, 09:51:03 AM »
Sounds to me that poor Nicky just got in over his head in the First World War.  Germany was much smaller, but far more advanced.  The Industrial Revolution had more or less passed Russia by, while Germany had been built up by it.

Nicky fatally underestimated how much the IR had built Germany up.
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2010, 01:16:36 PM »
Well actually Count Witte was trying to industrialize Russia but he had a late start.  Most of the positive things happening in Russia from 1880 to the first world war have Witte's imprints on them.

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #74 on: September 02, 2010, 02:16:57 PM »
When looking for something else,  I ran across Fige's statements about Russia and if it was prepared for WWI.  He said on  p. 253:  "By 1914 Russia was spending more than Germany on her armed forces:  over one-third of all government expenditures.  It is not true, as historians later claimed, that the Russian army was unprepared for war.  In manpower and material it was at least the equal of the German army, and, thanks to the recent improvements of Russia's western railways, took only three days more than its enemy to complete its mobilization."
...[in part]...
AGRBear


>>Decades under consideration have traditionally been treated by Soviet and Western historians as a prelude to the Soviet period.  In the West, such treatment usually takes place in the context of the old but ever present controversy between the "optimists" on one hand the "pessimists" on the other.  The optimists understandably emphasize the advances of Imperial russia in industry, agriculture, education, labor, and the creation of responsible, educated citizens who were gradually becoming constructive contributors to the government's political activitiy [stet].  All these elements were moving consciously or unconsciously toward full parliamentary government--all that was need was time.  But alas, the war, with it's accompanying strains and tensions, frustrated these efforts and put an end to constitutional hopes.  The pessimists, as could be expected, described all this activity as a "superficial glow," brought about partly by the government's half solutions but offering no justification for the outcome expected by the optimists.<<  p. 4  RUSSIA UNER THE LAST TSAR edited by T.G. Stavrou.

Optimist:

Germany would not have defeated the Russians, by March of 1917  they were losing their edge because of they couldn't continue to contain  two fronts for much longer.   Germany was like a candle burning at both ends and so desperate that they sent Lenin back to Russia with a train load of gold to support the revolutionaries, who promised to end the war and give Germany just one front, the western one.

Had WWI ended with   Nicholas II  still at the helm,  he would have stood bleeding and wounded.   The exhausted and weary Emperor might well have signed his abdication if his generals had at that time demanded it.  Nicholas II would  and given his world over to his brother Michael, who would have set up a new Duma, with new rules and new blood, and they would have been on a very slow track to a parliamentary government.   There, of course,  would have been uprisings like there had been....  

Pessimist:

This slow boat was NOT taken and it ended up wrecked in a river of blood....

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152