Author Topic: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?  (Read 223239 times)

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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #75 on: September 02, 2010, 02:31:23 PM »
There is another hypothetical situation.  If Germany and Austro Hungary had been forced to invade Russia, sooner or later they would have been obliterated and there would have been no western front. Or at least it would have been France following up the rear of the Germans and AHs

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #76 on: September 02, 2010, 05:10:10 PM »
There is another hypothetical situation.  If Germany and Austro Hungary had been forced to invade Russia, sooner or later they would have been obliterated and there would have been no western front. Or at least it would have been France following up the rear of the Germans and AHs

Sorry, you've lost me. I thought that was precisely what imperial Germany did do, invade the Russian empire, in the last years of the war. Otherwise, how exactly did they enforce their treaty with the Bolsheviks, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk? Could it be because they were already in place, on the ground, occupying Poland and the Baltic states, not to mention the Ukraine? Seems to me that at this point in the war Germany had any Russian government over a barrel, whether it was Kerensky's or Lenin's.

Of course, after this major victory Germany moved most of its troops back to the Western front. But yes, it's true, in invading the Russian empire Germany was over-stretching its resources (originally in the illusory hope that the "black earth" region of the Ukraine would supply much needed food to Germany), nevertheless, it was still a very real, threatening military presence in the former Russian empire in the years 1917-1918. After the signing of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918), which basically carved up the Russian empire and humiliated the Russian government in the most unconscionable way imaginable, one of the Russian generals actually left the delegation and shot himself.
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #77 on: September 02, 2010, 09:50:48 PM »
I meant going deep ino Russia itself not its political colonnies like Poland and Ukraine and I meant without Russia losing so many troops on an offensive.  This would have absorbed most of the Germans in much the same way as it did in the Second World War and would have allowed the Russians to cut off supply lines much the same way as they did during the Napleonic incursion.  In this way, Nicholas would not have been the scapegoat.

Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #78 on: September 03, 2010, 01:37:47 AM »
True, the harsh Russian winter would have taken the same toll on the Kaiser's troops as it did Hitler's, a generation later.
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Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #79 on: September 03, 2010, 02:25:41 AM »
There seemed to have been the customary winter slow down during WWI.  Everyone geared up for a new "summer offensive" but didn't do much fighting during the winter unless it was to the south were the weather was not as harsh?

Also, after Brest Litvosk, the Germans took over many parts of Russia including Sevastopol as was shown by the retreat of the Sevastopol Soviet troops and the defence of the Imperial Family in the Crimea by the Germans.

Then the Germans fell back and it became time for the Imperial Family to get a move on and take up the British offer to leave on the Marlborough.


Otto von Bismark knew that Germany could not fight on both sides at the same time and always worked to steer the Kaiser from making enemies of Russia and France at the same time.  But of course he was no longer in favor and died in 1898 long before the war began and his successor von Buelow was not as smart, it would seem.

In February 1888, during a Bulgarian crisis, Bismarck addressed the Reichstag on the dangers of a European war.

He warned of the imminent possibility that Germany will have to fight on two fronts; he spoke of the desire for peace; then he set forth the Balkan case for war and demonstrates its futility: "Bulgaria, that little country between the Danube and the Balkans, is far from being an object of adequate importance… for which to plunge Europe from Moscow to the Pyrenees, and from the North Sea to Palermo, into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At the end of the conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought."[32]


It sounds as if Bismark would have said the same about Serbia.

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #80 on: September 03, 2010, 02:48:01 AM »
Unfortunately Brest Litovsk was a capitulation and not what I had in mind.  What i had in mind was the 1,000,000 plus Russian army skirmishing at points and carrying on a guerilla campaign of snipering and landmines etc.

Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #81 on: September 03, 2010, 03:26:22 AM »
Unfortunately Brest Litovsk was a capitulation and not what I had in mind.  What i had in mind was the 1,000,000 plus Russian army skirmishing at points and carrying on a guerrilla campaign of sniping and landmines etc.

I am sorry C - but now you have lost me!

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #82 on: September 03, 2010, 09:10:44 AM »
What I wrote originally was that instead of attacking the Austro Hungarians and the Germans, it would have been better if Nicholas had not mobilised and let the Germans and Austro Hungarians invade Russian.  Someone said well they invaded Poland after teh first world war began and that wasnt what I meant because by that time the Russian army was severely depleted.  I meant let them come as far into Russia as posssible and then form the Russian army into a combination of small units and guerilla units.  Sooner or later the German Army would have been decimated as the Russins would have been armed and assisted by the French and the British who then could have attacked from the West.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #83 on: September 03, 2010, 09:25:29 AM »
I meant going deep ino Russia itself not its political colonnies like Poland and Ukraine and I meant without Russia losing so many troops on an offensive.  This would have absorbed most of the Germans in much the same way as it did in the Second World War and would have allowed the Russians to cut off supply lines much the same way as they did during the Napleonic incursion.  In this way, Nicholas would not have been the scapegoat.

I see what you're saying, but while such a deliberate Russian retreat into the heartland (as in 1812) might have made sense during World War I as a military strategy (and that's highly debatable), it would have been absolute political suicide on Nicholas II's part. Even in the early years of the war his empress was already commonly believed to be a German spy. If Nicholas had decided to "strategically" withdraw Russian troops into Russia proper, can you imagine what the public response in urban areas would have been? There would have been a military coup d'état and/or revolution long before February 1917, in Petersburg at least.

Also, I have to say, such a retreat makes no sense to me militarily, either, because while support for the war effort remained fairly strong in the cities throughout NII's reign, it was always relatively weak in the countryside. Where would these partisans and guerilla fighters you are talking about (who would defend the motherland from German aggression!) - I ask you, where would they have come from? The peasantry wanted nothing to do with the war, most of them didn't even know what it was about; defeatism was rampant among the rank and file of the Russian army. On too many levels it was not the same situation as it had been one hundred years before, during the Napoleonic Wars, or for that matter, as it would be decades later, when the Nazis' murderous economic and racial policies in the occupied Soviet Union drove most ordinary people to choose the lesser devil, Stalin, over Hitler (to mangle Churchill's quote).
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 09:29:05 AM by Elisabeth »
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #84 on: September 03, 2010, 09:47:02 AM »
Well first of all recruitment at the beginning of World War one was relatively easy as there was a great patriotic feeling about going to war.  it was only after the disaster of the  Battle of Tannenburg and then the ensuing decimation of the Russian army that enthusiasm wained.  you might be surprised how enthusiastically even people who hate their government are about defending their homeland when they are invaded.  And the Tsaritsa might have been seen as a liability or not. 

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #85 on: September 03, 2010, 10:02:03 AM »
Constantinople, what you're proposing is just so politically and militarily unrealistic... if Nicholas had followed the game plan you've outlined (and I doubt his general staff would have stood for it for one second), he would have been overthrown by his own military and the urban populace would have taken to rioting in the streets. Meanwhile the peasantry would be welcoming the German troops with bread and salt in most places - not only in Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, and Belorussia, but even in Russia proper. The Russian peasantry didn't give a damn about Russia, most of them didn't even understand the concept of "Russia" - they were still living in the 17th century, when peasants across Europe thought of themselves as "belonging" to a particular province or region, but had no clue when it came to the concepts of nation or state. No, my old history professor was right, given such a scenario, Russia even if it managed to maintain a degree of autonomy would have emerged half its size and little more than a German satellite.
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Offline TimM

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #86 on: September 03, 2010, 10:16:15 AM »
I can see his point, Russia could have just sat there and said "bring it on" to the Germans.  Russia would have had the home field advantage, they knew the land, the Germans didn't.  Besides, as I said, the harsh Russian winter would have worked in their favour.  They knew how to deal with it, foreign invaders didn't (as both Napoleon and Hitler found out the hard way).  How many troops could Germany have kept there, considering they still had the West to deal with, and the entry of the U.S. into the war in 1917.

Had he played his cards right, things might have gone better for poor Nicky.  Alas, we'll never know.
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Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #87 on: September 03, 2010, 10:36:28 AM »
Well it is a hypothetical solution.  Who knows what would have happened.  In my mind the Germans would have been exhausted and depleted by about 1916 and might have used its submarines at that time to torpedo American freighters supplying the allies.  there may not have been trench warfare and possibly different methods of miltary machinery than were invented for the first world war could have been invented. But it is hypothetical so who knows but at least Nicholas couldnt have been blamed for making the first move and then a disasterous followup.

Alixz

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #88 on: September 03, 2010, 10:42:40 AM »
I agree with Elizabeth.  Perhaps without having suffered through the defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, Nicholas might have been able to sit back and let the Germans come in (of course Alexandra was a handicap, but was she in the very beginning of the war?)

But after losing badly to Japan and suffering through the Treaty of Portland (I have always thought that New Hampshire was a strange place to have a treaty meeting) Nicholas could not just sit back.  

He could have mobilized and brought the troops to the border without stepping over the "national boundary", because Nicholas Nicholaevich was the Commander in Chief at the time and any action didn't look quite so bad on the Tsar himself.

But everyone in every country thought that this war was going to be "a piece of cake" and be over by Christmas which was only about 5 months from its declaration.  No one had any idea that it would become a slow moving trench war and just slowly kill off men and patriotism over the course of four years.

In my humble estimation, anything Nicholas could have done to preserve the Imperial Throne would have had to have begun almost from the day of the ascension.

By August of 1914, there was not too much left to do but sit and wait for the inevitable.

Constantinople - had guerrilla warfare even been invented before 1914?  Weren't the armies still studying Napoleon and Julius Caesar and trying to move about in squares and cavalry charges?  I think they would have thought it dishonorable to fight a guerrilla war in 1914.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 10:46:41 AM by Alixz »

Constantinople

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Re: What Could Nicholas II Have Done to Preserve the Imperial Throne?
« Reply #89 on: September 03, 2010, 11:04:43 AM »
Well the term cmes from Spain in the Napolenic war.  It was common in the Civil war and probably a lot of wars in history and probably occurred when Russia was invaded by Napoleon.  My gut feeling is that if occurred well back into history.