Author Topic: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?  (Read 55334 times)

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Offline griffh

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Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« on: August 24, 2006, 04:11:01 AM »
I am currently reading several books by American diplomats and historians that cover the impact Pres. Wilson had on the Russian Revolution and indirectly on the fate of Nicholas II.  As I read the information in Kenan's, "Russia Leaves the War," it seems as if President Wilson has a disastrous impact on the welfare of the Imperial family.  First came Wilson's April 2, 1917 (new style) Declaration of War.  In his address to Congress, Wilson eulogized the Russian Revolution, which had just occurred on March 15, 1917 (new style), and he used the pseudo-ideological argument between democracy and autocracy as part of his reason for America’s entrance into Europe’s war.  Wilson refused to accept the formation of the Duma in 1906 as having ended the Autocracy in Russia.  He states that “No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith or observe it covenants.”  His misinformed statement not only insulted the sacrifice, stamina, and patriotism of the Emperor and his government to the Allied cause but, tragically, Wilson’s biased ignorance made the ex-Emperor Nicholas politically redundant within a week of his return to Tsarskoe Selo from Mogilev on March 22, 1917 (new style). 

Wilson’s advisor, Lansing, had pointed out in a Cabinet meeting as early as March 20, 1917 (new style), just five days after the Emperor’s abdication and before he had even returned to Tsarskoe Selo, that “…the revolution in Russia…had removed the one objection to affirming that the European war was a war between Democracy and Absolutism; that the only hope of a permanent peace between all nations depended upon the establishment of democratic institutions throughout the world;…”  Lansing’s statement not only destroyed any possibility of the Emperor’s restoration but made it abundantly clear that anyone who desired to reinstate the Ex-Emperor or any member of his family would immediately find themselves an enemy of the American government.  Wilson's Declaration of War changed the entire direction of the conflict by making it a battle between democracy and absolutism, which in turn made Nicholas into an war criminal. 

Nine months later, on January 8, 1918 (the fall of the Provisional Government had occurred on November 12/13, 1917 [new style] ), Wilson delivered his “Fourteen Points” speech to Congress which coincided with the separate peace Trotsky and Lenin were trying to negotiate with Germany.  Without formally recognizing the Bolshevik government, Wilson made it clear in his speech that he was in sympathy with the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty, using the same phrases as Lenin had, such as “anti-imperialistic war aims” and “a peace with out annexations and indemnities.” Again Wilson was misinformed as to the motives of the Bolsheviks in seeking a separate peaca and accused the Germans of duplicity during the negotiations.  Trotsky found Wilson’s Fourteen Points exceedingly helpful in propping up what little political clout the Bolsheviks had during the negotiations. 

But the most disasterous impact of Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech on January 8, 1918 was that it finished off the ex-Emperor and the entire Romanoff family as there was no room for such people in his new world order.  To me, this helps explain in part, why the Counter Revolution made no real efforts to liberate the Imperial family.  The Imperial family’s death 6 months after Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech could be seen as simply a heartless political afterthought of a new world order; a new world order Wilson would promulgate at Versailles in 1919; a new world order that would end in a catastrophic nightmare for Russia by 1920; a new world order that would bankrupt Europe for a century; a new world order that eventually caused the Cold War between the America and the Soviet Union by 1950’s with it’s threat of nuclear extinction that would hang over the world until the end of the century, a century now referred to as “The Century of Blood.” 

I guess I got a little carried away in that last sentence but I never realized how similar Wilson and Lenin were.  By the time Wilson became aware of what was really going on in Russia, he was in a state of total mental collapse.  One of the unanswered questions of the period was the sudden recall of the American Ambassador in 1916, a man that Nicholas had confidence in.  I know that my views are highly personal but still I think that there is something valid to ponder in all of this.   

Paul

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2006, 09:49:52 AM »
Century of Blood is a very apt name for the 20th Century. Hopefully future historians will use it as the common term.

Wilson never struck me as having been a very warm or personable figure. As a rigid doctrinarian, the fate of the Romanovs can't have been very important to him. I can't imagine that their murders resonated very strongly with him at all.

Phil_tomaselli

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2006, 10:13:09 AM »
"Wilson was misinformed as to the motives of the Bolsheviks in seeking a separate peace"

Whatever the possible motives of the Bolsheviks in seeking a separate peace Lenin had always argued that the war was wrong and needed to be opposed.  While he was more than capable of turning his own arguments on their head when it suited, on this at least he was consistent.  Not only that but Russia was in no opsition to continue the war - the army began to dissolve almost as soon as the February Revolution took place and after the failure of the 2nd Brusilov Offensive in the summer of 1917 it had virtually ceased to exist.  When there was the hiatus in the Brest Litovsk negotiations and the Germans began to advance there was nothing to oppose them.

"Wilson’s biased ignorance made the ex-Emperor Nicholas politically redundant within a week of his return to Tsarskoe Selo "

Nicholas was politically redundant pretty much whatever Wilson said.  The February revolution overthrew the autocracy for good and it was only a tiny fraction of the population which wanted it back.  See the posts I wrote on the Rasputin forum for what appear to me to be unbiased opinions, from the period, about popular feeling against Nicholas and his Government.

An interesting set of thoughts but as a European I strongly suspect we'd have gone and got ourselves into pretty much the same mess whatever Wilson said or thought.

Phil Tomaselli

Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2006, 01:14:33 PM »
That is an interesting point Phil_tomaseli.  I and I am sure that it is an informed point of view but I don't happen to feel that the Revolution was inevitable or that Russia could not have fought sucessfully to the end of the war.  Of course such a view puts me in an ackward place and does cast a great deal of doubt as to my credibility.  I don't think it was war exhaustion that brought on the revolution, I believe it had its origin in other places.  

Kennan points out that the arms shortages that had hindered the 1915 campaigns had been solved by 1916 but the problem was that the armaments were bottlenecked in Vladivostok because of the breakdown of the trains compounded by the severe winter of 1916.  Kennan estimates that by the Spring of 1917, 662,000 tons of armaments and supplies were still awaiting removal.  Even though the warehouses had added an additional 82,000 square feet they could not hold all the supplies and consequently the supplies and armaments were "scattered all over the cityand it's environs: on vacant lots, in side streets, on suburban hillsides..."  It is this horde that the French were so frieghtened that the Germans would get after the Revolution broke.  But as Kennan points out that no one seems to realize that because of the deplorable conditon of the Russian railways, it would have take several years to transport the supplies to the interior of Russia.  Phil I there is an economic question that I want to explore too that involves America going from a debtor nation in 1914 to a creditor nation by 1918 and that is what gave Wilson's political agenda teeth.  I will share some of these remarks in another post that come from reading Luchenburg's, "The Perils of Prosperity."  


Yes Paul I agree with you.  I can't remember which statesman or aristocrat it was that called Wilson the American Lenin.  I also love Clemenceau’s observation during the 1919 Peace conference in Paris, that Wilson apparently believed himself to be “the first man who in 2,000 years had known anything about peace on earth.”  

But Queen Marie nailed Wilson.  I love her stormy encounters with Wilson at the Peace Conference.  After realizing how difficult it became to arrange a meeting with Wilson during the conference she finally concluded that Wilson felt “The world had selected him as the great Arbiter of Peace…Wherever he went, he was being received as a sort of Messiah…So much indeed had his head been turned…that he wondered if, being ‘Democracy’s Savior,’ it was not under his dignity to visit the Queen of Romania—a mere Queen!”    

During the Queen’s luncheon with the President and his wife, Wilson started lecturing the Marie in his detached superior way on how she should treat the minorities in her country, spreading “himself out at great length” on the topic.  Tiring of his pomposity and condescension, the Queen waited until Wilson paused to take a breath, and she too the opportunity to mildly suggest “…that he was evidently well acquainted with these difficulties because of the Negro and Japanese question in the United States.  Upon this he bared his rather long white teeth in a polite smile, drew up his eyebrows and declared he was not aware there was a Japanese question in America?”  

During an earlier interview when the Queen tried to open Wilson’s eyes to “a few savory details” about the Communist rule in Russia, Queen Marie had to stop as she realized her comments were shocking him.  And this is the same man that told Congress in January 1918 concerning the new Bolshevik rule that “The Russian people…call to say what it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose and spirit differ from theirs; and I believe the people of the United States would wish me to respond, with utter simplicity and frankness.”  Wilson was as clever as Lenin by addressing his remarks, not to the Bolshevik government or Lenin as the American government had not officially recognized them as yet, but to the Russian people.  Lenin used the same strategy by addressing his remarks to the American proletariat and never directly to the American Government which he refused to accept as legitimate.  



  

Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2006, 01:15:57 PM »
But, as I said before, it was Wilson’s grandstanding on the first Russian Revolution to polarize an indifferent American public into entering WWI that vilified Nicholas.  Wilson’s remarks in April 1917 tore Nicholas from his people and even the Russian national character.  I know that Nicholas had already abdicated but that act alone did not remove him from entirely from recovering his throne.  It was the Wilson’s political agenda that finished off Nicholas as Wilson made more than clear in April 1917: 

 “Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening with the last few weeks in Russia? …The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their naïve majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace.  Here is a fit partner for a league of honor.”

…a Russia inspired by these great ideals will realize more than ever the duty which it owes to humanity and the necessity for preserving internal harmony in order that as a united and patriotic nation it may overcome the autocratic power which by force and intrigue menaces the democracy which the Russian people have proclaimed.”

The other thing I briefly alluded to in my first post was the American Ambassador being recalled in 1916.  The Ambassador was Mr. George T. Marye of San Francisco.  He was appointed to the newly revived post of Ambassador to Russia in 1914.  The post had laid vacant since December 1911 when President Taft terminated it’s 1837 commercial treaty with Russia.  Because there was considerable ill feeling on both sides, only a chargé d’affaires held the post in St. Petersburg; a non-entity that was considered to be a persona non grata at court and in society.

But things had cooled off enough by 1914 and American business interests had grown quickly in Russia so that Taft appointed Marye as Ambassador to Russia.  When the American government pressed the Russian Foreign Office for their response to the appointment, they responded that “Mr. Marye’s presence…was not necessary, but of course he come if he wished; the Emperor would receive him, provided he was that at that time, although this was not at all certain.”

Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2006, 01:17:11 PM »
Now I want to quote directly from Kennan’s book as it is covers Marye’s suspicious recall in 1916.  Kennan says that inspite of the lukewarm response from the Russian Foreign office:

“Marye nevertheless proceeded to his post, was received by the Emperor, and served as ambassador at Petrograd until March 1916.  He gained a strong personal attachment to the imperial family and was himself apparently much appreciated in court circles.  In February 1916, however, he suddenly asked for his recall, ostensibly on grounds of health, but actually, according to his own account, because ‘political combinations had arisen at home which affected me and …I felt impelled to withdraw.’”

“The real reasons for this sudden withdrawal are still obscure.  Its abruptness produced a deplorable impression on the Russian government, which suspected some new species of affront.  “Doesn’t your Government care anything for our friendship?”  Marye was asked by the Russian Foreign Ministry at the time of his departure.  This, naturally, did not make things easy for his successor.”

Marye’s successor was David R. Francis, a business man and ex mayor of St. Louis, ex governor of Missouri, former Secretary of the Interior under President Cleveland, and President of the St. Louis World’s Fair.  He arrived in Petrograd in April 1916 on the arm of a fellow traveling companion, Madame deCram whose husband associations with an Austrian and German backed Insurance company, caused him to flee Russia to avoid being arrested along with the Minister of War, Sukhomlinov.  Madame deCram was suspected by the Russian counter-intelligence to be a German agent though Kennan suggests that the charges against the deCrams were part of the war hysteria prevalent in Petrograd in the Spring of 1916.  The spy mania was not all hysteria as the arrest and execution of Russian traitor, Colonel Miassoyedoff, Sukhomlinov’s close friend, proves.  There was also the sudden death of Count Witte during this time that made some individuals suspect that Witte could have somehow been compromised as it was no secret that he was pro-German.  And there was the discovery that the Assistant Russian Military Agent in Paris, Captain Benson, was exposed as a German spy. 

Well David Francis, either because of his questionable friendship with a suspected german agent, or because of his unfamiliarity with foreign diplomacy, had a difficult time staying informed as to the state of Russian affairs.  Of course, in all fairness to David Francis, the man had been dropped into a political cauldron that was about to explode and he was there without any prior experience or preparation.  Also he was living in the shadow of the disapprobation caused by Mayre’ sudden departure. 


Bev

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Interesting
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2006, 02:24:15 PM »
but I cannot agree with any of your conclusions.

1.  Your characterization of Wilson's argument for entry into the war as "pseudo ideological" is somewhat puzzling.  Do you mean that there are no ideological differences between autocracy and democracy or that Wilson's seeking a declaration of war was based on ulterior, insidious motives?  Neither conclusion is correct in my opinion.  The first is obvious - autocracy and democracy are polar opposites.  The second is somewhat more obscure - there are always ulterior motives for seeking a declaration of war, in this case our trade was so disrupted and in such danger that Wilson had no choice but to join with the allies in shutting down German imperial dominance - our sea lanes were not safe.  The primary duty of any democratic, capitalistic government is to keep trade routes open and provide protection to its citizens.  Wilson rightfully rejected the Russian duma as a sign of the democratization of Russia.  Tsar Nicholas agreed to its formation only because it was politically expedient, when he felt he had regained strength, he dissolved it.  Autocracies do not have to keep their word, that's the poiint of autocracies, they do what they will.

2.  Of course Wilson would object to any government which opposed self-determination of the people.  Monarchy and absolute monarchy are abhorrent to all democrats.  The Wilsonian doctrine has been hijacked by today's expansionists but it is based on the sound argument that democratic institutions are more likely to promote peaceful settlements of international disputes based upon equal application of the law in agreement with contractual obligations negotiated through treaties.  

3.  Wilson may have been an idealist, but he was also pragmatic and somewhat devious.  Lansing's remark was not in support of bolshevism, but in response to the American progressives who objected to our entry into the war (and mounted an aggressive campaign to keep us out of war) as a propping up of an autocratic regime, which was stifling political progressivism in Russia.  Lansing and Wilson were both anti-bolshevik, but without the support of the American progressive movement they would have been blocked from getting a declaration of war from congress.  Public opinion in the United States was running high against U.S. intervention and both Lansing and Wilson thougth that the abdication of the Tsar pulled the rug out from under the progressives' arguments against our entry into the war.  I doubt that Lansing's statement in a private cabinet meeting in reference to an internal U.S. political problem sealed the fate of the Tsar.  Wilson also agreed with the allies that the greater danger was bolshevism, but he adamantly opposed the idea floated by the British and French, in early 1918, of re-arming the Germans to fight the bolsheviks.  Wilson knew that the American public would never support this idea and in fact it would be disastrous to the current war effort.  The Wilson administration also opposed efforts to re-establish an Eastern front.  The result would have been to arm the revolutionaries in Russia rather than worry the Germans.  The U.S. military was also firmly convinced that the war was to be won on the Western front and to deflect resources would only have prolonged the war.

4.  Wilson's 14 point speech made no difference whatsoever in the fate of the Romanov family.  By the time he made the speech almost all viable and acceptable members to lead a restoration were imprisoned.  The most obvious reason why the Romanov family were killed in July of 1918, was that was the month when Lenin first proposed a bolshevik constitution.  By eliminating the royal family, Russia would have no choice but to go forward with a different kind of goverment than a monarchy, whether absolute or
constitutional.  It would not have mattered if Wilson supported a restoration monarchy, there was no one to restore.  I also would point out that America at that time was not the world superpower that it became after WW II.  We had neither the army nor the navy to support any kind of overt action to promote a monarchy or any other kind of goverment in Russia.  

5.  The claim that Wilson supported bolshevism is wrong.  Wilson despised it and the number and amount of covert actions, plus the overt action of the administration in extending the naval blockade and cutting off aid to Russia when the bolsheviks siezed power, would indicate that there was no support at all for Lenin and his party.  After the war, in 1919, Wilson did agree to arming German troops to fight bolshevism, finally, but American law would not allow for American troops to be sent to Russia, nor would it have been legal to overtly send funds to Russia to fight the revolutionaries, although that did not preclude his administration from taking advantage of every legal loophole they could find to send funds, food and weapons.

6.  As to the arguments that Wilson's  14 pts culminating in the idea of a "League of Nations" directly resulted in the destruction and ruination of Europe for the rest of the century, is simply not true.  Europe seeded its own destruction with the punitive and cruel Treaty of Versailles, exactly as Wilson warned them it would.  By not settling territorial disputes with legal, humane treaties, they set themselves up for endless inflictions of humiliations, retribution and the nursing of seething grudges. 

Alixz

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2006, 02:27:58 PM »
I just finished Crowns in Conflict by Theo Aronson and in it he mentions Wilson and his Fourteen Points as a part of the reason for the lack of true concern about the Imperial Family and their ultimate fate.

I am going to get the book back out and find the right passages and do some quoting.  But if I remember, it was about the countries having to be self  determining and the monarchies would not be acceptable in his new "world peace order".  I know I sound vague here, but I will get back with all the right information.

I have always been fascinated by Wilson and his attitude toward the Great War and his "contributions" to the peace.  I find all of the points made here to be interesting and right on point.

While I was typing, Bev, posted.  She has some of the informaion I was looking for and I will still get it as well.  And she is correct, the Treaty of Versailles was what set in motion the path to WWII and to Viet Nam and to the Gulf Wars.


Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2006, 12:12:11 AM »
Bev you must be the voice of my great grandmother who felt Wilson was a saint.  And in someway I am grateful for your strong support of the man.  I am also grateful for you carefully ordered objections as it makes it so much easier to clarify my points.  I am sure that we will continue to share a very different point of view.  Can we just concentrate on the first set of objections.  


1.   Your characterization of Wilson's argument for entry into the war as "pseudo ideological" is somewhat puzzling.  Do you mean that there are no ideological differences between autocracy and democracy or that Wilson's seeking a declaration of war was based on ulterior, insidious motives?  Neither conclusion is correct in my opinion.  The first is obvious - autocracy and democracy are polar opposites. .

Now, as to my use of the deliberately provoking phrase "pseudo Ideological.”  I did not mean to imply that there are not serious ideological differences between autocracy and democracy.   I was addressing Wilson’s ignorance of the then current political structure of Russia.  Kennan states that Wilson had no real knowledge of Russian politics at all and had gained most of his knowledge from small interest groups in America who had grievances against Russia.  I was trying in an edgy way to expose Wilson’s ignorance, i.e. Wilson’s artificial political knowledge of Russia by using the phrase “his pseudo ideological” argument to Congress.  Bev I will expand on this more clearly when I discuss the Duma below.      



The second is somewhat more obscure - there are always ulterior motives for seeking a declaration of war, in this case our trade was so disrupted and in such danger that Wilson had no choice but to join with the allies in shutting down German imperial dominance - our sea lanes were not safe.  The primary duty of any democratic, capitalistic government is to keep trade routes open and provide protection to its citizens.
 

I did not mean to imply that Wilson’s other statements about German aggression were not valid and certainly were reason enough for Wilson’s desire that America join in the last the 19 months of the War (actually it is estimated that by the time American troops were deployed to Europe and put under the leadership of foreign officers there only remained 16 months of warfare).  The increasing German aggression directed towards America; the German destruction of American cargo ships and passage liners were undoubtedly real issues.  
 

Wilson rightfully rejected the Russian duma as a sign of the democratization of Russia.  Tsar Nicholas agreed to its formation only because it was politically expedient, when he felt he had regained strength, he dissolved it.  Autocracies do not have to keep their word, that's the point of autocracies, they do what they will
 

Bev I was not aware of the profound and lasting changes that the establishment of the Duma had established and how it redefined the Russian monarchy until I starting reading Paul P. Gronsky and Nicholas J. Astrov’s book, “The War and the Russian Government,” published in 1929

  


Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2006, 12:15:09 AM »
(post continued)

Gronsky was a former member of the Duma and former Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Petrograd while Astov was the former Mayor of Moscow and Chairman of the Central Committee of the All-Russian Union of Towns.  My point Bev is that Wilson did not know anything about the Duma or the political state of Russian politics when he made those absurd remarks in April 1917 about the Czar’s government. 

Paul P. Gronsky states, “Of all the countries that took part in the Great War, Russia was the youngest constitutional State.  Only nine years before the outbreak of the War—in 1905—Russia had been transformed from an absolute into a constitutional monarchy.”   Gronsky was a former member of the Duma so he was able to explain in detail how the changes were reflected amended Fundamental Laws of 23rd April 1906.  David Prichard has posted the Fundamental Laws if you want to check them out.  Gronsky explains that under those laws, though the Emperor had the right to convoke and prorogue, to adjourn and suspend the sessions of the Duma, the Duma was to assemble every year.  That right could not be taken away by the Emperor. 

Gronsky and Astrov explain that the “Emperor Nicholas II twice dissolved the Duma before the expiration of its term; the first and second Duma were dissolved soon after they opened their sessions in 1906 and 1907, respectively, and on both occasions new elections were ordered to be held within a few months following the dissolution.”
Gronsky explains that usual practice in times of peace was to convoke the Duma in October or November, their sessions lasting, with some intermissions until the following June, but that in actual practice the Duma was in session for six or seven months each year with recesses occurring during Christmas and Easter.   

As Gronsky and Astrov wrote, “…the Emperor had the right to dissolve the Duma entirely, thereby depriving the deputies of their parliamentary powers before the expiration of the term for which they were elected.  The only restriction imposed upon the Emperor’s right of dissolving the Duma was the provision of Article 105 of the Fundamental Laws requiring that the decree of dissolution should also contain an order for new elections to the Duma and state the time of its convocation.  As sessions of the Duma were to be held every year, the period of time within which new elections should be ordered was by implication laid down; the elections should be ordered in such a way as to enable the new Duma to assemble in the following year.” 

Nicholas was the first Russian Ruler to work within a parliamentary government and by 1914 he had accomplished incredible good and had guided the “youngest constitutional state” fighting in World War One with increased tolerance and understanding.  There is no period in Russian History that matches the prosperity of his reign. 

I guess Bev my point is this; for a such a man as the Emperor Nicholas who had successfully guided “the youngest constitutional state’ in WWI for a decade to be labeled as an unspeakably cruel, sinister, un-Russian autocrat by a single term American political egg-head such as Wilson was criminal to say the least.  Had Wilson any knowledge of either Nicholas or Russia’s constitutional government he could never have made such ignorant or malicious statements that not only turned world opinion against a man who had sacrificed everything for the Allied cause but endangered the man's survival, not to mention the survival of his wife and family. 

Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2006, 12:31:22 AM »
Alixz I forgot to add a note of thanks for your information about Crowns in Conflict by Theo Aronson and his point about Wilson and his Fourteen Points as a part of the reason for the lack of true concern about the Imperial Family and their ultimate fate.  That is really interesting and I have got to get that book. 

Bev I will continue to respond to your objections, one at a time, but I have got to get to bed.  Toodle pip....griffh


Bev

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Actually, Kennan himself revised
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2006, 09:45:54 AM »
his opinion of Wilson and Wilson's knowledge of Russian domestic affairs.  In the period 46-8 when Kennan was first coming to prominence, he either didn't know or left out information on the Wilson's administration's covert actions.  Some historians claim that at the time he began writing his white papers, the information was still classified and simply wasn't known, while other historians claim that Kennan left it out because it didn't fit his theory.  Kennan himself claimed that he had revised his opinion on the Wilson administration.  (I might add that if anyone was inadvertantly responsible for the cold war, it was Kennan.)

As to your claim that the Duma changed the Russian monarchy, I agree. It made it profoundly weaker, and set the stage for further concessions from the monarch, culminating in the abdication in 1917.  A constitutional absolute monarchy is a contradiction in terms - either the monarch retains and exercises absolute power, or he is under contractual obligation with elected representatvies of the people to seek their advice and consent.  I can think of few instances when Nicholas did either.  I believe that Nicholas was intellectualy unable to grasp the dynamics of constitutionalism, and saw the duma as a concession made at a weak moment during his reign.  He simply did not understand the concept and lacked the intellectual adaptability needed to change with the country - he agreed to the duma, but did so grudgingly and only when cornered.  Nicholas did not know how to work in conjunction with the legislative body but was always concessionary to what he saw as "demands" by the body and only when  he had to be.  He was always conservative and reactionary at a time when Russia needed a liberal and adaptable monarch. 

If you think that I am defending Wilson, or think that he is a saint, you have drawn the wrong conclusions from my post.  Wilson was a politican first and a statesman second.  This is not a perjorative statement, it is merely acknowledging the fact that in democracies people must be first elected before they can exercise power.  What I find faulty in your claim isn't your personal views of Wilson, (although I do believe that might have coloured your claim, but then I don't care for him either) but your arguments which in my opinion, do not support your claim.  There is no evidence that Wilson influenced the fate of the Romanovs.  Nciholas Romanov was responsible for the fate of his family.

Phil_tomaselli

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2006, 02:28:18 PM »
Bev

You are brilliant in your analysis but you miss one fundamental point.  This whole argument presupposes that Wilson had much power or influence.  Sorry, but from a European perspective he hadn't.

Nice chap to have on our side, no doubt we owed his country money, perhaps he'd sent a few troops to help us win the war, but on the whole, apart from paying lip service to his 14 points, so what????

From Lenin's perspective even more irrelevant.

The whole argument here comes from a US perspective and is basically flawed and inadequate.  Please find me more than one quote from an original Russian source which even mentions Wilson in relation to Lenin's revolution.

Phil Tomaselli



Bev

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Phil
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2006, 08:01:46 PM »
I said that in a previous post.  It's very difficult for people to judge the actions of the United States because it is coloured with today's superpower status.  Up until WW II, Britain was the great superpower, in fact, as I'm sure you know, the United States' economy was greatly dependent on British investment funds.  That was probably the greatest pressure Wilson was under - without that investment money, our economic engine would have been starved of fuel. 

(And yes, I'm aware of the great fortunes made by men such as Carnegie and Mellon, and their purchases of companies in Europe, but in reality the money flowed the other way.  Of course, it was WW I which in fact depleted British reserves, and opened the door for us.  Sadly, this is what is happening now - this war is depleting our reserves, stretching our military to the breaking point and sending us down the road to perdition...such is empire, I suppose.)

Offline griffh

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Re: Did President Wilson help murder Nicholas II?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 08:35:19 AM »
Bev I guess we will have to agree to disagree about the impact of Wilson’s Declaration of War in April 1917 and his “Fourteen Points” address to Congress in January 1918 as having denigrated the Emperor Nicholas to the Allied governments and thereby endangering his survival.  However your remarks about Kennan are somewhat confusing.  Kennan carefully details all of the America agents and agencies and their secrets, as well as the various American Commissions and their counter-espionage activities in Russia.  So I am not sure what secrets you are referring to.  

As for Kennan disliking Wilson, he appears to be over generous in his explanation of that enigmatic man.  As for Kennan’s clarity about Wilson, I find that he accurately describes the two key points about Wilson that I don’t believe any historian disagrees with and which help explain the Wilson’s misinformation about Russia:

“First, Wilson was a man who had never had any particular interest in, or knowledge of, Russian affairs.  He had never been in Russia.  There is no indication that the dark and violent history of that country had ever occupied his attention.  Like many other Americans, he felt a distaste and antipathy for Tsarist autocracy as he knew it, and a sympathy for the revolutionary movement in Russia.  Precisely for this reason, the rapid degeneration of the Russian Revolution into a new form of authoritarianism, animated by a violent preconceived hostility toward western liberalism, was a phenomenon for which he was as little prepared, intellectually, as a great many of his compatriots.”

“Secondly, while Wilson was largely his own Secretary of State insofar as the formation of policy in major questions was concerned, he shared with many other American statesmen a disinclination to use the network of America’s foreign diplomatic missions as a vital and intimate agency of policy.  Nothing was further from his habit and cast of mind that to take the regular envoys into his confidence, to seek their opinions, or to use their facilities for private communication with foreign governments…in the rare instances where this was done, it was mainly an irregular agent, Colonel House…whose services were employed.”

I will post a brief description of the major American players in Russia and their activities as it is interesting to ponder.  

Now as to your remarks about the Emperor creation of a constitutional government in 1905 as having not been genuinely motivated by this young ruler’s honest desire for his own people progress, I can only respond, to that accusation of his insincerity, by quoting late Emperor’s own words from a letter he wrote to his mother on the Oct. 19, 1905 (old style) just two days after he signed the manifesto establishing an Imperial Parliament and the Russian people’s civil rights, on Oct. 17, 1905.  

As you will remember, the Empress Dowager had experienced the near assassination of her son at the blessing of the water in January 1905; herself being covered in shattered glass when the live shell fired from the Fortress barely missed Nicholas and hit the Winter Palace just below the windows where the Court had gathered to view the celebration.  This awful event was followed in rapid order, a few weeks later, by the peaceful march on the Winter Palace of Father Gapon that ended so tragically.  The Empress Dowager had then gone to Denmark to be with her parents and family and had been advised by her son to stay there until it was safe to return.    It must also be remembered, as Anna Viroubova observed, that when Nicholas II, “…wrote a letter it was a matter of hours before it was completed.”  Viroubova remembered, “…once at Lividia the Emperor retiring to his study at two o’clock to write an important letter to his mother.  At five, the Empress afterwards told me, the letter remained unfinished.”    

(see next post)