Author Topic: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2  (Read 176505 times)

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bluetoria

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #105 on: May 24, 2005, 10:54:20 AM »
He limited the sale of vodka to stop alcoholism in the army.

He was popular with his fellow officers & he showed devotion to duty as when he took command during the war.

He, unlike many of his contemporaries, was a faithful husband.

He was well-read and had a good appreciation of literature.

He was an excellent linguist - speaking English with virtually no trace of an accent.

He was generous (his tips to the servants - and the dentist - during his visit to England were very lavish).

He abdicated in order to protect his people from civil war.

He was kind-hearted.  

Elisabeth

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #106 on: May 24, 2005, 11:01:05 AM »
In May 1899, at the suggestion of Nicholas II, the first Hague Peace Conference was held, attended by representatives from twenty European states as well as the United States, Japan, China, Mexico, Persia and Siam. Under discussion were Russian proposals for disarmament and the compulsory arbitration of disputes. Although these proposals ultimately failed, the Conference did establish certain rules of warfare and a permanent court of arbitration, the International Court of Justice at the Hague. More importantly, as historian Nicholas Riasonovsky points out, the Conference set a precedent for future international conferences on disarmament and peace.

Although critics claimed that Russia only proposed the peace conference because it could not keep up with the arms race, particularly against Austria, there is no question but that Nicholas was deeply influenced in his decision by a personal audience he had with Ivan Bliokh, the author of an immense six-volume work exposing the horrors of modern warfare.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #107 on: May 24, 2005, 01:15:13 PM »
This is a useful thread.  It's so easy to trash Nicholas, because so much went so wrong during his reign.  As necessary as it is to understand that aspect of his reign, it can lead us to too simplistic a view of the man.

This thread might help restore the balance, and maybe when it, too, runs out of steam we can get to a more integrated view of what he was . . . good and bad.

However, I think the other thread was itself part of establishing the balance.  We're all on this site because Romanov history fascinates us.  But the net weight of the inputs is on the positive side of the scale when it comes to Nicholas and Alexandra, running from romantic longing for a lost era to outright worship of the sainted martyrs and all the physical artifacts of their lives.  The fact is that the Romanov dynasty, which is my all-time favorite nest of monarchs, came to an end under Nicholas and Alexandra, at least in part because of behaviors and decisions they made that many at the time, including other Romanovs, recognized as collosally wrong-headed.

I think the most sympathetic way to look at Nicholas is as a man trying to negotiate a maze.  To us, floating one hundred years above the events, we can see the twists and turns of the maze, its exits and its deadends.  For Nicholas, standing inside it, the correct path was much more obscure.  He tried conscientiously to steer by those signals he had been raised to receive most clearly:  Church teachings, fidelty to family, duty to the institution of autocracy.  Unfortunately, those signals were wrong for the times, and they failed to steer him to the exits.

He could have been a smarter man able to tune into other signals.  But he could not have been a more conscientious one.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

bluetoria

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #108 on: May 24, 2005, 06:02:59 PM »
Nicholas was totally faithful to his allies during WWI.
He did not desert his weaker ally, Serbia, despite pressure from the Kaiser to do so.

 

Sunny

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #109 on: May 25, 2005, 08:02:47 AM »
I've come a bit late to this wonderful thread, but would like to re-post something that can be found in the "The Human Side Of The Tsar", a 1906 article by Amalia Kussner Coudert.

"I wish it were in my power to tell exactly what I felt and thought at this first sudden and totally unexpected sight of the Emperor. There was something in his appearance that caused a quiet tightening in my throat and a queer thumping at my heart. As I have said, he looked young, gentle, and slight. He stood quietly and naturally, looking straight at me with steady, clear, kind eyes. There was a sort of winning buoyancy, too, in the quiet dignity of his bearing. Above all, he looked kind, there was kindness in his eyes, in his face, in his voice; kindness in every easy, gentle movement of his slight, youthful figure."

http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/century1.html

The following poem is from an old French postcard.  Maybe Lisa or Bluetoria, would be kind enough to translate :) :)  :)

a S.M. Nicolas II

Promoteur De La Conference De La Haye

O Tsar dont le desir est un desir de Paix
Faites fleurir l'espoir que la Haye a vu naitre!
Dans l'eclat du triomphe ou vous allez paraitre
Dites les mots qu'il faut pour delivrer du faix
La Nation qui meurt en invoquant les autres!
Au-dessus des combats levez le drapeau blanc
Et les peuples sortis du cauchemar sanglant
En vous tendant les mains embrasseront les votres!

Many thanks,

Sunny

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #110 on: May 25, 2005, 08:40:39 AM »
Quote
"I wish it were in my power to tell exactly what I felt and thought at this first sudden and totally unexpected sight of the Emperor. There was something in his appearance that caused a quiet tightening in my throat and a queer thumping at my heart. As I have said, he looked young, gentle, and slight. He stood quietly and naturally, looking straight at me with steady, clear, kind eyes. There was a sort of winning buoyancy, too, in the quiet dignity of his bearing. Above all, he looked kind, there was kindness in his eyes, in his face, in his voice; kindness in every easy, gentle movement of his slight, youthful figure."


I understand the author's reaction to seeing Nicholas.  It's the effect that proximity to power usually has on people.  I once saw President Bush, Sr. at close quarters when he visited a defense plant in which I worked.  Although not a fan of the man, I had some of the same physical reactions to being that close to one of the most powerful men on the planet.  (This reaction is well-understood by politicians.  It's one of the reasons they spend so much time during campaigns in shopping malls, at barbeques, etc.  Proximity to celebrity tends to cloud judgments that are made more clearly from a distance.)

I think, however, that such reactions speak more to the state of mind of the observer than to the attributes of the observed.


Elisabeth

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #111 on: May 25, 2005, 09:01:54 AM »
What you say is so true, Tsarfan. It reminds me of a story a real estate agent told me about seeing President Clinton in person. He gave a speech at some conference she attended. Now she herself was a Republican and couldn't abide the man. But she said she was so overwhelmed by his presence that she found herself clapping along with everyone else and wanting his autograph afterwards!  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »

bluetoria

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #112 on: May 25, 2005, 10:10:25 AM »
Quote
The following poem is from an old French postcard.  Maybe Lisa or Bluetoria, would be kind enough to translate :) :)  :)

a S.M. Nicolas II

Promoteur De La Conference De La Haye

O Tsar dont le desir est un desir de Paix
Faites fleurir l'espoir que la Haye a vu naitre!
Dans l'eclat du triomphe ou vous allez paraitre
Dites les mots qu'il faut pour delivrer du faix
La Nation qui meurt en invoquant les autres!
Au-dessus des combats levez le drapeau blanc
Et les peuples sortis du cauchemar sanglant
En vous tendant les mains embrasseront les votres!

Many thanks,

Sunny


Oooh! It's a bit hard for me & I haven't got a French dictionary!  :-/  Lisa would probably do it better!!

To His Majesty Nicholas II
Promotor of the Hague Conference

O Tsar whose desire is a desire for peace,
Make flourish the hope that the Hague has seen born!
In the burst of triumph where you will appear,
Speak the necessary words to deliver from (falsehood??)
The Nation which murders (??) in rousing others!
Above the conflicts raise the white flag
And the peoples departed from the bloody nightmare
In offering you their hands, embrace your own.

Offline RichC

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #113 on: May 25, 2005, 11:22:07 AM »
Quote
I've come a bit late to this wonderful thread, but would like to re-post something that can be found in the "The Human Side Of The Tsar", a 1906 article by Amalia Kussner Coudert.

"I wish it were in my power to tell exactly what I felt and thought at this first sudden and totally unexpected sight of the Emperor. There was something in his appearance that caused a quiet tightening in my throat and a queer thumping at my heart. As I have said, he looked young, gentle, and slight. He stood quietly and naturally, looking straight at me with steady, clear, kind eyes. There was a sort of winning buoyancy, too, in the quiet dignity of his bearing. Above all, he looked kind, there was kindness in his eyes, in his face, in his voice; kindness in every easy, gentle movement of his slight, youthful figure."
 
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/century1.html



I once saw a television interview with a man who had met Tsar Nicholas.  He said Nicholas had the bluest eyes he had ever seen.  



Offline AGRBear

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #114 on: May 25, 2005, 12:21:54 PM »
Here was a man who was considered the wealthiest man in the world who, it appears, withdrew most of his monies from foreign banks, returned his wealth back to Russia and demanded that all of his family do the same.  Why?  To show they believed in Russia and it's future.

In 1913 Nicholas II's personal wealth was said to have been $20 to 30 billion. [p. 28  THE HUNT FOR THE CZAR by Guy Richards.  I'll have to fetch my book by William Clarke THE LOST FORTUNE OF THE TSARS for a number which may be a little more accurate.]

I'll have to look for the source, but I think the demands were just before or just after WW I started.

He used his own wealth to help his country in the state of war.  According to the recent historians, it  is claimed there was little or nothing left of his wealth by the time he abdicated accept  jewels and properties which Lenin seized as quickly as he could.

Nicholas II wasn't always the "villian" in the history of Russia, and, I find this thread on "Positive Attributes" as a necessary thread to show a balance of the Tsar  for the young impressionable posters.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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rskkiya

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #115 on: May 25, 2005, 12:48:57 PM »
Quote
Here was a man who was considered the wealthiest man in the world who, it appears, withdrew most of his monies from foreign banks, returned his wealth back to Russia and demanded that all of his family do the same.  Why?  To show they believed in Russia and it's future.

In 1913 Nicholas II's personal wealth was said to have been $20 to 30 billion. [p. 28  THE HUNT FOR THE CZAR by Guy Richards.  I'll have to fetch my book by William Clarke THE LOST FORTUNE OF THE TSARS for a number which may be a little more accurate.]


AGRBear


   Well while he did withdraw his monies abroad before the war, I don't think that he could have forced anyone else in his family to do the same...also I feel that your estimates of his personal fortune are quite off Agrebear...
    Is wealth all  that important in proving a man  good? Even if he did not possess great funds, his desire to help his own nation was at least patriotic. {I won't discuss whether "pure patriotism' is a virtue. :-X}
    I will agree that Nicholas was most likely personally kind and that he loved his family. I still consider him to be tragically anti-semetic and very intolerant - he allowed his religious faith to blind and limit him. Nevertheless I do think that this topic is very valid!


NANF
(not a Nicky fan)
rskkiya

Sunny

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #116 on: May 25, 2005, 01:28:12 PM »
Quote

I understand the author's reaction to seeing Nicholas.  It's the effect that proximity to power usually has on people.  I once saw President Bush, Sr. at close quarters when he visited a defense plant in which I worked.  Although not a fan of the man, I had some of the same physical reactions to being that close to one of the most powerful men on the planet.  (This reaction is well-understood by politicians.  It's one of the reasons they spend so much time during campaigns in shopping malls, at barbeques, etc.  Proximity to celebrity tends to cloud judgments that are made more clearly from a distance.)

I think, however, that such reactions speak more to the state of mind of the observer than to the attributes of the observed.



Having dated a few men who played from positions of power on the worlds stage, I understand the kind of charisma that goes with that territory. This, however:

"I wish it were in my power to tell exactly what I felt and thought at this first sudden and totally unexpected sight of the Emperor. There was something in his appearance that caused a quiet tightening in my throat and a queer thumping at my heart. As I have said, he looked young, gentle, and slight. He stood quietly and naturally, looking straight at me with steady, clear, kind eyes. There was a sort of winning buoyancy, too, in the quiet dignity of his bearing. Above all, he looked kind, there was kindness in his eyes, in his face, in his voice; kindness in every easy, gentle movement of his slight, youthful figure."  

speaks of something quite different. The 'dignity' of most politicians is rarely 'quiet', and much of what passes for 'kindness' is a pose, designed to obtain support. In a meeting free of agenda, the writers response was much the same as others who have commented on time spent with Nicholas.

Sunny


Sunny

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #117 on: May 25, 2005, 01:43:07 PM »
Dear Bluetoria,

Thank you so much for translating the poem :).
Your kindness is appreciated.

Sunny

bluetoria

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #118 on: May 25, 2005, 01:46:39 PM »
 :) Thank you for posting it, Sunny! I hope Lisa or Agneschen will correct the mistakes!!  :)

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Re: Reflections on Nicholas II - His Character Traits Good and Bad #2
« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2005, 02:14:32 PM »
Quote
I feel that your estimates of his personal fortune are quite off Agrebear...


I read somewhere that Nicholas' annual household expenditures before the revolution were around 25 million rubles a year, while his income was about half that.  The difference was financed with bonds, sold mostly on international money markets.  (Keep in mind that his "household" included 17,000 servants, the upkeep of the imperial palaces, the entire staff of the Imperial Ballet and the Maryinsky Theater, etc.)

In fact, this same account reported that the Yussupov family fortune was larger than the Tsar's and was worth somewhere between $200-300 million (in 1900 dollars).

As vast as these sums sound, one has to remember that Henry Ford became the world's first billionaire in the 1910's and that some of the U.S. railroad magnates were worth $100-200 million around the turn of the century.

Much of the Tsar's income derived from crown lands inside Russia.  I cannot imagine that he had $20-30 billion sitting in banks outside of Russia.  If he did, he would not have had the budgetary shortfall in his expenditures.  In fact, I don't think anything approaching these sums could have been withdrawn without collapsing the international banking system in 1914.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »