Author Topic: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?  (Read 70425 times)

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Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #180 on: March 07, 2012, 04:28:54 PM »
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I do not know, edubs, they were awfully naive and sheltered. Do you really think they could handle celebrity ?

By "celebrity" I'm guessing you are referring to the criticism that often comes with it? Of course this would be the 1920s we are talking about not today...so I would imagine the media would be considerably less callous and catty. But it's not like they didn't know who they were as Grand Duchesses, and not like they weren't used to having their pictures taken either, etc.

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The family were so insular, could they have broken out of the shell, so to speak.

Nicholas & Alexandra, probably not. Alexei, too needy based on his sad predicament. OTMA though? In my little fantasy I made certain to assume there would be growth and development in their personalities which seems natural for young women growing older and having gone through emotional turmoil. We know Olga for example, while probably lacking in temperament, could be strong and forthright and she also took a growing interest in affairs of the state as she grew older. Presumably this curiosity would have continued and her younger sisters might have followed suit to a lesser extent. That "shell" you speak of becoming ever thinner and full of cracks.

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The more outgoing may have made it in Hollywood but  royal princesses were rather  common at that time

All the more reason to assume an Anastasia type might have found success, no? Clear this one up for my if you wouldn't mind...

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Their European relatives seemed unwilling to take them in, even if they could.

Sounds like you're back on a "why it couldn't have happened" perspective based on the unwillingness of relatives. That's fine, but it doesn't correspond with my idea based on the subsequent events in their lives should they have been granted exile.

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Those "girls" were not very worldly and most likely would not have adapted, just by the nature of their upbringing.

Perfectly legitimate opinion that I think I already touched on above. Consider too the effects of well over a year spent in imprisonment however. The last part a very humbling "real world" experience in many ways. By all accounts it sounds to me like the daughters certainly "adapted" to a substantial reduction from their prior lifestyle. On top of that I'm suggesting at least an additional year or two in exile coinciding with a distancing from two aging and emotionally declining parents.

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They seem not very clever and had no obvious talents.

I don't agree with that, but fine. Also when did having obvious talents matter much to fame & celebrity...Paris & Nicole anyone? Certainly I would doubt their musical skill to be on par with accomplished professional musicians or Anastasia's acting credentials anything to ordinarily merit Hollywood attention. Nastya, in particular, might have been young enough still to bring up through the ranks however..should she have put her heart and soul into it.

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We are the ones making them up for our own imaginations.

Well not you so much Robert, that much is obvious :-) But I see what you're getting at! Personally I can't speak for others but their "obvious talents" to me are the things we can't quantify; love, faith, devotion, beauty, inspiration, etc. If we tend to exaggerate other "skills" and things about them then it's like a dash of sweetener by comparison.

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I can envision at least 2 becoming devout nuns. Perhaps a third.

And how nice that would have been! Seriously it's hard to think of a more altruistic way to willingly subscribe one's life to a mere footnote than that!

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Nicholas himself was was already seen as pretty much a dolt

After the fact the no doubt...another imaginary scenario involves the best selling book Nicholas would have written explaining his political positions, denouncing his successors, and lobbying for sympathy. A one-sided account to be certain...but a fascinating one it would have been and perhaps compelling enough to have revived his character in certain circles.

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I do not remember the source, but I read or heard that Hitler once said he would have preferred to fight a  bunch of Romanovs  rather than Stalin. And the Romanovs were, essentially, German!

Interesting...clarify that one too if you wouldn't mind...? Fight a bunch of Romanov's because he'd find them easier to defeat, or fight a bunch of Romanov's because he detested them ever more than Stalin? If the latter rather than the former is what he meant to say I'd suggest, escaping from the evil lips and warped brain of Hitler, that should actually be taken as a compliment!
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Robert_Hall

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #181 on: March 07, 2012, 04:50:06 PM »
Very good points, edubs
 Anastasia I was thinking of as the real extrovert. But even in their exile, they were isolated and tended to.
  Reduced circumsatnces but still more than others.
 The Hitler reference. Well,  I took it to mean that he thought they wouldd have been easier to defeat, taking the first war into account. Of course, who knows what was in that man's mind ? And I could very well be wrong.
 Not long ago I wrote an apologia for the madman, Hitler. not Stalin, an excercise in devil's advocacy. That is a totally different subject but it does show his disdain for NII and his reign.
 Could be asuumed to be a part of "How would history have rated..."
 Nicholas writing a book ? You have  to be joking. He could barely write coherent letters. He was not exactly well thought out, was he ?

Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #182 on: March 07, 2012, 05:08:13 PM »
Nicholas writing a book ? You have  to be joking. He could barely write coherent letters. He was not exactly well thought out, was he ?

lol, ahhh merciless aren't we? But sadly not wrong...allow me to clarify...

A) Not some type of creative literature were talking about here, just some of his own recollections & opinions. An autobiography of sorts.
B) Sitting around in exile, frustrated and bored. Needing a distraction. Plenty of time for even a mediocre writer to come up with something.
C) If still not enough...hire a ghost writer! Share with that person letters (weak as they might be), diary entries, conduct Q&As, etc.
 
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Offline TimM

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #183 on: March 07, 2012, 05:25:09 PM »
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After the fact the no doubt...another imaginary scenario involves the best selling book Nicholas would have written explaining his political positions, denouncing his successors, and lobbying for sympathy. A one-sided account to be certain...but a fascinating one it would have been and perhaps compelling enough to have revived his character in certain circles

That would have been a fascinating read.
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Rodney_G.

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #184 on: March 07, 2012, 05:33:00 PM »
  Robert: As for promoting the notion that Nicholas  was a dolt or otherwise intellectuallly deficient, that was to a very great extent a conscious Bolshevik/Soviet political and propaganda  ploy to both denigrate the deposed Tsar and by implication make their "scientific' social experiments more appealing (which could never be done). They controlled the image and reputation of Nicholas  virtually uncontradicted for seventy years. Almost all accounts of Nicholas consider him more intellectually incurious than not bright. He seemed of average intelligence.

As for Hitler preferring to fight Romanovs than Stalin; that makes sense too from his point of view. Unlike Nicholas,who if anything was too constrained  by his conscience for total war,  Stalin was totally ruthless and totally contemptuous of human life, as the deaths  millions of his own troops, as well as of  soviet citizens by the tens of millions, including in peacetime , attests. But then Hitler probably would have had to fight a bunch of Romanovs since they  were unlikely to have signed a non-aggression (more co-belligerent against Poland)treaty than Stalin , who cynically did.

Robert_Hall

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #185 on: March 07, 2012, 06:13:32 PM »
Rodney G.
 Please, I am not defending either the Soviets nor Hitler.
 As far as Nicgolas,  the evidence is clear. He was not an intellectual superstar to be blunt, just from his own writings, not the Soviets.
 The man was obviously brain poor  but still sensitive and blindly kind. IMO, even a ghost write would find irt a challenge to get something out of him. His diaries ? Like most, his were names of who came for lunch, the weather and how much he bagged that day.
 Not exactly a  current, relevent history.  At least Olga [I thhink it was] wrote her thoughts. Not how many potaoes they planted that day. That is simplistic, I know.
  Edubs. me, Merciless ?/ Again, you are jesting. I just  see it as I do.
 The Kaiser may have even been a bigger fool, but he knew how to write a good story. At least in his view.
 

Alixz

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #186 on: March 07, 2012, 06:26:34 PM »
I think that all of the last Romanovs have been invested with mystical qualities that they did not have. When I was younger, I too, was like some of those who post here and I thought they were fabulous people who had been given a bad hand.

However, they dealt that bad hand themselves and none of them had any qualities that would have made them superstars in the 1920s or at any time.

I think that Anastasia's talent is over written and over hyped by those who only know of the stupid and sometimes cruel jokes she played on others.  A child's sand box of games and incidents. A true "brat" and I have never thought she was a "stellar" performer or personality.
Perhaps she would have grown up and begun to act like an adult, that alone would have been enough.

Nope, I still go with the "footnote" version. Even if they had been rescued, they might have had their 15 minutes of International fame, but then they would have sunk into obscurity like so many of their relatives did. One example is Grand Duke Dmitri who did take part in something that was history changing and still did not cause an international incident when he escaped.  A champagne salesman?

Robert_Hall

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #187 on: March 07, 2012, 06:59:56 PM »
Dimitri and Felix were actually my favourites, but for reasons other than the topic of this thread.
 Still, as you said, Alixz, they dealt their own hand.
  Your assessment of the GD's is much the same as mine, obviously.
  And Anastasia was indeed a brat. Most kids are   when young and can get away with it it, are they not ?
 That does not excuse her though. She should have been taught better behaviour,  especially in that court.
  Personally, I might have been shot, but I would have slapped her on more than one occasion. Too bad someone did't.
 Alexei I give more leeway too, but even then,  most kids in that terminal situation handle it much better than he did. Thatwas not really his fault though, was is it ? Blame that one on parentage.

Footnotes indeed.
  Might have been passing fashioms in the magazines,  or, as I said in Hollyeood for some,  but how many rememder Natalia Naizimova ?

Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #188 on: March 07, 2012, 08:18:15 PM »
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Still, as you said, Alixz, they dealt their own hand.

Still curious as to who you mean by "they" exactly. OTMAA didn't "deal their own hand"...unless you consider Alexei's hemophilia as some sort of punishment for Anastasia's bad behavior or something, lol.

Speaking of which I get the sense that Nastya was already moving well beyond her extended bratty phase in her last few years. I feel the borderline "cruelty" people talk about gave way to more basic post-adolescent prankster material. I get the sense that all of the daughters grew considerably from their experience in the solidier's hospital...certainly I don't believe you'd hear any of those men recalling Anastasia as being a brat...feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong there.

Alice Roosevelt was at best the "difficult" child of a world leader but she certainly managed to make her mark and exceed her fifteen minutes. Remember too the power of not one, but four daughters in gripping the collective consciousness. It's very possible they would have faded out, but just as possible they might not have. Look at fascination that surrounded Anna Anderson. Sure it was based on mystery and tragedy...neither of which would have been the case in a scenario that we are talking about here that the IF survived...but she was also just one person, not four.

Just thoughts...

P.S. While I get the sense that her impish tendencies are perhaps overblown much in the same way as you might agree her more "creative virtues" were, I very much agree that Anastasia required some added discipline from a young age. Being the youngest, smallest, and probably least attractive I think played into that behavior some. A sort of "punch your way to the top instead" type of mentality.

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Robert_Hall

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #189 on: March 07, 2012, 08:49:30 PM »
In my case,edubs, I mean the family of Romanoff, not the children  in particular. Naturally,they could not help what they were born into. Just like any of us.
 Their behavior was  a creation of their enviorment, as is everyone's and the just did not have the chance to change it.
 for us to know how they would have turned out.
 Their "hospital work ". This has been discussed here before.
 They were more of a nuisance than a help.
 The presence of the  Empress and her daughters was a PR act. It disrupted routine  and created havoc in the ward rooms. As anyone can imagine, setting up those photos was a complicated and interfering affair.  Even now,in modern days, cameras in hospitals are not like they are on TV. Just common sense.
 Also, those they "served" were officers. The privileged.
 They did not bandage a   common man's foot I imagine.
 They  were  "photo nurses" and better at making the linens that applying them
 I take no prisoners,  as you can all tell here.
 
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Offline TimM

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #190 on: March 07, 2012, 11:41:33 PM »
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(more co-belligerent against Poland)treaty than Stalin


Stalin had a personal vendetta against Poland.  In 1920, the newly independent Poland decided to take advantage of the Russian Civil War and grabbed a chuck of Russia.  Some Russian soldiers were sent, but the Poles beat them back.  One of those Russian soldiers was Joseph Stalin.

So when Hitler offered his nonaggression pact, one of the reasons Stalin signed on was that he could, in his eyes, get even with Poland.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #191 on: March 08, 2012, 09:56:41 AM »
In my case,edubs, I mean the family of Romanoff, not the children  in particular. Naturally,they could not help what they were born into. Just like any of us.
 Their behavior was  a creation of their enviorment, as is everyone's and the just did not have the chance to change it.
 for us to know how they would have turned out.
 Their "hospital work ". This has been discussed here before.
 They were more of a nuisance than a help.
 The presence of the  Empress and her daughters was a PR act. It disrupted routine  and created havoc in the ward rooms. As anyone can imagine, setting up those photos was a complicated and interfering affair.  Even now,in modern days, cameras in hospitals are not like they are on TV. Just common sense.
 Also, those they "served" were officers. The privileged.
 They did not bandage a   common man's foot I imagine.
 They  were  "photo nurses" and better at making the linens that applying them
 I take no prisoners,  as you can all tell here.

Interesting Robert...having read a decent amount about their experiences in the hospital I don't come away with that impression at all. But it pays to look deeper and so I shall. And I do agree with you and Alixz, etc, who often espouse the sentiment that we need to be careful about how we tend to glorify and exaggerate the actions, or lack thereof, of those who we care about. As JFK once said, "the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie, but the myth."

That said the point I was making about the personal growth and change in the daughters, particularly over their last few years, has little to do with the reasons why they were at hospital and much more to do with what they actually encountered at the hospital. If their presence was indeed an elaborate PR stunt it sure didn't shelter the daughters (particularly the Big Pair) from getting showered with a cold dose of reality.

They certainly weren't anything close to being the lead surgeons but it sounds like they took to their roles enthusiastically and with little hesitation. This without their domineering mother's regard to their personal sensitivities (which probably could have spared Olga her little nervous breakdown). Watching men suffering (whether it be "privileged" officers or common soldiers) surely had a profound effect on daughters who, to that point, had really only resided in the royal bubble. Even something as simple as sitting next to an dying man, perhaps already amputated, infected, etc, and chatting with him, reading to him, playing a game with him, and then that man dies two days later would be enough to cause the average person some deep reflection and appreciation.
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Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #192 on: March 08, 2012, 11:19:52 AM »
Their "hospital work ". This has been discussed here before.
 They were more of a nuisance than a help.
 The presence of the  Empress and her daughters was a PR act. It disrupted routine  and created havoc in the ward rooms. As anyone can imagine, setting up those photos was a complicated and interfering affair.  Even now,in modern days, cameras in hospitals are not like they are on TV. Just common sense.
 Also, those they "served" were officers. The privileged.
 They did not bandage a   common man's foot I imagine.
 They  were  "photo nurses" and better at making the linens that applying them
 I take no prisoners,  as you can all tell here.

Robert I think you may be overstating your case or at least overly motivated by your prejudices. Obviously their presence probably did disturb hospital routine but there is evidence that AF was greatly appreciated by the wounded which, by the way, included enlisted men. This from a paper Griff will be giving shortly on AF's war work "...it seems that there was a genuine and unending flow of gratitude from officers and enlisted men for the care her hospital and supply trains were providing all along Russia’s vast Eastern front.  Writing her brother Ernest Ludwig in April 1915, the Empress noted, “I receive lovely letters fr. the soldiers of all different regiments out at the front, thanking for things.”  (Citing  Petra H. Kleinpenning, (ed.), The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse, 1878-1916, Norderstedt, Germany: Books on Demand, 2010, Alexandra’s letter of April 17, 1915, p. 328).

With the exception of the comments of edubs31, I must confess that I find all this criticism somewhat harsh,  judgmental and basically unfair. I find it difficult to understand how this character assassination can be leveled against OTMAA since they were still quite young when their lives were tragically snuffed out and assuming that they would turn out to be "footnotes" is rather presumptious and demeaning. Frankly, I wonder how much of this is motivated by a basic dislike of the IF, monarchies in general and, yes, simple envy. Sorry but I find the assumptions (absent personal knowledge of these individuals) and, in fact, this whole string distasteful.   Much of  the "personal knowledge" of NII and AF appears based on diaries and personal correspondence. I often read how amazed people are that NII would say so little in his diary when his world was falling down around him. However, in most cases it is the rare 19th Century diary that exhibits perceptive analyses of current events. Many personal diaries of the 19th Century (including some from "great men") are quite mundane and they certainly weren't meant to be read by posterity. Typically they were started when the diarist was quite young as an imposed form of childish self-discipline and are continued through force of habit.  As for personal letters they are exactly that, personal and not always that well thought out. I would like to see how history would judge all of us based on our intimate correspondance.

All that said, did NII evidence remarkable intellectual firepower certainly not, nor did most (if not all) of the crowned heads of Europe and their families but he was cultured, had admirable qualities and was much better informed than people give him credit. When compared to George V (and his fascination with stamp collecting) one could say that NII compared favorably he was simply unlucky. Given the powerful historical forces at work during his reign (which started long before he ascended the throne) I doubt he would have been able to change the course of events even if he were Peter the Great, FDR, Abraham Lincoln or some combination of all of them.  Perhaps were he more politically astute at best he might have been able to hang on for dear life and ride those waves like some surfer at Waiamea Bay. 

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Offline Petr

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #193 on: March 08, 2012, 11:24:22 AM »
BTW, this from another post;

"Hello AP Forum Folk,

Here is a link showing the New York State Bar Association's address to Nicholas thanking him for initiating the opening of the Hague.  I just recently read another book calling Nicholas' July 1914 plea to use The Hague for negotiations "weak."  So it is interesting that this prestigious US group of lawyers approved of the negotiation model to avoid armed conflict, at least in 1899.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924007360716#page/n15/mode/2up

The title is:
Address of congratulation and commendation of the New York State Bar Association to His Imperial Majesty, Nicholas II, Emperor of all the Russias, on the occasion of the Peace Congress at the Hague and recommending the creation of an international court
(openlibrary.org)"

 













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Offline TimM

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Re: How Would History Have Rated Nicholas II if....?
« Reply #194 on: March 08, 2012, 11:46:10 AM »
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With the exception of the comments of edubs31, I must confess that I find all this criticism somewhat harsh,  judgmental and basically unfair. I find it difficult to understand how this character assassination can be leveled against OTMAA since they were still quite young when their lives were tragically snuffed out and assuming that they would turn out to be "footnotes" is rather presumptious and demeaning. Frankly, I wonder how much of this is motivated by a basic dislike of the IF, monarchies in general and, yes, simple envy. Sorry but I find the assumptions (absent personal knowledge of these individuals) and, in fact, this whole string distasteful.   Much of  the "personal knowledge" of NII and AF appears based on diaries and personal correspondence. I often read how amazed people are that NII would say so little in his diary when his world was falling down around him. However, in most cases it is the rare 19th Century diary that exhibits perceptive analyses of current events. Many personal diaries of the 19th Century (including some from "great men") are quite mundane and they certainly weren't meant to be read by posterity. Typically they were started when the diarist was quite young as an imposed form of childish self-discipline and are continued through force of habit.  As for personal letters they are exactly that, personal and not always that well thought out. I would like to see how history would judge all of us based on our intimate correspondance.

I liked Nicky too.  The poor guy just had the odds stacked against him from day one, and you're right, the revolution had been building up for a very long time, WWI just speeded things up.  Russia was a powder keg and Alexander III would probably had the same problem had he lived.

As for OTMAA, they had no say in what was going on.  They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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