Friday, August 13, 2010

Nicholas II

Weak and ignorant? A new look from author Christina Croft:
Imagine if you - and only you, one person - were faced with trying to sort out the the present situation in Afghanistan and the recent conflict in Iraq , together with all that happened in Serbia and Bosnia a couple of decades ago, and on top of that you were personally responsible for the well-being of 180 million people from different cultures in one of the largest empires on earth, and in the middle of a time of great change through industrialization and the speed of advances in technology...oh and you also had a son, whom you loved very deeply, who was seriously ill and a wife who was badly treated by your own family, and that same family had, for the most part, decided not to support you...Well, that is a little of what the 'weak' and 'ignorant' Tsar Nicholas faced every day. It wasn't his choice. He would have liked to have lived a simple life on a Dacha somewhere, caring for his family and spending his time outdoors, but he had been saddled with this responsibility and with more moral courage than any of his contemporaries he tried to rise to that challenge.
In 1913, while King George V (who is never described as 'weak' or 'ignorant') shot over 1000 pheasants in one day for 'sport' or pored over his precious stamp that had cost him over £1000, and while Kaiser Wilhelm strutted around in his uniforms, laughing too loudly and playing at being a king, the weak Tsar, Nicholas, who frittered his life away in luxury, was spending all day and most of the night trying to resolve the crisis in the Balkans. He wrote to the Kings of Bulgaria and Serbia, offering to arbitrate between them and even when 'Foxy Ferdinand' of Bulgaria, refused to listen and sent his troops into a disastrous campaign, Nicholas had the foresight to realize that if the Bulgarians were humiliated by their defeat, it would lead to resentment and future carnage. Nicholas successfully persuaded his ally, Serbia, to relinquish some of their gains to Bulgaria. Meanwhile, he was faced with the problems of German interests in Persia (Iran) and trying to maintain the balance of power to prevent the outbreak of war.


Julygirl said...

...and considering the turmoil within the country that he inherited from Tsar Alexander III due to his despotic rule because of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II.

Christina said...

There are some interesting similarities between Nicholas II and Louis XVI, wouldn't you say? History has not been kind to either of them.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Julygirl, and even then he brought about many reforms; the situation was improving up until 1914. If only he had stayed out of WWI.

Yes, Christina, very similar. They were both devoted family men. How odd that someone like Napoleon is regarded as a hero, although he brought about bloody wars and ended up being run out of office as well.

May said...

I actually think Louis XVI and family were treated worse than the Romanovs. At least the Tsarevich was not treated like poor little Louis XVII.

That's very true about Napoleon. I remember reading something (by Twain?) where the author was making scornful comments about Louis XVI for not firing on the mob and suggesting, as I recall, that the bold and ruthless approach of a Napoleon would have been better. I thought, "hmm...but Napoleon also fell..."

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

by your own family, and that same family had, for the most part, decided not to support you...Well, that is a little of what the 'weak' and 'ignorant' Tsar Nicholas faced every day.

Very much like our King about one century earlier, Gustavus IV Adolphus, who was described as ignorant and fanatic because he was against Napoleon, and as weak because he could not push through the men he wanted for the war with the then pro-Napoleon Czar, who attacked.

His own uncle (a freemason, Swedish masonry has a degree named for that uncle's name as usurper) betrayed him.