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"Bloody Nicholas"

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"Bloody Nicholas" analysis of the policies and personality of Tsar Nicholas II
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King, Kristi Hendrickson
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113 leaves : ; 29 cm

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1894 - 1917 ( fast )
History -- Russia -- Nicholas II, 1894-1917 ( lcsh )
Russia ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
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History ( fast )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 104-113).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of History.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kristi Hendrickson King.

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University of Colorado Denver
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ocm20960235
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Full Text
"BLOODY NICHOLAS": ANALYSIS OF THE POLICIES
AND PERSONALITY OF TSAR NICHOLAS II
by
Kristi Hendrickson King
B.A., Cameron University, 1983
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of History
1 989
PM


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Kristi Hendrickson King
has been approved for the
Department of
History
by
Marv) S. Conroy
Date
Dick Allen


DEDICATION
To my husband, Greg, for all his
love and patience
To my parents, Mike and K, for
being the wind beneath my wings
To Dr. Mary S. Conroy
for her encouragement and guidance


King, Kristi Hendrickson (M.A., History)
"Bloody Nicholas": Analysis of the Policies and
Personality of Tsar Nicholas II
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary S.
Conroy
Tsar Nicholas II was the last autocrat
of Russia. His reign has received criticism from
historians for the past seventy years. He is
portrayed as weak and inept and this opinion is
taught to area high school students. Thebasis
for this view derives from the opinion of many
scholars and contemporaries of Nicholas. Five
historians make up the control group which represent
the traditional stated opinion of Nicholas are:
George Vernadsky, Nicholas Riasanovsky, John M.
Thompson, and Donald Mackenzie and Michael W.
Curran.
These professionals wrote textbooks which
have been used in area schools which perpetuate
the negative image of Nicholas and his policies.
Through research and analysis of contemporaries1
diaries and memoirs and Nicholas' correspondence


V
with members of his family, it is apparent that
the representative historians portray Nicholas
in such a manner based on selected interpretation
of solitary incidences in his life.
By presenting the negative and positive
accounts of Nicholas and his policies during the
early years of his reign, the years immediately
following the 1905 Revolution, and his personality
it is apparent that there is some discrepancy from
the accepted view that Nicholas was weak. True,
in some areas it is hard to disagree with the
negative opinions of his contemporaries and
historiansthe ethnic question, particularly the
Jewsbut by examination of his correspondence
and his ministers'Count V. N. Kokovtsov and
M. V.Rodziankonew insight is provided into the
reign and character of this tragic character.
Each chapter deals with a particular aspect
of Nicholas' reign excluding World War I. As it
is difficult to obtain complete data on Nicholas
due to the inaccessibility of the archives, a full
study of Nicholas is not possible. However, this
paper does not intend to be the final word on


vi
Nicholas but rather to raise the controversy why
Nicholas is depicted so harshly when there is
available proof that there is another side to the
man.
The form and content of this abstract are approved.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
Faculty mdhiber in charge rot thesis


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION.......................... 1
II. CHIEF POLICIES OF NICHOLAS'
EARLY REIGN................... 11
Witte and Russian
Industrialization......... 12
The Hague Conference of 1899... 20
The Russo-Japanese
War, 1 904-1905........... 25
The Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905. 28
The Revolution of 1 905..... 33
Notes--Chapter II........... 38
III. INTERIM YEARS, 1907-1 91 4...... 42
Zemstvas and the Dumas........... 45
Stolypin and the Land Reforms.. 52
Nicholas and his Ministers..... 54
Nicholas and Anti-Semitism..... 56
Notes Chapter III........... 61
IV. NICHOLAS' CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY 63
Nicholas' Personality....... 64
Nicholas and Alexandra...... 75


viii
Rasputin and Alexandra............ 83
Notes Chapter IV................. 88
V. CONCLUSION........................ 92
Notes Chapter V................. 103
BIBLIOGRAPHY................................ 104


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The reign of the last Russian Tsar,
Nicholas II, is harshly criticized by historians.
He is portrayed as a weak-willed man, dominated
by his hysterical wife. Further, two historical
theses base their analysis of the collapse of
tsarist Russia on the ineptitude of this ruler.
One thesis is Nicholas was determined to remain
the autocrat of all the Russias and was blind
to the plight of the Russian people. Another
thesis is Nicholas was incapable of managing
his administration and through his blindness
neglected to choose adequate ministers who would
have effectively governed.


Nicholas' reign was a turbulent one
From 1894-1917, Russia progressed rapidly.
2
Economically, the country experienced a program
of intense industrialization headed by Sergei
Witte, Minister of Finance from 1892-1904.
Socially, this program evoked monumental changes
in both the urban and rural areas of Russia.
Such modernization necessitated political reforms
as well as the above-mentioned economic and social
ones. These years witnessed such events as the
Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Russian
Revolution of 1905, the subsequent October
Manifesto of 1905, the Fundamental Laws of 1906,
the progressive interim years 1907-1914, and
finally the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
While the October Manifesto of 1905 and
the.Fundamental Laws of 1906 reduced, to a certain
degree, Nicholas' autocratic authority, the next
seven years witnessed huge strides in the
political, social and economic arenas, best
exemplified by the Stolypin Land Reforms, the
establishment of parliamentary reform, the Duma,
and the industrial progress. Except for a few
minor incidents in the Balkans, it was a time
/


3
of relative peace. It was the outbreak of World
War I which ended the continuance of Russian
economic, social, and political advancement.
While the Soviet Union is interested
in more indepth assessment of its past, local
students are subjected to the general consensus
that Nicholas' reign was one of corruption and
backwardness. Or they view a film which while
compassionate in its interpretation, misrepresents
Nicholas and his reign. By analyzing standard
interpretations with primary accounts a broader
more enlightened view of Nicholas may be gained.
I have had the opportunity in the past
two years to give four lectures to two Jefferson
County high schools. The first was given before
an advanced history class which had devoted nine
weeks to the study of Russia, from Peter the
Great to Nicholas II. To subsidize their general
world history textbook, the teacher had utilized
the miniseries on Peter the Great and the movie
on Nicholas, but only for one class. I was asked
to lecture on Nicholas II as a special project.
After providing a brief background on Nicholas
and his family and some of the key aspects of


4
his reign, I answered questions. The questions
were based entirely upon the film, as their
textbook had only one paragraph devoted to
Nicholas. The textbook portrayed Nicholas as
an inept ruler, but a wonderful father and adoring
husband. The most commonly asked question, not
only by this class, but the three succeeding
classes I lectured for at another Jefferson County
high school, was "Did Alexandra and Rasputin
have an affair?" The second question: "Did
Anastasia survive the murder?" Nothing was asked
about Nicholas' policies or his capabilities.
In fact, when I asked how they viewed Nicholas
the standard reply was: "He was a passive man,
dominated by his wife which eventually caused
his downfall and that of imperial Russia."
In all four classes, particularly the
succeeding three, the students had formed
judgments of Nicholas based primarily on Massie's
book. In the last three classes which I lectured
at only a year ago, the students had only been
exposed to the book or film individually. These
students were easily discernible for they had
the most questions and relied on the information


5
they had gained from the film. They also asked
the two questions above mentioned. Some who
had had no outside exposure to the tsarist era
asked why it was so backward at the beginning
of the twentieth century. This was an impression
they had garnered from their world history
textbook for their teacher had tried to dispel
this image because of her considerable background
in tsarist and soviet history. However, it was
an impression that was difficult to banish.
The thrust of this paper is to study
certain aspects of Nicholas II, his reign and
personality, by examining four historians' views
of the regime. Four texts under scrutiny are:
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia;
George Vernadsky, A History of Russia; David
Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A History of
Russia and the Soviet Union; and John M. Thompson,
Russia and the Soviet Union. These four
historians and their books have been used in
collegesRiasanovsky's A History of Russia has
been on the required reading list at the
University of Colorado in Boulder as recently
as two years ago. These historians also have


6
published works of more limited scope which are
used as classroom texts. The colleges have
employed historical monographs to broaden the
views of these historians, but the most
interesting aspect of Russian historiography
which is currently being employed in the Jefferson
County school district is the film, "Nicholas
and Alexandra" based on Robert K. Massie's book
of the same title, published in:paperback in
1 969.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive
biography of Nicholas II. It has been twenty
years since Massie wrote his book, Nicholas and
Alexandra. Massie portrays Nicholas
I
sympathetically but emphasizes the Tsarevich
Alexis' hemophilia. Massie concludes this was
the catalyst for the collapse of! the tsarist
I
administration. The only work which has discussed
with any depth the reign of Nichplas is Sergei
i
Oldenburg s work, The Last Tsar.i Originally
!
i
published in two volumes in Russian in 1939,
j
this work has received little attention by
l
historians. Hugh Seton-Watson used Oldenburg's
work on the Bolsheviks in his books and the


7
popular historian W. Bruce Lincoln utilized the
original untranslated two volume work in his
three books, The Romanovs, Passage Through
Armageddon, and In War's Dark Shadow.
Unfortunately the few quotes employed related
to documented speeches of Nicholas. None of
the positive analysis of Oldenburg's synthesis
on Nicholas' reign was ever employed.
Recently, a 1975 Soviet film on the last
year of Rasputin's life was released in the Soviet
Union. For ten years "Agonia" had been banned
within the Soviet union. This is understandable
as it shed a new light on Nicholas. While there
are some historical inaccuracies, it portrayed
Nicholas in a more sympathetic light which is
considerably different from a PBS special on
Stalin which analyzed Nicholas' reign as the
catalyst for the Russian Revolutions. By using
actual film footage of Nicholas and his family,
edited in such a way and interspersed with harsh
criticism, Nicholas appeared to be frolicking
while the Russian people suffered deprivation
and oppression. This portrayal is interesting
when contrasted to the fact that Soviet filmmakers


8
are analyzing Nicholas more sympathetically.
Texts currently used in area high schools
and colleges will comprise a control group.
I will compare these works with historical
monographs and collected documents to provide
corroborating or dissenting views of scholars.
Fortunately more and more contemporary accounts
of the last tsarist administration have been
published in English, particularly in recent
years with the renewed interest in Russia and
the Soviet Union. Gorbachev's openness policy
has made access to the archives easier.
Unfortunately the papers on Nicholas1
administration have not been made readily
available to scholars who journey to the Soviet
Union to pursue academic reasearch into the
tsarist era.
While the English speaker has many
sources, much has still remained untranslated.
Therefore to study the tsarist era it is necessary
to read the Russian language. Collected
anthologies of speeches and documents of Nicholas'
reign are in English and provide enough adequate
material to do a cursory analysis of this era.


9
But until the archives are made available a
definitive biography of Nicholas can not be
attempted.
This paper will be divided into three
chapters. the first will discuss the chief
policies of Nicholas1 early reignWitte and
his industrialization program, Nicholas' choice
of ministers, the Hague Conference of 1899, the
Russo-Japanese War, the Revolution of 1905, the
October Manifesto, and the Fundamental Laws of
1906. These will be examined by contrasting
the opinions of the historians' views of Nicholas
with those of his contemporaries and even Nicholas
himself.
Chapter II will deal with the interim
years, 1907-1914 which included the following:
Stolypin, the Duma, ethnic reforms ecompassing
the Jews, and the Land Reforms. Here too the
focus will be how Nicholas was perceived by
historians and contemporaries alike.
The last chapter of the body of this
paper will deal with Nicholas' personality.
Historians have most often devoted their attention
to intense dissection of Nicholas' personal life,


his wife, Alexandra, and his relationship with
Rasputin. World War I will be discussed in sofar
as Nicholas' views and historians' opinions of
Nicholas have been analyzed.
The death of the royal family will be
analyzed only in the aspect of historical
perception. Do historians redeem Nicholas because
of his death? Did his contemporaries lament
such a brutal end or rather did they rejoice?


CHAPTER II
CHIEF POLICIES OF NICHOLAS EARLY REIGN
The early years of Nicholas's reign,
1894-1904, were marked by a continuation of many
of his father's policies. Three crucial issues
dominated these years. First was the decision
Nicholas made at his accession to continue the
economic advancement begun during his father's
reign. Did Nicholas retain his Minister of
Finance's services because he truly desired economic
progress or was Witte allowed to pursue his program
because Nicholas had "inherited" him from Alexander
III? A second, and even more disastrous event,
was the Russo-Japanese War. Did Nicholas approve
of or encourage the adventurism in the Far East
which led to this war? The Russo-Japanese war
led to the Revolution of 1905 which altered the


12
autocracy. Was Witte the author of this manifesto?
What was Witte's role in the decision to convene
the Hague Conference in 1899? Was Witte the
dominant force behind the successful Treaty of
Portsmouth?
Witte and Russian Industrialization
Though Nicholas'early reign was marked
by a peaceful continuation of his father's policies,
Count Sergei Witte was a forceful personality of
this era. Witte became Minister of Finance in
1892.
Witte was typical of the new bureaucrats
emerging in the latter half of the nineteenth
century, an individual from non-noble origins
who worked his way up in government service
by talent, hard work, and imagination. Witte
believed fervently that if Russia were to
remain competitive with European nations,
it would have to modernize, particularly by
exploiting its ijiatural resources and building
up its economy.
Historians have interpreted the positive
and negative aspects of Witte's industrialization
program in many ways. Witte used his personality
and the confidence which had been placed in him


13
by Alexander III to sway Nicholas into accepting
his policies. According to John Thompson in Russia
and the Soviet Union: "Nicholas could be influenced
by powerful personalities, and he supported for
a time the program for economic modernization
2
advanced by his minister of finance, Sergei Witte."
This statement by historian John M. Thompson
suggested that Witte's methods of modernization
were not always conducive to the best interests
for the majority of the Russian people--the
peasants. It is necessary to compare the negative
opinions of historians with the positive to reach
a conclusion as to the viability of Witte's
industrialization program.
Witte's policies were varied. Like his
predecessor, Vyshnegradsky, Witte advocated
extensive taxation of the peasantry and the
exporting of Russian grain. He promoted Russian
exports to pay for the needed technological imports
to enhance industry. In his book, A History of
Russia, Nicholas Riasanovsky stated: "Serge Witte,
1892-1903, strove especially to develop state
railways in Russia and to promote heavy industry


14
through high tariffs, state contracts and subsidies
3
and other means."
Witte pursued his system of
industrialization with ruthless efficiency. His
export program relied 80% on agriculturaral
products. He imposed indirect taxes on necessities
Historians blame Witte's methods for the setback
which Russian agriculture experienced. For example
Thompson stated: "Backward and inefficient
agriculture acted as a brake on the economy.
Overpopulation and government taxation created
a land desperate and impoverished peasantry ripe
for revolution."^
According to historians, Witte's rapid
industrialization caused harsh conditions for not
only the rural workers, but also for the urban
proletariat. Historians Thompson and Riasanovsky
emphasized that the speed with which Witte was
attempting to accomplish his goals was only
detrimental to the peasantry as well as factory
workers. A contemporary observation by V. I. Gurko
who served in the first Duma stated: "This was


due to the general neglect of agriculture and other
branches of rural economy."'
Although many historians condemned Witte's
program of industrialization some approved. Witte's
theory was expressed best by Theodore Von Laue
in his article, "The State and the Economy":
The expansion of the heavy industries in
turn would stimulate the growth of the light
industries and eventually agriculture would
would improve through the increased demand
for food and the cheapergSupply of better
equipment and chemicals.
Like Von Laue, Nicholas Riasanovsky best
exemplified the standard historical opinion of
Witte's industrialization program.
Under Nicholas II, as in the reign of
Alexander III, the Ministry of Finance pursued
a more intelligent and far-sighted policy
than did the rest of the government; and this
affected lyany aspects of the Russian economy
and life.
Historically, Russia's industrialization
has been viewed as not only a necessity but also
as a positive policy of Nicholas's early reign.
While Thompson credited Witte's success with his
ability to dominate Nicholas, historian Hugh


1 6
Seton-Watson made the following observation of
Nicholas in his book, The Russian Empire, 1801-1917
"Like his father, he (Nicholas) favored such
economic modernization as would strengthen the
Russian state, and for nine years he supported
0
Witte, the champion of modernization."
While authors of the chief texts used in
our schools credited Witte for the positive aspects
of his policies, they criticized the government,
i.e. Tsar Nicholas for negative effects. However,
historical monographs which have recently been
published credit tsarist Russia for its progressive
economic policies. Neil B. Weissman dispelled
the previous standard theses that Russia was
backward in all areas. In his book, Reform in
Tsarist Russia, Weissman emphasized the positive
role the tsar and his administrators played in
Russia's economic advancement:
It has been a commonplace to associate
Tsarist Russia, particularly in its last
decades, with conservatism and even stagnation
Yet at that very time, and largely at the
instigation of its own autocratic government,
the empire was beginning a period of rapid
and fundamental change.


Weissman further emphasized that no matter the
motives, Witte's policy was instigated in order
that Russia might adequately compete with a "rapidly
1 0
industrializing Europe."
While Witte's early policies emphasized
industry and an ensuing policy of filteration down
to the agricultural area, Nicholas supported him:
Although Nicholas knew that many officials
disapproved of Witte's methods and though
he himself found it difficult to excuse his
aggressiveness, he could not but look with
favor on the country's growing financial
stability, dependent in great part on Witte's
monetary reforms, including the establishment
of the gold standard.
Further, Nicholas realized that Witte's system
was "putting Russia safely into the ranks of the
1 2
world's most progressive states." Transportation
systems, particularly the railroad lines, were
increasing; the textile industry which was focused
more in Moscow than St. Petersburg was booming;
natural resources, such as coal, oil and iron were
finally being exploited; foreign and domestic


18
trade were rising; and finally, there was a balanced
budget within sight.
The greatest testimony that Nicholas II
endorsed Witte's fiscal policies was expressed
by Witte himself in his memoirs:
In all financial matters throughout the
time when I held the office of Minister of
Finances, he (Nicholas) had full confidence
in me and.did not in the least thwart my
activity.
While some historians criticized increased foreign
investment into Russia others have lauded Witte's
determination to back Russia's currency with gold.
Witte credited Nicholas totally for this latter,
positive action. "it may truly be said that Russia
1 4
owes the gold standard solely to Nicholas II."
Witte's system was somewhat drastic.
However the changes which resulted were not always
for the worse. In June 1897, Nicholas signed the
Factory Law which limited the work day for urban
workers. In many ways it was revolutionary in
the respect that Article 8 stated:
Overtime work is permitted only by special
agreement between the manager of the industrial
establishment and the worker. The hiring



1 9
contract may include provisions regarding
such overtime work only as reqiji^red by the
technical needs of production.
The positive aspects of Witte's policies
are evident. Although he did not turn his attention
to the agrarian problems until the beginning of
the twentieth century, he did realize the necessity
for agricultural modernization. Further, it is
apparent that historical perception of Nicholas's
role in Witte's program has been neglected by the
standard texts discussed. Witte himself credited
Nicholas for the success of his policies. Although
Witte cannot be regarded as an admirer of Nicholas,
in this one area his words showed that Nicholas
deserved recognition. The texts which represent
the standard interpretation of Nicholas II and
his reign utilized Witte's memoirs, but did not
mention Witte's opinion on this subject.
The next important political controversy
of Nicholas's early reign was his call for a
conference on the issue of universal disarmament.


20
Historians disagree as to the motive for such a
policy and who was behind such a decision, Witte
or Nicholas.
The Hague Conference of 1899
Under Alexander III, Russia had experienced
thirteen years of unbroken peace. The historical
consensus of Nicholas's foreign policy has been
best stated by Nicholas Riasanovsky in A History
of Russia:
Nicholas II approved Alexander Ill's foreign
policy on the whole and wanted to continue
it. However, as we shall see, the new emperor
proved to be less steady and more erratic
than his father in international relations
as in domestic affairs.
Q
In Russia: A Short History, Michael T. Florinsky
criticized Nicholas for his belated proclamation
1 7
of his devotion to peace. Further Robert K.
Massie in Nicholas and Alexandra emphasized the
historical perception of Nicholas's actions in
calling for such a conference as a way to stem
Austria's rapid armament program. "It has been
suggested that the Tsar's proposal stemmed wholly
from the fact that Austria was requipping her


21
artillery with modern field guns which Russia was
1 8
unable to match."
A contemporary view of what such a
conference would convey to the outside world was
expressed by Witte. He stated in his memoirs:
"The step, I declared, could bring us nothing but
harm. It would achieve no practical results and
it would merely reveal our financial weakness to
1 9
the whole world." Witte was trying to secure
foreign investment in Russia and he felt such a
decision by Nicholas would only result negatively.
This statement opened the door to the second
question of whether Nicholas or Witte was behind
the proposal. Also, Witte worried that Nicholas
was more interested in his position as a world
leader than in the maintenance of peace. "Nicholas
II, perhaps attracted by the prominent role he
would play on the world scene, yielded to Witte's
urging and issued a call for universal peace and
a reduction of the excessive arms burdens through
20
international agreement."
Historians emphasized that Nicholas was
more interested in his world position than either


22
in finances or peace. Also, although Witte stated
that he disapproved of a world wide disarmament
conference, historians persisted in crediting him.
W. Bruce Lincoln best exemplified this perception
in the following statement from his book, In War's
Dark Shadow:
At his (Witte) urging, Nicholas approved
the plan, and in August 1898 Muravev appealed
to all European powers to assemble at the
Hague to discuss a mora torium on the
development and production of new weapons.
Thus it was Russia and Nicholas IIa weak
nation and a far weaker Emperorwho set in
motion the forces that brought t^ first Hague
Conference together in May 1899.
These negative opinions of Nicholas and
his motives and his role in such a decision are
in direct contradiction to the standard views of
Vernadsky and Riasanovsky. Vernadsky lauded
Nicholas's decision by a subtle comparison to the
policy of Alexander I's Holy Alliance: "For the
first time since the Holy Alliance, an attempt
had been made to bring about international peace;
and again, as in 1815, the initiative had come
from the Russian emperor.
Nicholas Riasanovsky


23
was even more complimentary of Nicholas1s policy
in the following statement:
Nicholas II appeared prominently on the
international scene in 1899, when he called
together the first Hague Peace Conference
attended by repre sentatives of twenty-six
states. Although instigated by Russian
financial stringency and in particular by
the difficulty of keeping up with Austrian
armaments, this initiative was in accor^with
the emperor's generally peaceful views.
In the 1890's Ivan Bliokh published a six
volume work, The Future of War. In it he described
the method of future warfare if countries continued
their present armaments competition. This was
an influential catalyst to Nicholas's decision
as Kadet leader and historian Paul Miliukov stated:
"I read Bliokh's work, which led Nicholas II to
organize the First Hague Conference in 1899."^
Traditional historical interpretations of Nicholas'
role and the reason behind his decision are
favorable. Witte disclaimed any credit for the
Hague Conference and in fact deplored Nicholas'
precipitate step. However, Paul Miliukov, historian
and leader of the Kadet or Constitutional Democratic
Party, fuelled controversy. He claimed that
Nicholas'motivation in calling the peace conference


24
was altruistic rather than practical. As
presented, popular historians condemned both
Nicholas's role and his reasons, but the standard
consensus has been that Nicholas was responsible
for such a far-sighted policy and for once that
whatever the motives it was a positive program.
Historian Sergei Oldenburg was the most effusive
in his critique of Nicholas and his actions when
he wrote the following in his two volume work The
Last Tsar which was published in 1939.
But anyone who believes that free will
is inherent in individuals and nations must
acknowledge that Emperor Nicholas II, who
first demanded effective measures to prevent
war and reduce the burden of armaments,
inaugurated a momentous historic enter prise 25
that has earned him the right to immortality.
So far the standard historical
interpretations as represented by Thompson,
Riasanovsky, Vernadsky, and Mackenzie and Curran
have pictured Nicholas favorably when balanced
with the more limited accounts. Industrialization
was progressing and Nicholas had made it apparent
he desired to maintain peace. However this last
decision was destroyed in 1904 with the onset of


25
the Russo-Japanese War. Then the control group
of historians again portrayed Nicholas in an
unfavorable light. Further Witte has again been
credited with the successful Treaty of Portsmouth
which honorably concluded the war. What has been
the established historical opinion of Nicholas?
How do primary accounts agree or contradict these
perceptions?
The Russo-Japanese War, 1 904-1 905
In 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote Nicholas
that "the great task of the future for Russia is
to cultivate the Asian continent and defend Europe
2 6
from the inroads of the Great Yellow race."
While Nicholas obviously advocated peaceful policies
with regard to Europe and the United States,
historians view his Asian policies with cynicism.
Mackenzie and Curran stated Nicholas was influenced
by adventurers who desired rapid penetration into
27
China in order to circumvent Japan's influence.
Riasanovsky emphasized Nicholas's ability to seize


26
a fortuitous circumstance in promoting Russian
superiority in China:
Moreover, Russia responded to new
opportunities more and more aggressively.
Thus, when the murder of two German
missionaries in November 1897 led to the German
acquisition of Kiao-chow through a ninety
nine year lease, Nicholas II demanded and
obtained a twenty-five year lease of the
southern part of the Liaotung Peninsula with
Port Arthurin spite of Witte's opposition
to that move and in flagrant djgregard of
the Russian treaty with China.
This policy of expansion continued in spite
of the Japanese attempts during the Ito mission
29
to St. Petersburg to achieve some compromise.
According to Mackenzie and Curran who concurred
that Nicholas was influenced by Bezobrazov, this
step failed.^ Nicholas underrated Japanese policy
and wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm on the eve of the
Russo-Japanese War: "There will be no war because
31
I do not wish it." The traditional historical
interpretations of the causes of the war and
Nicholas' role do not refute contemporary accounts.
In fact Witte and Foreign Minister Lamsdorf
vehemently opposed Nicholas' actions and tried
to steer him away from Bezobrazov's influence.
They realized that Japan would not accept Russia's


27
preeminence in Korea, although Japan was willing
to allow Russia's influence in Manchuria.
In February 1904 the Japanese fleet attacked
the Russian fleet in Port Arthur and sunk three
battleships. Russia was at war. Historians have
devoted much attention to the Russo-Japanese War
because it is viewed as the catalyst for the
Revolution of 1905. In spite of Russian perceptions
of a "short victorious war", Japan emerged as the
military victor. The disastrous fall of Port
Arthur, the Battle of Mukden, and the sinking of
the Russian fleet at Tsushima, underscored the
ineptness of Russia's military leaders--best exem-
plified by General Alexei Kuropatkinand the finan-
cial unpreparedness of the government to wage war.
The standard historical view as shown has
been critical of Nicholas. First, he was
manipulated into an aggresive policy by people
other than his ministers. Second, his
short-sightedness as emphasized by his letter to
the Kaiser, did not acknowledge the possibility
that the Japanese 'monkeys' would dare attack the
Russian bear. This policy witnessed the general
consensus by historians and contemporaries that


28
Nicholas was incapable of determining a positive
foreign policy.
Historians disagree over Nicholas' role
in the Treaty of Portsmouth and whether it was
favorable or unfavorable to Russia. While it was
apparent by Nicholas's own statements that he had
believed whole-heartedly that he could control
the situation and that Russia would emerge
victorious, the polemic of Russia's defeat has
been questioned by the historical interpretations
of the peace negotiations at Portsmouth.
The Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905
Nicholas had wavered on his decision about
sending the Russian fleet from the Baltic to the
Pacific. However, he finally decided to do so.
He placed all his hopes on the fleet successfully
demolishing the Japanese and bringing about a swift
end to the war. Unfortunately, the fleet was sunk
at Tsushima and it was this disaster, Mackenzie
and Curran stated, that caused the tsar to agree
32
to peace negotiations. The standard consensus


29
of the Treaty of Portsmouth was that its successful
conclusion was owed solely to Witte and further,
that the terms of the treaty were less than
satisfactory to Russia. Mackenzie and Curran,
Riasanovsky, and Vernadsky, all concur in this
assessment. Riasanovsky stated the following:
The provisions of the Treaty of Portsmouth
reflected the skillful diplomacy of Witte,
who headed the Russian delegation, and
represented everything considered, a ^ther
unsatisfactory settlement for Russia.
Mackenzie and Curran stated succinctly that the
terms of the treaty only confirmed Russia's
34
defeat. And Vernadsky emphasized that Witte
achieved a more favorable peace than was expected.
The terms included the loss of the southern half
of Sakhalin Island, Japanese dominance of Korea,
and Russian expulsion from Manchuria. Alan
Moorehead influenced by the mentioned historians,
made the following observation: "Nicholas had
lost here upon almost every count: in Russia's
prestige in the world, in the damage to his armed
forces, in the explosion of his dreams of a new
3 6
empire on the East."


30
Witte provided his own testament as to
his influence at Portsmouth when he wrote: "I
acquitted myself with complete success, so that
in the end the Emperor Nicholas was morally
compelled to reward me in an altogether exceptional
37
manner by bestowing upon me the rank of count."
Another portrait of Nicholas and the treaty has
emerged in recent years. Obviously historical
interpretation credited Witte for achieving
'honorable' terms of peace, but Raymond A. Esthus
has emphasized Nicholas's involvement in his
article, "Nicholas II and the Russo-JapaneSe War."
By April 1905, Japan was by no means averse
3 8
to peace. Esthus utilized many primary sources
in his article, including Japanese documents.
"Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo declared that while
Russia still had powerful forces in its home
i 3 9
country, Japan had exhausted its forces." This
statment portrayed the situation in a much different
light. The historical thesis that Russia was
whipped and agreeable to whatever the Japanese
granted was refuted by Nicholas II.
The Tsar's objective was explicitly set
out in the instructions prepared for the


31
Russian plenipotentiaries. That document
stated that Russia would not hesitate for
one minute to continue the war if Japan
presented demands which tarnished the^onor
and worth of Russia as a great power.
Nicholas's instructions to Witte were very
clear. Russia would not pay an indemnity and would
not relinquish one inch of Russian land. Witte
telegraphed the tsar that the Japanese were not
agreeable and Nicholas instructed Lamsdorf to
41
command Witte to end discussion. Negotiations
were stalemated once Witte agreed to most of Japan's
demands. However, the Japanese ambassador, Komura,
also had his instructions. While he had attempted
to gain an indemnity payment from Russia,
realistically the Japanese government and people
knew that was impossible. "The need for peace
was so great that Japanese military leaders, as
well as many civilian leaders, believed it was
unrealistic to expect to get an indemnity from
Russia.
In the end Witte disobeyed his orders and
ceded the southern half of Sakhalin. However,
there was no indemnity. Further, Russia lost no
land and was still able to control its railroad
through Manchuria. But Witte had been ready to


32
cede all of Sakhalin to Japan if Nicholas had not
remained firm.
Nicholas restrained Witte from ceding all
of Sakhalin and possibly paying a disguised
indemnity, while Witte, for his part, boldly
seized the moment to make peace when Nicholas
had ordered him home. The result of the tension
and struggle between the two men was the
achievement of a peace that all the world ^
recognized as a remarkable Russian triumph.
Obviously the contemporary accounts,
Nicholas and Witte's telegrams, discount the theory
that Witte alone was responsible for the peace.
In fact they emphasize that if anything, Witte
would have been more conciliatory if Nicholas had
not proved so determined. Further the terms of
the treaty were not dishonorable to Russia. In
fact they were considerably more favorable than
would have been expected under the circumstances.
Sir Bernard Pares, a Russian historian
who spent many years there during Nicholas's reign,
contradicted the idea that Witte alone shaped the
treaty conference. In a review of Witte's memoirs,
Pares observed: "There are long passages, easily
detachable from his accounts of events, and
introduced only to show that Witte did nearly
44
everything good that got done."


33
Esthus has provided a new interpretation
based upon Nicholas's opinions. "It is true that
he was shy, timid, and sometimes indecisive; yet
what comes through during the Russo-Japanese War
45
is his tenacity and resolution." When the primary
accounts are balanced with the historical ones
it is apparent that the outcome of the
Russo-Japanese War was not as disastrous, with
regard to foreign policy, as previously thought.
Witte did not sway Nicholas who held firm to his
position. While some critics might feel this was
stubbornness it may also be interpreted as
determination.
Although Nicholas acquitted himself in
a favorable light with regard to the treaty, the
Russo-Japanese War was the catalyst for a more
serious event; one which altered Nicholas's role
in government and which historians have consistently
criticized him forthe Revolution of 1905.
The Revolution of 1905
The disastrous military losses Russia
experienced in the Russo-Japanese War emphasized


34
the disaffection of many groups in Russia.
Historical analysis of the 1905 Revolution has
interpreted itias a dress rehearsal for the 1917
February Revolution. The peasants had experienced
i
l
a famine in 1902; the intellectuels were dismayed
!
at the lack of -governmental participation; the
j
workers were demanding better conditions; and the
ethnic minoritiles were determined to gain the right
of self-determination. This was the foundation
i
for the outbreak of revolution in 1905. The
immediate catalyst was the fall of Port Arthur
in January of 1905.
"Bloodyj Sunday" has become the traditional
historical interpretation of all that was wrong
with Russia. Further it exemplified all of
Nicholas's weaknesses and the inefficiency of his
l
administration, i Historians, and contemporaries
i
alike condemened Nicholas for the shooting of the
l
l
peaceful demonstrators led by Father Gapon.
Historically Nicholas has been acquitted of any
I
direct guilt in jordering the measures taken by
the police. "In' a tragic display of incompetence,
security officials in St. Petersburg, without the


35
knowledge of the tsar or higher authorities, chose
4 6
to disperse the unarmed crowd by force."
Bloody Sunday shattered the people1s image
of the tsar as a benevolent figure. It was
continued violence-the assassination of Grand Duke
Serge Governor of Moscowwhich instituted
Nicholas's decision to convoke a "consultative"
47
assembly. This was a reluctant decision on
Nicholas's part. The standard interpretation of
Nicholas's role in the events of 1905 is negative
and contemporaries who witnessed the events of
Bloody Sunday and the succeeding uprisingsthe
Potemkin Mutiny in June 1905, peasant violence
in the country, and the October strike by
workersconcur that Nicholas completely mismanaged
domestic policy.
The only positive outcome of the 1905
Revolution was the October Manifesto which granted
a national parliamentDuma and the issuance
of the Fundamental Laws of 1906. However, the
standard historical analysis of these two events
does not always concide with the contemporary
viewpoints. On the negative side, Nicholas was
accused of giving too little and hedging his


36
promises by retaining his right of veto, and the
ability to dismiss the Duma at any time.
Nicholas has historically been portrayed
as a man desperate to maintain his authority so
he grudgingly agreed to suggestions of Witte and
asked him to form a cabinet to discuss the call
for a parliament. In spite of the positive granting
of civil liberties, freedom of speech and press,
the portrait of Nicholas has been one of surly
reluctance. The only positive statement about
the political reforms of 1905-1906 came from
Nicholas in a letter to his mother, written October
19, 1905 (Old Style):
One of two ways was open to us, to appoint
an energetic military man and use all available
forces to try to crush the rebellion; that
would have given us time to breathe, but in
a few months we would have to use force all
over again. That would mean rivers of blood,
and in the end, we should be where we had
started. That is, the authority of the
government would be reaffirmed, but the
situation would remain unchanged. The other
way was to give the people their civil
rights...and also have all laws confirmed
by a State Duma^g That of course would be
a constitution.
Nicholas felt he had broken his sacred
oath to maintain the autocracy intact for his son.


37
In spite of the fact that he granted some liberties,
he retained most of his power. The fact that the
army had remained faithful allowed Nicholas to
successfully handle this crisis. This was not
the case in 1917. But the next few years preceeding
the outbreak of World War I would be crucial ones
for the government. As shown there has been some
discrepancies in the standard portrayal of Nicholas
and his early policies. His support of Witte,
the Hague Conference, and the conclusion of the
Treaty of Portsmouth have shed new light on
Nicholas. Unfortunately the negative image
presented by historians of the events of 1905 are
undiminished. What was Nicholas's role in the
interim years between the issuance of the
Fundamental Laws of 1906 and the declaration of
war in 1914? Such issues as Nicholas's relationship
with the Duma, with his ministers, the fiscal
policies, Stolypin's land reform, and his feelings
towards the ethnic minorities, particularly the
Jews will be examined in the next chapter.


NOTESCHAPTER II
1
John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet
Union, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1986),
165.
^Ibid.
3
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of
Russia, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press,
1984), 396.
4
Thompson, 175.
5
Theodore Von Laue, "The State of the
Economy," from The Transformation of Russian Society
edited by C. E. Black, (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1960), 208.
g
V.I. Gurko, Features and Figures of the
Past: Government and Opinion in the Reign of
Nicholas II, (Stanford: University Press, 1939),
5.
7
Riasanovsky, 3rd ed. 1977, 441.
O
Hugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire,
1801-1917, (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1967),
548.
9
Neil B. Weissman, Reform in Tsarist Russia:
The State Bureaucracy and Local Government,
1900-1914, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers
University Press, 1981), 3.
1Ibid., 21.
11
Sidney Harcave, Years of the Golden
Cockerel, (New York: the Macmillan Company, 1968),
301 .


39
1 3
Sergei Witte, The Memoirs of Count Witte,
(Garden City, New York and Toronto: Doubleday,
Page and Company, 1921), 308.
14Ibid., 61.
1 5
George Vernadsky editor, A Source Book
for Russian History from Early Times to 1917, volume
3: Alexander II to the February Revolution, (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), 757.
1
Riasanovsky, 4th ed. 1984., 400.
1 7
Michael T. Florinsky, Russia: A Short
History, second edition, (New York: Macmillan
Publishing Company, Inc., 1969), 356.
1 8
Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra,
(New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1969),
67.
^Witte, 96.
20
Hans Rogger, Russia in the Age of
Modernisation and Revolution, 1881-1917, (London
and New York: Longman, 1983), 174.
21
W. Bruce Lincoln, In War's Dark Shadow;
The Russians Before.the Great War, (New York:
Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1986), 232.
22
George Vernadsky, A History of Russia,
5th ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961),
236.
23
Riasanovsky, 4th ed., 1984, 401.
24
Paul Miliukov, Political Memoirs,
1905-1917, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan
Press, 1967), 190.
25
Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar; Nicholas
II, His Reign and His Russia: volume I: The


40
Autocracy, 1894-1900, (Florida: Academic
International Press, 1975), 103.
2 6
Edmond Taylor, The Fall of the Dynasties:
The Collapse of the Old Order, 1905-1922, (Garden
City: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1963), 61.
27
David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran,
A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, (Homewood,
Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1982), 369.
28.
29
Riasanovsky, 3rd ed., 1977, 445.
Mackenzie and Curran, 369.
30
31
32
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., 370.
33.
34
Riasanovsky, 3rd ed., 1977, 447.
Mackenzie and Curran, 370.
^Vernadsky, 5th ed., 1961, 240.
3 6
Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution,
(New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958),
28.
"^Massie, 97.
3 8
Raymond A. Esthus, "Nicholas II and the
RussoJapanese War," Russian Review 4 (1981),
402.
39
Ibid
40
Ibid
41
Ibid
406.
409.


41
42Ibid., 402.
43Ibid., 411.
44
Sir Bernard Pares review of Vospominania:
Tsarstvovanie Nikolaya II (Memoirs: Reign of
Nicholas II), by Count Sergei Witte, The Slavonic
Review 3 (1923), 466.
43Esthus, 411.
46
Thompson, 180.
47
Riasanovsky, 451.
48
Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas
II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume II: Years
of Change, 1900-1907, (Florida: Academic
International Press, 1977), 161.


CHAPTER III
INTERIM YEARS, 1907-1914
The years after the Revolution of 1905
and preceding the outbreak of World War I in 1914
were crucial ones. Nicholas had reluctantly granted
a national parliament and some civil liberties.
However, he retained the right to govern all foreign
affairs and the ability to dissolve the Duma at
any time. Alexander Kerensky pronounced this era:
"The brief period of Russian history from the
revolution of 1905 to the war of 1914 was a time
of great importance for Russia's internal
]
development."
This era was not only important politically
but economically. John M. Thompson has best stated
the traditional view of this time:


43
Some historians see this period as the
beginning of the peaceful emergence in Russia
of a modernized democratic society, quite
similar to western societies. Others, however,
including Soviet writers, see these few years
as a desperate, last-ditch effort by
reactionary forces to paper over some of
Russia's most fundamental flaws, a ploy that
was doomed to fail, whether the war had come
or not.
This exemplifies the theory that the 1917 revolution
was inevitable. Thompson's personal thesis was
the revolution was not unavoidable, but that World
War I was the deciding factor which determined
the events of February 1917; however not those
of October 1917.
The interim years receive praise from all
sides. Not only the group of standard historians,
but contemporary views painted a hopeful picture
of the programs the government instituted. "The
last short years before the warthe beginning
of Russia's great catastrophe were marked by a
dynamic development of economic, cultural, and
political forces."^ Sir Bernard Pares and Maurice
Baring who witnessed first hand the progress agreed,
"that economically the seven years from 1907-1914,
were, so far, the most prosperous period in Russian
history."4


44
Industrialization had slowed its intense
pace. "Signs of recovery appeared in all sectors
of the economy.Consumer products improved as
did per capita income. Materially, Russia was
rapidly catching up to Western Europe.
Politically there were changes. As Witte
was the dominant personality of the first ten years
of Nicholas's reign, Peter Stolypin, Minister of
Interior and Prime Minister, was the influential
force during the interim years. The controversies
during this era which directly affected Nicholas
were his relationship with the Duma and the
provincial zemstvos; with his ministers,
particularly Stolypin; his views of the ethnic
minorities, and Stolypin's land reforms. What
were the standard interpretations of Nicholas with
each of the above mentioned factors? Were the
historical opinions the accurate ones, or was
Nicholas portrayed as a determined autocrat who
despised his inability to retain his role of
'unlimited autocrat'?


45
Zemstvos and the Dumas
"Introduced in some provinces in 1865,
zemstvos were gradually extended by 1914 to 43
g
of the 50 provinces of European Russia provinces."
In 1894 when Nicholas became Tsar, there was no
hope for the progress which was a reality by 1914.
The zemstvos were the first political participation
the Russian people experienced. On his accession,
Nicholas dashed the hopes of the zemstvos for a
national parliament with his statement that these
ideals were "senseless dreams". These two words
are now famous and are used to standardize the
historical opinion of Nicholas and his views
that constitutional governments were evil.
Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsev
(1832-1909) made the following observation of the
government and its inadequacies in his diary in
1901 :
Because of the unrestrained abuse of power
by officialdom, senseless bureaucratic whims,
regulations bordering on the ridiculous, the


46
absense of any sound policy discussed in
advance, capricious interference in affairs
and especially in appoint ments by the
empresses, the grand dukes and duchesses,
and the crowd of scoundrels surrounding them,
the Russian people are sinking deeper and
deeper into oppression and misery.
During the Revolution of 1905, Nicholas
maintained that the zemstvos must "mind their own
g
business." He had plans which he would introduce
when he saw fit. This time occurred after the
assassination of Grand Duke Serge in March 1905.
Nicholas issued a statement that he would call
for an investigation into the establishment of
a Duma. Until 1905, the zemstvos had been
restricted in their power. Although Nicholas
realized there was a need for some reform, he
rejected a reform bill presented by Minister of
Interior Goremykin in 1899. This decision was
supported by Stolypin. However in October 1902
another bill for zemstvo reform was presented and
in January 1903 Nicholas "gave his assent to the
formation within the MVD of a commission to prepare
g
a detailed blueprint for provincial reform."


47
This was the most positive statement of
Nicholas' views of the zemstvo reform. Like his
relationship with the zemstvos, Nicholas viewed
the Duma as a continual reminder that he had failed
his father. He distrusted the members of the Duma,
particularly the first two which were dismissed
within months of their convocation. Mackenzie
and Curran provide the best standard interpretation
of Nicholas' opinion on constitutional government.
"Dominated by Pobedonostsev and the reactionary
Prince V. P. Mescherskii, Nicholas believed that
constitutional government and parliaments were
Nicholas' relationship with the Duma was
tense from the moment of its first meeting. In
spite of his misgivings he told the Duma: "For
My own part, I shall protect as immutable the course
that I have set. I do so in the firm conviction
that you will devote all your strength in selfless
1 1
service to the nation." The Duma issued a reply
to the Tsar's Address which demanded full suffrage,
ministerial responsibility to the Duma, and finally
1 2
amnesty for all political prisoners.


The tsar and his ministers met these
demands with hostility. Further, due to Article
87 under the Fundamental Laws of 1906, Nicholas
was able to pass legislation without the Duma's
approval. This article stated that when the duma
was not in session, the Tsar could institute laws
which would be subjected to the Duma's approval
once it reconvened. However, the Duma seldom
reversed any legislation which occurred during
these periods and Nicholas was able to retain much
of his autocratic power.
These are the standard historical opinions
of Nicholas and his relationship with the Duma.
On the positive side, Nicholas had long realized
that his government needed some reorganization.
During the 1905 Revolution he wrote his mother:
"We are in the midst of a revolution with an
administrative apparatus entirely disorganized,
and in this lies the main danger." Further,
Nicholas displayed his disgust with the bureaucracy
in another letter written a few weeks later to
his mother:


49
Everybody is afraid of taking courageous
action; I keep on trying to force them--even
Witte himself to behave more energetically.
With us nobody is accustomed to shouldering
responsibility: all expect to be given order^
which, however, they disobey as often as not.
The cynicism apparent in this statement
indicated Nicholas' knowledge that a more efficient
form of government had to be implemented. However,
the first two Dumas only reinforced his opinion
of the inherent weakness of constitutional
governments. He became disgusted with the internal
bickering in the Duma. With the second Duma he
had hoped educational reform would be instigated,
but the members could not agree and it was dismissed
because of its radical membership and inability
to confer upon important legislative issues. As
Nicholas had stated he was determined to make his
reforms work and encouraged the Duma members to
work with the State Council and himself for the
betterment of the government. While many criticized
this speech for its lack of directives, it must
be remembered that Nicholas had never intended
the Duma to be anything other than advisory. If
the delegates stayed in their place, Nicholas was
1 5
more than willing to work with them. Until they


50
realized this Nicholas would not consider receiving
a delegation as he told Stolypin in November,
1907.16
As shown the traditional historians
have portrayed Nicholas and constitutional
government on all levels in a negative light.
His own opinions illustrated that he realized the
need to streamline the government, but on his terms
and not by granting a parliament. Throughout the
remaining years of his reign, he retained his
distrust for the Duma, but as shown he did try
some measure of cooperation. In fact, the third
Duma served its full five year term as did the
fourth Duma. In spite of the negative picture
of Nicholas which has predominated history, there
was some evidence that Nicholas was more receptive
than previously portrayed. It should be remembered
that Nicholas was not the only person who viewed
the parliament with distrust. "Conservative and
reactionary elements at court and throughout the
country, had varying emotions, ranging from
1 7
apprehension to abhorrence of the new parliament."
Nicholas may have been head of the government but


51
he was not responsible for the opinions of his
ministers. Unfortunately he often chose people
whose views coincided with his and this led to
history's harsh assessment of him.
During Nicholas1s reign two men became
influential. Witte was influential for the first
ten years and Peter Stolypin was predominant from
1906 to his assassination in 1911. Historians
argue over who was more important but they were
each valuable. Witte's system had propelled Russia
into the industrial revolution and Stolypin's Land
Reform began a modernization policy of Russia's
agrarian problems. Since Alexander II's reform
policies, the Russian government had been searching
for an adequate way to manage the peasant problem
and a feasible solution to agricultural depression.
What was Nicholas' role in Stolypin's Land Reform?
How has the standard historical interpretation
viewed him?


52
Stolypin and the Land Reforms
Witte's early program of industrialization
had been detrimental to the peasantry. However
by the turn of the century he began to investigate
plans for agricultural reform. The 1905 Revolution
saw the redemption payments for land abolished.
Stolypin carried his land reform further. He
desired to abolish the communes as he felt, as
had Witte, that the traditional commune was
detrimental to agricultural production. He
reorganized the Peasant Land Bank so that a greater
number of the peasants were able to obtain loans.
He advocated a restructuring policy of the way
which the communes divided the land so that a
peasant's land was consolidated rather than
seperated by another's strip as had been the
traditional method.
Historian John M. Thompson regarded
Stolypin's land reforms as a monumental social
change. As the war cut short the policy it is
difficult to ascertain how successful it would


53
have been, but Thompson emphasized that by 1915
only a little over a million peasant families had
acquired and consolidated their land into single
1 8
plots. However, 25% of the peasants had left
the communes and owned their own land. The October
Revolution of 1917 changed this so historians cannot
accurately assess the success of Stolypin's program.
But it was evident that by 1915, agricultural reform
was in progress.
Until 1902, Nicholas believed in the commune
as the representation of a truly Russian
institution. But Nicholas realized the viability
of agricultural reform once Witte began
1 9
investigation into such policies. If there have
been negative criticisms of Stolypin's land reforms
they have been difficult to ascertain. Historians
generally agree that if war had not come in 1914
agricultural progress would have continued. Further,
what Nicholas' opinion about Stolypin's policy
in this area can only be ascertained by the
observation that the program was instituted and
had to have Nicholas' signature. Also, Nicholas
had maintained his devotion to the peasantry whom


he considered truly Russian and his most devoted
subjects. Unfortunately the one area where the
negative outweighed the positive is the assessment
of Nicholas' relationships with his ministers.
The standard opinion was Nicholas was incapable
of choosing ministers with the intelligence or
energy to adequately handle their duties.
Nicholas and his Ministers
"Ministers were appointed by the Tsar,
and held office as long as they possessed his
20
confidence." "Ministers changed rapidly in what
has been described as a 'ministerial leapfrog,'
and each was more under Rasputin's power than his
21
predecessor." While this last statement pertained
to the policies during the war, ministerial leapfrog
had been a game that Nicholas had played throughout
his reign. It escalated during the war.
Nicholas is harshly condemned by historians
because of his duplicity in the manner which he
dismissed his ministers. This was true of a few
of Nicholas' ministers who survived to write their
memoirs. Witte was Nicholas's harshest critic.
He accused Nicholas of not being grateful for his


55
services. In fact, Witte was rabid in his hatred
of Nicholas and expressed this in his memoirs.
V. I. Gurko also emphasized Nicholas's inability
to handle his ministers:
Gurko, who served in the Ministry of
Internal Affairs before and during Stolypin's
administration, caustically claimed that
Nicholas hated to dismiss a minister, not
because he was kind, 'for actually he was
indifferent to the feelings of the person
he dismissed, but because it disturbed his
peace of mind and obliged him to make an2^ffort
of will which he always found difficult.
Stolypin's death and Nicholas' callousness
to his assassination has also emphasized historians'
and contemporaries' negative opinions of Nicholas'
relationships with his various ministers. Stolypin
had pushed Nicholas to side with him on the reform
plan for zemstvos in the western region of Russia.
By this action Stolypin earned Nicholas' enmity
and it was rumored that Stolypin's assassination
was a plot because the murderer Bogrov was kept
incommunicado till his execution. Further during
the three days prior to Stolypin's death, when
he lay mortally wounded, Nicholas did not pay him
a visit. Historians and contemporaries state that


56
the conflict over the western zemstvo reform would
have instituted Stolypin1s dismissal if he had
not died.
The only positive accounts of Nicholas'
relationships with his ministers come from Kokovtsov
and Rodzianko, President of the Fourth Duma. In
spite of Kokovtsov's abrupt dismissal for daring
to criticize Rasputin's influence over the tsar,
he portrayed the tsar in a sympathetic light.
Further, he netralized Witte's depiction of the
tsar. Witte had asked Kokovtsov, whom he disliked
intensely, to obtain a grant from the tsar in the
amount of 200,000 rubles, which the tsar granted
in 1912. Kokovtsov, on the other hand, refused
a similar offer from the tsar when he was dismissed.
This showed the differences between Kokovtsov's
personality and Witte's. Witte did not hesitate
to deprecate the tsar in his memoirs. His
vituperative attack on Nicholas ranged from harsh
judgements of the tsar's personality to the tsar's
political ineptness. Yet Kokovtsov is not as
heavily researched as Witte. Nor do historians
rely as much on his memoirs as they do Witte's.


57
As earlier stated by Bernard Pares, Witte's memoirs
were records of Witte's personal aggrandizement
rather than accurate reflections of the era in
which he lived.
The historical consensus of Nicholas and
his ministers is the one which is currently
taught. Witte and Stolypin receive all the credit
for their reforms, in spite of the fact that
Nicholas had to approve them before they could
ever be implemented. In this instance the negative
outweighs the positive. However, the positive
as emphasized by Kokovtsov raises an interesting
question. Until the archives are opened and the
papers are available for indepth study this
perception of Nicholas will remain.
Nicholas and Anti-Semitism
Nicholas was anti-semitic. There has been
no positive account of his desire to reform the
government's position about the Jews. The Jews
were still required to live within the Pale of
Settlement which was established by Catherine the


.5 8
Great after the partition of Poland. Only a small
percentage of Jews were allowed to attend school.
Few were allowed to attend universities and to
live outside the Pale. Government instigated
pogroms which began under Alexander III escalated
under Nicholas II. In fact anti-semitic groups
such as the Black Hundred and the Union of the
Russian People enthusiastically pursued their
violent abuse of the Jews. The worst pogroms Russia
experienced were under Nicholas II; however, Stalin
instituted much more violent discrimination than
any leader but Hitler.
While Nicholas had stated his intention
to grant reforms for all of his subjects in 1906,
the October Manifesto granted the vote to Jews,
but that was all. The Pale of Settlement remained
in force as did the quota for Jewish education.
"It seems likely that the personal antipathy of
Nicholas II to the Jews, of which there is clear
evidence in his correspondence, was at least partly
responsible." Stolypin had attempted modest
proposals for Jewish reform but Nicholas vetoed


59
them. During the Homel pogrom, Witte investigated
as to responsibility and informed the tsar:
His Majesty wrote on the memorandum about
this affair that such matters should not be
brought to.his attention (as too trivial a
subj ect).
Witte emphasized that Nicholas was
surrounded by confirmed anti-semites such as
Procurator of the Holy Synod, Pobedonostsev;
Minister of the Interior, Plehve; Trepov; Ignatyev
and Durnovo. Further Nicholas was a member of
the Union of Russian People. He viewed with
equanimity the events of the Kishniev pogrom and
was mildly surprised that greater casualties had
not occurred.
It is difficult to provide any positive
aspect which might negate the anti-Semitic portrait
of Nicholas. In fact he was decidedly anti-Semitic
and often referred to them as zhidy (Yids) rather
than as Jews. However, one positive incident did
occur during Nicholas's reign and that was the
Beilis trial. Beilis was a Jew accussed in 1911
of killing a young man and draining his blood to
use in Jewish ceremonies. In 1913, Beilis was


60
exonerated by a jury constituted mainly of peasants.
It was never proved who the perpetrator was and
the length of time from Beilis's incarceration
to his exoneration was a travesty of justice.
There is no available evidence that suggested
Nicholas attempted to contravene the decision of
the jury.
One other point that must be considered
was Witte's opinion of Nicholas as contrasted with
his views of Alexander III. While Witte condemned
Nicholas he remarked on Alexander's policies as
25
"firm, but moderate and judicious." It was
Alexander III who retracted many of Alexander II's
Jewish reforms. During Alexander Ill's reign the
Jews started emigrating to the United States and
Palestine in vast numbers. Nicholas continued
his father's policy. Witte believed that Nicholas
pursued it with a vengeance. As Witte played a
strong part in the historical determination of
Nicholas and his policies this statement about
Alexander must be compared to Nicholas and a review
of Witte's opinion be examined.


61
As shown in this chapter, historians harshly
criticize Nicholas. While the interim years were
economically prosperous, Nicholas was portrayed
negatively as he struggled to retain his powers
and hedge the abilities of the Duma and his
ministers. However, parliamentary reform was
evolving if somewhat tentatively. Agricultural
reforms were instituted as were primary education
reforms, which, had received Nicholas's whole-hearted
approval. Unfortunately historians' consensus
of the period was that while change was occurring
it was not fast enough and the revolution was
inevitable, even though Lenin had stated in 1913
during the tercentenary of the Romanov rule that
he doubted he would live to see the revolution.
The revolutionaries did not consider the
inevitability of the revolution and historians
have too often overlooked this fact.


NOTESCHAPTER III
1
Alexander Kerensky, "Russia on the Eve
of World War I," Russian Review 5 (1945), 10.
2
John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet
Union, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986),
184.
^Kerensky, 10.
4
Sir Bernard Pares, The Fall of the Russian
Monarchy, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1939), 115.
^Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas
II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume III The Duma
Monarchy, 1907-1914, (Florida: Academic
International Press, 1977), 63.
g
David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran,
A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1st ed.,
(Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1977), 335.
7
George Vernadsky, A Source Book for Russian
History from Early Times to 1917: Volume 3:
Alexander II to the February Revolution, (New Haven
and London: Yale University Press, 1972), 698.
g
Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution,
(New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958),
5.
q
Neil B. Weissman, Reform in Tsarist Russia:
The State Bureaucracy and Local Government,
1900-1914, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers
University Press, 1981), 47.
4. 1 0 Mackenzie and Curran, 2nd ed., 1 982,
11 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas
II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume II: Years


63
of Change, 1900-1907, (Florida: Academic
International Press, 1977), p. 206.
1 2
Mackenzie and Curran, 1st ed., 1977,
402.
1 3
Roger Pethybridge editor, Witnesses to
the Russian Revolution, (Secaucus, New Jersey:
Citadel Press, 1964), 45.
1 4
^Ibid., 46.
1 5
W. Bruce Lincoln, In War's Dark Shadow:
The Russians Before the Great War, (New York:
Simon and Schuster Inc., 1986), 325.
1 6
Mary S. Conroy, Peter Arkad'evich
Stolypin: Practical Politics in Late Tsarist
Russia, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1976),
1 64.
17Ibid., 151.
1 8
Thompson, 185.
1 9
Sidney Harcave, Years of the Golden
Cockerel, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968),
307.
20
Hugh Seton-Watson, The Decline of Imperial
Russia, 1855-1914, (London and New York: Praeger,
1952), 246.
21
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of
Russia, 3rd ed., (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1977), 467.
^Conroy, 28.
^Seton-Watson, 243.
24
Serge Witte, The Memoirs of Count Witte,
translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky, (Garden City,


New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company,
1921), 274.
25
Ibid., 376.


CHAPTER IV
NICHOLAS' CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY
Historians and contemporaries are negative
about Nicholas' personality. Textbooks limit their
discussions of Nicholas to character assassinations
and the Rasputin phenomenon. Little attention
is devoted to examination of Nicholas' political
policies as regarded Nicholas' influence upon such.
Rather historians and contemporaries devoted
themselves to analysis of Nicholas' flaws and his
personal life. Further, as is most often the case,
examination of his diary and letters to his wife
are used to reenforce the negative perspective
of historians.
What is the standard view of Nicholas's
character? What do historians perceive as his
major flaw? Was Alexandra the dominant personality


66
in their marriage? What was Rasputin's role in
the lives of the imperial couple?
Nicholas 1 Personality
Historians, Thompson, Mackenzie and Curran,
Vernadsky, and Riasanovsky all agree that the word
which most adequately described Nicholas'
personality was "weak". "Nicholas was weak-willed
and irresolute," John M. Thompson stated in his
1
book, Russia and the Soviet Union. Not only do
these historians use the word "weak", but Alan
Moorehead, Donald Treadgold, Michael T. Florinsky,
and even the most compassionate of all Nicholas'
critics, Robert K. Massie implied it with the
following observation: "It would be more accurate
to say that he was a man' of narrow, special
education; of strong and unfortunately-unchanging
conviction; of soft-spoken, kindly manner, and,
2
underneath, of stubborn courage."
The standard descriptions of Nicholas are
so repetitive that historians accept automatically
the previous assessments of earlier historians.


67
"Easily influenced" are two words which are second
to weak in the analysis of Nicholas' personality.
The standard perception of Nicholas' character
is one of an inept, bumbling man, bordering on
idiocy, who ultimately caused his own downfall
and that of his country. This opinion has persisted
for the past seventy years with little or no
contradiction. Not only are historians critical
of his flaws, but so are his contemporaries. Witte
and Trotsky, who never met Nicholas, are two of
the most vehement in their denouncements of the
last tsar.
Witte, who credited Nicholas with the
establishment of the gold standard, used every
possible occasion to attack Nicholas in his memoirs:
"The Emperor's character may be said to be
essentially feminine. Someone has observed that
Nature granted him masculine attributes by
mistake."^ Witte continued his diatribe with:
"He is incapable of playing fair and he always
seeks underhand means and underground ways. He
has a veritable passion for secret notes and
4
methods." Witte stated he maintained his position
for eight years only because Nicholas


68
felt obligated to the memory of his dead father.^
Leon Trotsky's analysis of Nicholas'
character was even more critical than that of Witte.
"Nicholas was not only unstable, but treacherous.
Flatterers called him a charmer, bewitcher, because
g
of his gentle way with the courtiers." Trotsky
stated Nicholas despised anyone whom he believed
was his intellectual superior and therefore
surrounded, himself with "saintly fakirs, holy men,
7
to whom he did not have to look up."
William H. Chamberlin used Trotsky's and
Witte's assessments of Nicholas in his two volume
work on the Russian Revolution and went one step
further: "Nicholas II, whose personal misfortune
it was to rule in a period of wars and profound
social and economic changes, was less fit for the
role of an autocrat than any sovereign since the
Q
mad Tsar Paul." This criticism by one of the
earliest historians of the last tsarist regime
and the revolutions of 1917 has persisted and even
John M. Thompson stated in his bibliography that
Chamberlin's books should be considered a
cornerstone of any historical analysis of the
revolutions.^


69
To a certain extent, Trotsky's opinion
must be discounted as his view point was obviously
biased. But Witte and another contemporary Paul
Miliukov have continued to influence historial
assessments of Nicholas' reign. Miliukov was
equally critical of Nicholas: "Nicholas II was
doubtlessly an honest person and a good family
1 0
man, but he was by nature extremely weak-willed."
Miliukov emphasized his point with the following
observation:
As often happens with weak-willed
peoplelike Alexander I, for exampleNicholas
was afraid of being influenced by a strong
will. Struggling against such influence,
he used the same means as. Alexander I had
used, the only^ipeans available to him--cunning
and duplicity.
Miliukov, who didn't particularly like Witte,
remarked that it was the "tsar's weak will and
the tsarina's evil will" that caused the clashes
with Witte and the obstruction of Witte's
... 12
policies.
Apparently, there are no positive statements
of Nicholas. Historians seldom use them, except
for Robert K. Massie, whose books are utilized
by historians to project personal incidents of


79
Nicholas's life. Yet, there are contemporary
accounts which contradict the negative opinions
of historians and contemporaries. Sir Bernard
Pares was a personal observer of the events of
Nicholas' reign. He completely discredited
Trotsky's opinion with the following statement:
"The idea that he (Nicholas) was stupid, was a
sheer illusion confined to revolutionaries who
knew nothing about him." Pares remarked that
the strongest attribute of Nicholas "was a
conquering personal charm which had for its basis
1 4
an innate delicacy of mind."
Unlike other historians, Pares viewed
Nicholas' correspondence with a more objective
attitude. This was particularly true of the letters
between Nicholas and his mother.
They (Nicholas and Marie's letters) present
a more favourable picture of him than any
other first-hand materials, with the exception
of the admirable record of Count Kokovtsov,
and show a good deal more judgement and
resolution, than he was ordinarily credited
with."
The one criticism Pares presented was that while
Nicholas was more open to "reasonable argument"
than his father, "the trouble was that he was so


71
much so that each new impression might efface the
last.
Like his correspondence, Nicholas's diary
received intense examination and through this
Nicholas is found wanting. All the standard
interpretations base their opinions of Nicholas
partially on his diary, which was succinct and
emotionless. It was a recording of his daily
activities, much like a current appointment book.
Little feeling or political opinion was recorded.
Alan Moorehead supported Nicholas' diary with his
observation that Nicholas would undoubtedly never
have recorded what he did if he had known that
his diary would have been subjected to public
17 .
scrutiny. Robert K. Massie compared Nicholas
diary to that of his cousin, King George V of
England and noticed the similarity. However, where
1 8
Nicholas was condemned, George was admired.
Other contemporaries of Nicholas who viewed
him more favourably were Kokovtsov, Minister of
Finance from 1904-1914, Ambassador Buchanan,
Ambassador Paleologue, Mikhail Rodzianko, President
of the Fourth Duma, and French President Emile
Loubet. As Pares noted Kokovtsov was the most


72
positive of all the recorders of Nicholas and his
reign. Kokovtsov believed that it was the tsar
who negotiated the successful peace at Portsmouth
rather than Witte. If not for the tsar's firm
stance, Witte would have submitted to the Japanese
demand for all of Sakhalin and an indemnity.
Further, Kokovtsov, like Pares, shed an
interesting light on the personality of Witte.
As Witte's successor to the post of Minister of
Finance, Kokovtsov recalled Witte's vindictiveness
and egotism. For instance, on the occassion of
a meeting of the ministers, Kokovtsov remembered
that one minister was absent and that one minister
suggested that another minister be present to give
his opinion. Kokovtsov recalled that Witte
remarked: "I am responsible for the government
1 9
and I do not see any need for inviting anyone."
This incident should incite historical revision
of the importance of Witte's memoirs as accurate
accounts of Nicholas's reign, particularly as Witte
contradicted himself on numerous occasions about
Nicholas' personality and his ability to show
gratitude.


73
I knew him (Tsar) to be inexperienced in
the extreme but rather intelligent and...
he had always impressed me as a kindly and
well bred youth. As a matter of fact, I had
rarely come across a letter mannered young
man than Nicholas II.
Another example of Witte's lack of accuracy was
in regard to Nicholas' inability to show gratitude.
Witte recorded in his memoirs Nicholas' rescript
to him on the tenth anniversary of Witte's position
as Minister of Finance:
Now with the lapse of a decade of your
activity as Minister of Finances, I take
pleasure in expressing my appreciation to
you of all that you have done within the
past eight years to justify my confidence
as well.
Mikhail Rodzianko, President of the Fourth
Duma, recalled Nicholas positively in his book,
Reign of Rasputin: "There can be no doubt that
throughout his life he was filled with the most
genuine desire for the good and happiness of his
22
people." Considering the tsar's attitude of
ignoring Rodzianko's advice, this evaluation of
the tsar was objective.
Ambassador Buchanan from Great Britain
had occasion to consult with the tsar and even


74
though the tsar often dismissed Buchanan, Buchanan
remarked in his memoirs:
I have not attempted to screen his faults;
but I have portrayed him as I knew hima
lovable man, possessed of many good qualities,
a true and loyal ally, having, in spite of
all appearances to the ^gntrary his country's
true interests at heart.
Buchanan conferred upon Nicholas the greatest of
complimentsat least in his mindwhen he observed
that Nicholas was possessed of all the qualities
which would have made him an admirable
constitutional monarch"a quick intelligence,
a cultivated mind, method and industry in his work,
and an extraordinary natural charm that attracted
all who came near him."^
Ambassador Paleologue of France was more
effusive than Buchanan in his memoirs. He recorded
Nicholas' statement after the dedication of the
ship Ismail in June of 1915: "I like nothing better
25
than to feel myself in touch with my people."
Paleologue emphasized, in May 1916, that the moujiks
still maintained their belief in their tsar, "which
explains the personal success Nicholas II is certain
of achieving whenever he goes among peasants,
2 6
soldiers, and workmen."


75
Serge Oldenburg, a Russian historian who
witnessed the events of Nicholas' reign and
published a two volume work in Belgrade in 1939,
utilized the opinion of the former French President
Emile Loubet which was published in the Viennese
newspaper "Neue Freie Presse:
The Russian Emperor carries out his own
ideas. His proposals are maturely considered
and thoroughly worked out, and he applies
uninterrupted concentration to their
realization. Beneath the Tsar's shy, some
what delicate features is a powerful soul
and a resolutely courageous heart. He know|^
where he is going and what he wants to do.
Unfortunately historians do not use Oldenburg's
work. W. Bruce Lincoln utilized the untranslated
version in each of his works, The Romanovs, In
War's Dark Shadow, and Passage Through Armageddon,
but only to quote such things as Nicholas'
abdication manifesto, his uncertainty at assuming
the crown, and his oft quote statement to the
zemstvos which included the two words "senseless
dreams". Oldenburg's work was translated into
English in 1975 and subsequently published in four
volumes but still receives little historical
attention. It revolved totally around Nicholas'


.76
policies and his role as tsar rather than his
personal life.
The standard depiction of Nicholas as
weak-willed and irresolute is maintained
in spite of the presented positive declaractions
of some historians and many contemporaries. Witte
retains his predominance as an accurate diarist
of the events of Nicholas' reign. Yet, Witte has
proven to be unstable in his personal evaluation
of the tsar and the accuracy with which he recounted
those events.
The most prominent of the contemporary
accounts was Pares. His estimable opinion provided
historical background of social, political, and
economic reforms which occurred during this era.
Yet, his opinion of Nicholas and his evaluation
of Nicholas' abilities are neglected. Rather he
is used to discuss the various political reforms
which occurred--Stolypin's Land Reforms, the zemstvo
reforms, and the Duma.
The second aspect of Nicholas' life which
dominated standard historical opinion was
Alexandra's role and her subsequent submission
to Rasputin's dictates and through her Rasputin's


77.
dominion over the Tsar. Rasputin merited more
attention from historians and biographers than
Nicholas. His capabilities as a healer are
analyzed time and again to determine his impact
at the court. His ascendancy in St. Petersburg
society was studied with curiosity that a dirty,
illiterate peasant could exude such influence over
the nobility and the imperial family. Finally,
historians attributed Rasputin with destroying
the empire by his promotion of incompetent statesmen
who supported him.
Nicholas and Alexandra
Historians credit Nicholas with being a
loving devoted father and husband. The control
group of historians all aknowledge this admirable
quality of Nicholas' character, but as Grand Duke
Alexander stated in his book, Once a Grand Duke;
He (Nicholas) worshipped the memory of
his father he was a devoted husband, he
believed in the inviolability of his sacred
oath of office and he endeavored to remain
honest, polite and unassuming till the very
last day of his reign. It was not his fault
that ironical history turned each one of


78-
these sterling virtues into a deadly weapon
of destruction. It never dawned o^ghim that
a ruler has no right to be human.
Riasanovsky best respresents the standard opinion
of the historians' views of this attribute of
Nicholas' character: "But these positive personal
traits mattered little in a situation that demanded
2
strength, determination, adaptability and vision."
Nicholas married Princess Alix of
Hesse-Darmstadt in 1894, shortly after his father's
death. It proved to be a passionate and loving
marriage until their death in 1918. From the
beginning, Alexandra as she was rechristened upon
conversion to the Orthodox faith, was unpopular.
The people did not like the dour unsmiling young
woman with the haughty expression. Further, she
came to Russia on the heels of the death of
Alexander III, which the peasants believed was
bad luck.
Alexandra had not had the time as had
Empress Marie to acclimatise to Russia. She knew
no Russian and had no idea how to adjust to the
frivolity of the Russian court. Raised by her


79
grandmother, Queen Victoria, the freedom of St.
Petersburg society shocked her. Alexander III
and his wife had tried to deter Nicholas from his
objective of marrying Alexandra because of her
deficiencies and her German background. As Witte
pronounced:
She might have been a good enough consort
for a petty German prince, and she might have
been harmless even as the Empress of Russia,
were it not for the lamentable fact t^t
His Majesty has no will power at all.
But against all, Nicholas stood firm, and for better
or worse married Alexandra.
The early years of their marriage were
happy ones. They were denied a honeymoon as Nicholas
immediately had to assume his duties as head of
state. But they spent every free moment together
or until they moved to the Alexander Palace at
Tsarskoe Selo, with the Dowager Empress. This
close association with her mother-in-law instilled
some bitterness in Alexandra as it was Marie who
proved most influential during Nicholas' early
reign. Further, it was Marie who was regarded
as the leader of St. Petersburg society--a duty


8G
which Alexandra happily relinquished, but nontheless
bitterly resented.
Today Alexandra would be the subject for
many psycho-evaluations. She lost her mother at
31
the age of six. Nicknamed Sunny, her personality
under went a change. She became removed and shy.
To hide these inadequacies she retreated behind
a stern facade which she only lowered with those
she loved. Raised in Victoria's court, she was
given a Puritan morality on the outside which was
belied by her rapturous description of her wedding
night in Nicholas' diary. Nicholas and Alexandra,
from the available accounts, enjoyed a loving,
physical relationship which was immediately apparent
in her subsequent pregnancy just a couple of months
after their marriage. In two year intervals from
1895-1901, four daughterOlga, Tatiana, Marie,
and Anastasiawere born. Each pregnancy was a
difficult one for Alexandra and added to this was
the disappointment that she had failed to produce
an heir.
Alexandra had turned enthusiastically to
her religion. Once a devoted Lutheran, she


converted whole-heartedly to the Russian Orthodox
faith. The Orthodox rites satisfied an intense
need for Alexandra and she could not understand
the relaxed attitudes of her husband's family.
Further, as each pregnancy resulted in the birth
of a daughter, she turned more and more to
faith-healers who guaranteed her a son. In fact,
she experienced a fake pregnancy which emotionally
demoralized her.
In 1904, during the tensions of the
Russo-Japanese War, a son, Tsarevich Alexis named
for Nicholas's favorite ancestor, was born. The
joy of the imperial couple was boundless until
the discovery, six weeks after his birth, that
the heir had inherited from his mother the disease
of hemophilia. The knowledge that their son would
likely die before his eighteenth birthday must
have shattered the proud parents. Grand Duchess
Marie Pavlova observed in her book Education of
a Grand Duchess:
Nobody ever knew what emotions were aroused
in them by this horrible certainty, but from
that moment, troubled and apprehensive, the


82
Empress's character underwent a change, and
her , physical as well as moral,
altered.
During Nicholas' first ten years, Alexandra
restricted herself to offering advice only in
private, and it was limited even then. After the
birth of the Tsarevich her attention was focused
on him. Alexandra had committed her opinion of
Nicholas and his ministers in a letter to her
sister:
I feel that all who surround my husband
are insincere and no one is doing his duty
for Russia. They are all serving him for their
career and personal advantage and I worry
myself and cry for days on end, as I feel
that my husband is very young and i
of which they are taking advantage.
interpretation of Nicholas' domination by others
received harsh criticism, Count Witte believed
However, as the Dowager Empress encouraged Nicholas
to adhere to Witte's advice at all times, it was
no wonder he felt this. His opinion of Alexandra
was understandable as he pronounced: "The extent
Although the standard historical
that the Dowager Empress was a positive influence.
35
of Alexandra's influence upon her husband can hardly


8.3
be exaggerated. In many cases she actually directs
his actions as the head of the Empire." Alexandra
disliked Witte because of his egotism and tendency
to bully her husband. Her dislike intensified
after the October Manifesto which she believed
Witte contrived in order that he might achieve
personal grandeur.
Rasputin and Alexandra
Until the birth of Alexis, Alexandra
remained in the background. However in 1905, she
was introduced to a holy man, Rasputin. In 1911,
Rasputin forever established his dominion over
the empress when he supposedly saved the heir's
life. The imperial family were at their hunting
lodge in Spala, Poland when the tsarevich began
to hemmorage. It was such a severe attack that
telegrams were prepared to announce his death.
But Rasputin sent a telegram exhorting the empress
to calm herself, the child would not die, and not
to let the doctors bother him too much. For some
inexplicable reason, the boy began to recover.
Rasputin's place was assurred.


84
Historians credited Alexandra with being
the true ruler during World War I. At the outbreak
of war in 1914, Nicholas hastened to Stavka, general
headquarters, and left Alexandra to be his advisor.
Alexandra had persistently excluded the large
Romanov family from contact with the tsar. In
their book, A History of Russia and the Soviet
Union, Mackenzie and Curran quoted the following:
"The characteristic features of the imperial
family," noted a trusted minister, "is their
inaccessibility to the outside world and their
atmosphere of mysticism." Mackenzie and Curran
blamed the empress for this isolation and the
ensuing chaos which erupted in the government after
Nicholas assumed the position of Commander-in-Chief.
Paul Miliukov observed: "I do not know
what the situation would have been, had there not
been near him (Nicholas) that other strong will,
a will to which he completely, though unconsciously,
3 8
subordinated himself: the will of his wife."
Historians made use of the imperial couples'
correspondence during the war years to illustrate
the Empresses domination of Nicholas. Alexandra
often exhorted Nicholas to be strong and to support


.85
39
Rasputin and his proteges. Further, as Rasputin
gained ascendancy over the Tsarina, ministers were
changed with rapidity.^
This negative portrait of Alexandra and
her domination of Nicholas is the standard portrayal
written in all the texts. However, contemporary
accounts of Nicholas depict a different picture
of Rasputin's influence over the tsar.
Pares' analysis of Alexandra's personality
was more objective than historians' and
contemporaries.
The essence of her nature and of her
intellect was that she was absolutely
whole-hearted. She was an entirely good woman
and entirely Victorian, which was one of
the chief reasons of her unpopularity in the
society of St. Petersh^?lightminded,
unhealthy, and amoral.
This character assessment has received little
attention by historians or contemporaries of the
empress'. Further,, while first-hand accounts denied
the extent of Rasputin's influence over the tsar,
they all agreed about his domination by the empress,
as Ambassador Buchanan recorded:
The role actually played by Rasputin at
Court is still veiled in a good deal of
mystery. His ascendancy over the Emperor


86
was not so absolute as that which he exercised
over the Empress, and concerned questions
of a religious ecclesiastical kind rather
than of policy.
Ambassador Paleologue substantiated Buchanan's
observation when he recorded in his diary that
Nicholas ordered Rasputin to leave St. Petersburg,
43
in July 1915. But the evidence which most
conclusively negated standard historical opinion
are Nicholas' own letters to his wife. "The letters
reveal that though the empress sincerely regarded
Rasputin as a "man of God", and was prepared to
follow his advice, the emperor completely
disregarded that advice." In letters to her
husband in April, June, and November, 1915, the
empress implored her husband, on the advice of
Rasputin whom she titled 'Our Friend', not to go
to Galicia, not to convene the State Duma, and
45
to launch an offensive at Riga. Nicholas ignored
all of this advice. He seldom responded to the
Empress but did become irriratated: "'Our Friend's'
opinons of people are sometimes very strange, as
you know yourself:" or, "I beg, do not drag Our
Friend into this." It was Rasputin who caused
the 'ministerial leapfrog' which continued


87
throughout the war. Backed by the Empress he
supported first one protogee and then another.
But Nicholas maintained firmness unless it was
a position upon which he happened to agree.
In fact it was noted by the Grand Duchess
Maria Pavlova that the tsar "seemed more animated
than usual and more gay," after the death of
47
Rasputin. In fact Nicholas did nothing more
to Rasputin's murderers than send Grand Duke Dmitry
to the Crimea, and Prince Felix Yussupov to his
estates, even though the empress had begged him
to deal harshly with the perpetrators. "Rasputin's
political influence, therefore, was a myth, but
a harmful one which spread sedition among the people
and sowed confusion among monarchists."^
Unfortunately, it was Rasputin's
domination of the empress which caused the most
critical historical interpretations, and even the
positive accounts of Nicholas' strength do not
erase this.


NOTESCHAPTER IV
1
John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet
Union, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986),
164.
2
Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra,
(New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1969),
66.
Serge Witte, The Memoirs of Count Witte,
translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky, (Garden City,
New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company,
1921), 182.
4Ibid., 183.
5Ibid., 41.
g
Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution,
selected and edited by F. W. Dupee from The History
of the Russian Revolution, (Garden City, New York:
Doubleday Anchor Books, 1959), 53.
^Ibid.
g
William Henry Chamberlin, The Russian
Revolution, 1917-1918, volume one, (New York:
Grosset and Dunlap, 1971), 67.
9
John M. Thompson, Revolutionary Russia,
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981), 189.
1 0
Paul Miliukov, Political Memoirs,
1905-1917, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan
Press, 1967), 117.
12
Ibid.
;
57.


89
1 3
Sir Bernard Pares, The Fall of the Russian
Monarchy, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1939), 52.
14Ibid., 31.
15Ibid., 15.
16Ibid., 56.
1 7
Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution,
(New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958),
18.
1 8
Massie, 17.
^Witte, 85.
20
Massie, 109.
2^Witte, 79.
22
Mikhail V. Rodzianko, The Reign of Rasputin,
(New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1922),
xiii.
23
Sir George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia,
two volumes in one, (New York: Arno Press and
the New York Times, 1970), x.
24Ibid., 77.
25
Maurice Paleologue, An Ambassador's Memoirs,
volume two, (New York: George H. Doran, 1920),
19.
26Ibid., 266.
27
Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: The Duma
Monarchy, 1907-1914, volume III, (Florida: Academic
International Press, 1977), 67.
28
Grand Duke Alexander, Once A Grand Duke,
(New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1932), 176.


90
29
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia,
3rd ed, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977),
438.
3^Witte, 195.
3^Massie, 30.
32Ibid., 47.
33
Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, Education
of a Princess: A Memoir, (New York: the Viking
Press, 1930), 61.
34
Harrison E. Salisbury, Black Night, White
Snow, (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1977), 63.
35Witte, 196.
36Ibid., 198.
37
David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A
History of Russia and the Soviet Union, (Homewood,
Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1982), 452.
33Miliukov, 118.
39
Mackenzie and Curran, p. 453.
41
Pares, 131.
^2Buchanan, 243.
43
Paleologue, 35.
44
Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar
War, 1914-1918, volume four, (Florida
International Press, 1978), 67.
45
Ibid.
The World
Academic
46
Ibid.


91
^Grand Duchess Marie, 257.
48
Oldenburg, volume 4, 69.


CHAPTER V
CONCLUSION
In February 1917 (Old Style), demonstrations
broke out in St. Petersburg. For the next few
days more and more workers joined and Nicholas
was urged by the Duma to prevent a full-scale
uprising. However, Nicholas disregarded the urgency
and concentrated on the war effort at the front.
The situation grew and troops fired on the
protesters and then proceeded to throw down their
arms and join them. On March 2, 1917 (Old Style)
Nicholas II abdicated for himself and his son in
favor of his brother Michael who in turn renounced
the throne. The three hundred year old Romanov
dynasty ended.
The Provisional government headed at first
by Prince Lvov arrested Nicholas and placed him
and his family under house arrest at Tsarskoe Selo


Full Text

PAGE 1

"BLOODY NICHOLAS": ANALYSIS OF THE POLICIES AND PERSONALITY OF TSAR NICHOLAS II by Kristi Hendrickson King B.A., Cameron University, 1983 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of History 1989

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Kristi Hendrickson King has been approved for the Department of History by

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DEDICATION To my husband, Greg, for all his love and patience To my parents, Mike and K, for being the wind beneath my wings To Dr. Mary s. Conroy for her encouragement and guidance

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King, Kristi Hendrickson (M.A., History) "Bloody Nicholas": Analysis of the Policies and Personality of Tsar Nicholas II Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary s. Conroy Tsar Nicholas II was the last autocrat of Russia. His reign has received criticism from historians for the past seventy years. He is portrayed as weak and inept and this opinion is taught to area high school students. The'basis for this view derives from the opinion of many scholars and contemporaries of Nicholas. Five historians make up the control group which represent the traditional stated opinion of Nicholas are: George Vernadsky, Nicholas Riasanovsky, John M. Thompson, and Donald Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran. These professionals wrote textbooks which have been used in area schools which perpetuate the negative image of Nicholas and his policies. Through research and analysis of contemporaries' diaries and memoirs and Nicholas' correspondence

PAGE 5

v with members of his family, .it is apparent that the representative historians portray Nicholas I in such a manner based on selected interpretation of solitary incidences in his life. By presenting the negative and positive accounts of Nicholas and his policies during the early years of his reign, the years immediately following the 1905 Revolution, and his personality it is apparent that there is some discrepancy from the accepted view that Nicholas was weak. True, in some areas it is hard to disagree with the negative opinions of his contemporaries and historians--the ethnic question, particularly the Jews--but by examination of his correspondence and his ministers'--Count V. N. Kokovtsov and M. V.Rodzianko--new insight is provided into the reign and character of this tragic character. Each chapter deals with a particular aspect of Nicholas' reign excluding World War I. As it is difficult to obtain complete data on due to the inaccessibility of the archives, a full study of Nicholas is not possible. However, this paper does not intend to be the final word on

PAGE 6

vi Nicholas but rather to raise the controversy why Nicholas is depicted so harshly when there is available proof that there is another side to the man. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.

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CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .... 1 II. CHIEF POLICIES OF NICHOLAS' EARLY REIGN...................... 11 Witte and Russian Industrialization............ 12 The Hague Conference of 1899... 20 The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905............... 25 The Treaty of Portsmouth, 28 The Revolution of 1905......... 33 Notes--Chapter II.............. 38 III. INTERIM YEARS, 1907-1914........... 42 Zemstvas and the Dumas......... 45 Stolypin and the Land Reforms.. 52 Nicholas and his Ministers..... 54 Nicholas and Anti-Semitism..... 56 Notes Chapter III.............. 61 IV. NICHOLAS' CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY 63 Nicholas' Personality.......... 64 Nicholas and Alexandra......... 75

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viii Rasputin and Alexandra......... 83 Notes Chapter IV............... 88 V. CONCLUSION......................... 92 Notes Chapter v ............. 103 BIBLIOGRAPHY................ 1 04

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The reign of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, is harshly criticized by historians. He is portrayed as a man, dominated by his hysterical wife. Further, two historical theses base their analysis of the collapse of tsarist Russia on the ineptitude of this ruler. One thesis is Nicholas was determined to remain the autocrat of all the Russias and was blind to the plight of the Russian people. Another thesis is Nicholas was incapable of managing his administration and through his blindness neglected to choose adequate ministers who would have effectively governed.

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2 Nicholas' reign was a turbulent one. From 1894-1917, Russia progressed rapidly. Economically, the country experienced a program of intense industrialization headed by Sergei Witte, Minister of Finance from 1892-1904. Socially, this program evoked monumental changes in both the urban and rural areas of Russia. Such modernization necessitated political reforms as well as the above-mentioned economic and social ones. These years witnessed such events as the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Russian Revolution of 1905, the subsequent October Manifesto of 1905, the Fundamental Laws of 1906, the progressive interim years 1907-1914, and finally the outbreak of World War I in 1914. While the October Manifesto of 1905 and the Fundamental Laws of 1906 reduced, to a certain degree, Nicholas' autocratic authority, the next seven years witnessed huge strides in the political, social and economic arenas, best exemplified by the Stolypin Land Reforms, the of parliamentary reform, the Duma, and the industrial progress. Exdept for a few minor incidents in the Balkans, it was a time I

PAGE 11

3 of relative peace. It was the outbreak of World War I which ended the continuance of Russian economic, social, and political advancement. While the Soviet Union is interested in more indepth assessment of its past, local students are subjected to the general consensus that Nicholas' reign was one of corruption and backwardness. Or they view a film which while compassionate in its interpretation, misrepresents Nicholas and his reign. By analyzing standard interpretations with primar:y accounts a broader enlightened view of Nicholas may be gained. I have had the opportunity in the past two years to give four lectures to two Jefferson County high schools. The first was given before ari advanced history class which had devoted nine weeks to the study of Russia, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II. To subsidize their general world history textbook, the teacher had utilized the miniseries on Peter the Great and the movie on Nicholas, but only for one class. I was asked to lecture on Nicholas II as a special project. After providing a brief background on Nicholas and his family and some of the key aspects of

PAGE 12

4 his reign, I answered questions. The questions were based entirely upon the film, as their textbook had only one paragraph devoted to Nicholas. The textbook portrayed Nicholas as an inept ruler, but a wonderful father and adoring husband. The most commonly asked question, not only by this class, but the three succeeding classes I lectured for at another Jefferson County high school, was "Did Alexandra and Rasputin have an affair?" The second question: "Did Anastasia survive the murder?" Nothing wasasked about Nicholas' policies or his capabilities. In fact, when I asked how they viewed Nicholas the standard reply was: "He was a passive man, dominated by his wife which eventually caused his downfall and that of imperial Russia." In all four classes, particularly the succeeding three, the students had formed judgments of Nicholas based primarily on Massie's book. In the last three classes which I lectured at only a year ago, the students had only been exposed to the book or film individually. These students were easily discernible for they had the most questions and relied on the information

PAGE 13

5 they had gained from the film. They also asked the two questions above mentioned. Some who had had no outside exposure to the tsarist era asked why it was so backward at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was an impression they had garnered from their world history textbook for their teacher had tried to dispel this image because of her considerable background in tsarist and soviet history. However, it was an impression that was difficult to banish. The thrust of this paper is to study certain aspects of Nicholas II, his reign and personality, by examining four historians' views of the regime. Four texts under scrutiny are: Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia; George Vernadsky, A History of Russia; David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A History of Russia and the Soviet Union; and John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet Union. These four historians and their books have been used in colleges--Riasanovsky's A History of Russia has been on the required reading list at the University of Colorado in Boulder as recently as two years ago. These historians also have

PAGE 14

6 published works of more limited scope which are used as classroom texts. The colleges have I employed historical monographs to broaden the views of these historians, but the most interesting aspect of Russian historiography which is currently being employed in the Jefferson County school district is the film, "Nicholas and Alexandra" based on Robert K. Massie's book of the same title, published in:paperback in 1969. Unfortunately, there is no definitive biography of Nicholas II. It been twenty years since Massie wrote his bodk, Nicholas and I Alexandra. Massie portrays Nicholas sympathetically but emphasizes Tsarevich Alexis' hemophilia. Massie concludes this was the catalyst for the collapse the tsarist I administration. The only work which has discussed with any depth the reign of Nichplas is Sergei i Oldenburg's work, The Last Tsar.1 Originally I published in two volumes -in in 1939, i this work has received little attention by historians. I I Hugh Seton-Watson used Oldenburg's work on the Bolsheviks in his books and the

PAGE 15

7 popular historian W. Bruce Lincoln utilized the original untranslated two volume work in his three books, The Romanovs, Passage Through Armageddon, and In War's Dark Shadow. Unfortunately the few quotes employed related to documented speeches of Nicholas. None of the positive analysis of Oldenburg's synthesis on Nicholas' reign was ever employed. Recently, a 1975 Soviet film on the last year of Rasputin's life was released in the Soviet Union. For ten years "Agonia" had been banned within the Soviet union. This is understandable as it shed a new light on Nicholas. While there are some historical inaccuracies, it portrayed Nicholas in a more sympathetic light which is considerably different from a PBS special on Stalin which analyzed Nicholas' reign as the catalyst for the Russian Revolutions. By using actual film footage of Nicholas and his family, edited in a way and interspersed with harsh criticism, Nicholas appeared to be frolicking while the Russian:people suffered deprivation and oppression. This portrayal is interesting when contrasted to the fact that Soviet filmmakers

PAGE 16

8 are analyzing Nicholas more sympathetically. Texts currently used in area high schools and colleges will comprise a control group. I will compare these works with historical monographs and collected documents to provide corroborating or dissenting views of scholars. Fortunately more and more contemporary accounts of the last tsarist administration have been published in English, particularly in recent years with the renewed interest in Russia and the Soviet Union. Gorbachevs openness policy has made access to the archives easier. Unfortunately the papers on Nicholas administration have not been made readily available to scholars who journey to the Soviet Union to pursue academic reasearch into the tsarist era. While the English speaker has many sources, much has still remained untranslated. Therefore to study the tsarist era it is necessary to read the Russian language. Collected anthologies of speeches and documents of Nicholas reign are in English and provide enough adequate material to do a cursory analysis of this era.

PAGE 17

But until the archives are made available a definitive biography of Nicholas can not be attempted. 9 This paper will be divided into three chapters. the first will discuss the chief policies of Nicholas' early reign--Witte and his industrialization program, Nicholas' choice of ministers, the Hague Conference of 18991 the Russo-Japanese War, the Revolution of 1905, the October Manifesto, and the Fundamental Laws of 1906. These will be examined by contrasting the opinions of the historians' views of Nicholas with those of his contemporaries and even Nicholas himself. Chapter II will deal with the interim years, 1907-1914 which included the following: Stolypin, the Duma, ethnic reforms ecompassing the Jews, and the Land Reforms. Here too the focus will be how Nicholas was perceived by historians and contemporaries alike. The last chapter of the body of this paper will deal with Nicholas' personality. Historians have most often devoted their attention to intense dissection of Nicholas' personal life,

PAGE 18

1 0 his wife, Alexandra, and his relationship with Rasputin. World War I will be discussed in sofar as Nicholas' views and historians' opinions of Nicholas have been analyzed. The death of the royal family will be analyzed only in the aspect of historical perception. Do historians redeem Nicholas because of his death? Did his contemporaries lament such a brutal end or rather did they rejoice?

PAGE 19

CHAPTER II CHIEF POLICIES OF NICHOLAS' EARLY REIGN The early years of Nicholas's reign, 1894-1904, were marked by a continuation of many of his father's policies. Three crucial issues dominated these years. First was the decision Nicholas made at his accession to continue the economic advancement begun during his father's reign. Did Nicholas retain his Minister of Finance's services because he truly desired economic progress or was Witte allowed to pursue his program because Nicholas had "inherited" him from Alexander III? A second, and even more event, was the Russo-Japanese War. Did Nicholas approve of or encourage the adventurism in the Far East which led to this war? The Russo-Japanese war led to the Revolution of 1905 which altered the

PAGE 20

12 autocracy. Was Witte the author of this manifesto? What was Witte's role in the decision to convene the Hague Conference in 1899? Was Witte the dominant force behind the successful Treaty of Portsmouth? Witte and Russian Industrialization Though Nicholas'early reign was marked by a peaceful continuation of his father's policies, Count Sergei Witte was a forceful personality of this era. Witte became Minister of Finance in 1892. Witte was typical of the new bureaucrats emerging in the latter half of the nineteenth century, an individual from non-noble origins who worked his way up in government service by talent, hard work, and imagination. Witte believed fervently that if Russia were to remain competitive with European nations, it would have to modernize, particularly by exploiting its resources and building up its economy. Historians have interpreted the positive and negative aspects of Witte's industrialization program in many ways. Witte used his personality and the confidence which had been placed in him

PAGE 21

1 3 by Alexander III to sway Nicholas into accepting his policies. According to John Thompson in Russia and the Soviet Union: "Nicholas could be influenced by powerful personalities, and he supported for a time the program for economic modernization advanced by his minister of finance, Sergei Witte."2 This statement by historian John M. Thompson suggested that Witte's methods of modernization were not always conducive to the best interests for the majority of the Russian people--the peasants. It is necessary to compare the negative opinions of historians with the positive to reach a conclusion as to the viability of Witte's industrialization program. Witte's policies were varied. Like his predecessor, Vyshnegradsky, Witte advocated extensive taxation of the peasantry and the exporting of Russian grain. He promoted Russian exports to pay for the needed technological imports to enhance industry. In his book, A History of Russia, Nicholas Riasanovsky stated: "Serge Witte, 1892-1903, strove especially to develop state railways in Russia and to promote heavy industry

PAGE 22

14 through high tariffs, state contracts and subsidies, and other means.113 Witte pursued his system of industrialization with ruthless efficiency. His export program relied 80% on agriculturaral products. He imposed indirect taxes on necessities. Historians blame Witte's methods for the setback which Russian agriculture experienced. For example Thompson stated: 11Backward and inefficient agriculture acted as a brake on the economy. Overpopulation and government taxation created a land desperate and impoverished ripe for revolution.114 According to historians, Witte's rapid caused harsh conditions for not only the rural workers, but also for the urban proletariat. Historians Thompson and Riasanovsky emphasized that the speed with which Witte was attempting to accomplish his goals was only detrimental to the peasantry as well as factory workers. A contemporary observation by V. I. Gurko who served in the first Duma stated: 11This was

PAGE 23

1 5 due to the general neglect of agriculture and other branches of rural economy."5 Although many historians condemned Witte's program of industrialization some approved. Witte's theory was expressed best by Theodore Von Laue in his article, "The State and the Economy": The expansion of the heavy industries in turn would stimulate the growth of the light industries and eventually agriculture would would improve through the increased demand for food and the cheaper6supply of better equipment and chemicals. Like Von Laue, Nicholas Riasanovsky best exemplified the standard historical opinion of Witte's industrialization program. Under Nicholas II, as in the reign of Alexander III, the Ministry of Finance pursued a more intelligent and far-sighted policy than did the rest of the government; and this affected aspects of the Russian economy and life. Historically, Russia's industrialization has been viewed as not only a necessity but also as a positive policy of Nicholas's early reign. While Thompson credited Witte's success with his ability to dominate Nicholas, historian Hugh

PAGE 24

1 6 Seton-Watson made the following observation of Nicholas in his book, The Russian Empire, 1801-1917: 11Like his father, he (Nicholas) favored such economic modernization as would strengthen the Russian state, and for nine years he supported Witte, the champion of modernization.118 While authors of the chief texts used in our schools credited Witte for the positive aspects of his policies, they criticized the government, i.e. Tsar Nicholas for negative effects. However, historical monographs which have recently been published credit tsarist Russia for its progressive economic policies. Neil B. Weissman dispelled the previous standard theses that Russia was backward in all areas. In his book, Reform in Tsarist Russia, Weissman emphasized the positive role the tsar and his administrators played in Russia's economic advancement: It has been a commonplace to associate Tsarist Russia, particularly in its last decades, with conservatism and even stagnation. Yet at that very time, and largely at the instigation of its own autocratic government, the empire was beginniri a period of rapid and fundamental change.

PAGE 25

1 7 Weissman further emphasized that no matter the motives, Witte's policy was instigated in order that Russia might adequately compete with a "rapidly industrializing Europe."10 While Witte's early policies emphasized industry and an ensuing policy of filteration down to the agricultural area, Nicholas supported him: Although Nicholas knew that many officials disapproved of Witte's methods and though he himself found it difficult to excuse his aggressiveness, he could not but look with favor on the country's growing financial stability, dependent in great part on Witte's monetary reforms, incfyding the establishment of the gold standard. Further, Nicholas realized that Witte's system was "putting Russia safely into the ranks of the 1 12 world s most progressive states." Transportation systems, particularly the railroad lines, were increasing; the textile .industry which was focused more in Moscow than St. Petersburg was booming; natural resources, such as coal, oil and iron were finally being exploited; foreign and domestic

PAGE 26

18 trade were rising; and finally, there was a balanced budget within sight. The greatest testimony that Nicholas II endorsed Witte's fiscal policies was expressed by Witte himself in his memoirs: In all financial matters throughout the time when I held the office of Minister of Finances, he (Nicholas} had full confidence in me not in the least thwart my activity. While some historians criticized increased foreign investment into Russia others have lauded Witte's determination to back Russia's currency with gold. Witte credited Nicholas totally for this latter, positive action. "It may truly be said that Russia owes the gold standard solely to Nicholas II."14 Witte's system was somewhat drastic. However the changes which resulted were not always for the worse. In June 1897, Nicholas signed the Factory Law which limited the work day for urban workers. In many ways it was revolutionary in the respect that Article 8 stated: Overtime work is permitted only by special agreement between the manager of the industrial establishment and the worker. The hiring

PAGE 27

_) 1 9 contract may include provisions regarding such overtime work only as by the technical needs of production. The positive aspects of Witte's policies are evident. Although he did not turn his attention to the agrarian problems until the beginning of the twentieth century, he did realize the necessity for agricultural modernization. Further, it is apparent that historical perception of Nicholas's role in Witte's program has been neglected by the standard texts discussed. Witte himself credited Nicholas for the success of his policies. Although Witte cannot be regarded as an admirer of Nicholas, in this one area his words showed that Nicholas deserved recognition. The texts which represent the standard interpretation of Nicholas II and his reign utilized Witte's memoirs, but did not mention Witte's opinion on this subject. The next important political controversy of Nicholas's early reign was his call for a conference on the issue of universal disarmament.

PAGE 28

20 Historians disagree as to the motive for such a policy and who was behind such a decision, Witte or Nicholas. The Hague Conference of 1899 Under Alexander III, Russia had experienced thirteen years of unbroken peace. The historical consensus of Nicholas's foreign policy has been best stated by Nicholas Riasanovsky in A History of Russia: Nicholas II approved Alexander III's foreign policy on the whole and wanted to continue it. However, as we shall see, the new emperor proved to be less steady and more erratic than his father in inte1gational relations as in domestic affairs. In Russia: A Short History, Michael T. Florinsky criticized Nicholas for his belated proclamation 1 7 of his devotion to peace. Further Robert K. Massie in Nicholas and Alexandra emphasized the historical perception of Nicholas's actions in calling for such a conference as a way to stem Austria's rapid armament program. "It has been suggested that the Tsar's proposal stemmed wholly from the fact that Austria was requipping her

PAGE 29

21 artillery with modern fie d guns which Russia was unable to match."18 j A contemporary vi w of what such a conference would convey to the outside world was expressed by Witte. He stated in his memoirs: "The step, I declared, could bring us nothing but harm. It would achieve practical results and it would merely reveal our financial weakness to 1 9 the whole world." Witte was trying to secure foreign investment in Russia and he felt such a decision by Nicholas would only result negatively. This statement opened the door to the second question of whether Ni9holas or Witte was behind the proposal. Also, Witte worried that Nicholas was more interested in his position as a world leader than in the maintenance of peace. "Nicholas II, perhaps attracted by the prominent role he would play on the world scene, yielded to Wittes urging and issued a call for universal peace and a reduction of the excessive arms burdens through 20 international agreement." Historians emphasized that Nicholas was more interested in his world position than either

PAGE 30

22 in finances or peace. Also, although Witte stated that he disapproved of a world wide disarmament conference, historians persisted in crediting him. W. Bruce Lincoln best exemplified this perception in the following statement from his book, In War's Dark Shadow: At his (Witte) urging, Nicholas approved the plan, and in August 1898 Muravev appealed to all European powers to assemble at the Hague to discuss a mora torium on the development and production of new weapons. Thus it was Russia and Nicholas II--a weak nation and a far weaker Emperor--who set in motion the forces that brought first Hague Conference together in May 1899. These negative opinions of Nicholas and his motives and his role in such a decision are in direct contradiction to the standard views of Vernadsky and Riasanovsky. Vernadsky lauded Nicholas's decision by a subtle comparison to the policy of Alexander I's Holy Alliance: "For the first time since the Holy Alliance, an attempt had been made to bring about international and again, as in 1815, the initiative had come from the Russian emperor."22 Nicholas Riasanovsky

PAGE 31

23 was even more complimentary of Nicholas's policy in the following statement: Nicholas II appeared prominently on the international scene in 1899, when he called together the first Hague Peace Conference attended by repre sentatives of twenty-six states. Although instigated by Russian financial stringency and in particular by the difficulty of keeping up with Austrian armaments, this initiative was in accor23with the emperor's generally peaceful views. In the 1890's Ivan Bliokh published a six volume work, The Future of War. In it he described the method of future warfare if countries continued their present armaments competition. This was an influential catalyst to Nicholas's decision as Kadet leader and historian Paul Miliukov stated: 11I read Bliokh's work, which led Nicholas II to organize the First Hague Conference in 1899.1124 Traditional historical interpretations of Nicholas role and the reason behind his decision are favorable. Witte disclaimed any credit for the Hague Conference and in fact deplored Nicholas precipitate step. However, Paul Miliukov, historian and leader of the Kadet or Constitutional Democratic Party, fuelled controversy. He claimed that Nicholas'motivation in calling the peace conference

PAGE 32

24 was altruistic rather than practical. As presented, popular historians condemned both Nicholas's role and his reasons, but the standard consensus has been that Nicholas was responsible for such a far-sighted policy and for once that whatever the motives it was a positive program. Historian Sergei Oldenburg was the most effusive in his critique of Nicholas and his acitions when he wrote the following in his two volume work The Last Tsar which was published in 1939. But anyone who believes that free will is inherent in individuals and nations must acknowledge that Emperor Nicholas II, who first demanded effective measures to prevent war and reduce the burden of armaments, inaugurated a momentous historic enter prise 25 that has earned him the right to immortality. So far the standard historical interpretations as represented by Thompson, Riasanovsky, Vernadsky, and Mackenzie and Curran have pictured Nicholas favorably when balanced with the more limited accounts. Industrialization was progressing and Nicholas had made it apparent he to maintain peace. However this last decision was in 1904 with the onset of

PAGE 33

25 the Russo-Japanese War. Then the control group of historians again portrayed Nicholas in an unfavorable light. Further Witte has again been credited with the successful Treaty of Portsmouth which honorably concluded the war. What has been the e.stablished historical opinion of Nicholas? How do primary accounts agree or contradict these perceptions? The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 In 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote Nicholas that "the great tal:!k of the future for Russia is to cultivate the Asian continent and defend Europe from the inroads of the Great Yellow race."26 While Nicholas obviously advocated peaceful policies with regard to Europe and the United States, historians view his Asian policies with cynicism. Mackenzie and Curran stated Nicholas was influenced by adventurers who desired rapid penetration into China in order to circumvent Japan's influence.27 Riasanovsky emphasized Nicholas's ability to seize

PAGE 34

a fortuitous circumstance in promoting Russian superiority in China: Moreover, Russia responded to new opportunities more and more aggressively. 26 Thus, when the murder of two German missionaries in November 1897 led to the German acquisition of Kiao-chow through a ninety nine year lease, Nicholas II demanded and obtained a twenty-five year lease of the southern part of the Liaotung Peninsula with Port Arthur--in spite of Witte's opposition to that move and in flagrant of the Russian treaty with China. This policy of expansion continued in spite of the Japanese attempts during the Ito mission to St. Petersburg to achieve some compromise.29 According to Mackenzie and Curran who concurred that Nicholas was influenced by Bezobrazov, this step failed.30 Nicholas underrated Japanese policy and wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War: "There will be no war because I do not wish it."31 The traditional historical of the causes of the war and Nicholas' role do not refute contemporary iccounts. In fact Witte and Foreign Minister Lamsdorf vehemently opposed Nicholas' actions and tried to steer him away from Bezobrazov's influence. They realized that Japan would not accept Russia's

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27 preeminence in Korea, although Japan was willing to allow Russia's influence in Manchuria. In February 1904 the Japanese fleet attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur and sunk three battleships. Russia was at war. Historians have devoted much attention to the Russo-Japanese War because it is viewed as the catalyst for the Revolution of 1905. In spite of Russian perceptions of a "short victorious war", Japan emerged as the military victor. The disastrous fall of Port Arthur, the Battle of Mukden, and the sinking of the Russian fleet at Tsushima, underscored the ineptness of Russia's military leaders--best exemplified by General Alexei Kuropatkin--and the financial unpreparedness of the government to wage war. The standard historical view as shown has been critical of Nicholas. he_ was manipulated into an aggresive policy by people other than his ministers. Second, his short-sightedness as emphasized by his letter to the Kaiser, did not acknowledge the possibility that the Japanese 'monkeys' would dare attack the Russian bear. This policy witnessed the general consensus by historians and contemporaries that

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28 Nicholas was incapable of determining a positive foreign policy. Historians disagree over Nicholas' role in the Treaty of Portsmouth and whether it was favorable or unfavorable to Russia. While it was apparent by Nicholas's own statements that he had believed whole-heartedly that he could control the situation and that Russia would emerge victorious, the polemic of Russia's defeat has been questioned by the historical interpretations of the peace negotiations at Portsmouth. The Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905 Nicholas had wavered on his decision about sending the Russian fleet from the Baltic to the Pacific. However, he finally decided to do so. He placed all his hopeson the fleet successfully demolishing the Japanese and bringing about a swift end to the war. Unfortunately, the fleet was sunk at Tsushima and it was this disaster, Mackenzie and Curran stated, that caused the tsar to agree t t t' 32 Th t d d o peace nego 1a 1ons. e s an ar consensus

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29 of the Treaty of Portsmouth was that its successful conclusion was owed solely to Witte and further, that the terms of the treaty were less than satisfactory to Russia. Mackenzie and Curran, Riasanovsky, and Vernadsky, all concur in this assessment. Riasanovsky stated the following: The provisions of the Treaty of Portsmouth reflected the skillful diplomacy of Witte, who headed the Russian delegation, and represented everything considered, a unsatisfactory settlement for Russia. Mackenzie and Curran stated succinctly that the terms of .the treaty only confirmed Russia's defeat.34 And Vernadsky emphasized that Witte 35 achieved a more favorable peace than was expected. The terms included the loss of the southern half of Sakhalin Island, Japanese dominance of Korea, and Russian expulsion from Manchuria. Alan Moorehead influenced by the mentioned historians, made the following observation: "Nicholas had lost here upon almost every count: in Russia's prestige in the world, in the damage to his armed forces, in the explosion of his dreams of a new empire on the East."36

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30 Witte provided his own testament as to his influence at Portsmouth when he wrote: "I acquitted myself with complete success, so that in the end the Emperor Nicholas was morally compelled to reward me in an altogether exceptional manner by bestowing upon me the rank of count."37 Another portrait of Nicholas and the treaty has emerged in recent years. Obviously historical interpretation credited Witte for achieving 'honorable' terms of peace, but Raymond A. Esthus has emphasized Nicholas's involvement in his article, "Nicholas II and the Russo-Japanese War." By April 1905, Japan was by no means averse 38 to peace. Esthus utilized many primary sources in his article, including Japanese documents. "Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo declared that while Russia still had powerful fbrces in its horne I country, Japan had its forces."39 This statrnent portrayed the in a much different light. The historical thesis that Russia was whipped and agreeable to whatever the Japanese granted was refuted 'by Nicholas II. The Tsar's objective was explicitly set out in the instructions prepared for the

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31 Russian plenipotentiaries. That document stated that Russia would not hesitate for one minute to continue the war if Japan presented demands which tarnished the4fionor and worth of Russia as a great power. Nicholas's instructions to Witte were very clear. Russia would not pay an indemnity and would not relinquish one inch of Russian land. Witte telegraphed the tsar that the Japanese were not agreeable and Nicholas instructed Lamsdorf to d W tt t d d . 41 comman 1 e o en 1scuss1on. Negotiations were stalemated once Witte agreed to most of Japan's demands. However, the Japanese ambassador, Komura, also had his instructions. While he had attempted to gain an indemnity payment from Russia, realistically the Japanese government and people knew that was impossible. "The need for peace was so great that Japanese military leaders, as well as many civilian leaders, believed it was unrealistic to expect to get an indemnity from Russia."42 In the end Witte disobeyed his orders and ceded the southern half of Sakhalin. However, there was no indemnity. Further, Russia lost no land and was still able to control its railroad through Manchuria. But Witte had been ready to

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32 cede all of Sakhalin to Japan if Nicholas had not remained firm. Nicholas restrained Witte from ceding all of Sakhalin and possibly paying a disguised indemnity, while Witte, for his part, boldly seized the moment to make peace when Nicholas had ordered him home. The result of the tension and struggle between the two men was the achievement of a peace that all the world 43 recognized as a remarkable Russian triumph. Obviously the contemporary accounts, Nicholas and Witte's telegrams, discount the theory that Witte alone was responsible for the peace. In fact they emphasize that if anything, Witte would have been more conciliatory if Nicholas had not proved so determined. Further the terms of the treaty were not dishonorable to Russia. In fact they were considerably more favorable than would have been expected under the circumstances. Sir Bernard Pares, a Russian historian who spent many years there during Nicholas's reign, contradicted the idea that Witte alone shaped the treaty conference. In a review of Witte's memoirs, Pares observed: "There are long passages, easily detachable from his accounts of and introduced only to show that Witte did nearly everything good that got done."44

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33 Esthus has provided a new interpretation based upon Nicholas's opinions. "It is true that he was shy, timid, and sometimes indecisive; yet what comes through during the Russo-Japanese War is his tenacity and resolution."45 When the primary accounts are balanced with the historical ones it is apparent that the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War was not as disastrous, with regard_ to foreign policy, as previously thought. Witte did not sway Nicholas who held firm to his position. While some critics might feel this was stubbornness it may also be interpreted as determination. Although Nicholas acquitted himself in a favorable light with regard to the treaty, the Russo-Japanese War was the catalyst for a more serious event; one which altered Nicholas's role in government and which historians have consistently criticized him for--the Revolution of 1905. The Revolution of 1905 The disastrous military losses Russia experienced in the Russo-Japanese War emphasized

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the disaffection of many groups in Russia. I i Historical of the 1905 Revolution has 34 interpreted it!as a dress rehearsal for the 1917 i February Revoltition. The peasants had experienced i I a famine in 19Q2; the intellectuels were dismayed I at the lack of \governmental participation; the I workers were better conditions; and the ethnic were determined to gain the right of self-determibation. This was the foundation i for the of revolution in 1905. The immediate catalyst was the fall of Port Arthur in January of "Bloody\sunday" has become the traditional historical of all that was wrong with Russia. it exemplified all of I Nicholas's weaknesses and the inefficiency of his I administration. 1 Historians, and contemporaries I alike condemened Nicholas for the shooting of the I I peaceful led by Father Gapon. I Historically has been acquitted of any I direct guilt in rrdering the measures taken by the police. "In' a tragic display of incompetence, security in St. Petersburg, without the I

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35 knowledge of the tsar or higher authorities, chose to disperse the unarmed crowd by force."46 Bloody Sunday shattered the people's image o the tsar as a benevolent figure. It was continued violence-the assassination of Grand Duke Serge Governor of Moscow--which instituted Nicholas's decision to convoke a "consultative" assembly.47 This was a reluctant decision on Nicholas's part. The standard interpretation of Nicholas's role in the events of 1905 is negative and contemporaries who witnessed the events of Bloody Sunday and the succeeding uprisings--the Potemkin Mutiny in June 1905, peasant violence in the country, and the October strike by workers--concur that Nicholas completely mismanaged domestic policy. The only positive outcome of the 1905 Revolution was the October Manifesto which granted a national parliament--Duma--and the issuance of the Fundamental Laws of 1906. However, the standard historical analysis of these two events does not always concide with the contemporary viewpoints. On the negative side, Nicholas was accused of giving too little and hedging his

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36 promises by retaining his right of veto, and the ability to dismiss the Duma at any time. Nicholas has historically been portrayed as a man desperate to maintain his authority so he grudgingly agreed to suggestions of Witte and asked him to form a cabinet to discuss the call for a parliament. In spite of the positive granting of civil liberties, freedom of speech and press, the portrait of Nicholas has been one of surly reluctance. The only positive statement about the political reforms of 1905-1906 came from Nicholas in a letter to his mother, written October 19, 1905 (Old Style): One of two ways was open to us, to appoint an energetic military man and use all available forces to try to crush the rebellion; that would have given us time to breathe, but in a few months we would have to use force all over again. That would mean rivers of blood, and in the end, we should be where we had started. That is, the authority of the government would be reaffirmed, but the situation would remain unchanged. The other way was to give the people their civil rights and also have all laws confirmed by a State Duma48 That of course would be a constitution. Nicholas felt he had broken his sacred oath to maintain the autocracy intact for his son.

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37 In spite of the fact that he granted some liberties, he retained most of his power. The fact that the army had remained faithful allowed Nicholas to successfully handle this crisis. This was not the case in 1917. But the next few years preceeding the outbreak of World War I would be crucial ones for the government. As shown there has been some discrepancies in the standard portrayal of Nicholas and his early policies. His support of Witte, the Hague Conference, and the conclusion of the Treaty of Portsmouth have shed new light on Nicholas. Unfortunately the negative image presented by historians of the events of 1905 are undiminished. What was Nicholas's role in the interim years between the issuance of the Fundamental Laws of 1906 and the declaration of war in 1914? Such issues as Nicholas's relationship with the Duma, with his ministers, the fiscal policies, Stolypin's land reform, and his feelings towards the ethnic minorities, particularly the Jews will be examined in the next chapter.

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NOTES--CHAPTER II 1 John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet Union, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1986), 165. 2Ibid. 3Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 396. 4 Thompson, 175. 5Theodore Von Laue, "The State of the Economy," from The Transformation of Russian Society edited by C. E. Black, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), 208. 6 V.I. Gurko, Features and Figures of the Past: Government and Opinion in the Reign of Nicholas II, (Stanford: University Press, 1939), 5. 7Riasanovsky, 3rd ed. 1977, 441. 8Hugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire, 1801-1917, (Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1967), 548. 9Neil B. Weissman, Reform in Tsarist Russia: The State Bureaucracy and Local Government, 1900-1914, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1981 ), 3. 10Ibid., 21. 11sidney Harcave, Years of the Golden Cockerel, (New York: the Macmillan Company, 1968), 301. 12Ibid.

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39 13Sergei Witte, The Memoirs of -count Witte, (Garden City, New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921 ), 308. 14Ibid., 61 15George Vernadsky editor, A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917, volume 3: Alexander II to the February Revolution, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), 757. 16Riasanovsky, 4th ed. 1984., 400. 17Michael T. Florinsky, Russia: A Short History, second edition, (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1969), 356. 18Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, (New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1969), 67. 19witte, 96. 20Hans Rogger, Russia in the Age of Modernisation and Revolution, 1881-1917, (London and New York: Longmanj 1983), 174. 21w. Bruce Lincoln, In War's Dark Shadow; The Russians Before.the Great War, (New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1986), 232. 5th ed. 236. 22George Vernadsky, A History of Russia, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961 ), 23Riasanovsky, 4th ed., 1984, 401. 24Paul Miliukov, Political Memoirs, 1905-1917, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1967), 190. 25 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar; Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia: volume I: The

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Autocracy, 1894-1900, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1975}, 103. 40 26Edmond Taylor, The Fall of the Dynasties: The Collapse of the Old Order, 1905-1922, (Garden City: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1963), 61. 27David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, (Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1982), 369. 28R k 3 d d 1977 445 1asanovs y, r e ., 29 M k d C 369 ac enz1e an urran, 30Ibid. 31Ibid. 32Ibid., 370. 33Riasanovsky, 3rd ed., 1977, 447. 34Mackenzie and Curran, 370. 35 Vernadsky, 5th ed., 1961, 240. 36Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958), 28. 37M ass1e, 97. 38 Raymond A. Esthus, "Nicholas II and the RussoJapanese War," Russian Review 4 (1981), 402. 39Ibid. 40Ibid., 406. 41 Ibid. 4 0 9

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42Ibid., 402. 43rbid., 411. 41 44sir Bernard Pares review of Vospominania: Tsarstvovanie Nikolaya II (Memoirs: Reign of Nicholas II), by Count Sergei Witte, The Slavonic Review 3 (1923), 466. 45Esthus, 411. 46 Thompson, 180. 47R k 451 1asanovs y, 48 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume II: Years of Change, 1900-1907, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1977), 161.

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CHAPTER III INTERIM YEARS, 1907-1914 The years after the Revolution of 1905 and preceding the outbreak of World War I in 1914 were crucial ones. Nicholas had reluctantly granted a national parliament and some civil liberties. However, he retained the right to govern all foreign affairs and the ability to dissolve the Duma at any time. Alexander Kerensky pronounced this era: "The brief period of Russian history from the revolution of 1905 to the war of 1914 was a time of great importance for Russia's internal 1 development." This era was not only important politically but economically. John M. Thompson has best stated the traditional view of this time:

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43 Some historians see this period as the beginning of the peaceful emergence in Russia of amodernized democratic society, quite similar to western societies. Others, however, including Soviet writers, see these few years as a desperate, last-ditch effort by reactionary forces to paper over some of Russias most fundamental flaws, a ploy that was doo2ed to fail, whether the war had come or not. This exemplifies the theory that the 1917 revolution was inevitable. Thompsons personal thesis was the revolution was not unavoidable, but that World War I was the deciding factor which determined the events of February 1917; however not those of October 1917. The interim years receive praise from all sides. Not only the group of standard historians, but contemporary views painted a hopeful picture of the programs the government instituted. 11The last short years before the war--the beginning of Russia1s great catastrophe were marked by a dynamic development of economic, cultural, and political forces.113 Sir Bernard Pares and Maurice Baring who witnessed first hand the progress agreed, 11that economically the seven years from 1907-1914, were, so far, the most prosperous period in Russian history.114

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44 Industrialization had slowed its intense pace. "Signs of recovery appeared in all sectors 5 of the economy." Consumer products improved as did per capita income. Materially, Russia was rapidly catching up to Western Europe. Politically there were changes. As Witte was the dominant personality of the first ten years of Nicholas's reign, Peter Stolypin, Minister of Interior and Prime Minister, was the influential force during the interim years. The controversies during this era which directly affected Nicholas were his relationship with the Duma and the provincial zemstvos; with his ministers, particularly Stolypin; his views of the ethnic minorities, and Stolypin's land reforms. What were the standard interpretations of Nicholas with each of the above mentioned factors? Were the historical opinions the accurate ones, or was Nicholas portrayed as a determined autocrat who despised his inability to retain his role of 'unlimited autocrat'?

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45 Zemstvos and the Dumas "Introduced in some provinces in 1865, zemstvos were gradually extended by 1914 to 43 of the 50 provinces of European Russia provinces."6 In 1894 when Nicholas became Tsar, there was no hope for the progress which was a reality by 1914. The zemstvos were the first political participation the Russian people experienced. On his accession, Nicholas dashed the hopes of the zemstvos for a national parliament with his statement that these ideals were "senseless dreams". These two words are now famous and are used to standardize the historical opinion of Nicholas and his views that constitutional governments were evil. Alexander Alexandrovich Polovtsev (1832-1909) made the following observation of the government and its inadequacies in his diary in 1901 : Because of the unrestrained abuse of power by officialdom, senseless bureaucratic whims, regulations bordering on the ridiculous, the

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46 absense of any sound policy discussed in advance, capricious interference in affairs and especially in appoint ments by the empresses, the grand dukes and duchesses, and the crowd of scoundrels surrounding them, the Russian people are sinking and deeper into oppression and misery. During the Revolution of 1905, Nicholas maintained that the zemstvos must "mind their own business."8 He had plans which he would introduce when he saw fit. This time occurred after the assassination of Grand Duke Serge in March 1905. Nicholas issued a statement that he would call for an investigation into the establishment of a Duma. Until 1905, the zemstvos had been restricted in their power. Although Nicholas realized there was a need for some reform, he rejected a reform bill presented by Minister of Interior Goremykin in 1899. This decision was supported by Stolypin. However in October 1902 another bill for zemstvo reform was presented and in January 1903 Nicholas "gave his assent to the formation within the MVD of a commission to prepare a detailed blueprint for provincial reform."9

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47 This was the most positive statement of Nicholas' views of the zemstvo reform. Like his relationship with the zemstvos, Nicholas viewed the Duma as a continual reminder that he had failed his father. He distrusted the members of the Duma, particularly the first two which were dismissed within months of their convocation. Mackenzie and Curran provide the best standard interpretation of Nicholas' opinion on constitutional government. "Dominated by Pobedonostsev and the reactionary Prince v. P. Mescherskii, Nicholas believed that constitutional government and parliaments were '1 .. 10 ev1 Nicholas' relationship with the Duma was tense from the moment of its first meeting. In spite of his misgivings he told the Duma: "For I My own part, I shall as immutable the course that I have set. I do sb in the firm conviction that you will devote all\your strength in selfless service to the nation."11 The Duma issued a reply I to the Tsar's Address demanded full suffrage, ministerial responsibility to the Duma, and finally amnesty for all political prisoners.12

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The tsar and his ministers met these demands with hostility. Further, due to Article 87 under the Fundamental Laws of 1906, Nicholas was able to pass legislation without the Duma's approval. This article stated that when the duma was not in session, the Tsar could institute laws which would be subjected to the Duma's approval once it reconvened. However, the Duma seldom reversed any legislation which occurred during these periods and Nicholas was able to retain much of his autocratic power. These are the standard historical opinions of Nicholas and his relationship with the Duma. On the positive side, Nicholas had long realized that his government needed some reorganization. During the 1905 Revolution he wrote his mother: "We are in the midst of a revolution with an administrative apparatus entirely disorganized, and in this lies the main danger."13 Further, Nicholas displayed his disgust with the bureaucracy in another letter written a few weeks later to his mother:

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49 Everybody is afraid of taking courageous action; I keep on trying to force them--even Witte himself to behave more energetically. With us nobody is accustomed to shouldering responsibility: all expect t6 be-given order'4 which, however, they disobey as often as not. The cynicism apparent in this statement indicated Nicholas' knowledge that a more efficient form of government had to be implemented. However, the first two Dumas only reinforced his opinion of the inherent weakness of constitutional governments. He became disgusted with the internal bickering in the Duma. With the second Duma he had hoped educational reform would be instigated, but the members could not agree and it was dismissed because of its radical membership and inability to confer upon important legislative issues. As Nicholas had stated he was determined to make his reforms work and encouraged the Duma members to work with the State Council and himself for the betterment of the government. While many criticized this speech for its lack of directives, it-must be remembered that Nicholas had never intended the Duma to be anything other than advisory. If the delegates stayed in their place, Nicholas was more than willing to work with them.15 Until they

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50 realized this Nicholas would not consider receiving a delegation as he told Stolypin in November, 1907.16 As shown the traditional historians have portrayed Nicholas and constitutional government on all levels in a negative light. His own opinions illustrated that he realized the need to streamline the government, but on his terms and not by granting a parliament. Throughout the remaining years of his reign, he retained his distrust for the Duma, but as shown he did try some measure of cooperation. In fact, the third Duma served its full five year term as did the fourth Duma. In spite of the negative picture of Nicholas which has predominated history, there was some evidence that Nicholas was more receptive than previously portrayed. It should be remembered that Nicholas was not the only person who viewed the parliament with distrust. 11Conservative and reactionary elements at court and throughout the country, had varying emotions, ranging from apprehension to abhorrence of the new parliament."17 Nicholas may have been head of the government but

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51 he was not responsible for the opinions of his ministers. Unfortunately he often chose people whose views coincided with his and this led to history's harsh assessment of him. During Nicholas's reign two men became influential. Witte was influential for the first ten years and Peter Stolypin was predominant from 1906 to his assassination in 1911. Historians argue over who was more important but they were each valuable. Witte's system had propelled Russia into the industrial revolution and Stolypin's Land Reform began a modernization policy of Russia's agrarian problems. Since Alexander II's reform policies, the Russian government had been searching for an adequate way to manage the peasant problem and a feasible solution to agricultural depression. What was Nicholas' role in Stolypin's Land Reform? How has the standard historical interpretation viewed him?

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52 Stolypin and the Land Reforms Witte's early program of industrialization had been detrimental to the peasantry. However by the turn of the century he began to investigate plans for agricultural reform. The 1905 Revolution saw the redemption payments for land abolished. Stolypin carried his land reform further. He desired to abolish the communes as he felt, as had Witte, that the traditional commune was detrimental to agricultural production. He reorganized the Peasant Land Bank so that a greater number of the peasants were able to obtain loans. He advocated a restructuring policy of the way which the communes divided the land so that a peasant's land was consolidated rather than seperated by another's strip as had been the traditional method. Historian John M. Thompson regarded Stolypin's land reforms as a monumental social change. As the war cut short the policy it is difficult to ascertain how successful it would

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53 have been, but Thompson emphasized that by 1915 only a little over a million peasant families had acquired and consolidated their land into single 18 plots. However, 25% of the peasants had left the communes and owned their own land. The October Revolution of 1917 changed this so historians cannot accurately assess the success of Stolypin's program. But it was evident that by 1915, agricultural reform was in progress. Until 1902, Nicholas believed in the commune as the representation of a truly Russian institution. But Nicholas realized the viability of agricultural reform once Witte began t t ' t h 1 ' 1 9 If th h o sue po ere ave been negative criticisms of Stolypin's land reforms they have been difficult to ascertain. Historians generally agree that if war had not come in 1914 agricultural progress would have continued. Further, what Nicholas' opinion about Stolypin's policy in this area can only be ascertained by the observation that the program was instituted and had to have Nicholas' signature. Also, Nicholas had maintained his devotion to the peasantry whom

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54 he considered truly Russian and his most devoted subjects. Unfortunately the one area where the negative outweighed the positive is the assessment of Nicholas' relationships with his ministers. The standard opinion was Nicholas was incapable of choosing ministers with the intelligence or energy to adequately handle their duties. Nicholas and his Ministers "Ministers were appointed by the Tsar, and held office as long as they possessed his confidence."20 "Ministers changed rapidly in what has been described as a 'ministerial leapfrog,' and each was more under Rasputin's power than his predecessor."21while this last statement pertained to the policies during the war, ministerial leapfrog had been a game that Nicholas had played throughout his reign. It escalated during the war. Nicholas is harshly condemned by historians because of his duplicity in the manner which he dismissed his ministers. This was true of a few of Nicholas' ministers who survived to write their memoirs. Witte was Nicholas's harshest critic. He accused Nicholas of not being grateful for his

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55 services. In fact, Witte was rabid in his hatred of and expressed this in his memoirs. v. I. Gurko also emphasized Nicholas's inability to handle his ministers: Gurko, who served in the Ministry of Internal Affairs before and during Stolypin's administration, caustically claimed that Nicholas hated to dismiss a minister, not because he was kind, 'for actually he was indifferent to the feelings of the person he dismissed, but because it disturbed his peace of mind and obliged him to make an22ffort of will which he always found difficult. Stolypin's death and Nicholas' callousness to his assassination has also emphasized historians' and contemporaries' negative opinions of Nicholas' relationships with his various ministers. Stolypin had pushed Nicholas to side with him on the reform plan for zemstvos in the western region of Russia. By this action Stolypin earned Nicholas' enmity and it was rumored that Stolypin's assassination was a plot because the murderer Bogrov was kept incommunicado till his execution. Further during the three days prior to Stolypin's death, when he lay mortally wounded, Nicholas did not pay him a visit. Historians and contemporaries state that

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56 the conflict over the western zemstvo reform would have instituted Stolypin's dismissal if he had not died. The only positive accounts of Nicholas' relationships with his ministers come from Kokovtsov and Rodzianko, President of the Fourth Duma. In spite of Kokovtsov's abrupt dismissal for daring to criticize Rasputin's influence over the tsar, he portrayed the tsar in a sympathetic light. Further, he netralized Witte's depiction of the tsar. Witte had asked Kokovtsov, whom he disliked intensely, to obtain a grant from the tsar in the amount of 200,000 rubles, which the tsar granted in 1912. Kokovtsov, on the other hand, refused a similar offer from the tsar when he was dismissed. This showed the differences between Kokovtsov's personality and Witte's. Witte did not hesitate to deprecate the tsar in his memoirs. His vituperative attack on Nicholas ranged from harsh judgements of the tsar's personality to the tsar's political ineptness. Yet Kokovtsov is not as heavily researched as Witte. Nor do historians rely as much on his memoirs as they do Witte's.

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As earlier stated by Bernard Pares, Witte's memoirs were records of Witte's personal aggrandizement rather than accurate reflections of the era in which he lived. The historical consensus of Nicholas and his ministers is the one which is currently taught. Witte and Stolypin receive all the credit for their reforms, in spite of the fact that Nicholas had to approve them before they could ever be implemented. In this instance the negative outweighs the positive. However, the positive as emphasized by Kokovtsov raises an interesting question. Until the archives are opened and the papers are available for indepth study this perception of Nicholas will remain. Nicholas and Anti-Semitism Nicholas was anti-semitic. There has been no positive account of his desire to reform the government's position about the Jews. The Jews were still required to live within the Pale of Settlement which was established by Catherine the

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.58 Great after the partition of Poland. Only a small percentage of Jews were allowed to attend school. Few were allowed to attend universities and to live outside the Pale. Government instigated pogroms which began under Alexander III escalated under Nicholas II. In fact anti-semitic groups such as the Black Hundred and the Union of the Russian People enthusiastically pursued their violent abuse of the Jews. The worst pogroms Russia experienced were under Nicholas II; however, Stalin instituted much more violent discrimination than any leader but Hitler. While Nicholas had stated his intention to grant reforms for all of his subjects in 1906, the October Manifesto granted the vote to Jews, but that was all. The Pale of Settlement remained in force as did the quota for Jewish education. 11It seems likely that the personal antipathy of Nicholas II to the Jews, of which there is clear evidence in his correspondence, was at least partly responsible.1123 Stolypin had attempted modest proposals for Jewish reform but Nicholas vetoed

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.59 them. During the Homel pogrom, Witte investigated as to responsibility and informed the tsar: His Majesty wrote on the memorandum about this affair that such matters should not be brought attention (as too trivial a subject). Witte emphasized that Nicholas was surrounded by confirmed anti-semites such as Procurator of the Holy Synod, Pobedonostsev; Minister of the Interior, Plehve; Trepov; Ignatyev and Durnovo. Further Nicholas was a member of the Union of Russian People. He viewed with equanimity the events of the Kishniev pogrom and was mildly surprised that greater casualties had not occurred. It is difficult to provide any positive aspect which might negate the anti-Semitic portrait of Nicholas. In fact he was decidedly anti-Semitic and often referred to them as zhidy (Yids) rather than as Jews. However, one positive incident did occur during Nicholas's reign and that was the Beilis trial. Beilis was a Jew accussed in 1911 of killing a young man and draining his blood to use in Jewish ceremonies. In 1913, Beilis was

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60 exonerated by a jury constituted mainly of peasants. It was never proved who the perpetrator was and the length of time from Beilis's incarceration to his exoneration was a travesty of justice. There is no available evidence that suggested Nicholas attempted to contravene the decision of the jury. One other point that must be considered was Witte's opinion of Nicholas as contrasted with his views of Alexander III. While Witte condemned Nicholas he remarked on Alexander's policies as "firm, but moderate and judicious."25 It was Alexander III who retracted many of Alexander II's Jewish reforms. During Alexander III's reign the Jews started emigrating to the United States and Palestine in vast numbers. Nicholas continued his father's policy. Witte believed that Nicholas pursued it with a vengeance. As Witte played a strong part in the historical determination of Nicholas and his policies this statement about Alexander must be compared to Nicholas and a review of Witte's opinion be examined.

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As shown in this chapter, historians harshly criticize Nicholas. While the interim years were economically prosperous, Nicholas was portrayed negatively as he struggled to retain his powers and hedge the abilities of the Duma and his ministers. However, parliamentary reform was evolving if somewhat tentatively. Agricultural reforms were instituted as were primary education reforms, which. had received Nicholas's whole-hearted approval. Unfortunately historians' consensus of the period was that while change was occurring it was not fast enough and the revolution was inevitable, even though Lenin had stated in 1913 during the tercentenary of the Romanov rule that he doubted he would live to see the revolution. The revolutionaries did not consider the inevitability of the revolution and historians have too often overlooked this fact.

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NOTES--CHAPTER III 1Alexander Kerensky, "Russia on the Eve of World War I," Russian Review 5 (1945), 10. 2John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet Union, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986), 184. 3 Kerensky, 10. 4sir Bernard Pares, The Fall of the Russian Monarchy, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1939), 115. 5 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume III The Duma Monarchy, 1907-1914, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1977), 63. 6David Mackenzie and Michael w. Curran, A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1st ed., (Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1977), 335. 7George Vernadsky, A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917: Volume 3: Alexander II to the February Revolution, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1972), 698. 8Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958), 5. 9Neil B. Weissman, Reform in Tsarist Russia: The State Bureaucracy and Local Government, 1900-1914, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1981 ), 47. 10Mackenzie and Curran, 2nd ed., 1982, 4. 11 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume II: Years

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of Change, 1900-1907, (Florida: International Press, 1977), p. Academic 206. 63 12M k d C 1 t d 1977 ac enz1e an urran, s e ., 402. 13Roger Pethybridge editor, Witnesses to the Russian Revolution, (Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1964), 45. 1 4 Ibid. 4 6 15w. Bruce Lincoln, In War's Dark Shadow: The Russians Before the Great War, (New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1986), 325. 16Mary s. Conroy, Peter Arkad'evich Stolypin: Practical Politics in Late Tsarist Russia, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1976), 164. 17Ibid., 151. 18 Thompson, 185. 19sidney Harcave, Years of the Golden Cockerel, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968), 307. 20Hugh Seton-Watson, The Decline of Imperial Russia, 1855-1914, (London and New York: Praeger, 1952), 246. 21 Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 3rd ed., (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 467. 22 Conroy, 28. 23seton-Watson, 243. 24serge Witte, The Memoirs of Count Witte, translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky, (Garden City,

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New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921), 274. 25rbid., 376.

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CHAPTER IV NICHOLAS' CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY Historians and contemporaries are negative about Nicholas' personality. Textbooks limit their discussions of Nicholas to character assassinations and the Rasputin phenomenon. Little attention is devoted to examination of Nicholas' political policies as regarded Nicholas' influence upon such. Rather historians and contemporaries devoted themselves to analysis of Nicholas' flaws and his personal life. Further, as is most often the case, examination of his diary and letters to his wife are used to reenforce the negative perspective of historians. What is the standard view of Nicholas's character? What do historians perceive as his major flaw? Was Alexandra the dominant personality

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66 in their marriage? What was Rasputin's role in the lives of the imperial couple? Nicholas' Personality Historians, Thompson, Mackenzie and Curran, Vernadsky, and Riasanovsky all agree that the word which most adequately described Nicholas' personality was "Nicholas was weak-willed and irresolute," John M. Thompson stated in his book, Russia and the Soviet Union.1 Not only do these historians use the word "weak", but Alan Moorehead, Donald Treadgold, Michael T. Florinsky, and even the most compassionate of all Nicholas' critics, Robert K. Massie implied it with the following observation: "It would be more accurate to say that he was a man of narrow, special education; of strong and unfortunately-unchanging conviction; of soft-spoken, kindlymanner, and, 2 underneath, of stubborn courage." The standard descriptions of Nicholas are so repetitive that historians accept automatically the previous assessments of earlier historians.

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67 "Easily influenced" are two words which are second to weak in the analysis of Nicholas' personaLity. The standard perception of Nicholas' character is one of an inept, bumbling man, bordering on idiocy, who ultimately caused his own downfall and that of his country. This opinion has persisted for the past seventy years with little or no contradiction. Not only are historians critical of his flaws, but so are his contemporaries. Witte and Trotsky, who never met Nicholas, are two of the most vehement in their denouncements of the last tsar. Witte, who credited Nicholas with the establishment of the gold standard, used every possible occasion to attack Nicholas in his memoirs: "The Emperor's character may be said to be essentially feminine. Someone has observed that Nature granted him masculine attributes by mistake."3 Witte continued his diatribe with: "He is incapable of playing fair and he always seeks underhand means and underground ways. He has a veritable passion for secret notes and methods."4 Witte stated he maintained his position for eight years only because Nicholas

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68 felt obligated to the memory of his dead father.5 Leon Trotsky's analysis of Nicholas' character was even more critical than that of Witte. "Nicholas was not only unstable, but treacherous. Flatterers called him a charmer, bewitcher, because of his gentle way with the courtiers."6 Trotsky stated Nicholas despised anyone whom he believed was his intellectual superior and therefore surrounded. himself with "saintly fakirs, holy men, to whom he did not have to look up. .. 7 William H. Chamberlin used Trotsky's and Witte's assessments of Nicholas in his two volume work on the Russian Revolution and went one step further: "Nicholas II, whose personal misfortune it was to rule in a period of wars and profound social and economic changes, was less fit for the role of an autocrat than any sovereign since the mad Tsar Paul."8 This criticism by one of the earliest historians of the last tsarist regime and the revolutions of 1917 has persisted and even John M. Thompson stated in his bibliography that Chamberlin's books should be considered a cornerstone of any historical analysis of the revolutions.9

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To a certain extent, Trotsky's opinion must be discounted as his view point was obviously biased. But Witte and another contemporary Paul Miliukov have continued to influence historial assessments of Nicholas' reign. Miliukov was equally critical of Nicholas: "Nicholas II was doubtlessly an honest person and a good family man, but he was by nature extremely weak-willed."10 Miliukov emphasized his point with the following observation: As often happens with weak-willed people--like Alexander I, for example--Nicholas was afraid of being influenced by a strong will. Struggling against such influence, he used the same means as Alexander I had used, the available to him--cunning and duplicity. Miliukov, who didn't particularly like Witte, remarked that it was the "tsar's weak will and the tsarina's evil will" that caused the clashes with Witte and the obstruction of Witte's 1 . 12 po J.CJ.es. Apparently, there are no positive statements of Nicholas. Historians seldom use them, except for Robert K. Massie, whose books are utilized by historians to project personal incidents of

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7Q Nicholas's life. Yet, there are contemporary accounts which contradict the negative opinions of historians and contemporaries. Sir Bernard Pares was a personal observer of the events of Nicholas' reign. He completely discredited Trotsky's opinion with the following statement: "The idea that he (Nicholas) was stupid, was a sheer illusion confined to revolutionaries who knew nothing about him."13 Pares remarked that the strongest attribute of Nicholas "was a conquering personal charm which had for its basis an innate delicacy of mind."14 Unlike other historians, Pares viewed Nicholas' correspondence with a more objective attitude. This was particularly true of the letters between Nicholas and his mother. They (Nicholas and Marie's letters) present a more favourable picture of him than any other first-hand materials, with the exception of the admirable record of Count Kokovtsov, and show a good deal more judgement and than he was ordinarily credited with." The one criticism Pares presented was that while Nicholas was more open to "reasonable argument" than his father, "the trouble was that he was so

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71 much so that each new impression might efface the 1 t .. 16 as Like his correspondence, Nicholas's diary received intense examination and through this Nicholas is found wanting. All the standard interpretations base their opinions of Nicholas partially on his diary, which was succinct and emotionless. It was a recording of his daily activities, much like a current appointment book. Little feeling or political opinion was recorded. Alan Mooreheadsupported Nicholas' diary with his observation that Nicholas would undoubtedly never have recorded what he did if he had known that his diary would have been subjected to public scrutiny.17 Robert K. Massie compared Nicholas diary to that of his cousin, King George V of England and noticed the similarity. However, where Nicholas was condemned, George was admired.18 Other contemporaries of Nicholas who viewed him more favourably were Kokovtsov, Minister of Finance from 1904-1914, Ambassador Buchanan, Ambassador Paleologue, Mikhail Rodzianko, President of the Fourth Duma, and French President Emile Loubet. As Pares noted Kokovtsov was the most

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72 .. positive of all the recorders of Nicholas and his reign. Kokovtsov believed that it was the tsar who negotiated the successful peace at Portsmouth rather than Witte. If not for the tsar's firm stance, Witte would have submitted to the Japanese demand for all of Sakhalin and an indemnity. Further, Kokovtsov, like Pares, shed an interesting light on the of Witte. As Witte's successor to the post of Minister of Finance, Kokovtsov recalled Witte's vindictiveness and egotism. For instance, on the occassion of a meeting of the ministers, Kokovtsov remembered that one minister was absent and that one minister suggested that another minister be present to give his opinion. Kokovtsov recalled that Witte remarked: "I am responsible for the government and I do not see any need for inviting anyone.19 This incident should incite historical revision of the importance of Witte's memoirs as accurate accounts of Nicholas's reign, particularly as Witte contradicted himself on numerous occasions about Nicholas' personality and his ability to show gratitude.

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'73 I knew him (Tsar) to be inexperienced in the extreme but rather intelligent and he had always impressed me as a kindly and well bred youth. As a matter of fact, I.had rarely come across a mannered young man than Nicholas II. Another example of Witte's lack of accuracy was in regard to Nicholas' inability to show gratitude. Witte recorded in his memoirs Nicholas' rescript to him on the tenth anniversary of Witte's position as Minister of Finance: Now with the lapse of a decade of your activity as Minister of Finances, I take pleasure in expressing my appreciation to you of all that you have done within the past years to justify my confidence as well. Mikhail Rodzianko, President of the Fourth Duma, recalled Nicholas positively in his book, Reign of Rasputin: "There can be no doubt that throughout his life he was filled with the most genuine desire for the good and happiness of his people."22 Considering the tsar's attitude of ignoring Rodzianko's advice, this evaluation of the tsar was objective. Ambassador Buchanan from Great Britain had occasion to consult with the tsar and even

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74 though the tsar often dismiSsed Buchanan, Buchanan remarked in his memoirs: I have not attempted to screen his but I have portrayed him as I knew lovable man, possessed of many good qualities, a true and loyal ally, having, in spite of all appearances to the his country's true interests at heart. Buchanan conferred upon Nicholas the greatest of compliments--at least in his mind--when he observed that Nicholas was possessed of all the qualities which would have made him an admirable constitutional monarch--"a quick intelligence, a cultivated mind, method and industry in his work, and an extraordinary natural charm that attracted all who came near him."24 Ambassador Paleologue of France was more effusive than Buchanan in his memoirs. He recorded Nicholas' statement after the dedication of the ship Ismail in June of 1915: "I like nothing better than to feel myself in touch with my people."25 Paleologue emphasized, in May 1916, that the moujiks still maintained their belief in their tsar, "which explains the personal success Nicholas II is certain of achieving whenever he goes among peasants, soldiers, and workmen."26

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75 Serge Oldenburg, a Russian historian who witnessed the events of Nicholas' reign and published a two volume work in Belgrade in 1939, utilized the opinion of the former French President Emile Loubet which was published in the Viennese newspaper "Neue Freie Presse: The Russian Emperor carries out his own ideas. His proposals are considered and thoroughly worked out, and he applies uninterrupted concentration to their realization. Beneath the Tsar's shy, some what delicate features is a powerful soul and a resolutely courageous heart. He know27 where he is going and what he wants to do. Unfortunately historians do not use Oldenburg's work. W. Bruce Lincoln utilized the untranslated version in each of his works, The Romanovs, In War's Dark Shadow, and Passage Through Armageddon, but only to quote such things as Nicholas' abdication manifesto, his uncertainty at assuming the crown, and his oft quote statement to the zemstvos which included the two words "senseless dreams". Oldenburg's work was translated into English in 1975 and subsequently published in four volumes but still receives little historical attention. It revolved totally Nicholas'

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policies and his role as tsar rather than his personal life. The standard depiction of Nicholas as weak-willed and irresolute is maintained .76 in spite of the presented positive declaractions of some historians and many contemporaries. Witte retains his predominance as an accurate diarist of the events of Nicholas' reign. Yet, Witte has proven to be unstable in his personal evaluation of the tsar and the accuracy with which he recounted those events. The most prominent of the contemporary accounts was Pares. His estimable opinion provided historical background of social, political, and economic reforms which occurred during this era. Yet, his opinion of Nicholas and his evaluation of Nicholas' abilities are neglected. Rather he is used to discuss the various political reforms which occurred--Stolypin's Land Reforms, the zemstvo reforms, and the Duma. The second aspect of Nicholas' life which dominated standard historical opinion was Alexandra's role and her subsequent submission to Rasputin's dictates and through her Rasputin's

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77-dominion over the Tsar. Rasputin merited more attention from historians and biographers than Nicholas. His capabilities as a healer are analyzed time and again to determine his impact at the court. His ascendancy in St. Petersburg society was studied with curiosity that a dirty, illiterate peasant could exude such influence over the nobility and the imperial family. Finally, historians attributed Rasputin with destroying the empire by his promotion of incompetent statesmen who supported him. Nicholas and Alexandra Historians credit Nicholas with being a loving devoted father and husband. The control group of historians all aknowledge this admirable quality of Nicholas' character, but as Grand Duke Alexander stated in his book, Once a Grand Duke: He (Nicholas) worshipped the memory of his father he was a devoted husband, he believed in the inviolability of his sacred oath of office and he endeavored to remain honest, polite and unassuming till the very last day of his reign. It was not his fault that ironical history _turned each one of

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these sterling virtues into a deadly weapon of destruction. It never dawned o28him that a ruler has no right to be human. Riasanovsky best respresents the standard opinion of the historians' views of this attribute of Nicholas' character: "But these positive personal traits mattered little in a situation that demanded strength, determination, adaptability and vision."29 Nicholas married Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1894, shortly after his father's death. It proved to be a passionate and loving marriage until their death in 1918. From the beginning, Alexandra as she was rechristened upon conversion to the Orthodox faith, was unpopular. The people did not like the dour unsmiling young woman with the haughty expression. Further, she came to Russia on the heels of the death of Alexander III, which the peasants believed was bad luck. Alexandra had not had the time as had Empress Marie to acclimatise to Russia. She knew no Russian and had no idea how to adjust to the frivolity of the Russian court. Raised by her

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79 grandmother, Queen Victoria, the freedom of St. Petersburg society shocked her. Alexander III and his wife had tried to deter Nicholas from his objective of marrying Alexandra because of her deficiencies and her German background. As Witte pronounced: She might have been a good enough consort for a petty German prince, and she might have been harmless even as the Empress of Russia, were it not for the lamentable fact His Majesty has no will power at all. But against all, Nicholas stood firm, and for better or worse married Alexandra. The early years of their marriage were happy ones. They were denied a honeymoon as Nicholas immediately had to assume his duties as head of state. But they spent every free moment together or until they moved to the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, with the Dowager Empress. This close association with her mother-in-law instilled some bitterness in Alexandra as it was Marie who proved most influential during Nicholas' early reign. Further, it was Marie who was regarded as the leader of St. Petersburg society--a duty

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80 which Alexandra happily relinquished, but nontheless bitterly resented. Today Alexandra would be the subject for many psycho-evaluations. She lost her mother at the age of 31 SJ.X. Nicknamed Sunny, her personality under went a change. She became removed and shy. To hide these inadequacies she retreated behind a stern facade which she only lowered with those she loved. Raised in Victoria's court, she was given a Puritan morality on the outside which was belied by her rapturous description of her wedding night in Nicholas' diary.32 Nicholas and Alexandra, from the available accounts, enjoyed a loving, physical relationship which was immediately apparent in her subsequent pregnancy just a couple of months after their marriage. In two year intervals from 1895-1901, four daughter--Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia--were born. Each pregnancy was a difficult one for Alexandra and added to this was the disappointment that she had failed to produce an heir. Alexandra had turned enthusiastically to her religion. Once a devoted she

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converted whole-heartedly to the Russian Orthodox faith. The Orthodox rites satisfied an intense need for Alexandra and she could not understand the relaxed attitudes of her husband's family. Further, as each pregnancy resulted in the birth of a daughter, she turned more and more to faith-healers who guaranteed her a son. In fact, she experienced a fake pregnancy which emotionally demoralized her. In 1904, during the tensions of the Russo-Japanese War, a son, Tsarevich Alexis named for Nicholas's favorite ancestor, was born. The joy of the imperial couple was boundless until the discovery, six weeks after his birth, that the heir had inherited from his mother the disease of hemophilia. The knowledge that their son would likely die before his eighteenth birthday must have shattered the proud parents. Grand Duchess Marie Pavlova observed in her book Education of a Grand Duchess: Nobody ever knew what emotions were aroused in them by this horrible certainty, but from that moment, troubled and apprehensive, the

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82 Empress's character underwent a change, and her physical as well as moral, altered. During Nicholas' first ten years, Alexandra restricted herself to offering advice only in private, and it was limited even then. After the birth of the Tsarevich her attention was focused on him. Alexandra had committed her opinion of Nicholas and his ministers in a letter to her sister: I feel that all who surround my husband are insincere and no one is doing his duty for Russia. They are all serving him for their career and personal advantage and I worry myself and cry for days on end, as I feel that my husband is very young and of which they are taking advantage. Although the standard historical interpretation of Nicholas' domination by others received harsh criticism, Count Witte believed that the Dowager Empress was a positive influence.35 However, as the Dowager Empress encouraged Nicholas to adhere to Witte's advice at all times, it was no wonder he felt this. His opinion of Alexandra was understandable as he pronounced: "The extent of Alexandra's influence upon her husband can hardly

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be exaggerated. In many cases she actually directs his actions as the head of the Empire."36 Alexandra disliked Witte because of his egotism and tendency to bully her husband. Her dislike intensified after the October Manifesto which she believed Witte contrived in order that he might. achieve personal grandeur. Rasputin and Alexandra Until the birth of Alexis, Alexandra remained in the background. However in 1905, she was introduced to a holy man, Rasputin. In 1911, Rasputin forever established his dominion over the empress when he supposedly saved the heir's life. The imperial family were at their hunting lodge in Spala, Poland when the tsarevich began to hemmorage. It was such a severe attack that telegrams were prepared to announce his death. But Rasputin sent a telegram exhorting the empress to calm herself, the child would not die, and not to let the doctors bother him too much. For some inexplicable reason, the boy began to recover. Rasputin's place was assurred.

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.8.4 Historians credited Alexandra with being the true ruler during World War I. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Nicholas hastened to Stavka, general headquarters, and left Alexandra to be his advisor. Alexandra had persistently excluded the large Romanov family from contact with the tsar. In their book, A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, Mackenzie and Curran quoted the following: "The characteristic features of the imperial family," noted a trusted minister, "is their inaccessibility to the outside world and their t h f t "37 M k d C a mosp ere o mys ac an urran blamed the empress for this isolation and the ensuing chaos which erupted in the government after Nicholas assumed the position of Commander-in-Chief. Paul Miliukov observed: "I do not know what the situation would have been, had there not been near him (Nicholas) that other strong will, a will to which he completely, though unconsciously, subordinated himself: the will of his wife."38 Historians made use of the imperial couples' correspondence during the war years to illustrate the Empresses domination of Nicholas. Alexandra often exhorted Nicholas to be strong and to support

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.85 39 Rasputin and his proteges. Further, as Rasputin gained ascendancy over the Tsarina, ministers were changed with rapidity.40 This negative portrait of Alexandra and her domination of Nicholas is the standard portrayal written in all the texts. However, contemporary accounts of Nicholas depict a different picture of Rasputin's influence over the tsar. Pares' analysis of Alexandra's personality was more objective than historians' and contemporaries. The essence of her nature and of her intellect was that she was absolutely whole-hearted. She was an entirely good woman and entirely Victorian, which was one of the chief reasons of her unpopularity in the society of St. unhealthy, and amoral. This character assessment has received little attention by historians or contemporaries of the empress'. Further, while first-hand accounts denied the extent of Rasputin's influence over the tsar, they all agreed about his domination by the empress, as Ambassador Buchanan recorded: The role actually played by Rasputin at Court is still veiled in a good deal of mystery. His ascendancy over the Emperor

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86 was not so absolute as that which he exercised over the Empress, and concerned questions of a religious kind rather than of policy. Ambassador Paleologue substantiated Buchanan's observation when he recorded in his diary that Nicholas ordered Rasputin to leave St. Petersburg, in July 1915.43 But the evidence which most conclusively negated standard historical opinion are Nicholas' own letters to his wife. "The letters reveal that though the empress sincerely regarded Rasputin as a "man of God", and was prepared to follow his advice, the emperor completely disregarded that advice."44 In letters to her husband in April, June, and November, 1915, the empress implored her husband, on the advice of Rasputin whom she titled 'Our Friend', not to go to Galicia, not to convene the State Duma, and to launch an offensive at Riga.45 Nicholas ignored all of this advice. He seldom responded to the Empress but did become irriratated: "'Our Friend's' opinons of people are sometimes very strange, as you know yourself:" or, "I beg, do not drag Our Friend into this."46 It was Rasputin who caused the 'ministerial leapfrog' which continued

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87 throughout the war. Backed by the Empress he supported first one protegee and then another. But Nicholas maintained firmness unless it was a position upon which he happened to agree. In fact it was noted by the Grand Duchess Ma.ria Pavlova that the tsar "seemed more animated than usual and more gay," after the death of R t 47 aspu 1n. In fact Nicholas did nothing more to Rasputin's murderers than send Grand Duke Dmitry to the Crimea, and Prince Felix Yussupov to his estates, even though the empress had begged him to deal harshly with the perpetrators. "Rasputin's political influence, therefore, was a myth, but a harmful one which spread sedition among the people and sowed confusion among monarchists."48 Unfortunately, it was Rasputin's domination of the empress which caused the most critical historical interpretations, and even the positive accounts of Nicholas' strength do not erase this.

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Union, 164. NOTES--CHAPTER IV 1John M. Thompson, Russia and the Soviet (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986), 2Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, (New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1969), 66. 3serge Witte, The Memoirs of Count Witte, translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky, (Garden City, New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921), 182. 4Ibid., 183. 5Ibid., 41. 6 Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution, selected and edited by F. W. Dupee from The History of the Russian Revolution, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1959), 53. 7Ibid. 8william Henry Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, 1917-1918, volume one, (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1971 ), 67. 9John M. Thompson, Revolutionary Russia, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981), 189. 10Paul Miliukov, Political Memoirs, 1905-1917, (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1967), 117. 11Ibid. 12Ibid., 57.

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89 13sir Bernard Pares, The Fall of the Russian Monarchy, (London: Jonathan Cape, 1939), 52. 14Ibid. I 31. 15Ibid., 15. 16Ibid. I 56. 17Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution, (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958), 1 8. 1 8Massie, 1 7. 1 9 Witte, 85. 20Massie, 109. 21witte, 79. 22Mikhail V. Rodzianko, The Reign of Rasputin, (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1922), xiii. 23sir George Buchanan, My two volumes in one, (New York: the New York Times, 1970), x. 24Ibid. I 77. Mission to Russia, Arno Press and 25Maurice Paleologue, An Ambassador's Memoirs, volume two, (New York: George H. Doran, 1920), 1 9. 26Ibid., 266. 27 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: The Duma Monarchy, 1907-1914, volume III, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1977), 67. 28 Grand Duke Alexander, Once A Grand Duke, (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1932), 176.

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90 29 Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 3rd ed, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), 438. 30witte, 195. 31M 30. 32Ibid., 47. 33Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, Education of a Princess: A Memoir, (New York: the Viking Press, 1930), 61. 34Harrison E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow, (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1977), 63. 35witte, 196. 36Ibid., 1.98. 37David Mackenzie and Michael W. Curran, A History of Russia and the Soviet Union, (Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1982), 452. 38M"l" k ov, 11 8. 39M k d C 453 ac an urran, p. 40Ibid. 41 Pares, 131 42 Buchanan, 243. 43 Paleologue, 35. 44 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: The World War, 1914-1918, volume four, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1978), 67. 45Ibid. 46Ibid.

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47Grand Duchess Marie, 257. 48 Oldenburg, volume 4, 69. 91

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V CONCLUSION In February 1917 (Old Style), demonstrations broke out in St. Petersburg. For the next few days more and more workers joined and Nicholas was urged by the Duma to prevent a full-scale uprising. However, Nicholas disregarded the urgency and concentrated on the war effort at the front. The situation grew and troops fired on the protesters and then proceeded to throw down their arms and join them. On March 2, 1917 (Old Style) Nicholas II abdicated for himself and his son in favor of his brother Michael who in turn renounced the throne. The three hundred year old Romanov dynasty ended. The Provisional government headed at first by Prince Lvov arrested Nicholas and placed him and his family under house arrest at Tsarskoe Selo

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93 until safe passage could be arranged for them to England. When this was not forthcoming the government sent them to Tobolsk, Siberia. After the overthrow of the Provisional government in October 1917 (Old Style), Nicholas and his family and three retainers were sent to Ekaterinburg in May of 1918. In the early morning hours of July 16, 1918, the entire family was shot in the cellar of Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. So ended the life of the last Romanov tsar. Historians are the most compassionate about Nicholas when describing his death. Mackenzie and Curran and Vernadsky use the word "murder". Edward Crankshaw was the most graphic in his description of the ex-tsars death in his book, The Shadow of the Winter Palace: One's memories are dragged again and again to that dreadful cellar at Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) in the Urals, where Nicholas himself, the Tsaritsa, the four nice girls, and their brave and cheerful little hemophiliac brother were murdered by the Bolsheviks with a brutality which seemed to be a barbaric aberration, but which turned out to be prophetic. The courage to die well, however,1 was not enough to make Nicholas a good ruler.

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94 Crankshaw detested the murder of the imperial family but emphasized no matter how Nicholas died he was not a competent ruler. Historian Serge Oldenburg was more passionate in his defense of the last tsar: "Exit Czar. Deliver him and all he loved to wounds and death. Belittle his efforts, asperse his conduct, insult his memory; but pause then to tell us who else was found capable."2 This statement by Oldenburg indicted other members of the government. If Nicholas was guilty then so were others. Oldenburg reiterated this with the following: History inexorably summons to the bar the leader of the nation. Though the issue may be decided by the exertions of legions 'to the supreme responsible authority belongs the blame or credit for the result.' Why should this sterm test be denied to Nicholas II? Should he reap no honour for decisions 'at the summit wher3 all problems are reduced to Yea or Nay?'" Winston S. Churchill recorded: "It can never be proved that a three-quarters Czar or half-Czar and the rest a Parliament, could in such a period have commanded anything at all."4 This is an ambiguous statement about Nicholas, but it does illuminate the point Nicholas was not totally

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95 to blame for his country's predicament or his own. Contemporaries of Nicholas, Grand Duke Alexander in particular, place the blame for the fall of imperial Russia on other factrirs than Nicholas. "The French, the British, the Germans, the Austrians--they were all alike in their perennial efforts to turn Russia into a weapon for their egotistical combats."5 Alexander continued to expand on this by stating it was the intelligentsia and members of the court who were responsible for destroying imperial Russia.6 Historian W. Bruce Lincoln in The Romanovs acknowledged the power which Russia attained but stated: "The utopia envisioned by the men who had succeeded the Romanovs remained elusive and unrealized."7 As shown in the preceeding chapters,. the brutality of Nicholas' death did not change the historians opinions of his capabilities. If anything they have all emphasized if Nicholas had been firm or more liberal then it was unlikely he would have abdicated. John M. Thompson did not believe revolution was inevitable before 1914,

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96 but the war aggravated unresolved social, economic and political problems. Riasanovsky emphasized revolution was coming in spite of the reforms initiated by the tsarist administration. Each of the historians in our control group have varied in degrees from harsh to compassionate in their opinions of Nicholas. They acknowledge the attempts of the tsarist government to rectify the country's problems, but with restraint--always mentioning that it was never enough and progress was too slow to satisfy the majority of the people. This is the picture that high school students and some college students are presented--Russia was ripe for a revolution because its system was too corrupt and cumbersome to accomodate the needs of the people. Each chapter attempted to present a modified portrait of Nicholas with regard to certain aspects of his reign. The inaccessibility of government documents during this period makes it difficult to present a thorough view of Nicholas and the success or failure of his policies. Without these no definitive biography of Nicholas is possible.The

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97 traditional interpretation of Nicholas and his reign as presented by our control group of four historians has been perpetuated for over seventy years. Recent monographs, such as Neil B. Weissmans book, question such dogmatic opinions. Certain policies are presented accurately as there is no available source to contradict these views. This is true of Nicholas and his feelings for the ethnic minorities--particularly the Jews. As shown, Nicholas does deserve some credit for the successful policies as well as the unsuccessful ones. Witte and Stolypin are acclaimed for their brilliance and foresight in determining the trouble spots and carrying out innovative policies to rectify them. However, Nicholas is not credited with agreeing to such measures, rather the term used is 11tsarist government or administration... As autocrat, Nicholas receives total blame for the failures, but the historians neglect to credit him with the successes. He did have a voice in the implementation of Wittes industrialization program, the Factory Act of 1897, the Treaty of Portsmouth, and Stolypin1s Land

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98 Reforms. Without his approval, and in the case of the Treaty his determination, none of the measures could have been implemented. In addition to the standard historical interpretations represented by our control group, Robert K. Massie and historians w. Bruce Lincoln have influenced students' perceptions of Nicholas. As stated, Massie's book was the basis for the film, "Nicholas and Alexandra", and this film is used in area schools as a supplemental source for the study of the tsarist era. Massie portrayed Nicholas sympathetically, but a man dominated by an hysterical wife who was in turn subservient to a depraved self-annointed holy man. Further, one scene in the movie leaves the impression that Alexandra and Rasputin were lovers. And as earlier stated this is a common question among students. W. Bruce Lincoln is a prestigious historian and his three books, The Romanovs, In War's Dark Shadow, and Passage Through Armageddon, have all received critical acclaim. But as shown he aligns himself with Nicholas' harshest detractors even

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though he credits the measure of progress the tsarist administration achieved. 99 There are many areas of the last tsarist administration which need to be investigated. Robert K. Massie and Serge Oldenburg are the only two who have ever done a work devoted to Nicholas. However, Massie's is based on the premise that if one small boy had not been a hemophiliac perhaps none of the seceeding events would have occurred. Massie's own son is a hemophiliac. Serge Oldenburg published his book in 1939, yet it receives little attention from historians. The work is available in a four volume English translation, but is either ignored or totally unknown to historians. In the introduction to the first volume of Oldenburg's work, editor Patrick J. Rollins observed: "The real emperor, according to Oldenburg, was a strong-willed, independent minded monarch who personally dirested Russia's foreign and domestic policies and who took counsel only with himself."8 But for some obscure reason, Oldenburg's work is used primarily--best exemplified by W. Bruce Lincoln--to recount Nicholas' fears

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100 at his succession to the throne, his 'senseless dreams' speech to the zemstvos which historians have emphasized as best portraying Nicholas' personality, and his Abdication Manifesto which is available in almost all collections of documents of the era. The other source most often used to judge Nicholas is his diary. It is brief, unemotionless, and used to record his daily activities. Alexandra's entries are the most passionate. Nicholas did not discuss political matters. Critics describe the diary as shallow and an example of the inept, uncaring man who was Autocrat of all the Russias Nicholas' correspondence with his wife and mother proves to contradict the negative opinions of traditional historical opinion. Nicholas' insight is most apparent in examination of his letters to his mother, particularly at the time of the 1905 Revolution. As shown, during the war, his letters were brief but adamant in insisting Alexandra not involve Rasputin in governmental affairs.

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1 01 Nicholas is a tragic figure. He was a kind man who attempted to do the best he could for his country. His death attracts more historical attention than his capabilities. In fact on April 13, 1989, "The Denver Post" published an article that shed new light on Soviet interpretations of the imperial family's murder. "Contradicting official Soviet history, a Soviet writer says the execution of the last Russian czar, Nicholas II, and his family was ordered by the Bolshevik government with Vladimir Lenin present."9 Historians have stated Nicholas would have made an exemplary constitutional monarch, but that would have been an insult to Nicholas as he did not approve of parliaments or constitutions. He was a firm believer in the patriarchal society and prided himself on his devotion to the peasantry whom he regarded as the true Russians. This paper attempted to present a balanced portrait of Nicholas by utilizing standard interpretations against contemporary accounts. By doing so, it has emphasized that are definite areas of Nicholas' reign which need

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102 reexamination and must not be perpetuated in the standard negative attitude.

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NOTES--CHAPTER V 1 Edward Crankshaw, The Shadow of the Winter Palace, {New York: Viking Press, 1976), 305. 2 Serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia: Volume IV: The World War, 1914-1918, (Florida: Academic International Press, 1978), 161. 3Ibid., 159. 4Ibid., 99. 5Grand Duke Alexander, Once a Grand Duke, {New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1932), 69. 6Ibid., 197. 7w. Bruce Lincoln, The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias, {New York: The Dial Press, 1981), 749. 8serge Oldenburg, The Last Tsar: Volume Autocracy, 1894-1900. {Florida: International Press, 1975), xxvii. Nicholas I: The Academic 9"Lenin approved czar's execution, new account says," "The Denver Post", April 13, 1989, 6A.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Collected Documents Alexandra. The Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar, 1914-1916. Introduction by Sir Bernard Pares, K.B.E. London: Duchwork and Company, 1923. Browder, Robert Paul and Kerensky, Alexander F. editors. The Russian Provisional Government Documents, 1917. Volume I. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961. Golder, Frank Alfred, editor. Documents of Russian History, 1914-1917. New York: The Century Company, 1927. Kirby, D. G., editor. Finland and Russia, 1808-1920: From Autonomy to Independence. London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1975. Nicholas II. Dnevnik, 1890-1906. Berlin, 1923. The Letters of the Tsar to the Tsaritsa, 1914-1917. Translated by A. L. Hynes. Edited by c. E. Vulliamy. Introduction by c. T. Hagberg Wright, LLD. Westport, Connecticut: Hyperion Press, Inc., 1929; reprinted 1979. Pethybridge, Roger., editor. Witnesses to the Russian Revolution. Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1964. Vernadsky, George., editor. A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917: Volume III: Alexander II to the February Revolution. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1972.

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1 OS Vulliamy, c. E., editor. The Red Archives, 1915-1918. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1929. Articles "The Condition of Russia." London 202 (1905): Quarterly Review. 581-607. Dillon, E. J. "The Progress of the Russian Revolution." The American Monthly Review of Reviews. 32 (1905), 197-204. Esthus, Raymond A. "Nicholas II and the RussoJapanese War." Russian Review. 4 (October, 1981): 396-411. Kennan, George F. "The Breakdown of the Tsarist Autocracy." From Revolutionary Russia. Edited by Richard Pipes. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1969. Kerensky, Alexander F. "Why the Russian Monarchy Fell." Slavonic Review. 24 (1930) 496-513. "Russia on the Eve of World War I." Russian Review. 5 (1945) 10-30. King, Vladimir. "The Liberal Movement in Russia, 1904-1905." Slavonic Review. 14 (1935) 124-137. "Lenin Approved Czar's Execution, new Account says." "The Denver Post." April 13, 1989, 6A. Pares, Sir Bernard. Review of Tsarstvovanie Nikolaya II: (Memoirs: Reign of Nicholas II). The Slavonic Review. 3 ( 1923) 463-471.

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1 06 11The Second Duma.11 Slavonic Review. 2 (1923), 36-55. Plehve, V.K. 11A Defense of Russia's Policy in Finaland.11 American Monthly Review of Reviews.11 28 (1903), 577-80. Shulgin, V. "The Months Before the Russian Revolution." Slavonic Review. 1 (1922) 380-390. Von Laue, Theodore H. 11The State of the Economy.11 From The Transformation of Russian Society. Edited by C. E. Black. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960. Primary Sources Alexander. Once a Grand Duke. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1932. Always a Grand Duke. Garden City, New York: Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1 933. Baring, Maurice. The Mainsprings of Russia. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1914. Botkin, Gleb. The Real Romanovs. New York: Fleming H. Revell, Company, 1931. Buchanan, George. My Mission to Russia. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1923: reprinted two volumes in one. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1970. Buchanan, Meriel. The Dissolution of an Empire. London: John Murray, 1932: reprinted New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1971.

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107 DeBasily, Nicholas. Diplomat of Imperial Russia 1903-1917, Memoirs. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1973. De Schelking, Eugene. Recollections of a Russian Diplomat. New York: The Macmillan Company, 191 8. De Robien, Louis. The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia, 1917-1918. Translated by Camilla Sykes. New York: Praeger, 1970. Farmborough, Florence. With the Armies of the Tsar. New York: Stein and Day, 1975. Fulop-Miller, Rene. Rasputin: The Holy Devil. London: Putnam's Sons, 1928. Gilliard, Pierre. Thirteen Years at the Russian Court. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1970. Gurka, V. I. Features and Figures of the Past: Government and Opinions in the Reign of Nicholas II. Stanford: Stanford Univer sity Press, 1939. Hamilton, Lord Frederick. The Vanished Pomps of Yesterday. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1934. Hull, William I. The Two Hague Conferences: and their Contributions to International Law. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1908: reprinted New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1972. Kerensky, Alexander F. The Catastrophe. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1927. The Road to the Tragedy. Westport, CN: Hyperion Press, Inc., 1935.

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1 08 Knox, Sir Alfred. With the Russian Army, 1914 1917. Two volumes in one. London: Hutchinson and Company, Paternoster Row, 1921: reprinted New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1971. Kokovtsov, Count Vladimir N. Out of My Past: The Memoirs of Count Kokovtsov, Russian Minister of Finance, 1904-19-14. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1935. Kuropatkin, Alexei. The Russian Army and the Japanese War. Two volumes in one. Westport, CN: Hyperion Press, Inc., 1909. Marie, Grand Duchess of Russia. Education of a Princess: A Memoir. New York: The Viking Press, 1930. Miliukov, Paul. Political Memoirs, 1905-1917. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1967. Paleologue, Maurice. An Ambassador's Memoirs. Three volumes: July 1914-1917. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1920. Pares, Sir Bernard. My Russian Memoirs. London: 1931: reprinted: New York: AMS Press, 1969. The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. London; Jonathan Cape, 1939. Radziwill, Princess Catherine. The Intimate Life of the Last Tzarina. New York: Dial Press, 1928. Rodzianko, Mikhail V. Reign of Rasputin. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1922. Sazonov1 M. s. Les Annes Fatales. Payot, Paris: 1927.

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109 Sorokin, Piterim A. Leaves from a Russian Diaryand Thirty Years After. New York: E. P. Dutton Company, 1924: reprinted New York: Kraus Reprint Company, 1970. Sukhanov, N. N. The Russian Revolution, 1917. New York: Harper Torchbook, 1962. Trotsky, Leon. The Russian Revolution. Selected and edited by F. W. Dupee from The History of the Russian Revolution. Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1959. Urussov, Serge. Memoirs of a Russian GovernorThe Kishinev Pogrom. London and New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1908: reprinted New York: Bergman Publishers, 1970. Wallace, Donald M. Russia on the Eve of War and Revolution. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984. Witte, Count Serge. The Memoirs of Count Witte. Translated by Abraham Yarmolinsky. Garden City, New York and Toronto: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921. Secondary Sources Baron, Salo W. The Russian Jew Under Tsars and Soviets. New York: Schochen Books, 1987. Bonnell, Victoria E. Roots of Rebellion. Berkeley: university of Press, 1983. Byrnes, Robert F. Pobedonostsev: His Life and Thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968. Chamberlin, William H. The Russian Revolution, 1917-1918: volume I. New York: Grossett and Dunlap, 1971.

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11 0 Conroy, Mary S. Peter Arkad'evich Stolypin: Practical Politics in Late Tsarist Russia. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1976. Crankshaw, Edward. The Shadow of the Winter Palace. New York: Viking Press, 1976. Edelman, Robert. Gentry Politics on the Eve of the Russian Revolution: The Nationalist Party, 1907-1917. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1980. Florinsky, Michael T. The End of the Russian Empire. New York: Collier Books, 1961. Russia: A Short History. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1969. Gregory, Paul R. Russian National Income, 1885-1913. New York: University of Cambridge Press, 1982. Harcave, Sidney. Years of the Golden Cockerel. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968. Judge, Edward H. Plehve: Repression and Reform in Imperial Russia, 1902-1904. New York: Syracruse University Press, 1983. Levin, Alfred. The Second Duma. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940. The Third Duma: Election and Profile. Connecticut: Archon Books, 1973. Lincoln, W. Bruce. Passage Through Armageddon. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986. In War's Dark Shadow: The Russians Before the Great War. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1986.

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1 1 1 The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias. New York: The Dial Press, 1981. Mackenzie, David and Curran, Michael W. A History of Russia and the Soviet Union. 1st ed. Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press, 1977: 2nd ed. 1982. Massie, Robert K. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1969. Moorehead, Alan. The Russian Revolution. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1958. Moscow, Henry. Russia Under the Czars. New York: Perennial Library, 1962. Oldenburg, S. S. The Last Tsar: Nicholas II, His Reign and His Russia. Volume I: The 1894-1900. Florida: Academic International Press, 1975. Volume II: Florida: 1977. Years of Change, 1900-1907. Academic International Press, VolumeIII: The Duma Monarchy, 1907-1914. Florida: Academic International Press, 1977. Volume IV: Florida: 1978. The World War, 1914-1918. Academic International Press, Pipes, Richard. Russia.Under the Old Regime. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974. Pomper, Philip. The Russian Revolutionary Intelligentsia. Arlington Heights, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1970.

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11 3 Tokmakoff, George. P. A. Stolypin and the Third Duma. Washington, D. C.: University Press of America, 1981. Treadgold, Donald W. Twentieth Century Russia. 3rd ed. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1972. Troyat, Henri. Daily Life in Russia Under the Last Tsar. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961. Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia. 3rd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951: 5th ed. 1961. Von Laue, Theodore H. Sergei Witte and the Industrialization of Russia. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963. Weissman, Neil B. Reform in Tsarist Russia: The State Bureaucracy and Local Government, 1900-1914. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1981. Whelan, Heide W. Alexander III and the State Council: Bureaucracy and Counter-Reform in Late Imperial Russia. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1982. Wildman, Allan K. The End of the Russian Imperial Army. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1980. Zaionchkovsky, Peter A. The Russian Autocracy Under Alexander III. Florida: Academic International Press, 1976.