The Royal Forums Coat of Arms

Go Back   The Royal Forums > Royal Highlights > Royal Library > Book Club archive

Join The Royal Forums Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
  #41  
Old 05-08-2008, 08:53 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
Since both Victoria and Albert were essentially German, I think their hearts were in the right place. They evidently knew, or believed, the German states would eventually have to be united and would have preferred the unification to happen peacefully and become more of a constitutional monarchy like England. It is rather sad that they assigned this task to Vicky, who turned out to be woefully unsuited, and that Albert did not live long enough to assist her in making his dream a reality.
Vicky was a princess, plain and simple, of good intelligence but she was not a diplomat. Even if she was this no mere feat to be accomplished by one and especially not by a young woman. True enough Victoria and Albert had the insight to see that which way the wind was blowing for Prussia, the Kaiser, Bismarck, and the other cronies didn't want any outside interference that wasn't within their plans. How can you be peaceful with those who don't want it? The Prussian Empire might've been in fear on becoming a part on the British Empire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
There were several factors that conspired against them, and Vicky and Fritz. I don't think they counted on Bismark and his unification of Germany by sheer brute force. Nor was Vicky's ingrained "Englishness" considered. Vicky was either unable or unwilling to blend into the existing Prussian Court before she let her liberal views be known. She lacked the common sense and diplomatic skills necessary for the task her parents laid upon her.
I believe Vicky in all of her righteousness of being her mother's daughter refused to willingly blend into the Prussian Court. My take is that her mom was the head of the most powerful monarchy and it was within her power to make a change. She didn't wait to see how the clock turned but jumped in feet first and foolishly voiced all very English opinions in what I can only describe as a very suspicious and hostile Prussia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
Willy's personality was also another factor no one could have foreseen. None of these men, especially Willy and Nicky, were raised to fully appreciate and understand the roles they would eventually assume. Had Willy been shown more tolerance by his English grandmother and uncle, even his cousin George, the whole thing might have turned out quite differently. If Willy had been able to select his friends and advisers better it also would have helped.
True but Bismarck took advantage of Willy's personally. I'll leave it at that since I'm going too far ahead. But Vicky seemed to be a very shallow and selfish person when it came to her kids. Willy wasn't perfect to her. No crap Sherlock! She didn't try hard enough to be a good influence on him. I don't know how results would have differed if he would've been able to choose his own friends and advisors with that volatile personality of his. Remember flattery was a problem but it was also what he wanted. Who's to say if this would've played out differently if he didn't receive it? He was so unpredictable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
Then again, had Nicky's grandfather not been assassinated, Russia might have been more liberal. Sadly Sacha reacted very badly to his father's death. He and Alix both failed in preparing Nicky to be Tsar, just as Vicky and Fritz failed with Willy.
Oh, without a doubt. Besides Russia was on its way to a "better tomorrow" but Sasha ripped up the reform proposals written by his father. The reforms were a step forward. I believe that Sasha as well as Nicky were ill prepared to rule as a result of Alexander II untimely assassination.
__________________

__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 05-09-2008, 08:35 AM
LadyCat's Avatar
Nobility
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WM, United States
Posts: 371
I don't know that Sasha, or Nicky, would have been better at their "jobs" has Alexander II lived. As with George, Sasha was not "meant" to be Tsar, he became the heir after his older brother died. Unlike George, Sasha had real power he was unsuited to weld. As he was unsuited to reign, he was totally incapable of teaching his son how to handle the position.

One parallel between Sasha and George that I found interesting - they both married their older, deceased brothers' intended wives. Suitable wives must have been in very short supply!

Cat
__________________

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 05-09-2008, 08:52 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
I believe Sasha would've adopted to a new beginning for Russia through his father's reforms had Alexander II lived to see them through. Well...if they would've "worked out" shall I say. That would've been a good foundation so that by the time Nicky was to reign he would've been better prepared for his role. If only things would've progressed in the natural order without Nicky's predecessors being prematurely assassinated.
__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 05-10-2008, 10:15 AM
LadyCat's Avatar
Nobility
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WM, United States
Posts: 371
As much as I would love to be able to rewrite history or even ask these guys "What were you thinking?", sadly that is not possible. As much fun as I have speculating about what might have been, what is, well, is. Both Russia and Germany suffered due to incompetent leaders. Okay, so Bismark wasn't incompetent, he was just shortsighted. (And yes I consider him to have been the real leader of Prussia, and later Germany, during Willy's grandfather's reign).

Cat
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 05-10-2008, 11:12 AM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by attaininggrace View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ysbel View Post

Its hard to imagine Vicky as Georgie's mother. Based on her statement that she was considered a German in London and too English in Berlin, I got the sense that Vicky had a hard time fitting in anywhere. If she had been Georgie's mother, I imagine there would have been something about the society that she lived in that she didn't just fit into and that would have carried over to her relationships with her children. I suspect she had a genius IQ in a time where even male geniuses had a hard time much less female geniuses.
I can't really agree with this, Ysabel. I think that she was regarded as a German in London because public opinion turned against the Germans because of the three wars, especially the one against the French.

The German culture was extremely different from the English and I think the Germans found Vicky very assertive compared with German women. She didn't endear herself to them by constantly implying that English ways were superier, it must be admitted!

I think that if she'd married a more liberal-minded and dominating English lord or duke, she might have been perfectly happy.

Best Regards,
Attaining Grace
bookaddiction
Well its hard to know exactly what Vicky meant by that comment and I agree with you that Vicky's attitudes about the English superiority totally antagonized the Germans with good reason.

But Vicky didn't seem to have any real friends in England other than her mother in a family where strong bonds did form between siblings. According to the book, Bertie was intimidated by Vicky's intellectualism and so he formed a strong bond with his younger sister Alice instead. Even before Alexandra, I don't think there was any great love between Vicky and Bertie. But I found it really remarkable that no one in the family seemed to complain when Victoria banned Vicky from one Christmas' festivities. The book pretty well makes clear that Victoria's children were willing to ignore their mother when they wanted but no one said or did anything contrary to Victoria's wishes this time. This may be because her other children had married small German princes who had been at war with Germany but I do think it speaks to Vicky's lack of good relations with the rest of her family that no one spoke out in her favour and throughout the whole book so far I have not heard of any of Victoria's other children speaking out for Vicky. In my opinion, the Prussian wars cannot totally explain this lack.

It would be intriguing if she had married a liberal-minded English duke, but I think when Vicky was first married, it was still strongly expected for a Princess Royal to marry a crown prince of an important empire. She seemed to like the fact upon the unification that she was raised to 'Kaiserlich und Königlich Hoheit' Imperial and Royal Highness so it appears titles and positions did matter to her. The problem was that outside Prussia there was no real power that could rival Britain except maybe Russia but Russia was very foreign to the British. It would have indeed been intriguing if Vicky had married Sasha's older brother Nixa for if they had had a son before Nixa died, that son would have been Alexander II's heir and Vicky would have had a father in law who matched her intellect and her outlook entirely. Given that Alexander II was killed by a bomb when his grandchildren were still children, chances are that Vicky's son would have come to the throne as a child and I shudder though to think of what a Russia would look like with child czar and a government ruled by Vicky as Empress Dowager.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 05-10-2008, 11:35 AM
LadyCat's Avatar
Nobility
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WM, United States
Posts: 371
Vicky as regent of Russia.... now that is an interesting idea, and one that never occurred to me. Thanks, ysbel. I may have to kick that around in my head a bit.

Cat
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 05-10-2008, 11:47 AM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRH Kerry View Post
Maybe she would have been guided down the right path (whatever that might have been) had Albert lived longer. I just don't understand how she under the advisement and counsel of her grandmother (along with her husband) were trying to mold the empire into Victoria's "English" Prussia. That was the goal when it all boils down to it. Am I the only one to see the absurdity in this? Did she not fear her life? The court was bent on absolutism. I understand that the times were changing but to be that close in proximity Bismark and taking him on in what seemed like a war against the world! Reading this book I was afraid of what he was capable. I am very surprised that Vicky lived to be Kaiserin no matter how brief the period was.
No you're not the only one to see the absurdity of this. I often wondered when reading if Vicky had really expected the Germans to respond, 'No, we didn't know we Germans were so backwards and inferior, thank you for letting us know.' I think Alix and Minnie were very successful at having an impact in their new country because the countries were at a very open period to new ideas and cultures and the ladies didnt' make a point of despising the culture of their new country.

I also think that Vicky and Fritz would have been better off if they had taken Minnie and Sasha's approach and hidden their true tendencies so long as the old Kaiser was alive. Sasha and Minnie were much better at hiding their absolutist tendencies in the court of liberal Alexander II and as a result neither suffered the loss of power, popularity or esteem that Vicky and Fritz did.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 05-10-2008, 12:10 PM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
Vicky as regent of Russia.... now that is an interesting idea, and one that never occurred to me. Thanks, ysbel. I may have to kick that around in my head a bit.

Cat
Yes quite an interesting concept, Cat; I admit I hadnt' thought of it either until attaininggrace mentioned who else Vicky could have married.

However, its possible that Vicky could have been a great Dowager Empress. She seems to be such a contradiction, ideals such as freedom and democracy bundled up in a woman who is rather pigheaded and doesn't seem to listen to people who disagree with her. It seems her personality seems to fit better with an absolutist outlook. If Vicky and Fritz had had absolutist tendencies, they would have been a true force to contend with in Germany. In many ways Vicky seems like the female Sasha only with much greater intelligence but Sasha kept his feelings to himself and no one would expect an absolutist czar to listen or respect others. One doesn't expect a liberal minded and democratically leaning princess to be pigheaded and obstinate.

However, I believe Russia may have been more used to the iron rule so its possible that a hardheaded Empress Dowager Vicky could have forced Russia into democracy much like a latter day Peter the Great. Now if Nixa had lived to be czar, with his education and charm and Vicky's iron will, I think its very well possible that they would have been a true force for democracy in Russia. I though suspect though that Nixa would have had his work cut out for him smoothing off Vicky's rather rough edges.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 05-10-2008, 01:22 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
As much as I would love to be able to rewrite history or even ask these guys "What were you thinking?", sadly that is not possible. As much fun as I have speculating about what might have been, what is, well, is. Both Russia and Germany suffered due to incompetent leaders. Okay, so Bismark wasn't incompetent, he was just shortsighted. (And yes I consider him to have been the real leader of Prussia, and later Germany, during Willy's grandfather's reign).

Cat
LadyCat,
It is what is. And... Bismarck wasn't incompetent and he read Willy so well. And I have to agree with your comment that he was indeed shortsighted especially not realizing that as well as he read Willy, he couldn't forsee that Willy's personality was ever evolving into something more and more explosive and further more uncontrollable by himself or his influences.
__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 05-10-2008, 01:32 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
Yes quite an interesting concept, Cat; I admit I hadnt' thought of it either until attaininggrace mentioned who else Vicky could have married.

However, its possible that Vicky could have been a great Dowager Empress. She seems to be such a contradiction, ideals such as freedom and democracy bundled up in a woman who is rather pigheaded and doesn't seem to listen to people who disagree with her. It seems her personality seems to fit better with an absolutist outlook. If Vicky and Fritz had had absolutist tendencies, they would have been a true force to contend with in Germany. In many ways Vicky seems like the female Sasha only with much greater intelligence but Sasha kept his feelings to himself and no one would expect an absolutist czar to listen or respect others. One doesn't expect a liberal minded and democratically leaning princess to be pigheaded and obstinate.

However, I believe Russia may have been more used to the iron rule so its possible that a hardheaded Empress Dowager Vicky could have forced Russia into democracy much like a latter day Peter the Great. Now if Nixa had lived to be czar, with his education and charm and Vicky's iron will, I think its very well possible that they would have been a true force for democracy in Russia. I though suspect though that Nixa would have had his work cut out for him smoothing off Vicky's rather rough edges.

Now that you guys have mentioned it and brought reason to it, I have to agree that Vicky would've been more suited in Russia. Too bad that wasn't part of the 'Victoria and Albert Vision'. It was a matter of bringing the German relations together in solidarity with their English family.

Thank you guys for that point of view.
__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 05-11-2008, 03:57 PM
Heir Apparent
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: .a, United States
Posts: 3,345
Welcome to the second KKT book discussion. Here are some highlights from chapters 7-10.

I Bide My Time:
Key pages: 110, 112, 114, 116-117, and 120.
  • Dysfunctional and otherwise strained relationship between Willy and his parents continue.
  • The Bismarck's: Otto and Herbert
  • 1884 trip to Russia and a "turning point for Willy..." Impressed even the most hardened Russian.(110)
  • Left Russia before a major wedding. Acted like a child again because his first "love", Ella, was about to marry another.
  • Bismarck uses Willy as a pawn.
  • Married Auguste Viktoria Friederike Luise Feodora Jenny of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg on Feb 27, 1881. To me, it was a "duty" marriage even though they had several children together there was no real love or passion between the two. Willy rather spend his time with his Prussian officers than his wife. (112)
  • Changing personality of Willy: Cold, calculating to an extent, had a strong feeling of self importance, slightly paranoid, whiney, immature, unpredictable, impatient, control freak, liked to play "military man", resentful, and otherwise big giant baby. Like to get a rise out of people; to shock them to see what happens. He also liked to lecture hours on end to his Prussian officers about military history.
  • His grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I, promoted Willy to command of the Elite Guards of Hussars. Why I have no idea. Wily didn't deserve it. He did nothing to really earn his rank and orders. He loved the idea of being a strong military man, but he didn't have the overall skills in my opinion. (114)
  • QUESTION: Why was he so comfortable hanging out with his Prussian military officers?
  • The rise and stability of the German Empire under the Kaiser and Bismarck. (120)
Willy, the Kaiser:
Key pages: 131-132

Questions:
  • Had political intrigue and tensions not surrounded him (Willy) between the Crown Prince and Vicky, do you believe Willy would have been an excellent ruler in Germany or another country like England?
  • Had he not been surrounded himself with anti-England officials do you believe Willy may have been more receptive towards England? If so, why?
A Wedding and a Betrothal:
  • Eddy needed a bride and quick.
  • Princess Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes of Teck aka Fat Mary. May's grandmother was the granddaugher of George III so there was, already, a nice tie with the British royal family.
  • Death of Prince Eddy, The Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Sad, but the family seemed relieved, unfortunately.
  • Georgie, Duke of York, now heir to the throne and marries Eddy's finacee, May.(151) Though engaged to his brother, the marriage between May and Georgie was a good on in my opinion. She may have not been as "glamourous" Alexandra, but she was a very interesting woman.
  • Given Cliff Notes version and training as the new PoW. (150)
Nicky and Willy:
  • Poor Nicky. He never had a chance with a father like Sasha. "Weak as water" described by his Uncle Bertie. (173)
  • Rise of revolutionary activity. It was inevitable to say the least.
  • Willy constantly bugging Nicky, the new Tsar, with advice.(174) He hoped, I believe, to influence him and perhaps manipulate to poor weak and otherwise inept ruler of Russia.
Questions:

1. Why was he so comfortable hanging out with his Prussian military officers? What do you think was his fascination with all things military? Was it an ego boost? Or escapism of sorts?

2. Had political intrigue and tensions not surrounded him (Willy) between the Crown Prince and Vicky, do you believe Willy would have been an excellent ruler in Germany or another country like England?

3. Had he not been surrounded himself with anti-England officials do you believe Willy may have been more receptive towards England? If so, why?

4. By the end of this section of the book, Nicky and Willy are both rulers but Georgie isn't. Do you think this makes the treatment of the three cousins in these chapters unbalanced?

5. The three cousins are now all married. Does the influence of their wives make any difference to them compared with the influence of their mothers?

6. If the circumstances in Russia were different, hence had a better mentor such as Alexander II, do you believe Nicky may have turned out to be a better Tsar and implemented some reforms in Russia?

7. Better yet, if Alexander III didn't react to the assassination of his father by ruling Russia as a despot thus Russia became an intolerable place to live and because of that the ever increasing rise of underground revolutionary activities, do you believe Nicky would have been more prepared... more inspired for change? Moreover, how could the Imperial Court remained so incredibly oblivious to the stirrings of revolution? Why was Nicky so blind to the obvious?

8. Autocratic rule. Is that the only way Russia can function? Could anyone have been strong enough to rule Russia?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 05-11-2008, 04:17 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
I have to read chapter 10. I'll "see" you guys in the chat room.
__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 05-11-2008, 04:26 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: ***, United States
Posts: 16,897
The chat room for the book isn't open till the end of the month, Kerry. But you can "see" everyone here until then!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 05-11-2008, 04:35 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: ***, United States
Posts: 16,897
I think things are getting more interesting in this part of the book, now that Nicky is also a ruler and there are wives in the mix as well as mothers. It's interesting how the choice of wives seems to have reflected the type of rulers they were: May was essentially a peacemaker and a soothing influence whereas Dona and Alicky were very much more interested in shoring up their husbands' autocratic instincts.

One minor quibble is that I wish they'd referred to Nicky's wife as Alicky. For those of us more familiar with the British royals, Alix is Queen Alexandra. Since she was Georgie's Motherdear and quite influential in this part of the book, I was getting confused with the two Alix's.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 05-11-2008, 05:03 PM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Hello, another interesting read, this time with the cousins as young adults.

First let me say that I was again a bit annoyed by the total focus on the 3 cousins this time it seems to the lack of everyone else in the story.

For example, only upon Eddy's death do we find how close the two brothers were and how distraught Georgie was upon his death. So close the brothers were that George named his eldest son Edward after his older brother. Yet the influence of that relationship on the outlook of young Georgie was not considered that important to the author even though Eddy with his effeminate dandyism and lack of concentration bore uncanny resemblances to his cousin Willy. (And for one, this reader would have been very intrigued to read how Georgie was close to one effeminate dandy brother and had an aversion to the cousin.)

Another example is when the author claims that Alexandra appeared half-German half-English in Russia despite the fact that earlier in the book she stressed how totally English Alix was. Comparing Alix to Minnie, the author noted that Minnie had endeavoured to pick up as many Russian traits and manners as possible but no where earlier in the book had the author tried to explain exactly how Minnie adopted more Russian traits. All I got from the book was that Minnie was a clever conversationalist who had extreme ease at talking with any one regardless of the position or occasion. It would have been indeed very interesting to read how Minnie had indeed achieved this Russification because if so, then that would have explained more fully how deep the shock was when her daughter in law took the throne.

The author also puts forth some contradictions without seemingly trying to explain them. Like when Bertie writes that Nicky is so well loved and of such a good countenance that if he adopted a liberal policy, he would be a great ruler however later in the same chapter we see that he wrote that Nicky was 'weak as water'. Granted that Bertie opined both but it would be helpful if the author tried to explain a bit more how these two opinions could come from the same person. In fact, I think unlike with Willy and George, the author gives the reader scant evidence of Nicky's later weak behavior until she writes about his rise to the throne. I again feel that Nicky is the author's least favorite cousin.

OK with that vent finished, that having been said, I found it amazing how Vicky for the second time overrode German doctors, this time when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. She brought in an English doctor who said the growth was benign. As a result Fritz did not have the surgery only to have the English doctor change his diagnosis to the same one the Germans had earlier but by then it was too late and Fritz died. First with Willy's birth and now with Fritz' death, Vicky's hand hovered over them.

I also saw a lot of similarities between Willy and his mother Vicky despite their distaste for one another. I think Willy was quite brilliant like his mother and like Vicky, he appears to not have the ability to keep his opinions to himself. He knew that George and Nicky didn't trust him but he carried on giving them advice on this and that much in the same way I imagine his mother Vicky was telling the Prussians what was wrong with them and wondering why they didn't listen. And he like his mother probably made himself easier to take advantage of. He seems to have inherited 100% her lack of social intelligence.

I don't have enough of a knowledge of 19th century German history to judge the politics of the day but despite the rest of Europe's hatred for Bismarck, dismissing Bismarck appeared to be Willy's big mistake. Bismarck appears to be rather Machiavellian - willing to use force and fear to get what he wants but not inclined to use force if he doesnt' have to. I thought it was interesting that when Bismarck resigned there was real mourning in Germany which sounds surprising if his policies were indeed as oppressive to the common man as he was. I wonder if the common people in those small German duchies actually resented the Prussian takeover less than their overlords. Bismarck and Sasha seemed to be two men of the same minds but different countries.

The chapters actually ended with Nicky taking the throne and the way the author describes his ascession, one cannot imagine a more incompetent ruler ever. Surprising that one gets a greater foreboding with Nicky at this stage than Willy.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 05-11-2008, 05:19 PM
HRH Kerry's Avatar
Royal Highness
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Up the street,hang a left,3rd house from the corner, United States
Posts: 1,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
The chat room for the book isn't open till the end of the month, Kerry. But you can "see" everyone here until then!
Sorry. I was reading the discussion schedule. I need to finish before I add anything of value.
__________________
Princely Family of Liechtenstein Forum
Join in on the discussions.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 05-11-2008, 05:55 PM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlitteringTiaras View Post
Questions:
  • Had political intrigue and tensions not surrounded him (Willy) between the Crown Prince and Vicky, do you believe Willy would have been an excellent ruler in Germany or another country like England?
  • Had he not been surrounded himself with anti-England officials do you believe Willy may have been more receptive towards England? If so, why?
I think the way that Willy's English relations treated him had more influence on the way he viewed England than his syncophants. Even if he hadn't had that particular set of English-hating syncophants, as long as Victoria and Bertie and the English family treated him with disdain, I think he would have found another set of English-hating syncophants if he hadn't had this particular set of friends. Queen Victoria and Bertie's attitude towards Willy in particular seemed to have more influence on what Willy thought of England than anything his friends said. I thought it was particularly insightful yet sad how pro-English Willy was after the only visit where his English relations (primarily Victoria and Bertie) treated him civilly. Herbert Bismarck was quite put out by Willy's love of everything English after that. This can show how ineffective his circle could be at times in influencing Willy.

I don't think Willy could have effectively ruled Germany himself but I do think a lot of problems could have been avoided if he hadn't dismissed Bismarck. Sasha had told Herbert Bismarck, I trust you but not your Kaiser. So Bismarck, Machievallian as he was, was someone that the other powers felt they could work with to an extent. The fallout between Willy and Bismarck was intriguing. How someone who was so good at prying Willy from his parents and being politically astute could let himself get sidelined by the likes of Eulenberg is beyond me. I'm also intrigued by how Bismarck could have transformed Willy from the attentive and industrious schoolboy of his youth to someone who was a bit of a fop and a dandy in his youth. (And I'm wondering why Bismarck would even want a dandy Kaiser) There are a lot of unanswered questions in the relations between Willy and the Bismarcks which I think were vastly important to the future of Germany



Quote:
4. By the end of this section of the book, Nicky and Willy are both rulers but Georgie isn't. Do you think this makes the treatment of the three cousins in these chapters unbalanced?
Actually I think George gets a good deal of coverage in the book compared to Nicky. George's family at least gets more coverage than Willy's family.

Quote:
5. The three cousins are now all married. Does the influence of their wives make any difference to them compared with the influence of their mothers?
I think Mary and Donna supported their husbands tendencies that were already apparent. Alix seemed to be made of stronger stuff and tried to change her husband.

Quote:
6. If the circumstances in Russia were different, hence had a better mentor such as Alexander II, do you believe Nicky may have turned out to be a better Tsar and implemented some reforms in Russia?
Intriguing question. I don't know whether the perception of Nicky as being incredibly weak is the truth or the distorted mirror of his relations. If he was fundamentally weak, he would have had a hard time implementing true reforms because he would have met with resistance but perhaps if Alexander II had lived, he could have smoothed the road for him a bit.

Quote:
7. Better yet, if Alexander III didn't react to the assassination of his father by ruling Russia as a despot thus Russia became an intolerable place to live and because of that the ever increasing rise of underground revolutionary activities, do you believe Nicky would have been more prepared... more inspired for change? Moreover, how could the Imperial Court remained so incredibly oblivious to the stirrings of revolution? Why was Nicky so blind to the obvious?
I think it would have been impossible for Sasha with his limited intelligence and vision to have reacted any different than he did to his father's death. Nicky was blind to the obvious because his family were kept as prisoners in their palace and it appears that they never got out unless they were accompanied by a host of armed guards. That could cause people to avoid approaching them.

Quote:
8. Autocratic rule. Is that the only way Russia can function? Could anyone have been strong enough to rule Russia?
I think Russia was unwieldly and inefficient to govern. Things needed to run well whether they were under an autocracy or a democracy and things in Russia didn't run very efficiently.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 05-11-2008, 06:00 PM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
I think things are getting more interesting in this part of the book, now that Nicky is also a ruler and there are wives in the mix as well as mothers. It's interesting how the choice of wives seems to have reflected the type of rulers they were: May was essentially a peacemaker and a soothing influence whereas Dona and Alicky were very much more interested in shoring up their husbands' autocratic instincts.

One minor quibble is that I wish they'd referred to Nicky's wife as Alicky. For those of us more familiar with the British royals, Alix is Queen Alexandra. Since she was Georgie's Motherdear and quite influential in this part of the book, I was getting confused with the two Alix's.
Actually I thought of Mary similar to Dona. They both supported their husband's tendencies whatever they were (the perfect loyal wife). But Alix was much more influential towards her husband similar to Minnie, Alix(Motherdear) and Vicky.

I knew Alix of Hesse's real name was Alix (it was the only way that her mother Alice could give her her name so that the Germans didn't butcher it ) so I wasn't bugged by the fact that the author called both Alix. It seemed pretty clear by the context who was who. Although that may change later.
__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 05-11-2008, 07:24 PM
LadyCat's Avatar
Nobility
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: WM, United States
Posts: 371
Though Alix may have held more sway with her husband than Mary or Dona with their respective spouses, she failed to use it in any beneficial way. Both she and Nicky firmly believed in autocratic rule, and she reminded him of that quite frequently it seems. (Oops. I think I'm getting a bit ahead.)

Minnie and Sasha made very big mistakes in preparing their son to rule Russia. I think in large part because they had no clue what they were doing, therefore they were unable to prepare Nicky, and later Alix, for the job ahead. After being basically kept prisoner in the palaces after the assassination of Sasha's father, the entire family was completely out of touch with what was going on in Russia. That Nicky and Alix had to live the same way after Nicky became Tsar didn't help. And I think I'll stop there as we haven't yet reached the relevant chapters for further discussion of Nicky's reign.

I don't think Willy's English loathing advisers had much to do with his feelings about England. As ysbel pointed out, when his English relatives were good to him and treated him with dignity he loved all things English. When he was snubbed he loathed England and his English relatives. Bertie and Victoria both erred in their dealings with Willy, possibly because they never quite saw him as the future Kaiser of Germany, but as a nephew and grandson respectively. Even after he became Kaiser, Willy was treated much the same by his English relatives, as one treats an annoying child.

When Willy became Kaiser before Bertie became King he didn't help matters much by lording it over his uncle. Whether that was cause of future snubs or the effect of past snubs is hard to tell. It may have just been due to Willy's personality.

That Dona agreed with everything Willy said and pandered to him didn't make for much of a reality check, something Willy badly needed. Accepting Bismark's resignation was his biggest mistake, though Bismark had made a bigger mistake in seeing that the Kaiser had so much constiitutional power.. It worked while Willy's grandfather was n charge but not with a loose cannon like Willy. Without Bismark to hold him in check, it was bound to get very ugly very fast. Willy placed his trust in all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons, something he was never smart enough to realize. Willie, like his mother, was vastly intelligent, but his common sense and people sense was virtually nonexistent.

I can't quite put my finger on why it was Willy loved the military so much. Perhaps he was ADHD, as we discussed earlier, and the routine and structure of the military calmed him. It could be because Prussia had always been known for its formidable army and he felt great pride in that. It might even have been due to his father being a great "war hero". The author doesn't really give enough information for me to come to a valid conclusion.

I think perhaps George preferred Nicky to Willy due to personalities. It seems Willy was not easy to be around, always needing to be on the move, requiring constant stimulation and entertainment. Nicky and George appear to have been a bit more laid back and relaxed. The physical resemblance between Nicky and George is also quite striking, they could have been brothers, though I doubt that had much to do with the close bond they formed that excluded cousin Willy.

As always, it is the most complex personality that is the most compelling.

Cat
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 05-11-2008, 08:56 PM
ysbel's Avatar
Heir Apparent
TRF Author
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New York, United States
Posts: 5,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
Though Alix may have held more sway with her husband than Mary or Dona with their respective spouses, she failed to use it in any beneficial way. Both she and Nicky firmly believed in autocratic rule, and she reminded him of that quite frequently it seems. (Oops. I think I'm getting a bit ahead.)
I totally agree with that but I still don't understand where Alix got her belief in autocracy??? It surely didn't come from her mother or her grandmother Queen Victoria and I cannot imagine poor Grand Duke Ernst teaching his daughter the virtues of an absolute despot. Alix seemed to be surrounded by liberal and democratic leaning influences. Unless her fervent religious devotion lent itself more to seeing her Nicky as God's chosen rather than an elected official.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCat View Post
That Dona agreed with everything Wily aid and pandered to him didn't make for much of a reality check, something Willy badly needed. Accepting Bismark's resignation was his biggest mistake, though Bismark had made a bigger mistake in seeing that the Kaiser had so much constiitutional power.. It worked while Willy's grandfather was n charge but not with a loose cannon like Willy.
Well with Bismarck I think hindsight is 20/20. Democratic rule was still in its infancy. Britain had really only become democratic during the reign of George III, Austria was still an absolute monarchy, Denmark had been an absolute monarchy until right before the ascent of Christian IX in the 1860s, I'm not sure about Spain and Sweden but I don't think they were completely on the road to democracy yet. Bismarck probably thought he was following in the footsteps of the great ministers of the past such as Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin who had acted as all powerful ministers in the names of kings like Louis XIII and Louis XIV. The Danish kings when hit with pophyra in the 1700s were aided by their able ministers who effectively ruled their countries. If Bismarck only looked at the history of powerful ministers ruling in the name of a weak king, he probably thought nothing would be safer.

Quote:
I can't quite put my finger on why it was Willy loved the military so much. Perhaps he was ADHD, as we discussed earlier, and the routine and structure of the military calmed him. It could be because Prussia had always been known for its formidable army and he felt great pride in that. It might even have been due to his father being a great "war hero". The author doesn't really give enough information for me to come to a valid conclusion.
You're right there, she doesn't give enough to make a good conclusion but I think you're right on about the military having a high esteem in Prussia. A friend of mine who is a military buff keeps talking about Carl von Clausewitz who was a Prussian military theorist during the Napoleonic Wars and whose books on warfare are still considered the Bible of modern warfare today. The tradition of the military was very strong in Prussia; it seems almost Spartan.

I'm not sure whether I agree that Willy was ADHD. I cannot picture someone with ADHD being able to sit still in the schoolroom for as many hours as Willy did for days and years on end without totally being able to break down. Willy didn't have the normal schoolboy's schedule; his schedule was totally sadistic.
__________________

__________________
"One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."
-- Deepak Chopra
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and Family morgaine The Royal and Princely Houses of Hohenzollern 145 12-16-2013 06:02 PM
Romanov Rescue 1917-1919: Action and Inaction tiaraprin The Imperial Family of Russia 250 12-24-2012 09:14 AM
King Carl Gustaf's 62nd Birthday; April 30, 2008 LadyFinn King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia 13 05-03-2008 11:06 PM




Additional Links
Popular Tags
birth charlene chris o'neill crown prince frederik crown prince haakon crown princess letizia crown princess mary crown princess mette-marit crown princess victoria current events diana fashion grand duchess maria teresa grand duke henri hohenzollern infanta elena jordan king abdullah ii king carl xvi gustav king felipe king felipe vi king harald king juan carlos king philippe king willem-alexander luxembourg olympic games ottoman pieter van vollenhoven pom pregnancy president komorowski prince albert prince albert ii prince carl philip prince constantijn prince felipe prince floris prince laurent prince pieter-christiaan princess princess alexia (2005 -) princess anita princess ariane princess beatrix princess catharina-amalia princess charlene princess claire princess elisabeth princess laurentien princess letizia princess mabel princess madeleine princess margriet princess marie princess marilene princess mary queen letizia queen mathilde queen maxima queen paola queen rania queen silvia queen sofia royal russia spain state visit wedding william


Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:00 AM.

Social Knowledge Networks

eXTReMe Tracker
Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2014
Jelsoft Enterprises

Royal News Delivered to your Email!

You can get the latest Royal News right in your inbox.

unsusbcribe at anytime with one click

Close [X]