Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

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Futurist
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Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

Post by Futurist » 04 Jan 2019 07:24

Would you prefer to be German Kaiser Wilhelm II, Austro-Hungarian Kaiser Franz Joseph, or Russian Tsar Nicholas II if you were given the opportunity by a magical wizard to be one (and only one) of these rulers?

For the record, you get to start at the beginning of their reign and decide to proceed from there. Also, you have a body which is identical to the one that the ruler that you chose had at that point in time. Thus, for instance, if you decide to become Franz Joseph, you would have a body which is likely to survive for an additional seventy or so years (relative to the start of your reign).

I chose these three monarchs because they are all from Eastern Europe and they all had very significant power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thus, I felt that offering people a choice between these three monarchs and only these three monarchs is a good idea.

As for me, I would probably choose Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Austria-Hungary (or the Austrian Empire before 1867) was too fragmented and divided to become a power comparable to either Germany or Russia. True, A-H was a Great Power, but it certainly wasn't in the same league as either Germany or Russia. Also, while Germany might have been more powerful and more industrialized than Russia was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Russia had much more potential than Germany had in the long(er)-run due to its massively larger population (a population that was probably growing at a faster rate than Germany's population was growing). Thus, I'd like to be in charge of a future superpower. Also, I am a big fan of living space (the U.S. model--certainly not the evil and vile Nazi German model!) and Russia has by far the best expansion opportunities out of these three countries and also much more living space to settle than either Germany or Austria-Hungary has. Basically, I want to emulate the U.S. model of settler colonialism (or I suppose the French model of settler colonialism in Algeria--though that model was far less successful than the U.S. model was), but with much less brutality.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?

Also, if you want, I can let you swap Franz Joseph for his nephew Franz Ferdinand. Then, you just need to be careful to avoid going to Sarajevo so that you won't get shot and killed there in 1914. :)

Deci
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Re: Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

Post by Deci » 05 Jan 2019 13:21

Russian Tsar Nicholas II, cos he's gud

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Re: Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

Post by Futurist » 05 Jan 2019 20:30

Deci wrote:
05 Jan 2019 13:21
Russian Tsar Nicholas II, cos he's gud
Gud in what sense, exactly?

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 08 Jan 2019 05:32

Tsar Nicholas. I think he's in a position that given some changes in policy he could have made Russia a real powerhouse economically.
What I would do is first start towards giving a small amount of political power to a Duma, something along the lines of the British parliament with nobles in one chamber, elected in the other with some power to advise and make law, still subject to royal approval.

To placate land owners, and to also institute a land reform, I offer companies land along what will become the Trans-Siberia railway in exchange for building sections of the railroad. I even allow some foreign companies to tender offers. The advantage here is that these companies become responsible for building the railroad and most of its finance in exchange for the right-of-way and land they can then later sell to others or for its resources.
At the same time, I institute a reform that allows anyone including landless peasants a land grant in the mostly barren interior of Russia. Foreign nationals are given some chance to buy in too. After all, down the road, I can tax the land and owner's profits so it's a win for me. Many of the disaffected lower classes get the opportunity to own land and it doesn't really change or effect land owned by the nobility or upper class. They can continue as they have at least for the time being.

In Asia, I work with the Japanese, rather than be at odds with them. That would give me Manchuria while Japan gets Korea. I try to talk Japan into cooperation in building a rail system from Korean ports into Manchuria and then across Russia to link Europe to Asia by land. The intent is to eventually make this link pay off by shipping goods by rail from one to the other and Russia getting to charge a fee for the use of the rail system.

I invite British and American companies to invest in Russia and offer land for them to build critical infrastructure like steel mills and the like. These will be needed to supply the infrastructure, like rails, to improve the nation. I let companies like Edison and Westinghouse compete for electrification of Russian cities. Hydroelectric power is pushed. After all, Westinghouse builds the first at Niagara Falls in 1895. Having the company build such plants in Russia on major rivers would be a big boon.

I also work to strengthen alliances with Britain and France to counter Austria-Hungary and Germany. Militarily, I focus on Russia remaining a land power rather than a naval power.

My focus would be on granting enough political reforms to obtain stability within Russia while retaining executive power while privatizing the economy and instituting modest taxation on that productivity. That way I avoid draining the state treasury while achieving economic growth. By also opening much of the interior of Russia to settlement and land ownership, I put off many of the problems of population growth for decades.

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Re: Which of these three rulers would you have preferred to be?

Post by Terry Duncan » 10 Jan 2019 15:34

Wilhelm II. He is by far the most intelligent of the three and has the state with the greatest ability to develop economically. The Tzar is rather simple and lacks any clear understanding of how to rule, Franz-joseph has an archaic state that no longer wants to be a state anymore! Wilhelm knew enough to appoint reasonably capable statesmen and just needed to control his urge to boast and bluster. When a crisis arose he would usually bluster for a short time, then come to a sensible conclusion (often after the damage to his reputation had been done, but always short of war). He has to most simple of tasks in order to rule a most prosperous nation, and a little use of his historical knowledge should have seen Tirpitz sent packing along with his 'riskflotte' theory.

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