Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

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DixieDivision1418
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Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 17 Jul 2020 22:43

On 12 April 1916, seven Austro-Hungarian bombers, one of them crewed by future ace Godwin von Brumowski, launched an audacious bombing raid on the Russian city of Chotin. While they were not the target of the raid, Tsar Nicholas II and General Aleksei Brusilov were there for a military review. Both escaped unharmed, with only two Russian planes sent to intercept the Austro-Hungarian bombers shot down.

However, what if the bombers manage to kill the Tsar and Brusilov? The Lake Naroch offensive had run out of steam by this point, not that it had much to begin with. The Tsar has only been in command a brief amount, so perhaps the stigma of defeat hasn't really been attached to him yet.

Brusilov hasn't even been in command for two weeks, and hasn't really begun his extensive preparations for his offensive, such as the rigorous training for infantry and artillery. Whether his replacement will display the same initiative is difficult to say.

Grand Duke Michael will almost certainly become regent for Alexei, which will be interesting. He was quite progressive, for a Romanov at least, and was more popular with the people. He was not a great supporter of the war, so I would expect if things keep getting worse for Russia, it's likely he'll try to make peace with Germany.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Futurist » 17 Jul 2020 22:58

Do you have a source for Michael not being a supporter of the war?

Anyway, I suspect that, on the domestic front, Michael will try getting a good grip on things in an attempt to stabilize the Russian domestic situation. At the very least, this would mean stopping the playing of musical chairs with the Russian ministers (which resulted in significant instability in the Russian government) and also giving more power and authority to the Russian Duma so that it could handle and deal with the war effort as well as with the Russian domestic situation however it saw fit.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 17 Jul 2020 23:06

Futurist wrote:
17 Jul 2020 22:58
Do you have a source for Michael not being a supporter of the war?

Anyway, I suspect that, on the domestic front, Michael will try getting a good grip on things in an attempt to stabilize the Russian domestic situation. At the very least, this would mean stopping the playing of musical chairs with the Russian ministers (which resulted in significant instability in the Russian government) and also giving more power and authority to the Russian Duma so that it could handle and deal with the war effort as well as with the Russian domestic situation however it saw fit.
Right here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_D ... _of_Russia - scroll down to 'War' and then the third paragraph. Looking at it again, I admit Michael is just lamenting the conduct of the war, and never actually says he doesn't support it all.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Futurist » 17 Jul 2020 23:23

The relevant section:
By January 1915, the horrific nature of the war was apparent. Michael felt "greatly embittered towards people in general and most of all towards those who are at the top, who hold power and allow all that horror to happen. If the question of war were decided by the people at large, I would not be so passionately averse to that great calamity."[64] Michael confessed in a letter to his wife that he felt "ashamed to face the people, i.e. the soldiers and officers, particularly when visiting field hospitals, where so much suffering is to be seen, for they might think that one is also responsible, for one is placed so high and yet has failed to prevent all that from happening and protect one's country from this disaster."[64]
So, yeah, Michael does appear to view the war and especially all of the suffering that it resulted in as a great calamity, but this doesn't necessarily mean that he would have been willing to end the war at any cost.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 17 Jul 2020 23:51

Futurist wrote:
17 Jul 2020 23:23
The relevant section:
By January 1915, the horrific nature of the war was apparent. Michael felt "greatly embittered towards people in general and most of all towards those who are at the top, who hold power and allow all that horror to happen. If the question of war were decided by the people at large, I would not be so passionately averse to that great calamity."[64] Michael confessed in a letter to his wife that he felt "ashamed to face the people, i.e. the soldiers and officers, particularly when visiting field hospitals, where so much suffering is to be seen, for they might think that one is also responsible, for one is placed so high and yet has failed to prevent all that from happening and protect one's country from this disaster."[64]
So, yeah, Michael does appear to view the war and especially all of the suffering that it resulted in as a great calamity, but this doesn't necessarily mean that he would have been willing to end the war at any cost.
One of Falkenhayn's main goals was to force Russia to make peace, and his plan for a peace deal was much more restrained than Hindenburg and Ludendorff's. If Russia seeks peace in late 1916 after a failed Summer offensive, they'll most likely lose Poland and maybe part or all of the Baltics. Falkenhayn certainly won't go for the expansive Brest-Litovsk style annexations.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Futurist » 18 Jul 2020 00:38

DixieDivision1418 wrote:
17 Jul 2020 23:51
Futurist wrote:
17 Jul 2020 23:23
The relevant section:
By January 1915, the horrific nature of the war was apparent. Michael felt "greatly embittered towards people in general and most of all towards those who are at the top, who hold power and allow all that horror to happen. If the question of war were decided by the people at large, I would not be so passionately averse to that great calamity."[64] Michael confessed in a letter to his wife that he felt "ashamed to face the people, i.e. the soldiers and officers, particularly when visiting field hospitals, where so much suffering is to be seen, for they might think that one is also responsible, for one is placed so high and yet has failed to prevent all that from happening and protect one's country from this disaster."[64]
So, yeah, Michael does appear to view the war and especially all of the suffering that it resulted in as a great calamity, but this doesn't necessarily mean that he would have been willing to end the war at any cost.
One of Falkenhayn's main goals was to force Russia to make peace, and his plan for a peace deal was much more restrained than Hindenburg and Ludendorff's. If Russia seeks peace in late 1916 after a failed Summer offensive, they'll most likely lose Poland and maybe part or all of the Baltics. Falkenhayn certainly won't go for the expansive Brest-Litovsk style annexations.
Yes, but such a peace deal would still be perceived as betraying Russia's allies and thus damaging Russia's honor. Such a peace deal could, of course, also pave the way for a German victory in the West--especially without hindsight.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Futurist » 18 Jul 2020 00:40

Really, the thing is that Russia doesn't have much of an incentive to make peace in 1916. True, it's losing a lot of men, but so is everyone and at this point in time I don't really think that one can say that Russia is actually losing the war. I mean, the Germans didn't make any additional advances into Russia in 1916 and Russia can survive just fine without Poland, Lithuania, and Courland.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Terry Duncan » 18 Jul 2020 11:58

Grand Duke Michael may take over as guardian of Alexei, and from memory, he would have been more likely to adopt a defensive strategy rather than the offensive one Nicholas had followed. He was popular but also not the sharpest tool in the box. Given the rather controversial nature of his wife (admittedly much of this was Nicholas' own antipathy but some were also societal) and his refusal to become Tzar when offered the crown after Nicholas botched his abdication (he abdicated himself, and then for Alexei also, and do so in pencil which did not meet legal requirements of the time) I not see him taking actual power. More likely in my mind is that someone like Prince Lvov or Kerensky will take over the effective running of the state along the lines of the Provisional Government, they are two of the more influential movers in the political scene around this time, and anti-monarchist sentiment is still high. Micheal was aware of Alexei's hemophilia but I am not sure either Lvov or Kerensky (almost certainly not) knew anything about it. This leaves a sticky problem as a short-lived Tzar such as Alexei was likely to be would make the regime even more likely to collapse, so removing him would be a sensible move from a purely dynastic point of view. It is also possible that one of the Grand Duchesses could be used as a figurehead as they were popular, and Tatiana and Maria were considered clever and good organizers. Would it be acceptable to provide one of them with a husband and put them on the throne? Maybe, Russia had certainly had female heads of state previously.

The conduct of the war is most likely to follow the previous patterns if only due to the problems that dogged Russia throughout the war, no matter if they are on the offensive or defensive. The major difference would be that the soldiers would be more accepting of casualties when defending, it was when conducting failed offensives that the Great Powers broke or came closest to it, so this could see the survival of the dynasty itself, though some major reforms were almost inevitable by this point. One of the Grand Duchesses might be able to be a figurehead, similar to the British model, but the Tzardom Nicholas had proven so incapable of providing was doomed. It would have taken someone like Alexander III to preserve the autocratic model, and there really isn't a likely candidate to take that role on.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Futurist » 18 Jul 2020 20:40

Terry Duncan wrote:
18 Jul 2020 11:58
Grand Duke Michael may take over as guardian of Alexei, and from memory, he would have been more likely to adopt a defensive strategy rather than the offensive one Nicholas had followed. He was popular but also not the sharpest tool in the box. Given the rather controversial nature of his wife (admittedly much of this was Nicholas' own antipathy but some were also societal) and his refusal to become Tzar when offered the crown after Nicholas botched his abdication (he abdicated himself, and then for Alexei also, and do so in pencil which did not meet legal requirements of the time) I not see him taking actual power. More likely in my mind is that someone like Prince Lvov or Kerensky will take over the effective running of the state along the lines of the Provisional Government, they are two of the more influential movers in the political scene around this time, and anti-monarchist sentiment is still high. Micheal was aware of Alexei's hemophilia but I am not sure either Lvov or Kerensky (almost certainly not) knew anything about it. This leaves a sticky problem as a short-lived Tzar such as Alexei was likely to be would make the regime even more likely to collapse, so removing him would be a sensible move from a purely dynastic point of view. It is also possible that one of the Grand Duchesses could be used as a figurehead as they were popular, and Tatiana and Maria were considered clever and good organizers. Would it be acceptable to provide one of them with a husband and put them on the throne? Maybe, Russia had certainly had female heads of state previously.
Wouldn't it be more prudent to make Michael himself the successor if Alexei will be removed from the Russian line of succession due to his hemophilia, though?
The conduct of the war is most likely to follow the previous patterns if only due to the problems that dogged Russia throughout the war, no matter if they are on the offensive or defensive. The major difference would be that the soldiers would be more accepting of casualties when defending, it was when conducting failed offensives that the Great Powers broke or came closest to it, so this could see the survival of the dynasty itself, though some major reforms were almost inevitable by this point. One of the Grand Duchesses might be able to be a figurehead, similar to the British model, but the Tzardom Nicholas had proven so incapable of providing was doomed. It would have taken someone like Alexander III to preserve the autocratic model, and there really isn't a likely candidate to take that role on.
Agreed with all of this--though personally I think that Michael himself could make a good figurehead Russian Tsar, no?

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 19 Jul 2020 03:38

A less successful Russian offensive could have an impact on Verdun and the Somme, then again, just adding more German divisions may not alter anything.

Romania not entering the war may be just enough to keep Falkenhayn from being removed. Avoiding Hindenburg and Ludendorff's effects on the German economy and unrestricted submarine warfare is a net positive overall.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 20 Jul 2020 06:08

Any ideas as to who succeed Brusilov as Southwestern Front commander? Platon Lechitsky is the obvious choice, he'd commanded his 9th Army since the beginning of the war.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by Terry Duncan » 21 Jul 2020 15:42

Futurist wrote:
18 Jul 2020 20:40
Wouldn't it be more prudent to make Michael himself the successor if Alexei will be removed from the Russian line of succession due to his hemophilia, though?
Futurist wrote:
18 Jul 2020 20:40
Agreed with all of this--though personally I think that Michael himself could make a good figurehead Russian Tsar, no?
Michael may well have made a good Tzar, but he spent a lot of time distancing himself from any responsibility and when the chance came along to be tzar he turned it down and refused to consider it. Maybe if there was sufficient pressure applied by someone in the family, but I cannot say who may have influence of Michael at this time?

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by The Ibis » 21 Jul 2020 16:20

Terry Duncan wrote:
21 Jul 2020 15:42
Futurist wrote:
18 Jul 2020 20:40
Wouldn't it be more prudent to make Michael himself the successor if Alexei will be removed from the Russian line of succession due to his hemophilia, though?
Futurist wrote:
18 Jul 2020 20:40
Agreed with all of this--though personally I think that Michael himself could make a good figurehead Russian Tsar, no?
Michael may well have made a good Tzar, but he spent a lot of time distancing himself from any responsibility and when the chance came along to be tzar he turned it down and refused to consider it. Maybe if there was sufficient pressure applied by someone in the family, but I cannot say who may have influence of Michael at this time?
Michael had been removed from the line of succession before the war and I don't know if he was restored yet (don't think so, but I haven't checked). Further, Michael wasn't well thought of by the Russian elites due to his marriage. He had been exiled and even needed permission to come home to serve in the army. So my guess is that someone else would be designated as regent. Unlikely to be the Tsarina, although she might have fought for this role if Rasputin pushed her to do so, or if she just thought it was her duty. That could have been messy. Maybe Nikolai Nikolaevich would have been brought home from the Caucasus to serve in that role, but, again, who knows.

Anyway, this is one of those what-ifs that has far too many parts to it to answer. Is the regent an arch-monarchist or a reformer? If the latter, just how much? Is he a phony reformer who disappoints the Duma at every turn? What is the Regent's attitude towards fighting the war to the end? What is the Regent's attitude towards drafting people from Central Asia? And on and on and on and on.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by James A Pratt III » 24 Jul 2020 00:23

I have an article sent in to Over the Front magazine which deals with this April 1916 attack. Nicholas was miles from where the bombs were dropped.

GD Michael was a really flawed man. However it would have been possible for him as Regent to make a deal with the Duma and form some sort of coailtion government that could have kept Russia in the war.

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Re: Tsar Nicholas II and Brusilov killed in April 1916?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 25 Jul 2020 18:36

James A Pratt III wrote:
24 Jul 2020 00:23
I have an article sent in to Over the Front magazine which deals with this April 1916 attack. Nicholas was miles from where the bombs were dropped.

GD Michael was a really flawed man. However it would have been possible for him as Regent to make a deal with the Duma and form some sort of coailtion government that could have kept Russia in the war.
Thank you, I'd been trying to find details on the incident for a while now, which issue is your article in? It's not a great problem for this scenario, one just has to assume Nicholas is in a different location, probably with Brusilov.

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