…. all the shortcomings and failures to reform the administration and the infrastructure of the Empire, along with the rampant nepotism and self-absorption of the aristocracy in its management of affairs at the highest level, came home to roost. Massive territorial losses, dreadful casualties, abominable failures of supply that left the armies woefully short of everything essential, accumulated to sap morale in the army and navy, and leave the civilian population in desperate straits. Even then, the Tsar was virtually deaf to appeals to take drastic action and enable capable men to take charge of every aspect of the national war effort.
Category Archives: Worldview
The Uses of History, 22 – Russia the Long-Suffering, 4 – 1905-1914
In mid-summer 1914, the Great Tempest slammed into the ship, seemingly very suddenly. This typhoon of typhoons was unlooked for in a year which, internationally, seemed to at last promise a respite from the litany of major European crises which had beset the continent almost continually since 1907.
What would this mean for autocratic Imperial Russia under a weak Tsar and an uncertain administration? Could it weather the storm?
The Uses of History, 21 – Russia the Long-Suffering, 3 – 1904-1917
For Russia, the defeat had been beyond shocking. The humiliation opened the door to think the previously almost unthinkable. The need for real and deep reform in the social, political, economic, and military realms was flagrantly obvious. Whether the willpower to accept and do what must be done could be mustered and sustained remained to be seen. Given enough time, perhaps it could happen without another revolutionary outbreak.
The Uses of History, 20 – Russia the Long-Suffering, 2 – 1825 to 1905
All through this period, imperialist Russian expansionism continued across northern Asia, once more as a diversion from the medieval living conditions in the rural areas and the very poorly regulated conditions of the new industrial towns and districts in the major cities. There was always a quasi-religious element in this expansionism, as a sort of crusade to bring the Russian Orthodox true Christian light to the benighted heathens of central and southern Asia.
It does not take Sir Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein to see the correlation between the physical world and our society’s and culture’s present ethical-moral state. (Just to be clear, both of these scientific giants did believe such a correlation existed.) No amount of self-actualization or ferocious piety blaming the other guy from either the right or the left will make a difference.
The Uses of History, 19 – Russia the Long-Suffering, 1 – Muscovy to Catherine the Great
Peter personified Russia’s complex relationship with both the West and the East. He was obsessed with modernizing Russia along Western lines. He literally dragged his reluctant nation and culture kicking and screaming towards realigning its identity with the rapidly emerging Western world dominance.
The Uses of History, 18 – France, Revolution #4, 1870-1, Part 4
Some view the Commune as a failed Revolution. It has assumed the status of a sacred moment in extreme-leftist mythology. It was elevated to such by Marx, Mao, Lenin, as well as many lesser lights of Marxism and Anarchism, including more recent New Left ideologues such as Herbert Marcuse. Perhaps these exalted names in the pantheon of Leftist Revolutionary hagiography should be a cautionary sign to the soft-totalitarian neo-Marxists of the 21st Century that they are keeping rather dubious company in terms of historical models of true progress to the final social Utopia.
The Uses of History, 17 – France, Revolution #4, 1870-1, Part 3
Germany was no longer a mere geographical region, but a nation which had awakened to a sense of national destiny to be found among the Great Powers of the world. It was no longer acceptable to be held back by the hubris and sense of historical privilege of interference by France, which for two hundred years had dictated to Germany what degree of nationhood would be permitted within its own borders.
The Uses of History, 16 – France, Revolution #4, 1870-1, Part 2
The attitude of France in that final showdown, which all could see approaching by 1860, would be crucial. No one could predict which way Napoleon III might choose to lean, or whether he might even directly intervene once an Austro-Prussian War began. He might just take the opportunity to carve out more gains for France at the expense of Germany, whether united without Austria, as Prussia wanted, or still under the thumb of Austria, should the Hapsburgs win. And with the Germans fighting it out among themselves, who could stop the battle-tested and well-armed French Army from doing what they chose?
The Uses of History, 15 – Utopian Interlude
Every time we have witnessed one of these socio-political-economic tsunamis attempting to create the latest and greatest plan for Utopia, we have seen a hecatomb of mayhem and slaughter in its wake. The body counts belie every claim that humans can create the Promised Land; the ensuing multi-generational devastation denies every claim of every Utopian vision, whether Marxist, Maoist, Fascist, Nazi, Capitalist, whatever-ist.