Friday, October 28, 2005

The Downfall Of Czar George II

One potent but often ignored lesson of history is that gross mismanagement of a nation can result in the offending leader’s removal from power.

One such leader’s tenure was marked by an unpopular military campaign, ill-equipped troops dying in alarming numbers, incompetent cronies in high places, skyrocketing prices, scarce jobs and a growing chasm between the upper and lower classes of society that left the latter angry and discontented.

Surely the man must have seen trouble coming from all this – even his political allies warned him that changes were needed. But he chose to ignore their advice. It’s possible that a life of privilege simply rendered him incapable of hearing anything but what he wanted to hear.

The leader described above was Czar Nicholas II of Russia, and the unpopular military campaign was the Russian invasion of Manchuria during the Boxer Rebellion.

Nicholas II later personally led the Russian Army through World War I, a conflict which resulted in the deaths of millions of Russian soldiers. While many were killed in combat, many simply starved to death.

During that war Nicholas II chose his wife Alexandra to govern the country in his stead. A devotee of crackpot healer Rasputin, Alexandra was also quite an inept leader.

Nicholas II’s regime ultimately collapsed, and he was forced to step down. He and his entire family fell to bullets and bayonets the next year.

History holds some harsh lessons for those in power. Still, some leaders aren’t much for history, or any other troublesome subject.

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