Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World War I: The Fate of Monarchy

As most know, prior to the First World War, the world was a much more monarchist place. Some seemingly timeless monarchies had fallen before the war (such as in China and Portugal) and more would actually fall in the aftermath of World War II rather than World War I. However, there was a very definite shift away from monarchy after the First World War, particularly in Europe, as well as a shift away from liberal democracy, capitalism and traditional religion as all of these ideas, as well as monarchy, were seen as having “failed” to prevent the catastrophe that was the First World War and the bungled aftermath of it which, rather than preventing future disasters, simply paved the way for an even more destructive conflict to come over an even greater portion of the world. So, what were the fates of those monarchies involved in the First World War? Here is a brief summary:

The Allied Nations:

The U.K. & British Empire: Survived the war and came away with a lot of new territory. However, there was a big upswing in socialism and anti-monarchy sentiment toward the end, led in large part by the trade unions, that was the cause of great concern for King George V and which was partly behind the refusal of sanctuary to the Romanovs. It also placed Britain heavily in debt to the United States which did not bode well for the future and caused Britain to abandon her traditional aloofness from the continent of Europe to become more involved in European affairs.

The Russian Empire: Completely destroyed before the war was finished. The Romanovs were ultimately massacred by the Soviets, Russia suffered extensive territorial losses (which were only partly recovered with the ultimate Allied victory) and fell into civil war after it was over. To make matters worse, the good guys lost and the Soviet Union was established as a major power and helped to bring down monarchy in Mongolia in 1921, the first instance of many monarchies that would fall prey to communist aggression and become Soviet puppet-states.

The Kingdom of Italy: Although it came close to disaster, the Italians recovered and came back to deliver the death-blow to Austria-Hungary. The King was cheered as the champion of the Italian soldier and possibly the most powerful monarch in Europe after World War I (much of the competition had been eliminated). However, while some territory was added to the Italian frontier, promised gains were not delivered and communist revolution seemed imminent.

The Kingdom of Serbia: Despite being totally conquered and having their army driven into the sea, the Serbs emerged as one of the biggest winners of World War I with extensive territorial gains at the expense of Austria-Hungary. The “Greater Serbia” that Serb nationalists had long dreamed of was realized with the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918 later to be known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia under the rule of the Serbian Royal Family. However, this saddled Serbia with many of the same problems that had plagued Austria-Hungary and the region has continued to know precious little peace and friendliness.

The Kingdom of Montenegro: Despite not being on the best terms with the Serb Royal Family, the King of Montenegro was the first to rush to their defense against Austria-Hungary. His reward was to see his country conquered by the Austrians and, after the war, handed over to Serbia as part of the new Yugoslavia. King Nicholas I never accepted this and spent the rest of his life in exile in France. His grandson would later reconcile with Yugoslavia.

The Kingdom of Romania: Again, despite being conquered by the combined forces of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, the Romanians ended up doing quite well, being rewarded with vast amounts of mostly Hungarian territory. Romania became “Greater Romania” by the stroke of a pen. It ended up twice as large but with bitter neighbors and many spiteful minorities to deal with. Nearly 30% of the population was non-Romanian and the divisions this caused helped bring about a greater shift toward authoritarian politics.

The Empire of Japan: The Japanese bore the brunt of the fighting against the German presence in Asia, escorted British imperial convoys to Europe and helped put down a mutiny against the British in Singapore. Japan gained some German islands in the Pacific, benefited from the loss of Russian competition in Manchuria but was angered by American efforts to deny them any spoils at all as well as being offended by the Allied refusal to include a clause asserting racial equality in the Versailles Treaty. An economic downturn and Britain breaking off the Anglo-Japanese alliance worked with these events to encourage a more belligerent, anti-western attitude.

The Kingdom of Belgium: Few others emerged from the Great War with so much world-wide admiration as the Belgian King Albert I. His prestige was immense for leading his little country in a seemingly hopeless stand against German might, fighting on throughout the war on the last unoccupied (and soggy) patch of Belgian soil. Belgium gained some minor territory from Germany and Rwanda and Burundi in Africa and despite liberating a country in ruins, the country recovered fairly quickly. What could not be easily recovered was the question concerning whether true Belgian security was served by alliances or a return to traditional neutrality.

The Kingdom of Greece: The Greek King wanted to stay out of the war but he seemed to be the only one. The Allies invaded, rebels and royalists clashed in the streets and King Constantine was forced to abdicate. He later came back but this caused Allied support for the Greeks to collapse after the First World War was over and the Turkish territory promised to Greece was lost. The Turks even conquered some Greek territory in the aftermath, forcing the Greek populations to flee. It was an ugly end to a war that matched the unsavory way the country had first entered the conflict; divided and fighting amongst itself. Anti-royalist forces went on a rampage and a second republic was proclaimed in 1924.

The Kingdom of Siam: Although the Thai contribution to the war was minor, Siam (Thailand) did send a small expeditionary force to the western front and declared war on the Central Powers both to gain the appreciation of Britain and France and to strengthen Thai unity and a sense of nationalism. This was a long-term goal of the reign of King Vajiravudh and, at first, it seemed to work, rescuing the monarchy from a low point and restoring prestige. However, no concrete gains were made by the war and the ensuing financial disaster hit Thailand hard so that, in the end, the monarchy was no better off and the next king became the only Siamese monarch in history to ever abdicate the throne.

The Central Powers:

The Empire of Austria-Hungary: The war had started with Austria-Hungary and it was Austria-Hungary that was to suffer more than any other of the defeated Central Powers as it completely ceased to exist as a result. The Hapsburgs were driven into exile, Austria and Hungary were separated and reduced to small states surrounded by new and often less than friendly countries. Centuries of Hapsburg rule in central Europe had come to an end and the feuding ethnicities and nationalities that the Austrian Emperors had tried to keep under control were set free. Communist forces almost took over in both countries but were eventually stopped by the rise of a regency in Hungary (who nonetheless refused to restore the monarchy) and the so-called “Austro-Fascist” state in Vienna.

The German Empire: Despite the absurdity of it, Germany was held to blame for the entire conflict and suffered extensive territorial losses. The empire was destroyed, all the monarchies were overthrown in a wave of leftist, Marxist agitation that was only suppressed with great brutality by returning war veterans. All German colonies were lost and territory was lost to almost every neighbor but particularly France and Poland. The Kaiser went into exile in the Netherlands and was almost put on trial as a war criminal but the Dutch Queen refused to allow his extradition. The republic that agreed to the terms of Versailles was doomed to failure.

The Kingdom of Bulgaria: The only monarchy of the Central Powers to survive the war was Bulgaria but it was a very close run thing. Rebellion had spread throughout the country and the army with some leaders even proclaiming a republic. However, it was finally enough that Tsar Ferdinand III abdicated in favor of his child son Boris III. Bulgaria surrendered, lost all territorial gains and the access to the Aegean Sea it had gained before the war to Greece. Sadly, the Bulgarian monarchy would not be lucky a second time when the next world war came to an end.

The Ottoman Empire: Most people had counted out the Ottoman Empire at the start of the war and not a few were surprised by the several stunning victories won by Ottoman forces. The wartime Sultan Mehmed V died in the summer of 1918 and it was left to Sultan Mehmed VI to preside over the total dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The Arab lands were partitioned between Britain and France and the nationalists denounced the Sultan for agreeing to the Allied terms. A new government was set up and in 1922 the monarchy was abolished and the last Sultan was exiled from Constantinople.

Neutral Monarchies:

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: Although occupied by Germany, Luxembourg did not offer resistance nor ever officially join the Allies though eventually the German plan was to annex Luxembourg in the event of a Central Powers victory. Most monarchists know that Grand Duchess Marie-Adelaide was eventually forced to abdicate for having been seen as being too friendly toward the Germans but not many know that there was a real danger of Luxembourg being annexed by either France or Belgium and that Luxembourg radicals almost brought down the monarchy. The socialists actually declared a republic and order under the existing government was only restored by the intervention of French troops. For not having been officially involved, the Luxembourg monarchy was very nearly lost because of World War I.

Potential Monarchies:

The United Baltic Duchy: This was part of the effort by Germany to create a buffer between the German heartland and Soviet Russia as well as, in the words of Hindenburg, to have a place to anchor the left flank of the German army in the next war against the communists. The idea was to combine Estonia and Latvia into a monarchy called the United Baltic Duchy that would be in personal union with the Kingdom of Prussia. In charge of the duchy was to have been Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin but, of course, the Allied victory meant the idea never came to fruition.

The Kingdom of Lithuania: For much of 1918 the German forces in Lithuania presided over a short-lived independent monarchy after Lithuania was detached from Russia. Duke Wilhelm of Urach was chosen in the summer to become King Mindaugas II of Lithuania but he never visited the country and after the collapse of Germany the Lithuanians took back the offer to make him their king.

The Kingdom of Finland: When the Russian Empire collapsed into revolution, the Germans gave aid to the White faction and royalist Finns resisting a Soviet takeover. The result was the short-lived Kingdom of Finland or at least the attempt at such. It was to be reigned over by Prince Friedrich Karl of Hesse, however the downfall of Germany and the victory of the Allies caused the Finns to scrap the idea of monarchy and adopt a republican form of government.

The Kingdom of Poland: After driving out the Russians, Germany and Austria-Hungary recognized a nominal Kingdom of Poland under a regency of pro-German officials. Austria-Hungary had first wanted Poland partitioned and later there were disagreements between Germany and Austria-Hungary over who should be the new King of Poland with each side proposing more than one candidate. In the end, the Allies were victorious and the idea of a monarchy collapsed before a monarch could be decided on.

The Hetmanate of Ukraine: Also known simply as the Ukrainian State, this was the short-lived effort in 1918 to create an independent Ukraine that was friendly to the Central Powers. Officially it was more like a Cossack military dictatorship than an actual monarchy, but based on the subsequent history of the family, it was essentially to be a monarchial state with the office of Hetman being hereditary. The Austrians had wanted a Hapsburg as King of Ukraine but the Germans favored the Hetman, Pavlo Skoropadskyi, who had deep family ties in the Ukraine. In the end, the Hetman was overthrown by the socialists and Ukraine was absorbed by the Soviet Union. An independent Belarus was also declared under German occupation but it was, from the outset, republican.

The Principality of Albania: The status of Albania was ambiguous throughout World War I. The original independent leader of Albania, Prince Wilhelm, was driven out of the country shortly before the war started. He wished to regain his throne, Austria-Hungary wished to absorb Albania and many local Muslims wished to reunite with Ottoman Turkey. In the end, the Allies agreed to partition Albania with most becoming an Italian protectorate. Eventually, a Kingdom of Albania was established after the war by President Ahmed Zogu.

The Dervish State: This was a nominal Islamic monarchy which claimed sovereignty over parts of Italian and British Somalia and the Empire of Ethiopia led by Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, the so-called “Mad Mullah”. Recognized by the German and Ottoman Empires it was part of an effort by the Germans and Turks to bring the Horn of Africa under Central Powers control, mostly in the name of Ottoman Turkey. It was defeated by Italo-British colonial forces and Somalis loyal to Italy.

German Intrigues:

Ireland: During World War I the German Empire sent weapons and support to the Irish by submarine in an effort to encourage rebellion against Great Britain. This resulted in the failed Easter Rising of 1916 which, although considered a sort of birthday of the Irish republic, also had a monarchist element to it. Because success was seen to depend on the victory and goodwill of the Germans, some backed the idea of making Ireland a monarchy with the Kaiser’s son Prince Joachim as King.

China: There was plenty of monarchist activity in China while World War I was raging. In 1916 the General-turned-President Yuan Shihkai declared himself “Emperor of China” only to face an immediate backlash and his hasty retreat a few months later. When the Republic of China voted to declare war on Germany, one of the reasons given was supposed German support for a restoration of the monarchy under the old Manchu dynasty. In 1917 the last Qing Emperor was restored by a monarchist general but this lasted less than 2 weeks before republican forces crushed the effort.

There were, of course, numerous other German intrigues, from efforts to encourage a rebellion in India to the proposal to have Mexico declare war on the United States and persuade Japan to betray the Allies and join the Central Powers. However, other schemes did not involve monarchies or efforts to restore monarchies but were republican in nature.

In the end, it is hard to see any real gain for the cause of monarchy by the First World War. Some monarchs came out of it with great prestige (like King Albert in Belgium) but the benefits were often illusory. Many monarchies were lost and even those that survived were left in a position of being overstretched, almost broke and beholden to foreign powers. Others emerged victorious but embittered that their meager gains did not match their extensive losses. For some, their victory caused them to have an exaggerated sense of strength and importance that did not serve them well in the long run. In short, for the cause of monarchy as well as the cause of the world in general, the Great War was disaster that left both victor and vanquished in a terrible position; it would just take the victors longer to realize it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MM Video: The Politically Incorrect Truth About the French Revolution

(sorry about the buzzing in the background, after so many complaints of previous videos being hard to hear I turned everything up all the way and that was the result, so -hard to hear or buzzing appear to be the options)

Part I: King Louis XVI

Part II: Queen Marie Antoinette

Part III: The Revolution Itself

Monday, April 21, 2014

Royal News Roundup

Obviously, the biggest royal news story this week was the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Australia where little Prince George continues to derail the republican traitor agenda with his offensive of adorable. A special salute also goes out to the Australian Monarchist League whose members were working hard in connection with the visit, organizing things, talking to people and handing out flags (a good way of also defending the Australian colors from those who wish to replace them). It all seems to be working. The Duke, Duchess and little Prince George have been very warmly received and the republicans are left looking like the pathetic, hateful bunch that they are for trying to deny this lovely family their place in Australian life. Support for the monarchy has been slightly above the halfway mark recently but it may be that this is simply the result of bitter lefties stuck in their hippy past because, among Australians aged 18 to 24, the monarchy enjoys a whopping 60% approval rating. The royal couple talked with average Australians, Prince William met with the Prime Minister and many sights have been seen. In Great Britain, the Queen prepared for the Easter holiday by handing out the traditional Maundy Thursday money. Zara Phillips was back in the saddle again and Prince Harry gave a pre-recorded speech for the opening of the London Marathon of which he is patron but was unable to attend.

In Scandinavia the Swedish royal court announced that Princess Leonore will be christened on June 8 as her parents, Princess Madeleine and Chris, celebrate their first anniversary. Crown Princess Victoria visited Tensta, King Carl XVI Gustaf handed out the Vega Medal and Gold Wahlberg Medal (presumably not named for Marky Mark), the Queen was awarded Der Friedenstein prize in recognition of her World Childhood Foundation and both hosted the Global Child Forum at the royal palace. The King also visited the City of Stockholm before joining the Queen for a visit to The Netherlands. Nearby in Europe’s oldest monarchy the Danish Royal Family gathered together to celebrate the 74th birthday of Queen Margrethe II (as all should because she’s super). It is great to see the Danish Royal Family, particularly with so many young children nowadays and they seem to get more attention than the Queen with their rambunctiousness on the balcony (little Prince Vincent tried to climb over the rail). Thousands of loyal Danes turned out to cheer for their beloved Queen. Further to the south in Belgium, King Philip granted noble titles to several industrial leaders, making steel wire manufacturer Paul Buysse a count, the president of BNP Paribas Fortis Herman Daems a baronet and Electrabel chief Jean-Pierre Hanssen a baronet. However, always looking for something to criticize, some have taken issue with the King making Belgian-New Zealand industrialist George Forrest a Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown, pointing to UN criticism of his business practices in the Congo. Frankly, the idea that the UN has the nerve to criticize anyone for anything in Africa is astounding given their atrocious record on that continent.

A double birthday was celebrated in Luxembourg with Prince Sebastien turning 22 (he is at university in the United States) and Grand Duke Henri turning 59. In Spain, the Royal Family turned out for Easter mass after King Juan Carlos spent time this week trying to encourage investment in the Kingdom of Spain by assuring officials from the United Arab Emirates that the recession was over. The King also traveled to Kuwait to sign a transportation infrastructure cooperation agreement. In Rome, Pope Francis caused a slight stir on Holy Thursday with the traditional washing of feet, having women and non-Catholics (even non-Christians) included in the line-up being rather not traditional. He did the same thing last year with much the same response; widespread popular approval with some voices from the sidelines pointing out that doing such a thing is against the rules the Pope is supposed to uphold. As usual this is being upheld as a symbol of service to the poor, not exactly the same as was originally intended, a carrying on of the tradition of Christ washing the feet of his apostles who were, of course, all men and all (obviously) Christians. At Easter mass Pope Francis prayed for peace in Syria and Ukraine. Preparations are also underway for an upcoming Papal visit to the Holy Land where the Pontiff will meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

In North Africa, King Mohammed VI of Morocco made a rare visit to the Western Sahara ahead of a UN Security Council vote on the status of the disputed territory. Morocco wishes the UN to make no changes concerning the Western Sahara. The region was formerly a Spanish colony, Spain renounced control of it in favor of a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania and later Morocco annexed the region but sovereignty over it is disputed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic which operates in exile from neighboring Algeria. In the Middle East, the head of Saudi intelligence Prince Bandar bin Sultan stepped down last week and will have a non-royal replacement. He was a prominent backer of the Syrian rebels which drew criticism over accusations of supporting radical fundamentalists in the process. Some have speculated that there was pressure from the United States for him to step down as the Obama administration has opposed providing weapons to the Syrian rebels and because of the close ties between Prince Bandar and former President Bush. Also in Saudi Arabia last week the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council met to reaffirm their shared goals and principles in spite of the actions of member states; an effort to smooth over tensions caused by anger at the support by Qatar for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

"He is not here, He is risen"
A happy Easter to all from The Mad Monarchist

Friday, April 18, 2014

Empire in the Americas

The mid to late 1860’s were certainly the high water mark of monarchy in the New World. During those crucial years, a time of extreme violence and hardship, the future was forged which determined whether the Americas would be dominated by monarchy or republicanism, at least in terms of numbers. Of course, the Americas had been dominated by monarchy since the time of the first European exploration but these extensions of European monarchies had faded away considerably by the middle of the Nineteenth Century. By 1783 the rebel colonies of Great Britain had broken away from the reign of King George III and formed the United States of America. The last French monarchial foothold was lost with the sale of the Louisiana Territory to President Thomas Jefferson of the United States by the Emperor Napoleon and following the Napoleonic Wars, piece by piece, the Spanish colonies had broken from their empire to form a patchwork of independent republics, most with the support of the United States and Great Britain. A short-lived effort to establish a monarchy in Mexico, formerly New Spain, in 1821 ended in failure and was so short-lived it often escapes notice. Following the slave revolt in Haiti several leaders claimed monarchial, even imperial, status for themselves but none lasted very long with the self-proclaimed Emperor Faustin I being deposed in 1859.

However, there was one, big exception to this trend and that was to be found in Brazil. 1822 saw the emergence of the Empire of Brazil, breaking away from the Kingdom of Portugal and the wider Portuguese colonial empire, to establish itself as an independent country. The first emperor, Dom Pedro I, eventually returned to Portugal to take up the throne there (both countries still shared the same Royal Family) and in the aftermath there was some confusion and some growing pains. However, under the reign Dom Pedro II, from 1831-1889, the Empire of Brazil became a stable and extremely significant South American power. It also managed, from the start, to stay on relatively good terms with the large and expanding United States in North America. The United States was the first to recognize Brazilian independence and was always quick to encourage independence movements in the Americas as a way of supplanting European influence in the hemisphere. On that score, however, the Empire of Brazil and the United States did not always see eye-to-eye and Brazil (along with other countries such as Argentina) resisted some of America’s more ambitious plans for pan-American cooperation in opposing Europe because these countries had closer and friendlier ties with European countries. Certainly, they had broken ties with their former motherlands and there was often no love lost between them, but after the publication of the Monroe Doctrine, not a few viewed the United States next door as a greater potential threat to their independence than the European countries across the Atlantic.

One high-born European visitor to the Empire of Brazil was the idealistic Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, younger brother of Emperor Francis Joseph. A lover of nature and romanticism, the Archduke was positively intoxicated by the Empire of Brazil which seemed like a tropical paradise, full of nothing but promise and he was no doubt greatly impressed by the rule of Dom Pedro II, a very liberal minded monarch, whose values so closely resembled his own. Eventually, he would be in a similar position, though he could never have imagined it at the time. Where others had worked hard for years to spread republicanism throughout Latin America, on both sides of the Atlantic truth be known, there was one man who tried to revive the idea of monarchy in the New World and that man was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, since 1852 Emperor Napoleon III of the French. He envisioned building a canal across Central America, perhaps across Mexico, perhaps further south, that would open up new avenues of trade and he also envisioned a new generation of monarchies from Mexico down to the Andes that would be part of a new French-friendly bloc of nations. He allied with Mexican conservatives, sent in his army and in no time at all had occupied Mexico City. In 1864 the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was crowned Emperor Maximilian of Mexico. The French Emperor also began exploring the possibility of a pro-French monarchy for Ecuador but that dream was to remain unfulfilled.

Emperor Maximilian, despite the continuing troubles which beset his Mexican Empire from day one, was not without a grand vision of his own. His dream was for a Mexican Empire that would become a major scientific, artistic and military power with a navy that would dominate the Gulf of Mexico and which would expand into Central America, reclaiming those republics which had briefly been part of the original Mexican Empire. He also continued to have the greatest admiration for the Empire of Brazil and envisioned Mexico and Brazil becoming close partners in Latin America, being the twin pillars of a new age of “enlightened” monarchy in the Americas. He even entertained some hope of the two empires being joined by marriage. Maximilian put the idea to his brother, Emperor Francis Joseph, for the marriage of their younger brother, Archduke Ludwig, to one of the daughters of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. This would unite Mexico and Brazil alongside Austria in the bonds of Hapsburg matrimony and create a sort of Hapsburg Byzantine Empire, sitting astride of the primary artery of trade which the Emperor of the French planned to build across Central America. Aside from these grand, dynastic aspirations, he was also quite convinced that Dom Pedro II was just the sort of good example and guiding influence Archduke Ludwig needed to set him on the right path in life. However, as we know, this was not to be. Still, a partnership with Imperial Brazil was never far from the thoughts of the Emperor of Mexico and he foresaw a New World that would be dominated by three great powers: the United States of America in the north, the Empire of Brazil in the south and the Mexican Empire in the middle.

The primary obstacle to that grand vision was, of course, the United States which refused to recognize the Mexican Empire and worked diligently to thwart any European powers from supporting it and to aid the republican rebels fighting against Maximilian. It was made perfectly clear from day one that the United States would not tolerate any monarchy on American soil and that it was only because the Confederate States of America blocked U.S. access to the Mexican border that military action was not taken immediately against Maximilian and the French army. The War Between the States/American Civil War was raging north of the Rio Grande and ultimately the fate of the Mexican Empire rested on the death or survival of the Confederacy. There was also no hope of any sort of close cooperation with Imperial Brazil as Dom Pedro II was also at war with Paraguay and relations between the United States and the Empire of Brazil were not too friendly at that time either. A major incident occurred that threatened a major break when a U.S. warship violated Brazilian neutrality by attacking a Confederate vessel, the commerce raider CSS Florida, in Bahia Harbor and seizing it. Brazil angrily protested but, being engaged in a bitter war already could do little about it. The United States also wished to focus on “one war at a time” (as Lincoln famously said about a similar problem with Britain) and so court martialed the officer responsible but never carried out his punishment and ended up promoting him to captain. They did agree to hand the captured Confederate vessel over to Brazil but it sunk, supposedly by accident, during transfer and that was basically the end of it.

The year 1867 was to be the last year in which two empires would stand on American soil. The Civil War having ended in a Union victory in 1865, the United States put pressure on Napoleon III to withdraw French troops from the country and to prevent Austria from sending any reinforcements. Then, support in men, money, guns and war material of every kind poured in to the republican rebels of Benito Juarez who succeeded in demolishing the Mexican Empire and (against the wishes of the United States) having Emperor Maximilian and all his top generals shot. All the grand dreams of both Maximilian and Napoleon III had come to a sudden end. Only the Empire of Brazil persevered. Under Dom Pedro II it became the most advanced and prosperous country in Latin America. Yet, it was also in 1867 that Dom Pedro II made the speech that would prove to be the beginning of the end of his empire.

In the Speech from the Throne that year, Dom Pedro II announced his wish to gradually and peacefully, but certainly irrevocably, abolish slavery in Brazil. It was a slower process than was seen in the United States certainly but it also did not rip the country in two and cost over 600,000 lives. When slavery was finally abolished in 1888, however, it did cost Brazil its monarchy. Disgruntled elites and junior army officers embraced republicanism and launched a coup that abolished the monarchy and declared Brazil a republic on November 15, 1889. Dom Pedro II certainly fared better than the tragic Maximilian but both were alike in that they were, in many ways, too good for their own good. With the loss of the Empire of Brazil, republicanism has remained the dominant form of government in the New World to the present day. With an angry proclamation in Brazil and a hail of gunfire in Mexico, the dream of a liberal monarchist Latin America had vanished and all countries involved would be the worse off because of it. What should also be emphasized is that, despite what short-sighted leaders thought at the time, the demise of the Mexican and Brazilian Empires was ultimately bad for the United States as well. When one considers the problems of human trafficking, drug smuggling, illegal immigration, bloody revolutions and Marxist dictatorships which the United States has been obliged to deal with over so many decades; all of these could have been avoided if the dream of Maximilian for monarchy in the Americas had become a reality. A prosperous and stable neighbor is always to be preferred to a poor and chaotic one but if this lesson was ever learned, it was learned too late.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MM Video: The Politically Incorrect Truth About Japan in World War II, Part III, War with America

(turn your speakers all the way up for this one, I'm told it's the hardest to hear -MM)

Mythical Monarchial Figures: Prince Bellerophon

Once again, we look back through the mists of time to the mythic origins of western civilization, of distant Greece long before even Hercules was a twinkle in his divine, philandering dad’s eye. One of the greatest heroes of Greek mythology, and a famous monster-killer, like most of them Bellerophon was a member of royalty. His father was King Claucus of Corinth so Prince Bellerophon was a big shot, strutting around Corinth like a boss. But he wasn’t the only son and, of course, there was drama. The ancient myth makers couldn’t seem to get their story straight exactly but many if not most say that one day the fraternal feuding flamed fabulously followed fast by the flight of the famous figure from the frightening form of his former fratello and the filial fury of their father. In other words, Bellerophon killed his brother and split the scene. Rather than join the circus or the foreign legion, he ran away to be the servant of King Proetus of Argos and Tiryns. It worked out alright since Proetus, being a king, absolved Bellerophon of murder and took him on as an employee with great benefits, vacation time and a generous dental plan. Everything seemed to have worked out for Prince Bellerophon.

However, he soon got into trouble again as the sight of this strapping young warrior-prince threw the King’s wife into a frenzy of lust. She went into full cougar mode and put the moves on Bellerophon but, knowing that doing the nasty with the Queen would be a bad career move, he resisted her romantic rampage. This resulted in rage! She ran to the Rex to report a rape (sorry, that’s habit forming). Her womanly ego having been bruised, the Queen told her husband that Bellerophon had tried to get her on to the nearest pin-ball machine and the King was properly infuriated. However, since he had pardoned the plucky prince (sorry), he didn’t want to execute him personally. Instead, he sent Bellerophon to his father-in-law with a sealed message basically telling daddy that ‘the bearer of this tablet tried to get freaky with your daughter -please kill him’. However, when Bellerophon had arrived, the royal father-in-law, King Iobates, really put on the dog and didn’t want to get dead prince all over his new carpets so he didn’t really want to kill him either. Instead, he came up with a brilliant plan; he would dispatch Bellerophon to kill the Chimera, a lion-goat-snake that breathed fire and which was becoming quite a nuisance. Sure, it seems fantastic, but in those days you really couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting some fearsome mutant hell-beast, the whole Mediterranean area was practically infested with them.

So, Prince Bellerophon was dispatched to save the hapless inhabitants of Caria from the Chimera and, the King hoped, get himself killed in the process. First, of course, Bellerophon went to see a fortune-teller because you didn’t do anything without consulting a fortune-teller in those days. Perhaps the seer intended to dissuade Bellerophon from his wild adventure because he told him that, you know, to kill such a beast as the Chimera, you would need, like, a flying horse. So, oh well, best to just go home and sleep it off. Fire breathing lion-goat-snake my aching… Aha! But there was such a creature; the flying stallion Pegasus which, as we discussed last time, had sprang from the gorgon Medusa whose head was cut off by Prince Perseus. And really, who wouldn’t know that to kill a fire-breathing lion-goat-snake you need a flying horse? It’s just common sense. So, Bellerophon took a nap in the temple of Athena and the goddess appeared to him in a dream, giving him a golden bridle to control the horse. He took it, snuck over to Pegasus’ favorite watering hole and grabbed the flying beast when he came to get a drink. All ready to go, he flew off to find the Chimera -which doesn’t seem as though it would be that difficult but, like I said, mutant hell-beasts were a dime a dozen in those days.

Prince Bellerophon found the Chimera but had a hard time even getting close to it because of the whole fire-breathing thing. Finally, he managed to ram a hunk of lead down the Chimera’s throat. Rather than try to cough it up like most cats would, the Chimera tried to breath fire which then melted the lead and choked the monster to death. So, mission accomplished! Bursting with the pride of the conquering hero, he returned to King Iobates and informed him that he had ridden a flying horse to find the fire-breathing lion-goat-snake which he then chocked to death by stuffing lead down his throat. Shockingly enough, the King didn’t believe him. So, he decided to send him on some more suicidal missions but that darn Prince Bellerophon just kept on winning. He fought off a nest of pirates, a barbarian tribe, defeated the Amazons by dropping rocks on them from his flying horse in the first aerial bombing raid in history. Desperate, the King sent his Royal Guard to just kill him already but, again, Bellerophon survived by calling on the sea god Poseidon (Neptune) who flooded the land around him and was only dissuaded when the ladies at court came rushing out, exposing their naughty bits and “bravely” offering to “sacrifice” their virtue to the noble hero if he would relent. He blushed and called off the rising water but it was clear that King Iobates had been thwarted. He finally came clean with Bellerophon, apologized and even gave the Prince his daughter and half his kingdom in thanks for all his daring deeds.

So, Prince Bellerophon was on top of the world. He had a hot wife, half a kingdom all his own and soon a house full of sons. However, even in Greco-Roman mythology, pride goes before a fall and Bellerophon got seriously too proud and had a major, major fall. With all of his glories and victories, the once modest and humble prince became a major egomaniac. Emperor Nero on his most bizarre day couldn’t compete with Bellerophon. He decided that he was worthy to be a god and should not have to stay in the company of mere humans like his wife and children so he saddled up his trusty flying steed and set off to fly to the top of Mount Olympus where the gods hung out. This did not go over well with the King of the gods Zeus (Jupiter) who decided to teach the upstart a lesson. He sent a tiny little fly to bite Pegasus on the rump which caused him to buck (somehow -not sure how that works when you’re flying) and throw Bellerophon back to earth. Ouch. Plus, he landed on a thorny bush. Major ouch. That was the figurative and literal “fall from grace” for Bellerophon who, because of his pride, then had to live out the rest of his life as a poor, blind cripple, isolated from the rest of humanity.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MM Video: The Politically Incorrect Truth About Japan in World War II, Part II, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident

Monarch Profile: HSH Prince Louis II of Monaco

The predecessor of Prince Rainier III, his grandfather Louis II, occupied the Monegasque throne during one of the most crucial periods in her history. He is generally remembered for the poor state of the principality which he left to his grandson, however, Louis II was a very complex man who faced a number of hardships and had many excellent qualities. He was born Louis Honore Charles Antoine Grimaldi in Baden-Baden, Germany on July 12, 1870 to Prince Albert I of Monaco and Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton. His family life was not to be a very stable one though. His mother was the daughter of the Duke of Hamilton and a Princess of Baden and she met Prince Albert I at a ball hosted by the Emperor and Empress of France and not long after a marriage was arranged with Napoleon III suggesting Mary as a good candidate.

Unfortunately, it was not a good match. The new Princess of Monaco was only 19-years-old but very petulant and condescending. Nothing was ever good enough for her, she hated Monaco, was not impressed with her husband and finally abandoned her adopted homeland. By 1880 the marriage was annulled though an arrangement was made with the Vatican to maintain the legitimacy of young Louis in the eyes of the Church at least. However, Louis had been taken away by his mother and so spent his formative years in Germany with his mother and stepfather. He was eleven years old before he ever saw Prince Albert again when his presence was required in Monaco to begin learning the princely trade. Life in the Princely Palace was not exactly ideal for Prince Louis though.

Prince Albert I had made Monaco something of a European hot-spot and was well known in elite circles for his cultural patronage and interest in such subjects as oceanography, paleontology and archaeology. At home, however, he was rather aloof and distant; not much comfort or companion to his young son and a bit of an autocrat. Louis was restless with this state of affairs and as soon as he came of age he left Monaco and enrolled in the Saint Cyr French military academy. He graduated in four years and, showing considerable courage, volunteered to serve with the Foreign Legion in North Africa. This was to have a profound impact on his life, both in terms of his career (he seemed a natural soldier) and his private life.

While on duty in Algeria Prince Louis met and became enamored with a cabaret singer named Marie Juliette Louvet, a mother of two who had formerly been married to the risqué French photographer Achille Delmaet. In no time at all Louis was head over heels in love and wanted to marry the girl but a previously married, single mother who sang in a cabaret was considered far below the station of the Hereditary Prince of Monaco and Prince Albert I absolutely forbid it. This is where the story becomes a bit murky. Louis later claimed that he disregarded the wishes of his father and married Juliette anyway in 1897 but there is no documentation to back that claim up. When a daughter, Charlotte Louise Juliette, was born a year later in Algeria she was considered illegitimate by French and Monegasque law.

Albert I visiting Louis II at the front
However, if his private life was somewhat scandalous his military service was nothing short of exemplary. Prince Louis served with distinction in the French army for 10 years and earned the Legion of Honor before returning home in 1908, interestingly enough, without his wife and daughter. However, when calamity hit Europe with the outbreak of World War I in August of 1914 Prince Louis rushed to the colors and reenlisted. In that time of crisis he again proved his worth as a skillful and courageous fighting man. He was upgraded to a Grand Officer in the Legion of Honor and was promoted to brigadier general during the conflict winning a great deal of recognition for his leadership and personal bravery. Many other members of his family had seen military service over the centuries but it was widely accepted that none ever proved so great a military figure as Prince Louis. In terms of his chosen profession none could fault him but his personal life was about to come back to haunt him.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War there was already a great deal of worry over the Monegasque succession to the lack of legitimate issue on the part of Hereditary Prince Louis. As things stood, should anything happen to Louis; which was quite possible given his military service, the throne would pass to his first cousin Duke Wilhelm von Urach, the son of his aunt Princess Florestine of Monaco. Obviously, especially at that crucial time, having a German on the throne of Monaco was the last thing France wanted nor were they willing to tolerate such an eventuality. Therefore, in 1911 a law was passed to recognize the legitimacy of Princess Charlotte, officially making her a recognized member of the Grimaldi family and heir to her father. It was thought this would solve the problem and end the controversy but it was not to be as the law was declared invalid by the 1882 statutes. To get around this another law had to be passed, in 1918, which would allow a Prince of Monaco to adopt an heir to inherit the succession rights. In 1919 Louis adopted his daughter and she officially became Princess Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi of Monaco, Duchess of Valentinois.

Oddly enough, in that last year of World War I the Duke of Urach was chosen to be King of Lithuania which the Germans had liberated from Russian rule and for a short time he was nominally King Mindaugas II of Lithuania. That potential throne did not survive the Allied victory and in 1924 Wilhelm formally renounced his rights to the Monegasque throne and passed them to his French cousins, also of the Grimaldi clan, the counts of Chabrillan. Nor was Monaco all alone in this predicament as the French also forced the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg to abdicate for the high crime of being too close to Germany. France also insisted on a treaty with Monaco in 1918 which required the French government to approve of all potential princes of Monaco. It was well that all this was settled as Louis did not have much time to enjoy the peace. On June 27, 1922 Prince Albert I died and his son, the French general, became Reigning Prince Louis II of Monaco.

Although Louis II is often accused of neglecting his principality this is, on the whole, quite unfair. He formed the first Monaco Football Club in 1924 and five years later held the first of the now famous Grand Prix of Monaco. His personality also showed itself in the establishment of the Napoleon Museum attached to the Princely Palace in Monte Carlo where he displayed his impressive collection of artifacts from the French Emperor Napoleon I. He also did his best to see to it that business in Monaco operated smoothly and got rid of Camille Blanc who had long administered the Monte Carlo Casino but who had acquired a very questionable reputation. Prince Louis II also fostered the performing arts, ballet and opera and in 1939 built the Prince Louis II Stadium to hold the World University Games. Things might have gone quite differently for Monaco were it not for the disastrous outbreak of World War II soon after.

This conflict put Louis II in a difficult position. His grandson Rainier (son of his daughter Charlotte and her Franco-Mexican husband Pierre de Polignac) favored the Allies and was quick to join the French army and distinguish himself at the front. However, once France was defeated, Louis II was inclined to support the existing government in Vichy led by his old World War I comrade Marshal Philippe Petain. However, to add another degree of difficulty to things, at this time most of the Monegasque people still considered themselves more Italian than French and many sympathized with Italy and the dynamic leader of that country Benito Mussolini who of course had declared war on France. With France defeated there was little tiny Monaco could do but wait and see, however the divisions of opinion were deep and heartfelt.

Pcss Ghislaine, Pc Louis II & Pc Rainier
In 1943 the Royal Italian Army marched in and occupied Monaco with many of the locals welcoming them. A new government was formed by the Italians along the fascist model but it did not last long as soon Mussolini was dismissed and as the Italian troops pulled out German troops came in to take their place. This really brought the war home to Monaco as never before. The Germans quickly began enforcing their anti-Semitic laws and deported Jews to the concentration camps including the famous Rene Blum who Louis II had previously charged with setting up the Monaco opera. Sadly, he was among the millions of Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. But, Prince Louis II was not the sort of man to take this cruelty and meddling laying down. At great risk to himself and his family, whenever he could obtain the necessary information he would secretly dispatch the Monegasque police to warn those about to be arrested by the Gestapo. Nonetheless, Prince Rainier was disgusted with not being able to do more to support the Allies or the Free French forces.

When Monaco was liberated in 1944 she was briefly under Allied administration which included communist representatives who would have liked nothing better than to see the near absolute monarchy of Monaco abolished. However, the old soldier in Louis II rose up and he made it clear that any effort in that direction would be met with all the fight he could muster and all such talk was dropped. At 75 he was still a force to be reckoned with. However, Louis II did seem to lose something with the Second World War and all of the problems that came with it. After 1946 he spent ever more time in Paris and it was on July 24, 1946 in Monaco that Louis II married the former film star Ghislaine Dommanget. They spent their remaining years together mostly at the family estate of Le Marchais near Paris. On May 9, 1949 Sovereign Prince Louis II died in the Princely Palace at Monaco and was buried in the family vault at St Nicholas Cathedral in Monte Carlo. He was succeeded by his grandson Prince Rainier III and his wife became H.S.H. Ghislaine, Dowager Princess of Monaco until her own death on April 30, 1991 in Paris.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MM Video: The Politically Incorrect Truth About Japan in World War I, Part I

This was the first of a new video series I got the urge to do (back when I thought the last one was going well) as part of an effort to refute what I think are the most unfair misrepresentations of monarchies which most historians actually know but ignore because telling the truth in these cases would be considered politically incorrect. So far, I have made two, each in three parts, one on Japan in World War II and one on the French Revolution. I am not committed to more, waiting to see if these were a good idea first. Turn up your sound as I have been told this first batch is hard to hear. Parts II and III will be posted later this week along with the regular articles (because I know not many of you like them) so there will be no interference with the regular schedule. That will probably hold true when I post the next batch as well but no more after that as I simply do not have time to write several articles a week plus make the videos at the same time -especially if no one likes the videos. This is part one which focuses on the Mukden Incident, parts two and three will be posted in the days to come and next week three on the French Revolution will be posted. -MM

Mad Monarchist Q&A

(These are the last, only four [and one might not have been for me] and, as before, my responses appear in yellow below the questions -MM)

Thasiloron asks: You have spoken before about raising awareness of monarchies. Have you considered an article compiling a list of dates for Monarchist observance? It could encourage readers to spread the word on significant occasions. (I know off the top of my head, for example, 2 June - the Queen’s Coronation.)

I don’t think that sort of thing is hard for people to find out if they want to. I point out some as they happen (usually on Facebook) but for me here it would simply be impossible to do that in a way that would please more people than it would offend. There are huge numbers of such occasions for almost every country in the world, it would be impossible to list them all and then some people would always be upset that a holiday or occasional special to them was not mentioned when another was. I have noticed people tend to take these things very personally. Even on the weekly news report, there is always going to be something I didn’t hear about and I regularly hear complaints from people who seem to think this was some sort of intentional slight by me against their monarchy or former monarchy. The perils of trying to encourage pan-monarchism.

Lazi Danga asks: I’ve heard many monarchists speak against nationalism and irredentism but I myself am a monarchist but am an Albanian nationalist and am a supporter of Greater Albania.

I have heard the same but I have also heard from plenty of monarchists who are also nationalists and who could not imagine not being one without the other. Usually this is because of empires and in Europe the most prominent example is Austria-Hungary because when you have a multi-national empire, nationalism is a threat to it. Most of the time though, these issues don’t really matter because they are arguing a case that no longer exists. However, what does exist is the real concerns people have about the destabilization that can result of nationalism taken too far and certainly from irredentism. The Serbs wanted “Greater Serbia” and that helped start World War I that cost many monarchs their crowns. It can also cause divisions amongst monarchists because nationalism and nationality is still important to some people. A Serb nationalist and an Albanian nationalist or a Hungarian nationalist and a Romanian nationalist are not going to get along, monarchist or not, if they insist on re-drawing the map of Europe. Personally, I think you have to be practical and realistic about it, don’t let nationalism go to extremes but I also do not agree with those monarchists who make nationalism in general or in particular countries their enemy. I don’t want people to feel like they have to choose between ‘my king or my country’ which some seem to want to do.

MeaneyJoseph asks: How did you become a monarchist growing up in Texas?

I answered that in the very first Q&A video, it is at about 3:32 if you want to skip right to that answer and don’t have to listen too much to my creepy voice.

Bizcocho asks: What places of importance to monarchies would you recommend to visit? Examples for this would be like battlefields, monuments, tombs, and palaces.

I would think ‘all of the above’ would be interesting. Tombs are better for more solemn, formal visits, I like palaces because it tends to give a feeling of a closer connection to the royals in a way. I haven’t done any in a while but you can check here on the blog for the “Monarchist Destinations” series (hit the button on the right-hand side of your screen) if you are a globetrotter for interesting places to visit that most people don’t know about for some specific examples.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Royal News Roundup

Saving the biggest story for last, we will start this week in Asia. HIH Princess Aiko attended her entrance ceremony last Sunday at Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School in Tokyo, accompanied by TIH Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. She is looking very grown up and is already almost as tall as her parents. It seems like only yesterday that she was just a tiny, little toddler. Congratulations to Her Imperial Highness on this new phase of her academic career. In Malaysia, another royal has expressed his sympathy for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, this time the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. The Sultan said that while the search for the plane was still on-going, he felt sad and sympathized with the families of the people onboard who are presumed to have been lost in the southern Indian Ocean. There was also another spat over a letter to a monarch in Asia, this time in Cambodia where the ruling Prime Minister/dictator Hun Sen threatened legal action against opposition leader Sam Rainsy over a letter to King Norodom Sihamoni which disapproved of the King’s endorsement of the election which (yet again) kept Hun Sen in power. Rainsy has accused the election of being rigged and has boycotted the government ever since. And, in Middle Eastern news, last Monday King Abdullah II of Jordan met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The King is currently on a tour which will eventually take him to Moscow where he will discuss the Syrian situation with President Putin.

In Europe, the situation in Spain amongst the media and chattering classes has become deplorable revolving around the exploitative book of a so-called journalist that accused HM King Juan Carlos of being behind the military coup that he has traditionally been praised for stopping. Some have jumped to the ridiculous conclusion that anything less than a total denial from the palace is as good as an admission of guilt; that the King was behind the coup as a way of gaining more power (which he already had to begin with so…that would be odd) only to then come out against it when he knew it was going to fail (and he knew this how?) which, while obviously absurd, has sullied something that almost everyone in Spain used to hold the King in high regard for. In other words, regardless of the fact that it is all unsubstantiated lies, the book and the media that has blathered on and on about it have still succeeded in further weakening the monarchy. And it seems a huge coincidence that this all came about just as the prestige of the monarchy seemed to be on the rebound in Spain. Not long after those assertions were made in the media (though it should not have had to come to this) an official statement was released by Zarzuela Palace denying the ridiculous allegations in the book. It was also announced last week that HM Queen Sofia and TRH the Prince and Princess of the Asturias will have legal immunity from the lower courts and can only be tried by the Supreme Court if there are ever any charges made against them, this coming about, obviously, because of the case involving HRH the Infanta Cristina and her husband and concerns that witch-hunting lawyers may try to drag other royals into the courts simply for the sake of sensationalism.

In the Low Countries, Prince Felix of Luxembourg held a wine-tasting last Tuesday at the Threeland Hotel where guests sampled wines produced from the estate in France which Prince Felix and his wife Princess Claire own and operate. In Belgium, royal brother Prince Laurent was finally released from hospital after a disturbing bout with pneumonia kept him there for the last three weeks (the Royal Family is asking all to respect his privacy) and in The Netherlands King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were happy to host a visit by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden. Later, the King of Sweden visited Halland to check on the new food and tourism initiatives underway there. Also, despite being beyond the legal retirement age, King Harald V of Norway is busier than ever. Not only does he have the busiest schedule of anyone in the Norwegian Royal Family but, rather than slowing down, he has increased his official activities by 40% since last year. Given that the King has had some serious health problems in the past, this is certainly remarkable and a testament to his devotion to duty.

The biggest news of last week though, of course, revolved around the House of Windsor with even something so momentous as the Queen hosting an official visit by the President of Ireland was overshadowed by the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with little Prince George, to New Zealand and Australia. There was a play date for Prince George, yacht races for mom and dad and lots of talk about the fashion choices of the Duchess of Cambridge but Prince George was the focus of most attention. All in all, the loyal and affectionate crowds of New Zealand gave the royals a warm welcome, though, of course, there were the republican traitors ready to do their best in futile efforts to ruin things. One rented an airplane to tow a large banner calling for a native-born head of state as the royals landed in the country; which should prove to any rational person that republicans are as childish as their rude and hypocritical. Still, those pleased with the visit seemed to be the large majority and hopefully the Cambridge visit will help to roll back the treasonous tide in New Zealand. And, hopefully, they will go on to further success in Australia.

Back in Britain, however, what should have been a happy occasion of two heads of state coming together in reconciliation was marred by the presence of an unrepentant terrorist. The occasion was the visit of Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, the first official Irish state visit to the United Kingdom, but the ugliness was provided by the presence of Martin McGuinness, deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and former commander in the Provisional IRA during a time when many British people were killed by their bombings and assorted terrorist attacks and when Lord Mountbatten was murdered. He also formerly ran as the Sinn Fein candidate for Irish President (losing to Higgins). Obviously, I would not consider the politics of President Higgins ideal but no blame can be attached to him on this occasion. He returned the state visit of the Queen to Ireland with great civility and respect. He paid his respects to the late Lord Mountbatten and called for all those guilty of acts of violence during “The Troubles” to apologize. British-Irish relations have improved a great deal recently and have risen above the grudges that still afflict Northern Ireland and, of course, McGuinness and his party are the primary reason for that. It is an outrage that he should have attended this function, it is an outrage that the Queen should have had to tolerate his presence. Would anyone expect the President of the United States to have dinner with an unrepentant former member of al-Qaeda? Well, maybe that’s a bad analogy to make because this one just might but it simply rubs salt in the wound for all those who were victims of republican terrorist attacks in both Ireland and Britain to see a former terrorist leader entrusted with high office and able to rub elbows with the monarch. It is disgraceful and disgusting.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mad Monarchist Q&A

Sorry for the delay this week. I just forgot to upload it at the usual time and then assumed I already had. However, in all that time, I had come to the conclusion to discontinue this series anyway. Since I finally realized the week had almost gone by without posting the last session, with no one else seeming to notice, it reaffirmed my decision that stopping is the right thing to do. There just was not enough people interested in it to make it worth the time. So, despite what you hear in this video, this will be the last such recording. The questions from this week will be answered next week but no new ones will be accepted and the Questions page will be closed after that. Thanks to all who participated, I probably enjoyed it more than you did (at least according to the statistics!).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monarchist Profile: General Pavlo Skoropadskyi

Pavlo Petrovych Skoropadskyi was born on May 3, 1873 in Wiesbaden, the German Empire, to an old, aristocratic Ukrainian family. The most famous ancestor of the family was Ivan Skoropadskyi who, under Tsar Peter the Great, had become Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks (Hetman being a chieftain or head of state, originally an elected position). Pavlo’s father was a colonel in a cavalry regiment of the Russian Imperial Guard and served in the Caucasian War before becoming a local political official and his mother was also related to a number of the most prominent Ukrainian families. He grew up hearing about the long history of service his ancestors had given to Ukraine and the Russian Empire. Considering his background, it is not surprising that he decided on a military career at an early age and after his preliminary education went on to graduate from the Page Corps cadet school in St Petersburg in 1893. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Chevalier Guard cavalry regiment.

Skoropadskyi in 1904
In the following years Skoropadskyi earned several promotions and started his own family when he married Oleksandra Petrivna Durnovo, daughter of the General Governor of Moscow. When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, Skoropadskyi was given command of a company of the 2nd Chita Cossack Regiment of the Trans-Baikal Cossack Host. He distinguished himself and was moved to the staff of the commanding general of the Russian Far East and earned numerous decorations for his service during the war with Japan. In 1905 the Tsar promoted him to colonel with a place on his own military staff and in 1910 he was given command of a Finnish cavalry regiment. The following year, so great was his prestige, he was posted to the Life Guard Cavalry Regiment, the elite troops trusted with the personal security of the Tsar himself. In 1912 he was promoted to major general and, at the start of World War I, was given command of a cavalry brigade in the first guards division, part of the First Army under General Paul von Rennenkampf, who he knew from the Russo-Japanese War. Skoropadskyi earned further praise for his service in the invasion of East Prussia and for his contributions in numerous battles was promoted to divisional command and in 1916 was made a lieutenant general.

1917 saw Skoropadskyi entrusted with the command of an army corps which was later to become the First Ukrainian Corps. The troops under his command were victorious in numerous engagement, earning particular praise for his successful defense against attacks on the Romanian front. However, that was also the year that the Russian Empire began to fall apart with the revolution that brought down the monarchy, replacing it with the weak and ineffectual provisional government that tried to keep Russia in the war. The empire was coming apart at the seams and Ukraine was no exception to this chaotic trend. That same year, radical elements began to separate the Ukraine from Russia, ultimately resulting in the declaration of independence of the so-called Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1918. It became clear to Skoropadskyi that Ukraine and Russia had enemies on the home front who were a far greater threat than that posed by the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. Ukraine itself was in chaos as rival revolutionary governments struggled for power while Russia itself fell prey to the machinations of the Bolsheviks.

conversing with the Kaiser
Skoropadskyi began to make common cause with the Germans who were increasingly alarmed at the spread of revolutionary communism (though they were partly to blame for its introduction) and Skoropadskyi seemed an ideal man to work with as he had a reputation as both a solid Russian monarchist and a Ukrainian patriot. Ukraine had, effectively, become a protectorate of Germany after the Russian government was forced to come to terms with the Germans and they helped engineer the coup that brought down the Ukrainian People’s Republic and solidify Ukraine under one, nationalist, government. General Skoropadskyi was favored by the Germans, while Austria-Hungary favored a new monarchy under Archduke Wilhelm of Austria who had commanded Hapsburg Ukrainian troops in the war. However, as the dominant partner, it was the will of Germany that prevailed and Skoropadskyi was installed as Hetman of the State of Ukraine, having close contact with the Germans and even meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Naturally, because of this, his enemies on the left accused him of being a collaborator and lacking in Ukrainian nationalism. Needless to say, this was unfair as Skoropadskyi was never lacking in Ukrainian patriotism, however, he realized that Ukraine would be vulnerable alone and welcomed the cooperation of White Russian monarchists and pan-Slavic nationalists as well as the support of the Central Powers they had earlier opposed but all in order to save Ukraine from the revolutionary crisis. Despite his critics, Skoropadskyi responded in the best possible way; by delivering results. Order was restored across the Ukraine, government services began to function again, a peace was negotiated with Bolshevik Russia and diplomatic ties were established with numerous other countries which recognized the independence of the State of Ukraine. These were all things that none of the previous revolutionary governments claiming power had ever been able to achieve. He worked feverishly to build up the foundations of an independent Ukraine with infrastructure improvements and new educational institutions. Unfortunately, the time and breathing space needed to accomplish this was attained in large part due to the support of Germany and Austria-Hungary who, as 1918 wore on, were clearly losing the war.

Austria-Hungary was first to come apart and eventually Germany began to collapse as well. The revolutionaries saw their chance and began to move against the Hetman. The Russian Bolsheviks too were watching closely, letting the chaos do the hard work for them, after which they could sweep in and reclaim Ukraine with minimal effort. It all worked out entirely to the benefit of the communists. In the fall of 1918 Skoropadskyi was overthrown as the Germans pulled out. The Ukrainian People’s Republic was restored but that was a complete farce and was only temporary as the Soviets soon took over the country anyway while Skoropadskyi was forced to go into exile in Germany. This was a terrible blow to the monarchist cause in Ukraine because, although the office of “Hetman” had not originally been a strictly monarchist sort of position, Skoropadskyi had effectively made it as much and had he continued in office, there seems little doubt based on his subsequent behavior that it would have become a hereditary position and it is also true that he worked closely alongside Ukrainian and White Russian monarchists during his time in power.

While in exile, Skoropadskyi continued to work with fellow Ukrainian and Russian exiles toward the ultimate goal of seeing the Soviet usurper regime destroyed. He supported both Ukrainian independence as well as the restoration of the Russian Empire under the House of Romanov with Ukraine being a sovereign state within the framework of a broader Russian Empire, a goal not very different from that of the Russian Imperial Family today. He worked alongside various monarchists, nationalists and others of the exile community as well as maintaining contacts with various friendly factions in Germany. However, he refused to ever have anything to do with the Nazi Party which, of course, meant that this efforts would be suppressed once Hitler came to power. Still, he kept up his efforts as best he could, never relenting in his determination to see both the Ukrainian and Russian peoples freed from Soviet tyranny. In 1945, while fleeing before the advancing Red Army, he was wounded in an Allied bombing raid and died in Bavaria on April 26, 1945 at the age of 71. He was buried with the rites of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Oberstdorf and was succeeded by his son, Danylo Skoropadskyi, as leader of the Ukrainian monarchist group called the United Hetman Association. He lived in exile in Britain until he died in 1957, presumably poisoned by agents of the KGB. However, his other children have continued to carry the torch for a Ukrainian monarchy to the present day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Story of Monarchy: The Kingdom of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan, “Land of the Thunder Dragon” occupies a unique place in the world. The Bhutanese monarchy is actually fairly recently established and is one of the few cases of a monarchy springing up in the XX Century rather than being torn down. It is the only monarchy (or the only country of any kind) which has Mahayana Buddhism as the official state religion and it is the only remaining independent monarchy in the central Asian area (since the demise of the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal). It is also relatively unknown to most of the outside world, which is not surprising since it kept itself fairly isolated until recent years. It is perhaps best known, among monarchists at least, for its measuring rod of “Gross National Happiness” as opposed to Gross National Product. Bhutan was content to keep to its traditional ways, maintain its unique customs and more or less ignore the world beyond its borders. Politics was non-existent as the people devoted themselves to their work and their faith and left what little governing there was to do in the hands of their beloved ‘Dragon King’. More than a few referred to it as a real-life version of Shangri-La, an isolated Himalayan kingdom with no divisions, no strife, no crime, no modern conveniences but no modern complications to go with them and a very simple and peaceful way of life. To many, it seemed like paradise.

one of the later Shabdrung
Bhutan was first unified in the seventeenth century and from that time was ruled as a Buddhist theocracy by a reincarnating lama in a system of government similar to that in neighboring Tibet. The ruler was the Shabdrung or “Dharma Raja” as he was also sometimes known. Although he usually had final say in matters, officially the secular affairs of the country were to be handled by a regent called the Druk Desi or “Deb Raja”. These early rulers were often Tibetan lamas, sometimes refugees and sometimes guests invited over to help. The man most held as the founder of modern Bhutan was Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel who came to Bhutan from Tibet in 1616 as a political refugee. He unified Bhutan and by the time of his death only the eastern provinces were not under his rule and those were even then in the process of being conquered. He overcame Tibetan invasions and the opposition of other religious factions to his rule. The Drukpa nobles who were loyal to him were rewarded with tax exemptions, titles and special privileges. By the time of his death, most of modern Bhutan was united and under his control and diplomatic relations had been established with neighboring Tibetan and Indian princes as well as Nepal. He cemented his rule with the building of large monastery-fortresses in all the major valleys of the country and for the most part these survive to this day as a lasting reminder of his legacy. Many of the government positions he established to administer the country, likewise, survive to the present day.

For such a large and dominant figure there was, not surprisingly, some turmoil when he died and at one point there was no less than five men all with factions behind them claiming to be the legitimate reincarnation of the Shabdrung. When one called upon Tibet for assistance in pressing his claim the result was the last and most successful Tibetan invasion of Bhutan. Were it not for the Tibetan lamas calling for peace and an end to the fighting, Bhutan might have been conquered and remained a part of Tibet. Others also tried to obtain the help of the Manchus to offset the influence of Tibet and establish a lasting peace. In 1734 both sides sent emissaries to the Manchu Emperor in Peking seeking arbitration of their problem but, in the event, things were solved mostly by those involved locally, aided by the death of several of the major contenders. In the end, diplomatic relations with Tibet were established as well as an annual tribute to the Tibetan court and through them eventually to the Manchu court in China. It could, technically, be considered a loss of sovereignty for Bhutan but, in effect, it was no different from the numerous other local rulers from countries as far flung as Mongolia, Vietnam and Korea who recognized Imperial China as the dominant power of the region while still managing their own affairs to varying degrees.

A more smoothly functioning Buddhist theocracy was established though, rather like Tibet after the death of the “Great Fifth” the Shabdrung often had only nominal superiority while the regent was the one who actually ruled the country. Under their leadership, Bhutan began to grow and expand. This brought the country to the attention of the British after Bhutanese incursions into Sikkim and other states in northern India. The British launched a military expedition that expelled the Bhutanese and seized several of their border forts in 1772 but when final peace was made in 1774 these were returned. During this crisis, Bhutan and Nepal both sought the arbitration of the Panchen Lama of Tibet due to fears of the growth of British power in neighboring India. The British were a growing presence in the region and began taking a greater interest in both Tibet and Bhutan, observing, for example, the minor rebellions that resulted from the overthrow of the regent Zhidar. He was replaced by Tritrul Jigme Senge who kept things more or less stable until his retirement in 1788 after which were several decades of chaos and instability under a succession of regents of various quality. Some tried to rule in partnership with the Shabdrung, probably in an effort to gain a religious shield for themselves, while others tried to enlist other lamas to partner with them but to little avail.

In 1808, however, the lama Tsultrim Drakpa was persuaded to take the throne but then later persuaded the Shabdrung, Jigme Drakpa, to take the throne himself, though he had grave misgivings about it and did so against his better judgment. Chaos quickly ensued as the followers of Tsultrim Drakpa had no wish to lose their positions to the followers of the Shabrdrung and they instigated a rebellion. This is where the story becomes more than a little bit complicated, particularly for outsiders to the unique religious beliefs of the region in question. No sooner did this rebellion get underway then another faction joined in made up of the followers of Yeshe Gyelsten, who was the “verbal incarnation” of the Shabdrung and who they installed as a rival regent in a rival court to the “mental incarnation” of the Shabdrung. Political and religious powers aligned themselves on either side and went to war. Eventually, a settlement was reached in which both incarnations would act as joint-regents but, in the end, violence and circumstance was what really solved the factional dispute. Fights over the regency continued, to the utter distress of the Shabdrung, to the point that revolts almost became a national tradition. However, all of that was soon to change when a new, dynamic force entered the field.

a Raven Crown
Jigme Namgyel was born in 1825, a younger son of a noble family with deep spiritual ties and a high reputation as warriors as well. In his youth he spent time working as a common herdsman and had quite a colorful life, gaining some note for his great strength and athletic prowess as well as his good character and common sense. He became a major figure in the frequent wars and rebellions of Bhutan and came to be seen as quite a champion. A lama absolved him of the obligation to separate from his wife while holding office and presented him with a special helmet, the first “Raven Crown” of Bhutan which was imbued with the essence of two forms of the fierce, protecting deity Mahakala; the Northern Demon and the ‘Raven-headed Mahakala of Action’. His subsequent victories in battle were attributed to the spiritual protection of his headgear and, in different forms as new models have been created, it remains the crown and symbol of kingship in Bhutan to this day. In any event, he ultimately came to power and was known as the “Black Regent” and he brought about some relative calm and quiet, consolidating his control over at least half of the country but most importantly by setting the stage for the accomplishments of his descendants.

The “Black Regent” was succeeded as Penlop of Trongsa (basically a sort of governor) by his son Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk. He was the leader of the pro-British faction in opposition to the more pro-Tibet faction as to who Bhutan should align with. He was victorious and gained further prestige by mediating a dispute between Tibet and British India after which he was made a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. Later, because of the long history of internal disputes and civil wars under the theocracy, in 1907 Ugyen Wangchuk was made the first King of Bhutan and the country was either a part of the British Empire or at least within the British sphere of influence certainly. Diplomatically, it was dealt with by the British as a princely state of India but Bhutan remained set apart and still maintained its very close and traditional ties with Tibet. On the domestic front, the new succession of Kings of Bhutan brought, after some minor trouble that was to be expected, a new period of peace and calm for the Himalayan kingdom. Government was extremely simplified by the new arrangement and there was an end to the constant cycle of rebellions and struggles over the regency for the nominal religious leader. The Kingdom of Bhutan led a happy, peaceful life, mostly isolated from the outside world with only the occasional diplomatic contact, usually with India.

King Jigme Dorji
World War I and World War II passed by Bhutan with no impact at all. The latter conflict came during the reign of the third monarch of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji, who took some modest steps toward modernity by allowing some conveniences into the country, such as wheeled carts to haul crops; nothing very dramatic at all. Later in his reign, however, some more innovative steps were taken when he established a High Court for Bhutan and a National Assembly, described by some as a unicameral legislature. Eventually it would even be given the power to remove the King himself with a two-thirds majority vote. For the time being though, Bhutan remained an absolute monarchy. These baby steps towards democracy were not taken by most people as being terribly significant. However, what was seen as a major change was the increase in diplomatic contacts with the outside world which were necessitated by the aggression of Communist China and the earth-shattering changes brought about after Chairman Mao came to power. The very idea of military conflict of any sort had become a distant memory in Bhutan. They had their revered and beloved kings, their devout Buddhist faith and strong ties with the neighboring Empire of India and Kingdom of Tibet, for as long as most could remember, and the people were happy and content. Things seemed serenely ideal for Bhutan when, all of a sudden, the world around them started to come apart.

First, there was the collapse of the British Empire and what affected Bhutan the most was, of course, the end of the Empire of India. The relationship had been ideal by Bhutanese standards; the British Empire protected them but as there had never been any real need to avail themselves of this protection, neither Britain or India ever bothered much about Bhutan so the security was more akin to a good insurance policy that left Bhutan free and independent but still able to call on British India for help should a crisis ever arise. Suddenly, Bhutan was informed that the British were gone, the Empire of India was gone and suddenly in its place were several new republics. Bewildered, but eager to maintain things as they had been, Bhutan quickly recognized Indian independence and arranged a treaty with India similar to the one they had with the British Empire (in fact, it took much longer for the Republic of India to recognize the independence of Bhutan in return). It was quite a shock but, in the end, for Bhutan at least, very little had actually changed. Then, however, came even more shocking news when the communist Chinese People’s Liberation Army invaded and subjugated Tibet, annexing it to China and forcing the Dalai Lama to flee into exile in India.

the third King in his youth
In 1959 the Chinese communists seized control of the Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet and, to this day, these remain the source of an official territorial dispute between the Kingdom of Bhutan and the People’s Republic of China. It was after these frightening events that the King began to take steps to modernize Bhutan, at least somewhat, and to establish stronger ties with the international community. There was further alarm in 1975 when the nearby Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim abolished its monarchy and was annexed by the Republic of India. Fearful that the same could happen to Bhutan, the King began to establish official ties with more foreign countries and to send representatives to international organizations, such as joining the United Nations. Concerns were also raised due to the short Sino-Indian War both because of the violation of Bhutanese territory by Red Chinese forces and because of doubts that India could be relied on to defeat the Chinese if Bhutan ever had to avail itself of her protection.

However, it was under the next monarch, King Jigme Singye, that Bhutan began to change in a really dramatic way. During his reign, Bhutan joined many more international organizations, drew even closer to India and, most significantly, started the legal transformation from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Throughout his reign, and, after his abdication, that of his son, democracy was introduced to Bhutan and the first political parties were established. At the time, many had considerable misgivings about these developments. People who valued the unity and serenity of Bhutanese life feared that political parties would create divisions amongst the people. There was also the introduction of television, foreign fashions and modern technology to the country. All of these have, in their own way, caused problems for Bhutan and the traditional life of the country is certainly not the way it used to be. However, the King remains extremely popular and certainly the new class of politicians are anxious to forge ahead and keep their newly acquired positions. It is not the Bhutan that used to be but, for those inclined to be harsh regarding the changes (and it is certainly tempting to be) one has to keep in mind the larger geo-political picture. The world had changed since Bhutan found peace and contentment as a monarchy and the last thing the Kings of Bhutan wanted was to see their beloved country go the way of Tibet or even Sikkim, swallowed up by a larger neighbor without anyone in the rest of the world doing anything about it or perhaps not even noticing at all.
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