A so-called 'biography' of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn has stirred much controversy and debate as to how committed he actually was to Chabad and the Chassidic (or even Orthodox) way of life. Much ink has already been spilled (most extensively at The Seforim Blog) in which the 'scholarship' of the author's is unmasked as being at the very best extremely lacking, and more probably, deliberately misleading. I do not intend to reiterate or add to the numerous examples of blatant falsification, nor do I intend to attack their central thesis directly. My intention here is simply to provide some context, lending perspective and better allowing the reader to appreciate the story of the Rebbe's life, who he was and what he did.
The Rebbe's conduct, prior to becoming Rebbe in general, and specifically during his sojourn in Berlin and then Paris, reminds of the following episode (as recorded in Shmues Vesipurim Vol 1, page 69):