Nicholas II abdicated the throne in 1917 up until then, the Russian Royal family had ruled for over three hundred years. Throughout this period, they faced many problems and uneasy predicaments, a lot of these centering on Nicholas II as Tsar. A combination of long and short-term problems led to the decline and eventual fall of the Romanov dynasty. Tsar Nicholas II ignored these issues, staying true to his coronation vow to uphold Autocracy, and therefore played a critical role in the plummet of the Empire. A flaw in Tsar Nicholas II Autocratic style of ruling was his conflicting personality.
He was a family orientated man, and they often took priority over ruling and looking after his country especially his son, Alexei who suffered severely from Hemophilia which consumed most of him, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra’s time caring for him. Another flaw in his personality was that he required absolute power and that all decisions were to be made by The Tsar himself. He was blind to the political and social realities of his expansive and diverse empire. These aspects were key components in Nicholas II role in the fall of The Romanov Dynasty.
Due to Tsar Nicholas II failure to address economic and social grievances, Russia was in a state of unease, regularly holding strikes to express their grievances. One of their main concerns was the effect of industrialization. Even though Russia ranked fifth among the industrial nations of the world in terms of industrial productions, the conditions of the workers were bad. Their wages were low, their working hours were long and their living conditions were intolerable – crowded together in barrack with no healthy and sanitary facilities.
As well as enduring poor living conditions at home, the conditions in the factories were not of higher quality. Due to the many years of oppression, the workers demanded change from the Tsar and became crucial elements in the downfall of the Empire. Many critical events occurred in 1905 including the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) caused by territorial disputes, due to this war, Russia suffered a series of humiliating defeats and a large number of casualties. In addition to this things on the home front weren’t too pleasant either, trade with ther countries slowed, food prices climbed, and many people were at the point of starvation. Russia was forced to surrender to Japan. Another turning event in 1905 was intentionally peaceful rally led by George Gapon in order to settle disputes, which turned into the massacre of over 100 workers and wounded over 300. In August of 1905 Nicholas II pledged to introduce basic civil liberties, which provided the State Duma with Legislative powers, however this did not last long as Nicholas II was determined to retain his autocratic rule, and so he issued “Fundamental Laws” denying the Duma Responsible Government.
These incidents signaled the start of the 1905 revolution and thus, the fall of the Romanov Dynasty. On August 1st 1914 Germany declared war on Russia. On this announcement Russia swiftly advanced into Germany through East Prussia. Early military disasters such as the defeats at Masurian Lakes and Tannebugurg weakened the Russian Army considerably in these initial stages of War. These losses were large in military and money, putting great strain in its already crumbling system.
In September 1915, Tsar Nicholas II assumed the foremost role in the military – The commander-in-chief, this was an ill-judged decision on Nicholas II part, as he had no military training whatsoever and his departure from St Petersburg leaving his wife, Tsarina Alexandra essentially in control of Russia. And increasingly unpopular decision, on account of Alexandra being of German heritage, and as a result of the war, the Russian people detested everything German, and believed Alexandra was a spy for Germany.
The Russian people also resented the influence Gregory Rasputin had over Alexandra, The people viewed him as immoral and he brought huge disrepute on the Romanov family. The impacts of The War placed an unbearable on Russia’s weak government and economy, the improper handling of these affairs turned the people against the Tsar and the growth of political opposition to the Tsar – a direct link in the downfall of the empire. The effects of World War One on Russia were profound.
Russia’s once remarkable financial stability was demolished by the War, the disruption of their transport system, the shortage in food supplies and the rapidly rising price in supplies created a foundation for a revolution, and also, a considerable loss in confidence of the Tsar. On the 23rd February, International Women’s Day, the women of Petrograd led a riot through the workers districts. They were fed up with waiting for bread, often waiting outside bakeries overnight to be first in line.
This chaotic riot turned into a revolution when chief of the military district, General Khabalov when he ordered his troops to fire on the unarmed crowds “The chief of the military district, General Khabalov, could not cope with the situation. ” The turning point of this situation was after the General issued his orders, his army refused to fire upon the thousands of protestors. Nicholas the II knew he had no choice but to abdicate the throne – and he did.
On the 15th March 1917 Tsar Nicholas II abdicated his throne. In conclusion, the decline and fall of the Romanov Dynasty was a culmination of numerous events, flaws and disputed opinions, Tsar Nicholas II being the focal point in the vast majority of these problems. Nicholas Romanov was the last Tsar of Russia, his inability to attend to his country’s need and fully carryout his obligations, lead to political and unrest and the growth of revolutionary ideas resulting in the fall of the Romanov family.
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