Prior to 1917, Russia was run by a Tsar, and its system of government was based on autocracy. There was much dissatisfaction with the Tsar during World War One, which led to his abdication – the March revolution. The provisional government took charge of Russia, whose authority and power was taken over by Lenin’s Bolsheviks in the second revolution in October. The Romanov family had been ruling Russia since 1613, but in March 1917, Nicholas Romanov II was forced to abdicate. Nicholas was a sensitive man with high pride and always preferred to be with his family rather than to involve himself in the running of his nation.
Alexander III re-implements Tsarist form, through the use of repression and terror. At the end of the Crimean War, Alexander II realised that Russia was no longer a great military power. His advisers argued that a backwards economy which is reliant on the serfs could not compete with modernized powers such as Britain and France. He also became increasingly unpopular at this time, meaning he needed to do something
The way in which the Tsarist government operated Russia during 1914-1917 is the major cause of the March Revolution of 1917. The Tsar’s decisions, the steadily declining economy, the negative impact of war on society, the unprepared military and the failures of the government leading up to the revolution are the five major aspects that led to the March Revolution. Russia joined the war with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement, but by 1917, the whole country was against the war and wanted nothing more than to get out of it, start rebuilding the country again and look towards a new brighter future. Once the Tsar was abdicated, the ball had started rolling and would not come to a halt until it was surrounded with a blanket of peace. One major aspect that contributed to the Tsarist governments path towards the March Revolution is the decisions that we made by Tsar Nicholas II during WWI.
This essay will aim to examine each factor in turn, before coming to a solid conclusion on the main reasons for the revolution in Russia, in 1917. When Nicholas came to the throne in 1894, he - like the other Tsars before him - felt that he was only Tsar because God wanted him to be one. There were no political parties allowed, and the only other politicians working with the Tsar were the council of ministers which was made up of the Russian nobility. The same year, Tsar Nicholas married Alexandra, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a German princess. She was despised by the Russian people because of the way she advised her husband on government matters and because of her devotion to Rasputin who ‘cured‘ her son of haemophilia.
He pursued a policy of what has been called ‘counter reform’. Counter-reform was partly a reaction to the murder of Alexander II, but Alexander III also believed that his fathers ‘Great Reforms’ had been a mistake, weakening Tsarism and leaving it vulnerable and insecure. He introduced political repression of opponents, counter-reform, increased central control, financial reform and the policy of Russification as the core stone of his reign. His policy was to undo the reforms as far as possible. In many respects, there is no doubt that Alexander III was the most effective Tsar in such the short reign that he had.
The months before and during the Bolshevik revolution, as well as the signing of the peace treaty at Brest-Litovsk cause turmoil among the socialists and brought Russia into civil war. The Provisional Government of Russia treated the middle and lower class citizens of Russia very poorly, ignoring their needs, as well as dragging them into World War I and two civil wars in a little over two decades. The workers of Russia wanted a democratic republic, or any government that would have allowed them to make a difference, and one that would help them as much as their current government was against them (Wade 27). In 1917, Russia was at war in World War I and was suffering economically because of it, as well as loosing the lives of many of their young men in battle. The people of Russia desired to leave World War I as smoothly and as quickly as possible (Wade 29).
To what extent did Alexander III measures create a stronger Russia? When Alexander III came into power as tsar Russia was in crisis after Alexander II was assassinated by the people will. Alexander III faced a hard job of keeping control of Russia and keeping supreme political power, this meant reform for Russia. Although he was reforming Russia like many Russians wanted to, he was actually moving backwards and launched Russia on the return to conservatism and brought an end to further political reform.Alexander III brought in new reforms to strengthen Russia after the tsar was assassinated because of Russia bad state, these reforms effected the political, financial and nearly every aspect of Russian society. One of the most radical and important changes the tsar first made was russification , this meant that in 1885 the official language was changed to Russia and was taught in all school and no other language was allowed to be used in school .
How Accurate is it to Say that the Growth of Reformist Groups in the Years from 1881 was the Main Cause for the 1905 Revolution? Following Alexander II’s assassination in 1881, Russia was faced with their worst nightmare which was faced with their worst nightmare which was a truly repressive Tsar, Alexander III. His unpopularity was caused by his extremely backwards ideology that left the Russian population dissatisfied without their ‘Tsar Liberator.’ Alexander III found himself battling with millions of people who wanted their previous freedom restored and autocracy destroyed. I personally feel that the main cause for the 1905 revolution was Alexander III himself in the long term. Alexander was hopelessly out of touch with the emerging realities of a modern Russia.
Nicholas II was faced with various issues during his reign from 1894-1917. His ineffectual personality was partly to blame for his ineffectual ruling. He was not able to listen to the needs of his public, and so violent uprisings such as Bloody Sunday occurred. His response was to initiate the October Manifest and the instigation of the Russian Duma, but neither of these pleased the public and so the February revolution of 1917 occurred, which ultimately created the fall of Tsar Nicholas II. Nicholas II attempted to rule Russia as an autocrat as he believed that autocracy was the only was to save Russia from anarchy.
German defeat in the Great War was largely down to the incompetence and mistakes of the German Military Elite. The failure of the Schlieffen plan in 1914 can be accredited to these German leaders and also more importantly blamed for the failure in the First World War. Schlieffen, Chief of the German General Staff (1891-1906) devised what is known as the ‘Schlieffen plan’ in 1905 in response to the Anglo-French Entente Cordiale and the further negations this alliance began to have with the huge empire that was Russia. These new relations began to worry Germany and create fears of a combined attack on the country. Schlieffen’s plan aimed to counter a joint attack and then later in the Great War the Schlieffen Plan was used as a strategy to ensure a swift victory and avoid fighting two-fronted war.