How far was the First World War the main cause of the fall of the Romanov’s in February 1917?’ (30 marks)
The Romanov’s were the ruling family of Russia from 1613 to 1917. This, however, all ended when Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne as the result of what would become known as the February Revolution, although there were many factors that affected Nicholas’ decision. To a certain extent, you could blame the First World War for the downfall of the Romanov’s. However, it could also be argued that it was existing problems and the Tsar’s unwillingness to change that ultimately resulted with the Romanov’s downfall.
World War One was the spark that ignited revolution. At the start of the war, Nicholas was very popular indeed. The Russian public were extremely patriotic and had a newfound sense of respect and duty towards their Tsar. The Tsar had come out of 1905 looking better than ever; the October Manifesto had gained him the support of peasantry by abolishing the mortgages; and he gained the support of the nobility by giving them positions of power within the duma’s and zemstva’s. However, the First World War changed all this. Russia was known throughout Europe as being a ‘backwards’ country that desperately needed to industrialise. Russia’s lack of modernisation meant that their transportation systems were extremely underdeveloped, and thus getting equipment to the Front proved to be a great challenge indeed. This resulted in many shortages; for instance, in 1915, some Russian artillery units were limited to firing three shells per day. This, in turn, caused a significant number of casualties and deaths, and by the end of 1915, two million men had been wounded or taken prisoner. This aided the Romanov’s downfall because it caused low morale throughout the population, thus people‘s patriotism and trust in the Tsar was slowly diminishing.
What’s more, in August 1915, Nicholas took over personal command of Russia’s armed forces. This meant that he was...