However after Karakazov attempts to assassinate the Tsar in 1866, he becomes much more autocratic, revealing that he had no intention of significantly developing politics, his use of the Zemstvas were in fact to help sustain autocracy, through making local administration more efficient. It can be suggested from this that Alexander II had put the Zemstva Act in place to appease the nobles angered by the Emancipation Act. Alexander III was much more of a successful autocrat. His reactionary attitude led to the reversal of many of his father’s liberal reforms, and was in some cases angered by them. Alexander III re-implements Tsarist form, through the use of repression and terror.
This interpretation is presented by McCauley who argues that “the question of the second front was to bedevil tensions between the Allies during the war”. However this view is challenged substantially by Fenby, who argues for a lesser significance, by stating that “[the Second Front] was too useful a political tool not to be used to ensure that the Western Allies would compensate by pumping supplies to Russia”. Fenby’s interpretation, that Russia presented the Second Front as a greater tension than it was for material gain is the more persuasive argument when taking into account Molotov, the Russian foreign minister of the time’s own accounts of the era. Molotov says that Stalin “did not believe [that a second front would happen]. But one had to demand it”, intimating that whilst Stalin may have kept angrily demanding the opening of a second front in
A Tale of Two Tsars: Comparisons of the Regimes of Tsars Ivan IV and Peter I Philip Jia Perhaps no two rulers in the history of Russia before the Revolution of 1917 capture the image in one’s mind of the Tsar as completely as Ivan IV (“The Terrible”) and Peter I (“The Great”). Their very mention summons iconic images of the fearsome power and horrific excesses of the Russian monarchy from a Western perspective, while from a Russian perspective they evoke the idea of a “model” for absolutist rule, a mythos carefully fostered by the government during the Soviet period. In particular, the reign of Ivan IV has long been held up, at least in Western memory, as a key example of what is thought to be a long history of abusive Russian absolutism. Yet, while the rule of the former Tsar is often described as one of Russia’s most calamitous and that of the latter thought of as one of its finest, Ivan IV and Peter I had much more in common than is normally thought to be the case. Both Tsars were thoroughly progressive, bringing reform to Russian bureaucracies and institutions that had slowly stagnated.
One of the reasons why this didn’t work was the downfall of communication, and disagreements within the group due to the extent of different opinions was so great causing splits and creating smaller less powerful sub divisions. The liberals wanted to keep the tsar but reduce his power and used calm no violent tactics such a discussions and meetings, but this group split; the octobrists and the kadets. The octobrists set up the duma (government) and the kadets wanted full equality and were a first major opposition voice in the duma, both groups came into being at the time of the October manifesto 1905. The social democrats wanted an empire with no rich or poor people, they wanted communism and also like the liberals didn’t use violent tactics. The Bolshevik and Menshevik split and both parties were very distinct opposing Marxist parties.
How accurate is it to say that the growth of reformist groups in the years from 1881 was the main cause of the 1905 Revolution? The 1905 Revolution was the start of political change in Russia, unlike other major European powers of the time, Russia was being ruled by an autocratic government and any effective reforms would have had to been by ‘change from above’. However, the Tsar Alexander III and his son, Nicholas II were firm conservatives and this ideal route would not have happened. Resentment to the lack of change created the growth of reformist governments and caused a Revolution which catalysed the much needed change in Russia. There were many factors that created a base for the reformist groups to flourish at that time in Russia which in turn created a Revolution.
How important is the character and personality of Nicholas II to an understanding of the reasons for the February Revolution? There are many reasons for the February Revolution of 1917, the character and personality of a Tsar who was conservative and nervous in the position that he felt, God had wanted him to take, is just one. Other factors include the feelings of hostility that arose after the revolution of 1905, growths of parties within Russia, including the ideas of both the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and of course the war of 1914 and the hardships it brought to the Russian people. The view of some historians is that the revolution of 1917 was spontaneous, but when considering the conditions of the majority of Russian people during this revolutionary period, one must see that this cannot be the case, the country was ripe for change… and for revolution. 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.
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. The decisions that Tsar Nicholas II made during WWI made a huge impact towards the March Revolution. His distance as a leader is one trait that came to the surface during this time and heavily contributed to his downfall. The Tsar would avoid any aspect of political landscape that he didn’t like or that he found offensively modern. Just a few examples of things he would avoid are the left, public opinion, industry, the press and unions.
Not only this but Stalin used Lenin’s Legacy when he once again falsely claimed he was there at the beginning of the original Russian Revolution, when he was actually in exile. There is a picture, taken from the Eighth Bolshevik Party Congress in 1919 in which Trotsky was absent and Stalin took the opportunity to sit himself at Lenin’s right hand side, gaining him credit and showing his subtle ways of propaganda. However, Stalin’s win couldn’t just be down to what Lenin had done previous to the power struggle. To achieve and successfully get away with all of the above he would have had to have great skill as a politician – which he did. He had the ability to control Lenin’s funeral and turn it into his own campaign,
But a conflict between the Kaiser, who wanted to “Rule and Reign” and Bismark, who ran much of the day to day politics in Germany, led to Bismarks dismissal. Bismark did not have a trained successor. After Bismarks dismissal the Kaiser was in full control of Germany. But he lacked the foreign affairs experience that Bismark had. He did not renew the Reinsurance treaty, thus sending Russia into the open arms of France.
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.