Ashlan at a fortified mansion in the city

Ashlan M. Berger

Ms. Decker

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CHC2D-03

January 10 2018

The
causes of the Russian Revolution:

A
deeper analysis on how the Tsar caused the great Russian Revolution

 

 

    

         Before 1917,
Russia was the largest country under one empire. However, on July 17th, at
approximately 1 a.m., the Romanov family was murdered at a fortified mansion in
the city of Ekaterinburg. The Russian Revolution was caused by the effects of
the public opinion of the Romanov family. The reasons for this include, the tsar was
considered by some the symbol of Russia’s failing or the power they were trying
to get rid of, there was very little experience in government and the
revolution was triggered by the poor decisions of Tsar.  Being one of the most
seminal events during the 20th century it continues to be in the minds of
people who live there and still inspires a terrible fascination today. A once
300-year-old imperial dynasty filed with terrific achievements was now
destroyed. However, while the Romanov’s political position was finished in
Russia, the story of the Tsar that caused the Revolution continues to be
thought of by many.

 

                 First, one of the initial problems
with the Romanov family was that the Tsar was considered by many a symbol of
Russia’s failings or the power that they were trying to get rid of. Throughout
Russian history Russia was always considered a force to be reckoned with, with
an impenetrable army. While the Tsar was ruling the Russian army, Russia had
endured many defeats, some of which affected the soldiers quite harshly. An
example of this is, “The fall of Tsarism
is the psychological effect of WW1 on returning soldiers… This is because the
Russian’s suffered a series of defeats; the Battle of Tannenburg for example,
where 30,000 Russians were killed or injured, damaged Russian prestige so much
that the frontline subsequently collapsed.”  As the
Russians began to lose more battles, the Tsar began to lose his followers.
People began to lose family members and soldiers were treated very poorly.
There was drastic supply problems which created suspicion among the people that
the loss of battles was due to the fact that the soldiers weren’t supplied properly
and were guided without any professional background because the Tsar had no
form of formal military training. By the end of 1915, the Russian’s were
limited to using only 3 artillery shells a day. Asside from the battlefield his
wife wasn’t doing much better with the people back in Russia. An example of
this is, “With no experience
at all in politics Alexandra managed to wreak havoc within government. Troops
and the wider population were left exposed to political indecision and
ultimately ensuring that all were inadequately supplied with food, shelter and
munitions. It was a disaster and was surely the turning point for the all
the horror that would unravel towards the end of the war.” This
shows that after Nicholas left his German wife, the
Tsarina Alexandra to govern it was in a time of political instability, making
it a very poor decision. Firstly, she wasn’t liked because she was suspicious
to Russians because of her German roots. “As a woman, she was viewed as a
weak and unstable leader, easily open to influence.” This was a widely
thought about issue because of her aide and confidant Rasputin, a
“Siberian monk who had risen to note in the Royal court when he claimed to
be able to cure the Tsar’s son of hemophilia.”  This caused a large amount of rumors about
his relationship with the Tsarina, especially as he oversaw constant
ministerial changes. This was shown when Trotsky said that the Tsar is
simply, “not fit to run a village post
office.” This was said after the Russians had lost the Russo-
Japanese war. This shows that the loss of this war was arguably the greatest
incident that lead to the revolution of 1905 because of its significance and
how it affected the public opinion of the Romanov family. This defeat was
humiliating as it was the first time that a European nation had lost to an
Asian one. “It exposed Russia’s inept military and bureaucracy. The loss
acted as a catalyst to the revolution, however the immediate cause was an event
called Black Sunday, when a peaceful march of 150,000 St Petersburg workers hoping
to bring a petition to the Tsar were shot by Cossack troops killing an
estimated 1,000 people.” This was the last time the Tsar was called the
‘Father of the People’ which destroyed the myth that Gods appointed the Tsar.

 

        Another
contribution to the poor opinion of the Tsar was that there was very little
experience in government.   Even
before he came into power the Tsar knew he was not prepared to rule over Russia.
Shortly after he came into power the Tsar wrote in 1894, “I am not
prepared to be the Tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the
business of ruling.” This shows the very
little experience that Nicholas II had. An example of this is after he had
become the Tsar, he decided to fire his uncle, Nicolai, as commander-in-chief.
After many defeats, he led the army very poorly. However, it was not surprising
to the people because he had no experience whatsoever.  This only raised tensions in the army, and
undermined Nicholas II. The defeats made it easy to argue that his removal was a
way to secure victory for Russia. People quickly started to realize the Tsar
was far from suitable to hold the Russian throne and that something had to be
done to secure Russia’s reputation. An example of this is, “None of the
military decisions made between his assumption of command and his abdication in
1916 owed anything to his input. Instead, familiarity bred neglect. The tsar
was no longer a figure of awe and mystery.”  This proves that
Russia’s once strong reputation was slowly getting weaker. Nicholas’ gesture
had international consequences. To the French and British governments, it was
deemed as a good opportunity to battle the tsar’s government. While the Tsar
was taking care of war measures he left his wife authority over Russian government,
this proved to be a poor decision as she had just as little experiemce as him
with a very bad reputation from the people. An example of this is “His
physical removal from Petrograd left the threads of government hanging. They
were taken up by the tsarina. German-born and lacking the intellectual
development to shape her driving energy, which was increasingly in thrall to
her sinister adviser monk, Grigory Rasputin, Alexandra would complete the
catastrophe of the empire.” This shows that after the Tsar had left
Petrograd to be more involved with Russia’s military the people had suffered
greatly because of Alexandra’s poor decisions in the Russian Empire. This had
proven to be the last straw for the Russians as it also bothered the people
that a woman was in charge, let alone a German- born one. Her bad reputation
just added to the conflict in Russia because it was believed that Alexandra was
used as a way to help Germany while backstabbing Russia.

 

 

       Lastly, many incidents that the
Tsar may have neglected to think about or miscalculated were conducted poorly.  “Nicholas
was raised in the Imperial Family where monarchs wielded power over, but didn’t
talk to, their subjects. Unless it was expedient, rulers rarely looked at the
living and working conditions of the ruled. This shows that had the Tsar
talked to his subjects he would have understood
the desperation of the poor and had he visited some of the factories, he would
have seen the terrible conditions and could have potentially altered the way
things were going in Russia. Tsar Nicholas was known to be a stubborn an. Stuck
in his ways the Russians felt there was no room for change in Russia for as
long as the Tsar was in charge. For example, “By insisting on old
ways of the past, he wrote himself out of a place in the future.” This shows that if he had tried to make
improvements to the Russian Empire there would have been a bright new Empire
for Russia to grow into. Some reasons this failed to happen was because, he
failed to grasp that his country, and he also needed some measure of change. As
well, he didn’t realize that the Russian system was beginning to take a toll.
Lastly, once the impulse of radical change had started he was ineffective in
trying to stop it. “To celebrate
his marriage to Alexandra, Nicholas held a customary banquet for his
subjects. This traditional wedding feast turned into a stampeding mass of
humanity as people – trying to grab morsels of food – crushed each other.” After
the banquet was finished many people died, and
Nicholas was criticized for not canceling plans to attend a celebratory ball in
his honor. His uncles encouraged him to attend the ball, because they felt it
would be rude not to attend. It was unprofessional and not appropriate for a
man like the Tsar to throw such a banquet without thinking about the
repercussions this event may have, therefore; it left a very bad impression on
the Tsar by his people.

Russia has been forever changed
since the revolution. The Tsar had a public opinion that was negative by most
which led to the Revolution. Because of the Tsar’s poor decisions and little
experience in government he was a constant symbol of Russia’s failings. Because
of the way he ruled Russia has ceased to be the great empire it once was. After Lenin’s government secured power, one of its
first major goals was to get Russia out of the War. After his Decree on
Peace, Lenin sent out diplomatic notes to all participants in the war, calling
for everyone to stop fighting immediately if they did not want Russia to seek a
separate peace. The effort was ignored. On December 15, Russia signed
an armistice with Germany and Austria, pending a formal peace treaty.
Russia’s exit from the war was very costly, but Lenin was desperate to end the
war at any cost, as the Germans were threatening to invade Petrograd. In the
peace, Lenin consented to give up most of Russia’s territorial gains.
Eventually, the Soviets would regain these territories at the end of World War
II.

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