Why was so little done to save Tsardom in February 1917? Essay

In February 1917 (Julian calendar), Tsar Nicholas II abdicated as a result of his poor governing skills and ceasing popularity. There was a great amount of dissatisfaction to the way that Russia was being run, the people were tired alike with the parties who were opposing Tsar. There are long and short-term reasons why so little was done to save Tsardom, resulting in the Provisional Government led by Prince George Lvov to guide Russia through World War I.

Political opposition facing Nicholas at the time were the Liberals and Socialists who were in an alliance with one another. Their key aim was to bring political/ social change through achieving solid reforms rather than destroying the Tsarist system. This ideology is largely based on that of Karl Marx (Marxism which formed from Socialists). Due to the fact that Tsar Nicholas had more than a decade to achieve their wishes in government, and to also reduce the size of the rich and poor division, it was not a great concern when he was overthrown from power.

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More to the fact, the Russian people strongly resented the autocracy of Nicholas II, and his corrupt elements in government. The country was being run in a lethargic and deprived manner, in addition he was out of touch with what the nation required and lacked in the race with the rest of Europe in its industry and farming. This resulted in few opportunities for fair advancement on the part of peasants and industrial workers. There was also widespread inflation as a immediate result of World War I which subjected the Russians to food shortages, contributing to a revolution. The rich did not see the need to help the poor, it was not their problem to get involved and use money which the government should have been issuing out. As a result of this, the divide between social classes grew, and the only man to change it should have been Tsar Nicholas. His country. His people.

Some months after the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ on the 9th January 1905, a document was published by Tsar Nicholas which promised freedom of speech, assembly and press. Although this was an improvement in the way the empire was being run, many could not forget what Nicholas was assumed to be involved in on that deadly Sunday where thousands of protesters, led by an Orthodox priest, were horrificly massacred.

One of the short term reasons why Tsarist Russia was not saved was because of the failings in War. Firstly, the Russo-Japanese was of 1904/05 was meant to be a way to bring success, unity in Russia and an expansion of the empire. There was also immensly sufficient resources to crush Japans hopes of succeeding. It seemed inevitable that failure was not an option, ‘We need a small victorious was to avert a revolution’ Plehve. Nevertheless, what happened in the war brought shame and embaressment to the entire empire, especially Nicholas. Port Arthur was attacked by the Japanese and the Russians were forced to surrender Korea to them, something which they strived not to do.

Secondly, as it stood, Germany was set to take over Europe, therefore something had to be done. Russia enrolled into war in 1914 with France, Serbia and Britain as their alliences. Once again, their resources far outweighed those of the enemies (Germany, Austria and Hungary). As the war progressed, the consequences of joining it increased; the National Budget muliplied, 90% of trade with Turkey was lost as they had treaties with Germany and also, inflation grew.

Another factor of war was that Nicholas gave false hope of victory to the Russian nation, ‘I know this situation seems bad…but…God will give us victory and then moods will change’. Victory ceased and moral was at an all time low.

In conclusion, it could be said that the short term reasons of Tsar Nicholas II downfalls are the main cataylsts to why there was such little done to save Tsardom by 1917. Perhaps if Russia was not involved in any wars there would have been no reason to dis-regard Nicholas as a strong leader. It is evident that after 23 years his popularity decreased, not to mention when he first became emperor and stated, ‘I want everyone to know that I will devote all my strength to maintain, for the good of the whole nation, the principle of absolute autocracy, as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father’.

This supports the argument that Tsar Nicholas was doomed to failure from the start as it shocked all who listened and largely affected the peoples wish for a more liberal Russia. Furthermore, saving Tsardom would highly effect the progress in industrisation as well as maintaining the rich/poor divide within the empire.

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