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Assess the extent to which the political incompetence of Nicholas II led to the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty and the Russian Empire in 1917.

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Introduction

Assess the extent to which the political incompetence of Nicholas II led to the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty and the Russian Empire in 1917. Politically, Tsar Nicholas II was poorly prepared for the position and when he was placed in power he was an indecisive autocrat being easily influenced by others and always making poor decisions. For example, his relationship with Alexandra and Rasputin was a submissive one. There is no doubt that to a degree his rule was characterized with political naivety, obstinacy, incompetence and insensitivity. However, it is not solely these faults in his character that led to the demise of the Russian Empire. The inherent unpopular autocracy, class structure, flagging economy, terrorist uprisings against Alexander II and World War I were also significant factors in the collapse of the Romanov's dynasty and the Empire. Nonetheless, it was Nicholas' political incompetency and negligence of these issues that magnified and worsened the problems. The Tsar was believed to be appointed by God, and he was known affectionately as "the little father" by his subjects. His decisions were accepted and considered final. Then what was it about Nicholas II rule that undid so much trust and confidence his people put in him? ...read more.

Middle

The defeat of Russian forces led to the revolutionary events of 1905. In 1904 Plehve, internal affairs minister, tabled a crude democracy (Van der Kiste 1998 p 170). Soon Nicholas was loosing faith in his advisers (not because of the loss at war) but because they were advising him to loosen his autocracy (Ferro 1991 p 69). The real starting point of revolutionary activities was the January 9 1905 protest which became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. The protest was a large crowd bearing icons and pictures of the tsar marched towards the winter palace in St Petersberg . This crowd went with the hopes of presenting the tsar with a petition which attacked the exploitation of the people by capitalist factory owners and demanded a series of measures designed to improve the workers position and reverse some of the wrongs under which they had suffered. The tone of the petition seemed to be one of loyalty to the tsar, appealing to him to sort out their difficulties. One can argue that this protest showed the unshaken confidence in the Tsar as a source of charge and initiative. Although this confidence did not last long as the response to this protest was for the troops to open fire on the crowds. ...read more.

Conclusion

There were other factors that contributed to the revolution. There were massive socio-economic changes taking place, some of which led to the recomposition of the upper-class and an urban bourgeoisie (http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/3318.php). It created a new class of factory workers, the urban working class, mostly peasants moved to the city, and who now worked in shocking conditions. With the outbreak of WW1 the Russian economy had to produce everything itself. After Turkey entered the war on the German side cutting off the last realistic trade route, this led to food shortages which contributed to the growing discontent among workers who were already deeply anti-government (Weiler). Nicholas did make the decision to go to war which can be seen as a catalyst for accentuating discontent. CONCLUSION: One must remember that the Russia Nicholas inherited had weaknesses in its social structure. The bulk of the population was peasantry and they were having the hardest time. The time was right for revolution Bibliography Brooman, J. (1986) Russia in War and Revolution, Longman Ferro, M. (1991) Nicholas II The Last of the Tsars Viking Press, London The text provides an in depth, involved analysis of Nicholas' personal, social and political life. It is a scholarly discussion written with pain staking detail. Everything from official Government documents to personal diary entries are considered to draw appropriate and balanced conclusions. ...read more.

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