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Russia 1914 To 1917: Coursework : Sources Question

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Introduction

Russia 1914 to 1917: Coursework : Sources Question Study Source A. What can you learn from Source A about the reactions in Russia to the outbreak of war in 1914? Source A is a description of events in August 1914 in Russia, written by the daughter of the British ambassador to Russia. She is an independent witness and means that we are able to take her information as reliable. She speaks of the huge enthusiasm that the people on the streets displayed in 1914. She talks of how the procession carried the Tsar's portrait with them while singing their national anthem. This suggests that the people of Russia were very patriotic and fully behind the Tsar and his actions. We are also shown a view of the soldiers going into battle. With many described we can suggest how many men must have volunteered to join the war, probably dreaming of victory and showing their patriotism. They are described as singing and cheering "...with honest open eyes". They too have faith in the Tsar, appearing innocently optimistic to be going into war. Another quote that "the saints would protect them" shows how they are also still in trust of the heavens to protect them and that religion, as well as the Tsar, is a large hope to them. The author also mentions the beginning of the war and the Russian's huge enthusiasm. She explains it by talking of the great armies and the Russian steamroller. This is referring to their army that they thought able to flatten opposition. The optimism of Russia and her allies meant that they expected triumph by Christmas. Russian reactions to the outbreak of war were so fully supportive of the Tsar and their army that they expected their opposition to be pathetic in comparison. Study Sources A, B and C. Sources A and B were written by the same person. ...read more.

Middle

She writes "Guided by him we shall get through this heavy time." She has placed all her faith in him and truly believes in his power. By this, we can understand that she also will make actions under his guidance, and so it can be concluded and that as a result, her decisions with the government would be largely influenced by Rasputin. In the Tsarinas letter, we are also shown an example of the areas Rasputin is influencing. "He begs you to advance near Riga" is a quote from the source. This shows us Rasputin's command over the decisions of the war, and demonstrates one direction of his power and influence. The source largely supports Radzankio's statement by showing that through the Tsarina Rasputin largely influences the government and its decisions. However, we also see that the Tsar is also influenced but it would be hard to conclude that he would necessarily take Rasputin's and the Tsarina's advice. Source J is from the report of a commission investigating aspects of the Tsars regime, including Rasputin. We can suggest, just from this, that they were already unhappy with the way the Tsar was handling things, and that they were suspicious about Rasputin. However, this source suggests that Rasputin's influence was less extensive. It talks of petitions carried by Rasputin to Court but goes on to say " all of these referred merely to applications of positions, favours, railway concessions the like." The word 'merely' is used as if these matters were not really important and not crucial aspects of government. The source does discuss other aspects of Rasputin, giving an unfavourable image. It talks of his parties, with 'curiously mixed', or in other words disreputable or unrespectable guests. It was things like this that made people dislike Rasputin that is seen by the negativity towards him in the source. This may suggest a reason for Radzianko's statement, if he also disliked Rasputin and wanted exaggerate the situation, as this source does not otherwise support it. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was during the war that Rasputin entered the picture more forcefully. He was a monk and the son of a Siberian peasant. The Tsarina believed that he was a miracle worker, as he seemed to be able to cure her son's haemophilia. However, Rasputin lived a shameful life with many parties of disreputable people as written in Source J. He was also reported to be sleeping with many of the leading women of the court. Source M shows him with his 'aristocratic harem'. This source also illustrates how the scandal was known in both Europe and the USA. This brought shame to the Russian Royal Family. The scandal surrounding his life did nothing to promote the royal family but resulted in discrediting it. The situation became critical after August 1915, once the Tsar had taken control of the army. The Tsarina was left in charge of the government and totally under the influence of Rasputin. Men were given posts in government not because they were good at their job but simply because they knew how to please Rasputin. He highlighted the weaknesses of the autocratic regime. We see in Source I, how especially the Tsarina takes and follows every message and command that Rasputin gives. Source K shows us how this was portrayed to the public. This gave a feeble image of the Royal Family to the public. They saw that it was no longer the Tsar running the country but Rasputin. In December 1916, a group of nobles killed Rasputin. They believed that they were saving Russia. However, after Rasputin's death there was little change in Russia. The country and the Tsars problems continued after his murder. This suggests that Rasputin may not have been the real cause. Because of this, I agree with the historian's statement that "Rasputin's death changed little. He was not the main cause of unrest in Russia 1917". I think it is true to say that he was a symptom, not a cause of the problem. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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