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Russia, once one of the largest and most feared empires in the world, would be brought to its knees through bad organisation and control. Nicholas II became the Tsar of Russia in 1894.

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Introduction

Russia, once one of the largest and most feared empires in the world, would be brought to its knees through bad organisation and control. Nicholas II became the Tsar of Russia in 1894, a Tsar is a leader much like a fascist who cannot be questioned or opposed. Nicholas was a good man but lacked the qualities which once built his great nation, he was very weak willed and had no interest in the running of his country, 'I am not ready to become Tsar. I know nothing of the business of ruling.' His wife, Alexandra, easily influenced him. She was a German who had married into the family after Nicholas became Tsar, in the time of war her nationality caused unrest. She managed to take control over her husbands decision making, turning his view to almost a totally autocratic leadership, this ment that even further distance was put between the Tsar and his dying people. After ten years in rule Nicholas and Alexandra had produced five children, four girls and one boy, Alexis, who was the heir to the throne. Soon after his birth, Alexis was diagnosed with haemophilia, a fatal blood disease that had no cure. A peasant man called Rasputin had been gaining respect in the Russian streets as a very gifted holy-man with incredible healing powers. ...read more.

Middle

The country was polarised between the fabulously rich and the peasants who barely produced enough food to survive. 80% of the population were peasants and 1% of the country's elite owned around 25% of the land. Virtually half of new born infants died before the age of 5. This caused massive resentment. Many peasants were forced to leave the fields to seek work in the industrial cities. There conditions of work, pay and accommodation were dreadful. Unemployment was at a high level. There existed no trade unions and there was no legal protection for workers who would often work up to fourteen hours per day for miserable wages. In 1900 a new elite class developed called the capitalists who created their wealth through banking and enjoyed preferential taxes. They too became the focus for huge peasant resentment. Trade Unions were illegal in the Soviet Union and the first was set-up by a priest who organised a strike in 1905 and march on the palace to present a petition asking for better working conditions, an elected parliament and an end to the war. Tsar Nicholas was not in residence but a company of soldiers arrived and massacred the protesters. A wave of strikes followed and in June 1905 the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutinied. In October a general strike was called. ...read more.

Conclusion

Farms stood un-kept and the transport system was in ruin so supplies could neither be produced or moved. Winter of 1917 was one of the coldest in Russian record causing further disruption (for example, boilers in the standing trains froze and burst). By March 1917, discontent in the country was at a peak. On 7th March 1917 over 20,000 steelworkers were getting locked out of their works over a pay dispute. For the next week many other disputes broke out bringing the whole country to complete standstill. The army then revolted and the Duma asked the Tsar to step down. Finally, the second revolution was concluded when the Tsar announced his abdication in favour of his young son, Alexis on March 15th. I would conclude that World War 1 contributed to the poor economic conditions in the country but these conditions had been evident at least 12 years previously. The mood of the country was (even before the war) already firmly against the Tsar and the capitalists and morale was at an all time low. Hence, the war was probably an important factor in sparking the March 1917 revolution but was not the 'main cause'. Mike Sims 10 DTP History Assignment1b World War l was the main cause of the March Revolution (do you agree?) Mike Sims 10 DTP History Assignment1 How did Rasputin contribute to the downfall of Tsar Nicholas ll ? ...read more.

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