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The Factors which Lead to the Abdication of Tsar Nicholas in March 1917

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The Factors which Lead to the Abdication of Tsar Nicholas in March 1917 In March 1917 Tsar Nicholas abdicated his, and his sons position as tsar of Russia. It had become impossible for him to continue because of the vast discontent across all the social classes. This situation did not just arise overnight it was brewing for a long time. It is also impossible to attribute his abdication to one specific factor because it was down to many. War broke out in 1914 and in the beginning it actually united Russia, although this was only to last a short period of time. This was because the majority of people thought the war would last only a matter of months. Pre World War One Russia was very divided and lacked national cohesion, the population hoped that the war would quickly and effectively unify the country. As the months went on and there was still no sign that the war was over people became very hostile towards the Tsar. This was not helped by the crippling financial situation the nation was in. In 1914 Russia had achieved remarkable financial stability but this was shattered by the war. Between 1914 and 1917 over one and a half billion roubles were spent on the war. The national budget increased from four million roubles in 1913 to thirty million in 1916. ...read more.


Even the military commanders in the army turned against him because he appeared to undermine their authority when he took personal control of the troops in August 1915. Duma members were getting increasing frustrated with the situation. They had little role in government and as time went on there aggravation increased. This is a stark contrast to August 1914 when the Duma showed total support for the tsar by voting for its own suspension for the duration of the war. Within one year voices of opposition to the tsar were coming from the Duma. When they saw the war was going badly they demanded its formation again. Nicholas agreed to this but rejects its appeal for the dismissal of his incompetent ministers. The Kadets and the Octobrists joined forces to form the "Progressive Bloc" in June 1915. This group became the focal point of the political opposition to the tsar. The SR's did not join this group but its members voted with the Progressive Bloc within the Duma. By 1917 even the Elite Romanov family and Cabinet Ministers had turned against the tsar. This was mainly due to the role of Rasputin within the government. Rasputin was a starets (holy man) from Siberia. It was rumoured that he belonged to a religious sect, the Kylysty. They believed religious ecstasy lay in the senses. Men and women flogged themselves and sometimes engaged in sexual acts. Rasputin's involvement with the Romanov dynasty flourished because of his alleged healing powers. ...read more.


As a whole they new that only major concessions could suppress the situation. Nicholas in his stubbornness decided to dissolve the Duma. It did so formally as an assembly but a group of twelve members disobeyed the order and set up as the Provisional Committee. This was the first constitutional defiance of the tsar. On 27th February a layer by the name of Alexander Kerensky then sensationally called for the tsar to stand down or be deposed. Nicholas now faced an impossible situation. He had a crisis with his popularity basically everyone hated him. He had failed to deliver on his reforms in the past so even if he promised new ones he would be ignored. He had neglected the problems of the workers and peasants. World War One's negative impact had exacerbated Russia's existing problems. Finally the military had turned against him. On 28th February army commanders prevented Nicholas returning to the capital because of the current situation. On the 4th March 1917 Nicholas abdicated his, and his sons position as tsar of Russia. So what was the main factor that lead to his abdication? In my opinion it was the war. Once it was clear Russia was not going to win everything spirals out of control for the tsar. If Russia had not entered the war and the tsar had made moderate reforms, like Stolypin's land reforms, I think he might have survived. In conclusion this was a truly complex situation caused by many factors. The tsar had backed himself into a corner from which he had no choice but to step down. ...read more.

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