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The League of Nations was formed in 1919 to encourage the member countries to co-operate in trade, improve social conditions, complete disarmament and to protect any member country that was being threatened with war. The League of Nations was the initial

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10 a) What happened on “Bloody Sunday”, January 1905.

Bloody Sunday was a planned peaceful march in Saint Petersburg (known as Petograd at the time), the aim was to demand universal suffrage and eight hour workdays. It was led by Father Gapon and he had planned to give their petition to Nicholas II. But Police fired on the crowds, killing hundreds and wounding several hundreds. The workers had congregated to the Winter Palace, with posters and icons of Tsar Nicholas II, begging him for help with their situation. This massacre led to a great loss of respect for the Tsar and it showed how out of touch the Tsar was with his people. It was the great break between the Tsar and the millions of workers who had, until Blood Sunday, remained faithfully loyal to the Tsar.

b) Why did Nicholas II survive the 1905 revolution?

There were many reasons to why and how Nicholas II survived the 1905 revolution.  Firstly he published the October Manifesto in 1905. This granted freedom of conscience, speech, meeting and association. He also promised that in future people would not be imprisoned without trial.

Finally he announced that no law would become operative without the approval of the State Duma. As the Duma was only a consultative body, many Russians felt that this reform did not go far enough. Leon Trotsky and other revolutionaries criticized the plan.

In December, 1905, the leaders of the Soviets (in Petrograd and Moscow particularly), were exiled or executed. Lenin and Trotsky retreated again, realising that the time for revolution had not yet come.

Also the Tsar also began to introduce financial help for peasants. Although these measures were only short term it was one of the reason Nicholas managed to survive the 1905 revolution.

The Tsar negotiated peace with Japan, ending the Russo-Japanese war, and brought back his army quietly, without alerting the rebellious peasants. The army, still loyal to the Tsar, set about crushing the rebellion ruthlessly. This showed how Nicholas had the support of the arm which helped in a big way to survive after the revolution.

Also although many were angry with the Tsar, as many of them had remained loyal until Bloody Sunday, the protest which was held on the 22nd January 1905 was a peaceful one. This made it easier for the Nicholas to survive as the protestors had not made it a violent protesters even after the Cossacks opened fire at the protesters which injured and killed many that day.

By making all these changes Nicholas II and his government regained control of the situation and Nicholas managed to survive the 1905 revolution and continue on as the emperor of Russia.

c) The following were reasons why Tsarist rule ended in 1917:

(i)  the influence of Rasputin;

(ii) the collapse of the army;

(iii) the strikes and food shortages

Which of these reasons do you think were the most important? Explain your answer, referring to (i), (ii) and (iii).

Historians argue that there are many different causes to why the Tsarist rule ended in 1917. It is believed that three of those reasons were because of the influence of Rasputin, the collapse of the army and the strikes and food shortages that had been occurring.

One reason, which is arguably the most important reason, to why the Tsarist rule ended in 1917, is due to the collapse of the army. This had a large impact to why Nicholas abdicated in 15 March 1917. The Russian army had been fighting in WW1 and Russia was suffering a large loss of soldiers against the Germans.

In September 1915, Nicholas II replaced Grand Duke Nikolai as supreme commander of the Russian Army fighting on the Eastern Front. This failed to change the fortunes of the armed forces and by the end of the year there were conscription riots in several cities.

Nicholas II, as supreme commander of the Russian Army, was now closely linked to the country's military failures and during 1917 there was a strong decline in his support in Russia. Because Nicholas had made himself the leader of the army many people blamed him for the failures the army achieved. On 13th March, 1917, the Russian Army High Command recommended that Nicholas abdicated. Two days later the Tsar renounced the throne.

Another cause to the abdication of Nicholas was due to the strikes and food shortages in the country. As Russia was such a large country, which was spread over two continents, and had a very large population there was not enough food to feed its people.

Many of the workers were paid poorly and they worked long and tiring hours. This was the main reasons for the many strikes that broke out. Also this was the cause for the peaceful protest which became known as Bloody Sunday due to large numbers of killings and injuries sustained that day.

Also as many of the men were fighting in WW1 so that meant that only old men and the woman remained to produce the crops and food needed to make food for the population. Also the soldiers needed feeding as well so there was not enough food for many so many Russians were unhappy and hungry. Because of this there were many strikes and many Russians starved.

Another cause to Nicholas’ abdication in 1917 was due to the influence of Rasputin. Rasputin was said to have the powers to “heal people”, the Tsar and Tsarina were intrigued by Rasputin’s power and called upon him as they wanted him to heal their son.  

Nicholas II’s son, the heir to the throne, had a disease called haemophilia - This was a blood disease and if he had any cut to his body there was a serious risk to his health but Rasputin supposedly healed this disease on more than one occasion.  

As Rasputin had supposedly “healed” the Tsar’s son, Alexandra, the Tsar’s wife, was very grateful and became very friendly with Rasputin, it was also rumoured that they were having an affair. But no evidence has been found to confirm that. Many Russians did not like Rasputin as they believed he was a womanizer and he was the one who was influencing the Tsar and Tsarina to make all the decisions concerning Russia.

The Tsar had been handing much power back to the people, such as free speech, freedom of conscience and uncensored papers. This was to quell the first Russian Revolution and prevent any further uprisings and disputes. After Rasputin returned in 1912 he brought the Tsar into conflict with the now far freer press and brought back all the troubles which had been buried under the surface after the Tsar’s promises to the people.

When Nicolas II made the terrible mistake of taking over the running of the war, he not only damaged his own reputation by being forced to take the blame for the defeats, but he also put the Tsarina in charge. The Tsarina proved to be intolerant of the Duma and it appeared to everybody else that Rasputin was running the country but Tsar still seemed oblivious to the fact.

The poor decisions that were made by the Tsar during the time of Rasputin's influence and the hatred that his presence inspired in the people probably contributed significantly to the fall of the Tsar in the last days of the dynasty. People lost confidence in their ruler at a time of grave crisis. Russia was fighting in World War I and losing badly. There were severe shortages of food and supplies at home. As public confidence lapsed, the revolutionary ideas that had been considered in Russia for 50 years began to come to the surface. Finally, shortly after Rasputin's death, the Russian Revolution swept away Nicholas and his family forever.

In conclusion, many historians will agree in saying that the most important cause to the Tsar’s abdication in 1917 was due to the collapse of the army.

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