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Which of the following views best explain the fall of Tsarism of Russia? (I) Autocracy is an outdated form of government not suited to twentieth century Russia. By Count Leo Tolstoy. (II) Without war Tsarist Russia would have survived and pr

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Introduction

History Coursework: Tsarism in Russia TASK 1: Which of the following views best explain the fall of Tsarism of Russia? (I) "Autocracy is an outdated form of government not suited to twentieth century Russia." By Count Leo Tolstoy. (II) "Without war Tsarist Russia would have survived and prospered." By V.N.Kokovstov. Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until his abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to an economic and military disaster. The February Revolution was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917 and its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the collapse of the Romanov dynasty. The quotes stated above represent two arguments; one which believes that the fall of Tsarism was because of the Autocratic system and the other which believes that War was the catalyst which caused the fall of Tsarism. Tolstoy's argument can be supported by several sources which highlight the Tsar and his system's weaknesses. However, there are also various sources which back Kokovstov's view which display the complications the war caused and suggest that perhaps Russia would have prospered if it wasn't for the war which highlighted Tsarism's flaws and intensified problems as far as Tsarism's weakness were concerned. ...read more.

Middle

This demonstrates that Modernisation had failed and that Russia had lost faith in the Tsar. The Tsar's manifesto was in such shambles that even the leader of the Octobrist party and former supporter of the Tsar, had lost faith in him and his promises. It is from the year 1913 which was before the war and even then the "painless transition from the old condemned system had failed" which suggests that despite there being no war Russia's system was still failing and autocracy still remained. This source supports Tolstoy but also contradicts Kokovstov's argument because it suggests that Russia still had problems before the war due to the Tsarist system and that the pressure of war simply made it worse. This source can be linked to source 5 as it suggests that the transition to a new order failed which means that the Tsar's autocracy still dominated. This is similar to source 5 as the ideas of the October Manifesto were cancelled out by the Fundamental Laws therefore keeping autocracy as well. Overall I think Source 6 is reliable because it is a comment made by a leading figure in the Duma who actually admits the failure of his party. However, it can also be seen as being unreliable because Guchkov may simply be trying to put the Tsar down in order to gain power himself as he was already the chairman of the Duma(the parliament of Russia) ...read more.

Conclusion

This source links to source 12 because it also shows strong feelings of hostility towards the government as the soldiers are shown to be rebelling in Source 12. Conversely, source 11 and 12 could be interpreted to show that war highlighted only Russia's weaknesses. Source 11 is reliable as it is an extract directly from an Okhrana file. The Okhrana were able to get a first hand experience of the situation in the Russia and in particular the army. In conclusion I feel that Tolstoy's view is correct despite there being signs that Russia was modernising. There were signs of economic growth and improving living conditions. Nonetheless, the Tsar's selfishness negated the country's political solidity. In contrast to this I think if the Tsar had been willing to share his power, Russia would have continued to grow and prosper in spite of the war. It is difficult to say whether the war was the main reason for the fall of Tsarism however it was simply another hurdle which the Tsar couldn't handle. Source 1 showed that all the classes were openly hostile due to the autocratic system which according to Tolstoy was "hopelessly outdated" therefore supporting his point that it was not suited to 20th century Russia. Overall I feel that because of the war Russia's problems were intensified however they existed before it due to the failing autocratic system. ...read more.

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