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Why did the Tsarist regime fall in 1917?

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Introduction

Why did the Tsarist regime fall in 1917? 1. The message of the cartoon is that the workers in Russia support the whole country - and without them Russia would collapse. It also shows that the rest of the Russians are having an easy and comfortable life at the workers expense, and that this is very unfair. The cartoonist gets this message across by showing the workers at the bottom of the pile, which is symbolic of the Russian hierarchy, because they are the least important people. They are seen to be supporting the rest of Russia, almost as if Russia would collapse without the workers, which of course is true, as Russia relied on the working class to sustain industries and work in factories etc. Similarly, the Russian people worked because they needed the small amount of money they earned to survive - in the cartoon, the workers are holding up Russia so that they can survive, and that is the only reason. The workers do not have a choice whether they support Russia (work) or not - they will be crushed if they do not hold it up. The cartoonist further illustrates the unfairness of the Russian hierarchy, as the cartoon depicts the Russian population in a pyramid shape. This shows that the more power, land and authority one has, the higher up the pyramid they will be, but there will be less of those people. The most power is shared by a small amount of people, whereas the least power is shared by a lot of people. The peasants and workers have barely any land, and they certainly have no power or say as to how their country should be run. On the contrary, the Tsar's family and the aristocrats have almost all the power and land, but there are very few of them. The cartoonist shows that the peasants and workers must suffer to sustain the happiness of those higher up. ...read more.

Middle

Source H, was produced after the revolution. We know this as it is an extract from the book 'before the revolution' - it must have been written after the revolution for the author to have known that there was to be a revolution. Because this source is looking back at an event in the past, there is less reason for the author to want to make anything up. Source H was written to be an accurate historical account of what was happening. Source H gives a different view of Rasputin than source G, because source G was trying to affect the opinions of people at the time (in 1916) by showing a distorted view of the relationship between 'the Russian Tsars' and Rasputin. On the other hand, source H is taken from a book written after the revolution and therefore the purpose of the source was to give a historically accurate view of what was actually happening at the time. Because of the differences in the reasons these two sources were produced, these sources give different views on the influence of Rasputin over the Tsar and Tsarina. The second reason why these sources give different views about the influence of Rasputin is because the sources were written with different amounts of information available to them. Source G is a cartoon produced by opposition to the Tsar, and it portrays the Tsar and Tsarina being controlled by Rasputin. He is bigger, and higher up than them, which is trying to show that he has more power than they do. The Tsar and Tsarina look helpless, in a trance, and almost hypnotised. As this cartoon was produced by opposition to the Tsar, there would be no way that they would be able to have had access to any of the Tsar's palaces or mansions, in order for the truth about Rasputin's influence to be discovered. They would not know the truth, so the cartoon would only be speculation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Tsar was out of touch with his nation, he did not really know what was going on, as source D illustrates, 'He heard of the blood and tears of thousands upon thousands only through official documents...such reports did not convey to him the pain and suffering of the victims'. This was the main reason why so much discontent built up amongst the common people. The poor living and working conditions, the Duma's lack of power the humiliating defeats in the Russo-Japanese war, Bloody Sunday, and the unsuitability of Tsar Nicholas II as a ruler. All these things created a mood of utter discontent amongst Russians. As the Tsar didn't deal with these problems, another built up. The First World War added to the discontent with food shortages and defeats. The army itself felt as if it were fighting to no avail - which increased their discontent and made it more likely for them to mutiny in 1917. The Tsar making himself the leader of the Russian army caused even more bad feelings as every defeat was blamed personally onto the Tsar. Rasputin was left unattended back at home and his influence over the Tsarina was widely publicised by opposition to the Tsar to stir up a bit more discontent. Other propaganda was used to show people the unfairness of the Russian autocratic system (such as source A) and they tried to show people that a better life was not impossible. Finally, the mutiny in sections of the army in 1917 meant that there was no one to deal with the revolution which broke out. All the discontent was expressed and some of the army even joined in. This turned the tide on the Tsarist regime - as there was no one to stop the revolution, their downfall was only a matter of time. Andy Lowe GCSE History Coursework 2004 Page 1 of 11 ...read more.

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