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Why Was The Tsar Forced To Abdicate?

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Introduction

Why Was The Tsar Forced To Abdicate? On the 15th March 1917, Tsar Nicholas of Russia was forced to abdicate. He was facing a disastrous war against Germany and the collapse of his authority in Petrograd. However discontent in Russia had been present for many years. There were three main causes, which were long-term causes, short-term, and immediate causes. The long-term included: Russia was poor and underdeveloped. It was a rural society and over 90% of the people were peasants who were barely able to scratch a living from the land on which they worked but rarely owned themselves. They had little tools and farmed with old-fashioned tools on strips of land in fields. It was hard to introduce new methods to replace these old inefficient ways because they had been used for centuries. The majority of peasants lived in horrendous poverty while the aristocracy lived in luxury. They lived comfortably on huge estates and controlled the local government, especially the local councils called zemstovs and acted as a link between the people and the Tsar. Compared to most western European countries in 1900, Russia was economically way behind, but this began to change with the beginning of industrialisation. Large factories were being built and industry grew faster in Russia than any other European country. A large range of industries, including coal mining, iron and steel and textiles grew. Large numbers of peasants flocked to the towns to work in the factories; this industrial working class then became known as the proletariat. ...read more.

Middle

The Tsarina became completely dependant on Rasputin and he was even allowed to dismiss and appoint ministers. The Tsarina even wrote letters to her husband containing Rasputin's advice on how to run the war. Many people became envious of Rasputin's power and influence and he made many powerful enemies among nobles. Rasputin's assassination came to late to save the Royal Family's standing in Russia. The revolutionary groups did not help the Tsar's situation. The groups abroad smuggled newspapers into Russia - two of the most important were the Iskra (The Spark) which Lenin helped edit and the Bolshevik newspaper, Pravada (Truth) in 1912. This newspaper was very important in helping to spread Bolshevik ideas in Russia. There was increasing unrest from 1912. There were a number of industrial strikes between 1912 and 1914. The strikers were dealt with harshly. By 1914 there was also considerable unrest in St.Petersburg including street demonstrations, shootings and the building of barricades. In 1914 Russia went to war with Britain and France against Germany and Austria- Hungary. The outbreak of war was greeted with enthusiasm and increased patriotism. It seemed that the people wanted to give Nicholas a second chance because crowds gathered outside the Winter Palace to cheer the Tsar on and strikes in other parts of Russia ended, the Duma also swore to support the Tsar. However the Russian Army suffered defeats at Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes, the Germans also invaded Russia. Unfortunately the Russian Army was large but poorly equipped. With not enough ammunition and weapons, nearly a third of the soldiers marched into war without rifles. ...read more.

Conclusion

The increasing unrest from 1912 helped to give the revolutionaries ideas of what they could do to achieve what they wanted. The failures of World War One helped in the growth of a revolutionary movement in Petrograd. The immediate cause - the Riots in Petrograd was a result of the short-term causes because they showed the people what the status of the Royal Family and Russia was - terrible. The long-term causes were not so important but did contribute to the Tsars abdication. Because the Tsar believed he was an autocrat, this meant that any of Russia's failures would result in the blame being put on him. Because free speech was allowed this meant people were not allowed to speak their minds and this then led to the growth of revolutionary parties, which were planned in secrecy. The fact that Russia was poor and undeveloped meant that people wanted and needed more; this is why people set up revolutionary parties so they could try and create a better world for themselves. The growth of the revolutionary parties was probably the most important reason and was a result of many of Russia's problems. The other reason why the Tsar was forced to abdicate was that he got too involved in the war and should never have made himself commander. This meant that any of Russia's Military failures would be blamed on him. If he had not been directly involved in the war this would have helped him keep the support of the army and police and he would therefore been able to keep power. ...read more.

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