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The Fall of the Romanovs

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Introduction

Russia in July 1914 was in the midst of a war in which was supposed to rally the masses together and send the great imperial Russia on its way to a great victory like the many in its past (without thinking of the Russo-Japan war). So why instead was the Tsar forced to abdicate in 1917? What ended the three hundred year reign of the Romanov family? The war, as agreed by most historians, was definitely a catalyst toward the speculatively inevitable end to Tsarist Russia and could possibly be the match that lit this 'time bomb'. The war was the cause of acute distress and disenchantment of the Russian people. After suffering heavy defeats in 1914 and 1915 where enormous numbers of Russian soldiers were killed, the Tsar and his government received more anger from the people about their conducting of the war as the government is always blamed if a country is losing a war. As well as this, there were increasingly terrible conditions in large cities with disruptions in the supplying of food, goods, raw materials and so on. Hundreds of factories were closed down and people were left unemployed and destitute, with prices inflating rapidly and food availability was falling drastically. People were also becoming increasingly discontent with conscription of men in their families who hardly returned from the front and the massive losses of animals to the army. ...read more.

Middle

There had long been a feeling of discontent among the people of Russia. It seemed every group had something to complain about. In the countryside the peasants held grievances over the increasing need for more land and the high taxes put into place by Witte to aid the economy in becoming a world power could not be paid as there were poor harvests in 1900 and 1902 causing mass starvation and unrest in the countryside. The workers in the towns were also subjected to the harsh policies of Witte, and with the downturn of the economy in 1902 there was a rise in unemployment. The employed held grievances over the terrible working and living conditions as well as wanting more political power for representatives of upcoming parties: the Socialists. As well as this, it seemed the Tsar had no inclination as to the governing of his own country - his government was repressive and denied basic freedoms, such as: freedom of the press, freedom to protest, etc. As well as this he made no concessions in moving toward a constitutional government. The catalyst that caused the revolution though was not only the outbreak but also the terrible defeats obtained by Russia in the Russo-Japanese war on both land and sea. The war put strains on the amounts of food and fuel in towns as well as inflation and unemployment. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the towns, there was an industrial boom from 1906-1914, with large growths in industries. Businessmen and entrepreneurs prospered greatly. However the working class did not receive benefit from this prosperity. Wages did not increase and working conditions did not improve - strikes persisted in growing numbers prior to the First World War as they remained in their position of little economic or political progress. In conclusion, it seemed that although July of 1914 was a date that can be seen as the 'spark' that lit the fuse of the time bomb as the country was fighting war that they were blatantly not in the position to fight. However, the Tsar's position was in critical decline much before this. This is because there were obvious problems with his autocratic government added to the Tsar's stubborn, arrogant character. The reasons for seemed to root farther back than just that date in particular. This can be seen by the routes taken by the Tsar to try and aid his country though these decisions seemed to fail due to outside causes such as the war which certainly did not aid the Tsar in his contemptuously viewed position. Therefore, one can deduce that July of 1914 was not the beginning of problems for Russia but merely a date in which the catalyst of war sent the Tsar and his government into an avalanching decline that couldn't be salvaged. 'In July 1914, Tsarist Russia was a time bomb on a very short fuse.' To what extent is this statement an accurate description? Michelle Davies 12 DSp ...read more.

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