• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was Nicholas II responsible for his own downfall?

Extracts from this document...


Was Nicholas II responsible for his own downfall? Nicholas II acted as an autocratic monarch rather than a constitutional leader, and this was a factor in his eventual downfall and abdication. Other factors included, him leaving Russia in the incapable hand of his wife, Alexandra, who herself was greatly influenced by Rasputin. The 'Holy Man' Rasputin was becoming more and more popular with Alexandra for helping their only son, Alexis's with his haemophilia, and his strange but powerful brand of spirituality certainly affected both Alexandra and Nicholas. It could be argued that Nicholas was himself responsible for allowing the power of Rasputin to extend so far and to influence his political decisions. Historians are in agreement that Nicholas lacked the necessary skills and qualities to rule a rapidly changing country. There were however factors outside of Nicholas' control, including his son's illness, that he could not be held directly responsible for. Indeed Russia was a huge country which was very hard to govern even for the most competent Tsar. One of the first factors which Nicholas was responsible for was his weak character and the fact that he allowed Alexandra to be so dominant. She encouraged him to hold on to his absolute power when a change in his style of leadership may have been a more politically useful tactic. A very significant contributing factor to Nicholas' downfall was the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05. ...read more.


Nicholas regretted signing the October Manifesto and he dismissed Witte, the man who encouraged him to sign it. In Witte's place he appointed a man called Peter Stolypin. Stolypin got to work immediately; he set up a special court for people who were obviously guilty it was called 'field court for civilians'. The people who were being tried could not be found innocent. They were either sentenced to exile or execution. By the end of 1906 over one thousand terrorists or revolutionaries were sentenced to execution and another 20,000 were sentenced to exile. His measures were tough but effective, the number of Russian revolutionaries went down from 100,000 in 1905 to 10,000 in 1910. This settled the revolutionaries and helped Nicholas greatly but still people were annoyed at these harsh measures. Stolypin also tried to reduce revolutionaries by helping the peasants because they made up the majority of the population. He tried to give them better standards of living and encouraged them to buy their own land. The government provided loans for the peasants but still only the wealthier of them could afford loans. Although Stolypin's harsh measures had worked the economy remained weak. Appointing Stolypin helped the Tsar and shows that he was not totally responsible for his own downfall because he helped reduce opposition to his rule, but it could be argued that these brutal methods were in fact only delaying the inevitable Revolution against his government. ...read more.


People were dissatisfied with the government, rising prices, and food shortages. Women were queuing for hours outside the bakery only to be told that there was no bread left. The women stormed the bakeries and by the next day thousands of workers were on strike, crowds gathered and chanted anti-government slogans. The crowds were getting out of hand attacking shops and setting buildings alight. The Tsar ordered the commander of the military forces to put an end to the disorders but the generals troops were new recruits and had sympathy for the people as they too were suffering. Nicholas did not realise the seriousness of the riots until too late and on March 15th Nicholas was forced to abdicate. After looking at all the factors that contributed to Nicholas' downfall, it would appear that Nicholas was to a very great extent responsible for his own downfall. It could not be said that he was totally the cause of his own ruin but certainly his actions contributed greatly to the increased unrest within Russia. The brutal treatment of his political enemies was only effective in the short term, and his lack of successful leadership on the battlefields led to more suffering for his already starving people. Nicholas made many bad decisions such as leaving the country in the control of with his wife and allowing Rasputin's astonishing rise to power. There were other factors which contributed which Nicholas had no control over such as his son's illness, the harsh Russian Winters, the unstable political situation outside of his borders and the very size of his country. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is a thorough and strong response that covers all the key points well. The author regularly links back to the question and offers a convincing conclusion. 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 09/04/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. 'The Five Year Plans brought glory to Stalin and misery to his people.' How ...

    Soon after Lenin's death in 1924, the slogan 'Stalin is the Lenin of today' became widely used by sections of the rank and file party members. His popularity was built up through propaganda, which presented endless images of Stalin as a great leader.

  2. Stalin and the Five Year Plans

    as a great figure, but it could also be seen as a way to encourage workers and the Russian people to meet the targets of the five-year plan, to give them someone to look up to. I think personally, that Stalin was trying to raise his people's morale and give them something to work towards.

  1. "Tsar of All the Russias" cartoon. Document Analysis & Bloody Sunday Historiography

    To show this opinion they have drawn him as a skeleton, noticeably the Tsar because of the skeleton's royal uniform, throne and the Romanov coat of arms in the background.

  2. Was the October revolution a popular uprising or a coup d(TM)tat?

    Although they don't share the view of Lenin being the 'puppet master' for the Bolshevik Party, they do recognise him as being an important figure in the October revolution and they especially regard his perseverance. They believe that without Lenin, the October revolution would probably not have happened.

  1. What were the causes of the Russian Revolution in March 1917?

    In October, a general strike spread from Moscow to other cities. All opposition groups were united in demanding changes. On 26th October, the St Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies was formed. Representatives from factories met to organise the strike action.

  2. How successful were Stalins Economic Policies?

    again between 1932 and 1937, from 64 to 128 million tons, and although the steel industry seemed to take time to get going - it only increased output from 4 to 6 million tons between 1927 and 1932, when the target was for 10 million tons, they actually exceeded their target of 17 million tons by 1 million in 1937.

  1. Letter to Tsar Nicholas II about Russia's problems

    However, making them pay a sum to the nobles was, although I am not questioning your ruling, a harsh decision. They are forced to stay in debt, and in many cases the debt is not payed off even when they die.

  2. Stalins Five Year Plans were a great success 1928-1941. Do you agree? Explain you ...

    state needed a group on which they could blame the inefficiency on; and that group was the workers. Some of the products produced were unusable as they had to be turned out so quickly and the machines were unwittingly wrecked by unskilled workers, many of whom were ex-peasants who had

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work