How World War 1 significantly contributed to the fall of the Romanov Dynasty Essay Example
How World War 1 significantly contributed to the fall of the Romanov Dynasty Essay Example

How World War 1 significantly contributed to the fall of the Romanov Dynasty Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (863 words)
  • Published: July 27, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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The beginning of the 20th century brought radical changes to the social and political structure of autocratic Russia. It was a period of regression, reform, revolution and eradication. Eradication of a blood line that had remained in rule for over 300 years; the Romanov Dynasty. World War 1 was a crucial and defining factor which led to the collapse of the Romanov Dynasty in February, 1917. Without it a revolution would not have happened at this point in time. This is not to say a revolution would not have eventually happened, as there were many other contributing factors that sparked the revolution.

However, what World War 1 essentially did was to heighten discontent throughout society enough for it to revolt. Before the 20th century, the Romanov family was viewed by the people of Russia as leaders �


�sent from God’. However as the 20th century neared, this admiration the public possessed for the royal family receded and was replaced by intellect. A growing sense of political and social awareness of the lower classes, as well as the introduction of democratic ideas from the West had sparked a change. The twentieth century saw the birth of new ideologies such as Leninism, Marxism, Liberalism and Socialism.

These ideologies proposed new models of government techniques and questions the ruling of the Romanov Dynasty. The Tsar saw World War 1 as a chance to restore Russia’s faith in his authority and regain support for autocratic rule. Political differences were put aside as Russians joined to fight the common enemy defending their homeland. Even urban discontent, which had been expressed in an increasing number of political and

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economic strikes in the first half of the year, vanished. But WWI was an absolute disaster to Russia, which all Russia had brought home, was shame and terrible defeats.

The soldiers were poorly equipped, which of 10 soldiers, only 7 had proper artilleries or weapons to fight with. Insufficient communication had disconnected the government with the military. There was shortage in food supply, as well as medical services. Most peasants were named to fight in war, no matter if they were young or old, weak or sick, they all had to attend war, under the system of autocrat. The poor war condition had resulted thousands of deaths. At the battle of Tannenburg, Russia lost 160,000 men to Germans and there were also great defeats in Poland, Baltic, Ukraine as well as White Russia.

Because of such situation, soldiers demanded for peace, but the government decided to keep fighting, much until 1917. As the war defeat continued, military morale declined. There were many massive surrender. Failing to appreciate the gravity of the situation, more and more wanted to get out of war, and it began to cause internal effects on Russia. Thus, the effects of the war contributed to social and economic unrest in Russia at the beginning of 1917: workers and their families had many grievances about wages that failed to keep pace with inflationary prices, and about the shortages of bread and other foodstuffs in the shops.

The immense cost of the war led to dramatic price inflation in Russia; by the end of 1916 were four times those of 1914. Wages rose more slowly than prices, and this lag contributed

to the revival of strikes in the capital at the end of 1916. Food supply was an additional problem, which led to an outbreak out of rioting and strikes in Petrograd and spread to other parts of Russia. This caused the first revolution of 1917, where on March 15th the Tsar was forced to abdicate from power and authority passed to a provisional government, made up of members of the Duma.

Tsar Nicholas II’s lack of military experience and inability to rule the throne all together, additionally contributed to the devastating outcome of WW1 on Russia. “A quick intelligence, a cultivated mind, method and industry in his work, an extraordinary charm that attracted all who came near him- the Emperor Nicholas had not inherited his father’s commanding personality nor the strong character and prompt decision which are so essential to an autocratic ruler... ” stated Sir G.

Buchanan, British ambassador to Russia in 1910, emphasizes how the urban lower classes were not the only ones unsatisfied with the Tsar Nicholas II. During the final phase of World War I in 1917, the second Russian Revolution took place. It removed Russia from the war and brought about the transformation of the Russian Empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), replacing Russia’s traditional monarchy with the world’s first Communist state. The Revolution was a reaction to the huge losses, government incompetence, and privations of World War I.

What caused or defined the decline and eventual fall of the Romanov dynasty cannot concluded by one influencing factor but a combination of the Tsar’s leadership, Revolutionary groups and the tipping point, World War 1.

From these it is evident though that Tsar Nicholas’ role in World War 1 and the war itself, to a major extent, was a key factor in the end of the 300-year reigning Romanov rule and subsequent execution. Nevertheless, all long-term and immediate causes played a crucial role in stirring the nation until Russian autocracy was clearly overdue to be overthrown.

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