In 1917, Tsar Nicholas the second abdicated from the Russian throne. This was because the Russian people had had enough of his autocratic ways. Nicholas was mainly responsible for his own downfall in 1917 but he was not wholly to blame for what happened. He was not brought up with any guidance of being a Tsar, or how to run a country. He admitted in a report that he was not prepared to be Tsar, and he never wanted to be one. He had no idea of ruling or how to talk to his ministers. He was expected to run a country without any help or experience to guide him.
The only thing he did realise was that he had to keep his family in power. As they had been for so many years. He admired autocracy and decided to become an Autocratic leader. His first steps, as Tsar was to build up the Russian railway system into a greater system than it was. He also tried to bring Tsarism back to Russia. He did this by forming a prosperous class of peasants who would support the ideas of Tsarism. The first event that affected his situation was the First World War.
He was forced to go and help Serbia once the Germans had declared war upon them, because Russia had an alliance with Serbia. The Russians did terribly during the war, because they were a financially poor country. They also had a very weak social economy, which meant that there was very little money to fund the expenses of the war. The lack of money meant that only 1 in 3 soldiers would have a rifle, and then they would only have three bullets to fire. The war lead to Russia suffering heavy defeats to the Germans, these defeats contained many deaths, and the men’s morale was very low.
The effects of the war were beginning to show upon the Russian people, and there was a lot of peasant unrest. They feared the worse for their country and did not want to come under German rule. Nicholas’ main reason for not wanting to go to war was because he would be fighting family. His family took the shape of the German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm. The Kaiser would not forgive the Serbs for assassinating the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and insisted that the two countries went to war. This left Nicholas no choice but to side with Serbia because of the alliance between the two countries.
The Tsar could not prevent these riots as the Russian money was being pumped into the war effort. The peasants now wanted Communism to take over, and they didn’t want the Tsar to keep up his autocratic ways. Because the war in Europe was costing so much, peoples food had to be rationed therefore peasants were forced to stand in freezing cold weather and queue for up to four hours so that they could receive bread and corn to survive.
In “Russia and the USSR” by Alan White, there is a quote: ” Resentment is felt worse in large families, where the children are starving. Mothers, exhausted from standing endlessly at the tail of queues, are stockpiles of flammable material, needing only a spark to set them alight” These events were unlucky for the Tsar as they were out of his control and there was no way for him to correct them. He wanted to be a strong and powerful leader, but he made a lot of poor decisions, because of his lack of experience and knowledge. Nicholas appeared arrogant towards his nation and did not seem to show a lot of care for his people.
He made rash decisions regarding the political side to the countries warfare in Europe, and in 1915, he made a very bad decision. This was to take command of the army. He had absolutely no military experience and therefore could not run the army or make battle plans. He should have left the running of the army to his experienced commanders. Russia looked set to lose the war, and Nicholas did not realise that he would be blamed for any Russian defeats. Another bad mistake Nicholas made, was to leave his wife and family healer in charge of Petrograd.
Alexandra knew nothing about ruling a nation, and she made very bad decisions. Being a German lady did not help her position, as she was being regarded as a German spy and gained a lot of hatred from the nation. The family healer Grigory Rasputin was also causing havoc in the political side of affairs in Petrograd as he was employing a large number of people and then firing them. For example, in the autumn of 1915 to the autumn of 1916, there were five ministers in charge of internal affairs, and four ministers in charge of agriculture.
There was a lot of confusion and everything spiralled out of control. In 1905, Nicholas was given a wake up call, and this was that if he did not change his autocratic ways, then he would lose his power as Tsar. He did not take heed of this warning, and soon after receiving his warning, he returned back to his autocratic ways. These events all portray a fine example of bad decision making by Nicholas II, and if he had made better and decisive decisions, then his reign would have lasted longer.
He did not seem to realise that if he had increased prosperity in the country, then he would have brought more people round to the idea of Tsarism. Nicholas had managed to bring Russia’s economic state down so low that things like bread and corn were so scarce. People then started to eat cats, dogs, and even rats to survive. The war was the start of Nicholas’ downfall, and he then started to dig a hole far too big for himself, and because of his incompetence, he managed to turn his own nation against him and bring about the death of his own family.