The Decline and Fall of the
Romanov Dynasty – Nicholas II
Case Study
Modern History Preliminary Course
By
S.Angelo
History Head Teacher
East Hills Girls Technology High School
2007
Tsar Nicholas II - Main Issues
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Wanted to maintain the autocracy for his heir
– Alexis
Lacked the personality & skills necessary to
rule as an autocrat
Weak, mediocre ministers; often corrupt
Forced to grant October Manifesto
Failed to follow through with political reforms
Failed to maintain support/confidence of elite
Nicholas II – Ascension 1894
Alexander III, father of Nicholas, a powerful,
domineering man, dies aged 49
 Nicholas ascends to the throne at the age of 26
 Marriage to Alexandra
 Belief in his divine right to rule
 Council members chosen by the Tsar
 Used repression to try to control opposition
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Pogroms against Jews commence
Political Issues
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1895 Lenin led a league aimed at the emancipation
of the working class; leading to a rapid growth in
strikes
Major political parties were dominated by the
intelligentsia and not the peasants
Aim of all revolutionary parties was to end the
autocracy – although each wanted a different
outcome
Minister for Education – assassinated 1901
Minister for the Interior – assassinated 1902
Economic Issues
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Program of economic modernisation
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needed to raise money to pay for the Trans-Siberian railway
Grain continued to be exported even in the face of famines in
1897, 1898, 1901
Taxes were collected when grain prices were at their lowest
increasing the economic demands on the peasants
Peasants had to seek work in urban centres
Some peasants wanted an end to the redemption payments
Some peasants wanted more land
1903 – wave of strikes – oil, rail, engineering industries
Social Issues
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Industrial workers now formed a new class
Conditions for these workers were appalling
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Overcrowding, dirty, unhygienic, dangerous
Long hours
Communes were disrupted when peasants had to
seek work in towns
Families became resentful and demanded
reforms
Economic Reforms
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Sergii Witte
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wanted an equalizing of class status between peasants and
other classes
Wanted to create a market class – farmers who had the
means to purchase manufactured goods
Supported autocracy as the means of ruling such a diverse
country
Supported the modernisation of Russia
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Better education, civil liberties, better working conditions,
efficient administration, rapid industrial growth
Russo-Japanese War 1904 - 5
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War over the control of Manchuria and Korea
Russia defeated
Belief in supremacy of Russia shaken
Autocracy undermined
Strikes and demonstrations in St Petersburg
1905 Revolution – Bloody Sunday
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8 January 1905 – Putilov iron factory strike
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Led by Father Gregory Gapon
111, 000 workers involved
99, 000 women and children also marched
Marched on Winter Palace
Demands included reforms to working conditions
Demonstrators were fired on and ridden down by mounted
Cossacks with sabres
About 130 people were killed and hundreds injured
This destroyed the image of the ‘People’s Saviour’
Results of Bloody Sunday
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Spread of disturbances and revolts in Kursk & the Volga
About 50% of peasants in 16 provinces revolted
Union of Unions formed – alliance of professionals – leader
Milyukov
1st socialist Soviet (workers’ council) formed
June – Potemkin mutiny
10 other mutinies followed
August – an offer of an elected consultative council failed to
stop the revolution
7 October – first general strike
14 October - St Petersburg Soviet – Leon Trotsky (Menshevik)
17 October – October Manifesto – framed by Witte, Prime
Minister
End of Presentation
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