Assess the significance of WWI on the rule of Tsar Nicholas 11.

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WWI was a very significant event on the rule of Tsar Nicholas 11. Although it initially bolstered his position, it then became a large factor that contributed to Nicholas’ downfall. The Country was ecstatic when the Tsar made the announcement that Russia was going to fight against Germany in WWI. Because of this, the concept of revolution became forgotten by many. In fact, the Tsar gained more followers as they regarded Germany as a great threat to the country. Never less, WWII exposed how inadequately Russia had been prepared for the war. The army’s use of tactics and choice of ministers were among the reasons behind Russia’s defeat. Hence, Nicholas not only gained opposition due to this, he also gained opposition due to the burden the war had provided for people at the home front. Ordinary Russians were suffering, there were problems with transport and the country’s economy declined immensely.

WWI had initially reinforced the Tsar’s position. When the Tsar announced that Russia was going to fight against Germany in 1914, a wave of patriotic favour swept across the country. There were processions in the street carrying the Tsar’s portrait and bands were seen everywhere playing the National anthem. People originally assumed that the war was going to be over by Christmas. Instead, it dragged on for several years. Before the troops went to war, the Tsar blessed them. When the war begun, the Tsar was regarded as God’s representative. He was affectionately known as ‘The Little father.’WWI was also significant in the Tsar’s rule as it made people forget about revolution as they realised that the country had to be unified. In fact, some revolutionary parties such as the Octobrists supported the Tsar as they viewed Germany as a greater threat than the Tsar. Attacks on the Tsar’s government lessened as people began focusing more on defending the country against Germany. However, some groups did not support the war against Germany. For instance, Lenin, the head of the Bolsheviks opposed the war as he believed that it was an imperialist war that revolved around capitalism and had nothing to do with Russia. The Bolsheviks did not support the war as they felt that it did not reflect the interests of the people. Some of these people fled to other countries so new feeling was undermined for time being.

Nevertheless, Russia started to lose. The defeat at Tannesberg contributed to people losing faith in the Tsar. In 1914, the Germans inflicted a heavy defeat on Russians.

WWI also exposed Russia’s army’s weaknesses in terms of tactics and choices and also how inadequately prepared they were for the war. The war minister Sukhomlinov underestimated the needs of the army. Due to factories were not able to produce enough ammunition only one in three soldiers had a rifle. By 1916, soldiers were forced to fight barefooted due to shortages in boots. These figures show how inadequately Russia was prepared for the war. To make matters worse, Nicholas appointed himself self commander in chief. This meant that he would be seen as the person who was directly responsible for the negative impact the war had on Russia. Hence, the people’s trust in the Tsar decreased even moreWWI also proved to be a huge burden for many people at the homefront. Ordinary Russians were suffering due to lack of food supplies and the breakdown in transport. Since the army had the first claim on the limited amount of food that was produced, they commanded the railways and roads. Hence, food distribution to civilian areas became unreliable and inadequate. Due to the manufacturing industry being focussed on the war, the products of agricultural implements dropped to 150% of the pre-war level. Unbearable pressure was created as the country attempted to transport millions of troops and masses supplies. Due to the high demand in transporting supplies to troops, the rail network had trouble transporting grains from farming areas of south to the cities of the north. This impacted on the country’s agriculture immensely. In addition to this, supplies form the (something) blocked and vehicles broke down. Hence, the war was negatively significant as these problems that the war had created for the homefront did not do justice for Nicholas’s rule as Tsar as people became more discontent with him than ever.

The most crucial reason however that led to the Tsarist rule being extremely unpopular was due to the fact that the war had left a huge strain on the country’s economy. Before the war, Russia was financially stable. It had the largest gold reserves than any other European country. However, between 1914-1917, 1.5 billion roubles were spent on the war effort. In 1916, the national budget multiplied form 4 million roubles to 30 million. TH gold standard was abandoned and there was increased taxation at home. All of these economic problems resulted in inflation to the dismay of the people. Thus, people became very angry as the country’s economy was destroyed. Therefore, this emphasises why WWI had a significant impact on Nicholas’ rule as Tsar as became more weary of him as they realised the problems he was creating for the country. They realised that Nicholas understood little about the constitutional, social and economic problems of the country.

In Conculsion, these factors meant that revolutionary groups gained support whilst Nicholas’ rule as the Tsar declared. WWI sparked the 1917 revolution which led to the end of the Romanov dynasty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:Reaction & REvolutions: Russia 1881-1924 Second Edition. Michael Lynch.