How far was the First World War the main cause of the fall of the Romanovs in February 1917?
It could be argued that the First World War, which began in 1914 was the main reason for the fall of Tsarism in February 1917. However, there is more evidence to suggest that it was not in fact the war that lead to the downfall of the Tsar, but other factors such as the lack of effective leadership by the Tsar and the fact that the Duma, his appointed government, had little power to make change.
One important reason why it could be seen that the First World War was the reason for the fall of Tsarism is the fact that in 1915 Nicholas left the Winter Palace and took direct command of the army. This meant he was blamed solely for Russia's failings in the war. Also, in doing this he left his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra, who was German and a monk, Rasputin in charge. This made Nicholas very unpopular with the Russian people, who believed that even though she had tried to 'become' Russian, by converting to the Russian Orthodox Church and adopting Russian customs, she was a spy. Rasputin was seen by the Russian people as a 'mad monk' and not to be trusted.
Another way in which the fall of Tsarism could be seen as because of the First World War is the failings in the war, due to the lack of effective leadership and equipment. For example a duma report into the conditions in the army found that soldiers were often fighting barefoot, communications and transport had broken down therefore supplies could not be delivered to the front line and was hospitals were disorganised. These failings are very important reasons as to why the popularity of the Tsar decreased greatly during the war. After he took direct command of the army he became solely responsible for these failings. However, if the army had perhaps been better equipped and the Tsar had appointed better leaders, these failings may have been successes, for which the Tsar would be celebrated, rather than blamed. The...
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