Modern History - Decline and Fall of the Romanov

Topics: Russian Empire, Russia, World War I Pages: 6 (1142 words) Published: March 1, 2015

Decline and Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

Nicholas II as an Autocrat
Nicholas II:
Weak and indecisive leader; gentle. Uneducated.
Tsar refused to move with times; see changes and reforms.
Close relations with Queen Victoria.
Manipulated/Heavily influenced by wife Tsarina Alexandra.
Austrian princess – granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Pressured Nicholas to preserve autocracy.

Russian 1900’s – Tsar + family ruled completely – no democracy. King was religious AND political leader:
- Divine rule (put on Earth by God to govern).
Tsar was “appointed by God” to rule as his representative on Earth. Most countries = constitutional monarchy – power shift monarchypeople.

Russian Empire 1900’s: Political, Social Grievances.
Largest country in the world geographically – size equates to word power. - Concerned with frontiers and borders, protect territory; (surrounded by Turkey, Iran, China, NK) – brought into conflict with other nations. Rivalries with Nations - Major wars w. European nations (Germany x2)/Japan, America. Ethnic group – many minorities – Russian Orthodox majority.

Expansionism necessary – feed huge population, obtain fertile land. Isolation – no infrastructure between villages.

European Affairs:
Development westward = brought into contact with European affairs. Previously isolated; exposure to diplomatic system.
Alliances – Great Britain and France (surround. Germany). Franco-Russian/Triple Entente. Russia needed to expand East and South – China, Japan and Korea. Secure port facilities (did not freeze); natural resources.

Social Grievances:
Working Class Anger –
Rapid industrial growth ended in 1897 – dropped to 1% by 1901 = Unemployment; wage cuts. Demanded better working conditions – based on new found intellect and ability to read – Army recruits returning with level of literacy.

Urban workers demanded (becoming better organised): Basic civil rights. Shorter working day.
Improved living conditions – unsafe.
Right to organise unions and strikes – banned since 1874. – Protection (unions).

Political Grievances:
Changing society – growing urban working class – Tsar oblivious to changes. Political opposition to the Tsar was expressed in three types of ideology: Liberalism: Politics and Civil Rights of Ordinary People.

Free and fair elections – Constitutional Monarchy – (Survival of Russian Royal Family). Strong parliament.

Marxism (Socialism): Sharing Russia’s wealth – Communism. Revolution – violence if necessary.
People govern themselves (No Tsar) – Classless society.

Democracy: Concerned with free and fair elections.

Russo-Japanese War
Why did Russia go to War with Japan?
Both countries regarded themselves as world powers – expansionism. End of 19th Century = competition between major powers to acquire land: United Kingdom (Largest – India, Burma, Pakistan, Asia, Africa) France (Africa)

Belgium (Congo)
Japan – wanted to be a world power therefore needed to colonise land. *Economic power on par with many European countries.
Far East = logical area of expansion for Russia – trans-Siberian railway.

Liaotung Peninsula:
Strategically important – Port Arthur.
Captured by Japanese (1895); retaken by Russia, France and Germany. Site of most fighting in the war – ground fighting.

Battle of Tsushima:
Decisive naval battle – Russian naval fleet was intercepted and destroyed by the Japanese navy.

Why did Russia lose War?
Arrogance – underestimated ability of Japan.
Poor military planning and strategy; Poor quality and low morale of soldiers. Japanese readiness, skills and spirit – based on German structure + samurai influence.

Bloody Sunday 1905
9th January 1905:
Factory and mill workers strike (150,000 people) – Putilov in St. Petersburg. Demonstrators did not oppose monarchy.
About 1000 demonstrators were shot dead – Tsar knew nothing...
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