History: European/What were the causes of the downfall of the Russian Revolution? term paper 3602

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The Russian Revolution

Each great empire reaches a major peak, followed by a gradual downfall. The Russian empire met its peak from 1894-1917. Its downfall was caused by several contributing factors. The government had lost the trust and loyalty of the people. Nicholas II also held a leading role in the downfall, as well as World War I

First, the collapse of the downfall was due to the unsuccessfulness of the four Dumas. The first Dumas's intent was to improve the conditions of liberalism and constitutionalism in Russia. However, the representation was not equal, and the voting was as well. Also, the first Duma did not accomplish their goals. "…when the Duma met, found themselves still fighting for the bare principle of constitutional government," (P + C, 744). The tsar dismissed the First Duma after two months. A second Duma was formed, and this Duma dealt with extreme governmental interference. "…with the government trying to control the elections through suppression of party meetings and newspapers…" (P + C, 744). The Duma members were willing to cooperate with the government, but this Duma was ended by the government as well.

A Third Duma was elected. This was proposed to finally offer equal representation, regardless of amount of property a member possessed. "…gave increased representation to the landed propertied class and guaranteed a conservative majority…" ( P + C, 744). A fourth Duma was also established. Their prime error was that they focused on the largest issues, and neglected to attend to the tsarist problems. "The deputies, by following the lead of the government, by addressing themselves only to concrete issues, by losing themselves in committee work, and by avoiding the basic question of where supreme power lay…" ( P + C, 745). This allowed the tsarist control continue to dominate the ruling of Russia.

Secondly, Nicholas II was a large factor to the downfall of the Russian empire. Nicholas had taken the throne as tsar of Russia in 1894. Although Russia aspired for a semi-constitutional monarchy, his attitude towards the mere idea was very negative. "He drew the teeth of the new Duma before the creature could even be born, by announcing in advance that it would have no power over foreign policy, the budget, or government personnel," (P + C, 744). He believed in complete monarchy and disregarded any ideas other than his own. Participation in the government outside of the elected officials was neither allowed nor taken seriously. His distrust in the people brought him his nemesis as well as the Russian Empire when the time came for war.

Thirdly, World War I contributed greatly to the collapse of the Russian Empire, and was possibly the greatest contributor to it. "War again put the tsarist regime to a test it could not meet," (P + C, 746). In order to achieve success in the war, cooperation between government and people was essential, and this was too much to ask of Russia. A group formed called the zemstvos who worked the factories for mass production to secure war success. However, "the government distrusted these signs of public activity arising outside official circles," (P + C, 747). Eventually, the zemstvos grew tired of their lack of governmental supports and began to complain. "The tsarist regime, caught in a total was, was afraid of the help offered by its own people," (P + C, 747).

The war gradually became self defeating for Russia. After it was realized that a win would only bring the end to any attained liberalism and constitutionalism, which would completely defeat the purpose of the revolution. Thus, the Duma reassembled. A food shortage broke out. "But the tsarist administration was too clumsy and too demoralized by graft to institute the controls that has become usual elsewhere, such as maximum prices and ration cards," (P + C, 748). Now, governmental support was virtually nonexistent. A majority of the Duma was hoped for, but the tsar only disbanded it. The tsar had also had lost control of his army. "The army, fatefully, was taking the side of the revolution. The very generals in the field, unable to vouch for the loyalty of their men, advised abdication," (P + C, 748). Nicholas had no choice but to yield, and with no successor, Russia finally became a republic.

The majority of the Russian empire's collapse was due to Nicholas II. By ignoring the people, he was unable to receive their aid when the time came when he truly needed it. His negative attitude only discouraged followers. This resentment from the people caused a lack of support, even eventually from his army, and the army turned on him. In conclusion, if Nicholas II had a more positive attitude and more faith in his people, Russia may not have become a republic when it did, and he would not have been overruled.

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