5The effects of World War I on Russia Food prices were increasing rapidly as food supplies needed to go to the soldiers at the front.Rations of food went down as each month passed and this led to discontent in the towns, cities and countryside.Peasants began to hide surplus food and were then tortured and killed by the army as a punishment.
6Was the Russian army ready for the war? A wave of patriotism and support for the tsar as ‘our Holy Father’ spread across Russia at the start of the war. By the end of 1914 there were 6.5 million soldiers in the Russian army. In 1915 Nicholas assumed supreme command of the army – which meant he wasn’t in Russia.But there were only four million rifles, not all of which had any bullets. A soldier would have to wait for the man in front of him to be killed, and then he would take his rifle from him.What effect do you think this news had on people in Russia?
7Bad news!Russian newspapers were heavily censored and couldn’t have printed anything against the government. But if they hadn’t been, you would certainly have seen headlines like those on the following slides appearing as the months went on.
8Russian Officers Murder Lecherous Monk Bad news!December 1916Russian Officers Murder Lecherous MonkNoble supporters of the tsar murder the drunken, lecherous monk who has influenced the tsarina and brought shame on the tsar.Teacher’s NotesHere is some information about Rasputin that will certainly interest the class. The adverse effect that Rasputin had on the Tsar's popularity cannot be exaggerated. Gregory Rasputin was an illiterate peasant monk and a member of the Khlysty sect who believed that you had to sin in order to understand forgiveness. He gained some influence over the tsarina in 1903 after the birth of Alexi, her haemophiliac son. Rasputin seemed to be able to quell the internal bleeding suffered by Alexi by putting his hands on the child's body.The so-called "Spala miracle" of 1912 convinced the tsarina that Rasputin was some kind of holy man. While on holiday in Poland Alexi was apparently dying. A swelling on his groin wouldn't go down, priests had read the last rites and doctors said there was no way he would live. Unusually, the news had been given to the newspapers and national arrangements for mourning were being made. Rasputin was hundreds of miles away in his native Siberia at the time and Alexandra telegrammed him. He prayed and sent a telegram back saying God had heard her prayers. The story goes that as soon as she finished reading the telegram Alexi sat up in bed and got better.Rasputin was summoned to the court and became extremely powerful, even helping the tsarina to appoint ministers when Nicholas was away commanding the army. Rasputin's sexual exploits were well known and well publicized. He indulged in sexual orgies with many of the women at court and there were strong rumours of an affair with the tsarina herself. There were some rumours that he was homosexual and others that he was impotent and hypnotized his lovers into thinking he was making love to them. He had a massive influence over Alexandra, frequently appointing his own friends as ministers. Nicholas refused to believe or even listen to the stories about Rasputin and was totally dominated by the tsarina who referred to Rasputin frequently as “our dear friend."The Significance of the Rasputin EpisodeIn December 1916 a group of right wing aristocrats assassinated Rasputin. Even his death has attracted shades of mysticism. He is supposed to have been fed a poison cake that had no effect on him, shot but still survived and then knifed and thrown into the river Neva. His lungs had water in them when his body was recovered which suggests that he was still breathing when he hit the river and therefore died by drowning.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
9Russian Troops Suffer Disastrous Defeat at Battle Of Tannenberg Bad news!Russian Troops Suffer Disastrous Defeat at Battle Of Tannenberg1914Russian troops have been forced out of Poland. Polish refugees are making the food shortage situation even worse.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
10Heroic soldier returns to see his home destroyed. Bad news!Heroic soldier returns to see his home destroyed.A soldier’s home was destroyed and his family killed by government forces, it was reported yesterday. The family withheld food to prevent his little sister from starving to death.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
11Bread queues lengthen in Petrograd Bad news!February 1917Bread queues lengthen in PetrogradPeople queuing for hours, yesterday, for a loaf of bread. When they find that there is none left they starve for another day.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
12Bad news!30,000 men locked out of the Pitilov Steel Works for asking for a pay riseSacked Petrograd steel workers have been demonstrating in the streets after being locked out of work for going on strike. Their families starve in bread queues that have no bread.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
13Revolutionary Ideas Spreading Among the People RevolutionariesRevolutionary Ideas Spreading Among the PeopleFebruary 1917Revolutionary ideas being spread by soldiers and workers distributing leaflets encouraging people to rebel against the tsar. Soldiers are deserting from the army in their thousands.What effect do you think news of events such as this would have on the way people felt about the government?
14The riots are getting out of hand, I don’t think I can control them. The tsar’s responseOn 26 February 1917 there were massive street demonstrations in Petrograd. How do you think Nicholas responded to the worsening situation?The riots are getting out of hand, I don’t think I can control them.You are exaggerating! Don’t panic, just use the troops to put the riots down.Rodzyanko, chairman of the State Duma, in Petrograd.Tsar Nicholas II, commanding the Russian Army from Mogilev.
15The tsar’s responseThe soldiers refused to fire on the crowds. The chairman of the Duma told Nicholas that a change of government was needed. The crowd were refusing to disperse and they could not be controlled.Which of these things would you have done if you were Nicholas II, and why would you have done this?Order the troops to fire on the crowdsReturn to Petrograd and take controlGive the crowd some of their demands
16Order the troops to fire on the crowds? The tsar’s responseOrder the troops to fire on the crowds?Nicholas was not a cruel man. He knew that the people were genuinely suffering. He was also realistic enough to realize that the troops would probably not have obeyed the orders, so he did not make this choice.
17Return to Petrograd and take control? The tsar’s responseReturn to Petrograd and take control?This would probably have been the sensible thing to do if he’d done it on the 26 February. Nicholas might have been able to restore some order and show himself to the people as a concerned leader.
18Give the crowd some of their demands? The tsar’s responseGive the crowd some of their demands?This was almost impossible. Their simply wasn’t enough food to go around, and even if there was, there weren’t good enough methods of distribution. Nicholas also didn’t want to be seen to be giving in.But Nicholas didn’t do any of these things. Look at the next slide to see the decision that he made.
19I’m not having the Duma or the people telling me what to do. The tsar’s responseI’m not having the Duma or the people telling me what to do.The Result?On the 26 February the members of the Duma disobeyed the tsar and met anyway.Mr Rodzyanko, chairman of the Duma: I’m going to close you down and rule by myself.25,000 troops mutinied and marched towards the Tauride Palace where the Duma was meeting, not to attack the Duma but to support it in its stand against the tsar.The Russian Revolution had begun.
21Nicholas II attempts to return Nicholas tried to return to Petrograd by train to take control of the situation on 2 March. A group of army generals stopped the train and told him it wasn’t safe for him to return as the troops might fire on him. They said he would have to give up power and hand it over to his son Alexi. Nicholas said Alexi was too ill and suggested his own brother the Grand Duke Michael.The generals refused and so the tsar abdicated (gave up his power).The Romanov Dynasty, which had lasted for over 400 years in Russia, had come to an end in a few days.
22Why did the tsar fall from power? Below are some reasons why Nicholas fell from power in February Rearrange them into order of importance and then add evidence to back up each one.Teacher’s NotesYou could also ask the students what other causes could be included, or ask them to divide them into short- and long-term causes.
23Quiz Teacher’s Notes Question 1 The correct answer is the Provisional Government.Question 2The correct answer is showed their patriotism and supported the tsar.Question 3The correct answer is Rasputin.Question 4The correct answer is the Tauride Palace.Question 5The correct answer is give up power.