12C- How far was Nicholas II responsible for his own downfall?

Nicholas II, pictured after his abdication

Ok 12C, so whilst the other group write a big old essay on this question, I want you to talk about it together. Between now and the 26th November, you must make a minimum of 2 posts regarding this topic- telling us your opinion, and why you think it, and discussing with others the strengths and weaknesses of their opinions. I may chime in now and again too to challenge your thinking, but largely I’ll leave it to you to lead the discussion!



27 responses to “12C- How far was Nicholas II responsible for his own downfall?

  1. Right then! I believe that Nicholas was fairly to blame for his downfall. I reckon that he was Tsar in the an unfortunate time, with regards to Russia’s economy and international influence. However he made some reckless decisions, most importantly his decisione to leave St. Petersburg and leave Tsarina Alexandra in charge. What about you?

  2. First comment 🙂

    Clearly, there are many theories about whom or what was responsible for Nicholas’ downfall. It could have been completely out of his hands, since the revolutionaries had been trying to overthrow the Romanov dynasty since before his reign. But, what if he had paid more attention to Russia and the disruption within it, instead of his family, (especially, Alexai, his son) then maybe he could have prevented it? However, Rasputin and his suggested manipulations of Alexandra played a huge part in Nicholas not receiving the truth in the situation of Russia whilst he was away. Maybe this would have brought him home?
    I believe that the Tsar was in a difficult situation, due to his mistakes, most notably leaving Petrograd to lead the army in 1915 that impacted the Revolution. Therefore it was definitely partly the Tsar’s fault that his downfall came about. Putting himself at head of the Russian army meant every Military mistake was on his shoulders and he received the blame. It seemed he made the future of his dynasty lye on his success at war. Consequently Russia witnessed failure after failure at War, and then, the Tsar abdicates his thrown.
    What do you think?

  3. I think Nicholas was majorly to blame for his downfall. I think that he made constant bad decisions, like leaving Tsarina Alexandra in charge and he seemed to ignore his people’s ‘cry for help’. I think he could have put more effort in resolving the problems with the economy and working conditions. I also think he should have payed more attention to the Russian people and how he can improve things for them, rather than concentrating on his family. I believe Nicholas should have atleast balanced the importance of family and his people equally. However, I agree with WIGGINS when he said that he was Tsar at an unfortunate time because of the war and the effect it had on the economy.


    i agree with matt and wiggins because it was an unlucky time to be a Tsar because of the war and he pretty much had no choice but to go to war which left him with little money because the army budget would of had to of been increased. Therefore i dont think it was the Tsars fault for his downfall. However he could of made better descions like not going away to war himself and not leaving the Tsarina in charge when she was already unpopluar with his people.

  5. so, everyone believes it was an unlucky time for him but making the right decisions could have been a saving factor for his position maybe ?

  6. Sophie – I think if he listened to his people sooner, before war broke out and changed things for them and the country then he could have saved his position. Also if he maybe made better decisions in the war like just defending Russia it could have solved the economic problem which could have gained more support for him?

  7. I think as that Russia was a vast empire, of only 40% of Russian which could have made it harder for Tsar Nicholas as they wanted their independence and democracy in the county but Nicholas didn’t see the need for him to rule the country democratically; that was part of his weakness not being able to satisfy and control the country.
    I agree with Matt, he should have listened to his people before war broke out and changed working conditions and economic problems because then his people would have seen him making changes and would be satisfied that he would be more likely support his war efforts.

  8. I think that Nicholas was partially responsible for his own downfall. The major cause of his downfall is that he dismissed his uncle Nikolai as commander-in-chief of the Russian army and took the role himself. This meant that he took all responsibility of the army’s actions.
    He also left the country in his wife’s hands which led to the bad influence of Rasputin, and meant that the government was headed for failure.
    He was not able to deal with the increase of political bodies in his own country, for example, the progressive bloc. He should have reasoned with the progressive bloc rather than refusing to listen to their demands, as this made Tsarism increasingly unpopular. It didn’t help that his wife refused to listen to them either.
    In conclusion, Nicholas was partly responsible. I think that he (like WIGGINS) said was unfortunate to be the Tsar in this period of time. However, I think that he made impulsive decisions without thinking of the consequences involved. He shouldn’t have left his wife in charge.

  9. Although there are many views about who was responsible for Nicholas II I feel he is largely to blame. Even though some people say it was out of his hands, due to the input of the revolutionaries trying to overthrow Romanov dynasty; the fact that Nicholas II paid little attention to Russia and was more inclined to listen to his family was a major contributing factor to his downfall. As his downfall could well have been prevented if he wasn’t influenced as greatly by his wife Alexandra; as this led to his unpopularity. Moreover I agree with Sophie whereby putting himself at head of the Russian army meant every Military mistake was blamed on Nicholas highlighting him in a negative light, eventually leading to him abdicating. Was his military lead his greatest enemy for his downfall?

    • Although I agree that he was unlucky when he became Tsar, his weak leadership also lead to his downfall. When the news came that there was trouble in Petrograd, he easily gave in. The people hadn’t even been looking for him to abdicate- they just wanted change.

      Furthermore, when Nicholas left Alexandra in charge, he became extremely unpopular with his people. Not only did the people of Russia dislike Alexandra due to her nationality being German, but Rasputin had a lot of influence over her. Rasputin was heavily disliked, which would have influenced people’s opinions of the Tsar.

      Overall, Nicholas was largely responsible for his own downfall. Although he was Tsar during a difficult period of time, this was made much worse by his personality. Moreover, he should not have gone to the front line of the war, for he had no experience of war, and every battle they lost reflected on him personally.

      However, was the regime really worth him saving? Alexei would have made a very weak Tsar due to his illness, and Nicholas was struggling to lead the country. Abdicating put Russia’s problems in someone else’s hands.

  10. In my personal opinion, Nicholas was fairly responsible for his own downfall because even though he had ministers to help him make decisions, he ultimately had the final decision over how to rule Russia. One of his major mistakes was going to lead the Russian army in 1915 because he had very little military experience, and what he had came from the Russo-Japanese War which was a disaster for him. This also meant that every defeat Russia suffered during the war was directly related to him and his poor judgment, which would have increased the anger towards him that his people had.
    The fact that Russia was in the war in the first place led to Nicholas’ downfall because it made the people of Russia starved, poor and angry. However, this can be seen as not the fault of Nicholas because Russia didn’t really have a choice to join the war because of the alliances between the countries. But, it was the bad decisions made Nicholas during the war that made it a significant reason for his downfall.
    Leaving Alexandra in charge of Russia while he was gone was also a bad decision because she was even more unpopular than he was and of course Rasputin’s influence over her. Alexandra was never meant to be Tsar and so didn’t have the upbringing for it, which meant she was some what nieve when it came to running an empire. In Nicholas’ defense, Alexandra didn’t tell him the truth in the letters she wrote to him about how things were back home so he had no idea of the troubles that were brewing in Russia. However, this can still be his fault as he didn’t confirm what he was told with his ministers and just trusted Alexandra too much.

  11. So basically he was unlucky and made all the wrong decisions so while it may not have been entirely his fault he was pretty stupid to leave his wife in charge and to personally lead the army along with the wars coming along which russia had nothing to do with until germany declared war on them and the industry not developing didn’t exactly help.

  12. Oh and also he lost alot of support from his council and advisers after a few bad choices that nobody gave him the help he needed to make the right ones so in the end his downfall was pretty well anticipated. But it was his decision to abdicate for his family which says alot about his character so his decision wasn’t right for russia but ultimately right for himself.

  13. I agree with sam that his decision to abdicate was for himself and his family rather than for the good of his country.

  14. Right, well I personally think that Nicholas made a string of regrettable decisions as Tsar which eventually led to his own downfall. He made wrong decision after wrong decision, a crucial one being the fact he decided to leave Alexandra in charge when he left for the front lines. This not only tied every failiure and loss in battle directly to himself, it distracted his attention from any other problems happening in Russia. Although I must admit that he was unlucky and was Tsar in a terrible time, he made no attempt to help the position he was in. He showed a lack of authority, was a weak leader and easily crumbled at the spark of problems in February 1917.

  15. I agree with Sam, the fact that Nicholas decided to take the advice to abdicate lies purely on his own shoulders. In the sense he could obviously see the problems arising and decided it would best to leave for his own sake, as opposed to thinking about the issues that would lie with the country he leaves behind.

  16. I think Nicholas II was partly to blame for his own downfall but only from the mistakes of his decisions on his own part, there were many problems that the Tsar faced in Russia such as the poor economy but Nicholas didn’t make it much better for himself, by going to war for the second time, Russia just wasn’t equipped enough for war at the time and it’s vast empire only made it worse to transport goods. He didn’t pay enough attention to what Russia really needed, to move forward such as other countries in europe had at the time, he was too busy worrying about his family life but he was also too stubborn to listen to his own advisors trusting more in what his wife had to say. If Nicholas had thought carefully about what Russia really needed he may have been able to fix things for the better and prevented his downfall.

  17. I don’t really agree that it was his idea to abdicate for himself because it was his ministers who told him it would be best. However, I agree that the decision to abdicate for his son was not in the best interestes of Russia but for himself and his family because everyone presumed that Alexei would take over being Tsar but Nicholas decided to abdicate as well, but this was because Nicholas knew of Alexei’s condition and so thought it would best not to let Alexei be the Tsar. This decision was in his own interests because it shows that he only wanted to look after his family and not Russia.

  18. I agree with Matt he abdicated himself and his son only from the intrest only for his family’s sake not for Russia’s. Nicholas had always put his family first over Russia when they maybe could have waited while he could have sorted Russia’s current problems out. Nicholas should have payed more attention to what was happening in Russia and maybe then he could have prevented his downfall. Also his lack of judgment is responsible, he wouldn’t listen to his administers and advisors when he should have, he took full advantage of the Tsar’s power and it backfired on him.

  19. I think that Nicholas was partly at fault for his downfall but there were many other issues that could of added to his problems. Revolutionaries were a main issue that caused trouble during his reign and this put pressure on him to control his country.

    Nicholas left his country in a time of need and left it incharge of a weker person, the tsarin. This enabled Rasputin to influence her decisions and made Nicholas look weak and not in control, he should have payed more attention to his country and their needs.

  20. I believe that it was Nicholas’ own fault for his downfall, it was his decision to get rid of his uncle as commander-in-chief of the army, and by doing so put himself in charge of every success and failure of the army which would reflect upon him. As well as this he left his wife, Alexandria in charge of Russia which was a very unpopular decision with the Russian people as they didn’t like her for her German nationality and her ties with Rasputin.

    Although he was advised by his ministers, it was his responsibility to make decisions on crucial social and economic issues that were problems in Russia during his reign and he made the wrong decisions for his country.

    I think that if he was a stronger leader, like his father, he made have been able to cope with the problems that Russia faced during his reign, however he was to much of a family man, and too kind to be able to rule his empire effectively

  21. I agree with sam about the fact that he abdicated for his and his family sakes, instead of his countries sake, as his country weren’t calling for him to abdicate, just for change in Russia.

  22. I agree with Lucy, that Nicholas leaving the Tsarin to rule Russia on her own played a big part in his downfall.

  23. I agree with Lucy, Nicholas was not 100% responsible for his own downfall. There were lots of issues in Russia which made his downfall certain to happen such asthe size of Russia and the fact that only 40% were Russian therefore controlling them all and trying to please them all would have been almost impossible.

    Nicholas didn’t really help himself though because he wasn’t a very strong leader and he left the country in charge of his wife and Rasputin who were even more weaker and unpopular than he was.

    He basically just made a lot of the wrong decisions and was rulling at a time where there were a lot of economic and social problems in Russia so that didn’t really help him so he was only partially responsible for his downfall (:

  24. this is one bloody awesome website.
    im late, lazy, and spend half the lesson recapping what we did last lesson
    how did i manage to become a vice-principle at WIS!?

  25. I would agree that Nicholas was not 100% responsible for his own downfall in 1917 but he did contribute a great deal towards it due to the fact that during WW1 he left his wife in charge and she was under Rasputins influence mostly because he was valued so highly in the Romanov family because he said he could cure Nicholas’s son Alexi who has hemophilia. The Tsar had an obligation to go to war because he had signed a treaty and was part of the allies i think he could have done much better and even stayed in power if he had left Russia in better hands. By going to was Russia had less money and no workers therefore there was huge poverty and famine, the people were unhappy and all of Russia’s problems were building up towards a revolution. There was a huge bread problem because all of the workers were in the war and there was nobody left to make the bread and what ever bread was made went towards the war. All the people wanted was peace, land and bread and there was a group called the Bolsheviks who promised all three of those to the people and were the “leaders” of the revolution. The revolution was going to happen either way they just stepped up and took the lead. Another big problem that contributed to the Tsars downfall was Bloody Sunday. In conclusion the Tsar was not solely to blame for his downfall in 1917 but had contributed to it.

    • How far was Nicholas II responsible for his own downfall?

      In 1917 Tsar Nicholas II signed a deliration to abdicate from power; this was due to a number of long term and short term factors; some being of Nicolas II own problems and some being general problems that faced Nicholas II. When Tsar Nicholas II came to power many problems faced him, such as lack of industrial revolution, political problems, economical problems etc… Nicholas II was a very strong believer in autocracy and the belief that he had been made Tsar by God, however Nicholas was a very poor leader to the people of Russia, growing political problems and the war pushed Nicholas II to abdicate.

      Tsar Nicholas II was a very poor leader for the people of Russia, he lacked leadership skills. His poor leadership qualities lead too many problems within Russia that were not dealt with efficiently. For example he did not trust the Duma, in 1906 the first Duma was introduced; after 72 days Nicholas dissolved the Duma as he did not believe in their policies and he did not trust them. This angered many people, Nicholas was not giving anyone a chance to speak and help him to change Russia. Nicholas poor leadership and traditional beliefs meant that there was little change in Russia, outside Russia many countries were thriving on industrialization where as Russia was still lacking behind. The new Western ways built growing political tensions; left wing oppositions were forming against the Tsar and waiting to over throw him. This long – term factor is seen as Nicholas II own problem for his downfall, his lack in leadership skills angered the country and people knew Nicholas could improve his leadership, but would not do so.

      Russia was still an autocracy, this meant that the Tsar had complete power and his rules and beliefs could not be challenged. The autocracy system was growing old, people in Russia wanted westernization and democracy, however Nicholas II opposed these beliefs.

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