Nicholas ii of russia biography summary

nicholas ii of russia biography summary
Against his natural instincts, the emperor agreed to a series of concessions, culminating in October with the establishment of an elected legislature, the Duma. At the head of their union is a kind of socialist priest named Gapon.

The Battle of Tannenbergwhere an entire Russian army was annihilated, cast an ominous shadow over the empire's biography summary. The loyal officers lost were the very ones needed to protect the dynasty. The Russian armies had great success against both the Austro-Hungarian armies and against the forces of the Ottoman Empire from the very beginning of the war, but they never succeeded against the might of the German Army. In Septemberin order to relieve pressure on France, the Russians were forced to halt a successful offensive against Austro-Hungary in Galicia in order to attack German-held Silesia.

Gradually a war of attrition set in on the vast Eastern Frontwhere the Russians were facing the combined forces of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, and they suffered staggering losses. General Denikin, retreating from Galicia wrote, "The German heavy artillery swept away whole lines of trenches, and their defenders with them. There was nothing with which we could reply. Our regiments, although completely exhausted, were beating off one attack after another by bayonet Blood flowed unendingly, the ranks became thinner and thinner and thinner.

The number of graves multiplied. Defeat at the front bred disorder at home. At first, the targets were German, and for three days in June shops, bakeries, factories, private houses and country estates belonging to people with German names were looted and burned [ citation needed ].

The inflamed mobs then turned on the government, declaring the Empress should be shut up in a convent, the Tsar deposed and Rasputin hanged. Nicholas was by no means deaf to these discontents. An emergency session of the Duma was summoned, and a Special Defense Council established, its members drawn from the Duma and the Tsar's ministers.

Andersen told her they should conclude peace. Nicholas chose to turn down King Christian's offer of mediation, as he felt it would be a betrayal for Russia to form a separate peace treaty with the Central Powers when its allies Britain and France were still fighting. The energetic and efficient General Alexei Polivanov replaced Sukhomlinov as Minister of Warwhich failed to improve the strategic situation.

This was a mistake, as the Tsar came to be personally associated with the continuing losses at the front. He was also away at the remote HQ at Mogilevfar from the direct governance of the empire, and when revolution broke out in Petrograd he was unable to halt it.

In reality the move was largely symbolic, since all important military decisions were made by his chief-of-staff General Michael Alexeievand Nicholas did little more than review troops, inspect field hospitalsand preside over military luncheons.

The Duma was still calling for political reforms and political unrest continued throughout the war. Cut off from public opinion, Nicholas could not see that the dynasty was tottering. With Nicholas at the biography summary, domestic issues and control of the capital were left with his wife Alexandra. However, Alexandra's relationship with Grigori Rasputinand her German background, further discredited the dynasty's authority. Nicholas had been repeatedly warned about the destructive influence of Rasputin but had failed to remove him. Rumors and accusations about Alexandra and Rasputin appeared one after another; Alexandra was even accused of harboring treasonous sympathies towards Germany.

Anger at Nicholas's failure to act and the extreme damage that Rasputin's influence was doing to Russia's war effort and to the nicholas russia led to Rasputin's eventual murder by a nicholas of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovicha cousin of the Tsar, in the early morning of Saturday 17 December O.

As the government failed to produce supplies, mounting hardship created massive riots and biographies summary. With Nicholas away at the front from throughauthority appeared to collapse and the capital was left in the hands of strikers and mutineering conscript soldiers. By earlyRussia was on the verge of total and utter collapse.

The army had taken 15 million men from the farms and food prices had soared. An egg cost four times what it had inbutter five times as much. The severe winter dealt the railways, overburdened by emergency shipments of coal and supplies, the final blow. Russia began the war with 20, locomotives ; by9, were in service, while the number of serviceable railway wagons had dwindled from half a million toIn February1, locomotives burst their boilers and nearly 60, wagons were immobilised. In Petrograd, supplies of flour and fuel had all but disappeared. On 23 February in Petrograd, a combination of very severe cold weather and acute food shortages caused people to start to break shop windows to get bread and other necessities.

nicholas ii of russia biography summary

In the streets, red banners appeared and the crowds chanted "Down with the German woman! Down with the war! Down with the Tsar! Police started to shoot at the populace from rooftops, which incited riots.

The troops in the capital were poorly motivated and their officers had no reason to be loyal to the regime. They were angry and nicholas ii of russia biography summary of revolutionary fervor and sided with the populace.

The Tsar's Cabinet begged Nicholas to return to the capital and offered to resign completely. For this task, the Petrograd garrison was quite unsuitable. The cream of the old regular army had been destroyed in Poland and Galicia. In Petrograd,recruits, country boys or older men from the working-class suburbs of the capital itself, remained to keep control under the command of wounded officers invalided from the front and cadets from the military academies.

nicholas ii of russia biography summary

The units in the capital, although many bore the names of famous Imperial Guard regiments, were in reality rear or reserve battalions of these regiments, the regular units being away at the front. Many units, lacking both officers and rifles, had never undergone formal training. General Khabalov attempted to put the Tsar's instructions into effect on the morning of Sunday, 11 March Despite huge posters ordering people to keep off the streets, vast crowds gathered and were only dispersed after some had been shot dead, though a company of the Volinsky Regiment fired into the air rather than into the mob and a company of the Pavlovsky Life Guards shot the officer who gave the command to open fire.

Nicholas, informed of the situation by Rodzianko, ordered reinforcements to the capital and suspended the Duma. On 12 March, the Volinsky Regiment mutinied and was quickly followed by the Semenovskythe Ismailovskythe Litovsky and even the legendary Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guard, the oldest and staunchest regiment founded by Peter the Great.

The arsenal was pillaged, the Ministry of the Interior, Military Government building, police headquarters, the Law Courts and a score of nicholas buildings were put to the torch. By noon, the fortress of Peter and Paul, with its heavy artillery, was in the hands of the insurgents. By nightfall, 60, soldiers had joined the revolution. Order broke down and members of the Duma and the Soviet formed a Provisional Government to try to restore order. They issued a demand that Nicholas must abdicate.

nicholas ii of russia biography summary

Faced with this demand, which was echoed by his generals, deprived of loyal troops, with his family firmly in the hands of the Provisional Government and fearful of unleashing civil war and opening the way for German conquest, Nicholas had little choice but to submit. He first abdicated in favour of Alexei, but a few hours later changed his mind after advice from doctors that the Tsarevich would not live long separated from his parents, who would be forced into exile. Nicholas nicholas abdicated on behalf of his son, and drew up a new manifesto naming his brother, Grand Duke Michael, as the next Emperor of all the Russias.

He issued the following statement which was suppressed by the Provisional Government:. In the days of the great struggle against the foreign enemies, who for nearly three years have tried to enslave our fatherland, the Lord God has been pleased to send down on Russia a new heavy trial. Internal popular disturbances threaten to have a disastrous effect on the future conduct of this persistent war. The destiny of Russia, the honor of our heroic army, the welfare of the people and the whole future of our dear fatherland demand that the war should be brought to a victorious conclusion whatever the cost.

The cruel enemy is making his last efforts, and already the hour approaches when our glorious army together with our gallant allies will crush him. In these decisive days in the life of Russia, We thought it Our duty of conscience to facilitate for Our people the closest union possible and a consolidation of all national forces for the speedy attainment of victory. In agreement with the Imperial Duma We have thought it well to renounce the Throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power.

We direct Our brother to conduct the affairs of state in full and inviolable union with the representatives of the people in the legislative bodies on those principles which will be established by them, and on which He will take an inviolable oath. In the name of Our dearly beloved homeland, We call on Our faithful sons of the fatherland to fulfill their sacred duty to the fatherland, to obey the Tsar in the heavy moment of national trials, and to help Him, together with the representatives of the people, to guide the Russian Empire on the road to victory, welfare, and glory.

May the Lord God help Russia! Grand Duke Michael declined to accept the throne until the people were allowed to vote through a Constituent Assembly for the continuance of the monarchy or a republic. The abdication of Nicholas II and the subsequent Bolshevik revolution brought three centuries of the Romanov dynasty's rule to an end.

The United States of America was the first foreign government to recognise the Provisional government. In Russia, the announcement of the Tsar's abdication was greeted with many emotions. These included delight, relief, fear, anger and confusion. It is debatable whether Nicholas's enforced abdication was actually legal, and whether he had the right to abdicate on behalf of his son. As Nicholas had already abdicated he was therefore merely a subject of his son, and only Grand Duke Michael as Regent had the right to change the succession.

Some historians contend that Nicholas remained the Tsar, at least in theory, until his death. Nicholas desperately wanted to go into exile in the United Kingdom following his abdication. The British government reluctantly offered the family asylum in the UK on 19 Marchalthough it was suggested that it would be better for the Romanovs to go to a neutral country.

News of the offer provoked uproar from the Labour Party and many Liberals, and the British ambassador Sir George Buchanan advised the government that the extreme left would use the ex-Tsar's presence "as an excuse for rousing public opinion against us". The French government declined to accept the Romanovs in nicholas of increasing unrest on the Western Front and on the home front as a result of the ongoing war with Germany.

In the early summer ofafter an improvement in the internal political situation in Russia, the Russian government approached the UK government on the issue of asylum and was informed the offer had been withdrawn due to the considerations of British internal politics. In Octoberhowever, the Bolsheviks seized power from Kerensky's Provisional Government; Nicholas followed the events in October with interest but not yet with alarm.

Boris Solovievthe husband of Maria Rasputinwas supposedly organizing rescue attempts with monarchical factions, but none occurred. Rumors persist that Soloviev was working for the Bolsheviks or the Germans, or both. Nicholas continued to underestimate Lenin's importance.

In the meantime he and his family occupied themselves with keeping warm. Conditions of imprisonment became more strict, and talk of putting Nicholas on trial grew more frequent.


The Tsar was forbidden to wear epaulettes. On 1 Marchthe family was placed on soldier's rations, which meant parting with ten devoted servants and giving up butter and coffee as luxuries. The Western Allies lost interest in the fate of the Romanovs after Russia left the war. The German government wanted the monarchy restored in Russia to crush the Bolsheviks and maintain good relations with the Central Powers.

There are several accounts of what happened and historians have not agreed on a solid, confirmed scope of events.

According to the account of Yurovsky the chief executionerin the early hours of 17 Julythe royal family was awakened around 2: The pretext for this move was the family's safety, i. Present with Nicholas, Alexandra and their children were their doctor and three of their servants, who had voluntarily chosen to remain with the family: A firing squad had been assembled and was waiting in an adjoining room, composed of seven Communist soldiers from Central Europe, and russia biography summary local Bolsheviks, all under the command of Bolshevik officer Yakov Yurovsky.

Nicholas was carrying his son; when the family arrived in the basement, the former empress complained that there were no chairs for them to sit on. Yurovsky announced to them that they had been condemned to death by the Ural Soviet of Workers' Deputies.

A stunned Nicholas asked, "What? Yurovsky quickly repeated the order and shot the former emperor outright. The executioners drew handguns and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him russia biography summary times in the chest sometimes incorrectly said to have been in his head, but his skull bore no bullet wounds when it was discovered in Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.

An announcement from the Presidium of the Ural Regional Soviet of the Workers' and Peasants' Government emphasized that conspiracies had been exposed to free the ex-tsar, that counter-revolutionary forces were pressing in on Soviet Russian territory, and that the ex-tsar was guilty of unforgivable crimes against the nation.

In view of the enemy's proximity to Yekaterinburg and the exposure by the Cheka of a serious White Guard plot with the goal of abducting the former Tsar and his family… In light of the approach of counterrevolutionary bands toward the Red capital of the Urals and the possibility of the crowned executioner escaping trial by the people a plot among the White Guards to try to abduct him and his family was exposed and the compromising documents will be publishedthe Presidium of the Ural Regional Soviet, fulfilling the will of the Revolution, resolved to shoot the former Tsar, Nikolai Romanov, who is guilty of countless, bloody, violent acts against the Russian people.

Inthe bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsaritsa Alexandra, russia biography summary of their daughters, and those of four non-family members killed with them, were discovered near Sverdlovsk Yekaterinburg by amateur archaeologist Alexander Avdonin. The identifications, including comparisons to a living relative, were performed by separate Russian, British and American scientists using DNA analysis concur and were found to be conclusive. In Julyan amateur historian discovered bones near Yekaterinburg belonging to a boy and young woman.

On 1 OctoberSupreme Court of Russia ruled that Nicholas II and his family were victims of political persecution and should be rehabilitated. After the DNA testing ofthe remains of the Emperor and his immediate family were interred at St. Peter and Paul CathedralSaint Petersburgon 17 Julyon the eightieth anniversary of their executions. For many years, we kept quiet about this monstrous crime, but the truth has to be spoken. InNicholas and his immediate family were recognised as martyred nicholases by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

On 14 Augustthey were recognised by the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. This time they were not named as martyrs, since their deaths did not result immediately from their Christian faith; instead, they nicholas canonised as passion bearers.

According to a statement by the Moscow synod, they were glorified as saints for the following reasons:. In the last Orthodox Russian monarch and members of his family we see people who sincerely strove to incarnate in their lives the commands of the Gospel. In the suffering borne by the Royal Family in prison with humility, patience, and meekness, and in their martyrs deaths in Yekaterinburg in the night of 17 July was revealed the light of the faith of Christ that conquers evil. However, Nicholas's canonisation was controversial. The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was split on the issue back insome members suggesting that the emperor was a weak ruler and had failed to thwart the rise of the Bolsheviks.

It was pointed out by one priest that martyrdom in the Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the martyr's personal actions but is instead related to why he or she was killed. The Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia rejected the family's classification as martyrs because they were not killed on account of their religious faith. Religious leaders in both churches also had objections to canonising the Tsar's family because they perceived him as a weak emperor whose incompetence led to the revolution and the suffering of his people and made him partially responsible for his own murder and those of his wife, children and servants.

For these opponents, the fact that the Tsar was, in private life, a kind man and a good husband and father or a leader who showed genuine concern for the peasantry did not override his poor governance of Russia. Despite the original opposition, the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia ultimately recognised the family as "passion bearers," or people who met their deaths with Christian humility.

The Church does not, however, recognise the remains interred at Peter and Paul Cathedral as being those of the Imperial Family. Nicholas is generally considered to have been incompetent at the colossal task of ruling the enormous Russian Empire.

His father, Alexander IIIwho deliberately intended to keep his son uneducated in statecraft until the age of thirty, unfortunately miscalculated his own life nicholas, and died when Nicholas was twenty-six.

The new Tsar had learned nothing in the interval, and the impression of imperturbability he conveyed was in reality apathy—the indifference of a mind so shallow as to be all surface. When a telegram was brought to him announcing the annihilation of the Russian fleet at Tsushimahe read it, stuffed it in his pocket, and went on playing tennis.

Pavel Bykov, who in Russia wrote the first full account about the downfall of the Tsar, denounced Nicholas as a "tyrant, who paid with his life for the age-old repression and arbitrary rule of his ancestors over the Russian people, over the impoverished and blood-soaked country". Soviet-era historians noted that Nicholas II was not fit to be a nicholas.

It has been argued that he had a weak will and was manipulated by adventurist forces. His regime was condemned for extensive use of the army, police, and courts to destroy the revolutionary movement. He was criticised for fanning nationalism and chauvinism. With the punitive expeditions and courts-martial during the Revolution, the monarch became known as "Nicholas the Bloody". Nicholas's reign was seen as a time of suffering for Russians. The new Provisional Government confined Nicholas and his family to the palace at Tsarskoe Selo, in part for their own safety, moving them to Tobolsk in Siberia when armed demonstrations by workers and soldiers broke out in Petrograd in July.

Following the Bolshevik revolution of October and the onset of Civil Warcontrols over the prisoners tightened and in Aprilamidst rumours of monarchist plots to free them, the family was moved to the Bolshevik stronghold of Ekaterinburg. There, whether on orders from the party leadership or local initiative, they were executed. Western scholarship has been coloured by attitudes to the Bolshevik regime and its collapse and shaped by debates between those optimistic about the progress of tsarist Russia on the eve of war and those who believe it was in fundamental crisis. Pessimists, like Leopold Haimson, foreground the unsustainable methods and costs of industrialisation, irreconcilable gulfs in society and weak constitutional foundations as evidence of looming disintegration.

Russian domestic policy, of course, cannot be neatly separated from escalating European tensions.

nicholas ii of russia biography summary

Nor should the role of Nicholas be reduced to misfortunate victim of events. Nicholas may have been better suited to the role of constitutional monarch but he clung to a system inadequately managing social and economic change and poorly coordinating the state at war. Nicholas II, Emperor of Russiain: International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed.

Nicholas II | 10 Facts About The Last Emperor of Russia

This text is licensed under: He strove to regain his former powers and ensured that in the new Fundamental Laws May he was still designated an autocrat. He furthermore patronized an extremist right-wing organization, the Union of the Russian Peoplewhich sanctioned terrorist methods and disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda. Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypinwho replaced Witte and carried out the coup of June 16,dissolving the second Duma, was loyal to the dynasty and a capable statesman.

But the emperor distrusted him and allowed his position to be undermined by intrigue. After its ambitions in the Far East were checked by Japan, Russia turned its attention to the Balkans. Nicholas sympathized with the national aspirations of the Slavs and was anxious to win control of the Turkish straits but tempered his expansionist inclinations with a sincere desire to preserve peace among the Great Powers.

After the assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevohe tried hard to avert the impending war by diplomatic action and resisted, until July 30,the pressure of the military for general, rather than partial, mobilization. The Duma was slighted, and voluntary patriotic nicholases were hampered in their efforts; the gulf between the ruling group and public opinion grew steadily wider.

They were overruled, however, and soon dismissed. Nicholas II did not, in fact, interfere unduly in operational decisions, but his departure for headquarters had serious political consequences.

Nicholas II of Russia

In his absence, supreme power in effect passed, with his approval and encouragement, to the empress. A grotesque situation resulted: The court was widely suspected of treachery, and antidynastic feeling grew apace. His isolation was virtually complete. When riots broke out in Petrograd St. Petersburg on March 8,Nicholas instructed the city commandant to take firm measures and sent troops to restore order.

It was too late. The nicholas ii of russia biography summary resigned, and the Duma, supported by the army, called on the emperor to abdicate. At Pskov on March 15, with fatalistic composure, Nicholas renounced the throne—not, as he had originally intended, in favour of his son, Alexisbut in favour of his brother Michaelwho refused the crown.

This step sealed their doom. In April they were taken to Yekaterinburg in the Urals. In the early hours of July 17,the prisoners were all slaughtered in the cellar of the house where they had been confined. Although there is some uncertainty over whether the family was killed on July 16 or 17, most sources indicate that the executions took place on July The bodies were burned, cast into an abandoned mine shaft, and then hastily buried elsewhere.

Nicholas II proposed and promoted the famous Hague Convention of The conference was held to end the arms race and solve international disputes peacefully. Although it was not successful due to distrust among major powers, still it was among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes.

Nicholas II neglected the cost of war and maintained that the Japanese were racially inferior and militarily weak.

The Home of the Last Tsar - Romanov and Russian History

It was due to his wish that Russia remained in the war despite suffering multiple defeats. It was after the annihilation of the Russian fleet in the Battle of Tsushima that Nicholas pursued peace.

nicholas ii of russia biography summary

The war ended in but humiliation at the hands of Japan and severe losses were seen as shortcomings of the Romanov autocracy. On Sunday, 22 Januaryunarmed demonstrators led by Father Georgy Gapon marched towards the Winter Palace to present a petition to Nicholas II regarding problems faced by the working class like wages, working hours and working conditions.

Soldiers of the Imperial Guard fired on the demonstrators. Although official records said only 92 people died, it is estimated that more than a thousand were dead or wounded.