Before the war, there were lots of problems which led up to the revolution and we call them the long term causes. The peasants working and living conditions were very bad but the government made it even worse by its own policies. Russia needed to develop its industries, so that it was a modern agricultural country instead of a backward one and also to remain in an important military power. To aid this dilemma the government invested in enormous amounts of money in improving Russias industries.
Where did most of this money come from? From the pockets of the people in Russia! To do this, the peasants had to pay huge taxes ot only on grain but on nearly all everyday items such as alcohol and salt! Nevertheless, the workers wages still stayed very low and did not increase much at all as the government wanted to squeeze the people for every penny they could get to put into industrial development.
Soon later, all seemed well, iron and steel industries grew rapidly but then thousands of workers lost their jobs. This was a cause for strikes and rebellions against managers and the government. Also, things were not going very well in the country side. As if being taxed for all you were worth wasnt enough, there were very bad harvests for couple of years so now they were starving as well! To return the favour, the peasants became violent and started to burn landlords houses.
Then the Tzar went to war with Japan which he thought would make the public believe in the government again. However, it backfired on him and caused all the same problems again but by a greater degree. That really infuriated the people! Leading up to the war the peasants and workers still had: *Inadequate clothing *Insufficient and unhealthy food *Long, hard hours at work *Inadequate housing/shelter *Self-made entertainment *Impoverished standard of life *Very low quality of life Age of death-early 20’s-30’s.
These were the huge differences in the quality of life between the rich and the poor as the rich had: *More than adequate clothing *More than adequate food *Lived on rising and unearned income *Entertainment was provided for them *Excellent standard of life *More than excellent quality of life *Age of death-late 50’s, 60’s and above In these years leading up to the war, as you can see, the living standard of the peasants and workers did not improve as so they were forced to rise up against these massive inadequacies!!
Politically, Russia was very unstable as the people had lost a lot of respect for the overnment and the Tzar. When the Tzar started to use the Dumas people began to wonder whether they would have any real power. By the Dumas first meeting it was clear. They could not pass laws, they could not appoint ministers and they could not control finance in such important areas as defence. Was there much point in them if the Tzar did not like what they were doing or proposing to do, he could dissolve them?? So, no. In my opinion the peoples views were not being heard through the Dumas.
There are lots of opinions as whether the Tzar was fit to rule Russia. In my opinion, the Tzar was not fit to rule Russia but this was by no means his own fault. He was taught as a soldier and he was not taught to act and behave like a king so it was his statesmanship that was at fault, not him himself!! The War. The war did not only effect the army but the people at home. Food was getting short, all the male peasants had to be taken off to the army so only women and invalids were left to tend the farms, shops . etc.
All the working trains were being put to use for the war effort so food was not getting through from other places. Nearly all unnecessary factories in the cities were closed so that furthed in another massive nemployment. People were not getting coal and wood to burn because the coal industries were shut down so the people were freezing as well. Not only that but the prices were rising as well because of the shortages! Wages were not going up, workers had to work longer hours, and Vodka had stopped being made during the war so the people now had nothing to drown their sorrows in!!
There was a greater poverty all round, a loss in confidence in the government and there was no end to the awful news about the terrible deaths and casualties from far at the front lines! Nicholas II made two very large and obvious mistakes. The first was that he made himself head of the armed forces so when anything went wrong the people and soldiers blamed him as he was the head. What he should have done was make a General the head so that if anything did go wrong he would be blamed and not him. Then he could have sacked that General and given the job to another person!
His second mistake was that when he went away to fight in the war he left his wife in charge of the country and she was German and they were fighting the Germans so that was a unfortunate mistake. She did not know how to rule any more than he did so the government just carried on as they were doing nyway!! The Tzarina was then involved with Rasputin as he had (supposedly) saved her sons life, twice. She was a very religious woman and was convinced that Rasputin had been sent by God to save her son. Rasputin then became a close friend of the royal family.
Their relationship shocked even the highest level of government and society and their reputations suffered from it!! The Revolution. By March 1917 the situation had become desperate and there was a serious mood of discontent. The workers wanted political changes as well as food and fuel. Tens of thousands of workers were going on strike and ven the women joined in as it was International Womens Day . They were demanding food, fuel, better conditions and a better government. On the 12 March, soldiers refused to fire on crowds, some regiments shot their officers and joined in the demonstrations.
They had had enough of the war and the way they were being treated! The soldiers joined the strikers and the women in the streets marched to the Duma to demand that they take control of the government. I think that this was a major turning point. In my opinion it would have taken a much longer time to overthrow the government without the soldiers joining in!! Conclusions. In my opinion, most of the above issues are long term causes, the short term ones were about the lack of equipment and hospital facilities, the incompetence of the officers, inadequate armour, weapons . tc. , the massive loss of life and the 25% desertions!! In my opinion, it was not the Tzars fault intentionally to be a bad leader. It was his predecessors who did not train him properly. If they had really cared about what was to happen after they had died they would have done something about bringing up proper leaders. I think that they were very careless about choosing leaders but I also feel very sorry for the Tzar, it was NOT his fault!!