WW1, and the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty
Report by Trevor Martin, and Jamie Cruikshank

Nicholas II Romanov (1868-1918) ruled from 1894 to 1917 and was the final Tsar of the Russian Empire. He married Victoria Alix Louise Beatrix, later Alexandra Feodorovna Romanov (1872-1918). Nicholas and Alexandra had five children, four daughters and one son. The eldest daughter, Olga (1895), enjoyed reading and spending time with her father. The second daughter was Tatiana (1897), who was basically known as the pretty daughter and was very close to Olga. The third was Marie (1899), who was accident prone and “boy-crazy”. By now the Tsar was really hoping for a boy for his fourth child, but received a girl named Anastasia (1901), who didn’t like school, and tried to skip out as much as possible. She was also the jokester of the family always playing practical jokes. Anastasia was also very close to her familNicholas2Family.jpgy members especially her father, brother, and grandma. The four girls would be given the title of Grand Duchess. The Tsar and Empress finally got their wish of a boy with their son Alexis (1904), who was to be heir to the Russian throne. Alexis was born with hemophilia which had forever weakened his immunity. Grigory Rasputin, who was an honorary family member, took on the role of taking care-taker, nurturer, and supplier of pain medications for the young Alexis. Alexandra greatly admired and appreciated Rasputin for his actions and efforts to comfort Alexis. Therefore the family was very close and really cared for each other.

Rasputin was taken into the family when Alexis was diagnosed with the terrible disease of hemophilia to help cure the child through God and prayer. He won the respect of the Romanovs when he indeed did cure the young heir of the deadly disease. After saving the life of his son, Rasputin was acknowledged by the Tsar as a friend, and Alexandra referred to him as being sent by God. The Tsar and Empress’s desire to keep their child’s illness a secret from the public, led to rumours of Rasputin and Alexandra’s close relationship; and sexual relationships with her, and her daughters. It was also a well known thought that Rasputin had relationships with many women, and kept many mistresses. In addition to these scandals, there were rumours of Rasputin having control over the Tsar and his influence on the government. Another rumour was that he was a spy working for the Germans. As rumours about Rasputin were becoming more and more ridiculous, and his behavior was becoming more licentious; the reputation of the Romanov family was shattered. Members of parliament publically denounced Rasputin, and his removal from the court.

Among Rasputin’s group of enemies, a small gathering of aristocrats, and officers chose to silence Rasputin forever. With a simple plan of poisoning him, the group thought the death would be simple. However the execution was tough, and intense. When Rasputin was first poisoned, the poison had no effect on him, so he was shot in the chest. As the men were celebrating, and Rasputin was just lying there motionless, one executioner (Felix) went over to Rasputin to double check that he was dead. Rasputin jumped rasputin_tint.jpgup suddenly, and strangled the man. The man broke free, and ran for help, as Rasputin broke off as well. As he was escaping, he was shot at twice, but the shots missed; he was shot at again, and got hit in the back. Rasputin stopped, and was shot in the head, and fell to the ground, but continued to crawl away. The man (Purishkevich) caught up to Rasputin, and kicked him in the head. Rasputin was brought up to a room, where he was then brutally beaten with a dumbbell. His body was then taken to an icy river, and disposed of there. When his body was later recovered, it was evident that he had been alive in the water, trying to escape for some time before officially drowning and dying.
Nicholas II was also hurting his own reputation, while industrialism was coming to Russia by not supporting the working class, by denying them better wages, shorter hours, and stopping them from creating workers unions despite the workers numerous strikes. He did however create state approved unions; and a strike by one of these unions, showed Nicholas’s poor ruling ability. As people were peacefully marching to the Tsar, when he refused to meet with them and ordered to have them fired upon, killing hundreds and turning public opinion ag1887BloodySunday.jpgainst the Tsar, this event is known as “Bloody Sunday”, and helped set off a revolt in 1905. Nicholas’s poor leadership throughout WW1 led to increased prices, protests, food and fuel shortages, and outbreaks of disease. Also, as the peasants were rising up and seizing the land, many soldiers (who were mostly peasants) deserted the army. A revolution on land was occurring. This is said to be the Russians “voting with their feet”. This was important in the final revolution in 1917, which brought an end to the Romanov Dynasty.

After the Tsar resigned, the family moved away to Tsarskoye Selo and put under house arrest. Then because their lives were in danger they were moved again to Siberia, as the Bolsheviks (a division of the Communists) had almost complete power in Russia. The family was moved one more time in 1918. On the night of July 17, 1918 the family was lead to their basement because they were told that the White Army was coming and they were in danger, little did they know is that it was a trap and they were being led to their execution by 12 men. The organized, efficient, and gruesome execution and disposal of the family took only 20 minutes.

After the family’s disappearance, people decided to come out portraying different family members for personal gain, mostly Anastasia and Alexis.

What the tsar’s biggest mistakes throughout this whole ordeal, cannot be narrowed down to one event. Mainly what cost him, was the turning down of the peace meeting. This happened on “Bloody Sunday”, the day that people were fired, and many were killed. Doing this, not only did Tsar look bad, but that is what turned people against him. From him firing hundreds of people, he exposed his horrible leadership skills, and his people lost respect. He was always known to be a horrible leader, but this was the final event that broke everything for him.
The fall of the royal family was inevitable, because of the bad choices that Nicholas made. If he had not done that, his family would have been fine. But with him exploiting, and proving that he was truly a bad leader, and not the smartest man, he made it hard for people to not trust him. From the rumors about affairs in his household with his daughters, and Rasputin; that put out a bad reputation about him, and his family. Also with his own mistakes that he made, he was never able to clear his name, and failed to prove himself wrong. By the end of it, he had no respect from anyone, and the people did what they thought was the best option.