Nothing Short Of War Could Have Any Effect On The Russian System Of Government." How Accurate Is This View Of The Tsarist System Of Government From 1800 To 1917?

1155 words - 5 pages

I believe that throughout history, the Tsars felt threatened. They then reformed in order to stay in power, and to stay in for power alone. However, this mindset only had an effect when the Tsar's power was threatened. Nevertheless, I believe that to find the factors that had an effect on the Russian system of government, one must look for the reason why felt threatened. Here war was an important factor, however it was not the only factor. Otherwise reform would not have occurred without war. I believe that if these other aforementioned factors were important enough to cause political change, then they must rank alongside war in terms of importance.However it was not "the locomotive of history". i Together with discontent in the populace, and its manifestations (strikes, revolutionary activity, and assassinations), I believe War invariably changed the Russian political system.I believe war had an impact for several reasons. Throughout the period described Russia took part in three wars, in which they were crushed. Firstly, when a country fails in war, some would see it as being a sign that the country is less advanced in general. Firstly, the realisation that one's country was backward and prone to invasion threatened the Tsar's power, which then induced political change. He realised that if something was not done to improve and modernise that external enemies could be more of a danger than internal ones.I have chosen an example to illustrate this. After the 1854-6 Crimean War, Alexander II initiated the emancipation of the Serfs, the creation of the Zemstvos, the Dumas, and the independent judiciary. He was even compelled to consider relinquishing a sizeable proportion of his power to the populace, but died before being able to implement these ideas. This was as a direct result of Alexander having the aforementioned realisation.Secondly, war has the inevitable effects on the populace. Unlike Bismark, the Tsars did not have the political clout necessary to ensure that a war was properly prepared for. Subsequently, the long drawn out wars slowly demoralised the Russian people and resulted in discontent. Aside from destroying any pride they had in the "system", they were subjected to witnessing the death of their comrades and the draining of their country.However, war when carried out swiftly and with success can have positive benefits for the popularity of a ruler. Bismarck's foreign policy showed this. But the wars in which Russia was involved in only served to weaken the resolve of the people, and the power of the Tsar. The floundering war effort was a factor in the Bloody Sunday, the October Manifesto and the first revolution of 1917.Yet there were other factors in these political upheavals and others, as I have said before. The other main factor I believe was important was the discontent of the populace. Ultimately, the Tsar's power rested on support from below. When this support was not there, he had to act to regain it, as he felt...

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