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Nicholas II (Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov)
Born: 18th May 1868
Married to: Princess Alexandra of Hesse-Darmstadt
Nicholas was determined that Russia shouldn't be left to scramble for colonial
possessions so he encouraged the expansion in Manchuria. This provoked war with
Japan in 1904.
The resulting Russian defeat led to strikes and riots. In January 1905 on Bloody
Sunday the army in St Petersburg shot a crowd demanding for radical reforms.
Opposition to the tsar grew and Nicholas was forced to grant a constitution and
establish a parliament, the duma.
Changes were made in the voting laws to prevent the election of radicals.
The secret police continued to stop opposition.
The Duma gave many more people, especially the middle class, a voice in
With Russia allied to Britain and France against Austria-Hungary and Germany, the
outbreak of world war one in 1914 temporarily strengthened the monarchy.
In mid 1915 Nicholas made the disastrous decision to take direct command of the
Russian armies, this made every military failure from then on was directly associated
Nicholas was away a lot of the time so Alexandra took a more active role in
Russia was suffering from severe food shortages, heavy losses in war and high
inflation. This compounded the grinding poverty most Russians already endured.
Rasputin was murdered by a group of disaffected nobles in December 1916 and then
in February 1917 widespread popular demonstrations began in Petrograd.
Nicholas lost support of the army and had nothing else to do but abdicate. Then the
provisional government was established.
The Tsar and his family were held in various locations, eventually being imprisoned in
Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains.
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The provisional government was soon overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October
Russia then fell into civil war after a harsh peace treaty with Germany in March 1918.
As anti-Bolsheviks approached Yekaterinburg in July 1918, Nicholas and his family
This was almost certainly on the orders of the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.…read more