How far do you agree that the First World War was the main reason for the abdication of the Tsar in March 1917?

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In 1917, Tsar Nicholas abdicated and also abdicated on behalf of his son Alexei, which resulted in the end of Tsardom. The First World War was a significant factor that led to the abdication of the Tsar as the inflation, food shortages, poor transport system and the huge number of casualties turned many of the Russians, who were original supporters of the Tsar, against the him. The First World War was definitely a significant and important reason that led to the abdication of the Tsar, however to say this was the only reason would be simplistic. There were many other reasons, for example the role of Rasputin, which contributed to his abdication in March 1917.

The First World War was very important as the demands of the war proved too heavy for Russia to sustain and impacted Russia in a number of different ways. Firstly, the First World War affected the Russian economy massively as the maintaining of the large army proved very difficult and consequently led to inflation as the government printed more money. Taxation at home was increased and there was heavy borrowing. This lead to the average earnings increasing, however the price of food increased even further. The poor state of the Russian economy was a major reason that contributed to the abdication of the Tsar as it had a huge impact on Russian people. These effects and poor conditions people were living in led to Russians taking part in many strikes and demonstrations.

Another reason why the First World War was an important reason for the abdication of the Tsar is because of the food shortages caused by the priority of the military for supplies and the lack of communication when organising transport.  The requisitioning of horses and fertilisers for military use made it hard for the peasants to maintain agriculture output and this therefore led to a decrease in food production. However, it was the distribution of the transport system that was the major course of the shortages Russia faced during the war. By 1916, Petrograd and Moscow were only receiving a third of their food and fuel requirements and there was a decrease in the amount of grain received. There was not enough food to feed the Russian people and this, therefore, led to may people showing anger towards the government as their incompetence was highlighted. This ultimately led to further strikes and the spread of disorder in throughout the city of Petrograd.

Thirdly, the shortage in supplies for the army was another reason that highlights the First World War as a very important factor that led to the Tsar’s abdication.  The Russian army was a might force in terms of numbers…


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