Describe the reign of Nicholas II of Russia. For what reasons was he overthrown in 1917? Could this, in your opinion, have been avoided?
Here are some preliminary points in the form of a detailed outline:
1. The Economy
The reign of Nicholas II was largely a successful one. Industrial growth was extraordinary. Railroads were being laid throughout that huge country. Iron and steel production increased by about 156% between 1900-1913, while pig iron, or unprocessed iron, increased by almost 100%.
The state was spending a fortune on education at all levels. Peasants were buying land from the nobility through the peasant land bank, which offered credit on very good terms. Other peasants were moving to fertile parts of Siberia, at government expense, with state supplied tools and seed. Russian exports and her foreign trade increased by about 150% throughout Nicholas' reign. Between 1861 and 1916, about 90% of the land was in peasant hands. In Germany at the time, the figure was about 40%.
The fact is that the old nobility were disappearing. While few of these nobles were wealthy, almost all of them were deep in debt. Government service, a rising peasant class and a middle class were slowly taking over. The working class by 1900 was still tiny. Contrary to popular belief, peasant landholding was expanding in every direction, both in its communal setting as well as for individual proprietors. Russian taxes were the lowest in Europe, at 1.83 rubles per capita, versus the equivalent of 17 rubles in Great Britain at the time.
Russia was becoming urbanized. Like the rest of Europe, she had periods of labor unrest, but probably had the best pro-labor legislation in the world, past by Alexander III, his father. It was tough to fire workers. Hours were reduced, and night hours were forbidden for children and women. The factory inspectorate was created, which sent government inspectors to look at working conditions and hear labor complaints. Wages were continually rising. Sergei Witte, Nicholas' prime minister, made it easier for peasants to buy land on their own. Even Soviet estimates of peasant landownership under Nicholas show that about 90.45% of the land was owned by the peasantry as the nobility was desperate to sell.
From 1898 to 1913, the Russian farmer increased his live animal herds by over 200%, butter by over 300% an both fresh and salted meats by almost 500%. Russia grew about 60% of the world's rye, and about 30 percent of its oats. This is partly due to the increasing number of peasant proprietors, ...
A discussion on the Reign of Nicholas II of Russia is provided.