The Fall of the Tsar (Source Based)
Both sources agree that Rasputin definitely has some influence over the Russian Royal Family. However, in source B Rasputin is said to be working with Alexandra as German agents trying to "destroy Russia from within." Source A only says that Alexandra came under "the hypnotic influence of Rasputin" but it doesn't suggest any maliciousness from Rasputin. However, from my own knowledge I know that Rasputin was regarded as evil by many.
Source A seems to suggest that Rasputin has hypnotic powers. Firstly it says that Alexandra came under his hypnotic influence and whenever he was in the presence of Alexis (Alexandra's haemophiliac son) his bleeding would mysteriously stop and the only explanation seemed to be Rasputin's "hypnotic powers." These "powers" could have enabled him to overthrow the Tsar but it never happened and at the end of 1916 he was murdered.
In all, the sources do agree on the fact that Rasputin had some influence in the household but source B suggests more influence than source A.
2: Neither source C or D disproves sources A and B. Both of these pictures show Rasputin, but in entirely different lights. Source C is showing him as extremely sinister, and obviously close in to the Tsarina. His eyes are dark and narrowed, giving him a suspicious look and his arm is around the Tsarina, almost holding her in. The Tsarina is noticeably oblivious, as is the Tsar with his eyes closed, seeing none of what is going on.
Source D shows a photo of Rasputin 'surrounded by admirers', many of these women. This photo was obviously taken to show Rasputin in a good light, and at first glance it would seem so. But with the rumours of his affair with the Tsarina, this might only worsen his image, as he is surrounded by mainly women, and this might just make him look like a womaniser.
I don't think either of these sources disproves sources A and B, because neither is particularly reliable. While both the texts were from a history textbook, and both actually written by the authors well after Tsar Nicholas II's reign, both sources C and D are from the actual period. They are both pictures and both on a subject of great interest, bias and rumours when they were drawn or taken. All this makes the pictures significantly less reliable than A or B.
They also are not disproving the first sources because they are all trying to get across a similar point. Source A talks about Rasputins 'hypnotic influence' and the Tsarinas high view of him. Source B talks about, again, Rasputins influence, but goes on to say that Rasputin and the Tsarina were German agents, or so it was rumoured at the time.
Source C shows all of these things and more; the dark, suspectable Rasputin, close to the Tsarina, the Tsarinas ease around him, and both the Tsars and her obliviousness.
D shows Rasputin surrounded by women of the court, really showing he has no male support, but all the women love him. While it is not reliable, it does not disprove either of the sources. As it doesn't actually tell us that much about Rasputin, there isn't as much to disprove, but it still agrees about the womanising Rasputin seems to have, perhaps the Tsarina is just one of these women. While the sources A and B don't say anything about womanising, we get a slight impression, and besides, even though it wasn't said, it doesn't mean it wasn't there.
3: Source F is a letter from the Tsarina Alexandra to her husband explaining the situation in Petrograd in February. Source E is entirely different, source E gives just facts and F gives the Tsarina's opinion.
Tsarina Alexandra would want her husband to remain calm so she may not be giving him solid facts although generally it seems to give a clear picture. She fails, however, to tell Nicholas that it is not just "hoodlums" creating disturbances. According to Source E one half of the industrial workers of Petrograd are on strike. Also, Alexandra says that youngsters and girls are running round shouting they have no bread but Source E says that the slogan "bread" is drowned out by louder slogans like "Down with Autocracy!" "Down with the war!" It seems like Alexandra is trying to keep all the facts from Nicholas.
Tsarina Alexandra can only describe what she can see, she doesn't report to Nicholas anything other that the riots, she cannot say about workers holding meetings instead of working.
When taking all these points into consideration source F is not a very reliable source. It gives a very vague picture of the situation.
4: Source E is taken from a History textbook written by Leon Trotsky in 1932, this makes it a very useful source as Trotsky was around at the time of the revolution. Source G is photo taken in February 1917.
Source G tells you very little about the situation in Petrograd in February 1917, it is just a picture of a crowd of people and a piece of artillery standing in a street, the street is Russian as the signs above the shop suggest. These people could be there for any reason at all as the picture does not show the target (if any) of the piece of artillery, it could easily be staged for a number of purposes and is therefore fairly unreliable.
Source E is much more useful, it is a quote from a textbook written by Trotsky, a man from the time of the revolution. It gives a date and some specific details to give the reader a clear idea of the circumstances in Petrograd during the revolution. All this coming from someone who was there at the time makes this a very helpful source.
In conclusion Source E is a lot more useful as evidence of the situation in Petrograd during February 1917.
5: Source E is a quote from a textbook written by Leon Trotsky in 1932. As Trotsky was around during the revolution this is a useful source. It describes the situation Petrograd was in on the 24th of February 1917, it talks about the workers strikes and the general situation.
Source H is a short quote from Michael T. Florinsky's book: the End of the Russian Empire, this was written in 1931. Florinsky was in the Russian army at the time of the revolution making this source very reliable. It says that "the de-moralisation of the army was one of the most important factors in bringing about the Revolution." Florinsky would know this as he himself was in the army at this time. However, being in the army means that he may not have got as much information from the outside world as Trotsky so although he knows full well that the army was de-moralised he may not have known any other factors so in his eyes the army's de-moralisation is blatantly going to be the most important factor.
Source I is also a quote taken from a textbook, this makes it quite reliable as the facts will have been thoroughly researched. It talks about Nicholas II, basically it says that because of "the Rasputin scandals and his refusal to listen to any sane advice or to choose any ministers who might inspire some confidence," a situation had been produced so that even members of the imperial family were talking about a palace revolution.
I don't think this disagrees with the reasons why a revolution broke out in February, I think that it merely adds another factor to the many that caused it.
6: ALL THE SOURCES. Study the following interpretations of why the Tsar fell from power in February 1917.
a) "Rasputin and his evil influence was the main reason why the Tsar fell from power in February, 1917.
b) "the war and its consequences were the main reason why the Tsar fell from power in February, 1917."
Which interpretation is best supported by the evidence in these sources and your own knowledge of the period?
a) Sources A, B, C and D are about Rasputin so those are the ones on which I will focus my answer.
A is from a textbook, this makes it a fairly reliable source as the fact will have been researched to great lengths. It says Rasputin was a "holy man" and that Alexandra came under his "hypnotic influence." It doesn't mention the Tsar or his downfall so it isn't greatly useful when trying to answer the question. It may, however, link to another source and back it up.
Source B is also from a textbook and is reliable in the same sense. It does indeed support the statement but not to a great extent, it is only an explanation of "ugly rumours" that were flying around Petrograd at the time. There is no smoke without fire though and the closeness of the Tsarina and Rasputin was very noticeable. It says that in the Duma it was said that there were "dark forces destroying the throne." This seems to back up the statement tremendously but it all comes down to the phrase "ugly rumours"
Source C is Russian cartoon featuring the Tsar, Tsarina and Rasputin. It shows how close Rasputin is to the Tsarina. The writing at the top reads "Russian royal household." This shows the cartoonist's views that Rasputin had the power in the royal family as he is the most powerful figure in the cartoon. This supports the statement in a subtle way as the cartoonist suggests that Rasputin is trying to (and succeeding in) take over the royal household.
Source D is a picture of Rasputin surrounded by women of the court and other admirers. This does not help much when trying to decide if Rasputin was the main reason Nicholas II fell from power as it doesn't tell the reader much. One thing which is useful in this picture is that almost all the admirers are female. This backs up the fact that he was a womaniser and that he could easily have got the Tsarina wrapped around his little finger to try and overthrow the Tsar.
In conclusion these sources definitely suggest that Rasputin may have had plans to overthrow the Tsar but never put them into practice. He didn't have much to do with why the Tsar finally abdicated other than all the rumours flying round which gave the Tsar and the Tsarina a bad name, this helped the people of Russia to revolt against him.
b) The sources in connection with this question are E, F, G, H and I so I will focus my answer on these.
Source E is from a textbook written by Trotsky which makes it a reliable source because he was there at the time of the revolution. It describes the circumstances in Petrograd on the 24th February 1917. It strongly supports the statement as it actually says in the source that "the slogan 'bread' is being drowned out by louder slogans: 'Down with autocracy!' 'Down with the War!'" This is coming from "One half of the industrial workers" so this is a very strong force the Tsar has to compete with to stop himself falling from power.
Source F is a letter to Nicholas from the Tsarina Alexandra on the 25th February 1917. This is much the same as source E but Alexandra decides to leave out some well-chosen points in the letter. She says that youngsters run round shouting that they have no bread, however, in source E it says the slogan "bread" is drowned out by other slogans. The Tsarina may want to not worry her husband but in doing so she reveals to anyone knowing the truth that she thinks the situation is more than Nicholas can handle. This shows her thoughts that maybe she thinks he is going to fall and so it also strongly backs the statement.
Source G is a picture of soldiers and workers together behind a barricade in a Petrograd street, February 1917. Although the time and place suggests a clear reason for why they are there it could easily be staged for a number of different reasons so this is an un-reliable source.
Source H is a very short quote from a textbook written by Michael T. Florinsky. Florinsky was in the army at the time of the revolution, this makes his source very useful. It says that the de-moralisation of the army was one of the most important factors in bringing about the revolution. This supports the statement and is a useful source for this question.
Source I is also another quote taken from a textbook, this makes it quite reliable as the facts will have been thoroughly researched. It talks about Nicholas II. It says that because of "the Rasputin scandals and his refusal to listen to any sane advice or to choose any ministers who might inspire some confidence," a situation had been produced so electric that even members of the imperial family were talking about a palace revolution. This supports the statement, if the members of the imperial family thought a revolution was likely it shows just how bad the situation got. These people should be backing Nicholas but they're not.
In conclusion statement B is best supported by the evidence, a lot of sources agree with B and not many with A. "The war and its consequences were the main reason why the Tsar fell from power in February, 1917."
"The Fall of the Tsar." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Oct 2010
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