Nicholas II (1868-1918) was the last tsar of Russia, reigning native November 1894 till his fall in march 1917. Together with his family, he was detained through the Provisional Government and then the Bolsheviks, prior to being executed in Ekaterinburg in July 1918. Most chroniclers agree the Nicholas lacked the capacity or vision to dominion Russia v the obstacles of the early 20th century.

Born in Tsarskoye Selo in 1868, Nicholas was the eldest child of Alexander III and also Maria Feodorovna, a Danish princess. Nicholas’ dad would later on reimpose autocracy and political oppression in Russia after ~ the assassination that Alexander II.

In stark comparison to his father, Nicholas was short, shy and also softly-spoken. That was, by all accounts, a an excellent student of above-average intelligence yet lacked the bearing, confidence and assertiveness intended of autocratic tsars. Those that met the young Tsarevich explained him together pleasant and likeable yet otherwise unremarkable. 

In his youth, Nicholas served in the royal cavalry and attained the location of colonel. He likewise had the opportunity to travel widely v Europe and Asia. In 1891, while visiting the Japanese city that Otsu, Nicholas to be attached through a Japanese bodyguard, that struck him in the head v a sabre. This event left Nicholas v a much less than favourable see of Japan and also its people.

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As Tsarevich, Nicholas famously to express reluctance about becoming tsar, advertising that he “never want to rule”. He inserted tradition above his own personal concerns, however, and also assumed the throne ~ the death of Alexander III in 1894. He later pledged to uphold the autocracy bequeathed by his father and to preserve the monarchy because that his own son.

Nicholas had several admirable qualities. He was a nationalist who professed a love because that Russia and its people; he had a strong sense the duty and a stilted affection for the peasantry. Yet he was also blindly conservative, relied excessively ~ above the advice of aristocratic elite and religious prelates and exhibited some dark prejudices. Arguably the worst of these to be his anti-Semitism.

Nicholas hosted a twisted check out that revolutionary principles were the assets of dark forces. In most cases, he attributed revolutionary activity to college students or Jewish plotters. Nicholas was at least indirectly responsible because that the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the anti-Jewish hoax produced and distributed by agents of the Russian Okhrana. Nicholas also listed moral and also financial support to reactionary and anti-Semitic teams like the black color Hundreds.

Nicholas was also an imperialist who associated territorial expansion with success and also glory. The ill-fated forays right into Korea that motivated the Russo-Japanese war were greatly his doing, ordered against the advice the his ministers and also generals.


Conventional historiography, steeped in for free animosity in the direction of communism, has often shown Nicholas together a pathetic figure: a victim quite than a failure. He to be a weak and short-sighted ruler who was undermined by a domineering wife, a society in change and a civilization war that broken the pillars that tsarism.

A more realistic study says Nicholas was a leader that was an ext responsible for his own fate 보다 is frequently suggested. The was out of touch v his people yet no an ext than other emperors of his era. At an early stage in his reign, he fixed to follow his dead dad in upholding and reinforcing the autocratic monarchy. His commitment come this ultimately developed his own doom.

Confronted through some glaring warning signs in 1905 – a humiliating armed forces defeat, a frozen economy, political violence and also an outraged world – Nicholas ignored castle all, promising reform in the October Manifesto but doing so with no sincerity. As soon as he signed the April 1906 basic Laws, Nicholas might too have signed his own fatality warrant.

Alexandra Feodorovna, the Russian tsarina

Nicholas’ dominance was also endangered by his an option of wife. He and Alexandra were certainly in love however her politics views only mirrored and also reinforced his own. Though she had actually no straight experience of federal government or politics, Alexandra was additionally outspoken around matters of state and her proposal had an ext influence top top Nicholas 보다 they ought to have had.

In addition, Alexandra’s friendship with Grigori Rasputin just disrupted and undermined the tsarist regime, specifically in its last year. Though Nicholas was more suspicious the Rasputin and also his behaviour, he permitted the ongoing presence that the Siberian confidence healer in the imperial court in order come placate his wife.

A historian’s view: was handsome and also blue-eyed yet diminutive and also hardly majestic, and also his looks and immaculate manners concealed an astonishing arrogance, contempt for the education political classes, vicious anti-Semitism, and also an unshakable belief in his best to preeminence as a spiritual autocrat. That was jealousy of his ministers, and also he possessed the unfortunate capability to make himself utterly distrusted by his own government. His marriage to Princess Alexandra the Hesse only exacerbated this qualities.”Simon Sebag Montefiore


1. Nicholas II, the critical Tsar the Russia and also the boy of Alexander III, take it the throne swearing to keep the autocracy.

2. He was intelligent and also well-travelled yet lacked both the demeanour and foresight to rule at a time the unfolding change.

3. He was also religious, conservative and thought difficulties in his regime were the work of conspirators.

4. Nicholas’ mam Alexandra was a German-speaking princess. Castle married against the wishes and also advice that others.

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5. Alexandra was devoutly religious and strong-willed: she association with Rasputin and also her politics advice and also influence top top Nicholas during times of crisis contributed to the downfall the tsarism.