The Romanovs and the War to End All Wars

Nicholas II with his family in Yevpatoria, Crimea, May 1916 (public domain)

The start of the First World War also called “The Great War” or “War to End All Wars”, officially began in 1914 with a royal-related event that set the war in motion.

The catalyst for World War One began on 28 June 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand (heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne) and his wife were assassinated riding in his car in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary. This would lead to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia as the Archduke had been killed by the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip.

The war was fought between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance, and Tsar Nicholas II’s Russia was a main member of the former. It was this war that led to his ouster as Tsar and the eventual murder of him and his family. He thought Russia’s fighting in the war would unite the country and restore the people’s faith in him – the latter of which held true.

Russia suffered mass casualties and losses during the war and was not helped by the inefficient railway system in the country. The Tsar spoke to his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm to attempt to keep the Germans’ mobilisation limited. Tsar Nicholas felt his cousin’s responses were unsatisfactory and the Russian troops, which he led, began to mobilise. The Tsar lacked the leadership needed during World War One and refused to work with the Duma (legislative assembly in the Russian Empire). There were fuel and food shortages in Russia, especially for the poor; the high cost of the war also led to inflation. This came after the Tsar had, in 1905, viciously suppressed the industrial workers.

Nicholas was unable to relate to his people suffering after growing up in isolation and in general, lack the necessary skills to be an efficient and well-liked monarch. Being married to a German (a country part of the Triple Alliance) did not help his approval in his country either. This would lead to the rise of Vladimir Lenin and socialism in the county, which, in turn, led to the downfall of the Romanovs.

The War to End All Wars finally ended in 1918 – a year after the Tsar had been forced into abdication and the Romanov family was executed by the Bolsheviks.

About Brittani Barger 89 Articles
My name is Brittani, and I am from Tennessee, USA. I have a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Tennessee: Knoxville, and I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree at Northeastern University. I’ve been passionate about history since I was a child. My favorite areas to study and research are World War II through the Cold War, as well as studying the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Aside from pursuing my passion for writing about history, I am the Deputy Editor for Royal Central. I am also an avid reader who believes you can never stop learning! On any weekend in the fall, you can find me watching college football (American football) and cheering on my Tennessee Volunteers! You can contact me on Twitter @brittani_91 .

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