In some ways Nicholas II had some of the qualities necessary to be a successful Tsar. For instance, he had characteristics that could have benefitted him such as his loyalty and intelligence, shown in source 12, “Nicholas was not a stupid man …Nicholas loved his country and served it loyally and to the best of his ability…The situation would probably have destroyed any man who sat on the throne. ”(From Nicholas II, Emperor of All the Russians by Dominic Lieven, 1994.
This source is somewhat reliable because although history books are based on indisputable facts, this fact may have been used in a way that sides with the author’s point of view. The quote also suggests that he did not deserve the extensive criticism that he faced during his reign and was not a particularly terrible leader. Furthermore, source 5 shows that Nicholas was enthusiastic, kind hearted and committed to his work, “Nicholas was “kind to those around him and deeply religious…He believed wholeheartedly in autocracy. …He genuinely wanted to bring happiness and prosperity to his people. ” (From a modern GCSE school textbook.
This source is also somewhat reliable because it was a British GCSE textbook, which means that it may have been oversimplified or manipulated to fit Britain’s view of Russia’s approaches. On the other hand, he also displayed some worrying tendencies. For example his faults caused some people of Russia to believe less in his ability to rule, shown in source 3 – “Nicholas was not fit to run a post office,” said by an unknown cabinet minister. Although this source was from during his time in power, it is unreliable as it’s an opinion, not factual and the identity of the person who said it was unknown.
One other source that shows the scepticism of some Russians toward his leadership is source 4, “He never had an opinion of his own…always agreeing with the judgement of the last person he spoke to. ” (By Grand Duke Alexander Mikhaeilovich). This source is very reliable as it was during the time he was in power and was from Nicholas’ brother in law and advisor who he had a close relationship to, and the fact that he was speaking negatively about him could show that Alexander couldn’t lie about how bad he may have been.
It also shows that he was indecisive and also weak as he could not stick to his opinions if he had any. Moreover, who would believe in him if he didn’t believe in himself? Source 14 (an extract from Nicholas’ Diary written in 1894) reads “What is going to happen to me, to all Russia? I am not prepared to be the tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling. I have no idea of even how to talk to a minister.
This shows that Nicholas himself believed that he didn’t have to qualities required to be a successful tsar, and without the right mind set, this could have perhaps meant that he put less effort into being a successful Tsar as he could have, had he have believed that he was suitable for the role. While this source is very reliable, the fact that it’s a diary could mean that it was written with the slight intention of having others see it, which would have meant that Nicholas may have wanted others to feel slightly sympathetic towards him and to see that the potential downfall of Russia wasn’t entirely his fault.
In conclusion, although Nicholas had some qualities necessary to be a successful ruler such as being intelligent and loyal, he had few and was lacking in the more important qualities needed. The fact that the sources that agree with his ability to rule (and source 14) all denote a sense of sympathy towards the Tsar (rather than pride) could have meant that the tsar was not truly a good leader, and perhaps the Russian citizens may have also felt this.