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However at a particular moment, which I can date to within a few minutes, and greatly to my surprise, I realised that the only thing that I could do if I was to be happy was to join the Jesuits, who had taught me at Stonyhurst.
That was 47 years ago, and so far I have seen no reason to change my mind… For the last twelve years I have been teaching New Testament and Greek at the University of Oxford, where I am at Campion Hall, the Jesuit house.
Most recently I have published a translation of the entire Greek Bible into English, something that I can hardly believe. Before I came back to Oxford, I taught for many years in South Africa, which was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life.
Jesuits do all sorts of things, and our task is to do whatever the Church asks of us. Like many of my confreres, this particular Jesuit has always been a teacher at secondary or tertiary level; but I have also done a good deal of writing.
And I have coached cricket and Rugby in my time. Let me simply say this: if it is the life for you, then there is no better or happier way of life.
But it must be the life to which God is calling you. He wanted to drive the Ottomans completely out of Europe. He defied the Powers [ which?
Again in the Great War which began in he was the first to go to Serbia's aid to repel the Austrian forces from the Balkan Peninsula.
The government transferred its operations to Bordeaux. A few months later, Serbia including Montenegro merged with the former South Slav territories of Austria-Hungary to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes , which was renamed Yugoslavia in Nikola went into exile in France in , but continued to claim the throne until his death in Antibes three years later.
He was buried in Italy. In , the remains of Nikola, his queen Milena, and two of their twelve children were re-buried in Montenegro.
Proclamation of the Kingdom of Montenegro, Cetinje , 28 August Nikola I depicted on a perper gold coin in the year he began using the title of king.
Five of his daughters were married, each to princes and kings, giving Nikola the nickname "the father-in-law of Europe ", a sobriquet he shared with the contemporary King of Denmark.
Montenegrin . Foreign . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. King of Montenegro. Surrender of Shkodra to Montenegrin King Nikola, in , after the siege.
King Nicholas I monument in Podgorica. Andrew Knight of St. Anna , 1st Class Knight of St. The orders, medals and history of Montenegro.
Copenhagen: Bent Carlsen. Riddere af Elefantordenen, — in Danish. Syddansk Universitetsforlag.
Retrieved 21 March Scott The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner. Heads of the Montenegrin royal family since Andrew Recipients of the Order of St.
George of the Second Degree. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.
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A clash between Russia and the Empire of Japan was almost inevitable by the turn of the 20th century. Russia had expanded in the Far East, and the growth of its settlement and territorial ambitions, as its southward path to the Balkans was frustrated, conflicted with Japan's own territorial ambitions on the Chinese and Asian mainland.
Nicholas pursued an aggressive foreign policy with regards to Manchuria and Korea , and strongly supported the scheme for timber concessions in these areas as developed by the Bezobazov group.
War began in February with a preemptive Japanese attack on the Russian fleet in Port Arthur , prior to a formal declaration of war.
With the Russian Far East fleet trapped at Port Arthur, the only other Russian Fleet was the Baltic Fleet ; it was half a world away, but the decision was made to send the fleet on a nine-month voyage to the East.
The Russian Baltic Fleet traversed the world to lift the blockade on Port Arthur, but after many misadventures on the way, was nearly annihilated by the Japanese in the Battle of the Tsushima Strait.
While commands and supplies came from St. Petersburg , combat took place in east Asian ports with only the Trans-Siberian Railway for transport of supplies as well as troops both ways.
Petersburg and Port Arthur was single-track, with no track around Lake Baikal , allowing only gradual build-up of the forces on the front.
Besieged Port Arthur fell to the Japanese, after nine months of resistance. As Russia faced imminent defeat by the Japanese, the call for peace grew.
Despite the efforts, Nicholas remained evasive, sending a telegram to the Kaiser on 10 October that it was his intent to keep on fighting until the Japanese were driven from Manchuria.
The war was ended by the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth. Nicholas's stance on the war was so at variance with the obvious facts that many observers were baffled.
He saw the war as an easy god-given victory that would raise Russian morale and patriotism. He ignored the financial repercussions of a long-distance war.
He ignored reports of the prowess of Japanese soldiers in the Sino-Japanese War —95 and reports on the capabilities of the Japanese fleet, as well as negative reports on the lack of readiness of Russian forces.
Before the Japanese attack on Port Arthur, Nicholas held firm to the belief that there would be no war. Despite the onset of the war and the many defeats Russia suffered, Nicholas still believed in, and expected, a final victory, maintaining an image of the racial inferiority and military weakness of the Japanese.
His advisors never gave him a clear picture of Russia's weaknesses. Despite the continuous military disasters Nicholas believed victory was near at hand.
Losing his navy at Tsushima finally persuaded him to agree to peace negotiations. Even then he insisted on the option of reopening hostilities if peace conditions were unfavorable.
He forbade his chief negotiator Count Witte to agree to either indemnity payments or loss of territory. Nicholas remained adamantly opposed to any concessions.
Peace was made, but Witte did so by disobeying the tsar and ceding southern Sakhalin to Japan. The Kishinev newspaper Bessarabets , which published anti-Semitic materials, received funds from Viacheslav Plehve , Minister of the Interior.
The government of Nicholas II formally condemned the rioting and dismissed the regional governor, with the perpetrators arrested and punished by the court.
Appeals to the faithful condemning the pogroms were read publicly in all churches of Russia. A few days prior to Bloody Sunday 9 22 January , priest and labor leader Georgy Gapon informed the government of the forthcoming procession to the Winter Palace to hand a workers' petition to the Tsar.
On Saturday, 8 21 January, the ministers convened to consider the situation. There was never any thought that the Tsar, who had left the capital for Tsarskoye Selo on the advice of the ministers, would actually meet Gapon; the suggestion that some other member of the imperial family receive the petition was rejected.
Finally informed by the Prefect of Police that he lacked the men to pluck Gapon from among his followers and place him under arrest, the newly appointed Minister of the Interior, Prince Sviatopolk-Mirsky , and his colleagues decided to bring additional troops to reinforce the city.
That evening Nicholas wrote in his diary, "Troops have been brought from the outskirts to reinforce the garrison. Up to now the workers have been calm.
Their number is estimated at , At the head of their union is a kind of socialist priest named Gapon. Mirsky came this evening to present his report on the measures taken.
On Sunday, 9 22 January , Gapon began his march. Locking arms, the workers marched peacefully through the streets.
Some carried religious icons and banners, as well as national flags and portraits of the Tsar. As they walked, they sang hymns and God Save The Tsar.
There was no single confrontation with the troops. Throughout the city, at bridges on strategic boulevards, the marchers found their way blocked by lines of infantry, backed by Cossacks and Hussars; and the soldiers opened fire on the crowd.
The official number of victims was 92 dead and several hundred wounded. Gapon vanished and the other leaders of the march were seized.
Expelled from the capital, they circulated through the empire, increasing the casualties. As bullets riddled their icons, their banners and their portraits of Nicholas, the people shrieked, "The Tsar will not help us!
Difficult day! In St. Petersburg there were serious disturbances due to the desire of workers to get to the Winter Palace.
The troops had to shoot in different places of the city, there were many dead and wounded. Lord, how painful and bad!
His younger sister, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna , wrote afterwards:. Nicky had the police report a few days before. That Saturday he telephoned my mother at the Anitchkov and said that she and I were to leave for Gatchina at once.
He and Alicky went to Tsarskoye Selo. Insofar as I remember, my Uncles Vladimir and Nicholas were the only members of the family left in St.
Petersburg, but there may have been others. I felt at the time that all those arrangements were hideously wrong. Nicky's ministers and the Chief of Police had it all their way.
My mother and I wanted him to stay in St. Petersburg and to face the crowd. I am positive that, for all the ugly mood of some of the workmen, Nicky's appearance would have calmed them.
They would have presented their petition and gone back to their homes. But that wretched Epiphany incident had left all the senior officials in a state of panic.
They kept on telling Nicky that he had no right to run such a risk, that he owed it to the country to leave the capital, that even with the utmost precautions taken there might always be some loophole left.
My mother and I did all we could to persuade him that the ministers' advice was wrong, but Nicky preferred to follow it and he was the first to repent when he heard of the tragic outcome.
From his hiding place Gapon issued a letter, stating "Nicholas Romanov, formerly Tsar and at present soul-murderer of the Russian empire. The innocent blood of workers, their wives and children lies forever between you and the Russian people May all the blood which must be spilled fall upon you, you Hangman.
I call upon all the socialist parties of Russia to come to an immediate agreement among themselves and bring an armed uprising against Tsarism.
Confronted with growing opposition and after consulting with Witte and Prince Sviatopolk-Mirsky , the Tsar issued a reform ukase on 25 December with vague promises.
Dmitri Feodorovich Trepov was ordered to take drastic measures to stop the revolutionary activity. On 3 March the Tsar condemned the revolutionaries.
Meanwhile, Witte recommended that a manifesto be issued. The Tsar remained quite impassive and indulgent; he spent most of that autumn hunting.
He wrote to his mother after months of disorder:. It makes me sick to read the news! Nothing but strikes in schools and factories, murdered policemen, Cossacks and soldiers, riots, disorder, mutinies.
But the ministers, instead of acting with quick decision, only assemble in council like a lot of frightened hens and cackle about providing united ministerial action One had the same feeling, as before a thunderstorm in summer!
Everybody was on edge and extremely nervous and of course, that sort of strain could not go on for long We are in the midst of a revolution with an administrative apparatus entirely disorganized, and in this lies the main danger.
In October a railway strike developed into a general strike which paralysed the country. In a city without electricity, Witte told Nicholas II "that the country was at the verge of a cataclysmic revolution".
The freedom of religion clause outraged the Church because it allowed people to switch to evangelical Protestantism, which they denounced as heresy.
For the next six months, Witte was the Prime Minister. According to Harold Williams : "That government was almost paralyzed from the beginning.
On 1 November O. Under pressure from the attempted Russian Revolution , on 5 August of that year Nicholas II issued a manifesto about the convocation of the State Duma , known as the Bulygin Duma , initially thought to be an advisory organ.
In the October Manifesto , the Tsar pledged to introduce basic civil liberties , provide for broad participation in the State Duma, and endow the Duma with legislative and oversight powers.
He was determined, however, to preserve his autocracy even in the context of reform. This was signalled in the text of the constitution.
He was described as the supreme autocrat, and retained sweeping executive powers, also in church affairs.
His cabinet ministers were not allowed to interfere with nor assist one another; they were responsible only to him.
Nicholas's relations with the Duma were poor. The First Duma , with a majority of Kadets , almost immediately came into conflict with him.
Scarcely had the members sat down at the Tauride Palace when they formulated an 'Address to the Throne'.
It demanded universal suffrage , radical land reform, the release of all political prisoners and the dismissal of ministers appointed by the Tsar in favour of ministers acceptable to the Duma.
There was such gloom at Tsarskoye Selo. I did not understand anything about politics. I just felt everything was going wrong with the country and all of us.
The October Constitution did not seem to satisfy anyone. I went with my mother to the first Duma. I remember the large group of deputies from among peasants and factory people.
The peasants looked sullen. But the workmen were worse: they looked as though they hated us.
I remember the distress in Alicky 's eyes. Minister of the Court Count Vladimir Frederiks commented, "The Deputies, they give one the impression of a gang of criminals who are only waiting for the signal to throw themselves upon the ministers and cut their throats.
I will never again set foot among those people. Although Nicholas initially had a good relationship with his prime minister, Sergei Witte , Alexandra distrusted him as he had instigated an investigation of Grigori Rasputin and, as the political situation deteriorated, Nicholas dissolved the Duma.
The Duma was populated with radicals , many of whom wished to push through legislation that would abolish private property ownership, among other things.
Witte, unable to grasp the seemingly insurmountable problems of reforming Russia and the monarchy, wrote to Nicholas on 14 April resigning his office however, other accounts have said that Witte was forced to resign by the Emperor.
Nicholas was not ungracious to Witte and an Imperial Rescript was published on 22 April creating Witte a Knight of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky with diamonds the last two words were written in the Emperor's own hand, followed by "I remain unalterably well-disposed to you and sincerely grateful, for ever more Nicholas.
A second Duma met for the first time in February The leftist parties—including the Social Democrats and the Social Revolutionaries, who had boycotted the First Duma—had won seats in the Second, more than a third of the membership.
Again Nicholas waited impatiently to rid himself of the Duma. In two letters to his mother he let his bitterness flow:. A grotesque deputation is coming from England to see liberal members of the Duma.
Uncle Bertie informed us that they were very sorry but were unable to take action to stop their coming. Their famous "liberty", of course.
How angry they would be if a deputation went from us to the Irish to wish them success in their struggle against their government.
All would be well if everything said in the Duma remained within its walls. Every word spoken, however, comes out in the next day's papers which are avidly read by everyone.
In many places the populace is getting restive again. They begin to talk about land once more and are waiting to see what the Duma is going to say on the question.
I am getting telegrams from everywhere, petitioning me to order a dissolution, but it is too early for that.
And they are gone! After the Second Duma resulted in similar problems, the new prime minister Pyotr Stolypin whom Witte described as "reactionary" unilaterally dissolved it, and changed the electoral laws to allow for future Dumas to have a more conservative content, and to be dominated by the liberal-conservative Octobrist Party of Alexander Guchkov.
Stolypin, a skilful politician, had ambitious plans for reform. These included making loans available to the lower classes to enable them to buy land, with the intent of forming a farming class loyal to the crown.
Nevertheless, when the Duma remained hostile, Stolypin had no qualms about invoking Article 87 of the Fundamental Laws , which empowered the Tsar to issue 'urgent and extraordinary' emergency decrees 'during the recess of the State Duma'.
Stolypin's most famous legislative act, the change in peasant land tenure, was promulgated under Article The third Duma remained an independent body.
This time the members proceeded cautiously. Instead of hurling themselves at the government, opposing parties within the Duma worked to develop the body as a whole.
In the classic manner of the British Parliament, the Duma reached for power grasping for the national purse strings.
The Duma had the right to question ministers behind closed doors as to their proposed expenditures. These sessions, endorsed by Stolypin, were educational for both sides, and, in time, mutual antagonism was replaced by mutual respect.
Even the sensitive area of military expenditure, where the October Manifesto clearly had reserved decisions to the throne, a Duma commission began to operate.
Composed of aggressive patriots no less anxious than Nicholas to restore the fallen honour of Russian arms, the Duma commission frequently recommended expenditures even larger than those proposed.
With the passage of time, Nicholas also began to have confidence in the Duma. Although the tsar at first supported him, he finally sided with the arch critics.
Stolypin, they whispered, was a traitor and secret revolutionary who was conniving with the Duma to steal the prerogatives assigned the Tsar by God.
Witte also engaged in constant intrigue against Stolypin. Although Stolypin had had nothing to do with Witte's fall, Witte blamed him.
Stolypin had unwittingly angered the Tsaritsa. He had ordered an investigation into Rasputin and presented it to the Tsar, who read it but did nothing.
Stolypin, on his own authority, ordered Rasputin to leave St. Alexandra protested vehemently but Nicholas refused to overrule his Prime Minister,  who had more influence with the Emperor.
By the time of Stolypin's assassination in September , Stolypin had grown weary of the burdens of office. For a man who preferred clear decisive action, working with a sovereign who believed in fatalism and mysticism was frustrating.
As an example, Nicholas once returned a document unsigned with the note:. Despite most convincing arguments in favour of adopting a positive decision in this matter, an inner voice keeps on insisting more and more that I do not accept responsibility for it.
So far my conscience has not deceived me. Therefore I intend in this case to follow its dictates. I know that you, too, believe that "a Tsar's heart is in God's hands.
For all laws established by me I bear a great responsibility before God, and I am ready to answer for my decision at any time. Alexandra, believing that Stolypin had severed the bonds that her son depended on for life, hated the Prime Minister.
Two years earlier when Stolypin had casually mentioned resigning to Nicholas he was informed: "This is not a question of confidence or lack of it.
It is my will. Remember that we live in Russia, not abroad In , a fourth Duma was elected with almost the same membership as the third.
Now it is slower, but better, and more lasting," stated Nicholas to Sir Bernard Pares. The First World War developed badly for Russia.
By late , Romanov family desperation reached the point that Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich , younger brother of Alexander III and the Tsar's only surviving uncle, was deputed to beg Nicholas to grant a constitution and a government responsible to the Duma.
Nicholas sternly and adamantly refused, reproaching his uncle for asking him to break his coronation oath to maintain autocratic power for his successors.
In the Duma on 2 December , Vladimir Purishkevich, a fervent patriot, monarchist and war worker, denounced the dark forces which surrounded the throne in a thunderous two-hour speech which was tumultuously applauded.
Further complicating domestic matters was the matter of the succession. The young heir was afflicted with Haemophilia B , a hereditary disease that prevents blood from clotting properly, which at that time was untreatable and usually led to an untimely death.
As a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Alexandra carried the same gene mutation that afflicted several of the major European royal houses, such as Prussia and Spain.
Hemophilia, therefore, became known as " the royal disease ". Through Alexandra, the disease had passed on to her son. As all of Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters were murdered with their parents and brother in Yekaterinburg in , it is not known whether any of them inherited the gene as carriers.
Before Rasputin's arrival, the tsarina and the tsar had consulted numerous mystics, charlatans, "holy fools," and miracle workers.
The royal behavior was not some odd aberration, but a deliberate retreat from the secular social and economic forces of his time - an act of faith and vote of confidence in a spiritual past.
They had set themselves up for the greatest spiritual advisor and manipulator in Russian history.
Because of the fragility of the autocracy at this time, Nicholas and Alexandra chose to keep secret Alexei's condition.
Even within the household, many were unaware of the exact nature of the Tsarevich's illness. At first Alexandra turned to Russian doctors and medics to treat Alexei; however, their treatments generally failed, and Alexandra increasingly turned to mystics and holy men or starets as they were called in Russian.
One of these starets, an illiterate Siberian named Grigori Rasputin , gained amazing success. Rasputin's influence over Empress Alexandra, and consequently the Tsar himself, grew even stronger after when the Tsarevich nearly died from an injury.
His bleeding grew steadily worse as doctors despaired, and priests administered the Last Sacrament. In desperation, Alexandra called upon Rasputin, to which he replied, "God has seen your tears and heard your prayers.
Do not grieve. The Little One will not die. Do not allow the doctors to bother him too much. Alexandra took this as a sign that Rasputin was a starets and that God was with him; for the rest of her life she would fervently defend him and turn her wrath against anyone who dared to question him.
In , to end longstanding controversies over central Asia, Russia and the United Kingdom signed the Anglo-Russian Convention that resolved most of the problems generated for decades by The Great Game.
However, they did not set foot on Russian soil. Instead, they stayed aboard their yachts, meeting off the coast of modern-day Tallinn.
Later that year, Nicholas was taken off guard by the news that his foreign minister, Alexander Izvolsky , had entered into a secret agreement with the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Count Alois von Aehrenthal , agreeing that, in exchange for Russian naval access to the Dardanelles and the Bosporus Strait , Russia would not oppose the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina , a revision of the Treaty of Berlin.
When Austria-Hungary did annex this territory that October, it precipitated the diplomatic crisis. When Russia protested about the annexation, the Austrians threatened to leak secret communications between Izvolsky and Aehernthal, prompting Nicholas to complain in a letter to the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph , about a breach of confidence.
In , in the wake of the Anglo-Russian convention, the Russian imperial family made a visit to England, staying on the Isle of Wight for Cowes Week.
In , during the Balkan Wars , Nicholas personally offered to arbitrate between Serbia and Bulgaria. However, the Bulgarians rejected his offer.
In February , Nicholas presided over the tercentenary celebrations for the Romanov Dynasty. The outbreak of war was not inevitable, but leaders, diplomats and nineteenth-century alliances created a climate for large-scale conflict.
The concept of Pan-Slavism and shared religion created strong public sympathy between Russia and Serbia. Territorial conflict created rivalries between Germany and France and between Austria-Hungary and Serbia , and as a consequence alliance networks developed across Europe.
The Triple Entente and Triple Alliance networks were set before the war. Nicholas wanted neither to abandon Serbia to the ultimatum of Austria, nor to provoke a general war.
In a series of letters exchanged with Wilhelm of Germany the " Willy—Nicky correspondence " the two proclaimed their desire for peace, and each attempted to get the other to back down.
Nicholas desired that Russia's mobilization be only against Austria-Hungary, in the hopes of preventing war with Germany.
On 25 July , at his council of ministers, Nicholas decided to intervene in the Austro-Serbian conflict, a step toward general war. He put the Russian army on "alert"  on 25 July.
Although this was not general mobilization, it threatened the German and Austro-Hungarian borders and looked like military preparation for war.
On 28 July, Austria-Hungary formally declared war against Serbia. On 29 July , Nicholas sent a telegram to Wilhelm with the suggestion to submit the Austro-Serbian problem to the Hague Conference in Hague tribunal.
Wilhelm did not address the question of the Hague Conference in his subsequent reply. Germany, reacting to the discovery of partial mobilization ordered on 25 July, announced its own pre-mobilization posture, the Imminent Danger of War.
Germany requested that Russia demobilize within the next twelve hours. The outbreak of war on 1 August found Russia grossly unprepared.
Russia and her allies placed their faith in her army, the famous 'Russian steamroller'. In every other respect, however, Russia was unprepared for war.
Russian heavy industry was still too small to equip the massive armies the Tsar could raise, and her reserves of munitions were pitifully small; while the German army in was better equipped than any other, man-for-man, the Russians were severely short on artillery pieces, shells, motorized transports, and even boots.
By , a rail line was built north from Petrozavodsk to the Kola Gulf and this connection laid the foundation of the ice-free port of what eventually was called Murmansk.
The Russian High Command was moreover greatly weakened by the mutual contempt between Vladimir Sukhomlinov , the Minister of War, and the incompetent Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich who commanded the armies in the field.
The Germans mobilised there with great efficiency and completely defeated the two Russian armies which had invaded. The Battle of Tannenberg , where an entire Russian army was annihilated, cast an ominous shadow over Russia's future.
Russia had great success against both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman armies from the very beginning of the war, but they never succeeded against the might of the German Army.
In September , in order to relieve pressure on France, the Russians were forced to halt a successful offensive against Austria-Hungary in Galicia in order to attack German-held Silesia.
Gradually a war of attrition set in on the vast Eastern Front , where the Russians were facing the combined forces of the German and Austro-Hungarian armies, and they suffered staggering losses.
General Denikin, retreating from Galicia wrote, "The German heavy artillery swept away whole lines of trenches, and their defenders with them.
We hardly replied. There was nothing with which we could reply. Our regiments, although completely exhausted, were beating off one attack after another by bayonet Blood flowed unendingly, the ranks became thinner and thinner and thinner.
The number of graves multiplied. Defeat at the front bred disorder at home. At first, the targets were German, and for three days in June shops, bakeries, factories, private houses and country estates belonging to people with German names were looted and burned.
The inflamed mobs then turned on the government, declaring the Empress should be shut up in a convent, the Tsar deposed and Rasputin hanged.
Nicholas was by no means deaf to these discontents. An emergency session of the Duma was summoned and a Special Defense Council established, its members drawn from the Duma and the Tsar's ministers.
Andersen told her they should conclude peace. Nicholas chose to turn down King Christian's offer of mediation, as he felt it would be a betrayal for Russia to form a separate peace treaty with the Central Powers when its allies Britain and France were still fighting.
The energetic and efficient General Alexei Polivanov replaced Sukhomlinov as Minister of War , which failed to improve the strategic situation.
This was a mistake, as the Tsar came to be personally associated with the continuing losses at the front.
He was also away at the remote HQ at Mogilev , far from the direct governance of the empire, and when revolution broke out in Petrograd he was unable to halt it.
In reality the move was largely symbolic, since all important military decisions were made by his chief-of-staff General Michael Alexeiev , and Nicholas did little more than review troops, inspect field hospitals , and preside over military luncheons.
The Duma was still calling for political reforms and political unrest continued throughout the war. Cut off from public opinion, Nicholas could not see that the dynasty was tottering.
With Nicholas at the front, domestic issues and control of the capital were left with his wife Alexandra. However, Alexandra's relationship with Grigori Rasputin , and her German background, further discredited the dynasty's authority.
Nicholas had been repeatedly warned about the destructive influence of Rasputin but had failed to remove him.
Rumors and accusations about Alexandra and Rasputin appeared one after another; Alexandra was even accused of harboring treasonous sympathies towards Germany.
Anger at Nicholas's failure to act and the extreme damage that Rasputin's influence was doing to Russia's war effort and to the monarchy led to Rasputin's eventual murder by a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich , a cousin of the Tsar, in the early morning of Saturday 17 December O.
As the government failed to produce supplies, mounting hardship resulted in massive riots and rebellions.
With Nicholas away at the front from through , authority appeared to collapse and the capital was left in the hands of strikers and mutineering soldiers.
Ideologically the tsar's greatest support came from the right-wing monarchists, who had recently gained strength.
However they were increasingly alienated by the tsar's support of Stolypin's Westernizing reforms, by tsar's liberal reforms taken early in the Revolution of , and especially by the political power the tsar had bestowed on Rasputin.
By early , Russia was on the verge of total collapse of morale. An estimated 1. The army had taken 15 million men from the farms and food prices had soared.
An egg cost four times what it had in , butter five times as much. The severe winter dealt the railways, overburdened by emergency shipments of coal and supplies, a crippling blow.
Russia entered the war with 20, locomotives; by , 9, were in service, while the number of serviceable railway wagons had dwindled from half a million to , In February , 1, locomotives burst their boilers and nearly 60, wagons were immobilized.
In Petrograd, supplies of flour and fuel had all but disappeared. On 23 February in Petrograd, a combination of very severe cold weather and acute food shortages caused people to start to break shop windows to get bread and other necessities.
In the streets, red banners appeared and the crowds chanted "Down with the German woman! Down with Protopopov! Down with the war!
Down with the Tsar! Police started to shoot at the populace from rooftops, which incited riots. The troops in the capital were poorly motivated and their officers had no reason to be loyal to the regime.
They were angry and full of revolutionary fervor and sided with the populace. The Tsar's Cabinet begged Nicholas to return to the capital and offered to resign completely.
For this task, the Petrograd garrison was quite unsuitable. The cream of the old regular army had been destroyed in Poland and Galicia. In Petrograd, , recruits, country boys or older men from the working-class suburbs of the capital itself, remained to keep control under the command of wounded officers invalided from the front and cadets from the military academies.
The units in the capital, although many bore the names of famous Imperial Guard regiments, were in reality rear or reserve battalions of these regiments, the regular units being away at the front.
Many units, lacking both officers and rifles, had never undergone formal training. General Khabalov attempted to put the Tsar's instructions into effect on the morning of Sunday, 11 March Despite huge posters ordering people to keep off the streets, vast crowds gathered and were only dispersed after some had been shot dead, though a company of the Volinsky Regiment fired into the air rather than into the mob, and a company of the Pavlovsky Life Guards shot the officer who gave the command to open fire.
Nicholas, informed of the situation by Rodzianko, ordered reinforcements to the capital and suspended the Duma. On 12 March, the Volinsky Regiment mutinied and was quickly followed by the Semenovsky , the Ismailovsky , the Litovsky Life Guards and even the legendary Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guard, the oldest and staunchest regiment founded by Peter the Great.
The arsenal was pillaged, the Ministry of the Interior, Military Government building, police headquarters, the Law Courts and a score of police buildings were put to the torch.
By noon, the fortress of Peter and Paul, with its heavy artillery, was in the hands of the insurgents. By nightfall, 60, soldiers had joined the revolution.
Order broke down and members of the Duma and the Soviet formed a Provisional Government to try to restore order. They issued a demand that Nicholas must abdicate.
Faced with this demand, which was echoed by his generals, deprived of loyal troops, with his family firmly in the hands of the Provisional Government and fearful of unleashing civil war and opening the way for German conquest, Nicholas had little choice but to submit.
Nicholas had suffered a coronary occlusion only four days before his abdication. He first abdicated in favor of Alexei, but a few hours later changed his mind after advice from doctors that Alexei would not live long enough while separated from his parents, who would be forced into exile.
Nicholas thus abdicated on behalf of his son, and drew up a new manifesto naming his brother, Grand Duke Michael , as the next Emperor of all the Russians.
He issued a statement but it was suppressed by the Provisional Government. Michael declined to accept the throne until the people were allowed to vote through a Constituent Assembly for the continuance of the monarchy or a republic.
The abdication of Nicholas II and Michael's deferment of accepting the throne brought three centuries of the Romanov dynasty's rule to an end.
The fall of Tsarist autocracy brought joy to liberals and socialists in Britain and France. The United States was the first foreign government to recognize the Provisional government.
In Russia, the announcement of the Tsar's abdication was greeted with many emotions, including delight, relief, fear, anger and confusion.
Both the Provisional Government and Nicholas wanted the royal family to go into exile following his abdication, with the United Kingdom being the preferred option.
News of the offer provoked uproar from the Labour Party and many Liberals , and the British ambassador Sir George Buchanan advised the government that the extreme left would use the ex-Tsar's presence "as an excuse for rousing public opinion against us".
However, later the king defied his secretary and went to the Romanov memorial service at the Russian Church in London.
The French government declined to accept the Romanovs in view of increasing unrest on the Western Front and on the home front as a result of the ongoing war with Germany.
Even if an offer of asylum had been forthcoming, there would have been other obstacles to be overcome.
The Provisional Government only remained in power through an uneasy alliance with the Petrograd Soviet , an arrangement known as "The Dual Power ".
An initial plan to send the royal family to the northern port of Murmansk had to be abandoned when it was realised that the railway workers and the soldiers guarding them were loyal to the Petrograd Soviet, which opposed the escape of the tsar; a later proposal to send the Romanovs to a neutral port in the Baltic Sea via the Duchy of Finland faced similar difficulties.
On 20 March , the Provisional Government decreed that the royal family should be held under house arrest in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.
Nicholas joined the rest of the family there two days later, having travelled from the wartime headquarters at Mogilev. That summer, the failure of the Kerensky Offensive against Austro-Hungarian and German forces in Galicia led to anti-government rioting in Petrograd, known as the July Days.
The government feared that further disturbances in the city could easily reach Tsarskoye Selo and it was decided to move the royal family to a safer location.
In October , however, the Bolsheviks seized power from Kerensky's Provisional Government; Nicholas followed the events in October with interest but not yet with alarm.
Boris Soloviev , the husband of Maria Rasputin , attempted to organize a rescue with monarchical factions, but it came to nothing.
Rumors persist that Soloviev was working for the Bolsheviks or the Germans, or both. In the meantime he and his family occupied themselves with reading books, exercising and playing games; Nicholas particularly enjoyed chopping firewood.
In February , the Council of People's Commissars abbreviated to "Sovnarkom" in Moscow, the new capital, announced that the state subsidy for the family would be drastically reduced, starting on 1 March.
This meant parting with twelve devoted servants and giving up butter and coffee as luxuries, even though Nicholas added to the funds from his own resources.
The Western Allies lost interest in the fate of the Romanovs after Russia left the war. The German government wanted the monarchy restored in Russia to crush the Bolsheviks and maintain good relations with the Central Powers.
The situation in Tobolsk changed for the worse on 26 March, when ill-disciplined Red Guards arrived from the regional capital, Omsk.
Not to be outdone, the soviet in Yekaterinburg , the capital of the neighbouring Ural region , sent Red Guards to exert their influence on the town.
The result was that Sovnarkom appointed their own commissar to take charge of Tobolsk and remove the Romanovs to Yekaterinburg, with the intention of eventually bringing Nicholas to a show trial in Moscow.
Alexei was too ill to travel, so Alexandra elected to go with Nicholas along with Maria, while the other daughters would remain at Tobolsk until they were able to make the journey.
At 3 am on 25 April, the three Romanovs, their retinue, and the escort of Yakovlev's detachment, left Tobolsk in a convoy of nineteen tarantasses four-wheeled carriages , as the river was still partly frozen which prevented the use of the ferry.
Yakovlev was able to communicate securely with Moscow by means of a Hughes ' teleprinter and obtained agreement to change their destination to Omsk, where it was thought that the leadership were less likely to harm the Romanovs.
This led the Yekaterinburg leaders to believe that Yakovlev was a traitor who was trying to take Nicholas to exile by way of Vladivostok ; telegraph messages were sent, two thousand armed men were mobilised and a train was dispatched to arrest Yakovlev and the Romanovs.
The Romanovs' train was halted at Omsk station and after a frantic exchange of cables with Moscow, it was agreed that they should go to Yekaterinburg in return for a guarantee of safety for the royal family; they finally arrived there on the morning of 30 April.
They were imprisoned in the two-storey Ipatiev House , the home of the military engineer Nikolay Nikolayevich Ipatiev, which ominously became referred to as the "house of special purpose".
Here the Romanovs were kept under even stricter conditions; their retinue was further reduced and their possessions were searched. This prompted a wave of executions and murders of those in the region who were believed to be counter-revolutionaries , including Grand Duke Michael , who was murder in Perm on 13 June.
Although the Bolshevik leadership in Moscow still intended to bring Nicholas to trial, as the military situation deteriorated, Leon Trotsky and Yakov Sverdlov began to publicly equivocate about the possible fate of the former tsar.
A coded telegram arrived in Moscow from Yekaterinburg that evening; after Lenin and Sverdlov had conferred a reply was sent, although no trace of that document has ever been found.
In the meantime, Yurovsky had organised his firing squad and they waited through the night at the Ipatiev House for the signal to act.
There are several accounts of what happened and historians have not agreed on a solid, confirmed scope of events.
According to the account of Bolshevik officer Yakov Yurovsky the chief executioner , in the early hours of 17 July , the royal family was awakened around am, got dressed, and were led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house.
The pretext for this move was the family's safety, i. Present with Nicholas, Alexandra and their children were their doctor and three of their servants, who had voluntarily chosen to remain with the family: the Tsar's personal physician Eugene Botkin , his wife's maid Anna Demidova , and the family's chef, Ivan Kharitonov , and footman, Alexei Trupp.
A firing squad had been assembled and was waiting in an adjoining room, composed of seven Communist soldiers from Central Europe, and three local Bolsheviks, all under the command of Yurovsky.
Nicholas was carrying his son. When the family arrived in the basement, the former empress complained that there were no chairs for them to sit on.
Yurovsky announced to them that the Ural Soviet of Workers' Deputies had decided to execute them.
A stunned Nicholas asked, "What? What did you say? Yurovsky quickly repeated the order and Nicholas said, according to Peter Ermakov , "You know not what you do.
The executioners drew handguns and began shooting; Nicholas was the first to die. Yurovsky took credit afterwards for firing the first shot that killed the Tsar, but his protege — Grigory Nikulin — said years later that Mikhail Medvedev had fired the shot that killed Nicholas.
He killed the Tsar," he said in in a tape-recorded statement for the radio. Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.
An announcement from the Presidium of the Ural Regional Soviet of the Workers' and Peasants' Government emphasized that conspiracies had been exposed to free the ex-tsar, that counter-revolutionary forces were pressing in on Soviet Russian territory, and that the ex-tsar was guilty of unforgivable crimes against the nation.
In view of the enemy's proximity to Yekaterinburg and the exposure by the Cheka of a serious White Guard plot with the goal of abducting the former Tsar and his family… In light of the approach of counterrevolutionary bands toward the Red capital of the Urals and the possibility of the crowned executioner escaping trial by the people a plot among the White Guards to try to abduct him and his family was exposed and the compromising documents will be published , the Presidium of the Ural Regional Soviet, fulfilling the will of the Revolution, resolved to shoot the former Tsar, Nikolai Romanov, who is guilty of countless, bloody, violent acts against the Russian people.
The bodies were driven to nearby woodland, searched and burned. The remains were soaked in acid and finally thrown down a disused mineshaft.
In , the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsaritsa Alexandra, three of their daughters, and those of four non-family members killed with them, were discovered near Sverdlovsk Yekaterinburg by amateur archaeologist Alexander Avdonin.
The identifications—including comparisons to a living relative, performed by separate Russian, British and American scientists using DNA analysis —concur and were found to be conclusive.
In July , an amateur historian discovered bones near Yekaterinburg belonging to a boy and young woman.
On 1 October , the Supreme Court of Russia ruled that Nicholas II and his family were victims of political persecution and should be rehabilitated.
In late , at the insistence of the Russian Orthodox Church ,  Russian investigators exhumed the bodies of Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra , for additional DNA testing,  which confirmed that the bones were of the couple.
After the DNA testing of , the remains of the Emperor and his immediate family were interred at St.
Peter and Paul Cathedral , Saint Petersburg , on 17 July , on the eightieth anniversary of their murder. For many years, we kept quiet about this monstrous crime, but the truth has to be spoken.
In , Nicholas and his immediate family were recognised as martyred saints by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
On 14 August , they were recognised by the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. This time they were not named as martyrs, since their deaths did not result immediately from their Christian faith; instead, they were canonized as passion bearers.
Like many of my confreres, this particular Jesuit has always been a teacher at secondary or tertiary level; but I have also done a good deal of writing.
And I have coached cricket and Rugby in my time. Let me simply say this: if it is the life for you, then there is no better or happier way of life.
But it must be the life to which God is calling you. The desire for unity between the followers of Jesus Christ is expressed several times in the New Testament.
Jesuit priest and Bible scholar Fr. Nicholas King looks at passages in St. Paul's Letter to the Corinthians and Matthew's account of the Gospel to find inspiration for today's ecumenical journey.
He is a celebrated translator of the New Testament.