1. What were social institutions upon which the Romanov dynasty was built? How long had the Romanov dynasty been in power when Nicholas II took over?
Orthodoxy, autocracy, and nationality—or simply the Church, the czar, and Russia—were the “foundation stones of the Romanov faith.” When Nicholas' father died, leaving him the throne, the Romanovs had been in power in Russia for nearly 300 years.
2. How did ordinary Russians perceive the czar?
Ordinary Russians perceived the czar as one step away from God—almost divine.
3. What was the tragedy of 18 May 1896?
On this day, a half-million Russians gathered at Hondinka field to celebrate the coronation of the czarina. During the festivities, 1,300 people were trampled. The tragedy haunted Nicholas forever because he carried the blame for the events.
4. What evidence is there that Vladimir Lenin held extremely anti-czarist views early in his political career?
5. What was the disease that afflicted the young Czarevich (son of the czar) Alexei? What were its symptoms, how did he acquire the disease, and why was it so troubling to his parents?
The disease was hemophilia, an inability to form blood clots and stop bleeding. It was passed down to Alexei from his mother, who carried it genetically from her grandmother, Queen Victoria. This was especially troubling to his parents because Alexei was the only boy in the family and therefore the only one who could take the czar's position.
6. Why did the Russians engage in war with the Japanese and what was the result of the Battle of Sushima?
The Japanese were threatening Russia's easternmost boundaries. The entire Russian fleet was destroyed in a single day, severely damaging Czar Nicholas' reputation.
7. Why did Nicholas II oppose granting a Russian constitution?
He believed granting a constitution would destroy the Russian Empire.
8. How did the formation of the Duma mark “an irreversible step in Russian political life?”
Until that time, there were no legal political parties in Russia. The formation of the Duma created a body of democratically elected representatives with a wide spectrum of political beliefs.
9. Who were Nicholas and Alexandra's children? Why is there such a detailed record of the family life of the czar? How does this help historians?
Nicholas and Alexandra had five children: Olga, Tatiana, Marie, Anastasia, and Alexei. The czar loved photography and took pictures of his beloved family at every opportunity. Several of the family members also kept diaries and wrote letters to each other. These photos and documents give historians a good picture of the Romanovs' family life.
10. What was the primary cause of the Russian entry into World War I?
The Russians supported their Slavic kinsmen, the Serbs, who held similar political and religious beliefs and cultural traits. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, Russia felt compelled to come to her aid.
11. Why did the Russian people dislike Alexandra and suspect her of being a spy during the years of World War I?
Alexandra was the first cousin of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Germany was often an enemy of Russia.