Nicholas II arguably was crucial to the downfall of tsarism. Under his leadership there were two failures at war, as well as two large scale revolutions, calling an end to tsarism. His failure at a young age to grasp the full concepts of economics and politics did not bode well for his future in leadership, which he was not all too keen to inherit. He had military experience however, which may explain his choice to head to the frontline in WWI, as the Commander in Chief but this decision was crucial to his downfall. The people blamed him directly for the major losses and defeats.
The reforms made after Bloody Sunday, created expectations but were not far reaching enough. Going back on these expectations, created by the Dumas, were important in furthering the discontent that was clearly present pre-1905. The long term cause of Nicholas II’s downfall can be attributed to this, or even as far back as the emancipation of the serfs, in 1861, which also did not improve the lives of the Russians substantially. The essential problem with tsarist Russia seemed to be that every reform introduced always created expectation but was never far reaching enough. The lid of liberation could not be opened a little and then shut. Once people acquired some freedoms, they naturally wanted more.
Nicholas II, as expected from a tsar, needed to produce an heir to the throne, after a long time of trying, eventually had a son, Alexei, but unfortunately he was a haemophiliac, which led to the introduction of Rasputin to the scene. This ‘mad monk’ was controversial to the core and led to much debate as the tsar’s reign continued towards wwi. The tsarina, Alexandria, of German descent, was increasingly dependent on Rasputin, which allowed him to heavily influence her political decisions in Nicholas II’s absence.
The role of Nicholas II in the success of the February Revolution. His inept leadership and mistakes certainly facilitated the revolution occurring. The protests had great popularity because Nicholas II had been crushed in two wars, incurred two attempted revolutions, had produced limited reforms and because he had proven himself to be a weak military and political leader, not up to the task of leading Russia.