|...signs of revolution|
|When World War I broke out in 1914, the trouble that had loomed at the edge of the Romanov's awareness began to penetrate the protective shell of imperial privilege. In response to the suffering of their people, and in an attempt to present an image of patriotism and concerned involvement, Alexandra enrolled herself and her older daughters in nurses' training and had the palaces converted into provisional hospitals to care for the increasing number of wounded.
Meanwhile, the Czar spent more and more time at the front with his armies. Alexandra wrote daily to her husband:
25 November 1915. "During an operation a soldier died. Olga and Tatiana behaved well; none lost their heads and the girls were brave. They had never seen death. But he died in a minute. How near death always is."
Even as she ministered to the wounded and dying, they distrusted her. She wanted to be seen as a Sister of Mercy the nun-like dress and cross she wore made her look like a martyr, an image she thought would endear her to the Russian people. But mostly they were shocked, and thought she looked ridiculous. They resented her presence there and were embarrassed by her ministrations. They could not have loved her less.
But Nicholas was not successful at leading his armies. "His taking over the army was not well received," says Fabergé expert Christopher Forbes. "His second cousin was a more capable general, and for the Czar to be so directly involved with the army, when that wasn't necessarily his forte, didn't go down well with the officers." From the front, Nicholas wrote home to his wife:
31 August 1915. "My beloved Sunny, how grateful I am to you for your dear letters! In my loneliness they are my only consolation. Much gravity lies in the terribly weak condition of our regiments, which consist of less than a quarter of their normal strength; it is impossible to reinforce them in less than a month, as the new recruits will not be ready and there are few rifles."
Russian manpower was virtually inexhaustible, but the Czar's army was untrained. Arms factories were few and unproductive, and the railway lacked the capacity to carry enough supplies or even food to the soldiers at the front. In the first five months of the war, Russia lost over one million men killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
By March of 1917, demonstrations, riots and strikes were commonplace in the major cities of Russia, and the Imperial troops could no longer suppress them. Alexandra wrote to Nicholas about the chaos, but he was too far away to realize how bad the situation had become. When he did, it was too late, and he was forced to abdicate.
|young Fabergé |Romanov Russia | family tradition | House of Fabergé
remembrances | opulence | revolution | fate of the eggs | timeline
Treasures Homepage | The Series | Education | Home Video | Soundtrack
Crossword Puzzle | Producers' Notebook | Site Map