Tsar Nicholas II was the last Tsar of Russia. He ruled from 1894 until his abdication in 1917 – and with his abdication came the end of a line of rulers of Russia, the Romanovs, that went back more than three centuries. Here, Matthew Hazelwood considers Nicholas II and why his reign failed, so leading to the downfall of the Romanov Dynasty.

A 1915 painting of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia by Boris Kustodiev.

A 1915 painting of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia by Boris Kustodiev.

Socialism with a Bloody Face 

On the night of the 16th-17th of July 1918 in Yekaterinburg [1], Russia, Nicholas II and Alexandra, the Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, were executed, along with their five children, the head Footman, the head cook, the head physician, and the Czarina’s lady-in-waiting. [2]A week later, Leon Trotsky wrote in his diary:

My next visit to Moscow took place after the fall of Yekaterinburg. Talking to Sverdlov I asked in passing, "Oh yes and where is the Tsar?" "It's all over," he answered. "He has been shot." "And where is his family?" "And the family with him." "All of them?" I asked, apparently with a touch of surprise. "All of them," replied Yakov Sverdlov. "What about it?" He was waiting to see my reaction. I made no reply. "And who made the decision?" I asked. "We decided it here. Ilyich [Lenin] believed that we shouldn't leave the Whites a live banner to rally around, especially under the present difficult circumstances."[3]


The Chief Executioner, Yakov Yurovsky, had no such pause. “I shot Nicholas on the spot.” He said, “The Empress barely had time to cross herself before she was shot. She died instantly. Elsewhere in the room there was bloody carnage as the guards lost control and shot wildly. The bullets ricocheted from the walls to the floor and around the rooms like Hailstones.” This carelessness left six of the eleven victims wounded but alive.  “Alexis {the Tsar’s only son} fell off the chair, shot in the leg, still alive. Kharitonov {the head cook} sat down and died.” “When one of the girls was stabbed, the bayonet would not go through the corset.” The ordeal lasted over twenty minutes. [4]

The true reason for the execution, though, was the Czar himself. Everyone else was an incidental party guilty only by association. Who, then, was this man whose blood ushered in the symbolic end of Czarism and the victory of Bolshevism? Was His Imperial Majesty an innocent victim killed in the name of communism, or a bumbling, reactionary tyrant who got what was coming, or both?


A Philistine Sophisticate 

Nicholas II was first and foremost a loving man. He wrote letters addressing his wife as “my own beloved” and “my dear wifey”. [5]She in turn called him “Sunshine” and “My very own treasure”.[6]He spoke Russian, German, French, and English, and once told his son’s tutor that as a young man, “{my} favorite subject was history”. [7]Their relationship was, by all accounts, successful, even if Alexandra’s English reserve and stoic pride caused her to be hated by the populous and snubbed by Russian aristocrats.[8]As an adult, he became a passionate amateur photographer; but despite these virtues, he was the wrong man to head the Russian Empire. [9]

And his faults leap to the scholar’s eye. “He was handsome and blue-eyed” wrote Simon Sebag Montefiore, “but diminutive and hardly majestic, and his looks and his immaculate manners concealed an astonishing arrogance, contempt for the educated political classes, vicious anti-Semitism, and an unshakable belief in his right to rule as a sacred autocrat. He was jealous of his ministers, and he possessed the unfortunate ability to make himself utterly distrusted by his own government.”[10]

But even he had modest moments. When his father, Tsar Alexander, unexpectedly died at the age of forty-nine, Nicholas, then a youth of twenty-six years, became Tsar. The world as he knew it had come to an end. Nicholas was reported to have said to his brother-in-law, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, “Sandro {the Grand Duke’s nickname}, what am I going to do? What is going to happen to me, to you, to Alex, to mother, to Russia? I am not ready to be Tsar. I never wanted to become one.” Nicholas’ younger sister, Grand Duchess Olga, agreed while absolving her brother of any blame: “Nicky was in despair. He kept saying that he did not know what would become of us all. That he was wholly unfit to reign. And yet, Nicky’s unfitness was by no means his fault. He should have been taught statesmanship, and he was not.” [11]

But the universe had other plans. Nicholas was the rightful heir to the throne, and nothing could change that.  His wife even gave him the marching orders: “Be more autocratic than Peter the Great and sterner than Ivan the Terrible.”[12]No matter how hard Nicholas tried, he could never quite learn the decisiveness of Peter nor the cruelty of Ivan.  It was a mistake from which he and his loved ones could never recover from.


Nicholas as leader 

His first massive blunder was when he chose to wage war against Japan. Nicholas II wanted control of the South China Sea and to increase his country’s global power. He didn’t expect the conflict to last long, since the Japanese were “yellow men, not entirely civilized”. What he didn’t realize was Japan had possession of an impressive military, and they roundly defeated Russia’s pacific fleet. Russia was forced to sue for peace. 

The loyalty of the people was lost after Sunday, January 9, 1905, otherwise known as Bloody Sunday. A group of peaceful demonstrators marched through St. Petersburg, in the hope of appealing to the Czar himself. Nicholas, however, wasn’t made for diplomacy. He left the city, ordering the military to disband the crowd should they come close to the Winter Palace. The ensuing massacre left an estimated 800 dead.[13]To the Tsar’s credit, though, he wrote in his diary “A distressing day. The troops have been forced to fire in several parts of the city, and there are many killed and wounded. Lord, how powerful and sad this is.”[14]But this was little consolation. 

Then 1914 came along, and Nicholas decided, against the wishes of many a Minister, that Russia would fight against the Triple Alliance in the First World War. Count Sergei Witte advised against war “because the army is the mainstay of the regime and may well be needed to preserve order at home.” Pyotr Durnovo, no friend of the Revolution, predicted that war would cause “Russia {to be} flung into hopeless anarchy; the issue of which cannot be foreseen.” Even the notorious Rasputin, a favorite of the Queen, said that “{war} will be the end of all of you”. 

As the bodies piled up, the soldiers’ morale was soon depleted beyond repair. This above anything else is what ruined him. It became clear to everyone from the most illiterate peasant to the richest aristocrat that changes had to be made. But Nicholas remained resistant to change. A violent revolution in February 1917 made the decision for him. He signed the throne away to his brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, but Michael refused. Some wanted Nicholas’ son to become Tsar, but Alexis was a hemophiliac, and Nicholas declared that “I can’t bear to be parted from him.”[15]

The Duma, or Parliament, first created a Worker’s Council, which pledged its support if Marxist policies were enacted, and a temporary Provisional Government was created which would guide Russia through the war abroad, and away from chaos at home. One important change was the repealing of former laws against speech and assembly. But despite becoming the “freest country in the world”, workers called for far more changes. They wanted to control the factories and have eight-hour days. Strikes were rampant. 

Around June 1917, the Provisional Government initiated a few offensives against Germany, but the Russians were forced to retreat after two days of advancing. The First Machine Gun Regiment was called for back-up, but most of these soldiers were Pro-Bolshevik, and threatened to take over the government. A month later, workers joined the soldiers and sailors for an armed uprising. But the Bolshevik leaders were not ready to make a move, and the government quickly cracked down. Many were arrested. 

Around this time, the former minister of Justice Aleksandr Kerensky, a self-proclaimed socialist, became prime minister. Though the only socialist in power, he had the death penalty restored, and the restrictions on public gatherings increased. But instability continued as Kerensky pushed policies advocated for by the head of the army, General Kornilov, which amounted to martial law, but then Kerensky turned against Kornilov, and advocated that the Soviets fight against Kornilov’s army. Instead the Soviet convinced Kornilov’s soldiers to put down their weapons. 

This hurt Kerensky’s reputation infinitely, and his countrymen became more radicalized, to the point where more and more Bolsheviks were elected to the Soviets. Hearing of the planned insurrection, the meeting of the Soviet Congress was rescheduled from October 20thto the 25th. As for Kerensky, his last and final mistake was to try to move most of the Petrograd Garrison to the northern front. The Bolsheviks formed the Military Revolutionary Committee to prevent this. And at last, on October 25th, 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power, and by then the fate of the Czar was sealed.[16]


Final Thoughts 

We have seen Nicholas the man, and Nicholas the leader. Where does that leave us? What judgements, if any, do we make? When it comes to human affairs, the historian must remember that there are no easy answers. A certain level of skepticism is necessary, because history is inevitably political, and politics is often far from objective. A Hitler warrants universal condemnation, but most people aren’t Hitler. 

As mentioned above, Nicholas had positive qualities. A better question, perhaps, is what could have been done differently? Should he have listened to X or should he have done Y? We can’t rule that out, but this fails to give us a larger perspective. The real battle the last Tsar was fighting wasn’t with the liberals or the Bolsheviks; it was against a much stronger, much scarier enemy, and that enemy was modernity. 

To yield to modernity meant to negate certain values that had been propagated for centuries. A society where most people were lowly laborers, educated aristocrats quietly laughed at the foibles of the world, theologians studied intensely, and the monarch’s word was law. The world is as it is because God willed it so. To a mere peasant, the world may seem unfair, but that’s because he doesn’t have God’s knowledge. The Universe is necessarily as it is. No changes are permitted to be made unless we want to be cast in eternal hell-fire. Nicholas was trying his hardest to keep his world from collapsing on top of him.  

Nevertheless, it was a war he was destined to lose. An extraordinary amount of energy was going to be let loose one way or the other, as in Britain in 1688, North America in 1775, and France in 1789 respectively. What was necessary was the creation of a freer, more just, and more technologically advanced society in Russia. And though one could argue that Russia is still behind other Western countries in areas such as freedom of speech, press, and assembly, Russia is much better off than it was a century ago. 

If Nicholas had been forward-thinking, in a word, wiser, it’s likely that Russia’s transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy would’ve been much smoother, and the excesses of Marxism-Leninism wouldn’t have been realized. His regressive outlook and uncertain jesters, unfortunately, did nothing more than exacerbate the situation. He had several chances to make changes for the better, and he did not take them. In fact, he consistently made the wrong decision until, ultimately, his options ran out and the Bolsheviks got to him. 

The story of civilization, though, is not a morality play. There are no good guys or bad guys. It’s a tale more profound and dramatic than anything Shakespeare ever wrote. This article can only give you a snapshot into Russia’s unique place in that great whole which nobody can completely understand.  If we cannot love the long-dead emperor of Russia, we can at least recognize the Romanov’s execution as one of the darker moments of the twentieth century. 


What do you think of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia? Let us know below.

[1] Massie, Robert K. (2012). The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. Random House.pp. 3–24

[2] William H. Honan (12 August 1992), A Playwright Applies His Craft To Czar Nicholas II’s Last Days, New York Times, Retrieved 26thNovember 2018 

[3]King, G. (1999). The Last Empress, Replica Books, p. 358. 

[4]Sebestyen, Victor. (2017) Lenin. London: Penguin Random House LLC. 401-410

[5]Letters from Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexander-January 1916. Retrieved from www.alexanderpalace.org

[6](2018, April 26). ‘Cover you with kisses, my Angel’: #Romanovs100 Intimate love letters. Retrieved from https://www.rt.com

[7](2006, May 17). Tsar Nicholas and his Family. Retrieved from www.pravmir.com

[8]Anderson, M. (director). (1996).  Last of the Czars. {motion picture}. USA: Discovery Channel.

[9]Anderson, M. (director). (1996).  Last of the Czars. {motion picture}. USA: Discovery Channel.

[10]Montefiore, Simon Sebag. (2018, Oct.12). The Devastating True Story of the Romanov Family’s Execution. Retrieved from https://www.townandcountrymag.com

[11]Anderson, M. (director). (1996).  Last of the Czars. {motion picture}. USA: Discovery Channel

[12](2015, May 21). Quotes on Nicholas II Romanov. Wordpress.com. Retrieved from https://alldocumentsherekanan.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/quotes-on-nicholas-ii-romanov/


[13]Sebestyen, Victor. (2017) Lenin. London: Penguin Random House LLC. Pg. 159-170 & 234-239

[14]Anderson, M. (director). (1996).  Last of the Czars. {motion picture}. USA: Discovery Channel.

[15]Sebestyen, Victor. (2017) Lenin. London: Penguin Random House LLC.Pg. 159-170 & 234-239

[16]Figes, Orlando. (2017, October 25th). From Czar to U.S.S.R.: Russia’s Chaotic Year of Revolution. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com

Just who was Vladimir Lenin? While we know that he came to power after the Russian Revolution, much of his life is shrouded in myths and lies. Author Tanel Vahisalu explains all.

PS - you can find out about Tanel’s latest project on Russian history here.

A painting of Lenin by Isaak Brodsky -  Lenin in front of Smolny .

A painting of Lenin by Isaak Brodsky - Lenin in front of Smolny.

Ninety-three years after his death, Vladimir Lenin continues to make headlines. During 2017’s commemoration of the Russian Revolution, a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center demonstrated that 56 per cent of Russians believe Lenin played a positive role in history. What’s more, many of the remaining 44 per cent of Russians fail to see that Lenin was actually a supreme master of using fake news and mass manipulation.


The question becomes: How much do we actually know about Vladimir Lenin?

Despite a massive collection of history books, we still know surprisingly little about the man lining the pages. Perhaps that is because each of the 653 million volumes of Lenin’s published works – dated through to 1990 – contain fake biographies.


According to Russian historian, Dmitry Volkogonov, during Soviet times, there were at least 3,725 documents that were carefully collected and sealed within the cellars of Party archives that nobody was permitted to see. Many of these documents were said to be classified because they reveal the actual cause of Lenin’s death. Furthermore, many of the documents contain information about the true Ulyanov family tree, which was kept secret within the Soviet Union.

Bearing that in mind, let’s now turn to the most prevalent “alternative facts” of Vladimir Lenin.


Contrary to his official biography, Lenin was neither a Russian by ethnicity nor was he a peasant by descent.

Lenin’s mother, Maria Alexandrovna, had Jewish-Swedish roots. His great-grandfather, Moshe Blank, was known as a “mad Jewish merchant,” who had once set fire to 23 houses in his home village. Lenin’s grandfather, Alexander Blank, was a highly respected doctor and wealthy landowner, who bought an entire village near Simbirsk (today’s Ulyanovsk, Russia), along with 39 peasants and their farms.

The Ulyanov family was relatively affluent in local Simbirsk. Lenin’s father, Ilya was a high state official in the field of education. When he unexpectedly died, while Vladimir was 16, the family had sufficient income to easily support themselves. In fact, they even had servants.


Lenin was neither a kind-hearted, modest child nor was he a devoted revolutionary from a young age.

Already as a baby, Volodya – as he was called – stood out from his siblings. He began speaking at three and had trouble standing up on his weak feet. His head was larger than normal and he used to bang it against the floor in fits of rage. Lenin’s mother was sincerely worried about his cognitive development.

Lenin’s sister recalled - when their parents gave him a toy horse for his birthday – that he creeped away to a solitary space to tear its legs off, one by one. Volodya was a troublesome child, always fighting with his little brother, Dmitry, and purposely frightening his sister, Maria. It was documented that his parents found his behavior very disturbing.

Although Volodya grew up to be an extremely bright child, and was awarded a gold medal upon graduation, there is no evidence that he took any particular interest in revolutionary ideas prior to moving to Saint Petersburg in 1893.


In 1887, Lenin was neither expelled from university, nor was he detained in a Siberian prison camp.

A good example of “alternative facts” in Lenin’s official biography is the story about how the young revolutionary was expelled from Kazan University to a remote village of Kokushkino because of his revolutionary activity.

Truth be told, Volodya had only taken part in a peaceful student meeting and, when confronted about this, he wrote a voluntary resignation letter to the university. It is also worth mentioning that the village of Kokushkino was the same village that Lenin’s grandfather had bought. The Ulyanov family used it as their summer estate. So technically, he was “deported” to a nice vacation at his grandfather’s place.


While in Switzerland, Lenin was neither struggling to make ends meet nor did he have a happy marriage.

Lenin and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya lived as refugees in Western Europe for seventeen years, though neither of them had to work. They had several bank accounts in Zürich, and Lenin’s family regularly sent them money and packages of goods.

“In Zürich I messed around quite a bit an ended up in a … Swiss health resort”, Lenin joked in a letter he had written.

History has also revealed that Lenin had many relationships prior to Krupskaya, and he continued to have them during their marriage. The most famous of which was his affair with Inessa Armand, a political activist and family friend.


The cause of Lenin’s death was not cerebral atherosclerosis.

During his final years, Lenin suffered from loss of consciousness, paralysis, hallucinations, and epileptic seizures. His official death certificate stated his cause of death was cerebral atherosclerosis, yet two of his closest personal doctors refused to sign it.

No doubt that is because he likely died of syphilis, contracted at an early age and left untreated. In 1922, a number of doctors prescribed him salvarsan, which is a medication used only for treating syphilis. Additionally, a German physician who specialized in syphilis was summoned and commented: “Everyone knows for which brain disorder I am called”.


Taken together, if we look at Lenin’s life story, there is not too much that can be viewed as factual. Many of these “alternative facts” were perpetuated by Lenin during his lifetime, and were bolstered, posthumously, by Joseph Stalin and his successors to create a god-like cult figure for the Soviet Union.

Quite simply, Vladimir Lenin is the sad embodiment of the very problems that we face today – “post-truth politics” and manipulation based on “alternative facts”.

Learning from history, we would do well to question what we are told, and hold our political leaders accountable by calling truth to power.


Find out more about Tanel’s book, History of Russia in 100 Minutes, here: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Volkogonov, Dmitry. Lenin: A New Biography. The Free Press, 1994.

Service, Robert. Lenin: A Biography. Harvard University Press, 2002.

Kolata, Gina. Lenin’s Stroke: Doctor Has a Theory (and a Suspect). The New York Times, 2012.

Roig-Franzia, Manuel. Medical Sleuths Discuss the Forensics of Death. The Washington Post, 2012.

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones

The article that needs no introduction! Following up on her previous pieces on World War One, including the spark that caused World War One to break out here, Rebecca Fachner tells us the 10 reasons why we are still fascinated by the Russian Revolution.

The Bolshevik  by Boris Kustodiev. 1920.

The Bolshevik by Boris Kustodiev. 1920.

 1.     It is Bogo (Buy One Get One).

The Russian Revolution is the ultimate historical bargain; you get 2 for the price of 1. There were actually 2 revolutions inside of a year, the February/March revolution, which deposed the Tsar, and the October revolution that toppled the Provisional Government and brought the Bolsheviks to power.


2.     It was so much larger than life.

The Russian Revolution is all about contrast, which is what makes it so fascinating and unbelievable. The extreme opulence of the upper class and the Tsarist court, the wretched poverty of everyone else. There was such a huge gap between the “haves” and the “have not’s” that its actually staggering. Of course there was royalty and wealth in other countries, but the Russians cornered the market on royalty, excess and flamboyance. And the poor were just so overworked, starving and helpless. Poor is poor everywhere, but the poor in pre-Revolutionary Russia seem so much worse off than elsewhere.


3.     Rasputin.

Enough said.


4.     How did the Tsar and his government not see what was going on?

The Tsar himself represents another fascinating aspect to this entire historical episode. Has there ever been a man less suited to his position in life than Nicholas II?  He was not a ruler; he was indecisive, small minded, family oriented and lacked any forcefulness. His wife was similarly poorly placed in history, being unstable, hysterical and incredibly stubborn. Both were hugely lacking in self-awareness, which is the only explanation for how both Nicholas and his wife managed to completely ignore the unrest and unhappiness of their population. It takes a special kind of blindness not to see how the Tsarist government was teetering. In the ultimate historical irony, Nicholas would have been a perfect constitutional monarch, like his cousin George V in England, had he not been so dogmatically opposed to any constitution of any kind. 


5.     There is something for everyone.

The Russian Revolution is an incredibly accessible historical event, easy to understand and yet dense and scholarly all at the same time. It has fascinated popular historians, Hollywood and serious scholars because there are so many layers and so much going on. Movies have been made about the revolution (even cartoons), scholars have devoted entire careers to studying the Russian Revolution, and books of all types: popular history, memoir, even historical fiction have been written en masse about the Russian Revolution.


6.     Those poor, beautiful, doomed kids.

Everyone has seen one of the photos of the Tsar and his family, with the four beautiful daughters in their long white dresses and pearls, standing almost protectively around their parents and their little brother. There are so many pictures of the family, and as the girls get older they seem to look increasingly tragic and haunted. Maybe it is because we know what is coming for them, and we just can’t help but look at those pictures with a sense of foreboding. The revolution cost many lives, not to mention those killed in the first years of the Soviet government, but these four girls seem to represent the passing of an age and the lost potential not only of their young lives, but their parents entire reign.


7.     How did the Provisional government make the same mistakes their predecessors did?

The Provisional government took power in the chaotic and incredibly confused first days after the Tsar was deposed, and had the unenviable task of trying to form a new government under the absolute worst conditions: in the middle of a war, with almost no experience, and a population that was starving, sick and desperate for change. Many of the members of the new government had been in the Duma before the revolution, the very limited elected body that the Tsar had reluctantly allowed ten years earlier. Even those who had not been in the Duma were familiar with the problems of the Tsarist government, so how is it that the Provisional government proceeded to immediately make the exact same mistakes as the Tsar had? The new government continued Russia’s involvement in World War One, and spent their entire tenure fighting among themselves, rather than addressing the problems that had put them there in the first place. It is telling that the Provisional government was only in power for about six months before Lenin and the Bolsheviks took over with their promises of peace and bread. Russia wanted peace, and it is a mystery how the Provisional government failed to heed this.


8.     What other revolution ends with a street gang taking over an entire country?

The Bolsheviks were essentially a street gang, when you come right down to it. Both before the Tsar was toppled and after there were larger, far more prominent revolutionary groups in Russia, on every end of the political spectrum. The Bolsheviks were a relatively small-scale operation, until they suddenly took over St. Petersburg and then the rest of the country. How did they actually do that?  How did a gang of criminals and street thugs take over a country and then consolidate their power so quickly?


9.     We all know what comes next.

Part of the reason the Russian Revolution is so interesting, even now, is that we all know what comes next: Lenin, Stalin, the Bolsheviks and 70 plus years of Soviet rule. The revolutionary moment is so interesting because it is one of the great pivots of the twentieth century, and perhaps the greatest what-if.  Think about how different everything might have been if the Tsar could have saved his reign, or if the Provisional government could have transitioned smoothly into a more permanent democratic government. Had things happened even slightly differently, the twentieth century could have been a totally changed place.


10.  If it were fiction, no one would read it.

The Russian Revolution proves the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.  There are so many bizarre circumstances surrounding the Russian Revolution, the story is on such a grand scale and so completely unbelievable, that it has to be true. No fiction writer would ever invent a story this grandiose and farfetched, and if they did, no one would buy a book this preposterous. It HAS to be a true story.


Now, you can find out more about Rasputin here.


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AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
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As people who follow the site will know, our main focus to-date on the site has been on the Cold War. That war’s intrigues made the second half of the 20th century.

From the Berlin Crisis to the Vietnam War, and the Korean War to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, that war defined nearly 50 years of world history and continues to impact our world.

We’ve previously released a few books on the early and middle years of that war, and one more will come later in the year.

Captured Communist flags during the Vietnam War, 1968

Captured Communist flags during the Vietnam War, 1968

That book will focus on a particularly volatile period in the Cold War, the years from 1979 to the end of the Cold War. In our last book, you may have read that relations between the super-powers collapsed as the 1970s came to an end. A more assertive Soviet Union led to many in the US fearing that the Soviet Union planned to seriously challenge them for global hegemony once more. In the 1970s, the Soviets strongly supported various regimes in Africa, improved their missiles, and finally launched an offensive in Afghanistan on Christmas Day, 1979.

A worried US then underwent tumultuous change, and the outcome was that Ronald Reagan became President in 1981. Something akin to a paradigm shift then occurred in US-Soviet relations. Reagan’s administration massively increased defense spending, and with it, the world abounded in danger; however, a second paradigm shift then occurred as a very new and different Soviet leader emerged.

Ultimately it would be the actions of these two men that caused the Cold War to end.


While you wait..

You’ll have to wait a few months for the book, but while you wait for it, we’ve got some educational materials to share with you.

The first of these looks at the origins of the Cold War. It is widely held that the Cold War began in the mid-to-late 1940s – 1945 is generally the most popular choice. In our podcast series, we considered 1945 to be the start year; however this article looks back at the pre-1945 world and considers different times in which the Cold War could have started. As you will see, some think it started with the Communists gaining power in Russia during the 1917 Russian Revolution. After that revolution, many in the West, such as Winston Churchill, were keen to crush Communism as they feared its spread across Europe and the world.

Get the article.


The second of these materials considers the Cold War in its entirety by looking at the main events in three different periods. If you’ve listened to the podcasts or read one of our books, this is a great analytical took that recaps some of the main points and asks some key questions about the war’s events.

Get the article.


PS – you’ll have seen that the blog has been more active this week. And we plan to keep it that way! We’re always looking for new contributors, so if you’re interested get in touch. Or, click here to find out more.

George Levrier-Jones


The materials are supplied courtesy of our friends at www.explaininghistory.com.

You can find out more about the Cold War by going to our Cold War page – click here.