Sunday, September 1, 2019

Examine the importance of Russian weaknesses in WW1 in explaining the start of Revolution in 1917

The weaknesses of Russia during World War One were very important in explaining the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Although their were also other factors that contributed to the start of the Revolution in 1917 like the role of Tsar and the problems in Petrograd. Russia had many weaknesses during WW1 both at home at and the front line which could have helped cause the Revolution in 1917. Russia was unable to beat Japan due to many weaknesses at the front line. The soldiers weren't given any proper training and their weapons were mostly out of date and even at one point their was only one gun between three soldiers. Their was also very bad transport in Russia at the time which meant some soldiers couldn't be taken to the front because their was train to take them their and they would just be stuck in the train station. Having bad transport also meant that food was unable to get to the soldiers at the front which caused many to starve. The food for the soldiers and the people back home was delivered to a city Archangel but because their weren't any trains to deliver the food to them, it just stayed in Archangel. Also, their were many casualties during the war but due to the bad transport medical supplies like medicines and nurses were unable to be taken to the front to treat the wounded. The war gave soldiers the opportunity to communicate with each other and share their ideas, it also gave them experience with weapons and training which they were able to use in the revolution. Their were also many problems at home during WW1. Russia had a population of hundred and five million during WW1 and only three and a half million were industrial workers, this is because most of them had gone of to fight in the war but with a lack of industrial workers it meant that the amount of weapons being made would decrease and by three months into the war the amount of weapons being made had fallen by fifty percent. During the war because their was not enough people to run the factories Peasants were used to work in the factories, but with the peasants working in the factories this meant the land being used to make food fell by twenty percent. This made people really angry because of the shortage of food. Also the food prices went up and during 1914 and 1917 food prices had increased five times, this made people angry because their wages weren't being increased and only less then ten percent of workers were receiving minimum wage. With the lack of food and the food prices being increased made many people angry enough to decide to go on strikes. Many strikes occurred and in 1914 their were altogether sixty-eight strikes and in January and February of 1917 one thousand three hundred and thirty strikes occurred. These strikes showed that people wanted change. Many people though loved Tsar at the beginning of the war because it made them feel patriotic towards their country and they were willing to support him because they wanted to win the war. Industrial reform was another factor that could have helped cause the Revolution of 1917. In the 1890's Russia started to industrialise and this stage was known as ‘The Great Spurt'. A man called Sergi Witte wanted to modernise Russia and move everyone to the cities, this was a bad move because 80% of Russia's population at the time were peasants, and in 1881 only 928,000 people were living in St Petersburg. By 1914 the population of St Petersburg had increased to 2,217,000 this caused a lot of problems. It caused social unrest, their were on trade union or legal representation and bad living conditions because the city was so crowded. It also caused food shortages because their weren't as many peasants producing food and their were too many people living in the town it was hard to supply food for them all. Having so many people living in an overcrowded city was a bad move because people were able to talk to each other and plan and organise a revolution. Sergi Witte managed to build a Trans-Siberian railway, but although it was a step in industrialising Russia it was a poor one. The Railway only went form east to west, this was the reason why soldiers were unable to get to the front line and fight and it was also the reason why food supplies weren't being delivered to places in the north and south of Russia and to the soldiers. The role of Tsar also helped in causing the Revolution of 1917. Although Tsar was liked at the beginning of WW1 but by the end of the war he was very disliked by many people. He believed in Romanov tradition and believed that he ruled through divine right, which meant he believed he was chosen by god and refused to embrace any type of change. One of the things he believed and lived by was Russification, he wanted to make Russia more Russian and by doing this he treated Ukrainians badly, prosecuted Jews because he felt that they weren't real Russians and caused huge discrimination. He also called peasants the ‘dark masses'. A man called Pobedonostsev tutored Nicholas II and his father Alexander III which allowed him to have a huge influence over the both of them. Pobedonostsev was the one who told them to give no freedom and because of the huge influence Pobedononstsev had over Nicholas and his father that is what Nicholas and his father did, they gave no freedom. Tsar's personal feelings and personality was also a reason that could have helped cause the Revolution of 1917. He was known to be very stubborn and impatient and disagreed with any change. He had bad judgement in the appointment and dismissal of ministers and he also refused to appoint a government which had the confidence of the public during the war which caused a lot of people to turn against him. Rasputin was also a cause of opposition towards Tsar. Tsar's choice of having Rasputin as an adviser was a bad move; this was because the Wealth Influential Court Ministers hated Rasputin and his powers and started to turn against Tsar because of Rasputin. Also in 1917 Tsar sacked his uncle and became commander of chief of the whole army. This was the worst thing Tsar could have done because it meant that he would get the blame from people when Russia gets defeated in wars, it also meant that he was away from home a lot. With Tsar being away from home a lot it allowed opposition to grow and problems to occur like the strikes by workers and peasants. Agrarian reform was also another factor that could have helped cause the Revolution in 1917. A man called Stolypin who was a big supporter of Tsar wanted to change the way peasants were farming in Russia. He believed in ‘suppression first, and then, and only then reform', he wanted to work out how to feed the growing population of Russia. Peasants were very conservative and the form of farming they did was called strip farming which was were they farm for their needs no one else's, but Stolypin wanted to get the peasants to farm for the big cities like St Petersburg and Moscow. The way in which he went in trying to make these changes was by terrorising them. All though Stolypin tried by 1914 most peasants were still strip farming which meant that people in St Petersburg and Moscow still didn't have enough for food for their growing population which got people in the cities angry. Also because 80% of the population of Russia were peasants, by terrorising them like Stolypin did a lot of them would have turned away from supporting Tsar because Stolypin was such a big supporter of Tsar. The failure to meet needs after 1905 Revolution in the October manifesto was also another factor that could have caused the Revolution on 1917. Russia was very surprised by their defeat from the Russo-Japanese war and that it self would have made people want to revolt. After the 1905 Revolution, which didn't work because their was no actual leader, Tsar had to make the people happy so he signed the October Manifesto which created the Duma, the Russian parliament. The Duma was split into two the Elected Duma and the State Council. The State council was appointed by Tsar which initially gave them more power over the Elected Duma. Although Tsar allowed the Duma which looked like he was given more freedom to the Russian people he was still the one who was able to control the Duma. If he didn't agree with any of the ideas of the Dumas he was able to dissolve it. The first Duma only lasted from 1st May to July 1906, the second one lasted form March to June 1907 and was dissolved because the Duma demanded rights and didn't like Stolypins ideas but Tsar did. The reason Tsar kept the Duma though was because although it looked like he was given people more freedom he wasn't and it was actually ineffective. Also Tsar felt that it looked impressive to other countries. Many Russians set up groups that rebelled against tsar because the Duma wasn't getting the things they wanted, like rights. One group set up was the Vyborg Group and they appeared to the people to defy Tsar by not paying tax, they were soon executed by Stoylpin. The final chaos in Petrograd symbolised Tsar had been deserted by everybody which helped cause the Revolution of 1917 because he had no supporters left. With no supporters Tsar had no hope of staying in power for long because of the amount of opposition growing. From 18th February to 4th March many problems occurred for Tsar like strikes from people at home and from people in the army. Opposition grows stronger, Tsar dissolved what was left of the Duma but twelve of them refused to go and set up a Provisional Committee. Tsar was advised by Kerensky, a leader politician to step down and the Duma president Rodzyanko said to him ‘their is not one honest man left in your entourage. The decent people have either left or been dismissed', this showed that Tsar had no followers left. Tsar decided to return to Petrograd because he felt that if he went back all the problems would calm down. Altogether these key factors all helped cause the 1917 Revolution and World War One acted as the spark that caused it to finally happen. Industrial reform, Agrarian reform, Tsars personality and beliefs and the failure to meet needs after the 1905 revolution in the October manafesto all caused a lot of opposition to grow against Tsar. Other then World War One Tsars personality and beliefs was a main cause of the 1917 revolution, because of his stubbornness and refusal of allowing any freedom for people got people very angry. He also lost a lot of support from important people, like the Wealth influential court ministers because of his choice of having Rasputin as a friend and leaving him as his wife's adviser when he was away. Becoming Commander of Chief was also a big mistake for Tsar to have become. World War One was the incident that sparked of the Revolution because during World war one was when most opposition from Russians grew, because of the food shortages and prices going up. World War one was like the midwife of the revolution, like Lenin said ‘war is the midwife of a revolution'.

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