Russia and WWI

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  • Russia and WWI
    • General Staff were divided and suspicious of each other-troops were mislead
      • Generals were hard on their own men, discipline was savage
    • Troops were recruited from poverty-stricken villages "peasants in uniform"
      • malnourished, unfit
    • By July 1915, 9 million men had been called into the army, but defeats kept coming
    • Morale was extremely low with ill-trained, underfed troops
      • By July 1915, 9 million men had been called into the army, but defeats kept coming
    • In August 1915, the Tsar took over as Commander-in-Chief of the Army
      • Not only was he absent from Petrograd, he was unable to control his government and left his wife, Alexandra, in charge
        • Rumours spread about Alexandra and Rasputin and there were allegations of German influence
      • The Tsar saw this as a necessary act of duty and patriotism but now he would be held responsible for every defeat
    • Rapid inflation was caused by the heavy taxation levied to help pay for the war
      • Food was scarce and expensive- peasants began hoarding supplies
        • In Petrograd, hungry workers mixed with sick and demoralised soldiers
      • In October 1916, it was estimated wages had risen 100% but prices had gone up 300%
    • December 1916- Rasputin was murdered
      • Despite warnings of impending revolution, the Tsar did not respond
    • The Progressive Bloc of 1915
      • Consisted of two-thirds of the Duma and a sizeable proportion of the State Council, which meant it represented conservatives as well as liberals
      • It had support of some government ministers, much of the press and 2 important organisations- the Town Union and the Zemstvo Union (created to help war effort)
      • Attempted to create a partnership in government with wide support in effort to create a "National Government"
      • On 21st August, most ministers requested that Nicholas let the Duma form a government
        • But, the Tsar would not surrender any power nor would he comprimise
          • He decided to shut down the Duma which provoked an outcry
            • This decreased the Tsar's popularity and isolated Nicholas from all educated classes
              • Many people felt there was only one way out- revolution
    • Rail network collapsed as it could not cope with the demand
      • The requirements of the army meant there was less resources for people in the cities
        • The government began paying more for grain to stop peasants hoarding, city workers paying more for food


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