The impact of the first world war


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  • Created by: Tori
  • Created on: 21-05-20 06:59
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  • The Impact of the First World War
    • The armies strengths
      • The Russian army was the largest in Europe.
        • 1.4 million soldiers, and 3 million reservists.
      • Military reforms in 1908 were based on an  extensive 10-year programme to modernise the army, including the introduction of military aircraft.
      • In 1913 the Minister of War, Vladimir Sukhomlinov, adopted the 'Grand Plan'.
        • The new plan was a response to increased tensions in the Balkans.
        • The plan proposed an offensive strategy in order to secure Russia's western borders.
    • On the eve of WW1, Russia's army was superficially impressive.
      • However, at a deeper level, it had serious weaknesses
    • Problems in the army
      • Long-term problems included:
        • -Incompetent generals who had senior positions due to their family connections, not their ability to lead.
        • -Russian soldiers were the least educated of any European army.
        • -Russian industry was still underdeveloped relative to other European countries.
          • Thus, Russian arms production was comparatively inefficient.
      • Additionally, military reforms were not entirely effective:
        • -The modernisation plans were designed to ensure the army was ready for war in 1917.
          • Therefore, the army was not ready for the outbreak of war in 1914.
        • -The Tsar authorised a massive programme of naval expansion in 1907 which took up a large part of the military budget.
          • However, Russia faced no major threats from other naval powers this did almost nothing to defend the country.
    • The course of WW1
      • WW1 exposed the weaknesses of the Russian army.
        • Initial victories were short-lived.
        • Russia's defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg led to the 'Great Retreat' of 1915.
          • Attempts to regain the initiative through the 'Brusilov Offensive' of 1916 also ended in failure.
    • Economic problems including inflation and supplies for cities
      • WW1 had a catastrophic economic impact for Russia.
      • Inflation and food shortages
        • Growing inflation was a major problem during WW1.
          • Inflation had a major impact on food prices.
          • By 1917, inflation had reached 200%.
            • Food prices went up even faster.
              • Eg. the price of flour rose by 500%.
          • By January 1917 Petrograd was receiving only 48% of its total grain requirements.
            • The army was also forced to reduce rations from 4,000 to 2,000 calories a day.
      • Urbanisation
        • The growth of the war economy meant more workers were employed in factories in the cities.
          • Between 1914-17, Petrograd's population rose from 2.1 to 2.7 million.
      • Munitions Crisis
        • Russia's military planners had assumed that modern wars would be relatively short.
          • Thus, the army had not stockpiled enough weapons to keep fighting.
          • Russian military also lacked the capacity to produce sufficient quantites of munitions.
        • By mid-1915 the munitions crisis was so bad that Russian industry also lacked the capacity to produce sufficient quanitities of munitions.
          • Thus, Russia experiences severe shortages of munitions in the spring of 1915, which led to military setbacks.
      • Transport Crisis
        • Russia's transport networks struggled to cope with the need to transport troops, munitions and food.
          • This exacerbated food shortages in the cities and muntions shortages on the front line.

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