The Revolutions of 1917

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  • Created on: 06-06-19 23:13
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  • The Revolutions of 1917
    • First World War
      • Entry into the War
        • Triple Entente of Russia, France and Britain
          • Had to safeguard against the Central Powers
        • Mobilisation
          • Hoped to force the Austrians to withdraw without having to go to war
          • Two Schemes:
            • Partial mobilisation
              • Limited campaign in the Balkans against Austro-Hungary
            • Full mobilisation
              • Full scale war against Germany and Austro-Hungary
      • Military Failures/ Losses
      • Effect on the Economy, Food and Transport
        • Inflation
          • Financial stability in 1914, currency on the gold standard
          • 1914-1917 saw a 26 million increase in spending
            • Government reaction to this was increase taxation, heavy borrowing, and dropping the gold standard to put more notes into circulation
              • Money was made practically worthless, average earnings doubled while food and fuel costs quadrupled
        • Economical priority was on the war effort, having a negative impact on industry and agriculture as they could not cope with the demands
        • Food and Transport
          • Immense stockpiling of supplies meant a lot rotting away, and much hardware going to waste
          • Peasants began hoarding stocks as inflation made trading impossible
          • Requisitioning of horses and fertiliser for the war effort
            • The army also had first claim on food production
          • Military priority on use of transport systems, making food transport to civilian areas difficult
        • Adverse effect on living conditions
      • Tsarina and Rasputin
        • The Tsar went to war and left the Tsarina and Rasputin in charge of government
          • They made a mess of it, dismissing able ministers in favour of friends
        • Were rumoured to be having an affair, undermining the Tsar's authority and respect
      • Failure to make political reform
        • The Tsar could have accepted the 'Progressive Bloc's' offer to form a constitutional monarchy to take the pressure off
          • He opted for autocracy, and payed the price
        • Unwilling to cooperate with the newly recalled duma
    • February Revolution
      • Course
        • Abdication of the Tsar
          • Nicholas and his cabinet remained outside of the capital to abandon their responsibilities
            • Nicholas was was heavily advised to abdicate to save the monarchy
              • He decided to return to Petrograd, but his train was intercepted and he was warned that his return would do no good, and he should immediately abdicate
              • He signed the Abdication Decree on 2 March, his brother refused the Tsarship, and the Provisional Committee (Government) assumed governing responsibility
          • The Bolsheviks were largely abscent for this revolution, with leaders in exile and the revolt itself taking them by surprise
        • Provisional Committee and Petrograd Soviet form
          • PC formed when the Tsar forced the fourth duma to dissolve (12 members)
            • Kerensky (leading SR) called for the Tsar to stand down or be deposed
            • Represented reformists
              • Dual Authority
                • Declared determination to wipe out the old system and to summon an elected Constituent Assembly
          • Soviet  represented soldiers, sailors and workers
            • Dual Authority
              • Declared determination to wipe out the old system and to summon an elected Constituent Assembly
        • Breakdown of Order
          • International Women's Day march turned into a mass political protest for food and an end to war
          • The Tsar ordered Khabalov to restore order
            • The situation was deemed uncontrollable, with police sympathy for protesters and troops disobeying orders
              • Troops deserted in their thousands, severely depleting forces both on the front and at home
            • Martial Law could not even be printed, let alone implemented
      • Importance of War
        • Deaths, inflation, communications, hunger, incompetence
    • October Revolution
      • Dual Authority
        • Provisional Government made up of conservative former duma members
          • Wanted to establish a constituent assembly
        • Problems
          • The Petrograd Soviet opposed most of what the PG proposed
            • Disagreement on involvement in the war
              • PG wanted a decisive victory
              • Soviet wanted peace without annexations, and revolutionary defensism
            • Soviet Order Number 1
              • Orders of the PG were to be obeyed only when they do not contradict the orders of the Soviet
              • PG were unable to fully control their army
          • Economic issues proved difficult to deal with
          • The Authority's liberal nature allowed the proliferation of protest groups such as the Bolsheviks
          • The Bolsheviks
            • Stalin and Kamenev
              • Exiled Bolsheviks returned to Petrograd following the abdication
              • Lenin's letters from afar instructed Bolsheviks not to cooperate with PG, Stalin and Kamenev ignored them
                • Kamenev believed cooperation was essential, supporting accomodationism
              • Pressed for international negotiations
            • Lenin's Return
              • German government arranged Lenin's return on a sealed train
                • The German's funded the Bolsheviks in the hope of revolution and Russia's exit from the war
              • April Theses
                • Peace
                  • End of Russian participation in the war
                • Bread
                  • Food for the starving masses
                • Land
                  • Land to appease the rural community
                  • Land to the Peasants campaign gained support from rural workers
                • All power to the Soviet (Bolsheviks)
                  • The Soviets gave the Bolsheviks means to assume power
                    • Infiltrate and dominate
        • General acceptance that the collapse of Tsardom should not result in anarchy
        • Gradual shift of the PG to the right and the Soviet to the left
        • Achievements of the PG
          • Positive for prisoners, trade unions, workers, freedoms, and democracy
          • Didn't touch on land or war
      • July Days
        • Kronstadt Rising
          • A naval base rebelled and set up their own government
          • Tempted revolutionaries into action
        • Demonstrations in Petrograd coincided with unrest in Ukraine over independance, turning into a direct challenge against the PG
        • Troops stayed loyal to Kerensky, and the streets were cleared
        • It was disorderly; Lenin and non bolsheviks had been calling for revolt, demonstrators fell out amongst themselves
        • Consequences
          • Opposition movement disunited
          • PG had enough strength to squash insurrections
          • Kerensky became Prime Minister as a result
            • Arrested Bolshevik leaders and shut down papers
      • Kornilov Affair
        • Kornilov (Military Commander) marched troops to Petrograd
          • Never accepted the February Revolution, believed in destroying socialism
          • Kornilov intended to first destroy the Soviet, and then overthrow the PG in a military style dictatorship
        • The Bolsheviks were seen as heroes for protecting Petrograd
          • The PG was susceptible to challenge
          • They were armed by the PG, unnecessarily in the end as Kornilov's train was stopped by workers and he halted his advance altogether
      • Course
        • 'History will not forgive us if we do not assume power.'
          • Lenin knew that Bolshevik freedom of action would later be limited by the All-Russian Congress and the Constituent Assembly election
          • Lenin still had doubters on the central committee
        • Kerensky First Move
          • Rumours of an imminent Bolshevik coup, and responded to evidence of this by ordering a pre-emptive attack
            • This sparked the order from Lenin, the beginning of the revolution
        • The revolution took 3 days from start to finish, with very little fighting
          • Forces did not need to storm the gates, the Red Guards just entered through the back doors and defenders surrendered
            • The remaining members of the government surrendered position on the back of the sound of fired blanks over the River Neva
          • Bolsheviks assume power, and by the 2nd November had full control of Moscow
        • Reasons for Success
          • PG and non-Bolshevik weakness
            • Never truly had power and lacked ruthlessness
            • Didn't introduce popular reforms and was unable to fight the war successful
            • Non Bolsheviks had accepted February as a full revolution, so cooperation made sense
          • Bolshevik strengths
            • Ruthlessness
              • No other party could hope to gain or hold power unless it was able to overcome the Bolsheviks
        • Lenin Vs Trotsky
          • Lenin
            • Dominated the actions of the party despite absences
              • Gained considerable support during his time in exile
            • Trotsky said himself that as long as Lenin was present, the October Revolution could have gone ahead without him
            • Disputes in the Bolshevik party between Feb and Oct suggest that the party was neither disciplined nor centralised
            • April Theses sparked general revolutionary attitudes to grow, and gave the Bolsheviks support
          • Trotsky
            • Responsible for the planning of the revolution
              • Developed ideas about a Permanent Revolution during his time in exile
            • Chairmanship of the Petrograd Soviet
              • Set up the Military Revolutionary Committee to protect Petrograd against attack
                • Control of the MRC = Control of Petrograd
            • Trotsky directed the Red Guards s upon Lenin's order for uprising
              • Seized key vantage points

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