Russia 1917-39 (GCSE)

Edexcel GCSE History A Unit 2B - entire textbook.

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Russia in 1917
Problems of Ruling Russia
The Russian Empire was huge (92 times the size of Britain). It covered 22.3 million
square kilometres and it was the size of it that made it hard to govern.
- Communications were difficult; roads unpaved and slow, no proper
railways. Under half of the 125.6 million people in Russia spoke Russian.
(Russian was the language of the government and people were expected
to conform to Russian ways in `Russification'.
- Almost all Peasants ­ social inequality. Land was poor quality and farming
methods ineffective. Food shortages were common with more people
moving to the cities.
- Factory workers ­ long hours, low pay, dangerous conditions in factories
and poor living conditions.
- Censoring
- Okhrana (secret police
1905 revolution
- Series of demonstrations ­ troops killing 120 people
- Famine
- Tsarist rule
The outcomes were that people set up Trade Unions and Political Parties and a
Duma was formed.
Monarchists ­ who supported the Tsar and wanted a return to the rules of
the Tsar, advised by a few nobles.
Constitutionalists ­ who wanted the Tsar's power limited by a
constitution and some kind of parliament.
Revolutionaries ­ who believes in the overthrow of the Tsar.

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First World War - The army was badly equipped and poorly trained. The
conscription of trained factory workers and peasants made it harder to grow
food. Fertiliser production stopped to make way for war production so food
shortages were worse.
1917 February Revolution
Socialist Revolutionaries ­
Biggest group
Peasant Party
`Get rid of Tsar and share out land'
Social Democrats ­
Find strength in cities
Create a Marxist state for factory workers
Get rid of Tsar
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.…read more

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Provisional Government Problems
People wanted Russia taken out of the war, a more effective government,
improving workers conditions, solving shortages and redistributing property.
However, the Provisional Government has problems; it saw itself as temporary, it
had no real power and needed support from both Petrograd Soviets and the army
to stay in power and it only had power over the towns and cities in the north of
Russia. They did bring in an 8-hour working day.…read more

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October Revolution
21st October ­ most army units promise their loyalty to Trotsky and the MRC
24rd October ­ Kerensky shuts down Bolshevik newspaper offices and orders
arrest of the MRC but the MRC fight back and take over offices and get control of
main bridges and military headquarters.
25th October ­ Arguments in the Congress of Soviets ­ MRC wins control of
railway stations and besieges the Winter Palace.…read more

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Reds ­ the Bolsheviks or Communists ­ led by Trotsky (ex-Menshevik) and Lenin.
Whites ­ all opponents of Bolsheviks ­ tsarists and nobles, middle-class
constitutional democrats, Mensheviks (the ones left) and Socialist
- Bolsheviks moved the capital to Moscow as it was more central, safer and
had better communications.
- 22nd October 1918 was the White's closest they got to Petrograd.
- Trotsky organised a counter attack and drove them back.
- Allies stopped sending men and supplies were running out.…read more

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Resulted in a major famine; this was brought on peasants refusing to hand
over food and destroying it instead.
Many tried to evade the state control by trying to bring food into cities and
selling it.
Kronstadt Rebellion
The Kronstadt Rebellion in March 1921 was the final straw that convinced Lenin
the system was not working. They had demanded for the re-election of all
soviets, freedom of speech, trade unions and ending Red Terror. But the red army
crushed the mutiny.…read more

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The Leadership Contest
Lenin had a stroke in May 1922 and a second one in December. This left him unable to run the
country and so he wrote a testament about who should take over. He said it should be read out
after his death at the Congress of Soviets. From the testament Lenin had two main candidates
for leadership of the communist party ­ Trotsky and Stalin.…read more

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Purges ­ this was a way to destroy the enemy. Failures were blamed on sabotage by political
opponents rather then the incompetence of officials. Many were exiled to camps, exiled abroad
or executed. The years 1936-1938 were known as the `Great Terror' when millions were purged.
Many different people were purged from poets and musicians (or anyone creative) to Bolshevik
leaders and Army officers. Stalin also purged scientists and engineers who he did not
Show Trials ­ Leading Bolsheviks were given `show trials'.…read more

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J Flett

Good notes for lower ability students

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