The Effect of WWI on Russian Society

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The effect of WW1 on Russian Society
The Army
There were a huge number of conscripts who were enthusiastic at first and fought
bravely, but stood little chance against the German army.
They were badly led and treated appallingly by their aristocrat officers.
Poorly supported by industries at home - short of rifles, ammunition, artillery and shells.
(Some didn't even have boots).
In September 1915, Tsar Nicholas took personal control of the army. He made no
difference as the defeats and huge losses continued through 1916. Unsurprisingly, by
1917, there was much discontent and many soldiers started to support the Bolsheviks.
Peasants, workers and ethnic minorities
War left many widows and orphans needing state war pensions which were not always
received.
Food production remained high until 1916, but the government could not always be
relied upon to pay for the food produced.
War contracts created an extra 3.5 million industrial jobs between 1914 and 1916 -
workers got little extra wage
Food shortages - there was enough food, but it could not be transported to the cities as the rail
network could not cope with the needs of the army, industry and population.
The middle classes
They were unhappy with the Tsar, although they did not suffer the same as the peasants
and workers.
By 1916, industrialists were complaining that they could not fulfill their war contracts
because of the shortage of raw materials and fuel.
The aristocracy
The situation was so bad in 1916 that most of the population was calling for the Tsar to
step-down.
Junior officers in the army had suffered devastating losses in the war - they were the
future of the aristocratic class.
The conscription of 13 million peasants threatened the aristocrats' livelihoods as they
had no workers for their estates.
The aristocrats were appalled by the influence of Rasputin over the government of
Russia

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