- Created by: Polaris03
- Created on: 20-01-20 20:53
World War 1
- Transport problems:
- Caused strain on transport systems.
- Military traffic given priority.
- Clogged up railways (particularly Trans-Siberian).
- Trains carring food were delayed - cargo often rotted.
- Led to food shortages + increase in price of food
- Short supply of food to cities - prices rose.
- Reasons for short supply:
- Fall in grain production due to German occupation.
- Peasants hoarded grain - usually sold surplus grain, but held onto it due to high consumer prices.
- Hold ups on railways.
- 1915 munititions crisis:
- Gov. assumed WW1 would be short - no munitions were stockpiled + arms-making capacity was not increased.
- Russia turned to foreign supplies.
- Massive orders placed to USA.
- Foreign supplies unable to meet deadlines.
- Showed gov. as incompetent.
- Unable to organise war effort.
- Special Committee for State Defense set up - controlled arms production + built new factories.
- By 1916, arms supply had increased but catastrophic losses of 1915 were still gov's fault.
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Progressive Bloc and Zemgor
- At outbreak of war:
- Bolsheviks opposed war.
- Mensheviks + SR divided on issue of war.
- Guchkov's Octobrists + Milyukov's Kadets were patriotic.
- Wanted to actively contribute to push for victory w/ a partnership between gov. + Duma.
- Gov. showed little interest + Duma was adjourned soon after start of war.
- 1914 - Zemstva formed Zemstro Union.
- Provided medical care for wounded soldiers, operated field canteens, helped refugees escape war zones + dug war graves.
- Muncipal corporations - counterparts to Zemstva in towns.
- 1915 - 2 unions diversified - manufactured war essentials: uniforms, boots, pharmaceuticals and munitions.
- Called Zemgor.
- Only contributed to 5% of wartime production - showed initiative, unlike gov.
- Showed dedication + selflessness.
- Progressive Bloc demands:
- Unity of 1914 gone by 1915 due to Great Retreat - opposition MPs began to criticise Nicholas.
- Duma recalled - 300/430 members formed Progressive Bloc - called for change to gov. to win war.
- Wanted Duma and gov. to work together.
- Didn't want Tsar to appoint or dismiss ministers.
- Progressive Bloc motives:
- Wanted war effort to be managed better.
- Thought revolutionary parties would gain support if public couldn't have confidence in gov.
- Nicholas' reaction:
- Saw proposition as challenge to his authority - rejected demands + dismissed ministers who urged acceptance.
- Kadets (in particular) abandoned thought of compromise w/ gov. - became more confrontational.
- By late 1916, leading Progressive Bloc leaders were planning to force Nicholas to abdicate.
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Growth of Unrest in Towns and Countryside
- Purchasing power of industrial workers dropped sharply - inflation increased + accelerated as the war went on.
- Fuel for domestic heating was expensive + scarce + rent trebled (1916-17).
- Increasing numbers of strikes; 750,000 working days lost in Petrograd alone - calls for end to war + removal of Tsar.
- Unrest grew in countryside too:
- Peasantry lacked developed sense of Russian identity - were never pro-war.
- Peasantry were main human cost of war.
- 15 mil. soldiers - 2 mil. dead, 5 mil. wounded.
- Majority of casualties were peasants - increased anti-war sentiment.
- Loss of able-bodied men meant that women children + the elderly had to do farmwork - resented.
- Requisitioning of horses + livestock by army - army took best, left substandard animals to plough fields.
- Soldiers' wives were given an allowance - didn't increase w/ inflation.
- 1916 - much of peasantry couldn't buy consumer goods = disorder.
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International Women's Day
- Jan 1917 - 1/2 of Petrograd's workers went out on strikes on anniversary of Bloody Sunday (1905).
- Feb 1917 - Petrograd's biggest factory (Putilov Engineering) brought to standastill by strikes.
- Day after Putilov factory closure was International Women's Day - instituted by international socialist movement in 1911.
- Large numbers of women were in low paid jobs - 70% of Petrograd textile workers + 20% of engineering workers were women.
- Women had to deal w/ consequences of inflation.
- Spent hours queing for bread + foraging for firewood, not men.
- On International Women's Day, female textile workers walked out of factories shouting for bread and the end of the war.
- Led to 5 days of disorder - Tsarist regime lost control of its capital city.
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Mutiny of the Army
- Army sympathised w/ strikers - didn't want to hurt them.
- Strikers were unarmed.
- Most of the army was industrial workers + peasants.
- Women were striking for plight of soldiers' wives.
- Nicholas II wasn't doing anything to resolve issues - army resented this.
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