February Revolution

  • 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
  • Inflation:
    • 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.
  • Consequences:
    • 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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