the government of nicholas II in 1914
- the russian monarch was know as the tsar, rules as an autocrat. he believed he was chosen by god,
- the tsar ruled with the support of the aristocracy (landowners), the curch, the army and the civil servise.
- most tsars ruled harshly and crushed their opposition, with newspapers censored. they also had a secret police - the okhrana.
- he was happily mariied to a german princess, with 5 children.
- nicholas was not well suited to ruling. he was weak and slow in making decisions, but determined to maintain his autocracy
the nature of russian society in 1914
- russia was a huge country with a poulation of nearly 150 million, spread across parts of europe and asia - communications were poor, and most poeple did not travel much beyond their immediate neighbourhood
- the russian economy was developing quickly in the years before 1914 - especially in 1908-11
- however they were still fa behind modern industria powers such as britain, germany and usa
- the number working in industry were growing fast, between 1880-1900, the population of moscow doubled
- as more poeple swarmed into the big cities, working and living conditions deteriorated rapidly- food shortages, poor wages, teribble living conditions were commonplace.
- 80% of the population were peasents- working on the estates of wealthy landlords- most of them were un able to read and write and used outdated farming methods, which produced barely to live on
- there was a significant minority of subject nationalities- finns, poles, latvians- who hated russian rule and whanted independence
the importance of traditional loyalties
most russian peasents were very loyal to the tsar, even though they were poor. they obeyed the priests - who taught them that the tsar was appointed by god. thus society appeared to be very stable , even though hierarchical in structure.
hierarchical: society in which poeple are ridgdly graded in order from the top ( the tsar and nobility) to the bottom (peasants)
the emergence of opposition groups (SRs) -part 1
the socialist revolutionaries (SRs)
the SR were the largest and most violent of the opposition groups and were supported by many peasants
- they whanted to carve up the huge estates of the nobility and hand them over to the peasants
- they believed in violent struggle and were responsible for the assassination of two goverbment officials as well as the murder of a great number of the okhrana (secret police)
the emergence of opposition groups (social democra
this was the smaler party that folled the ideas of karl marx and communism. the communist state would be achieved through revolution by the proletariat (urban workers)
in 1903, the social democratic party split into two
- the bolshevisks- led by lenin, who believed it was the job of the party to create a revolution
- mensheviks - who believed russia was not ready for revolution
both the socialist revolutionaries and the social democratic party were illegal, and many of thier members were executed or sent into exile in siberia
moderates did not want revolution. they included the constitutional democrats , or kadets, set up in 1905 and led by paul miliukov . they were mostly layers, teachers, doctors and civil servants. they believed in working within the constitution, or laws of russia to bring about change especially through the duma
duma: a representative assembly that the tsar consulted, but which had little power
the impact of the first world war on russia part 1
1. initial patriotism) when war started in august 1914, there was so much patriotism . russians were fighting against germans and austrians . priest prayed for success in the war
2. military defeats) continued military defeats increased the unpopularity of the tsar. the soldiers were poorly equipped due to shortages of weapons and ammunition. they suffered a series of crushing defeats at the hands of the germans, including the battle of tanneburg in aughust 1914. the brusilov offensive of 1916 was a great victory, but the russians didnt take advantage of it , and it was won ata great cost in terms of men and equipment. the tsar took personal command of the army in 1915. this was a mistake as he was then directly blamed for any defeats.
3. effects on the cities) major consequences for those who lived in towns and cities , these included:
- even greater overcrowding, acompanied by low wages and increading prices
- shortages of food and fuel. many poeple were near starvation , especially in the winter. the winter of 1916-17 was extremely severe , even by russian standard
the impact of the first world war on russia part 2
4. transport dislocation) with vast distances to be covered, the transport system could not keep up becouse
- priority was given to getting war materials and food to the troops on the front line
- many locomotives and trucks were not repaired. most skilled engineers had gone to fight in the war - and many of them had been killed . sometimes food intended for the cities, was left rotting in railway sidings.