Reasons for the 1917 Russian revolutions

This set of revision cards present an overview of some reasons why Russia fell into the 1917 revolutions.

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Effects of World War One by 1917

  • Transport system had virtually collapsed
  • All cities and towns suffering shortages of food and fuel
  • Troops had started to desert.
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Tsar Nicholas II went to the Front - Consequences

  • Nicholas now assumed responsibilty for the defeats which continued
  • The country was now ruled by Tsarina Alexandra and Rasputin, who had no previous experience
  • There was erosion of any lasting respect for the monarchy
  • The Duma was dismissed.
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Situation in Petrograd - March

  • Sever winter made life in Petrograd even worse, due to food shortages etc.
  • Workers in the Putilov factory (the factory was founded by Father Gapon) went on strike, combined with demos against food shortages
  • Army troops refused to take any kind of action against the people.
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Events in Petrograd - Abdication of the Tsar

  • Hearing the news from Petrograd, the Tsar returned by train but was stopped by rebel troops
  • Remaining members of the Duma called on the Tsar to abdicate
  • Nicholas was told that his generals could not guarantee support
  • He went on to abdicate in favour of his uncle.
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Who was ruling Russia - Provisional Government or

  • Majority of the Duma now declared themselves the Provisional Government (hereafter referred to as PG) and de facto rulers in Russia
  • The composition of the PG was very much the upper and middle classes
  • At the same time, the Petrograd Soviet was established
  • "Issue of Soviet Order Number 1" showed that it was the Soviet, and not the PG that really weilded power
  • For the time being, the PG were ruled by sufferance.
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Problems facing the Provisional Government

  • The first problem was the war - the PG had little choice other than to continue because Russia needed support from western governments (in the form of war credits)
  • The PG also had to make a decision on land ownership, as peasants were starting to seize the land
  • A number of decrees were passed releasing political prisoners, allowing freedom of speech and improving women's rights
  • The PG organised elections for the Constitutional Assembly, and around the same time a new campaign organised by Kerensky ended badly.
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Return of Lenin and the November Revolution

  • Lenin was returned to Russia by Germans, told the Bolsheviks not to cooperate with the PG, and went on to issue the April Theses - "Bread Peace and Land".
  • Won over Bolsheviks with the view that the PG should be overthrown, and went into hiding during the July Days - the Kornilov coup during this time saw the Bolsheviks hailed as heroes.
  • The PG began losing support the result of the elections for the Constituent Assembly was fast approaching
  • Trotsky was given the go-ahead for the coup.
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