Russia 1914-39 - The Tsarist Regime and it's Collapse 1914-17

  • Created by: lou123
  • Created on: 12-06-16 10:56

TTR - The Problems of Ruling Russia

  • The Russian Empire in 1914 was huge - 22.3 square km of land -> it's size made it hard to govern
  • Communications were slow - roads were thick and unpaved and covered in mud most of the year. New railways only connected a small fraction of the country
  • Out of the 125.6 million who lived in Russia only 55 million of them could actually speak Russian. The process of Russification started to try and get people to speak Russian and conform to Russian ways
  • Almost everybody was a peasant
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TTR - Social Problems and Town Life

Social Problems:

  • Terrible social inequality - 1 million people held all the money and land of the 125.6 million
  • Farming methods were old fashioned and ineffective and farmland was poor quality
  • Population was rising so more people were moving into towns, so towns needed more food which lead to food shortages

Town Life:

  • Moscow was the most industrialised city - about 50% of all workers lived there
  • Hours were long and pay was low
  • Conditions were poor - workers often lived ten to a room and took turns to sleep
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TTR - How Russia was Ruled

  • The Tsar was an autocratic ruler who made all the decisions
  • He was advised by a council of ministers who he chose from his friends in the nobility
  • The Russian Orthodox Church supported the Tsar and the belief he was chosen by God and therefore above critisism 
  • The Okhrana were the secret police who looked for opponents of the Tsar. People who were found were exiled to Siberia
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TTR - The 1905 Revolution & 2nd Chance

In 1905 there were a series of demonstations about the way things were - social inequality, 1 person making all the descsions supported by nobles, poor living conditions

  • Troops guarding the Winter Palace opened fire on a group of peaceful demonstators
  • The St. Petersburg strikers formed a soviet - a workers council to organise strikes
  • Work in the city stopped

A Second Chance:

  • Nicholas II set up a Duma - parliment - of two houses, one elected by the people, and one elected by himself, to advise him
  • He also agreed to allow trade unions and political parties - so many groups who had previously met in secret held public meetings and demand reform
    • So political oppositionwas now more obvious
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TTR - Rasputin

The Tsar and Tsarina's son, Alexi had heamophilia, so any small cuts or bruises could be fatal. At the time, there were no drugs to helf the condition so it was kept secret from almost everyone. In 1905, they heard of a 'holy man' who could help with heamophilia. He helped Alexi with his condition and the Tsar and Tsarina began to rely on him more and more. 

He was unpopular with the Russian court because he was from a peasant family and they thought he was a fraud. Because no one knew of Alexi's conditon, no one understood the influence he has over the Tsar and Tsarina.

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TTR - Back to the Old Ways

  • The Tsar didnt want to share power as he believed God had given him the right to rule alone
  • When the Duma began to demand reforms he changed the voting system so only people who would support him got in
  • Eventually he stopped calling on the Duma at all
  • By 1907 the Okhrana began openly breaking up meetings of political parties and trade unions although they were now technically legal
  • The St.Petersburg Soviet stopped meeting in 1905
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TTR - Political Groups and Opposition

Monarchists - wanted a return to the Tsar ruling alone and disliked the Duma

Constitutionalists - Wanted to keep the Tsar but limit his power with a consititution or parliment

Revolutionaries - wanted to replace the Tsarist regime with a fairer one through a revolution. Many of these groups followed the ideas of Karl Marx. Many of these groups were exiled by the Okhrana

Soviets - wanted reform to help ordinary workers. At first just wanted the Tsar to see their problems, but it became clear they didnt care

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  • At first people supported the war - the Duma voted for more taxes to pay for it with only 21 deputies voting against it
  • St. Petersburg sounded too German so was changed to Petrograd
  • The Russian Army invaded East Prussia in August 1914 from two sides
  • Because of the size of the army there was initial success followed by a stunning defeat by the Germans at Tannenburg in late August
    • 30,000 Russian soliders killed, 92,000 captured along with huge amounts of weapons and equiptment
  • Two defeats at the Masurian lakes in Sep 1914 and Feb 1915 resulted in huge losses
  • By August 1915 over 2 million men had been kilwled, wounded or captured
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TTR - Why was Russia so bad at WW1

  • Size - communications were difficult
  • Poor transport systems - railways only connected few parts of Russia
  • Ineffectient industry
  • Poor training
  • Shortages of equiptment - some men went into battle with no weapons
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TTR - Tsar Nicholas and the War

On the 5th Sep 1915 the Tsar took personal control of the army. The war went no better an he was now blamed.

He also left his wife (hated bc she was German) in charge in Petrograd and she made things worse because she relied on the advice of Rasputin, not the official advisers, and sacked many of them. Rumors grew she and Rasputin were lovers and working for the Germans.

The royal family lost support and Rasputin was assasinated by a group of nobles in 1916. 

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TTR - Tsar Nicholas and the War

On the 5th Sep 1915 the Tsar took personal control of the army. The war went no better an he was now blamed.

He also left his wife (hated bc she was German) in charge in Petrograd and she made things worse because she relied on the advice of Rasputin, not the official advisers, and sacked many of them. Rumors grew she and Rasputin were lovers and working for the Germans.

The royal family lost support and Rasputin was assasinated by a group of nobles in 1916. 

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TTR - Effects of the War

  • Millions of peasants left farming through conscrpition and into factories to do war work. horses were taken too, so farming became more difficult -> food production dropped
  • Fertiliser factories switched to war work -> food production dropped further
  • Millions of trained factory workers were conscrpited, their replacements were inexperienced -> production dropped as did quality of goods
  • Number of people living in towns rose - by about 6million from 1914-17 - with not enough housing slums developed in cities
  • Soldiers at the front given priority for food and other supplies
  • Inflation struck as shortages pushed prices up, then the government prited more money to cover the cost of war which pushed prices up furhter
  • From 1915 there were riots in cities dues to shortages and crime rates in towns rose to three times what it was in 1914
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TTR - Why did people start to revolt?

  • people began to be openly critical of the tsar
  • the okhrana no longer had control of people like it had in 1914
  • the actions of the tsar and tsarina so no longer gave him the automatic loyalty they once had
  • bosheviks and mensheviks were quick to react to worsening conditions; they held public meetings about shortages, deaths at the front and government incompetence. They talked about revolution and people began to listen
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TTR - Revolution

Beginnigs; The first few months of 1917 were colder than usual. On the 19th Feb gov. off. announced rationing would start on the 1st March. 

Growing Unrest; On the 23r Feb, Russia celebrated International Women's Day, large groups of wmen marched to demand equal rights. Other group of workers joined them. The next day 150,000 workers took to the streets with tools and metal bars, demonstating for things from working hours to shortages. The army and olice were helpless. 

The Tsar; On the 25th Feb hardly anybody went to work and 200,000 took to the streets. There were flags and banners saying 'Down with the Tsar' and 'Down with the war'.Troops had not yet fired at demonstrators but then a telegram arrived from the Tsar ordering the general to 'put down disorders by tomorrow'.

The Army Decides; On the 26th Feb the army was ordered to fire. Some refused an switched sides, others fired but on the next day refused their commanding officers orders, shot him, and called other troops to join them and took guns and ammunition to the people. 

  • The tsar and gov. werent ready for it. Even Bolsheviks and Mensheviks werent ready
  • The army bought weapons and organised the workers
  • They fought together to capure main weapons store and weapon factores
  • on the 27-8th they stormed prisons and released political prisoners
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TTR - A New Government

News of revolution spread and by the afternoon of 27th Feb people were outside the Tauride palace shouting 'we need leaders. give us leaders.' The Duma met in one part of the palace and the petrograd soviet in another

12 duma deputies agreed with the p. soviet that on the 2nd of March, they would set up a provisional government to run things unofficially for a while until a new system was worked out. It would have the suport of the powerful PS as long as it worked to 8 principals of government:

  • political prisoners exiled or released, freedom of speech and press, no class, religious or nationality descrimination, prep for a consititution, police organisations replaced by a peoples militia, local governments to be elected, military units that took part in the revolution would not be disbanded or sent to the front to fight, off duty soliders have the same rights as civilians

The army had to obey the orders of the provisional government except when the orders contradicted those of the petrograd soviet

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TTR - Abdication of the Tsar

The Tsar returned to Petrograd too late - is train stopped 145km outside St.Petersburg and the next station was held by revolutionaries. His ministers advised him to abdicate, which he did, in favour of his brother Michael, who refused the crown and accepted te authority of the Provisional Governement. 

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