Russia at War


Setback for the Bolsheviks

-The Socialist Parties abandoned their policies and committed themselves to the national war effort. 

-Lenin was bitter about this. The Bolsheviks that stayed loyal were viewed as traitors due to their opposition of the war and were called German spies. 

-Had the war gone well for Russia there is every reason to think that the Bolshevik party would have dissapeared as a political force. 

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Russia's Problems

-The war did not go well for Russia. War was too great a strain for the Russian economy. However, the pressure on all countries was immense and it should be remembered that of six empires in WWI only two survived.

-The Impact of War can be studies under 6 headings;


2.Food supplies


4.The Army

5.The Role of the Tsar


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1. Inflation

Value for money sharply declined creating instability and low prices. In 1914 Russia had remarkable financial stability (gold standard). Government spending rose to 30mil roubles from 4. Increased taxation at home and heavy borrowing from abroad raised capital. Gold standard (certain amount of roubles=certain amount of gold) was abandoned, which allowed the government to put more notes into circulation. Short term enabled wages to be paid, however long term it made money practically worthless. Result was severe inflation. 

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Food Supplies

2. Food Supplies

Requisitioning (state takeover) of horses and fertilisers by the military for war made it difficult for peasants to sustain agricultural output. Not the main effect of war. Transport disruption also made it difficult to transport the food supplies to the urban areas. 1917 there was bread rationing, as Petrograd was suffering terribly. 

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3. Transport

The transport system broke down under war stress during 1914-17. This was the major cause of Russia's wartime shortages. The growth of the railways, from 13,000 to 44,000 miles was impressive but did not meet the demands of war. Less than 2 years after the war began the transport system had virtually collapsed. 

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The Army

4. The Army

Russia's army was a mighty force and the largest of all the countries that fought in the war. However, their lack of equipment, as a result of poor liason between government departments responsible for supply, meant the Russian army had a weakness. In 1916 serious shortages began to occur. 

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The Role of the Tsar

5. The Role of the Tsar

Nicholas II in September 1915 became Supreme Commander of the Russian army. The intention was to rally the nation around him as the Tsar of Russia. If things went well he took credit, however if they went badly he was not to blame. Also, leaving his post temporarily in the army meant the Tsarina, Alexandra, and Rasputin were to control Russia whilst he was gone. This led to a shattered economy, and the Russian people blamed the Tsar for this. 

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6. Morale

Gains were never enough to justify the appalling casualty lists. The enthusiasm and high morale of August 1914 had turned into pessimism and defeatism by 1916. Mutinies had occured, however were also occuring in all armies. 

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