History: Russia 1914-24


Nicholas was an autocrat. He ruled alone and unquestioned but had a weak personality and his power was increasingly based on the military strength of the Cossacks and on the Okhrana (secret police). 

  • Russia was too big to rule
  • Russia was backward, it had few roads and many people were still peasants
  • Russian military was weak
  • Russia had many different nationalities, languages and religions
  • The government was far too much for one man to rule
  • Russia was industrialising and the workers were poor and oppressed (Proletariat)
  • Bourgeois were the representatives of the new middle class industrialists
  • The Revolutionaries split into the Mensheviks who wanted peaceful change and the Bolsheviks who wanted a revolution

WHAT Russia was like before the First World War

WHAT the strengths and weaknesses of the monarchy were before 1914

WHO opposed the tsar's government in Russia before 1914

HOW WELL the tsar ruled Russia in the years leading up to 1914

  • The war effort caused economic chaos
  • 8 March 1917, women went on strike in St. Petersburg for 'bread and peace' which turned into rioting and started the February Revolution. 
  • Tsarina called in the troops but the mutinied and started to help the rioters. 
  • Tsar went to pieces and was unable to make decisions. 
  • When the Duma realised that the government was collapsing, it set up a provisional government and on 15 March, forced the Tsar to abdicate. 

HOW the First World War affected Russia/Tsar

THE STORY of the February Revolution

WHAT were the short term causes of the February Revolution?

WHAT did the Tsar do to make a bad situation worse?

HOW the First World War helped cause a revolution

Why did the monarchy collapse?

Three main reasons:

  • Russia was old-fashioned and weak: it collapsed because it's unsuitable
  • The First World War: its huge problems and disasters overturned a monarchy that had, so far, managed to survive
  • The stupidity of the tsar: his decisions and actions cost him his throne

Provisional Government and its problems

When the tsar's government collapsed in 1917, the Duma set up a provisional government led by Alexander Kerensky. 

The Provisional Government never really ruled Russia. It had to share power with the Petrograd Soviet. All it really did was abolish the Okhrana and press censorship and allow political freedom which gave the government's opponents the freedom to attack the government. 

The main problem of the Provisional Government was that it tried to continue  the war. 


  • Provisional Government had to share power. Members of the Soviet always rejected the Provisional Government. 
  • The Provisional Government did nothing to stop the war
  • Because it didn't stop the war, it was unable to end the shortages of food and fuel in Petrograd, causing the workers to hate the Provisional Government
  • Did nothing to solve the land problem. Soldiers took the land back by force, making the peasants hate the Provisional Government
  • Did little to deal with its opponents 

Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution

February revolution was spontaneous, the October revolution…


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