Social the defeat of Germany in World War

Social unrest had been occurring for decades in Russia. In
1917, two revolutions ended centuries of imperial rule. Political and Social
changes caused the formation of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed
along with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, a provisional government and
the Petrograd Soviet replaced the old regime in February 1917 (Julian calendar),
then in October, a second revolution took place when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir
Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace and arrested the provisional government and
put themselves in charge.

The main importance of the Russian Revolution was that it was
an inspiration to people of the world, it showed that it was possible for
ordinary people to develop structures of political action and seize power. This
was showing to people that the world does not at all necessarily need to be
ruled by the rich.

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This essay will contain the long and short term causes of the
Russian Revolution, including points such as poverty, industrial revolution and
political unrest. The consequences of the Revolution will also be covered,
explaining the immediate impacts such as the end of the Romanov dynasty, the
civil war, creation of the USSR and the rise to power of Joseph Stalin,
followed by the long term results such as industrialisation, the defeat of
Germany in World War 2 and then the Cold War. Furthermore, included will also
be some interpretations of the revolution by different writers and historians.

The Russian Revolution was caused by a handful of things, a major
cause being the living conditions of over 80 percent of the population, who
were classed as peasants. Tsars imperial command abolished the serfdom system
in 1861, following up until 1916, three-quarters of the population were freed
from serfdom, however still found themselves in high debt to the government. In
1861, when the peasants were freed of the serfdom, they were issued with small
amounts of land, however still were ordered to pay a sum to the government in
return which in effect, was a mass of small debt ridden farm lands. Due to lack
of capital and widespread illiteracy, there was little hope of progression as
the standards of farming were out of date and the state of agriculture in
central Russia was rather poor. While all this maybe an improvement to post
1861, many families only just lived on the borderline of the subsistence level
and around half of families had a member who had left in search of work in
other towns. An increase of the population in Russia meant that land would
therefore become scarce. By this time, the peasants were growing increasingly
frustrated, people were profiting from their land without actually directly
working on it. The vast majority were firmly against developments outside their
village and were demanding autonomy. The system was desperately struggling, all
eyes were on the elites who were forcing the debt ridden peasants to sell their
land for commercial use while the population was rapidly increasing and land
was hard to get. Cities were highly overcrowded with poor wages,
lacking structure, increasing danger in many aspects. This was the beginning of
the formation of a new urban culture.


Page 1 – Russian Revolution 1917 – Sam Bowman

Political unrest was another major cause of the Russian
Revolution. The Tsarist regime was not for the benefit of the majority of
people in Russia, however was the benefit only for the rich. The society of
Russia felt they lacked representation to the government, their problems were
often over looked and pushed aside. The Bloody Sunday Massacre was a notable
factor for the revolution, Russian workers had their pleas for justice rejected
by the Tsar and they shot dead and injured thousands of unarmed protesters. The
nation responded to Bloody Sunday with strikes, forcing Nicholas to release has
October Manifesto. To appease the people, democratic parliament was promised
(the State Duma). The hopes of democracy were ultimately unfulfilled, due to
Tsar making no use of Article 87 of the 1906
Fundamental State Laws and furthermore dismissed the first two dumas when they
proved uncooperative.

 “Let it be known to all that I… shall maintain the
principle of autocracy just as firmly and unflinchingly as did my unforgettable
dead father” – Tsar
Nicholas II, 1906, in a speech to the Duma.

suggested that Tsar Nicholas II never actually considered Russia as
constitutional state and still and still viewed his country autocratically.
This fueled anger to the Russian society and furthermore violence towards the
Tsarist Regime.

Russian Empire was still recovering from defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in
1905, however, Nicholas still put Russia into World War One in 1914 as he had a
desire to restore the prestige lost in 1905, he also wanted to distract the
people of Russia from the poverty, poor working conditions and inequality.
Instead of restoring prestige and in the political and military stature of
Russia, the war would leave to many casualties for the Russian side and
somewhat undermine it further. From the beginning of the war, the troops were
at a disadvantage, they had lower quality weapons, supplies were running out
quickly, generals and officers were incompetent, ultimately they were
outclassed against their enemies, the Germans, who were superior in all aspects
in comparison to Russia.

There were
many consequences following the Russian Revolution, some that are arguably
still happening to this day. One of the most significant ones would be the
abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. The significance of this consequence is that it
is believed this is actually what led up to most if not all the other
consequences afterwards. After the abdication, there were many arguments
regarding whether Russia should back out of World War One, eventually doing so,
as the Bolsheviks (a socialist group) wanted, Russia signed the Treaty of
Brest-Litovsk on the 3rd March 1918, which was presented by the
Central Powers, agreeing to harsh terms including giving up parts of their
great lands. This seemingly led to the Bolsheviks having great power with
Vladimir Lenin as their leader.



Page 2 –
Russian Revolution 1917 – Sam Bowman

Lenin was accepted by the people, transforming Russia into a communist country.
With slogans such as ‘Peace, Bread, Land’ and ‘All power to the Soviets’, this
seemed to the people that Lenin was there path to freedom and they will finally
gain equality. Lenin fought for communism and peace, people on his side were
known as the Reds and the Whites were the people who disagreed with him.
Ultimately, the Reds and the Whites broke into a civil war. The Whites, who’s
supreme leader was a Russian naval commander named Aleksandr Kolchak, were
joined by Russian allies in hopes of getting them back into the war, although
didn’t care too much as the civil war took place towards the end of World War
One, which in this period of time their leaders focus’ were on other more
important things regarding their own situations rather than taking care of
Russia’s also. The Whites had a huge army consisting of millions containing
generals that were led by Leon Trotsky, however they underestimated the Reds
smaller army’s ability to fight and resist and actually lost the civil war to
the Reds due to their higher organization skills. Lenin promised to end war and
bring peace, however this led to a civil war which in fact took the lives of no
less than ten million.

On December
30th 1922, the First Congress
of the Soviets of the USSR approved the Treaty of Creation of the USSR,
which saw Soviet Russia united with the other Soviet republics in the west to
form a single federal state, the Soviet Union. Lenin was the leader of the
USSR, however in after his stroke was still unwell and was suffering and forced
him into semi-retirement. The Bolsheviks were therefore concerned about who
would take his place if Lenin actually died. There was many complications
leading to Lenin’s death about who would take his place, including Stalin
forging a triumvirate alliance with Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev against
Trotsky and