Empires before World War I
The Russian October Revolution 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Week 172and you
The Russian Revolution was not, as many people suppose, one well organised event in which Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown and Lenin and the Bolsheviks took power. It was a series of events that took place during , which entailed two separate revolutions in February and October with a great deal of political wranglings inbetween , and which eventually plunged the country into Civil War before leading to the founding of the Communist State. The first major event of the Russian Revolution was the February Revolution, which was a chaotic affair and the culmination of over a century of civil and military unrest. The causes of this unrest of the common people towards the Tsar and aristocratic landowners are too many and complicated to neatly summarise, but key factors to consider were ongoing resentment at the cruel treatment of peasants by patricians, poor working conditions experienced by city workers in the fledgling industrial economy and a growing sense of political and social awareness of the lower orders in general democratic ideas were reaching Russia from the West and being touted by political activists. Dissatisfaction of the proletarian lot was further compounded by food shortages and military failures. In Russia experienced humilating losses in the Russo-Japanese war and, during a demonstration against the war in the same year, Tsarist troops fired upon an unarmed crowd - further dividing Nicholas II from his people.
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The Russian Navy fought two major battles to try and relieve Port Arthur but the Russians were defeated and were forced to withdraw. In May, , the Russian Navy was attacked at Tsushima. Twenty Russian ships were sunk and another five were captured. Only four Russian ships managed to reach safety at Vladivostok. At this time Russia and Austria-Hungary were in dispute over the area of south-eastern Europe known as the Balkans. Russia had formed a particularly close relationship with one of these nations, Serbia.
The Russian Revolution was one of the most influential events to emerge from the furnace of the First World War. It transformed Russia and its Empire and firmly planted the flag of world revolution at the centre of 20 th century world history. The Revolution was the outcome of a vast array of interacting forces, internal and external, long-term and short-term, structural and accidental. The Great War did not create the forces of revolution, but it did set them in motion and fuel them. The onset of war appears to have temporarily united the often-conflicting nations and classes of the Russian Empire. Mobilization was met with hostility which was often also connected with the simultaneous banning of most alcohol sales and the fact that it coincided with the harvest.
1917 Russian Revolution