1 Weakness of Russia
Underlay everything (see weaknesses 1–7)
2 World War I
The First World War was the key factor.
The army was badly led and poorly equipped. Russian defeats at Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes – the Russians lost 200,000 men – lost the government the support of the army.
The war took 15 million men from the farms and trains had to be used for the war (so they could not bring food to the cities) so there were food shortages and food prices rose, all of which created anger and unrest in Petrograd
The winter of 1916–17 was severe. Food shortages got worse – there was a famine in the cities.
3 Tsar’s Mistakes
The Tsar took personal command of the army – which did not help the war effort and meant he was blamed for the defeats.
He left the Tsarina in charge. She was incompetent (she let Rasputin run the government), and (because she was a German) rumours circulated that she was trying to help Germany to win.
By February 1917 the government was in chaos.
Finally, in the crisis, Nicholas went to pieces and failed to do anything (see Source A).
4 Army abandoned the Tsar
On 8 March 1917, there were riots in Petrograd about the food shortages and the war.
On 12 March the Army abandoned the Tsar – the soldiers mutinied and refused to put down the riots. The government lost control of the country.
... Point, followed by his life in the Army before and after the Civil War. The biography ends in the latter pages with ... war between the states, when their home fell into the hands of federal forces. Arlington was taken by the U. S. Government ... there were never enough men, food, or guns. The transportation problem became progressively worse, and the Armies were continually at the mercy ...
5 Duma abandoned the Tsar
On 13 March members of the Duma went to Nicholas to tell him to abdicate.
On 12 March 1917 Rodzianko, the President of the Duma, telegraphed the Tsar:
The situation is getting worse. Something has to be done immediately. Tomorrow is too late. The last hour has struck. The future of the country and the royal family is being decided.
The Tsar read it and said:
Again, that fat-bellied Rodzianko has written me a load of nonsense, which I won’t even bother to answer.
On 13 March the Duma forced Nicholas to abdicate.
HOW did the Causes cause revolution? – important matching game
PJ Larkin, Revolution in Russia (1965)
Peter Moss, History Alive (1967)
Reed Brett, European History (1967)
Chris Culpin, Making History (1984) – recommended reading; analyses the cause into long-term and short term
Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern World History (1988) – a difficult text which looks at the impact of WWI
The February Revolution – Spartacus
questgarden – interesting general information
Think Quest – simple and chatty
BBC Bitesize – long-term, short-term and summary of causes
Wikipedia – harder; analyses the causes into economic, social and political
How WWI caused the Revolution – Open University text
ppt from Redruth school – big file, takes a while to download.
– BBC debate-podcast on the Causes of the Russian Revolution of March 1917
Kirsten’s Thesis – good idea
Frank E Smitha – narrative account of the February Revolution – quite hard
Collapse of the Tsarist Monarchy
Did You Know?
In 1917, the Russian calendar had not yet been reformed, so it was 13 days behind other countries.
This is why we call 8–15 March: The February Revolution,
and the Bolshevik coup d’état of 6–8 November: The October Revolution.
Events of the Revolution
Steelworkers go on strike.
International Women’s Day – demonstrations/ bread riots.
... the West in 1944 were more political than military. On March 20, he told “…his principal commanders in the West, “The ...
More demonstrations/strikes – Tsarina calls in the army.
Troops fire on crowds. The Duma urges action – Tsar dissolves the Duma.
Soldiers mutiny and join riots.
Soldiers and workers set up the ‘Petrograd Soviet’ of 2,500 elected deputies (i.e. the Tsar’s government had fallen/ Russia had 2 governments)
Duma sets up a ‘Provisional Government’, led by Kerensky.
The Tsar gets on the train to Petrograd, but (on 14 March) is arrested on the way and (on 15 March) abdicates.