How Significant Was War in Changing the Nature of Russian Government Between 1855-1918?

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How significant was war in changing the nature of Russian Government between 1855-1918? Trotsky’s famous quote: ‘War is the locomotive of change’ is very much relevant to the impact it had upon Russian government between 1855-1918. Undeniably, each of the wars influenced the nature of government to some extent; some more than others, such as the First World War’s huge impact upon Russian industry and agriculture. However, it is arguable that not all of the wars brought upon political change to the same extent, such as the Russo-Japanese war. The impact of the First World War on Russia was immense. It created significant political, economic and social changes, aiding the development of Russian government. In the early stages of the war the Russian army suffered huge losses at Tannenburg and at the Battle of the Masurian Lakes. These losses resulted in unrest in the army and led to questions being asked about the way in which the military was run. As a result of ongoing military blunders, Tsar Nicholas II decided to take charge of the army himself. The political consequences of Nicholas' decision to lead the army were huge. However, war affected Russia in other ways, which also had a damaging impact on the Tsar. As more and more men went to war, the work of factories and farms became a matter of some concern. Russian industry and agriculture struggled to cope with the war economy; food shortages in the cities were heightened by the war and the limited railway system was focused on transportation of men and arms to the front, rather than food to the cities. Riots broke out as a result of starvation, workers in the cities complained about the situation they found themselves in and, as the number of dead continued to rise, the level of discontent grew. This ultimately caused a sense of unease within the ruling elite which eventually led to the abdication of the
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