Assess the reasons for opposition and unrest in Russia from 1894 to 1905 During 1894-1905 Russia faced much opposition to its dictatorship rule by Tsar Nicholas II. There was social unrest throughout Russia within this time period, which was created by economic troubles, the loss in the Russo-Japanese war and political problems. The Tsar was also a very weak figure and there was Opposition to the autocratic system. Industrialisation in Russia helped Russia’s economy grow massively and in 1914 it was one of the causes of opposition and social unrest in Russia, as industrialisation caused a gap between the rich and poor. This caused the division of society between the countryside and towns.
To what extent did Witte achieve economic modernisation in Russia? Sergei Witte was introduced as the Tsars financial minister at a time when Russia was in a state of social and economic backwardness. Witte successfully achieved economic modernisation in Russia to a certain extent. Witte’s policies lead to a ‘Great Spurt’ in economic modernisation as they increased the number of factories and led to vast improvements in infrastructure such as railways. However his policies were still very limiting as they did not address the backwardness of agriculture and caused frequent famines, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people; keeping Russia economically and socially far behind the great European powers.
Although it has obtained some successes at the beginning, the dramatic changes were not far away. Russia was badly equipped and led; the army suffered a run of disastrous defeats as well as the rail way signalling system breakage of food transportation, causing blocked lines and trains being abandoned, over 200,000 men were found dead. Food riots broke out in Russia’s countryside and major cities. Because Russia was receiving supplies and support from their European allies the provisional government refused to pull out of the war, and began announcing new offensives. Loyal army has been replaced with around 15 million peasants, the army had sympathised with workers and themselves along with the navy began mutiny against a government they had no wish to fight and die for with the Bolsheviks rioting.
Prior to 1905, disturbances in Russia could have been seen as quite rare. Russia was though suffering from a long period of repression and unrest. From the Tsar in Russia, the regimes had slowly developed into more of an autocratic establishment that implemented its will onto the people with lesser regard for human life and liberty. A major cause of the revolution was the continuing discontent of both the peasants and the landowners due to worsening working conditions. From 1880 onwards, the Russian government encouraged industrial growth, as there was shortages and distress in the countryside.
How far was Nicholas II responsible for the fall of the Romanovs in 1917? The fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917 was the culmination of many factors. It is perhaps widely noted that Nicholas II was not suited to his role as Tsar, mainly due to his character and personality. Resentment of his wife and her involvement with the mystical Rasputin was also widespread and helped contribute to the collapse of the monarchy. Also the state of the country during World War One left a lot to be desired and created a lot of dissatisfaction amongst the Russian people.
Many of these people were unemployed and unskilled, subject to poverty and falling into the lower classes of America's ‘capitalist’ society. They were treated unfairly with appalling working and living conditions and, although they may have escaped persecution or extreme poverty elsewhere, the prospects of becoming successful and prospering (as the American dream had so claimed) were quite distant. It was soon apparent that Americans began to fear the immigration system where hundreds of thousands of people arrived in the USA. This brought about anarchism and communism. America dived into the Red Scare, fearing that thousands of communists were roaming the streets hoping for another revolution.
However, it proved deeply unpopular with the peasants, and although it allowed Stalin and the party to finally gain control over the workers in the countryside, it had devastating effects on this section of the Russian population. The creation of collectives angered many of the of the Russian peasantry. The dekulakisation squads meant that peasants were being forced into collectives, and their crops, livestock, supplies and building were seized as property of the collective. Once again peasants began feeling tied to the land in a similar way to that of serfdome, instead of working for themselves as they did under NEP policies, they were now working for the State, largely losing the independence they had gained. This unhappiness began to manifest itself in violent opposition from large numbers of peasant, particularly in the wealthier agricultural areas, as they had more to lose to the state that the poorer farmers.
There were many factors that contributed to the downfall of the Romanovs – and Tsar Nicholas II was not responsible for all of them. Some of the issues that caused the collapse of the Romanovs’ reign had begun even before he had come into power. However, the many mistakes he made during his reign undoubtedly sealed their fate. Problems with Russia’s monarchy had begun long before Nicholas II came to the throne. For example, a large contributor towards the Romanovs’ steady deterioration was the dissatisfaction of the people of Russia, particularly the peasants.
The Progressivism social reform movements became thwarted by isolationism and conservative fears over The Red Scare. After World War I, Communism had been cropping up in many countries and many became fearful and paranoid of an uprising/plans for a takeover, as was feared happening across the seas. At the time, the labor union movement in America was strong and at 103% interest inflation rate for the cost of living, the economy was in turmoil giving laborers fair reason to strike against the business class who worked them under inhumane conditions for inadequate pay. The wealthy class became entirely distrustful of their lower class counterparts and in their eyes; workers were not to be trusted. In order to prevent a union uprising, like those that were happening overseas in Russia, many union leaders received unconstitutional treatment, many who were native born were jailed, while those who were born elsewhere were often deported.
In fact the groups within the right such as the Freikorps and consul organisation showed an increasing amount of violence because of their lack of support on democracy, which of course created a tremendous threat to the Weimar Republic. To an extent one could argue that the economy was a major threat to the stability of the Weimar Republic in the period 1919-1923 due to the severe reparation payments. The Treaty of Versailles stipulated that Germany had to pay reparations for the damage which was caused in WW1. The poor leadership and economic problems consequently led to a German defeat. In 1921, the total amount of reparations was set at 269 billion gold marks.