Eastern Europe and East Asia were effected extremely by World War II. Many different Wars left the nations in ruins. Economically and socially the results were tragic. But no nation was more devastated than Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe, including both the small Eastern nations and Russia, were absolutely devastated by war.
When Russia entered World War 1 in 1914 to when they left in 1917, they suffered numerous military defeats. They originally had made good progress when advancing into the German Empire, however, this advance stopped when they lost the battle of Tannenberg and the Masurian lakes. These were crushing defeats which brought heavy casualties, 4 million Russian men died in the first year of the war. With such a huge amount of casualties, it is obvious that Russian morale wasn’t at a high level. The low levels of morale weren’t helped by the appalling state of supplies to the armed forces.
When the first world war ended in 1918 there was a German revolution due to there failure and the Weimar republic was created. Due to the failure of the war Germany received harsh reparations from the treaty of Versailles and many people though that it was cruel to give Germany such a hard punishment. The government (Weimar republic) signed this order and many German people resented them for signing it and agreeing to the conditions. They were known as the November criminals. The violent uprising caused chaos across germany with many groups ready to take on the government.
At first, the German Blitzkrieg seemed to succeed. Soviet forces were driven back more than 600 miles to the gates of Moscow, with staggering losses. In December 1941, Hitler unilaterally declared war on the United States, which consequently added its tremendous economic and military power to the coalition arrayed against him. A second German offensive against the Soviet Union in 1942 brought German forces in the east to the shores of the Volga River and the city of Stalingrad. However, the Soviet Union launched a counteroffensive in November 1942, trapping and destroying an entire German army at Stalingrad.
By December 1917 central Russia and Siberia were under the control of Lenin’s government. The Brest-Litovsk peace agreement between Germany and Communist Russia galvanized significant portions of Russia's population to violently oppose the Bolshevik government. The White armies evolved out of this opposition and became the principal threat to the Bolshevik regime.
Violence was building up in Russia but the news of Russia going to war united the people, as evident “never during the twenty years of his reign had the emperor been so popular as that moment”. A great number of Russian’s were asking the questions ‘was Russia ready for war in 1914?’ as Russia took over Austrian land and suffered heavy defeats by the Germans. There was a standing army of 1 423 000 with the large amount of peple it was nicknamed the “the Russian steamroller”. There was 3 100 000 men in the reserves and 10 million in the militia. Within a year most of the soldiers were out of it.
During this time the British pushed up through the Arabian Peninsula with T.E Lawrence helping to organise the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Russia withdrew from the war after signing a treaty with Germany. This originally caused problems for the allies and the central powers were believed to win before the arrival of the Americans resulted in Germany being overpowered. This causing the call for an armistice in which the central powers signed the treaty of Versailles and agreed to pay for the damages that they had caused. The war left an entire generation of people physically and mentally disabled and damaged.
Lenin was exiled by Tsar Nicholas as an extremist and only made his way back to liberate Russia due to the First World War, in which he managed to sneak through the German frontline to help lead the Bolshevik uprising. At this moment in time the Provisional Government had already taken control after the popular revolution that had led to Tsar Nicholas’ abdication from the throne and eventual murder. However upon his return the role of liberator was immediately taken up with his April Theses aimed to gain support of the populace and put more sway behind the Bolshevik party, timely named “Peace, Bread Land.” In which he addressed the major issues of the population and the Proletariat whom he which knew would be the ones to help reach the end of capitalism due to the Marxist guidelines to the life line of capitalist society. This stance on policies also managed to place partisanship into Russia through opposing the Provisional Government on anything that was said. As Maxim Gorky said then “Lenin is a gifted man who has all the qualities of a leader”.
The political changes in Germany between October 1918 and May 1919 lead to many revolutionary changes however I don’t believe that the events that took place amounted to a revolution. In this essay I will be discussing the ‘revolution from above’ and the ‘revolution from below’, the Spartacist challenge and the Weimar constitution. In October 1918 the ‘revolution from above’ took place. The Kaiser was told by Ludendorff that they had lost the war and simultaneously he urged the Kaiser to appoint a new government made up of representatives of the biggest parties in the Reichstag. The Kaiser agreed and Germany went from being an autocracy, where all the political power had lied in the hands of the Kaiser, to a parliamentary democracy, where the supreme power lied in the hands of the people and the Kaiser became simply nothing more than a ceremonial head of state.
How far was the First World War the main cause of the fall of the Romanovs in 1917? In March 1917, the Tsar Nicholas II made his decision to abdicate the throne thus, causing the fall of the monarchy in Russia. The First World War was most certainly a factor that caused the fall of the Romanovs however; there are many other factors that must be considered. At the beginning of the war, there was a strong sense of patriotisms in Russia due to excellent war performance. The decline in Russia’s war performance caused morale in the army as well as in the country to also decrease.