In spite of all these changing times and circumstances, the tension between the upper and lower classes remained tenser than ever before, building up under the fabric of society. Russian became industrialized during the 1930's when Joseph Stalin instituted a series of what he called “five year plans". The plans were designed to rapidly increase the industrial capacity of the Soviet Union and change it from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. The plans succeeded and Russia did become an industrialized nation. Prior to the “five year plans”, Russia had mostly a peasant farming economy.
Additionally there were developments that occurred without war, which illustrates that involvement in war was not the only cause for change. Therefore war was an important catalyst and factor to significant changes but was not the sole cause of change. The war that caused most change was Word War One due to its role in the February revolution in 1917 and the fall of the provisional government in the October revolution. The defeats of the war dwindled support from liberals and Octobrists for the Tsarist regime, which was further worsened by criticism from organisations including the Central War Industries committee and the union of Zemstva. This formed support and reason for the Progressive Bloc.
Extended Response 1 At the turn of the year 1905 Russia was in a state of social, political and economic turmoil. The entire system, political, social and economic was manufactured by the ruling classes to support their own privileges. Russia’s economy was imbalanced to the extent that the majority of the country lived in poverty while the Romanov’s and the Orthodox church controlled a vast fortune. In Russian society, human rights and personal freedoms for citizens didn’t exist. Instead, the Romanov’s had created a police state where capital punishment and discrimination were tolerated and even encouraged by the government so, not surprisingly, many Russians feared the absolute power of the Romanov dynasty.
The World War brought up a huge range of different issues, which plummeted an already shaky country, into a desperate country. One such issue was the economic strains that the war put on the country. The urgent need for weapons and specialised equipment drove the Russian economy into overdrive, leaving the poorest Russians without food and with an inflation rate which rose around twice as fast as wages went up. The huge numbers of men armed by Russia also meant that industries all across Russian began to slow their production rapidly, most notably of all being agriculture. This meant trade to other countries went down bringing the economy to yet another low and this lack of agricultural workers meant a lack of food across Russia, especially in towns and cities where there was no easy access to farms; and as is with most things in demand, the prices went through the roof, leaving peasants starving on a mass scale.
This meant serfdom was already coming to its own natural end, and for Alexander II to support his nobles he had to emancipate the serfs so they could go start increasing their wealth and get out of debt. Serfdom was also holding Russia back, with the rest of Europe liberalising and making vast economic progress Russia’s economy was starting to look inferior and for them to advance as a nation they had to increase productivity of the serfs and the simple solution was to emancipate them. The serfs were inefficient and had a low productivity due to poor farming methods and constantly being oppressed by their nobles. This oppression and poor farming was caused by the extremely conservative rule which refused to modernise, had the Tsar modernised the farming techniques and stopped the
To what extent does the First World War explain the outbreak of two revolutions in 1917? 27/10/2011 22:10 To a certain extent, the First World War was a major contributing factor to the two revolutions that took place in 1917. The war worsened the issues that already existed in Russia and also highlighted the incompetence of the Tsar and the Provisional Government both as competent rulers and, in the case of the Tsar, a military commander. However, World War One was not the only reason that the revolutions took place; Russia was already undergoing social, political and economical problems that largely contributed to the fall of the Tsar and later the Provisional Government. The war was a large mistake for the Tsar.
Following the Auxiliary Service Law in December 1919, which required all able-bodied Germans to work for the war effort, there was a sharp increase of social unrest as Germans felt their rights being curtailed. The winter of 1916-17 was the peak of discontent as the severe food and fuel shortages were at their worst. Civilian deaths from starvation and hypothermia increased from 121,000 in 1916 to 293,000 in 1918 and infant mortality increased by over 50% over the duration of the war. This led to huge resentment among Germans as they questioned the injustice of the loss of lives. 16% of the 1.8million who died at war were conscripted and all families were somehow impacted by the war, which consequently led to a decline in the popularity of the Royal Family.
War breaking out in 1914 meant the Russian economy had to change to be suitable for the Total war Russia was involved in. Due to the size of Russia different resources had to be transported from different areas by rail lines, which by 1914 it had 44,000 miles but they still were not sufficient to transport large quantities of materials to supply both the industrial needs, military needs and the civilian. Due to shortages in the cities inflation rates went up however wages did not increase fast enough so there were discontent among the workers, between 1914 and 1916 inflation rose by 232% .By 1917 Petrograd and Moscow got a third of the fuel and food it needed due to these resources being sent to the front to supply the army, or the supplies spoiling due to the military use and commandeering of the rail lines. If factories failed to receive the resources it needed to carry out, the factory closed
“BLOODY SUNDAY WAS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CAUSES OF THE 1905 REVOLUTION” To what extent do you agree? Although Bloody Sunday marked the breakdown of the Tsar and autocratic government, there were many other long and short term causes that provided the build up of tension and ultimately led to the revolution of 1905; Bloody Sunday was the final straw for the peasants and the other groups in Russian life, rather than a key cause. The most significant causes were mostly long term. Firstly, there was the terrible work and living conditions of the peasants, alongside the low wages they received. The lack of usable land in Russia and the subdivison of land between families both resulted in an incredibly low income, especially for larger families.
This is implying of course that the decision by Nicholas II to go to war against Germany and it’s allies in 1914 was wrong, but this is not the case. Russia actually had many reasons to risk war again; the war was weighed heavily in the allies favour as the combined forces of Great Britain, France and Russia were far stronger than that of Germany, Austria and Hungary. Russia was aware of it’s major failing though, it’s slow modernisation had left it trailing behind that of the other countries, and Russia would have to be prepared for the rapid social and economic change that a war brings. This was Russia’s best chance to modernise and not be left behind. Russia’s early hopes were soon dashed however.