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 relevant to Russian government between 1855-1918 due to the initiation of many turning points and reforms, as well as repressions, potentially as a result of war. However, it is questioned whether these were just natural developments in Russian society rather than results of war. One area of Russian government on which war had a significant impact on was repression and liberalization. The Crimean war (1853-6) proved a struggle for Russia as they faced inferior opponents, alike to the Russo-Turkish and Japanese wars.
However, whether it was the most significant event must be evaluated against others, for example the 1905 Revolution, the February Revolution of 1917, and Lenin’s death. The October 1917 Revolution was a very significant event in changing the course of Russian history from 1855 to 1964 but I would not argue it as being the most significant event. The revolution was quite important due to the fact that it brought the Tsarist rule to an end and therefore led to the Provisional Government losing control and power to the Bolsheviks. Due to the Bolsheviks coming to power, they were able to attempt to solve their three main policies of peace; Russian people wanted to end the war, bread; there were many food shortages throughout Russia, and Land; they wanted to offer peasants land. The October revolution of 1917 in effect, led to the Russian Civil war which was the exact opposite of what the Bolsheviks wanted and this predominantly moved on to Lenin’s death and the power struggle.
However, the revolution didn’t remove the Tsar. This is mostly because of several reasons including: The October Manifesto which divided the opponents to the Tsar, the Tsar himself listened to the advice from an able minister Sergei Witte which influenced the October Manifesto, the Army remained mostly loyal and the French granted a loan of money to prop up the economy. Though it was important that the people stood up for themselves. The Russo-Japanese war, we could say, acted like a catalyst for the revolution as it was known as an ‘unnecessary war’; most of the Russian public didn’t want to be at war. The Russians suffered a humiliating defeat which shocked the Russian public.
How far do you agree that Russia’s continued involvement in the First World War was the main reason for the fail of the Provisional Government? Although I agree that continued involvement the First World War was certainly the most significant reason for the fail of the Provisional Government, other factors such as Kerensky’s lousy decisions and the actions of Lenin and Trotsky pushed the end of the government and pushed Russia into a new age through revolution. However I would agree that the most important reason being the government continuing to take part in a war the Russian people didn’t want. The main reason for the fail of the Provisional Government was their continued effort in WW1. The war caused a great deal of problems for the government, originally they had announced that their involvement would be entirely defensive but were pressured into an offensive battle by the Allies.
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.
Part of Alexander III’s problem was the legacy left by his father who had begun reforms which raised expectations of major change within Russia. Other problems he faced were that Russia was economically underdeveloped, he had to keep the large multi-ethnic empire together and also the country was still recovering from the death of Alexander II. As a result Alexander III pursued a policy of counter-reform. Counter-reform was partly a reaction to the murder of Alexander II, but Alexander III also believed that his father’s ‘Great Reforms’ had been a mistake, weakening Tsarism and leaving it insecure. His policy was to undo the reforms as far as possible and he did this through a number of social and political changes.
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.
How far do you agree that Trotsky’s leadership of the red army was responsible for the survival of the Bolshevik government? In October 1917 the Bolshevik’s took control of Russia after staging a revolution. However they faced many dangers/threats while in power from the years 1917-1924 such as a civil war and the economic crisis it caused. The leadership of the red army by Trotsky is a very important reason that the Bolsheviks got into power as his red army implanted the revolution but also to the survival of the Bolsheviks as the red army overcame the Bolsheviks biggest threat of the civil war. However there are other reason which just as or more important than Trotsky’s leadership such as the ideas and sacrifices made by Lenin during the year’s 1917-1924 such as signing the harsh treaty of Brest-Litovsk and enforcing the New Economic Policy or NEP, to create economic sacrifices rather than political ones which allowed the Bolsheviks to remain in power.
Examining the impact of wars on the issue of who ruled Russia, its ideological basis, its level of democracy and the level of repression that accompanied it, it seems fair to say that the First World War indeed had the most significant impact, though rivaled closely by the Russian Civil War in particular. Firstly, the effect of wars on who ruled Russia is a fairly distinct matter, given that only some had any direct influence on this issue. Most notably, only the First World War resulted in an actual change in the hands of power. This can be seen firstly with the abdication of Nicholas II as a result of the protests over the war following his decision to command the army in the war and leaving Tsarina Alexandria to rule, allowing discontent to proliferate and ultimately ending his and the tsars’ hold on power. Then the Provisional Government, having only held power for a matter of months, was swept aside by the Bolsheviks, again as a direct consequence of the Provisional Government’s precarious and undefined stance over the escalating crisis of the First World War, as well as the skilled way in which the Bolsheviks harnessed this frustration to gain support from naval bases and ultimately seize power.
The consequences of the Russo Japanese war caused problems with the working class conditions, which were the main grounds of a revolution in 1905, and also the main aim of the opposition groups, which further triggered a revolution. The effects that the loss of the Russo-Japanese war had on the Government lead people to feel negatively towards the government and encouraged them to start a revolution. The Russo-Japanese war was not the most important factor, but was an important factor which leads to the revolution. The Russo-Japanese war also affected the Russian citizens’ attitudes towards the