Tsarist Autocracy Essay

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To what extent was the collapse of the Tsarist autocracy by 1917 due to social and economic rather than military factors? The Russian revolution of February 1917 was a momentous event in the course of Russian history. The 1917 Revolution destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The February Revolution was a revolution focused around Petrograd. During the revolution, members of the imperial parliament gained control of the country.The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. It is argued that the social and economic factors were the most important catalyst and the main cause of the revolution. Others may argue that the military factors were the downfall and breaking point of the country. Although the military factors were important and did play a huge role, the social and economic factors were perhaps the more important reason. The military issues perhaps would not have escalated the way they did if it was not for existing social and economic problems at home. The revolution had began in Petrograd as a workers’ revolt in response to bread shortages, and was aimed at the Tsarist system because it was believed that the government was hoarding the bread in order to drive up prices. However a workers’ revolt, by itself, is very unlikely to result in the abdication of the Tsar, and a critical phase of the revolution was the mutiny of the Petrograd garrison, and the loss of control over Petrograd that the Tsar experienced. Marxist historians have exaggerated the extent of political involvement in the revolution, and it would be fair to say that only at a very late stage of the revolution did socialist political parties become involved. The Tsarist system fell for many reasons: the war against Germany meant that troops could not be deployed in force against the
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