Finally, the soldiers themselves, who suffered from a lack of equipment and protection from the elements were discontent with Russia's poor accounting in the war. Political Politically, most areas of Russian society had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocratic system. They had no representation in government, and the Tsar remained out of touch with the people's problems. Dissatisfaction with Russian autocracy culminated in the Bloody Sunday massacre, in which Russian workers saw their pleas for justice rejected as thousands of unarmed protestors were shot by the Tsar's troops.
The response to the massacre crippled the nation with strikes, and Nicholas released his October Manifesto, promising a democratic parliament the State Duma to appease the people. However, the Tsar effectively nullified his promises of Democracy with Article 87 of the Fundamental State Laws, and then subsequently dismissed the first two Dumas when they proved uncooperative. These unfulfilled hopes of democracy fuelled revolutionary ideas and violence targeted at the Tsarist regime.
It appears as though Tsar Nicholas II never really considered Russia a constitutional state and invariably held on to his strong inclination towards an Autocratic Russia. Beside the economic and social problems plaguing the country, the Russian Empire was still recovering from a humiliating defeat at the Russo-Japanese War of One of Nicholas's reasons for going to war in was his desire to restore the prestige that Russia had lost during that war.
Nicholas also wanted to galvanize the diverse people in his empire under a single banner by directing military force at a common enemy, namely Germany and the Central Powers. He believed by doing so he could also distract the people from the ongoing issues of poverty, inequality, and poor working conditions that were sources of discontent.
Instead of restoring Russia's political and military standing, World War I would lead to horrifying military casualties on the Russian side and undermined it further.
- Russia Wouldn’t Even Exist Today Without the Bolsheviks.
- Russia Wouldn’t Even Exist Today Without the Bolsheviks – Foreign Policy;
- The Russian Revolution Timeline – The British Library - The British Library;
- Russian Revolution - Causes, Timeline & Definition - HISTORY;
From the beginning the troops were not adequately supplied with weapons, or were led by incompetent generals and officers. Logistics were also a problem, since Russia's poorly maintained roads and railroads inhibited communication and distribution of supplies. Almost everywhere Russian forces were matched against German forces who had a superior advantage in weaponry, military talent, and logistics.
World War I Russia's recent history was a litany of military failures. Most of Russia's fleet was sunk by the Japanese in that war. While the Russian army enjoyed some initial successes against Austria-Hungary in , Russia's deficiencies — particularly regarding the equipment of its soldiers and the lack of advanced technology aeroplanes, telephones, poison gas became increasingly evident.
Russia's first major battle of the war was a disaster. In the Battle of Tannenberg , over , Russian troops were killed, wounded, or captured, while Germany suffered only 20, casualties.
Whatever nationalistic or patriotic support the Russian government had gained in the initial time frame leading up to the war had been lost. In , things took a critical turn for the worse when Germany shifted its focus of attack to the Eastern front. The superior German army - better led, better trained, better supplied - was terrifyingly effective against the ill-equipped Russian forces. By the end of October , Russia had lost between 1. These were staggering losses.
Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt
Mutinies began to occur, and in reports of fraternizing with the enemy started to circulate. Soldiers went hungry and lacked shoes, munitions, and even weapons. Sometimes entire regiments would be sent to the front without guns, only hoping that before they made contact with the enemy, they would find weapons from soldiers that had been killed in earlier waves.
Heavy artillery was also in such short supply in many engagements, that for every shells fired by the Russian forces the Germans would respond with up to 3, Rampant discontent lowered morale, only to be further undermined by a series of military defeats. The crisis in morale as was argued by Allan Wildman, a leading historian of the Russian army in war and revolution "was rooted fundamentally in the feeling of utter despair that the slaughter would ever end and that anything resembling victory could be achieved.
The war did not only devastate soldiers. By the end of , there were manifold signs that the economy was breaking down under the heightened strain of wartime demand. The main problems were food shortages and rising prices. Inflation dragged incomes down at an alarmingly rapid rate, and shortages made it difficult for an individual to sustain oneself.
These shortages were a problem especially in the capital, St. Petersburg , where distance from supplies and poor transportation networks made matters particularly worse. Shops closed early or entirely for lack of bread, sugar, meat, and other provisions, and lines lengthened massively for what remained. Conditions became increasingly difficult to afford food and physically obtain it. Strikes increased steadily from the middle of , and so did crime, but, for the most part, people suffered and endured, scouring the city for food. Working class women in St.
Petersburg reportedly spent about forty hours a week in food lines, begging, turning to prostitution or crime, tearing down wooden fences to keep stoves heated for warmth, and continued to resent the rich. Government officials responsible for public order worried about how long people's patience would last.
- Site Information Navigation.
- Revolution Timeline - Miami University?
- In God I Do Not Have a Past.
- How to Make Your Presentation Right, Tight, and of Value (FT Press Delivers Elements).
- Why Putin Won’t Be Marking the Hundredth Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.
- Thank you for registering to HistoryExtra.
A report by the St. Petersburg branch of the security police, the Okhrana , in October , warned bluntly of "the possibility in the near future of riots by the lower classes of the empire enraged by the burdens of daily existence. Tsar Nicholas was blamed for all of these crises, and what little support he had left began to crumble. As discontent grew, the State Duma issued a warning to Nicholas in November , stating that, inevitably, a terrible disaster would grip the country unless a constitutional form of government was put in place. Nicholas ignored these warnings and Russia's Tsarist regime collapsed a few months later during the February Revolution of One year later, the Tsar and his entire family were executed.
At the beginning of February, Petrograd workers began several strikes and demonstrations. The next day, a series of meetings and rallies were held for International Women's Day , which gradually turned into economic and political gatherings. Demonstrations were organised to demand bread , and these were supported by the industrial working force who considered them a reason for continuing the strikes. The women workers marched to nearby factories bringing out over 50, workers on strike. Students, white-collar workers, and teachers joined the workers in the streets and at public meetings.
To quell the riots, the Tsar looked to the army. At least , troops were available in the capital, but most were either untrained or injured. Historian Ian Beckett suggests around 12, could be regarded as reliable, but even these proved reluctant to move in on the crowd, since it included so many women. It was for this reason that on 11 March [ O. The response of the Duma, urged on by the liberal bloc, was to establish a Temporary Committee to restore law and order; meanwhile, the socialist parties established the Petrograd Soviet to represent workers and soldiers.
The remaining loyal units switched allegiance the next day. The Tsar directed the royal train back towards Petrograd, which was stopped on 14 March [ O. He did so on 15 March [ O. But the Grand Duke realised that he would have little support as ruler, so he declined the crown on 16 March [ O. The immediate effect of the February Revolution was a widespread atmosphere of elation and excitement in Petrograd. The center-left was well represented, and the government was initially chaired by a liberal aristocrat, Prince Georgy Yevgenievich Lvov , a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party KD.
The model for the Soviets were workers' councils that had been established in scores of Russian cities during the Revolution.
Table of Contents
In February , striking workers elected deputies to represent them and socialist activists began organizing a citywide council to unite these deputies with representatives of the socialist parties. On 27 February, socialist Duma deputies, mainly Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries, took the lead in organizing a citywide council. The Petrograd Soviet met in the Tauride Palace , the same building where the new government was taking shape.
The leaders of the Petrograd Soviet believed that they represented particular classes of the population, not the whole nation.
The Fall of the Russian Empire: The End of the Monarchy - The Atlantic
They also believed Russia was not ready for socialism. They viewed their role as limited to pressuring hesitant "bourgeoisie" to rule and to introduce extensive democratic reforms in Russia the replacement of the monarchy by a republic, guaranteed civil rights, a democratic police and army, abolition of religious and ethnic discrimination, preparation of elections to a constituent assembly, and so on.
The relationship between these two major powers was complex from the beginning and would shape the politics of The representatives of the Provisional Government agreed to "take into account the opinions of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies", though they were also determined to prevent "interference in the actions of the government", which would create "an unacceptable situation of dual power".
Although the Soviet leadership initially refused to participate in the "bourgeois" Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky , a young, popular lawyer and a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party SRP , agreed to join the new cabinet, and became an increasingly central figure in the government, eventually taking leadership of the Provisional Government.
As minister of war and later Prime Minister, Kerensky promoted freedom of speech, released thousands of political prisoners, continued the war effort, even organizing another offensive which, however, was no more successful than its predecessors. Nevertheless, Kerensky still faced several great challenges, highlighted by the soldiers, urban workers, and peasants, who claimed that they had gained nothing by the revolution:. The political group that proved most troublesome for Kerensky, and would eventually overthrow him, was the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin.
Lenin had been living in exile in neutral Switzerland and, due to democratization of politics after the February Revolution, which legalized formerly banned political parties, he perceived the opportunity for his Marxist revolution. Although return to Russia had become a possibility, the war made it logistically difficult. Lenin and his associates, however, had to agree to travel to Russia in a sealed train: Germany would not take the chance that he would foment revolution in Germany. After passing through the front, he arrived in Petrograd in April These included that the Soviets take power as seen in the slogan "all power to the Soviets" and denouncing the liberals and social revolutionaries in the Provisional Government, forbidding co-operation with it.
With Lenin's arrival, the popularity of the Bolsheviks increased steadily. Over the course of the spring, public dissatisfaction with the Provisional Government and the war, in particular among workers, soldiers and peasants, pushed these groups to radical parties. Despite growing support for the Bolsheviks, buoyed by maxims that called most famously for "all power to the Soviets", the party held very little real power in the moderate-dominated Petrograd Soviet. In fact, historians such as Sheila Fitzpatrick have asserted that Lenin's exhortations for the Soviet Council to take power were intended to arouse indignation both with the Provisional Government, whose policies were viewed as conservative, and the Soviets themselves, which were viewed as subservients to the conservative government.
By some other historians' accounts, Lenin and his followers were unprepared for how their groundswell of support, especially among influential worker and soldier groups, would translate into real power in the summer of On 18 June, the Provisional Government launched an attack against Germany that failed miserably. Soon after, the government ordered soldiers to go to the front, reneging on a promise.
The soldiers refused to follow the new orders. Sailors and soldiers, along with Petrograd workers, took to the streets in violent protest, calling for "all power to the Soviets". The revolt, however, was disowned by Lenin and the Bolshevik leaders and dissipated within a few days. The July Days confirmed the popularity of the anti-war, radical Bolsheviks, but their unpreparedness at the moment of revolt was an embarrassing gaffe that lost them support among their main constituent groups: soldiers and workers.
The Bolshevik failure in the July Days proved temporary. The Bolsheviks had undergone a spectacular growth in membership. Whereas, in February , the Bolsheviks were limited to only 24, members, by September there were , members of the Bolshevik faction. Petersburg and Moscow behind the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries, by September the Bolsheviks were in the majority in both cities.
In August, poor and misleading communication led General Lavr Kornilov , the recently appointed Supreme Commander of Russian military forces, to believe that the Petrograd government had already been captured by radicals, or was in serious danger thereof. To secure his position, Kerensky had to ask for Bolshevik assistance. He also sought help from the Petrograd Soviet, which called upon armed Red Guards to "defend the revolution". The Kornilov Affair failed largely due to the efforts of the Bolsheviks, whose influence over railroad and telegraph workers proved vital in stopping the movement of troops.
With his coup failing, Kornilov surrendered and was relieved of his position. The Bolsheviks' role in stopping the attempted coup further strengthened their position. Growing numbers of socialists and lower-class Russians viewed the government less as a force in support of their needs and interests.
The Bolsheviks benefited as the only major organized opposition party that had refused to compromise with the Provisional Government, and they benefited from growing frustration and even disgust with other parties, such as the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries, who stubbornly refused to break with the idea of national unity across all classes. In Finland, Lenin had worked on his book State and Revolution and continued to lead his party, writing newspaper articles and policy decrees.
Petersburg , aware that the increasingly radical city presented him no legal danger and a second opportunity for revolution. Recognising the strength of the Bolsheviks, Lenin began pressing for the immediate overthrow of the Kerensky government by the Bolsheviks. Lenin was of the opinion that taking power should occur in both St.
Petersburg and Moscow simultaneously, parenthetically stating that it made no difference which city rose up first, but expressing his opinion that Moscow may well rise up first. The resolution was passed 10—2 Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev prominently dissenting promoting the October Revolution. The October Revolution, night to Wednesday 7 November according to the modern Gregorian calendar and night to Wednesday 25 October according to the Julian calendar at the time in tsarist Russia, was organized by the Bolshevik party. Lenin did not have any direct role in the revolution and due to his personal security he was hiding.
The Revolutionary Military Committee established by the Bolshevik party was organizing the insurrection and Leon Trotsky was the chairman. However, Lenin played a crucial role in the debate in the leadership of the Bolshevik party for a revolutionary insurrection as the party in the autumn of received a majority in the soviets.
An ally in the left fraction of the Revolutionary-Socialist Party , with huge support among the peasants who opposed Russia's participation in the war, supported the slogan 'All power to the Soviets'. Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army , immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army , in a series of battles that would become known as the Russian Civil War. This did not happen in The Civil War began in early with domestic anti-Bolshevik forces confronting the nascent Red Army. In autumn of allied countries chose to send troops to support the "Whites" with supplies of weapons, ammunition and logistic equipment being sent from the main Western countries but this was not at all coordinated.
Germany did not participate in the civil war as it surrendered to the Allied. Source: . Of more interests is the anarchist movement of Nestor Makhno in Ukraine who fought against the White generals, saved Moscow in from an attack by the general Denikin and in November helped the Bolshevik to defeat general Wrangel. However, 26 November the Bolshevik government invited headquarters staff and many of Makhno's subordinate commanders to a Red Army planning conference in Moscow only to have them imprisoned and executed.
At that time was there already a decision to eliminate the Makhno movement. Nestor Makno escaped the hunt by the Red Army and in August he and 77 of his followers managed to escape into Romania and further to Poland, Germany to reach France where Makno died in 25 July The provisional government with its second and third coalition was led by a right wing fraction of the Socialist-Revolutionary party, SR. This non-elected provisional government faced the revolutionary situation and the growing mood against the war by avoiding elections to the state Duma.
However, the October revolution forced the political parties behind the newly dissolved provisional government to move and move fast for immediate elections. All happened so fast that the left SR fraction did not have time to reach out and be represented in ballots of the SR party which was part of the coalition in the provisional government. This non-elected government supported continuation of the war on the side of the allied forces. The elections to the State Duma 25 November therefore did not mirror the true political situation among peasants even if we don't know how the outcome would be if the anti-war left SR fraction had a fair chance to challenge the party leaders.
Lenin did not believe as Karl Marx that a socialist revolution presupposed a developed capitalist economy and not in a semi-capitalist country as Russia. Though Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party, it has been argued that since Lenin was not present during the actual takeover of the Winter Palace, it was really Trotsky's organization and direction that led the revolution, merely spurred by the motivation Lenin instigated within his party.
Soviet membership was initially freely elected, but many members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party , anarchists, and other leftists created opposition to the Bolsheviks through the Soviets themselves. The elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly took place 25 November The most notable instances of this anti-Bolshevik mentality were expressed in the Tambov rebellion , —, and the Kronstadt rebellion in March These movements, which made a wide range of demands and lacked effective coordination, were eventually defeated along with the White Army during the Civil War.
The Russian Civil War, which broke out in shortly after the October Revolution, resulted in the deaths and suffering of millions of people regardless of their political orientation. Though the Allied nations, using external interference, provided substantial military aid to the loosely knit anti-Bolshevik forces, they were ultimately defeated.
The Bolsheviks firstly assumed power in Petrograd, expanding their rule outwards. They eventually reached the Easterly Siberian Russian coast in Vladivostok , four years after the war began, an occupation that is believed to have ended all significant military campaigns in the nation. Less than one year later, the last area controlled by the White Army, the Ayano-Maysky District , directly to the north of the Krai containing Vladivostok, was given up when General Anatoly Pepelyayev capitulated in Several revolts were initiated against the Bolsheviks and their army near the end of the war, notably the Kronstadt Rebellion.
This was a naval mutiny engineered by Soviet Baltic sailors, former Red Army soldiers, and the people of Kronstadt. This armed uprising was fought against the antagonizing Bolshevik economic policies that farmers were subjected to, including seizures of grain crops by the Communists. When delegates representing the Kronstadt sailors arrived at Petrograd for negotiations, they raised 15 demands primarily pertaining to the Russian right to freedom. The Government then responded with an armed suppression of these revolts and suffered ten thousand casualties before entering the city of Kronstadt.
During the Civil War, Nestor Makhno led a Ukrainian anarchist movement, the Black Army allied to the Bolsheviks thrice, one of the powers ending the alliance each time. However, a Bolshevik force under Mikhail Frunze destroyed the Makhnovist movement, when the Makhnovists refused to merge into the Red Army. In addition, the so-called " Green Army " peasants defending their property against the opposing forces played a secondary role in the war, mainly in the Ukraine.
Revolutionary tribunals were present during both the Revolution and the Civil War, intended for the purpose of combatting forces of counter-revolution. At the Civil War's zenith, it is reported that upwards of , cases were investigated by approximately tribunals. However, these tribunals did come with their own set of inefficiencies, such as responding to cases in a matter of months and not having a concrete definition of "counter-revolution" that was determined on a case-by-case basis.
This, in part, triggered the political transition of the October Revolution and the Civil War that followed in its aftermath. The Bolsheviks executed the tsar and his family on 16 July In August the Kerensky government evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk in the Urals , to protect them from the rising tide of revolution. However, Kerensky lost control after the Bolsheviks came to power in October , and the conditions of their imprisonment grew stricter and talk of putting Nicholas on trial increased. As the counter revolutionary White movement gathered force, leading to full-scale civil war by the summer, the Romanovs were moved during April and May to Yekaterinburg , a militant Bolshevik stronghold.
During the early morning of 16 July, Nicholas, Alexandra, their children, their physician, and several servants were taken into the basement and shot. That the order came from the top has long been believed, although there is a lack of hard evidence. The execution may have been carried out on the initiative of local Bolshevik officials, or it may have been an option pre-approved in Moscow should White troops approach Yekaterinburg. Radzinsky noted that Lenin's bodyguard personally delivered the telegram ordering the execution and that he was ordered to destroy the evidence.
The Russian Revolution became the site for many instances of symbolism , both physical and non-physical. Communist symbolism is perhaps the most notable of this time period, such as the debut of the iconic hammer and sickle as a representation of the October Revolution in , eventually becoming the official symbol of the USSR in Although the Bolsheviks did not have extensive political experience, their portrayal of the revolution itself as both a political and symbolic order resulted in Communism's portrayal as a messianic faith, formally known as communist messianism.
The revolution ultimately led to the establishment of the future Soviet Union as an ideocracy ; however, the establishment of such a state came as an ideological paradox , as Marx's ideals of how a socialist state ought to be created were based on the formation being natural and not artificially incited i. A revolutionary wave caused by the Russian Revolution lasted until , but despite initial hopes for success in the German Revolution of —19 , the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic , and others like it, no other Marxist movement at the time succeeded in keeping power in its hands.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to restore order and resist the German counter-offensive, most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup, under the Russian Army's commander-in-chief, General Kornilov. The coup failed, but had two important consequences: on the one hand, the generals and the conservatives who had backed Kornilov felt betrayed by Kerensky who arrested Kornilov after having appeared to have been in agreement with him and would no longer defend the government; on the other, Kerensky's reputation with the moderate left and with the population at large plummeted when it became clear that he had initially supported Kornilov's plans for the restoration of the death penalty and for the dissolution of soldiers' revolutionary committees.
The only winners were the Bolsheviks, with Lenin at their head, who were able to topple Kerensky and take power in the October Revolution of without significant resistance from either the government or the army. With regard to the first of these, a 'Decree on Peace' 26 October was dashed off by Lenin, calling upon all belligerents to end the slaughter of World War One.
Not that Lenin was a pacifist: rather, his hope was to transform the world war into an international civil war, when the 'imperialist' powers refused to cease fighting and thereby revealed their rapacious ambitions. However, the Central Powers responded to the Bolsheviks' appeal by agreeing to an armistice on the Eastern Front, and Lenin's lieutenant, Trotsky, found himself in the uncomfortable position, during the winter of , of negotiating a separate peace treaty with Imperial Germany and her allies at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk. Trotsky tried to delay matters and to inculcate revolution in central Europe by refusing the harsh terms presented to him.
When Germany, however, merely resumed its invasion of Russia on the Eastern Front, pushing further east in five days of February than it had in the previous three years the German soldiers, to Trotsky's consternation, continued to obey their officers , the Bolsheviks were forced to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March This punitive treaty effectively handed over Finland, Poland, the Baltic provinces, Ukraine and Transcaucasia to the Central Powers, together with one-third of the old empire's population, one-third of its agricultural land and three-quarters of its industries.
Outraged by this, the anti-Bolshevik Russians who had remained loyal to the Allies now took up arms in earnest against the Bolsheviks. They were actively assisted by Allied forces in Russia, who hoped to rebuild the Eastern Front. The Reds, however, rebuffed these attacks, and survived, and by late had driven the Whites back into the Black Sea, the Baltic and the Pacific - causing hundreds of thousands of White soldiers and civilians to emigrate.
The Reds were able to take advantage of internal lines of communication and could utilise the railways, arsenals and the economy of the most populous provinces of the former empire. In this way they managed to arm, man and manoeuvre an army that by had grown to almost five million soldiers. The Whites, in contrast, never commanded forces totalling more than , men at one time, were separated from each other by huge distances, and were based around the less developed peripheries of Russia.
Also, crucially, the Whites underestimated the Bolsheviks' capacity to resist. It still seems surprising that Trotsky was able to fashion a Red Army more effective than that of the experienced White generals ranged against him. He, however, enjoyed the material advantages mentioned, and he also introduced some revolutionary innovations: notably the network of Political Commissars - devout Bolsheviks who offered political guidance to the Red Army and who watched over the loyalty of the 50, imperial army officers the Reds employed to help command their forces.
He also used terror most ruthlessly. The White armies, in contrast, exhibited only brutality, venality, disorder and a lack of political and military direction. Even their most effective fighters, the Cossacks, were more interested in booty and in securing their own regional autonomy than in driving Lenin from the Kremlin. Despite their strength in Russia itself, the Reds were internationally isolated, but neither did the Whites enjoy unlimited Allied support. The liberal British leader Lloyd George, the socialist French prime minister Clemenceau and the American Democratic president Woodrow Wilson were no friends of Lenin - but neither were they particularly enamoured of the White generals, whom they suspected of reactionary aims.
In fact, although anti-Bolshevik sentiments were not altogether absent from Allied leaders' minds when they made the decision to intervene in Russia in , their main interest was in the Great War, not the Russian civil war, and their desire was to try and reconstitute the Eastern Front, to ease the pressure on the Western Front.