Year 12- Russia & the First World War

Nicholas II, pictured after his abdication in military uniform

Ok guys- so here is where we’re having our lesson this week!

Work your way through the tasks below, and then when you’re ready, answer the discussion question by clicking on the speech bubble on the top right.

1- Complete the reading for this topic from your reading list

2- Construct a timeline from August 1914-Christmas 1916. Highlight Russian successes & defeats

3- Look at the “Life in Russia” information on the Brimsham Web-Site here. Put the information into the correct headings (either mind-map or note-take this information)

4- Answer the following questions in our comment section:
“Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”
“Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

You must answer these questions, wait for others to do the same before reading their thoughts, and discussing with them what you agree/disagree over!


29 responses to “Year 12- Russia & the First World War

  1. Question 1…

    Opposition developed as a result of two main reasons. Firstly, the woeful conditions for the public in Russia, which were caused by the strain placed on the country by WWI. As well as this, the government’s failure to accept to incorporate the people’s efforts only incensed the opposition further.

    To start with, the Russian people had to foot the bill for the war, as one of the ways the government financed it was through higher taxes. Furthermore, more money was printed, which meant that in some instances prices rose by over 200%. The Russian people may have been able to accept this, had the war being going well, but after the initial successes, the defeats by the Germans – causing 1.6m casualties – meant the Russian people, understandably, considered this unacceptable. The government was ultimately making them suffer, whilst their army struggled, offering no sign of a comeback. In addition, a huge shortage of food was apparent, illustrated by how Moscow went from 2200 wagons of grain, to only 300 by 1916. Moreover, this problem was exasperated by the loss of horses, railways and workers. This would undoubtedly have left people angry at their government for their incompetence to manage both the war effort itself, along with their failure to cope with the problems faced at home.

    Away from the lifestyle of the public, any offering of support to the war effort shown outside the tsarist regime was brushed aside. Organisations that aimed to help such as the ZEMGOR and Central War Industry committee were simply left alone. This angered the people as they failed to see where their government was going, refusing to somehow incorporate groups that were aiding the war effort.

    These factors all built up to a climax in the winter of 1916, where these problems were at their peak. The army had been comprehensively defeated, whilst the Russian people were left low on morale at witnessing long casualty lists; added to this was the fact they had little food, along the financial burden of this failed war effort. Their help had not been significantly recognised by the regime, adding to their dissatisfaction. Overall, the Tsar’s heroic attempt to save his country, by taking charge of the army, had only gone to highlight his ineptness. Hence, this left the people in no doubt that change was needed to turn Russia around.

  2. Question 2…..

    I think that if WWI hadn’t taken place then there wouldn’t have been a revolution in 1917. The war had an enormous impact on Russia, because 15.3 million Russian men were involved in military service throughout the duration on WWI.
    The main strain which the First World War put on Russia was to do with the economy. The Russian budget was raised by eight times from 1914-1917, and as a result not only did Russia increase its borrowing from Britain and France; it also raised the taxes to its own people. The government, in an attempt to save the economy, abandoned the gold standard and printed more notes. This led to inflation, which in the short term paid wages, but in the long term made money worthless. This obviously left the Russian people very angry, especially as they could see their money wasn’t really helping when they lost major battles at Tannenburg and Lodz in September 1914 and December 1914 respectively.
    The War also had political consequences in Russia, another factor in the 1917 revolution. In 1915, the zemstva and town dumas formed ZEMGOR, in an attempt to aid the care of war casualties. However, the government failed to use this organisation officially, and so it became the centre of discontent against the war effort. This clearly would have angered the people of Russia who, despite their best efforts to help their country whilst at war, were to an extent ignored by the Tsar. He did not listen to demands for change, which angered the Russian people.
    Finally, lack of food makes people angry. Therefore when food prices were quadrupled, and wages only doubled, it is obvious that the people of Russia were going to struggle to be able to buy their food. The army had first claim to the food, and many agricultural farmers were actually fighting in the war, and so unable to produce crops to be used as food. Pre-war Moscow received 2200 wagons of grain per month, by 1916, this had fallen to 300.
    These reasons all contributed to people’s discontent towards the government and the Tsar in Russia at this time. This ultimately led to the 1917 revolution, and so it is obvious that had the First World War not happened, neither would the revolution.

  3. Question 2….

    The strain placed on Russia by WWI was undoubtedly the main reason as to why the 1917 revolution took place, as the people were angered by the shortage of food along with the poor war effort. However, in the years after Stolypin’s assassination in 1911, there is evidence to suggest that the people were already unhappy, and therefore a revolution may have still occurred.

    Following Stolypin’s death, many unsuccessful ministers took repressive attitudes at trying to deal with Russia. An incident which in many ways demonstrated Russia hadn’t moved forward was the Lena Goldfields incident in 1912. Miners who were demanding higher pay were shot at by troops, leading to many being killed/injured. In addition, political parties were growing frustrated with their government’s lack of leadership, with the leader of the Octobrists, Alexander Guchkov, warning that ‘the blindness of the Tsars government was driving the Russian people closer to revolution’. Therefore, it would be hard to argue that the idea of revolution was not a distinct possibility.

    The conditions faced during the war obviously made the revolution spontaneous, as the people couldn’t bear this anymore. Without this it is hard to say how long it would have taken for a revolution, although the signs are there that it would have still happened. The most significant indication of this is that the number of strikes listed as political, rose from 24 in 1911, to 2401 in 1914, hence illustrating that whilst it may have taken longer, the ingredients for revolution were apparent prior to WWI.

  4. Political opposition developed towards the Tsarist government between 1914 and 1916 for two main reasons. One reason is due to the government not accepting offers of help from Russian people. This increased opposition as the Russian people couldn’t see which direction their government was going. The second reason for opposition against the Tsar is the fact the government were making the Russian people pay for the debts and costs the war was creating.

    During the war, 5.3 million men were mobilised to war. This number covered 9% of the Russian population. This meant paying for all of these men would need to be paid by someone and the government needed to do something about it as the National budget had risen. The government decided to get the money by rising taxes as well as loans and borrowing from France and Britain. This angered the public as they had to pay higher taxes for something they may not have even wanted in the first place. This created huge anger towards the Tsar, creating more opposition .The government they needed more money so printed more. This created inflation which raised prices by over 200% between these periods. This again created more opposition as people couldn’t afford everything as things started becoming too expensive. Also, as so many men went to war, agriculture suffered dramatically as less food could be produced. Soldiers also took control of railway lines meaning products of agriculture could not travel and an example of food shortages is shown when Moscow receives 2200 railway wagons of grain per month in 1914 but only 300 wagons by the end of 1916. This would have created opposition as people were suffering in the loss of agricultural goods when again they could say they didn’t want the war in the first place.

    On the other hand, there were some people of Russia who were supporting the war effort due to their patriotism. Groups such as the Zemstva’s, who built medical facilities on the war front were just pushed aside as the government didn’t want them. This angered many groups and organisations as they were there to help but just pushed away. This caused opposition as the groups just wanted to help but the government were acting rather ignorant.

    By the end of 1916, Russian’s were extremely angry with their government. They had lost the war, many were killed and taxes were huge. Opposition was therefore huge and the government needed to be changed. Food was low and money was worthless so living in Russia during this period would have been extremely hard so getting rid of the government was the only way to change this grim lifestyle. Therefore the Russian people knew this was the perfect time for change in government.

  5. Question 2

    I think even without WWI, the 1917 Revolution would have still taken place. Before the 1917 Revolution, the Russian people had already attempted a previous Revolution. As this had happened, it shows the Russian people were already unhappy without the loss of the war and all of the consequences that came with it. Other events such as Bloody Sunday and the death of Stolypin show that people in Russia were already angered by what the government were doing.

    WWI was just a trigger as I feel whatever happened; a Revolution would have taken place. WWI just happened to be the one thing that did actually trigger it. The increase in taxes and ignorance from the government sent the Russian people over the edge into starting a Revolution.

    Russian people were extremely angered by the way they were treated during WWI and angered by the way they suffered for something that most Russian people would say they didn’t want. This is just another factor in causing the Revolution and not the one big reason. It is much more like a defining reason rather than the main reason. The war just underlined the unrest and poor governing in Russia during this period.

  6. Question 1:
    Political opposition formed due to the Tsar not listening his people and taking matters into his own hands. As there became more problems in the war, the more the Tsar became eager to win. This put the Tsar into a dangerous position as his actions formed political opposition.
    In 1915, after the loss of Poland, the Tsar took command himself even though he was unqualified to do so. This is an example of the strengths he would go and his eagerness to win the war. He left running the government and administration back home, to his wife. However, this turned out to go horribly wrong for him, as the failure of the Brusilov Offensive shows. He proved to be a poor commander-in-chief and also poor internal communications leading to a shortage of military equipment getting to the front. This lead to the taxes being made higher, to help maintain the military equipment and the time Russia were in the war. As you can tell, this didn’t go down well with the people living in Russia. The idea that they were being made to pay more money towards a war which their government wasn’t doing a very good angered them. By taxes being made higher, this put great strain on Russia. To make things worse, the government decided to print more money in order to pay for the war inflation. Food shortages were also introduced, making the people even more annoyed with the Government. Loss of agricultural workers and farmers put strain on the food production, leading to food shortages. As a result of these problems, political groups were formed in order to help Russia and the Tsar. However, the Tsar ignored them. For example, they provided medical facilities for the army. The organisations were immensely successful and proved critical to the Russian war effort .The success of these organisations such as Zemstva allowed people to see the incompetence of the government by comparison. The Zemstva and town dumas formed ZEGMOR, but the government failed to use the organisation efficiently. ZEGMOR became frustrated that they couldn’t take a full and active part in the Russian war effort. They became the centre of political opposition.
    All these events added up to why the government gained political opposition between the August 1914 and December 1916. He didn’t listen to people and wanted to do things his own way, as a result opposition formed. The people living in Russia by this time had noticed that the government wasn’t doing a good job in looking after the country and therefore knew that they needed a change.

  7. Question 2:
    The 1917 revolution would still have taken place even if World War 1 hadn’t had happened. People in Russia were already annoyed before the war; it only triggered the revolution. For example, the protest on Bloody Sunday was a sign of how people wanted the government to make a change by listening to what they wanted, as they were fed up of the way they were being treated. The Tsar didn’t learn from Bloody Sunday, and continued the way he did. The war helped provide more reasons for people to start a revolution. It showed that the government wasn’t willing to listen to its people. The problems within the war, such as hyperinflation, food shortages and higher taxes was due to a government not looking after its country or people properly. It helped people realise he wasn’t capable of doing so. Furthermore, the idea that they were losing the war and many people were getting killed added to the anger of people within Russia. In conclusion, a revolution would still have happened, as people were annoyed at the Tsar before the war. However the build-up of events during the war helped add to the frustration of people. These events eventually added up, and a revolution began.

  8. Political opposition developed between august 1914 and December 1916 due to two factors. Firstly, World War I had a large impact upon the lives of the Russian people, in particular for financial reasons. The budget rose drastically between 1914 and 1917 multiplying by 8 times as much, resulting in the Russian people having to pay significantly higher taxes and Russia having to borrow more from their allies; Britain and France. The gold standard was dismissed and hundreds more notes were printed in an attempt to rescue the Russian economy thus leading to inflation. The inflation made money worthless, therefore although wages could be given to the people the lack of value meant major Battles were lost. In addition to this due to the economy suffering and the army being of first priority for food, the food prices quadrupled and the people of Russia struggled to feed themselves and their families. Agriculture also suffered as food was being produced at a slower and smaller rate, and it couldn’t be transported due to a lack of available transport due to the army taking control of railways and horses. Before the War Moscow was recieving 2200 wagons of grain depreciating to only 300 wagons by 1916.
    In addition to this the government were refusing to accept the help from Russian people, this is evident through examples such as the zemstva building medical facilities which were disregarded by the Russian government, other groups which attempted to help but were simply pushed aside were ZEMGOR and the central war industry committee. This intensely angered the Russian people, fuelling the opposition even more as this displayed how incompetent the government really were.
    Eventually by the end of 1916, the Russian people were at the end of their tether. The Russian army had basically been defeated, leaving the Russians with low spirits due to the long lists of casualties and deaths and failed war effort, despite their best attempts to help the government and the large financial strain the defeat had placed upon them. This was a sure sign that Russia needed change, hence opposition developed greatly.

  9. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    The 1917 revolution would have taken place had it not been for the war that was going on at that time as many of the key reasons for the revolution came from the pressures that was given to Russia from the war.

    One key reason for this is because of groups like the union of Zemstva forming a medical facility and the Octobrists making a weapon factory. These were designed to help with the war effort and operated separately to the Tsarist regime. This badly effected the position of the Tsar as his regime was unable to successfully organise these separate factions. This lack of efficiency from the Russian government caused many who were working within the Zemstva to become more uncertain with the Tsarist regime. Because of this the progressive bloc was formed to appose the Tsar and give more power to the ministers elected in the duma and was one of the key groups to help gain power from Nicholas during the revolution and helped to create uncertainty with the Russian people to whether the Tsar should remain in power.

    Another key reason that the war was needed to create the 1917 revolution is because of the military exploits on the front line. In the war Russia suffered several great defeats. These included Battle of Lodz and the Austro-German offensive which drove Russian forces away from Poland. These defeats not only led to uncertainty with the Russians on whether they should keep up with the war effort but also convinced the Tsar to take military control. This was a mistake for the Tsar had little military experience so would not be a good tactician which was shown in the way the Tsar created the Brusilov offensive which despite a strong beginning the tactic was not fully thought out and there were not enough supplies for the soldiers because the transport of supplies was still not that effective for the Russian army. This caused the tactic to become a failure and create even more social unrest throughout Russia. What made this worse is while the Tsar was not doing the day to day runnings of the country the Tsarina had taken that responsibility. The problem with this was the Tsarina had grown incredibly unpopular due to her German heritage which made people think that she would side with the enemy. She was also unpopular because of several reforms that she made in power which are believed to be from the influence of Rasputin making people even less trusting of both the Tsarina and the Tsar for his decision to put her in power.

    To summarise the revolution needed the war to happen as before the war the Dumas had calmed the opposition parties and fore filled many of the needs of the people in Russia also. The war showed the opposition that they still did not have sufficient power to change anything in Russia while at the same time caused social unrest and doubt in the Tsar due to his bad battle tactics and several of Russia’s defeats in the war. Therefore if the war had not been such an overwhelming defeat for Russia the county would not have built up enough political and social unrest in Russia to cause a second revolution.

  10. “Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”

    The key reason that political opposition grew between August 1914 and December 1916 is because of the governments inefficiency and poor leadership during the war. This caused several political groups to have greater uncertainty in the Tsarist regime.

    The first sign of Russia having poor leadership in the war is because of several defeats that Russia faced in the war including the Austro-German offense. Because of this offense and Russia’s defeat Nicholas stepped in to lead the Russian army. Nicholas was a very poor military leader and simply put the military in a worse position then before. This is displayed in his Brusilov offensive when the Russian troops ended up running low on supplies due to the lack of transporting goods. This meant the politicians began to doubt his leadership in the war and wonder whether the Tsar was still fit to lead the country in war. What strengthened these views was the Tsars failure to efficiently incorporate the duma in to any of the military procedure causing political parties to have a greater belief that the Tsar should not hold as much power which led to the creation of the progressive bloc.

    The Tsar leading the military front also led to his wife taking control of the day to day running’s of the country. This caused several political groups to have anger against the government as the Tsarina was of German heritage and people did not trust her in being in such a high position of power. However the main cause for political opposition for this came from Rasputin and his influence on the Tsarinas new found power. He was able to persuade the Tsarina to make several reforms in the government which many political parties disagreed with. Some of these political parties were even those who supported the Tsar. They believed that the Tsars monarchy had been too heavily influenced by Rasputin and that the Tsar no longer held complete power.

    Because of the Tsar supporting political parties believing that Rasputin was the cause of much social and political unrest in Russia the parties agreed to have him killed in December 1916 for they believed that would put an end to political aggression and improve the Tsars position in the country. However it came as a disadvantage because while Rasputin did persuade many poor reforms he was able to be blamed for anything bad that the government decided on. Without him the blame for any reforms would go directly to the Tsar and his family.

    In summary the Tsars poor leadership was always average at best. He was never fit to manage the country to battle well in WW1. This caused many political parties to believe that the Tsar was not running the country correctly therefore rallying support to take the Tsar off the throne. The Tsar poorest decision was to decide to take military control as it was the key point of all the aggression that came from the war for it displayed just how unfit the Tsar actually was.

  11. Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”

    The main reason why political oppostion towards the Tsar between 1914 -16 is because of Russia’s falure in the first world war. The war caused so much hurt in Russia, with so many deaths, and so much territory lost.

    Because the war had began well for Russia, and the sense of patriotism had increased, the level of expectancy had increased within Russia. The people were expecting a good result from the war.
    But, this did not happen. Russia lost the battle of Tannenburg to Germany. This loss was very costly to Russia because they lost 30,000 men who were either dead or seriously injured, and 95,000 men were captured by Germany. The germans also defeated Russia in the battle of Lodz.
    This would of angered all of Russia, from being in a strong position at the start, and being humiliated by a smaller country like Germany, faith in the Tsar would of been lost.

    Another reason why oppostion increased was the very poor leadership of the Tsar. After Russia had lost Poland to the Germans, Nicholas made himself commander -in-chief of the Russian army.
    He had no experience of leading a military set up and was unqualified for the job. This gave the Tsar no cover. He had no one else to take the the blame away from him. While he was away, his wife Alexandra was left to run government. She didn’t have the trust of the Russian people because of her german heritage.Alexandra became so out of her depth leading the country, she turned to the monk Rasputin for help. Rasputin advised Alexandra, and was balmed for many ministry realted appointments.

    Political partied that supported the Tsarist regime blamed Rasputin for all of the political and social problems in Russia, so they had him killed in December 1916 believing all of the problems of Russia would die with him. Rasputin took part of the blame away from the Tsar for the problema in Russia.

    In summary, the poor leadership of the Tsar made opposition develop. He showed he wasn’t capable of leading his country, so the call for politcal change was increased.

  12. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?
    If the first world war didn’t happen, then I don’t think the resolution in 1917 would of happened. The war had such a bad impact on Russia. Russia sent 5.3million men to fight (9% of the population) in 1914, and by christmas 1916, 15.3million men had taken part in military services. They would of lost many lives, without any consolation for the lives that were lost. The resolution wouldn’t of happened in 1917 if so many people weren’t bitter about the failed war effort.

    Because the war failed so badly with the Tsar leading on a military front, the call for change increased, and with the Tsar failing to listen to his people, the resolution was always more likely to happen after the failure of the war, rather than before it.

  13. Question 1
    Political opposition towards the Tsars government developed between the months of August 1914 and December 1916 because the Tsar was unwilling to cooperate with his people during a difficult and destructive time. Even before the war, the Tsar had opposition; this was due to the humiliation from the Russo-Japanese, the frustration and upset from Bloody Sunday and the years of social unrest due to the serfs and urbanisation. So, it’s no wonder the Tsars opposition developed during the war as it dominated the country and left its people without anything as the Tsar commanded himself as chief of the Russian army, leaving his wife to deal with the mess of Russia. This opposition also shows how weak the Tsar was in ruling his country and how unprepared he was for the war (when in fact Russia was perfectly equipped to produce all the weapons etc). This lack of communication put a huge strain on war resources.
    So therefore this caused political opposition from parties such as ZEMGOR and the “Progressive Bloc”, as the Tsar was unwilling to listen to his people when they were in need of desperate help. With this, the war put an even greater strain of the country as many people of Russia faced confusion to who was ruling the country(due to the fact that Rasputin and the Tsarina was very unpopular with the public and because of the Tsar entering the war). As well as that food shortages and inflation came also during the war. This again would cause anger towards the people of Russia so therefore political opposition would have developed for these reasons as well as the fact that the Tsar was unwilling to cooperate when he needed to for the benefit of his people.

  14. “Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”

    The political opposition to the government grew during the period of the First World War mainly because of the Tsar’s inability to remain in control of both the war front and the Russian government; but also because of the effects the war had on the economy at home.
    The decision Nicholas II made to dismiss his Uncle Nikolai created a disastrous turning point in Russia’s morale. Nicholas was both very poor and unqualified to command the Russian army which in itself caused Russia to fail in their Brusilov Offensive; however poor communication in transport also contributed to failure. The government back home had to deal with not only the Tsarina’s poor control, but now had to find a way to help contribute to the war effort. In a desperate attempt to regain stability, the government had to raise taxes and print more money with led to inflation.

    To help create a better contribution to the war effort, the Union of Zemstva had provided the necessary supplies needed and under Guchkov the production of ammunition and weapons was stimulated. Although these groups were deeply successful the Tsar’s government failed to effectively incorporate them into the war effort, and when the ZEMGOR came along they again failed to use the organisation to help their own military. This had frustrated many of the people within the State Duma and they wanted a change to the Tsar’s government to make parliament more in control.

    However the Tsarina was still in charge of government affairs, and thought the newly formed Progressive Bloc and other organisations were disloyal and so their demands were not met. This meant that opposition to the Tsar and government became even stronger. Between 1915 and December 1916, the Tsarina’s confidant Rasputin was constantly influencing ministerial changes which over this period caused the war effort to waver and the blame was placed firmly on the Tsarina, who was no longer trusted as she was born German.

    All these factors during 1914 to Christmas 1916 show how the opposition to the government grew tremendously. The Tsar alone is the main reason for his government’s downfall, his skills as a leader had been undermined by his terrible decisions to lead the army and leave his wife in charge of the country in his absence. Also the political parties grew tired of the poor actions of the government and tried to gain control to help in Russia’s war effort but the Tsar constantly refused their demands and so he along with his government became increasingly unpopular.

  15. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?”

    Due to the circumstances that had arisen during the First World War, it is almost certain that a revolution would probably have happened as it did in 1917 if there had been no war at all.
    The war had created a major impact on Russia’s Home Front as the cost of the war effort put great strain on the Russian state. The government had to print more money to pay for the war leading to inflation; a rise of over 200 percent.

    The combined takeover of the railways and loss of agricultural workers and horses to the army created a massive shortage in food production and transportation into towns and cities. The problems with this created the strikes and demonstrations which sparked the February Revolution. The government was now in a real crisis; the State Duma even went against them and attacked over the food shortages and the government themselves made matters worse by the mention of a rationing.

    Although these factors may be true, the Russian people already had little faith in their Tsar and government following the 1905 revolution. This reason suggests very strongly that a revolution would have happened anyway even if there was no war; however it is hard to distinguish whether it would have happened in 1917 if the war had not taken place but what we can say is that the war could have perhaps brought the revolution on quicker than it would have done. Therefore it has to be said that the war was in fact a trigger to a revolution that was bound to have happened anyway.

  16. Yes, I do think a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war. Like many other people on here have said it is clear that Russia were unhappy and still held grudges with the Tsar before the war. Bloody Sunday, Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 revolution all prove that Russia were willing and could achieve a revolution due to the upset and outrage these events caused. Bloody Sunday would have still caused upset even during the 1917 revolution, as it aimed to be a peaceful protest but ended in the killings of many Russian people, there was no real apology for the event and so people may have held a grudge against the Tsar all this time. The Russo-Japanese war as well left Russia humiliated; it undermined the Tsars regime so again this could have been another reason why. The humiliation and resent may have still been there during the 1917 revolution, as it was continuously one bad thing after another. Even though there had been one revolution before, it was clear due to all the strikes and problems Russia faced during before and after the war that Russia had enough.

    A factor contributing towards this revolution was the First World War as it caused even more political opposition from groups such as ZEMGOR and the Progressive Bloc, who called for a “Government of public confidence”, yet because the Tsar refused to listen it shows how unwilling the Tsar was.

    So it is clear that the war was an important factor to the 1917 revolution as the Tsar was unwilling to cooperate with his people after all this unsettlement during his reign. However, it is also important to realise that before the war Russia did have a grudge and anger towards the Tsar due to events that had occurred before. So yes I do think it’s likely that revolution would have taken place, yet the war did have a huge effect on the revolution as well.

  17. 1-Opposition towards the tsarist government increased between the years of 1914-1916 as a result of two main factors. One of this was the way the tsar was so determined to win the war against Germany that he did not consider any of the effects it would have on his people or whether or not they even agreed with the actions he was taking in order to do so. In doing this people would have felt that the tsar did not have the best interests of the country in mind and instead was just interested in the success winning the war may gain him. Many also felt that the success of organisations such as the union of zemstva which provided extremely successful and use full medical facilities during the war efforts and that of the congress of representatives of industry and trade in co-ordinating the war production, simply highlighted the fact that the tsar did not put such ideas forward to help the country. The Tsar had decided to take the role of commander-in-chief into his own hands after he dismissed his uncle Nikolai due to the Russian forces were completely driven out of Russian Poland. This led the Tsar to make disastrous decisions on behalf of the Russian people the first of which would have been taking on a position he had no skills in dealing with. Due to this lack of experience the Tsar was met with many demands for change from organisations such as the progressive bloc that was initially formed due to the frustration over not being able to have an active role in the war themselves , instead of listening to their demands for change the Tsar simply did not take them into account and refused to comply with any of them.
    as well as this the war efforts put alot of strain on the russian economy resulting in the russian population being forced to pay higher taxes in order to keep up with the cost of war. this may have been forgiven if it wasnt for the fact that the russian people disagreed with the Tsar on his war tactics and that he had refused to accept any of the suggested changes made by his people.

  18. “Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”

    Political opposition towards the Tsar’s government developed rapidly during the period of August 1914 and December 1916 due to the poor relationship Tsar had with people. However, looking back at the previous events such as Bloody Sunday. There was always opposition. The Russo-Japanese war was a key factors that cut. his last bit of threat that held him and his people together.
    By the time the first world war came the Tsar was a very poor man compared to his farther. He had already had opposition with plenty of people, from all different classes. This was because of events like Bloody Sunday and The Russo-Japanese war. He was suppose to be a all powerful king. He was the complete opposite!
    I know that the Tsar wasn’t interested in ruling the country and all he wanted to do was be with his family. He would much rather that than rule Russia. After the incident of Bloody Sunday he finally turn’t all of his working class people against him.
    Another key event was the Russo-Japanese war. This event was the final straw to the Tsarist regime. Even though he remained powerful, he would never have the peoples vote or respect. The fact that Japan was an extremely small country according to the “all powerful” Russia. The defeat just crushed him even more.
    Another reason why opposition such as ZEMGOR and the Progressive Bloc grew was due to his communication and lack of interest with his people. He had all the resources he needed to build machinery necessary but failed due to poor communication. Although the fact Russia was a big country and fast communication was hard, it was still possible thanks to the Trans-Siberian Railway. Overall I belief that he could have done better to try and build a relationship with his people but failed due to lack of interest and poor decisions. This is what led to political opposition uprising.

  19. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    i think it is highly ulikely that if the war had not taken place that the revolution would not have taken place in 1917. The war highlighted the incompetance of the Tsar and his government and caused what started off as a patriotic country at the beginning of the war to realise that infact the Tsar did not have their best intrests at heart and was more focused on making himself look good by winning the war. as well as this the strain that the Tsar’s war efforts had put on the Russian way of life had caused many more problems in the economy and Russian way of life for example they were now required to pay much higher taxes but at the same time the pirices had rose by 200 % .

    though some might argue that the 1905 revolution was a indication that the population already had little faith in the government before the war it is clear that this faith was restored by the beginning of the war as it had started with a sense of patriotism and even those who had once protested aginst the Tsar had then taken to protesting instead against their new enemy outside the german embassy. this suggests that the Tsar between these two revolutions had portrayed an illusion in Russia that aloud his people to rebuild their faith in him however this was shattered as a result of the war causing them to start a second revolution.

  20. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    I do not belief another revolution would have taken place if WWI hadn’t taken place.
    The reason why I belief this is because the people had already tried but failed. No matter what they did the Tsar always came out on top even if he wasn’t very powerful within the people. The people needed the Tsar to keep a structure, even if it was a weak one.
    Another reason would be that there was too many parties within the people to have a strong following to overrule the Tsars Government. That is what I think added to the first revolution being a FAIL.
    It wouldn’t have been the best idea to have another revolution anyway as the Russian economy was in no state to take another fall. Also communication would have been poor so it wouldn’t be on a huge scale.
    The fact that there was a number of extremists groups within the Russian community meant that people would always want different things. This would have made it easy for the Tsar to weave his promises to fit each group of people. In order for the people to have a revolution they would have to have stayed strong with each other. And i know it wouldn’t have happened.

  21. Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?

    A main reason that political opposition developed was poor leadership during WWI.

    Russia suffered terrible defeat at the hands of the Austro-German forces lanch of Gorlice-Tarnow offensive in 1915. This then led to Russian forces being driven out of Russian Poland. Tsar Nicholas II dismissed his Uncle Nikolai as Commander-in-chief and took the job himself. Nicholas was deeply unqualified to command a military unit, let alone a large army of several millions. The Tsars decision had put his army into an even worse position. A brilliant example of the Tsars incapability was the Brusilov Offensive – the Russians last major offensive of the war. At first it was successful. However, by August 1916 it had lost momentum and russian forces had to retreat to the Black sea. He proved to be a poor commander-in-chief and also poor internal communications leading to a shortage of military equipment getting to the front. This lead to the taxes being made higher which angered the public of Russia. There union of Zemstva provided medical facilities for the army, and the Congress of Representatives of Industry and Trade helped coordinate war production. These organisations were deeply helpful but sadly, the Tsars autocratic government didn’t know how to use the groups effectively into the war effort.

    A group called ZEMGOR, an all Russian union of Zemstva and cities to aid the care of war casualties. Again, they were not used officially by the government. This would obviously cause development of political opposition. Frustrated by being unable to take an active part in the war, 236 out of 422 state Duma deputies formed into the “Progressive Bloc” who called for a “government of public confidence”. In response to this, Nicholas only made things worse. He ignored the demands of the progressive bloc and refused their requests for change. With the Tsarina in charge, the “Progressive Bloc” had no chance as she distrusted it and also thought that ZEMGOR were disloyal. After this, only ultra-conservative tsarists were appointed to ministerial positions resulting in the Tsar and his government being even less popular.

    In conclusion, Russian people were dissapointed with their government. They had lost hope and were low spirited. Russia had lost the war which put the country into a financial crisis and took the lives of so many. Money was worthless which would have made it extremely difficult to live in Russia at that time. The government had failed and with the opposition being so great, it was time for a big change.

  22. Do you think it’s likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    The issues Russia have were merely magnified during WWI, those problems would still have had effect. There would still have been a revolution regardless of the War.

    The war was a very costly event. Production of weapons and resources for the army on the front line put Russias economy into a crisis. Money had to be printed in order to pay for more resources causing inflation. A 200% rise. The Army had control over the distribution of food, weapons and aid. This meant that they controlled where and how the resources were transported. They took over the railways and had first claim on the limited food.

    Many Russian people were already deeply unhappy with their country, for example the previous revolution in 1905 and ‘Bloody Sunday’. They felt the government were treating them badly. The Russian people were suffering from a war they want no part of. Taxes had risen hugely ignorance of the government had only angered them even more.

    The war underlined all the issues of Russia that would have inevitably caused an outbreak whether a war had occured or not.

  23. Political opposition began to develop over the Tsar’s governement because the Tsar and his government never listened to his people he just wanted to do everything himself and didn’t listen to his people.

    For example in September 1915 Tsar Nicholas dismissed his uncle Nikolai as commander and chief of the Russian army and took command himself. This was a major problem mainly due to the fact that the Tsar had never taken command of a regiment in his life, let alone an army of several millions.

    In June 1915 the zemstva and state Duma created the ZEMGOR- the All-Russian union of zemstva and cities to aid the care of war casualties. This show the people of Russia still had some patriotism left in them, but once again the Tsar and his government failed to use what they had effectively and this led to the ZEMGOR being the centre of liberal discontent. Now this started to become a big problem throughout Russia because since there were so many problems and the Tsar and his government weren’t doing anything to help his people.

    Prices rose by over 200 percent between August 1914 and Christmas 1916 and the loss of agricultural workers and horses to the army put a massive strain on food and other resources and with the army taking control the railways there were food shortages in towns and major cities and the figures show it in Moscow they had been receiving 2200 railway wagons of grain per month in 1914 and by Christmas 1916 this figure dropped to just below 300 wagons a month.

    So as you can see the Russian government was facing a massive crisis and their failure led to the 1917 revolution as their people’s patriotism slowly faded so did the Tsarist regime and souly the end of the Romanov Dynasty

  24. “Why did political opposition to the Tsar’s government develop between August 1914 and December 1916?”

    Political Position developed between August 1914 and December 1916 because of three main factors; Nicholas going on the Front line in 1915, how the war impacted the people of Russia and Rasputin’s influences over royals.

    Russia started off performing well in the war in 1914, gaining success such as taken over the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. This gave the Russian people hope which prompted much support. Patriotism significantly rose and being dismissed for a number of years, autocracy was on the rise. Therefore people had faith in Tsar, they truly believed that he was going to lead Russia to victory. However Russian success caused Germany to revise and modify their Schlieffen War plan. Therefore failure started to creep in for Russia. Biggest failure was probably in the start of September 1914 when Russian advances were halted at the Battle of Tannenburg. The battle left Russia with 30, 000 wounded or dead, 95,000 captured and 10,000 retreated. Contrasting with Germany who only had 20,000 casualties. This was a huge blow to Russia, resulting in Tsar Nicholas deciding to command on the front line himself, leaving Tsarina Alexandra to govern direct the rest of Russia herself.

    People didn’t agree with Nicholas, believing that Alexandra was incapable of running a country alone. However she didn’t rule Russia alone, Rasputin, who she rumoured a physical affair with, influenced many of her decisions. Because of the absence of Nicholas, Rasputin was able to influence the constant ministerial changes between September 1915 and December 1916. He gained a lot of power when puppet-ting Alexandra, such as he became a regular attendent to Court in 1914. This made him very arrogant and unpopular amongst nobles. In the end a group of nobles murdered him because they believed it would be the only way to sustain the Tsarist regime.

    However the biggest phase of opposition was from the Russian people themselves. By Christmas 1916, 15.3 million men had experienced military service. This meant a great loss in agriculture momentum, even though when it wasn’t at a strong point to begin with. This resulted in a huge loss of food production, which was endured by the inflation of 1916. With prices rising by over 200%, people couldn’t afford to buy themselves food, let alone pay for war costs. These problems were causing the Russian goverment and royals to become hugely unpoplar with the Russian public. Why should they have to fork out the costs of war when it was their resources being taken for the military anyway.

    To conclude, the three main factors that gained political opposition were; Nicholas commanding on the Front line, Rasputin’s influence over royals and the impact of the war on the Russian public. With most of these happenings echoing problems of the past, it should have been pretty predictable of opposition.


  25. Question 1

    Political opposition grew during the First World war because of the Tsar was unable to handle pressure from people back in Russia and the war front. The war took effect on Tsar and the people of Russia.
    Nicholas II made a lot of wrong decisions in this period, for example making himself commander – in – chief over his uncle Nikolai and also leaving the Tsarina to look after the government in both these circumstances they were both thoroughly incapable and unqualified. War is a very expensive subject and this lead to the lack of money flowing through Russia, the government tried raise taxes, which was very unpopular with the Russian public. Also with a lack of money food and other resources was a huge blow for the Russian public, this frustrated the public and they started looking for other political parties who would listen to them. This was all down to a lack of communication.
    This all led to a threat from other political parties such as the ZEMORG and the Progressive Block, this sparked a lot of confusion in the Russian economy .The Russian people were unsure who to follow because the Tsar was not listening or communicating with them. The fact of the Rasputin coming into the Royal court caused an unsettlement amongst the public. Inflation also came into play during the war, a lot money was spent making artillery. This all made the people of Russia agitated, this was a good time for other political groups to oppose the Tsarist government.

  26. Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    It is likely a revolution would of took place in 1917 if there was a war but at the same time there might not have done, mainly because world war 1 could of been a chance for the Tsar to prove himself an admirable leader to his country if he could see them through with sweet victory. But the problem was that he did nothing right, if you look at it in a certain way you can see that the events from world war one could have gone one of two ways, but unfortunately for Nicholas it went the wrong way and eventually led him being abdicated from power.

    If Nicholas had actually listened to his people helped them and organise everything properly instead of being stubborn and doing everything himself then he may have been able to do something during a time of that when patriotism was high, because the Zemstva State Duma came together to create the ZEMGOR which was set up to help the injured in the war, it never worked though because the government failed to use the organisation properly and this made the ZEMGOR the centre of liberal discontent of the shortcomings of the Russian war effort.

    Nicholas made his Uncle Nikolai step down as commander of the army and made himself their commander now he never commanded a small regiment let alone the biggest army in the world at the time. This is where it gets interesting we might be able to make some links.

    The fact that Nicholas didn’t know what he was doing commanding the Army in turn led to the deaths of 1.6 million Russian Soldiers, 3.9 million being wounded and 2.4 million taken prisoner, this led to an incrase in the amount of agricultural workers being shipped of to the front to fight and because there were less people to farm this meant that there was a food shortage and then taxes were raised to pay for the war effort and more money was printed prices increased by over 200 percent between 1914 and 1916.

    The fact that the country’s people were facing these problems for a cause that many of them probably didn’t even want leads us to believe actually how much of an impact the war had on the creation of the 1917 revolution. Now if everything had gone accordingly to plan and the Tsar had made all of the correct decisions then it may have been possible that the he could have stood more of a chance in avoiding another revolution.

  27. Question 2

    If the war did not happen I believe that a revolution would have happened. There was just so much wrong with Russia at this time and the Tsar was not listing the only was to gain the Tsar’s concentration would be to start a revolution
    Whilst the war was happening things in Russia were going from bad to worse. The war had cost so much money Russia went into inflation, the government had to work hard to keep up with these changes, they also had to print much more money to pay costs for food, ect.
    Russia’s transport system was also at an all time low for example the train line had been taken over by the army; this meant food was unable to be imported in for other countries this lead to food shortages across Russia. The February Revolution was a result of all of these problems and this caused the government a bit of a problem and started a crisis inside the Russian government
    A revolution was most likely to happen, the war just showed what was wrong with Russia at a more rapid pace rather than if it had not taken place. Therefore the war made the every aspect of which went wrong with Russia show more.

  28. “Do you think it is likely that a revolution would have taken place in 1917 if there had not been a war?

    It is apparent that opposition would have not developed in Russia if WWI had not taken place. However with the issues raised by WWI in consideration, prior to the war there was already discontent in Russia and therefore it is likely a revolution would have happened regardless if the war had taken place, however perhaps not to such a large extent.
    This is evident through the revolution before the 1917 revolution, and events such as Bloody Sunday and the death of Stolypin both occurring due to the Tsar not listening to his peoples requests and thoughts. When this didn’t trigger him to change his ways the Russian people were angered and realizing how poor the tsarist regime was.
    A particular event which displayed that the tsarist regime had not moved forward in any way was the Lena goldfield incident in which Miners who were demanding a pay increase were shot at by troops resulting in many deaths and injuries.
    On the other hand, during the war many factors including the governments inability to cooperate the public’s help through organisation such as the zemstva and ZEMGOR, angered the public causing a revolution to become all the more likely.
    In addition to this the poor economic climate due to the inflation and lack of food, was bound to cause social unrest. With the defeat displaying that it seemed their money had gone to waste leaving them with nothing but casualties and broken homes, a revolution was being brewed. Plus with the Tsar’s poor leadership becoming evermore evident due to the Russian defeat the people of Russia were desperate for change.

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