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Explain how the effects of the First World War caused the collapse of the Tsarist regime

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Introduction

1) Explain how the effects of the First World War caused the collapse of the Tsarist regime (8 marks) There were many causes of the collapse of the Tsarist regime. One of the biggest causes, however, was the First World War, as it had many effects on everyone in Russia, who all blamed the Tsar. The Tsar abdicated in 1917 because he had no control over anyone in Russia. He had no support. This was because everyone in Russia blamed the Tsar for something. They layed all the blame at his feet because he was in charge and was the only person who could change things. One of the main reasons why the 1905 revolution failed was because the Tsar had the support and control of the military. By the time the 1917 revolution had started, the Tsar had lost this support and control. He had no protection. This happened because of the war. Firstly, the army was very poorly equipped, as some men didn't have any boots and only a third of men had rifles. The army also had very incompetent leaders. There is evidence of this in the battles at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. In both of these, the 'huge Russian armies' (Brooman 1994) were wiped out when they should have easily beaten a single German army. The poor leadership combined with the poorly equipped army made Russia suffer many defeats in the war. By 1917, 0.8 million Russian troops had been killed, 4.6 million wounded and 3.3 million captured. The fact that the war was very long also linked with the defeats to cause the soldiers to have very low morale. The shortage of medical supplies was exacerbated by the continuance of the war. This meant that the soldiers were poorly looked after and this led to the army losing their loyalty to Tsar Nicholas II. The army blamed the Tsar for all their problems, and they got even more chance to blame the Tsar in 1915, when he decided to go to the war front and run the army himself. ...read more.

Middle

This made the people support the Bolsheviks even more and turn away from the Provisional Government. Although the Provisional Government gave people many civil rights, it wasn't enough. They freed political prisoners and announced that there would be freedom of the press, speech, the right to strike and an end to social discrimination and the death penalty. Although the people of Russia appreciated this, the things they really wanted were an end to the war and an end to the land problems. The Bolsheviks, however, offered all of this. They offered the same as the Provisional Government and an end to the war and the land problems. They also promised to champion the rights of the masses. Even when the Provisional Government offered something good, the Bolsheviks offered better. The Bolsheviks looked even stronger compared to the Provisional Government. The Provisional Government had many opponents and did nothing to get rid of them. Instead, they were allowed to grow and become stronger. They even controlled Russia with dual power. One of their opponents was the Petrograd Soviet. They had army support and worked with the Provisional Government. The Provisional Government was official, but the Petrograd Soviet had the power. The Bolsheviks were also an opponent of the Provisional Government. They were defeated in the July Days but were then released and given weapons to fight the Provisional Government other opponent, General Kornilov. He was a right wing general who was only stopped with the help of the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, however, did not tolerate any opposition. They wanted power for the Soviets exclusively and were prepared to take up arms against their rivals, which they did against Kornilov. The Provisional Government allowing oppositions to grow made them look weak, whereas the Bolsheviks looked strong because they knew what they wanted and they wouldn't allow other groups to get in their way. The Kornilov revolt also proved helpful in getting the Bolsheviks power. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, they wouldn't have been pressurised to withdraw from the First World War. Therefore, the Provisional Government would not have been unpopular and would have been doing a good job. The people of Russia would not have been looking for an alternative government and the Bolsheviks would not have succeeded in their plan to take power. Even with the Provisional Government looking weak and the people wanting a new government, the Bolsheviks may not have been the replacement without looking strong themselves. They had a very strong and effective leader: Lenin. Lenin was a strong leader because he promised to give the people what they wanted, an end to the war. Without the First World War, he would not have been able to do this and wouldn't have looked half as strong as he did with the war going on. Lenin was a popular leader because he made himself look like a worker and made the people think that he was one of them. He knew what the people wanted and said things that the people wanted to say but didn't know how. He was a 'man of iron will and inflexible ambition' and made 'brilliant speeches' that 'inspired the workers and soldiers to a determined struggle'. He planned the entire revolution and was very popular amongst the people of Russia. Lenin took advantage of the fact that there was a war going on. He saw that the Provisional Government was weak and very unpopular because of the war and he knew that the people wanted the war to end. Therefore, that is what he offered them, an end to the war and an end to all of their problems. Without the First World War, Lenin would not have been able to do this and wouldn't have looked as strong. The people of Russia would have chosen another party to take over from the Provisional Government. This factor is inextricably linked with the Leigh Sangan Year 11 Russian Coursework 28th October 2003 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a high quality, well written response overall that displays plenty of knowledge and understanding of Russia's predicament in 1917. At times, the understanding of what happens in October is a little simplistic and the final response lacked a conclusion. Always leave time for this. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 22/05/2013

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