• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Stable Was the Tsarist Autocracy in 1914?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Stable Was the Tsarist Autocracy in 1914? Nikita Turkin ATL "The Russian Empire was a powder keg waiting to explode." Robert Service By the beginning of the Great War, Russia was already deeply divided, and the political structure so fragile, overstrained and vulnerable, that "it is hard to imagine that it could have survived even without war..." (Fitzpatrick) Soviet historians, who, at the time of writing, were seeking to justify their regime, would agree with Sheila Fitzpatrick that by 1914, Russia's regime was already dead and it was inevitable that the forthcoming revolution of 1917 would take place. However liberal historians, with the aim of destroying the image of the Communist regimes, have tended to usually agree with Service's equation, "No war. No revolution" and that the four year conflict was like a thunderbolt which prevented Russia from following the democratic path to modernisation as her Western allies had done. However, it is the Revisionist point of view that stands in equal balance stating that "...war should be seen as a kind of 'Final Judgement'" (Figes) to produce a verdict on all the events that have occurred in Russia prior to that. "The overthrow of the Romanovs grew likelier as year succeeded year..." (Service) but it was the war that was the final nail in the coffin for Russia's liberal and democratic hopes to equality, freedom and peace. "Students of revolutions have observed that, as a rule, the grievances of the people look backward not forward. Rather than clamour for new rights, people complain of being unjustly deprived of ancient rights, real or imagined..." (Pipes) and in Russia at the time the peasants continued to express the paternal and unequivocal economic demand for the abolition of noble land ownership. And as "Russia's stability depended on the peasant" (Pipes), any uncertainty in the peasant's life had far reaching consequences for the stability of the whole of society. ...read more.

Middle

The peasant became more politically conscious without the aid of the Socialists, in what ever form they came. The peasants were independent, and this would prove correct in February 1917, when they finally did seize land without much help of socialist parties. Although we know, by looking at the last two Duma compositions, that the peasants were more favourable towards the socialists. When this combined with the peasant's declining respect for established authority especially the nobles, the trend of demands accelerated. If "noble landownership, the prime source of peasant resentment, was far from fading peacefully away" (Acton), then the hope for stability had disappeared as the peasants clamoured for improvements both economically and politically. Stolypin's policy did little or nothing to restrict or halt the ferocity of the peasants' attack upon the nobility. 1905 was a prime example. Despite increases in standard of living and wages, the revolutions went ahead. This shows the peasants were in fact more aware politically and the fact that it was impossible to have economic modernisation without political liberation, such as the right to own all land. While Revisionists rightly agree that peasants could have been better off and perhaps this would have prevented revolution, they stop short of the extremities the Soviets choose to say. Revisionists contradict the central features of the Soviet camp, by stating that the situation wasn't as bad as the Soviets say it was, and that there was hope and revolution was certainly not inevitable. There was at least hope for stability. While on the other hand both currents of Revisionists likewise show opposition to liberal optimism by playing down the significance of reforms that liberals place, and question whether those reforms would actually lead to social stability. According to Service, the conventional wisdom and feeling has been that some kind of revolution was on the way and highly likely, just no one knew when. ...read more.

Conclusion

His landed nobility support was too narrow a political base to keep him in power, the police force too small, corrupt and ill- trained to keep control of the towns and the Army refused to co- operate with the Tsar's wishes when it itself wanted reform. The Autocratic regime was becoming more and more unstable, and "the writing was on the wall before the war broke out" (Acton). Tsarism was "a deadlocked political system, drifting helplessly towards destruction" (A. K. Wildman). War only speeded up the regime's demise, as Gorky said, one thing was clear and that was that with the entrance to the 1st World War, Russia was entering the 1st act of a worldwide tragedy. There are many points on which the Revisionists and Soviets agree, namely that by 1914 the regime was already on the road to revolution, but where as the Soviets explanations for that route take is due to the fantastical determinist highly inevitable socialist theory and the great genius of its leaders, the Revisionists point more towards personal experience being the key to the radicalisation of peasants and workers. The liberal view of gradual recovery by Russia if not for the "bolt form the blue" World War One seems just as unlikely as the Soviet claims. The Revisionists seems to offer a realistic explanation of the fall of one the greatest Empire's of history, through a mixture of balanced arguments, analysis and a substantial examination of facts. We know that Russia was on the path to annihilation, but the Revisionists in detail provide a sensible answer, accommodating for the war being the last kick in the backside and how it proved to be the Empire's undoing. "The old regime had been lucky in 1904- 06... It was no so lucky in 1914- 1917" (Sheila Fitzpatrick) 1 Figures published by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for strikes in workplaces covered by factory inspection. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    Tanks * The first tanks appeared in action during the battle of the Somme on 15 September 1916. The army had resisted their use until then. One reason given was that they would scare the cavalry horses. * The immediate impact of the first tanks was to terrify the German infantry, who ran away.

  2. American History.

    which the group fought under other leaders until the US gave up in 1842. Revival, Reform and Politics during the Jackson Era (1824 - 1845) *The Second Great Awakening* - The wave of reform that swept America in the early nineteenth century was both a reaction to the radical changes

  1. UNIT 6: PAPER 6b: THE SOVIET UNION AFTER LENIN

    * By 1939 there were over 3 million people in Gulags, a vast and constantly-replenished source of cheap labour! And totally expendable! * Much of the work was done by Komsomol volunteers, keen to make their contribution to Russia's 'Second Revolution.'

  2. Why did tsarism collapse?

    Their anger was aimed not only at these speculators but also at the government for failing to do anything about the situation. The people wanted rewards for their efforts and sacrifices and so far they were receiving nothing. All the workers could see was the gap between the haves and have-nots deepening.

  1. Khrushchev's attempts at modernisation.

    These would run industry in their own area. This, it was hoped, would ensure greater commitment on the part of workers and managers. You would have a greater say over what you now did and this would increase your pride in your work and so production levels would be increased.

  2. Why was there a revolution in Feburary 1917?

    On February 23rd meetings and demonstrations, in which the principle slogan was a demand for bread, were held. 90,000 men and women supported these demonstrations by going on strike in the national capital. Tension steadily increased but no casualties resulted.

  1. Political Analysis.

    This became apparent when America encouraged Musaddaq to rebel against Britain and proceed towards nationalising the oil companies. Eventually Britain submitted to America and allowed her to have 60% of the shares in the oil companies. America went on to collaborate with Britain in crushing this revolution once she gained what she had wanted.

  2. Disadvantages of Capitalism.

    All resources are privately owned and will only be used for obtaining the highest profit. Advantages of Capitalism There are many advantages to a Capitalist economic system which could make it very appealing to society. The system allows the powers of market forces to operate which in turn gives the consumer a wider range of goods and services.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work