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

Both Russian Revolutions stemmed from Russians' dissatisfaction with the Tsarist government's ineptitude

Extracts from this document...


"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." So says Mao Zedong, late overlord of China, staunch Marxist and hardened revolutionary. The truth of his statement can be observed in many instants in the long human history, and not least of all in the two Russian Revolutions of early twentieth century. The first revolution happened in 1905, and after a little more than a decade of tentative peace, the second revolution happened in 1917. Most historians talk about two revolutions in 1917, the February revolution, and the Bolshevik revolution in October. However, the two revolutions of 1917 can be seen as one protracted revolution undergoing many shifts in government and finally ended with the Bolshevik's seizure of power in October. In this essay, the revolutions of 1917 will be treated as one single revolution. The revolution of 1905 and 1017 stemmed from the same causes, they were instigated and executed in similar fashion, the same people provided the bulk force that manned the actions, and both revolutions were permeated by the contest for power among different groups and the accompanying anarchy. There is only one difference between the two revolutions: where the control of an effective military force lies. Supposedly one difference amidst the multitude of similarities should hardly create any noticeable differences? That's not what one observes in history. Thanks to that single difference, the revolution of 1905 and 1917 had drastically different results. ...read more.


The increasingly violent and revolutionary strikes, coupled with insurrection and mutiny of Petrograd garrisons, created enough anarchy for the Duma to announce the dissolution of existing ministry and the formation of Provisional Government. The two Russian Revolutions displayed remarkable similarities in the manner they were begun and carried. They were both manned by industrial workers, bulked up by general strikes across the nation, and both followed a course from protest, strikes, political insurrection, paralysis of existing order, to the final governmental change and reform. Both revolutions were surrounded with the same political ambiance of struggle for power among different groups and the chaos that accompanied it. The Russian intelligentsia, while united by their common discontent with the tsarist regime, was otherwise divided by ideologies and degrees of radicalism. The revolutionary groups in Russian ranged from the far left of the Bolsheviks, to the more moderate Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, to the liberal Constitutional Democrats who was wary of socialism. In both revolutions all the groups emerged hoping to lead the workers to create a government with the specific group at the head. In both revolutions the different groups came to sharp conflicts. In the revolution of 1905 after the liberals soon demanded order and supported the tsarist government, the Consitutional Democrats were content with the creation of Duma after the October Manifesto, and the more radical revolutionaries tried to continue popular agitation long after the government regained its position of power. ...read more.


Red Guards soon evolved into the Red Army and was used to crush opposition in the Russian Civil War. With exact same strategies used by Nicholas II, the Bolsheviks also employed their armed forces to place Russia in a police state, oppressing all opposition in a regime of terror. In 1917 the Bolsheviks were the only one who raised and controlled an effective military force in key locations, therefore, they emerged victorious in the battle for Russia. The key difference of who controlled the effective military force led to the drastically different results of the two Russian Revolutions despite every other similarity. This can be observed through the similarities of the causes, the progression, and the political environment between the two revolutions, the sole difference of the controller of an effective military force, and the fact that in each revolution the controller of the effective armed force emerged victor. The Bolsheviks often spoke of revolution as a popular movement supported by the will of the workers and the peasants, as a forced change by the people and for the people. Yet if one observes the two Russian Revolutions and ponder upon the reactionaries' victory in 1905 and the Bolsheviks' triumph in 1917, the only conclusion one comes to is the same one Mao had: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun". In this and every other instant in history, it is the gun barrel not popular will that determines the final winner. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 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 GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays


    As Russia felt the need to improve her industry she had to borrow money from other countries, though the main source of money came from the people of Russia. Wages were kept low so money could be spent on industry' and after a few years people would be better off.

  2. Why was the Tsarist regime able to survive the revolution of 1905?

    the railway system was now not prioritised towards the army as nothing needed to be transported out of the country and so this meant that it was now freed up to carry food and supplies into the towns and cities that had so desperately been shortaged during the war.

  1. History Force essay. A specific individual and group, Lenin and the Bolsheviks ...

    The harsh oppression within the working class and the peasants increased though Russia's social and economic involvement in World War One. Within a few weeks into the war, the Russians suffered horrific defeats at the battles of Tannenberg 1914, in which 120,000 Russian soldiers were killed.

  2. Madness in Russian Literature

    The story opens with Golyadkin setting out on a trip to town in an expensive carriage. He carries around 750 roubles, an amount accumulated after years of saving, all to be spent on that day. He goes around town pretending to be a rich man; he makes orders for clothes, furniture and other items he will never buy.

  1. Many causes could lead to a revolution. In 1917, there were two distinct Revolutions ...

    Behind the front, goods became scarce, prices skyrocketed, and by 1917 famine threatened the larger cities. Discontent became rife, and the morale of the army suffered, finally to be undermined by a succession of military defeats. These reverses were attributed by many to the alleged treachery of Empress Alexandra and

  2. The Radical Phase: 1793-94

    In a desperate attempt to slow down the intentions of the Jacobins, Marat was mur ed by Charlotte Corday and Danton began speaking out against all radicals who were contributing to the deaths of innocent citizens. Unfortunately, this was to be a stage in the revolution that could not be undone even with the leadership of Danton.

  1. How far did the 1905 revolution weaken then Tsarist regime?

    Due to the Tsars lack of understanding for the peasants and want to help them this led to rural unrest. Rural unrest spread across the villages and this made up 80% of the population, so the Tsar had two thirds of his country opposing his Tsarist regime.

  2. Lenin's Importance in the 1917 Revolutions.

    This can be why Liberals argue that the situation and period when Lenin was building the Bolshevik Party could only be advantageous to him. Not only the autocracy but also Nicholas II?s personality played a role into Lenin?s gradual success.

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