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History - USSR - The main reason for the February/March Revolution was The World War I. Do you agree?

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Introduction

Revision: USSR Essay Questions The main reason for the February/March Revolution was The World War I. Do you agree? YES * The war caused serious food shortages. With millions of peasants conscripted into the army, there were not enough people to produce food. * Any food there was was unable to make it to the cities to the starving people because the railways were being used to transport troops and supplies to the front. * Food prices rose and wages stayed the same. * Millions of Russian refugees fled to the cities for shelter from the advancing German armies. This caused overcrowding and more pressure on food supplies. * Unemployment rose as factories closed down due to the shortage of manpower, coal and other raw materials. * Russia faced many military defeats as the army was ill equipped and leaders were chosen for their birth rather than their military skills. The Russian people lost hope and were increasingly disillusioned by the war. * The Tsar took control of the army, putting himself in the position of blame. The Tsar became very unpopular. * The Tsarina was left in charge of Russia but she relied heavily on Rasputin who used his influence to put his friends in high places. This made the Russian people angry. NO * Even before the war there were problems in Russia. * The Tsar was incompetent and lacked the necessary qualities needed to make a good leader. * The entire system in Russia was inefficient. The majority of the population were peasants and the minority were very wealthy. ...read more.

Middle

All written material was censored and controlled to prevent criticism. The church preached that to oppose the Tsar was a sin. The entire system in Russia was inefficient. Russia was considered to be a very backward country. This was because it still had a feudal system. The majority of the population - over 90% were poor and illiterate peasants who barely made enough money for them to live on. The land they worked on was rarely owned by them. Agriculture was also in a very bad state due to the old fashioned, inefficient tools the peasants used. Above the peasants on the feudal system were the middle class. These were educated people with careers such as doctors, lawyers and business men. They used their skills to earn money. The small minority of the population who were above the middle class were the aristocracy. They were born into their positions and did not work to earn them. The aristocracy were very wealthy and they lived comfortably on the huge estates they owned. About 1% of the population owned 25% of the land. Peasants often had uprisings and called for land, but this was never granted and they were crushed by force. In 1900, industry in Russia started to grow rapidly. Large factories were built and a whole range of industries emerged such as coal mining, iron and steel. Large numbers of peasants flocked to the towns to work in the factories. They were the industrial working class, otherwise known as the proletariats. The living conditions of the industrial working class were terrible. ...read more.

Conclusion

This caused disbelief and outrage in Russia. Rasputin's relationship with the royal family damaged their reputation even more. By 1914, the Tsar seemed to have everything under control. All strikes and protests were crushed by the army, the Okhrana rooted out any trouble makers and revolutionaries and the revolutionary leaders were either in prison, in exile or doing labour in Siberia. However, things were about to change with the outbreak of the First World War. In conclusion, I believe that the First World War was not the main cause of the March Revolution even though it played a big part in causing it. The March Revolution occurred mainly because of earlier events which I have explained. Russia was in a bad state way before the war started. Russia's economy, politics, agriculture and social structure were suffering and in desperate need of modernisation. There already existed food shortages, resentment towards the Tsar and dissatisfaction. The war only magnified these problems and added a few more. If there had not been so many problems in Russia before the war and Russia had been a healthy country, the war would most likely have not caused a revolution. As well as this, the war was only a short term cause of the March Revolution as sooner or later, Russia would have to have a revolution. The problems in Russia would probably have built up slowly, increasing resentment towards the Tsar and his autocratic rule, dissatisfaction at bad working conditions and unfulfilled promises as well as support for revolutionary groups until it all led to a revolution, if not for the war. The war was just the spark that lit the bomb. ...read more.

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