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How far was military defeat responsible for the fall (abdication) of the Tsar in Feb 1917?

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Introduction

How Far Was Military Defeat Responsible For The Fall (Abdication) of the Tsar In Feb 1917? By 1917 Russia had been at War for three years and the strains on the both the army and the country itself were becoming more and more established as time went on and people were beginning to question the Tsar's rule. Previous to 1917 the Tsar had suffered many setbacks as ruler of Russia. The most significant of these were the economic and political problems prevalent in Russia, the prominence of revolutionary groups and their activities and the gradual loss of support for the Tsar. Further factors were the industrialisation of Russia, the 1905 revolution and the October Manifesto and creation of the State Duma. Some of these causes were long term, whilst others were fairly short term. However, it was the huge Military defeats suffered by Russia that set the 1917 Russian Revolution off. At the end of 1914 the Russian army had lost half a million men and they were running low on ammunition and arms. They also had problems with uniform and food. Desertion became more and more frequent and some soldiers even deliberately inflicted injury upon themselves so they could avoid military service. Nobody could understand why the Russian leaders had engaged the country in such a pointless war. ...read more.

Middle

This caused the speaker of the Duma (and the leader of the Conservative Octobrist party), Alexander Guchov publicly attacked the Tsar for allowing Rasputin to stay with them. This was a surprise because the Russians had never seen the Tsar openly criticised and he began to seem less god-like and more weak and frail. When the war started in 1914 it affected the Russian people in many ways. First of all it created immediate patriotism: the German named St Petersburg was changed to Petrograd and the German embassy was burnt down. However, by 1915 things had changed again. The army suffered heavy defeats and shortages of labour on the land began to arise due to men and horses being called up for the front. Therefore, the food and goods that people needed for every day life could not be acquired. Prices increased and in the city workers were forced to work long hours under hard conditions in order to maintain the war effort. Some of these things may have mattered less to the people if the war had gone well. The Tsar suspended the Duma and confidence was low. The shortage of supplies affected the Russian army as well, meaning that they were short of food, ammunition and arms and without sufficient clothing to protect them against the harsh winter weather. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, when added to the huge list of problems in Russia that the people blamed the Tsar for, it was yet another thing wrong with the Tsarist reign. If the military had been successful, then it may well have raised morale in Russia, meaning people would be less annoyed with the struggle at home but they weren't. However, a lot of the reason for the army being unsuccessful was due to the problems at home, such as the poor working conditions of the workers, so they may not have been working to their best efforts, therefore not producing as many arms as possible. Also, the incompetence of the Tsar meant that the army had a Commander who did not know what he was doing. Most of the problems could be traced back to the Tsar and the people of Russia finally realised this after they suffered military defeats, despite having believed that the Tsar was chosen by God and giving him an extremely high status for years. Therefore, I think that the Military defeats were immediately responsible for the defeat of the Tsar because they could be seen as the 'straw that broke the camel's back'. However, on their own they would not have caused nearly as much trouble as they did, but when put with the other factors they helped to increase the pressure on the Tsar, eventually causing him to abdicate. ...read more.

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