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How important a reason for the outbreak of revolution in 1917 was Russia's involvement in WWI?

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How important a reason for the outbreak of revolution in 1917 was Russia's involvement in WWI? The war lead to Russia seeing a picture of the incompetent tsarist system, unable to provide them the inspiration that they required, and this lead to the first moves which eventually ended in the first bourgeoisie revolution of February 1917. The war abruptly reversed the stabilizing trends of the pre-war period (i.e. the Duma) and totally transformed the political, social and economic situation. In the first place, the war placed a qualitatively new burden of responsibility on the Tsar. It in vested with fateful significance his personal inadequacy and susceptibility to his wife's constant urging that he 'be a man' and assert himself. His decision, in 1915 in defiance of almost universal advice to the contrary, that he would himself take on the supreme command at the front was disastrous, and proved the downfall of the Romanov dynasty; the war was basically the catalyst to the Russian revolutions of 1917. At the beginning of the war, many people were enthusiastic. The only real opponents to Russia entering on France and Britain's side were Lenin and his Bolshevik party, and the government soon arrested them and sent many into exile in other countries. This enthusiasm was also due to the fact that things were looking up on the home front, people were optimistic that the introduction of the 1905 October manifesto would lead to further reform. ...read more.


Huge losses such as those seen at Tannenburg and the Masurian lakes caused huge drops in morale among troops, and the war in Turkey was a substantial factor in the declining conditions on all fronts as Allied supplies could no longer reach Russia. As news of the losses of men and ground reached the home front, there were calls for the removal of inefficient ministers, many of who were merely the lackeys of the Tsar himself. This showed that once the people realized this, there would be an increasing call for the removal of the Tsar, which is eventually what happened. The war lead to the people becoming more and more voiced, and the Duma began to circulate rumours that the Tsar was only prolonging the war for his own purposes. The deciding factor for the Tsar was his own action to try and stem the flow of losses and to try and improve the situation by a very na�ve move of appointing himself as commander-in-chief and going out to the front. Not only had he no experience of this, it also left him as the figure which all the criticism for further losses would be placed on. It was a move on his part which left the country in the hands of the Tsarina and Rasputin, marking the beginning of the very end for the Regime. ...read more.


Rumours that Alexandra was secretly assisting the Germans began to circulate, and some of the Progressive bloc within the Duma began speaking of a coup which would remove the Tsar and his wife. By the start of 1917 the internal situation had become hopeless for the Tsar's government. Rasputin was murdered in December 1916, but this did little to change the attitude of those in power. Some of the governing class hoped that the death of Rasputin would prompt the Tsar to return from the front and the Tsarina to withdraw from public life. Instead, the autocracy stood firm in its convictions and exhibited little concern for the problems facing the country As fuel and food became even scarcer, strikes over took and by February the bourgeoisie movement was beginning the revolutionary process. If it had not been for the war, the revolution would not have occurred. It was the beginning of the end - everything that took place was part of the tsarist regimes downfall. The Tsarina and Rasputin provided intrigue and an unacceptable government for the people of Russia. The Tsars actions on the front, and his leaving of Alexandra and Rasputin left him exorbitantly unpopular and brunt of all the criticism from the actual military side of events. Food shortages caused directly by the war left people desperate and ready to do whatever was needed to get out of the war and rid them of the regime. This all points towards the fact that the war caused the Revolution of early 1917. ...read more.

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