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Study Source A : Source A must be trustworthy because it is an eyewitness account. Do you agree?

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Introduction

THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT 2 Ian Harkness 1. Study Source A : Source A must be trustworthy because it is an eyewitness account. Do you agree? Source A does not appear to be an eye witness account as a third party is reporting on the 'conditions in Russia' after apparently hearing the accounts from 'British refugees' referred to as 'these people'. The only person specifically mentioned is Lenin and a further reference to 'the peasants'. On the other hand, the fact that there are refugees in Britain who have left their homes and fled from Russia supports the claim that conditions are 'unbearable'. Further, that claims are 'unanimous' makes it more believable. It was well known that before this report of October, 1918, that people in Russia were unhappy, indeed the March Revolution of 1917 was a result of very poor economic conditions and there had been great unrest including bread riots. Hence the claim that 'famine is widespread' would also seem believable, although there is no description of the appearance of the refugees in this report. The 'peasants' distrust of Lenin's regime and poor economic conditions are both suggested by the peasants refusing 'to sell food' and resorting to 'barter'. This must mean they have no faith in the currency which must be suffering from deflation. The last claim of 'Lenin and his colleagues...living in luxury' does seem believable. ...read more.

Middle

It suggests that this would be the result of accepting a Trotsky regime rule. At its worst it suggests that the huge Trotsky has an appetite for people's blood which is his only interest and civil war will be the only result of revolution. This party was known commonly as the 'whites'. In contrast the photo-montage in Source E shows Trotsky in positive ways and clearly is pro-Trotsky and pro revolution, known commonly as the 'reds'. The central photograph of Trotsky at his desk writing suggests a professional hard working leader. The other images show Trotsky in a variety of situations and places, such as on board a ship, next to a train, in uniform and speaking to a captive crowd of workers. The overall effect is to suggest that Trotsky is a man who has a wide knowledge and understanding of people's needs which he is working hard to achieve. Notably his facial expressions are all serious which can be interpreted as an awareness of the difficulties others and the whole country face and the concentrated effort needed to solve them. 4. Study Sources F, G and H : Which of these sources is most useful to a historian studying the deaths of the Tsar and his family? None of the sources F, G and H, are very useful for a historian studying the deaths of the Tsar and his family since pictorial evidence needs to be substantiated by trustworthy eye-witness accounts and to agree. ...read more.

Conclusion

Clearly the first two sources show that Russia's economic problems were very great. Yet it would be unreasonable to suggest that the Bolsheviks engineered an economic decline and they were hardly responsible for involving Russia in the war. Rather than escape Bolshevik rule the refugees surely wished to escape from the harsh conditions in Russia. Finally the sources relating to the murder of the Romanov family seem to most support the view that 'The Bolsheviks were adopting a policy of "win at all costs" '. The painting in particular suggests the resorting to cold-blooded murder to achieve success and is partly supported by the photo and diagram. However, without eye-witness accounts the events which took place are unsubstantiated. For instance, we do not know if the family was unarmed, if resistance was offered, or did they surrender? Yet the family did die and the 'murders' may seem as shocking as the execution depicted on the 1919 Civil war poster. Overall it is clear that a balanced view of biases needs to be taken into account and admit that the evidence is ambiguous. The death of the Romanov family can be seen as a desperate bid to deny them a possibility of any future power and prevent civil war which would allow them to pay attention to its economic crisis, in which case they would be seen as heroes rather than mercenaries. 1 ...read more.

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